In 1968, a young Genesis P-Orridge went to see a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention concert in Manchester: “It was the weirdest thing I’d ever seen in my life.”
When Genesis P-Orridge thinks you’re the weirdest thing ever, that really counts for something…
This spifnificent recording of the original Mothers of Invention caught live performing an epic “King Kong” and “Oh In the Sky” for the BBC’s Colour Me Pop TV program has been bootlegged since the 1980s on VHS. Over the years I’ve found myself continually trading up whenever I’d find a better DVD copy at flea markets and then on the Internet. Well, this is the most significant upgrade I’ve seen yet and it doesn’t require that you do anything except for to turn it up loud and make it full screen for maximum enjoyment.
I truly find that this is THE single best video performance I’ve ever seen of Frank Zappa, and trust me, I’ve seen them all (and then some).
Indelible and as evocative as hell, the wah-wah pedal riff that heralds the coming of Shaft, “the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks,” is one of those great sonic movie moments that elevate a film into the mythical. And the guitarist playing that riff was Stax studio musician and a member of Isaac Haye’s band, Charles “Skip” Pitts. Sadly, Pitts died on May 1 of lung cancer. He was 65.
The ‘Shaft’ part was created because Isaac needed something driving for the beginning of the movie, when (actor) Richard Roundtree is coming out of the subway and walking through Times Square,” Pitts told Guitar Player in an interview regarding the song. “I was checking my pedals. I tested my overdrive, my reverb, the Maestro box, and then I started in with the wah. Isaac stopped everything and said, ‘Skip, what is that you are playing?’ I said, ‘I am just tuning up.’ He said, ‘Keep playing that G octave.’”
Pitts also played the ultra-funky licks on The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” and Rufus Thomas’s “The Breakdown.” Soul sauce slathered on thick and juicy.
Here’s Pitts playing the riff that will always be associated with his name at his last gig in Memphis on the eve of a brand new year, 2012.
Seven years is a long time in rock and roll, particularly nowadays, and that’s how long it’s been since Garbage released their last album. As a big fan of the band, I’m excited by the thought of being able to listen to 11 new Garbage tracks when their new album, Not Your Kind of People, hits the streets on May 14. Yes!
Here’s Garbage rehearsing “Battle in Me” from Not Your Kind of People. My kind of trash.
Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons is joining past Meltdown Festival curators like David Bowie, Morrissey. Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker and Patti Smith, as he announces the line-up for this year’s prestigious event to be held in London, August 1-12.
Antony discussed the predominantly female performer selection, his ideas about “future feminism” and how these artists are pushing towards something completely new for society, with Pitchfork:
Hegarty: Kembra Pfahler is like my leader, basically. She’s such a seminal or feminal influence on so much of us in New York City. Just because she’s so fierce, ferocious and her creativity is so pure, and her vision of the world is so unrelenting. And she’s so unrelenting in her willingness to deliver a sense of truth. That has political ramifications.
Laurie Anderson is the same way: she’s named and framed her sense of apocalyptic culture for 25 years. Ferociously named it. Joey Arias is so hardcore. He’s a very hardcore queen. Marc Almond is also a super hardcore pioneer. There’s David Tibet from Current 93 and Cyclobe. They are on the frontier of English, queer, hallucinogenic paganism. And they sort of sit on the spiritual frontier in terms of trying to articulate or embody in their work a vision that they have of the world that’s very different from a typical patriarchal, sky god, Christian crap that even a lot of indie musicians in America are turning out. Christian chud. They’re pretending they’re alternative artists, but they are just confirming this patriarchal chud that we desperately need to rid ourselves of.
CocoRosie has been very controversial, especially in America, just because they take so many risks, and most guys in the boys club don’t take even them. In Europe they’re very embraced. Amongst artists, they are celebrated around the world, but there’s obviously been a lot of people that can’t take the frontier that they’re pushing. To me, they are amongst the most important young artists in American today. I think it’s intergenerational. There’s a lot going on in the festival.
Pitchfork: Every artist, in their own way, seems to have an uncompromising vision.
Hegarty: It’s not even just within art that they’re uncompromising. I think for me, it’s the next step that’s interesting. Since the early 2000s, a lot of straight boys created bands that are about, like, nurturing this pastoral inner life—these colorful psychedelic lives and nurturing their sensitivity as straight boys. And that’s great and everything, but we need to start participating in the bigger picture because this whole ecology of our world is going to start collapsing in the next 50 years, and if there’s going to be a validity to anything, in 50 years’ time just like the way they were, people are going to be asking what the kids of today are thinking, what the artists of today were thinking. Were they just checking out? Were they just, like, hugging a couple of cuddly bears or feel-good pillows? What is the point of music at this point? Is it just a beer swill at Coachella? Is it a few sensitive guys getting up there having a circle jerk while all the girls and all the other people have to sit around and try and find their experience within their opaque song styling? We could be participating, and that’s what I aspire to do, and so I wanted to create a vivid festival that had some teeth to it.
Antony’s Meltdown line-up:
Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins in her first live performances (she’s doing two shows) since 1998
William Basinki: “Disintegration Loops”
Marina Abramovic doing a rare lecture.
Hal Willner’s"Freedom Riders”
Charles Atlas’ Antony and the Johnsons tour doc Turning.
