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Novelist Graham Greene played Russian roulette as a teenager
12.12.2013
08:24 am

Topics:
Literature

Tags:
Graham Greene
Russian roulette

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If the first volume of his autobiography A Sort of LIfe is to be believed, then the novelist Graham Greene did not have a very auspicious childhood.

His earliest memory was of sitting in his pram atop a hill, with a dead dog at his feet. When he was five, Greene walked with his nurse close to an alms-house, outside of which a crowd had gathered. Suddenly a man rushed forward and into the building. It was said he was about to cut his throat. Greene and his nurse waited among the wide-eyed spectators, until the man appeared at an upper window and cut his throat. Greene did not recall the latter part, but his brother Raymond confirmed what happened.

Another unpleasant memory was of “a tin jerry full of blood:” Greene had just had his “adenoids out and tonsils cut.” It all reads like the memoir of one of his fictional characters, Minty say, from England Made Me. Yet, if this was not enough Blud und Tod for a budding psychologist, Greene adds in details of a recurrent nightmare:

...I was terrified by a witch who would lurk at night on the nursery landing by the linen-cupboard. After a long series of nightmares when the witch would leap on my back and dig long mandarin finger-nails into my shoulders, I dreamt I turned on her and fought back and after that she never again appeared in sleep.

Dreams, we are told, were important to Greene: “the finest entertainment known and given rag cheap,” and he claimed two of his novels and several short stories “emerged” from his dreams.

He also suffered what he described as “terrors”: a dread of birds, and bats, and a “recurring terror of the house catching fire at night”.

In his teens, Greene had a breakdown, caused by “the interminable repetitions” of school life, “its monotony, humiliation and mental pain.” It led him to seek “forms of escape”: he cut his leg in a misguided attempt at suicide; “drank a quantity of hypo under the false impression it was poisonous”; downed a bottle of hay-fever drops, which contained a miniscule amount of cocaine; picked and ate some deadly nightshade, which had a slightly narcotic effect; and swallowed twenty aspirins before swimming in the empty school baths.

Greene was sent for psychoanalysis, where he “nearly” fell in love with his analyst’s wife, and soon after with another patient (a ballet student). He then began to invent answers in response to his analyst’s probing questions, but fails to reveal if his analyst was fooled by his dissembling.

In 1923, at the age of sixteen, Greene found a pistol in a corner cupboard in the bedroom he shared with his brother.

The revolver was a small ladylike object with six chambers like a tiny egg-stand, and there was a cardboard box full of bullets. I never mentioned the discovery to my brother because I had realized the moment I saw the revolver the use I intended to make of it. (I don’t to this day know why he possessed it; certainly he had no licence, and he was only three years older than myself. A large family is as departmental as a Ministry.)

With his brother away (rock-climbing in the Lake District), the revolver was “to all intents” Graham’s own. Greene wrote that he knew what he wanted to do with it, having been inspired by a book he had read on White Russian officers, who bored with inaction in the frozen reaches of their country would invent ways to literally kill time:

One man would slip a charge into a revolver and turn the chambers at random, and his companion would put the revolver to his head and pull the trigger. The chance, of course, was five to one in favour of life.

Writing almost 50-years after the event, Greene builds on his self-mythologizing by explaining how he would have described these events if he had been dealing with an imaginary character:

...I might feel it necessary for verisimilitude to make him hesitate, put the revolver back into the cupboard, return to it again after an interval, reluctantly and fearfully, when the burden of boredom and despair became too great.

This, of course, is only to show how Greene’s “burden of boredom and despair” was far greater than any contrived fiction. He knows automatically what he will do with the revolver. His life has become so dull that he could take “no aesthetic interest” in anything others may describe as beautiful—Greene felt nothing. His “boredom had reached an intolerable depth…” and he was “fixed, like a negative in a chemical bath.”

The scene now set, Greene begins his tale:

Now with the revolver in my pocket I thought I had stumbled upon on the perfect cure. I was going to escape in one way or another…

Unhappy love, I suppose, has sometimes driven boys to suicide, but this was not suicide, whatever a coroner’s jury might have said: it was a gamble with five chances to one against an inquest. The discovery that it was possible to enjoy again the visual world by risking its total loss was one I was bound to make sooner or later.

