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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.

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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.

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TGF London’s 2017 Top 30

2017 is coming to an end, and it’s time to reflect on the things you’ve done this year, the people you’ve met, the good times you’ve had, the gigs and shows you’ve been to, and the music you’ve been listening to. At The Great Frog, we take pride in our tunes, and we’d be lying if we said we always agreed on what we wanted to listen to. In fact, it’s caused some full blown arguments over the years. Still, what we all have in common is a genuine interest in music and rock, whether it be classic rock, heavy or black metal, psychedelic or punk.

Raging above all others as our most played song of the year is Scorpions’ Sails of Charon of their 1977 ‘Taken by Force’ album, the Uli Jon Roth era. The song’s been played relentlessly in the shop, which is a song we’re now forced to play in moderation because A. we get too carried away and start air-guitaring, and B. Not everyone wants to listen to Scorpions religiously and constantly.

Below you’ll find a playlist featuring of course, ‘Sails of Charon’, plus 29 other of the most played songs in our London flagship store, ranging from old school heavy rock and metal like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, to San Diego psych connoisseurs Earthless and Nashville’s finest All Them Witches.

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Band of the Month: The Schizophonics

In this day and age, it’s becoming harder and harder for bands to stand out and do something new, as most things have been done before and been done good. If you give The Schizophonics a listen, it wont take you long to hear they’re a 60’s garage rock ’n’ roll band. You can draw comparisons to bands and artists such as The Sonics and MC5, but there’s also something there you cant put your finger on, and that’s authenticity and originality. The Schizophonics is the kinda band you’d find in a dingy dive bar basement in New York in the late sixties, or the band that would take 60’s London by storm and set fire to Dingwalls – except for the fact that they’re not actually a hidden gem from the late sixties at all, but a current band based in San Diego. The dynamic duo consisting of Pat (vocals and guitar) and Lety Beers (drums) are known for their highly energetic and frantic live shows where they various friends join them on bass.

Now, it’s easy to leave it with that, that their shows are ‘energetic and frantic’, but they take it so much further than that. Frontman Pat takes his showmanship duties to the next level as he struts and dances around on stage, does the splits and occasional backwards roly poly, all while singing and playing guitar to Lety’s tight drumming – imagine all of MC5, Iggy Pop and James Brown morphed into one, and you’re getting there.

Since the formation of The Schizophonics in 2009, the band have toured relentlessly up and down the West Coast, as well as building up quite the reputation as one of the best live bands in San Diego. As we speak, the band is currently taking a break from the Californian sunshine and gracing the UK with their presence as they are touring and opening up for fellow San Diegans ‘Rocket From The Crypt’, leaving them quite big shoes to fill. This Friday, they’ll be playing London’s Electric Ballroom, and we cant wait to see them tear the place to pieces!

We’ll be having a chat to the two during their UK stay, so watch this space to hear what they’ve got to say!

All photos via The Schizophonics’ website.

The Schizophonics on: Facebook & Instagram 

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Interview: Hanni El Khatib

Before his show at London’s Village Underground, we sat down with multi-instrumentalist Hanni El Khatib to have a quick chat about his latest album ‘Savage Times’, and his new approach to recording and creating.

You released your latest album ‘Savage Times’ earlier this year, and it’s pretty easy to say it’s very different from your previous ones, but then again, all your other ones have been different from the ones before. What stands out about this one though, is that you’ve covered a lot of ground, and it’s different to pin it down under one genre or category as one song is so different from the next one. In many ways, it sounds like a greatest hits compilation, besides the fact that all the songs were new and have never appeared on an album before.
HEK: Well it was kind of recorded and released that way as well. My whole plan was to release music as quickly as possible after I’d recorded it. Essentially, every two or three weeks I’d put out a song, and at the end of each month or whatever I’d collect them and release them as an EP. I did that about every month, month and a half, for eight months, before releasing it all in a box set with 10 inches, which ended up being the ‘Savage Times’ collection. I never wanted to release it as a collected set, that was more the industry way of making sense of it. I didn’t want to do an album as I’m kind of sick of the traditional way of making and releasing music, the whole circle of pretty much having to release an album before going on tour. Press found it hard promoting the idea of this tour if there wasn’t an actual album to promote with it. I just wanted to release EP’s until I felt I was done. In many ways I don’t look at ‘Savage Times’ as an album, as it was never recorded that way. It’s just a compilation of songs I recorded over the course of a year.

As I mentioned before, you covered a lot of ground with this album, compilation or whatever we should call it, as there’s some classic garage rock n roll songs, some funk on there, and some more poppy songs – is this a result of a wide spectre of influences?
HEK: I listen to pretty much everything, and it changes every day. I tend to make a lot of playlists for myself, which sort of reflects why I made the record the way I did. It was also a result of me wanting to see if I was able to record and make the sort of music I was feeling that day. I didn’t even write all of it before going into the studio. I’d book the studio for three days at a time, sometimes with space in between, just so I would never have the same set up. Every day I’d start a new song, and I’d have to start from scratch. It wasn’t very efficient, but I didn’t want it to be efficient. I wanted to let the day dictate the song. I’m a partner in my record label in America, so there wasn’t really anyone that could tell me I couldn’t do it that way anyway – although I wish sometimes people would; “Alright dude, this is a bad idea…” I have to monitor myself, and for me, creatively, it did what I wanted it to do, and I don’t really care too much about the results.

