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Duke of Madness Motors: New Firesign Theatre book with over 80 hours of radio shows!
08:11 am



Dear Friends,

You may or may not be aware that there is a brand new Firesign Theatre book and DVD-ROM with over 80 hours of audio material comprising ALL of their staggeringly genius radio shows from 1970 to 1972.

Well there is, and it’s called Duke of Madness Motors, the result of an over ten-year-long labor of love—indeed an odyssey of careful detective work—by their longtime archivist, and my pal, the grand and groovy Mister Taylor Jessen. The story is told of young Taylor locating a fan with a copy of one show he had not been able to track down otherwise. The problem was, the tape was in a shed that had fallen victim to a Malibu mudslide. For an entire day, Taylor tried to find the tape to no avail. So what did he do next? He returned the following week and and he DID locate the tape. That’s dedication! That’s school spirit!

It even has a blurb on the back from little old me: “This is comparable to being a James Joyce fanatic and finding not just one notebook where he’s working out the themes that would become fully developed in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, but an entire crate of ‘em. Some of the most mind-bending, thought-provoking and hilarious material of their career. A counter cultural treasure of the highest order.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself…

Here’s how Firesign Theatre put it on their website:

It’s been such a long exposition, you know. Countless hours spent poring through the personal archives of Firesign group members and devoted fans alike. Fragile, aging reel-to-reel tapes handled with great care and transferred to digital media for restoration. Information and images gathered, processed and refined. Interviews conducted, transcribed and edited. The whole enchilada cubed, reheated, inspected, injected, detected, filtered, digitized, edited and assembled to perfection.

Yes, thanks to the tireless efforts of official Firesign archivist Taylor Jessen, we are proud to present, for the first time anywhere, the complete, mammoth, authoritatively definitive and totally awesome Duke of Madness Motors: The Complete “Dear Friends” Radio Era 1970-1972 book and DVD-ROM combo pack.

The DVD-ROM disc contains high-resolution MP3 audio files of every Firesign radio broadcast from their three series’ of the early 1970’s:
The Firesign Theatre Radio Hour Hour (24 episodes);
Dear Friends (21 episodes); and
Let’s Eat (12 episodes)

...ending with their big final blockbuster, Martian Space Party. A total of 58 shows in all, 80 hours of audio, on a single DVD-ROM disc. Each broadcast is completely restored and remastered for your protection. There’s also the syndicated versions of the Dear Friends and Let’s Eat episodes, and a handful of additional goodies and surprises from the vaults.

The full color 108-page 7"x10” book contains:

Complete rundowns of every broadcast;
A lengthy and thorough historical/hysterical essay on the troupe;
New intereviews with each Firesign group member;
Interviews with long-time Firesign associates, producer Bill McIntyre and engineer The Live Earl Jive;
Collages by Phil Proctor;
Vintage found objects, original scripts and more.

This is indeed the cultural landslide of a lifetime, more pure unadulterated Firesign than has ever been available in a single package. You’ll revel in the lightning-fast word play, bon mots, sparkling repartee, inside jokes, jokey insights, non-sequitors, surreal flights of fancy, bizarre sound effects, social studies, poetic justice, and downright jaw dropping serendipitous synchronicity that this landmark institution of comedy managed to pull off from out of left field in a mere two-year period. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to own and experience this cornucopia of creamy Firesign goodness.

Here is the thing: Duke of Madness Motors has been published in a STRICTLY limited edition and when it’s sold out, it’s GONE for good (or will command top dollar on eBay). Snooze and you shall lose, in other words. My guess is that within a matter of weeks the entire run of this set will be gone. Order your copy of Duke of Madness Motors today! (My own copy should arrive this afternoon. I can assure you that I’ll be watching for the postman like a hawk!)

Here is Firesign’s Phil Proctor holding his copy of Duke of Madness Motors.

Below, my interview with Phil Proctor last summer when some of these shows were airing on WFMU.

More Firesign Theatre on Dangerous Minds


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Theme to ‘Jurassic Park’ Slowed Down by 1000%
05:27 am



The theme music to Jurassic Park slowed down by 1000%, as created by Birdfeeder.

With thanks to Steve Duffy

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Haunted Retro part 1: Ariel Pink, John Maus & Gary War
05:00 am



What is “Haunted Retro”? It is hypnagogic music. It is the sound of the future as heard in the past. It is children hiding under bedsheets with AM radios, dialling through the airwaves til they find the sacred music that will sweep them far away. It is the music of your dreams, even your nightmares. just before the alarm wakes you up and your memory is wiped.

