December 15, 2010

Brushes with Rock

strangeloves-i-want-candy.jpgMy old bandmate Jon von reached Bob Feldman of the Strangeloves by phone in an attempt to get permission to release a French version of the song "Cara-lin," and lived to tell the tale. Spoiler alert: he didn't get it. (One day, Jon or I should tell the story of our weird meeting and impromptu jam session with Johnny Thunders. Now that was a brush with something. Don't loose your wires, Jon!)

In a comment to my recent post about Monkees derangement syndrome, Lexington Green said, of the rock groups of the 60s: they were ALL the Monkees, and he had a point. The Strangeloves are a further example, perhaps. Their records' justly deserved status as rock and roll classics is in no way compromised by the fact that they were, in a sense, an almost entirely imaginary conceit, the brilliantly conceived product of a production company led by Feldman and Jerry Goldstein. If you're going to be a stickler for literal authenticity, virtually everything about the Strangeloves, from the charmingly gormless bio (they were, it was claimed, a team of brothers from a remote sheep farm in Australia, whose invention of a new breed of sheep provided the wherewithal to finance their rock and roll dreams, fueled by the haunting aboriginal rhythms of their homeland); to the accents (they reportedly hired a voice coach to train them to "talk Australian"); to the crazy jungle-y costumes and funny, supposedly Australian, hats; to the variable cast of studio musicians hired to play the role of these brothers on stage -- it was all, in the Monkees sense, fake. But the songs were real, and the recordings of them were great, and that's what matters most.

I have heard people expound the sheep farming story with complete credulity and fervent belief, so that magic still works. And I'm not surprised, as it rules. And you know, it is show business, after all.

"Cara-lin" is, of course, great (and be sure to check out Les Drageurs' "unreleased" version here.) And though I imagine the world doesn't really need another cover of it, this will probably always be my favorite:

Posted by Dr. Frank at December 15, 2010 06:14 PM | TrackBack


Agreed. Wasn't Seymour Stein involved with them, too?

Posted by: COOP at December 15, 2010 08:05 PM

As to Cara-Lin, that is a standard in the live show repertoire of the very mighty Fleshtones, a band that would, I am sure, proudly perform the Monkees songbook without irony, for a price. I saw these gentlemen first in (I believe) 1982, and most recently (I won't say last) only last year. Their combination of longevity and consistent quality as a live band is, I believe, unmatched in the annals of rock.

Posted by: Lexington Green at December 15, 2010 10:31 PM