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‘Acoustic KO’: Stooges classics stripped down by James Williamson and Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek
03.27.2017
08:44 am
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Though he achieved his greatest notoriety as the founder of Australia’s punk progenitors Radio Birdman, Deniz Tek is a Detroit kid—no surprise, as guttural guitar ferocity like his has the Rust Belt written all over it. Radio Birdman were shot through with Detroit influences, specifically via the Stooges—their name came from a misheard Iggy lyric, and their rehearsal space/clubhouse was dubbed the Funhouse.

In later post-Birdman years, Tek would play in bands with ex-Stooges, like New Race with Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton, and the short-lived (exactly two gigs) and underdocumented Dodge Main, whose live lineup featured the MC5’s Wayne Kramer, Stooges’ Scott Asheton, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band’s Scott Morgan, and The UP!’s Gary Rasmussen, with Jimmy Zero of the Dead Boys.
 

 
Now Tek is releasing a four-song E.P. with later Stooges guitarist James Williamson, titled Acoustic K.O. a play on the title of Iggy and the Stooges’ live album Metallic K.O.. It features four Williamson compositions—“Penetration” and “I Need Somebody” from Raw Power, and “Night Theme” and “No Sense of Crime” from the 1977 Pop/Williamson album Kill City. The acoustic transformations are startling and quite effective. Per Williamson:

The songs of Acoustic K.O. are pearls from my youth, which are almost equally familiar to Deniz Tek from his. In fact the same could be said for the others on this record, to varying degrees. The process of recording them acoustically enhanced their luster with new clarity from re-interpretation. We love how it turned out.

He ain’t wrong—“I Need Somebody” seems a natural for an acoustic treatment, and the new version with Tek maintains the original’s menacing stomp. A more substantial transformation occurs on “Penetration,” but the E.P.’s real stunners are “No Sense of Crime,” on which Tek duets with Annie Hardy of Giant Drag, and “Night Theme”; the original on Kill City it’s a noisy-ish guitar theme-and-reprise suite that straddles the LP’s two sides, but here it’s a lush instrumental featuring a full orchestra.

It’s DM’s pleasure today to premiere the stream of the entire release…listen after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Ron Kretsch
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03.27.2017
08:44 am
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Descent Into The Maelstrom: Scorching Radio Birdman live set from 1977
10.16.2014
12:50 pm
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You can make a case that Radio Birdman is the most important Aussie band ever. You have to deal with AC/DC, of course, but there are plenty of philosophical tacks that can get you there. You have to deal with their contemporaries The Saints, who are of similar importance in Australia (and of course, there’s always the Birthday Party…). This week saw the Australian release of this ass-kicking 8-disc Radio Birdman box set (7 CDs, 1 DVD)—fortunately, there’s a helpful guide to help you navigate its riches.

Radio Birdman famously named themselves after misunderstanding Iggy’s vocals in the Stooges’ song “1970” off of Fun House.  (The words they misunderstood were “radio burnin’.”) In 1977 Radio Birdman played the Marryatville Hotel in Adelaide, video for which is supplied below—the description says HD, but more importantly, it’s a multi-cam gig. As you’ll see, the place was packed to the gills, and vocalist Rob Younger is pretty much climbing up the walls with energy. I really like his two-fisted approach to holding the mic, actually two mics duct-taped together, it completely gives him a signature look. The songs are broken up by some interview segments which were obviously done after the gig. Keybs guy Pip Hoyle gamely parses the distinction, probably far more salient in 1977, between “energetic” and “aggressive” for the interviewer.
 

 
As terrific as this quarter-hour of footage is, it isn’t the Radio Birdman show I’d give my left arm to see. As Dave Thompson explains in his book Alternative Rock: “Another now-legendary show found them playing the Lions Club in Armadale, to a hall full of pensioners who were as puzzled by the band as the band were by them. Radio Birdman played three songs before they were asked to stop, for fear of killing the feebler members of the audience.” Now that must have been a show to see…. I guess that one isn’t about to pop up on YouTube, huh.

About halfway through the video, a caption pops up with the words “Rocturnal, May 9, 1978,” prompting some questions about whether the Marryatville Hotel/1977 designations are accurate. Fear not. Rocturnal signifies the TV show that aired the footage, according to Thompson: “Further proof of Radio Birdman’s status was supplied when one of their Adelaide gigs was filmed by ABC’s Rocturnal show.”
 

Track listing:
What Gives
Descent Into The Maelstrom
Burn My Eye
Search and Destroy (Stooges cover)

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.16.2014
12:50 pm
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