punk haiku 16 New Guitar Roar

September 18, 1977. Toronto

                                                                      Most of the titles from The Scenics' gig at Davids have been featured in recent episodes of PUNK HAIKU. So here are a coupla covers for yuh:                                                                                   PICNIC IN DETROIT was our rewrite (lyrically speaking) of David Bowie's "Panic In Detroit" I think we did this song because I was a big Bowie fan and Ken really wasn't. I kept trying to find the Bowie song that would turn him on.

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I'M SET FREE   Lou and the Velvets done a la Scenics. For this song Ken did some adapting, writing the intro.  This version is three weeks after this one, from our CD "How Does it Feel to be Loved: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground", which can be downloaded for sweet nuthin' right here.

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these 2 songs available as free downloads. As are our first two albums of PUNK HAIKU songs.

The Story So Far: On September 16, 1977, The Scenics had a coming out party of out-of-sorts opening for Talking Heads at the 700 seat New Yorker Theatre. It was our first time playing a hall bigger than a breadbox, and altho our set did build to a certain heat, we were left wanting another kick at the can.... but not knowing that it would come so fast.

Coming soon: Punk Haiku 17-- The Scenics return to the recording studio to finish what would become SUNSHINE WORLD.



The next day we listened in to  Chum FM to hear Larry Wilson's review of our show with Talking Heads. He said the Heads were a revelation-- exciting, dynamic, very original;  that David Byrne was "one in a million"; and that no matter how good they were on LP, you had to see them live to fully get what was going on.

  Larry then spoke an untruth, saying that "opening act The Scenics drove one half of the crowd into the lobby."

(I guess, according to Larry, this is what the New Yorker would look like after The Scenics played 2 sets.)

  We were kinda stunned. I think when you are just starting out, you kinda just expect people to, you know, kinda.... like you. We had thought Larry was our friend, in general terms, but then remembered that our edited CHUM FM interview (see PH14) had omitted the exchange were he had asked us our thoughts about punk rock and I, in wise guy mode, had said we like to call it plank rock. Larry smiled and rolled with it and changed the subject, but after hearing him review our set I wondered how much he had had to work to edit out our bullshit, and how much he resented that.  Gary Topp said that wasn't it-- it was nothing, it was just that Larry was a stadium rock guy, and he just didn’t get our music.

   Sunday morning I got a call- one of  The Poles couldn’t make it to their gig that evening at Club Davids, a gay disco stuffed into a warehouse space in an alley off of Bloor and Yonge. There were quick calls to Ken and Brad, and we could do it, and we were back on stage.

  David's was like a church co-designed by Carvaggio and the shipper-reciever from Frederick’s of Hollywood. A small stage like the apse of a church, the usual clientle coming by a bit later, and just enough punks scattered throughout for it to feel homey. The sound was good, and we played a couple of  free-ranging sets, relaxed and letting the music flow out easy, the sounds at first almost conversational, and then later vicious and on the mark, going wherever we wanted, making up for our previous show’s slow-starting lack of wonder. The crowd made us feel like we were doing the right thing in the right place, and after the show two or three Poles came up and shook our hands and said it was a great set. This felt good because the Poles were real punks, or at least looked like they were, with a lead singer who did a Patti Smithian trance dance to the very best of her ability and all of them with the chopped hair and leathers. I always felt like a sound engineer or research scientist when I talked with hard-core punks, they carrying the social statement and style forward, making the sacrifices of debauched lifestyle and adopted aggression, while I would emerge from the infinite engine of sound to wipe my greasy hands on my coveralls, pocketing my spanner in order to shake hands and exchange appreciations.

(l, punk.   r, steampunk. er... no.)

 A funny thing happened at the end of our second set. We finished with I'm Hurt, and as we were leaving the stage the DJ began playing the Dead Boy's Sonic Reducer. There's a real similarity between both song's riffs. I figured the DJ thought we stole it, but I had written I'm Hurt months before I heard Sonic Reducer. It was just a coincidence.

  After the David's show The Scenics decided to go back into the recording studio. Our new lineup had become a band, and, as Brad said, sniffing, “The first demo was  good, you had a good sound, but now...” and he curled his lip and tossed his head like water shedding off a roof...
  The sound WAS different. It WAS a different band. What Brad had thrown at us had transformed our music. As well, he was committed, had entered the engine room with Ken and I, and although Ken and I were leading the way, Brad’s contributions were made from inside, not added in passing.

  Studio time was booked for late October, but before we got there, another new sound was added to the Scenics' arsenal.

  I had been  playing my 1967 Telecaster, but figured I needed a second guitar in case I broke a string. I read in the paper that Hudson Music was having a sale.  One day only. Buy one guitar, get a second for half price. This caught my attention, and stuck in my mind until I knew I had to go.
  But first I had to find Hudson Music.  I had never heard of it.  It turned out to be a small, independant music store on Dupont-- Mid-town, not a trendy district. Family owned. The Hudsons.
   It turned out both guitars were factored from list price, not as much of a savings as I had imagined, but still a good deal.

  On A Saturday afternoon I wandered through three rooms of guitars and picked out a sunburst Strat with a maple neck. This ended up being a guitar I hardly ever played, and I don’t even remember when it slipped out of my life. As the afternoon passed, and closing time was closing in, there was one problem- I still didn’t have my second guitar.

