(national music magazine) Positive Philly show review
Flamin’ Groovies – 11/20/15, Philadelphia
Location: Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia PA
The Upshot: Playing with the energy and enthusiasm of a brand new group looking to prove something, the San Fran legends thrilled a sold out crowd comprising both greying/balding fans and 20-something hipsters aiming to shake some of that magical action.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
The Flamin’ Groovies may have hit their record sales peak in the late 1970s, but you’d be hard pressed to know that, taking in the reaction that greeted the band in Philadelphia last week. Playing a sold out show at Johnny Brenda’s, nearly 300 acolytes from a span of generations came out to catch a rare performance of one of the best straight ahead rock bands San Francisco has ever churned out.
As one person proclaimed at the show, “They’re essentially a bar band. But a really, really great bar band.” [Boy howdy. –Bar band Ed.] And that description is pretty apt considering how many covers the Flamin’ Groovies have recorded over the years, putting their garage rock stamp on songs by everyone from Johnny Rivers and The Byrds to Chuck Barry and The Who. Even as the band took the stage and front man/guitarist Cyril Jordan (interviewed earlier this year at BLURT) broke a string, fellow guitarist Chris Wilson entertained the crowd with an impromptu cover of Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom” as his buddy scrambled to restring.
The band, the American precursors to punk rock and power pop, played a nearly flawless hour-and-a-half-plus set that sounded unbelievably tight. They played with the energy and enthusiasm of a brand new group looking to prove something, despite the fact that these guys earned their stripes – and a lifetime pass to half ass it on stage, should they be so inclined – in 1976 when they put out Shake Some Action. Two years later, in ’78, the Groovies would make their last appearance in this city – it’s been that long.
“We haven’t been back to Philly since then. How you been,” quipped Wilson before plowing into that record’s title track.
The mostly male audience included plenty of gray heads in various stages of balding, but there were also plenty of 20 and 30-somethings that packed in for the performance. One very tall and very thin hipster decked out oddly enough in full Duck Dynasty uniform (from bushy beard to stars and stripes bandana) showed up well into the band’s set and kept imploring people at the front of the balcony to “move over so my chick can get in,” despite the fact that his chick was so drunk she likely thought she was still in her living room. After about 20 minutes of trying to convince folks that have waited decades, plus two opening acts, to see The Flamin’ Groovies live, he finally gave up and skulked away.
The band, ever the entertainers, made the audience wait until the encore before they launched into the opening licks of “Teenage Head,” their 1971 classic (yes, classic). Along with Wilson and original members Jordan and bassist George Alexander, the band was rounded out by drummer Victor Penalosa, who despite being about two decades younger than his bandmates, nearly struggled to keep up with their drive throughout the set.
We are massive fans of the Flamin’ Groovies, needless to say. Go HERE to read editor Mills’ interview interview with Jordan and Wilson, published earlier this year at Stomp & Stammer magazine.
ORANGE COUNTY MUSIC EXAMINER
(L.A. A&E site)
Flamin’ Groovies play The Bootleg Theater
By Gary Schwind
Garage rock has seen a real resurgence in the last decade or more. Specifically bands are going for that primitive 60s garage sound, and they’re nailing it. Well, Flamin’ Groovies is one of the bands that was at the forefront of the primitive garage sound. These guys have always made rock and roll that is raw and raucous, and that is truly one of the great things about the band. Go back and listen to the album Teenage Head, and you’ll hear what a big stamp Flamin Groovies has left on the world of garage rock. And why not? If youre going to borrow, borrow from the best. In fact, the band continues to leave its stamp on garage rock with songs like its new one “End of the World”. This has the sheer volume you’d expect from this band, and it also has layers of sound that make it a lot more complex than the band’s songs of the 70s.
If you didn’t get to see Flamin’ Groovies back in the heyday of garage rock, you are in luck. The band is playing on Saturday, November 28 at The Bootleg Theater (2220 Beverly Blvd. 90057) in Los Angeles. That’s right. It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and you’ll be ready to shake off that food coma with some great live music. This show begins at 8:30. Tickets are $20, which is a pretty reasonable price for a legendary band like this one.
THE LOS ANGELES BEAT (Los Angeles music site) Positive L.A. show review
Flamin’ Groovies and the Zeros at Bootleg Theater – Live Review and by Bob Lee
Beards were in abundance for the Flamin’ Groovies’ return to the LA stage at the Bootleg Theater last weekend, supported by proto-punk idols the Zeros. In terms of age gap, it was as big as they get. About half the audience can’t have been born when this band went kaput around 1980, whle much of the other half looked like they might have been the band members’ parents. But if the Groovies find themselves a little bit out of their time, it’s only natural. They were a little too sixties-garage for mass appeal in the early seventies, when they were making their most memorable records. But what comes across on stage today is timeless, essential rock and roll music. They are the ultimate bar band, and having them in a bar, in our town, is a reason to be happy.
In their Ultimate Bar Band-Ness, they sometimes resemble NRBQ, and oddly enough, just as they were announcing that they were doing an NRBQ song, it occurred to me that I really wanted to hear the Flamin’ Groovies play “I Want You Bad”… and then they did! It was awesome.
In true bar-band tradition, they peppered the set with covers, including the Byrds’ “Feel A Whole Lot Better”, and two Stones numbers, dedicated to “one of our main influences…Mr. Brian Jones!” But no surprise, it was the Groovies own big moments – “Slow Death”, “Shake Some Action” and the show-closing “Teenage Head” – that got heads pounding. One new number was played during the encore, and turned out to be an unexpected highlight of the show, which bodes well for their planned LP next year. Another good sign. the visceral interplay between guitarists Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson is still there. As far as old-band reunions go, this was in the top tier, one of the ones that I’m happy to have seen.
Flamin’ Groovies and the Zeros at Bootleg Theater – Live Review and Photo Gallery
(Boston A&E site) Positive Boston show review
Fuse Concert Review: The Flamin’ Groovies—A Half-Century in the Trenches of Coolness
What the Groovies did—avoiding long solos and self-importance, championing three-minute songs, Stones energy, and Byrds harmonies—was a revelation in 1971.
By Brett Milano
The best thing you can say about a 45-year-old band is that it still lives for the moment. No better example than the Flamin’ Groovies, who played Brighton on Thanksgiving Eve. Wrapping the night’s set, they did a classic rock anthem of their own, “Teenage Head,” and a classic rock anthem of everybody’s, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” putting the same bravado into both. And that’s the Groovies in a nutshell, doubling as a rock institution and the best party band in town.
The band had possibly done a bit of partying itself before hitting the stage at the Brighton Music Hall on Wednesday; the five-minute break to change one guitar string was the giveaway. But those were the only five boring minutes out of the 75 that they played; the rest was a mix of R&B wail and 12-string chime, vintage tracks and appropriate covers (including “I Want You Bad” from another of rock’s unsung-hero bands, NRBQ). Highlight of the set was inevitably “Shake Some Action,” the title track of their best album in 1975, and since covered by generations of bands in Boston and otherwise—It’s unique among rock anthems for the minor-key melancholy in the verses, evincing an unrequited joie de vivre. Three-quarters of the band who recorded that song is still intact (drummer Victor Penalosa is the new guy), and they still tear through it like kids who’ve just discovered their manifesto. Though singer/guitarist Chris Wilson is the nominal frontman, it’s founding guitarist Cyril Jordan who exudes the rock-star charisma, wearing his half-century in the trenches as a badge of coolness.
What the Groovies did—avoiding long solos and self-importance, championing three-minute songs, Stones energy, and Byrds harmonies—was a revelation in 1971, especially in their hometown of San Francisco; and paved the way for new wave and power pop. So it made sense that the three local openers on Wednesday were all Groovies’ spiritual progeny. Fireking is the kind of band who’d be huge if they still played local music on the radio: Frontman Anthony Kaczynski has the kind of sweet-but-gutsy voice that cuts through the airwaves (think of Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander), his songs are packed with hooks, and he’s not shy about pouring on the guitar heroics. “Just Like Sunday,” whose chorus melody takes a few surprising jumps, stood out among the lovingly crafted tunes in their set.
