Monthly Archives: February 2012


(photo: Bev Davis)

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH (daily ) – Positive show review.
Concert Review | Peter Case: Performance revives ’80s punk-pop
By  Curtis Schieber
He might have looked a little like Rip Van Winkle, but when Peter Case led his band in its first song last night in Ace of Cups, he was as energetic as John Lennon fronting the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

At 57, Case is touring a program that draws on material from his ’70s and ’80s bands the Nerves, the Breakaways and the Plimsouls. The dates originally included fellow Nerve Paul Collins, who also resurrected his band Paul Collins’ Beat. With Collins leaving due to personal conflicts, it fell on Case to represent the brand of ’80s Southern California pop-punk the two defined.

Case delivered it last night nearly with the energy with which it was recorded.

The Nerves, especially, were barely heard during their tenure, releasing just one EP, though a series of compilations have recently been produced. Though the Plimsouls found greater exposure, their releases were limited, as well.

As Case stated last night, that band’s 15 minutes of fame came after its appearance in the film Valley Girl and – without a movie soundtrack – interest in its major label debut and the song Million Miles Away.

Case touched on it all last night, with a marvelously tight band that included ex-Beat guitarist Tim Schweiger, bassist Timm Buechler and drummer Amos Pitsch.

The groove was hard, the guitars crunched and swung at once, Case’s vocals were fevered and the harmonies were divine.

Plimsouls songs such as Zero Hour were not only fiery but full of lethal hooks; others showed the quartet a dizzyingly swinging garage band as driven by Pitsch’s uncommon timekeeping; Million Miles celebrated the strategy of the best pop music, as it built tension and then burst it with a huge, intoxicating chorus.

The group’s choice of cover songs – including the Easybeats’ Women, Chuck Berry’s Nadine, and Link Wray’s immortal instrumental Rumble – confirmed the crack band’s mastery of the garage rock idiom as well as Case’s classic songbook.

The singer introduced a song from the group’s “new” album, a smoking live album called Beach Town Confidential that was recorded live in 1983. Amazingly, the group’s rendition was hardly less energetic than the original.

Summer Twins opened the concert with a short set that defined Southern California ’80s pop.

THE HARTFORD COURANT (daily ) – Feature interview with Peter photo to preview Collinsville show.
Peter Case performs March 31 at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville

By KENNETH PARTRIDGE The Hartford Courant
March 29, 2012

For a brief time in the mid-to-late ’70s, when they played together in the L.A. power-pop bands the Nerves and the Breakaways, Peter Case and Paul Collins made music that has proved timeless.

Unfortunately, the same can be said of their difficulties working together.

“We had kind of a shakeup,” Case says from Milwaukee, midway through a tour that was to feature both him and Collins playing through such classics as “Hanging on the Telephone,” a 1976 Nerves tune later made famous by Blondie.

The shows were problematic from the get-go, Case says, and earlier this month, shortly after the SXSW festival in Austin, things came to a head. Long story short: Collins is no longer on board, and when Case rolls through Connecticut later this week, he’ll do so with just his own backing band.

Case says he had reservations going in, but he’d hoped that he and Collins could go the distance.

“We got through 25 shows,” he says. “I’d already heard the words ‘I quit’ after the first show, but we gutted it out and kept going. Finally, there was demoralization going on through the ranks, I’m sad to say. It was a big moment for us to go back and do [the Nerves and Breakaways songs], and it did release a certain amount of energy, but everyone has to do what they’ve got to do.”

Fortunately for power-pop fans, Chase will carry on performing the songs he wrote and recorded with the Plimsouls, the group he formed in the late ’70s, after his partnership with Collins had run its course.

Best known for their appearance in the 1983 film “Valley Girl,” the Plimsouls scored a minor hit with “A Million Miles Away,” released the same year. They remain revered by genre diehards, and last month, the Alive label released “Beach Town Confidential,” a vintage live album that captures the foursome in all its perky, punky glory.

Post-Plimsouls, the eclectic Case has focused mostly on bluesy, rootsy troubadour rock — music the Buffalo native feels more naturally connected to — but he says he still loves doing the revved-up rock thing.

“The thing about these kinds of songs is they sound like they could have been written last week — or before the Plimsouls,” he says. “There’s something about it. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the arc that I’m interested in: songs that stick. It’s the same for the songs I’ve written for my solo thing.”

PETER CASE performs Saturday, March 31, at 8 p.m. at Bridge Street Live, 41 Bridge St., Collinsville (Canton). Tickets are $20 and $30. Information: or 860-693-9762 or,0,2730449.story

WMSE RADIO / “ZERO HOUR” (Milwaukee, WI college radio) – Spins of Plimsouls, Nerves an, Beat on Andy Turner’s “Zero Hour” show with Shank Hall show plugs for the last month.
Zero Hour – The Plimsouls
Price of Love – The Plimsouls
You Can’t Judge a Book – The Plimsouls
Time Won’t Let Me – The Plimsouls
I Want What You Got – The Plimsouls
Shaky City – The Plimsouls
Working Too Hard – The Nerves
Kids Are the Same – Paul Collins
Gimme Some Time – The Nerves
Jumpin’ in the Night (live) – The Plimsouls
Magic Touch (live) – The Plimsouls
Who’s Gonna Break the Ice – The Plimsouls

REVERB (MSN’s music blog) – Story on the retooled tour.
Pure power pop tour implodes
Peter Case dismisses Paul Collins after he gets on his Nerves
Posted by Mark C. Brown
Once upon a time there was a ’70s power-pop band in California called The Nerves. They lasted for a few years, but then splintered. The main songwriters in that band went on to bigger and better things in the ’80s. Peter Case formed The Plimsouls and had hits like “A Million Miles Away” and Paul Collins went on to form The Paul Collins Beat with hits like “On the Highway.”

And apparently you can’t go home again. The Nerves tried a brief reunion tour, which has now shattered in acrimony and hard feelings.

Case wrote on his Facebook page that the situation was simply untenable:

Paul Collins has been dismissed from the tour we were doing together. He was continually abusive to the band and others supporting the tour, and when I stuck up for them, he repeatedly showered me with loud abuse. That road doesn’t go through anymore. This is a problem that went back to day 1 of the tour and never improved for long but got worse. It’s amazing that we were able to get through as many shows as we did. Believe me, it was difficult. He is misrepresenting on fb how he was left: the fact is he was paid off in full, and had more than enough resources to fly anywhere on the US, and in fact had more than me and the band put together. I’m still on tour to pay off some of the debts the tour accrued, and I think he was more than fairly dealt with given the facts if the situation. The Nerves didn’t work out in the seventies and they couldn’t now. I wish him well in all things, but we have to be on separate paths. Onward and upward.

Case is carrying on the tour himself, but a bunch of us who wanted to see this historic reunion aren’t going to get that chance.

BLURT (national music magazine) – Story on the retooled tour.
Splitsville for Peter Case, Paul Collins
Musical differences conspire to kill the joint tour.
By Blurt Staff

We here at BLURT were stunned and saddened to receive the following press release yesterday:

“Due to unforeseen circumstances Paul Collins will not be performing any of the remaining shows with his former bandmate from The Nerves and The Breakaways, Peter Case. Case cites ‘the usual musical differences’ as the reason for the departure of Collins.”

Less than a week ago we were in Austin for SXSW, and at one of our day parties held at the Ginger Man, the Case-Collins band had a packed venue full of jaws dropping – among them, Peter Buck, Chuck Prophet, Greg Humphreys and Amy Ray, all of whom had stuck around for the set and were singing along just as loudly as any of the regular fans to such Nerves/Beat/Plimsouls gems as “Hanging On the Telephone,” “Don’t Wait Up For Me” and “Million Miles Away” (the latter with Buck guesting on 12-string). Among pop aficionados, the pairing of the two erstwhile bandmates was one of the year’s most anticipated reunion tours.

Still, occasional flashes of tension between the two were evident in Austin, such as when they were conferring to determine whose song they’d perform next. So “the usual musical differences” probably isn’t merely a party line the press release is spouting.

It goes on thusly:

“The good news is that Peter Case, along with his touring band of bassist Timm Buechler and drummer Amos Pitsch, will continue to deliver their own visceral rock & roll performances for the remaining tour dates in support of The Plimsouls’ recently released live album Beach Town Confidential. The band will be delivering high-energy, hook-laden numbers from Peter’s previous bands, The Plimsouls and The Nerves, such as “A Million Miles Away,” “Zero Hour,” “Now,” “Hanging On The Telephone,” “One Way Ticket,” “When You Find Out” and many other favorites that have been firing up venues and fans alike since the beginning of the tour earlier this month.”

Good luck to both Case and Collins, and here’s hoping that they can mend fences and resume the project. Based on the Austin show, the duo definitely has a unique kind of chemistry – tension notwithstanding.

LOS ANGELES TIMES (L.A. daily) – Story on the retooled tour with live photo.
Nerves fray on reunion tour, Peter Case continues minus Paul Collins
File this under “It Was Fun While It Lasted” — maybe: The reunion tour featuring former Nerves members Peter Case and Paul Collins has fallen apart just three weeks in, according to a statement issued Thursday by Case.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, Paul Collins will not be performing any of the remaining shows with his former bandmate from The Nerves and The Breakaways, Peter Case,” the statement said. “Case cites ‘the usual musical differences’ as the reason for the departure of Collins.”

They had been performing power-pop songs from the Nerves’ repertoire as well as material from  the Plimsouls, which Case formed after the Nerves disbanded. Collins went on to form the Paul Collins Beat.

Neither Case nor Collins could be reached immediately for comment, but on Facebook, Case wrote Thursday that Collins “was continually abusive to the band and others supporting the tour, and when I stuck up for them, he repeatedly showered me with loud abuse. That road doesn’t go through anymore. This is a problem that went back to Day 1 of the tour and never improved for long but got worse. It’s amazing that we were able to get through as many shows as we did….The Nerves didn’t work out in the seventies and they couldn’t now. I wish him well in all things, but we have to be on separate paths.”

The press release said Case would continue the tour with band members Timm Buechler on bass and drummer Amos Pitsch, focusing on the Plimsouls’ songboook.

The Case-Collins tour opened March 1 in Vancouver, Canada, and included a March 7 show at the Echo in Los Angeles as well as several performances last week at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. They were due to return to the Southland for a June 2 performance at McCabe’s in Santa Monica, which Case, who underwent double bypass heart surgery nearly three years ago, will now handle on his own.

The Plimsouls’ legacy among the vibrant Southern California music scene of the 1980s was recently spotlighted in the live album “Beach Town Confidential,” recorded at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, one of the area clubs the quartet played frequently.

REVILER (Twin Cities A&E site) – Positive show preview with artist photos
What? You’ve never heard of Paul Collins and Peter Case?
Well, we’re not experts either. For the rare occurrences when we don’t know everything there is to know about essential artists, we’re asking local bands to bestow their knowledge and create a primer on bands worth obsessing over. Through the magic of Spotify, we put together a quick, guided playlist through the band’s discography. Welcome to the Reviler Rough Guide. In this edition, Jon Tester of Voytek and Huge Rat Attacks expounds on the genius of the Nerves’ former frontmen Paul Collins and Peter Case.

Self-proclaimed “King of Power Pop” Paul Collins and unofficially-proclaimed “King of the Hook” Peter Case were two-thirds of The Nerves, (aka the best band of all time to never release a full length album). When other power-pop heroes of the ’70s stopped writing catchy, upbeat tunes and started writing sad ballads (*cough* Eric Carmen *cough*), these guys picked up the slack and released one of the most influential EPs of the decade. How influential, you ask? You know how there has been a huge punk and power-pop resurgence happening around the world for the past 10 years or so? Well, none of those bands would exist without the four songs from that EP. After the break up of the Nerves, Paul and Peter went their separate ways and continued writing songs that get stuck in people’s heads for the past 35 years.

1. The Nerves “Hangin on the Telephone” from The Nerves (1976) – Alright, so neither Paul Collins nor Peter Case wrote this song, but Jack Lee isn’t coming on this tour. They will play this song, though. “Oh, I know this! It’s my favorite Blondie song.”

2. The Nerves “When You Find Out” from The Nerves (1976) – The best song Peter Case has ever written. It’s mind-boggling that this wasn’t a hit.

3. The Nerves “Walking Out On Love”‘ from One Way Ticket (2009) – Paul Collins did this song better on his self-titled album, but this is a Nerves playlist. Dozens of bands have covered this song. Check out the Exploding Hearts version.

4. The Nerves “Many Roads to Follow” from One Way Ticket (2009) – Re-recorded for Paul Collins’ 2010 “King of Power Pop Album.” The Nerves version is more charming and lo-fi.

5. The Breakaways “Everyday Things” from Walking Out On Love: The Lost Sessions (2009) – I don’t even know if the Breakaways were a real band or if it was just The Nerves. Paul Collins recently found a demo tape he and Peter Case recorded after the Nerves split up and released it as The Breakaways. This is the only version of this song I’ve heard, so I assume it’s a forgotten gem.

6. The Plimsouls – “Million Miles Away” from Everywhere at Once (1983) – You know that scene in Valley Girl where Nick Cage goes to a party in the valley full of high-class teens and he takes super popular valley girl, Julie, to a dank Hollywood bar to see what “real life is all about, man?” Well this is, like, totally the band and song that is playing at the bar.

7. The Plimsouls “Everywhere at Once” from Everywhere at Once (1983) – I couldn’t just put one Plimsouls song on this list, so here’s my second favorite song of theirs.

8. The Beat “Rock and Roll Girl” from The Beat (1979) – This is the opening track to the Paul Collins Beat’s brilliant debut album. This song uses 3 chords in one of the most interesting ways imaginable. Seriously. It’s just G, C and D.

9. The Beat “I Don’t Fit In” from The Beat (1979) – Not my favorite song. But if you’re aware of this song, it will make the “I Don’t Fit In” shirts seem a little less Hot Topic-y when you’re at the merch booth.

10. The Beat “You Won’t Be Happy” from The Beat (1979) – Someone pissed Paul Collins off at some point. Here’s another song with a middle finger vibe.

11. The Beat “That’s What Life Is All About” from The Kids Are the Same (1981) – This is the opening track to a VERY overlooked album. I’m a gigantic fanboy and even I overlooked this album for a few years. So just stop it and listen to this album. It’s great.

12. The Beat “The Kids Are the Same” from The Kids Are the Same (1981) – The title track from The Beat’s second album. A nice head-bopping singalong. This song would be great for one of those montages in a movie where someone is trying on a bunch of clothes and their friend is all, “Boo, thumbs down. I don’t like it.” But then, the person puts a leather jacket on and their friend gives them a big smile and thumbs up and then they go to a party and it’s awesome.

13. The Beat “Doin’ It for the Ladies” from King Of Power Pop! (2010) – “Hey Paul. Why are you in a band?”

14. The Beat “Hurting’s On My Side” from King Of Power Pop! (2010) – A sad, yet upbeat, song that shows Paul Collins using his aging voice to perfection.

Reviler Rough Guide to Paul Collins and Peter Case on Spotify

Paul Collins and Peter Case play songs of the Nerves, Plimsouls, The Beat and more TONIGHT at Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul. Doors are at 8 pm.

SERCRETS OF THE CITY (Twin Cities A&E site) – Positive show preview
Peter Case & Paul Collins at Amsterdam
Peter Case and Paul Collins have been all up and down the West Coast helping to form the foundations of the LA punk/pop scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Now they’re heading to Amsterdam in a much anticipated reunion tribute to the many bands they once called their own. Even while performing with different groups, their roots remained connected when, for example, Plimsouls did a reincarnated version of the Nerves song, ”Hanging on the Telephone,”  that went big when it was covered by Blondie in 1978. Even more stunning, Case’s solo work also has a big list of fans, including none other than Bruce Springsteen. Now Case and Collins are back together performing songs from their varied past, giving us a taste of the underground LA scene. (We’re anticipating a packed show, be sure to get tickets early.) 8 p.m. $20.

Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 6 W. 6th St., St. Paul, 651-222-3990,

THE CURRENT 89.3 (Twin Cities Public Radio) – Positive show preview with The Beat’s RocknRoll Gorl video
Transmission Video of the Day – The Beat “Rock N Roll Girl”

Legendary power pop artists Peter Case & Paul Collins of The Nerves, The Beat and The Plimsouls will be doing a rare set at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall this Thursday night.

Transmission welcomes them to town and sets the vibe right with an hour of pure power pop starting at 10pm this Thurs.

Break out your striped t-shirts, skinny jeans, Beatle boots and turn the volume all the way up!

GREEN BAY GAZETTE (Green Bay, WI daily) – Show preview with Peter photo.
Rock n Roll land snags Case and Collins gig; State Fair salis away with nostalgia
Sometimes if you just wait a little, SXSW comes to Green Bay.

Peter Case and Paul Collins, who did a bunch of gigs together last weekend at the South by Southwest Music Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas, have been booked for a last-minute tour stop Friday at Rock n Roll Land, 504 S. Military Ave. The two had an open day between shows tonight in St. Paul, Minn., and Saturday at Shank Hall in Milwaukee.

Rock n Roll Land picked up word of it on Facebook and was happy to accommodate them for what will be the biggest acts to date to play the new vintage music store and performance venue.

“It came up unexpectedly, but a pleasant surprise,’’ said co-owner Todd Magnuson.

Longtime friends and collaborators Case and Collins have been getting raves for a tour that has the two power pop icons of the late ’70s and early ’80s playing music from their various groups, including The Nerves, The Beat, The Breakaways and The Plimsouls, and trading off on vocals.

The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Cover is $10.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE (Chicago daily) –Feature story with interviews to preview show
Pop stylists Collins and Case reunite for a look back By Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune reporter
Peter Case and Paul Collins played in pop bands. Not an especially remarkable distinction for a pair of 57-year-old musicians. But look at it this way: Since 1974, folksier material aside, they have stayed slavishly, uncommonly committed to an archetypal pop band aesthetic — three-minute songs, negligible politics, guitars, drums, the sort of low-pretense, Top 40 ambitions once so ingrained in the culture you never thought of it as an aesthetic at all. (When they say, even now, they wanted to be in the Beatles, you know they mean the loose, zippy “Can’t Buy Me Love” Beatles, not the rococo “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite” Beatles.)

Case and Collins’ first band was the Nerves, a prototypical Los Angeles power pop group; its claim to fame was its cult following, and that Blondie had a hit with one of their best songs, “Hanging on the Telephone.” Then Case and Collins briefly formed the Breakaways. Then they split apart: Collins formed the Beat, which gathered its own cult following and toured with the Police and the Jam; and Case formed the Plimsouls, which had a pair of gems in the early 1980s (“The Oldest Story in the World,” “Million Miles Away”), landed a memorable cameo in the Nicolas Cage film “Valley Girl” and became synonymous with “unrealized potential.”

Indeed, it seems the only band they didn’t form was the one they should have — The Unappreciateds.

Because, taken together, their catalogs, spread across dozens of unappreciated albums, recorded by scores of unappreciated bands, plays like a secret history, the missing link between college rock and punk.

Which is kind of the idea behind their reunion tour, swinging through the Empty Bottle on Sunday — a nostalgia show for music that never had a chance to become nostalgia. Last week, in separate phone interviews, Case and Collins said they’ve been drawing from the Nerves, the Breakaways, the Beat, the Plimsouls — “There’s nothing in the show more recent than ’83,” Case said. “But weirdly, nothing feels old.”

On the Nerves

Collins: We met at the wharf in the Marina District in San Francisco, where all these street musicians played. The purpose was getting him to start the Nerves with me and Jack (Lee, the third member in the band). He was playing Everly Brothers and Chuck Berry. The Human Jukebox (a famed San Francisco street performer) was there and I remember him creeping a little too close and he got popped in the face.

Case: I was in a band called the Frozen Chosen, a street band, and we were playing “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” the Roky Erickson song, when Paul and Jack came up to me. Later Jack sang “Hanging on the Telephone” to me in his car. He was screaming it really, not singing it, and his face was turning bright red.

On “power pop”

Case: It wasn’t a genre then. Nobody used that phrase. They used “punk,” but I just thought of it as a rock and roll because I had grown up with 1950s rock and roll. I mean, I had written my first song in 1965. But it was called “Stay Away From Me, I’m Not Good For You.” I was trying to explain to girls the reason I was shy was that I was bad. Anyway, it took several years before anyone asked to hear one of my songs twice.

Collins: I hated that phrase then. Today I embrace it. It means something identifiable. Then we were also referred to as punk but we never were that, either. In all of my bands, even in the Beat, all I’ve ever really done was the same thing, melodic rock and roll. The funny thing is, in the Nerves, we felt ostracized for this, by punk, by the mainstream — it’s like we were against the establishment and our peers at the same time.

