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TGF Music & Assembly: The Groundhogs

With The Great Frog and Dice Magazine putting on the second ever Assembly London chopper show at House of Vans London, we were given the exciting opportunity to book bands for both the pre – and after party, and as we all know – with great power comes great responsibility, leaving us all excited for the task ahead of us. Discussing, listening, thinking and contemplating, we decided that we would aim for “timeless” – if we could find a band that has stood the test of time, entertained and catered for generations, then that, that would be pretty sweet. If they also manage to overwhelm us with their live performances, well then that’s an added bonus.

Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs, Hastings UK, Aug 2017 – by JT Rhoades.

While The Groundhogs’ lineup have changed over the past five decades and original frontman Tony McPhee having thrown in the towel, behind the drum kit you can still find drummer Ken Pustelnik from the bands heyday, having been in the band when they released albums such as 1970’s ‘Thank Christ for the Bomb’ and iconic ‘Split’ from 1971. As for some of us, we can’t speak on behalf of those who were lucky enough to see the band back in the day, but we can guarantee that the 2018 version will still knock yer boots off ya, with their blues based rock ‘n’ roll.

The Groundhogs with Ken Pustelnik behind the kit, Ponoco Festival, 1972.

Entry for the Assembly After Party is free, would you believe it, and the incredible Groundhogs will be taking the stage at 10.15pm. However, we do recommend getting down nice and early so you don’t miss out on London’s Derelics who’ll be kicking it all off at 9pm – psychedelic rock fuelled by the likes of Hendrix and Cream, can’t go wrong there.

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Artist of the Month: Mike Frank

I’ll begin by saying this is totally new to me and the first time I’ve considered myself a singer or songwriter. There are many reason that brought me here but ultimately I credit this decision to having to deal with the failings of past band mates, I kept saying to myself for a while “If I do everything myself… then I have only myself to blame if it all fucks up.”
After playing SXSW with Arrows of Love and spending some time in Los Angeles, I quit the band and began feeling disillusioned by music but at the same time a huge sense of relief and excitement because I wasn’t tied down to a band or project for the first time in 12 years. In my free time I tried to do anything but music… I tried dressing differently and tried new hobbies, I guess I felt I had almost lost my identity by leaving the band. Eventually after a couple of months of boredom I went crawling back to music and wrote two very different albums; ‘This is going to get weird… I’m going to make this weird’, a collection of orchestral and experimental film music songs, and a still yet to be released album that features Rufus Miller, Lyndsey Lupe and Artur Dyjecinski  full of dark sounds and Middle Eastern instruments. At the time of doing this I also wrote a soundtrack to a silent movie, two computer games and other projects. In November 2015 I played drums on a European tour for A. Dyjecinski, with support from Nick Faraone of Barbarisms, both of whom I have a huge respect for. This was a pinnacle point for because I really enjoyed what they were doing and loved the fact that they were self sufficient musicians that could go on tour without the need of a band and still create the buzz and excitement that a full band could. It’s what essentially got me thinking about playing guitar and singing, but what I wanted to sing about or the character I wanted to create didn’t come to me until I went back to Los Angeles in early 2016 for two months…

Here’s a playlist that inspired the album:

 

For me there’s no set formula to writing a song. Most of the ideas for this new album came during a house move last year where I moved from my flat in North London out to Hertfordshire. I spent nearly three months moving and renovating the new place whilst not having access to any of my music equipment or instruments and to fill that void I would come up with lyric and melody ideas and record them on my phone with my voice; I would do this in the car or whilst installing a kitchen or whatever I was doing and eventually I had hundreds of ideas and sometimes even full songs recorded with just my voice. Usually I’ll start with a lyrical idea which will most likely be something I’ve read, heard on TV or a lot of the time just a weird thought, then I’ll think of a melody or guitar riff to match which might then lead onto drum part ideas.

This record is all me, I don’t know any other way to work. I’m still clutching onto that punk DIY ethic. However for the next album I’d like to go into a studio with other musicians and an engineer because writing, performing and recording everything yourself gets fucking tiring after a while. I started out as a drummer playing in Punk and Grunge bands, I spent 4 years with Plastic Passion then another 5 years with Arrows of Love… and I played with many bands in between. Up until leaving Arrows of Love I was all about the drums but after I left I began experimenting with different styles of music and instruments. I now write music for visual media like games, adverts and different projects, which is great because I get to write a lot of orchestral and electronic music and really experiment with different sounds. I still play drums as much as I can, I recently played drums for Riddles and Aaron Keylock. Right now I’m working on a new band called ‘Magic Moss’ with three other guys who played in Riddles. We’re currently writing and recording but it looks like we’ll be playing some shows toward the end of this year.

