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Buy or die! The Residents release ‘The Ultimate Box Set’ for only $100,000
12.07.2012
02:42 pm

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Music

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When you search for images of “the residents” and “christmas” you get mostly depressing pics from old folks homes.
 
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first record release, 1972’s “Santa Dog” 45, The Residents are putting out the Ultimate Box Set which includes practically everything they’ve ever done and more, even a replica of one of the eyeball masks!

On Christmas Day, the set—it all comes packed inside of a 28 cubic ft. refrigerator—will go on sale at The Residents website. The $100,000 package includes the first issue of every Residents album, 45, CD, CD-ROM, video and DVD in the group’s 40-year career—even the stuff on dead formats, I’d guess—including the festive 2012 Residents’ Christmas single.

“Have a bake sale. Break open those penny jars. Sell a goddamn kidney if you have to,” Residents lead singer “Randy” suggests in the infomercial.

The Residents are selling just ten of these “box sets.” If all ten sell, that’ll add up to one million dollars for “Randy,” “Chuck” and “Bob.” There’s even a special “mystery box” edition that sells for, gulp, $5 million.

In honor of their 40th anniversary, The Residents will be embarking on their “Wonder of Weird” twenty date tour in January (I saw them on their 13th Anniversary Tour. Christ I’m getting old).

“Randy Rose,” lead singer for The Residents, hosts an infomercial where the group presents its entire catalog of music in an uplifting once-in-a-lifetime offer:
 

 
Thank you Chris Campion!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
No Future for You: McDonald’s Cash Register Playset, a Toys’R'Us exclusive!
12.07.2012
12:42 pm

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Class War

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Make of this what you will…

The “Just Like Home” McDonald’s Cash Register 10 Piece Playset features a working cash register where you can hear your menu selections. Includes playfood, and a drive thru playset with headset with real working intercom and McDonald’s play money.

Toys’R’Us exclusive Just Like Home pretend play kitchens, grocery and restaurant toy play sets give your kids everything they need to become the next great celebrity or reality show super chef!

Or perhaps your child will aspire to become the a part of the growing minimum wage fastfood industry. Seven in ten jobs of the next decade will come from low wage sectors, so train ‘em now for that dead-end job that won’t even provide a living wage, that they’ll be LUCKY to get!

Forget “gender specific toys” and all of that stuff: What kind of fucked up message does this toy send? (“This is your lot in life, kid. Get used to it”?)

Serfdom USA. No surprise that Toys’R’Us is owned by Bain Capital.

Via Alternet

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Whïsker Dü: Because sometimes cat-ladies love 80s Hardcore
12.07.2012
09:17 am

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Amusing
Animals
Punk

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”Whïsker Dü was a hardcore band formed in Saint Maul, Meownesota in 1979”
 
My love for both 80s hardcore and cats has finally been synthesized with the Whïsker Dü tee-shirt.

The geniuses at Broke Friends have made my Christmas list, and I’m sure many a cat-lady punk (and remember, dudes can be cat-ladies, too) will be clamoring for this sly feline reference to Everything Falls Apart .

There are things that I love openly, like cats and Hüsker Dü, and there are secret loves that I keep to myself, like cheesy puns… until now.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Funky Litigation: Rick James on ‘Judge Joe Brown’
12.07.2012
08:33 am

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Television

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More daytime TV courtroom drama featuring rock stars!

The perfect follow up to the Judge Judy clip featuring John Lydon I posted earlier this week, this time it’s the turn of the super freak himself, Mr Rick James, to stand in the dock, on the show Judge Joe Brown.

James is there to sue the pants off guitarist Jeronne Turner, to whom he lent a guitar and amp which subsequently got stolen from Turner’s car. That’s some cold blooded shit right there, Rick!

(In case you’re not familiar with “Cold Blooded”, James’ excellent slice of minimal electrofunk from 1983, you can hear it here. Apparently the song was inspired by James’ relationship with Linda Blair.)

Perhaps not as cold blooded as James claiming that Turner, who apparently has “a little sugar in his tank” (though he has no problem with homosexuals he is at pains to stress) groped James’ butt for a period of 40 or so seconds when they were hanging out in Club Hollywood. James is still happy to let Turner call him “Rick” just as long as he pays him. He even admits at the end, in fact, that if he WAS gay, he’d marry Turner!

