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We found the all-time best DEVO live recording. Let’s listen to it, for free.
05.01.2015
09:19 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
DEVO


 
This is simply the best DEVO live recording out there. The sound is crystal clear, and the band is absolutely on fire during this 1978 performance at San Francisco’s Old Waldorf.

Terry Hammer was an audio engineer during the heyday of first wave punk in San Francisco. He maintains a mind-blowing YouTube channel upon which he has graciously decided to share dozens of live recordings he engineered for Bay Area radio stations KALX, KTIM, KSAN, KSJO, KUSF, and KSFS. Though it appears that Hammer was not the engineer on this particular live recording of DEVO, broadcast on KSAN on November 10th, 1978, he certainly had access to a low generation tape—and was kind enough to share it with the rest of us!
 

 
DEVO here are touring for their first album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!, and were a well-oiled machine at this point. Perhaps it was a desire to impress the West Coast punkers that has the group blasting through their songs at furious tempos, far more hectic than on their albums.

This is not the first time these recordings have been made public. Obviously they were on the KSAN airwaves, but then some enterprising bootleggers in the late ‘70s released the show under at least two different titles.
 

 

 

 
The sound here is much improved from those ratty bootleg LPs. This thing is phenomenal.

Check it out right here:
 

 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Jonathan Richman fills out the N.Y. Rocker questionnaire
05.01.2015
09:03 am

Topics:
Media
Music

Tags:
Jonathan Richman
The Modern Lovers


 
The February 1978 edition of N.Y. Rocker ran a feature by Craig Zeller called “Jonathan Richman: A Roadrunner for Your Love.” The article has one of the better opening lines I can remember: “I’m straight and I used to be in love with Jonathan Richman.” Not only does it reference one of Richman’s defining tunes, “I’m Straight,” but it also puts forward the prospect of falling out of love with Jonathan Richman. (Actually, having seen Richman complain about the A/C the last two times I saw him play live and also reading Zeller’s account of Richman’s prickiness as an interviewee, I get it.)

In Zeller’s lengthy intro, he puts himself across as a die-hard Richman fan frustrated that Richman’s recent work hasn’t lived up to the initial early promise. He tells of an NYU gig of October 29, 1977, singling out the new songs “I’m a Little Airplane,” “My Love Is A Flower (Just Beginning To Bloom),” “I’m A Little Dinosaur,” and (Zeller’s favorite) “The Morning of Our Lives.” The interview that ran in N.Y. Rocker took place after that show in chilly Washington Square Park (how about finding a bar somewhere, guys?) and was by his own admission a bit awkward.

This 1998 interview with Richman includes a reference to Richman’s distaste for N.Y. Rocker because “they had misquoted” Richman and “distorted some of [Richman’s] comments” and because “they had ‘lied,’” but what I can’t figure out is if this is the feature Richman was upset about—N.Y. Rocker covered Richman more than once, after all. What’s odd is that the interview reads like a verité transcription of what happened (there were four people present, and the interview is presented in straight (lengthy) Q&A style). And yet Zeller himself goes out of his way to explain Richman’s sensitivity on this matter, saying “I promised not to misquote him or take his answers out of context, which is one reason why he is averse to doing interviews.” It seems unlikely that Richman would single out this piece of all pieces for an accusation of distortion, but anything’s possible.

Zeller’s article is still an interesting and engaging read. One of my favorite tidbits is Richman’s mention of an earlier name for the Modern Lovers, that being “Jonathan Richman’s Rockin’ Roadmasters,” a fact that could be corroborated on the Internet solely by this Spanish-language article from 2003. It appears to be not widely known that RIchman had once favored that name for his band.

Tucked in on the final page of three is a quirky questionnaire, presented entirely without explanation or caption, that clearly has Richman’s answers on it…

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Buy membership in Laibach for $10,000
05.01.2015
05:50 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Laibach
NSK


 
With the slogan “A CHICKEN IN EVERY POT AND LAIBACH IN EVERY CITY,” Laibach recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for its planned tour of the US in May and June. It will be Laibach’s first trip to the US since 2008, and the group’s first proper North American tour since 2004.

In exchange for pledges, they’re offering Laibach-brand soap, armbands, cigarette cases, ties, ringtones, posters, and all the other perquisites of the of the Laibach way of life—the manner, let’s face it, to which you have become accustomed. For $300, you can meet the band at one of the shows; for $3,000, you get to spend three days in Ljubljana hanging with Laibach; and for $10,000, you can purchase an honorary membership in the group. Better yet, buy all of these things and give them to me.
 

