Really? A Record Company Influenced our Comic Writing?
Yeah, really. More than even EC Comics or Warren Magazines.
I’m 99% sure that the first Norton Record I ever bought was this copy of Hasil Adkins “Out To Hunch” at Used Kids Records in Columbus in 1989 or 90. It was probably $4 despite being in really nice condition, because almost every used garage rock record at Used Kids was priced to move. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that The Cramps version of “She Said” was one of the wilder rides on vinyl and someone had let me in on the fact the song had originally been written and performed by Hasil Adkins.
If the affordable price tag didn’t seal the deal, the notes on the back off the LP by Norton’s Billy Miller would have. To this day, you’d be hard pressed to find a more loving and informative shout out on the back of any other hunk of wax. I would learn later that Miller’s writing skills were honed through years of zine writing with Norton’s co-head, Miriam Linna with their work on Kicks Magazine, but at the time I couldn’t quite put my finger on the blurb stood out to me so much. Now I realize that it was because it was written like a gushing record review, which bigger more monied record labels avoid doing in favor of a more matter of fact (read: dead-dog-dull) approach. I tried to write stuff like Billy (Or like Tim Warren or Lester Bangs also wrote, other favorites) but was never able to master it…. He sounded so cool and I sounded so dopey when I tried to ape him. It took years for me to learn the real lesson from the back of this album cover… Write with abandon and love and in yer own damn voice! I don’t think Nix Comics would be as unique as they are without this record blurb.
How was the record? I don’t hold onto records for (nearly) 30 years unless I love em! The cover versions of Rockin’ Robin and High School Confidential are terrific. Shocking my teenage expectations, I liked the original of She Said better than the original. The rest of the record is, and I mean this in the best way, strange. Clear the jerks out of the party when you finally manage to take over the stereo strange. That’s good strange.
A couple of years later I would buy Link Wray’s Missing Links Volume I in Boston. This was at the long gone Newbury Street Mystery Train location that also had a great selection. (I got my first Sleepy LaBeef record there too!) Living in Boston for a year and a half was a tough haul and if it wasn’t for excellent shops like Mystery Train, I would’ve gone bonkers. I’m glad to see that cambridge shop is still around! http://mysterytrainrecords.com/about/
Anyways… Missing Links Vol 1 was the record that made me fall in love with Link Wray. This was a couple of years before the Pulp Fiction soundtrack and all of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack wannabes. I was familiar with Rumble and Switchblade from... somewhere? I guess I fail the do you remember where you first heard Link Wray test…. But I knew who he was and why he was considered great by the time I saw this dude in the bins. This five buck selection was my “OK… Prove He’s Great” purchase.
It did the job. The goofy songs like Flirty baby, Johnny Bom Bonny made the mythic figure endearing to me. The covers of “I’m Gonna Sit right Down And Cry Over You” and “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” gave me context for who he was. The instros like Vendetta and Roughshod let me know that there was more like Rumble to go looking for. This compilation is a template for artist appreciation, so I think did more than make me fall in love with Link Wray.... I think it trained me on how to show appreciate for the artists I work with today on a personal and public level.
What are your favorite Norton records?
Norton records is a 7” lovers dream. They have scads of 7” records in their catalog. My favorites come from their Jukebox series. They even get preferential treatment on my shelves: I used cardboard and duct tape to create my own box sets of the Link Wray, Sonics & Wailers and Rolling Stones cover jukebox series. I originally made these as part of my store inventory, looking for a cool way to get a big sale, but the end result was too fun for me to sell. I suppose if any one asked me to, I'd make one for them!
Funny enough, though.... My most prized personal Norton Records item is actually a comic book. I love all of the records, but around the same time I started making comic books, Norton put out their own, Kicksville Confidential. My copy was a gift from buddy and regular nix Comics reader, Ed Mann. Written by Billy Miller and illustrated by Avi Spivak, this thing reads like all of my favorite liner notes and fanzine articles come to life! The individual vignettes about Norton catalog artists are all written by Miller with his typical elan and enhanced by Spivak’s art.
