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Happy Birthday Cub Coda
10.01.2012
02:15 pm

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Literature
Music

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Cub Coda, Radio deejay Pat Appleson and George Carlin
 
Ann Arbor’s Brownsville Station formed in 1969. Their style of rootsy, blues-based rock and pile-driving rockabilly along with their theatrical glammy threads and punky attitude put them in the same school as The NY Dolls, The Stooges, Alice Cooper and the MC5. Their 1973 hit, “Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room,” is an anthemic punk stomper later covered by Motley Crue and Alice Cooper. Brownsville Station was the definition of a one hit wonder but among hardcore rock fans they were always respected for their no bullshit approach to rock and roll. They kept it fun and real. And part of that was due to their lead singer and guitarist Cub Coda’s undying allegiance to keeping the music pure and unadulterated in the tradition of the legendary rockers who came before him: Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Bo Diddley and Link Wray.

The break-up of Brownsville Station in 1979 didn’t slow the beat of Coda’s rock ‘n’ roll heart. Coda was a smart cat with a huge record collection and a real passion for popular music’s history - a boogie woogie evangelist and rock ‘n’ renaissance man. He wrote dozens of liner notes (mostly for blues and roots albums) and was a regular contributor to several music magazines, including The Vinyl Junkie. He formed several bands over the years and played solo, mostly in small clubs and bars and continued to record right up to his death of kidney disease in 2000. He was all about the music.

I’ve been reading some of Coda’s liner notes and excerpts from a book he contributed to, “Blues For Dummies.” I think my favorite piece he wrote was this short review of the re-issue of The Shagg’s “Philosophy Of World.” He gets at the very essence of The Shagg’s goofy magic.

The guilelessness that permeates these performances is simply amazing, making a virtue out of artlessness. There’s an innocence to these songs and their performances that’s both charming and unsettling. Hacked-at drumbeats, whacked-around chords, songs that seem to have little or no meter to them (“My Pal Foot Foot,” “Who Are Parents,” “That Little Sports Car,” “I’m So Happy When You’re Near” are must-hears) being played on out-of-tune, pawn-shop-quality guitars all converge, creating dissonance and beauty, chaos and tranquility, causing any listener coming to this music to rearrange any pre-existing notions about the relationships between talent, originality, and ability. There is no album you might own that sounds remotely like this one.

Brownsville Station on The Midnight Special. Too cool for school.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Noam Chomsky on the 2012 election and who he’s voting for
10.01.2012
01:32 pm

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Activism
Class War
Politics
Thinkers

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Portrait of Noam Chomsky by Luca Del Baldo

Political comedian Matthew Filipowicz interviewed Noam Chomsky at his MIT office recently. Filipowicz writes:

We discussed many aspects of activism including how he felt activists and progressives should approach two party politics and specifically the 2012 election:

“I think they should spend five or ten minutes on it. Seeing if there’s a point in taking part in the carefully orchestrated electoral extravaganza.  And my own judgment, for what it’s worth, is, yes, there’s a point to taking a part.”

Professor Chomsky said he will probably vote for Jill Stein for president in effort to push a genuine electoral alternative, but that if he lived in a swing state he would vote “against Romney-Ryan, which means voting for Obama.”

We also discussed the relationship between tactics and action. Speaking about Occupy Wall Street’s public encampments, Professor Chomsky, who supported OWS and authored a book on the subject, said such tactics have a half-life and that when one tactic stops working, activists have a responsibility to try something else.

Hear, hear. Just as there’s really no more Tea party, only an ignorant, nativist Fox News fan club that was left once the tide went back out, during the conservative movement’s brief heyday, they actually got several dozen members of Congress elected. Although a lot of that groundwork seems set to be undone in this election, where is the Occupy movement to fill in that vacuum? The answer is nowhere, of course, because the Occupy movement doesn’t exist anymore, either.

Yes, Occupy changed the conversation, I’d agree with that, but then what?

Then fuckin’ nothing. It didn’t even last for an entire year. It’s time for something new. Something more.
 

 
Via AlterNet

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Meet the ‘invisible people’ who pick up the trash at Mitt’s $12 million beachfront mansion
10.01.2012
11:28 am

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Activism
Class War
Politics
The wrong side of history

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Richard Hayes is a City of San Diego sanitation worker whose route includes Mitt Romney’s $12 million oceanfront villa in La Jolla. You know, the one with the elevator for all of his cars.

My name is Richard Hayes, and I pick up Mitt Romney’s trash. We’re kind of like the invisible people. He doesn’t realize that the service we provide—if it wasn’t for us, it would be a big health issue, us not picking up trash.

