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Mike Hudson and the Pagans at Blue Bag Records on Saturday December 6th 2014

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MIke Hudson and The Pagans

Mike Hudson and the Pagans were giving their first performance in many years at Blue Bag Records on Saturday night… didn’t this sound like a cool deal? Sure, plus it was the release party for their new album ‘Hollywood High’, The Pagans’ first album in 25 years.

The legendary Pagans were part of the Cleveland proto punk rock music scene in the late 70s and early 80s, and singer Mike Hudson recently moved to Los Angeles to write his novel ‘Fame Whore’. Beside being a punk rocker, Hudson is also a writer with many books under his sleeve, like his 2008 ‘Diary of a Punk’ which chronicled the Pagans’ history fueled by sex, drugs and violence… And just before the show, he gave us some taste of his writing, reading a short piece entitled ‘All the wrong people are dying’, and the unapologetic tone made me immediately think about something coming from a Bukowski’s novel, which, of course, should be the biggest compliment of all!

During the show, we learned a bit more about Hudson’s move to LA, as before playing ‘Fame Whore’ (yes a song with the same title as the novel), he explained: ‘I came here for a girl, I left NYC, I left my wife, and this song is for her,… actually all the fucking songs are for her!… she is not here tonight, but I’m here, she is partying at Jackson Brown’s house!’ I was intrigued, who is that women? Back at home, I read that she is Evita Corby, ‘best known for her sexy-as-hell shot on the back cover of the ‘Kill City’ album by Iggy Pop and James Williamson’, wow, she is a total Hollywood rock ‘n’ roll royalty, and of course, she also figures on the cover of the new Pagans’ album ‘Hollywood High’ in a picture taken by -wait for it, Phil Lynott… ‘Fame Whore’ turned out to be some epic and poetic spoken words, about life, love and madness over a long music jam, and understandably dedicated to Lou Reed.

For the rest of the music? Of course rock ‘n’ roll was the reason everyone was here, and the Pagans didn’t disappoint, as it was not some manufactured rock made for a band desperate for a come back, but rather the real deal, the old sweaty, messy, gutsy punk rock deal, as tough as Mike’s vocals were raspy, and as tight as you would expect it to be from a great band made of a bunch of LA/Detroit rock ‘n’ rollers: The Dogs’ Loren Molinare on lead guitar (who produced & co-wrote most of the songs with Hudson), Tony Matteucci on drums and Michael James D’Amico on bass. The title track ‘Hollywood High’ was starting a bit like a doomed tune, all dark and sinister, before exploding in a full-sound rock song with Hudson’s passionate shriek, whereas the following songs were either total let’s-please-our-riotous-punk-envy numbers (‘I Wanna Date’, ‘I Just Got Up’) or simply rocking songs with big hooks and the right attitude (‘Us And all Our Friends Are So Messed Up’). All of them were screaming regret over losing love with the same mixture of swagger, aggression and lust. Hudson joked about coming back for an encore , and they did with ‘Dead End America’, an old Pagans’ classic.

Can I call Mike Hudson a survivor? He looked like one while he was hugging a few punk rockers and other music related people who had filled the store, he has done about everything — he was even a crime reporter for a Niagara Falls newspaper, so interesting! — and has now proven that he the Pagans still have it. Mike Hudson and The Pagans’ ‘Hollywood High’ was released on November 4th on Ruin Discos and is one of Iman’s top ten albums of the year and the band will perform again at Alex’s bar in Long Beach on January 17th… so don’t miss them!

Hollywood High
I Wanna Date
Dark Angel
Fame Whore
Nowhere Girl
I Just Got Up
Us And all Our Friends Are So Messed Up
Dead End America

More pictures of the show here

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