New Hampshire’s the Connection were the youngest of the lot, the only band in its 20s I’ve seen do justice to a Chuck Berry song in memory. Their set was high on infectious pub-rock energy, highlighted by an original tune called “I Think She Digs Me.” They may not know that Treat Her Right had a local hit with nearly the same title, but it hardly matters: Their hook was just as strong, and while THR’s song was cool swagger, the Connection’s was all about the kick you get when your nightclub crush is returned.
As for Muck & the Mires, they’ve been one of my favorite local bands for years now. What they do sounds simple on paper—combining British Invasion songcraft with Ramones-inspired blast—but you can’t pull it off without a killer rhythm section and memorable songs. Frontman Evan Shore supplies the latter by the truckload—this was in fact their second local gig within a week, and both featured entirely different 20-odd song sets. The standout songs in Wednesday’s set caught them at both extremes: “Saturday Let Me Down Again” is one of their rare midtempo weepers, while “Hypnotic Spell” (written at the behest of legendary LA producer Kim Fowley, who demanded “something stupid”) is too giddy to resist.
THE LOS ANGELES BEAT
(L.A. music site) Show preview
Yes It’s True – Flamin’ Groovies Return to LA November 28
Fans of early 70s proto-punk/ power-pop have long known the pleasures of San Francisco’s Flamin’ Groovies. “Shake Some Action”, “Slow Death” and “Teenage Head” are on the short list of period tracks as universally revered as Stooges records or Rocket From The Tombs bootlegs, despite their obscurity outside the record collector cult. But thanks to the occasion of their fiftieth anniversary, the general public will finally get their shot to find out about all this raw-guitar gloriousness, with the planned 2016 release of a new documentary, and a new studio album. Live shows by the revitalized band have been happening sporadically since 2012, and one of those will be taking place at the Bootleg Theater on November 28. Members of the classic 1971-80 lineup Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson and George Alexander are all there, with new kid Victor Penalosa on drums. If there’s any band ripe for re-discovery in a big way, it’s this one, so godspeed to them.
It would come highly recommended even if the Zeros weren’t on the bill, but since they are, consider it one of this fall’s totally unmissable events. Not to be confused with the purple-haired goons of the same name, the REAL Zeros are from the front lines of LA punk, circa 1976. and creators of their own memorable, highly coverable classics like “Beat Your Heart Out”, “Wimp” and “Don’t Push Me Around.” Fronted by Robert Lopez, aka El Vez, they are a SoCal treasure and still a great live band – one we don’t get to see nearly enough, so make it a point to catch this one.
THE ART FUSE
(Boston A&E site)
The Flamin’ Groovies
November 25, doors at 7 p.m. / show at 8 p.m. (several opening acts are on the bill)
Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA
According to Greil Marcus, the West Coast Dean of American Rock Critics, the 1976 Flamin’ Groovies song “Shake Some Action” “is what rock ‘n’ roll is. Nothing like this song, this performance, this sound had ever been heard on earth before rock ‘n’ roll emerged. It’s the purest distillation of what the form wants to be.” That is pretty much what I meant when I first called it the “Platonic form of a power pop song.” But how unfair it would be to focus on this song alone, as if it were they only thing the band had to recommend it. The Flamin’ Groovies did not become quite possibly the greatest, most underrated American cult band ever on the basis of one track. Many of the other reasons why this San Francisco group is worthy of this distinction will be on display at Brighton Music Hall on Wednesday. Go, and have something to be very thankful for the next day.
WBUR’s THE ARTERY
(BOSTON A&E site) Feature interview with Cyril Jordon
Flamin’ Groovies Helped Invent ’70s Power Pop — Part Sweet, Part Dirty, No Artifice
by Jim Sullivan
When legendary rock critic Greil Marcus was dreaming up the idea to tell “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs,” as his 2014 book came to be titled, he says, “I knew from that instant that the first song — the first chapter in the book — would be ‘Shake Some Action.’” By the Flamin’ Groovies.
“For years and years whenever I heard that song, on the radio or just playing it myself,” Marcus told Pitchfork last year, “I just thought, this is it. This is what rock ‘n’ roll is. Everything I want it to be. This could have been the first rock ‘n’ roll record. It could have been the last rock ‘n’ roll record. It has a spirit. It has a drive. It has a melodic momentum. It has a beat that didn’t exist before rock ‘n’ roll.”
The Flamin’ Groovies may not quite have The Velvet Underground’s cred or cachet — that is, as the most-favored cult band in rock history — but they’re high in the mix. Right up there with the Raspberries and Big Star, two fellow travelers in the genre that came to be known as power pop in the early 1970s.
“The seamless ability to merge sweet and dirty without any artifice” is how Ken Sharp, author of three volumes of the book “Play On! Power Pop Heroes,” has defined the genre.
“That’s a good way of describing us,” says Cyril Jordan, songwriter-guitarist of the Flamin’ Groovies, who perform at Brighton Music Hall in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 25. “I would say the same thing about why Phil Spector was so good. It was beauty and power. Like ‘Be My Baby’ — this real pretty thing and ‘boom boom boom,’ this over- the-top heaviness.”
“To me,” the 67-year-old Jordan continues, on the phone from San Francisco, “power pop is probably the most important kind of music in terms of being an art form that is very original, a genre of music that’s wide open to brand new ideas.”
The Who’s Pete Townshend reportedly coined the term to describe what his band played in the mid-‘60s: Concise, melodic hard rock. No frills songs that were short, sharp and succinct. Whenever power pop has sprouted up throughout the years, it’s generally a counter to other trends, like prog-rock in the early ‘70s. A slew of power pop bands — the Shoes, the Yachts and Bram Tchaikovsky to name three – emerged out of the late ‘70s punk rock days. There was the energy of punk, but more emphasis on songcraft and harmony.
Formed during the late ‘60s in San Francisco, the Groovies, like the New York-based Velvets, had minimal commercial success at the time. But an audience built over time. It happened after the band broke up in the Velvets case, and after 1976’s “Shake Some Action” for the Groovies. They influenced a generations of future rock bands, from Cheap Trick, the Brains, and Blondie back in the ’70s to Sloan, the Futureheads and Maximo Park in the 21st century.
The Flamin’ Groovies, co-founded by Jordan and singer-songwriter-guitarist Roy Loney, didn’t start off as a power pop band. They were more of a rough-and-tumble, proto-punk kind of entity. Mick Jagger reportedly noted the similarity of the Groovies’ 1971 album “Teenage Head” to The Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” and declared “Teenage Head” a better record.
Loney left after band after “Teenage Head,” replaced by singer-guitarist Chris Wilson. They moved to London for a year, recorded the seminal power pop album “Shake Some Action,” the first of three albums that would re-establish the Groovies later that decade.
The early Groovies, says co-founding bassist George Alexander, on the phone from Arizona, “labeled ourselves ‘high energy.’ We were the fastest band on the planet, like Ramones-fast. Once Chris got in, we decided to move on to what we considered the next level. We needed a lead singer that could carry that off, a young, good-looking guy who could Jagger-out.
“With Chris we were moving into ‘Shake Some Action.’ Our last record from the punk phrase was ‘Teenage Head’ and [the first single with Wilson] ‘Slow Death,’ which was more Stones-y. We kept ‘Slow Death’ in the set but it was now time for ‘Shake Some Action’ and the power pop.”
“Slow Death” has had a long life. The New York City punk/hard rock band The Dictators picked up on the song and covered it on their third album, 1978’s “Bloodbrothers.” It’s an anti-drug song, with its protagonist lost in the grip of morphine, not unlike the protagonist in The Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” in viewpoint.
“The Groovies influenced us Dictators from the beginning,” says the band’s guitarist Ross Friedman aka Ross the Boss. (They now play out as The Dictators NYC, without founding songwriter-bassist Andy Shernoff.) “We took a lot of inspiration from them. To us they are immortals. Brilliant songwriters and performers. ‘Slow Death is a classic. We’ve expanded the tune even more in the solo section. It’s a real crowd pleaser with a double lead guitar attack.”