I put the muzzle of the revolver into my right ear and pulled the trigger. There was a minute click, and looking down at the chamber I could see that the charge had moved into the firing position. I was out by one. I remember an extraordinary sense of jubilation, as if a carnival lights had been switched on in a dark drab street. My heart knocked in its cage, and life contained an infinite number of possibilities…

This experience I repeated a number of times. At fairly long intervals I found myself craving for the adrenalin drug, and I took the revolver with me when I returned to Oxford….

Then it was a sodden unfrequented lane. The revolver would be whipped behind my back, the chamber twisted, the muzzle quickly and surreptitiously inserted in my ear beneath the black winter trees, the trigger pulled.

Slowly the effect of the drug wore off—I lost the sense of jubilation, I began to receive from the experience only the crude kick of excitement. It was the difference between love and lust.

Back home, Christmas 1923, Greene “paid a permanent farewell to the drug.”

As I inserted my fifth dose, which corresponded in my mind to the odds against death, it occurred to me that I wasn’t even excited: I was beginning to pull the trigger as casually as I might take an aspirin tablet. I decided to give the revolver—since it was six-chambered—a sixth and last chance. I twirled the chambers round and put the muzzle to my ear for a second time, then heard the familiar empty click as the chambers shifted. I was through with the drug…

Though he suffered from bouts of “boredom” or rather depression in later life, Greene never repeated his gamble with death again. His brother Hugh, however, was skeptical of Graham’s story, and it has been suggested Greene would have known exactly where the single bullet lay in the chamber by the weight of the gun.

Why Graham Greene indulged in this game of Russian roulette is perhaps explained by the particulars of his childhood. His father was headmaster at Berkhamsted School. The family were domiciled in one part of the house, the other part doubled as the school rooms. The symbolic point of entry from one world to the other was through “a green baize door,” just beyond his father’s study.

At home, his mother was distant, and the young Greene could have no close affiliation with his father, as he was his headmaster.

While at school, Greene was viewed as a “Quisling,” a collaborator with the classroom enemy, someone not to be trusted by the other pupils. It left Greene isolated and desperately alone.

The thirteen weeks of a term might just as well be thirteen years. The unexpected never happens. Unhappiness is a daily routine. I imagine that a man condemned to a long prison sentence feels much the same. I cannot remember what particular item in the routine of a boarding-school roused this first act of rebellion—loneliness, the struggle of conflicting loyalties, the sense of continuous grime, of unlocked lavatory doors, the odour of farts (it was sexually a very pure house, there was no hint of homosexuality, but scatology was another matter, and I have disliked the lavatory joke from that age on). Or was it just then that I suffered from what seemed to me a great betrayal?

This sense of betrayal was to influence all of Greene’s life and fiction—it is the theme in the majority of his writing, and a factor in his relationships with others. It was also the subconscious influence on his near fatal actions in 1923—for Greene there could be no better self-vindication than the attempted betrayal of his own life.

Below, the Channel 4 News obituary of the writer, with contributions from Anthony Burgess, Richard Attenborough and Auberon Waugh.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Sonic Youth, Stereolab & Jarvis Cocker love her: America meet artsy French singer Brigitte Fontaine


 
Although I’ve long been aware of Brigitte Fontaine, it was more like I’d read about her but never really heard her actual music. I was curious, but it was never put right there in front of me. This was remedied yesterday as I was running errands and listening to her album, Comme à la radio, which came in the post via Superior Viaduct, the San Francisco-based record label that specializes in high quality reissues on vinyl and CD of unusual artists (like Tuxedomoon, Glaxo Babies, Monitor, etc).

Comme à la radio hit me like a bolt from the blue. I was truly astounded. As in the “WOW, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me”/grinning from ear to ear type of payoff that a music snob gets when he or she hears something fucking amazing for the first time. There’s nothing like that hit and I got it from Comme à la radio in a big way driving around Los Angeles yesterday.

In France, Brigitte Fontaine is a deeply respected artist—a singer, actress, novelist—who has worked in the public eye for decades and changed styles many times along the way, from an initially poppy chanson sound to more of a modern Bjork-like thing she’s been up to in recent years (I’ve been giving myself a crash course in Brigitte Fontaine. Much to explore on YouTube). Post-May ‘68, she began to restlessly explore more avant-garde sounds and recorded two superb albums back to back: Brigitte Fontaine Est… Folle (“Brigitte Fontaine is crazy”) with Serge Gainsbourg’s arranger Jean-Claude Vannier and Comme à la radio recorded with members of The Art Ensemble of Chicago and her longtime collaborator and husband, Areski. Both come out on LP and CD next week from Superior Viaduct for the first time ever in America.
 

