Boneyard Media

Archive for June, 2009

Song ID: The Archies – “Sugar, Sugar” (1969)

Saturday, June 20th, 2009


I was having a conversation with Kendell, who’d just seen my earlier post about the Klowns, and then he started talking about a session he once played for legendary Klowns producer Jeff Barry (who was a friends with Rig’s first drummer, Tom Cerone). The session was for “Sugar, Sugar,” the 1969 #1 hit you know by heart. So here I am in a position to reveal to the world that the faceless “studio musicians” mentioned often by those pop historians who want to make it clear that cartoon characters didn’t really play on those records, were – in the case of the Archies’ quintessential hit – the guys from Rig. Kendell, sitting at the Wurlitzer electric piano, remembers this comment from Mr. Barry clearest: “Throw in some more of that Jamaican horse sh*t!”  Kendell also says the following: “Maybe we should have let Jeff Barry produce the Rig album. But we were too stuck up for that.”

That’s a generational thing. My generation, weaned on a more aggressive level of pop culture commercialism, revels in the prefab aspects of the Archies, Monkees, and their ilk, while they make the previous generation’s hair stand on end. Let’s not even talk about today’s youth generation, who’s probably never thought negatively about songs appearing in commercials and who will be writing doctoral dissertations about ringtones.

The Archies – “Sugar Sugar” (1969)

China Tour’s a wrap

Monday, June 1st, 2009


I’m back in the USA again after a 17-day tour including Beijing, Harbin, Shanghai, Wuxi, Guiyang, Guangzhou, and Zhuhai, which is a bit too much to process at the moment. But here’s a top ten in no order:

1 – The enormity of Zhonghua (that means “China” in Mandarin) and my minute-by-minute perspective shifts.

2 – Guangzhou, as in I-Heart-Guangzhou, where I played a proper bar gig and had big fun at the Ping Pong Art Space.

3 – Checking out the Dragon Boat Races in the Panyu district – an adequate fix, being so far removed from the stock car action back home – and being interviewed about it on TV.

4 – The bizarre mixture of keystone kop driving and complete lack of road rage.

5 – The fabulous Free Sound Record shop in Beijing – the oasis for Chinese independent music – where I once again found everything I wanted and got hooked up with everything I hadn’t known I wanted.

6 – Bad luck highlight: leaving my camera at the very tail end of my tour in a Beijing taxi.

7 – All the kids from northern Harbin all the way down to southern Zhuhai, who turned up and tuned in and made the entire experience such a pleasure.

8 – All the American and Chinese foreign service officers who knew how to take such good care of a lowly folk singer.

9 – Squid, jellyfish, eel, sea cucumber, preserved goose eggs, and turtle blood noodles, to name just a few.

10 – “Hǎo yī duǒ měi lì de mò li huā…”