Tag Archives: the Smiths

Secret Society in Smaller Lies

17 Oct , 2011,
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Tony Bergeron, drummer for Secret Society in Smaller Lies

Secret Society in Smaller Lies is a group that comes from Houma, LA. They played their first gig in January 2010.  Secret Society in Smaller Lies is a diverse group of friends and unorthodox musicians who all share an obsession in making music.

Drummer, Tony Bergeron says that the members of Secret Society in Smaller Lies let things come to them naturally at practice and they see where things go from there. He says that Secret Society in Smaller Lies is not concerned being a part of any scene or genre, because that is where he feels many artists begin to lack sincerity and authenticity. “All that frame of  mind does,” he says, “is regurgitate ditto copy bands.”

Secret Society in Smaller Lies lp cover

Secret Society in Smaller Lies–band members

Secret Society in Smaller Lies is Marc Miller on guitar and vocals, Cory Bergeron on bass, Joe Harp on vocals and synthesizer, Christian Yates on guitar, and Tony Bergeron on drums. Tony Bergeron says that SSiSL tries to utilize everyone’s best attributes.

Marc Miller and Tony Bergeron are cousins who starting playing together in a garage when they were around 11 or 12 years old. “We’ve always thrown around ideas and been in projects together. I’ve ran into Joe over the years at parties and we’ve always had really cool discussions about early electronic music.”

When a mutual friend suggested that Tony and Marc join him on a recording session, they were impressed with the sound he brought to the table.

“I was introduced to Christian in late ’99, when I moved to Houston for a short time with a friend from Houma,” Tony says. “At the time we were very much into Gang of Four and the Minutemen. When we’d jam it came off like cracked out jazz punk or something.”

Secret Society in Smaller Lies–all around the South…and California

Secret Society in Smaller Lies has performed in Lousiana, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama,Texas, and California.  A sampling of artists that Secret Society in SmallerSecret Societyband I Lies has played with include Columboid, Bombon, Savage Republic, Saccharine Trust, Wes Hartley and the Traveling Trees, Carnage Asada, Freda Rente and the X Chemical.

Secret Society in Smaller Lies has music on Youtube, Myspace, Facebook, and downloadable stuff on Reverbnation. They are currently in the process of recording an EP at the moment. Tony says that releasing the ep and getting a dependable van for touring are the band’s immediate goals. Tony has been setting aside cash for the tour van, from his day gig at the tire shop he works at. “So, it’ll be a few more weeks for us to knock that out” he laughs.

Secret Society in Smaller Lies–Learning Punk Rock as a kid

Tony told me that when he first started playing drums as a kid in late 1986, his uncleSecter Society II and older cousin would hand mix tapes to him, as a way to introduce him to newer music. Tony says that as early as 7 or 8 years old, he was hearing bands like the Replacements and Suicidal Tendencies, Minor Threat and the Circle Jerks.

He told me that every time he would go to the mall to buy
tapes he would have either an uncle or cousin guiding his options. “It was a cool time for me. One minute I’d be listening to hard edged stuff from the Dead Kennedys and the next to PIL, the Dead Milkmen, the Cult, the Smiths, and so many others. It was great having older cats show me all these diverse bands.” He says that he felt very fortunate to have the guidance that he did.

Secter Societyband II

Tony Bergeron says that today, he is still listening mainly to the older stuff. “The Screamers, Black Sabbath, the B-52s, the Minutemen, Saccharine Trust, MC5, James Brown, Sebadoh, Hawkwind, PIL, Mission of Burma…I could go on for days man,” he laughs again.  “Right now i have WIRE’s ‘Pink Flag” in my bedroom cd player.”

As I sometimes do, I asked Tony Bergeron if an alien landed on Earth and only knew Earth music from radio broadcasts, how he would describe the music of Secret Society in Smaller Lies. He responded that the band is somewhat a mixture of Black Sabbath, the Cure, and the Talking Heads. Hmmm…Interesting. I think I like it.




Secret Society in Smaller Lies.


Bert Jansch 1943-2011

6 Oct , 2011,
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Bert Jansch 1943-2011


Bert Jansch just died. Not a lot of people know Jansch’s name these days, but when Bert Jansch picked up an acoustic guitar, people listened. I was introduced to Jansch’s music by my buddy, Taylor in 1996. I hadn’t heard his name before, but I knew his work and I liked what he did.

Jansch died of lung cancer Wednesday at the age of 67. He was a guitar virtuoso, who was looked up to by guys like Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Neil Young, and Johnny Marr of the Smiths.

Bert Jansch–Folk and Jazz Artist

Bert Jansch was at the center of the British folk revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s at a time when British music – led by iconic bands like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and  the Who – dominated much of the pop world.


While blues-based supergroups like Cream, were known for their volume and pounding drums, Jansch started Pentangle, a nuanced mix of acoustic folk and jazz that found a huge audience for its complex arrangements and stunning musicianship.

Jansch’s solo career started with the outstanding “Bert Jansch” album in 1965 – recorded on borrowed guitars – and ended with the critically acclaimed “Black Swan” CD released in 2006.

Bert Jansch–Guitar Innovator

Neil Young, who earlier this year invited Jansch to open for him on an extendedJansch4  concert tour, said that Jansch created a new approach to the acoustic guitar much as Jimi Hendrix changed the sound of the electric guitar.

John Barrow, Jansch’s U.K. concert booking agent, said Jansch remained an influential figure even when his music was out of fashion.

