Posted on

From the Archives: Truth and Janey

As well as being an advocate for new music and up and coming bands here at The Great Frog, we also think it’s incredible important to pay homage to older bands and artists that helped make music what it is today, some of which who may have gotten a bit lost along the way.

In our series ‘From the Archives’ we’ll be looking at bands who deserve to be brought back out in the spotlight, bands who may have lived short lived lives, not gotten the recognition they deserved back in the day, or older bands we simply just love and wants to shine a bit of light on. First out, is ‘Truth and Janey‘.

Formed in Iowa 1969 after meeting at a local jam, ‘Truth and Janey’ got their name from Jeff Beck’s 1968 ‘Truth’ album and guitarist BillyLee Janey. With BillyLee on vocals and guitar, Steve Bock on bass and Denis Bunce on drums, the three piece released their debut album titled ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ in 1976, a time where Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were in their heyday, Cream and Hendrix had come and gone, and Grand Funk had taken America by storm. At the same time, New York’s CBGB’s was hosting the birth of the new age of music with punk emerging both stateside and across the pond in the UK.

In these crossroads of time, ‘Truth and Janey’ were able to draw inspiration from various places, and can almost be compared to an early Pentagram-esque band playing melodic hard rock in the style of Grand Funk with the rawness of The Stooges, and a guitarist clearly influenced by the great guitarists of the late sixties, merging blues and psychedelia played explosively through stacks of Marshalls. ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ only sold 1000 copies upon it’s original release, but have years later become a desirable addition to any record collector with an interest in heavy 70’s rock and psych, and have since been re-issued through Rocadrome records.

The following year in 1977 they released their follow up album ‘Just a Little bit of Magic’, a jazzy and funky blues album that couldn’t be more different from it’s predecessor, and the band disbanded shortly after – death by disco.

In recent years, guitarist BillyLee has reformed ‘Truth and Janey’, and we’re waiting impatiently for new music to come our way. Until then, we’ll be indulging in ‘No Rest for the Wicked’, their spectacular ’76 live album ‘Erupts!’ as well as the newly released ‘Topeka Jam’.

Erupts!:
Raw, crushing live recordings from 1976 by one of the Midwest’s heaviest power trios of all time! The live recordings featured on “Erupts!” were originally released posthumously in the early 90s on a long out of print double album. Now you can once again drop the needle and hear Billylee Janey plug in his ’64 Gibson Firebird, power up his Marshall stacks, flip on his Echoplex and Univibe and take you on a journey back to 70s heavy rock nirvana. Steve Bock is there too, pumping out wicked Bruce/Bogert styled bass thump, along with Denis Bunce, holding it all together with his heavy handed skin work. It all adds up to one sweet trip back in time to a hazy nightclub in 1976 with Truth and Janey lighting the place on fire!
– Rockadrome

Topeka Jam:
Excavated from the archives of a long-time roadie and brought back from the brink of disintegration comes this double album collection of live recordings made over several nights in Topeka, Kansas circa 1974. The celebrated Iowa hard rock trio are captured here in raw form doing what they did best, stretching out into extended jam sessions featuring heavy guitar action from Billylee Janey, booming fuzz bass from Steve Bock, and Denis Bunce locked in the zone behind his drum kit. “Midnight Horsemen,” originally released as as 3-minute single in 1972, is featured here as a side-long 22-minute jam and is a prime example of vintage Truth and Janey. Also included are several previously unreleased songs which have not been heard in over 40 years, as well as early versions of “Down the Road” and “My Mind,” from their 1976 underground hard rock classic debut album, “No Rest for the Wicked.”
-Rockadrome

Follow ‘Truth and Janey‘ on Facebook.

Posted on

COMPETITION TIME: Win ‘Phil Campbell and the Bastars Sons’ debut album ‘The Age of Absurdity’

When Motörhead tragically came to an end after Lemmy’s passing late 2015, guitarist Phil Campbell instantly started working on his next musical endeavour ‘Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons.’ Two years down the line, their debut album ‘The Age of Absurdity’ is done and dusted, and ready for release through Nuclear blast records Friday 26th of January. Now, you may be keen to get your hands on a copy of the album? Look no further – head over to our Instagram page @thegreatfrogmusic, and ‘like’ the photo of the band featured above. Now that ain’t too hard now, is it? Winner will be picked randomly and contacted Friday.

