Hard to believe but it’s forty years since Roxy Music released their debut single “Virginia Plain” and made an unforgettable appearance on Top of the Pops. It was a moment that influenced a generation, the same way David Bowie had earlier the same year, when he seductively draped his arm over Mick Ronson’s shoulder as they sang “Starman” together. It was a moment of initiation, when millions of British youth had shared a seminal cultural experience by watching television.
Of all the programs on air in 1972, by far the most influential was Top of the Pops., and Roxy Music’s arrival on the show was like time travelers bringing us the future sound of music.
Listening to “Virginia Plain” today, it hard to believe that it wasn’t record last week and has just been released.
This documentary on Roxy Music has all the band members (Ferry, Manzanera, MacKay, Eno, etc) and a who’s who of musicians (Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Jones, and Roxy biographer, Michael Bracewell), who explain the band’s importance and cultural relevance. Roxy Music have just released The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982 available here.
*There are, of course, exceptions to this. I would be remiss in not mentioning that my very own parents, who are super religious, do in fact run a soup kitchen. (Having said that, I have no doubt that they probably ate at Chick-fil-A yesterday if they were anywhere near one).
Hot on the heels of his last video opus, the magnificent “Earthquake” (which we posted about here), SSION, aka Cody Critcheloe, is back with another clip taken from last year’s excellent Bent long-player.
Both the music and the video styles are different this time round, with the slick dance-pop sounds of “Earthquake” and “My Love Grows In The Dark” eschewed in favor of a darker, electro-rock sound and a straight-to-camera performance. There’s hints of Suicide in here, and also 90s industrial music. SSION’s gender-bending edge remains intact though, with the particularly fine shortening of the Marshall amp logo to simply “Marsha”.
As Cody mentioned in his exclusive DM interview from the start of the year, he plans to make a video for every song on Bent, and it looks like he’s going to make that happen. He has already been teasing his fans with still from the video for the track “Psy-Chic”, possibly my favorite on the album, and there’s an open casting call for folks to star in the video for “Luvvbazaar”. But for now, we’ll just have to do with this:
SSION “Feelz Good (4-Evr)”
As I have mentioned numerous times on here, SSION’s Bent was one of my favorite albums of last year, and I actually included “Feelz Good (4-Evr)” on my Dangerous Minds round up of the best music from 2011. Here it is again for those that missed it:
William Burroughs was no fan of Truman Capote as is made clear in this verbal beat down in the form of a letter written by Burroughs upon the publication of Capote’s In Cold Blood.
July 23, 1970
My Dear Mr. Truman Capote
This is not a fan letter in the usual sense — unless you refer to ceiling fans in Panama. Rather call this a letter from “the reader” — vital statistics are not in capital letters — a selection from marginal notes on material submitted as all “writing” is submitted to this department. I have followed your literary development from its inception, conducting on behalf of the department I represent a series of inquiries as exhaustive as your own recent investigations in the sun flower state. I have interviewed all your characters beginning with Miriam — in her case withholding sugar over a period of several days proved sufficient inducement to render her quite communicative — I prefer to have all the facts at my disposal before taking action. Needless to say, I have read the recent exchange of genialities between Mr Kenneth Tynan and yourself. I feel that he was much too lenient. Your recent appearance before a senatorial committee on which occasion you spoke in favor of continuing the present police practice of extracting confessions by denying the accused the right of consulting consul prior to making a statement also came to my attention. In effect you were speaking in approval of standard police procedure: obtaining statements through brutality and duress, whereas an intelligent police force would rely on evidence rather than enforced confessions. You further cheapened yourself by reiterating the banal argument that echoes through letters to the editor whenever the issue of capital punishment is raised: “Why all this sympathy for the murderer and none for his innocent victims?” I have in line of duty read all your published work. The early work was in some respects promising — I refer particularly to the short stories. You were granted an area for psychic development. It seemed for a while as if you would make good use of this grant. You choose instead to sell out a talent that is not yours to sell. You have written a dull unreadable book which could have been written by any staff writer on the New Yorker — (an undercover reactionary periodical dedicated to the interests of vested American wealth). You have placed your services at the disposal of interests who are turning America into a police state by the simple device of deliberately fostering the conditions that give rise to criminality and then demanding increased police powers and the retention of capital punishment to deal with the situation they have created. You have betrayed and sold out the talent that was granted you by this department. That talent is now officially withdrawn. Enjoy your dirty money. You will never have anything else. You will never write another sentence above the level of In Cold Blood. As a writer you are finished. Over and out. Are you tracking me? Know who I am? You know me, Truman. You have known me for a long time. This is my last visit.
