Sometime usually in the course of a school year, we’ve all been reminded that we have a “permanent record.” Well local musician and businessman, Craig Moore has enough permanent records to fill a bin and he’s done just that at his record shop on University Street, Younger Than Yesterday.
Craig Moore’s entire life has revolved around records. He started buying and listening to them in his pre-teen years and by the time he was 19-years-old he had recorded his very own record with his band, GONN in 1966. That record, “Blackout of Gretely” didn’t zoom up the charts when it first came out, but through the years with help from appearances on compilation albums and the internet, it’s become a world-wide garage rock classic.
Since that memorable date in musical history, Craig has cut, produced and appeared on so many records that when asked how many he’s been on, he wearily shakes his head and says, “I have no idea.”
The newest addition to Craig’s discography comes out on July 6th and it’s called, “Return of the Slinkenwolf.” The name refers to Craig, who has been known as “The Wolf” for years and his friend and musical partner, Slink Rand. Craig and Slink were musical mates years ago in the band Ilmo Smokehouse. They teamed up again in 2016 and started writing songs together. On July 6th the results of that songwriting and recording process will be released on vinyl and compact disc as Craig and Slink unleash their new album, "Return of the Slinkenwolf."
A review of the album appears below, but I had some questions for Craig about his permanent records file and the answers are below. Adjust your computer to thirty three and a third and follow along.
Permanent Records: The Craig Moore Interview
Here we are at Younger Than Yesterday Records and as we step inside, there’s Craig typing up his answers to my email interview which you can read below this!
What was the first record you ever bought? I suppose since I showed an interest in music and records even before kindergarten, I started getting records from various sources, cousins, neighbors, as far back as 1954 with Teresa Brewer and the Crew Cuts and such. I remember having “Get A Job” in 1957, and getting a pile of Elvis records around 1958 when I would've been 11. I had a paper route and my own money at 12, bought my own records beginning in 1959 when I joined the Columbia Record Club out of a magazine and my mom didn't care. The first 45 record I bought with my money was "The Battle Of New Orleans", then Ricky Nelson "You Are The Only One", Kathy Young "A Thousand Stars", and then I was on my way to being a serious record collector.
What's the last record up to this moment that you bought? I buy hundreds a week in the shop. Probably the most recent LP I bought to keep is the Italian reissue of "Ilmo Smokehouse" from 1970 which is a band I was in. I don't much care personally about any "new" album by any "new" artist, although there is a lot of new music I like.
How many records do you have in your private collection? Not many at home. Maybe a few hundred LP's and maybe 6 - 8,000 45's. I have a comprehensive collection of Ricky Nelson and The Yardbirds on LP, 7" and EPs, and all of the albums by Del Shannon and Bobby Vee, signed. And I try to keep any and every variation of any record I have anything to do with.
What is your most treasured record that you own? Tough question. Probably the two most important to me personally are the one and only original copy I have of "Blackout Of Gretely" by GONN, and my autographed copy of Jimi Hendrix’s "Are You Experienced.”
Can you share some memories of your first record you recorded with GONN, that being "Blackout of Gretely"? We were all teenagers, Rex, Brent and Gerry were all 15-16, I think Gary was 17. I was 19, the old guy. In the late summer of 1966 we were invited to back a would-be singer on a record and our reward would be studio time to record two songs ourselves. So we wrote a song for it, based on a riff Rex came up with, with lyrics I wrote after being inspired by the title of a book Gerry was reading, "The Blackout At Gretely" by J.B. Priestley, a WWII spy tale.
I was into the author O'Henry and wrote the song as a psychedelic story with a twist at the end, like O'Henry. I forgot about it until many years later, but the creepy intro I came up with was itself a twist on an off-the-cuff remark by Peter Tork on a Monkees out-take I saw on TV. So the song is a real stew of influences. We recorded it in the back room of Electronics & Engineering in Burlington, Iowa, either December '66 or January '67, none of us can remember exactly. Winter. We pressed 300 copies, twice. I still had 75 of them into the 70's. Wish I had them back now! It has become far more "important" than we ever imagined.
What are your favorite Beatles and Rolling Stones albums and you can only pick one! Easy, Beatles "Revolver", Rolling Stones the British original "Aftermath".
Right now, what is the most valuable record in Younger Than Yesterday? Probably a still sealed original Elektra copy of LOVE "Forever Changes" from 1968, and a stone mint copy of The Litter "$100 Fine".
How long has Younger Than Yesterday been in operation? Peoria Record Company opened in 1984, 14 years later I moved from Main and Sheridan to the University street location and changed the name in 1998. So 34 going on 35 years.