On suits and skinny ties

Collins: We wore three-piece suits and ties (in the Nerves), which in retrospect was effective. Bands like the Knack saw this and adopted it. But we went out and bought them and had them tailored and they cost us a ton. They were very hot to wear and we would die inside them, but we weren’t going to wear leather jackets.

On “Valley Girl” and the Plimsouls

Case: The Plimsouls played their first show on Jan. 1, 1979, and broke up on Jan. 1, 1985. So it was perfectly symmetrical. “Valley Girl” was probably our most famous moment, I guess. Someone told us a movie was being shot and this guy Nicolas Cage loved us and wanted us to be his favorite band in the movie. It was a day’s work and when we play “Oldest Story” or “Million Miles Away,” every time I see the camera phones going up and people recording it. They probably remember that movie too. The thing is, the band, we wanted to be big, we wanted a million dollars. So I started writing different kinds of songs and the band split. It felt like then that you had to make a choice: If you were in a band, you were in a band. You were in together. Today, there’s more freedom to do what you want in a band but probably less commitment too.”

On having a heart

Case: I almost died. I had heart surgery (in 2009). But I think it’s all good now. All sorts of people came out for me (to stage benefit concerts to defray medical costs), like T-Bone Burnett, Dave Alvin, Stan Ridgway. Which helped. But I’m in pretty deep, of course. I don’t have a lot of money. I’m in the health care sweepstakes, and records don’t make the money gigs do. Thank God I’m well enough to still go out there.

When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave.
Tickets: $15; 773-276-3600 or,0,

CHICAGO SUN TIMES (Chicago daily) – Positive show preview
The most exciting reunions are sometimes the ones no one asked for. Before Peter Case led the Plimsouls (“A Million Miles Away”) and Paul Collins led the Beat (“Rock N Roll Girl”), they were in the Nerves together, a bright blip in power pop that produced “Hanging on the Telephone,” which Blondie made into a hit.
At 7 p.m. March 25 at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western. Tickets: $15. Call (773) 276-3600;

CHICAGO EXAMINER (Chicago A&E site) – Positive show preview
Sunday, March 25: Peter Case, Paul Collins at the Empty Bottle (7 PM, 21+, $15)
Two influential power pop musicians on one bill. Peter Case fronted the Plimsouls, Paul Collins fronted the Beat and together they played in The Nerves and The Breakaways. Chances are you’ve heard The Plimsouls’ “A Million Miles Away” or The Nerves’ “Hanging on the Telephone” (made famous by Blondie), even if you don’t know it. The two haven’t been on the road together since 1977, which is a pretty good reason to check this one out. Also with Summer Twins and Sleepovers.

TIME OUT CHICAGO (Chicago weekly) – Brief show preview
A bunch of gigs in 140 characters or less. | Concert preview
After SXSW, a flood of acts pours through Chicago. Tweeting was the only way to cover them all.
By Brent DiCrescenzo
Peter Case & Paul Collins
Empty Bottle; Sun 25
Don’t be the guy who says, “Hey, this is that Blondie song!” These power-pop kings wrote and first rocked “Hanging on the Telephone.”

FLAVORPILL CHICAGO (Chicago A&E site) – Positive Editor’s Pick show preview with poster art.
Peter Case & Paul Collins w/ Summer Twins and Sleepovers
Power-pop elders Peter Case and Paul Collins reteam on the road for the first time since 1977 and look to rekindle the magic of their glory years. As members of cult favorites the Nerves, Case and Collins foreshadowed the likes of the Knack, Cheap Trick, and Blondie (who notably covered “Hanging on the Telephone”) with punchy rock riffs and British Invasion hooks. After the group disbanded, Case made well with the Plimsouls’ sturdy combination of new wave and pop classicism (see the ageless “A Million Miles Away”), and Collins formed the (again) cultishly crushed-over Beat (see Rock ‘N’ Roll Girl). The duo performs material from all of the above-mentioned phases, plus the ultra-short-lived Breakaways collaboration, at this Empty Bottle stop in the legacy reunion.”

SONIC DIET / WMSE (Milwaukee college radio’s music site) – Show preview
“Hanging On the Telephone” — The Nerves
My mom recently gave me an old issue of a Bomp! Magazine she’d squirreled away because of its dedication to power pop after hearing the Nerves coming out of my room (yes, I’m still freeloading). The issue focused on bands that were redefining pop music, taking what had been done by acts since the early 60′s and fusing it with elements of punk rock that had recently come screaming onto the scene and reeking of airplane glue. Described in Bomp! as ‘looking more like Hoover salesmen than rock and roll stars”, but offering up “original material, crisp songs with strong melodies”, Peter Case, Paul Collins and Jack Lee deliver one of many high water marks from their catalog with “Hanging On the Telephone”, a song that immediately struck me as sounding like something I should have heard years ago on commercial radio, independent of my own musical geekdom. The raw intensity of the vocals coupled with the stripped down instrumentation allows for every facet of the song to be parsed out with a keen ear. Not to mention, it’s catchy as hell. If you don’t trust me, take Blondie’s word for it. And if you’re intrigued, catch Peter Case and Paul Collins performing at Shank Hall this Saturday, March 24th, for a firsthand glimpse of their musical mojo.

THE ONION / AV CLUB (Milwaukee weekly) – Positive show preview with Peter photo
Peter Case
Also Playing: Chuck Prophet and Summer Twins glimpse of their musical mojo.
A long, winding musical road brought singer-songwriter Peter Case to 2010’s Wig!, a route that travels through bar bands, new wave innovators, flirtations with folk-rock, a brief fling with a major, and a life-saving heart surgery. Not that the former leader of The Plimsouls hoped to capture all of that in Wig!’s 12 tracks. Instead, he turned out a dozen blood-simple blues-rock numbers recorded in quick-and-dirty fashion recorded with X drummer DJ Bonebrake and fuzzbox-stomper Ron Franklin.

Shank Hall
1434 N Farwell Ave. Milwaukee WI 53202414-276-7288
•    Sat Mar 24 8 pm,293001/

COLUMBUS DISPATCH (Columbus daily) – Brief show preview
Peter Case and Paul Collins: It’s never too late for a reunion: The musicians will together perform fare from their 1970s-era bands — the Nerves and the Breakaways — as well as cuts from their other groups, the Plimsouls and the Beat.
SHOWTIME 9 p.m. Tuesday
TICKETS $15, or $18 the day of the show

LOST IN REVIEWS (online music site) – Positive Record Bar show preview
Paul Collins and Peter Case at RecordBar
Paul Collins and Peter Case have crafted some of the best guitar rock anthems of all time. This, dear reader, is not up for debate. In 1976, when the two were fresh-faced and in their early twenties, their band The Nerves were responsible for “Hanging On the Telephone,” a song that only two years later charted at #5 in the UK as performed by Blondie. The two split off, with Collins forming the heralded powerpop band The Beat, and Case heading up the equally revered Plimsouls. A post-Nerves collaboration under the name The Breakaways was recently unearthed, after having spent 35 years collecting dust in a garage (the irony of “garage rock” need not be noted).

Summer Twins brought their breezy California pop to the stage at 9:30. The band’s namesake is wrought from sisters Chelsea and Justine Brown, who in addition to providing the ethereal vocals, also serve as the guitarist and drummer. The quartet was rounded out by MarcioRivera on second guitar and Danny Delgado on bass. In the course of the group’s thirty-minute set, the band rarely strayed far from the steady-tempo, sunny and sweet west coast pop they’ve focused on for the last few years, but they still found a way to fit in the occasional fast-paced time change, if only for a few brief moments. Obvious comparisons could be made to Jenny Lewis and her contemporaries the Watson Twins, but why waste time considering parallels when one can enjoy blissful summer pop built over a foundation of golden oldies and classic garage rock?

Paul Collins and Peter Case began a well-received set at 10:20, and in the 70+ minutes that they and their back-up band shared the stage, two dozen songs that were older than many audience members (myself included) were played with an energy that could make Springsteen seem lethargic. What Case lacked in audience interaction was more than supplemented by Collins, who between songs made short quips that were both self-deprecating (digging at the cover price) and steeped in sarcasm (excusing the high eBay prices of the first and only Nerves 7-inch as a product of inflation). One final good-natured jab was made at Collins’ own teenage son before playing “Work-a-Day World,” his kin referenced to as someone who knows not of the topic referred to therein.

Upon meeting the band’s request for the audience to move in closer to the stage, the small size of the crowd was made heartbreakingly clear, as the venue was only close to half capacity. Weeknight shows on a rainy night never do well in this town. This made no difference to those that were there to hear the two, bald, grey-haired, and road weathered in all their greatness, crank out hit after hit with hardly a breath taken between songs. Audience favorites were Plimsouls hit “A Million Miles Away,” The Beat’s “Rock N Roll Girl,” and of course “Hanging On the Telephone.” Sadly, the inclusion of “Many Roads to Follow” and “Different Kind of Girl” was an oversight by the band and never made an appearance in the setlist.

Nearly four decades on, people of all ages will trudge through inclement weather to bounce along to austere pop music about girls. If that doesn’t say something about the importance of quality in songwriting, nothing will.

setlist (source bands aren’t hugely important, as many of these were played under various lineups and band names):
How Long Will It Take (The Plimsouls)
Don’t Wait Up For Me (The Beat)
Great Big World (The Plimsouls)
Little Suzy (The Breakaways)
House On the Hill (The Breakaways)
Work-a-Day World (The Beat)
Women (The Plimsouls)
I Don’t Fit In (The Beat)
Oldest Story in the World (The Plimsouls)
Zero Hour (The Plimsouls)
Give Me Some Time (The Nerves)
Working Too Hard (The Nerves)
When You Find Out (The Nerves)
Let Me Into Your Life (The Beat)
Now (The Nerves)
Rock N Roll Girl (The Beat)
Million Miles Away (The Plimsouls)
USA (The Breakaways)
Hanging On the Telephone (The Nerves)
One Way Ticket (The Nerves)
Paper Dolls (The Nerves)
Do You Wanna Love Me? (The Breakaways)
Everyday Things (The Plimsouls)
Walking Out on Love (The Beat)

By Greg Stitt

AUSTIN CHRONICLE (Austin weekly) – SXSW show review.
Paul Collins Beat with Peter Case
Easy Tiger Patio, March 17

“This is a song Peter and I wrote in Los Angeles, back when we had no money,” declared Paul Collins before launching into “All Across the USA.” “We’re gonna do it now when we still have no money.” Since the Knack’s brief chart run, power-pop has been music played purely for the love of it, and Collins lives and breathes it without thought for material success. Augmenting his band the Beat with his old pal Peter Case, with whom he shared space in the Nerves and short-lived the Breakaways, Collins knocked out “hits” “Working Too Hard” and “Walking Out on Love” plus deep catalog gems such as “I Don’t Fit In” and “Don’t Wait Up for Me Tonight” with his eyes shut in determination and pushed through a multitude of sound issues, including a few songs in which the bassist’s harmony vocals were louder than the principles’. The bouncing Case contributed nimble lead guitar lines, as well as his Nerves gem “When You Find Out.” “Many Roads To Follow” found the singers sharing a microphone, rediscovering the chemistry that resulted in the cult recordings that feed their current legend.

L.A. RECORD (L.A. weekly) – Brief positive SXSW show review with photo
After a short break to find some much needed Greek food, we made it back inside a rapidly filling-to-capacity Spider House to the courtyard stage, where we promptly ordered four Jamesons on the rocks, and waited for the highly anticipated appearance of Peter Case and Paul Collins of the Nerves.  This show lived up to any and all expectations, and included a number of Nerves and Plimsouls hits that were close to hearts of both the performers and the audience.  Among them were the Nerves classic, “Hanging on the Telephone,” as well as The Plimsouls’ “Everyday Things,” and “A Million Miles Away,” a song made famous in the 1983 film Valley Girl.

SOUND+VISION (national monthly music magazine) – SXSW wrap-up with great Peter & Paul show review and photos of Peter, Paul and The Nerves
My SXSW 2012 ended watching reunited Nerves bandmates Peter Case and Paul Collins tearing it up at the Easy Tiger Patio – a small hard-to-find venue that you reach by having to cross a little bridge over the downtown creek running near the I-35. The setting seemed appropriate: way back in the upset-the-applecart New Wave days of the mid-to-late ‘70s, Case, Collins and colleague Jack Lee’s ambitious trio churned out a series of wondrous indie singles that combined punk and pop in ways that pointed towards a kind of musical utopia for rock and roll true believers. Case’s “When You Find Out”; Collins’ “Walking Out on Love”; and Lee’s “Hanging on the Telephone,” which became a classic of sorts when covered by then emerging stars Blondie.

The Nerves never quite made it, but you’d never know it from the small but ecstatic crowd that was singing along with every last song evergreen Case and Collins rolled out. Playing their fourth show of the day (they’d been all over town for assorted unofficial SXSW parties), they were still smoking – especially Case, who came closest to stardom with the ‘80s band the Plimsouls (“A Million Miles Away”), and who has journeyed through his own unique musical arc over the last three decades as a mainly folk and blues-leaning solo performer. Not at this moment, though: just beginning a full-fledged tour with Collins sprinkled with material from both of their winding careers, Case is simply on fire, singing and playing like a man possessed. Possessed with a spirit, and a passion that, at its best moments, South by Southwest is still all about: the power of music not only to move us, but to move us to a better place. These days, we sure need it, don’t we?

THE PITCH (KC weekly) – Feature with Paul interview to preview KC show photo and tour poster art.
The Beat’s Paul Collins on his tour with former Nerves bandmate Peter Case
Posted by Nick Spacek
In addition to his work with groundbreaking power-pop act the Beat, Paul Collins’s paired with a pre-Plimsouls Peter Case in the Nerves. While that act’s best known for the fact that Blondie covered their remarkably catchy “Hanging On the Telephone,” it’s astounding to think that just two men could be part of three seminal acts. Such is the reason that Collins and Case are touring as a pair, playing songs from the Nerves, the Beat, and the Plimsouls. That show stops at the Record Bar tonight, and Collins recently took some time to e-mail with us regarding the tour.

The Pitch: How did this tour come about?

Our label Alive Records had been asking us for awhile now if we would like to do some shows, and then there were all the fans who had been asking forever ‘When are ya gonna tour together?!’ So one day we said ‘Aw… what the heck lets give it a shot!’

What’s it like reuniting with Peter Case and playing those old Nerves songs? Any memories shaken loose?

The songs are great, and that kinda was the thing, we knew if we went out there and did the best of our song book, we couldn’t miss. Yeah, the stories are flying all over the place.

Is there a pretty even distribution of material across the set list?

Pretty much … it represents all of us well.

Have you seen a new audience for the Beat’s music as your music’s been made more available — file-sharing, reissues, et cetera?

Oh, yeah … without a doubt. I am a big fan of all the Internet stuff, kinda saved my life in a way. I’m working now more than ever and a big reason is because of the net.

Even having re-branded the band as Paul Collins’ Beat, are there still folks who expect a ska show?

No, but there have been a few wondering if we would play a polka or two.

Is there a new Paul Collins Beat album on the way?

There is always a new Paul Collins record on the way. The big question is when will it arrive!

Or will there be any releases assorted with this tour?

Well, we’ve got a merch table to die for, but aside from that we will all have to see.

AUSTIN CHRONICLE (Austin weekly) – SXSW feature/interview with Paul (per Michael Toland)
Paul Collins Beat featuring Peter Case
12mid, Easy Tiger Patio
By Michael Toland
The headline “power-pop” usually means short, punchy tunes with hooks and melodies to spare. That doesn’t mean its practitioners initially welcomed the designation.

“We hated the term ‘power-pop’ when we first heard it,” says genre icon Paul Collins. “It didn’t help us – it kept us out. If it was power-pop, radio wouldn’t play it. Now it means something different and we love it.”

Collins isn’t only referring to himself and his band the Beat but also to his compadres in the legendary trio the Nerves, whose work in the Seventies helped spark the power-pop movement. Collins shared singing/songwriting duties in the Nerves with Peter Case, with whom he also formed the short-lived Breakaways prior to the rise of the Beat and Case’s equally beloved Plimsouls.

Now, in the wake of Alive Naturalsound’s reissues of the Nerves’ and the Breakaways’ recordings, Collins has teamed with Case to showcase both leaders’ greatest work of that era.

“The set list is to die for,” enthuses Collins. “It’s the best of the Nerves, the Beat, and the Plimsouls. I’m having a great time playing my music with people who love it.”

And they’re taking the show to an eager audience thanks to the Internet being the ultimate greatest tool to spread the love of the genre. With tons of bands identifying themselves as power-pop, Collins created the Beat Army, a Facebook page to help those bands connect, building relationships and setting up gigs across the country.

“The goal is get 100 paid tickets at every club show. We’re about 70 to 75 percent there. These kind of fans will put money in this music because they love it. It’s not just a band. It’s the soundtrack of their lives.”

ASSIGNMENT X (L.A.-based online music site) – Positive L.A. show review with live photos
Concert Review: Peter Case and Paul Collins of The Plimsouls, The Beat and the Nerves – March 7, 2012 at the Echo, Los Angeles, CA
A great concert featuring all the hits of these underrated artists
Grade: A-
By CARL CORTEZ / Contributing Editor
Steeped in 1950s and 1960s rock music, but channeled through the power pop sheen of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the music of Peter Case and Paul Collins is still relevant today. Whether together as The Nerves and The Breakaways or separately fronting The Plimsouls and The Beat, respectively, they had a knack for writing great hooks that have stood the test of time.

Early into the eighty-minute concert by Peter Case and Paul Collins at the Echo in Los Angeles, CA on March 7, 2012 where they performed hits from their various groups, Case admitted that they wrote these songs “to last.” From the vantage point of three decades later, that statement sums things up succinctly.

Throughout the 25-song set, this concert is a reminder at how strong performers the two of them are, and how great their music sounds – even in a packed little club The Echo in Los Angeles. Aside from the bushy beard on Case and Collins’ shiny noggin, not much has changed between the two. This concert would have sounded just as refreshing and energetic in the 1980s as it does in 2012.

The songs from all four groups were interspersed seamlessly through the night – with Collins and Case trading off lead vocals throughout the night.
Paul Collins performs with Peter Case on March 7, 2012 at the Echo in Los Angeles, CA

Paul Collins performs with Peter Case on March 7, 2012 at the Echo in Los Angeles, CA

Being a big Plimsouls fan, it was great to hear Case bring “A Million Miles Away” to life – and it sounded phenomenal. I was also thrilled to hear “Oldest Story In The World” which is arguably one of the most underrated songs of the 1980s. Case and Collins also did some additional jamming at the end of “Oldest Story” which added a new wrinkle to the tune.

The Plimsouls also appeared as the bar band in the classic 1983 comedy VALLEY GIRL, and seeing Case perform on this small stage reminds you of what a potent force he was then and still is now.

For Collins, his The Beat songs also were a highlight including “Rock and Roll Girl” and “Work-A-Day World.”

There wasn’t a lull in their performance and it’s awesome to see the consistency between the tracks despite spanning different groups, incarnations and iterations.

The audience ate it up too – the house was packed and you could definitely tell there were people there for the whole experience, but also had their favorite tracks that got them rocking.

The banter between Collins and Case was also fun. Since they broke up after The Breakaways, there were hints at old tensions arising, but all that falls away when they get on stage to rock and roll.

There is also a thin line between being a retro-act and being a relevant artist and since Case and Collins continue to record and perform on their own, this tour feels more like a rare treat for die-hard fans, than a “re-hashing of the greatest hits” tour.

There were some technical difficulties though. Occasionally Case’s microphone wasn’t turned up as loud as he would have liked and he had to swap places with Collins’ mike for when he took lead vocals.

The stories of writing their hits and moving to Los Angeles also put things in to perspective as well. It was great to hear their first memory of the Ramones – and how they realized that seminal band was doing the same thing they were doing and ultimately kicking their asses at it as well.

For those not familiar with any of these four bands or Collins and Case’s solo work, hunt it down. A live CD of the Plimsouls called BEACH TOWN CONFIDENTIAL  just hit stores last month and Collins has a great 2010 album of great power pop tracks called KING OF POWER POP!

Opening act the Summer Twins are also steeped in 1950s/1960s genres but filtered through a 1990s sensibility. The wispy vocals of sisters Chelsea and Justine Brown is fun, and unique. You can hear a little Julee Cruse here, a little surf guitar there and a little bit of the Sundays. It’s an interesting mix and a refreshing change of pace from many indie acts currently out there.

Chelsea displayed some nervousness at times when she had to do some on stage banter, but when she started cranking up her guitar and harmonizing with her sister, the results were divine.

PHOENIX NEW TIMES (Phoenix weekly)
Paul Collins and Peter Case on The First Time They Heard the Ramones and The State of Power Pop
By Jason P. Woodbury
Maybe the name “The Nerves” doesn’t immediately strike a bell, but chances are “Hanging on the Telephone” will. A single from Blondie’s stone-cold classic 1978 LP Parallel Lines, the song was actually written by Nerves drummer Jack Lee and performed by the San Francisco-based power-pop trio of Lee, Paul Collins, and Peter Case.

