Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Imperial Dogs: It Was 37 Years Ago Today ...

It was 37 years ago today ... that the Imperial Dogs performed the show that would be immortalized on their Live! In Long Beach (October 30, 1974) DVD. Ahh, as evidenced here, we were "Just Kids" ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Byron Coley On The Imperial Dogs: 'So Nasty, So Dumb, So Perfect'!

"Anyone with an interest in the development of the American musical underground in the '70s will truly get their goddamn lunch eaten after watching this," concludes veteran journalist/author/Ecstatic Yod label owner Byron Coley, reviewing the Imperial Dogs' Live! In Long Beach (October 30, 1974) DVD here at the Forced Exposure website.

"The Imperial Dogs blast off into a very raw version of the Kinks' "Till The End Of The Day" and go flat-out from there on," continues Coley. "There are all kinds of pure aggression onstage -- from (vocalist Don) Waller's call to put all Carole King fans into death camps to the Nazi flag draped on the amps to fake vomiting and song intros that would've made my ears wiggle even if I'd heard them in '77 at the height of the punk scare. Waller's presence is a pure PUNK take on Iggy's gestalt, all negativity and amphetamine. He snarls and curses and stomps around, smacking stuff with his chains. And when his pants start to come off, it reads as a very aggressive act, even though it's clearly beyond his control. And the music would've passed for first rate pastiche in that era as well.

"An outstanding proto-punk garage band, the Imperial Dogs sound very cool -- there are traces of the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband along with the Doors and the Stooges and the New York Dolls -- and the fact that they're playing almost all originals is real unusual for the time. Together they really power through this set like no one else could've in those dark days. If I would've seen these guys, I'm pretty sure I'd be living a different life right now.

"So nasty, so dumb, so perfect. Halloween '74. What the fuck were you doing?"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sid Griffin: 'The Imperial Dogs Were Ahead Of Your Time!'

"Don Waller should have a mike and not a pen in his hand!" writes singer/songwriter/author Sid Griffin -- whose musical pedigree stretches from garage-rockers the Unclaimed to roots-rockers the Long Ryders, Western Electric, Danny & Dusty, and currently the Coal Porters -- after viewing the Imperial Dogs' Live! At Long Beach (October 30, 1974) DVD.

"This is aggressive stuff," Griffin continues. "I'm really impressed. The band is good and the drummer [Bill Willett] missed his calling. 'Midnite Dog' is a flat-out good song and while it does sound like the Stooges, Don Waller is less Iggy onstage than a menacing David Johansen. By good song I mean you can remember it after it's over. It doesn't fade into the ether like 99.9% of the tunes you have heard in your all too short time on God's green Earth.

"'We fuck just like we play ... loud, hard, and fast!' Not too sure about that last adverb, but they would've unplugged you for that back in 1974 Kentucky. Reminds me of the 13th Floor Elevators' Easter Everywhere. And the leather trousers? They would've stopped the show in Louisville once the singer's pubic hair and ass started showing.

"But your stage performance is good. Nice raps -- goading the audience between songs is a good thing to do, especially when they're like the one you guys are playing to -- and there is some serious David Lee Roth jumpin' at about 57:05. I rolled that back a few times to see it. Call the Lakers! Somewhere about then you also match each beat of the snare rim shots with your finger pointed like a gun. Looks really good on the screen.

"You've got the mike in your trousers in 'I'm Waiting For The Man.' I saw Howlin' Wolf do this when he played Louisville in 1974. Four years later, I saw the Cramps and Lux Interior did the same thing. In fact, a lot of what I saw Lux do that first time was a direct lift of Wolf's stage act.

"'Sweet Little Strychnine' is another good song. I love the dancers. Look closely and they (particularly she) do a prototype of every future and some past rock dance save the Pogo and the Swim, the Pony and the Duck. The crowd is probably inhibited by the lights being on. A bunch of sober, non-stoned folks filmed at the time when they are self-conscious about being self-conscious is not gonna bop and boogie, which makes the viewing of this kinda funny ... Normally, someone besides those two would be dancing about a bit, but no, not here. Weird.

"Had Clive Davis seen this, you might have gotten a label contract. I kid you not. It was both there at the time (the look, the overall band sound) and ahead of its time (the punk attitude, the short riffs and/or chord progressions underpinning the tunes) and that is saying something. Which most bands never do. Mostly you were ahead of your time."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Imperial Dogs: ' Sonic Power & Wincing Loserdom"!

"Swastikas draped over their amps, leather pants sliding terrifyingly lower and lower from all the sweat, the unsigned, unrecorded, un-managed, unkempt and uninhibited Imperial Dogs pound their way through a heavy set at an unfeeling gymnasium in California," is the description of the Imperial Dogs' Live! In Long Beach (October 30, 1974) DVD found here at the Weirdo Records retail site, adding, "A missing link between the Stooges/MC5 and Kim Fowley/L.A. punk, the Imperial Dogs show off both the sonic power of relentless practicing and the wincing loserdom that was punk's social status in the mid-'70s."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Imperial Dogs: A Pleasant (Gehman) Memory

"There were some gigs that were pre-punk like the Zippers or the Imperial Dogs, local bands like that, the Runaways, the Quick, that were kinda edgy, punkish. I mean it sounds really pop but they were not like normal mainstream bands and they weren't signed," remembers longtime L.A. writer/singer/belly dancer Pleasant Gehman during the course of a must-read interview here at the Drugs & Daydreams/A Riotous Disarray site.