For a band to not only last 30 years together but keep scaling more imposing heights, it’s going to need a sense of purpose. In the case of The Woggles, the seasoned garage rockers are greeting the milestone with a renewed rallying cry to move ever forward, a three-syllable statement of intent which also serves as the title of their new album on Wicked Cool Records, Tally Ho!
“Tally-ho” is the traditional call of the British hunter upon seeing a fox. This distinctive exclamation serves as a mission statement, then, for a band eager to go forth and conquer. “The band is not as much an institution as a way of life,” says frontman “The Professor” Mighty Manfred. “The main thing is to keep swimming, since the shark that fails to swim dies.”
Suited up and riding shotgun on the hunt alongside Manfred are guitarist Flesh Hammer -- who first cut his teeth with ’80s buzz band Guadalcanal Diary -- and the sock-it-to-them rhythm section of bassist Buzz Hagstrom and drummer Dan Eletxro, both also sometime members of savage English rockers Graham Day & The Gaolers.
“One of our strengths is that all the members contribute songs and song ideas,” notes Manfred. “On Tally Ho!, Dan and Buzz both have songs that Little Steven picked as singles from the album, ‘What You Think We Are’ and ‘Waiting For The Rain,’ respectively.”
“Alan Freed once said that ‘Rock and roll is a river of music that has absorbed many streams,’” quotes Manfred. “The Woggles drink from its many tributaries, from early rock and roll and R&B to ’60s garage rock, British Invasion, ’60s soul and forward.”
Fusing pure rock and soul from vintage sources into their own singular sound, The Woggles lay it down hard and loud but with more majesty than recklessness. Their beats and riffs are as strident as Manfred’s swagger and strut onstage. Having played in the past with Johnny Cash, Link Wray, The Zombies and nearly every garage rock group worth its salt, they’re celebrating both Tally Ho! and 30 years as a group on tour in the U.S. throughout 2017, with dates in Europe and Japan planned for 2018. As Meredith Ochs wisely advised on NPR All Songs Considered: “Go see a Woggles show. It will change your life.”
Recording of this particular rock and roll fox hunt, their fourth full-length effort for Wicked Cool, was overseen at Athens, Georgia’s Chase Park Transduction studio by Jim Diamond, ex-bassist for The Dirtbombs and producer of the first White Stripes and Von Bondies albums as well as veteran of projects with Electric Six, The Mooney Suzuki, The Sonics and The Fleshtones among others.
It had been some time since The Woggles brought in a producer from outside the band, but the results paid off. “In the studio, he lived up to his reputation for begin able to get the greatest guitar tones ever, especially fuzz tones,” says Manfred. Those fuzz tones and more are featured on 13 electrifying new songs, described in the band’s own words here.
1. Luminol Test
This is the chemical test police use to reveal latent blood traces. Just when it would seem that the clever murderer has fooled everyone and committed the perfect crime, the luminol test exposes their pitiful attempts to whitewash the scene. It makes a nice metaphor for a relationship.
2. Hard Times
On the way from Houston to Austin and looking for BBQ, we came across a small country church with one of those signs out front that have the changeable letters, and the upcoming sermon read, “Hard Times Won’t Worry My Mind.” After that, it wrote itself.
3. What You Think We Are
Caught in the crossfire of two friends’ tumultuous, imploding relationship. Lucky we all lived above a bar.
4. Fire Thief
I’m sure we all know someone who can’t walk through a room full of people without pocketing every cigarette lighter. Some of us are married to one of them.
5. Morituri Te Salutant
A cautionary tale of one man’s strange journey, his eventual descent into madness and how he made it back in time for last call.
Judas has taken many forms. In this playlet, he appears as a trusted friend or wingman who has exceeded the natural bounds between the fraternity of brothers. Caught and challenged by his betrayal, he attempts to diffuse and deny his actions. Failing that, he arrives at his deserved destination.
7. Mothra Hai
Inspired by the two tiny native girls from Infant Island in the Japanese monster movie Mothra. Unbeknownst to the citizens of Tokyo, nuclear testing on the island has spawned a giant radioactive moth. The two magical fairies must sing their song in order to summon forth their god Mothra to save them from evil fortune-hunters who have plans to exploit their unique talents.
8. Pitch A Fit
Everyone has days when nothing goes right and everything is wrong. Sometimes you just got to kick up a fuss and let off a little steam. It’s good for the blood.
