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Exclusive: Alan McGee gives Dangerous Minds an update on his new label 359 Music

Alan McGee has been in touch with Dangerous Minds to give an exclusive update on his new record label 359 Music.

Less than a month since he launched 359, Alan has received an incredible range of music demos from unsigned musicians and bands.

‘It’s been very good,’ says McGee, ‘I’ve had over 2,000 MP3s to listen to, and I have still about 600-hundred-odd to go. So, for anybody reading this, I will be getting back to you.

‘There’s a lot of good stuff and at least, 15 very good things I’ve found from people sending in their MP3s, which is pretty fucking incredible—considering I expected to find only about 1-or-2.

‘What’s really good is the range of the music. I expected to get 2,000 bands all trying to be like the Gallaghers, but that is not the case—it’s all over-the-shop.’

While the initial response was high, Alan noticed there were very few demos from female musicians. Therefore, he posted a further request specifically asking for more women to send in their music.

‘We put out the YouTube clip asking for more girls to send in music, because it was all blokes sending in stuff. After that post, we received about 300 girl bands out of the next 500 that were sent in and the standard of music was very high.

‘Overall, the music has been incredible. There’s a lot of stuff I hadn’t expected, especially from people who have been ignored by the system.

‘I suppose if anything, 359 is a launch pad for people. Whether they stay with us or not isn’t important—if they do, they do, if they don’t, they don’t. We are essentially a launch pad to give people a shot at it, a chance to show what they can do.

‘There is no label sound, which will become apparent after about a year-and-a-half-to-2-years. The last thing I wanted to do was create Creation Records Part 2.

359 is more for people who are into music. It’s more of an attitude, you know? It’s like a vibration that draws you in, do you know what I mean? Music is a vibration, it’s like why do we all love “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk? It’s because it vibrates within us and makes us feel good.

‘I’m not saying we’re going to have the next Daft Punk, but maybe one day. Musically the label is going to be all-over-the place, because it will be about creating moods, creating music that is good, and I think this will become apparent after we’ve released about 15-20 albums or so.’

359 is a partnership between Alan McGee and Iain McNay, the chairman of Cherry Red Records.

‘I think Iain is the best person to be doing this with. I mean Iain is just fucking cool. Any guy that can deal with me saying, “I’m never come to your office ever again. I’m never going to come to a marketing meeting. I am never going to go to a gig in London. And I am never going to go to an awards ceremony. As long as you can deal with me on that basis, then we’re partners.” And we are.

‘We could have gone with a Japanese major, with a 6-figure salary, but you know what, I’ve gone with Iain and it’s like, half the company, no wage, and I don’t think I could get a better deal. Can you imagine turning round to Warners Japan and saying, “I’m never going to come to a marketing meeting. I’m never going to come to your office. I’m never going to go to a gig in London, and I’m never going to go to an awards ceremony.” They would stop before I finished my first sentence!

‘Iain is the only person in the music business who can put up with my fucking demands on that! Everyone else would go, “Go fuck yourself!” But Iain can put up with that.’

‘The best thing I ever did was going away for 5-years. Where I live is completely spiritual. I can sit in my room, look at the Black Mountains, and I can just decide should I or should I not go and do this or go and do that? I find in London that everything is like a bum rush every single time. It’s just too much.

‘I think I’m averse to London. It eats your fucking soul. It’s not people’s fault, it’s just there’s no spirituality in London.  There may be creativity, but there’s no spirituality. People are on the bread-line, and they’re just used up as a resource. People just end up using each other, you know, eating each other, it’s a kind of cannibalism. It freaks me out. All I ever want to do in London is get in and get the fuck out of it.

‘With the technology now, it means you can run everything from home. I’ve got a book coming out, I’ve got a record company, a publishing company and 2-films all coming out, and I’m running it from my fucking bedroom in Wales.

‘The bottom-line is: if I can do it on a Blackberry and a computer, any fucker can do it—because I’m not that bright. You’ve got to have the confidence, but once you go after it and do it, then you realize you can do it.’

Alan also mentioned that his first film as producer, Kubricks, written and directed by Dean Cavanagh will having a special screening in Leeds this month.

‘It’s just for friends and family, but we have a plan to show it in New York, and we have a distribution deal for Europe on the table, which we’re probably going to do.’

He has almost finished his autobiography, and will be making his second appearance as an actor in the film Svengali, which stars Johnny Owen and Martin Freeman, and has been nominated for an award prior to its premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, later this month.