And it’s one of the two songs the Groovies still play in concert from that era. The only other the title song from “Teenage Head.”
A Groovies tour is a rare thing; they played Precinct, a small, now-defunct club in Somerville in November 2013. This is their first swing back since then. What you will hear from the Groovies on Nov. 25 will come from the three ‘70s albums and probably several from an upcoming, as yet untitled, album.
“We’ve got about five more songs to mix and two more to put vocals on,” says Jordan. “But every time I go into the studio I have a new song so we’re always cutting new songs.” A couple of those tunes, “End of the World” and “Let Me Rock,” will carry over from a streaming-only six-song EP released two years ago.
When the Groovies embraced power pop, Jordan says, it wasn’t as if they suddenly hit upon this idea to shift gears.
Jordan and Wilson were living together in England in 1972. “Me and Chris worked on songs every night,” he says. “It was a much better medium for me as a writer and a hell of a lot more progression was made because of that constant ‘every day let’s tackle it’ attitude and there was a great inspiration back then to come up with a great single, ‘cause the stakes were so high.”
As to their progression, Jordan says, “The Flamin’ Groovies are the only band whose whole history from day one has been recorded [on the 1968 EP] ‘Sneakers’ [and the albums] ‘Supersnazz’ [in 1969] and ‘Flamingo’ [in 1970.] Our whole history and our evolution is recorded. Now, if there were recordings of Johnny and the Moondogs [the name the early Beatles played under] and then you compare that to their evolution, to where they got, people would go ‘How’d you do that?’ It’s the natural evolution. You guys have been listening to us since we were babies and when we were babies we weren’t in our prime as artists. The Beatles took a long time before found their niche. I don’t think we had our own identifying sound until ‘Teenage Head.’”
It wasn’t a smooth transition from “Teenage Head” to “Shake Some Action,” though. There’s a five-year gap between releases, which Jordan considers to be his Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” period. They’d recorded “Shake Some Action” in South Wales with producers Dave Edmunds and Greg Shaw in 1972.
“We came back to America and it took me three years to get ‘Shake Some Action’ released,” Jordan says. “I went to New York and Los Angeles by myself; I went to Europe by myself. I was staying in real scary hotel rooms. I still have nightmares about that period. I knew I was right. I knew “Shake Some Action’ was an incredible song and it was gonna happen.” The album was released by Sire, the Groovies part of its punk/new thrust of the mid-late ‘70s. “Now, 45 years later,” says Jordan, “it’s a whole chapter on a book on rock that Greil Marcus put out.”
Cyril Jordan (left) and Chris Wilson of the Flamin’ Groovies. (PSquared Photography)
Cyril Jordan (left) and Chris Wilson of the Flamin’ Groovies. (PSquared Photography)
The Groovies broke up in 1987, says Alexander. Band members went separate ways, did other musical projects. Alexander, for one, carved out a 25-year career with the U.S. Postal Service. “I’m 69,” he says. “I can’t believe I’m still friggin’ doing this. I was happily retired with a pension and medical. And then I get this call two and a half years ago and they want to reform the band.”
The Australian band Hoodoo Gurus had reformed and was asked to pick a support band for their reunion gig Down Under in early 2013. Band leader Dave Faulkner rang and, says Jordan, “made us a real nice offer. We added a few more shows in Tokyo and came up with enough money to kick-start this thing.” Jordan, Wilson and Alexander added drummer Victor Penalosa to flesh out the band.
“The thing about the band,” Jordan says, “is it was the fans basically that brought us back. If it wasn’t for the fans, this would be a very difficult thing to do.”
Those fans include people like Marcus and Ira Robbins, former editor of seminal ‘70s rock magazine Trouser Press. Robbins says, “They deserve credit for, among other things, being, I believe, the first rock ‘n’ roll band to issue their own record, for being a San Francisco force unaffected by psychedelic drugs, for writing one of the absolute greatest songs of all time [‘Shake Some Action.’] They did not start with power pop, but moved into it from vintage rock ‘n’ roll spirit, which is a rare, if not unique, procession.”
Former Dictators, now Del-Lords, guitarist Scott Kempner adds, “They were always a band out of time. Not in the sense that they were too late or even too early. More like the planet from which the Flamin’ Groovies are from did not recognize the movement of time. Cyril, their guiding light, wrote songs for the ages. Songs that sounded dragged through the eras and picked up some hard earned soul and melancholy on the way.”
When the Jordan-Wilson-led Groovies split up in the late ‘80s, there was tension between the two. Were hatchets buried in order for them to reunite?
“Those hatchets, which got stuck in our heads, they just kind of dissipated over a 30-year-period,” says Jordan. “Because we’re from the psychedelic era, we know the wisdom and the wisdom is you don’t stay angry. Because if you do, man, you go crazy. We’re kind of smart on that level. The only thing that kept us apart was the distance; he was in England and I was in California.”
Still, the Flamin’ Groovies in 2015: Who’da thunk it?
“It’s funny,” says Jordan. “I remember the Stones when they were asked in the ‘60s and they said we’ll be the first guys to quit: ‘We’re not gonna be old guys playing rock ‘n’ roll.’ Back then, none of us thought we’d live that long. I had polio when I was 5 ½ and I was supposed to die within 6 months. And that didn’t happen. So that gave me a wakeup call on how fragile mortality is. It’s a flimsy thread, man. I just grew up knowing you could die at any day. We weren’t planning for retirement, let me put it that way.”
“What’s weird is that touring is easier now,” Jordan continues. “You’d think it would be harder ‘cause we’re old guys, but it’s easier. I don’t know what it is. It’s weird. It’s a state of mind. If you’ve taken care of yourself, like I have, you don’t look as worn out.”
WICKED LOCAL CAMBRIDGE
(Boston area A&E site) Brief show preview
Rock legends The Flamin’ Groovies bring Brighton Music Hall back to their classic, pre-punk sound. Presented by Fenway Sessions.
DC ROCK LIIVE
(DC music site) PREVIEWS of COMING ATTRACTIONS: Late November 2015
The mighty Flamin’ Groovies will be at the Rock’n’Roll Hotel on Monday, November 23rd. Catch them while you can.
(NYC-based music blog) – Show preview
What’s going on Sunday? Flamin’ Groovies, Nude Beach, Miriam @ Baby’s All Right
Powerpop legends Flamin’ Groovies are back with guitarist Chris Wilson and a barrelful of good time, hook-filled classics. Next year’s their 50th anniversary with a new album on the way. They’re well-matched with Nude Beach.
BROOKLYN VEGAN (NYC-based music blog) – Show preview
What’s going on Saturday? Flamin’ Groovies @ WFMU Monty Hall
Powerpop legends Flamin’ Groovies are back with guitarist Chris Wilson and a barrelful of good time, hook-filled classics. Next year’s their 50th anniversary.
NEW YORK MUSIC DAILY
(NYC music site) Show preview
Powerpop and Janglerock Cult Heroes the Flamin’ Groovies Make Their Williamsburg Debut Sunday Night
How many bands from the sixties are still left, let alone worth seeing? The Stones may be a pale shadow of their former glory, but the Flamin’ Groovies are still out there and still reputedly ripping it up. As far as legendary twinbills are concerned, it’s hard to imagine anything much more adrenalizing than when they teamed up with the original version of Aussie garage-psych legends Radio Birdman for that band’s one and only European tour in 1979. Hundreds, maybe thousands of shows later, the Flamin’ Groovies are making their Williamsburg debut this Sunday, November 22 at 10 PM at Baby’s All Right. Cover is $20, and you might want to show up early just to make sure you get in since this is a small place, maybe the smallest venue the band has played in decades. You can expect to see Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson and George Alexander lfrom the classic 1971-80 lineup, bolstered by Victor Penalosa on drums,
Their latest release is Groovies’ Greatest Grooves, streaming at Spotify, a delicious and definitive 24-song playlist that would get a smile out of the most curmudgeonly, critical pop purist. There’s Shake Some Action, the iconic powerpop tune with the hook that every guitarist worth his or her salt has messed around with (and possibly stolen); the new single End of the World, echoing Blue Oyster Cult or possibly the Frank Flight Band; Teenage Head, the snotty, ghoulishly galloping number that at least one band named themselves after; the trippy, woundedly gorgeous twelve-string chamber pop classic I Saw Her; Slow Death; which prefigures both the Move and Big Star; the wickedly catchy yet counterintuitive Jumpin’ in the Night; and the proto-glam Tallahassee Lassie.
