Forgotten NZ group accuses The Breakup Society of ripping off song

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The controversy finally addressed for you to finally believe

By Don Gladbee

The Makeup Sect, a forgotten 1960s New Zealand quintet of questionable sideburn origins, has re-emerged from their formaldehyde-pickled dormancy to charge Ed Masley and his band The Breakup Society, whose new single on Onus Records is called “Strength Was Always Your Weakness,” with ripping off their much earlier song, also called “Strength Was Always Your Weakness. ”

“The proof is in the vegemite,” said singer Geoff Thatcher, grey sideburned and visibly hot under the collar. “We released our “Strength Was Always Your Weakness” in May of 1967.”  From out of his liquor cabinet, he pulls his dog-eared copy of the Makeup Sects’ debut 45, released on the equally obscure Fission label and he slaps it on his ancient Victrola with measured alacrity.

“I don’t know what this Masley guy is contriving but the first and third verses are the virtually the same same same!  And the chorus, he’s cocked that up completely. Even his band’s floogin’ name is a complete theft of ours”

“I mean I have kinescopes of us performing it on Teenager’s Choice,” he says about the down-under dance party show that I have to feign complete ignorance of. After an hour of waiting for him to thread the Bell and Howell project, I decided to take his word for it.

I asked Ed Masley about the brewing controversy and if the song and even his own band’s moniker is possibly a tip of the hat to The Makeup Sect. “Tip of the hat?” It’s not in the same haberdashery,” he laughs. “No one, not me, not Serene Dominic, not Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows, both of whom co-wrote the song, ever sat down and said, ‘hey let’s give some props to The Makeup Sect.’  When I brought this up, none of those guys had ever heard of them either. And between us we know a lot of obscure New Zealand bands. The Puppetmasters? Zal and the Gasmatron? The Hygnostic Suggestions? The Butterfly Sandwich? Ever hear of those? Well, we have. But we’ve never heard of The Makeup Sects.”

So we did a lot of digging. But there was nothing in Wikipedia on them so we had to do actual digging. And we found that The Makeup Sect, if they were known for anything, it was for ripping off very well-known British bands. Errr, ONE very well-known British band.

You could do a lot worse in 1966 and early 1967 than worship at the altar of the Rolling Stones and if anyone ever wondered what the music of Aftermath or Between the Buttons might have sounded like sung with authentic Australian accents, they could do no better than this quintet. Stones copyists to a man, The Makeup Sects not only purchased their orange corduroys from the same pants maker that Brian Jones did, they made sure Jones’ bangs and muttonchops were never longer than those of their rhythm guitarist Derek Linseed’s at any given time. Sometimes that emulation ate through the band’s living funds–purchasing all the exotic instruments the blonde Stone had mastered and then discarded with every new Jagger-Richard composition.

“Strength Was Always Your Weakness,” a Thatcher-Lindseed original, if you can call it that. is a prime example of The Makeup Sects’ slavish devotion to the bad boys of rock—fuzz bass, ghostly Chuck Berry licks, snarky lyrics about a messed up chick and simple but insistent drumming.

Had they remained true to these punky R&B roots as they did on their first album, a blatant Between the Buttons lift  called Up The In-Seam, the Sects would’ve been in a very good position to usurp the genuine article, soon to abandon those very same earthy sounds for the folly of Their Satanic Majesties Request. But devotees they were to the end, following their heroes up the primrose paisley path with a disastrous psychedelic opus of their own, Demonic Renaissance Minstrels At Your Service, that all but eroded their fan base. Felled by audience disinterest and the crippling cost of the floral arrangements for the album cover, The Makeup Sects were but a grimy memory by the end of 1968.

 

The above clip contains excerpts of their appearance on Teenager’s Choice combined with pathetic new footage shot in the Eighties, when the band’s dependency on lip-syncing and  wigs became all too obvious.

To stream and purchase The Breakup Society’s “Strength Was Always Your Weakness and other great Breakup Society songs, click here!

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DARK LULLABY- The New Film-Noir Musical Opens June 9 &17

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How do you steel yourself against a random universe that seems determined to turn you into an accidental killing machine?

SHERI AMOURR, the director who brought you such live downtown stage musicals as The Goblin King’s City, A Swimming in the Head and Rocky Horror at the Firehouse, joins forces again with SERENE DOMINIC (writer of A Swimming in The Head) to bring you DARK LULLABY, a new musical based on the 1945 film-noir classic Detour, even though Dark Lullaby’s story arc goes from the mid 1970s to the late 1980s, leaving plenty of room for stylistic musical genre-hopping, from rock to rap to disco to filter in.