You've talked about your first record now, let's hear about the new one! The new album is "The Return Of The Slinkenwolf", Slinkenwolf' being guitarist Slink Rand and 'Wolf' which is me. I got that nickname in 1969. Dennis Tieken started calling me that after I scared the dickens out of his girlfriend one night at a gig by leaping over the back of our amp line onto the stage next to her, growling and clawing at her like a werewolf. She wouldn't come anywhere near me after that! I think she might have been tripping at the time, and I didn't know it.
“Slink” has been “Slink” since well before high school, being the tall, lanky farm boy he was, and IS! Slink joined GONN in the latter days of 1968 and shortly thereafter he joined Freddie Tieken & The Rockers in Quincy, as did myself and Gerry Gabel from GONN not long after that. The band then became Ilmo Smokehouse, recorded one album, played a lot of shows, including opening for MC5, Big Brother & The Holding Co, B.B. King, Amboy Dukes, The Flock, James Gang, Sugarloaf, Crow among others.
The new album is the first full-length album Slink and I have done together since ILMO in 1970. "Return" is literally a step back into the heavy rock style of the late 60's/early 70's that we always enjoyed, and I think people who knew us then would certainly expect to hear that very thing from us now. They WILL! The album has ten tracks, seven of them are Slink 'n Wolf collaborations, two are things I already had in the works, and one is a heavy rock version of "Summertime", which is based on an arrangement from 1962 recorded by Ricky Nelson with the Gold Star Studios 'Wrecking Crew'. Ricky's version was buried on a single B-side but the guitar & bass parts spawned two major hits years later. We changed some of it but kept the most important parts intact, you will probably recognize them.
Our own stuff is mostly and intentionally, heavy, hard hitting, riff rock. Slink threw some riffs and/or chord changes at me and we were off to the races writing songs for the album. It was a lot of fun to do. Matthew Warren had the unenviable task of working out drum parts to most of it, interpreting my and Slink's arm-waving ideas and wildly garbled instructions.
Mark Moretto came in for the last song, which we wrote while rehearsing for a couple of shows Mark played with us last year.
It took a great deal of time to get all of the project's parts together, including artwork, graphics, and so forth, but I think it represents us well. We recorded the whole thing at Rich Teegarden's studio in Eureka, Rich being a vital and trusted part of the equation. He engineered, mixed, helped produce and arrange, did some backing vocals and played some piano and guitar on it. Mike Nellas played a perfect organ part on a track and Billy Gress added harmonica to "Summertime".
Janie Kelley performed magic tricks to get the graphics right, and Dave Moe, a mad alchemist of an artist brought our “Slinkenwolf” to life both as a logo and as the main character in our non-existent movie, a poster for which is on the album cover and included as a 24x36 bonus item in the vinyl album package. It has been a major project to accomplish and it is now ready to go. The next step will be to play it all live as soon as things can be put together for that end of it. Two great musicians and friends of ours will be doing the live shows with us, Graeme Brown on guitar and vocals and Andrew Sledd on drums.
Return Of The Slinkenwolf—The Review
A monster will soon be in our midst and this beast answers to the call of Slinkenwolf. When it arrives it will be bearing gifts in the form of ten whomping-stomping rock ‘n roll tunes that will peel the paint off of your walls if played at the proper volume—LOUD! It’s balls to the walls rock ‘n roll, something that you don’t hear much in this current time zone. You’re never going to hear tunes like this on “America’s Voice of the Idol,” or whatever the current music reality show is these days.
The opening cut is “Saber Tooth Tiger” and it’s aptly titled. Craig “The Wolf” Moore’s vocals growl and howl llke twelve stray cats in heat while Slink Rand throws out catchy and crunchy guitar riffs like raw meat to a starving animal. Rounding out the sound is veteran drummer Matthew Warren on drums and he pounds the skins like a fine tuned and timed battering ram.
“Fallen In Love (With LIfe Again)” finds Slinkenwolf prowling into AC/DC rock anthem territory and they tear this one to shreds. I think Craig gargled with gasoline and broken glass prior to laying his vocals down and the guitars build the song with a sturdy wall of amplified sound.
All of the songs on the album are originals written by Slink Rand and Craig Moore except for a unique rocking version of the George Gershwin classic, “Summertime.” Musicians making cameo appearances include Rich Teegarden on piano, guitar and backing vocals, Mike Nellas on organ, Mark Moretto on drums and Billy Gress on harmonica.
For me, the centerpiece of the album is the autobiographical song, “Exiles On Main Street,” written in tandem by Rand and Moore. The song tells a tale of two kids inspired by musical heroes and ready to light out on their own musical path. These lyrics say it all: “We were wild and free on Main Street, lean and clean with a brand new 8-track machine. Axis Bold As Love, born to be wild, for what it’s worth, no destination, all the time in the world...” That path has led to this destination, an album called “Return Of The Slinkenwolf.”
Further proof that rock ‘n roll is here to stay.
