A few weeks ago Cherry Bombed, one of my co-conspirators here at Dangerous Minds, was working on a post about vintage Swedish rock and roll trading cards and contacted me to ask if I knew who “Bobby McGee” was. As well-versed in glitter and glam as I like to consider myself, I was at a loss. The Swedish trading card of the chick in lame′ spandex and leopard-print stand-up collar on the back of a chopper was an intriguing mystery.
It wasn’t an easy bit of searching to reveal the identity of this early ‘70s mystery artist either—as searching for any musically-related “Bobby McGee” (or more properly, as I’d learn, “Bobbie McGee”), was bound to return thousands of Janis Joplin and Kris Kristofferson entries.
Eventually “Bobbie McGee” revealed herself as Lady Teresa Anna Von Arletowicz, who was also dubbed by the music press of the day as “Gladys Glitter” for her musical and sartorial similarities to Gary Glitter.
Click on image for larger, readable version.
Arletowicz was born in London, but lived in South Africa for a time where her recording career seems to have begun with the release of the 1972 pop single “Zanzibar.”
Her 1973 UK glam rock single, “Rock and Roll People,” brought her some degree of cult status which resulted in a few TV appearances, music press articles, and at least one vintage Swedish rock and roll trading card—but not much else. It seems that the UK music industry was only interested in elevating one glam rock queen to superstar status and it wasn’t in the cards for Gladys Glitter—Suzi Quatro was to be the anointed one. A shame, in fact, because you can’t really have enough ‘70s badass rocker chicks. Bobbie McGee released four more singles that went nowhere before completely disappearing from music history’s radar.
Still, thank glob for unearthed Swedish trading cards to set us on journeys of pop-archaeology and YouTube for preserving what has become my favorite song of the moment. It may also be yours too—if you don’t think too hard about it. There’s some big dumb hooks in there.
Here’s to you Gladys Glitter, wherever you are.
Listen to the almost-coulda-been-a-hit “Rock and Roll People”:
It’s definitely worth your time to watch “Hail to the Trump,” Vanity Fair’s darkly funny Team America-esque glimpse of what a Donald Trump presidency might be like, performed by marionettes.
Produced and directed by Condé Nast’s Rachel Samuels and written by longtime Vanity Fair editor Bruce Handy, the marionettes were operated by a fellow named Scott Land. The first episode debuted on YouTube on November 9th with the latest installment coming out today.
I like how they parachuted into this with an outgoing President Barack Obama welcoming President-elect Trump to the Oval Office. It’s even more of a satiric gut-kick picturing Obama, of all people, having to play nice with the short-fingered vulgarian “birther” billionaire before his swearing in, because you know damned well Trump probably would act just like this.
After the jump, President Trump gets into a Twitter-war with the Kardashians and HATES his Secret Service code name…
In the never ending mashup of cool nerds and music enthusiasts, a group of scientists from the University of Bristol in the UK and the Natural History Museum in London have named a newly discovered species of particularly muscular fossil fireworms after D.C. hardcore punk rocker (who has worn many creative hats throughout the decades), Henry Rollins.
During a study of the fossilized remains of the Rollinschaeta myoplena (fossilization is a rare event in nature when it comes to worms) the team was able to determine the species was a close relative of earthworms and leeches as well as a member of the “fireworm” (or “Amphinomidae”) family. All of which (unlike Mr. Rollins), have soft bodies. Comparatively speaking, this worm’s got a six-pack, in worm terms.
The fossilized remains of Rollinschaeta myoplena
According to Greg Edgecombe of the Natural History Museum, (the co-author of the study) this was the first time that “any fossil has been identified by its muscle anatomy.” Sadly, the Rollinschaeta is extinct so we can’t all run out and start a new hardcore punk rock worm colony in our basements.
No word on what Rollins thinks of all this, but he joins a growing list of musicians who have had animals speciesnamed after them like Lou Reed, whose name is now synonomous with a species of velvet spider known as Loureedia, David Bowie provided the namesake for a rare type of Malaysia spider, Heteropoda davidbowie, and Frank Zappa who had the distinct honor to have a jellyfish named after him, the Phialella zappai.
Zappa has an even stranger claim to scientific immortality: a type of bacteria that causes pimples was dubbed Propionibacterium zappae:
Loureedia annulipes, an underground-dwelling genus of velvet spider discovered in Israel
‘Spider from Mars’: Heteropoda davidbowie, discovered in Malaysia in 2009.
