December 30, 2007

Modcast #79: New to You in 2007

Welcome to the end of yet another great year in music history. There was lots of great power pop coming out this year, as well as garage and post-punk, and even pure soul music started making inroads into the mainstream again. Definitely a good year to be a music lover. I always tell people that the best music I've ever listened to is the music I'm listening to right now. If you're a music lover like me, what else can you say.

2007 is over, but the music will live on. And there was so much good stuff out this past year, how could we not explore a few new gems. Rather than provide yet another year ending list of what I happened to think was best this year, I've opted to serve up some stuff that will hopefully be new to you. All the dozen tracks on this week's show were released in 2007, and so rather than let them get stale in '08, I'm going to deliver them fresh while the year is still with us. Enjoy!
End of Year Bonus Videos!

The Red Button - Cruel Girl

Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong - Lonely Boy

The Icicles - Sugar Sweet (live)

Hushpuppies -- You're Gonna Say Yeah

December 23, 2007

A Suave Christmas Card

I love Richard Cheese because he's ... well, he's cheesy. There's seldom a better time to be cheesy than at Christmas. Richard does it up just right with this original Christmas tune, "Christmas in Las Vegas". Last year he had a video contest for the song. You can see dozens of entries at Youtube, but this one is my favorite.

Christmas in Las Vegas

Mr. Suave's 2007 Swingin' Christmas

Merry Christmas modsters. Christmas is just two days away, the North Pole is all in a tizzy, Santa's gettin' his sleigh road ready, and that means it's time to dust off an old favorite. Actually, 24 old favorites. This year's mix is just a little different from last year's. Mostly the same, but you've got to mix it up a little.

Every year I play my mix at parties, post it online, and generally share the cheer. And every year people beg me to burn them a copy. Since hard copies are so 20th century, here's a digital download of Mr. Suave's Christmas disk in all it's swingin, glory. And, it's pure tunage, completely without Mr. Suave commentary!

  • Happy Holidays -- Mel Torme
  • Jingle Bells -- Esquival
  • Winter Wonderlands -- Ella Fitzgerald
  • Mr. Snow Miser -- Year Without A Santa Claus
  • Sleigh Ride on High -- Squirrel Nut Zippers
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer -- Billy May & His Orchestra
  • Toot, Toot, Tootie, Toot -- Duke Ellington
  • Let It Snow -- Lena Horne
  • Christmas Wrapping -- The Waitresses
  • Skating -- Vince Guiraldi
  • The Merriest -- June Christy
  • Warm December -- Julie London
  • We Four Kings -- The Blue Hawaiians
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside -- Dean Martin
  • Caroling -- Nat King Cole Trio
  • Merry Christmas Darling -- The Carpenters
  • Snow Valley -- Mel Torme
  • Sleigh Ride -- Combustible Edison
  • Mr. Heat Miser -- Year Without A Santa Claus
  • Frosty The Snowman -- Ray Conniff Singers
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town -- Cyndi Lauper/Frank Sinatra
  • Ring Those Jingle Bells -- Peggy Lee
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas -- Bing Crosby

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Mod New Year!

December 18, 2007

modcast #78: It's Merry Merry Christmas Time

Merry Christmas and welcome to Mr. Suave's Mod Mod Christmas episode. It is indeed that time of year again when everyone is dusting off their old skool Christmas disks and spinning Nat King Cole and Burl Ives morning 'til night. But not on this modcast. Nope on this modcast you're going to get the likes of Otis Redding, Arrah and the Ferns, High Elevations, and the Staple Singers. So, heat up the eggnog, slip in some whiskey, sit back and relax with some Christmast cheer.

Next week I'll be serving up my annual modcast of Mr. Suave's Swingin' Christmas. Seems that people really dig it because of the wide variety of christmas music; it's got everything from Combustible Edison to Frank Sinatra, from the most excellent holiday special ever The Year Without a Santa Claus to the Waitresses, and lots more. But that's next week. This week we've got some great Christmas goodies. Enjoy.
  • Brian Setzer Orchestra (feat. Ann Margaret) -- Baby It's Cold Outside
  • Robbers on High Street -- Season's Greetings
  • Irene -- Christmas on the Beach
  • The Higher Elevations -- All These Winter Nights
  • Euz Autres -- Another Christmas at Home
  • Arrah and the Ferns -- Merry Christmas, Not Exmas
  • The Swimmers -- The Christmas Sound
  • Otis Redding -- Merry Christmas Baby
  • The Staple Singers - Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas
  • Stevie Wonder -- What Christmas Means To Me
  • Rev. Horton Heat -- Santa on the Roof
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Bonus Videos

The Ramones -- Merry Christmas

The Kinks -- Father Christmas

December 14, 2007

The Three O'Clock (pt 2)

Last post I caught you up on The Three O'Clock's early years when they were still known as Salvation Army.

