Friday Full-Length: Truth and Janey, No Rest for the Wicked

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 10th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Truth and Janey, No Rest for the Wicked (1976)

Like any such designation, the idea of proto-metal can be pretty nebulous. Generally, one thinks of classic-sounding heavy rock, the early recordings of Pentagram, Black Sabbath or more underground groups like Budgie, Speed, Glue & Shinki, Atomic Rooster, Cactus and so on. Comprised of bassist Steve Bock, drummer Denis Bunce and founding guitarist/vocalist BillyLee Janey and based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Truth and Janey came along a little bit later. Offered through private press Montross Records, their debut, No Rest for the Wicked, was issued in 1976 — more than a year after what even the farthest-ranging estimates of what was the Psychedelic Era end. That distinction is important because it separates the context in which Truth and Janey arrived. By then, acts like the aforementioned Sabbath, as well as Alice Cooper, Coven and so on had already showed rock and roll’s dark underside to the masses. Soon after, punk would take hold in the UK, pushing what had already by then become heavy metal downward even as groups like Judas Priest, Motörhead and, a little later, Iron Maiden set the stage for what would become the NWOBHM. In the US, the groundbreaking heavy of Midwestern outfits like MC5 and The Stooges had already given way to the arena-rock of Blue Öyster Cult, and early punk would soon rise as well.

So Truth and Janey‘s debut landed at this crucial in-between moment, almost the point at which one generation’s expectations for what rock and roll could and should be doing were swapped out for another’s. No Rest for the Wicked contains elements of many of the above-mentioned artists and movements, whether it’s the brighter strum of its title-track referring back to Thin Lizzy or the grittier guitar in opener “Down the Road I Go” meeting head-on with gorgeous harmonies, “It’s all Above Us” melding psychedelia and progressive tendencies or “Remember, a Child, Building Walls” bringing The Who-style classic progressions to a jazzier instrumental flow. Such breadth doesn’t make No Rest for the Wicked come across as scattershot, and while that seems like something of a miracle on paper, the smoothness of Truth and Janey‘s transitions and the performances of JaneyBruce and Bock throughout these tracks are a soul salve for any lover of spirited, formative heavy rock. The album proper ends with the easy-rolling “My Mind,” but this version also includes the four songs from Truth and Janey‘s prior singles, “Midnight Horsemen,” “Around and Around,” the Rolling Stones cover “Under My Thumb” and “Straight Eight Pontiac.”

Those cuts have appeared on numerous reissues of No Rest for the Wicked, including CD versions released by Monster Records in 2001 and Rockadrome Records in 2007. Rockadrome also oversaw a vinyl release with the original tracklisting intact in 2010, and that has been pressed up again this year. Truth and Janey, meanwhile, released one more studio album in 1977’s Just a Little Bit of Magic before disbanding, but have had bits of live and other material — the 2001 Erupts! compilation stands out — surface over the years. As further testament to their longevity, they’ll play Psycho Las Vegas in August, alongside Alice CooperBlue Öyster Cult and many, many, many more.

What a week. One for the record books. This was the first of three weeks I’ll spend willfully unemployed before starting my new job at Hasbro in Rhode Island on June 28. Vacation. Three weeks off. Europe might scoff, but here in the US, it’s practically unheard of. A gift from the gods. And frankly, it’s felt that way over the last five days.

Monday and Tuesday, pretty quiet. Slept late, got some writing done — steady stream of reviews this week, which was nice — and hung around with The Patient Mrs.. Tuesday evening we headed for Connecticut and I suggested kind of on a whim we should go to the Yankee game the next night. So that was Wednesday. We took the train from New Haven into the Bronx and it was fantastic. I had a roast beef sandwich, minus the bread — still carbless — for dinner, and she had a veggie dog, for which she’s been waiting years and for which she has written suggestion-box emails numbering greater than 10. Thrills abounded, and the team, who are thoroughly and willfully mediocre this year, won a blowout. We got back late, so slept late again yesterday, and when I woke up I checked my email and found a note from Stefan from Colour Haze, that’s like the best kind of email, about their new live album, which was posted about this morning. My family is coming up from New Jersey tomorrow, so this afternoon we’ll go to the farmer’s market in town here and pick up some eats and other such and such, then I look forward to a quiet evening tonight and then more good times tomorrow. Work to do Sunday, but it’ll get done. I’m not worried.

Next week is a little bumpier. I have a doctor stuff on Tuesday that I expect will consume most of the day. I’ll also be announcing the last band and afterparty details for The Obelisk All-Dayer (tickets here) Aug. 20 at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. The official poster, with art by Skillit — look up to the header of this site for a sampling of his work — should be done in the next two weeks. It’s going to be bright as hell, happy, psychedelic and weird. It’s going to involve ice cream. I can’t wait.

Still, look out for reviews of Sergio Ch., West, Space and Love and Conclave before next week is through, as well as a new podcast, that All-Dayer announcement and an interview with Dave Sherman of The Obsessed to precede that band’s stop headlining at Maryland Doom Fest in a couple weeks, which I’ll be attending and covering as kind of the last big blowout of this gleeful between-jobs period before I start work again the Tuesday after.