One of my biggest (bad) influences is Charles Bukowski, and a lot of the lyrical ideas came from reading his novels throughout writing the album. The footage I used was taken from two documentaries I found on YouTube made about Bukowski, both from the 70’s and shot in black and white and look amazing. ‘All My Possessions’ isn’t necessarily about Bukowski but it is about feeling down and out, lonely or even desperate and all of which are themes in Bukowski’s writing… the footage of him really helps portray the character and vibe of the song.

“All my Possessions” is released independently on the 16th of July and available on all digital platforms.

Follow: Mike Frank on Facebook

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At Hendrix’s House

Few people have made such an imprint on music as Jimi Hendrix, the renowned left handed guitarist that took the world by storm in the late sixties before tragically passing away in September 1970. Before his passing and at the peak of his career, Hendrix made the big move from the States to the big smoke of London and 23 Brook Street, a flat found by his then girlfriend Kathy Etchingham.

Jimi decorated the flat to his own taste, visiting various markets around London as well as the local John Lewis just a stone throw away. Strangely enough, 200 years earlier German baroque composer Frideric Handel lived in the same building – now that is a decent amount of music history made within those four walls. In recent years, the building’s been taken over by the Handel & Hendrix foundation who has restored both apartments to give you the opportunity to step back in time and give you an image on how the two very different artists lived. During Hendrix’s time in the flat, he conducted a bunch of interviews and photo shoots there, which made the place easy to re-make with help from then girlfriend Kathy. The oval mirror above the fireplace is a Hendrix original, and gives you the opportunity to look at yourself in the same mirror Jimi once used to look at himself, not bad, huh?

Needless to say, it was the aspect of hanging out in Hendrix’s pad that excited us the most, the place where his songs were played and his music made, so we ventured down the road for a trip down memory lane and to indulge in a bit of history..

Both flats are open for the public via the Handel & Hendrix foundation, who also puts on events at a regular basis such as guitar workshops and late night events, so if you thought it was too late to attend a house party at Jimi’s house or pick up some new licks at his pad, you were very wrong. The place is also open for curious visitors looking to complete their psychedelic pilgrimage, so for any further information, head over to the Handel & Hendrix website.

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What’s On: Gorilla, Triggerfinger, Scorpions and more…

So, what does London have to offer this week? Well, there are some pretty sweet treats coming our way…

Who? Gorilla
What? Rock ‘n’ roll
Where? Blondies, Clapton
Tickets: Free entry
No reason to sit at home and mope this upcoming Thursday: Hastings’ finest Gorilla make their way to London and the big smoke for an intimate show at East London’s Blondies on 205A Lower Clapton Road. Keeping the legacy of Lemmy alive, this three piece will make your ears ring while tearing down the walls at Blondies – not one you want to miss!

 

Who? Scorpions, Triggerfinger (and more)
What? Stone Free Festival
Where? The 02
Tickets: Here
Now, when Stone Free announced Scorpions as one of the headliners for this years festival it instantly became an obvious Great Frog outing – with 1977’s ‘Sails of Charon’ of ‘Taken by Force’ being the number one played song at TGF London in 2017, this will be somewhat a religious experience for the attending staff, made even better by former Motörhead drummer Mikky Dee having joined the band after the tragic passing of Lemmy.

Another highly anticipated act of the day is Belgium’s Triggerfinger, who’s sadly only been granted half an hour to play. Still, we expect half an hour of suave, suit cladded, dirty rock ‘n’ roll you can dance to.

Stone Free Festival is running both Saturday and Sunday, so take a look at their website as there is a bunch of other bands as well that are likely to please your ears.

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What’s On: Kaleidobolt

Living in London you’re pretty much spoilt for choice when it comes to live music – an overflow of venues and new and exciting emerging bands as well as established ones swinging by on a regular basis. It can be a bit daunting, trying to get the lowdown on where to go and when, so we’ll be sharing our TGF picks on a regular basis, easing your way into the London music scene whether it’s Iron Maiden at the O2 or The Bronx at Electric Ballroom.

