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Except where noted, all original text & art copyright 2012 Eddie Flowers
1976/1977: The Studio Recordings CD
$10 + shipping (see below)
Back in March 1976, when the Ramones were still a local New York band and the Sex Pistols weren't even a rumor in the U.S., a group of teenage fanzine writers, rock cultists, and heavy-metal dudes got together in Bloomington, Indiana, and recorded the first Gizmos EP. The strong influences of the Dictators, the MC5, the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, 60s garage bands, and 50s rockabilly crashed head-on with musicians self-trained on Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Santana, and Hendrix. The underground success of the first EP led to another session in April 1977, which yielded two more EPs: Amerika First and Gizmos World Tour. 1976/1977: The Studio Recordings, the first-ever legitimate reissue of Gizmos material, collects the three EPs by the original Gizmos, along with eleven previously unreleased outtakes from the two sessions. The 16-page CD booklet contains mostly unpublished photos, Richard Meltzer's original liner notes for the first EP, and extensive liner notes by Gizmo Eddie Flowers. Founding Gizmo and main songwriter Ken Highland went on to record with a long succession of bands, including O. Rex, the Afrika Korps, the Hopelessly Obscure, Johnny & the Jumper Cables, the Exploding Pidgins, the Kenne Highland Klan, and the Vatican Sex Kittens. Rich Coffee, who was one of the three Gizmos guitarists, has been in a long string of bands too, including Thee Fourgiven, the Unclaimed, the Tommyknockers, the Egomaniacs, and the Excessories. Eddie Flowers has led the ever-mutating Crawlspace since 1985. Also includes guest appearances by MX-80's Rich Stim and Johnny Cougar Mellencamp (no kiddin'!).
1975-1977: Demos & Rehearsals 2CD
$14 + shipping (see below)
The Gizmos' story of early American punk is re-told with 54 previously unreleased tracks and a 20-page booklet. Included are Ken Highland's 1975 demos that started the whole thing; Ken and Eddie Flowers, as the Rockabilly Yobs, accidentally discovering swamp-trash-punk; Rich Coffee's stoner-rock band Cerberus joining Ken for the first Gizmos rehearsal; Maryland Marine-era song demos by Ken; and Ted Niemiec's demos for the 1977 Gizmos sessions. There are versions of Gizmos faves like "Mean Screen," "Chicken Queen," "That's Cool," "Muff Divin'," "Pumpin' to Playboy," "Cave Woman," "Human Garbage Disposal," "Amerika First," "Kiss of the Rat," "Gizmos World Tour," and "Hey Beat Mon!" And six songs that Ken recorded with the Afrika Korps in 1977-78, including "Jailbait Janet," "Too Cool to Fool," and "Nobody's Girl." Plus many unheard and even unremembered tunes! How could the classic Giz-rock of "Talkin' on the Telephone" and "Seaside Boogie With a Jack-Off Solo" have remained unreleased for all these years?! The 20-page booklet is packed with riff-by-riff details from Krazee Ken, with commentary and clarification by Ready Eddie. Plus lots of unpublished photos, including the many photo-booth faces of Krazee Ken.
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|Gulcher Records owner Bob Richert (left) and Krazee Ken Highland. Note Woodstock T-shirt. Bloomington, Indiana, 1976.
||Ken Highland in hallway at Brockport High School. Note Raw Power T-shirt. Brockport, New York, 1973 or '74.
||Eddie Flowers in front of the family home. Note Creem T-shirt beneath "rockabilly" shirt. Jackson, Alabama, 1973.|
THE GIZMOS 1976 (left to right): Ken Highland, Rich Coffee,
Rick Czajka, Dave Medlock, Dave Sulak, Ted Niemiec,
Eddie Flowers (sitting), Jim DeVries. (photo by Lynn Riechers).