These guys were so far ahead of their time it’s not funny. The list of bands they’ve influenced, in punk, powerpop and garage rock, goes on for miles. You can hear electric T-Rex in Yeah My Baby (meanwhile, the Groovies are mashing up the Velvets with the Beatles). Their stripped-down cover of Don’t Lie to Me has been a prototype for bar bands covering Chuck Berry for decades. There’s First Plane Home, awash in glistening Rickenbacker chime and clang. Uneasy major-to-minor-and-back changes permeate the briskly pulsing shuffle Please Please Girl, while it’s the dancing, minimalist lead guitar lines that make I Can’t Hide so cool. There are also deeper tracks here like Yes It’s True and You Tore Me Down, with their heartbreakingly jangly, watery mashup of Byrds folk-rock and early Beatles pop; Between the Lines, which could be a proto-Cheap Trick covering Dylan: and Don’t Put Me On, a defiant stoner look forward to new wave.
There’s also Teenage Confidential, which sounds like the early Who taking a stab at Phil Spector; amped up early Pretty Things-style R&B like Down Down Down; I’ll Cry Alone, beefed-up acoustic-electric Fab Four; the fuzztone-tinged Byrds of Yes I Am; and the bizarre bluegrass-Beatles hybrid All I Wanted. There’s going to be a clinic in sharp, catchy tunesmithing Sunday night a few blocks from the Marcy Avenue stop on the J and M train and you can be there to witness it.
THE DELI NYC: (NYC weekly) Show preview
The Flamin’ Groovies story goes all the way back to 1965 when the band began as the Chosen Few in their hometown of San Francisco, California. After a name change and a self-released 10-inch album called Sneakers, the band caught the attention of Columbia Records, who signed them and sent them into the studio with a big budget to record their first full-length album, Supersnazz, for the Epic label. Their next two albums were on Kama Sutra (home of their heroes, The Lovin’ Spoonful): Flamingo, and the now revered classic Teenage Head.
Lead singer Roy Loney left the band at that point, and lead guitarist Cyril Jordan moved the group to England with Chris Wilson (formerly of Loose Gravel) taking over as front man. They continued their style of straight-ahead guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll, but this time with a more 60’s rather than 50’s influence. A few singles on United Artists, recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales with Dave Edmunds producing, followed in the early 70’s. In ’76 they signed to Sire Records, who released three true gems of power pop: Shake Some Action, Flamin’ Groovies Now, and Jumpin’ In The Night.
Another lineup change ensued in the next decade with Wilson moving to England and joining the Barracudas. The Groovies continued on through the 80’s and into the early 90’s touring Australia and Europe, putting out a fine but overlooked album called Rock Juice and then finally calling it quits. Jordan formed a new band called Magic Christian while Wilson released solo albums in Europe.
Then, in 2013, Jordan, Wilson and original founding member and bass player George Alexander reunited for the first time since 1981. With new drummer Victor Penalosa, a fine musician in his own right, the foursome has not only recorded fresh material but has also completed earlier material that has never before been captured.
They recently toured Japan and Australia, returning home to San Francisco to headline a show that sold out in less than 24 hours. Fans have been delighted with what is being called “a dream set list,” including original songs the band has never performed before onstage. Newcomers are asking, “Why haven’t I ever heard of this group?”
It’s hard to say just why the group hasn’t gotten the attention they deserve (at least in the USA), but they’re back to give everyone another chance at hearing and seeing just why those in the know consider them one of the greatest rock n’ roll bands of all time.
(Brooklyn A&E site) Positive show preview
Top 5 shows of the weekend:
2) Flamin’ Groovies, Nude Beach, Miriam at Baby’s All Right
San Francisco’s Flamin’ Groovies will soon be celebrating their 50th anniversary, and while there have been various line-up changes through their history, that’s still no mean feat whatsoever. Shake Some Action is one of the great power-pop anthems of all time, but the band are still making new music and should have a record out in 2016, which would be their first in over 20 years. It almost seems ridiculous to be seeing the band with such critical acclaim in such a small venue. Sunday 8pm
The Flamin’ Groovies: Gonna Rock Tonight And Forever
—by Rachael Ciccone
San Francisco’s legendary rock band, The Flamin’ Groovies, have been playing music for 50 years, and are not stopping anytime soon. Band founder Cyril Jordan has rejoined the group and is still creating energetic, fun, and witty music. Before putting out new material, they are touring in celebration of the reformation of Jordan, and former members, Chris Wilson and George Alexander, and welcoming newcomer, Victor Penalosa. The Flamin’ Groovies will be playing at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia on Nov. 20, at Monty Hall in Jersey City on Nov. 21, and at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn on Nov. 22.
THE RIVERVIEW OBSERVER
(NJ weekly) Feature interview with George to preview NJ show (print only)
(Philly A&E site) Lengthy feature interview with Cyril to preview Philly show – Parts 1 and 2 (copy/paste not available)
PART 1: http://www.phawker.com/2015/11/19/shake-some-action-the-definitive-qa-with-cyril-jordan-of-the-legendary-flamin-groovies/
PART 2: http://www.phawker.com/2015/11/24/teenage-head-the-definitive-qa-with-cyril-jordan-of-the-legendary-flamin-groovies-pt-2/
(Philly daily) Show preview
The Flamin’ Groovies Friday at Johnny Brenda’s,
Although they emerged out of San Francisco in the mid-1960s, the Flamin’ Groovies had nothing to do with the hippie/psychedelic scene that came to define the city in those years. Instead, the Groovies slammed out gloriously unpretentious rock-and-roll with pop flair and proto-punk energy, proving they could be both bluesy and Beatlesque. It’s a timeless sound with influence that has far surpassed the band’s period of commercial success. Their reunion Friday at Johnny Brenda’s will feature three members of the 1971-80 lineup, which produced 1976’s great Dave Edmunds-produced Shake Some Action: founding member Cyril Jordan on guitar and vocals; bassist George Alexander; and singer and guitarist Chris Wilson, who replaced original front man Roy Loney. In addition to old favorites such as “Shake Some Action,” “Teenage Head,” and “Jumpin’ in the Night,” expect to hear some new material – coming in 2016 is a new album as well as a documentary, The Incredible Flamin’ Groovies.
– Nick Cristiano
The Flamin’ Groovies, with the Goodbye Party and Residuels, set to play at 8 p.m. Friday at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. Tickets: $20. 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com
(Philly A&E site) Show preview
Listen up: 9 weekend concert picks
Flamin’ Groovies: Johnny Brenda’s Friday, Nov. 20
Have you seen “Clueless?” Then you know the Flamin’ Groovies’ music. Kinda. The four-piece band from San Francisco made waves in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, and decades later, their “Shake Some Action” single was covered by Cracker (that’s the Clueless version). The original though is better: rambunctious, swelling, and poppy with beautiful guitar work. You might not have listened to the album to which it belongs (which is also called “Shake Some Action” and was reissued in 2005), but trust us: it’s one of the best guitar pop gems you’ve never heard. Hurry up and grab tickets as supplies are low.
