THE PINS- Here’s a place to pin stuff up. GoJohnnyGo FEATURE #5

12 Feb

A-1070223-1429405036-3673.jpegConsidering Minnesota’s reputation for housing a well-studied stock of inhabitants with a large college scene seconded only to Boston, it would follow that The Twin Towns should have a prodigious and well known art-rock scene. It doesn’t.

Enter THE PINS. I truly love The Pins’ music, and I consider them the most underrated band ever from Minnesota. The Pins were often mesmerizing, completely captivating, and constantly interesting.

I first heard about The Pins from Minnesota music guru Tom Berglund. The band’s name was simple, utilitarian, ambiguous, and evocative. Tom’s friend Jim Boulware played bass, and worked at Roadrunner Records, a great retail record store in South Minneapolis.

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-Jim “To be honest- drugs, and the love of great music brought us together. I was a bit older and met Rich Steve and Beth at a friends house in St. Paul. All in the pursuit of weed and listening to records. We discovered we had a lot in common and all had dabbled in making music. We decided we should hang out and bring some guitars over to Steve and Beth’s carriage house Apartment in uptown. We made some horrible racket.
I listened to some brilliant home recordings that Beth Steve Rich had done on cassette. It included an amazing cover of “know one receiving “ by Brian Eno with percussion done with a type writer. Some crazy instrumentals for a Film called the “poop Ferry” . My mind was blown and I knew there was something very special on the horizon. We became a gang and did a lot of switching of instruments. I finally settled on bass. Beth has a 70s Ibanez Rickenbacker lawsuit copy bass that I borrowed. I was left handed so I played everything upside down and backwards for 2 years!! Steve played a fender Rhodes electric piano and an old 72 Sonic Six Moog through some effects pedals. We assembled a cheap ass drum kit and Beth learned drums as we went. She had her own unique sloppy style but it fit, a great some writer too. Rich was already an excellent guitarist who really dug damaged oddball guitar noise. The drink was stirring, I bought a small house near the Nook in St.Paul. We had a proper practice and recording space. We did all our own recordings in my basement and other future practice spaces. Steve silkscreened a handful of Pins T shirts for each member and a couple of friends. It’s was cool, like a woman superhero with big spikes coming out of her tits! Holding a giant Pin thing, looking like she could fuck you up! Then a bowling Pin covered in spikes on the back. We had to be and band and play some gigs once we got a shirt! Lol.. we had nicknames early on as well. Steve was “the Goon” Beth was “Dinette Set” Rich was “the Fresh Maker” … and I was “the Modern Boy!..aka Tidy Kat “. Man, we had fun. I think musically we could do some really amazing stuff. Our vocals were always our weak link. We all wrote and contributed songs but none of us were very good singers. The Pins Part 2 featured Nate Cutlan on drums. He was an amazing drummer full of new ideas. We morphed into an all out Krautrock instrumental machine. Did some nice recordings as well. We have a full record recorded before we split up that’s never been released.
I have tons of cassettes of late night drunken stuff and rehearsals. I should archive them to digital someday. Rich and Steve recently expressed interest in releasing all our music on bandcamp for free free free!! Sorry for the rambles, so glad to hear you are spreading the music and always appreciated your positive voice. We were a small speck in the scene and fortunate to be part of something far greater in a special place and time.
Long live rock, long live the Pins! Ha.”

Add Beth Van Dam– their statuesque Rock Star drummer.

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-Beth

Plus Rich Barlow– British, but he spent time growing up in an apartment complex where I delivered newspapers in my early teens, close to 3M Headquarters–a guitarist extraordinaire.

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-Rich ” I am remembering the time I had to chip 2″ of ice of my car during a nasty storm to get to an Entry gig that had 3 attendees! Apparently the gig was great, though. Or the time we spent waiting for a sound check for four hours while Dave Thomas did a never-ending mic check constantly repeating “Mary had a little lamb… Mary had a little lamb…” Or when we opened for the Church of the Subgenius and the Circus Apocalypse, watching a performer who had stitched his lips together with piano wire carefully un-stitching them. But mostly, of course, I remember being somewhat surprised at the degree of indifference to us in town. The first three (and only real…) albums were all recorded in Jim’s basement on Eleanor Ave (hence the first title) using Chris Freeman’s board and 1/2″ 8 track reel-to-reel. Not knowing what we were doing and having no budget led to some “innovations.” “Eleanor” was mixed with a boombox as monitor speakers. “Radar” prominently featured the “dryer mic.” We found that if we placed a microphone on a blanket within Jim’s open clothes dryer it added a nice room sound to the mix and thickened things up. We never had a reverb unit, making most vocals way too dry. On “All the Night Sky” we solved this by running the vocals out of the mixing board and into a Fender Twin amp, which we then miked and sent back to the tape. The other recordings — “Do You Know the Secret Trousers” compilation tracks, “The Young Machines” soundtrack, unreleased stuff, was all recorded on the same equipment, but Chris had left town and so it was essentially engineered by me, with the rest of the band usually joining on mixing it. That stuff was all recorded once we started sharing a warehouse practice space in downtown Minneapolis.”

