Tag Archives: In The Pocket

The Hippest Thing in Philly

Punk Rock Girl Recreated

I recently wrapped up my album review of Soko’s new release, My Dreams Dictate My Reality, and was slammed with a few wonderful memories of my early years in Philly. (Read it here, especially if you remember The Revival).

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Then coincidentally, in my InBox that afternoon, arrived the latest offering from In The Pocket, a special project that screams Philly Rock Royalty.

David Uosikkinen of Hooters’ fame put this concept together a few years ago, and it’s been a fun journey ever since. For rock fans still in Philly, I am sure it is even more of a fantastic experience, but rock music fans everywhere will enjoy this creative rock music.  Check out our interview with Uosikkinen from 2012 to learn a little bit more about this cool collaborative endeavor.

Uosikkinen’s brainchild was to assemble a group of Philadelphia music legends, lock them in a studio and have them collaborate on re-imagining a hit song from the city’s rich musical past. Each musician is given the musical freedom to put their own distinctive spin on each recording. Every few months, they release a new offering, and follow that up with a live show or two. Over the past few years, I’ve become a big fan and have enjoyed the musical ear candy, including their cuts at “Open My Eyes” (Todd Rundgren/Nazz), “Beat Up Guitar” (Hooters), “Change Reaction” (Robert Hazard) and “Disco Inferno” (The Trammps).

l-r: William Wittman, David Uosikkinen, Pete Donnelly, Tommy Conwell, Richard Bush - Photo by Dallyn Pavey/Dish Public Relations
William Wittman, David Uosikkinen, Pete Donnelly, Tommy Conwell, Richard Bush – Photo by Dallyn Pavey/Dish Public Relations

The new song, the 12th in the series, is an under-appreciated punk classic, “Punk Rock Girl” originally recorded by The Dead Milkmen in 1988. On this version, we are treated to Richard Bush (The A’s) on vocals and he puts his unique and pleasing spin on this angsty rocker. The song is less edgy than the original, and more of a feverish party version highlighted by a some killer guitar riffs from Tommy Conwell that actually boast a bit of a cool rockabilly vibe, and he’s accompanied nicely by William Wittman (Cindy Lauper) also on guitar.  Uosikkinen and bassist Pete Donnelly (NRBQ) drive the aggressive, rollicking rhythm throughout.

I always loved the lyrics on the original, including nostalgic references to Zipperhead and Mojo Nixon, as well as the mistaken reference in “…someone played a Beach Boys song on the jukebox,
It was “California Dreamin’…” and Bush delivers them in that distinctive voice and style that made the A’s so poignant a few decades earlier.

In another nice twist, Uosikkinen and In The Pocket are joined by two of his Hooters’ brethren. Rob Hyman’s melodica is a wonderful and noticeable addition to this version, while Eric Bazilian’s hurdy gurdy is a bit understated, but still a nice creative addition.

The 1988 original was a masterpiece, and this one might just be a bit better! It’s a blast to listen to and a song that’s even better if you’re personally connected to the Philadelphia music scene of the 80’s and 90’s.

Check out a video of the song with recorded in the studio below, as well as a slew of killer photos here: “Punk Rock Girl” recording session.

I highly recommend you snag their music now on iTunes now:

Punk Rock Girl – Single – David Uosikkinen’s in the Pocket

And just for good measure, the original from The Dead Milkman: Punk Rock Girl – Beelzebubba

You can catch Uosikkinen and friends on March 28th at the Ardmore Music Hall. Get tickets here. For those of us in Florida and outside of the Philly region will need to pop on their music, enjoy the flood of nostalgia and wonder what their next offering will be – always a fun trip down memory lane…

Rock On!
Cretin

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RARA’s Six Pack with David Uosikkinen

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On Tuesday, October 2nd David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket will rock the World Cafe Live. They’ll be featuring the release of their spin on The Trammps disco classic “Disco Inferno,” the sixth song from In The Pocket: Essential Songs of Philadelphia.

Uosikkinen, the charismatic drummer from The Hooters, is back with an all-star cast of Philadelphia rock legends. We sat down recently with him and shared a six pack, Rock And Roll Animal style. Here’s his RARA’s Six Pack:

Cretin: Growing up, you played in a band called The Kooks – Are you familiar with the current band with the same name.
Uosikkinen: I know the band. What I’ve heard I really liked. My band, The Kooks was in high school where we weren’t writing songs, we were covering songs. I think the name is great; it looks cool in print. Two “O’s” just like The Hooters.