Following the dissolution of The Nerves, Collins and Case would go on to cement their melodic rock legacies, with Collins fronting chiming rock band The Beat (or Paul Collins’ Beat, as litigation with The English Beat would eventually force) and Case forming the R&B/new wave-inflected Plimsouls.

The past few years have seen a steady uptick in recognition of all Collins/Case associated bands: Alive Records has steadily reissued their respective catalogs (even unearthing unreleased stuff like the post-Nerves/pre-Plimsouls/Beat band The Breakaways) and young acts on labels like Burger Records and Volar Records (the latter released an excellent Nerves tribute record) paying homage to the minimal, pop-driven sound of the band.

The duo kept has kept in touch over the years, and with interest at a high, they’ve hit the road, playing with a full backing band and a catalog of power-pop classics in tow.

“Power pop is healthier today than when it started,” Collins laughs over the phone from NYC. He and Case spoke with me about the Nerves’ legacy, the youth of today, and what it was like hearing The Ramones for the first time.

Paul Collins and Peter Case are scheduled to perform Tuesday, March 13, at the Rhythm Room.

Up on the Sun: What inspired you two getting back together for this tour, and what can we expect from the sets?

Paul Collins: We’ve been talking about this for years, and it’s finally happening. We’ll be on stage together, with a backing band, a bassist and a drummer. This is going to be the cream of the crop — the “hits that weren’t hits” of The Nerves. Basically, we’re going to go out there and play all these amazing songs. It’s really an amazing opportunity. It’s kind of like, you know, what it would have been like if the Nerves had stayed together and all of us had been in the same band writing all these songs. I mean, Jack is not part of this, but the songs are, and the most powerful thing that the three of us did is in the songs.

Peter Case: Paul and I haven’t worked together for years and years and years. I don’t even know how many. 30, or something. I’m afraid to look [laughs]. We stayed in touch. I’d run into him in New York, or Spain or something. We’ve always been friends, but what happened was, about three years ago Alive Records put out a Nerves record, then a live Nerves record, and then Paul had these tapes I didn’t know existed, The Breakaways, and they released those, and then a live Plimsouls, and Paul put out King of Power Pop, then I put out The Case Files, and they just did a new live Plimsouls record. Alive has really supported us. The thing is, I listened to The Breakaways recordings, I had forgot even recording it. I put it on and said ‘Wow, the spirit, and the energy, it was so fun.’ I started thinking that we should go out and play these songs. I mean, we’re doing it because we can. We’ve got the energy. It’s not a big stretch, and it’s fun working with my old friend.

Has it been interesting or surprising seeing the way The Nerves have influenced the power pop sounds of younger bands?

Paul Collins: Well, I’m surprised and happy. I was living overseas for a while and I came back here four or five years ago and that’s when I started touring heavily, and I did all that with the Beat Army, which is k my Facebook page for what I do and power pop in general. I’ve pretty much concentrated on working with new bands and it’s been great. One of the people, the Burger Records guys, and younger acts. I’ve played with at least 100 new bands. What happened was, during the ’90s this whole scene fell of the map, and it was really difficult to work. It kind of felt like the music I was doing had just passed. There was no interest in it. But when MySpace got big, it was very encouraging. You’d see all these bands list The Nerves or power pop as an influence, and then it just blossomed into what it is today. The power pop of today has morphed into something new — bands that are garage-y and punk-y. It’s an elastic term. I term it “melodically driven guitar rock ‘n’ roll.” I think it’s awesome. I’m constantly finding new bands and the audiences I play for now, because I work with new bands, they bring their fans and they know the music. Power pop is healthier today than when it started.

Peter Case: When we first came out, the record execs treated us like we were the slow kids in class. It’s simple, but there’s an art to making stuff that simple, to creating rock ‘n’ roll that has a timeless feel. The Plimsouls have a new live record out, and aside from some phaser on the guitar, it sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. “Power pop” is a term is a little limiting — there’s young people who are willing to find things that aren’t on mainstream radio. It’s a very good time for music right now. For the young people at least. The older people, they got lost.
Was there any sense of musical community when you guys were performing as The Nerves?

Paul Collins: When the Nerves started, no. We were in a complete vacuum. I remember when we first heard The Ramones. We were rehearsing in our little basement in San Francisco, and somebody had told us “Hey, there’s this band from New York called The Ramones playing at the Savoy.” We had kind of heard something about them, but we hadn’t heard their music. You’ve got to understand, back in those days there was no cell phones, no Internet. The way information got out was really quite limited, through music stores and record shops, you know?

So we called up the club, to see what time they were playing. The guy said, “Man they’re doing their last song now.” And this is a conventional old school phone with an ear piece and mouth piece and it maybe have been me, but I said, “Can you just hold up the phone so we can hear them?” So the three of us are crowded around the phone. I remember Jack and Peter saying, “They’re staying on the D chord! They’re not changing.” [laughs] We had never heard anybody play music like that, which was kind of like what we were doing in that sense, 8th notes and all that stuff. We were totally blown away listening to them play. That’s how disconnected things were back at that time. I mean, we really didn’t consider ourselves a punk band…Later, when the Beat got signed, you could feel the emerging [punk/New Wave] scene…You could really tell what people listened to by the way they dressed. The punks had a very identifiable dress code, and so did the new wave/power pop people…very bright and colorful and the girls were sexy as all hell in their fishnet stockings, leather mini skirts, and black boots.

Peter Case: There’s just a spirit of the whole Nerves catalog. It’s pure teenage rock ‘n’ roll, and at that time there weren’t many people doing it. The Nerves were kind of minimal you know? We didn’t sound like the Ramones, but there were some similarities. That first wave of punk rock, groups like The Saints, Sex Pistols, The Clash, also bands like Pere Ubu — we related to all those kinds of bands. At the time there was such a strange time, because young people were coming up with their natural music and the record business just slammed the door on it. The shit people said to us back then was just ridiculous. They had no idea what we were doing. Finally, Blondie cut “Hanging on the Telephone” and had a big hit with it. It sort of vindicated us, but we were all on our way to other stuff by then.

TUCSON WEEKLY –Brief show preview in their Soundbites bests.
Los Angeles power-pop gods Peter Case and Paul Collins, both formerly of The Nerves, and later, respectively, of The Plimsouls and The Beat, will team up to perform tunes by all of those bands at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 8 p.m., Sunday, March 11. Summer Twins open the show, and admission is $15. Call 622-8848 for more info.

THINGS TO DO IN TUCSON (online Tucson A&E site) – Show preview with Peter & Paul photo.
Peter Case & Paul Collins in Tucson Mar 11, 2012 8:00 PM
Mar 11, 2012 at 8:00 PM
Club Congress
311 East Congress Street
Two of rock n roll’s greatest come together at the legendary Hotel Congress for a once in a lifetime show.
Peter Case is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and producer, a mighty fine guitarist and a well-reviewed published author and yet, he’s most at home on the stage. For 25 years, Peter, his guitar and his songs have mesmerized audiences from coast to coast, whether holding down a festival crowd, warming up the place for luminaries like Jackson Browne and John Prine or headlining his own nightclub shows— of which he can claimed to have logged thousands. In January 2009, Case underwent heart surgery, leading to fund raising efforts by other musicians to help defray his medical costs. Case’s latest project, Wig!, is a CD/LP released June 29, 2010 on Yep Roc Records.The Case Files, Peter Case’s demos, outtakes, one live shot and other rarities drops in May on Alive Records with a string of dates in appropriate rooms to follow.
Paul Collins (The Beat) spent his pre-teens living in Greece, Vietnam and Europe before returning to his native New York. He studied at the prestigious Julliard Music School and eventually moved to San Francisco where he joined songwriter Jack Lee and bassist Peter Case to form The Nerves in 1974. The Nerves proved to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning US punk rock scene, independently releasing their own 4 song EP which included the classic “Hanging on the Telephone,” later to become a hit for Blondie.

TUCSON EVENT SEEKR (online A&E site) – Show preview with Peter photo.
Peter Case, Paul Collins
Sunday Mar 11th, 2012
Club Congress
Frontman and founder of the San Francisco new wave band the Nerves as well as the Los Angeles pop-rock band The Plimsouls, Peter Case eventually began his solo career in the mid ’80s. While his previous work with bands was more rock based, his solo work is more acoustic based Americana. With his varied ventures into music, Case has secured a diverse fanbase and a great deal of respect from musicians, with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Ry Cooder counting themselves as huge fans. Though Case underwent serious heart surgery in 2009, the costs offset by many famous musicians who banded together to raise funds for him, Case is back on the touring bracket.

DOWNTOWN TUCSON (Tucson A&E site) – Show listing with tour poster.

SOUNDSPIKE (online music site) –SXSW show preview with photo.
Peter Case @ SXSW
Story by Tara Hall
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Peter Case will spend the spring on the tour trail with multi-instrumentalist Paul Collins, the first time the two have taken the stage together since 1978.

On the impending run, the Case and Collins will perform with a full band, playing songs from their back catalogs at bars and clubs across the nation, according to Case’s website. The pair will also take on Austin, TX’s SXSW with an official showcase March 16 at Continental Club, as well as an unofficial day party, co-sponsored by SoundSpike, March 15 at Lucy’s Fried Chicken.

Case and Collins first worked together in early San Francisco new-wave band The Nerves, before Case went on to form the Plimsouls in Los Angeles and Collins played with The Beat and The Breakaways. Case has had a successful solo career as well, including the 1992 release, “Six-Pack of Love,” which features the radio hit, “Dream About You,” the video for which is below.

Earlier this month, Case released “Beach Town Confidential,” a six-song live album of Plimsouls material recorded onstage at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA, in 1983, when the four-piece was at the height of their fame.

BUZZBAND L.A. (L.A. online music site) – Brief show preview
Two influential rockers whose careers date back to the ’70s — Peter Case and Paul Collins — head up a quartet headlining the Echo, where they will perform songs from their legendary bands, the Plimsouls, the Nerves, the Breakaways and the Beat. Summer Twins open.

MUSICAL SHAPES (L.A. music blog) –Positive L.A. show preview with photo.
Go See Hear In L.A. March 5-11
This week is marked by a number of interesting pairings and bills. One show that jumps out to me is the Peter Case/Paul Collins gig at the Echo on the 7th (yes, the same night at the New Multitudes show). Case and Collins played together in the punk band the Nerves years ago (Blondie’s hit “Hanging On The Telephone” was a Nerves’ tune) before going off in separate directions (Collins fronted power poppers the Beat and Case the Plimsouls and then has had a long career as a troubadour). Opening for them is an excellent sisters act The Summer Twins who should be headlining shows soon.

KXLU RADIO (L..A. college station) – “Recommeded show” listing on their website with on-air show mentions

CLICKY CLICKY MUSIC (online music blog) –Positive Portland show review with photo.
That Was The Show That Was: Peter Case & Paul Collins | Star Theater | Portland, OR
What began as a potentially precarious and non-commital show blossomed into a legendary, manic rock event. Saturday evening’s performance at the Star Theater in Portland built slowly to a boiling point at which Peter Case and Paul Collins began to tear through the power-pop gems that spangle their respective, nearly 40-year careers. The energy, skill and conviction of their show transcended both time and male pattern baldness, proving that an intelligent, youthful spirit can persist to incite future generations to dance like it’s 1964, or ’74, or ’84. Hell…

The show was part of a tour intended as a celebration of Mssrs. Case and Collins’ work, more than a plug for any specific release. The duo are best known, of course, for founding the seminal and short-lived 70’s punk-pop trio The Nerves, as well as their individual ’80s projects including Case’s The Plimsouls (creators of the sublime, oft-covered 1983 Top 100 hit “A Million Miles Away”) and Collins’ The Beat. The Nerves produced only one official release, a four-song EP that cemented itself as pop gold on the strength of “Hanging On The Telephone,” which was written by bandmate Jack Lee and famously covered by Blondie. Upon completion of the fabled recording, the group executed an exhaustive cross-country tour opening for The Ramones, playing nearly 100 shows in a very short period. Such an ambitious early experience likely placed unnecessary strain on The Nerves. That, coupled with the fact that the group had the Beatles-esque dilemma of three talented songwriters, led to sufficient tension in the band to plunge it to a premature death. Lee, of course, went on to fame and perhaps even wealth via Blondie and “Hanging On The Telephone,” while Case and Collins forged ahead, never receiving their real due.

Just before the main event the room seemed to suddenly fill up with a diverse punk and pop assemblage. It was as if Case and Collins sounded some fantastical horn and called forth their army of young hardcore kids, overdressed record store clerks, 70’s Los Angeles hipsters, and white collars in polos who had spun the Nerves EP on their college radio show so many years ago. It was truly a scene to behold, and some really fabulous people-watching as the men took the stage with able bassist Timm Buechler and drummer Amos Pitsch, ready for a blitzkrieg. Because of earlier audience indifference, one could not expect what was about to unfold.

The set was played fast, with little word from Collins, as the group pounded through a balanced, electrifying list of songs from The Nerves, The Plimsouls, The Beat and the seldom-heard, mid-period project The Breakaways. In true power-pop tradition, E major chords and Rickenbacker chiming abounded. Case, Collins et al. wisely stuck most of their more famous numbers toward the end of the set, riding a wave of anticipation from the crowd. Within the first few songs, dancing broke out in the middle of the floor, with several very unassuming-looking women going around and grabbing any guy they could find while swinging and grinding. It was a moment of elation for which rock music inherently strives. Half-way through the set, the band kicked things into overdrive with “A Million Miles Away,” spurring a chant from the crowd loud enough to be heard over the roaring guitars.

Case and Collins, both approaching 60, may have looked worn and old, but they performed with an animalistic energy that did not betray their histories. Collins smartly wore a purple bandana around his neck in a nod to his vintage cool. Case strode out wearing a blazer and long hair, looking not unlike The Dude from “The Big Lewboski.” This band didn’t need distortion pedals, just vintage guitars played into overdriven tube amps. Loudly. Between songs, Case proved to be the more endearing member, as he offered background and stories about the songwriting, recording and genesis of the various projects. He broke a string mid-song and never flinched in his grizzly guitar solo, using the detuning to his advantage. “When You Find Out” proved to be the highlight of the show, with his voice sounding exactly as it did in 1976; a feral young man’s plea, surely an inspiration to Paul Westerberg.

The fascinating crowd provided some really enjoyable moments itself. One woman, who seemed roughly the same age as Case and Collins, heckled the band for about 15 minutes. It became apparent that she was a former paramour of Collins’ from decades ago, and she repeatedly asked if he remembered her. Finally, acknowledging the nuisance, Collins looked her in the eye and simply mouthed “no.” Rock and roll, indeed. Another happy sight was the father who was accompanied with his three young children. This gentleman had come for one thing. “Walking Out On Love,” he repeated yelled. He soon got it.

The final portion of the set had the band rolling through some key Nerves tracks, The Breakaways classics, “Walking Out On Love” and the blistering Case-penned tune of escape, “One Way Ticket.” With that, the band quickly said goodnight and walked off the stage. No needless posturing, or long closing speech, just the reassurance that keeping it real transcends all. Brilliant musicians and songwriters apparently can continue to burn down a house if they stay true to what made them great all along. If you can, catch the band at one of their tour dates here.

The Carnabetian Army, a local Kinks cover band, opened. Resplendent in their dandy outfits, the group delivered tight and faithful renditions of many of the Kinks tunes that were so influential to first wave power-poppers like The Nerves. The venue’s odd lounge-style seating and open floor plan left The Carnabetian Army afloat amid emptiness that threatened to suck the energy out of their set. The fact that many Portland venues feature cool outdoor patios and fire pit havens occasionally leaves early openers with little to do but play for themselves. Nevertheless, The Carnabetian Army gave it their all, adding details like the adolescent “oh, go home!” before the charged solo in “All Day and All Of The Night.”

Filling the middle of the bill were Summer Twins, a sister-led pop-rock outfit that had a very astute knowledge of the songwriting and spirit of the headliners. The Riverside, Calif.-based group, presumably hand-picked by Case and Collins, played a set of strong, shiny tunes to the slowly gathering crowd. “I Don’t Care” in particular, showcased Chelsea and Justine Brown’s perfectly blended harmonies. Guitarist Marcio Rivera was also nice to listen to. With his curly goth hair and bored expression, he resembled one of the Reid brothers while playing very simple yet arresting guitar patterns that nearly beat the sisters in brightness and quirk. — Edward Charlton

THERE’S SOMETHING HARD IN THERE (online music blog) – Seattle. show review with photos.
Peter Case & Paul Collins: Bringing back the songs of The Nerves (along with some Plimsouls and Beat tunes)
˛ˇ ˛ˇBy Andy

Peter Case once called me from a pay phone in Hollywood.

Thanks to my former journalism adviser at San Jose State University — and Case’s ex-brother-in-law — the man who practically helped invent power pop in the mid-’70s with The Nerves and Breakaways chatted with me in ’89 about his second solo album, “The Man with the Blue Post-Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar,” for the Spartan Daily.

I caught the ex-Plimsouls leader at Club Oasis on that tour and was impressed with how the acoustic tunes from his solo LPs translated live.

Twenty-three years later, Case jammed an electric guitar into his hands while rocking along with former Nerves/Breakaways bandmate Paul Collins (he has his stellar Beat, too) at Seattle’s Funhouse on March 2.

Alongside Amos Pitch on drums and Timm Buechler on bass, the two old pals rolled through a 25-song set of numbers that spanned their careers (see set list!)

Backstage after the gig, Case pointed at my Nomads T-shirt and reminisced about writing a song (with Jeffrey Lee Pierce) in the mid-’80s for the Swedish band: “Call Off Your Dogs.” When he was in Stockholm, the band kept him up all night to write lyrics for the tune, he laughed.

Collins and Case each spoke with me briefly about playing together again and embarking on a two-month tour (Seattle was the second stop):

* COLLINS, who noted that he and Case played a show together a couple of years ago with their respective bands, but they haven’t played in the same band for more than 30 years —

I think it’s going great, we’ve got a crack backup band and the songs speak for themselves, so it’s really kind of easy.

I would say more people have not heard of (The Nerves) than people who have heard of them — but I don’t care about that. It feels great, I’m very proud of what we did. Those songs will live on forever– I love it. It’s just wonderful… you know, you work hard and you can do good things.

(On memories of playing with Case)…It’s more looking forward, that it’s fun to be doing this and that we can, that’s what I think. It’s great to hear those songs again, play them again — it’s a rush.

You know what’s great? For me, it’s like a lot of fun: One, we’ve got a lot of history, you know, and I’ve always believed that soul is when you’re proud of where you’ve been. So, if you’ve got history with people, it’s nice to be able to go — even if it’s not just a group, but friends or something — to be able to go out and share life with some people you go way back with is always a real fun thing to do. So, that’s good, even though there’s certain difficulties we’ve always had working together, we love working together, because it’s really fun…

The other thing about it is the song catalogue that we made up. All these songs from back before 1983, it’s really fun to kind of revive them and bring them back around because we made them at the time to be sort of timeless– we never went with gimmicks or the time.

Andy’s Spartan Daily review from ’89, plus pic below by Kendra Luck

THE PORTABLE INFINITE (L.A. online music magazine) – L.A. show mention with live photos from Vancouver show

SKOPE MAGAZINE (online music site) – Tour news posted March 5th

SILVER PLATTER (Phoenix online A&E site) – Positive show preview
Peter Case and Paul Collins
Frank Gallardo
I still am a massive Plimsouls fan and really enjoyed the music of The Nerves and The Beat. Shows like this remind me how special music was back in the late seventies and early eighties, totally psyched for this show!
Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2012
Peter Case and Paul Collins
* 07:00 PM
* $15
* Rhythm Room
Only $15 for two power pop legends folks, do not miss this show! Peter Case and Paul Collins played in two different highly influential Los Angeles power pop bands together, The Nerves and The Breakaways. The Nerves created some outstanding music during their career, including “Hanging on the Telephone” that became a huge hit for Blondie. The Breakaways formed out of the ashes of The Nerves.

When The Breakaways broke up Paul Collins left his place behind the drum kit and formed a new band known as The Beat, a band he was the singer and rhythm guitarist for as well as the primary songwriter. That band later became The Paul Collins Beat in the early eighties and various line-ups of the band continue to perform to this day.

Peter Case formed one of power pop’s all-time great bands The Plimsouls after he parted ways with Collins. The Plimsouls had a short original run from 1979-1983 but in that time appeared in the cult classic movie Valley Girl and penned the massive alternative rock single “A Million Miles Away”, along with a string of other great singles such as “How Long Will it Take” and “Shaky City”. The band’s second album Everywhere at Once that was released in 1983 remains a power pop classic.

