Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band hit Philadelphia two nights ago and during a performance of “Raise Your Hand” The Boss jumped into the audience and had a tall cold one with his fans.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I’d swallow a frosty beverage handed to me by a total stranger. And then again, now that I think about it, there was a time in my life that I drank, licked, sucked and snorted just about everything shoved in front of my face. Yeah, rock and roll makes you immortal…or makes you think you’re immortal…same thing.
But back to the video. This Springsteen clip is Rick Santorum’s worst nightmare. The devil’s music on his front porch and a crowd of 20,000 rock fiends drinking Rolling Rock and chanting “Bahhhhhhhhs! “Bahhhhhhhhs! “Bahhhhhhhhs!
Springsteen is pushing hard on this tour to subvert the messages of the right wing and derail the Republican death train. The Jersey boy has picked up Woody Guthrie’s guitar, the one that says “this machine kills fascists,” and is running with it. And no matter what cynical bastards say about Springsteen being a member of the 1%, his new record and tour is called “Wrecking Ball” for good reason - words won’t do it alone, we need to take action…but first we need to come together and create a sense of community. And historically speaking there’s been no better galvanizing artistic force for the good of humankind than rock and roll and no bigger trigger to change society and consciousness than a big fat beat you can dance to.
Look at the faces in this video. These folks vote. And trust me, they ain’t voting for the forces of darkness. You can’t love life and be an advocate for death. The “Wrecking Ball Tour” is the spiritual counterpoint to the shit coming off Santorum and Romney. I would venture to say that Springsteen could wipe their asses on the electoral floor if he ran against them for President. But the Boss ain’t ready to be THE Boss yet. He’s too busy making people feel good. But he’d make a great Vice President. Obama/Boss-mania in 2012. Being Vice President would still give Springsteen plenty of time to tour. It can be done. I’ve heard rumors that Biden was night-owling in a Gary Puckett & The Union Gap tribute band for the past three years.
Here’s the trailer for the newly restored Yellow Submarine.
The digital clean-up of the film’s photochemical elements was lovingly done entirely by hand, frame by frame. Having seen the world premiere of the restored version at this year’s SXSW, I can attest to its eye-searing intensity and lysergic beauty. While the story obviously remains the same, rather thin with a script comprised of surreal non sequiturs and bad puns, the overall experience of watching the film in a pristine digital format overwhelms the narrative with colors and artwork so you rich you can practically taste it. And the stereo soundtrack sounded wonderful.
Coming out on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 29 with 5.1 surround sound. Expect to be astonished.
Mod Odyssey is a groovy short documentary on the creation of Yellow Submarine. Enjoy.
Although she barely rates a mention in most Frank Zappa bios, Pauline Butcher was Zappa’s secretary during a crucial era of his early career. Butcher was a model and a stenographer in London, when a chance meeting with Zappa in 1967 led to a job offer in America, helping him to prepare a book he’d been contracted to write. Not only was she his employee, she was also a resident of the infamous “Log Cabin” in Laurel Canyon where the Zappa family and several people in their entourage lived.
Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa is, beyond a doubt, the single most revealing book ever written about the private life of one of the giants of 20th century music and the “inner circle” who surrounded him. If you are a Zappa fan—I’ve noticed that quite a lot of DM readers are (I, myself, am typing this sitting below a diptych painting of the original Mothers of Invention wearing dresses that hangs above my desk)—then you will want to run, not walk to grab a copy of this book. I drank it down like a cold beer on a hot day. Freak Out! is a well-observed and well-written memoir that never forgets who the reader is there for. First-time author Butcher has a novelist’s eye for detail, seems to be blessed with an elephant’s memory and had the extreme good fortune that her mother kept all of her letters from 40 years ago so that she could draw from them.
It’s a great read. Zappa fans will love this book.
I posed a few questions for Pauline Butcher over email.
How would you describe your role in the life of Frank Zappa?
My role in the life of Frank Zappa was restricted to a five-year period, 1967 to 1972. During that time I was originally employed to help Frank write a political book for Stein & Day who’d given him carte-blanche to write whatever he wished. In the event, the book was never written partly because Frank developed other interests in setting up his own record companies, Bizarre and Straight, but also because he had a sneaking suspicion the FBI or CIA would use its contents against him.
As a result, I was left with secretarial work, running the fan club United Mutations, road-managing the GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously) an all-girl singing group which one might say was the predecessor to the Spice Girls, and helping to set up the record companies. I also think Frank used me, in the beginning, as a sort of therapist, unburdening his worries about the Mothers of Invention. I think he felt I was someone he could trust.
What was the impetus to write this book? Why now and not, say, twenty years ago?
If only I had written the book 20 years ago! Book sales would be greater not only because Frank had just died and more people knew who he was, but also because the book market was healthier then.