Ok, so “haunted retro” doesn’t exist. I made it up for the purposes of this article, and as an excuse to write about Ariel Pink and his pals. But hey, as a term it works! Because, while these acts I am going to write about share certain lo-fi techniques and nostalgic sensibilities, they are much more than simple pastiche merchants trying to relive an imagined past. Akin to bands like Portishead sampling 60s spy soundtracks and putting them in a different context, haunted retro artists cannot help taking their influences and molding them into something new. Something that feels warm and cozy like we’ve heard it before, but with a deep and disturbing uncertainty at its core. It’s beautiful, it is uncanny, but it’s not quite right.


Unquestionably Ariel Pink is the leader of this whole “movement”. An outsider from the outset, Mr Pink is finally coming to gain the respect he deserves in the industry after putting out music for the last 10+ years. Much of this is down to his current act Haunted Graffiti and their album Before Today (4AD 2010), in which he has reigned in his more obscure tendencies, and whose output has subtle shades of the Doors, 10CC and even mid 80’s Fleetwood Mac. But his early work is worth checking out too, and his choice of instrumentation (analog synths and vintage drum machines) and recording techniques (8 tracks and plenty of hiss) have been influential on many new acts. In fact, to some folks (me included) discovering Ariel Pink and his music is akin to a spiritual revelation. Music really lacks truly talented idiosyncratic oddballs like this. At a time when the mainstream is playing weirdo dress-up, Ariel Pink is the real deal. Check out the video for “Kate I Wait” which is both ridiculous and sublime:
Ariel Pink “Kate I Wait” 

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti “Bright Lit Blue Sky”  

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti “Life In LA”  

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti “Beverly Kills”  


John Maus and Gary War after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Surfer Guru: The Teachings of the Popcorn Way
07:10 pm



Is this Jeff Spicoli all grown up and born again?

I found this uncredited video clip from a compilation of public access weirdness. Anybody know who surfer guru is? And where can I find more of his teachings?

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Their Last Tour: The Velvet Underground - Live in Paris, 1993
03:32 pm



In June 1993, Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Moe Tucker kicked-off their official (sans Nico, who had died in 1988) Velvet Underground reunion tour with two nights at the Playhouse Theater, in Edinburgh. There had been rumors of a VU reunion for years, and these rumors slowly became real after Reed and Cale had successfully toured with Songs for Drella - their musical collaboration celebrating the life of Andy Warhol.

From their opening gig in Scotland, The Velvet Underground then played London, before taking their show to Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, and Italy, where the tour finished on 9 July. During the tour, they also gave a headline grabbing performance at the Glastonbury Festival, and had a WTF? moment when they supported U2 for five dates.

The VU reunion was so successful that an American tour was planned, and a showcase on MTV Unplugged… was all but booked. However, before any of this happened, Reed and Cale fell out and all plans were shelved.  In 1995, Sterling Morrison died. The following year, the VU were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Reed, Cale and Tucker reformed the Velvet Underground for the last time.

This footage is from the Velvet Underground’s performance at the L’Olympia, Paris, in June 1993.

More VU, ‘Femme Fatale’ and ‘Waiting for the Man’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
What if the Democrats ran Bernardine Dohrn for the Senate?
11:59 am

Current Events


The reaction to the post yesterday about Palin, Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck and the radical right’s violent rhetoric coming back to haunt them was an interesting thread to wake up to this morning. Thank you to (almost) everyone who contributed. A few observations:

First of all, my point, in case anyone didn’t get it, was contained in the bold text (”...the genie is all the way out of the bottle for this type of violence, for them, too.”). I’m saying that the potential for a blowback against the folks propagating the majority of this hate talk is rather ripe. If you piss in the wind, don’t be surprised when it comes back to hit you in the face. Then poor Eric Fuller went and proved my point about 3 hours later, to his shame. His story is the very embodiment of my argument in the post. The guy should have been arrested, but it’s sad

I hardly see any evidence there of a “full-throated, hate-filled rant,” either, as I was accused of in the comments by “Metzger’s id,” someone who obviously did not read what I actually wrote. (Steve Doocey IS one of the stupidest people on television. He’s a fucking idiot and I will not back down from this position).

Commenter moflcky scores when he asks “Do you think it’s worse now than it was in the 60s/70s with SDS, the Weather Underground, the SLA, the Black Panthers, the Klan and the race riots?”

This is a very good point and worth thinking about. However, I think contrasting the difference of then vs today is best served by comparing *the media* that exists today vs. what we had at that time. With just three TV networks, I think the center could hold very easily back then. In the realm of “public opinion” it was much easier to achieve a broad general agreement 40-50 years ago and so there was, by and large, a very strong “centrist” majority. The GOP of Nixon’s era has very little to do with the GOP of today, they’ve moved far, far to the right of the positions they held in the 70s. And the Democrats of today are pretty much standing in the same place, ideologically speaking, as most of the Republicans were at that time. Nixon, it can be argued, was to the left of Bill Clinton, in many respects.