Folks, this show is going to be an ultra-special affair with these two artists reuniting to play songs from The Nerves, The Breakaways, The Beat and The Plimsouls. Do not miss this 21+ show!

WILLAMETTE WEEK (Portland weekly) – Positive show preview
Peter Case and Paul Collins, Summer Twins, Carnabetian Army
9 pm, Saturday March 03 | $15
Star Theater
13 NW 6th Ave.
[PILLARS OF POWER POP] What’s that saying on the dollar bill? “Out of many, one”? Well, in the case of Peter Case and Paul Collins, it’s more like, “From two, a friggin’ lot.” Their intertwining discographies represent a large chunk of the best power pop made post-Big Star, beginning in 1975 with the Nerves. Although together only long enough to release a four-song EP, all four of those songs were phenomenal; one of them, “Hanging on the Telephone,” was later immortalized by Blondie (it was technically written by bandmate Jack Lee, but still). After then playing together in the short-lived Breakaways, Case and Collins went their separate ways, with Collins forming the underrated Paul Collins Beat and Case gaining the most fame with the Plimsouls, whose “A Million Miles Away” is one of the great singles of the ’80s. On this reunion tour, the pair draw from both their songbooks, offering a history lesson in some of the most underappreciated music of the past three decades.

THE STRANGER (Seattle weekly) – Positive show preview with Nerves audio stream.
Peter Case & Paul Collins, Summer Twins, Bang Sha Bang

(Funhouse) Both Peter Case and Paul Collins have enjoyed long careers as great purveyors of real-time-and-beyond post-punk pop: Case fronted the Plimsouls (makers of 1983 hit “A Million Miles Away”) and launched a troubadorian solo career (his 1986 cover of the Pogues’ “A Pair of Brown Eyes” was the “My Heart Will Go On” of my high-school class), while Collins carried on as the leader of the Beat (not the English Beat—Paul Collins’s Beat). But everything you need to know to love both of them forever can be found on the only release by the Nerves, a four-song EP made by Collins, Case, and guitarist Jack Lee and released in 1976. Kicking off with the great, gritty original of “Hanging on the Telephone” and perfect till the end, The Nerves captures a talent-packed band finding their voices, and people with ears will love it forever. Tonight the Funhouse hosts the Peter Case & Paul Collins Reunion Tribute to the Nerves, which is exactly what it says it is, and hurrah. DAVID SCHMADER

THE SUNBREAK (Seattle online A&E site) – Best Bet show preview with “Plimsouls video.
Your Live Music Bets for March 2nd to the 4th
by Tony Kay
Tonight (Friday, March 2):
Peter Case and Paul Collins, Summer Twins, Bang sha Bang @ The Funhouse. $20 day of show. Doors at 8pm.

Together as The Nerves and separately as members of The Plimsouls and the Paul Collins Beat, Case and Collins helped lay down the groundwork for the punchy/sweet dichotomy that is power pop. If you’re a fan of Weezer, Ted Leo, or OK Go, and you want to hear the roots of those sounds, this should be unmissable. Expect to hear plenty of gems from these guys’ deep back catalogs, and Case will surely  belt out that classic of classics, “A Million Miles Away”.

THE PORTLAND MERCURY (Portland weekly) – Show preview with “Plimsouls video (Same positive preview that ran in Seattle’s The Stranger)
Up & Coming
Highlights in Music the Week of March 1-7
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Both Peter Case and Paul Collins have enjoyed long careers as two of the great purveyors of real-time-and-beyond post-punk pop: Case fronted the Plimsouls (makers of ’83 hit “A Million Miles Away”) and launched a troubadourian solo career (his 1986 cover of the Pogues’ “A Pair of Brown Eyes” was the “My Heart Will Go On” of my high-school class), while Collins carried on as the leader of the Beat (not the English Beat, but rather Paul Collins’ Beat). But everything you need to know to love both of them forever can be found on the only release by the Nerves, a four-song EP that Collins, Case, and guitarist Jack Lee released in 1976. Kicking off with the great, gritty original of “Hangin’ on the Telephone” and perfect ’til the end, The Nerves captures a talent-packed band finding their voices, and people with ears will love it forever. Tonight the Star Theater hosts the Peter Case and Paul Collins Reunion Tribute to the Nerves, which is exactly what it says it is, and hurrah. DAVID SCHMADER

ILLINOIS ENTERTAINER (Chicagoland music monthly) – Feature/interview with Paul to preview Chicago show in March issue (with front cover billing!)
Hello, My Name Is Paul
IE: You’re currently on tour with Peter Case. Were there other occasions when you performed together since The Nerves broke up?
Paul Collins: Only once. I did some songs with him during an encore at one of his shows.

IE: Are you pretty familiar with Chicago?
PC: Chicago was a real mainstay for us [The Nerves]. In fact, we stayed there between tours. Do you remember La Mere Vipere? They threw a party for us. We played Huey’s, Ivanhoe Theatre, and B’Ginnings. Cheap Trick came out to see us.

IE: Some critics have said The Nerves could have been really successful if they’d stuck around. Do you ever imagine what might have been?
PC: When we broke up, I was devastated, but I never thought of it that way. It wasn’t until recently when I read an article where someone said, “Makes you wonder what would have happened if these guys had stayed together” that it really hit me. I’m glad I didn’t think of it that way before. I’ve had a great ride. For a bunch of kids who had no backing, it’s amazing the impact we had with just one EP.

IE: Have you and Peter kept in touch over the years?
PC: On and off. I’ve lived overseas so there were big chunks of time when we didn’t have any contact.

IE: Considering that you and Peter were in The Nerves, he was in The Plimsouls, and you were in The Beat, this show seems like a power pop fan’s dream come true.
PC: It’s power pop, but it’s more than that. It’s American rock and roll. At the time, everything was skinny ties, new wave, and power pop. I embrace [the label] now, but back then it hurt us. Radio stations would say, “Power pop? We don’t play that kind of music!” I wondered why people weren’t getting it.

IE: How will the show be structured?
PC: We’re still working on that. There are so many great songs, you could put them in a hat and just pick them. This is really two guys getting together because of the music.

IE: Is there any chance that you and Peter will do a CD together?
PC: That door is wide open. If the rock and roll gods are willing and we come up with a good batch of new songs, we’ll record them. Most definitely.

Paul Collins and Peter Case play Empty Bottle on March 25th. The Plimsouls recently released Beach Town Confidential, featuring a live performance recorded in 1983. Q&A by Terrence Flamm.

AMP MAGAZINE (national print & online music magazine) – Tour news with tour poster, dates and related links.

BLURT MAGAZINE (national print & online music magazine) – Tour news with artist photos, dates and related links.

VAN MUSIC (Vancouver online music site) – Feature with Paul  interview to preview show. Vancouver post-show review also scheduled (per Jason)
The Nerves reunion tour kicks off at Iron Road Studios in Vancouver on March 1st 2012.

Back in the 70’s The Nerves were a trio of lads burning up the LA punk scene. They released only one EP that included a little track called “Hanging On The Telephone” which a young lady named Blondie covered and got a hit song out of. As prolific musicians Peter Case and Paul Collins have been involved in many projects since their days in bands together.

They have worked with and influenced some of the greatest names in the biz, from T-Bone Burnet and Mitchell Froom, to Ry Cooder and Bruce Springsteen.

With the success of “One Way Ticket” their 2008 compilation release of remastered tracks from the original EP plus previously unreleased material on Alive Records, the boys decided to reunite for a spring 2012 tour to pay tribute to their bands, The Nerves, The Breakaways and The Plimsouls.
I managed to get a few questions out to them as they were prepping for the tour.

1. How does it feel to be back touring together again after so many years?
Very strange but good, we have not actually started yet so it’s a big musical

2. Looking back on the LA Punk scene that you helped developed how do you think it has changed? For better or for worse?
That’s too big a question for me. I have not lived in LA for many years now and I am not really in touch with the music scene there, but if it is like everything else it has changed, more than likely some of it for the better and some for the worse. Things stay the same and re-invent themselves at the same time. That is how it should be in my opinion. The same goes for the music we lovingly call Power Pop.

3. What do you find most satisfying about playing live?
The feeling you get when the band is really rocking out and we are all in sync and of course when you really connect with the audience that is an amazing feeling… like no other I know of.

4. How does it feel to have your songs live on through other artists, like Blondie and Def Leppard, etc.
It is a very nice feeling when respected peers in your field pay you the complement of recording your songs. You are of course referring to “Hanging on The Telephone” written by my old pal Jack Lee and I can tell you for a fact he is delighted about it!

5. What made you decide to tour again in 2012 as a tribute to The Nerves?
We were hoping to make a million dollars and retire gracefully in big houses with swimming pools. I am not sure if that will happen though.

6. Paul, you spend a lot of time in Spain. How has this influenced you as a musician and as an artist in general?
I had a blast, drank a lot of really good red wine, ate way too much delicious food and enjoyed the woman immensely! Artistically speaking it allowed me to get out from under the American Music Business scene which I do not enjoy or support. I am now pretty much 100% DIY and I love it.

7. As musicians who have quietly influenced other musicians from Blondie to Bruce Springsteen, do you have any advice for new musicians and bands who are trying to make their mark in music today?
Work your ass off.

8. I’m sure you have many great stories of being on the road and of recording with so many artists. Do you have any that you would like to
share with our readers?
I think it would be better if they came to one of our shows so we can tell them in person.

9. What can we expect from you both together and independently in the future?
Hopefully a lot of great honest rock n roll.

THE PROVINCE (Vancouver weekly) – Feature/interview with artist photos (per Tom Harrison)
Case, Collins aim for timeless power-pop
By Tom Harrison, The Province
Peter Case and I met over Wilson Picket.
I’d been intrigued by the Wicked Wilson’s “Mini Skirt Minnie” since I heard it as a kid in 1967. I had the 45 but, as far as I know, the song isn’t on an album, be it a regular release or an anthology. Picket’s next single was the immeasurably greater hit, “Funky Broadway.” So, “Mini Skirt Minnie” might have been buried and forgotten.
Case came about it the same way. He had the single and knew nothing else. Nevertheless, his Plimsouls recorded “Mini Skirt Minnie.”
“Lots of guitar,” Case exclaims admiringly. “Steve Cropper.
“I met Wilson Picket on an airplane about 10 years ago. I went up to him and introduced myself. ‘Hi, I’m Peter Case of The Plimsouls; we did ‘Mini Skirt Minnie.’”
Instead of being flattered, Picket blew up.
“I never got paid for that session,” he growled and that was the end of the encounter and possibly explains the fate of “Mini Skirt Minnie.”
It’s doubtful that Case will perform the song at Iron Road Studios. There is so much else to do.
Case has reunited with Paul Collins and they will play material from their subsequent bands starting with The Nerves. The Nerves were a trio during the heyday of the L.A. punk underground. When they split, Collins and Case briefly had The Breakways. They split again, Collins to form The Beat, Case The Plimsouls. Both were exemplary power-pop. After The Beat, Collins relocated to Spain, produced and recorded intermittently. Case struck out as a solo folkie and has had his ups and downs. Both have kept their head above water and getting back together seemed like a good idea.
“It’s all coming together,” Case said. “Me and Paul are so different.”
How different might be measured by contrasting The Nerves with The Plimsouls.
“We were in a band together that had a gestalt, a style,” explains Case. “The Nerves were minimal, very stripped down. The Plimsouls were a full rock and roll band; we even had a lead guitar. The Nerves had its own thing; we had a lot of clashes, we got thrown out of buildings.”
Case and Collins didn’t write The Nerves’ claim to fame, “Hangin’ On The Telephone,” as covered by Blondie. They were, however, able to build on it, The Plimsouls racking up a hit in “A Million Miles Away,” a great song in the mould of The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High.”
“A Million Miles Away” is more likely than “Mini Skirt Minnie” to be featured at Iron Road. The Plimsouls have a new album, Beach Town Confidential, but the material is old. The quartet augments the live set with covers of The Creation, Easybeats, Kinks and Moby Grape songs.
“Buddy Holly . . .” Case says, unexpectedly. “. . . when I heard Buddy Holly, it all made sense. It was timeless.”
So, timeless power-pop is the aim. Collins sings his songs, Case his. Iron Road is the only Canadian stop on the tour, but the first. Case is looking forward to it.
“The thing Paul and I have always agreed upon is that we want to do great songs.”

OC WEEKLY (Orange County, CA weekly) – News story on tour with Paul photo, Nerves video and related links.
The Nerves’ Peter Case and Paul Collins to Reunite on Tour and Release Material Recorded at the Golden Bear
By Lilledeshan Bose
Mod/power pop pioneers Peter Case and Paul Collins, who first banded together in the seminal new wave band the Nerves, are going on tour together. They’re skipping Orange County, but on Mar. 7 they’ll be at the Echo in LA, Mar. 8 in San Diego at Bar Pink, and Mar. 9 at Pioneertown (near Joshua Tree) at Pappy & Harriet’s–so there are enough SoCal venues on their list.

The tour will see Case and Collins performing songs from the Plimsouls (which Case played in after the Nerves) and the Beat and the Breakaways for Collins. They’ll have a full band, so they’ll probably be playing a load of gems on this  eight-week tour.
According to Soundspike,
Case is also set to release Beach Town Confidential, a live album of Plimsouls material recorded onstage at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA, on Aug. 13, 1983, when the four-piece was at the height of their fame. “Beach Town Confidential,” featuring six songs that have never been recorded by the Plimsouls before, will be released on Feb. 7.

BLOG SAN DIEGO (San Diego music blog) – Poster art and show info posted on their hoempage.

THE ONION A.V. CLUB (Twin Cities  weekly) – Show preview.
Paul Collins
Also Playing: Peter Case
A long, winding musical road brought singer-songwriter Peter Case to 2010’s Wig!, a route that travels through bar bands, new wave innovators, flirtations with folk-rock, a brief fling with a major, and a life-saving heart surgery. Not that the former leader of The Plimsouls hoped to capture all of that in Wig!’s 12 tracks. Instead, he turned out a dozen blood-simple blues-rock numbers recorded in quick-and-dirty fashion recorded with X drummer DJ Bonebrake and fuzzbox-stomper Ron Franklin. He’s now touring behind a recently released collection of rarities, The Case Files.
Amsterdam Bar And Hall
6 W. 6th Street
Twin Cities MN 55102
all ages $20,291588/

WXPN “FREE AT NOON” CONCERT SERIES – Live performance Friday April 13th at noon in Philadelphia (All XPN “Free At Noon” concerts are now being simulcast via National Public Radio’s website –, and via online broadcast at WBFO in Buffalo, New York / KUT in Austin, Texas / WITH in Ithica, New York / WRUR in Rochester, New York / Vermont Public Radio)

NASHVILLE SCENE (Nashville weekly) – Nashville show preview with photos
Power-Pop Giants Peter Case and Paul Collins Are Playing Mercy Lounge April 19, and You Should Care
Posted by D Patrick Rodgers
First of all, yes. We know that this show was initially announced several weeks ago. And yes, there was some question regarding what venue would host the show — why in the world would Peter Case’s website (among others) list the venue as “The High Watt”? As ticketed, it’s definitely taking place at Mercy Lounge, and not in some as-yet-unannounced, still-gestating, fetal-stages baby venue. Where would you get that idea?

But here’s the thing: If you heard the names Peter Case and Paul Collins, scratched your head and thought, “Eh, must be some random pair of old singer-songwriters,” then you’re doing it wrong. Extremely wrong. Collins and Case first collaborated in the short-lived but highly influential mid-’70s power-pop trio The Nerves, who released only one four-song, self-titled EP. The lead-off track, “Hanging on the Telephone” — a performance of which was captured in an in-store during SXSW 2007 (see above) — proved to be an enormous hit for Blondie. Puerto Rican garage-rock outfit Davila 666 also does a version that’s a lot of fun to watch. But I’m getting sidetracked here.

Now, after The Nerves, Collins and Case again collaborated in The Breakaways, not to be confused with English girl group The Breakaways. There’s not a lot of Breakaways tunes to be dug up online, but “Walking out on Love” is a highlight:

Then Case and Collins parted ways, with Case going on to front the influential Plimsouls, and their 1983 release Everywhere at Once is essential listening for the power-pop fan. “Shaky City” is my favorite on the LP, but “A Million Miles Away” is on YouTube, so we’ll listen to that instead:

As Case did his Plimsouls thing, Collins went on to front the prolific The Beat, whose “Rock ‘n’ Roll Girl” is what we in the biz call “undeniable”:

There’s your cursory, mildly unimpressive, I’m-working-on-some-other-stuff-and-thus-have-to-leave-it-at-that crash course. There’s plenty I left out, and I apologize. As a token of my regret, listen to “When You Find Out,” as it is dope:

April 19 at Mercy Lounge

NASHVILLE’S DEAD (Nashville music site) – Nashville show preview with photos
For the last few years we’ve always seen Paul Collins take his bag around the area but never hit Nashville. Not sure exactly what’s been stopping the Nerve from coming to our fair city, but it won’t matter anymore this April. Paul and Peter Case will be stopping in at “The High Watt” on April 19th to play a mix of Nerves, The Beat, and Plimsouls jams. Color us stoked. We’re not exactly sure what The High Watt is just yet, but the address on the site has it listed as right near Mercy Lounge. You can check here for all the rest of Peter & Paul’s tour dates. We went ahead and posted one of our favorite Nerves songs at the bottom for good measure. Gimme Spring, bebe…

EXAMINER (online A&E site) – News story on tour
Paul Collins/Peter Case tour dates announced
Chris Cordani
The Nerves co-founders Paul Collins and Peter Case tour dates are official. This comes after their initial announcement in November that the two would reunite to co-headline together this year.

Collins and Case will be accompanied by Timm Buechler on bass and drummer Amos Pitsch. They will perform classics from the bands they formed together, The Nerves and The Breakaways, as well as tracks from Collins’ Beat and Case’s Plimsouls.

While some venues have not yet been announced, here are the official Collins/Case tour dates and cities…

NO DEPRESSION (Americana online music site) – News story on tour with photos, tour dates, videos and related links.
Press release: Peter Case & Paul Collins of The Nerves 2012 Reunion Tour
ike many bands, they said it would never happen; there were no plans to reunite The Nerves. When I interviewed both Case and Collins a few years ago, they both praised one another, but stated that a Nerves reunion was unlikely.  More recently, The Nerves experienced a resurgence in popularity when their songs were covered by Cat Power and several other indie rock artists. In 2011, Green Day covered The Nerves’ song Walking Out On Love as part of their Broadway Special. Collins also joined Green Day onstage for live performances in New York. Apparently, Billie Joe Armstrong is an outspoken fan of The Nerves.

Peter Case & Paul Collins – Two  longtime friends, musical partners,  Americana heroes and founding members of legendary rock group The Nerves will be joining forces for a North American tour in 2012, including special dates at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas and some appearances in Canada. The tour is a reunion of Peter Case and Paul Collins, two founding members of The Nerves. Rather than focusing only on The Nerves’ material, their sets will encompass the entire careers of Case and Collins. Expect to hear classic tunes such as Hanging On The Telephone and Walking Out On Love, in addition to key songs from The Plimsouls, The Beat and related works of Case and Collins.

This will be a full band electric tour where the duo is backed by members of The Paul Collins Beat. Paul Collins and Peter Case are 2/3 of The Nerves. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, likely to be the closest thing to a band reunion of The Nerves the world will ever see.

Peter Case and Paul Collins have both established themselves as hard-working singer-songwriters. As the story has been told, Peter Case began his musical career as a folk singer, writing and performing on the streets and in the clubs and coffee houses of San Francisco. Collins moved to California in 1974 with only $75, a station wagon and a guitar. His life changed after meeting Peter Case and Jack Lee and the trio began writing songs and performing as The Nerves. The group funded their own studio recordings and North American tours, performing in the U.S. and Canada.

Collins managed the group and handled their bookings, which included a tour with The Ramones and respectable spots on the USO tour, performing for the troops. The Nerves disbanded around 1977 and Collins and Case formed The Breakaways, which literally “broke away” into two groups, The Plimsouls and The Beat, later known as The Paul Collins Beat. Case became a solo artist in the 80s and has since recorded dozens of prolific albums as a singer-songwriter. Aside from The Beat, Collins recorded his first solo album in 1990, which included members of Chris Isaak’s band. Several more solo albums followed, until Collins re-formed The Beat.

BLURT (national print & online music magazine) – Positive news post, with Plimsouls photo, “Magic Touch” download and tour dates
Plimsouls Live LP; Case & Collins Reunite
Duo planning a full-band tour – including stops at SXSW – to showcase Nerves, Breakaways, Plimsouls and Beat classics.

