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You’ve Got Great Taste In Music: Rock’n’Roll Chocolate

Marinko Biskic shares my two obsessions: chocolate and rock’n’roll.

And he has combined the two by making 7″ 45 singles out of chocolate which actually play songs by his band, Fon Biskich and Narodno Blago   ( ). An ex-punk rocker from Croatia, Marinko now has Nadalina ( ) his own, award-winning chocolate business in Solin which makes tasty single origin and organic chocolate bars…and edible records.









The sound quality is surprisingly good, but you can only play them a few times as the stylus wears out the grooves (so perhaps they are closer to an acetate than  a vinyl record). They play on a normal record deck and are made in exactly the same way as vinyl records using a stamper, with the vinyl replaced by molten chocolate. He is in London ’til Sunday at The Chocolate Show, Olympia  ( and you really, really need to check him out. Maybe he can immortalise your favourite tune in chocolate…

Tell him I sent you. It’s a great chance to eat your own words…


Live – Flamin’ Groovies

Under The Bridge 21.09.17


View: DJ Mezzanine above the stage


It is nearly 40 years since Groovies frontmen Cyril Jordan (lead guitar and vocals) and Chris Wilson (rhythm guitar and vocals) toured with a new LP to promote. Excitingly three of the best tracks tonight – Let Me Rock, I Want You Bad and (especially) What The Hell Is Goin’ On – came from the new Fantastic Plastic album. Elsewhere the set was thoroughly refreshed with new opener Down Down Down and first encore Jumpin’ In The Night representing fresh blasts from the Groovies illustrious past. New rhythm section Chris Von Sniedern (bass) and Tony Sales (drums) are finding their feet and the additional backing vocals they supply are welcome – theme tune Shake Some Action was refreshed by everyone singing. A packed Under The Bridge benefitted from a top-end sound system and clear sightlines. Support band Theatre Royal impressed with catchy songs, and a purposeful stage act.


Written for Record Collector magazine


Teenage Head here



Playlist – Under The Bridge 21.09.17

Flamin’ Groovies + Theatre Royal, Under The Bridge, 21.9.17

Here is my playlist for last night’s gig. Under The Bridge has a fabulous sound system, good sightlines and helpful staff – highly recommended. Review of the gig itself to follow.

All the records below were 10” or 12” vinyl singles except where indicated*.

Who knew so many played at 33rpm ? A few John Peel moments there…


Set One

You Get What You Give – Young Radicals

Moving Away From The Pulsebeat – Buzzcocks

When The Kingdon Comes – Primal Scream + Paul Weller

A Spy In The House Of Love – dB’s

I Am The Resurrection (edit) – Stone Roses

You Don’t Move Me – Keith Richards

Time Will Tell – Kinks

Jus’ Can’t Stop Me – J Geils Band

Spirit In The Sky – Cheaters

Still Holding On To You – Dream Syndicate

A Million Miles Away – Plimsouls

Doom and Gloom – Rolling Stones

Ladytron – Roxy Music (Steve Wilson remix)

I Will Dare – Replacements

I Fought The Law / Route 66 – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


Set Two


Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning

Clampdown – Clash

Burlesque – Family (Ashley Beadle remix)

Tall Stories – PPK *

Soul Kitchen – Doors

Beck’s Bolero – Jeff Beck Group *

Ride ‘Em On Down – Rolling Stones


Set Three


Higher Than The Sun – Primal Scream (original version)

Casa Dega – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Riders On The Storm – Doors

Private Life – Pretenders

The Oldest Story In The World – Plimsouls

I’m Not Saying – Replacements

Friday Night Is Killing Me – Expanded 2CD Reissue

Bash & Pop

Omnivore Records

On the back of this year’s well-received Anything Could Happen Tommy Stinson’s band re-release their 1993 debut in expanded form. To the original 11 track CD Omnivore have now added a further 18 tracks of demos, outtakes and other rare material plus informative new liner notes from Bob (Trouble Boys) Mehr. The original release remains a total cracker, the best record made by any of the Replacements since their demise – indeed a record that rocks harder and better than the final two Replacement LPs. Evocative songwriting meets robust Faces/Stones grooves supported by various Heartbreakers and even an uncredited Paul Westerberg on Fast & Hard and Loose Ends – it’s a total blast from start to finish. The additional disc collates hard-to-find vinyl-only songs Situation and Harboring A Fugitive, but neither are great. Also present is the more forceful Making Me Sick from 1994’s soundtrack to Kevin Smith’s wonderful Clerks. The remaining tracks are mainly home demos or alternate version of the songs on Friday Night – interesting but not revelatory. The final track is an instrumental version of Terry Reid’s (via Cheap Trick) Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace. Sadly Tommy never got round to adding a vocal, a missed opportunity as the backing track really motors. Check out the Teenage Dogs In Trouble blogspot for a 1994 live version.


Stranded In The Jungle – Jerry Nolan’s Wild Ride A Tale of Drugs, Fashion, the New York Dolls and Punk Rock

Curt Weiss

Backbeat Books

Behind the lamentably tabloid title –  drugs and fashion cited before music – lurks a sincere appreciation of Nolan, a much underrated drummer who provided the muscle behind a variety of bands. Weiss is himself a drummer, and occasionally he discusses Nolan’s technique in some detail: I wish there was more of this.