The political elites of both parties moved significantly to the right in the past 40 years, even if the general public did not. As the politicians shifted rightwards, the population, or some of the population, anyway, reacted by going in the other direction and eventually—sometime in the 90s—modern progressive politics is born (just as the Great Society and Roe vs. Wade saw an awakening of the religious right/Moral Majority as a political force in the late 70s).

You could say it was “the dialectic” or “zeitgeist” in motion or even just a “generation gap”—I refer you to Spiral Dynamics or the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe. I think both get it right. The generation up and coming looks at the Tea party and largely sees a bunch of ignorant, cranky old white people. As the younger citizens of the United States grow up, the folks who are attending these Tea party rallies will be dying off.  And as they do, something else will happen that no one can anticipate at the present time. That’s just the way it works.

The Weather Underground didn’t get face time to argue their beliefs on MSNBC in 1970, although admittedly they might today, depending on the ratings potential. I don’t think they had ANY influence on the general public. The same cannot be said of the radical right Tea party-types and folks like Tony Perkins, Bryan Fisher, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and the rest of them.

There is a huge chasm between some misguided grad students who most people were appalled by, and few supported, and an obviously doomed Republican Senate candidate telling her supporters that if they don’t win at the ballot box, they’ll win with guns? This isn’t some group of hippies who appear to be freaks to 99% of the population talking, this is a lemon-faced church lady-type who faced off against the Senate Majority leader and raised a record amount of cash (most from from outside of her state).

William Ayers was brought up in the comments. I find bringing up Bill Ayers, specifically, in this context (and nearly all others) to be utterly meaningless and tiresome. How is he relevant in 2011 or is this situation comparable? Can someone please remind me?. I’ll say it again: the biggest difference between the Weather Underground in 1969 and the Tea party in 2011 is that the Weather Underground never had their own cable news outlet (The Weather Channel?) and 15% of the dumbest and least educated portion of the population did NOT follow or sympathize with their ideals.

Imagine the Democrats were running Bernardine Dohrn for the Senate? Wouldn’t THAT would be the flip-side of the GOP running Sharron Angle? WHO is the equivalent to Sharron Angle on the mainstream Left? (There is NO nuance in advocating “Second Amendment remedies! It’s not a statement open to that much wiggle room in the interpretation!)

Make no mistake about it, this is what MORE THAN HALF of the country is hearing when we have to listen to this Tea party bullshit: These folks want MINORITY RULE.

They will not get it, obviously, without violence.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
John Holstrom and Legs McNeil of ‘Punk’ Magazine on Australian TV
08:23 pm



John Holstrom and “resident punk” Legs McNeil of groundbreaking New York City rock and roll zine “Punk” interviewed in 1977 by Stephen Maclean for short-lived Australian music show Flashez.

Holstrom exemplifies New York attitude in his description of the London punk scene. As I remember it, and I remember it well, New York rockers were not nearly as obsessed with the fashion scene as were the British kids. You didn’t see $100 bondage pants with bum flaps in CBGB. It was mostly jeans, t-shirts and leather jackets. In downtown Manhattan you dressed for speed and protection, not style.

In the following video there are a few moments of silence during the photo collage sequences. This is intentional.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘I am not your Superstar’: Klaus Kinski as Jesus Christ
04:02 pm



You wouldn’t mess with Klaus Kinski. He had a look that said it all - a cross between Iggy Pop and a drug-addled psycho. His mental health had been an issue. In the 1950s, Kinski spent three days in a psychiatric hospital, where he was diagnosed as schizophrenic. In 1955, having failed to find any work as an actor, he attempted suicide - twice.

By the late 1950s, he had slowly established himself as an actor in Vienna, but the anger, the passions, that fueled his performances meant he was always labeled difficult. To overcome this, Kinski started performing one-man shows, reciting Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Francois Villon.

In the sixties he found some security as a bit player in Spaghetti Westerns such as For a Few Dollars More, but Kinski had an ambitious ego that inspired him to greater, more confrontational things.

In 1971, Kinski hired the Deutschlandhalle to perform his own 30-page interpretation of Jesus Christ. It was no ordinary show, and the audience was a mix of radical students, religious followers and those intrigued to see the “mad man Kinski”. Even then, before his work with Werner Herzog, the public thought of Kinski as either mad man or genius.

Moreover, there was some confusion amongst the audience, who seemed to think Kinski was an evangelist, rather than an actor interpreting a role. This led to constant heckling from the spectators - both the happy-clappy Christians, who thought he was blaspheming; and those on the Left, who though he was soft-soaping Christianity. Kinski was doing neither. His Christ was part Kinski, part Anarchist-Revolutionary, and he repsonded fulsomely to the abuse, as Twitch Film notes:

For example, after someone stated that shouting down people who disagreed with him was unlike Christ, Kinski responded with a different take on how Christ might respond: “No, he didn’t say ‘shut your mouths’, he took a whip and beat them. That’s what he did, you stupid sow!”