By Blurt Staff

Punk, garage and power pop fans need no introduction to the late, great Plimsouls, the group that brought Peter Case to international prominence. Over the past few years Case has been releasing unearthing material (solo and with bands, including Plimsouls) from his archives for the Alive Naturalsound label, and this time he’s got another ‘souls good ‘un: Beach Town Confidential, due on Feb. 7.

Recorded at the height of their onstage power at The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA on August 13, 1983, this captures Case, Eddie Muñoz, Dave Pahoa and Louie Ramírez ripping through 16 tracks with a youthful and reckless abandon. Six of these songs have never been recorded before by The Plimsouls (“Making Time,” “Fall On You,” “The Price Of Love,” “Who’s Gonna Break The Ice?,” “Jumpin’ In The Night” and “You Can’t Judge A Book”), plus it also features the only live recordings of “Magic Touch,” “Oldest Story In The World” and “Hobo.”

MP3: “Magic Touch”

Meanwhile, Case has announced he’s teaming up with Paul Collins for an extensive spring North American tour that will include several performances in Austin at SXSW. Prior to the Plimsouls, Case was in The Nerves and The Breakaways with Collins (who would later go on to form his own highly-respected group, The Beat); music buffs will recall that Blondie took Nerves gem “Hanging On The Telephone” all the way to the bank in 1978. For this tour the two (along with bassist Timm Buechler and drummer Amos Pitsch) will be performing classic numbers by those bands as well as Plimsouls and The Beat material.

SOUNDSPIKE (online music site) – News story on tour with Peter photo, tour dates and related links.
Peter Case, Paul Collins join forces for tour
Story by Dave Soref
California New Wave pioneers Peter Case and Paul Collins are reuniting for a spring tour that kicks off Mar. 1 in Vancouver, British Columbia and is slated to wrap eight weeks later in Orlando, FL.

Case and Collins first worked together in early San Francisco new-wave band The Nerves, before Case went on to form the Plimsouls in Los Angeles while Collins played with The Beat (not to be confused with the English Beat) and The Breakaways. The upcoming tour will feature Case and Collins backed by a full-band as they play songs from their back catalogs at bars and clubs across the U.S., including several performances at South by Southwest 2012 in Austin, TX.

In addition to the roadwork, Case is producing “Beach Town Confidential,” a live album of Plimsouls material recorded onstage at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA, on Aug. 13, 1983, when the four-piece was at the height of their fame. “Beach Town Confidential,” featuring six songs that have never been recorded by the Plimsouls before, will be released on Feb. 7.

POWER POP OVERDOSE (online music blog) – Tour news with poster art and tour dates featured.

ANTIMUSIC (online music site) – Tour news featured.,_Plimsouls_and_The_Beat_Tour.shtml

CW’S PLACE (online music blog) – Tour news with poster art and tour dates featured.


Bob Rice from KYRS 92.3FM Radio in Spokane, WA will be interviewing composer and mathematician Lawrence Ball this Sunday, February 26th from 1-2pm (pacific) on his “Crossroads” show. The two will be discussing Lawrence’s new double album “Method Music” as well as his work on the record with Pete Townshend.

You can tune into the live audio stream this Sunday at 1pm (pacific) here:






The title of LEE BAINS III AND THE GLORY FIRES’ debut album comes from Bains mishearing an old hymn as a child. In the soft accents of his elders around Birmingham, Alabama, “There is a balm in Gilead” sounded a lot like “There is a bomb.” It fits, really. The Glory Fires learned to construct music in the churches of their childhoods, and learned to destroy it in the punk clubs of their youths.

As much Wilson Pickett as Fugazi, as much the Stooges as the Allman Brothers, Birmingham, Alabama’s Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires have brought radical rock’n’roll to bear on their own experience and their own place. On ‘THERE IS A BOMB IN GILEAD,’ they deconstruct the music of the Deep South, strip it down and reassemble it, to make a righteous ruckus that sits at the vanguard of the vernacular.

In 2008, shortly after returning to Birmingham from college in New York, Lee Bains fell in with the Dexateens, a Tuscaloosa institution whose raggedy union of cock-eyed rebel pride and forward-thinking fury proved to be the perfect apprenticeship for a confused Southern boy, raised on Skynyrd and schooled in Faulkner. After Bains had played with the band for a couple or three years, a couple or three hundred shows, the Dexateens came to a reluctant end. Bains found himself off the road, back in Birmingham, without a band. He also found himself with a passel of powerful songs sitting somewhere between buzzsaw garage, classic power-pop and sweating country-soul. Casting his nets in central Alabama’s rock’n’roll clubs, Bains assembled the Glory Fires: drummer Blake Williamson (Black Willis, Taylor Hollingsworth, Dan Sartain), bass player Justin Colburn (Model Citizen, Arkadelphia), and guitar player Matt Wurtele. Chugging along with a fierce Muscle Shoals vibe, the Glory Fires brought a sense of urgency to Bains’ drawling, howling voice.

After tracking some demos under the powerful guidance of Texas punk pioneer Tim Kerr (Big Boys, Poison 13, Now Time Delegation) and a few months of shows, the Glory Fires traveled to Water Valley, Mississippi to record the tracks for their debut LP There Is a Bomb in Gilead at Dial Back Sound with engineer Lynn Bridges (Quadrajets, Jack Oblivian, Thomas Function). The songs were mixed in Detroit, at Ghetto Recorders by Jim Diamond (The Dirtbombs, The New Bomb Turks, Outrageous Cherry). It is there — in that Mississippi grease and Detroit grit — that There Is a Bomb in Gilead sits, fuse lit, ready to go.

There Is A Bomb In Gilead hits stores May 15th and will be available on CD, Digital and Black Vinyl with with lyric sheet and download card. In addition, there will also be a very limited pressing of 500 Purple Vinyl albums with lyric sheet and download card exclusive to mailorders.

Later next month Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires will be heading out on the road for a highly anticipated tour with their friends and musical brethen Alabama Shakes. “We just like each other’s bands from having played together in Tuscaloosa,” Bains explained about their relationship. “The funny thing is that, several months ago, before things started going really crazy for the Shakes, I asked them if they’d want to do a co-headline tour in April, since both of our albums were supposed to come out around that time. When I asked back then, they had said that a couple members couldn’t get off work for that long, so they’d have to pass. Now, here it is, six or seven or eight months later, and we’re opening for them on a tour of much bigger venues than we could’ve ever expected.”

Bains further elaborated, “We have both definitely come out of the Alabama rock’n’roll scene. Heath and Zac [from Alabama Shakes] were both frequenting Egan’s in Tuscaloosa before the Shakes played there, and I’d seen Zac at our Dexateens shows. There’s definitely a tradition of dirty Alabama rock’n’roll that takes pride in being from Alabama. I guess I’d point to the Quadrajets, Immortal Lee County Killers, Drive-By Truckers, Model Citizen and Dexateens as being a few of those bands. In those bands and others, I see a definite sense of Southern heritage, mostly in their influences (Muscle Shoals and Memphis soul, ’70s Southern rock, Big Star and Memphis garage stuff, gospel music, classic country and blues), but also a conscious effort to question and subvert what it means to be Southern. With really loud damn guitars.”

March 2 – Jackson, MS – Sam’s Lounge
March 9 – Chattanooga, TN – JJ’s Bohemia w/ Bohannons
March 11 – New Orleans, LA – Circle Bar w/ Bohannons
March 23 – Tuscaloosa, AL – Bama Theatre w/ Dexateens, Alabama Shakes
March 24 – Birmingham, AL – The Nick w/ Black Willis, Bohannons, Doc Dailey
April 5 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre w/ Alabama Shakes
April 6 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle w/ Alabama Shakes
April 7 – Baltimore, MD – Ram’s Head w/ Alabama Shakes
April 9 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live w/ Alabama Shakes
April 10 – Hoboken, NJ – Maxwell’s w/ The Neutron Drivers
April 11 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom w/ Alabama Shakes
April 12 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Alabama Shakes
April 14 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground w/ Alabama Shakes
April 15 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club w/ Alabama Shakes
April 17 – Toronto, ONT – Lee’s Palace w/ Alabama Shakes
April 19 – Cincinnati, OH – The Comet w/ Buffalo Killers
April 20 – Knoxville, TN – The Well
April 21 – Waverly, AL – Old 280 Boogie w/ Centro-matic, Pine Hill Haints



Tony Bonyata
Pavement PR
p: 262.903.7775


Lawrence Ball: Method Music
By John Garratt

If Pete Townshend’s “Lifehouse” project never actually comes to a full realization, he’s at least prepared to watch it grow through various stages in his lifetime. What exactly is “Lifehouse” and how does it relate to Lawrence Ball and this supposed Method Music? If you are a big fan of the Who and are already familiar with Pete Townshend’s various aborted musical narratives, then you can probably skip the following paragraph.

“Lifehouse” is a grand-scale concept that Townshend has been cooking on his back burner for about forty years. The story goes something like this: it’s either a future or parallel society where, pollution being so bad, everyone needs government-issued “experience suits,” something that makes life more quaint and pleasant but the government convinces everyone they actually need them to live. These experience suits give people access to food, shelter and entertainment (it’s a bit like the internet). One family decides they don’t need all of this and consequently live off the grid. A young man named Bobby, a composer, no less, manages to hack into this vast system. He invites all inhabitants of this society, including the aforementioned family, to a liberating concert where Bobby’s computer program gives all listeners a special human touch: custom-made music for each individual, composed purely from data. Each concert-goer hands over a little bit of information about themselves, and—Presto! They have their very own song. The “Lifehouse” narrative follows both Bobby and the rogue family in search of this groovy concert. Rather than making “Lifehouse” this big, fully realized project, Townshend has dolled its contents out gradually over the years in the forms of some very notable Who songs found on Who’s Next and Who Are You.

Time and again, Townshend has abandoned the big picture of “Lifehouse” because, among other reasons, the technology to mimic Bobby’s “method music” was not available. But fast-forward to the present day and it’s a whole new ball game. Townshend approached mathematician and minimalist composer Lawrence Ball to create some software that would do the very thing Bobby’s character wanted to do in the story: taking bits of people’s personal information, plugging them into a program, and getting their own unique piece of music. Ball pulled it off and fiction became reality in the form of a now-defunct website called the Lifehouse Method. I somehow missed it, but some 10,000 people logged onto the site after its 2007 launched and each one walked away with a five-minute song—and no two were alike.

Method Music is a double album of the software’s test runs, so many of them have the dummy name “Sitter” in the title. The first song though will sound familiar for two reasons. First of all, it’s the “Meher Baba Piece,” a vignette constructed from the data of one Meher Baba, Townshend’s former spiritual guru and main inspiration for the 1971 hit “Baba O’Riley.” Secondly, this computer-generated sound is what kicked off the Who’s last album Endless Wire. If any of you were startled by the similarities between “Baba O’Riley” and “Fragments,” it was no accident. But aside from that, the first half of Method Music is about as mechanical as it can get. Each track hovers around the five minute mark and every note is sounded with perfect precision. And as cold and diffuse as that may seem, there’s a meditative quality to the sounds that can’t easily be pinpointed. Call is minimalist hypnosis if you will, but there is something oddly musical about this grand machine churning out music like it’s a series of logarithms.

The second disc is where things get theoretically more interesting. It’s built of three slow tracks, a simple matter of division applied to the “sitter” pieces, redubbed “Galaxy” and orchestrated for strings. And sure enough, they all run the same approximate length: around twenty minutes. Each one is dedicated to a musician recently passed. And I assume, since there is no mention of this in either the liner notes or the press release, that the compositions are based on their subject’s input data. I wouldn’t know how else to explain that “Galaxy 01” is dedicated to Syd Barrett, that “Galaxy 02” is dedicated to Hugh Hopper and that “Galaxy 03” is dedicated to György Liegti. There’s no early Floyd, Soft Machine or monolith anywhere in sight. Perhaps an absence of parenthetical references would help the listener process these for what they are rather than what they are not. But that wouldn’t change anything if you are the kind of person who is driven crazy by minimalism. These pieces, especially the second and third installment, go through agonizingly little change over the course of twenty minutes.

When someone goes to the trouble to boil music down to its mathematical elements, it becomes immune to criticism (great, so what am I supposed to be doing here?). Think about it; scientists of other disciplines often dismiss math as a science because you can never disprove it. To paraphrase Dennis Hopper from Apocalypse Now!, “you can’t criticize a fraction, man!” It’s a bold thing for me to give this collection any kind of grade, but the 7 comes from my own experiences of horsing around with a program called Music In Numbers with some college friends. It was developed by a man who felt that computer-generated music was the only pure music out there—that of the spheres. Based on the digits you entered, it picked tones, key signatures, tempos, instruments, and anything else you could think of. The results were more amusing than musical, but what got me was the wide field of numbers this thing could process. Lawrence Ball’s software understandably feels far more developed and capable of spinning melodies that have more than just novelty value. Pete Townshend had (and maybe still does) a specific vision and Ball has the logically deep know-how. Put them together and you get Method Music—an album that will no doubt sound like any other ever again. And that alone is admission price.


GLIDE MAGAZINE–  Positive  4/5 album review
The Plimsouls
Beach Town Confidential: Live At The Golden Bear 1983
By Doug Collette

The casual listener might be surprised to learn Live at the Golden Bear 1983 is the third live Plimsouls album to be release in recent years. One listen to Beach Town Confidential from start to finish, however, will explain why the demand is there: this is blood and guts rock transcending fashion (both the punk and new wave of its era), the likes of which will always stand the test of time.

To an even greater degree perhaps than 2010’s Live: Beg Borrow & Steal, The Plimsouls play and sing here like their lives depend on it–plus they absolutely relish that sensation. Comparisons between a young John Lennon and Peter Case are not off the mark: especially when the group is piledriving its way through one of the frontman’s originals, like “Zero Hour” or “Oldest Story in the World.” Case’s singing demonstrates a deep-seated need to not just be heard, but understood. And he enjoys no end belting it out!

The presence of The Williams Brothers, among other guests during this 50-plus minute long set, add harmony vocals on “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice?” but their singing does nothing to undermine the urgency of the performance. Likewise, The Fleshtones’ Keith Streng on “Jumpin’ in the Night,” this otherwise vain attempt to conclude the show, following immediately with another original,  “Now,” only ratchets up the intensity of the atmosphere in the club back to fever pitch.

Beach Town Confidential has much in common with its predecessors, including 1988’s One Night in America, most especially the economical brevity of the tracks that proceed in rapid-fire succession as the album progresses. The presence of roots-rock covers, effectively juxtaposed to contrast with the ‘Souls own material, recurs here in the form of “You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover.” A welcome surprise indeed–and proof positive great rock bands find kindred spirits in other such compelling ensembles–is the inclusion of Moby Grape’s “Fall On You:” no mention is made of the source of the song, but suffice to say it maintains the momentum.

Peter Case must experience a great source of pride in prepping and producing such a release (along with former Plimsouls manager Danny Holloway). It maintains the impeccable credibility of his body of work, with this great band and solo under his own name.

Beach Town Confidential – The Plimsouls
by Mark Deming
For over 20 years, the lively but fidelity-challenged One Night in America was the only readily available evidence of the Plimsouls’ status as one of America’s best live bands during the 1980s, but it’s our good fortune that Peter Case has taken to rummaging through his closet. In 2010, he unearthed Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal, which documented a hot Halloween night show at the Whiskey in 1981, and now Beach Town Confidential allows us to relive a 1983 Plimsouls gig at the Golden Bear club in Huntington Beach, California. While Everywhere at Once (released earlier the same year) dominates the set list, Plimsouls obsessives will be pleased to know some genuine rarities show up on Beach Town Confidential, including “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice?” (a solo version by Case appeared on the soundtrack to the faulty teen comedy The Wild Life) and “Hobo” (a surf-ish instrumental that surfaced as a bonus track on the CD reissue of Everywhere at Once), and the band tears through a fistful of well-chosen covers, including Moby Grape’s “Fall on You,” the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumpin’ in the Night” (with Keith Streng of the Fleshtones joining the ‘Souls on guitar), and the Creation’s “Making Time.” The audio is crisp and captures the rowdy ambience of the packed house, but the real thrill of this album is hearing the Plimsouls at the top of their game. The band is ferociously tight and hits the songs hard without robbing them of their melodic grace, and Case’s vocals are pure rock & roll fervor. And how many bands of this era could come up with songs as undeniable as “A Million Miles Away,” “How Long Will It Take?,” and “Shaky City”? You could argue that Beach Town Confidential doesn’t tell us much about the Plimsouls that we don’t already know, and that may be true, but few bands merged melody, force, and sheer belief as well as these guys did on a good night, and they were having a very good one when these tapes rolled. A thrill for longtime fans and a revelation for anyone who pegged the Plimsouls as just another L.A. power pop band.

The Plimsouls: Beach Town Confidential
By Alan Brown

Although recorded a mere 12 months before Peter Case dissolved the Plimsouls and went solo, Beach Town Confidential presents a band at their peak, not one close to imploding. This set at Huntington Beach’s Golden Bear in 1983 is a melodic white-hot power-pop ball of energy that blows away any previous Plimsouls live recording you may have heard, including One Night In America or even 1981’s “close-fisted power-pop tour-de-force” at the Whisky-A-Go-Go on All Hallows Eve. As well as audience favorites “Zero Hour” and “A Million Miles Away”, the album offers six unreleased numbers, including cover versions of the Everlys’ “Price of Love” that has guests the Williams Brothers on lead vocals and Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge A Book”, plus the only live recordings of original songs “Magic Touch” and the spooky surf-meets-power-pop instrumental “Hobo”. Recommended!

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS – Positive 4 star album review
CD review: The Plimsouls, ‘Beach Town Confidential’ — 4 stars
By Sam Gnerre
This live recording taken from an August 1983 show at Huntington Beach’s now-demolished Golden Bear is the latest in a series of the Alive label’s fine reissues chronicling singer/songwriter Peter Case’s early pre-solo career, from the Nerves to the short-lived Breakaways and finally the Plimsouls.

It’s hard to imagine the Plimsouls ever sounding better live than the band sounds on this recording, which is superior to the band’s two earlier live albums. The mix is remarkable, a crystal-clear blend of rippling, crackling guitars and pounding drums behind Case’s sure-footed and crisply rendered vocals. Factor in the band’s ability to create an exhilarating hybrid of rock ‘n’ roll, power pop and blue-eyed soul drawn from its own originals and astutely chosen covers, an enthusiastic club crowd and a nonstop pace, and “Beach Town Confidential” becomes essential.

The band’s hit “A Million Miles Away” is here with guitars blazing, but some lesser-known tracks may also set your hair on fire, most notably a wild version of East L.A. legends Thee Midniters’ classic 1966 raver “Jump, Jive and Harmonize.”

Among the other covers are rip-snorting takes on the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumping in the Night” and the Creation’s mod classic “Makin’ Time.” Several of the band’s own songs also punch through the speakers more strongly than did the original studio versions, including a dynamic “Now” that balances melodic verses with its jet-propelled chorus, and a stunning “How Long Will It Take” that puts together everything the Plimsouls were capable of in a single 2 1/2-minute blitz. “Beach Town Confidential” is a rarity, a live recording that captures a band at the peak of its powers and demonstrates clearly to the listener why it was special. And the Plimsouls at its peak was special indeed.

Case and former Nerves bandmate and power-pop master Paul Collins will be touring together this spring, including a March 7 date at The Echo in Echo Park.

BLURT MAGAZINE (national music monthly and online site) – Positive 8/10 album preview
Live at the Golden Bear 1983

With Live at the Golden Bear 1983, the Plimsouls catalog now contains as many live albums as studio LPs. This entry takes place in the months prior to the release of the L.A. quartet’s final (in its original incarnation) record Everywhere at Once, and includes material from that LP – “Oldest Story in the World,” “How Long Will It Take?,” “Magic Touch,” the instrumental “Hobo.” (EAO cuts “Shaky City” and “A Million Miles Away” had been set staples since 1981.) Of course, the band’s prior classics still stand tall, including “Now,” “In This Town” and, of course, “Zero Hour.” The album also includes “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice?,” an otherwise unrecorded, and quite excellent, new song.

The band also adds a passel of new covers to its repertoire, hitting on the Creation (“Making Time”), the Everly Brothers (“Price of Love,” sung by guests the Williams Brothers), the Flamin Groovies (“Jumpin’ in the Night,” with Fleshtones guitarist Keith Streng) and Bo Diddley (“You Can’t Judge a Book”). The group’s raucous version of Thee Midniters’ “Jump Jive and Harmonize” remains as well. The presence of that many covers might cause one to wonder about the band’s confidence in its own material, but give that singer Peter Case digs into other people’s songs with the same eagerness as his own, they might as well all be Plimsouls songs anyhow.

So the question is: what makes this live record a necessary purchase, given the release of Live! Beg Borrow & Steal and One Night in America? No real reason, except that it’s just an ass-kicking performance. [Boy howdy to that: speaking as one who saw the Plimsouls and interviewed them on this same ’83 tour, this was a band to be reckoned with. – Archival Ed.]

