Showing posts with label Brownsville Station. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brownsville Station. Show all posts



So, there was this band from Ann Arbor - you know where that is, right? 
Just head west out of the D, on either I-94 or US23 about half an hour, you'll be there.

by Bruce "Beezer" Nazarian - former member of Brownsville Station

From May 1975 to May 1979 I was proud to be a part of this group of musical asylum escapees, called Brownsville Station, and especially proud and honored to have known and been befriended by one Michael "Cub" Koda, the talented lead singer guitarist with the wacky glasses and referee shirts.

Brownsville Station - on Private Stock records - audio masters lost for all time ;-( 
Along the way, we hit some extraordinary highs and lows, and ONE of those high points was the recording of the legendary "Red Album" (in official album review speak, the "eponymous" LP called Brownsville Station).

You can look this up on and it will say:    
"Recorded at the Cenacle-Mt. Kisco, NY by Record Plant Mobile Studio..."
What is DOESN'T say is how we TOOK OVER the Cenacle during our time there, and how this was nirvana for a bunch of delinquents from A-square - just give 'em a big mansion in New Yawk, the Record Plant Mobile recording truck parked outside in the driveway, and wires and snakes going into literally EVERY room within 200 feet of the truck - this was Recording Paradise!

Anyway, back to "The Martian Boogie" - the subject of our little story herein; this was actually a jam tune and sometime set-closer, the culmination of way too many road shows where we would artfully mix the entire history of American blues into a sexy cocktail of a strong 4/4 backbeat (thanks to H-Bomb). screamin' guitars, and whatever song we did for an encore that night!

Yours truly in the studio at Cenacle, 1977
As Cub said on 
"The Martian Boogie" was a seven-minutes-barn-burning set-closer recorded live in one take, spaceship noises and all. The tune started out as a pastiche of various John Lee Hooker-Junior Parker boogie riffs, then was promptly corrupted into a whole different ball of wax when the band was stuck in a hotel room in Canada watching a lousy sci-fi movie called Not Of This Earth. By the time we recorded the version, It was  road-tested classic that we were sure was going to be our next hit, even bigger than “Smokin”
Well, Cubmaster, that might have been JUST a little bit of an exaggeration, but all is forgiven. As I recall today, "Martian" was recorded with the entire band tracking - Michael on Bass, Cub & I on guitars, H-Bomb on Drums. I forget now what exact notion got into our heads about WHY we though this would be a perfectly amazing addition to an otherwise rockin set of originals and loving remakes -  oh yeah - I remember now - it was a SMASH live tune - and we wanted to record it for posterity. So we decided to do it, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The Brownsville boys doing their famous line dance during "Martian"

A little inside info - the actual track we recorded (all in one live take, as I recall) starts when Henry hits the intro drum fill on the record (this is actually about 54 seconds into the full 7 minute track). The entire 54 seconds leading up to the explosion and drum fill was carefully crafted by little ole me, on my trusty ARP 2600 synthesizer... and, boy howdy - THAT took a lot of time! 

When you listen to the track,  the LEFT rhythm guitar is me, the RIGHT rhythm guitar is Cub. First solo is me on slide - LIVE, second solo is Cub - LIVE. 

After the solos, we did the track just like we would do it live - Cub was doing the spoken bit while I kept the guitar rhythm comp going.   Cub did the guitar solo after "Boogiein' Capital of the USA", Michael and I joined on vocals when we hit the harmony parts, and from 6:20 on the track becomes pure SONIC MAYHEM. 

One thing about this tune - it NEVER failed to kick ass live - just like it was supposed to ;-) 

I have many wonderful recollections from the years spent with BrownSta - but perhaps none is better than the time the Martians landed in Mt. Kisco, New York - at Cenacle - with Martian cigarettes - and we captured it LIVE (pretty much) in the studio - in all of its kickass glory ;-) 

By the way - big credit to our crew - Lurch, Philly Joe Lower, and Donn Nelson, for keeping us all out of jail, and special thanks to the "unexpected assistant engineer" Rod O'Brien, who I met again ten years later, and continues as a close friend to this day. Rod knows the story about Eddie Kramer and my switchblade, but we're not tellin' ;-)  Hats off to Eddie Kramer, who managed to get one of my best vocal performances EVER, when he recorded "Lady Put The Light On". You rock, KranMar.

and finally - here's to you Cub - 
a great musician, a great musicologist, and a great friend until his dying day. 




80’s rockers CHINA SKY, best known for their 1988 hits “Some Kind Of Miracle” and “The Glory”, have released a new documentary short film detailing the band’s history, and are back in the studio for the first time in over 25 years.

The band, hailed as “megastars in the making” by Derek Oliver in Kerrang magazine, broke up just two months after the release of their self-titled debut album in September of 1988, after numerous bad breaks, and the defection of guitarist Bobby Ingram to southern rock band Molly Hatchet. In the years following, CHINA SKY has amassed something of a cult following among listeners of what is now called “Melodic Rock”, and the album has become a sought-after collectors item.

“A few years ago, I began to receive inquiries from all over the world about China Sky”, says lead vocalist Ron Perry. “I had no idea anyone even remembered China Sky, and I was floored by the renewed interest”. Sensing an opportunity to re-visit what he viewed as “unfinished business”, Perry called his old bandmate, bassist Richard Smith, and China Sky was re-born.