As ever, Rick James is highly entertaining. If you crave more courtroom action, there’s some more videos of rockers in the dock on this excellent post on the Yuppie Punk blog. It’s fairly old now, so some of the clips have been taken down, but I’m sure if you hunt around you can find them.

Thankfully, this one still exists in its entirety:
 

 
Note: I can’t find a date for this clip - anyone have any ideas? The show first aired in 1998 and James died in 2004, so there’s the ball park.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy, R.I.P.
12.06.2012
10:59 pm

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Music
R.I.P.

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Mr. Skin has died at the age of 89. At this time, cause of death has not been disclosed.

Ed Cassidy was a big reason that Spirit has always been one of my favorite American rock bands. The guy was bigger-than-life, a musician whose formidable skills were matched by his theatricality. And at a time when kids distrusted anyone over 30 and longhair was a symbol of how cool you were, here comes this old bald dude who was hipper than they were. It shattered some stereotypes. As sad as it is to see him go, the fact that he lived until the ripe old age of 89 is the equivalent of an astonishing 178 in rock ‘n’ roll years.

Cassidy played with some jazz cats like Roland Kirk and Cannonball Adderly but didn’t get into rock until he was well into his forties. He formed Little Red Rooster in 1965 with stepson Randy California, Mark Andes and Jay Ferguson. In 1967, they changed their name to Spirit and became a monolithic presence on the Southern California rock scene and eventually a world wide success. Cassidy and California were terrific musicians as well as showmen. They delivered the goods.

Here’s Cassidy and California playing in Germany in 1978.
 

 
Previously on DM: Spirit on late night TV.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A talk with author Henry Scott-Irvine about his excellent new book on Procol Harum
12.06.2012
04:59 pm

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Close to 40 years after first seeing Procol Harum perform live, Henry Scott-Irvine has written the definitive book on the band: The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale. It’s a fascinating look into the history of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most under-appreciated groups. Full of never-before-seen photos and insightful interviews with dozens of people close to the band, including numerous members of Procol Harum, family, friends and business associates, this is a motherlode for fans of Procol Harum and rock music in general.

In this interview, Henry Scott-Irvine shares his thoughts on Procol Harum and the reasons that after four and a half decades the band continues to “shine on brightly.”

Marc Campbell: The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale is 340 pages long, quite substantial for a band that never achieved superstar status. Clearly, a labor of love and a gift for the fans of the band. When did you first hear Procol Harum and what was your immediate reaction?

Henry Scott-Irvine: The book was estimated to be 340 pages prior to writing it. The biography is actually 308 pages in length. But if you include the narrative pages along with with 50 pictures, then I did indeed deliver 340 pages.

I first heard Procol Harum’s music when “Conquistador” played out BBC TV’s Top Of The Pop’s in March 1972. As a very young teenager it reminded me of Morricone themes from Spaghetti Westerns and alluded to Cervantes’ Don Quixote, which had been specially made as a film for BBC TV around this time. I first heard Procol Harum live a year later at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall (which is Edinburgh’s Royal Albert Hall) when they debuted my home town.
During their performance of “Homburg” I heard a familiar chuckle from a couple of rows back. Much to my overwhelming embarrassment my Dad was sitting behind me wearing a Homburg hat and an overcoat that was way too long!

MC: “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” is considered one of the great psychedelic rock songs. I certainly have fond memories of tripping while listening to it. Were Procol Harum acidheads?

HSI: Well they never admitted to it at the time. But some years later (1992) Gary Brooker did tell me he remembered going to a party at Brian Jones house in the summer of 1967, but couldn’t recall a thing afterwards. I think the song ‘Shine On Brightly’ is the nearest thing to a Procol Harum acid trip! Keith Reid must have been on acid to write that lyric!

MC: The original video for “A Whiter Shade…” has almost 12 million views on YouTube. It’s a song that still seems fresh and contemporary…as does much of PH’s music. Is it fair to say they were ahead of their time?

