Thursday, 19 August 2010

THE GORIES (final show) "Ghostrider"

I've nearly finished reading Eric Davidson's 'We Never Learn' and will review it over the next couple of days. In the meantime, and as a follow up to the Supercharger interview 'reprinted' earlier. Here's a piece from the final days of Detroit's magnificent Gories written for Moral Sense magazine by co-conspirator, Mr. Richard Hector-Jones.  Thanks also to for the video of the band in action.

Archive Interview With Dan Kroha From Detroit City’s The Gories

The Gories hail from Motor City itself, Detroit. To us Limeys, there are not many other places above it for Rock'n'Roll romance. The Stooges, The MC5, Tamla Motown, Derrick May, Underground Resistance... the list goes on.

These Gories fit tastily in with Detroit's finest, these sick little puppies play the rockinest, sexiest, most primitive rhythm and blues this sinner has heard. Just check out Outta Here (Crypt Records LP) to know that I'm not telling you lies. Like Jack O'Fire, they never even consider music as anything other than soul.

Moral Sense contacted Dan Kroha (rhythm guitar/vocalist) and pushed him for dope on the band, Detroit and any other stuff we needed to know. The only other knowledge you need is that Mick plays the lead guitar (in pure righteousness) and sings, while Sister Peg plays the traps in a style so primal it's XXX obscene. Well, she did, but that's all to come.

So, is Detroit the town we think it is?

"Detroit is a lively town and it has its scenes. There are tons of bands here, just not that many you or I would dig. There's a big cheese-o metal scene. Whatever's big on MTV is big in Detroit for the most part."

But what about its rocking history, after all the town has nurtured?

"To get an idea of how MC5/Stooges were perceived at the time, you have to listen to Frijid Pink, Frost, Grand Funk Railroad and other Michigan bands who were big at the time, cos only then do you realise exactly how OUT THERE The Stooges and MC5 were."

Yeah, you do take their importance for granted when you see them out of context.

"People throw around the names because they've become cool. But you know The Stooges didn't get any airplay then. At least 'Kick Out The Jams' was a local hit, but it didn't take long for MC5 to get dropped by Elektra and decide to clean up their act for Atlantic. Don't get the impression Detroit is empty, it's just there are vacant patches. A lot of cooler bands seem to skip playing Detroit altogether. They get a better crowd in Ann Arbor (a rich college town about 45 minutes away). The Blues Explosion did pretty well there but only attracted a few people here. Same with The Gibson Brothers and '68 Comeback.

"The Gories did a gig a few years back opening for The Gibson Brothers. Jon Spencer was with them. After we'd played, Jon came up and raved (though Jon doesn't really rave) about our set, saying we were the coolest thing he'd seen in a long time. I booked them a gig the next night in Detroit and they said, 'No way are we following you guys on stage, we'll go on first'. It sucked because no one was there, but it was fun.

"I've seen The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion a couple of times, and they're rockin'. That Extra Width LP is great! This young girl came up to Jon after their Detroit gig and asked him how did he get so much soul. He said he sucked a lot of black cock, but I'm sure he'd choke on any cock, black or white! That girl had obviously never heard a Stax record. Dig?"

Finally on Detroit, is there really a Stooges museum?

"Apparently there is a Stooges museum at Ann Arbor, where the Asheton Brothers are from (Stooges' drummer and guitarist, Scott and Ron). I've never been to it. It's just some guy who has a house with a bunch of Stooges stuff in it, I guess. Maybe a wax likeness of Iggy and a pair of silver elbow length gloves. I asked Barry Henssler, singer with Big Chief about it, and he wouldn't give me a straight answer."

So what's The Gories story? How did you get fixed up with Alex Chilton (of Big Star, Box Tops fame)?

"The story goes, a friend of ours from Detroit was travelling down South to do some research for a film he wanted to make. He saw Alex in a club down there in Alabama or something and ended up hanging out with him after the show. They were somewhere with a tape player and our friend Dan played him a tape of The Gories and he flipped over it. "Who's that?" Alex goes. Dan goes "It's some friends of mine from Detroit" and Alex said "Here's my number. Have someone from the band get in touch with me. I think I can help them out". So Dan tells me about it, I call Alex, and the first thing he says is 'Who's your drummer?' That's pretty prophetic because he's living with her now. So anyway, Alex loved The Gories from the word go. He said, 'I think you guys would go over well in Europe, I want to help you get a record out over there.' He was already doing records for New Rose, so he talked to the head man there about getting a Gories LP out produced by him. I think if Alex's name was not going to be on it, New Rose would never have done it."

Soon, things turned for the worst.

"We signed a one LP deal with them, drove down to Memphis, got our $6000 advance and recorded. I'm glad we recorded it fast cos we had $1000 left over, which we split between us. That was the only money we saw from New Rose. We were really excited about it at first because The Lyres, The Cramps, Real Kids etc had all recorded for New Rose. They promised us a tour over there, and we thought we were on our way. Of course, the tour never happened. The LP was impossible to find in the USA and if you could find it, the price was outrageous."

Fortunately, the good people at Crypt are reissuing the first two Gories LPs so hopefully the matter will be remedied to an extent. Further more, it gives the public at last the chance to listen to some classic supercharged garage punk.

So what are The Gories up to at the moment?

"No one has officially replaced Peg, although I have been teaching a friend, Christine, a few Gories tunes. The person who replaces Peg has got to be taught that style. No one who already knows how to play drums can do it. There are no new records yet. Mick's doing a lot of writing and is a big fan of comic books. He wants to put out his own, but writes many stories for others. He has ideas for at least four different bands at any one time. He's an ideas man with a highly developed imagination."

With The Gories on the back burner, what are you up to at the moment?

"Well, there's the Demolition Doll Rods, the brain child of my friend Margaret who plays rhythm guitar and writes all the songs in that band. She thought up the whole idea, band name, instrumentation, me as a girl. It's kind of modelled after The Gories which is one of her favourite bands. I play lead guitar and wear Margaret's clothes. She's not big, I'm just small. It's her sister I'm teaching to play drums in the same way Mick taught Peg."

Finally, what is of most importance to you and the esteemed Gories?

"Well, things that will be obvious to any true garage band. Play what you like and fuck what people think, don't try to follow trends. If you feel behind the times stick with it, cos trends inevitably come back round and you'll look like you were ahead of the times all along. Musically, I prefer old guitars and old tube amps that don't have master volumes, then FRY THOSE POWER TUBES!! (That's valves to you Brits)."

Words from the wise cos like I said at the start, The Gories rule.

Richard Hector-Jones

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