Cretin: What was your all-time favorite venue to play in Philly?
Uosikkinen: I’ve got a soft spot for The Bijou Cafe – it was a really famous place; Electric Factory Concerts used to book shows there.  We played there once when there was a bomb scare and wrote a song about it called “Bombscare.” It was my favorite place to play back in the day.

Cretin: Favorite cover song?
Uosikkinen: I think it would have to be “Friday On My Mind” by David Bowie. Great Song

Cretin: I saw you open the show at Live Aid. Was that the most exciting momoent for you on stage?
Uosikkinen: Right before I sat down at my drums Jack Nicholson came out and shook my hand. I have to say that was pretty cool.

Cretin: How old were you before you learned how to spell “Uosikkinen”?
Uosikkinen: (Laughs heartily) My last name was such a challenge going through school, you have no idea. It was okay going through elementary school because you had one teacher, but when you started going into Jr. High School, with seven different teachers, every one butchered it. It got to the point where I made up versions of my name. I’d change the spelling, I’d shorten it, and say Dave Oskin. Back then it was impossible for people to say, now it’s a lot more common to hear different sounding names.

Cretin: Any food you missed when you left Philly and moved to Los Angeles for a few years?
Uosikkinen:Cheese steaks. No question.

If you enjoyed this quick chat with David, check out our full length interview from earlier this year: David Uosikkinen Chats About Philly Rock

Links:

Rock On – Cretin

Around the Rock and Roll Farm – Philly Style

We’re sitting around the farm cranking The Drowning Men and trying to organize all of the random tidbits here at the end of the summer, and we noticed a Philly slant to a few of the topics. So, grab your exhaust-seasoned soft pretzels and mediocre over-priced South Philly cheese steaks and check out this stuff.

We love The Last Royals. Yeah, we know they’re now from New York, but their lead singer Eric James grew up in Philly, and they’ll be in the City of Brotherly Love at the cozy North Star Bar this Friday, September 14th.  These guys are going to be huge; take advantage of this opportunity to catch them playing a smaller venue while you still can. Pick up a free download of their new single “Only the Brave” via our Free Music Friday feature on 8/10/12.

In The Pocket is Philadelphia Rock and Roll.  David Uosikkinen, of The Hooters, leads this all-star cast of Philly Rock Legends as they cover iconic songs from the city’s storied musical past. They’ll be premiering their sixth single “Disco Inferno” on October 2nd at World Cafe Live. Uosikkinen is an interesting guy and is a walking encyclopedia on Philadelphia music and he’s assembled a kick ass band.  Check out our recent interview with Uosikkinen here. and visit his website for more info on the cool new single and upcoming show.

Finally on the Philly front, we reviewed some fun new techno / electronic rock from City Rain, a local duo with an interesting entree into that realm. Check it out here.

Heading North up the New Jersey Turnpike, we were recently introduced to On the Fifty a punk pop band from The Big Apple. They’ve released their first single off of their upcoming EP, Fast Hands, Bad Timing. The song, “The Future” is excellent, and the video even better.  Check it out at AltPress, it’s just a bit twisted, but oh so fun…

There you have it, a quick and dirty run down of some cool stuff on the Philly and New York music scenes.  And, even if you’re not close, do yourself a favor and check out the music from these four bands.

Rock On!
Cretin

 

David Uosikkinen Chats about Philly Rock and Roll

David Uosikkinen is Philadelphia Rock and Roll.

He burst onto the city and national music scenes as the powerful drummer for Philly’s most successful rock export, The Hooters. Growing up a Philly kid, he’s always remembered his rock roots and is prominently back on the local scene with his new project In the Pocket, Essential Songs of Philadelphia. The project features classic Philly rockers uniting to cover gems from the city’s musical history.

We recently had a chance to spend a bit of time with the generous and effervescent musician.


Cretin: Growing up in the Philadelphia area, how did you get your first exposure to the Philadelphia rock music scene?

Uosikkinen:  There were some local TV shows,  one from Willow Grove Park where they used to show bands that played there.  I saw Sweet Stavin Chain. Woody’s Truck Shop, Todd Rundgren was in that band. The American Dream, they were another great band. Todd Rundgren had the band Nazz and  In the Pocket  covered “Open My Eyes.” There were great, great Philly bands. Then in the Seventies, you had bands like Edison Electric, Good God, Mandrake Memorial, bands like that. They had great musicians coming out of this city and really cool bands that I paid attention to.