The show stars SKY DONOVAN as young Tom Reynolds was a once-gainfully employed guitar player trying to get to the West Coast to reunite with his actress girlfriend Joanna, played by RIVA FIGUEROA. See SHERIDAN WOOD as the femme fatale Lyndetta, determined to derail Tom at all costs and actor/rapper JOOBS as Roscoe Des Moines, the man of means who inadvertently sends Tom off on his downward spiral to the electric chair.

Then thrill to ASHLEY NAFTULE in a dual role as Warden Crosley, the man who tries to keep Tom on the straight and narrow and Mr. Sunniver, the sleazy casting director out to out ME TOO Joanna. Also in a dual role is ERNESTO MONCADA as Mr. Punabi and Father Merv. RYAN AVERY portrays Riley, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Fishoff, (PARKER MORDEN & VERONICA MONICA) whose power and wealth can and will turn the whole town of West Patagonia against Tom! Guiding them on their rendezvous with vengeance is ABIMAEL MONTES GUARDIOLA as Psychic Bobby, the telepathic bounty hunter from Wichita Falls

Writer/co-director SERENE DOMINIC narrates as the older more incarcerated Tom while the SAN JACINTO DEATH ROW PRISON BAND serve as the show’s pit orchestra. Through personal reminiscences, songs and flashbacks, we’ll follow Tom Reynolds’ unintentional killing spree across the United States.

The show will premiere Saturday, June 9 at the new Trunk Space’s Hope Hall (where Catholic masses are held in its less homicidal moments). Showtime is at 8 PM. For advance ticket to this first show, click here.

The second performance will be on Father’s Day night, Sunday, June 17 at The Film Bar, a natural place for a film noir musical to come full circle! Showtime is 8 PM. For advance tickets for this 2nd and final show, click here.

cd prisonFor Serene Dominic, the music from the show has taken a few twists and turns. Originally it was an album he released  in 2016 on Onus Records as he was writing the show. This year, San Jacinto Death Row Prison Band released Sing Dark Lullaby and performed nine songs from the show on it.  The remaining Dark Lullaby songs will be issued on a San Jacinto Death Row Prison Band EP this fall. The band has been making club and bar appearances well before the Dark Lullaby premiere, including a CD release show at The Lost Leaf on May 18.

A full cast album of Dark Lullaby  featuring the voices of the actors with San Jacinto Death Row Prison Band playing behind them, will be issued by Onus Records at the premiere show at Trunk Space on June 9.

Click here to hear songs from the show performed by Serene Dominic and San Jacinto Death Row Prison Band.

 

Serene Dominic issues Dark Lullaby in advance of new musical

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In advance of the spring 2018 Pan Production presentation of the new musical “Dark Lullaby,” Serene Dominic is releasing the album digitally in a 14-song version on September 26, 2018.  The compact disc version will also contains three additional songs slated for the upcoming musical that are not being premiered anywhere else until the Dark Lullaby Cast Album comes out this spring.

Serene’s first musical, “Swimming in the Head” (also a Pan Production)  was originally conceived as an album  called Unnatural Blonde and was then adapted into a musical format. “Dark Lullaby” was always conceived as a musical, so in a sense it almost is his first musical.

In fact, says Dominic, “Originally it was my intention to record a cast album first,  with different actors singing on everything, which would make for a uniquely weird album. But we’re doing it backwards now. I’ve assembled a pit band for the show that will be gigging around Arizona as the San Jacinto Death Row Prison Band right up to the production of the show. And we have a great cast who will actually put their vocals talents down on recordings before the show even goes into rehearsals.” The plan includes the seven-piece San Jacinto Death Row Prison band recording all the track and then playing them live during the production.

Some of the songs have been previewed on the onusrecords.bandcamp.com site and at Serene Dominic shows, including the old school soul ballad “You’re Gonna Know All About Me,” the bouncy “Cream Colored Cadillac” and the metallic basher “I Don’t Like You Mister.”

It’s a pretty odd mix of songs for a musical that’s patterned after an old 1940s film nior classic “Detour,” but takes place in the Eighties and has flashbacks in the Seventies.

“So musically it’s all over the map,” admits Dominic, who’s combined his love of everything from spaghetti western themes(the title song), British Invasion (“San Jacinto Death Row Prison Band”), old school country (“Married Couple’) baroque pop (“The Day Our Fancy Died”),  southern rock (“Down to the Ravine”) Motown (“All That Gorgeous Going to Waste”), Bollywood (” I Prefer”) and  headbanger metal (I Don’t Like You Mister), with rap sprinkled throughout. “We stop short of the Nineties,  not because of any crazy plan to keep it contemporary with the story- the songs genres represented here have very little to do with film noir. ” I was just trying to write songs I like, I wasn’t trying to create a Whitman sampler of chocolates. But I think that’s what it sounds like and why I like this album so much.”