If you are an artist and want to be considered for 359 Music send an mp3 to INFOAT359MUSIC@AOL.COM

For more information, visit the site 359 Music, or follow 359 updates on Facebook.
Previously Dangerous Minds

Alan McGee unveils his new label 359 Music


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
The album Led Zeppelin recorded BEFORE ‘Led Zeppelin’
11:38 am



Most Led Zeppelin fans are unaware that the band’s first recordings were actually not the songs that became Led Zeppelin I, but rather P.J. Proby’s quirky Three Week Hero album recorded shortly before their debut was and released in 1969. Even if they have heard of it, chances are they haven’t heard the actual music. I’m here to help!

John Paul Jones, who like Jimmy Page, was then a very much sought-after session musician and arranger got the gig working with the, um, mercurial front man—Proby was, and is, a man considered mad, bad and dangerous to know, one of rock’s original madmen, inexplicably still alive—via producer Steve Rowland. Jones asked if he could bring in his own group for the session, thinking it would serve as a rehearsal of sorts before they went into the studio themselves and Rowland agreed. Jones told Chris Welch:

“I was committed to doing all the arrangements for the album. As we were talking about rehearsing at the time, I thought it would be a handy source of income. I had to book a band anyway, so I thought I’d book everybody I knew.”

It’s not known exactly when the two-day recording commenced, but August 25th, 1968 is probably the correct date, and would mark the very first time that Led Zeppelin, then still-known as The New Yardbirds, would enter a recording studio together.

Proby had already worked with Jimmy Page before, as the young rhythm guitarist had played on his 1964 debut long player, I Am P.J. Proby, with legendary session player “Big Jim” Sullivan supplying lead (The slight, baby-faced Page was then informally known as “Lil’ Jim Pea” to differentiate him from the slightly older Sullivan).

From an interview with P.J. Proby on the Led Zeppelin fansite, Finding Zoso:

FZ: One of my favorite records of yours, which was actually your last record with Liberty [Records] was Three Week Hero. A lot of people don’t know that the entire lineup of Led Zeppelin backed you up on that album. Can you tell us a little bit about that album and what it was like?

PJ: Yeah, after that session, Big Jim Sullivan was the most sought after lead guitar player in England so he was on everybody but everybody’s sessions. At that time Jimmy Page couldn’t really pick lead all that well. So he went off and wasn’t heard for a long time and the next thing I knew he was in The Yardbirds. About 1968, a friend of mine from Hollywood, Steve Roland had come over to London and had done pretty well as a producer for [the group] Dave, Dee Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. So I went down to Steve and asked him to produce my next album, EMI wanted one out now. I listened to some stuff he had there, demos, and he said, “I’ll put a band together for you.”

So when I got to the studio that day, there was what they called, “The New Yardbirds”. There was Jimmy Page, lead guitar player, a great lead guitar player by now and John Bonham and another guy Paul Jones and Albert Lee [Huh?]. Anyway, we recorded that album, I think it was in two days. We even undershot, we recorded it with about thirty-five minutes left over, and so Roland yelled down, “Why don’t you all busk it? We shouldn’t waste the studio time.” I told the boys, “Y’all start picking and I’ll write as you pick.” So the three last numbers on the album, [the medley], I just made up as the boys played.

Afterwards, I said, “Man, y’all did a terrific job. I’ve got some tours coming up, would you back me?” They said, “We’d love to, we’ll be your backing band, but first we’ve got two obligations we’ve got to honour in California and they named two places in California that I had just come back from playing with a band of mine that was called Canned Heat. The boys told me they were going over to play in San Francisco and all that, and I said, “Look, from what I’ve heard and the way you boys played tonight, not only are you not going to be my backing band, I’m going to say goodbye right now, because I don’t think I’m ever going to see you again. That’s how successful you’re going to be. You’re exactly what they want, you play all that psychedelic stuff and everything.“

The heavy metal word hadn’t been invented then, it was just hard blues and stuff. So I said, “You’re going to go over there and go down so great I don’t think you’re ever going to come home.” They didn’t ever come back until they changed their name to Led Zeppelin and stayed over there and came back huge huge stars.

FZ: Did you ever manage to catch up with them once they became big stars?

PJ: No I never have and I have never seen Jimmy Page since. I said goodbye that day when I cut that album and I haven’t seen one of them since.

In case you’re wondering, Robert Plant played harmonica on Three Week Hero. He doesn’t sing on it.