Doors 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m., $20
THE PHILADELPHIA !NQUIRER
(Philly daily) Show preview
Dan DeLuca’s picks: Flamin’ Groovies: Power-po and punk-rock forerunners who date the San Francisco scene of the 1960s. Shake some action! This Friday @ Johnny Brenda’s. http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/dan_deluca/20151115_Dan_DeLuca_s_picks__Paul_Thorn___Master_of_None___Dave_Rawlings_Machine__and_more.html
THINGS TO DO IN PHILADELPHIA
(Philly A&E site)) – show preview from press announcement
Flamin’ Groovies in Philadelphia this Fri @ Johnny Brenda’s
(Toronto weekly) Show review
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Flamin’ Groovies, a milestone that’d be more significant if the band hadn’t actually ceased to exist from 1992 to 2013. Three years ago, the core of their seminal ’70s lineup — guitarist Cyril Jordan, bassist George Alexander, and singer/guitarist Chris Wilson — reunited, and it was this version (along with drummer Victor Penalosa) that rocked out for a less-than-capacity Horseshoe crowd.
The cult favourite Groovies are one of those bands who influenced many other, more successful groups, and they’re now recognized as leading lights in or forerunners of power pop, garage rock, and punk. It was their garage/punk side that ruled the roost here; their few attempts at the Beatles-esque vocal harmonies present on some earlier records were rather lost in the din, as on “Please Please Girl.” Wilson’s voice is now more of a rather strained shout than a melodic vehicle.
Still, those that came for the signature FG rifferama were not disappointed. Led by Jordan, the guitars built a wall of sound infused with a rock’n’roll spirit that sounds as fresh as ever. The Groovies have always taken from a wide range of material that they then put through their riff-y grinder, and this gig was no exception. They covered songs by Larry Williams, Chuck Berry, W.C. Handy (a near unrecognisable “St. Louis Blues”), Freddie Cannon (“Tallahassee Lassie,” a set highlight), Frankie Lee Sims, and NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad.” Wilson termed the latter “a band we like, and they like us.”
The voluble singer is sometimes accused of chatting too much, but he was relatively restrained here (a crack about Ben Carson fell flat). The short-ish set’s momentum definitely picked up near the end, boosted by a strong version of FG classic “Slow Death.” A slightly ragged take on their anthem signature tune “Shake Some Action” ensured an encore, closed out by the predictable yet smart choice of “Teenage Head,” which inspired the name of Hamilton’s best punk band. Alexander laughingly previewed the song by noting “we’re too old for teenage head now.” A band past its prime? Certainly. A band worthy of respect and still capable of delivering an entertaining show? Definitely.
THE PERLICH REPORT
(Toronto music site) Show preview with various live videos
Flamin’ Groovies @ The Horseshoe in Toronto Wednesday Nov. 18th
(daily) – show review
Music review: Flamin’ Groovies shake some action at the Hard Rock
By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
We can say with confidence that the Hard Rock Cafe gig Sunday night will not go down as one of Chris Wilson’s favorite shows on the Flamin’ Groovies tour.
During the set, the singer-guitarist complained to his soundman about his amp and then left the stage cursing (he walked right by me, so I heard him) when the show was cut short before the encore.
Although the crowd may have been cheated out of a few songs, there was a lot to like in the hour-long set that offered a glimpse of a legendary cult band that hadn’t been seen here in decades.
One of the pioneers of power-pop, the Groovies are no spring chickens, forming in 1965 and releasing their first album, “Supersnazz,” in 1969. Although 1971’s “Teenage Head” is considered to be the band’s classic, their biggest claim to fame is the 1976 song “Shake Some Action” that was covered by Cracker on the “Clueless” soundtrack.
When the band reformed in 2013, it was the first time Wilson, founding member Cyril Jordan and bassist George Alexander played together since 1981. Surely, it all comes back easily as this less musical rocket science than good, old-fashioned, four-chord garage rock.
The Groovies do it in a few different flavors, starting with jangling folk-rock as heard Sunday in the set-opening cover of The Byrds’ “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” and carried into “You Tore Me Down.” From there, they took it up a notch with some howling blues-rock in Freddy Boom Boom Cannon’s “Tallahassee Lassie” and the Stones’ “She Said Yeah,” among others, showing that age was no great deterrent to volume and energy. (On a side note, the museum-y Hard Rock stage, which makes rock look frozen in time, doesn’t do aging bands any favors.)
The one to lose, had they known time would be short, was “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” a song we’ve all heard enough times and one they did too faithfully.
At the end of the set, they cranked it up a little more with the straight-on rock ’n’ roll of “Slow Death,” introduced as the song that was banned by the BBC, presumably for its drug references (although it’s anti-drug), and “Shake Some Action,” which got the guitars churning at their finest.
Lost in the Groovies having to cut it short at 10:30 were “Teenage Head” and “Let Me Rock,” a pair of songs that would have put the show more over the top. Turns out, what we needed was a little less talking — Wilson’s between-song banter was barely comprehensible anyway — and a little more action.
(Chicago music site) Show mention with live video
The Weekend In Chicago Rock
You shoulda been there. 11-12-15 – Flamin Groovies – St Louis Blues – Beat Kitchen – Chicago
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ORVixDe7rQ
IN THE LOOP MAGAZINE
(Chicago music site) Photo gallery by James Currie
(music blog) – Cleveland show preview
LIVE: The Flamin’ Groovies at the Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH (11/14/15)
by Gretchen Unico
Fans of garage rock and power pop would be hard-pressed to find a better act on tour right now than the Flamin’ Groovies, though they might be shocked to learn that the band is indeed touring. Personally, I was just as surprised as I was excited when I heard they were coming to Cleveland, since the Flamin’ Groovies are one of those groups that I have always admired but never thought I’d get the chance to see, due to their lack of mainstream success. Even as far as cult favorites go, the Groovies tend not to receive quite the same attention as their contemporaries. But with records like Shake Some Action, Teenage Head, and Jumpin’ In the Night in their repertoire, it’s hard to understand why they aren’t better known.
Although their past recordings speak for themselves, the Flamin’ Groovies’ greatness still shines through today in their live shows. The present lineup, featuring co-founder Cyril Jordan on vocals and guitar, original member George Alexander on bass, ’70s-era lead singer Chris Wilson on guitar and vocals, and newest Groovy Victor Penalosa on drums, have been playing gigs together for the past two years. They even wrote and released a single, “End of the World,” which recreates their ’70s sound so well that it’s practically uncanny. And fortunately, this seems to be only the beginning of the Groovies’ revival, as in addition to touring, they are planning to release their first full album of new material in decades, plus a feature length documentary, all to commemorate the band’s 50th anniversary next year.
The Flamin’ Groovies’ diverse catalog spans everything from blues-based tunes to jangly Byrds covers, and they still pay homage to these influences in their current shows. In fact, the song that kicked off last Saturday’s concert at the Beachland Ballroom was Gene Clark’s classic “Feel a Whole Lot Better,” which also appeared on the 1978 release Flamin’ Groovies Now. This was one of many covers heard throughout the set, which is only fitting since the Groovies are proven masters at interpreting other artists’ material, whether it’s well known hits by established names or buried gems first recorded by their left-of-mainstream heroes. As if to show off their range to the Cleveland crowd, the band performed a hard-hitting “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” dedicated to Brian Jones, alongside “Married Woman” by bluesman Frankie Lee Sims, whom Cyril Jordan was surprised to note that the blues-obsessed Stones never covered.
Regarding their own compositions, it’s clear that the Groovies still understand the power of an infectious riff, the driving force behind many of their best songs, and Jordan and Wilson’s guitars faithfully brought these enduring melodies to life at Beachland. Their most legendary single, “Shake Some Action,” as well as the unbelievably catchy “Slow Death,” were rendered with plenty of raw energy to the absolute delight of the crowd. It certainly didn’t hurt that the band was playing these timeless tunes to a room full of dedicated fans, many of whom probably would have paid well over the $25 entry free, and who enthusiastically called out obscure requests all evening. But I’m willing to bet that any fan of good old-fashioned rock ‘n roll would have been pleased with these instantly memorable songs, whether they knew them by heart or were hearing them for the first time.