So why now? I had always wanted to be a journalist/writer, but after I returned to England from America and went to Cambridge University, I met my husband and our son was born. I spent the next 18 years devoted to looking after him as well as teaching A-level psychology. But when our son went to university and I had given up teaching, I no longer had any excuses. I began writing radio plays for Radio 4, had them rejected, wrote again, got encouragement, wrote again until a producer told me, ‘the only way you’ll break through is if you write something that no one else can write,’ and I thought the only story that no one else could write is my experience living and working with Frank Zappa.
It began as a five-part radio serial for Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 but half-way through the first draft, I was told Germaine Greer had been commissioned to do a documentary programme on Zappa and the BBC wouldn’t consider two in one year. I was so angry I wrote off to every publisher and twelve wrote back asking for chapters. Of course, I hadn’t written anything but I knew I had a marketable product. It took nine months to type up the letters I’d written home which my mother kept in a shoe box for forty years, two years to write the book, another year almost to find a publisher, and one year to get it published. Hey, ho, ten years after my son went to university, my book, Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa was born.
Gail Zappa is known for being a fierce protector of her late husband’s legacy. This book is certainly the most intimate book written about Frank Zappa to date, and it’s very revealing about their marriage. I didn’t feel that she was portrayed unfairly or unsympathetically at all, but I’m wondering how Gail has reacted to your book? I would imagine that you might have been a little apprehensive about her opinion.
I’m wondering how Gail has reacted to my book. I have no idea. Many people have asked me this question, but no one it seems has asked any of the Family Trust members directly.
I was hoping that Moon might read it as she has written her own thinly disguised portrait of her parents in America The Beautiful which I think is brilliant, but neither she nor any of her siblings have spoken publicly about it. I visited Gail in Hollywood in 2007. She gave me her e-mail address and I wrote to her but she didn’t reply. Therefore, I have not written to her about the book. I hoped Dweezil, Ahmet, Moon or Diva would be interested in reading it to find out about their parents’ early married life. I personally would love to read a fly-on-the-wall portrait of my own parents when they were first married, painful though some of it might be.
Are you back in touch with any of the Mothers or GTOs on Facebook?
Four of the GTOs, Lucy, Cinderella, Christine and Sandra have died. I contacted the three remaining girls, Sparkie, Mercy and Pamela. I sent copies of my book to each of them and have had a favourable but short comment on Facebook from Sparkie, none from Mercy, and Pamela wrote on FB, ‘lurved your book darlink.’
I am in constant contact with Art Tripp who in turn has been in touch with Roy Estrada. I was in contact with Jimmy Carl Black before he died because he was writing his own book; I have spoken to Bunk Gardner who told me he was sued by Gail twice for wanting to play Frank’s music, and to never write to her again after he wrote condolences following Frank’s death. I am also in touch with Ray Collins whose song I have used on the soundtrack of my video which is posted on You Tube and FB. I failed to trace Motorhead before he died, nor have I had communication with Don Preston. Ian Underwood wrote a brief message on FB that he was pleased to hear from me but made no further reply. I failed to find Ruth Underwood until just recently and have not as yet contacted her.
James Chance, one of the most iconic players of NYC’s “No Wave” scene, married the avant garde improvisational free jazz of Ornette Coleman to jagged, angular funk riffs that were straight out of James Brown, creating a squalling brand of chaotic jazz-punk-funk unlike anything that had been heard before. Chance and his band, The Contortions were one of the most unique groups gigging around New York from the mid 1970s until the early 1980s. James Chance and The Contortions also performed as James White and The Blacks, but it was essentially the same group of musicians.
Seen here, Chance and The Contortions perform at Max’s Kansas City in 1979. Another great clip from Paul Tschinkel’s long-running Innertube NYC public access TV show. He’s got to let his vast archive escape one day. It’s a treasure trove of the punk and post-punk era of NYC music. There’s obviously nothing else like it.
A British councillor has stunned his colleagues by claiming his real mother is a 9 foot green alien with 8 fingers.
Simon Parkes, who was elected as a Labour Party councillor for the Stakesby district of the Whitby Town Council in February this year, has spoken at length on You Tube of his life among extra-terrestrials and his upbringing with an alien Mom, reports the Northern Echo.
Parkes said he first saw an alien at the age of eight months, when “a traditional kite-shaped face”, with huge eyes, tiny nostrils and a thin mouth appeared over his cot.
He said: “Two green stick things came in. I was aware of some movement over my head. I thought, ‘they’re not mummy’s hands, mummy’s hands are pink’.”
He added: “I was looking straight into its face. It enters my mind through my eyes and it sends a message down my optic nerve into my brain.
“It says ‘I am your real mother, I am your more important mother’.”