Throw in Steve Shaskan– man of mystery and artistic giant on keyboards.

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-Steve “Off hand 1. The band use to constantly refer to me as Rick Wakeman, mostly for the amount of gear I had and not my talent. Everyone loathed being the one stuck loading in the Fender Rhodes. 2. I was also referred to as Big Butt Shaskan because I rolled my own cigarettes and would leave large butts in the ash tray in Jim’s basement where we practiced. They would often be found by Rich and Jim and smoked late night after a few drinks. 3. We often practiced late Sunday mornings in Jim’s basement. Jim is a big football fan and when the Vikings were playing he’d set up a T.V. in the basement by his amplifier and watch the game while we were practicing.”

Beep Beep

Miles

Felty

Lando

Fancy (Kinks cover)

Klaus Didli

Pulsar

Lunar Seabird

Smile

Shuggie

SO MANY GREAT RECORDS, SONGS, PERFORMANCES! ‘Eleanor’, “Gray Rainbow”, in-store appearances, film soundtracks, taking the cake at Heliotrope, Minnesota’s annual experimental music event. So many unreleased & mostly-unheard recording sessions…

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THE STONE FACES- the elusive photos & tapes East Side of St Paul hard rock pioneers.

12 Feb

Not too often do I uncover some mid-1970s Footstompin’ Music like this. Thanks to guitarist Gary Narducci, a REAL East Side Italian, for saving this stuff and allowing me to present it to you. The Stone Faces liked to play the East Side and the St. Croix Valley, with lots of stops at The Lamb’s Club on East 7th, The 9R Ranch in Wisconsin, & The RollingStone on Cottage Grove. Covers AND originals were the order of the day. The originals remind me of The James Gang or Blue Oyster Cult. ENJOY!

Original Song (BOC)

Singing Was Easy

You’re Gonna Lose

Lamb’s Club commercial

Tomorrow’s Gonna Be a Better Day

What’s Going On

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Hollyhock Ballroom redux: a few added notes

11 Feb

There would be no inspiration for GoJohnnyGo’s blog if it wasn’t for Tom Tourville’s seemingly endless work ethic in digging up rock roots around the Northern Plains and beyond. Hard to believe that it’s now been 36 years since Tom’s first book appeared- a discography of Minnesota early Rock and Roll 45s & LPs called ‘Minnesota Rocked!’. Hats off to him! The second edition of Tom’s Hollyhock Ballroom book is available here: www.tomsmidwestpublications.com or amazon.

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Mike Barkley grew up dancing and sneaking into the Hollyhock in Hatfield, Minnesota- 160 miles from Minneapolis. Mike has been collecting clippings about his old haunt himself, and that’s what I’ve included here. Most will be found documented in Tom’s book, but Mike has a few goodies not seen elsewhere but here. Thanks, Mike!

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BLUE HIPPOS Car Club, Minneapolis, 1960s

3 Nov

Courtesy of member Froggy, currently residing in Bayport. Member jackets were nylon, eventually upgraded to leather (natch). Froggy has a funny story of The Blue Hippos bumping Mick Jagger to the ground at Excelsior’s Reggies Danceland, at The Rolling Stones’ third-ever American show. Sorry, Mick! There were The Baldies, The Greasers, and The Blue Hippos!
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Stu Bridge’s gig flyer & poster collection

7 Jan

Almost all from Minneapolis, there’s one from Detroit and one from New Orleans. Thanx, Stu!BlogPosterABCBlogPosterBenDayDotsBlogPosterCharlieBurtonBlogPosterCurtissAReplacementsBlogPosterEnglishBeatBlogPosterFingerprintsBlogPosterFirstAveCalendar1980BlogPosterFridleysBlogPosterHuskerDuAmusementStatuesBlogPosterHuskerDuJan10BlogPosterHuskerDuMay14BlogPosterHuskerDuMDCBlogPosterHuskerDuSept910BlogPosterInsiderMagCoverNNBBlogPosterJohnCaleBlogPosterJonnyIIIBlogPosterM80partyBlogPosterM80pinkBlogPosterOvertonesBlogPosterOvertonesVictimsBlogPosterRaybeatsBlogPosterRaybeatsBeatExchangeBlogPosterReplacementsDadsBlogPosterSuburbsPhones

Duck Kicking Vulture ‎ ‘Ghosts of Dead Mice’ cassette album

19 Nov

HAHAHA 

DKVfront

DKVinside

here

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