The headline above came straight from the press release because it made me laugh. Can’t think of what to buy your favorite magus for Christmas? [Or Noel Fielding, wait, he’s already got one.] Yes that’s right, Kenneth Anger, avant garde underground filmmaker is now in the fashion business. Back in September Kenneth Anger “signature” tees went on sale, and now you can keep warm this winter with an “official” Lucifer Rising baseball jacket available only at his website.
Hollywood, CA November 23, 2015 – The story behind Kenneth Anger’s undisputed masterpiece, Lucifer Rising, is as exciting and bizarre as the film itself. Featuring such pop icons as Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithfull, Donald Cammell (co-director of the film Performance) and Bobby Beausoleil (member of the Charles Manson family and convicted murderer), the production was plagued with bizarre coincidences and sinister backlashes. After thirteen years of filming Kenneth Anger was determined to complete the film despite the almost surreal obstacles that materialized every step of the way.
A recognized master of avant garde film, Kenneth Anger’s influence can be seen in filmmakers as diverse as Martin Scorsese (who calls him “without a doubt, one of our greatest artists”), Roger Corman, George Lucas, Gus Van Sant, Guy Maddin, and David Lynch, not to mention the pop art of Andy Warhol, and almost every music video. He also gained notoriety as the author of the bestseller, Hollywood Babylon, a tell-all book revealing scandals and controversies in Hollywood among the rich and famous. The interest in Anger’s work shows no sign of abating in 21st century. The objects seen in his films, such as Anger’s custom made ‘Lucifer’ and Scorpio Rising jackets have now become cult icons in themselves.
I’ve been told that the Lucifer Rising jackets are already selling like the proverbial hotcakes and they aren’t planning a second run of these puppies, so if you want one you might not want to hesitate. The production run was described to me as “just a handful.”
In addition, there’s a second newly listed Lucifer Rising item for sale on kennethanger.org, a signed reproduction of “The Magick Lantern Cycle” poster, as originally painted by Page Wood.
Each poster will be signed in the area with the negative space by Kenneth Anger personally. Can an official Scorpio Rising motorcycle jacket be far behind?
Below, a clip from Brian Butler’s Raising Lucifer documentary:
I must be on a nana kick today. I just blogged about Golden Girls “granny panties” and now I’ve moved on to altered versions of your grandma’s favorite “valuable” porcelain figurines. I’m not a big fan of knick-knacks or trinkets in my home, but I really dig these alien-like insect figurines by Curious Cryptid Curios. These I would display proudly, with no fear that my future grandchildren would be embarrassed by them.
I’ve attached links under each image in case you are interested or want to see more images.
I love this. I mean really, really love this! A 4 pack of Golden Girls “panties” by Etsy shop Bullet and Bees. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice the Blanche Devereaux panty is crotchless! Perfect, right?
The Golden Girls underwear set sells for $160.00 (which is a bit steep, in my opinion). If you can’t afford the set—or only want the naughty Blanche lingerie—you can buy them separately anywhere from $38.00 - $52.00.
Let’s say you’re an ageing ex-punk who’s made it in the world of high finance. You’re on top of the world, but still something is missing. You’ve got the McMansion and the porsche and the cabin cruiser, but you still wear your FEAR shirt on the weekends up at the lake and there’s always that Germs-burn on your inner wrist which serves as a constant reminder of your rebellious roots. You still feel connected to those glory days, but time has built a wall between you and your lost youth. If only this great wealth could somehow help you reconnect…
Allow me to direct your attention to three pieces of punk rock memorabilia currently for sale on eBay that would be considered absolutely priceless if it weren’t for the fact that they have an actual price: $3,998.00.
Germs’ royalty checks. Click on image for larger version.
These three royalty checks were made out by What? Records owner Chris Ashord to Paul Beahm (Darby Crash), Teresa Ryan (Lorna Doom), and Georg Ruthenberg Jr (Pat Smear) for sales of the first Germs’ single “Forming”, which was released in July, 1977. They are endorsed on the reverse side by the band members.
Endorsements. Click image for larger version.
What’s most remarkable about these artifacts is the fact that the royalty checks are made out for $3.00, $2.57, and $2.56. One is reminded of the Opti-Grab lawsuit scene from The Jerk in which Steve Martin’s character is reduced to writing hundreds of settlement checks for “one dollar and nine cents.” A $2.56 check seems hardly worth writing, but considering the value of that check now, there’s at least one eBay seller that’s satisfied that the payments were made in a timely manner.