(I think that Spivak’s really one of the great living working rock n roll artists. Someday I’ll do somethin’ with him, I hope! Pick up anything you see by him!)
Say.... You Selling Norton Records or Something?
Yeah. I thought that was obvious. I sell records and comics to help pay for my own publishing.
Now yer just braggin':
Here’s my personal collection of Norton titles. (NFS!)
? And The Mysterians Are You for Real/I'll Be Back
? And The Mysterians Sally Go Round The Roses/It's Not easy
The A-Bones Crash The Party
The A-Bones I Was A Teenage Mummy
The A-Bones Not Now!
The A-Bones The Life Of Riley
Hasil Adkins Moon Over Madison
Hasil Adkins Out To Hunch
Hasil Adkins The Wild Man
The Alarm Clocks Marie/Gloria
Bloodshot Bill Guitar Boy
La La Brooks All or Nothing
Sonny Burgess We Wanna Boogie/Thunderbird
Johnny Burnette Rock and Roll Demos Vol 2: Wampus Cat
Don Covay Pretty Boy Rock & Roll
Wade Curtiss and The Rhythm Rockers Puddy Cat/Real Cool
The Del Tinos Go! Go! Go!/Ramrod
The Ding Dongs The Ding Dongs
Esquerita Dew Drop Inn/Rockin' The Joint
Esquerita Vintage Voola
Charlie Feathers and Jody Chastain Jungle Fever
Charlie Feathers Dig Myself A Hole/Let's Live A Little
Charlie Feathers Honky Tonk Kind: rare and Unissued Recordings Volume 2
Charlie Feathers Rain/Way In The Night
Charlie Feathers Tip Top Daddy
The Flamin' Groovies Slow Death
Flat Duo Jets Dex Romweber and Simon Chardiet: two Great Guitars
Various Artists Fort Worth Scene Volume 1
Various Artists Friday At the Hideout: Boss Detroit Garage 1964-67
The Great Gaylord Squat With Me Baby/Do De Squat
The Hentchmen Broad Appeal
The Hentchmen So Many Girls
The Hentchmen Three Times Infinity
Jackie & The Cedrics Scalping Party EP
Jon & The Nightriders Stampede!!
Benny Joy Rollin' To The Jukebox Rock: the Benny Joy story 1957-61 Vol 2
King Khan Its A Lie/Congratulations I'm Sorry
King Uszniewicz and his Uszniewicztones Do Wah Diddy Diddy
King Uszniewicz and his Uszniewicztones Teenage Dance Party
The LEgendary Stardust Cowboy I hate CDs/Linda
Link Wray and Bunker Hill Friday Night Dance Party/The Girl Can't Dance
Roy Loney and The A-Bones Boy Meets Bones
Roy Loney and The Phantom Movers Five Or Six By Five
Roy Loney and The Phantom Movers Scientific Bombs Away
Luis & The Wildfires Brain Jail
Nathaniel Mayer I Don't Want No Bald Headed Woman Telling Me What To Do
Nathaniel Mayer Ride In My 225/Mr. Santa Claus
The Mighty Hannibal Hannibalism
Miriam Down Today
Miriam Nobody's Baby
Rudy Ray Moore Hully Gully Fever
The 188.8.131.52.s And The Church Keys 19th Nervous Breakdown/Who's Driving Your Plane
The Queensberry Terrors and The Mad Shadows Citadel/Child Of The Moon
The Bo-Keys and Royal Pendletons Congratulations/Tell Me
The Knaughty Knights and The Wildebeests Connection/Please Go Home
? And The Mysterians Empty heart/Heart Of Stone
The King Khan & BBQ Show and Flakes Flight 505/Stupid Girl
Bloodshot Bill and Rockin' Enocky High & Dry/Mother's Little Helper
The Reigning sound and the Hentchmen I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys/Surprise surprise