Residents do come out and shake our hands. Sometimes they give us hugs and thank us for the job we’re doing, hand us water and Gatorades. Tell us we’re doing a good job and keep up the good work. Picking up 15, 16 tons by hand, that takes a toll on your body. When I’m 55, 60 years old, I know my body’s gonna be break down [sic]. Mitt Romney doesn’t care about that.

I doubt that it’s ever crossed his mind.
 

 
Here’s a second San Diego sanitation worker’s take on Mitt. Meet Meet Joan Raymond:
 

 
Both testimonials via AFSCME, the nation’s largest and fastest growing public services employees union with more than 1.6 million active and retired members.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
reddit homepage in the year 3012
10.01.2012
11:26 am

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Amusing

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Apparently cats are extinct and the “pocket whales” craze will take over the Internet in the the next millennium.

Click here to see a more readable, larger version.
 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Otis Redding: Electrifying performances in Paris and London, from 1967
09.30.2012
07:31 pm

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Pop Culture

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Otis Redding was a child when he started singing and playing with the Vineville Baptist Choir. He also tried out his skills playing with the school band. His obvious natural proficiency led him to enter talent competitions at the Douglass Theatre. You see, Otis was more than just prodigiously talented he was thoughtful and kind-hearted and wanted to earn money for his family. That he did and after winning the $5 top prize 15-times in a row, he was banned from the competition.

The ban led him to start out playing with his idol Little Richard’s backing band The Upsetters, and by the early 1960s, when he was performing with The Pinetoppers, it was clear Otis was a dynamic and unstoppable talent.

In 1962, after recording tracks with The PInetoppers at Stax Records, co-owner Jim Stewart allowed Otis to cut some solo material. The result was “These Arms of Mine”.

From there, Otis Redding went onto become one of the biggest stars of the 1960s—especially in Europe where he was viewed as one of the greatest artists on the planet. In 1967 Redding outsold that year’s combined record sales for Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and kicked Elvis Presley’s sorry ass from the top of the Melody Maker‘s World’s Greatest Male Vocalist chart. Then he eventually conquered America with his mind-nlowing set at the Monterey Pop festival—where he turned on thousands of hippies to the joys of R’n'B and soul. It should have been the start of an even greater career but it was tragically cut short when redding died in a plane crash in December of that year.

All these years later, you can still have sunshine on a cloudy day with Otis Redding. Here he is a selection of The Big O, the King of Soul at his best in Paris and London performing some of his best known and biggest hits “Respect”, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, “Shake”, “My Girl”, and “Try a Little Tenderness”.

Push back the chairs, turn it up and cut a rug.
   

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Attack of the giant guitars: Neil Young and Crazy Horse shred Central Park
09.30.2012
03:44 pm

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The windows in the buildings surrounding Central Park must have been rattling last night. Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Dave Grohl and Dan Auerbach perform an epic version of “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World” at the Global Citizen Festival.

The guitar apocalypse was for a good cause:

This September, as the world’s leaders gather in New York for the UN General Assembly, the Global Citizen Festival will bring top artists and 60,000 change makers together on the Great Lawn of Central Park on September 29 to urge our leaders and fellow citizens to do more to help end extreme poverty.

This advocacy concert will celebrate the progress already made in fighting extreme poverty, secure financial commitments for tackling extreme poverty and disease, and mobilise thousands of ambassadors for change. We’ll unite around a simple yet powerful idea: that by giving every child a chance to thrive, our generation can end extreme poverty.

I’ll be seeing Neil at ACL in a couple of weeks. The dude seems ageless.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Alex Chilton and The Box Tops live at The Bitter End in 1967
09.30.2012
02:41 pm

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The Box Tops play live at New York City’s Bitter End in 1967.

The band kind of sleepwalks through “The Letter” but Alex Chilton brings the vocals home and seems to be enjoying himself.

Drummer Danny Smythe would later change his name to Patrick Carney and form The Black Keys.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Lester Bangs invocation of the Lizard King
09.30.2012
04:19 am

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Lester Bangs wrote this defense of Jim Morrison back in 1981 for Creem Magazine. He wrote it to remind people of the indelible mark Morrison had made on rock ‘n’ roll and the reach of his influence. Hard to believe it had to be stated, but glad that Lester made the case.

Fat lot Robert Christgau knows about rock and roll. The emperor’s jimmies got the final bronzetone about two years ago when, flesh no doubt nuzzling up the McGarrigles he wrote off The Doors in an “I Remember 1967” Consumer Guide Extra, “Not getting around it - Jim Morrison sounds like an asshole.”