When asked for a brief plot overview, Dominic said,  “The story follows a traveling musician’s accidental killing spree across the United States, which is a melting pot despite what our current president things. We’re made up of all kinds of people, I’ll have you know, so when you hear this suite of songs , it’ll feel like you’re traveling  with a rotating caste of players anyway. ”

The release of “Dark Lullaby” jumpstarts a season of brisk activity for Onus Records, the non-profit record label that Dominic co-runs. More upcoming releases this fall will includes new releases from The 1140s, The Breakup Society and Broken Poets, and the awaited third album from No Volcano which will appear in early 2018.

 

 

Onus Records recalls “tempest in a t-shirt,” The Evolution VI

There was a time when calling someone a punk was not a compliment. And that time was February 7, 1966. Punk rock history was made on that day, for that was treal-revoltwhen Nicky Mollash walked into a Safeway supermarket on La Cienega Boulevard to purchase some Gleem toothpaste so he could look his best for a photo shoot at Pandora’s Box, a then popular hangout on the Sunset Strip. Mollash picked up a tube that was incorrectly priced at a whopping $5.99. When the gum chewing, non-plussed cashier, evidently a stranger to both retail and fluoride, demanded he pay the denoted price or put it back on the shelf, an irate Mollash completely lost it and started a small scale mini-mart riot, threatening the checkout girl, Procter and Gamble, its shareholders and of course, The Man for once again keeping him downer than he ought to be. The Evolution VI’s volatile lead singer was already smarting from being refused service at Bob Dalton’s Restaurant the night before, mostly because the feathers from his ostrich vest were landing on other patrons’ Porterhouse steaks.

Once the Channel 3 Action News Team reported this story, Mollash blew off the photo shoot, electing instead to dash off to his girlfriend’s house for a pity screw. Following that, he commemorated the day’s harrowing events by penning “Real Revolting”, which the group speedily recorded the next night while Mollash’s bile over the gunk caked on his pearly whites still churned inside of him. As blistering a rant of monetary outrage as this track was, Mollash (who has since mellowed about rock music and dental care) prefers the stereo version that appeared on the Here Comes The Evolution VI album because “Someone forgot to include bass and drum cymbals on the single version.” Still, some punk audio purists maintain the only true version of the song is the first take of the song found on initial German mono pressings of the Hier Kommt Die Evolution VI LP, which breaks into a fistfight during the harmonica solo and dissolves into plate throwing and name-calling thereafter.

The group’s collective moment in the spotlight proved to be profoundly brief, but some members continued to garner notoriety in a post-Evolution VI world. Drummer Bobby Munsey became an injury law specialist whose omnipresent Munsey, Rimbaldo & Associates billboards stare down on the seedy Strip where he and his bandmates marauded nearly half a century ago. When lead guitarist Denny Tollesen perished at sea in a tragic Segway Personal Transporter accident, Munsey wasted no time contacting Tolleson’s widow to tell her that she was entitled to a huge cash settlement that made them both obnoxiously rich.

But what of the angry young Nicky Mollash? In an ironic twist to an already moronic story, when Mollash left the world of rock music to write his 1975 self-help book Still Revolting: Channeling Your Inner Spoiled Brat, he admitted to the world that his rage was little more than “a tempest in a t-shirt.” It turned out that he was actually the son of Walter P. Mollash and stood to inherit the family fortune his Daddy amassed while he was president of Procter and Gamble’s chief rival, Lever Brothers. So much for punk rock.

To download  or stream “Real Revolting” as well as other great free music, visit onusrecords.bandcamp.com

Onus Records recalls “tempest in a t-shirt,” The Evolution VI

There was a time when calling someone a punk was not a compliment. And that time was February 7, 1966. Punk rock history was made on that day, for that was treal-revoltwhen Nicky Mollash walked into a Safeway supermarket on La Cienega Boulevard to purchase some Gleem toothpaste so he could look his best for a photo shoot at Pandora’s Box, a then popular hangout on the Sunset Strip. Mollash picked up a tube that was incorrectly priced at a whopping $5.99. When the gum chewing, non-plussed cashier, evidently a stranger to both retail and fluoride, demanded he pay the denoted price or put it back on the shelf, an irate Mollash completely lost it and started a small scale mini-mart riot, threatening the checkout girl, Procter and Gamble, its shareholders and of course, The Man for once again keeping him downer than he ought to be. The Evolution VI’s volatile lead singer was already smarting from being refused service at Bob Dalton’s Restaurant the night before, mostly because the feathers from his ostrich vest were landing on other patrons’ Porterhouse steaks.

