Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tell-Tale Hearts 25th Anniversary

Once upon a time in a town called San Diego there was a band who spearheaded the second wave movement of American Garage Rock. The Tell-Tale Hearts were the quintessential 60s garage-psych revival group. To this day they are highly revered and considered by many to be the leaders of the pack of “the Paisley Underground” bands.

The Tell-Tale Hearts were Ray Brandes: lead vocals, maracas, tambourine, rhythm guitar, Bill Calhoun: organ, piano, harp, backing vocals, Eric Bacher: lead guitar (1983-1986), Pete Miesner: lead guitar (1986-1987), wonder-drummer Dave Klowden (former teen singer for early eighties San Diego punk act, 5051) and Mike Stax (former member of The Crawdaddys, currently the frontman for The Loons, and publisher of Ugly Things). They performed and recorded throughout 1983 to 1987, cutting their teeth at underground revivalist venues like the Cavern Club. For a brief time in the early 90s a revamped version of the Hearts formed with Bill Calhoun taking over the position of lead vocals. I might be mistaken, but as far as I can remember, after seeing them play at the Soma club circa '92, Calhoun was this lineup’s only original member. This incarnation of The Hearts was not well received and puttered out rather quickly.For the 25th anniversary of the band’s inception, Bomp has released High Tide: The Tell-Tale Hearts Anthology, 1983-1986 CD.

“They had never seen anything like them in San Diego, and what they saw began to shatter the boring, stultifying sameness of the local music scene into a million pieces. The wild-eyed singer snarled and leapt about like a monkey, all the while shaking a pair of maracas and banging on a cow bell, wine bottle or beer can. The drummer hid behind a relic of a kit and pounded his tom-toms like they were tribal war drums. The tall, red-haired guitarist snaked about on stage, by turns stroking and stabbing at his instrument. The organ player, his hair completely covering his face, kicked at his amplifier and rolled on the ground, wrestling with a harmonica. And the long-haired bass player sneered at the crowd from behind a pair of sunglasses, looking positively wicked. There was certainly nothing on MTV which could have prepared them for this.”-from High Tide: The Tell-Tale Hearts Anthology, 1983-1986 CD.

On Friday, September 28th at the Casbah in San Diego, I witnessed the explosive comeback of The Telltale Hearts. It was a glorious spectacle of timeless, raw, rock and roll energy that makes me think, fuck the Stones- this is the real thing!

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