Money can’t buy you authenticity, but these checks do seem to prove the street-cred of early punk bands like The Germs. No one was in it for the money, and here’s the evidence! These items prove that, at least once-upon-a-time, there were some things more important than money—and you can have that proof to hold in your very own hands today for only $3,998.00.
After the jump, the hit What? Records single from whence the Germs got filthy rich. Listen to it and ponder, “What happened to Don Bolles’ check?”
Ringo Starr has been doing some mighty heavy house cleaning lately, and a HUGE collection of personal effects, decorative objects, and of course Beatles memorabilia belonging to him and his wife Barbara Bach is being auctioned on the first weekend in December. The auction takes up 55 pages of Juliens’ web site, and while it features a lot of kinda humdrum rich-people housewares and jewelry, and a stash of religious tchotchkes ranging from Eastern to Catholic, there’s also a rather nice art collection represented here, and some rather marvelously goofy Beatles stuff, certainly fit for the most marvelously goofy Beatle: a “Sgt. Pepper” upholstered leather chair, an extremely cool “Yellow Submarine” Rock-Ola jukebox, a script from the movie “Help!,” a certain highly recognizabledrum kit, and the single most charming lot in the entire collection (yeah, I went through it all, I’m a professional dork), the “Ringo Starr Press Archive Compiled By His Mother!”
Thanks, Ringo’s Mom.
There’s also this. Click to spawn a readable enlargement in a new browser tab.
But the most jaw-dropping item here is something I’d dare say could be THE ultimate trophy for a record collector: the very first numbered copy of The Beatles. That album is widely known as “The White Album” because of its minimalist packaging—a plain white sleeve, each stamped with a unique number. It’s long been accepted lore that copies 1-4 were in the possession of the Beatles themselves, but it’s been assumed just as long, and obviously incorrectly, that rather than being Ringo’s copy, No. 0000001 was claimed by John Lennon. This misapprehension was shared even by Sir Paul McCartney himself, who “confirmed” the rumor in Barry Miles’ 1998 bio Many Years From Now:
[LP cover designer] Richard [Hamilton] had the idea for the numbers. He said, ‘Can we do it?’ So I had to go and try and sell this to EMI. They said, ‘Can’t do it.’ I said, ‘Look, records must go through something to put the shrink wrap on or to staple them. Couldn’t you just have a little thing at the end of that process that hits the paper and prints a number on it? Then everyone would have a numbered copy.’
I think EMI only did this on a few thousand, then just immediately gave up. They have very very strict instructions that every single album that came out, even to this day, should still be numbered. That’s the whole idea: ‘I’ve got number 1,000,000!’ What a great number to have! We got the first four. I don’t know where mine is, of course. Everything got lost. It’s all coming up in Sotheby’s I imagine. John got 00001 because he shouted loudest. He said, ‘Baggsy number one!’ He knew the game, you’ve gotta baggsy it.
Now, you might be thinking, ‘HEY, wasn’t White Album #1 just sold a couple of years ago?” You are a VERY astute student of popcult ephemera—or a regular Dangerous Minds reader (which is the same damn thing, of course, he said with a wink). DM’s own Paul Gallagher reported on the sale of White Album A0000001 in July of 2013. So here’s the deal: every plant that pressed the record had its own numbering system, and there could be as many as 12 different #1s. The “A” on the serial number indicates that that one was one of several U.S. pressings. This is complicated and highly messy shit, and the online White Album Registry is an excellent resource for sorting it all out. (In case such information interests you, my White Album is A1557636, which, combined with the fact that the poster is long lost, means it’s utterly worthless to collectors. Still sounds great, though!)
Obviously, the fact that this has been in Ringo Starr’s possession (well, in his bank vault, anyway) since day 1 gives it an unassailable provenance—this is clearly THE White Album #1 from the first UK pressing. Starting bid is $20,000, and the final sale estimate is set at $60,000. Good luck. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Ringo and Barbara’s own Lotus Foundation, a charity that, according to its about page, is devoted to “advancing social welfare in diverse areas.” It’s worth mentioning that Starr is also raising money for the Lotus Foundation with proceeds from the new book Photograph, a collection of his personal photos annotated with his reminiscences.
A wonderful artifact just popped up on YouTube this week—a 1985 Melvins rehearsal tape, of pretty high quality for a boombox recording, bookended by the complaints of band member Dale Crover’s mom that the band is drowning out the TV!