“I’ve been his agent for just over 10 years and when I met him he was at a low ebb and not really getting the recognition he deserved,” Barrow said. “But it is a measure of the man that he had at that point continued playing in a pub in Carnaby Street in London. Even at that time Liam and Noel Gallagher from Oasis were turning up at that pub to listen to him.”

Bert Jansch–that’s Dr. Bert Jansch

Scotish-born Jansch, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music in 2007 by Edinburgh Napier University. Guitarist Haftor Medboe, a musician in residence at theJansch5 university, said Jansch had a distinctive sound that was difficult to define.

“Bert was a musician who was genuinely unique and was able to cross genres,” he said. “He was a virtuoso player and could create incredible sounds from his guitar, but he was also very soulful and imbued the instrument with a passion and elegance on a par with any of the great guitarists. It is no surprise that so many great artists name check him as an influence. He was the quintessential musician’s musician.”

Jansch was recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time.

Bert Jansch–Pentangle


Jansch’s band, Pentangle was hailed by critics and fans for providing modern renditions of classic folk songs, helping to keep traditional music alive and vibrant, while also creating innovative, jazz-inflected new material.

In an era when Bob Dylan, Donovan, Fairport Convention and others were looking to traditional acoustic sounds for inspiration, Pentangle attracted a substantial following with their own.

Mick Houghton, who had known Jansch since his early days on the music scene, said the guitarist died at the Marie Curie Hospice in north London. Jansch had recently been forced to cancel several planned solo concerts because of his failing health.

Jansch6“I don’t know anyone who had less of a sense of celebrity. He was always very self-effacing and critical adulation was completely irrelevant to him,” Houghton said.

Folk singer Eddi Reader called Jansch “a gentle, gentle gentleman.” In a message on Twitter she said: “God speed, darlin’ Bert – get us on the guest list.”

Jansch is survived by his wife, Loren, and son, Adam.

There are so many good musicians out there. It’s often difficult to keep up with everyone. It’s too bad that sometimes it takes a guy kicking the bucket to remind us of how good he actually was. Bert Jansch.


the Planet Rockers

20 Jul , 2011,
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The Planet Rockers


The Planet Rockers.  My introduction to the PlanetRockers was a little weird.  Bear with me here…

The Planet Rockers.  Sometime in the early part of the 1990s, my then girlfriend and I were on a big Smiths/ Morrissey jag.  We were both coming to terms with the fact that we would never get tohalloween see the Smiths in concert, and somehow we managed to see Morrissey every time he came through Northern California. On Halloween 1991 or ’92, we went to a Morrissey show at the Shoreline amphitheater in Mountain View.  The opening band that night was the Planet Rockers.  Damn!  What a surprise that was.

I had never heard of the Planet Rockers.  I wasn’t sure what to think when I saw almost as many cowboy hats and belt buckles in line for this show, as I did silly hair-cuts (Yeah, I had one, too), guys with their collars buttoned all the way up (Oh yeah, I was there), and the young hipsters wearing old 1950s-style hearing aids (never had one of those) and Creepers (I had a bad-ass pair of Creepers when I was younger).

plntrkrzI don’t remember if we had seats or lawn for this show, what I remember was seeing the roadies bring out and set up a guitar amp, a stand-up bass and minimalist drum kit.  Something about this band, the Planet Rockers was beginning to strike a chord within me, and the band hadn’t played a note.  I hadn’t yet made the connection between stand-up bass–my high school band had astand-up bass.  How cool could it be?–and what was no-frills “Tennessee Rock and Roll”, the Planet Rockers style.


The Planet Rockers didn’t play rockabilly the way the Stray Cats played it; not psychobilly like the Meteors or the Cramps.  The Planet Rockers sounded as uniquely American, authentic rockabilly as anything I had heard to date.

I could have sworn that my girlfriend at the time swiped a Planet Rockers cd or a Morrissey t-shirt at that show.  We chatted recently, and she claims that it must have been somebody else at some other show, because she would never do anything like that.  Okay.  Fine.

The Planet Rockers–100% Tennessee Rock and Roll

I think the Planet Rockers opened with Trouble Up the  Road.  Damn!  Those guys had me!  This was the most authentic-sounding rockabilly that wasn’t from the 50s I could remember hearing.  I hadn’t yet begun my homework, so Eddie Angel wasn’t a name I was more than passingly familiar with.  I think I had heard it before, but to me Eddie Angel sounded as silly and cliche’ as Sid Vicious.  I figured he may have been a cartoon character or something.  But, Dog my Cats and Paint Me Green!  When the Planet Rockers started in, they didn’t stop.  They played pretty much everything from their debut cd.  We heard it all and then some–Trouble Up the Road , Big Daddy, Rampage, Big Wheel,  Tennessee Woman, Spin My Wheels, Yes I Do, and so many more.

These guys were fu*king amazing.

The Planet Rockers–See?  Again, I hadn’t put it all together yet.

I already knew Eddie’s work without knowing his name.  Eddie Angel has played guitar with legends like Ronnie Dawson and Link Wray, and is a pretty active recording artist himself. Eddie recorded with Tex Rubinowitz’ band “The Bad Boys”, Martha Hull, the–get this–“legendary rockabilly revival band” The Planet Rockers with Sonny George, “Eddie Angel’s Dinosaurs”, “The Neanderthals” and “Los Straitjackets” and of course he had some great solo-issues, I am particularly drawn to “Rampage”, but Eddie Angel has so many good songs, it’s hard to pick just one favorite.   Eddie plays guitar like a madman in whatever genre he picks up, rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, surf, garage, or…  Eddie can play it all.

On that day, he was playing with the Planet Rockers…