Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Buzzcocks at Ottobar!!!

Buzzcocks play the Ottobar
2549 N. Howard Street, Baltimore, MD
Wednesday, May 12, 2010 @ 9 p.m.

Be there or be square!

Here's the backstory of Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle's current tour (the rhythm section's new, but the core songwriters/guitar-slingers are what the 'Cocks are about, right?), with verbiage taken from something called the Brooklyn Vegan (whatever the hell that is!), with highlights courtesy of moi:
"Manchester punk legends the Buzzcocks are mounting a 22-date North American tour where they'll play their first two albums, Another Music in a Different Kitchen and Love Bites (both released in 1978) in their entirety "plus other hits"...One of the truly greats, The Buzzcocks bridged punk and powerpop and their tuneful tales of teen angst were the blueprint for pretty much all all popular pop-punk from Green Day on. If you don't own (or haven't heard) Singles Going Steady, you should stop reading this blog right now and rectify that. Not just one the most essential documents of the punk era, it's one of the greatest records ever.

That compilation is such a classic, people sometimes forget the Buzzcocks actual studio albums from the same era. Mute recently reissued the band's first three LPs, Another Music in a Different Kitchen, Love Bites, and A Different Kind of Tension, all with bonus discs containing b-sides, demos, Peel Sessions, live versions, etc...

What's amazing, beyond the quality, is almost all of this was written and recorded in a two-year period. As almost all of their songs dealt with matters of the heart (and other body organs), their music hasn't really dated at all. Their records since main men Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle reformed the band in the early '90s, while less essential, are pretty good too.

Live, The Buzzcocks have still got it (or at least they did the last time I saw them, mid-'00s.) Diggle especially seems to truly still love playing these songs. I wish they could coerce original drummer John Maher (arguably UK punk's greatest drummer, along with Rat Scabies) to go back out with them, but their rhythm section is tight. And, of course, those songs, many of which have probably never been played in America before."

Nostalgia for an age yet to come

OK, now about those Mute double-CD reissues - Another Music in a Different Kitchen (1978), Love Bites (1978), and A Different Kind of Tension (1979) - that came out February 9, 2010 and serve as the perfect "Raison d'Etre" for the current "Another...Bites" tour...you're probably wondering why you should upgrade if, like me, you already have all the records or purchased the 1989 triple-CD import box set Product (Restless Retro 7723772in the US, EMI CDPRDT1 in the UK)...

Some Product Carry On

Of the 123 total tracks, 33 are never-before-heard versions (demos and live recordings). Demos are all fine and dandy, but for my money the main reason - the crux of the biscuit, so to speak - to get the reissues is the live performances, for the Buzzcocks walked the walk as well as they talked the (Martin Rushent-tweaked) studio talk.

I just wish they'd included the original four-song Spiral Scratch EP, which somebody released years ago but which is now back to being out-of-print.

OK, but now you do get the entire October 1977 live performance from Manchester's Electric Circus club; previously only "Time's Up" - my favorite Buzzcocks song - was excerpted on the Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus vinyl recording of this show (the only other versions of "Time Up" I knew of were the Spiral Scratch EP studio original and the 1978 live recording at London's Lyceum that appears on Disc 3, "Many Parts," of the Product box set). But now you also get: "Fast Cars," "Boredom," "Sixteen," "You Tear Me Up," "Orgasm Addict," "Moving Away From the Pulsebeat," and "Love Battery" (a beloved song my old band Thee Katatonix used to to cover - mainly because I think its sexual charge appealed to Adolf's AC/DC tendencies).

The 'Cocks Electric Circus performance was previously only available on the vinyl bootleg Best in Good Food (released Dec 1978 on Edible GF001).

Best in Good Food

This was a great record, the first and one of the most well-known Buzzcock boots that presented snippets of various of radio and TV sessions and live performances, including original vocalist Howard Devoto on the "Boredom" segment and the Troggs cover "I Can't Control Myself" from the 1978 reunion TV Special on the Beeb. (I remember the boot had a great "the Golden Age of Big Band music" radio intro that I used to excerpt and use as the intro to countless mix tapes)

Best In Good Food
Intro [a]
Fast Cars [b]
Fiction romance [b]
Boredom [b]
Sixteen [b]
You Turn [sic] Me Up [b]
Orgasm Addict [b]
Pulsebeat [b]
Love Battery [b]
Time's Up [b]
What Do I Get [c]
Noise Annoys [d]
Walking Distance [d]
Late for the Train [d]
I Can't Control Myself [e]

[a] = 'Boredom' segment from "Band On The Wall" Nov 8, 1976
[b] = Oct 2, 1977, Electric Circus, Manchester (see Short Circuit)
[c] = from 1st Peel Session" mid-1977"
[d] = 2nd Peel Session, BUZZCOCKS #3.0
[e] = "What's On" TV special, broadcast Jul 21, 1978 w/Howard Devoto - vocals, Pete Shelley - rhythm guitar, vocals, Steve Diggle - bass, John Maher - drums

The only other great live recording I had heard - prior to these Mute Record reissues - was the 1978 London Lyceum performance that was included on Disc 3, "Many Parts," of the 1989 Product box set release.