Throughout, the band blazes away with all the fire and fervor of a group of dudes who looooove their job, and with first-rate material and an energy level nearly off the charts, Live at the Golden Bear 1983 is as essential as any other item in the Plimsouls’ catalog.

DOWNLOAD: “Jumpin’ in the Night,” “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice?,” “Now” MICHAEL TOLAND

SOUND + VISION MAGAZINE  (national music monthly) – Positive album preview
This Week in Music, Feb. 7, 2012
By Brett Milano
The Plimsouls: Beach Town Confidential
Reissue (Alive)

Lovers of first-class power pop should welcome all the Plimsouls they can get, and this newly released 1983 show beats their studio releases for sweat and swagger. Along with their sole hit “A Million Miles Away” and the shoulda-been-a-hit “Zero Hour,”  there are ace covers from Everly Brothers to Flamin’ Groovies.

STYLE WEEKLY (Richmond, VA weekly) – Positive review with album art
The Plimsouls, “Beach Town Confidential: Live at the Golden Bear 1983” (Alive Records)

Some people recall the Plimsouls as the band featured in “Valley Girl,” others as an early vehicle for untiring troubadour Peter Case, and still others as simply a fantastic ’80s group that was a much-needed antidote to the hair metal and synth pop plaguing the musical times. But you need a soul check if you don’t feel revved up by this live set of the band pleasing the crowd at a now-legendary Huntington Beach, Calif., nightspot. Coming off as both good timey and edgy, the group rips through many of the British Invasion- and roots rock-tinged power-pop standouts that made minor classics of their 1980 EP “Zero Hour,” an eponymous ’81 debut long player, and its follow-up, ’83’s “Everywhere at Once.” If anything, these blistering live cuts make it sound as if the studio concoctions came up short in showcasing the Plimsouls’ considerable force. For good measure, they wear their influences proudly via energized covers of songs by ’60s favorites such as the Creation and Moby Grape. Enjoy this fine reissue as ’80s nostalgia or just as a fabulous live record by a top-notch act performing band at its peak.— Brian Greene

SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN (Sante Fe, NM daily) – Positive review with album art
TERRELL’S TUNE-UP: Timeless Plimsouls
A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Feb. 17, 2012
Two years after their last live album, the mighty Plimsouls are back with an even more powerful concert CD. Not bad for a group that broke up almost 30 years ago.

Even if you didn’t know anything about The Plimsouls, you would have a hard time believing that Beach Town Confidential was recorded just a couple of months ago, not in 1983.

Now what should you know about The Plimsouls?

They rose from the fires of the frenzied L.A. punk/New Wave scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Led by Peter Case, who had been in a punk group called The Nerves, and fortified by Eddie Muñoz on guitar, Dave Pahoa on bass, and drummer Louie Ramirez, they forged a sound that featured the guitar frenzy of their punk peers but sweetened it with irresistible melodic hooks. You could hear echoes of rock’s founding fathers, mid-’60s folk-rock, and sweaty soul.

The Plimsouls only released a couple of studio albums in their heyday, including their major-label debut, the over-produced but — hey, it was the ’80s — still worthy Everywhere at Once, which yielded the closest thing the band had to a hit, “A Million Miles Away.” They broke up in the mid-’80s when Case decided to pursue a solo career as an acoustic troubadour, which was a return to his roots as a street busker in San Francisco’s North Beach area.

But about every 10 years or so he reunites with the other Plimsouls for a few shows, most recently in 2006. (In 1996, they actually did a fresh studio album, the undeservedly out-of-print Kool Trash, which every true Plimsouls fan should demand to have re-released.)

There are a lot of similarities between Beach Town Confidential and Live! Beg, Borrow, Steal, the Plimsouls’ live record recorded in 1981 and released in 2010. Many of the songs are the same — “Zero Hour,” “Shaky City,” and, of course, “A Million Miles Away.”

Both have covers of Thee Midnighters’ “Jump, Jive, and Harmonize,” and both have desperately horny versions of their own classic “Now” (“Right now! I need your love tonight! I can’t wait any longer!”). Both contain a Bo Diddley song (a splendid “You Can’t Judge a Book” on Beach Town). And both have guest appearances by The Fleshtones’ Keith Streng. (On Beg, Borrow, Steal, all the Fleshtones joined The Plimsouls for a couple of songs. On Beach Town, Streng plays guitar on “Jumpin’ in the Night,” a Flamin’ Groovies tune.)

But the more recent album includes a lot of songs we haven’t heard before on live Plimsoul albums.

“Jumpin’” is just one of the rarities here. Another is “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice,” which — like the best Plimsouls songs — is as catchy as it is urgent. There is even a little-known Everly Brothers song called “The Price of Love.” Like the Everly Brothers, the Plimsouls play this as a bluesy stomp with prominent harmonica. Case pals Andrew and David Williams sing lead on this one, their brotherly harmonies evoking the Everlys.

Beach Town Confidential has the only live recordings of Plimsouls tunes “Magic Touch” and “Oldest Story in The World” — hearty rockers both — and “Hobo,” an instrumental Case dedicates to “all the surfers in the house.” (The show was at Huntington Beach. There probably were quite a few there.)

I think my favorite Plimsouls surprise here, though, is a punchy version of a Moby Grape song, “Fall on You.” All I can say is “Grape job!”

Case is about to embark on a tour with former Nerves bandmate Paul Collins. (They’re playing in Arizona and Texas, but seem to have forgotten about that state in the middle.) I’m hoping the response to Beach Town Confidential will be so great that he will do another Plimsouls reunion — and record a new Plimsouls album — in the near future.

ELECTROBLOGS (online music blog) – News feature with album art
Posted by Christopher Levine
The Plimsouls have been around the block. With the chart topper “A Million Miles Away” they became a household name in the 1980’s, and the core members are still going strong. Not only are they releasing a live album with never-before heard live tracks, but Peter Case and Paul Collins are taking the show on the road.

First, the album. “Beach Town Confidential”, which was recorded at The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA on August 13, 1983, will be out February 7th. (And yes, fellow vinylheads there will be a version on wax too.) 16 tracks are included, and while it screams 1983-in a good way- it by no means sounds dated.

Case and Collins are melding their various projects into a tour as well, including not just Plimsouls material- but stuff by The Nerves and The Breakaways, as well as material by The Beat.

Coming to a town near you, here are the posted dates so far:

March 01 Iron Road Studios, Vancouver BC, CAN
March 02 The Funhouse, Seattle WA
March 03 The Star Theatre, Portland OR
March 05 Red Devil Lounge, San Francisco CA
March 07 The Echo, Los Angeles CA
March 08 Bar Pink, San Diego CA
March 09 Pappy and Harriet’s, Pioneertown TBA CA
March 11 Club Congress, Tucson AZ
March 13 Rhythm Room, Phoenix AZ
March 16 TBA SXSW Official Showcase, Austin TX
March 17 Alejandro Escovedo’s Taco Party at Maria’s Taco Express Austin TX mid-afternoon
March 17 Freddie Steady’s 12th Annual Frontier A Go Go And Rock & Roll Hootenanny, Austin TX 5:30 PM
March 18 The Blue Door, Oklahoma City OK (acoustic duo)
March 19 The Record Bar, Kansas City MO
March 20 The Outland, Springfield MO
March 22 The New Amsterdam, St. Paul MN
March 24 Shank Hall, Milwaukee WI (w/ Chuck Prophet)
March 25 Empty Bottle, Chicago IL
March 27 Ace of Cups, Columbus OH
March 28 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland OH
March 30 Stage on Herr, Harrisburg PA
March 31 Bridge Street Live, Collinsville CT
April 13 WXPN “Free At Noon” Concert Series, Philadelphia PA
April 18 Hi-Tone, Memphis TN
April 19 The High Watt, Nashville TN
April 20 JJ Bohemia’s Chattanooga TN
April 21 The Star Bar, Atlanta GA
April 22 Jack of the Woods, Asheville NC

Times change, but good songs never go out of style. Check ’em out.

BROKEN HEARTED TOY (online music site) – Positive album review  with Chicago show preview
CD Review: The Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential
Beach Town Confidential is a real find for fans of The Plimsouls. Recorded back in 1983 at Huntington Beach’s renowned Golden Bear club, the 17 tracks showcase the legendary power pop band performing its most potent originals, as well as some intriguing covers. Six of the songs have never seen the light of day before.

The previously unreleased material includes the catchy “Who’s Gonna Break The Ice?” which was written by singer-guitarist Peter Case. The concert also saw The Plimsouls’ romping through The Creation’s UK single, “Making Time,” The Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumpin’ In The Night,” and Moby Grape’s “Fall On You.” There’s also a rousing take on The Everly Brothers’ “Price Of Love,” and Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge A Book” is given a revved-up British Invasion arrangement.

The Plimsouls engage in some audience participation in the middle of playing the vintage garage rock tune, “Jump Jive And Harmonize,” by Thee Midniters, but otherwise, they don’t embellish or launch into extensive jamming. Still, it’s great to hear gems like “Shaky City,” the surf instrumental, “Hobo,” “Magic Touch,” and of course, “A Million Miles Away,” in a live setting

Note: Former Plimsouls frontman Peter Case and Paul Collins, formerly of The Beat, (both musicians were part of The Nerves) will be performing at The Empty Bottle in Chicago, on March 19th.

DAGGER ZINE (online music site) – Positive album review with album art
The Plimsouls
BEACH TOWN CONFIDENTIAL: LIVE AT THE GOLDEN BEAR 1983- (ALIVE RECORDS)-Maybe there should be a warning on Beach Town Confidential. This glimpse into a gleefully capable Plimsouls could cause listeners to bust the screen door open and do some dancing in the street. Caught in ’83 at a club in Huntington Beach, California, the set, which features six songs that were previously unreleased, practically drips with the sweat you know was pouring off the fans whose whistles and shouts speckle the background. Peter Case, Eddie Munoz, Dave Pahoa and Louie Ramirez pound out the glistening chords; the snap-crackle riffs, and the crisp and thudding beats that celebrate everything bright and fun about Power/Garage Pop, Stones love, Merseybeat progressions, and Punk abandon. If you’re just reading this ‘zine for the first time, or you don’t know from anything referenced above, maybe you’ve heard of the Flamin Groovies? Perhaps not incidentally, the Plimsouls (joined by the Fleshtones’ Keith Streng on guitar) follow cries for an encore with the latter’s “Jumpin’ in the Night.” One encore stretches into six. And the music just gets fiercer. Yeah, it’s one of those “Damn, I wish I’d been there!” shows. You know what I’m going to say next, right? Yeah. Beach Town Confidential is, without doubt, the next best thing. EXCEPT… there’s another amazing thing: Peter Case is reuniting with Paul Collins (they were both in the Nerves) for a tour, this March. Incredibly fun rock ‘n’ roll could be headed to your town; soon. MARY LEARY

REVERBERATIONS (online music blog) – Positive 8.7/10 album review
Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential (Alive Records)
Peter Case of the Plimsouls never cared much for the power-pop label. And while the Plimsouls were contemporaries with bands lumped into the punk category the band never self-identified as punk. Of course among their late Seventies/early Eighties peers in the Los Angeles scene there were bands as diverse as X, the Zeros, the Dils, the Germs, and the Alley Cats – all of whom were categorized as punk, only begging the question: what is punk anyway? And its corollary: who cares?

After a decade that spewed forth everything from prog-rock to Malibu singer-songwriters to disco, all the above were rock ‘n’ roll bands. Their shared commitment was to high-energy performance and direct, concise songs. And if energy and succinct songs were the criteria, few bands did it better than the Plimsouls. Their sub-genre inspirations ranged from Merseybeat to rhythm ‘n’ blues to freak-beat. I suppose they got the power-pop label laid on them because they had raw drive (power) and they didn’t sound like unskilled, unschooled half-asses (pop). So, there you go.

They had all the classic elements necessary for rock stardom (songs, looks, etc.), except the Seventies shifted that celestial alignment (see prog-rock, Malibu, disco …) forever. The dream of a universal rock language, the one that cemented the popularity and the legacies of everyone from the Beatle and Stones to the Kinks and the Who had already collapsed into a tower of FM-babble by the time that Big Star, the Flamin’ Groovies and the New York Dolls had all (relatively speaking) flopped.

But the Plimsouls ignored the memo. In their short, sweet life they recorded a stripped down ep (Zero Hour), and two full-length albums – 1981’s self-titled record and Everywhere at Once from 1983. All of them are good, and they have moments of greatness. But generally, fans were of the opinion that they didn’t quite capture everything that made the Plimsouls a great live act. As if to prove this point, since their disbanding in 1983/4 we’ve seen the release of three live Plimsouls recordings, equaling (exceeding, given that their first record was an ep) their studio output (omitting 1998’s reunion release Kool Trash, which is pretty darn good). Two shows featuring recordings from 1981, One Night Alive in America and Live, Beg, Borrow and Steal did a fine job of establishing the Plimsoul’s live authority. Beach Town Confidential, a 1983 show recorded at the Golden Bear Club in Huntington, California, newly released on Alive Records, is even better.

These live tracks are from the 13th of August in 1983. The April release of the film Valley Girl had included the Plimsoul’s “A Million Miles Away” from Everywhere at Once, and the band was probably as popular as they had ever been as a consequence. Yet this performance was close to the end of the band’s road. You’d never know it from these performances; they crackle with a defiant energy that asserts not only the band’s claim to a stardom they were denied, but also a claim to the power of rock itself as a cultural force.

Whether or not this music is “power-pop” is beside the point, but if a case could be made for that as an ideal, the renditions here of songs like “Zero Hour,” “Magic Touch,” “Now,” “How Long Will it Take?” and of course “A Million Miles Away” make that case better than anything by more popular contemporaries like the Knack or the Romantics. This isn’t smarmy or condescending like the former, or skinny-tie packaged like the latter. This is rockin’ music with great pop song values that transcends the finite specifics of era or genre.

Peter Case sings with the foursquare authority of an American John Lennon. The rhythm section, drummer Louie Ramirez and bass player David Pahoa, is solid enough to drive AC/DC, but too supple and swinging to be limited to that. Lead guitarist Eddie Munoz moves from folk-rock jangle to Dave Davies-like assertion to sharp blues licks seamlessly and always in touch with the intent of the songs.

I get a special kick out of their selection of covers for this set. “Jump, Jive and Harmonize” is the only carryover from either of their previous live releases, homage to Thee Midnighters and the band’s Chicano roots. The band’s sensibility is exemplified by two songs with very different expressions of 1967 – Moby Grape’s “Fall on You” and Creation’s “Making Time.” The first is high-octane Cali-rock, bordering on country, while the latter is pounding British rock with a hint of psychedelia. The Plimsouls play them both like they own them. The Fleshtones’ Keith Streng, contemporary and East Coast fellow traveler, joins the band for a spirited romp through the Flamin’ Groovies “Jumpin’ in the Night,” while their pals the Williams Brothers lend their voices to the Everly’s “Price of Love.” The final cover, and the set closer is Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge a Book,” a tune that innumerable rock bands have had their way with.

Arguably, Beach Town Confidential is as compelling a representation of the Plimsouls power (pop or otherwise) as anything released under their name, and it’s indispensible to anyone who considers themselves a fan.

Reverberating: 8.7

HYPERBOLIUM  (online music site) – Positive album review with album art and related links
The Plimsouls: Beach Town Confidential – Live at the Golden Bear 1983

The Plimsouls touring “Everywhere at Once” live in 1983

Fan’s of Peter Case’s early work with the Nerves and Plimsouls have been richly rewarded over the past few years. The Nerves’ original EP was issued in enhanced CD form as One Way Ticket, a rare 1977 Nerves live set was released as Live at the Pirate’s Cove, a transitional project with Paul Collins as The Breakaways was released as Walking Out on Love, and a blistering 1981 Plimsouls live set was released as Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal. The latter fleshed out the Plimsouls early ‘80s live set that was first essayed in 1988 on One Night in America. The group’s posthumous release catalog is now further expanded with this punchy stereo mix (from the original 24-track recording) of a 1983 show at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, California.

By ‘83, the Plimsouls were a band with a catalog that included an EP and two full albums, all of which are drawn upon for a set list that reaches back to the EP’s “Zero Hour” and “How Long Will it Take?,” and “Now” and “In This Town” from their self-titled debut album. The core of the set draws from their then-current 1983 release for Geffen, Everywhere at Once, including the only released live recordings of “Hobo,” “Oldest Story in the World” and “Magic Touch.” Even more intriguing is the only known Plimsouls recording of the Peter Case original “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice,” a tune that was likely to have been the band’s next single. The set is filled out with a delectable selection of covers that includes The Creation’s “Making Time,” Moby Grape’s “Fall on You,” Thee Midniters “Jump, Jive and Harmonize” the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Jumpin’ in the Night,” Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” and the Everly Brothers’ “Price of Love,” the latter with the Williams Brothers on lead vocals.

Case was in great voice and seems particularly enthused about the cover songs. But who wouldn’t be jazzed by the opportunity to sing favorite songs in front of this band? The Plimsouls had long since honed themselves into a superb live unit, transcending the major label gloss of their then-current album with hard-charging rhythms equally powered by David Pahoa’s bass lines, Lou Ramirez’s hard-pounded drums and cymbals, and the buzz of dual electric guitars. This set hasn’t the unbridled enthusiasm of their earlier live albums, but it more than makes up for it in energy and craft. Alive delivers the CD in a digipack with a six-panel booklet that includes vintage pictures, credits and an historical quote from Greg Shaw. [©2012 hyperbolium dot com]

TIME OUT CHICAGO  (Chicago Weekly) – Positive album review with album art and related link
Albums of the week:
The Plimsouls Beach Town Confidential

Peter Case is a king of power-pop. The Nerves are legend thanks to two perfect songs. They flamed out fast. His next band, the Plimsouls, built a rep on live shows. But unless you’re nearing 50, there was no evidence of this power until Alive Records started digging up live tapes for reissue. This full gig comes from 1983. On albums, the Plims sounded plastic, but here the band rips and roars like the Replacements (Case even looks like Westerberg on the cover). Well, with more sugar and less alcohol.

WHEN YOU MOTOR AWAY (online music blog) – Positive album review and three related videos.
Review: The Plimsouls “Beach Town Confidential”
I’m generally not the world’s biggest fan of live records. But this recently uncovered live recording of The Plimsouls from 1983, being released Tuesday, Feb 7, documents a great band at the top of its game. In fact, it now stands for me as their definitive work, an amazingly perfect recording.

Beach Town Confidential takes you right there to The Golden Bear music club in the surfer party town of Huntington Beach in LA, to see local heroes the Plimsouls. I’m sure the weather was perfect, the girls beautiful, the beer cold and free flowing. You can feel the energy surging as the set progresses, palpable excitement in the air, temperature rising.

Here is some footage from a live performance in Pasadena also in 1983, of the Plimsouls performing “Inch by Inch” and their big hit “A Million Miles Away”:

Many of you may only know the Plimsouls from “A Million Miles Away”, a perfect power pop song, but they had plenty of arguably equally great songs, many captured on Beach Town Confidential – “Magic Touch”, “Zero Hour”, “Oldest Story in the World”, “Shaky City”, “In This Town”, and my personal favorite “How Long Will It Take?”.

The Plimsouls, and their gifted songwriter and leader Peter Case, came out of the fertile LA punk scene. They brought that spirit and energy to a much broader range, drawing from the very best of the preceding 25 years of music – The Beatles, The Byrds, 60s garage, surf rock, and R&B. Their reach is reflected in the covers here: Bo Diddley (“You Can’t Judge a Book”), Moby Grape (“Fall on You”), and one of my all times faves The Flamin Groovies’ “Jumpin in the Night”.

This release is so fresh and alive, hard to imagine it was nearly 30 years ago. It fits in remarkably well with a lot of the new stuff by very young bands that we write about here. If you don’t know the Plimsouls but love power pop, you must check this out. And this is an absolute must have for even the casual Plimsouls fan.

Here’s a second live clip of the Plimsouls from 1983, this time doing “Shaky City”, a song included on this new live disc, and “I’ll Get Lucky”:

Peter Case and Paul Collins (Case’s former partner in The Nerves, his band before the Plimsouls), are touring the country with a full rock band starting in March, playing songs from the Plimsouls, Nerves, The Beat and others. Not to be missed.

I’ll leave you with two more from that same 1983 Pasadena show, “Oldest Story in the World” and “Everywhere at Once”:
More info about Beach Town Confidential and the upcoming Peter Case tour dates here:

BLOG CRITICS (online music blog) – Positive album review and album art
Music Review: The Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential

I love the introduction to this live album: “Introducing the hardest working band in show-business, The Plimsouls!” Their newly-released CD is titled Beach Town Confidential, and documents a performance at a venue called the Golden Bear in 1983. If there was ever a time to see this legendary band live, it would have been in ‘83. The performance smokes — and it just makes me sad that I was not there, because this is an album of straight-ahead rock ‘n roll that is just about perfect.