 
If you have any interest in Laibach at all, take a look at the packages on offer. I can guarantee that you won’t find a more enlightening FAQ on any crowdfunding page:

Why does God not exist?

- Because God is God and he does not need to exist to prove this!

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol interviews Frank Zappa (whom he hated) without uttering a word
04.30.2015
11:36 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Television

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Frank Zappa


 
In this brief clip from Andy Warhol’s public access TV show from the early 1980s, Andy Warhol’s TV, Warhol sits silently by while Richard Berlin assumes the duties of interviewing Frank Zappa. Zappa discusses the ins and outs of being a public gadfly; for a few moments we glimpse a few seconds of the video for “You Are What You Is,” which had been banned from MTV for its use of a racial slur but also, just as plausibly, because of the way it poked fun at Ronald Reagan.

The interview made a significant impression on Warhol. Here’s the entry from The Andy Warhol Diaries for June 26, 1983:
 

Frank Zappa came to be interviewed for our TV show and I think that after the interview I hated Zappa even more than when it started. I remember when he was so mean to us when the Mothers of Invention played with the Velvet Underground— I think both at the Trip, in L.A., and at the Fillmore in San Francisco. I hated him then and I still don’t like him. And he was awfully strange about Moon. I said how great she was, and he said, “Listen, I created her. I invented her.” Like, “She’s nothing, it’s all me.” And I mean, if it were my daughter I would be saying, “Gee, she’s so smart,” but he’s taking all the credit. It was peculiar.

 
Warhol’s memory was rather good—the Mothers did indeed open for the Velvets at the Trip on May 3, 1966. In late May 1966, both bands played the Fillmore in S.F. for a three-day stint.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Meet Iggy Pop’s childhood friend, the ‘imaginary Mexican’
04.30.2015
06:09 am

Topics:
Books
Music

Tags:
Iggy Pop


 
Today’s happening young person has every reason to invest in a copy of Iggy Pop’s memoir, I Need More. One compelling reason is right there in the title: Iggy needs more, and it is your duty to give it to him.

But dude, I hear today’s happening young person whine, the book is like out of print and Iggy will collect like no royalties from my purchase on the secondhand market. Pull your pants up, junior, because this lame attempt to shirk your duty only brings us to an even more compelling reason: on Amazon, a used copy of the original 1982 edition is now cheaper than the reprint published by Henry Rollins’ 2.13.61 (pictured above). That’s two compelling reasons right there, without even mentioning the content of the book.

Among the treasures that await you inside this handsome volume is a high quality, suitable-for-framing reproduction of Iggy’s closest childhood friend, the “imaginary Mexican.” (Sorry, that’s a lie—the portrait, reproduced in the margins of the book, is actually the size of a large postage stamp.) During his asthma-haunted childhood in the Osterberg family trailer, stoned on Quadrinol, Iggy fantasized about a life of high adventure on the Brazos or somewhere with this bandoliered character:
 

 

As a kid I had a character in my brain. I drew him over and over and over. He was my imaginary Mexican; well, you look at him and figure it out for yourself.

 
You’ll notice that the rude health of the imaginary Mexican’s right side (from his point of view) compensates for his withered left side, and that he has one great birdlike talon exploding through the toe of each shoe. Does the body’s muscular right side indicate a left-brain predominance? I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure the boy was destined for greatness if this righteous dude was his ideal playmate.

Watch Iggy dance with a refrigerator in the little-known music video for “Dog Food” after the jump..:

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
That time when Ringo Starr evicted Jimi Hendrix for being such a shitty tenant, 1967


 
Ah, 34 Montagu Square, the infamous ground floor and basement apartment once leased by Beatle Ringo Starr during the mid-1960s. Many celebrities sub-leased the apartment from Starr then, but perhaps the worst of the worst celebrity tenant award goes to a Mr. Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix—along with his girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham—sub-leased the apartment back in December of 1966. They both lived on the lower-ground floor and paid £30 a month in rent. That’s a pretty rad bargain if you ask me even for back then. I’d consider it living situation that you’d probably not want to fuck up. But… Jimi Hendrix apparently did. One night while on an acid trip, Hendrix decided it would be a good idea to whitewash the entire place. He threw whitewash all over the walls because LSD. That, er, “mistake” led Ringo Starr to issue Hendrix an eviction. Bye-bye, Jimi!

Hendrix and Etchingham only lasted three months in the digs. Hendrix, did however, compose the song “The Wind Cries Mary”  while he lived there. The song was inspired after a fight he had with Etchingham over her lack of cooking skills.