The Swinging Neckbreakers and the Shanks It's Not Easy/Doncha Bother Me
The A-Bones And The Rotting Stumps Miss Amanda Jones/My Obsession
The Dirtbombs and Love Supremes No Expectations/Sing This song Together
The Lyres and The new Conolly Five Now I've Got a Witness/Stoned
The Real Kids and Janet St. Clair Out Of Time/Ride On Baby
The Greenhornes and Thee Shams sad day/Under My thumb
The Stalkers and the Alarm Clocks Take It Or Leave It/The Last Time
Sky Saxon & the Seeds and The Lairds The singer Not The Song/Something Happened To me yesterday
Andre Williams And The A-Bones (Greasy Chickens) The spider And The Fly/Andre's Blues
The Little Killers and Dartford Renegades Think/Off The Hook
The Black Lips and the Demon's Claws What To Do/Factory
Gene Ross and Roy Orbison Everybody's Trying To Kiss My baby/Domino
Hayden Thompson and Ernie Barton Fairlane Rock/She's Gone Away
Carl Perkins and Ken Cook Her Love Rubbed Off/Problem Child
Warren Smith and Mack Vickery I Like Your Kind Of Love/Fool Proof
Mack Self and Macy Skipper I Vibrate/Bop Pills
Ray Harris and Jimmy Pirtchett Lonely Wolf/That's The Way I Feel
Glenn Honeycutt and Jimmy Wages Rock All night/Miss Pearl
Billy Lee Riley and Gene Simmons She's My Baby/Peroxide Blonde In a Hopped Up Model Ford
Warren Smith and Carl Perkins Stop The World/Put Your Cat Clothes On
Jimmy Wages and Tommy Blake Take Me From This Garden Of Evil/You Better believe It
Jack Earls and Ray harris Take Me To That Place/Come On Little Momma
Ray Garden and Dick Pener This Chick/Move Baby Move
The Phantom Surfers 18 deadly Ones
The Pretty Things Buzz The Jerk
The Pretty Things Rosalyn EP
The Ramones I wanna Be Your Boyfriend (Demo)/Judy Is A Punk (Demo)
The Real Kids All Kindsa Girls/Common At Noon
The Real Kids Grown Up Wrong
The Real Kids Hot Dog/Just Like Darts
The Real Kids No Place Fast
The Rivieras California Sun: The best Of
Various Artists Shake Em Up Rock
Del Shannon Move It On Over
The Sonics Boom!
The Sonics Here Are The Sonics
Jack Starr Chicken/ UFO
The Sundowners Snake Eyed Woman/Ubangi Stomp
Various Artists Turban Renewal: A Tribute To Sam The Sham and The Pharoahs
Untamed Youth More Gone Gassers From
Untamed Youth Santa's Gonna Shut 'em Down/Santa's Midnight Run
Untamed Youth Some Kinda Fun!!
The Wailers The Fabulous Wailers At The Castle
Gino Washington Come Monkey With Me
Gino Washington Love Bandit
Gino Washington Out Of This World
Mary Weiss Don't Come Back/A Certain Guy
Various Artists Wild! Wild! Wild!
Andre Williams and the El Dorados Greasy
Andre Williams Bait And Switch
Andre Williams Poor Mr. Santa (Naughty)/Poor Mr. Santa (Nice)
Link Wray Ace Of Spades/Fat Back
Link Wray Batman/Zip Code
Link Wray Branded/law Of The Jungle
Link Wray Deuces Wild/The Sweeper
Link Wray Good Rockin' Tonight/Soul Train
Link Wray Hidden Charms/Five And Ten
Link Wray Jack The Ripper/Bo Diddley
Link Wray Missing Links Vol I, Hillbilly Wolf
Link Wray Missing Links Vol II, Big City After Dark
Link Wray Missing Links Vol IV: Streets of Chicago
Link Wray Run Chicken Run/Scatter
Link Wray The Black Widow/Mustang
Link Wray The Shadow Knows/Hang On