9. Waiting For The Rain
We had a hot, dry summer last year and I was having a rough time in my vegetable patch. I threw down my gardening gloves in disgust and imagined another’s suffering amid an unforgiving landscape.
10. Tally Ho!
He who hesitates is lost, and with that adage in mind, ever onward into the breach!
11. Learn To Love Again
A haunting paean to love, loss, heartache and heartbreak. Let’s just be glad it’s all over with – it ain’t ever over.
12. Jungle Queen
A fable of primal instincts gone awry or of total commitment? You, dear listener, must decide, though remember, “She has my heart and keeps my head, pinned to her wall with a peg.”
13. Be Seeing You
“Be seeing you” is at first an innocuous phrase from the seminal ’60s British television series The Prisoner, exchanged as characters take leave of one another. Eventually it comes to represent the perniciousness of the Village and its relentless pursuit at breaking Number Six.
The latest new release in Wicked Cool Records’ partnership with The Orchard as distributor, Tally Ho! once again finds the band with the imprimatur of tastemaker supreme and label head Steven Van Zandt (The E Street Band, The Sopranos). Wicked Cool evolved out of “Little Steven” Van Zandt’s weekly syndicated radio show and SiriusXM channel Little Steven’s Underground Garage, where The Woggles have been recognized with Coolest Song In The World honors numerous times over. Van Zandt founded the label as a way to further support new rock & roll that wasn't receiving the recognition it deserved. In some ways it was The Woggles themselves who planted the seed that started the label.
“We first met Steven at Southpaw in Brooklyn where The Woggles performed,” remembers Manfred. “After the show, he awaited us in the dressing room with a smile bigger than his face could hold and his eyes wider than half dollars. ‘I don’t wanna sound like I’m blowing smoke,’ he said, ‘but I saw The Beatles at Shea Stadium, The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones, Sam & Dave, The Animals, all these guys, and you guys have got it baby. You guys are right up there with them.’ So I put my hand on Steven’s shoulder and said, ‘Ok, so what are you gonna do about it?’” The rest, of course, is garage rock history. On with the hunt!
THE WOGGLES ARE: Dan Eletxro: drums, bongos, backing vocals; Buzz Hagstrom: bass, backing vocals; “The Professor” Mighty Manfred: lead vocals; Flesh Hammer: guitar, keyboards, sitar, percussion, backing vocals
Jeremy & The Harlequins
With the release of second album, Into the Night, New York five-piece Jeremy & The Harlequins are building on the momentum of last year’s debut, American Dreamer. Not only was one of that record’s songs – ‘Trip Into The Light’ – featured in the Tom Cruise movie Edge Of Tomorrow, it was also voted as the Coolest Song in the World of 2015 by the listeners of Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show, after Bruce Springsteen’s right hand man, Steve Van Zandt, personally picked it as his coolest track in the world for the month of July.
But that was last year, and Jeremy & The Harlequins are refusing to rest on their laurels. As such, Into the Night recalls the glamor of rock ‘n’ roll’s past while simultaneously forging forward into the future with attitude. Channeling the influences of 1950s and ’60s rock’n’roll through the (cell phone) camera lens of 2016, Jeremy & The Harlequins – Jeremy Fury (vocals), Craig Bonich and Patrick Meyer (guitars), Stevie Fury (drums) and Bobby Ever (bass) – have once again captured the sound of New York both in the here and now and the there and then. It’s a record about love and loss, tragedy and romanticism, dreams and reality, as well as everything in between, and its ten songs are at once familiar and fresh, a new friend it feels like you’ve known for decades.
“In both the pop music world and the indie music world,” explains Jeremy, “everything’s very electronic and very produced-sounding. In the indie world, everything seems like it’s long songs with no choruses and it doesn’t feel to me like something I’ll be singing along with in 20 years and going back to, and the pop world seems to have lost its human element. Music should make you feel something, and I don’t get that from much music nowadays, so we wanted to strip things down again and get back to the essence of rock’n’roll and pop music.”
That’s precisely what Into the Night does – from title to the artwork, the lyrics to the melodies and arrangements of these songs, everything has been created with the mythology of rock’n’roll in mind. Recorded at NY Hed Studios in the Lower East side with Matt and Rocio Verta-Ray, this album is the sound of a band who have truly found its groove – whether that’s the triumphant yet poignant title track, the woeful elegy of “For Angels” or the gentle jangle of “Let Her Run”, a classic American road trip song for the modern age.
