Tag Archives: Bootleg

Rocks In The Attic #827: Steely Dan – ‘Rotoscope Down’ (1973)

RITA#827You can keep your expensive Zeppelin and Floyd bootlegs. I’m more interested in curios like this, a ‘peak behind the curtain’, as the record’s subtitle tells us, of Steely Dan’s 1973 American tour.

Recorded in front of a small audience at the Los Angeles Record Plant in late 1973, although some sources put the date as March 20th 1974, it’s a brilliant run-through of selections from the band’s first three studio albums (Can’t Buy A Thrill, Countdown To Ecstasy and Pretzel Logic). The inclusion of three songs from Pretzel Logic suggests the recording is from the later date, as this would fall after the February release of the album.

RITA#827aThe liner notes on the simple pink-photocopied insert that acts as the cover reads:

THE BOYS IN THE BAND ARE DENNY DIAS ON GUITAR / JEFF “SKUNK” BAXTER ON GUITAR / WALTER BECKER ON BASS GUITAR AND VOCALS / JIM HODDER ON DRUMS (AND BACKING VOCALS) / DONALD FAGEN ON PIANO AND VOCALS / RECORDED IN LATE 1973 AT THE LOS ANGELES RECORD PLANT / NO IT’S NOT YOUR EARS…THE BAND ARE PLAYING LOUD TO THE POINT OF DISTORTION / THE TAPE WAS EDITED (EXTENSIVELY) BY DEEK / EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS TO MR. TIME FOR THE GOOD SENSE AND SOUND ADVICE / THE BAND GET VERY, VERY EXCITED DURING TRACK THREE ON SIDE TWO / AS MELTS THE SNOW IT’S OL’ STEREO / BYE BYE / TAKRL 1924

The comment around the distortion is spot-on. It doesn’t sound bad, just the result of being recorded outside of the mixing desk I’m guessing. The band are on fire though, as you would expect them to be.

Hit: Reelin’ In The Years

Hidden Gem: Mobile Heart

RITA#827b

Rocks In The Attic #374: Aerosmith – ‘Look Homeward Angel’ (1975)

RITA#374“Aw, I got some grease on my fingers tonight…”

This is a nice little Aerosmith bootleg I scored from somewhere. I think I first heard this show online on Wolfgang’s Vault. It really impressed me as I’d never heard them open with an extended intro into S.O.S. (Too Bad) from the Get Your Wings album. It’s a shame that section fell by the wayside and didn’t make it onto the studio version.

The record is listed as ‘Recorded Live In Boston 1974’ but it clearly wasn’t. For a start, two of the songs are from 1975’s Toys In The Attic. In fact, it’s a show recorded at the Shaeffer Music Festival in New York’s Central Park on August 29th, 1975.

The other interesting thing is that Joe Perry plays the main riff to Walk This Way through a talkbox – as he does on the version included on 1978’s (official) Live! Bootleg. I’ve always found it odd that he did this, despite not using it on the original studio version. He would have had a talkbox available on stage, for the intro to Sweet Emotion – but it’s just plain weird that he used it on a song that didn’t really need anything else adding to it.

The sound is pretty good for a bootleg from that period, recorded off the soundboard. It’s a little bit murky, but bootlegs should be a bit murky, shouldn’t they? The other good thing is the cover – a colour printout of a picture of Aerosmith on stage in the early ‘70s, taped onto the sleeve at the corners. On the back, is a similarly simple print-out of the set-list, written in the most basic font available.

I really miss bootlegs, and despite the vinyl revival of the last ten years or so, they’ve never really made a comeback. I guess vinyl printing presses aren’t as accessible as they used to be back in the ‘70s. Maybe that will be the next trend – the return of the bootleg vinyl record!

Hit: Walk This Way

Hidden Gem: S.O.S. (Too Bad)

Rocks In The Attic #327: Aerosmith – ‘When The Lightning Strikes’ (1988)

RITA#327This is a nice little bootleg recording of the band on the Permanent Vacation tour, from February 6th 1988 and recorded at California’s Long Beach Arena (the first of two concerts there). The sound isn’t fantastic – it’s a little muddy – and the closeness of some of the voices in the audience – “Yeah! Wooh! Yeah!” – leads me to believe it’s not a sound-desk recording (a woman starts screaming in the middle of Dream On and it sounds like she’s either being raped, or she really, really dislikes early Aerosmith ballads). If it is an ambient recording though, I guess it’s not too bad. But if it is a sound-desk recording, it sounds like it has suffered from being copied a few times prior to being put down on vinyl.

The band are firing on all cylinders here. You can tell they’re enjoying their revival – and the energy coming off the stage is akin to that of a much younger band. The crowd seems to get more amped up when they start playing their contemporary hits – Dude (Looks Like A Lady) gets a massive cheer four songs into the set, which is worrying and explains how the hit singles were received at the time.

This recording is right in the middle of Steven Tyler’s sex addiction years – which would come (no pun intended) to a head (again, no pun intended) on the lyrics to Pump one year later. It’s definitely not a family show, as Tyler leads the audience into an impromptu sing-along of the wholesome phrase “I want to party on your pussy, baby!”

There are some nice additions to the set-list here; songs that don’t really see the light any more, pushed out of their ‘90s setlists by a wave of late Geffen-era power ballads. Live recordings of Bone To Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy) and When The Lightning Strikes are great to hear, as is Big Ten Inch Record (even though the band had already released a live recording of that on the Pandora’s Box set). Bone To Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy) is even listed incorrectly as Come Back on the tracklisting, suggesting that the album was not put together by fans. The fantastic One Way Street from the first albumgets an outing and isn’t even mentioned.

One of the greatest things I’ve seen when attending Aerosmith shows has been watching Joe Perry play slide guitar on Rag Doll, sat on a chair on stage, with his guitar lying across his knees. I think of the five time I’ve seen them, they’ve only played the song twice, so it’s always a rare occurrence. Rag Doll is one of the better singles from Permanent Vacation – and it’s joined here by other great tracks from that album – Hangman Jury, Permanent Vacation, and their cover of The Beatles’ I’m Down. Unfortunately, it’s also joined by Angel – arguably the worst song Aerosmith ever recorded. I say ‘arguably’ as some of their later musical crimes are in the same league. For me though, Angel will sadly always represent the beginning of the end.

Hit: Walk This Way

Hidden Gem: Hangman Jury