Life should be good for Mitt Romney, but the multi-multi-millionaire Republican just can’t seem to catch a break. Ever. After a brutal week and a half (on top of a brutal month and a half) that saw him called a “wimp,” “the American Borat,” and a racist for his dumbshit musings on Palestinian culture, Romney probably thought that his mittadventures abroad—meant to shore up his foreign policy gravitas—would at least win the booby prize of taking the spotlight off of his MIA tax returns….
“Mitt Romney knows how to do a cost-benefit analysis, and he’s determined that it’s better to be dogged by reporters for failing to release his tax returns for the duration of the 2012 campaign than it is to make the documents public.”
“The cost of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.”
A “cost-benefit analysis,” I’d imagine is exactly how the MBAs in the Romney campaign looked at the situation. Anyone with even a remote interest in the matter knows that there has to be SOMETHING in those returns that is so toxic, so damaging to Romney, that a sober decision was made to stonewall the press! Extraordinary! Who in their right minds would try to get away with something THIS DUMB? “No matter what they throw at us, we say nothing, and we don’t release the returns.” This calculation, it would seem to me, was a hope against hope (and common sense) that events (like a mass murder, the Olympics, the Jackson family) would overtake the “Release your tax returns, Mitt” news cycle.
The birthers didn’t stop even after Obama showed them his long form birth certificate. The matter of his MIA tax returns is not going to go away for Romney, nor should it. When you consider just how feverish and over-the-top the speculation has already gotten, it’s all the more remarkable that they haven’t just released the damn tax documents already. I mean, seriously, how bad can they really be?
Plenty bad, apparently, how else to explain that Romney hasn’t released them after all of the pain he’s sustained?
Governor George Romney, Mitt’s father, is practically THE national politician who started the tradition of releasing many years of tax returns. “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show,” he famously said in 1968, a remark that has come back to haunt his son!
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made his decidedly “loose-lipped” statement that an acquaintance of his who has investments at Bain Capital told him that Romney paid no taxes whatsoerver for a decade. Although this scenario seems highly unlikely, that didn’t slow Reid down from trolling Romney mercilessly with this scurrilous gossip, as The Las Vegas Review Journal reported:
Sen. Harry Reid caused a stir this week when he told an interviewer that Mitt Romney hasn’t released more of his tax returns because “he didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.” On Wednesday, Reid doubled down on the charge.
In an interview published Tuesday, Reid said an investor in Bain Capital, the former private equity firm of the Republican presidential candidate, told him in a phone call that Romney had paid zero taxes.
“Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” Reid told the Huffington Post, declining to identify his source. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”
His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, referring to then-Michigan Gov. George Romney making public 12 years of his tax returns when he ran for president in 1968.
Reid also suggested that Romney’s suspicious withholding of his tax returns would bar him from getting a Senate confirmation for a Cabinet post. This is a pretty serious thing for the Senate Majority leader to say, and no matter what you think of Reid’s politics, or even if you are offended that he was obviously just baiting Romney with malicious hearsay, that last bit is undeniable… He wouldn’t get confirmed for a Cabinet post!
And although I laughed out loud when I read what Reid had said—I’m someone who wants to see Romney and all Republicans defeated and defeated badly, but I’m no Democrat, either—the stark truth of the matter is that whatever percentage of Mitt Romney’s income he paid taxes on, from zero to whatever it really is, his effective tax rate is undoubtedly going to be a helluva lot less than you or I pay on our mere mortal incomes because Mitt’s only going to be paying capital gains taxes on his pot of gold. Probably about HALF of what the rest of us little people pay.
Do ya think this information will thrill the GOP’s blue collar base, who probably have no idea what the capital gains tax is, but who will only see spectacular unfairness?
