Monday, August 27, 2007

LONG LIVE THE GIZMOS (and me too!)

Sometimes the past just sneaks right up and smacks you straight on the ass. Received a batch of CD’s in the mail this week via an old pallie named Eddie Flowers I found through internet connections and, lo and behold, everyone of ‘em hadda a version of one or another song co-penned by me in my 16th or 17th year. Yeah, yeah, yeah, back in 1972/73 I was no budding teen lyricist, but more of a wanna-be rock critic, with 2 separate letters published in Creem, a ton of rejection letters filed in my top desk drawer, and a newly discovered frontier in what were called fanzines or rock zines, discovered through an article or two in places like Fusion and Crawdaddy. I submitted my adolescent attempts to a guy named Bob “Mr. Bear” Richert in Bloomington, Indiana, and to my astonishment they started to appear in his rag, then called Beyond Our Control, later called Gulcher. Through those first writings I found a batch of like-minded teens and other wanna-be nitcrits, many of who had their own, mostly mimeographed and stapled together zines. The most charismatic (and wildest) of the bunch was Krazee Kenne Highland, from Brockport NY, the teen-addled mind behind a zine entitled Rock On, and a hyperactive motormouth who sent me cassettes of his 2 minute rock riffs, called me long distance on the phone and babbled on about Iggy and the Stooges, Lou Reed, The New York Dolls, and The Dictators, and even showed up on my front porch in East Providence, RI, dirty, sweaty, and hulking in the corner with a duffel bag. Eventually somewhere in 1976 I received an EP in the mail by The Gizmos, a four-song mishmash that had a pic sleeve of Kenne with a bunch of Hoosier hippies and some weird toad named Ted Neimiec waving a top hat. The songs were stop-and-start, out-of-tune, imitative train wrecks, far too unsubtle and crudely adolescent for me, now in my know-it-all 20th year, but, oh yeah, one of them “Mean Screen” was scripted by me, in my best teenage approximation of Igster lyrics, with a chorus that was a blatant attempt to match the pop cult referencing of Andy Shernoff (Dictator songwriter and singer, editor of the one and only Teenage Wasteland Gazette, and, most importantly, a bonafide rock critic-turned-rockster), “I wanna love American Bandstand/ I wanna live American Bandstand/Dick Clark outta be my poppa”. Sometime later I received a full length LP from a New York band dubbed The Afrika Korps, which contained another Duhamel-Highland nugget, entitled “Juvenile Delinquent” (“Did a Bo Diddley jive when he graduated/Walked on his hands when he went to work”) in which Kenne inserted his own reference, gleaned from his RI visit, to a “Portuguese bouncer” which made me laugh out loud each time I listened hard enough to discern it amidst the Dolls-like caterwaul it’s buried within. Listened to it again yesterday, some 30 years later, and I laughed harder than ever, and I continued to smile as I buzzed thought the CD ‘s (which include yet another tune, “Hot Shot” for which I am co-credited and don’t remember one thing about), including both Music To Kill By and Live at Cantone’s 1977 by The Afrika Korps, and 1976/77 The Studio Recordings, Live in Bloomington 1977/78, and Demos & Rehearsals 1975-1977 by The Gizmos, all of course available on Gulcher Records. Listening to this pile of earnest, hilarious, and pure barrage of garage rock, and remembering that I actually was a (small) part of it, made my ego swell with nostalgic pride, made me feel (suddenly) decades younger and temporarily higher than a kite. Long Live The Gizmos (and me too!)


Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember hearing this stuff...mostly at some God foresaken early morning hour (on a weekday no less) when the author would drink and snort enough to finally get the balls to play it for his dusty musician friends...who at that point only had releases on cassette.

plunderroomrock said...

What's up?! So the legendary Scotty finally pops up on the inner-web!
I definetly had fun doing those cuts
on & Big Daddy Highland mustv'e been quite the poon hounds back in the day judging by the sound!
Rock on, & long live the Culture Vulture!

skylolo99 said...

Ah yes! The Gizmos. I remember Scotty bringing out that piece of vinyl every now and then. What good great times we had.
Scotty - you'll have to make an mp3 of your Gizmo era work and post it somewhere.
...and what a great name for a band -I gotta say it again, "The Gizmos"....

Scotty D said...

Ahh yes, Mr. Lambguise and Sir Skylolo99 I did indeed break out that piece of Gizmo's vinyl on more than a few late night occassions. As for you, King plunderoomrock, I was remiss in not mentioning yer exquisite bad taste in covering some of those old songs with both the proper ferocity and humor they deserved, some 30 years down the line. Go to, and check out cut # 3("Mean Screen" on 1978/77, The Studio Recordings by The Gizmos, cut # 7 ("Juvenile Deliquent") on Music To Kill By from The Afikla Corps, and finally plunderroomrocks (aka (Mykel Xul) cut # 1 ("Juvenile Deliquent") and cut # 3 ("Hot Shot", which, I don't remember writing, but is a song that's certainly about my former teenaged self)on Gizmo My Way: Unsung Anthems of Kenne Highland and The Gizmos.(And by the way neither Highland or myself were so-called poon hounds back in the day. No, we were only sore-wristed wanna-be poon hounds.)