The only complaint I can imagine someone might have about the show is that the set was strictly focused on the 1970s portion of the Flamin’ Groovies’ career, thereby neglecting the Roy Loney period. Loney originally formed the band with Jordan in 1965, starting out with a ’50s rock ‘n roll inspired model, and he served as lead vocalist and guitarist until his departure in 1971. In his absence, Jordan helped steer the band in a more power pop direction, leading to what many consider the Groovies’ magnum opus, Shake Some Action, in 1976. Considering the album’s relative popularity, it only makes sense that they performed almost every track over the course of the evening at Beachland, though not with the pristine studio quality of the original recordings, but with a rougher, grittier edge, kind of like a garage band that actually knows how to play their instruments. Even the melancholy, Beatles-esque ballads “You Tore Me Down” and “Please Please Girl” were rendered with just as much force and fun as the rollicking rockabilly selections “Don’t You Lie To Me” and “She Said Yeah.” It would have been incredibly hard not to dance to at least one, if not all of the songs they played, and a particular highlight was “Tallahassee Lassie,” which I found myself listening to repeatedly on the way home from the concert, trying to relive the dynamic performance.
Another great moment came during the encore in the form of the show’s only Loney-era song “Teenage Head,” a down-and-dirty blues tune at its core, appropriately filtered through raunchy garage rock and accompanied by an origin story that inevitably makes audiences snicker like teenage boys. It was a perfect ending to the night and was totally in keeping with the overall upbeat tone, as the band members did everything they could to keep the audience laughing throughout the show, tossing out plenty of off-the-cuff one-liners in between songs and even turning the technical difficulties that plagued the performance into sources of amusement. Chris Wilson apologized for one of the interruptions by saying, “There is a potentially disturbing event going on. We smell something burning in one of the amps,” to which Cyril Jordan added, “They don’t call us the Flamin’ Groovies for nothing.”
Antics aside, I would not hesitate to describe the Flamin’ Groovies, both then and now, as “rock ‘n roll in its purest form.” Both the songs they wrote and the ones they covered are deceptively simple yet powerful, much like the teenage romances–and lust–that their lyrics seem to describe. Perhaps what makes the Groovies’ performances so effective to this day is the band’s ability to recapture and maintain the youthful vitality of these 40-something-year-old records, even while making cracks about being eligible for senior discounts. Their formula of catchy, memorable music combined with straightforward, relatable lyrics still works, and likewise the Groovies still know how to work it.
Although this year’s tour is quickly winding down, I still encourage you to check out the Flamin’ Groovies in whatever way you can, whether that means attending one of their few remaining dates or simply picking up an album. The Groovies’ day in the sun is long overdue, and the more people who recognize them for their talents, the sooner that day will come for this often forgotten but always remarkable band.
THE BAY BRIDGED
(San Fran music site)
one of the greatest rock n’ roll bands of all time Flamin’ Groovies Fri. 11/06 | 8:00PM @ Sweetwater Music Hall
BRIGHTEST YOUNG THINGS
(Chicago music site) Show preview
Chicago Best Weekend Bets:
OG power pop group the Flamin’ Groovies play an intimate show tonight at the Beat Kitchen alongside Trapper Schoepp and Mooner.
(Chicago radio station doing the presents) Show preview
KICKSTAND PRODUCTIONS & CHIRP RADIO PRESENTS FLAMIN’ GROOVIES
2100 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
Kickstand Productions & CHIRP Radio presents the legendary band, Flamin’ Groovies, to Beat Kitchen on Thursday, November 12th. To start off the show we’ve also got rocker, Trapper Schoepp, to play us some sweet tunes.
Get those tickets and join us at the show!
DETROIT FREE PRESS
By Brian McCollum
The Flamin’ Groovies this Fr. Nov. 13 @ The Magic Bag
The core classic lineup of Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson and George Alexander reunited two years ago, reviving the Groovies’ legacy of scrappy, crackling power pop and proto-punk rock ‘n’ roll. The Magic Bag is a stop on a brief fall tour as the band looks ahead to a 50th anniversary year in 2016, complete with new album and career-spanning documentary. 8 p.m., the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward, Ferndale. 248-544-3030. $20.
PLACES TO GO IN DETROIT
(Detroit A&E site)
Flamin’ Groovies this Fr. Nov. 13 @ The Magic Bag
The legendary rockers make a rare intimate club appearance at the Magic Bag. Look for the band to dig out all the classic cuts including Shake Some Action, She Tore Me Down, I Can’t Hide and much more. The Hentchmen kick off the evening. The doors open at 8pm and tickets are $20 in advance.
(weekly) Positive show preview
Concerts to Catch This Weekend SATURDAY, NOV. 14
Flamin’ Groovies Sat. Nov. 14 @ Beachland Ballroom
To say Cyril Jordan and his band the Flamin’ Groovies have had to wait for their just due as rock legends is an understatement of monumental proportions. Born and bred in San Francisco, the Groovies have weathered many a storm over the past 48 years. Jordan’s integrity, which kept the band firmly rooted in the classic rock ‘n’ roll of the ’50s and ’60s, has meant that fame and fortune eluded him in an era in which jumping on the latest band wagons of psychedelia, album-oriented rock, punk and new wave may have allowed him an easy path to status and stardom. But it appears that time may be finally on their side. Jordan, original bass player George Alexander and charismatic lead singer Chris Wilson recently reunited after three decades, and the ground swell of interest in their rebirth has already reached international proportions. (Mark Horn), 9 p.m., $25. Beachland Ballroom. – http://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2015/11/13/6-concerts-to-catch-this-weekend
Must-see concerts in Cleveland this weekend
The Flamin’ Grooves / Wussy
9 p.m. Saturday, November 14
Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland
Tickets: $25 to $50 via Ticketweb
In 2013, Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson and George Alexander reactivated their pioneering power-pop/garage band The Flamin’ Groovies after more than 30 years apart. After a slew of well-received shows, not only is the band working on a new album, but they’re also gearing up to release a documentary, “The Incredible Flamin’ Groovies.” Bonus: Beachland faves Wussy—they of the heart-on-sleeve alt-country and bittersweet punk-twang—open the show.
(Cleveland music site) Show preview
’70s Cult Rockers @FlaminGroovies & Cincinnati’s @WussyMusic Play @BeachlandCle
Sat 11/14 @ 9PM
The Flamin’ Groovies, formed in San Francisco in 1965, are one of those legendary cult bands that power pop fans love to love.
The cult kicked into gear when the group released its 1969 debut, Supersnazz, with its spirited, tuneful ’50s infused pop/rock — everything that wasn’t in style in that era of dense, rambling experimental rock. They released a series of critically adored albums but commercially unsuccessful album in the ’70s and limped through the ’80s before throwing in the towel in 1992. They’ve had sporadic reunions since, led by one of the band’s founding members, guitarist/vocalist Cyril Jordan. Bassist/harmonica player, George Alexander, who had joined the band by the time they made Supersnazz, is also in the current version.
But there’s another reason to go to their show at the Beachland Ballroom. The opening act is Cincinnati’s wonderful Wussy, featuring the distaff vocals and songwriting of Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker. The 15-year old quintet, which describes itself as “bridging the gap between The Band and Sonic Youth,” released an EP earlier this year called Public Domain Vol. I on which they reworked traditional American folk tunes. They’re currently working on a new album of their own material, their 7th, which we can probably expect in 2016.
DJs Alright of Cleveland and Jimmy Carl Black of Columbus will spin R&B, soul and garage vinyl before and between sets.
General admission tickets are $25; VIP, which includes a meet-and-greet, is $50.
(weekly) Early show preview with band photos, live video and iTunes song links
Flamin’ Groovies, Wussy Sat, Nov 14th BeachlandBallroom
The 2013 Flamin’ Groovies will feature original and founding members Cyril Jordan (guitar) and George Alexander (bass) plus singer / guitarist Chris Wilson, the vocalist for the band’s second era of 1972 – 1982 (Roy Loney having been the frontman in the 1st incarnation of 1965 – 1971) and singer of such classics as Slow Death (considered by the Rolling Stones as an inclusion on their Some Girls album) Yes It’s True, and the all-time power-pop anthem from the album of the same name Shake Some Action.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: (daily)
PICK: A Groovies kind of love
Sometimes you have to scratch your head. Wait, is that really The Flamin’ Groovies playing at the Hard Rock Cafe at Station Square on the South Side? Well, yes, it is.