It’s cool though when you listen through it as you never know what’ll come next, also the fact that you’ve already changed and developed so much between your former records, then you release this and manage to surprise us yet again.
HEK: I’m not quite done yet either, we recorded something in the hotel room and I’d like to put that out while we’re still on tour. We’ve done some alternate versions of some of the songs as well. I did a music video for ‘Paralyzed’ where there’s a woman performing as me, and through that, we found out she could actually sing, so we re-recorded the song with her on vocals, and rearranged the music and brought in a string section, all with her vocals. I feel like this is just a good time to experiment and do what you want. I’m comfortable with where I’m at, and I’m ok to take a risk by myself and do stuff like this, cause whatever happens, happens. If you think about the outcome too much, it fucks up the real purposes of why you’re doing things.

When you do record the way you do, do you play all instruments yourself, or do you let other people get involved?
HEK: It really depends, for the most part I’ll do it myself, or this guy Johnny who plays bass, he’s on the road with us now. He’s an engineer and he’s got a studio in Long Beach, and through the way I was recording it quickly turned from engineer to co-producer – and player. I’ve been making music with Johnny for a long time, so we work really well together.

So it’s not like you need to maintain creative control over every aspect of it?
HEK: No, I kind of relinquished that because to me, doing that and being stubborn like I was on my third record slowed down the creative process. Especially since I wanted this to be done so quickly, it’s good to have a second pair of hands or an extra opinion to get things done. I like this way of recording, and I’ll continue to do so until I’m ready for another album.

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New Music: LYZA – ‘Easy ft. Bisk’

At The Great Frog, we highly encourage any sort of creative outlet whether it’s jewellery, music, painting or whatever else might float your boat. Here’s our very own Lyza Jane who’s just released her latest single ‘Easy’ from her upcoming EP ‘Nobody but you’. With the majority of her childhood spent touring and on the road, music was always a big part of Lyza’s life she fell into songwriting and music production at an early age.

Can you tell us a bit about your background in music, and what kickstarted the interest in the first place?
Lyza: Luckily I had a really musical upbringing. My stepdad was an incredible musician and both my parents had impeccable taste in tunes. Getting to spend a lot of time on tour as a kid, I knew I just wanted to hang out in studios and be around music. It took me a while figure out what it was I wanted to create. My main influence is probably Tricky, his songwriting, production and outlook on music is what I think I reflect most on. His album ‘Maxinquaye’ is what got me into producing, but I mainly listen to reggae, West coast Hop-Hip and what my friends are making to be honest, so I draw influence from everywhere. In my last single I used a Black Sabbath, sample so theres really no music I dont learn from.

When did you start making your own music?
Lyza: I was a backing siger in the band ‘Alabama 3’ from the age of 17 but wasn’t until I was about 19 that i started learning to use software. I just came to the conclusion that you can’t expect people to hear what you do in your own head.. you just have to make it yourself!

How do you work with other rappers and producers? Do you tend to keep most of the creative control yourself?
Lyza: I like to think i keep total control over everything, haha. I’m unsigned and make most of my own music, but since working with other musicians and producers like Formz and being introduced to the Blah records family I’ve learnt that the best stuff comes from good vibes and late nights. I’ve been lucky enough to get some really talented rappers on this next project so can’t wait to share it. I still like to make beats on my own though and i often record alone if its for my own stuff.

Can you tell a bit about your latest single and upcoming EP?
Lyza: It’s actually something i made a little while ago when i first moved into my place in Acton. It’s such a great creative space and i’d just started working with a pianist called Jack. I made a few beats with Formz and we just thought the vibe was really cool and different. The beautiful sax is played by Taurean who plays with Rudimental, he’s on a lot of the upcoming EP ‘Nobody But You’ which I’m psyched about as there’s few things I like more than saxophone. The EP’s out November 30th and will also be available on vinyl.

Find the latest single ‘Easy’ ft. Bisk on iTunes here.

Lyza on Facebook
Lyza on Instagram
Lyza on Soundcloud

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Do you want to be featured?

We at The Great Frog owe a lot to music.

Since opening our doors in the early 1970’s, we have been supported by musicians who have gone on to be some of the biggest acts in the world such as Lemmy from Motorhead, Biff from Saxon, Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and Neil Peart from Rush (who even worked for us for a short time.) When these bands first started out it was a struggle touring, financing gigs, getting equipment and spending enough time from their jobs to rehearse. As a small family business we understand that struggle as we too started with very little money. It was hard just to keep the bailiffs from the door.

As with many bands of that era we have found an element of success, but it’s not taken for granted and it hasn’t been an easy ride. Now that we are in a more privileged position we would like to give what we can back to the music industry that has supported us through the years. As well as sponsoring music festivals and events, we hope to be able to help aspiring artists, musicians and bands by offering sponsorship and promotion via this music site, various social media channels and by playing it in our stores.

Photos by Emily Power – from various nights at The Jonesing Jams, a live music concept in London we’ve been promoting.

To be featured, send over some music to music@thegreatfroglondon.com, with a little information about yourself or band, some content and your contact details.

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Playlist: Hair of the Dog

October’s band of the month ‘Hair of the Dog’ have put together a playlist with some of their favourite songs – on it you can find bands and artists from Kvelertak, Black Sabbath and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, to Jeff Buckley, Elder and Jimi Hendrix. They’ve really covered a lot of ground with this one, so crank up your speakers and give it a go!