If you’re a Led Zeppelin fan and you’ve never heard “The Day That Lorraine Came Down,” before, prepare to have your ever-lovin’ mind blown. Easily in my top 100 favorite songs:

This improvised in the studio number, “Mery Hopkins Never Had Days Like These” was not on the Three Week Hero album, rather appearing on the B-side of the “The Day That Lorraine Came Down” single. As if there could any doubt—trust me, there won’t be—Proby calls the players out by name (including the great Alan Hawkshaw who is playing organ), but I’m not sure if this is John Bonham here as Proby refers to the drummer as both a “fat man” and bald.

“Jim’s Blues”—basically the prototype for Led Zeppelin‘s “You Shook Me.” “Jim” probably refers to Proby (real name James Marcus Smith) and not Jimmy Page.

Below, a scant two years later and Led Zeppelin were headlining at the Royal Albert Hall:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Norman Mailer: Stabbing your wife as an existential experiment
11:17 am



In the years that followed the event, Norman Mailer seemed distinctly proud of having stabbed and nearly killed his second wife, Adele Morales, in 1960.

According to Mailer’s worldview of the late fifties and onward—most famously articulated in his 1959 essay “The White Negro”—the artificial had gained excessive ascendancy over the real in contemporary Western Civilization, the word over the deed, the feminine over the masculine and so on. Mailer offered the world his macho existentialism as a means of redress.

So long as Mailer advocated psychopathy, violence, and courage on the page alone, however—speaking daggers but using none—he would be tormented by the suspicion (and pursued by the insinuation) that he was the most laughable kind of hypocrite…

In the troubled weeks leading up to the stabbing the writer attended a seminar at Brown University, were he rambled on about about knives being “symbols of manhood.” He was also preparing his first attempt to become mayor of New York City, a candidacy that was to be pitched at the city’s criminalized and impoverished, along with its artists and radicals, on a platform of “existential” approaches to social problems—such as jousting tournaments (to be held in Central Park) for young offenders.

As part of this prospective campaign, Mailer was composing an open letter to Fidel Castro, in which he offered one of his more succinct formulations of his critique of US society: “in Cuba, hatred runs over into the love of blood; in America, all too few blows are struck into flesh. We kill the spirit here, we are experts at that. We use psychic bullets and kill each other cell by cell.”

Just as Mailer’s eccentric but perfectly sincere lurch for political power conceivably betrayed his contempt for being a purveyor of “psychic bullets” himself (a mere “man of letters”), his second marriage to Adele Morales was similarly entwined in this same conceptual web. Morales reportedly possessed an impressively sharp tongue, and was known to score freely in the course of their drunken bust-ups: interestingly, Mailer would later define this period of their relationship as “a series of psychic stabbings,” echoing, unconsciously or not, the language employed in his letter to Castro.

The actual stabbing occurred in the course of a party meant as a campaign launch for the mayoral bid. The writer and journalist George Plimpton, Mailer’s perennial wingman and de facto campaign manager, was told to contact various representatives from New York’s “power structure” and ensure their attendance. Predictably, none of them showed, leaving just the derelicts, cutthroats and bohemians the candidate could anyway call his own.

In a legendarily tetchy atmosphere, Mailer would take it upon himself to be his own least manageable guest, starting fights and at one point dividing everyone up on opposite sides of the room according to whether he considered them “for” or “against” him. Eventually he disappeared to look for real trouble, which he evidently succeeded in discovering, returning around four in the morning with a ripped shirt and a black eye.

According to Morales’ subsequent recollection, she greeted this reappearance in the following fashion:

Aja toro, aja! Come on, you little faggot, where’s your cojones – did your ugly whore of a mistress cut them off, you son of a bitch?”

Although there are differing reports of what Morales said, her own version certainly “pricks” the ears, courtesy of the (literally) cutting metaphor (“psychic stabbings,” again). Mailer, matching word and deed, un-prised his pen knife, approached his wife, and stabbed her in the back and upper abdomen, one of which, a thrust “near the heart” was three inches deep.

Morales was rushed downstairs to the neighboring apartment of novelist Doc Hume, where a doctor was called but no police, while she lay soaking a mattress in blood. 

Initially claiming to have “fallen on some glass,” she spent the following days in hospital, during which time her husband’s antics were quintessentially kooky. After being left to “sleep it off,” Mailer disappeared into the city, bobbing up to grandiosely lecture Adele’s surgeon on the likely dimensions of her wound, and then for an appearance on The Mike Wallace Show, where he continued to meditate on what was indubitably turning into his week’s big theme. “You see,” he informed the audience, back on his beloved topic the juvenile delinquent, “the knife’s his word, his manhood.”