Starting in 1965, these San Franciscans made true-school rock ‘n’ roll — not oblivious, but perhaps indifferent to the massive musical trends going on around them. As a consequence, albums like “Teenage Head” (1971) have really stood the test of time and sound like they could have been made yesterday. Everyone from punk rockers to power-popsters claimed the Groovies as one of their own.
The band is hard at work on a documentary and all-new album to celebrate its 50th anniversary. That the band is turning up for a Nov. 15 show at the Hard Rock is doubly strange.
Tickets are $14 to $16, and the show starts at 8 p.m.
— Michael Machosky
PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER
Critics’ Picks, Nov. 12-18
Concerts by The Daniel Bennett Group, Zombi, George Clinton, and the Flamin’ Groovies
By Andrew Woehrel and Margaret Welsh
For people of a certain age, the Flamin’ Groovies might be most recognizable for their song “Shake Some Action,” if only because a cover version was featured in the movie Clueless. The Groovies, who formed in San Francisco in 1965, don’t always get as much attention as some similar-sounding contemporaries like The Kinks or Big Star, but the band has made its own notable contributions to garage rock and power pop. In 2013, founder Cyril Jordan reunited with 1970s-lineup alums Chris Wilson and George Alexander, and they’ve been touring ever since. Tonight, check them out at the Hard Rock Café, along with locals Meeting of Important People and The Wurms. Margaret Welsh 8 p.m. 230 W. Station Square Drive, Station Square. $14-16. 412-481-7625 or
(Pittsburgh A&E site) Show preview
Sound Picks: 10 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in November
Flamin’ Groovies Sunday, November 15.
Hard Rock Cafe – 230 W Station Square Dr.
The middle sixties San Francisco scene is synonymous with bands like Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and The Grateful Dead. But what about The Flamin’ Groovies? The band, native to San Fran, was there for it all, but they never adopted the psychedelic sound that marked the era, preferring to stick with a more straightforward garage rock sound. As a result, they never made it big at home. The band did find some success in Europe in the mid-70s, which is when they cut their most popular track to date “Shake Some Action.” (They are often cited as an influence on the nascent UK punk scene) Opening for the Groovies are Pittsburgh indie rockers Meeting of Important People and longtime local rock band The Wurms.
The Flamin’ Groovies to invade Pittsburgh’s Hard Rock Cafe this Sunday, Nov. 15
Legendary rockers The Flamin’ Groovies will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year with a new studio album and full-length documentary film. They launched a North American tour this week and invade Pittsburgh’s Hard Rock Cafe on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the over-21 show are $14 in advance and $16 at the door. The Hard Rock Cafe is located at 230 W. Station Square Drive.
THIS SUNDAY Shake some action w/ The Flamin’ Groovies @ Hard Rock Cafe PGH!
San Francisco garage-rockers Flamin’ Groovies hit the big “5-0” next year and will celebrate with the release of a full-length documentary film, “The Incredible Flamin’ Groovies,” and an album to go with it. In the build up to that, the protopunks best known for “Shake Some Action” (reformed in 2013) are on a fall tour with three members of the 1971 lineup — Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson and George Alexander — all on board.The show is at the Hard Rock Cafe, Station Square, at 8 p.m. $14 advance; $16 day of show. 21+. www.ticketfly.com.http://www.post-gazette.com/…/Hot-list…/stories/201511120080
(Hamilton daily) Show preview
Graham Rockingham’s best bets
The Flamin’ Groovies are a protopunk San Francisco garage band that so influenced a young Hamilton guitarist named Gord Lewis (above) that he decided to name his new band after one of their songs — “Teenage Head.” Four decades later Gord Lewis and his buddy Dave Rave will be opening for the Groovies when they perform Tuesday, Nov. 17, at This Ain’t Hollywood, 345 James St. N. $28. Doors at 9 p.m.
(Toronto weekly) Positiv show preview
Toronto Tipsheet: What we’re doing this week! Wed. Nov. 18 The Flamin’ Groovies Pub rock, power pop, rock and roll legends – call them what you will and head to the Horseshoe to catch the fun. Doors 8:30 pm. $25.50. ticketfly.com.
(NYC A&E site)
THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES’ CHRIS WILSON TALKS ABOUT THE UPCOMING TOUR, ALBUM AND DOCUMENTARY
In Gigantic, a documentary about They Might Be Giants, TMBG co-founder John Flansburgh relates being one of the biggest independent bands to being the world’s tallest little person. When referring to The Flamin’ Groovies, it’s not hard to refer to them as a huge “cult band” or as being “ahead of their time,” much as one might say about Big Star or The Replacements. In the case of The Flamin’ Groovies, there were moments of mainstream success as “Shake Some Action” was a charting hit – and later covered for the Clueless soundtrack by Cracker – and The Rolling Stones were openly big fans of 1971’s Teenage Head.
Here in 2015, literally 50 years since the Groovies formed in San Francisco, plenty is going on for the Groovies in spite of their sporadic activity since 1992. First and foremost, the band hits the area on November 21st (at Jersey City’s Monty Hall) and on November 22nd (at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right) as part of a U.S. tour. Nearly as important as these New York City area appearances is that the Groovies are currently putting the finishing touches on a new album for Burger Records, which would be their new recordings in over 30 years. Also of note is that a documentary titled The Incredible Flamin’ Groovies Movie – which was crowd-funded via Kickstarter – is in the works to tell the story of the band, even following them on their 2013 tour of Japan.
Singer, guitarist and co-writer of many Groovies gems, Chris Wilson, kindly took the time to answer some questions for Downtown Magazine.
Clockwise from left to right, with photo creds: Cyril Jordan (John Boydston), Victor Penalosa (Ray Flex), Chris Wilson (Ricardo Bernal), George Alexander (Laurence Le Tiec)Clockwise from left to right, with photo creds: Cyril Jordan (John Boydston), Victor Penalosa (Ray Flex), Chris Wilson (Ricardo Bernal), George Alexander (Laurence Le Tiec)
When people say that The Flamin’ Groovies were ahead of their time, how does that make you feel? Do you like the “godfathers of punk” tag that some people have used?
Chris Wilson: I am quite flattered to be called ahead of our time, but as for being called “godfathers of punk,” well I don’t want my fingerprints on that trainwreck! A punk is in prison the same as a prison bride, if you get my meaning, and I could never understand why anyone would want to be called that? It was an insult when I was a kid. All punk music meant to me was guys or girls with few musical chops and BAD Production values.
Where are things at currently with the documentary about The Flamin’ Groovies?
C: I’m afraid I’m quite clueless as to how the film is coming, I know that the filmmakers Billy Smith and Kurt Feldhun — both New Yorkers — are having some cash flow problems, but aren’t we all unless you’re Donald Trump. I’m sure the film is coming on-pace and should be finished and out by next year, but don’t quote me on that though!
In making the documentary, was there any part of the band’s history you didn’t want to revisit? Is there anything you would’ve done entirely differently?
C: We were more concerned about portraying the band now. We don’t want to cover old ground, the past is prologue. The film’s content is all very spontaneous and it happens as it happens. Wish we could afford to hire costumes for some of the shoot though – hint hint. But on the whole we’re quite happy with the film’s content and we wouldn’t change much, if anything.
2016 marks your 50th anniversary as a band. Is there another album in the works?
C: Yes, 50th anniversary quite a milestone. We do have an LP in the works, a few more songs are needed, but it is crystalizing nicely and should be out in time to coincide with the release of the film. I’m sure the fans will not be disappointed.
Is there anything you’re aiming to accomplish as a band that you haven’t yet done?
C: Many things, many things. Play a free gig at Machu Pichu! Play live on the I.S.S.! My one wish is to someday record again at Rockfield Studios in Wales, to play support to the Stones!
