The Boot Room team’s relentless rooting through second hand stores has thrown up many items of interest, including most recently the one under consideration here – Kurt Glemser’s Hot Wacks Book XI, glommed from a local Oxfam shop. Mr Glemser was (and hopefully still is) an inhabitant of Kitchener, Ontario, from where he indulged his obsession with bootlegs via two samizdat publications, the self-explanatory Bootlegs (March 1973) and Underground Sounds (October ’74). From there it was a natural progression to the ‘zine Hot Wacks Quarterly, allegedly regarded by many collectors as “the bootleg bible.” Possibly in a dispute over such distinctions, Kurt subsequently became embroiled in a slanging match with rival ROIO authority Clinton Heylin, author of The Great White Wonders. As well as being packed with bootleg poop, HWQ enticed its readers with cover pictorials of the sexiest female rockers it could round up. That publication mutated into the less frequent Hot Wacks Book, this 15th edition of which (a Blue Flake production comprising upwards of 350 perfect bound A5, pages) saw the light of day in December 1985.
For those of us who’ve missed editions 1-10 and indeed the whole run of HWQ, it’s not immediately apparent whether the records in here are a bunch of addenda to stuff that Mr Glemser covered previously or the latest incarnation of an ongoing, consolidated list. Obviously it’s not exactly up to date in 2015. “Remember this is a discography not a catalog…” warns KG from his vantage point somewhere in 1985: “Most of the records are long out of circulation and not available from the usual bootleg sources” No foolin’… much bootleg material has flown down the download lines since then… sheesh, there aren’t even any CDs in here! And some of these releases are certainly… er, “of their time”, including no less than five Adam And The Ants (!) efforts. Which is not to say that the usual suspects don’t hog most of HWBXI’s pages… 32 of them are devoted to The Rolling Stones, 28 to The Fab Four, while The Zim cops Bronze with 18… Elvis ties with The Boss at 12 pages, Led Zep manage a disappointing 9 and Zappa a surprisingly scant 8… The Floyd and The ‘Oo manage a meagre 6 each and Hendrix can only muster 5. The small section devoted to Genesis boots comes up surprisingly short on Lamb Lies Down shows and there are a lot of them around these days… believe me, I once listened to 25 of them in a very condensed time frame. If your OCD doesn’t stretch to that, see if you can pick up a copy (maybe from your local Oxfam shop?) of Paul Russell’s Play Me My Song: Genesis – A Live Guide 1969-75 to get some idea of just how many shows were recorded from that tour.
Information on each record is skimpy. Typically you get the album title, track listing, catalogue number (if applicable), performance venue / date and sound quality ratings. The names of the acts could have done with being printed in larger type face for ease of use. Each act’s entries are listed alphabetically by title when by gig date would have been more user-friendly (I know that the dating on these things is not necessarily super reliable, but the titling of them wasn’t exactly hard and fast, either.) Inevitably, certain typos leap out at you (Who are “Cheap Tricks” when they’re at home… or anywhere else for that matter?) Illustrations are scarcer then hen’s teeth with, regrettably, precisely none of the sexy minxes who used to adorn the covers of HWQ in evidence here. Speaking of which, West Midlands readers might well be having a ribald laugh over the title which Mr Gleamer awarded to his life’s work… or does the same venereal vernacular apply over in Kitchener, Ontario?
Glemser says that the best bootlegs were inseparable from official product but there’s probably very little likelihood that anyone will ever confuse Dead Fucking Bollocks (KC 1710), a Japanese bootleg of King Crimson’s September 1969 Chesterfield appearance (mis-dated into the bargain) with DGM’s legit release of the same material as part of the Epitaph box set. Actually, I wouldn’t take much persuading that Fuck Off (E.F. OX556) was an official Motorhead release… but it turns out to be another boot.
The Doors’ listing omits the well-known Jim / Jimi / Johnny / Buddy jam Woke Up This Morning And Found Myself Dead but includes the equally (dis)respectful title Get Fat And Die, not to mention the enticing Leather Pants In Denmark. Glemser says that the best bootlegs were inseparable from official product but there’s probably very little likelihood that anyone will ever confuse Dead Fucking Bollocks (KC 1710), a Japanese bootleg of King Crimson’s September 1969 Chesterfield appearance (mis-dated into the bargain) with DGM’s legit release of the same material as part of the Epitaph box set. Actually, I wouldn’t take much persuading that Fuck Off (E.F. OX556) was an official Motorhead release… but it turns out to be another boot.
Zappa oddities include Announcing To All Disc Jockeys – The All New Dynamic Duo (US LTD VC5236), Frank’s unexpected (to say the least) collaboration with Burt “Boy Wonder” Ward and How Much Rot Can You Handle (KB 1041), a good question for any reader of this book, even if they did leave off the question mark. Twenty Years Of Frank Zappa (MUD SHARK MZ4801-4812) was apparently a 12 disc box set that came with a 16 page booklet. 1,000 copies were pressed, over 50% of them being seized when the Zappa family took exception. It was liberties such as these that led Frank into his much imitated “beat the boots” campaign of releasing officially endorsed bootlegs (though Robert Fripp was, as so often, first out of the traps with this tactic, see King Crimson’s Earthbound in 1972.)
Kurt tries to put the reader right where he can, caveat emptoring re cavalier branding such as Mott The Hoople Live With David Bowie (LTD1973): “Bowie does not appear on the LP, nor do the songs Midnight Lady, All The Young Dudes and Honky Tonk Women (though) listed on the cover…” (apart from that, very accurate!) and delivers a deadbeat alert about some delinquent ‘zine distributor in Edinburgh who never coughed up (Oz suffered from precisely such sharp practice shenanigans in his former incarnation as a horror fanzine publisher.)
One final random flick reveals such oddities as Groucho Marx’s I Never Kissed An Ugly Woman (TAKRL 1984) and David Cassidy & The Partridge Family – Rarities (SG-007/8). Right, I think I’ve finally sorted out The Prog Consultant’s Christmas present…
This review previously appeared on the now defunct Bootroom Of Ozymandias blog.