12 Nov 2012

In search of the catchiest garage-pop song ever recorded Pt. III

I.Q. Zero Insects EP (Object Music, 1979)

I.Q. Zero – Insects
Get it here.

VA Enemies Of The State LP (1 In 12 Records, 1984)

Chinese Gangster Element – World's On Fire
Get it here.

The Go-Betweens Lee Remick 7" (Able Label, 1978)

The Go-Betweens – Lee Remick
Get it here.
Nerdy footnote: Years later, the German twee pop group 50.000.000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong did a cover version of this song, titled ‘Amelia’ (for Amelia Fletcher, of course).

How minimal can you get? #41

Get Smart! 
Minimalist rock'n'roll. Two guys and a girl. Their skeletal sound is refreshing. Lots of space – you'll rarely hear a guitar chord. ‘Eat, Sleep A-Go-Go’ is a dance hit and features Lisa on vocals. It is from their upcoming 4-song EP. Bruce Pavitt

Get Smart! Words Move EP (Syntax Music, 1981)

Get Smart! – Eat, Sleep A-Go-Go

More info here and here.

10 Nov 2012


“Vitamin's core was Jason Shapiro and Michael McGlinchey, who started playing together in 1979–80 (when Jason was 13–14, Mike was 5 years older). Jason Shapiro taught himself to play guitar at the age of 12 on a Sears guitar given him by his mother after much begging. I consider him to be a prodigy.”

Michael McGlinchey and Jason Shapiro @ The Underground, Boston, ca 1981. Pia Francesca
“One of their influences was the Boston band, the Girls (I was in the Girls for a few months and am in the video). I also played violin with Steve Stain's Stains. Jason and Michael asked me to jam with them. It was so much fun, I joined the band. There had been other members of the band before me, but none lasted long. We had a few different drummers (Shelley Lake, Steve Stain), but Chris Gill lasted the longest. With Chris in the band, we had a wide age spread: about 14–30. I think that our different musical influences made the music interesting.”

Margie Politzer @ The Underground, Boston, ca 1981
We played the Rat, Underground, Cantone's, and some other clubs I don't remember, and various lofts (including our own rehearsal space at 38 Thayer St.).”

Vitamin (Jason, Chris and Margie) @ The Underground, Boston, ca 1981. Pia Francesca
I left the band in fall 1981. Chris Gill left some time thereafter. Jason and Mike got another drummer (Dave?) and they continued playing into 1983.

Jason and Mike were influenced by the hardcore scene, so the music went more in that direction. Also, the lyrics of our songs started changing from the fun and childlike ‘Bugspray’, ‘Mommy’, ‘French Fries’, etc. to songs like ‘13 whore, she wants to score’. I felt it was time for me to leave as that direction didn't interest me. Vitamin continued on without me for another 2 years. For one gig, ‘Vitamin’ was misspelled in an ad as ‘Vitamen’ and they decided to go with that change, which they felt reflected their new direction.”

Vitamin (Mike, Dave and Jason) @ a loft gig in Boston, ca 1982. Margie Politzer
No, I didn't feel a part of the hardcore scene. I didn't like the music, and I felt the attitude brutish. I resented the changes that happened on the dance floors. The slam dancing got too rough for women (and smaller men) to dance anywhere close to the band. We played at least one gig with SS Decontrol (as they were known then); I knew them in passing. I remember Springa dancing to our set. I don't know if artier bands and hardcore bands continued playing gigs together as time went on. I left Boston in spring of 1983.

After Vitamin, Jason was in the (glam) band Celebrity Skin from the mid 80s through the early 90s. Jason is now in the band Redd Kross.”

I realize that my memory is of the guitarist dancing, not Springa (though he may have as well).
I should have mentioned that Celebrity Skin also included Don Bolles, drummer for the Germs.

VA A Wicked Good Time Volume 2 LP (Modern Method Records, 1981)

Vitamin – Black Sheep
Get it here.

* * * 

Endless thanks to Margie Politzer for being so kind to get in touch and for writing Vitamin's biography. For more Vitamin tunes and information, please go here and here (with a demo and two lives).