geezer cinema: no sudden move (steven soderbergh, 2021)
25 favorite films update

music friday: earth quake, jonathan richman, lawrence hammond

I start with Beserkley Records, formed by Matthew King Kaufman.

Earth Quake, Winterland, 11-22-74. Kaufman managed Earth Quake in their early years. When he started Beserkley Records in frustration with how the record biz worked, he located it at the home of Earth Quake singer John Doukas. Bezerkley issued only singles at first ... you can hear some of them on the album Beserkley Chartbusters Volume 1. The first Beserkley single was by Earth Quake. Other label artists included The Rubinoos, their biggest "star" Greg Kihn, and the immortal Jonathan Richman. When I saw Earth Quake, they opened for Lou Reed and Arthur Lee. Here they are a few days after I saw them (the video is also at Winterland):

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Boarding House, 1976-7? Richman is the only legend associated with Beserkley. Kaufman had something to do with the early Modern Lovers demos, so his label made sense as a landing spot for Richman in the mid-70s. Richman recorded one of his many versions of "Roadrunner" for a Beserkley single, backed anonymously by Earth Quake (who also recorded the B-side). By the time we saw Richman and the Modern Lovers, he had formed a new version of the band, who appear on this video, recorded a year or two after we saw him:

Here is the version of "Roadrunner" with Earth Quake:

Lawrence Hammond and the Whiplash Band, Rio Theater in Rodeo, 2-26-77. Far as I know, there is no connection between Lawrence Hammond and Beserkley. We saw Hammond and his band at a converted movie theater. It was a memorable night for many reasons, none of which really involved Hammond. But as the band played their version of country rock ... well, I'm getting ahead of myself a bit. Here is a cut from an album Hammond cut in 1976:

My friends and I were at this concert to see Naomi Ruth Eisenberg, who was mostly known as one of Dan Hicks' Hot Licks. My wife and a couple of the others in our group that night worked for Naomi Ruth's brother. The headliner was Hicks himself, accompanied by Eisenberg. I've told that part of the story many times, so I'll skip it here. Anyway, my friends, not knowing anything about Hammond, assumed he was a typical country rocker (which in fairness, he was). I, however, knew a different Hammond, a man who had once led the band Mad River. I owned their first album, played it a lot. Trust me, it was not country rock.

I lost track of Mad River. Apparently their second album was much more countryish ... it even included a vocal by Richard Brautigan. If I had heard the album at the time, I might have better understood the Whiplash Band. In any event, back in those days, I was an even bigger asshole than I am now. I was intrigued by my friends' surprise at what I told them of Hammond's musical past ... they decided he wasn't "authentic" or something. So, in between songs, I shouted out a request for "Amphetamine Gazelle". Hammond rightfully told me to "crawl back into your time capsule".

It's amazing, but that wasn't even the worst we acted that night.


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