New York-based garage rock/punk promoter CAVESTOMP! The Garage Rock Festacular! is teaming with RockBeat Records to present new artist and reissue recordings spanning garage and retro rock, punk and soul--and will also promote live events in these genres.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to be doing with CAVESTOMP!” says its founder Jon Weiss. “But I’ve never had the resources to do it on my own.”
Enter Richard Foos, co-founder of Rhino Records and Shout! Factory and CEO of RockBeat Records.
“The CAVESTOMP! brand of ‘60s-inspired new music and old is certainly near and dear to his heart,” notes Weiss, who met Foos a year ago when CAVESTOMP! staged a reunion of Billy F Gibbons’ legendary pre-ZZ Top band Moving Sidewalks at B.B. King’s in New York. RockBeat had previously issued the two-disc compilation Moving Sidewalks--The Complete Collection.
“It went very well,” says Weiss. “Richard liked what I was doing, and we thought we could turn CAVESTOMP! into an imprint of RockBeat. It’s essentially a production deal: If they feel a project that I pitch can succeed, the resources are there.”
The first CAVESTOMP!/RockBeat Records release, International Jet Set A’ Go-Go, is slated for July. The 20-song compilation features ‘60s “go-go” versions of pop hits by top big bands recorded for the discotheque market and what was then the “older generation.” Among them: “Wild Thing,” by Lawrence Welk, “The Beat Goes On” (Buddy Rich), “Help” (Ninapinta & His Bongos & Congas) and “Satisfaction” (Ted Heath).
“My favorite is The Yardbirds’ ‘Over Under Sideways Down’ by Enoch Light, or the bossa nova version of ‘Help,'” says Weiss. “It’s all fun stuff, and they’re all world-class musicians putting out almost exploitation music by taking a crack at a Stones cover or Beatles song. But today they’re actually really entertaining, with pure tongue-and-cheek interpretations: Sometimes they swing and are great, and others are so bad they’re good.”
As for new artist signings, nothing’s been inked yet, says Weiss, but he is eyeing “young bands with one foot firmly in the '60s and the other in today--basically contemporary garage bands, but that’s just the label. They’re just great rock bands.”
One is a Brooklyn band “in their early thirties, a soul band that plays with punk rock intensity,” says Weiss. “But they’re skilled players and their writing is pure mid-‘60s soul minus the horns. They’re just phenomenal, with such potential to cross over.”
Another is a Cambodian “psychedelic garage band.”
“There’s a long history of Cambodian rock,” notes Weiss. “During the Vietnam War, local musicians in Southeast Asia were heavily influenced by music that the G.I.’s were listening to—in the same way that England in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s was influenced by American music. It’s probably the only good thing the military’s ever done!”
He distinguishes this band from Dengue Fever, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Cambodian garage rock band comprised of American musicians and stellar Cambodian vocalist Nimol Chhom.
“They’re more like if the B-52s marched out of the Cambodian jungle,” says Weiss, “American garage rock filtered through Cambodian ethnic folk music. And they’re local!”
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