Once the Channel 3 Action News Team reported this story, Mollash blew off the photo shoot, electing instead to dash off to his girlfriend’s house for a pity screw. Following that, he commemorated the day’s harrowing events by penning “Real Revolting”, which the group speedily recorded the next night while Mollash’s bile over the gunk caked on his pearly whites still churned inside of him. As blistering a rant of monetary outrage as this track was, Mollash (who has since mellowed about rock music and dental care) prefers the stereo version that appeared on the Here Comes The Evolution VI album because “Someone forgot to include bass and drum cymbals on the single version.” Still, some punk audio purists maintain the only true version of the song is the first take of the song found on initial German mono pressings of the Hier Kommt Die Evolution VI LP, which breaks into a fistfight during the harmonica solo and dissolves into plate throwing and name-calling thereafter.

The group’s collective moment in the spotlight proved to be profoundly brief, but some members continued to garner notoriety in a post-Evolution VI world. Drummer Bobby Munsey became an injury law specialist whose omnipresent Munsey, Rimbaldo & Associates billboards stare down on the seedy Strip where he and his bandmates marauded nearly half a century ago. When lead guitarist Denny Tollesen perished at sea in a tragic Segway Personal Transporter accident, Munsey wasted no time contacting Tolleson’s widow to tell her that she was entitled to a huge cash settlement that made them both obnoxiously rich.

But what of the angry young Nicky Mollash? In an ironic twist to an already moronic story, when Mollash left the world of rock music to write his 1975 self-help book Still Revolting: Channeling Your Inner Spoiled Brat, he admitted to the world that his rage was little more than “a tempest in a t-shirt.” It turned out that he was actually the son of Walter P. Mollash and stood to inherit the family fortune his Daddy amassed while he was president of Procter and Gamble’s chief rival, Lever Brothers. So much for punk rock.

To download  or stream “Real Revolting” as well as other great free music, visit onusrecords.bandcamp.com

From Woodstock with love, Thunderbear lays tracks

From time to time, Onus Records expands its horizons from its Sunnyslope confines to somewhere else where fine music is made. This week it has plunked us smack dab into bear country–Thunderbear Country, which geography and band bios tell us is located in Woodstock, NY.

Yes, that Woodstock. Their 5 song self-titled EP has Garth Hudson playing accordion on it. You don’t get much more Woodstock than that.

You can sample their unique blend of American roots music traditions, which they morph into their own acoustic/electric style in its entirety on their Bandcamp site. A standout track,  “Almost Forever,” is being featured as an which Onus Records “Single of the Weekend.” Go on, click on the cover, and it can be yours to stream and download.

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Group founder Bill “Thunderbear” Barrett was born in NYC. He grew up in Woodstock, NY, and received a BA in communications from Hunter College in Manhattan. He wrote, illustrated and published the novel Brown Water Café, his photographs of lightning were featured in calendars by BrownTrout Publishers, and his political cartoons have been featured in Earth Times and


He has been writing songs and playing gigs (including a time busking in London) since he was a teenager. In the late 1980s he became involved in the NYC music scene, playing with the legendary Joey Miserable and the Worms and in the acoustic band Les Ismore and his Excess Express which featured Jono Manson, John Popper and Joan Osborne.  Now back in Woodstock, he writes songs, sings and plays guitar in THUNDERBEAR.

Now meet the rest of the band:

David Andersen studied at Berklee College of Music.  He plays electric & acoustic bass and has performed with numerous local and regional acts.  He is also an accomplished recording engineer, producer, and arranger, and in addition to playing bass, he also engineered the sessions for the THUNDERBEAR CD.

Originally from Northern California, pedal steel/guitarist Rob Stein has played with a wide variety of artists, from Broadway show orchestras to the Bob Dylan Band. He relocated to Ireland in 1999, where he became deeply involved in Irish traditional music, working with some of the best and most exciting musicians in Ireland. He was introduced to the Woodstock area playing guitar for the legendary John Herald back in the 1990s—and he’s now back in the USA, back in Woodstock, bringing his unique range of musical experiences to THUNDERBEAR.

As a composer Eric Parker has written the top forty hit “Crazy Keep on Fallin” and his song “I’m the One” was featured on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His song “Ramona,” as recorded by Grammy nominated jazz artist Cornell Dupree, was the theme for the 1997 Newport Jazz Festival. Eric has toured and recorded with Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, Lou Reed, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Ian Hunter, Mick Taylor, Kingfish, Todd Rundgren, and Public Enemy, to name a few.  He has also worked directly with Philip Glass on a number of projects.  He brings his considerable talents as a drummer and composer to THUNDERBEAR.