On Sloopy,All Day All Of The Night,Why Do I Cry,Like A Rolling Stone,Johnny
B.Goods,Gonna Move,I'm A Man ,Walkin' The Dog,Ain'T That Her,When I Want
To Know,Why Do I Cry, Say You're Sorry ,All Good Things
Big rimp in our plans, though. We arrived at the show to find the "Powers-That -Be"decided The Remains could not use any Fender equipment, but Vox amplifiers only.
(The Beatles' endorsement with Vox probably arranged this.)Vox brought some solid-state amplifiers made in the U.S.by the Thomas Organ Company for us to use and our anice Fender equipment got shipped back to New York.
Meanwhile,our sound company from Boston(Hanley Sound) drove to Chicago to do the show with us. They pulled their truck right into the Amphitheatre,unloaded,and set up their stste-of-the-art sound equipment right beside the in-house P.A.system. Wht a joke,The in-house stuff was so archaic next to our powerful amps, good mics, and AltecVoice of the theater speakers.
Right before the first show, Brian Epstein looked at the two sound systems and decided that The Beatles should go with Our system. So,The Beatles hired Bill Hanley to do the sound for part of the tour!
courtesy of Paul Williams and Crawdaddy! magazine
From Boston:The Remains by Jon Landau (from Crawdaddy! september '66)
In my opinion an insufficient number of these fans have been apprised of the fact that one ot the best hard rock bands in the world has been performing almost exclusively in the local area.This group is , of course, The Remains.
They could be a musical insane asylum. To begin with,they're loud, so loud that it often nears the thereshold of pain(124 decibles, I think),far louder than Paul Butterfield,The Blues Project,etc. Unlike many groups in the folk-rock field, they have spent incredible amounts of money to insure a perfect instrumental-vocal amplification sysytem:their total expenses in this area have exceeded $6000. No matter how loud they play, their vocal can be heard.
The group is made up of Barry Tashian, lead guitarist,Vern Miller, bass player, Billy Briggs, piano player, and Chip Damiani, drummer. Burry is one of the great lead guitarists. While he can play with the speed of mike Bloomfield, he is not really into that style and prefers to sound more like Keith Richard or Jeff Beck. On stage he'll do anything from playing his wildly driving solos to bottlencking with the mike stand to scratching his strings with a pick(creating a horribly grating sound).
Vern Miller is the best rock bassist I have ever hard. He plays proportinately louder than most bassists do,and his driving runs have a way of getting right under the sound and bringing the whole thing to a take-off. If anything makes the Remains fly, it's Vern's bass. One of the great things he does,which represents somewhat of an innovation for rock bassists, is to tie his runs into the drum breaks, which tends to create an exciting tension in the sound. He is especially good on "I'm Free,""Mystic Eyes," and "Empty Heart."
Billy Briggs is just Briggs. He doesn't play piano spectacularly. He certainly is no Al Kooper. But he'S the kind of guy who has just to stand on stage to add something to the sound. It'S all visual --Briggs is the rock'n'roll image personified --but he is nonetheless an indispensable part of the magic of the Remains.
Chip is a fine hard rock drummer. His short, choppy snare rolls,and his powerful high-hat work(the cymbal that has the clickety sound)provides a perfect rhythmic basis for the Remains. I might note here that many rock enthusiasts have set Sammy Lay up as a prototype of good rock and rhthm and blues drumming. I disagree strongly. Sam,When he was with BPul Butterfield, was constantly exhibiting his technical proficiency, but seldom supplied the kind of firm rhythm that a high-flying group requires. Face it--when a band is playing really loud, hitting the drum cowbell or bass tom-tom is not even going to dent the sound. You have to base your work on the snare drum and the closed high-hat. You have to learn what will be effective. (Good drummers on records:Ken Butterey , Blonde on Blonde,Keith Moon,The Who album,Dino Danielli,The Young Rascals album.)Needless to say, CHip has learned to do all the right things. Plus, he is really spectacular on the group's wild rhythm and timing changes, expecially when doubletiming.
Barry's vocals are good, constantly improving; it's sort of Jaggerish style, with Morrison overtones(Van Morrison is lead singer for Them). Btiggs' attempts at back-ups on vocals are generally unsuccessful, but Vern has been developing strongly in this department.
A Remains' performance? "Baby Please Don't Go" opens it.
The first verse is sung over a simple bass and drum figure; the second
verse features the piano and guitar crashing in, opening up the whole sound.
The number is one of their best. They'll do "Why Do I Cry" because their
fans love it and will never understand why it wasn't a hit. (In case anyone
wants to know why, there are two very good reasons: 1. The gentleman who
produced the record had never produced a record before in his life. 2.
