Monday, 26 September 2011

Coughin' Nails - A Bad Case of Nerves (1988)

We were super happy when the defunct-like-a-certain-recently-fallen-to-earth-satellite Golden Rock forwarded us an email last week. Bob Firmston - brother of Bill E. Stew - was offering up a copy of his band's tape, which Golden Rock had been searching for. Bob's request was simple: help him convert the tape so his son could hear it. We're always happy to oblige in these situations.

While we're big fans of Bill's work, Bob's own band is nothing to sneeze at - this is more garage rock goodness, which Bob tells us was so powerful it almost got them a show in Regina. Most notable in the band is Case Caulfield, who was also doing time with Big Bang Theory at the time. 

There's also a live show from the Coughin' Nails over at Golden Rock, and we've just refreshed the link

CCPS: We digitize so you don't have to.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

CCPS Miscellany: VOX 1984

Here's a second round of VOXes for you. This is the last full year of the magazine that we have in our collection - funny how after 1984, it all goes to hell for us.

Highlights from these issues include articles on The Ripchords (January), The Nex'd (Feb/March), The Now Feeling (March), Walt Ohama (May), the end of Mike Bezzeg's FM Moving Pictures (June), Greg Kushner reviewing the Golden Calgarians' Savage Love (November), and Don McSwiney's glorious December cover illustration.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

CCPS Miscellany: Gak

We've just about burned out the office scanner over the past couple of weeks, but for good reason. Just before he skipped town, former Borken City bartender/Brenda Vaquero Adam Kamis entrusted us with his collection of Gak magazines, thinking we might enjoy them/use them to line our pet hamster's cage (have we ever told you about Fluffy, the unofficial CCPS mascot? No? Maybe another day...).

Gak was the Night Gallery 'zine, published monthly from 1998 to... well, we're not sure when. The last issue we have is from 2002. And we can't remember when the Night Gallery closed down, because we still haven't dealt with the trauma. This is a pretty sassy little publication, not surprisingly big on fun and quite surprisingly big on facts. We think that's right, anyways. Regardless, there's some good reading here.

We're not sure what's up with the numbering of these publications - we have two issue #4s here, suggesting the 'zine was re-launched at some point. Maybe? Or maybe they just rolled over the odometer, so to speak. What we are sure of is that we don't have all of these. So if you happen to have any stashed away, drop us a line so we can complete our collection.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

CCPS Miscellany: VOX 1983 (Issues 1-3)

Last year, our friend Greg Kushner sent us a surprise package that contained a huge pile of early VOX magazines. Some of our younger readers may not remember VOX - it was the monthly (mostly) publication that came out of CJSW, acting as a program guide and also a barometer of the scene. Plus, even from Issue #1, it had some of the best writing to ever come out of this city.

The magazine kicked off in September of 1983, and ran for about 15 years. In 1998, in one of the most disastrous management/governance moves that CJSW has ever made, the paper was sold to the Vancouver-based Georgia Straight and relaunched as the ill-fated weekly Calgary Straight. This move proved only one thing: don't mess with Ian Chiclo. The Straight could never compete with FFWD and folded... we can't even remember when.

We like to sometimes think that Beatroute carries the spirit of VOX, but then we actually read Beatroute and realize - nope. That spirit is still out there, but rather than being concentrated in one place as it was with VOX, it's diffused through all our city's publications.

Anyways, to give you a sense as to what the big deal was, we'll be scanning and posting issues over the next while, as we have the time and ability. Here are the first three issues from 1983 to get you started:

Monday, 5 September 2011

Cat Ranch - National Hotel May 5, 1988 (1988)

Ever since the good (and sadly MIA) folks at Golden Rock tipped us to its existence, we've been trying (like them) to track down a copy of Cat Ranch's Song For Calgary entry.

The Song for Calgary contest was tied to the 1988 Winter Olympics (a bit of digging tells us that the national contest actually ran in 1986), and several local bands put forward their own ideas. We've already heard the Unsightly's version, but Cat Ranch's is somewhat legendary - and elusive. So when Gord told us that he had a copy of a live Cat Ranch show, we were super excited.

Cat Ranch was the house band at the National Hotel for five years, originally playing Wednesday nights and then switching to Thursdays. The four-piece - with Gord on bass, Grant Sim on vocals and guitar, Sandy Switzer on lead guitar and Ian Grant on drums - clearly enjoyed the role, if this tape is any indication. They work their way through a cover of Hendrix's "Stone Free," some Guess Who, a cover of Hendrix's "Fire," a Doors track and a cover of Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic"... but no "Song for Calgary."


It's a bit disappointing, but this tape isn't without historical value: about two thirds of the way through the set, they formally mark Gord's birthday, which would be why he had held onto a copy of this. There is, however, a quick mention of the song in the stage banter. That's as close as we get.

This is turning out to be an ongoing search. For now, we're going to have to content ourselves with listening to the real winner of the Song for Calgary contest, "Neighbours of the World":

Good lord, no. No one should ever have to listen to that dreck. So grab this Cat Ranch show instead.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Nex'd - In Living Colour (1985)

We're continuing our journey through the 80s with this second Nex'd tape from Gord Adams. Gord tells us this tape was recorded at CFCN, though we're not certain if there was video as well as audio involved in this session. We recently found a series of videos from the Unusuals from sometime in the early 80s that raises our hopes that this might be a possibility.

We could probably ask Gord to confirm this, but we're too excited about tomorrow's post. So grab today's tape, before it's yesterday.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Nex'd - Demo (1984)

We were pretty excited when Gord Adam got ahold of us a few weeks back. Being more familiar with the Calgary scene from 1990 onwards, we know Gord as the lead guitarist from the first incarnation of Lorrie Matheson's excellent National Dust. And because we associate him with the rock side of the scene, we missed the fact that he played with early-80s new wavers The Nex'd, whose 2-song 12" our pals at Golden Rock had previously posted.

This is the demo tape is the complete 11-song session that yielded their vinyl release. We here at the CCPS are big fans of the New Wave movement, so we're really enjoying this tape. A bit too much, it appears. Gene has managed to dig out the suit he wore to his grade 12 grad, which is a nightmarish pastel blue. He insists on not wearing socks with his shoes (a well-aged pair of topsiders), which, combined with the fact that he no longer really fits the same size as when he was in grade 12 is making all of us in the CCPS office feel a bit uncomfortable.

So, while we recommend grabbing this tape, we don't suggest you follow Gene's fashion sense.