One thing’s sure: Patti Smith wasn’t whispering dictation in Big Bob’s ear when that particular thunderbolt clattered down from on high. Whatever else you might say about her, Patti Smith’s always paid downright somber homage where due to all our sweet boppin’ daddies. Jimbo, Hendrix, Arthur Lee – wherever a stiff drops, there’s Pats hawking memento mori samplers. As well she should, because without Jim she might well have ended up spouting her rocksy poesy in quatrains redolent of Leonard Cohen burrowing his doddering peepnose ‘neath schoolgirls skirts. Which of course wouldn’t have birthed any kind of phoenix.

Think about it. Without Jim Morrison no Patti, but what’s more or less no Iggy perhaps no Bryan Ferry in his least petit-bonbonned moments. Without Iggy, of course, no punk rock renaissance at all, which means obviously that Jim was the real father of all that noise, because if you wanted to look at it as cynically as Ig deserves after The Idiot you could even say that all his whole career amounted to was one frenetic attempt to prove he was as mucho macho as the Lizard King. When, as we all know, Jim was such a complete Man he could even brag about his impotence!

Just ask Dotson Rader if you believe anything he says anymore, or better yet check out Jim’s new spoken poetry with Manzarek overdubs album, An American Prayer, the best recitative sluice of American literature on LP since Call Me Burroughs, and hell, even Burroughs never had the sheer nerve to lead with “All join now and lament the death of my cock.” In a way Jim was really the end of the Masculine Mystique as celebrated American culture up to and through rock ‘n’ roll, because unlike clowns like John Kay or indeed any of his progeny, he was a maters of the sly inflectional turn, so that his every utterance no matter how repetitious rolled out oozing irony and sanity.

Who further to say that he finally showed the fans his weenie in Florida he was not oh-so bemusedly letting them in on the cosmodemonic comedy the whole thing boiled down to, the understanding of which he’d been considerate enough to spare them up to then because he respected virgins as much as the next good Irish Catholic boy? Who’s to say the “bubble gum” / “parody” in the third and fourth Doors albums, so dismaying to early believers, was not entirely intentional, premeditated, one juncture in a vast strategy of liberation? A strategy scripted from day one to ultimately reveal that not only did machismo equal bozo in drag, but furthermore that all rock stars were nothing more than huge oafus cartoons ( more New Wave foreshadowing!), that in fact these games of both “Poet” and “Shaman” were just two more gushers of American snakeoil. He knew! And now, eons later, so do we.

This album proves what the emergence of Patti Smith had given us reason to hope: that beatnick poetry is not dead. Jim’s whiskey breathed wordslinging varooms on, not only in Patti Smith, but in Richard Hell and maybe even Bruce Springsteen if he’d ever get down with the greasemonkies he talks about. Fuck the James Taylors, not to mention the Warren Zevons, who may wave brave handguns but are pure pseudo Randy Newman mannerism. Jim’s violence is cool school: “Hey, listen, man I really got a problem. When I was out on the desert, ya know, I don’t know how to tell you, but, ah, I killed somebody. No…it’s no big deal, ya know. I don’t think anybody will find out about it, but, ah…Let your children play… this guy gave me a a ride, ah ah, If you give this man a ride…started giving me a lot of trouble, sweet family will die, and I just couldn’t take it, ya know? Killer on the road And I wasted him, Yeah.”

I’d like to see Charles Bukowski beat that – “A .45 To Pay The Rent,” indeed! Why even bother playing the fucking rent, when Jim understands the single kernel of no mind koan-truth that eluded both philosophers and poets (not to mention P. Smith) over the centuries: that death is about as serious as anything else we diddle our imaginations with. Or at least that our attempts to rationalize it are beautifully, lovingly funny. Anybody who thinks this stuff just dope-noggined gibberish oughta recheck Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues and “Old Angel Midnight” of the extra opiom-ated latter pages of Lautreamont’s Maidoror. Or Patti’s Babel, for that matter. All those benighted verbiage-vectors went on at ridiculous length about the tragic communication of sex and death: Jim was hip to the comedy implicit in romantic obsessor: “I pressed her thigh and death smiled. Death, old friend. Death and my cock are the word…Hey man, you want girls, pills, grass? C’mon…I show you a good time…”

Sociology? “He’s rich, got a big car.” God-stuff? “We could plan a murder or start a religion. Guru’s questions answered? “Will you die for me? Eat me.” Allen Ginsberg hasn’t written anything this good in 20 years almost. The Beats meant to bring poetry back to the street’s and the guttermind of the people at large, and they succeeded: they gave birth to Jim Morrison, a giant resplendent in the conviction that stardom my guarantee Chivas Regal till you drown, but to clown is divine and ultimately sexy.

