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So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star: Photos of the 1960’s Garage Band Explosion
10:57 am

Pop Culture


The Individuals.
I was living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The year was 1964. I was thirteen. I was in my first rock band. Beatlemania was running wild and millions of kids across the USA were buying cheap Japanese electric guitars and drum kits and forming garage bands. My dad bought me a set of drums made by a company called Kent and I formed a group called The Continentals. We covered tunes by The Beatles and our set list included “Louie Louie,” “I Got My Mojo Workin,” “Shout,” “Glad All Over”—a couple dozen three and four chord rockers that kids could shimmy to. We played at Elks Lodge dances, supermarket openings and the Princess Anne Plaza movie theater Saturday morning kiddie show. At those kiddie shows we were the only performers who weren’t lip synching to some Frankie Avalon or Leslie Gore tune. We were the real fucking deal.

I wore a moptop and it got me into trouble at school, where the rule was no hair over the ears and bangs had to be the width of two fingers above your eyebrows. I broke the rules on a consistent basis. One day I was sent home for wearing madras pants to class. Those were some fucking slick slacks. All the other kids were wearing Gant shirts and Weejun loafers so my madras pants were an affront to the refined sensibilities of the pre-yuppie status quo of the early 60s. In those days high school had a caste system comprised of longhairs, straights, jocks and greasers. I was a longhair. And greasers hated the longhairs. But I dug the greasers. Cause they were rockers. We were fellow parishioners in the church of rock and roll. It took a woman to help me discover this. Her name was, and I’m not bullshitting, Rhonda.

One Saturday morning, The Continentals were working the crowd before a screening of some cartoon marathon at the kiddie show. We were tearing through “Eight Days A Week,” “Not Fade Away,” “Gloria” and some other cool tunes. The teenyboppers were really digging our shit. At the end of the set, we got a nice round of applause sprinkled with a few squeals. We took our bows and walked off stage. As I made my way up the aisle to the concession stand, there she was: Rhonda, a greaser goddess from the planet Maybelline.

Rhonda had a beehive that defied fucking gravity. Marianne Antoinette had nothin’ on this home girl. Rhonda’s do was sculptural: a follicle wonderland where Antoni Gaudi and The Ronettes sniffed hairspray and dreamed of Mayan pyramids. Rhonda had the fairest skin, the pinkest lips and the palest blue eyes I had ever seen. She was graceful and tall and moved with a serpentine stroll that would make a black snake moan. Rhonda was way out of my fucking league. This was “woman” in all her archetypal majesty—Shakti with a serious wighat. To my amazement, she seemed kind of love-struck. She said she liked the way I played the drums and she leaned over and gave me a kiss that tasted of lipstick and cigarettes. My knees buckled and I felt for the first time that rock and roll was more than music. It was supernatural.

Rock and roll was something that kids in the 1960s not only wanted to listen to, they wanted to make it themselves. They wanted to enter rock’s magic circle. Bands were formed in the thousands. Regional record labels popped up in every state in America. Way before the D.I.Y. explosion of the 1970s punk scene, we were doing it ourselves in towns like where I grew up. Anyone who had a garage could start a garage band. And since many garages were situated in the suburbs most of the bands were comprised of suburban kids. This was definitely not an urban phenomenon. And it was almost exclusively white despite that most of the music we were playing was created by black artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard. But that’s another story.

So you want to be a rock’n'roll star
Then listen now to what I say
Just get an electric guitar
And take some time and learn how to play
And when your hair’s combed right and your pants fit tight
It’s gonna be all right

In these pictures you can see just how young and innocent most of these fledgling rockers were. They took on tough names and struck bad boy poses, but for the most part were just kids. We all wanted to be The Rolling Stones, The Seeds, The McCoys and The Blues Magoos. Most of us grew up to be average folks doing exactly what we rebelled against. Some of us stuck to our guns guitars. I know I did.

If you want to further explore the history of garage bands of the USA, Garage Hangover and 60s Garage Bands are great places to start. Plus, there are other websites devoted to regional rock bands of the 1960s just a few clicks away.

Dan And The Wanderers.

The Chancellors.