“Return of the Slinkenwolf” goes on sale, July 6th via Nashville’s United Record Distributing. The first 500 LPs will be on “bloody red” vinyl. Preorders, including postage, are $25 for the LP and $15 for the CD. To reserve a pre-order copy, simply call Younger Than Yesterday Records at 309-682-1116. The Slinkenwolf facecrack page can be found by clicking here. Watch Craig, Slink and others involved in the making of the record discuss it at a live listening party by clicking here and here.
Craig Moore Discography
I asked Craig if he could supply a discography of every record he’s made or played on and below is the massive list of almost every recorded performance from Craig Moore’s extensive musical career.
"Blackout Of Gretely" b/w "Pain In My Heart - GONN (1966 Emir Records)
"Doin' Me In" b/w "I Need You" GONN (1967, released 1994)
"Come With Me" b/w ":You're Looking Fine" GONN (1967)
"ILMO SMOKEHOUSE" (LP) 1970 Beautiful Sounds/1971 Roulette Records
Luther Allison "Gonna Be A Live One In Here Tonight" (LP, produced) 1978
Luther Allison "In The Midnight Hour" b/w "Movin' On Up" (produced & played bass on "Midnight") 1979
Dave Chastain Band "Highway Man" b/w "Losin' You Blues" (1980, executive-producer)
Dave Chastain Band "Rockin' Roulette" (LP) (1980, produced)
Dave Chastain Band "Fool For Lovin' You" b/w "Comanchero" (produced, sang backing vocals)
"Who's Who" b/w "Just For You" & "Little Sister" 1981 7" solo EP
"History Of Garage Bands Volume 9" (LP) GONN (Bomp Records, 1984)
"Blackout Of Gretely" b/w "Doin Me In" GONN (1988 reissue, on 6 different colors of vinyl)
"AGONNAGAIN" Double LP, Craig Moore & Friends (solo album, 1989)
KEITH RELF "All The Fallen Angels" (1976) b/w "Together Now" (1968 with Jim McCarty) 1989 7", executive-producer
"Sun Session" 1994 7" EP (Craig Moore & Friends featuring Jim McCarty) 4 songs
"Blackout Of Gretely" b/w "Pain In My Heart" GONN, 1994 Original Master Recording limited edition
"GONN With The Wind" GONN (1996 reunion album, LP & CD)
"Frenzology, Punks Along The Mississippi" GONN (1996 CD)
"Head In The Clouds" b/w "Pretty Girl" GONN, 1996 7"
"Prophecy" b/w "Cry To Me" GONN, 1996 7"
"The Wind" b/w "Fellow Slave" (studio & live in Italy 1996) GONN, 1997 7"
"The Loudest Band In Town" GONN (LP, Sundazed, 1998)
"Nuggets, Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968" 1998 Rhino 4CD compilation, with "Blackout Of Gretely"
"Doin' Me In" b/w "I Need You" GONN, 1998 remaster limited edition
"Yellow Purple & Green" The Others with Craig Moore & Rudi Protrudi, 1999 Italy-only LP
"Fine Surprise" b/w "Gonna Come For You" 2000 US solo 7"
"Still Tomorrow Yesterday" (full-length CD) Craig Moore & Friends (featuring Jim McCarty, Chris Dreja, Eddie Phillips) 2004
"ILMO Smokehouse PLUS", 2004 Italy-only 2CD original album remaster plus unreleased 2nd album demos
"GONN 4 Good, Best Of 1966-1996" (CD compilation, 2008)
"Don't Need Your Lovin'" b/w "Death Of An Angel" GONN, 2009 UK only 7", 1967 recordings
"GONN 45, Fully Loaded" (full-length all-new CD) 2012
GONN "Est. 1966" ("Blackout Of Gretely"-"Pain In My Heart"/"New Again"-"Baby Please Be Good") (Record Store Day 2013 7" picture disc EP)
JIM McCARTY "Frontman” 2LP (2014 compilation, produced & played bass on bonus tracks - CD released 2017)
"In Fuzz We Trust" 2014 compilation 2LP (with Craig Moore & Davie Allan/GONN/Electric Prunes/Strawberry Alarm Clock/Sky Saxon (Seeds)/Vanilla Fudge/Pretty Things/Monks/Vagrants/Tropics/Arthur Lee/Davie Allan & The Arrows)
"Time Travel - 50 Years Come And GONN" GONN (2016 2LP compilation with new bonus track, Record Store Day exclusive)
"AGONNAGAIN Special Edition", 2016 remaster CD Craig Moore & Friends solo album with bonus tracks
"Fuzztones Gonn Primitive Featuring Craig Moore" 2017 German 2LP (Live in Europe 2008)
"ILMO Smokehouse PLUS", 2017 Italy-only 2LP (colored vinyl with bonus cassette)
"The Return Of The Slinkenwolf" Slink Rand & Craig Moore (2018 LP & CD)
**Plus numerous European CD & vinyl LP's, bootlegs and box sets