Epic did nothing to promote the record. The demo that Tashian himself produced
of htis song is far superior to the version that was released.) They do
the song unbelievably well live, complete with breaks, rhythm changes--the
They'll do "Louie, Louie."I realize that this will turn off legions of hippies. Too bad. I think it's beautiful. What they do is sing a verse or two and then bring the instruments way down and Berry will tell this amazingly stupid and seemingly unending little joke.You keep waiting for it to end because you know that when he finished talking, the band is going to blow your mind, and it's more than you ever imagined. Then they finish the number, almost, and before it's over, they break into "All Day and All of the Night," and by this time you just can'T believe they're happening.
They do some old rhythm and blues and lots of Stones material, done without exception better than the originals. (If you don't believe it, go see for yourself.)"I'm Free" and "Empty Heart"represent the height of their ability. There's so much more to these songs than you'd realize from the Stones' recordings. Finally, they'll close with "Mystic Eyes."For this,all I can say is that you have to be strong. The sound becomes so total that people can actually become frightened. Barry always outdoes himself expecially in his guitar work on this number, their version being almost the equal of Thhem's. Then they play their little theme music, dance aroun, and run off stage.
During the entire performance they proceed as tightly and professinally as possible. They run on stage, waste no time between songs; visually, they're constantly moving, throughly engrossed in their music. They treat their audiences with respect.
Right now, the Remains are suffering from the same problem as the Blues Project. Neither has been able to find a way to get their incredible live sounds down on record. The Remains' "Diddy Wah Diddy" was nothing(nor is the Blues Project's single"Where There's Smoke There's Fire"). It's very difficult for the wildness and spontaneity of both these groups to penetrate the technique of multitracked recording. (Billy Sherrell, the Remains' producer, didn't hear the group in its entirety until after he had produced " Diddy Wah Daddy." ) But things are looking up for the group.They have a fantastic 18 minutes of "I'm a Man" on tape. They're on the Beaatles tour. They 've had a recent change in management which may (or may not) work to their advantage. A month ago they moved to N.Y.,although they will be making frequent local appearances as N.E. is the center of their popularity. But most important, Epic is, for the first time, fully behind them on their next single. Unfortunately , Chip has just quit the group, which will slow things down a little (although his replacement is supposed to be spectacular). Anyway ,when a group has as much going for them as The Remains, it is inevitable that they'll succeed. How could they fail?
The Remains Epic 24214 by Jon Landau from Crawdaddy! January 1967
The Remains,as you probably know by now ,aare gone. Barry Tashian (lead singer and lead guitarist) and Billy Briggs (piano)are reportedly staying toghether and have the rights to the group's name,but Vern Miller(bass)and Norman D.Smart II(drums)have split for good.It's too bad:they labored long and hard without much of the success they certainly deserved.For the people who followed them from one job to the next--and there were plenry of them ,from Maine to Connecticut and back to Boston--they said it all. They were magic. They were how you told a stranger about rock'n'roll.
The first time I saw them was nearly two years ago. They had been together for about four months and this was to be their first concert appearance. When they were introduced they ran on stage,plugged into two Fender amps through which they were running all their equipment and two microphones, and smiled. Four soft syncopated chords and they broke into their first song at a volume which was for me beyond belief. The stage seemed literally to have exploded with Tashian jumping up and down while singing and playing lead, and Vern dancing around as he played bass, Briggs pounding his piano, and Chip destroying his drums. Stillness had exploded.
Musically they were weak that night. Chip obviously needed work and they all needed more experience working together, but the spirit, the love of the music, the showmanship, the effortlessness, and the cool,all things that were characteristic of the group throughout its existence, were already present. It was there in the way Briggs was upstanding M.C. Dick Summer who had come on stage when the power failed in the middle of the set. It was there when people started yelling for them to turn the volume down and Barry just stood there grinning and said"Hey, this is our volume,"and then broke into some ear-splitting hard rock piece. It was in the embryonic stages, but it was all there.
Two weeks lateron their homeground at Boston University(they were all drop-outs from that shool),everything had been tightened up,they were playing to a much better audience,and now you could see it all happen. The sound ,the music ,the feelin was there. And the people responded. Their encore, "Hey Bo Diddley,"kind of pointed to where they were goin;it fearuted incredible rave-up patterns, seeming to come out of nowhere, literally sparking off the stage.
I didn't see them again until last January. At that time I was leading a local band and I'd gotten in touch with the Remains' manager to try to interest him in our group. He invited us down to the Banjo Room on a Saruday afternoon when the remains were practicing, to talk to the two of us and listen to some demos we had just made. When we got there the group was going over some fairly unimpressive original marerial trying to decide which runes might be good for an upcoming recording date in Nashville. After awhile they stopped and we played our demos for Tashian said, "Hey ,that was good but you should do it like this."All four of them went through what was by far the vest version of the song I'd ever heard. Afterwards I was informed that they had never played the song together before. And they had only begun. Next, Tashian sat down at the drums and Vern picked up Barry's guitar and they showed us how they thought the guitar should play into the drums. And Barry could really play those drums. I was just amazed at how well this guy understood what he was trying to do.