“When we did the first record,” says Jeremy, “it was an exercise in trying to figure out how to record songs. Now there’s much more of a foundation, which is what we need to keep moving on and keep making music. If that record established who we are, I hope this one will expand our audience. There are a lot more dimensions on this new record. It goes to a few different places while staying within that American rock’n’roll nostalgia, and I want us to keep growing as a band.”
That’s an ambition that reveals the wonderful paradox of the band’s music – that it’s just as modern as it is retro. The songs might be steeped in romantic nostalgia – listen to the title track and you’ll swear it’s been stuck inside your head for decades – but they also address the present. And the future.
“I’d like to think that in some ways we can help change the modern world,” says Jeremy. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt at odds with it, but I feel like the world has evolved a little bit since we did the first album, and there is a place for what we do. And also, as with the first record, my hope is that in 50 or 100 years, if someone were to find it and listen to it, they’d be ‘Wait – it sounds like this, but it’s referencing all these things came out years later.’ I wanted to do something where I could have something new to say in music.”
It all started when Stevie, Jeremy’s brother, moved back to New York from Paris in 2014. They’d played music together before and wanted to do so again. Jeremy and Craig – who’d also been in bands together before – were already working on new music when Stevie returned, and it suddenly, it all clicked. They’d found their sound, and also a shared vision for what they wanted to do. That chemistry is clearly visible onstage when they play live, but, unusually, you can also hear it within the grooves of the record. Which is precisely why acclaimed label Yep Roc jumped on board to release this second full-length. Very much a part of the New York scene – and very much following the line of its heritage – the band, with this album, has managed to capture, the sense and the sound of the city they call home. Into the Night, as the very title suggests is a journey on numerous levels. It goes into and beyond the night, traversing the streets of the past, the present and the future, merging them all until they blend into just one path, a road weaving through New York’s avenues and streets and into the hearts and minds of a whole nation. “With this record,” explains Jeremy, “we want to go deeper into the process and into the story. Sometimes, to get out of something, you have to go into the darkness first. But you get through it and there’s this feeling of triumph. That’s the spirit of the record and that’s what it’s about.”
In the last days of 2005 Stupidity was formed in Stockholm, Sweden by former members from the bands Eager Beaver and The Cool Jerks. They took the name “Stupidity” from the great Solomon Burke song, a common favourite of them all. The bands first recording was a four song demo in september 2006 and they also played their first gig in november the same year. In February – March 2007 they started recording new songs and doing a number of gigs.
In April-June 2007 they went back into the studio and recorded the rest of the songs for the coming album. The album titled “I need you…like a hole in my head”. In June 2008 Stupidity toured the USA for two weeks, doing shows and radio in three states.
After the tour Stupidity was discovered by Little Steven Van Zandt (from Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band & The Sopranos) who in August named their song “Girl Named Moe” the coolest song in the world on his radio channel The Underground Garage. The second album “Illegal U-Turn” was released in June 2009, the band backed it up with shows in Europe and USA.
The third album “Move” came out in June 2011, and it was followed by shows in Scandinavia and a US-tour.
In October 2013 Stupidity released the single “King Midas / Some Kinda Love” the first one from the album ”Fore”, to be released in 2014. The single became “Coolest Song In The World” on Little Steven’s Underground Garage December 8th 2013.
King Midas was also be featured on the soundtrack to Series 2 of the TV Series Lilyhammer starring Steven Van Zandt, that started screening on Netflix and local channels from December 13th 2013.
Stupidity´s fourth album “Fore” featuring the single “King Midas” was officially released on Go Fast Records and available for purchase from June 2014. In August 2014 the song “Baby It’s You” from the album became “Coolest Song In The World” on Little Steven’s Underground Garage!
Stupidity could also be seen in one episode of Lilyhammer, season 3, doing ”King Midas” on stage, and the song ”Baby it´s you” from the Fore album was also on the soundtrack, as well as the song ”Last Night” from the bands first album.
In the beginning of May, 2015, Stupidity once again went into the studio. This time to record the new single “Get Up” for release in September the same year. “Get Up” was also chosen as “The Coolest Song In The World” first week of September 2015, by Little Steven´s Underground Garage. The fifth Stupidity song over the years regarded with this title.
Erniz: Lead Vocals
P A: Fender Telecaster / Vocals
Miss Anna: Gibson Flying-V Bass
Tommy Boy: Drums / Percussion