In late 1982 The Three O'Clock released their first EP, Baroque Hoedown. The five song release was well received throughout the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego areas where The Three O'Clock were building a large mod following. The album was a clear stepping stone bridging the punk of the Salvation Army and the more soulful, new wavish, power-pop that so defined the band's later releases. The Baroque Hoedown EP moved the band towards a more decidedly sixties sound that was less punk; a sound tinged with psychadelia and a sort of lilting synth sound that was becoming more common with Southern California's Paisley Underground scenesters. The hardest rocking song was a cover of the Easybeat's Sorry, and one of the few times where a cover completely outshined the original. Quercio's vocals and Guiterrez'z guitar licks overwhelmed the song, bring to it a passion that was unequaled in the original. The band made it a staple of their live shows ot the delight of fans. The most popular song on the EP was probably With A Cantaloupe Girlfriend, and yet it wasn't the best track. That had to be the very sixties like When I Go Wild, with its jangly guitars and more gentle harmonies than the band had previously embraced.

The Three O'Clock -- Sorry (Baroque Hoedown, 1983)
Now gigging at clubs like Oscar's Cornhusker, The Timbers, The Palace, Cuckoo's Nest, Mama Brown's Backdoor, the Roxy and even the Whiskey A-Go-Go, The Three O'Clock quickly grew beyond the bounds of the traditional mod scene and began to attract crowds as a sixties inspired pop-punk act. They even appeared in a modish television commercial for Orange County's original Scooterville (Vespas/Lambrettas) that aired on MTV during the early years of the cable channel's broadcasts. The band went back to recording and thier second album, Sixteen Tambourines proved to be their highwater mark. The album was played on college radio nationwide, and the single Jetfighter even garnered commercial radio rotation in and around southern California, and the video was played on MTV, MV3 and other music video programs. The album solidified the Three O'Clock as power pop band first and foremost, and their soulful and poppy sixties influences made them mod favorites. Sixteen Tambourines was definitely was an LP of its time. Listening to it now it is hard to get away from the fact that it has a decidedly 80s flavor to it with lot of synthesizer and a strong, yet soft, production. The full, lush, sound was undoubtedly thanks to the band's collaboration with Earle Mankey, a guitarist with Sparks, better known as a power pop producer who had squeezed really great albums out of LA bands like 20/20 and The Last. Songs like Stupid Einstein and A Day in Erotica boast that typically 80s echoey vocal, with string like guitars and sythesized organ. In My Own Time is a blatant rip off of the Beattles Tax Man, and Fall To The Ground has a sort of Beattles quality to it as well.

From Baroque Hoedown
I Go Wild
From Sixteen Tambourines
When Lightning Starts And So We Run
The band's live performances during this period were at an all time high as well. Their concerts were tight, well crafted shows that brilliantly showcased Quercio's affected vocals and made the most of Mariano's harp like keyboarding. Mods flocked to their shows all over the state. Scooter rallies to Three 0'Clock shows were regular events. Three 0'Clcok patches, buttons, and stickers adorned scooters and parkas alike. For a brief moment the guys were bonafide mod superstars. By late 1985 the band was showing an even greater distancing from the sixties sensibilities and garage sound that had first propelled The Three 0'Clock to the forefront of mod bands. Guiterrez left in early 1986 and was replaced by various others, none of whom had much interest in the sixties sound or power pop. Consequently, later albums such as Arrive Without Traveling -- which was released on Prince's Paisly Park label -- lacked the gritty pscyh-punk aggression of their earliest works, and all but abandoned the sixties pop sound that they captured so wonderfully on Sixteen Tambourines. The Three 0'Clock said good-bye to their mod roots and started to delve into the creative wasteland of post-new wave, mid-80s, electronic pop sounds that so many bands tested out during those years.
The Three O'Clock -- Jetfighter (Sixteen Tambourines, 1985)
Quercio must have wanted to get back to good music, because after the band's demise in 1989 he moved on to fronting power-pop band, Permenant Green Light, and later an indie band with both power pop and psychadelic influences, The Jupiter Affect. Louis Gutierrez went on to play with Mary's Danish. While not a mod band, the group had an excellent indie rock sound with obvious R&B tendencies. After four CDs and national attention Mary's Danish fell apart and Gutierrez went on to form Battery Acid with his wife, former co-lead singer from Mary's Danish.