HSI: Without a shadow of a doubt! Place ‘Pale’ in the context of what had come before in the world of Pop and it was like a bolt out the blue. There had been no 45rpm that featured that particular fusion of classical music and blue-eyed soul, until ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’. Procol Harum were leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. This is why ‘Pale’ was such a huge hit around the world. It literally caught the imagination of countless millions. There has never been an audit of just how many millions it actually sold globally.
 
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Keith Reid, BJ Wilson, Dave Knights and Gary Brooker chat after a sound check at the Constitution Hall in Washington DC, USA in 1969.  Robin Trower and Matthew Fisher prefer to sit. Photograph by William Hatfiled.
 
MC: How did you come to know Procol Harum personally?

HSI: I first met Keith Reid at the time Gary Brooker made his first solo album No More Fear Of Flying in 1979. I went to interview Keith at his offices in Cranleigh Gardens in the rather posh district of Kensington in London. He was running his management company Strongman Production with his associate Nick Blackburn and looking after the likes of Scottish blue-eyed soul singer-rocker Frankie Miller, Southend R&B man Mickey Jupp and Gary Brooker. I heard ‘The Miller’ in concert many times between 1977 and 1981 and I would always track him down backstage in order to meet a rather bemused Keith Reid.  “Are you’ze guys Punks?” ‘The Miller’ would say to us each time with a mischievous glint in his eye. We’d tell him that we were Procol Harum fans. He would never believe us then repeatedly recall how, when he was in his first band The Stoics, he used to cover “The Devil Came From Kansas” from Procol’s third album A Salty Dog.

When Procol reformed in 1991 I was working in TV and I renewed my association with Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. Gary would invite me to his Christmas party gigs in Chiddingfold in deepest rural Surrey, every year. The likes of Eric Clapton, Dave Gilmour, Andy Fairweather-Lowe and Frankie Miller would join him and a vast ten piece band covering everything from Otis Redding, Bobby Bland, John lee Hooker and Procol Harum. A couple of us would then be invited to his local olde English pub on the village green the day after where we would join him and the band for a Christmas lunch that would last all day and continue well into the evening. Gary Brooker and his wife Franky were always warm, witty and kind. Magical times.

I went on tour with the band to Tallinn, Estonia in 1993 for a huge festival where Procol topped Faith No More. Two years later I went to see Procol play the newly re-opened Fillmore in San Francisco where they were supported by surprise guests The Doors. I remember walking up the venue’s red velvet carpeted steps to hear the strains of ‘Road House Blues’ spilling out of the theatre as if it really was 1969, and not 1995, and I was literally in seventh heaven. A couple of days later we sat with guitarist Albert Lee at the House Of Blues in Los Angeles and saw Procol Harum deliver another triumphant set. It inspired me to approach the director of the London Symphony Orchestra later that year, and in early 1996 a dream came true when Procol Harum and The LSO played London’s Barbican to a capacity 4000 seater venue. We have all remained friends ever since and a documentary-in-progress remains in the pipeline.

MC: In writing the book, who did you interview?

HSI: I interviewed virtually everyone who is and was in Procol Harum with the notable exception of the late BJ Wilson to whom the biography is dedicated. The band gave me exclusive interviews.

Here is a list of some of the others whom I interviewed:- Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) Pete Brown (Cream) Will Birch (The Kursaal Flyers & The Records) John Denton (Wilko Johnson’s Solid Senders) Chris Thomas (producer) Dennis Weinreich (producer) Ken Scott (engineer) John ‘Kellogs’ Kalinowski (former manager) Doug D’Arcy (former manager) Derek Sutton (former manager) David Pelletier (former sound man) Ann P Munday (Chrysalis Records) Simon Platz (music publisher).

The book’s Foreword was written at my personal request by Martin Scorsese. The Introduction was also written at my personal request by Sir Alan Parker as was the Afterword by author Sebastian Faulks MBE.

MC: Were there any members of the band who were unwilling to talk to you?

HSI: The bass player David Knights declined to be interviewed for the book. He had decided to put the music business behind him. Almost all of the subsequent bass players were impossible to locate and are not interviewed as a result. The current drummer Geoff Dunn and organist Josh Phillips and I made contact after the book was completed, sadly.
 
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Procol’s drummer [the late] Barrie James Wilson relaxing in 1971. Photograph by William Hatfield.
 