In another scene, he brow beats the audience by saying “can’t you see that when someone lectures thirty typewritten pages of text in this way, that you must shut your mouths? If you can’t see that, please let someone bang it into your brain with a hammer!” The evening’s festivities also turned physical as an audience member is shown getting bounced from the stage by a bodyguard. Someone responds that “Kinski just let his bodyguard push a peaceful guy, who only wanted to have a discussion, down the stairs! That is a fascist statement, Kinski is a fascist, a psychopath!”

Kinski continued undaunted:

“I’m not the official Church-Christ, who is accepted by policemen, bankers, judges, executioneers, officers, chruch-heads, politicians and other representatives of the powers that be. - I’m not your super-star!”

The evening was filmed by Peter Geyer, who later assembled the footage together into an incredible documentary film Jesus Christus Erlöser (Jesus Christ Saviour) in 2008. It is a film well worth seeing for Kinski’s powerful, passionate and unforgettable performance, which gives an unflinching insight into the man, the ego and the mad genius that was Klaus Kinski.

Bonus clip in color, after the jump…
Previously on DM

Klaus Kinski Skateboard

With thanks to Little Stone

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Nile Rodgers: Walking on Planet C
03:52 pm




What a shitty few days for music. Disco pioneer Nile Rodgers, half of one of the 20th century’s greatest songwriting duos (Chic, along with Bernard Edwards) has announced via his blog that he is currently battling “aggressive” cancer.

Chic are to me what I guess the Beatles are to most other folk - a musical ground zero. Apart from writing the stone-cold classics “Le Freak”, “I Want Your Love” “Everybody Dance” and “Good Times” (thus inadvertently kick starting rap music) the Chic Organization also wrote and produced some of their biggest hits for acts like Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Madonna and David Bowie. But they weren’t just gifted songwriters and arrangers - both Rodgers and Edwards are/were incredibly talented musicians that had a huge impact on guitar and bass playing styles of the coming decade.

I was going to do a post about last year’s 4 CD Chic Organization box set on here anyway, but it seems more urgent now as Nile could presumably do with all the money he can get for his treatment. If you have ANY interest in popular music of the last 50 years then you really should look into this, but if you have a particular interest in dance, soul or funk, this is damn indespensable. Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization:  Savoir Faire Boxset Vol. 1 contains all the big hits for Chic and others, in full extended 12” format, plus rare material, some unreleased tracks, and a few remix/remasters by French disco guru Dimitri From Paris.
Norma Jean “Saturday” (Dimitri From Paris Remix) 

Fonzi Thornton “I Work For A Living” (Nile Rodgers Long Version) 

Carly Simon “Why?” (Extended 12” Version) 

Chic are one of the very few acts with true cross generational appeal and that are guaranteed to start any party. Rodgers has recently been touring with a revamped line-up of the group, and although he is the only original member left, it’s still an incredible show. Their debut appearance in Ireland, at the Electric Picnic festival in 2009, was probably the best gig I have ever been to. People really didn’t know what to expect, but by the end of the set the tent was filled to capacity and the electrified crowd were literally roaring for more. Nile Rodgers has had a massive influence on modern music, yet he exudes a blissful aura of love and happiness, the true spirit of disco. He is also my namesake, and I wish him a power of health and a speedy recovery.

Nile Rodgers talks about “Rapper’s Delight”
Nile Rodgers talks about writing “We Are Family”
Nile talks about wriiting “I’m Coming Out” for Diana Ross (very funny!)


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
24 Second ‘Psycho’
02:17 pm



In 1993, Scottish artist Douglas Gordon exhibited his 24 Hour Psycho, a slowed-down screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film that lasted twenty-four hours. The project contained “many of the important themes in Gordon’s work: recognition and repetition, time and memory, complicity and duplicity, authorship and authenticity, darkness and light.”

In 2005, talented artist Chris Bors created his own version of the film and art work, but this time as 24 Second Psycho.

24 Second Psycho appropriates the entire Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho and condenses it into twenty-four seconds. Tweaking the concept of artist Douglas Gordons 24 Hour Psycho, where Hitchcocks masterpiece was slowed-down to a crawl, here the process is reversed to accommodate society’s increasingly short attention span. Seeing Hitchcocks most lasting contribution to cinema flash before your eyes in a matter of seconds represents our new information age where culture is packaged for easy consumption at a breakneck pace.

Bors work has been exhibited at PS1 MoMA, White Columns, Sixtyseven and Ten in One Gallery in New York, Casino Luxembourg in Luxembourg, and the Videoex Festival in Zurich, Switzerland.


Also over on You Tube, Joe Frese has created a variety of mini masterpieces, including his own Sixty Second Psycho.

Bonus clip Joe Frese’s ‘Sixty Second Psycho’, after the jump…
With thanks to Henri Podin

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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