The Bar Boys.
More after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
The return of Khun Narin: More mindblowing psychedelia from Thailand
10:40 am



In March of 2013 I wrote a piece for Dangerous Minds about Khun Narin, a band from the Phetchabun Province of Thailand. I characterized their music as being “indescribably beautiful psychedelia.” Head music is hard to describe so I linked to their Youtube video - which at the time had few views - and it was a stunner. The sound was otherworldly, magic and hypnotic and the performance intense. 

A Dangerous Minds reader named Josh Marcy read the piece, saw the video and had his mind blown. He flew to Thailand to record the group. The result was the first album to be released by the Thai street musicians, Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band. It’s a terrific record and was greeted with great reviews and coverage by Newsweek, Vogue and Wired, among others. It was also enough of a commercial success to finance a second album. Khun Narin II has just been released via Los Angeles-based label Innovative Leisure and it is another trance-inducing mindbender that even the most jaded of music freaks will find find revelatory.

I asked Josh Marcy to write a bit about the path to recording Khun Narin.

Take it away Josh:

The Dangerous Mind headline said all I needed to know - Mindblowing Psychedelia From Thailand - and the music in the YouTube video delivered in spades, with some of the most beautifully deep and heavy music I’d ever heard.  And there was a perfect challenge to the reader at the end of the DM article with just enough information needed to make it happen:  “Visit [their Facebook page] and implore them to come to your town or city now. Or at least release an album.”  I guess I took that as a personal challenge when I left my job later that year and began tracking down the band, first connecting the dots from the video to the phin player Beer Sitthichai’s YouTube channel and then finding the great Peter Doolan. A couple months later we’d all be together recording the first album in Lom Sak! I definitely sweated it out, but my little portable recording setup managed to get it done…  And a great performance will always outweigh the technological shortcomings.  I just hit record and the band made the magic happen

As I watch that original video, I’m realizing that the first song they play is also the final song on the new album, so it all comes full circle. It’s been such a great pleasure getting to know the amazingly talented guys in the band and, with Innovative Leisure and many others, bring their music to a wider audience, just as that original post on Dangerous Minds helped and implored us all to!

This is the video that got the ball rolling. When I first discovered it, thanks to Joey Zarda, there were just a small handful of views. Now there’s close to 400,000.

A new video from Khun Narin and a must-see complete concert after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Nicolas Winding Refn’s trippy booze commercial contains more LSD than alcohol
04:24 pm



Nicolas Winding Refn directs films that really can be called visionary. From the Pusher Trilogy through Bronson to Valhalla and Drive, Refn’s trippy visuals blended with violence, sex, and mysticism recall outlaw filmmakers like Kubrick, Anger and Tarantino. His artful exploitation films are B-movies from another dimension. For instance, take this commercial that Refn directed for Hennessy. In a conversation I had with Refn he told me he’s never taken acid. I guess he doesn’t need to because there’s a point of view in his work that is already definitely psychedelic.

The product is Hennessy X.O - Odyssey. Refn took the word odyssey and ran with it.

The awesome music is by former Red Hot Chili Pepper Cliff Martinez.

Hennessy X.O - Odyssey (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn) from Stinkdigital on Vimeo.


Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
God of Hellfire: Arthur Brown incinerates the hairy hordes at Glastonbury Fayre
09:26 am



Alice Cooper is often credited with being the originator of “shock rock” but there were at least two rock provocateurs who preceded him: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and “God of Hellfire” Arthur Brown. While there were plenty of crazed novelty acts that fell into the “one hit wonders” category, Hawkins (who died in 2000) and Brown (still alive) have stood the test of time. In the case of both men, the “shock” aspect of their performances often transcended over-the-top theatrics to become a kind of pop culture ritual magic. Underneath the spook show surface, there was something genuinely unsettling but ultimately liberating in their art. When Hawkins put a spell on you there was a good reason to be concerned. The bone in his nose may have been for laughs, but there was the sound of the graveyard in his subterranean growl. And Arthur Brown put more than just a dram or two of mystical gasoline in his flaming crucible. His crazy world IS crazy. A showman, shaman and satirist, Brown can invoke powerful mojo with a wave of his spidery hand.