MC: How long did it take you to research and write the book?

HSI: It really took a lifetime to research it! In truth I started at the beginning of January 2012 delivered the final version at the end of July 2012.

MC: How did Martin Scorsese come to write the forward to the book?

HSI: I wrote to his office and the reply was almost instant. He was keen to do it and flattered to have been asked. I nearly fell over. What a Goodfella!

MC: Like many bands of the Sixties, Procul Harum made albums that were intended to be listened to in one sitting. They were immersive experiences. You could put a pair of headphones on, close your eyes, and disappear for a half an hour or more. I miss those days. How about you?

HSI: With some Americana and Alt Country I think those days are returning. British bands Muse and Radiohead probably still mirror that ethos, too, I think.

MC: Bands are starting to return to making albums that hang together as a whole entity. Richard Hawley, Jonathan Wilson, Mark Lanegan, Nick Cave are a few artists that make albums that cohere and benefit from being heard as one piece of music. A lot of hip hop artists are also making albums that revive the old idea of the “concept” album. I think it’s important keep the tradition alive. Do you agree?

HSI: Yes I do agree. And I have always liked Hawley - especially his new album. Cave has been consistently interesting throughout his career. Of course there were good Rock Operas and bad “concept albums”  throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Many of the latter category were dreadfully pretentious - especially albums by Rick Wakeman, Yes, Genesis, and the Moody Blues who I think are all wrongly bracketed next to Procol Harum to whom they bear little or no resemblance musically or lyrically. As Trower said to me of Yes, “They are are like musos – excellent musicians - like jazz musicians almost - each masters of their own instrument.” Each showing off and musically masturbating like some Jazz musicians, if you ask me! [I stole that latter quote from Beatles’ producer George Martin who said to me in 2000, “Jazz is basically musical masturbation.”]

Five Procol albums were assumed to be “concept albums”: - most of side 2 of Shine On Brightly was indeed a concept [‘In Held Twas In I’]
A Salty Dog was wrongly presumed to be about “the sea,” but in fact only contained two songs about “the sea” and two more songs that alluded to the word “sea”; Home was presumed to be a concept album about “death” and certainly five songs seemed to reflect the spirit of “death”; Broken Barricades seemed lyrically preoccupied with “sex”; Grand Hotel, looked like a concept album because the artwork reflected the title track; and Something Magic was indeed a “concept album,” “reflecting the spirit of Zen” as the Chrysalis Records’ PR insisted way back in 1977. But it was really something awful!
 
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Keith Reid, Gary Brooker, Dave Ball. Photograph by Dave Ball (Procol’s guitar player from 1971-1972. He left mid way through Grand Hotel)

MC: In this era in which we all seem to suffer from attention deficit disorder, can a band like Procol Harum cut through the clatter and get people to slow down and really listen?

HSI: I think young people who take an interest in our collective cultural heritage would be very open to Procol Harum, but they are probably in a cool minority. Interestingly Procol are far more accepted in other countries and by many areas of ethnicity. They are touring Japan for two weeks right now and have done lots of TV and Radio. Procol Harum were, and continue to be, far bigger in Scandinavia than they ever were in Britain. They will tour there in March 2013 with the Danish National Orchestra. And there has always been an audience for Procol in North America!

MC: What bands are you listening to these days?

HSI: BMX Bandits (Scottish Indy just reformed) The Electric Stars (new UK Mancunian Psychedelia) The November Five (UK-meets-Detroit Rock) 12Dirty Bullets (new UK Indy) Elliott Schneider (Psych-Meets-Power Pop from San Francisco) Ana Egge (new singer/songwriter produced by Steve Earle) Slaid Cleaves (singer/songwriter from Austin, Texas) and Tandy (new Alt Country from the East Cost of the USA).

MC: Any future book projects?

HSI: Yes one comedy book, and one film maker biography.

Thanks for the interview!

Henry Scott-Irvine - author - Procol Harum & The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale published by Omnibus Press and available online everywhere as a UK export through http://amazon.co.uk now.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
It’s A Bad Brains Christmas, Charlie Brown
12.06.2012
04:58 pm

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Amusing
Animation
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I meant to post this festive Bad Brains meets the Peanuts crew video last year around the holidays but somehow spaced on it. So here’s a big “THANK YOU” to Lawrence LaFerla for reminding me!
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Brubeck in context: The BBC’s ‘1959: The Year That Changed Jazz’
12.06.2012
04:52 pm

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History
Music
R.I.P.

