Good Night Music: Pay Attention To Me

My last two posts generated zero commentary and I’m pissed. So I’m heading back into stranger waters.

Here’s a band called Avant Gardener. Bob Ross, a local DJ who introduced me to punk by mixing early punk into his traditional hard rock Saturday night radio show (a daring thing to do in those early days when many Yankees didn’t take kindly to punk rock) played this.

Avant Gardener never made an album. This appeared on the very good early 10″ comp Guillotine, which also contained X-Ray Spex “Oh Bondage Up Yours.” They also had a single/EP, pictured here, which included a few other songs on that I can’t remember, because I loaned it and several other albums and singles to a real punk rocker.

He went by Tony T (real name Tony Miller). He was from the Lehigh Valley, but was in LA for the beginning of LA Hardcore and spent time at the legendary Masque club. We played in a punk band together here for a while (Frog C – named for “The Frog” from Courageous Cat), before he took off back to LA, with my borrowed records, of course. A friend of mine ran into him bouncing at an LA club in the late 1980s and recently I found out Tony died a few years ago from a local record store owner who said Tony’s dad came in one day to sell Tony’s punk stash (perhaps including my records).

Anyway, I could listen to this twangy Avant Gardener guitar drone forever; it’s hypnotic. Dig the thump of the spinning record at the end, a sound I had kind of forgotten about.

Please, somebody comment on this or else I’m gonna start threatening GG Allin shitting videos.

4 thoughts on “Good Night Music: Pay Attention To Me

  1. Yeah man, nice song. So glad you mentioned The Frog, the coolest of supervillans. The show was on at 8AM if I’m not mistaken, I was a big fan as a child. It also had the coolest theme song ever, done by my boys here and I didn’t even have to ask:

  2. Strange territory indeed. I found this about Avant Gardener:

    “The singer Russell smelt so much, he was really revolting! He used to turn up and he hadn’t shaved and he looked like he had slept in his clothes, he always smelt. Ever such a nice bloke but I used to be glad when he left the studio. One session, they bought a steel guitar player who really couldn’t play and I said to Russell ” I don’t want to shatter your illusions or anything but this guy hasn’t a clue what he’s doing” He was so bad that I had to kick him out the studio in the end; physically drag him out by the scruff of his neck to get rid of him! They had come in to record two songs and they phoned me back later to say that Virgin Records had given them an advance to do their own thing and develop their sound, so they came back and recorded some more. Sometimes I’d be in the studio with them until three o’clock in the morning trying out ideas until we ended up with what they wanted. They weren’t any better musically than any other band I worked with except because of their appearance and the fact they could just about play their instruments, I could see that they would make an r’n’b band like The Rolling Stones. I was doing my best to get them to change the rhythm of a song very slightly to put an r’n’b roll into it and I showed the guitar player how to play some r’n’b but he couldn’t play it so it didn’t turn out that way. I showed him a riff based on the chords he was playing but he couldn’t move off the one chord. His little hands just couldn’t do it. The bass player couldn’t play either. He could only do down strokes and I was trying to show him how to do up and down strokes to get a crisper sound but he couldn’t do it; he kept missing the strings! The thing that struck me was the rawness of the band in every sense of the word.
    Listening back to The Avant Gardener session now, it still sounds terrible to me. The band had reached a certain stage and they were just playing to the little musical ability they had. The whole band was a complete mess. They were always late and scruffy and just too bloody idle to do anything. Russell couldn’t sing to save his life but Virgin obviously saw something in them. Apparently, Virgin held auditions in some sort of mobile studio that was travelling through the country for about three hundred bands and Avant Gardener was one of those bands. All I can say is that most of those three hundred must have been absolute crap! Avant Gardener got an advance from that. If you were in a band back then and knew two and half chords and went up on stage shouting at everyone then you had a good chance of getting signed.”

    John Greenslade, producer of the bands pre Virgin demos, quoted in the sleeve notes to Hometown Atrocities Records Year Zero compilation CD.

  3. Cool Courageous Cat rendition. I’d like to hear it with something other than youtube fidelity. Thanks for responding, guys. And saving the world from GG.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.