December 10, 2007

From the where are they now file (although the same could be said about me) it's The Three O'Clock (pt 1)

The Three O'Clock proved to be one of Southern California's most most popular mod bands throughout the 1980s.

The Three O'Clock was really Michael Quercio's band from its earliest incarnation as the Salvation Army in 1980. Quercio, with John Blazing and Troy Howell, captured the psychadelic garage sound of the sixties perfectly. Bringing influences such as the Standells, Chocolate Watchband and the Count Five together with the raw, punk-like energy that infected so many bands during the early 80s, Quercio and company attracted the attention of Dennis Boone of the Minutemen who recorded and released their first single, Happen Happened b/w Mind Gardens.

The Salvation Army's sound was definitely power pop with a punk like feel to it, but also had the earmarks of sixties garage that was beginning to establish a toe hold in both the east and west coast scenes, notably in Southern California and in Boston. In Southern California the garage scene had diverse influences but with a more pop sensibility, more like the Byrds or the Turtles than the Small Faces or the Yardbirds. Quercio himself coined the phrase Paisley Underground which was adopted as the scene's name, and came to personify a wide array of sixties influenced bands like The Last, The Rain Parade, Pandoras, Green on Red, and even the Bangles

Just after the release of the single in 1981, Blazing left the band to be replaced by Louis Gutierrez. Still calling themselves Salvation Army, this was the real beginning of The Three O'Clock. Another demo of four more songs was sent to Rodney Bingenheimer who every Sunday evening was pioneering alternative radio by showcasing punk, mod, ska and garage bands at KROQ in Los Angeles on his show Rodney on the Roq. Rodney loved the demo and played all of the songs regularly, especially the psychadelic She Turns to Flowers.

Shortly thereafter the Salvation Army released their one and only LP Happen Happened, on Frontier Records. By 1982, Michael Mariano and Danny Benair (formerly with one of Sourthern California's earliest punk bands, The Wierdos) had joined the group turning it into the foursome it would remain. Under threat of a lawsuit from the non-profit charity they shared a name with, the Salvation Army changed their name and The Three O'Clock was born. Salvation Army played their last show in 1982 at the premiere mod club of the day, O.N. Klub, and a few short months later The Three O'Clock played one of their earliest shows there as well. In 1992 Frontier reissued Salvation Army's only LP, Happen Happened: Befour The Three O'Clock, on CD with a slew of previously unreleased material.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in the story of The Three O'Clock in a future post.

The Three O'Clock -- I Go Wild (Baroque Hoedown, 1983)

December 7, 2007

Modcast #77: My One and Only Modcast

Welcome to Mr. Suave’s Mod Mod World. This week the mod world is blessed with lots and lots of goodness like the incomparable surf, punk, mod, power-pop band Agent Orange and the now legendary revival modsters, Purple Hearts. Both bands were ones that I really didn't care for all that much when I was first introduced to them. At the time I first discovered Agent Orange I was more into the really soulful side of the mod sound and they were just too punk for me. And the Purple Hearts seemed derivative, just another mod revival band when there were so many similar bands to enjoy like the Chords, Lambrettas and Secret Affair. But, it didn't take long before I began to appreciate each band's individual sound, and their own unique take on the music. Both bands have suffered from sort of 'also ran' type careers, and looking bad I see that they're so much more than that.

As for the rest of the show it's the usual collection of perfect music. But, I do have to tell you what surprised me most about this week's modcast was a certain little power pop song I think you'll really enjoy from Mike Tholfsen who checks in with My One and Only One Note. There's lots of other good notes, as well.
  • Agent Orange -- Somebody to Love
  • Bronco Bullfrog -- One Day with Melody Love
  • Chris Stamey & The DBs -- You Wanted to Know
  • Mike Tholfsen -- My One and Only One Note
  • 007 -- Nearly Man
  • Split Screens -- Know What I Want
  • Purple Hearts -- Perfect World
  • Corduroy -- Don't Wait For Monday
  • The Solarflares -- Feet Wrong Way Round
  • Mother Earth -- Very Together
  • Vibrators -- Amphetimene Blue

Questions? E-mail me at

Bonus Videos:
Purple Hearts -- Millions Like Us

Corduroy -- The Joker's Wild