 
Brigitte Fontaine Est… Folle is a quirky, special album that all fans of Histoire de Melody Nelson must hear. It’s got a certain cabaret theatricality and dark humor whimsy that makes it very unique. I am a huge fan of Jean-Claude Vannier, so hearing Brigitte Fontaine est… Folle was indeed a great pleasure, but it didn’t prepare me for Comme à la radio which is one of the most far out things I’ve ever heard. It’s a fucking masterpiece, make no mistake about it. The album in various places (and even in the same song) brings to mind everything from Flowers of Romance-era Public Image Ltd. (I’m being quite serious) or later Can to The Master Musicians of Joujouka. Because she does a lot of “talk singing” and whispery spoken word en France the Serge comparison is difficult to avoid as well. (Comme à la radio stands up to the best of even his work. It’s that good. On that level.)

But The Art Ensemble of Chicago!?! To employ their unique talents to realize her bohemian Beatnik musical vision—a kind of wild, arrhythmic, Arabic free jazz—was a stroke of genius and fortuitous right time/right place luck—The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Fontaine were performing at venues across the street from one another in 1969 and decided to do a number of shows together in 1969 and 1970. That this album exists is nothing short of a minor miracle. There’s nothing else like it. Nothing I can think of.

At this point, I need to stop typing and you need to hit play on Comme à la radio‘s magnificent 8-minute-long title track. Turn it up loud.
 

 
If that didn’t move you, I can’t do anything else for ya.

“L’ Homme Objet” (about a “boy toy”) from Brigitte Fontaine est… Folle

Here’s a video—I love the way they shot this—of Fontaine, Areski and The Art Ensemble of Chicago performing Comme à la radio‘s “L’été l’été” in 1970:
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Avant psychedelia: The Art Ensemble of Chicago show up in French hippie movie ‘Les Stances A Sophie’

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
The Divine (and very young) Miss M: Bette Midler performing at the Continental Baths, early 70s
12.03.2013
12:25 pm

Topics:
Music
Queer

Tags:
Bette Midler

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Although for myself, I can’t even comprehend not liking Bette Midler—for me it was love at first sight—I am told that she is an acquired taste; and one that my darling wife—who has great taste in music and everything else, I hasten to add—has not acquired. This morning, I was blasting her first LP, The Divine Miss M from 1972 —I haven’t heard it in years—and it simply knocked me out. Produced by Barry Manilow, Ahmet Ertegun and the Grammy-award winning producer Joel Dorn, with a crack set of session musicians and back-up singers like Cissy Houston and Melissa Manchester, The Divine Miss M is nothing less than the unveiling of a very major talent on the world, as Midler’s 40+ years at the top of her profession attest to. She didn’t write any of the songs, but trust me, she owns them all. She’s one of those people who just oozes talent and concerning the quality of her voice and its incredible power, well, she belongs in that smallest circle of diva divas, like Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and Ethel Merman. She’s got the lungs, no two ways about it.

This morning I was poking around the Internet reading about Bette Midler’s early career and there are a lot of interesting things I discovered, especially for those of you reading this who think of her more as the Midler-of-the-road songstress of “From A Distance,” than the raunchy, brassy young broad she started her career as.

The short story is that she was a talkative Jewish chick with a BIG personality who grew up in a mostly Asian neighborhood in Honolulu, who was dying to get out of there from an early age. She moved to New York in 1965 at the age of 20 and by 1967 she was playing the small role of Tzeitel in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof, with Zero Mostel, Maria Karnilova, Bea Arthur and other notables.

Midler really came into her own, however, in the cabaret of the Continental Baths, a pioneering gay bathhouse where gay and straight culture mixed in the 70s. An Aretha Franklin album hit Midler like a bolt from the blue and she decided to become a singer, mixing campy classics like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Leader of the Pack” with her wacky thrift store fashion sense, quirky personality and dirty jokes. A friend suggested that she might want to consider launching her unconventional stage show at an unconventional place and so Midler took up a residency at the Continental Baths, playing next to a waterfall to an audience consisting of male bathhouse patrons wearing nothing but white towels and “chic” straight couples looking for an unusual night out.
 