Planningtorock + Light Asylum
The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black + Tenderloin
Kembra Pfahler + Claywoman
Joey Arias channeling Billie Holiday in his “Strange Fruit” review
Marc Almond performing his classic Torment and Toreros album in it’s entirety
Myrninerest + Cyclobe + Derek Jarman Films
As someone who has seen most of the acts on this year’s Meltdown bill, I have to say that this is one of the very best curated music festivals I’ve ever heard of. There’s a real vision here and I think it’ll be an amazing experience for attendees.
Meltdown Festival tickets will go on sale next Tuesday, May 8th at noon for Southbank Centre members only, and then on Thursday 10th at noon for the general public.
Below, a stunning performance of “Cripple and the Starfish” at Amsterdam’s Theater Carré Amsterdam, June 21, 2009:
Japanese clothing line Interbreed announced on their blog the release of a Tommy Boy Records floor mat. My Google translate ain’t workin’ too well today, so I’m not certain how to order this or how much Interbreed is charging for it. If you’re interested, go to this link and maybe you can figure it out?
AS IF they needed any encouragement, Mitt Romney’s cynical hiring of openly gay Richard Grenell to sharpen his foreign policy message (and provide some cover for all of the anti-gay stuff Mittens has pledged to support) has “let the dogs out” of the Christian Right.
With Grenell stepping down before he even got started, now anti-gay rights activists like the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer and hateful jackass Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association are crowing about their success in pressuring Romney to get rid of him.
You can, of course, easily make the argument that Republicans, on the whole, are hardly a bunch you could describe as “gay-friendly,” so there becomes the secondary side-issue of why tin-earred pol Romney felt that stirring up a hornet’s nest like this—the prominent hiring of an openly gay man—would benefit him politically with the mouth-breathing GOP base. It’s fucking ridiculous on the face of it, but in doing so, Romney has inadvertently exposed the men behind the curtain who are REALLY pulling his strings: Some of the most extreme Christianist bigots in America!
Last week Bryan Fischer declared that if Mitt Romney wants to win in November, he’d “better start listening to me.” Most of the rest of the week, Fischer discussed firing Grenell and lashed Romney repeatedly for having the audacity to hire an openly gay man as his foreign policy and national security spokesman. Coincidence that Grenell stepped down? I should think not.
“It’s sometimes hard to explain to outsiders what level of principle is required to withstand the personal cost of being an out gay Republican. I’ve only ever been a gay conservative (never a Republican), and back in the 1990s, it was brutal living in the gay world and challenging liberal assumptions. I cannot imagine the social isolation of Grenell in Los Angeles today, doing what he did. And his reward for such loyalty, sincerity and pugnacity? Vilification. I mean: what do Republicans call a gay man with neoconservative passion, a committed relationship and personal courage? A faggot.”
The Stonewall Democrats had this to say:
Mitt Romney sat silently and let the bigoted wing of his party control his personnel choices. Either Mitt Romney is a coward who is afraid to stand up to the anti-LGBT bullies in his party, or he is fine with an America where LGBT people can have a career only if they’re willing to work quietly from the confines of the closet. Gay Republicans should be outraged and must demand that the organizations that represent them refuse to support Mitt Romney’s presidential aspirations in any way.”
The Human Rights Campaign’s statement:
From the moment Richard Grennell signed on as Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman, he faced a torrent of unfounded criticism from the far right. Not once did the Romney campaign condemn these attacks and support Grennell. Mitt Romney capitulating to the demands of extremist anti-gay groups is nothing new. He has donated to the rabidly anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and the Massachusetts Family Institute. He has even signed a NOM vow that binds him to appoint only anti-gay judges and establish a McCarthy-era commission to investigate the activities of those who support LGBT equality. The fact that Grennell is gone so quickly after a right-wing uproar is a troubling harbinger of the kind of power that anti-gay forces would have in a Romney White House.
Actually, I believe this is a big win for progressives and for gay journalists and commentators as well. We drew out the conservative leaders in addition to Fischer, like Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer and other commentators on National Review and Daily Caller, by bringing forth and continually highlighting the true facts about Grenell, which, to most Americans, are completely acceptable, but which, in the eyes of the evangelical right, make him a radical homosexual. As I wrote in a post last week, Grenell isn’t just gay, like some other gay Republicans who stay quiet about their homosexuality. He’s a gay man who very publicly expressed that he wants to get married to another man and who believes President Obama isn’t adequate on LGBT rights.
Why is it this a win? Because Grenell was being used for cover by a candidate with abhorrently anti-gay positions, a man who has promised to “propose and promote” a federal marriage amendment if elected president. I don’t buy the argument made by some that it was a measure of progress that Romney hired a gay man as his foreign policy spokesperson when he’s using that gay man to make himself appear moderate to independents while he’s promising the GOP base that he’ll make gay people into second class citizens. Actual progress in the GOP will come when their presidential candidates stop bowing to bigots and refuse to sign their extremist pledges. Otherwise, it’s all window dressing.
He’s 100% correct on this matter. During the second hour of Fischer’s radio show yesterday, the news broke about Grenell’s resignation from the Romney campaign. Watch as a gleeful Fischer declares it a “huge win” for Christian conservatives because A) they forced Romney’s hand to get rid of Grenell and B) they taught him what his boundaries are!