So lots of good stuff to come. Before I put the laptop down, I just want to thank Tom Geddes from the Desertscene Podcast (Thee Facebooks, website) again for having me as a guest for last week’s episode. It was a pleasure to chat with Tom — or, since he’s UK-based, chat to him — about bands and writing and whatnot, and if you didn’t hear it, I thought the end result came out really well. Thanks if you get the chance to check it out.

Please have a great and safe weekend. If you need me, I’ll be endeavoring toward the same.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Psycho Las Vegas Announces Initial Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas banner

In the fine tradition of, well, last year’s Psycho fest, 2016’s Psycho Las Vegas has announced an overwhelmingly impressive initial group of acts for its lineup, including some of the finest North America has to offer and choice imports. Notable in that category are Candlemass, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Colour Haze, Mars Red Sky, Belzebong, Øresund Space Collective and The Cosmic Dead, and they’re joined by returning figureheads Sleep and Pentagram, who headlined the 2015 Psycho California fest, along with YOB, Down, Mudhoney, Acid King, Fu Manchu and a whole host of others listed below.

The truly insane part about Psycho Las Vegas is that, like last year with Psycho California, the lineup is staggered, so this isn’t it. On Valentines Day, the festival will announce its full lineup of acts, which I’m just going to go out on a limb and assume includes everyone else on earth, and then after that, in March, they’ll follow up again with the headliners. So what we learn today is that 2015’s headliners will have someone playing over them. I don’t know who, or how that could be possible, but you can bet your ass I’m anxious to find out.

All the details so far unveiled about Psycho Las Vegas, as well as the link to purchase tickets, appear below:

psycho las vegas poster


Neon Knights arrive and ignite the the city of light in a sleepless celebration of heavy culture. High rollin’ low lifes will low roll the high life at the world famous Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in “Sin City”, Las Vegas. For three straight days, from August 26th through the 28th, born losers win as Psycho Las Vegas holds a rock steady hand of bands, performance artists, tattoo artists, art exhibits, a black light chamber, custom van and chopper show, pinball arcade, and much more.

Psycho Las Vegas sins and grins two blocks south of the strip at the expansive Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The high-octane Rock ‘n’ Roll-themed casino resort hosts three stages; The Joint, which is a main stage, Vinyl, the rock club and out under the desert night sky is the second main stage, The Pool Stage. Experience live music, 24 hours a day.

In between bands and bets, ride outside to the venue’s open lot and witness the most bitchin’ rides this side of Death Valley at Psycho’s first ever custom van and chopper show!

Psycho Las Vegas features some of the most revered screen printed poster artwork with an exclusive exhibition from commissioned Psycho Las Vegas artist David D’Andrea. D’andrea, who returns to Psycho for a second year, created all the official festival artwork. Attendees will be able to eternally commemorate the event on their own walls with signed, limited edition works from D’Andrea.

Psycho Las Vegas acts and events were co-curated with music scene stalwart Sean “Pellet” Pelletier. (“Last Days Here” documentary) “Thief Present’s ‘Psycho’ festivals are visionary and have consecutively been the number one music event I’ve want to attend since they’ve started”, said Pellet. “I’ve been dreaming about putting on a cool culture and music festival for quite some time and I jumped at the chance to help us all go psycho in Las Vegas! The event is a celebration of subculture and a spiritual gateway for all of us into sonically connected sub-genres of heavy rock that hopefully, some of which, may be new to our senses. I’m booking bands that I’ve always personally wanted to see and have requested setlists that we’ve all wanted to hear.”

Among the first string of live acts announced will be hard rock legends, BLUE OYSTER CULT with a set heavy on their early songs that have inspired so many great bands over the years. Mark Arm and Steve Turner, also both of Green RIver-fame, will remind us why MUDHONEY are heralded as essential grandfathers of grunge. English psych rock pioneer, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN returns to America with a performance sure to highlight where groundbreaking artists such as Kiss, Alice Cooper, and Ghost may have gotten some of their ideas. We’ve reunited proto-metal masters TRUTH AND JANEY who will appear for an exclusive live set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their underground classic debut, “No Rest For The Wicked”! “A Band Called Death” documentary film stars DEATH, pulsate the pool stage and will show us why they are finally considered one of the first Detroit punk bands. Germany’s top psychedelic stoners COLOUR HAZE have chosen the festival for a rare US manifestation that’s sure rise us all high above the neon. Swedish doom metal ministers CANDLEMASS come crushing in yet another one of Psycho Las Vegas’s special performances. Stay tuned for the announcement of even more acts, over 60 in total, over the next few months.

Thief presents
Friday, August 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM – Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 12:00 AM (PDT)
Las Vegas, NV

DEATH (Detroit)

Join the bands and crew at the Hard Rock Hotel & use the code: Psych16 at checkout to recieve 30% off your rooms.

1/20 – “Warm up” Tickets Onsale 8am pst
2/14 – Full Lineup (60+ acts)
3/15 – Headliners Revealed
5/4 – Van/Chopper & Alt Exhibitions

Sleep, Live at Psycho California

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