This time around, it’s Kaleidobolt that will be treating us to a mid-week feast – the three piece force of nature from Finland will provide us with explosive riffs and jams fuelled by the darkness or the Nordic woods – not sold yet? Give them a listen in the video above – or just come join us at The Dev. It’s FREE entry, so almost would be rude not to. Support comes from London’s The Lunar Effect.

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From the Archives: Yesterday’s Children

Listening to Yesterday’s Children self titled debut, and sadly only album, ‘Yesterday’s Children’, it might come as a shocking surprise that is was released as early as 1969. Morphing psychedelic blues influence with hard rock and an early sixties garage rock ’n’ roll sound, Yesterday’s Children created an album that was too innovative and original for it’s time – heavy metal and Black Sabbath wasn’t even born yet (or born, but not released, and definitely not known outside the UK), and the poor (but also incredibly lucky few) inhabitants of Cheshire-Prospect Connecticut who was around to witness and behold the experience of the Children playing live, wont have known or understood what hit them; Struck by a wall of heavy blues psych influenced fuzz. ‘Oh dang doodle do, this sure ain’t Beatlemania!’ the locals may have said, or ‘Wawawiwa, we’ve come a long way since Elvis!’ – and you know what? They were right. Without even knowing it, Yesterday’s Children were one of the earlier bands building on their blues heritage, taking it to another level by adding elements of psychedelia and hard rock, a genre that was still yet to be properly discovered, developed and even invented.

Formed in 1966, when The Beatles were topping the charts with several hit singles such as ‘Yellow Submarine’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Day Tripper’ and more, as well as The Beach Boys and their ‘Good Vibrations’, brothers Denis (vocals) and Richard Croce (rhythm guitar) got together and formed ‘Yesterday’s Children’ alongside lead guitarist Reggie Wright, bassist Chuck Maher and Ralph Muscatel on drums. The band debuted their first single ‘To be or not to be’ later that year, a single that merged garage and surf rock, with elements that could resemble the work of late 50s and early 60s guitar hero Duane Eddy. The single became a regional success, and the band followed it up with two more, before releasing their full length debut album three years later, in 1969.

1969 – the year of the legendary Woodstock festival which saw acts such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat and more perform to over 400 000 people at Yasgur’s Farm in Catskills Mountains. The hippie movement had at this point been building up over the last couple of years, starting out in San Francisco’s Haight & Ashbury, and was at it’s peak over the festival, which was 3 days of peace, love and music. A mere four months later, the tragic killing of Meredith Hunter happened at the Altamont Free Concert where the Hells Angels had been hired for security and The Rolling Stones were headlining, an event that is often contrasted with Woodstock Festival. As the event’s violence increased throughout the day, the Grateful Dead, prime organisers of the event and one of the biggest ambassadors of the free spirited peaceful hippie love, cancelled their set shortly before they were due on stage. During the Stones headlining set, violence and aggression was at a peak, and resulted in Meredith Hunter being stabbed and beaten to death by a member of Hells Angels, after approaching the stage and pulling a gun. This tragic event for many represented the end of the hippie era, leaving people at a crossroads of time, allowing new and exciting genres to collide and emerge, presenting the world with the first and only ever full length Yesterday’s Children album.

The album, released on Map City Records was, and still is, a 41 minute feast for your ears – wailing and screeching vocals, two fuzzy guitars and heavy rock elements as well as melodic psychedelia paving the way for the new and exciting sounds of the 70s alongside other bands such as Vanilla Fudge and predecessors Cream. Sadly, the album never reached commercial success in it’s time, but was shun a light on again in the mid 90s after appearing on a compilation album titled “History of Garage Bands in Connecticut”, followed by Akarma Records remastering and re-releasing it in 2004, with music critic Dean MacFarlane describing the record as “stunning object to behold and an audiophile remaster of this underground classic“. Since then, the album has become a sought upon favourite amongst record collectors, keeping their legacy alive.

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Band of the Month: Kilamojo

Can we get some background story on the band? Who are you all, and what’s your story?
We’ve all known each other since we were kids. Myself (Alex) and Phil played in our very first band together as teenagers; me on guitar and Phil on drums. Funnily enough, the main riff in our tune “The Reinvention Of The Wolf” came into existence then and hasn’t changed one bit since. That first incarnation of the band died when we both left school and went our separate ways – I went off and did god knows how many jobs and got heavily into techno music and Phil went to uni.