I would hazard a guess that the rest of Mailer’s week resembled that of the protagonist of his next novel (1965’s An American Dream), an existentialist, TV personality, and budding politician called Rojak who strangles his wife and then hits the town, fucking, fighting, boozing, and generally reaping the huge existential dividends supposedly sprung by his act of ultraviolence.

Morales, though, finally admitted the obvious to police, and Mailer was arrested and charged.

During the trial, Mailer showed especial concern that he not be sent to a mental hospital, since then future readers might feel entitled to consider him insane. “My pride,” he told the court, “is that I can explore areas of experience that other men are afraid of. I insist I am sane.” The stabbing, it seems, was primarily a literary act, a bizarre precursor to the great works of New Journalism Mailer would pen, and in the third person, later that decade—Armies of the Night and Miami and the Siege of Chicago.

Legally, incidentally, the consequences would prove mind-bogglingly mild. After being indicted by a grand jury in January 30, 1961, Mailer pleaded guilty, was put on probation, and received a suspended sentence in November—his lawyer arguing successfully that his client was working on a new book (An American Dream!) and so “could make a contribution to society.”

The presiding Judge Schweitzer also took account not only of Adele’s request for leniency—which she later attributed to what she considered her children’s best interests—but also Mailer’s impressive avowal to his probation officer that he had reduced his drinking “to a minimum”...

Below, in a clip from Norman Mailer: The American, Adele Morales tells the completely insane story of what happened that fateful night… “He was down in the street punching people. He didn’t know who he was. He didn’t know what his name was, he was so out of it. And it wasn’t just on booze, it was on drugs.”

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
The Musician from U.N.C.L.E.: Chill out with the music of David McCallum
10:53 am




David McCallum has long been a much-loved actor and TV icon. From his early days as the pin-up secret agent, Illya Kuryakin, acting alongside Robert Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., through to the excellent Colditz, the wonderfully, bizarre Sapphire and Steel, The Invisible Man and now “Ducky” Mallard in today’s NCIS.

But what is perhaps less known about this talented actor, is the fact McCallum is a classically trained musician of the highest caliber, and for a long time the blonde-haired Glaswegian seriously considered a making his career in music, as he explained to 16 magazine back in 1966:

The wonder was that David ever became an actor at all—for he was trained to be a musician from the age of four, playing the oboe with classic clarity. An appreciation of music ran deep in the McCallum family. David’s father, a famous violinist and leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, was taught classical music at his mother’s knee.

The McCallums came from a little Scottish mining village, Kilsyth in Stirlingshire, where David’s paternal grandfather was the village grocer. It was a deeply religious community, and David’s grandmother hoped her son would learn the harp. But no one there could play the instrument, so young David Fotheringham McCallum was taught violin instead. And his own son, David Keith McCallum—born on September 19, 1933, at 24 Kersland Street, Glasgow—inherited this musical tradition.

When the family moved to Bracknell Gardens, Hampstead, in London, David went to University College School, and musical evenings became a feature of this childhood. He was taught violin and piano, but it was the oboe that he mastered. However, David secretly harbored a longing to become an actor, so when one of his uncles needed an oboe, David offered his—cheap!—and started out on his acting career. Though he laughingly calls the oboe “ ill wind nobody blows good,” David still admits, “I always knew that I could turn to music if I failed as an actor.”

McCallum was given a recording contract, and between 1966 and 1968, released four albums on Capitol Records: Music…A Part Of Me, Music…A Bit More Of Me, Music…It’s Happening Now!, and McCallum. However, rather than singing his way through these discs McCallum, together with producer David Axelrod, created a blend of oboe, French horn, and strings with guitar and drums, for musical interpretations of hits of the day. These included “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”, “Downtown”, “Louie, Louie”, “I Can’t Control Myself” and his own compositions, “Far Away Blue”, “Isn’t It Wonderful?” and “It Won’t Be Wrong”.

The best known McCallum tracks today are “The Edge,” which was sampled by Dr. Dre as the intro and riff to the track “The Next Episode,” and “House of Mirrors,” sampled by DJ Shadow for “Dark Days”.


“The Edge” - David McCallum

“House of Mirrors” - David McCallum

David McCallum introduces TnT Show with ‘Satisfaction, while Ron and Russell Mael (Sparks) watch from the audience
Bonus clips (with Nancy Sinatra) and tracks, after the jump!...

