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Local label pays tribute to Who
Friday, April 9, 2004

Courier-Post Staff 

While his classmates were digging Def Leppard and
Tesla in the late 1980s, Mick Chorba's high school
band jammed to The Who's "The Kids are Alright."

The band even borrowed its name, Hooligans, from a Who
compilation album. 

More than 15 years later, Chorba is paying tribute to
the British quartet responsible for some of the
loudest, catchiest and most enduring songs of rock.

Chorba's Burlington Township-based independent label,
Face Down Records, last month released Who's Not
Forgotten, a 21-song CD of Who classics - and a few
unjustly overlooked obscurities - interpreted by bands
from the tri-state area and a few nationally known

Face Down Records will celebrate the album's release
with a show at the Khyber in Philadelphia tonight.
Some of the bands on the CD will perform Who covers
and original material.

Many of the artists who contributed to the album
couldn't help but be influenced by The Who. 

"Most of us were little kids in the '70s, and that's
what was on the radio," said Chorba, 33, lead singer
and guitarist for the Dipsomaniacs. 

In 2000, Chorba's label released its first tribute
album, Left of the Dial, a tip of the guitar pick to
the Replacements, a Minneapolis band whose members
rocked as hard as they drank in the 1980s. Although
the band never came close to the success of The Who,
the Replacements were just as influential in the minds
of their fans. Left of the Dial sold out its first
pressing of 1,000 copies, prompting a second pressing
and proving to Chorba that he was onto something.

Chorba sees similarities in the appeal of the two
bands' principal songwriters, the Replacements' Paul
Westerberg and The Who's Pete Townshend. 

"A lot of the songs are about that adolescent
uncertainty, which a lot of people never lose," he

Over the next few years, Chorba toyed with the idea of
a tribute album to The Who, another of his favorite

The death of Who bassist John Entwistle in June 2002
pushed Chorba to start the project. This time, he
wanted a few nationally known artists to contribute. 

He contacted Robert Pollard, leader of Who-influenced
indie rockers Guided By Voices.

Pollard agreed to participate, but only if proceeds
from the album went to charity. He suggested Hearing
Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R.), a San
Francisco-based group that promotes hearing loss
prevention among musicians and music fans.

Townshend suffers from hearing loss that he attributes
to decades of exposure to loud music.

All proceeds from Who's Not Forgotten, will go to
H.E.A.R. The disc is available in area stores, from
the Face Down Web site and at the record-release show.

Guided By Voices contributed a muddy but rambunctious
live version of "Baba O'Riley," a song the group often
covers in concert. 

Pat DiNizio, lead singer of pop-rockers the
Smitheerens, delivered a live acoustic rendition of
"Behind Blue Eyes," during which he trades vocals with
the audience. 

Among the album's highlights are Cordalene's twitchy
take on the gender-confused "I'm a Boy";
roots-rocker-turned-radio-DJ Tommy Conwell barreling
through the anti-disco anthem "Long Live Rock" backed
by the Dipsomaniacs; and the Glowfriends' disarming
re-invention of "I Can't Explain" as an aching ballad.

Courier-Post staff reporter Cheryl Squadrito-Moskovitz
wrote the disc's liner notes. 

Like all the best rock 'n' roll, The Who's music
transcends generations, said Jim McGuinn, bassist for
Philadelphia-based Cordalene.

McGuinn, program director at Y-100 (WPLY-FM 100.3) in
Philadelphia, said even The Who's earliest singles
from the mid-1960s are still influential. 

"With Cordalene, we may be thought of as a very modern
indie-rock band, (but) we draw a lot of reference and
inspiration from that era," said McGuinn, 37.

Chorba said he's already sold more than 300 copies of
Who's Not Forgotten, and additional record release
shows are planned for New York City and Baltimore.

He's hoping that along the way, like-minded fans who
find the disc will discover some of the bands on the
Face Down roster, including his own. 

"That's the philosophy of these CDs, to promote the
original stuff," Chorba said. "I figure if we can get
people who are into The Who and the Replacements, they
might like us, because that's what we're into." 


What: CD-release show for `Who's Not Forgotten'
starring the Dipsomaniacs with Tommy Conwell,
Cordalene, Taggart and grandfabric

When: 9 tonight

Where: The Khyber, 56 S. Second St., Philadelphia

How much: $8

More: (215) 238-5888

Online: www.facedown.net or www.hearnet.com

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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