How does your other band, The Groovin’ Flames, compare to The Flamin’ Groovies?
C: The Groovin’ Flames were a lot of fun, but we haven’t played for eight or nine years. They were a band I put together to play only Flamin’ Groovies songs as there was no Flamin’ Groovies at the time, and I felt – or the fans felt – there should be! We played all the Flamin’ Groovies tunes and had a lot of fun doing it, but now that the band is back it’s an anachronism. The Groovin’ Flames, alas, are no more. But The Flamin’ Groovies are so rejoice!
When you’re not touring or recording with either of your bands, what do you like to do with yourself?
C: I do a lot of reading, watching old films and I like paranormal investigations. I like to cook, I’m very good I’m told! I enjoy the Oregon countryside and it’s myriad of breweries and vineyards with my girlfriend.
Groovies aside, who is the most unfortunately-overlooked band, past or present?
C: I think a very overlooked band from the old days is The Sonics, they should be more appreciated that they are. As for today, Crazy Legs and The CRY! Should get way more coverage than they do.
Finally, Chris, any last words for the kids?
C: Don’t do hard drugs, work hard at your instrument, and if you want to have any kind of life for you and your children, don’t vote Republican.
WPKN’S THE KEY
(Philly AAA radio station’s music site) News feature on tour new single and album.
Look out! The Flamin’ Groovies are back in action and ready to rock
By Bruce Warren
The legendary San Francisco rock band The Flamin’ Groovies are back. Founded by Ron Greco, Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney in the mid 60s, the Groovies are best known for their song “Shake Some Action”. Forerunners of punk rock, and a significant influence on the power pop music movement, the band is preparing a new studio album, and a documentary for release in 2016 in celebration of their 50th anniversary. They play Johnny Brenda’s on Friday, November 20th.
The Flamin’ Groovies released their debut album, Supersnazz, in 1969, however it wouldn’t be until 1976 when they released the Dave Edmunds produced Shake Some Action, that they got any notoriety at all. While “Shake Some Action” barely dented the pop charts, it was wildly influential many bands. Cracker, whose cover of the song was featured in the 1995 movie Clueless, reintroduced it to a new generation of music fans. The band broke up in 1992, however in the last decade they have played only a handful of times.
Long time members Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson, and George Alexander, along with drummer Victor Penalosa, are wrapping up their first new album of new material in over 30 years, and are set to release a new single on Burger Records in the Fall. Below, listen their recent single, “End Of The World,” and watch a couple of trailers for the film.
(NATIONAL MUSIC INDUSTRY WEEKLY PUBLICATION) News feature on tour new single and album.
The Flamin’ Groovies ‘Shake Some Action’
The Flamin’ Groovies returns to the touring highways beginning with a gig in Chicago in mid-November. The shows serve as a run-up to the group’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2016.
The band has weathered breakups and personnel changes over the years. Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson and George Alexander brought the band back to the concert stage in 2013 for appearances in Australia at Hoodoo Gurus’ “Dig It Up.” Since then the band has toured Spain, France and Italy and has made several appearances in New York and in its hometown of San Francisco.
Today’s lineup includes Jordan, Wilson, Alexander and drummer Victor Penalosa playing classics like “Shake Some Action,” “Slow Death” and “Teenage Head.”
The 50th anniversary observance includes the arrival of a new album and a documentary film – “The Incredible Flamin’ Groovies Movie.”
Come fall, the band will release the two-song single “Crazy Macy” / “Let It Rock” via Burger Records. The single will be available in digital and cassette formats as well as on 7” vinyl.
Here are the dates:
Nov. 12 – Chicago, Ill., Beat Kitchen
Nov. 13 – Ferndale, Mich., The Magic Bag
Nov. 14 – Cleveland, Ohio, Beachland Ballroom
Nov. 15 – Pittsburgh, Pa., Hard Rock Café
Nov. 17 – Hamilton, Ontario, This Ain’t Hollywood
Nov. 18 – Toronto, Ontario, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
Nov. 20 – Philadelphia, Pa., Johnny Brenda’s
Nov. 21 – Jersey City, N.J., Monty Hall
Nov. 22 – Brooklyn, N.Y., Baby’s All Right
Nov. 23 – Washington, D.C., Rock And Roll Hotel
Nov. 25 – Boston, Mass., Brighton Music Hall
Some shows are already on sale. Visit The Flamin’ Groovies’ Facebook page for more information.
And don’t forget to click here to listen to the band’s most recent track – “End Of The World.”
VIVE LE ROCK
(Quarterly UK music magazine) – New post on tour, new single, etc
San Fanciscan rock’n’roll legends the FLAMIN’ GROOVIES turn 50 next year! And they’re getting ready for the party by shakin’ a whole lot of action!
With a full US tour lined up for November, the band are set to release a new single this Autumn featuring two Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson songs. The newly recorded ‘Crazy Macy’ and ‘Let Me Rock’ will be issued on cassette and download by Californian label Burger Records, with a limited edition vinyl 7” coming later.
Having just returned from a European Tour, the Groovies are now putting the finishing touches to their first new album in more than thirty years, which will be released next year along with a documentary film The Incredible Flamin’ Groovies Movie. Watch a trailer for the film here.
Formed as a rock’n’roll covers band in 1966, the Flamin’ Groovies have been through various configurations, signing to Sire in the 70s and getting caught up in the New Wave with the classic Shake Some Action album and single. An invitation to play the HOODOO GURUS’ Dig It Up! festival in Australia in 2013 resulted in the successful reunification of founder members Cyril Jordan and George Alexander with 70s guitarist and singer Chris Wilson, plus drummer Victor Penalosa, for a series of well-received dates in Japan, the US and the UK.
Flamin’ Groovies on Facebook
(Australian music site) – Feature/news post on tour, new single, etc.
Flamin’ Groovies stage a re-birth with new single and album
Written by The Barman on 12 August 2015.
In case you haven’t heard, the Flamin’ Groovies have a new album dropping in 2016 and a single about to hit the shelves. US tour dates have just been announced for November.
What started as a reunion in 2013 with tours of Japan, Australia, and the UK, has continued and evolved into a full-blown return. In the past two years the band has toured the USA extensively with repeated visits to New York, L.A. and their hometown of San Francisco, as well as recently returning from a hugely successful tour of Spain, France and Italy.
In anticipation of their 50th Anniversary in 2016, they are putting the finishing touches on a new album and a documentary.
Their forthcoming single features two Cyril Jordan/Chris Wilson penned tracks – the recently written “Crazy Macy” and the first track ever written by Jordan & Wilson, “Let Me Rock” recorded for the first time.
You can hear a taste of the new output on teaser track “End of the World” by reading on.
(NYC music site) – Feature/news post on tour, new single, etc.
The Flamin’ Groovies ready new single, working on LP & documentary, touring in November (dates)
San Francisco powerpop legends The Flamin’ Groovies will be touring the Midwest and East Coast this fall, and dates include a stop in NYC at Baby’s All Right on November 22. Tickets for the Baby’s show are on sale now.
2016 will be The Flamin’ Groovies’ 50th anniversary, and they’ve got a new album in the works, as well as a documentary. You can watch a trailer for the doc below. Also look out for a new single on Burger Records this fall.
The band were last in NYC in 2013. All tour dates (including Jersey City) are listed, along with a stream of their classic 1976 album Shake Some Action, below.
The Flamin’ Groovies – 2015 Tour Dates
November 12th: Chicago, Beat Kitchen
November 13th: Detroit, The Magic Bag
November 14th: Cleveland, The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern
November 15th: Pittsburgh, Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh
November 17th: Hamilton, Ontario This Ain’t Hollywood
November 18th: Toronto, Ontario Horseshoe Tavern
November 20th: Philadelphia, Johnny Brenda’s
November 21st: Jersey City, MONTY HALL WFMU
November 22nd: Brooklyn, Baby’s All Right
November 23rd: Washington DC, Rock And Roll Hotel
November 25th: Boston, Brighton Music Hall
(Chicago radio station) – News post on tour, new single, etc. (from press announcement)