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Loudmouth: Before there was Glenn Beck, Breitbart or Sean Hannity there was Morton Downey Jr.
09:25 am



If you’re much under the age of 35 you probably have no cultural memory of Morton Downey Jr. whatsoever, but he (and Joe Pyne, an earlier, slightly less-obnoxious pioneer of in-your-face television) is the very direct progenitor of the confrontational style of Fox News and reichwing talk radio we have today. The Morton Downey, Jr. Show was where the talkshow format merged with professional wrestling (and all that implies). After his example, the dam was burst forever on politeness and niceties in televised discourse. “Mort” was Network‘s Howard Beale come to life as a snarling, chain-smoking firebrand.

When The Morton Downey, Jr. Show first started airing in the New York metro area in 1987 on WWOR, the “super station” operating out of (not so) beautiful Secaucus, NJ, I was briefly into it, simply because I had never seen anything like it, or the shouting, spitting-mad, red-faced, veins-bulging lunatic who hosted it, not to mention his mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal audience! Oy vey.

Initially, at least, it was riveting, trainwreck TV, but I soon went from watching it most nights (if I was home, which was admittedly rare in those days) to only watching it when someone really kooky, like Lyndon LaRouche, say, was going to be on it. Eventually The Morton Downey, Jr. Show seemed like it was all Tawana Brawley, Curtis Sliwa, low rent porn girls and too-samey high-volume, spittle-flecked tirades against “pablum puking liberals.” All the time. After a while you kinda “got” it and the novelty wore off.

Ace Frehley, Joey Ramone and the Cycle Sluts from Hell join Mort on the set.

For a brief moment he was everywhere (The Today Show, playing himself in movies and on TV, People magazine, even scaling that true pinnacle of pop culture success: being parodied on SNL) but Downey’s star—and the ratings of his syndicated talkshow—crashed and burned pretty fast. I think the rest of America got sick of him as quickly as we New Yorkers did. All told his rise and fall took under two years. In 1990 Morton Downey Jr. filed for bankruptcy.

I didn’t really know that much about his life, but I found the new documentary about the angry father of trash TV, Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger to be absolutely engrossing. It’s a well-made, well-researched film that tries to figure out what made a freak of nature like this tick. There is no simple answer, as the film demonstrates.

Although he portrayed himself as the straight-talking spokesman for the proletariat, Downey was born into a wealthy show business family (his father was a very famous singer in the 30s and 40s, his aunt was famed Hollywood actress Joanne Bennett) who lived right next door to the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts (Downey Sr. was on the dais at JFK’s inauguration).

No, Morton Downey Jr. was no “Lonesome” Larry Rhodes, but he harbored a burning desire to become more famous than the domineering father he hated (“Daddy issues” evidentally loomed large in his life). He spent most of his career casting around for his niche, at first as a singer and songwriter (Dean Martin is seen praising a young Downey’s talents in a vintage clip) and then as a radio jock. Eventually he would be talent spotted by former MTV exec Bob Pittman, who wanted to do a “new” Joe Pyne type program.

His act was a shtick to a large extent, but Downey was also more or less true to his own (sometimes shifting) beliefs. Still his producers could feed him lines in pre-production meetings that he would parrot verbatim. Above all he was a showman, and during a break, he would often tell a guest he’d just insulted, spat upon and kicked off his show that they’d done a great job!

Mort’s talent for getting noticed deserted him about 18 months into his brief moment of fame and he was soon resorting to attention grabbing stunts like cutting his own hair and drawing a (backwards) swastika on his face in an airport bathroom, claiming that some skinheads roughed him up. That Downey was able to pass a polygraph test about the made-up incident and his far-out claims shows his capacity for self-deception.

Évocateur does a fine job getting near the bottom of what was obviously a bottomless pit of psychological misery (segments where Downey’s poetry is read aloud provide unexpected revelations of his self-loathing). If you remember the Loudmouth, or even if you don’t, without him there would be no Glenn Beck, no Molotov Mitchell, no Dana Loesch… it’s Mort’s prescient angry DNA that still informs rightwing media today and his influence seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future. With appearances by Beck, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Sally Jesse Raphael, Chris Elliott, Gloria Allred, Alan Dershowitz and Pat Buchanan. Downey’s friend and frequent sparring partner Al Sharpton appears in clips from the show, but he didn’t participate in the doc for reasons that will be quite obvious once you’ve seen it.

Downey was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1996 and had one of his lungs removed (but, true to form, not before he appeared on Larry King Live the very night prior to his surgery!). He died in in 2001.

Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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