My first meeting with our bassist Dio (Dom), was when we were even younger; 11 or 12. I used to knock about with his older brother and went round to his house one afternoon and ended up mistakenly shooting Dio in the face with a BB gun. After that, I didn’t see him again for another ten years or so. At that time, I’d written some riffs and had a lot of ideas for songs, however, with no one to play them with, so I thought I asked Dio if he fancied getting together to see if we could make something of them. We decided we needed a drummer and I gave Phil a buzz to see if he was keen. He was immediately in, didn’t even ask for demos to listen to. We all met up where Phil and I went our separate ways a decade earlier, which was in my mum and dads loft, which they kindly enough allowed us to use for our first few rehearsals. From there on in, we became Kilamojo.

How long has Kilamojo been going for?
Kilamojo’s been going for around three to four years. We spent a long time just playing together and making music, not bothering with social media or even telling anyone about what we were doing for the first couple of years. We were all just buzzing off the ideas and tunes that seemed to be coming together really easily. On a personal note, I was just happy for some of my songs and riffs to be liked, actualised, and shared with two great mates. Because we’ve known each other for so many years, the music was always just considered to be a part of the discourse between the three of us; we’re just mates, and the music just comes as naturally to us as the conversations. Kilamojo is most definitely a sum of all its parts. Without all three of us performing, playing our bollocks off and giving everything, it just doesn’t work. The music we make is a consequence of the relationship we have. The name ‘Kilamojo’ was my brother Sean’s idea. He was originally asked to be the fourth member and vocalist, however he wasn’t feeling it at the time. I didn’t want to sing, however after a year or so of looking for someone to fill the gap and trying out singers, Dio and Phil quite literally bullied me into doing it.

You’re due to release your upcoming single ‘Tock Tick’ – is that your first actual release? Tell us about it!
Our upcoming single ‘Tock Tick’ is our first official release, and there will be a video accompanying it. We’ve previously released a self recorded/produced demo EP a year or so ago, which that was a lot more loose – it contained three songs that we love and are a pivotal part of us and our live shows. When we recorded the demo we were adamant that we wanted to do everything ourselves; from the recording, to the mixing and the overall mastering, and we had no professional equipment to do so and also little idea. The gear for the most part was bent, borrowed or broken, but it was us! The demo is an incredibly raw and real representation of what we are and what we can do. We would describe ‘Tock Tick’ as an 8 minute odyssey that has no real intention, other than to take you somewhere. Think Sly & The Family Stone grooves, Sabbath-esque darkness, Sgt Peppers psychedelia with a healthy dose of melody thrown in for good measure; just a rock ’n’ roll song!

How would you describe your music in general? Are you influenced by music along the lines or what you’re making yourself, or is it the result of a mix max of genres and sounds? Our music is a combination of all of our personalities and musical abilities. Between the three of us we listen to all sorts of music, from turn of the century blues to the deepest Bedrock Records electronica cuts, and everything in-between. We have our own way of approaching our instruments as individuals which helps bring our own personalities to the table, thus creating our own feel and sound.

How do you work together as a band? 
Being a three piece it makes things easy musically as we don’t have to worry too much about sonically stepping on each others toes. The flip side to that coin is that it does mean we all have to play our arses off because there is nowhere to hide if one of us fluffs it. I, Alex, write pretty much constantly either on guitar or keys. Lyrically I’m always reading, writing and making notes; it’s a constant process.

I’ll go into our rehearsal space with a riff, idea or an arrangement, and if the lads like it then we start to turn it into a fully formed piece of music – we’ll slice it and dice it, cut bits, add bits; essentially do whatever we think the original ideas need to make it work for all three of us. Most of the time this just entails jamming it out.

We try to get together twice a week after work, playing for at least eight hours a week. If you know each other well enough musically, then the jams and ideas become a lot easier to turn into songs; this is the case with us. We tend to not give a single fuck about traditional song lengths and structures as the bands we love never seemed to care about those things either. Our rule of thumb is if it feels good; it is good.

You’re taking your Sly & The Family Stone grooves and Sabbath-esque darkness to London next month as you’re playing Blondies 3rd of May, what can we expect from the show?
An hours’ worth of melody, groove, riffs and soul!!