The Plimsouls were critical darlings from the start, which can sometimes be the kiss of death. But why they never caught on with the public at large still baffles me. They had the classic four-piece lineup; Peter Case (vocals, guitar, and some fine harmonica), David Pahoe (bass), Eddie Munoz (guitar), and Lou Ramirez (drums). They wrote what (to me at least) were timeless songs as well. The Plimsouls are best-known for “A Million Miles Away,” but they wrote so many other killer tracks that (for whatever reason) did not get the same exposure.

“Who’s Gonna Break The Ice?” is one example. On one hand, it is a basic 4/4 rock song about how to “get a chick.” On the other hand, though, there are all kinds of really cool rock references, especially towards surf music. I hear a tune like this and the first thing I want to do is play it for my friends. It’s like, “Can you believe that we never heard this before?”

The surf influence becomes even stronger during the guitar solo of “Fall On You.” They had many other touchstones going as well though. Although The Plimsouls were a much “poppier” band than their contemporaries The Replacements, both shared an obvious love of the music of Big Star. To this day I cannot figure out why that type of music never really caught on, but nearly 30 years later, I guess it is a bit of a moot point.

One ingredient of The Plimsouls’ music that makes it so special is the harmonica of Peter Case. He used it sparingly, so that it never became a gimmick. When he did bring it out, though, it always added a wonderful element to the music. I cannot even think of anyone besides ’60s-era Brits who wanted to emulate old blues guys, who ever included harmonica solos in their music (besides Dylan, of course). My point is that on the couple of occasions that Case does give us a “harp” solo, they are not mere affectations.

A very telling point of where this band was at in 1983 is the placement of “A Million Miles Away.” It is the tenth tune, played about three-quarters of the way through their set — and the audience’s reaction is as if it is just another great song. Today, that song would be what everybody plunked down their hard-earned cash to hear, and most likely would have been the closer.

While that little point may seem moot, it actually says a lot about the band, and its fans in 1983. The Plimsouls should have gone further than the dreaded “college-rock” genre they wound up in. Their recognition as a truly great American group happened long after they had split up.

Beach Town Confidential captures The Plimsouls in their prime. Listen to a song like “Now” and tell me that this was a band that wasn’t criminally ignored. This is a fantastic performance by a group who never really got their due. I’m preaching to the choir by telling Plimsouls and Peter Case fans that this is a “must.” But for fans of Alex Chilton, Rockpile, and even early (first two albums) Joe Jackson, Beach Town Confidential is an album you need to hear.

Beach Town Confidential is set for release February 7, 2012.

MIDNIGHT TO SIX (online music blog) – Positive album review and album art.
The Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential (Alive Records)
This is the second archival live Plimsouls set from Alive Records, following 2010 2s Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal. If you’re worried that having two live albums from the same band might be redundant, rest assured that both albums are worth owning, with just five songs in common from the setlist. Beach Town Confidential has the better sound of the two, with a thick and meaty bottom end that might even make you forget that it’s a live recording. It comes from a 1983 date in Huntington Beach’s Golden Bear club, and you can hear just how good the band had become at working a crowd into a frenzy with their hard-driving rock ‘n’roll. They play their big hit  A Million Miles Away , which is a great song, but I’m just as enthralled with  Who’s Gonna Break The Ice? , which sounds like Cheap Trick trading in stadiums for small clubs, and their thumping covers of The Creation’s  Making Time  and  Price Of Love , originally by The Everly Brothers (a big influence). This is fun and catchy music, made with classic pop song-craft and live-wire energy. Perhaps the best compliment I can give the album is that it makes me wish I was there, beer in hand, to see it in person.

THE SPACELAB TV (online music site) – Positive album review and tour news.
The Plimsouls – Modern Rock Since 1978, New Release Beach Town Confidential and Tour
By: Christopher Levine, author of “Eclectiblogs-Weekly Meanderings for Music Head Consumption” available on paperback at
February 4, 2012

The Plimsouls have been around the block.  With the chart topper “A Million Miles Away” they became a household name in the 1980’s, and the core members are still going strong.  Not only are they releasing a live album with never-before heard live tracks, but Peter Case and Paul Collins are taking the show on the road.

First, the album.  Beach Town Confidential, which was recorded at The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA on August 13, 1983, will be out February 7th.  (And yes, fellow vinylheads there will be a version on wax too.)  16 tracks are included, and while it screams 1983-in a good way- it by no means sounds dated. Case and Collins are melding their various projects into a tour as well, including not just Plimsouls material- but stuff by The Nerves and The Breakaways, as well as material by The Beat.


Martha Berner: The journey transcends ‘Fantasy’
by Alex Lubischer

Singer/songwriter Martha Berner’s new year is off to a sterling start. With her new album, Fool’s Fantasy, and upcoming shows in Chicago venues, the out frontwoman of Martha Berner and the Significant Others is primed to take 2012 by storm.

Windy City Times had the pleasure of meeting this honey-voiced rocker on the rise.

Windy City Times: I love the album. I’ve been listening to it over and over, and wanted to say congratulations.

Martha Berner: Thank you. I’m really happy with it.

WCT: How did life in the Windy City affect Fool’s Fantasy’s creation? Do you see yourself as a Chicago artist?

MB: I do see myself as a Chicago artist. I’ve lived here for about eight years now. I moved here for music. I think this album is what it is because of the exact combination of the players involved in producing it. Every single member, each part that they brought, is so important and integral.

WCT: This album was mastered by Gavin Lurssen! This is a guy who’s worked with Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. What was that like for you?

MB: It was really, really exciting. It was kind of my long shot wish list: “Wouldn’t it be great to have this mastered by Gavin Lurssen?” So I called a good friend of mine out in LA—a fellow artist—and she’s friends with Gavin, and I said “What are the odds that I can get Gavin to master this for me?” She said, “Well, let me drop him a line.” And he agreed.

We flew out there and sat in the room; he had his three Grammys lined up on the wall and it was awesome. It felt like: “I’m giving the record the best shot I could possibly give this.”

WCT: Are there any queer artists whom you feel a particular affinity towards?

MB: There are so many great ones—certainly the folksier lesbian scene, the smaller artists. Probably more of the queer men. You know, stuff like The Smiths and Morrissey. And, obviously, women like Melissa Ferrick and Catie Curtis, some of the more indie folk rockers.

I don’t know: Where would music be without the queers? The entertainment business, creative anything? A day without queers is what the U.S. should experience at least one time. In protest to some of these human rights issues in our country we should have a day without the queers and see how everyone gets along.

WCT: Exactly!

MB: [ Laughs ] The day without gays! I mean the restaurants would close down, the flower shops—I mean what would everybody do?

WCT: Perfect. [ Laughs ] How has your identity as a queer woman influenced your songwriting?

MB: Specifically, there’s a song on the record called “Brave,” which is basically written about being gay, young and afraid, and trying to figure out how to come into my own and stand for who I was, and all of that going against who I was raised to be. I came from a very Christian family. So it was a really frightening experience for me growing up to realize that I was gay because… There’s one thing that my family was asking of me and that was to love God and love Jesus and not be gay. If you could accomplish those two things you were pretty alright.

Had I not experienced that discomfort… You have to sort of leave where you’re from, right? To give yourself the space and the room to explore who you are and who you want to be and shape your own vision of yourself. That was the impetus for the get-up-and-go that took over the next 10 years of my life. And exploring and moving and letting myself grow into the woman that I wanted to be.

WCT: The track “People Are Crazy” has such killer attitude. What was the impetus for that song?

MB: That was politically inspired. I started writing that song while Bush was still in office and just—you know—the jaw on the floor. [ Laughs ] His getting reelected was shocking and just the state of our country… Now, I think it still applies today to politics.

Your mind’s for the taking,

Your savior is waiting,

Try to take a sucker down with you-

It’s degrading.

That line is about the influence of religion in politics and the non-separation of church and state that drives me absolutely nuts in this country. People are crazy!

WCT: What aspect of your album is particularly accessible to the LGBTQ community?

MB: Certainly the song “Irene.” That’s just a very blatant song from a woman to a woman. The song “Brave” has been mentioned, specifically about my journey. [ Pauses ] The whole thing [ laughs ] the whole thing’s just so gay because I’m gay!

For some reason I was listening to a lot of Johnny Cash when I was writing that song. It’s my little folksy ballad, sorta like Ring of Fire. It’s about loving someone you’re not supposed to love.

WCT: The track “Some Stay Awhile” had such a personal pain to it, but also a sense recovery—of getting back on the horse. Many songs harbored a lovely, reflective quality. What journeys were you traveling as you wrote this album?

MB: What I was going through a lot of during that time was feeling a bit lost in my journey as a young adult trying to achieve all the things I wanted. So the song “Some Stay Awhile” is that no matter what happens, you get back up and you get back on your horse.

But what’s as important as getting back up on your horse is that you never lose the ability to laugh and enjoy also, because it is the journey and not the destination. The destination is important and you need to have a destination.

I think you also need to know that destination may change as your life evolves in different ways. But more importantly, are you enjoying yourself? That was my resolve. I know the things that I’m giving my attention and my time and my life to are worthy. That at the end of the day, it’s not about being rich or being famous. It’s about: Was it worth it, those things I sacrificed for? Did I live well? Did I love well? Did I laugh?

Berner is performing Saturday, Feb. 4, at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., at 8 p.m.; and on Sunday, Feb. 12, at T’s Bar and Restaurant, 5025 N. Clark St., at 3 p.m. See for more information.

The CD is available at Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark St., Berner’s website or iTunes.


It’s Gotta Be Pop
Interview with Peter Case
By Kurt Baker

When the late great Jerry Lee Lewis sang about “Great Balls of Fire,” he may have been alluding to a sound that a group of fine tuned enthusiastic musicians from LA named the Plimsouls would emulate in stereo form some 30 years down the road of rock n’ roll history. White hot blazin’ fire can best describe the sound of this largely influential Power Pop group that not only played in a style that borrowed from the licks and hooks of the Mersey Beat, but also put forth the soul and passion that harkened back to the classic sounds of Stax and Motown records, and even adding the kind of introspective tendencies of American folk rock. All this and more can be heard on Beach Town Confidential, a live record that will be released on Alive Records on Feb. 7th. Beach Town Confidential was recorded back in 1983 at the height of the Plimsouls’ popularity and just might be one of the best live records I’ve heard in quite some time. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to talk to lead singer and founding member Peter Case about the release of Beach Town and much, much more.. enjoy!

Hello Peter! I must say, I’m a huge fan of all your work and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to ask you some questions. Let’s start with the latest – On February 7th, The Plimsouls, along with ALIVE records will be releasing Beach Town Confidential, a live recording extracted from the vaults. Can you take us back to that night in 1983 when you guys recorded this record? What was going through your mind as you guys tracked this blazing performance? Was this just another normal Plimsouls gig or was it special in anyway?

Great to be talking to you! Look, the night we cut Beach Town Confidential we knew there was a 24 track recording being made, and that it would be broadcast across the country on the radio. We’d been on tour across the nation for our second album Everywhere At Once and this was the wrap up for that tour, sort of a homecoming party, and also a chance to make a great recording of our live show at the time, which everybody wanted us to get down on tape.

We’d played that club, The Golden Bear, a number of times, and it was always a blast: it was right across from Huntington Beach and Pier, so a lot of surfers and their girlfriends would come to the shows there… they rocked hard, and there was always a lot of drinking going on throughout the club, so that added to the atmosphere in a way.

We were road-tuned, wide awake, well rested, some new songs had been rehearsed, and the show was sold out way in advance, so we were really up.

Judging by the audience participation and the truly energetic performances on tracks like “Jump Jive and Harmonize”, the show featured on Beach Town Confidential must have been a whole lot of fun to not only play, but to watch from the audience. You guys even brought up some good friends from The Fleshtones and more.. How do you compare the live recordings and band performance of Beach Town to other Plimsouls live recordings like One Night In America or Beg, Borrow and Steal which was recorded a couple years prior at the legendary Whiskey A Go-Go?

Beach Town Confidential is the third in a series of live recordings of the band. I dig them, and they’re all different. Chronologically: One Night In America was the band on stage in Cleveland on our first national tour, early 1981. We were explosive, held nothing back, gave our all even though the place was less than half filled. People out there (it was Cleveland) hadn’t heard of us much yet, and we had a lot to prove. I love the covers on that one: The Outsiders “Time Won’t Let Me” done with punk intensity, Marvin Gaye’s “One More Heartache” played like a Howlin’ Wolf, and Jimmy Reed’s “Help Yourself,” a blues song I’d learned when I was a teenager.

The next one, the first released on Alive Records, is Live! Beg, Borrow, and Steal. It’s recorded at a gig sent out as a radio show from the Whisky A Go Go from late ’81. Every year back then seemed like ages… the five years the band was together seems like an epoch of time. Late ’81 we were really sailing into the high period of “A Million Miles Away” and all that. It was right before that one came out. Hometown crowd at our home club, Halloween, people screaming, over the top energy!

Beach Town shows the band at one of their peaks, ready for their close up, or prime time moment, whatever. It never really happened, for various reasons, business screw jobs etc… the career didn’t go down like we wanted, exactly, but we were ready…for absolutely anything!

While listening to Beach Town I was so excited to hear the band bust through an incredible version of the Creation’s “Making Time”! Obviously, the sounds of British Invasion were highly influential to your songwriting, but what initially drew you to the sounds of those 60’s pop groups? What other acts do you list has a big influence on your writing in the late 70’s and early 80’s?

The Plimsouls always showed our big influences, wearing what we loved on our sleeves. When I was growing up in Buffalo, most of the music I dug was getting played on the radio: Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, and the Animals, loved all of them… Bob Dylan was on top 40 radio with the hit songs “Like A Rolling Stone’ and “I Want You.” I was crazy about Stax, especially Sam & Dave, and Motown, including early Little Stevie Wonder, and the Temptations. James Brown was a hero. Aretha Franklin was in the mix every day on your transistor radio! And let’s not forget the great American bands like the Byrds, and Paul Revere and The Raiders (both produced by the great Terry Melcher) (The Raiders should be in the R+R Hall Of Fame!) and of course the Beach Boys. It was all on the radio, ALL THE TIME, and everybody was diggin’ it. I was already familiar and loved the greatest of ’50s rock and roll, my big sisters had been blasting it in the house my whole life: Chuck Berry, Link Wray and the Wraymen, Little Richard, Elvis pre-army when he was totally rockin’, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, the Everly Brothers. A little Hank Williams was in the air. I loved folk stuff like Joan Baez, and The Kingston Trio at a really tender young age. Those murder ballads broke my heart, and blew my mind. And later, blues, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jimmy Reed, all of which I got into ’cause of Elvis, the Stones and Dylan.

So that’s where I was coming from. My songwriting heroes were John and Paul, Mick and Keith, and Bob Dylan. The Stones were so great, they had great songs. Dylan pointed out a whole world to discover. And the Stax and Motown writers, like Issac Hayes, and Smoky Robinson. By the time of the Nerves we were digging Burt Bacharach’s more garage-y stuff (Little Red Book, the Manfred Mann version) and great garage songs like “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by the 13th Floor Elevators, and “Dark Side” by the Shadows Of Night. (the B side of “Gloria,” check it out).

One of the greatest things to happen in the ’70s was Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets collection, of American Garage -Punk hits. A huge record for me, and for most people getting in bands.. I already new about half the songs, they killed me. The songs were so great. It wasn’t the obscurity I loved, it was the greatness of the songs.

Let’s talk about the scene in Hollywood during the late 70’s.. Power Pop became a huge phenomenon and you were smack dab in the middle of it. What factors can you contribute to the fact that this music became so hot? Who were some of your favorite groups to share the stage with back in those days?

The LA scene was exciting in the late 70′s/ early 80′s. The bands that made it to the top of the local scene were all happening, you had to be good: The Blasters, the Plimsouls, X, and The Go-Go’s, were all pretty much at the top of the scene there. Tom Petty’d already gone national. The Nerves got there in the infancy of the whole scene, we put on a lot of the first punk shows with bands like The Zeros, the Germs, and the Weirdo’s on the bill… that was before Doug Fieger’s band, but we broke up before the whole thing totally took off. We were ahead of our time!

I wasn’t so into allegiance genres: I liked the best of punk, power pop, rockabilly, blues bands: all that stuff. I was into the artists, the bands: whatever was dynamic and great. All those bands I mentioned above crossed genre lines.

Do you feel that the culture of Los Angles had a big impact on the Plimsouls’ style, sonically and aesthetically?

LA was a great home then, though. The Nerves were so excited when we pulled in, January 1, 1977. We got off the freeway at Vine Street, after driving all night. “It’s the Capital Records Tower!” There was such a rock and roll legacy there, history everywhere: Gold Star Studios were all the great Phil Spector singles were cut, United Western Recorders was still going strong, home of Brian Wilson’s great Beach Boys sessions. When we got to town we went to Tiny Naylors Drive-In, where cute waitresses brought shakes and burgers out to your car. We couldn’t believe it. We knew that Brian had written hits there in that parking lot, with Roger Christian and others, 12 years or so previously. The clubs were still there, a lot of the people were still there. We met Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer just walking down the street on Sunset, and talked to ‘em, gave ‘em our record. And it wasn’t too long ’til The Plimsouls cut their first LP record at RCA Studios on Sunset, in the same room where the Stones had cut “Satisfaction,” “Last Time,” “19th Nervous Breakdown,” and “Paint It, Black.” The week we got there, Tom Waits was in studio C and Frank Sinatra was in studio A! Wow…

And Louie and Davido had grown up in the LA area, down in Paramount… a lot of aspects of our style and outlook were a result of what was in the air then. It was a rock and roll world city. It was so much fun to be in a band there and then. We ‘d helped to rebuild the scene there ourselves and then we got to enjoy it. The fans were great, we loved the other bands, we had so many friends, it was one of the best times ever, while it lasted…

Predating the Plimsouls you, along with Paul Collins and Jack Lee, formed the seminal power pop punk act the Nerves. What lead to the dissolution of the band and what promoted Paul and yourself to “Breakaway” and form the Breakaways?

The Nerves began in a different period: the scene was dead. In SF, in the Seventies, the hippie bands had still ruled, and no one wanted to hear rock and roll out of young guys like us, it was a lost art. I used to wonder “where is my generation?’ This was back in 1975, when we really got going. There was no one around to make a scene with. We started with our own ideas, and built everything from scratch. This was before punk, before the Ramones first came west. When Patti Smith came out we were already going, had cut our first record on our own label, the “Hanging On The Telephone” EP. I remember the day a truck delivered tour records from the factory, 5000 of them, stacked up boxes in our cellar on Folsom and Third… “how are we ever gonna get rid of these things?” It was very slow going at first.

Wish I had a few of them now, they’re worth a hundred dollars apiece!

We had a vision, based on pure teenage rock and roll, without all the extra phoney jive that was weighing it down then. It was ‘sposed to be like a hot-rodded, stripped-down super-version of everything we loved. We shared that, the three of us, great songs without the fake gimmicks, just the excitement, please! And that’s what we stood for, but after a while, Jack got scared and wanted to water down the concept, and I wouldn’t go for it. That’s the short version. He wanted to start chain-sawing the amps, and writing down to the audience, and I had to buck it, the original idea was too great.

So after trying to work it out for a while me and Paul started the Breakaways without Jack. It was basically the Nerves with a new guitarist. Paul and I had always worked well together. I was into making the band sound good, I loved coming up with parts that made the other guy’s songs work, like that bass line and harmony on “Working Too Hard.” That’s what a band member does; he’s always trying to make everybody else in the group look good. That what it means to be in a band, everybody moving in the same direction.

I’m extremely interested in the songwriting dynamic between yourself and Paul Collins. How did you guys collaborate in songwriting back in the early days? While the Beats’ first album features many tunes that the Breakaways originally recorded, the Plimsouls’ debut was chock full of new material. Had you been working on this record by yourself for a while, or was it a group effort to make the album when you joined up with Eddie Muñoz, Dave Pahoa and Louie Ramirez?

It was fun writing together, never difficult, the ideas just came. I don’t remember ever beating our heads against the wall or anything like that. ‘Tho I know we both worked hard on our own, long hours sometimes coming up and fleshing out ideas. For a while we lived in the same building, and I’d be in my pad working, and when I’d stop, I’d hear Paul up the well, in his pad one floor up, pounding away on an acoustic guitar, wailing, working on one of his. And then Paul & I started the Beat together, but I quit as they got signed to Columbia, for various reasons, you know, the old ‘musical differences.’ I felt like we needed to go our separate ways.

