The Silks Takeover: Matthew Donnelly recommends Blue Cheer

Matthew Donnelly and Blue Cheer

Matthew Donnelly and Blue Cheer

“The way I feel, it’s easy to see. Let me hear the way it ought to be.”
~ R.A. “Dickie” Peterson

Matthew Donnelly’s artist recommendation: “My obsession with music began at a very early age. Embarrassingly, I suppose it all started with my mother who would frequently watch the television show ‘Solid Gold.’ Every time she put it on I would methodically shake my infant ass out my diaper in an attempt to mimic the Solid Gold dancers. When I first saw Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, I practically lost my mind and the deal was officially sealed for me. My reaction to this music video impressed my family so much that they recorded it to a blank VHS tape and played it frequently to watch me freak out. These days when I get “loose” enough, I replay these dance moves in front of friends, a series of moves which I now describe as “The Baby Dance.” It is something that no one should ever see.

The music that has really stuck with me to this day came from my father when he passed down a large dusty box full of vinyl LP’s to me. I was about 11 and I had seen records before, but didn’t think twice about them. I began to dig through these moldy antiquated things and the first one I pulled out was a far out looking psychedelic looking record with no band name on it. I asked my father what it was and I remember his response clearly. He said “Ugh, that’s just some ‘Acid Rock’ garbage that belonged to my cousin. I’ve never listened to it.” Now I was fully intrigued! The idea of there being some strange recording that no one has ever bothered to listen to really got me excited to hear it. I inspected the record to find out more about band and the mystery just kept expanding. The photos inside depicted a gang of long haired rockers flying through space, a portrait of the band looking like their faces are being melted by electricity and a black and white gatefold photo of three long hairs rocking out in front on the largest amplifiers I had ever seen. Now, I’m getting stoked! I finally managed to get the vinyl out of the package and it read Outsideinside and it was by Blue Cheer. I begged my father to play me this record but it turned out that he had only a turntable and no receiver! I was SO supremely bummed out, but then he told me that I might be able to hear a little bit of sound coming off the needle sans amplification. When he left my room I unearthed the turntable and dropped Outsideinside on the spindle. I sat on the ground and listened to the entire record. It sounded like it was coming out of a tin can, but I could tell that this record was going to be a burner! It was and IS!”

New to Blue Cheer and don’t know where to start? Matt suggests you start here:Outsideinside is arguably one of the heaviest rock records from the late sixties and a testament to the true power of the three piece. This album has remained one of my all-time favorites and never grows old on me. The song Come and Get It is my go to rally theme for whenever I’m tired and need to wake myself up for a gig or a party. The song is an insane over-sexed monster rocker that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Other high notes on the record are a great rendition of Booker T. Jones blues number The Hunter, which these three guys just smash on relentlessly. The instrumental track Magnolia Caboose Babyfinger is a screaming fast, amphetamine driven riff monster…and my number two rally song. This album is a double whammy for me: not only does it hold nostalgic value but it’s also an amazing lost treasure and a totally kick ass record, front to back! The kind of record that could change the course of ones’ life if heard at a young age!”

Matthew Donnelly About our guest author, Matthew Donnelly: Matt is a self-taught drummer and multi-instrumentalist who cut his teeth banging on the skins for a garage punk band called Dirty Hair before joining the power pop band White Devils. That band included a bassist named Jonas Parmelee, whom would later bond with Donnelly and vocalist/guitarist Tyler-James Kelly to form The Silks, the Rhode Island blues band that caught the attention of Replacements front man, Paul Westerberg. Westerberg, who has been open about his love for classic pop from Faces and The Stones, heard some rough demos from The Silks and summoned the band to Flowers Studio in Minneapolis to produce their most excellent album, Last American Band. The record is classic rock blues and you can hear Donnelly channeling all the Brit drummer legends throughout. Recently released, the album is already beginning to collect stellar reviews such as this 9 out of 10 dandy form Scene Point Blank. The Silks also are getting noticed for their passion filled live shows and Westerberg was smart to capture that energy by having the band record the record live. In addition to the album, the band also put out a 7″ that features Westerberg on lead vocals for the classic Stones tune, One More Try (note: this tune has been on constant repeat here at Rock Torch HQ and there’s no end in sight. Hear it below!). To witness the mentioned live greatness of The Silks, be sure to spy their tour page.

* Be sure to check out music recommendations from all of the members of The Silks in Rock Torch Silks Takeover special package!