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‘Stranger Things’ on VHS is exactly where it belongs
08.08.2016
04:40 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:


 
The mysterious Steelberg has been re-imagining newly released movies as VHS tapes that you would have rented from your local video store when video stores were everywhere. Housed in beat up cases with torn plastic slip jackets, curling price tags, staff recommendations and various other battered stickers (Beta!), Steelberg replicates the real thing to an eerie degree.

Stranger Things is particularly effective for the very reason that it’s an homage to those 80s movies that packed the shelves of Blockbusters back in the days when you could be kind by simply rewinding. This is what we’re talking about when we talk about form following content.

More after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Peyote Pomade: When your hair wants to get high
08.08.2016
10:25 am

Topics:
Drugs
Fashion

Tags:


 
According to the label, Peyote Pomade is good for hair styling as well as relief from cramps, rheumatism and “softening of the nerve fibers” (I hate it when that happens). It is suggested you use it before going to bed so it can work its magic while you sleep. Imagine the dreams.
 

 
As a hair gel, this could give new meaning to head trip. I’m visualizing rockabilly dudes with day-glow quiffs that melt and reform before your eyes as flaming desert ravens. Good for punks too: I saw Mescalito in your mohawk. 

Carlos Castaneda loved the stuff:
 

 
In addition to peyote, some gels contains camphor, arnica, eucalyptus and petroleum jelly among other things, depending on brand and suggested usage. Some claim to contain marijuana. Spliff meets quiff?

Historically, people have used peyote for treating fractures, wounds, and snakebite. So this stuff just may work. Various Peyote pomades are available online from multiple Mexican-based resources. You can get yours here. Tell them Don Juan sent you.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Lord of the Strings: Guitar wizard Harvey Thomas and his Infernal Music Machines
07.26.2016
01:20 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:


 
Thanks to Timothy L. Olsen for this wonderful remembrance of guitar-making legend Harvey Thomas.

Remember what the term “Japanese guitar” used to mean, back when Beatniks roamed the earth and Elvis was still kinda nasty?

The Beatles hadn’t landed and I was in the third grade when my big brother Jim brought home a brand new Japanese guitar. Loosely modeled after a classic, it was already caving in from the load of its steel strings. You don’t see them like this anymore, man. Painted-on binding, decal rosette, door skin luan plywood, basswood (or worse) neck, nice sharp ends on those rough brass frets. I was totally fascinated.

But the word fascination found new meaning a year later when my even bigger brother Dick came home from college with what might as well have been the Messiah Stradivarius. It was a very plain, small-bodied New York-era Epiphone archtop with a badly repaired crack running the full length of the soundboard, and he had bought it cheap in a pawn shop. The hand of mortal man never created such perfection. This was a gift from the angels! Oh, the lovely dissonances that it spoke as I whanged it with a juice glass slide! When Dick was begged, he would strum “Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?

The tenor of my lutherie career was set then and there, as I rushed headlong into the construction of a series of rash and ignorant experiments. The first one to produce a musical note involved bolting the neck of a smashed Gene Autry guitar to a hunk of plywood. By now I was in the 5th grade and the Baby Boom generation was wild about electric guitars thanks to the Mop Tops and other invading Anglos. I made a major life decision to build an electric bass from scratch.

I designed an instrument based on my limited available technology and even more limited engineering savvy, featuring a body made of a sandwich of miscellaneous plywood slabs and a neck which instead of fitting into a slot, surrounded the body like a clothespin. I got the neck fretted, having marked the fret locations on a piece of paper at a music store, then transferring the marks to the oak fretboard, resplendent with 3/4” dowel fret markers.
 

There I am, a fat fifth grader with my plywood guitar and very big dreams. Harvey to the left, and Harvey’s guitars, including the famous Maltese Cross model, hung along the ceiling. That’s my big sister Ruth on the right in the racing stripe jacket, looking at the Hanged Man dummy.

I got hung up trying to find a pickup. Remember, this was before the Summer of Love. The man at the music store didn’t have access to anything other than those chrome DeArmonds that were used for electrifying archtops. I was persistent and doubtless pitiable. Finally the music store man, against his better judgement it seemed, relented:

“Listen, kid. There’s a guy out in Midway that makes guitars. He’ll have what you need. But I’m warning you, he’s a real character, and I won’t promise that he’ll sell you a pickup. He might like you or he might not.”

Now I had to convince my mom to drive me 25 miles to Midway to see a guy who might or might not like me, and might or might not help me. The thought of not going never occurred to me. A man who makes guitars. This was about the most wonderful thought that had yet crossed my young mind. It is still a pretty thrilling idea, come to think of it. A man who makes guitars!
 

 
It took a while to talk her into it, but eventually mom and I were heading north on Highway 99 in the ‘49 Chevy. Midway isn’t really a place, it’s just mid way between Seattle and Tacoma. And this wasn’t really even in Midway. We found the cross street, and turned onto a small road. About a block later a wooden sign with the stenciled word “Thomas” pointed down a pair of ruts bumping off through deep puddles, apparently to nowhere. We followed obediently.