So Paul made the CBS record and I painted houses in Hollywood for a year and worked on songs, auditioned players, hung out with my girlfriend, and made friends with people, like the guys in 20/20, and Carla from the Textones. And eventually, I got my band together, and by January 1 1979 the Plimsouls were playing their first shows: five sets a night daily in El Monte California at a dive bar called The Place. And the songs came out of that period. I tailored the songs to what was going on with the band, so most of the older material was left behind then. I probably should’ve taken better care of it. But back then I was mostly just into the latest thing I was doing. I was always looking forward, wasn’t into looking back in any way.

You guys self-financed the original release of a “Million Miles Away,” a single that eventually got you signed to Geffen with “Everywhere at Once,” the Plimsouls’ second release. The album features some of my favorite Plimsouls tracks like “I’ll Get Lucky” and “Shaky City.” This, however, would be your last release as the Plimsouls til reforming in 1998 for Kool Trash. What happened to the Plimsouls after the release of this record and what eventually lead to your reformation?

And the Plimsouls were a great team… everybody contributed, and we were all on the same wave there, all through that time. Eddie, Louie, Davido and me… The Plimsouls could project rock and roll, it was very natural and believable with us, and that’s just the way it was. The whole was more than the parts, and when we were good, it was ’cause we were playing over our heads! That’s the way I always felt about it. It was like the ’69 Mets, if you know about baseball. We would play and play and play, gigs and more gigs, and then… it heated up, we’d get on a roll, and then: watch out! We could rock the place. That’s the way it was.

We continued through one more wild period after Beach Town… the 1984 tour. It was an explosive sound and show by then, but we were just getting no support in the business. The shows were packed, but we never got ahead, there were just so many problems, we were buried in trouble. We were all a little crazed by then, maybe me more than anybody. And other musical ideas were calling me. It became clear that the band wasn’t gonna go on the musical trip with me, we were kind of played out. At least it seemed that way. The songs I was writing were telling stories in a different way, it was a return to a thread I’d been on even before the Nerves. So I split… and some of the fans went with me and some didn’t. Now I’ve got a whole world of people who dig my solo music and don’t even know the Plimsouls. Maybe the band shouldn’t have broken up, nowadays people have side projects, but back then it wasn’t really done. I felt I had to make a choice, so I did. The end of one thing and the start of something else, that was late 1983, and then 1984, when all that went down.

Ten years later we got back together for a benefit, a tribute show to the Kinks, in Santa Monica. Clem Burke was on drums. Dave Davies (of the Kinks) was at the gig, and he said “wow, you guys sound just like my old band out there!’ And we kept playing after that, and still play whenever we feel like it: no sense in breaking up a perfectly good rock and roll band twice!

I’ve heard a rare demo of Phil Seymour covering your tune “Now,” a classic song on the Plimsouls’ debut album. For those readers who don’t know Phil Seymour, he was a contemporary of you during the early 80’s LA power pop boom, and a talented singer and session drummer. Did you ever share the stage with Phil, or have any anecdotes about him?

Okay, one detail: when the Plimsouls started, I wanted to be like the Who… guitar, bass, and drums, with a lead singer, and I wanted that singer to be… Phil Seymour. I didn’t want to front it, I just wanted to write the songs and play guitar, ‘make-show’ with the guitar, maybe sing some harmonies. It seemed like a great way to go. We were friends with Phil and asked him, and he thought about it for a while. During that time I wrote “Now” with my pals Joey Alkes and Chris Fradkin, and we had Phil in mind. We demo’d it at the Shelter Records studio, with the Plimsouls backing up Phil, and I thought it was great. I wish I had a copy of that! Phil liked it too, but wanted top billing: “Phil Seymour and the Plimsouls,” And I wouldn’t go for it. And he wasn’t gonna work under another band name after getting kinda left high and dry in the Dwight Twilley Band breakup. (People didn’t know he was the lead singer on so much of the DTB material.) So it didn’t happen, and I had to get off my ass and front the ‘Souls. It all worked out. But it would have been cool. I always loved Phil’s voice, he was a great rock and roll singer, no doubt about it.

After the Plimsouls split you went on to release a solo record in 1986, which would lead to a successful career and a slew of other records.. but the sound was much different than your work in the Plimsouls, opting for more roots oriented folk/blues sound. What lead you to develop this new sound? In performance, do you enjoy the intimacy of performing your songs solo acoustically and how do you compare it rockin’ out with a full band?

People wondered what was up when I went solo, but that music was in my head, and had been brewing there for years. My heroes when I was a kid were rock and rollers, but also the Beats, and deep blues singers, the super intense solo ones, like Lightnin’ Hopkins. When I was 16 I hitched rides from Buffalo to Boston in a blizzard to see Lightnin’ play… and it was a big part of my scene when I was street-singing in SF before the Nerves. I fell in with Mike Wilhelm from The (SF) Charlatans about 15 minutes after I got to San Francisco in 1973. He taught me about fingerpicking the guitar, about Robert Johnson, Reverend Gary Davis, and Mance Lipscomb: the pantheon of the great blues musicians, and all that stuff just killed me. It still does. Mike went on to join the Flamin’ Groovies, and he was always their mentor. And he was mine too. Now there’s a seminal musician: Mike Wilhelm. And my solo music is still rooted in that. It’s like that stuff, mixed with the rock and roll I dig, and it’s my own style of it. And the words are influenced by Ginsberg, Corso, Kerouac, Burroughs, all those guys, the really far-out-tellers-of-truth: the Beats. I’m into it like crazy, and audiences seem to be really into it, too. It’s intense as the Plimsouls, but in another way: it’s different, and it’s the same… when it’s happening it transcends all normal considerations. I dig the communication I get with audiences. And I like the life of playing solo, seeing the world, travelling with whoever I want to travel with, singing for people, getting it across to them. It’s kind of a dream come true. And I keep writing… I’m always most into the next thing, whatever it is.

At the beginning of March, you’ll be heading out on the road for an extensive US tour with Paul Collins to perform all the classic songs from the past. How did this tour come about and are you excited to play these songs again with your old band mate?

And now I get to rock out with my pal Paul Collins, and the band, and well, it’s going to be great, ’cause all those songs, they’re so fun to play. We rock because we can! We’re gonna play everywhere! And there you go…

Thank you so much Peter!

All the best.


GOOD  TIMES (Santa Cruz weekly) – Feature with Greg Lisher interview and band photo.
Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweethearts
by J.D. Ramey
Camper Van Beethoven returns to Santa Cruz for two intimate Crepe Place shows

Long before the Simon Cowell era, the members of the alternative rock band Camper Van Beethoven were the Santa Cruz musicians who had “made it.” Adorning their lively, all-over-the-map sound with an endearing sense of wit, they wooed the populace with a charmingly nonsensical ditty called “Take the Skinheads Bowling” (after all, isn’t it the angriest people who need a little constructive fun?) and a cover of Status Quo’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” from their most commercially successful album, 1989’s Key Lime Pie.

With CVB’s 30th anniversary coming up next year, the band is playing a short run of smaller gigs—including two shows at The Crepe Place on Saturday, Feb. 11—to get warmed up for the release of its forthcoming record. The group recently began mixing down this as-yet-untitled album, the first we’ve heard from CVB since 2004’s New Roman Times. According to guitarist Greg Lisher, the band tried out a new approach to writing this time: “Back in the day, [vocalist/guitarist] David [Lowery] would bring his songs to us at rehearsal, and we would write our respective parts. So it was always pretty democratic in that sense, but it was all based on what David was bringing to the table.” For the new album, the band simply got together and came up with ideas on the fly: “Someone would throw something out, someone else would respond and someone else would play off of that.”

Lisher notes, however, that the new material “really sounds like Camper Van Beethoven.” As such, it’s just as eclectic as ever: Among other styles, there’s psychedelic music, prog-rock, surf and alt-country. “So, in a weird way, I know we’re really being true to ourselves when our music sounds like that, because that’s how we sound when we’re all working properly. It’s kind of a mess, but in a good way.”

The band’s Crepe Place appearances, which will also feature sets by the talented local indie-pop act Fainting Goats, are CVB’s first Santa Cruz gigs in several years. The band’s long absence can largely be chalked up to the various members’ distance from one another: Bassist Victor Krummenacher does layout for Wired magazine in San Francisco, violinist Jonathan Segel works for Pandora in Oakland, and Lowery teaches a music business class at the University of Georgia. Lisher, who’s preparing to release an instrumental solo, has lived in Santa Cruz since 1976.

Lisher’s involvement with various bands frequently leads him far outside the Santa Cruz bubble, though. One memorable example is a journey he took to the Middle East in November 2009 as a sub for Johnny Hickman, guitarist for Lowery’s alt-rock group, Cracker. “That was one of the weirdest, most incredible experiences I’ve had,” Lisher offers. He explains that during a two-week USO tour of Kuwait and Iraq, the group traveled “straight through all the roads where all the IEDs and improv explosives are—where all the shit is. We were just right there.” Lisher, who was and still is opposed to the war, says the experience was eye-opening. “It’s such a different landscape over there,” he offers. “I don’t know that us going there and imposing democracy really works, you know what I mean?” The guitarist adds that he was surprised by the vast number of contractors he saw in the Middle East. “You just realize that these bases are like infrastructures—they’re just like towns. And just like you would build a town here, to build a town there, you need all these people to do that.”

And what of the warring among CVB’s own ranks, which led the group to disband for the better part of the ’90s? Lisher claims that all the members of the group seem to be getting along at the moment: “For now it works … and that’s all you have really, is for now, you know what I mean?”

Camper Van Beethoven plays at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets for the first show are $20; the 9 p.m. show is sold out.  For more information, call 429-6994.

SAC MUSIC BLOG (Sacramento music blog) – Brief show preview with band photo and related links
Camper Van Beethoven Lands In Sacramento
Pioneering indie rock band Camper Van Beethoven will be at Harlow’s on Fri. Feb. 10th. CVB will be unveiling brand new material from their forthcoming studio album – their first in eight years! (to be released this summer).
The details:
Harlow’s, 2708 J Street, Sacramento, CA
916-441-4693  – $20
In other related news, CVB’s frontman David Lowery recently posted his own amusing take about online music theft on his 300 Songs music blog, entitled “No more bullsh*t. The top 10 lamest excuses for stealing artists music.” You can read this enlightening post here.

 THE SACRAMENTO BEE (Sacramento daily) – Brief show preview
The Lineup
By Cathie Anderson
California roots
Camper van Beethoven and Tempest
What: If you wanna play Harlow’s tonight, you’d better bring some California cred. The club plays host to Celtic rockers Tempest, who have their roots in the Bay Area, and alt-rock band Camper Van Beethoven (Redlands-Santa Cruz) in separate shows on the same evening.
When: 7 p.m. Tempest, 10 p.m. CVB
Where: Harlow’s, 2708 J St., Sacramento
Cost: $15 Tempest, $20 CVB
Contact: (877) 435-9849,

SACRAMENTO  365 (Sacramento A&E site) – Brief show preview with band photo
Camper Van Beethoven
Camper Van Beethoven is an alternative rock band that was founded in 1983 in Redlands, California, though the band soon moved to Santa Cruz, California. Camper Van Beethoven mixed elements of pop, ska, punk rock, folk, country, and acid rock into an eclectic, catchy and sometimes mysterious ensemble, years before the so-called alternative rock moniker came to mainstream attention.
February 10, 2012
2708 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95816

SANTA CRUZ.COM & SAN JOSE.COM (online A&E sites) – Show preview with band photo
Camper Van Beethoven
Sat Feb 11
The Crepe Place
6pm; 9pm
With their aggressive musical pluralism and do-it-yourself attitude, Camper Van Beethoven has left an indelible mark on the face of indie rock. The band recently celebrated its deep local roots with the release of a three-CD box set titled The Santa Cruz Years, which features material recorded while they were students at UCSC. The band recently announced plans to record a follow-up to 2004’s New Roman Times. – Juan Guzman

SF GATE (San Francisco Chronicle’s website) –  Show preview withband photo

THE FRESNO BEE (Fresno, CA daily) – Visalia show preview with band photo.
Camper Van Beethoven to play Visalia Feb. 12
By Mike Osegueda – The Fresno Bee
9:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12 / The Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St., Visalia / $10 /, (559) 636-9463

Pioneering indie rock band Camper Van Beethoven is reunited, working on a new album and making a tour stop in Visalia on Sunday.

The band was popular in the indie rock and college rock ranks in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Songs such as “Take the Skinheads Bowling” and “All Her Favorite Fruits” are favorites. The music is a mixture of pop, ska, punk, folk and more.

Camper Van Beethoven singer David Lowery also started another alt-rock band: Cracker. Lowery is back with this installment of Camper Van Beethoven as the band prepares to release its first album in eight years.

Also on the bill is Modesto alt-country band Not an Airplane, whose new album, “It Could Just Be This Place” earned a glowing 4.5-star review from Rolling Stone magazine in January.

VISALIA TIMES -DELTA (Visalia daily) – “Best Bets” Visalia show preview with band photo.
1980s redux

Here’s a blast from the indie past. Camper Van Beethoven — the influential 1980s indie-rock band that played an eclectic mix of pop, ska, punk, rock and folk — will perform Sunday at The Cellar Door.

The band was inactive from 1990-1999, as frontman Dave Lowery hit the mainstream with his band Cracker. But soon, thanks to the Internet, his old Camper Van Beethoven songs were being covered by bands all over the world.

Luckily for their original fans and new fans alike, Lowery re-formed the band in late 1999. Though they are still performing songs from their legendary albums, such as “Key Lime Pie,” they’ve since recorded new music. This performance will mix the old with the new.

Details: Camper van Beethoven and Not An Airplane will perform at 9:30 p.m. Sunday at The Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St., Visalia. Cover: $10, 21 and older. Tickets:


Camper Van Beethoven’s co-founder and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Segel will be releasing his latest full-length solo effort, All Attractions, on March 6th in both Digital and CD formats.

Most of the songs were written in the Swedish countryside where he and his (Swedish) wife have been staying with her family every summer. Although one would expect a pastoral tone, the music ends up as some rocking electric guitar-based tunes, evoking the big ’70s rock bands of the past, along with some more contemporary features thrown in.

The record was started by Jonathan working with fellow Camper Van Beethoven bandmate Victor Krummenacher on bass and guitar, and their SF Bay Area cohorts former King Missile/Moth Wranglers’ Chris Xefos playing some bass and doing the recording and mixing, and John Hanes on drums. As the project progressed, he got some backing vocal help from the Counting Crows’ David Immergluck, Baby Flamehead’s Eden Daniels and Espers’ Helena Espvall (who also contributed some cello). Built To Spill’s Brett Netson also delivers a show-stealing guitar lead on the track “I Know You Know Me (Hey You).”

At the end of the recording process, Jonathan used Kickstarter to fund the mixing, mastering and manufacturing of the CDs.

As part of this project Jonathan will not only be releasing the full-length All Attractions studio album, but also a seven-track bonus instrumental EP entitled Apricot Jam, an organic collection of improvised jamming between him (guitar), John Hanes (drums), fellow CVB alum Victor Krummenacher (bass) and Graham Connah (Hammond organ). The title is an obvious nod to George Harrison’s third LP in the All Things Must Pass set.

Jonathan Segel will be performing material from All Attractions as part of Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker’s CAMP-IN Music Festival at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA on March 1-3 2012.

All Attractions (vocal) Tracklisting:
1) (Ever and) Always
2) Hey You (I Know You Know Me) [acoustic version]
3) She’s A Peach
4) Listen
5) Singularity
6) What Goes Around
7) The Dark Torch
8) The Good One
9) Winter
10) I Know You Know Me (Hey You) [electric version]

Apricot Jam (instrumental) Tracklisting:
1) Apricot
2) Sunset
3) I Heart My Doghead
4) It’s Pretty Out There
5) Cloud, Heavy with Rain
6) Danger Machinery Starts Immediately
7) All Attractions





Tony Bonyata
Pavement PR
p: 262.903.7775


Interview: Martha Berner [as featured in IE’s February 2012 issue…. with front cover billing!]

Just because Martha Berner’s just closed a six-year gap between full-length studio outings, it doesn’t mean the singer/songwriter was inactive. In fact, she’s used the half decade and change to practically start from scratch, reinventing her already alluring folk flavorings under the umbrella of everything from insurgent country to organic rock and even some good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll and Stax soul. Much of the evolution comes from slogging it out on the local circuit and beyond, but another key element in the formula was the cementing of her supporting band, The Significant Others, with whom Berner shares co-billing throughout the new Fool’s Fantasy (Poprock).

“I never expected it to be six years since I put out my last full-length, and I actually had plans to make the next one shortly after [debut album] . . . this side of yesterday!” exclaims the troubadour by phone from her Windy City home. “In the end, what probably took an additional three years [more than I wanted] was just a shift in who I was working with and really wanting to differ this record from the others. [It’s] not that one way was right and the other was wrong, but [I preferred] just to have a very cohesive and intimate band feel with musicians who knew the songs for awhile and experienced them live for a long time before going into the studio. Basically the timing isn’t always what we think it’s going to be as artists, and even though I’m kicking myself a little bit, I feel really great having it come out now and I’m excited for where the band is at.”

Berner’s idea for The Significant Others began with a call to longtime friend and collaborator Scott Fritz, who didn’t just produce Fool’s Fantasy but also played a slew of instruments (from guitar on down) and helped recruit the other musicians. Keyboardist Will Sprawls and drummer Tyson Ellert round out the group, contributing to the thicker, full-band feel and extra aggression when compared to past projects.

“The new music has a little bit more grit and edge that my other albums didn’t have, and it’s a little more rock ‘n’ roll,” confirms Berner. “I wrote all the songs, but the guys wrote their own parts and we all sort of co-produced it together. It’s still billed as Martha Berner & The Significant Others, but it definitely is a band effort. I see them as the special sauce, and I couldn’t achieve this sound without them.”

As for those specific sounds on Fool’s Fantasy, they range from the 10,000 Maniacs-styled title track to the smoky soul of “Some Stay A While” and the alternative country grit of “Cry.” On the other hand, “Where Does The Day Go” could easily fit alongside the easygoing indie pop of Feist, while “Irene” and “Burning Candles” recall recent collaborations of Robert Plant with Alison Krauss. (Because this collection features four-time Grammy-winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen, perhaps that last comparison is no coincidence.)

“I met Gavin through a good friend and fellow artist Erika Rose, and I flew out to L.A. [to work with him],” she explains. “It was super fun sitting there seeing his Grammys, and it was a real honor to watch whatever it is that he does. He seemed to really hang on to the textures, warmth, and depth, and not lose it in the compression process.”

Another area of depth comes on the songwriting side of the coin, which Berner culls from a composite of everyone from Leonard Cohen to Sinead O’Connor, The Sundays, Wilco, Bon Iver, and Rogue Wave. Lyrically, many of her tunes take a storytelling approach, and even though they’re coming from the perspective of a burgeoning artist hoping to make a mark on the world at large, Berner makes a point to relate to listeners from any walk of life.

“‘Fool’s Fantasy’ as a song and the record as a whole are my examination of life, not just for me, but people in general on a journey to achieve what they want in life,” she says. “It’s the song that kind of questions how do you know when to draw the line in your pursuit, whether that be a music career or relationships. How do you know when you should work harder or just walk away? [In my case], whether I’m foolish or not, I’ll carry on this [musical] path.”

Even if Berner’s yet to become a household name, she’s been making a push through multiple appearances at Austin’s gem-uncovering South By Southwest conference and Milwaukee Summerfest, plus an aggressive campaign to be heard on television programs, most notably MTV’s “The Real World.” Add in some WXRT radio airplay, mounds of positive press, plus a continual presence on the road, and the tunesmith is certainly popping up in all the right places.

“I think there’s a natural desire to push [my career] forward and achieve through that, even with the state of the music industry right now,” she considers. “There’s some great stuff going on and some tougher stuff, too, but I just want to strike a balance between being very driven and also really wanting to preserve my love for it. I always have something I’m working on, and at the end of the day, I want to love performing and writing and being in a band. It all ebbs and flows as it would for anyone, especially in today’s economy, but I’m going to keep on doing it.”

Despite having to weather the music industry’s uncertainty, Berner’s thankful for Chicago’s support over the past eight years she’s lived here, which follows a provincial Wisconsin upbringing, through spending time in cosmopolitan San Francisco, through more exotic locales like the Virgin Islands and Thailand. She attributes the frequent moves to wanderlust, though one has to question the tendency away from paradise and toward the wintry Great Lakes.

“Chicago is a very inviting and warm city and I love the Midwest strategy of picking yourself up by your bootstraps and cracking a good joke while you’re doing it,” she explains. “I love the drive and humor and, music-wise, I just continue to have great relationships with musicians in the city. Chicago has the big city opportunity, sophistication, and talent, but still the small-town hospitality. We back each other up, we’re all in this together and we have a good time above all.”

It’s all part of her fantasy.

Andy Argyrakis

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