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Pianist Dave Brubeck’s shedding of his mortal coil yesterday reminds us how important it is to view a figure like him in relation to his time.

Luckily we have BBC4’s 2009 documentary, 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz to do just that. Produced by documentarian Paul Bernays and UK jazz DJ Jez Nelson, 1959 scrutinizes the impact of Brubeck’s classic Time Out album alongside three others from that year: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Charles Mingus’s Ah Um and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape Of Jazz To Come.

The main Brubeck segment starts 12 minutes in, and the doc explores both the racial politics inherent in the Brubeck phenomenon, and the influence of his band’s groundbreaking 1959 tour of the Soviet Bloc, Mideast and South Asia on Time Out. But the whole hour is worth watching, if only for the compelling close-readings of masterpieces like Davis’s iconic “So What,” Coleman’s intense “Lonely Woman,” Mingus’s firey “Fables of Faubus.” The doc’s juxtaposition of Brubeck’s ascendance to Mr. Cool-ness against Coleman’s Cold War-tinged urgency is also a nice touch.

With an interview roster that includes Hal Wilner, Lou Reed, Stanley Crouch, Charlie Haden, Sue Mingus, Herbie Hancock and Nat Hentoff, 1959 offers up some crucial background as to what made Brubeck and his contemporaries what they were.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Dave Brubeck Quartet: In Concert, Germany 1966

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
The Velvet Underground Live at The Boston Tea Party, 1969
12.06.2012
03:51 pm

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Music

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Still on a musical high from listening (over and over and over again) to The Velvet Underground & Nico 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition box set (read my review here), I’ve also been on a tear through the (not inconsiderable amount of) VU bootlegs I have amassed over the years.

One of the better ones is this show that was taped on January 10,1969 in Boston, at the Velvets’ “home away from home,” The Boston Tea Party nightclub.

Future Modern Lover and huge Velvets fan Jonathan Richman was often in the audience during the Boston shows:

“Sometimes you just plain couldn’t figure out where on the stage those strange sounds and harmonics were coming from, because of the eerie calm with which they played and improvised in front of you, and because every time they’d come to town they’d introduce at least one new song that would, for better or worse, sound like nothing else that had gone before in rock music.”

The opening act that night were folk freaks The Holy Modal Rounders.

There’s a particularly good take of “Move Right In” (with a Moe Tucker savagely pounding her floor toms), nice readings of quieter numbers like “I’m Set Free” and “Candy Says”; and a great rave-up of “I Can’t Stand It.” It ends, natch, with a roof-raising “Sister Ray.”

The whole thing sounds great for an old audience recording, but it sounds so much better if you REALLY CRANK IT.

1. Heroin (0:00)
2. Move Right In (8:26)
3. I’m Set Free (13:12)
4. Run Run Run (17:49)
5. I’m Waiting For The Man (25:39)
6. What Goes On (34:35)
7. I Can’t Stand It (39:05)
8. Candy Says (45:23)
9. Beginning To See The Light (50:10)
10. White Light/White Heat (56:00)
11. Pale Blue Eyes (61:42)
12. Sister Ray (68:10)

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
It’s Just Too Much: Holy grail of Velvet Underground recordings released as part of new box set

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Soulful performance by PJ Harvey: Live in Paris, 1998
12.06.2012
03:22 pm

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Music

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Stunning performance by PJ Harvey and band. Cabaret Sauvage - Paris, September 14, 1998.

As much as I love PJ in all her permutations, it’s a pleasure to watch this footage in which she is not playing an autoharp.

01 Is This Desire?
02 Joy
03 Joe
04 Civil War
05 Taut
06 Electric Light
07 A Perfect Day Elise
08 Hook
09 Meet Tha Monsta
10 Sky Lit Up
11 Leah
12 50ft Queenie
13 Heela
14 Down By The Water

Musicians: Polly Jean Harvey, John Parish, Eric Drew Feldman, Rob Ellis and Jeremy Hogg.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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