On the right, a heap of rusted and crumpled metal that may once have been a pickup truck of ‘30s vintage held a large sign saying “Bargain. Needs Paint.” We arrived at a modern, low slung, one story house, what you call a “rambler.” It seemed strangely out of place in the swampy, scrub-tree setting. The iron gate held signs warning of dire consequences to trespassers, and to those who dared to block the driveway. A woman looking something like Loretta Lynn told us that Mr. Thomas was out on an errand, but that we could wait in the living room.
 
Wild tales and even wilder guitars after the jump

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
‘Please Don’t Hit Me’: Provocative work by ex-KLF art terrorist Jimmy Cauty for sale on eBay
07.25.2016
09:29 am

Topics:
Art
Class War
Dance
Music
Politics

Tags:
A Riot in a Jam Jar

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Artist Jimmy Cauty achieved international fame as “Rockman Rock” one half of The KLF (along with Bill Drummond aka “King Boy D”) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The KLF released a series of highly successful and influential records including “Last Train to Trancentral,” “What Time Is Love?” and “3 a.m. Eternal.” Under the name The Timelords the duo had a number one hit with “Doctorin’ the Tardis” their playful mash-up of the Doctor Who theme, Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll (Part Two)” and “Block Buster!” by Sweet. They had a further number one (in eighteen countries no less) with “Justified and Ancient (Stand by The JAMs),” their collaboration with country and western singer Tammy Wynette in 1991.

The following year The KLF appeared with grindcore band Extreme Noise Terror at the Brit Awards when they fired blanks from a machine gun over the audience’s heads. At the end of the ceremony the duo dumped a dead sheep outside the venue, then announced the end of The KLF and deleted their entire back catalog.

But this was only a taster of what was to follow.

In August 1994 Cauty and Drummond (now under the moniker The K Foundation) burned a million pounds in cash on the Scottish island of Jura. What the fuck that was about—well, no one is really quite sure—but it has become a moment that has defined the careers of both men since.
 
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A kilted Jimmy Cauty fires blanks at the Brit Awards audience 1992, and an image from the K Foundation’s burning of one million pounds.
 
From 2000 Jimmy Cauty has been making political and provocative artwork—ranging from a limited edition series of stamps Black Smoke, Stamps of Mass Destruction (2003) which was eventually withdrawn after the Royal mail threatened legal action, to opening a “gift shop” at the Aquarium Gallery in 2004 selling “terror ware” based on the British government’s anti-terror leaflet Preparing for Emergencies.

In 2011, Cauty started producing a series called A Riot in a Jam Jar featuring miniature dioramas depicting violent confrontations between the police and the public. These jam jars contained imagined scenes including the execution of the then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and the execution of bankers and the execution of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
 
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Cauty’s imagining of Prince Charles and Camilla about to be bludgeoned after their car was attacked during a student riot in 2010.
 
Now a limited edition of one of Cauty’s jam jars has been put up for sale on eBay. The work entitled Please Don’t Hit Me features a policeman interrogating a young boy. In a limited edition of ten—each individually numbered—Cauty’s Please Don’t Hit Me will set you back £465 (around $600). Place your order here.
 
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More of Jimmy Cauty’s provocative jam jar art, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Ghost Rider’: Amazing new video surfaces of Suicide, live in 1980
07.17.2016
06:21 pm

Topics:
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:


 
This newly re-mastered and edited video by Merrill Aldighieri captures Suicide performing “Ghost Rider” in 1980.  It is some of the best footage you’ll ever see of the legendary rock pioneers.  Alan Vega shines in an atypically subdued but still pretty intense performance. Edgar Allan Presley.

As the resident video jockey at New York City rock club Hurrah, Aldighieri documented some of the best live performances by cutting edge bands of the early 80s including
Gang Of Four, Magazine, Bush Tetras and Suicide. In this edit,  Aldighieri has incorporated the older footage with new imagery filmed at a retrospective of Alan Vega’s paintings and sculptures in Lyon, France that took place in 2009.

Merrill Aldighieri’s website ARTCLIPS is a marvelous compendium of digitally re-mastered Hurrah concert videos made between 1980-1981 among many other delightful things. Visit it.

Merrill is a friend and shot footage of my band at Hurrah in 1980. I asked her for a comment about Alan Vega and this is what she wrote:

The night I met Alan, Oct. 1, 1980 on stage at Hurrah, I was terrified by his unbridled passion. It took all my courage not to turn away. The next time I met him was in his loft downdown. We talked for hours. He did not shy away from anything. His life was an unsolved mystery and you were invited to be a witness, a participant. Humility and talent in equal generous doses. I guess that’s why he was such a good collaborator. He was very proud and in wonderment at the joy of being a father too. He did not hold back.

Legendary punk rocker and Dangerous Minds’ contributor Howie Pyro knew Alan quite well and describes him as…

a man so ahead of his time he left us all in the dust. One of the first times I ever went out to a club in 1976 I saw Suicide open for Blondie & was not prepared for the onslaught of volume, sound, blood, real violence, art, and true rock n roll but with NO guitars or drums!! It blew my mind & I grew up a lot that night…had I known I would be recording with “that guy” 20 years later I’d have (happily) fainted…

Ironically, a man in a band called Suicide approached this mortal coil with the kind of no bullshit intensity that makes life way too interesting to abandon.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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