Local Wire

Lewis Ray Cammarata: Late Night Innuendo

Title: Late Night Innuendo

Basics: I've given up trying to imagine some local Arizona bands sending in something remotely different from country-twinged rock music. It seems all local, smaller bands record this same type of music. There's no point in trying to fight it. I don't get it -- but I understand such is the fate of You Asked For It.

That all being said, this week's latest run-of-the-mill countrified rock record comes from former 70's LA punk scenester Lewis Ray Cammarata. Cammarata came to LA in the 70s and quickly joined forces with seminal punkers The Zippers -- whose music has been featured in the movie Fade To Black and who earned the distinction of having The Doors' Ray Manzarek produce their only album. Out of this impressive pedigree, however, comes a bland and clunkily-written album that's low on originality and, unfortunately, high on expectations.

Best Song: "Roll Out More Hose" is an odd concept, but it somehow works. It was difficult to get past the giggles of hearing Cammarata say "hose" instead of "ho's" -- admittedly that is my own fault -- but the song's weird, fire-breath premise works. Lyrics like "I was the soot from my breath / And the ash right from my chin" sound very much dragon-inspired, but I guess Cammarata is just a fan of Dylan from P. Diddy's Making The Band. It's safe to say -- Cammarata spits hot fire on this track, and makes his hose clean it all up.

Worst Song: While I want to give it to "Carry Your Own Water" simply because of Cammarata rhyming "innuendo" with "in the end, oh," (if you can't rhyme the damn lyric, then don't write it) the least fun song on the album is "One Less Dead Man Down." It's a cocky, bravado-laden song thanks to its lyrics about killing some guy. I swear, there is nothing worse than a self-appointed badass -- it's like that guy you knew growing up who gave himself his own nickname. There's some pretty intriguing guitar in the song -- plus the word "fucking" -- but it's all just too jumbled and offbeat a concept for it to really all come together.

Suggestions: I can't implore people to stop recording lame, Wild West-inspired albums that are heavy on acoustic guitar and light on originality. While I wish that would happen, I realize this is Arizona, and the lure of places like Tombstone and Bisbee are just too much for some people to resist. 

I found The Zippers' most famous song, "He's a Rebel," on YouTube and gave it a listen. It's a fantastic, poppy punk song that was most likely a welcomed addition to Los Angeles' burgeoning late 70's punk scene. After giving Late Night Innuendo a listen, hearing "He's a Rebel" broke my heart. I know it's apples and oranges and such, but I don't know how the hell Cammarata went from recording songs like "He's a Rebel" to crap like "Gimme That Old Fashioned Morphine." I should just be content that Cammarata was once in a band that actually meant something.

Grade: C

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

Michael Lopez
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix , AZ 85032

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Michael Lopez