Anyway, by now I thought I'd seen all I was going to for one afternoon. So Tashian and Vern start romping through these perfectly exxecuted bass-guitar rave-up patterns which was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. What could come next?
Well,to tell the truth, a couple of us came back that Saturday night to watch them perform and we hadn't seen anything. All that stuff in the afternoon was just practice. Now they were performing and when they performed, by God, they performed. It was like we hadn't ever seen them before. And everytime we saw them after that it was the same:they were always doing so many new things and changing the old things around so much,that every time you saw them it seemed like they were into a whole different thing.
What was this thing? It was hard rock. It was hard rock guitar, hard rock piano, hard rock bass and hard rock drums. And the way they worked was like this:they'd take a tune like "Get Off Of My Cloud" and they'd begin by learning it and dooing it exactly like the Stones. And then they'd go to work thinking of where they could break it up,slow it down ,or speed it up. They'd never leave it alone. They weren't out to imitate. When they did "Mystic Eyes,"which was their single greatest accomplishment, it was theirs and theirs alone.
But they had their problems. They didn't write well and they didn't record well. And the combination of bad recordings and bad material is what ultimately destroyed them. And it is also what makes their album so undistinguished. First of all "Why Do I Cry," "You Got A Hard Time Coming," "Onnce Before," and "Time Of Day"are all over a year old and have nothing to do with the way the group was sounding as long ago as last December. The only one of the four that the group would ever perform is "Why Do I Cry" adn even there,no resemblance existed between their performancesof it and the recording. Chip Damiani's drumming (he was their first drummer) isn't very good on that cut mainly because he didn't develop into the great drummer that he became until later on. Tashian's vocals on all four of these cuts leave much to be desired, although he's beautiful on some of the recent material.
The rest of the original stuff (recorded with N.D. Smart II on drums)isn't very good either although the performances aren't bad. "Thank You" is one of the better originals and N.D. 's drumming on "Say You're Sorry" is very nice. The stronger cuts are all ones they didn't write. "Diddy Wah Diddy,"their single of last spring, is only mediocre Remains featuring very nicee drumming (by Chip), and very tough lead guitar. The song itseld doesn't really go anywhere. And that leaves us with the three cuts that make the album worth getting.
"Heart"is an old Tony Hatch song which begins real slow and builds up, ultimately gets double-timed and, despite the weak vocal, is just beautigul. "Don't Look Back" was their single of last summer and is the best thing they ever did in that vein. great drumming by N.D.and good sohuting by Barry in the middle of the cut. Finally , there's "Lonely Weekend," the old Charlie Rich tune, which is given new treatment here. It's the best cut on the album by far with boss drumming by Chip,perfect bass by Vern, and a tremendous vocal. It's the one cut on the record that is realy the Remains.
A lot of fans would probably like to know why they didn't do their great stuff on this album. I don't know;but I can point out that his is basically a "can"album, one in which the cuts are taken out of the vault. They reall;y didn't have a lot to say about what would be on it. Anyway, it's their first and last album and one can't help but be disappoointed that it doesn't have on it the Remains that we used to see perform.
But if you're really interested in the group let me tell you about a demo they made last April. On a weekday morning, at 9:00a.m.,they found themselves in a New York studio and recorded in monaural, with no oppotunity to double track their voices or instruments, and but two hours to do a whole session, a Remains set. "Sloopy,""All Day and All of the Night," "Why Do I Cry," "Like A Rolling Stone" cuts Bob Dylan. "Johnny B.Goode"has the best derivative Chuck Berry guitar ever recorded. And "Move to the Outskirts" will flip anybody who goes for the Butterfield thing out of his head. The drumming on that cut is some of the most beautiful blues playing you will ever hear.(Dhip did all the cuts.)
Anyway ,the Remains are no more. And this little demo is
really the only thing that holds up. It has them talking and clowning and
just being themselves. And if you newer saw the group forget the album
because that isn't the Remains. Find someone who has a copy or a tape of
this demo, because this record is how the Remains were. It is the Remains.
And that's saying something.
If you want to read more '60s Crawdaddy!'s article
go to CRAWDADDY!
You can order reproduct photocopies of '60s issue !
There was a moment in the 1960's when The Remains seemed desined to conquer the world.They didn't....but they were for me the most exciting American band of their time. These recordings can only suggest the power of their live performances and provide us with a glimmer of the force that made them a true rock and roll legend-The Remains.
Jon Landau (from Spoon Fed"The Remains" , 1978)
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