The story Weiss relates is a familiar one, though no less tragic for that. A father who left early on left Nolan insecure and lacking in confidence which he managed through self-medication leading to a premature AIDS-related death in 1991 at the age of 45. Weiss has talked to an impressive number of fellow musicians, friends and relatives but they all apparently say the same thing. On the one hand a phenomenal musician, a fastidious and stylish dresser and a wry New York wit with real charisma. On the other hand a racist, a junky and a ruthless exploiter of the many women who fell for him.

I checked the latter out with a number of musicians, writers and industry-types who knew Nolan during his time living in London. They give a very different picture of a man who was attracted to strong women and had no problem playing with black musicians. I wonder if Curt was tempted to play up these elements in order to make the book more attractive to a publisher. Context and balance are important here.

I would have liked to know more about the major relationship in Nolans life: the bromance with Dolls and Heartbreakers guitarist Johnny Thunders. The key quote comes from longsuffering Heartbreakers manager Leee Childers “Johnny and Jerry were one of the great unrequited love affairs…they fought like lovers, broke up like lovers, reunited like lovers. “  In her own books Nina Antonia has done a good job of covering the Thunders side of the relationship, it would have been fascinating to better understand the relationship from Nolan’s perspective. Thunders certainly looked up to the older Nolan as a father figure, respect that may have been undermined by the scuzzy drug-related behaviour documented throughout Weiss’ book.

Curtis started writing the book as a fan and amazingly he finished it 11 years later with much of his high regard for Nolan intact. Certainly even a cursory listen to either of The Dolls studio albums or the Heartbreakers sole effort will demonstrate how Nolan did more than hold down the beat. Instead he drove the songs, never flashy but always playing what the song demanded. In this book he is compared to Moon, Watts and Baker: Nolan himself would have preferred Gene Krupa. My favourite Nolan musical memory occurs during the Dolls’ feisty interpretation of ‘(There’s Gonna Be A) Showdown’ when singer David JoHansen entreats “Gimme one, Jerry!”. As always, Nolan obliges. Remember him this way.


Nina Antonia’s comments here

Record Collector Magazine – September

For the first time ever I have had two live reviews published in the same (September 2017) edition – Tom Petty  @ Hyde Park and Bash & Pop @ Islington. Here they are:


Fantastic Plastic – Flamin’ Groovies

Sonic Kicks / Severn CD 0069

Reunion LPs don’t work. Think Byrds, Stooges, Big Star. Once the initial spark has been lost, that’s it. So why is this album – the first recordings in 28 years released by the classic Groovies line-up of Cyril Jordan (guitar, vocals). George Alexander (bass) and Chris Wilson (guitar, vocals) – so damn good ?

The last LP made by this iteration of San Francisco veterans was 1979’s Jumpin’ In The Night. Fantastic Plastic is more of the same: a combination of Jordan/Wilson compositions and judiciously chosen covers, here the Beau Brummels Don’t Talk To Strangers and the NRBQs I Want You Bad.  The latter is a long time staple of the Groovies live set: to finally have a studio version is very welcome. Both tracks showcase the timeless sound created by producers Jordan and Joel Jaffe, where the crisp rhythm section of Alexander and principal drummer Victor Penlosa underpins the many layered guitars and vocals of Jordan and Wilson.

Of the originals, opener What The Hell’s Going On is a fine Stones/Beatles hybrid, with Cryin’ Shame adding the Byrds to complete the Groovies holy trinity. End Of The World enters on a bed of backward guitars and develops into a real stomper which should work well live. Let Me Rock is allegedly the first song that Cyril and Chris wrote together and here it is completely upgraded from the rough demo first heard on the Skydog Grease tapes, although thankfully the Street Fighting Man bass runs remain. Lonely Hearts adds a simple piano part and additional harmonies to provide an uptempo Beach Boys ballad.

Even though this is a proper length recording – 12 tracks, 40 minutes – the album slightly runs out of puff with Crazy Macy, Just Like A Hurricane (aka Let’s Work Together) and Fallen Star being less inspired. I’d Rather Spend My Time With You is a rather unexpected instrumental in a Shadows / Ventures vein, recorded with Tubes drummer Prairie Prince and producer-archivist Alec Palao.

Accompanying the release of this recording is the news that George Alexander is no longer a member of the band he has played with since 1965. Victor Penlosa too is no more. The new rhythm section of Chris Von Sneidern (bass) and Tony Sales (drums) will have a chance to show their mettle on September’s European tour but George and Victor brought a lot to the live show and they will be missed.

There is an understandable tendency to overrate the results achieved by a favourite band getting back together again (hence all the great reviews for Blue And Lonesome). I have only lived with this recording for a few days and I might regret giving it such a good review in six months time. But for now Fantastic Plastic is the exception to the rule – a reunion LP that does not disappoint. Will 2017 be the year of the Groovies ?