Paul Collins Beat: Paul Collins Beat Live at WFMU on Terre T's Show 2/7/09
Engineered by Stu Rutherford and Mike Sin
Huge THANKS to Mopar Larry for lending his bass!
New album: Ribbon of Gold CD/LP on Get Hip
Flying High CD/LP on Get Hip
First two albums The Beat (1979, Columbia)and The Kids Are the Same (1982, Columbia) available on one CD on Wounded Bird
Paul Collins Beat Live at WFMU on Terre T's Show 2/7/09
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Joe McGasko on 07/15/2009 at 09:49AM
Earlier this year, power pop fans had reason to celebrate. After 30 plus years of dodgy bootlegs and increasingly ludicrous prices for original vinyl, the recorded legacy of ace 70s trio the Nerves finally reached CD courtesy the folks at Alive Naturalsound Records. The CD/LP is called "One Way Ticket" and it contains the band's original 4-song EP from 1977 as well as additional singles, demos, and live tracks. It's a power pop essential.
The Nerves came together in San Francisco. Jack Lee, Peter Case, and Paul Collins formed the band there in 1975 with Lee on guitar, Case on bass, and Collins on drums. Case and Collins were both originally from New York and had picked up on what was happening on the east coast (including the fledgling Ramones, whom they befriended and later toured with). The band moved from Frisco to Los Angeles in 1976, and they became a catalyst for the burgeoning punk scene beginning to develop there.
The Nerves were certainly not punks musically (they were obviously fans of the British Invasion) or sartorially (they preferred to wear pink three-piece suits instead of torn clothing), but their D.I.Y. ethic was the essence of the scene. Their EP was self-financed, as were their shows. They created a local venue in the basement of an old movie studio in Hollywood that they dubbed the "Punk Palace" and began to sponsor shows there featuring bands like the Weirdos, the Screamers, the Zeros, and the Dils.
The Nerves applied their D.I.Y. aesthetic to their concept of touring, too. Years before bands like Black Flag and the Minutemen "got in the van" and barnstormed America one town at a time, the Nerves went out on their "Magical Blistering Tour" in their 1969 Ford LTD station wagon. Covering 25,000 miles over several months and playing everywhere from Toronto down to Texas, the Nerves created a template for the self-sufficient rock band.
Unfortunately, they didn't last. Whether it was the stress of going it alone, the punishing touring, or the fact that the band had three strong songwriters all vying for pole position, the Nerves shredded during 1978. Each of the three members had post-Nerves careers that continue to this day: Peter Case formed the Plimsouls, who had a hit with "A Million Miles Away," and he later made a series of rootsy solo LPs; Jack Lee recorded a 1981 solo album, disappeared for awhile, but is now back with a new band, Jack Lee's Inferno; and Paul Collins formed the Beat and recorded two very good power pop LPs in 1979 and 1982.
Paul Collins has recently popped back onto the scene, too. Last year he put out a new album called "Ribbon of Gold," and he made an appearance on Terre T's "Cherry Blossom Clinic" program this past February. Today's post is a track from that session, the Paul Collins Beat performing the Nerves' most famous song, "Hanging on the Telephone." Written and originally sung by Jack Lee, but made famous by Blondie with their hit cover version, "Hanging on the Telephone" has become a sort of power pop standard. It's kind of cool that Paul Collins reprises not only his old Nerves numbers in his sets, but also those of his ex-bandmates.
Be sure to check out the other Paul Collins tracks on the FMA. He does versions of a few other Nerves songs including "Letter to G," "Working Too Hard," and the classic "Walking Out on Love."