  At the end of one rack of Epiphones and Hagstroms I saw half a dozen strange black guitars. I picked one out, single cutaway, kind of like a Les Paul, but thinner, the body planed away to fit against your ribs and under your arm. Kind of cheap paint. A dark finger board-- never knew what type of wood it was. The guitar was a Hudson, “Hudson” in gold script on the headstock. Gold finish on the fat pickups and the tuning pegs, gold finish that peeled a bit over time. The neck played well, loose and easy. I plugged it in. Jesus! It made an unholy row, an industrial rumble with a chrome lion’s growl- you’d chop a chord and it would bite! Kinda sounded like a Les Paul, but it was more Hud then Gib.

(l-r Hud, Gib.)

  The Hudson ended up costing more than the Strat, so I got myself a Strat for half price and went home carrying two hard shell cases, weaving down the lurching aisle of the bus.

   I continued this weave through the rest of my time with the Scenics. I would play the loose and easy Hudson with the big bark and bite, until it felt like the bones had dissolved in my fingers and my ability to say anything cogent melted into the Hudson's big barnside shapes. Then I would drop the dark Hudson and jump to my creamy Tele, taut strings, a barbed wire sound,  wrestle and dance with that until my hands and ears grew tired of the effort required to pull each new sound from it.

  This dance continued till the Scenics themselves dissolved, and then, one afternoon a year or two later,  the Tele was sold to pay for something my stepdaughter needed. I simply polished it and then collected money from a happy stranger. Years later my wife said “I saw you doing that, and I couldn’t figure out, why is he selling that guitar?” You can imagine how much I still regret losing it, but I got my girl what she needed.

    Two years  later:  an afternoon, a horrible fight with my wife, passionate young lovers unable to create a world big enough for both of our dreams. I picked up the Hudson, now worn and scarred, and smashed it against the floor to inscribe how little the world and I understood each other.

   Unfortunately, my older step-daughter, 13,  had been playing rudimentary Van Halen on that guitar,  and her face immediately  fell and closed when she came home, a crazy act from her crazy parents, I could not face myself and lied, a falling bookcase... 

   Two years later we bought her a beautiful Ibanez Artist  for Christmas, a guitar she still has and treasures, and has never sold. Now, of course, especially with The Scenics playing again, I ache for the noises a Hudson makes. I can still feel it in my arms, under my fingers, in my ears.

   In October 77, however, the Hudson was new, shiny and sleek, bible black, unpleasantly loud, and ready to roar in the recording studio.

(Me and the Hudson, 1978. This is the Hudson sound.)

Scenics At David's, Sept 18 1977

Set 1
Remake Remodel
I’m Set Free
Wind over the Ladder.
Picnic  in Detroit
I Have You
Great Piles
I’m Hurt

Set 2
O Boy
Lonesome Cowboy Bill
Wild Trout
All Belts and Shoelaces Taken
Femme Fatale
Face it Again
Do The Wait

"Best concerts I've seen, in no particular order:
1)  Roxy Music, Massey Hall, 1975
2)  Toronto Pop Festival/Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival, 1969 (Velvets minus Cale;  Plastic Ono Band;  The Doors;  John Lee Hooker)
3)  The Ramones, New Yorker, September 1977
4)  John Cale Band, Lulas' Lounge, 2006; and--
5)  The Scenics at Davids on St. Nicholas Street around 76, 77 or so.  I think the Viletones cancelled at the last moment, and heroically you guys showed up, and blew away all of about a dozen or so people.  I don't know which drugs you guys may have taken, but it sure seemed to work, 'cause it was amazing."          Colin Brunton   


Sign in front of Andrew's Manor-- Detroit's first Airmail

"Michigan is pleased to honour" Sign fills in details

Two kids in a sandbox. "Shovel loose gravel, Dad!"

Panic in Detroit. I asked for an ottoman. My voice reassuring and calm.

I wish someone was home.

Panic in your voice. Panic in Des Moines.


Panicked but adroit I answered the first word I heard.

Reassured me of my image safe in the suburbs.

A fist through a window. A fly smashed on either side...

Picnic in the South. Wind in the magnolias. Peace in the heartland, son

A new day coming soon.

Panic in your voice. Panic in your voice.


Picking up my change I  sat back down again

and found my teacher floating in the shallow end

He bobbed and smiled and scratched off his misquito bite

I smiled but my finger traced the pattern in the arborite.


Sign in front of Dovercourt mansion --"Bachelorette for rent"

Ad in the land of the personal column. "Bachelorette for rent".

A ring of the telephone. A new sense of rising calm.

Picking the line-up.  Jonesy- you bat first. McGregor take center field

Hey Smith go get that phone.

Panic in your voice.  Panic in your voice.


Picnic In Detroit (David Bowie,  Tintoretto Music new words by Andy Meyers )

guitar/vocals  Andy Meyers .   bass Ken Badger.  drums Bradley Cooper.

I'm Set Free  (Lou Reed, Oakfield Avenue Music)

guitar/vocals Ken Badger.   bass Andy Meyers .  drums Bradley Cooper.

September 18 1977,  Club Davids, Toronto, Canada

PUNK HAIKU AUDIO produced by Andy Meyers  ©2011 Dream Tower Productions.  

PUNK HAIKU written by Andy Meyers ©2011 Dream Tower Productions.

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