If you can’t bare the anticipation and feel the need to ensure your copy or download straight away, follow the links below to do so:

 

“I’m not trying to impress everyone, but I write what I think is good, I always have and will be doing so with my new band The Bastard Sons as well, we’ve got a fucking killer album out 26th of January on Nuclear Blast Records, and I’m so excited for it to be released! I’ll be back on the road, and I’m hoping to see the lot of you out there!”
– Phil Campbell, December 2017

 

Posted on

A Walk down Memory Lane with Motörhead’s Phil Campbell

A couple of weeks ago we had the great pleasure and privilege of being visited by former Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell, currently of Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. At The Great Frog, we’ve always had a close relationship with Motörhead, and they have played an important part in our success, something we will always be incredibly thankful and grateful for. At the day of what was meant to be an interview but instead ended up more of walk down memory lane for Phil as well as an impromptu acoustic version of ‘Going to Brazil’.

As Phil arrived in the shop nearly drowned from the torrential rain outside, he instantly walked up to our ‘Hellraiser’ skull ring, a ring that owner Reino carved inspired by the late, great Lemmy;  ‘Jesus, it looks just like the fucker, I need to get this one.’

“We’re all here now, what do you guys wanna talk about? Playboy? Playgirl? Maybe play monkeys? Maybe I can tell you about the first time I ever met Lemmy, I was 12 years old and went to see Hawkwind at the Capitol Theatre in Cardiff, a venue which is no longer there. I loved the show and it freaked me out completely, it was the scariest thing I had ever seen in my life, all strobe lights and ‘Do not panic!’. The music rocked! I hung around for a bit outside after, and Lem was the only one who came into the foyer after the show. I still have the programme somewhere in my house, and it’s got this messy doodle of ‘Lemmy’ autographed onto it, and that was the first time I ever met him.

Years later while in a band called Persian Risk, I saw in a magazine, Kerrang or whatever it was, that Motörhead was looking for a new guitarist. The wife told me to go ahead and audition for it but I just brushed it a bit under the carpet. Eventually, I ended up sending over a cheap cassette with some crap I’d recorded and thought nothing of, until I came back home from work one day when she said; ‘Oh Phil’, and I remember this was on a Tuesday, ‘Phil, the Motörhead people have phoned up, can you learn 18 songs by Friday?’ ‘Fucking hell…’ So I turned up to audition and so did Wurzel, and it was quite weird because I knew that Phil Taylor wanted one of us, and Lemmy wanted the other, but we never knew who wanted who.

As we all know, we both ended up joining the band. I always thought Lemmy wanted Wurzel and Phil Taylor wanted me, but I recently found out it was the other way around. The cassette I sent was horrible as well, a bunch of crap I played back home in my bedroom, but it did get me into Motörhead, which is fantastic.

Later in life, Lemmy ended up moving to LA, a place where everyone drives. But no, not him, he never drove, so for about 15 years when we were recording in Los Angeles, I’d always pick him up. At some point, we found out they’d been gluing some cheap ashtrays into our rental cars, which we didn’t like at all. We were both big smokers, and didn’t like the idea of this shitty plastic cup glued to these fancy cars, so I ended up buying my own car for the sole reason it had a crystal ashtray. It was a real expensive one as well, a white Rolls Royce Clenet. Matt Sorum from Guns ’n’ Roses called me one day and said he’d seen this old Rolls Royce for sale on Santa Monica boulevard and he asked me to check it out for him as he was out of town, I said I would, and also promised I’d get it for him if it was any good.

I checked it out and as I was leaving, I saw this other car parked outside – ‘Candy Spelling’ it had on it, Aaron Spelling’s wife, apparently she was the previous owner. The salesman was giving me the lowdown on this car, who it had belonged to, how many miles it had on it, and most importantly, that it had a crystal ashtray mounted in it. That settled it for me, and I ended up getting it. It’s pretty rare, the Clenet, only 250 ever made. Stallone’s got two, Farrah Fawcett had one, so did Ringo Starr, Charlie Sheen and the wrestler guy Vince McMahon. I guess that may have been the world’s most expensive and extravagant ashtray, but it worked well for Lemmy and me.

It’s tragic to think that on a lot of our albums, like 1916, I’m the only one left of the four of us. I’m sure the boys wouldn’t want me to go morbid on the situation, they’d want me to carry on and keep making music. Being in Motörhead, we toured relentlessly for three decades, and despite it being an experience I never would have been without, it was exhausting and I missed out on a lot of other very important life events, like the birth of my second son, as well as his graduation.

