In celebration of the 10th anniversary of RECORD STORE DAY
BOP SHOP RECORDS present: THE FLASHCUBES
Saturday, April 22 5pm
Bop Shop Records 1460 Monroe Ave. Rochester NY
Born out of the Class Of ‘77’s New Wave-Punk explosion, The Flashcubes (Tommy Allen, Paul Armstrong, Gary Frenay, and Arty Lenin) were part of the power pop contingency whose main purpose was to salute ‘60s British Invasion pop (Beatles, Who, Kinks, Hollies and Searchers) along with the fleeting magic of early ‘70s legends (Raspberries, Big Star and Badfinger).
The band released two indie singles and appeared on BOMP!’s “Waves Vol. 1” compilation, which sharply captured the burgeoning scene at its apex featuring like-minded peers such as 20/20, The Romantics, and Paul Collins’ Beat. They received media attention from many magazines (including Bomp, Trouser Press, Circus, Punk & Playboy) and palyed a string of dates from Detroit , Philly, & Boston to all the legendary clubs in New York City, including openers for the Police, The Jam, The Ramones, The Romantics, David Johanssen & Pat Benetar. Unfortunately, the major labels never opened their doors to the ‘Cubes and the band split up in 1980.
Fast-forward to the ‘90s: After the inclusion of their single “Christi Girl” on Rhino Records’ power pop compilation, “Come Out And Play” in 1993, The Flashcubes saw a rekindled admiration for their music fueled by power pop cults going global.
In the late-90s and early-2000s, the International Pop Overthrow (IPO) gave the ‘Cubes exposure to fans in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston. Not so suddenly, the band was more vital (and relevant) than ever before.
Through Japanese fans – who made the trek to California to see the band at LA’s IPO festival – they caught the ears of Hiroshi Kuse who was just starting his new archival label Air Mail Recordings. Air Mail reissued the band‘s career anthology, “Bright Lights” in Japan and thus began the band’s second lease on life.
This helped The Flashcubes finally claim undiscovered glory in the 21st century. After a successful tour of Japan in 2002 came the release of the band’s first legit studio album, “Brilliant,” followed by a concert CD (“Raw Power Pop”) which captured the band’s incendiary live show on that first Japanese tour. In 2009 Air Mail released the rarities comp “A Cellarful Of Boys: The Basement Tapes, 1977-1980.”
THE NEW RECORD
Why Roy Wood?
As co-founder of bands The Move, Electric Light Orchestra, and Wizzard, Roy Wood netted nearly twenty Top 20 UK hits (three #1s) between 1966 and 1975. While achieving major UK success with ELO in the beginning, Wood was already on to his next project, Wizzard, when Jeff Lynne’s version of the band finally hit it big in the US.
In the ensuing years, Roy followed his muse, creating wildly varied solo projects whilst becoming more reclusive as punk and new wave took over. Despite the valiant efforts of magazines like MOJO and anglophiles worldwide, Roy’s place in pop history is STILL lacking proper context.
Sportin’ Wood: The Flashcubes Play The Songs Of Roy Wood
The basic concept concept for this album, according to Gary Frenay: “Take a dynamic straight-ahead power-pop band [us] and hand pick a dozen or so of Roy’s best songs, from all phases of his career, and present them as one unified album.”
Recording mostly at their individual home studios, the band was able to take their time creating arrangements without any time constraint. And while the entire process took longer than anyone expected (several years), the slower did pace allow them to make a way more sophisticated recording than they ever would have done with the studio clock running.
The process also gave the band the opportunity to recruit outside friends and players to add to the mix. Highlights include Mark Hudson’s Beach Boys-ish vocal arrangement on “Forever” and Mark Doyle’s string arrangements on “Blackberry Way.”
Other notable cameos came from Fotomaker’s Frankie Vinci (slide guitar on “Givin’ Your Heart Away”), L’il Georgie Rossi (piano on “Forever” and “On Top Of The World”), former Blondie guitarist Paul Carbonara (slide guitar on “Forever”) and Frenay’s son, Nick (trumpet on “Blackberry Way” and trombone on “Rain Came Down On Everything”).
Fresh off the heels of another successful tour of Japan in April of this year (celebrating the release of “Sportin’ Wood”), The Flashcubes have successfully beaten the odds. With all four original members intact, 35 years on, they have prevailed and remain a vital thriving rock and roll band.
As guitarist, Paul Armstrong so aptly quoted Warren Zevon recently, “We’ll sleep when we’re dead…” No wake up calls needed.