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It was here that Midler’s brassy “fag hag” persona (“I am the last of the truly tacky women”) took shape and it was imperative that she do everything she could to capture the attention of the Continental Baths clientele: after all, there was basically a Dionysian orgy going on all around her. When Midler opened her mouth to sing, the orgy parted like the Red Sea. Her musical director for her formative years was the aforementioned Manilow, who would perform, it has been said, wearing only a towel himself, as he sat at his piano.

While this underground residency was going on, Midler was performing regularly on mainstream talkshows like David Frost’s, Merv Griffin’s and even the super straight (but unfailingly sweet) Mike Douglas’ show. Where her star really rose, though, was when Johnny Carson took Midler on as a sort of protege. She appeared on The Tonight Show quite regularly for 18 months and even opened for Carson in Las Vegas. By the time The Divine Miss M came out, she was already a known quantity and Midler went on to win a Grammy that year, the album selling nearly a million copies.

Bette Midler is an important figure in the history of gay rights in this country. Not for any one thing that she did, more for what she stood for. When her show came to town, it was an excuse for her gay fans to come out in force, dress up and get their freak on, at a time there would have been few opportunities to do so in most American cities. With her big personality and “trash with flash” Midler became a rallying point for young gay men of the 70s, not in a political sense, but a cultural sense, Midler injecting sassy gay sensibilities into the mainstream via her megawatt talents.

Here are links to some clips of the Divine Bette performing at the Baths. Considering the scarcity of consumer video cameras at that time, it’s a wonder that any visual records of Midler’s performances there exist at all, but here they are, thank you to the glory of YouTube. The two best clips, “Marajuana” and Fat Stuff” are not embeddable. “Fat Stuff” has a lot of good stage banter. (I liked one of the YouTube comments: “Wow, this was back when you had to be talented to have a career!” Too true, too true…)
 

 

 
Short local NY news story from the 90s on Midler and the Continental Baths:
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
(Nearly) unheard Velvet Underground teaser from upcoming ‘White Light/White Heat’ box set
11.25.2013
02:50 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Velvet Underground
Chris Stein


 
In anticipation of the upcoming box set of The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition—which drops December 10th—the kind folks at the Universal Music Group have given Dangerous Minds readers a taste of what is to come. They even let me choose the track, “I’m Not A Young Man Anymore,” and it’s a stunner.

The three-disc, 30-track set includes both the original stereo and mono mixes of the album, alternate versions and unreleased outtakes, including John Cale’s final studio sessions with the band. The set’s centerpiece, though, is the official release of their complete show at The Gymnasium in New York, recorded on April 30, 1967. The Gymnasium performance was bootlegged in 2008, but this was transferred from John Cale’s personal copy. The White Light/White Heat box set comes housed in a 56-page hardbound book and was developed in full cooperation with both Lou Reed and John Cale.

Reed would have been a 25-year-old in 1967 when he wrote “I’m Not A Young Man Anymore.” WHY this song was never officially recorded, well, is a mystery for the ages. If there was a an hour-long version of this song, I’d put it on a loop 24-7. Was its sole outing the Gymnasium gig? I’ve got shitloads of VU bootlegs and I’m unaware of it appearing on any other set list. Go figure!

The Gymnasium was located in the East 70s and was originally a Czechoslovakian health and social club. The gym equipment was actually left in the club. A teenaged Chris Stein, later of Blondie, played at the space with his own band and remembers seeing The Velvet Underground there:

It was pretty late at night by the time we got out of the subway in Manhattan and headed toward the Gymnasium. Walking down the block with our guitars we actually saw some people coming down the street and they said, “Oh, are you guys the band, because we’ve been waiting there all night and we couldn’t take it anymore, we left because they never showed up.” So we said, “Yeah, we’re the band.” We went inside and there was hardly anyone there. Somebody said Andy was supposed to be there, but he was off in the shadows with his entourage, we never saw him. We hung around for a little while and they played records, then we headed up for the stage. It was a big echoey place, we had absolutely no conception of playing a place like this whatsoever, but Maureen Tucker said we could use their equipment. So we plugged into their amps and the amps were all cranked up superloud…. The only song I remember doing was “You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover.” We must have done a few more, but I remember sitting down after a while because the whole thing had gotten me pretty discouraged. Then somebody came over and said, “Oh Andy likes you, he thinks you’re great.” We must have played five or six songs then we just gave up. By that time the rest of The Velvets had arrived. After a while they started to play and they were like awesomely powerful. I had never expected to experience anything like that before…. I was really disappointed that they didn’t have Nico, because we thought she was the lead singer, but I distinctly remember the violin and their doing “Venus in Furs” because a couple of people in dark outfits got up and started doing a slow dance with a chain in between them…. There were maybe thirty people there. It was very late, but it was a memorable experience….