Cretin: I’ve only heard of a few of those bands. Your knowledge of the city’s rock history is impressive.

Uosikkinen: Well, if you get a chance look them up. With the internet, you can probably learn about a lot of them. There’s some great stuff on Nazz are out there and there’s probably stuff about Mandrake Memorial and of course, there’s Richie and Charlie’s band The Soul Survivors; they had that great hit with “Expressway,” Woody’s Truck Stop, The American Dream… The American Dream had a big influence on me. I loved the song “I Ain’t Searchin.” They had a song “You Can’t Get To Heaven on the Frankford El,” which became the bridge on The Hooters “Beat Up Guitar.”

Cretin: That’s a cool tribute.

Uosikkinen : We took that from a line that Nick Jameson (from The American Dream) wrote. They had a big influence on Eric Bazilian and me. Nick is still a very good friend today, and he actually produced The Hooters’ Five by Five EP.

Cretin: So when you guys started playing together in the Eighties, you adopted a bit of a ska flavor. Where did that come from?

Uosikkinen: Well the ska influence really came from what was happening with the second wave of the British Invasion. The Clash were integrating their punk thing with reggae and dubbed out kind of music and I really dug that. Selector, The Specials, and The Police were doing that kind of stuff. And, Rob Hyman spent a lot of time in Jamaica, and we dug Bob Marley. So we incorporated those kind of vibes and rhythms into the music we were writing at that time.

Cretin: Were there any Philly influences from that era?

Uosikkinen: There was a reggae band out of Philly called House of Assembly that I paid attention to.  For us in the late 70’s, the one band that broke out of Philly and got signed to a record deal, who I admired were The A’s. That was Richard Bush and Rick DiFonzo.  They got signed to Arista and they were kind of breaking out, if you will. They didn’t have mainstream success, but to me, they were freakin rock stars.

Cretin: And now, Richard sings with you on this project.

Uosikkinen: Yeah, Richard sings every show with In The Pocket, and he sang on the first single “All My Monday’s” which was a song we did with Youth Camp, a band led by Joey Wilson, who I first saw on Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert back in 1980. He was another one who got signed, he was working on trying to break out. It never really happened for Joey as a performer, but he wrote some great songs, including one that Madonna performed.

Cretin: When I first heard that your band was going to cover “Change Reaction,” my first thought was that Richard Bush would be a great choice to take the vocals.

Uosikkinen: The guy that sang on this version of Change Reaction is a Philly guy, Ben Arnold.  The line-up I have on “Change Reaction” is Ben Arnold singing, he’s actually touring in Europe right now, but will be back for our show in March; Steve Butler who played in a band called Smash Palace and Quincy, he plays guitar; John Lilly who plays in The Hooters also played in Robert Hazard and the Heroes plays guitar; and Bill Whitman, who is not a Philadelphia guy, but he’s engineered a lot of bands out of Philly he played bass; Rob Hyman plays keyboards and of course, I played drums.

Cretin: Looking forward to hearing this single. I loved the original; in fact I have the 45 in my jukebox today.

Uosikkinen: Well, we took some liberties with it.  I loved the eighties, but this is 2012. I really wanted to deliver a version of the Robert Hazard song with a 2012 twist. You will definitely recognize the song, but we changed the key and kind of took a few liberties with a couple of rhythmic lines. I’m really pleased with it and Bill Eib who managed Robert Hazard was really pleased.  He thought Robert would really have loved it.

Cretin: When Robert played cover songs he always put his own touch on them, too.

Uosikkenin: Yeah, exactly.  Robert was an amazing guy. He was really, really good.

Cretin: So looking back at the early eighties, was it a competition between The Hooters, Robert Hazard, The A’s and Beru Revue, or was it more of a brotherhood.

Uosikkinen: Back in the eighties, I think it was somewhat competitive.  We were all friends and we were all very cordial, but I think everybody was trying to get ahead. To break out of Philadelphia, so close to New York City, it was a challenge. We always had a challenge of building a fan base, and it was almost as if some of the hard core fans picked sides back then.

Cretin: For sure.

