Friday, March 13, 2009


Fresh from the litter-pan, here's one for all ya'll Triskaidekaphobics out there.

Whether you do hoodoo ala William Seabrook, or you just have cliche tattoos, you are undoubtedly familiar w/ the intimate relationship between black cats and bad luck. While ancient cultures equated black cats asleep beside the hearth w/ coiled vipers, the most I can attribute to their demeanor is a complete indifference to their owners, not to mention the proclivity for licking their crotch when company is about.

Seeing as how I cannot achieve the latter (too many ribs -I counted), the most I can do is exalt the virtues of these frisky lil' harbingers o' doom by way of the Pacific Northwest.

While Seattle can be a cruel mistress to those w/ Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D !?), history has proven those Space-needle junkie skies as down-right conducive to rock and roll. All references to the Kingsmen and the Wailers' aside, quite a few bands, including the 'Checkers', were chompin' at the bit in 63' for a place in the sun (or lack thereof) and Jerden records, in it's many incarnations, was their jumping -off point:

Jerden Records was based in Seattle and majority owned by Jerry Dennon (JER-DEN) and Bonnie Guitar, both of whom had been involved previously with Dolton Records and the careers of The Fleetwoods. A split with Dolton due to artistic control problems brought about the new Jerden label. Certain Jerden record issues were distributed by Liberty Records.

The label closed after the first year's trading due to a complete lack of success. Its owners went their separate ways although both ended up in Hollywood, Bonnie as an artist for RCA Victor Records and then Dot Records and Dennon doing promotion work for Era Records.

Dennon's promising career in the music business was halted briefly by military service but in late 1962 he was back in circulation and resurrecting his old label as full owner but lack of funds meant that he began releasing old recordings from Jerden's early days...even a disc by Bonnie Guitar herself issued in January 1963.

It was during this second life that The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" arrived (1963) and it is this million selling disc that is by far the best known of all Dennon's products. In Summer 1964 Jerden updated its label design with a turquoise background. In Fall 1965 Jerden began a distribution agreement with ABC-Paramount Records. This agreement ended in October 1968.

Burdette Records founded in 1967 by Jerry Dennon was the label that took Jerden's place for national exposure. Burdette was distributed by Tower Records which was a division of Capitol Records. The label ended in 1971.

The Sonics may get all the glory, but if you ask me, the Checkers are the cat's ass. Don't cross em', or they just might tear your shit up, or, at the very least, piss in your houseplants. Happy Friday the 13th!