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Earthless talking ‘Black Heaven’

For more than a decade, Earthless have been on the front of a San Diego psych revival, creating their own genre and making the way for bands such as Sacri Monti, Joy, Monarch, and Petyr, among others. The band, consisting of Isaiah Mitchell (Golden Void) on vocals and guitar, Mike Eginton on bass and Mario Rubalaca (Rocket from the Crypsformerly a professional skateboarder and member of ‘Team Alva’). Since the formation of Earthless in 2001, they have been known for their trademark instumental psychedelic jams, often reaching the 20 minute mark or more, so needless to say, it caught all of us at TGF by surprise when we finally got to listen to their latest release ‘Black Heaven’, an absolute gem of an album recorded at Rancho De La Luna with Dave Catching, and their first album via Nuclear Blast Records, their songs are a lot shorter, more structured, and, hold yer horses, with vocals. All of this, while still staying true to their sound. We had a chat with bassist Mike Eginton, who ran us through some of the ideas behind the album and gave us the lowdown on the San Diego music scene.

With Black Heaven, you’ve ventured away from what appear to have become the Earthless trademark – 20 minute long psychedelic guitar solos and instrumental jams, what made you change your direction?
Mike: We had talked a bit over the past few years about doing some vocal tracks. People seemed to enjoy it when we would do covers live with Isaiah singing. This is the first album where a good portion of the songs were written prior to us getting together to jam. It’s a little harder for us to get together with Isaiah living in Northern California now. I think that lended to the writing process, and the change to more structured shorter songs. And two of the songs Isaiah brought to the table had vocals. We figured, why not give it a try?

How would you describe ‘Black Heaven’ as an album?
Mike: Not really sure how to describe it. I guess it’s a pretty hard hitting record sans the closing track which is a little mellower than normal for us. It’s still an “Earthless” record even with vocals and structure. In my opinion, at least. We’ve kept the sound. There’s plenty of guitar solos all over it.

There’s no secret that San Diego and Oceanside is a haven for psychedelic bands, something Roadburn Festival picked up on arranging a ‘San Diego takeover’ – why do you guys think that is? I’m guessing you were one of the first bands in that genre to emerge, with now a whole bunch of other bands following making their mark on the San Diego music scene – is there something in the water that makes that area a mekka for that kind of music? Is Jimi Hendrix played in delivery rooms during labour?
Mike: Haha! Not sure about Jimi in the delivery room, but, yes we were one of the first “psych” bands to come out of SD along with another group called Silver Sunshine, who would later become Astra. And I think we had a big influence on the younger bands in the San Diego/Oceanside scene. At least that’s what they tell us. There’s a large skate/surf scene where we’re from and I think a lot of the guys in that scene liked the intensity of the music and thought it fit well with skating. And a lot of those guys started bands and play in variations of a throwback, early 70s heavy guitar sound. And quite frankly, they’re all killer bands. Sacri Monti, Red Octopus, Joy, Monarch, Harsh Toke, Petyr, Volcano, Pharlee, Color, Arctic… the list goes on. I highly recommend checking all those bands out.

On the subject of Roadburn Festival – you guys will be playing a set with Can’s Damo Suzuki, what’s your expectations for that? Will that be loose jam set up, or a practiced set? Do you guys normally embark on musical adventures and experiment with other musicians and artists like that?
Mike: To my knowledge, the set with Damo will be a loose jam set up. It’s not typically normal for us to do collaborative sets. We’ve had friends come up and join us before on guitar or something. Done a few sets with J from Dinosaur Jr. But this one should be interesting. I have no idea what to expect.

You’ve recently changed to Nuclear Blast Records after having been with Tee Pee for quite some time, how are your expectations releasing and working with a new label?
Mike: Everything has been great with Nuclear Blast so far. Everyone we’ve dealt with has been very positive. They’ve exceeded my expectations!

Earthless will be gracing London with their presence on the 6th of April, as they take over Islington Assembly hall to blow minds. Needless to say, we’ll be there with bells on, and luckily – so can you! As long as there’s still tickets, that is. Get your hands on a pair here, and we’ll see you in the haze and daze! Tickets via Old Empire here.

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Interview & Playlist: Magic Moss Men

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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.

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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

 

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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.