Melvins, as constituted in 1985, were already on their second lineup. Founders Buzz Osborne and future Mudhoney member Matt Lukin (the first in Melvins’ Spinal Tap drummer-like procession of bassists) had recruited drummer Crover the year before to replace original member Mike Dillard. Osborne was 21 at the time, and Crover only 18, and the band practiced in Crover’s mother’s Aberdeen, Washington home. But despite their youth, the soon-to-be-influential band were already burgeoning road warriors. After the rehearsal tape, I’ve included footage from a concert that same year, in Calgary, Alberta.
Here’s part one of that concert in Canada. Part 2 is here, and 3 is here.
I have a grudging respect for U2, although I am not really a fan of their music. I say “grudging respect” because a) they are one of the biggest rock bands in history and plenty of people love them and b) I can’t overlook the fact that of any “classic” rock act, they’ve probably been consistently better than almost any band you can name, and for a longer period of time, too. Compare U2 to the Rolling Stones. The Stones’ classic period begins in 1966 and is over by the time fucking Ronnie Wood joins. Eight good years out of what, 90 or something? Even the towering genius of David Bowie’s peak creative years have got nothing on U2 who have never really been “bad” in over 35 years. U2 have had a remarkably good run of it. Put them next to any longterm rock superstars, and they acquit themselves admirably.
Still, they are just not my cup of tea. I think I feel a little guilty about putting them on DM, I guess, because, frankly, I’ve always found them a bit naff and Bono, although he’s undeniably done some good things in the world, strikes me as a man who absolutely loves himself, like Sting does. For the record, I like Boy (but don’t own it) I like the Zooropa-era material (but don’t own it), and I thought “It’s a Beautiful Day” was… just beautiful. But there are only really two tracks by them that I am absolutely nuts over: “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” from 1995’s Batman Forever soundtrack, which just completely blew me away, and the least-known single of their career, 1982’s “A Celebration.”
“A Celebration” does not appear on any U2 album and was deleted six months after it came out. According to a 1983 interview with drummer Larry Mullen Jr.:
“We did a video of it. We went to this prison in Dublin, where the 1916 uprising took place, called Kilmainham Jail, and filmed it with the idea of breaking out. It was very much a look at ourselves. Like when we were in school and everyone was telling us ‘you’re crap’ and we couldn’t get a record dealit was the triumph of breaking through.”
The reason for the record’s cold shoulder from the group who recorded it—and were presumably proud enough of it to shoot a video for the song—have to do with the way Bono’s lyrics were misinterpreted. From a transcript of a 1983 radio interview
Interviewer: I wanna play the other side of that, which is ‘A Celebration’, since we have no hope in the world of hearing this tomorrow, since the band’s forgotten it we’re gonna play that. This is a terrific track, is it ever going to appear on an album?
Bono: No…(laughs) I don’t think so. It ah -
Interviewer: Do you not like it?!
Bono: No I do like it actually, I’m… sometimes I hate it, I mean it’s like with a lot of music, if I hear it in a club it really excites me, and I think it is a forerunner to War and a lot of the themes. It was great in Europe because… A song like ‘Seconds’ people thought was very serious - on the LP War ‘Seconds’ - it’s anti-nuclear, it’s a statement. They didn’t see the sense of humour to it, it’s sort of black humour, where we were using a lot of clichés; y’know It takes a second to say goodbye, blah blah, and some people took it very seriously. And it is black humour, and it is to be taken sort-of seriously, but this song had the lines in it, I believe in a third world war, I believe in the atomic bomb, I believe in the powers that be, but they won’t overpower me. And of course a lot of people they heard I believe in a third world war, I believe in the atomic bomb, and they thought it was some sort of, y’know, Hitler Part II. And Europeans especially were (puts on outraged French accent) Ah non! Vive le France! and it was all like, all sorts of chaos broke out, and they said, What do you mean, you believe in the atomic bomb? And I was trying to say in the song, I believe in the third world war, because people talk about the third world war but it’s already happened, I mean it’s happened in the third world, that’s obvious. But I was saying these are facts of life, I believe in them, I believe in the powers that be BUT, they won’t overpower me. And that’s the point, but a lot of people didn’t reach the fourth line.
It’s too bad, because this is a fucking corker of a song with an amazing guitar riff. Like I say, I’m not a big U2 fan, but I used to play this record over and over and over again back then. MTV on a rare occasion would play the video (and Vh1 Classics probably still does) but it’s still tragically the least known song in U2’s large catalog. Eventually it was released on CD in 2004 on The Complete U2.