Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Drunkard in the Think Tank

Posted By on Wed, Jul 7, 2004 at 12:00 AM

In 1971, a young Roy Loney penned the following lyrics, cocksure and full of whiskey swagger: "I’m a monster/ I’ve got a revved-up teenage head/ Teenage monster/ California born and bred/ Half a boy, half a man/ Half the sea and half the land goes by/ Oh my!"

Oh my, indeed. Had Loney then summarily quit his group, The Flamin’ Groovies, and never issued another lyric or note, he’d still be guaranteed rock ’n’ roll immortality. Actually he did quit said band soon after, but not before authoring another garagepunk classic, "Slow Death," subsequently operating for three decades in under-the-radar fashion fronting his Phantom Movers. Along the way he also hooked up with some Northwest miscreants — essentially the Young Fresh Fellows and pals — who, having screwed their own teenage heads on wrong years earlier with steady diets of Groovies, needed little encouragement to be drafted as Longshots. The sonic yield, on the second Loney & Longshots studio album, is bountiful. Choice tracks include "Doggone Fine," a rave-up slice of Chuck ’n’ Bo; "Grapey Wine" (a roadhouse marriage of the Kinks and "Peter Gunne"), "He Talks to Himself," whose musical tone and Loney’s wistful vocals nod to — speaking of the Kinks — Ray Davies circa "Waterloo Sunset." The unquestioned highlight, though, is "House of Games," a throbbing gee-rage stomper that finds its protagonist swaggering through the titular den o’ decadence — the House of Blue Lights now gone perilously to seed — pawing dames, huffing lines, guzzling hooch and starting fights.

Roy Loney: still half a boy and half a man — oh, my. The original teenage head is back.


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