It seems likely that Stein might be describing the very show (no Nico here) contained on the box set. The complete and utter lack of applause might also be because of the small number of people Stein recalls being there. It was 45 years ago, so who knows?

When Reed died recently, Rolling Stone asked Thurston Moore for a memory of the rocker, and he referenced “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore.”

I was at South by Southwest in 2008, playing at a Lou Reed appreciation concert. I’d just heard “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore,” which had just surfaced on a Velvet Underground bootleg. It was this powerful song I’d never heard before. Before we went on, I was talking to Lou and told him about it and he said, “How the hell do you know about that song?” I said, “It just surfaced on a bootleg on the Internet.” I said I thought it would be a good song to play since I just turned 50. And when I said that, he looked at me, half smiled and embraced me. It was wonderful and completely unexpected.

Below, have a listen to “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore.” I’m totally in love with this song. This groove don’t quit. Turn it up loud enough so that it hits you like a fucking freight train.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Meat Babies & Fish Heads:The Music Videos of Barnes & Barnes

Art & Artie Barnes
 
I’ve always found it to be strange that if an artist makes you laugh, then they are automatically put in some kind of critically-disrespected box. It’s okay to make make you cry and snot up with assorted dramatics, but a chuckle? Forget about it. Perhaps that’s why Barnes & Barnes have yet to get the full respect they deserve. Best known for their Dr. Demento chestnut, “Fish Heads,” they were much more than a musical one trick pony, with the long out-of-print Rhino Records VHS release, Zabagabee being prime evidence.

Opening with super 8mm footage of our duo, Art (actor/musician Bill Mumy, best known for his work on sci-fi television shows like Lost in Space and Babylon 5) and Artie (mad genius Robert Haimer) Barnes in their early teen years. Eerie music with a somber voice over intones, “Have they always been with us? Have they never been with us?” Off screen screaming ensues and then it cuts to the first of many strange celebrity endorsements, with Oscar winner Jose Ferrer and Superman creator Jerry Seigel popping up. They are cutely quaint until the incomparable Larry “Wild Man” Fischer shows up in his first of many appearances on this tape. Hanging out in a sunny park, Larry talks about initially running away from Barnes & Barnes thinking they were trying to kill him but then adds, “They basically wouldn’t hurt a fly.” (Anyone who has seen the excellent but no fun documentary about Fischer, Derailroaded, will probably feel a tad uncomfortable with this segment.)

Fish Fez
 
On to the music. The first video is the best known, with the Bill Paxton (yes, THAT Bill Paxton) directed “Fish Heads.” Paxton not only helmed this bad boy but also stars in it as the stylish young man with a hankering for the company of decapitated, fly encrusted fishes. (My personal favorite is the one wearing the fez and playing the bongos, because everything is better with bongos and a fez.) There’s a Dr. Demento cameo as a enthused wino and our boys wearing trash bags and eyeball goggles. It’s music video Dada and bless all involved for creating it. Where else are you going to see Bill Paxton having a tea party with a bunch of stinky yet festive fish heads? Exactly.

Dr. Demento
 
Speaking of Dr. Demento, he shows up in the next testimonial and plays what sounds like a rough demo version of “Boogie Woogie Amputee,” smiling big and proclaiming “And those were the days before the accident!.” Back on the inexplicable famous artists train, noted jazz clarinetist Woody Herman pops up, right before the next video, “Love Tap.” Directed by seasoned music video director Rocky Schenk, Bill Paxton makes a return appearance, this time as the ketchup-suited man in an abusive relationship with one beautiful and ghoulishly volatile woman, played by Annerose Bucklers. (Bucklers was also in Devo’s video for “Satisfaction.”) The absolute highlight here is Barnes & Barnes, still sporting the strange goggles but now wearing wedding dresses while flanked by dangling mannequin parts.

Shirley Jones comes in afterwards with the best line ever, “I’ve known Barnes & Barnes since I was a little girl. They used to shave my uncle!” People should be building shrines to her for that line alone. Shaun Cassidy follows her, talking about how he used to keep the band locked in his closet for years. It’s alright but anything will pale in comparison to the Shirley Jones uncle-shaving-incident.