He said after contracting chicken pox at the age of three, his mother went to work and left him at home to fend for himself when an 8ft “doctor” dressed as a waiter appeared to offer help.
As an 11-year-old, he claims he was taken on a craft by his alien “mother”, and made a deal with the beings on board.
He said: “The reason extraterrestrials are interested in me is not because of my physical body, but because of what is inside me. My soul.”
Councillor Parkes said his extraterrestrial beliefs “did not come up on the doorstep” while he was campaigning recently.
He said: “For many people who don’t experience it, it’s very hard to accept. We are taught to only see and believe what we can touch, but it’s acceptable to believe in religion.
“It’s a personal matter and it doesn’t affect my work. I’m more interested in fixing someone’s leaking roof or potholes. People don’t want me to talk about aliens.
“I get more common sense out of the aliens than out of Scarborough Town Hall. The aliens are far more aware of stuff. People in the Town Hall seem not to be aware of the needs of Whitby.”
Fellow Stakesby ward member and former Mayor of Whitby, Councillor Terry Jennison, said the matter had not been discussed by councillors.
He said: “I am completely in the dark about this.”
In his long (winded) interview, which becomes increasingly bizarre as it goes on, Mr Parkes gives full details (with illustrations) of his upbringing and inter-action with extra-terrestrials and their plans for our future. And I thought Republicans were weird.
A new documentary on the ill-fated career of glam rocker Jobriath, Jobriath A.D., screened last night at the BFI London Lesbian and Gay film festival and has received a very warm critical reception. In a glowing review in The Guardian, critic Andrew Pulver writes…
[...] in this fantastically revelatory documentary by Kieran Turner, Jobriath has been thoroughly rehabilitated: as a charismatic performer in his own right, the unwitting victim of record-industry hubris, and an unlikely, reluctant martyr for gay rights.
Haven’t heard of Jobriath? In an article previously posted on Dangerous Minds, R. Metzger, a Jobriath fan, described him in succinct fashion:
If you’ve never heard of Jobriath Boone, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Obscure even by “rock snob” standards, Jobriath was the first really openly gay rock star. David Bowie and Lou Reed flirted with bisexuality, nail polish and make-up, of course, but Jobriath was in his own words, “a true fairy.” He wasn’t just “out of the closet” he was out like a police siren with the volume turned up to eleven!”
And in an article published yesterday in The Guardian, Marc Almond pays homage to his hero and explains why Jobriath may have been too much too soon:
Jobriath (born Bruce Wayne Campbell) was a readymade entity with no big backstory, yet to those in the know he was thrilling and seductive, a guilty secret. I remember, before hearing a note, taking a journey to the big city to buy his first album, the eponymous Jobriath, on import. Its striking cover showed him with porcelain skin and film-star ruby lips, a fallen, broken, beautiful statue. On a first listening, the music is a baffling mix of glam, musical theatre and 1970s rock. At a time when we craved simple guitar chords and a Starman chorus, Jobriath seemed just too musical, too clever – not pop enough. His voice had a touch of Mick Jagger at his most sluttish (like that other wonderful US glam import, David Johansen of the New York Dolls). He was a mix of wide-eyed innocent and world-weary punk. And though there was a nod to Ziggy in the vowels, Bowie he was not.
For me, above all else, he was a sexual hero: truly the first gay pop star. How extreme that was to the US at the time. His outrageous appearances on the hallowed US rock show The Midnight Special prompted shock, bewilderment and disgust. Everyone hated Jobriath – even, and especially, gay people. He was embarrassingly effeminate in an era of leather and handlebar moustaches.
Jobriath A.D. will have its US premiere on Apr 14 at the Florida Film Festival.
“Bubbles” (or rather Mike Smith, the actor who plays him) from the greatest Canadian television show of all time, Trailer Park Boys, wants to go to outer space. The Metro News in Toronto is holding a contest to put one of their readers into space and Smith wants to win.
Vote for him here. Let’s shoot this cocksucker into space! Bubbles has to win!
“Somebody told me you people are crazy! But I’m not so sure about that; you seem to be all right to me.”—Lux Interior
On June 13, 1978 The Cramps gave a free concert at the California State Mental Hospital in Napa. It is, simply put, one of the single greatest rock and roll moments ever captured on videotape (in this case, on a half-inch open reel Sony Portapak by Joe Rees and his Target Video outfit). Also on the bill were The Mutants from San Francisco.
One hundred years from now this video will be as iconic as The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. But enough description, HIT PLAY AND WATCH IT, ALREADY!
Artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard meticulously recreated this event (and the video itself) as an elaborate art project at the ICA in London in 2003. Forsyth and Pollard’s “Cramps” also performed in front of an audience comprised of psychiatric patients in their “File under Sacred Music” re-staging of the infamous 1978 gig.