Uosikkinen: But, I think it was a healthy competitive thing.  Interestingly enough, from Hazard’s band, Rob Miller joined The Hooters and then John (Lilley) joined to play guitar; and they both played with Hazard. And, we were all such big fans of The A’s. They were playing a lot of gigs as part of that pop-punk thing which we all dug.  Their audience was exciting; the audience was as great to watch as the band.

Cretin: And, now we get a chance to see all of those guys on the same stage.

Uosikkinen: They’ve all become good friends to me.  That was the thing for me about doing In The Pocket – I had an opportunity to work with them in this capacity, and I thought “why not do a project where I can record songs of bands I really dug?” I mean who makes the rules for these kinds of things? I called Richard and he was like “Yeah, I like to sing.” I called Greg Davis from Beru Revue he said “Yeah, I love to play guitar.” Everyone I’ve asked to do it has come around to do it. Eric (Bazilian) who lives in Sweden these days; when he comes to town, he plays. It’s been a great experience for me because everybody I’ve asked has wanted to do it.

Cretin: I wish I was still in that area. These shows sound great.

Uosikkinen: The shows are awesome. If you go t my Facebook page, there’s a quick little clip of Tommy Conwell and TJ (Tindall of Edison Electric) playing “Work Out.” It’s rockin’ man. It’s TJ, Tommy and Greg Davis playing, it’s ripping.

Cretin: Greg Davis is a great guitarist.

Uosikkinen: He’s a monster guitarist. He can play anything. He’s incredible. And, he’s a nice guy, too.

Cretin: You moved to Southern California for awhile.  What drew you back to Philly?

Uosikkinen: I lived there for 20 years, and as life would have it… My marriage was dissolving and I was spending a lot of time in Philadelphia and I met somebody and that relationship got better and better, and she was in Philadelphia, so here I am.

Cretin: So it was love, and I thought you were going to say that you missed the old Philly music scene?

Uosikkinen: I did. That was part of it.  It was comfortable for me to come back to Philadelphia because a lot of my friends are here. I had a relationship, as well and that made things a little easier.

Cretin: Can you share the connection with Settlement Music School? Where did that originate?

Uosikkinen: The connection there came from Dallyn Davey. I knew about Settlement Music School, but she’s the one who told me to check out what they were doing.  In today’s economy, schools and programs that support the Arts are one of the first things to get cut. And we liked the things they do that allow people to study music, without requiring auditions, they help with money to get to the school, and they introduce people to the arts. We bring attention to the school and donate a portion of the proceeds and we think it’s an amazing organization.

Cretin: What is Dallyn’s role?

Uosikkinen: Dallyn is one of my  partners in organizing the project, and she is my girlfriend, by the way.  Also, I should mention Steve Acito who does all the documentaries and videos for In The Pocket. Steve has a big part in the whole visual side of In The Pocket, and Dallyn basically manages the project. We brainstorm and all three of us help implement all the pieces. So far, it’s been working really well. It’s been good.

Cretin: So, back to “Change Reaction,” why that Hazard song for this release.

Uosikkinen: “Change Reaction” was always one that really popped for me. I loved the riff. When we were tracking it I realized it sounded like an old song by The Outsiders, “Time Won’t Let Me” that I always dug that. It had this cool riff. To me, it was really this clever pop song that Hazard had wrote. He had a lot of great songs, but when I narrowed it down to song that I wanted to do, that is the one I had the most connection with.

Cretin: So, what”s next for In The Pocket?

Uosikkinen: I’m not sure what will be next. We had some great punk bands out of Philly: The Stickmen, The Dead Milkmen; and we had the whole Philly International thing, I was a big fan of the song “Back Stabbers;” and I don’t have any chicks on the project. It’s not necessarily a song that a girl sang in the beginning, but maybe the next record has a girl singing a song that a guy sang, and I always wanted to do an A’s song, too. Also, I’m a big fan of Tommy Conwell. I don’t know what will be next, but their definitely in my queue.

Cretin: Any parting thoughts on In The Pocket?

Uosikkinen: We’ve got our show on March 13th (at World Cafe Live). If people go to SongsInThePocket.org, there’s five songs, they’re 99 cents each. Download them and check out the videos. And, I’m just thrilled to keep the project going, and I appreciate all of the support.

Links:

Check back with us in a few weeks for our quick and casual RARA’s six-pack with David, or follow us on Twiiter to make sure you don’t miss it:


Rock On – Cretin