That alone would sink his battleship, of this I have no doubt, but what else could be in those returns that is so bad that it merits having to withstand a steady barrage of shit being flung in Romney’s direction on a daily basis? The only way to end this Mitt-storm would be to release the returns, but APPARENTLY, based on ALL THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE it’s still better for him to stand there all shit-covered. Go figure! It must be pretty damaging if they’re this steadfast in their refusal to release the tax docs. And again this only turns the heat up more. The longer this brouhaha over Romeny refusing to release his tax returns goes on, the worse we can assume it is.
The thing is this information probably IS going to come out and come out soon—those tax returns (23 years’ worth) were put in the hands of the McCain campaign’s VP vetting committee back in 2008, so you can be as sure as shit that they are “around” and are just waiting safely in a vault “someplace” before they are put into the hands of the highest bidder.
One would assume that Mitt’s tax documents are in the possession of the Obama campaign, too. (Not that I have any insider information, it just stands to reason, does it not? Then again, if they did have them, what are they waiting for? I suppose timing is everything!).
There’s only one way for Mitt Romney to be able to in any way control his narrative and stage manage the (inevitable) release of his tax documents and that is to do it now and to do it himself before some other party beats him to it. Any expert consultant on public relations “damage control” would see where this was going to end and surely Romney has been told this and is well aware of what the refusal to release his returns has cost him.
And yet here we are.
See how this works? That’s what I mean by Chinese fingercuffs: The more Romney struggles against the inevitable, the worse he makes it on himself. It’s a highly unusual position, historically speaking, for a presidential candidate to have put himself in, I think all Americans of all political stripes can agree on this.
Below, new Obama campaign ad takes aim at Mitt Romney’s “ideas” for reforming the tax code. Yours go up around $2000. For millionaires, like Romney, well their taxes go down. Sounds fair, right?
Yesterday (August 1) was Tommy Bolin’s birthday and I had intended to post this video then…but it slipped through the net. My bad. Anyway, better late than never.
Here’s a promotional video for Zephyr, Bolin’s band in Boulder, Colorado during the late 1960s/early 70s. You can’t imagine how fucking radical Zephyr were at a time and place in which everybody was on a perpetual rocky mountain high and grooving to easy listening music for hippies like Poco, Firefall and John Denver. Loud, badass and dangerous, Zephyr was the first genuine hard rock band to originate in Boulder. Mine was the second. But Zephyr flamed-out as quickly as they hit the scene, leaving very little behind other than a couple of impressive albums (Zephyr and Going Back to Colorado) and some shitty looking videos.
I knew Tommy when we both lived in Boulder. We were the same age, musicians, freaks, and shared similar vices. In a town dominated by well-to-do backpackers in hiking boots, students and ski bums, we were the only ones wearing platform shoes and dyeing our hair in pinks and blues. Even in a city known for being somewhat open-minded, we managed to shock and appall the locals. It was Bolin that inspired me to purchase a pair of leopard print high heeled boots. I wore them in a video for my band The Nails, 15 years after first buying them.
I remember visiting Tommy at a suburban ranch house in a very unhip part of Boulder. It was the only time I spent with him alone. The house was as dark as a vampire’s nest, heavy drapes covered the windows and the hum of Bolin’s amplifier penetrated the heavy air with a pentode om. He came to the door wearing a black silk robe. He was as pale and ethereal as a ghost. I laid out a few lines of Peruvian flake and hung out while the shit kicked in. He nodded his head approvingly and we did a half dozen more hits. The coke was pure and smooth and we felt young and unstoppable… at least I did. Tommy, though, had this haunted quality about him that made him seem much older than he was. He was barely in his twenties, but he could appear ancient, a being of multiple incarnations. If, as the brujo Don Juan claims, death is astride our left shoulder at all times, than Bolin was wearing his mortality like a swashbuckling pirate wears a majestic parrot. It wasn’t hard to miss.
When Tommy died in 1976 I wasn’t surprised. Deeply sad but not surprised. I try to imagine what he would be like as an old man, but I already know. Like I said, he was ancient.
Candy Givens - vocal
David Givens - bass
John Faris - keyboards
Robbie Chamberlain - drums
Tommy Bolin - guitar
I’m having an “I did not know this” moment right now. Apparently Iggy Pop guest-starred on an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1998 as a Vorta overseer named “Yelgrun” from the planet Kurill Prime.
Again, I shall repeat, “I did not know this.”
Below, a video montage of Iggy’s most memorable scenes as “Yelgrun” from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Magnificent Ferengi.”