A letter from Belgrad
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2001 20:46:45 +0100
From : Aleksandar Lazarevic
Coming back to garage music
that I liked, I have to mention Sonics, DMZ, Lyres, Gibson Bros,
Cramps, Dead Moon, Lazy Cowgirls Splatterheads, Cosmic Psychos, Clawhammer,
Jack O'Fire, Mighty Caesars, Thee Headcoats, Monomen, Humpers, Man
or Astroman, Radio Birdman, Mummies, Social Distortion, Blacktop,
Gories, DM Bob and the Deficits, ... I really enjoyed noise and garage
but, everyone remembers Seattle hysteria. Sub Pop was our favorite
label, ha : - ) I liked some things they released but I still thought
that the real stuff was in Australia, rough, rocking & pure energy.
Aren't Cosmic Psychos daddies to the grunge ??? Well, then The Walkabouts
released New West Motel. At that time I didn't like country at all
but somehow New West Motel hit me like electricity. I couldn't stop
playing it for months. I became obsessed with that album. There was
one particular song that I really liked but I discovered that it
wasn't written by them. It was Snake Mountain Blues and the writer
was (for me at that time) some never heard of Townes Van Zandt.
For the first time in my life
I met pure emotions in music. I was blown and didn't know how to
react. Of course, not very long after, I collected almost all TVZ
albums and Glitterhouse helped me by reserving the last copy of Townes
Van Zandt CD Box with his 6 essential albums for me. Later on, I
met some people who already had good collections of American music
but I still had some antagonism toward country/singer songwriter
music. However, I liked Uncle Tupelo and Jason & The Scorchers.
In fact, Steve Earles' - Train is comin' softened my taste and opened
the gate for me to new names like: Nick Cave, Violent Femmes, Bad
Livers, Palace Brothers, Giant Sand, OP8, Thin White Rope, 16 Horsepower,
Bottle Rockets, Uncle Tupelo, Steve Earle, Shivers, Willard Grant
Conspiracy, Tarnation, Cowboy Junkies, Mazzy Star, Robert Earl Keen,
Guy Clark, Gene Clark, Flaco Jimenez, Lyle Lovett, Joe Henry, Lee
Clayton, Dave Alvin, Mike Henderson, Nick Drake, Waco Brothers, Terry
Lee Hale, Nancy Griffith, Gillian Welch, Susan Vega, Leonard Cohen,
Steve Wynn, Treat her right, Morphine, Van Morrison, Mojo Nixon,
Tish Hinojosa, Kate Wolf, Drovers, Buch Hancock, Dan Zanes, Kimmie
Rhodes, Gourds, Vic Chesnutt, David Olney, Chris Smither, Tom Russel,
Ian Tyson, Bob Neuwirth, R.L. Burnside, Alejandro Escovedo, Robbie
Fulks, Whiskeytown, Old 97's, Geraldine Fibbers, Quinsonics, Dan
Penn, Terry Allen, James Mc Murtry, Bruce Robison, Scud Mountain
Boys, Jim White, Jack Logan, Green on Red, Evan Johns, Greg Trooper,
Ray Wylie Hubbard, Peter Case, Spain, Blue Mountain, Smog, Jesse
Dayton, Eric Taylor, Chris Gaffney, The Silos, Sid Selvidge, Derailers,
BR5-49, The Kropotkins, American Music Club, Mark Eitzel, Terrell,
Ben Vaughan, Hayden, Jimmy La Fave, J.J.Walker, Kelly Hogan,Vulgar
Boatman, Iris De Ment, John Prine,.Mark Olsen, Bob Neuwirth, Kevin
Russel, Greg Leisz, Max Johnston, Victoria Williams, Murry Hammond,
Lisa Mednick, Chuck Prohphet, Walter Salas-Humara, Mambo John Treanor.....
It was a whole new world to
me and I must admit it sounded much more sincere and real. I was
really enjoying this music in a different way than noise and garage.
This was deeper than anything before.
After the war, I've got an
offer from radio M+, a private radio station, and I started a show
called Desperado for them. Owner of the radio station become my regular
listener and as he was an old rocker he offered me to start one more
show in which I would present, let's say, my personal view of the
Americana history. That show got the name Hey Hey My My and it is
still going on every Wednesday from 20:00 - 22:00 on Radio M+. A
few months ago I had an interview for Radio Politika, which is a
part of the biggest press corporation on Balkan peninsula. Politika
is our biggest national daily journal, founded in 1902. Now it is
a corporation with TV, Radio, and many journals and daily newspapers.
Radio Politika has now a very interesting program. During the day,
they're playing usual, commercial stuff but with first dark hours
they're transforming into one of the best radio stations here. There
are RAP, Techno, PUNK, Metal, Alternative, 70-ies, Psychobilly, Gothic
music shows and now, of course, Desperado. I still don't know how
it happened and can hardly believe it, but I've got the most exclusive
time for the show
Of course, all this wouldn't be possible without many internet friends who helped me a lot and who are still helping me. In addition, I must say that most people were very supportive and surprised that someone from Yugoslavia knows such stuff, which most of Americans never heard of. We had here a famous MYSTERY TRAIN show since late 80-ies. That guy Zikica Simic played some great bands like Giant Sand, Thin White Rope, Violent Femmes, Dream Syndicate,.... and made a really good background for us. I remember that Urban Dance Squad were playing here and they cried when they had to go home. They had two sold out evenings with 2000 people each night. They couldn't believe it. Steve Wynn had two great shows with 450 people each night, Grant Heart had 650 people on one evening. As you can see, we at radio stations here, take good care of our listeners and properly educate them : -) Still most of the foreigners can't comprehend that I can play whatever I like at an exclusive time on one of the biggest radio stations here. That's why several American D.J.s asked me to send them regularly my playlists. Some time soon, I am planing to make a DESPERADO web site and promote this kind of music in a better way. I can't understand D.J.s who are just playing songs and they think it is enough. Americana is a genre with wide variety of bands and, as they're not commercial, it is very hard to promote their music. I think that most of the Americana D.J.s are huge fans, too, so they should help those bands. Most of the bands are really hard working with selfreleased CDs and not much money for adverts. Just look what happened to Lucinda Williams, 16 Horsepower, Richard Buckner, Guy Clark and others who were on big labels and didn't manage to sell more than 500 000 copies. Also Americana has a lot of great bands unknown to the wider audience and if we don't do our job in the best possible way, in a few years we won't have anything to play.
There's only one: Townes Van Zandt.
All others are O.K.
I hope this was what you wanted. If there are some questions (after that much writing I highly doubt : - ) don't hesitate to ask.
BTW part of this Sunday show will be dedicated to Townes Van Zandt (born 7th of March 1944) so I'll play some covers of his songs (Tindersticks , Paal Flaata (Madrugada singer), John Townes Van Zandt II, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Bob Dylan & Willie Nelson, Jonell Mosser, Michael & Margo Timmins, The Walkabouts, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson,...
All the best,
now playing Mazzy star - Black sessions for 15th time today.