Nix Comics Influences: Norton Records
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.
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 126.96.36.199.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