Perry, a Detroit native, wanted to showcase his Detroit roots in the video for their forthcoming single “One Life”. “A major portion of the video consists of me walking through various landmarks around the United States. It begins at my childhood home, winds through downtown Detroit, follows me across the country, and ends up in Hollywood. The Ren Cen, the giant fist, and several other landmarks are featured prominently”, says Perry.

Detroiters may remember Perry as the lead singer for 80’s glam/punk/metal outfit “The Nasties”. “Back in ’86, I wrote the song “Detroit Rocks” as a theme for WLLZ’s campaign to have the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame built in Detroit”, says Perry.

“It was kind of a “We Are The World” style thing that featured members of Brownsville Station, Weapons, The Almighty Strut, The Look, Halloween, The Hysteric Narcotics, Blackfoot, and Molly Hatchet, and an impromptu rap from the MC5’s Rob Tyner. To this day, the highlight of my career was working with Rob Tyner… it doesn’t get any better than that”.

Buoyed by the new wave of interest in China Sky, Perry and Smith have returned to the studio with a new group of veteran rockers in tow, including original Molly Hatchet drummer Bruce Crump, guitarist Steve Wheeler, and Scottish keyboardist Tim McGowan.

The band’s new documentary short film entitled “CHINA SKY – SO HERE’S THE STORY…” tells the behind-the-scenes story of China Sky, and gives a sneak peek at the video for their forthcoming single “One Life”.

The new album is expected some time in the summer of 2014.
China Sky Music



Michael "Cub" Koda (1948-2000)

On rockin', writin', and the sad state of Country music part 1

One of the most interesting stops on the rock n roll timeline would have to have been Detroit circa the late 60's to early 70's when rock music entered it's unruly adolescence. I jumped at the chance to interview ex-Brownsville Station frontman Cub Koda for the Glass Eye.

During our 2 1/2 hour talk at his home/office/studio/rock n roll hideaway outside of Ann Arbor, Mich, we touched on all facets of his 37 year career, from his garage band days with the Del Tinos, to the current reunion with his 80's outfit The Points. We also made stops in between to visit his eclectic solo career and his stint as Hound Dog Taylor's replacement in the Houserockers.

Despite his high energy stage presence, Coda is a very private person, so I was happy to find him open and willing to discuss his place in the Detroit music scene and the part he played in keeping guitar based Rock front and center for so many years-all served up with a dash of the Cubmaster's own unflinching views on life, fame, and Shania Twain! (Phil Klink)

You've been doing this a long time you still get a charge out of going out onstage? Cub; know i really do! Rock n Roll really means something to me, and getting on stage in front of an audience is still exciting.

Even after 37 years?

Cub: Oh yeah! I always said there are 2 ways i'll know when it's time to hang it up-when it's no fun any more or when someone walks away from a Cub Koda show and hasn't been entertained. You know, "He was ok..but you should have seen him 25 years ago!" I don't try and present myself as a 25 year old, unlike some guys who are still squeezing their 50 year old bodies into Spandex!

If REAL rock n roll means something to you, then Cub Koda music has a place in your collection. As many diverse areas as I delve into musically, be it doo-wop, I'll always play honest rock n roll. I still love it!

Why after 25 years did it seem like the right time to get the Points back together? 

We just realized how much we really missed each other..missed playing together. It definitely wasn't for the money!

Ever been talk of a Brownsville reunion? 

Look, the other guys in Brownsville see the band as a "cash cow". you know, make a few bucks, and I'm not interested. One of the reasons we broke up to begin with was that we all wanted something different out of the band. I tried to introduce Rockabilly and Blues into the band many times, but pressure was kept on the band to be hip and produce more hits. The other guys wanted to be Led Zeppelin or Rod Stewart. I just wanted to do good music.

Do you ever get tired of fans requesting 'Smokin' in the Boys Room"? You have to be sick of playing it. 

Cub: Hey, let's get the 'Smokin' thing out of the way right now. I'm very proud of that song. If you could write a song that's made so many people happy for 25 years, wouldn't you? And hey, the Points do a pretty damn good job on it too!

 You guys recorded the new cd 'Noise Monkeys" in one day? 

Yeah! We knew that if we cut another studio disc, it would have to mirror our live show-spontaneous and just rockin' away! It was originally gonna be a live album culled from the reunion show in Fremont Ohio, but the rehearsals sounded so good we used 'em! We just turned on the tape and went at it live in the studio. See, this band, unlike Brownsville, has a unified spirit. We play instinctively. We are all on the same page, so to speak. We like the same kinds of music.

The band was always kickin' live. You and Joey Gaydos always complemented each other musically'
Cub: Hey, I think Joe is one of the most underrated guitarists around, and you can really hear him wail on this record. Yeah, complement each other is exactly right. It never turns into a pissing match, just two guys who dig each others style of playing. As you can tell, I'm very proud of this record for a number of reasons.

First because we got all the original members back together..Fred Schmidt..Pete Bankert..and Joey, and second, because this reunion and record almost didn't happen. The week of the reunion show, i ended up in the hospital with congestive heart failure, and it was almost a year later we finally got together.

When you are laid up in the hospital with tubes coming out of you, you have a lot of time to think, and I came to the conclusion that everything I did from here on in..I wanted to really mean something, you know?

To do something that would last..not jump the latest trend to sell records. God knows the last thing we need is another fucking trend! There will always be a market for cute teenagers singing innocuous pop songs, but if you wait long enough, the real thing always comes back around. Stay tuned for more from Phil Klink's interview with Cub Koda..
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