The next video is the visually incredible “Soak it Up.” This is one of the best looking videos to have emerged out of the 80’s. Forget the pap that MTV nostalgia-heads try to foist on you. This is the real deal. “Soak it Up” is ripe with great visual devices like force perspective and superimposition, all of which is exquisitely executed. Paxton and Bucklers pop back up as young lovers minus the physical abuse and plus surrealist eye candy. The band is typically great with Haimer making some especially awesome faces and dancing in front of creepy castle that I like to pretend is his stately home. Hey, a girl can dream. There’s even a nod to the Dali created sequence from Hitchcock’s Spellbound.

Spellbound Barnes & Barnes
 
After that brilliance, we get Mark Hamill talking about the boys’ novel She Squealed and Ran Away and how they “reek” of greatness. Wild Man Larry laughs incomprehensibly about Frank Zappa and then Rae Down Chong reveals that she’s going to have their baby. Perfect and a great segue for “Ah A.” The song that is composed of strange child noises and the intro, “Do you think we will ever truly understand love?” “Perhaps.” The visuals are comprised of women ranging from a beautiful “Gibson” type girl to Ms. Chong pulling a coy Josephine Baker manouever. There’s even a highly disturbing cameo from Bill Paxton at the very end.

Barnes & Barnes Ah A
 
Boojie Boy (Mark Mothersbaugh) pops up in a spartan kitchen and talks about how Barnes & Barnes literally taught him how to wax his carrot. (Note the lack of sarcastic quotation marks.) Weird Al shows up, with only Elvira missing from my triumvirate of childhood heroes. The next video, “Party in my Pants” warrants the title card, “let’s go places and eat things…” Barnes & Barnes follow a duo of lovelies, including a young and pre-fame Terri Hatcher, around in the countryside. Meanwhile, some stop motion dolls, all looking like they hail from the $.50 bin of misfit toys at your local garage sale, hang out in a pair of pants and drink beer. It’s as great as it sounds.

Bill Paxton. Waiter.
 
Jonathan Harris, is his finest “Dr. Smith” inflected voice, comes in and mentions Barnes & Barnes a dozen times before half of the band America, whom Mumy was a member of at one point, show up. They perform a tepid version of “Fish Heads.” But then we have Wild Man, who does his own bizarro version of “Fish Heads” and all is right in the world again. Then it’s time for the grand daddy. Sure, when you see the title “Pizza Face,” your brain enters into an awkward, hormone laced Atari fever. But nix that. This video is like a punch in your face while simultaneously giving you a kiss. Example? Vermeer’s “Girl with the Pearl Earring” painting begins the proceedings, with a marinara sauce mustache being drawn on her face. It gets even better. Barnes and Barnes, in a spooky fog-laced forest, dress like weird mimes and play instruments that are nowhere heard in the soundtrack. A skull with muscle and skin melting off of its face appears right before we see the requisite Bill Paxton cameo., this time as grinning waiter. Miguel Ferrer has the worst pizza date ever and inflatable Godzilla makes a cameo! Flea shows up, fulfilling his quota that month of inexplicable appearances in clips made in the 80’s. Then? The meat baby. That is all I’m going to say about that. Percy Shelley himself could not adequately describe the beauty and splendor of meat baby, so I will not even dare.

Meat Baby
 
On the weird celebrity trip, Stephen Stills and then Rosemary Clooney (!!!) show up, waxing poetic about the band. Wild Man recites his duet with Ms. Clooney, which did indeed happen in real life, called “It’s a hard business.” “You can’t escape your destiny” prologs the next and last clip, “When You Die.” Ethereal girls in white togas dance around gravestones while the band digs graves and display masks and dolls.
 
When you die…
 
Zabagabee is a perfect sample of both the wondrously weird and well crafted sides of Barnes & Barnes. For a band that is best known for singing about severed fish parts, it’s easy to forget that they could craft a good love song, like “Soak it Up” all the while without losing their unique edge. Perhaps the best thing about Barnes & Barnes is that unlike so many bands, they never became boring. Whether it was the juvenile humor from hell of “Sicks” or the more serious “Amazing Adult Fantasy,” which includes a manic cover of the Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood classic, “Bang Bang,” Barnes & Barnes were a wonderful band. Yeah.

 

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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