In June of 1971, Arthur Brown performed at the Glastonbury Fair rock festival. A motley gathering of hippies, easy riders and suburban sadhus, the festival was a mini-Woodstock in renaissance fair drag. Swarming with enough body hair to carpet the moon and more mud-encrusted nude men than a mosh pit at Kumbh Mela. The gathering was a group grope of epic proportions where men seemed to outnumber women by at least two to one. Pink void meets the sausageful of secrets.

Fifteen years later events like these would inspire punks to declare “kill the hippies.”  So it is quite surprising that the filmed document of the festival,  Glastonbury Fayre, isn’t an acid reflux of The Summer Of Love but an engrossing slice of cinema. Despite puke-inducing scenes of flower power gone to seed, stoned freaks blathering cosmic gibberish and a cringe-inducing appearance by the slimy Maharaj Ji—the Justin Bieber of gurus—Glastonbury Fayre manages to capture something bordering on the magical. The festival took place a mere 50 miles from Stonehenge and the movie is appropriately stoned and unhinged.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
The Replacements incite a riot: An exclusive excerpt from the great new biography ‘Trouble Boys’
09:08 am



Trouble Boys

Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements, the highly anticipated biography of the legendary Minneapolis group, is out this week. Author Bob Mehr has done nothing less than pen the definitive ‘Mats bio, and Dangerous Minds has an exclusive excerpt.

The Replacements had a reputation for rowdy, drunken performances, and our excerpt from Trouble Boys details a show in Houston that just might be their wildest gig ever. It takes place in the fall of 1985, during the early stages of the Tim tour. Bassist Tommy Stinson had recently been arrested for public intoxication prior to a show in Norman, Oklahoma, spending the night in jail.

The rising action of the tour reached its climax a few nights later in Houston, where the ’Mats played the Lawndale Art Annex.

It was an unusual venue for the band—a couple of miles from the University of Houston campus, it was basically an old warehouse the school used for more highbrow art events. The gig’s promoter, Tom Bunch, had been booking hardcore and punk shows in the city for several years, working with Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys (he would go on to manage the Butthole Surfers) without any problems.

The Replacements had sold some 600 tickets in advance to a mix of punk scenesters and college kids. The latter demographic was making up a more noticeable chunk of the band’s audience. “Hey, Greeks! If you like Springsteen, R.E.M. or U2, you’ll love the Replacements!” ran a show ad in one student newspaper that autumn.

There was also an increasingly large contingent of rubberneckers. “The audience no longer exclusively consisted of people who ‘got it,’” said Replacements’ soundman Monty Lee Wilkes. “I could see it looking around every night. There were the people that had come solely to see the car crash. You’d overhear them in the can: ‘I hope they’re not too drunk tonight.’ ‘Oh man, that’s the only way to see them.’ These were the kind of people who would’ve tried to beat up the band at a party two years earlier.”

The Lawndale Annex gig also reunited the Replacements with Alex Chilton, who’d come up from New Orleans to play a couple of shows with the band. Perhaps Chilton’s presence played a part—singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg was always looking to impress him—but that night Paul almost singlehandedly started a riot. “For years I claimed Alex had spiked my drink backstage and put some sort of hallucinogen in it,” said Westerberg, “because my behavior was so off the map.”

From the start, manager Peter Jesperson sensed it was going to be one of those shows. Early on the Tim tour, he’d tried harder to dole out the booze in increments, and not too far in advance. “I’d have to lie to them all the time about that: ‘We can only get a twelve-pack now.’ I was trying to ration it out as best I could.”

In Houston, Chilton asked Jesperson for a lift back to his hotel and to wait while he got ready, then took his time shaving and getting dressed. Meanwhile, the band got its hands on the rest of the liquor: “A bottle of whiskey, a bottle of vodka, two cases of Bud, one of Heineken, and one bottle of red wine,” recalled Bunch. When he went in to check on them a little later, “every bottle was empty. Completely bone dry. I thought, This is going to be interesting.” When Jesperson finally returned, he walked into the dressing room to find the band had “actually embedded bottles of Heineken into the drywall. Not only was the liquor gone, but I was required to get them more.”

Paul and Bob
More after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
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