Many Parts (Product Disc 3, 1989)

Live At The Lyceum, London 1978, Mixed by Martin Rushent
Pete Shelley notes: '10th March 1978

Fast Cars
Noise Annoys
Moving Away from the Pulsebeat
Fiction Romance
What Do I Get?
Whatever Happened To?
Time's Up

For 'cocks completists, Many Parts also included the (less than spectacular) final vinyl transmissions called Parts 1,2,3 - the last three singles that were also collected on the "Parts 1, 2, 3" EP (1981)...
Are Everything (1980)
Strange Thing (1980)
Running Free (1980)
Why She's a Girl from the Chainstore (1980)
Airwaves Dream (1980)
What Do You Know (1980)

...as well as "I Look Alone," a 1981 cassette release from New Music Express magazine.


OK, now about those new double-disc Mute releases. This is the digital manifold, album by album:

Another Music in a Different Kitchen


01 Fast Cars
02 No Reply
03 You Tear Me Up
04 Get on Our Own
05 Love Battery
06 Sixteen
07 I Don't Mind
08 Fiction Romance
09 Autonomy
10 I Need
11 Moving Away From the Pulsebeat

Associated singles:

12 Orgasm Addict
13 Whatever Happened To...?
14 What Do I Get
15 Oh Shit

BBC Session: John Peel Show 9/7/77 TX 9/19/77:

16 Fast Cars
17 Moving Away From the Pulsebeat
18 What Do I Get



01 Boredom
02 Fast Cars
03 No Reply
04 You Tear Me Up *
05 Get on Our Own *
06 Sixteen
07 I Don't Mind *
08 Fiction Romance
09 Autonomy
10 I Need
11 Orgasm Addict *
12 What Do I Get *
13 Whatever Happened To...?
14 Oh Shit

Live at the Electric Circus:

15 Fast Cars *
16 Fiction Romance *
17 Boredom *
18 Sixteen *
19 You Tear Me Up *
20 Orgasm Addict *
21 Moving Away From the Pulsebeat *
22 Love Battery *
23 Time's Up

Love Bites


01 Real World
02 Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)
03 Operators Manual
04 Nostalgia
05 Just Lust
06 Sixteen Again
07 Walking Distance
08 Love Is Lies
09 Nothing Left
10 E.S.P.
11 Late for the Train

Associated singles:

12 Love You More
13 Noise Annoys
14 Promises
15 Lipstick

BBC Sessions:

John Peel Show 4/10/78 TX 4/17/78:

16 Noise Annoys
17 Walking Distance
18 Late for the Train

John Peel Show 10/18/78 TX 10/23/78:

19 Promises
20 Lipstick
21 Sixteen Again

John Peel Show 5/21/79 TX 5/28/79:

22 E.S.P.



01 Love Is Life (Lies) *
02 Just Lust
03 Operators Manual *
04 Ever Fallen in Love *
05 Nothing Left *
06 Sixteen Again *
07 Raison D'Etre *
08 Real World *
09 Nostalgia *
10 E.S.P.
11 Lipstick
12 Children (Promises)
13 Mother of Turds

You also get the entire Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall live show from July 21, 1978 that was organized by Factory Records (and 24-hour Party Person) Tony Wilson:

14 Breakdown *
15 What Do I Get *
16 I Don't Mind *
17 Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) *
18 Noise Annoys *
19 Nothing Left *
20 Get on Our Own *
21 Love You More *
22 Fiction Romance *
23 Autonomy *

*previously unreleased

A Different Kind of Tension

Still my fave Buzzcocks album (as opposed to those superlative singles)...I can still recall the awe I felt hearing the sterophonic left-channel/right-channel division of those Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley guitars...the lyrical genius of the split-channel vocals on "Tension" and the imagery of "I Believe."

I'm a Believer

OK, enough effusing...here's what you get:

CD 1:

01 Paradise
02 Sitting 'Round at Home
03 You Say You Don't Love Me
04 You Know You Can't Help It
05 Mad Mad Judy
06 Raison D'Etre
07 I Don't Know What to Do With My Life
08 Money
09 Hollow Inside
10 A Different Kind of Tension
11 I Believe
12 Radio Nine

Associated singles:

13 Everybody's Happy Nowadays
14 Why Can't I Touch It
15 Harmony in My Head
16 Something's Gone Wrong Again


Associated singles:

01 Are Everything
02 Why She's a Girl From the Chainstore
03 Airwaves Dream
04 Strange Thing
05 What Do You Know?
06 Running Free
07 I Look Alone


08 You Say You Don't Love Me
09 I Don't Know What to Do With My Life
10 Harmony in My Head *
11 I Don't Know
12 Run Away From Home
13 The Drive System
14 Mad Mad Judy *
15 Jesus Made Me Feel Guilty
16 Something's Gone Wrong Again (backing track) *
17 You Know You Can't Help It
18 I Believe July 1979 Indigo Arrow-Chronology

BBC Sessions:

John Peel Show 18/10/78 TX 23/10/78:

19 Everybody's Happy Nowadays

John Peel Show 5/21/79 TX 5/28/79:

20 I Don't Know What to Do With My Life
21 Mad Mad Judy
22 Hollow Inside


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