End.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Genius of Thelonious Monk: Live in Oslo and Copenhagen from 1966
09.29.2012
08:06 pm

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Heroes
Music
Television

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Thelonious Monk is 1 of only 5 Jazz Musicians who have made the cover of Time magazine. The others were Armstrong, Ellington, Marsalis and Brubeck.

Monk was always special. His wife Nellie once remarked, he “was never like ordinary people, not even as a child.” He dressed differently, thought differently and was said to even have smaller hands than most piano players, which gave him his very distinctive style. What made him special was the Monk knew who he was and what he wanted to be. How this great, genius talent later came undone is a sad and tragic tale.

Here is Monk performing alongside along with Charlie Rouse (Tenor Sax), Larry Gales (Bass), and Ben Riley (Drums) in 2 television concerts in Norway and Denmark, from 1966.

Thelonious Monk Live in Oslo

Track Listing:

01. “Lulu’s Back In Town”
02. “Blue Monk”
03. “‘Round Midnight”

Thelonious Monk Live in Copenhagen

Tracks Listing:

01. “Lulu’s Back In Town”
02. “Don’t Blame Me”
03. “Epistrophy”
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
When Lou Reed doesn’t like you, you know it: MTV 1986
09.29.2012
04:51 pm

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This is a rather long introduction to the video below in which Lou Reed verbally pistol whips a founding member of the New Music Seminar. Reed’s disdain for NMS is something I shared at the time…still do. Here’s some reasons why from somebody in the thick of it:

In the early 1980s, New Music Seminar may have actually provided an alternative to the established music industry but it quickly degenerated into a case of the new boss being the same as the old boss. I participated in the seminar as a member of a band that played NMS (1985) and later as a music booker. I eventually severed ties with them because I was starting to see that the whole damned thing was becoming more and more about the greed side of the business and less and less about the bands and the music. When NMS started forcing venues to hang banners above their stages advertising Newport cigarettes, I knew there was bad karma brewing.

What I saw were musicians travelling from all over the world to perform at NMS and getting little out of it. On the other hand, NMS was profiting from membership fees, ticket sales, booth rentals, corporate sponsorships and an entry charge from the bands themselves - which only guaranteed musicians that someone would listen to your demo tape, not a slot at the fest. If you were one of the lucky ones and got an NMS showcase, you’d more than likely never get paid. In many cases, you’d be lucky to even be seen - lucky to be playing some hole-in-the-wall while the masses of seminar-goers were attending some blue chip act’s gig at The Ritz or Danceteria.

The whole thing had the stink of a scam. Thousands of bands were sending checks ($50?) to NMS just to have a shot at appearing at the seminar. Do the math. This was a highly lucrative way for NMS to make money without really having to do much of anything. I saw how the process worked first hand: In a loft on Lower Broadway, a group of NMS flunkies would sit around a table with a boombox and a large pile of envelopes in front of them. They’d tear open the envelopes and separate demo tapes from checks. They’d slip the tapes into the boomboxes, play a few seconds of music and wait until someone would shout out “garbage.” The cassette tape would then be thrown into the trash. This would go on for days. Checks would pile up as tapes would be tossed out. For the most part, the people making these decisions were volunteers who had little grasp of the music they were listening to. On the day I was privy to this cold-hearted and unprofessional process, it was being overseen by someone mentioned in the video below. An organization supposedly in the business of promoting new music was being run by people who seemed to hate it. It made me sick. So much so that I pulled my music venues from the seminar and wrote a lengthy letter to the Village Voice describing what I’d seen. The letter was published in column form and the unexpected result was that it instantly established me as the go-to guy for bands who wanted to avoid the bureaucratic bullshit of NMS. I wasn’t looking for the gig, but I took it. I booked several venues unaffiliated with NMS for the duration of the seminar. The bands got some exposure and collectively we sent a big “fuck you” to NMS. In addition, the bands were paid in money, drink and food.

There’s something about the music industry that kills the best intentions. Big corporations driven by money eventually reduce everything to product. The indie music business was in many ways worse. Because they generally had no money, they were more inclined to bend to the will of the marketplace and sell their souls in order to survive. I’ve experienced both sides and the only money I made from music was from big corporations. The only time I ever really felt ripped off was when I was never paid for records sold by indie labels.

RCA, CBS, NMS, SXSW…essentially it’s all the same.

Reed interviews NMS co-founder Mark Josephson on MTV’s “120 Minutes” in 1986, the year before I cut my ties to NMS.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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