LA Summer Daze: Dinosaurs, Dawg Days and Beats… Oh, My!


The Zombies

I don’t often gorge on the comfort-food of ‘classic rock’; I leave that to others. Apparently it’s warm in there. But it’s not that I’m trying to be hip, cool y todo eso, (though there’s that), it’s just that I get tired of re-hashing the same old lines and riffs—and memories—when what I really crave is ‘the other.’ That means novelty. I’ll travel halfway around the world to hear something new and see something different. Most people just surf You Tube or listen to the left-hand side of the radio dial. That’s easier.

But there are exceptions to the ‘no dinosaurs’ rule. Some old 60’s and 70’s rock groups and solo artists just never got their full due on their first go-round: think Love. Others just never were in the right genre, such as Townes Van Zandt. Others died way too young: think Nick Drake. Others took long detours: such as Sexto Rodriguez. And still others just seem to get better with age, like The Zombies.

lee 'scratch' perry

lee ‘scratch’ perry

I can remember where I was the first time I heard ‘Time of the Season,’ and I can’t say that about many songs. There are ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ and ‘Positively Fourth Street’ and ‘Whipping Post’ and… and… that’s about it. Because of that, and that sublimely spooky inhale/exhale intro, and the line, “Who’s your daddy?” (which is one of the coolest lines ever written), I’ve always held The Zombies tits and turbans above most of the rest of the other early-60’s Beatles imitators like the Dave Clark Five or Gerry and the Pacemakers; or the proto-psychedelics such as the Blues Magoos and Electric Prunes (note that I didn’t mention Strawberry Alarm Clock).

No, The Zombies were better than all that, and their break-up on the cusp of their last best (second) album “Odessey and Oracle” was all too prophetic… The rest is history. The Zombies are nominated for the R&R Hall of Fame this year and on stage last night at the Santa Monica Pier they did not disappoint. Colin Blunstone can still hit the high notes and Rod Argent is still a wild man on keyboards, though he was largely overshadowed by such luminaries as Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson back in the day. The band was tight, too. That’s how I spent my summer vacation (last night) and the high point of the past week. How was yours?


rocky dawuni

rocky dawuni

This week best bets for LA entertainment, mostly-free mostly-world-music, that is, look like Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry next Thursday at Santa Monica Pier and Rocky Dawuni this Saturday night 8/23 at McArthur Park. A Ghanaian reggae artist, Rocky is really good, and symbolic of the ongoing pan-global appeal of reggae, especially in the third-world countries from which it emanates and resonates. And yes, I’m still doing penance for once accusing Rocky of flinging his locks onstage Swiftly for pheromonic effect. Hell hath no fury like a bald man hair-whipped.

Then there’s Changui del Guaso earlier on the same evening at LACMA (time for a long-distance two-fer, yes, sir) or Young Dubliners there tonight 8-22, if you need some excuse for a pint… or Brother Josephus and the Love Revolution at Pasadena. Huh? Yeow! I better You Tube that one fast! Of course, if you have money to burn, then that opens up a whole new set of possibilities. The free season ends all too soon, boo hoo. Remember, don’t do drugs while driving. Later, Gator…