It was tough on the road, my mum past away while I was on out there and I had to do five gigs straight after. I sacrificed a hell of a lot, and did what I had to do for my career. Luckily, I have an amazing wife I married before joining Motörhead and this madness, so she never married me for my money. Plus, Motörhead’s been very good to me, and I like to think I’ve been very good to Motörhead. I really am mega proud of everything we’ve achieved over the years. I’m not trying to impress everyone, but I write what I think is good, I always have and will be doing so with my new band The Bastard Sons as well, we’ve got a fucking killer album out 26th of January on Nuclear Blast Records, and I’m so excited for it to be released! I’ll be back on the road, and I’m hoping to see the lot of you out there!”
– Phil Campbell, December 2017

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons

So, needless to say, recapping through 30 years on the road with Motörhead, there will be a lot of stories not suited for the fainthearted or average reader, which must stay within the four walls of The Great Frog, so let’s leave it with this quote from the captain himself;

If you didn’t do anything that wasn’t good for you it would be a very dull life. What are you gonna do? Everything that is pleasant in life is dangerous.”
– Lemmy

See our Motörhead collaborations and archive photos.

Posted on

Interview: The Schizophonics

Let’s start at the beginning, the birth of The Schizophrenics – how did you two meet?
Lety: Pat and I met in high school, I had a Ramones cover band for a few weeks and asked him to play bass. After school we didn’t see each other for 7 years, then shortly after we ran into each other again The Schziophonics started. This band was always a three piece. The original drummer quit after s few months and I was always there so I ended up learning to drum because they didn’t know anyone else. After a few years we kept getting busier and busier to the point where we’ve had good friends come and go due to them wanting to focus on other projects, us being too busy and not being able to tour as much as we do. We are lucky we have such an amazing group of musicians that have been able to be a part of this with us.

How do you work and write with you two being the only permanent members of the band, do you get bassists in for the writing and recording process, or do you do write and record that yourself and only bring a third part in for shows and tours? What would you say are the perks and downsides of having various friends fill in on bass compared to having a full time bassist in the band?
Lety: Pat is the main song writer so he shows me the new songs and we get all the arrangements and kinks worked out together. For the recording process we have used whoever is filling in at the time and have had Pat do those parts too. Depends on the session. Perks of having a few friends know the set is if someone is unavailable we can call another friend to fill in. We’ve been able to do more tours and shows that way. Most of our bassists haven’t been just bass players either. They’re guitarists and front men in their own projects. That’s the biggest reason we have had so many and that’s ok. We love supporting our friends and we’ve been a part of other projects in town too if someone needs bandmates.

Can you tell us a bit more about your record ‘Land of the Living’?
Pat: We’ve been playing live for years, but we’ve only ever put out 45s. This is our first full lp, and it’s a mix of old and new songs. The common theme of songs is us trying to still have a good time and find simple joy in our crazy divided country. It’s basic rock and roll escapism.

You’re known for your energetic and intense live performances, how do you get ready for a show? Any pre-gig rituals, anthems or exercises?
Pat: I like to dance if there’s a DJ or opening band, or just warm up on guitar. It’s good to be in that weird headspace before we hit the stage. I try to take it as seriously as possible without worrying if it all goes off the rails, because that chaos is kind of part of the show too.
Lety: Eating light is big! You don’t want to have a heavy meal and then go play the show, it’s like going for a jog, makes me sluggish.

Although there’s clear 60s garage rock influences in your music, can you run us a bit through bands and artists that inspire you as musicians? What made you pick up your instrument in the first place when you were younger?
Pat: Definitely Jimi Hendrix, the MC5, the Stooges, Bo Diddley, James Brown… A cassette of “Are You Experienced?” made me pick up the guitar when I was 14.

You’re based in San Diego, which in recent years seems to have become the capital of 70’s inspired psychedelic rock – how would you describe the music scene there? Is there any hidden gems you want to share with us over in rainy London?
Pat: There’s a lot of cross pollination, with everyone playing in everyone else’s projects. I think what sets it apart is the live energy of a lot of the bands, like the Loons and the Creepy Creeps. It probably came from all these bands sharing bills and trying to top each other, but it never feels competitive.

I’m under the impression you guys tend to stay busy – how does life look like when you’re not on the road?
Lety: We love catching live music and supporting the scene in San Diego, but when we aren’t at an event we have a mini Dachshund, Beanie, that we love walking and hiking with. I also just got into sewing stage clothes like dresses and shirts.