The photographs you see here, by photojournalist Petra Niemeier, are of Hendrix while he lived at 34 Montagu Square. Judging by these photos, I’m surprised Hendrix didn’t burn down the damned place while smoking in bed. Methinks the Beatle probably made the right call.


 

 

 

 

 
via Mashable and Wikipedia

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Three Dates with Genesis,’ fascinating 1978 BBC tour documentary
04.29.2015
08:36 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Genesis


 
At the start of Three Dates with Genesis an engaging BBC documentary from 1978 on the long-lasting prog rock outfit that eventually (well after this show aired) and improbably morphed into one of the world’s most reliable and mainstream pop acts, guitarist Mike Rutherford says, “I remember we were once described by an East Grinstead local paper as a ‘folk-blues-jazz-rock-mystical group.’”

It may be precisely that chameleonic quality that ensured the gang such success in the 1980s. This is the era of And Then There Were Three.... As the album’s title indicated, Genesis had just become a trio—Peter Gabriel had left in 1975, and Steve Hackett left while the 1977 live album Seconds Out was being mixed. Nobody involved could have had the slightest inkling that this new trio formation would prove to be the band’s most successful incarnation—by far—and also easily the longest-lasting, managing to stay together for thirty years (or twenty, depending on whom you ask).

Call me crazy, but the decision to continue as a trio was the revolutionary step, abandoning the convoluted and complex five-person lineup more befitting a pretentious, D&D-and-Tolkien-influenced, noodly prog outfit. As a trio, Genesis became leaner, and the pop sensibility of Phil Collins stepped to the fore. Keyboardist Banks always cherished his long solos, but the more innately humble Rutherford and Collins managed to rein them into a more standard pop format, famously heavily influenced by Motown and Stax (think horns)—hell, Collins would even cover the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” on his second solo album.

In any case, Genesis fans are in for a treat.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Grace Slick’s insane and mercifully short-lived blackface phase
04.29.2015
07:48 am

Topics:
Music
Race

Tags:
Grace Slick
Smothers Brothers
blackface


 
The values dissonance all over this is staggering: in 1968, the Jefferson Airplane appeared on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour to sing the title song from their then-new album Crown of Creation. For this appearance, the band’s almost totally uninhibited singer/provocateur Grace Slick sang in blackface and ended the performance with a black power salute.
 

 

 
Slick maintained that the gesture was one of solidarity with either the Black Power Movement generally or Angela Davis specifically (online sources differ, and the difference is sufficiently moot that I don’t care to spend all day Encyclopedia Browning so fine a point), but I can’t imagine how anyone could think that the intent of solidarity could possibly trump the massively offensive history of minstrelsy ineradicably attached to blackface performance. But it could have been just a blip if Slick hadn’t doubled down, appearing on the January 1969 cover of Teenset magazine in blackface. Giving a black power salute. (Irony abounds in that mag: other articles in the same issue include “Jimi Hendrix, Black Power, and Money,” and an editorial by Pat Paulsen about censorship on The Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour.) In an article titled “Grace Slick is an Attention-Getting Device,” Slick claimed to have had “about forty different reasons” for the stunt, but specified six of them. Hold on to your hats, people:

1. “If you listen to the words of ‘Crown of Creation,’ think about a spade singing it. It makes a lot of sense.”

2. “Women wear makeup all the time, so why not black? Next time maybe I’ll wear green. Makeup is pretty silly anyway…”

3. “I did it because it was a trip; it’s weird to have blue eyes and a black face.”

4. “The whole thing started when I was watching TV and someone said that blacks look better on television in closeups, so I wandered around the house wearing blackface and flashing on myself in the mirror. Perhaps a bored socialite can do the same thing and go shopping in blackface and maybe pick up some bargains.”

5. “There weren’t any blacks on the show and the quota needed a little readjustment.”

6. “I knew nearly everybody would object to it.”


I get that this, like the original stunt, was a youthful acid-head’s deliberate exercise in provocative audacity. And I’m not posting about this to harp on someone’s decades-old misstep, but because the implications and associations all over this are fascinating to me. But I can’t shake that not-even-a-thing drop of a racial slur in the very first list item. But then I consider the appalling R. Crumb character “Angelfood McSpade,” and I wonder just how prevalent WAS such casual racism in the ‘60s counterculture? Or was “spade” somehow considered OK then? In the wake of the Civil Rights Movement? I can’t even imagine, but then, I wasn’t born until 1970 and was never a hippie, so what do I know? If we’re to believe this was an expression of solidarity—and apart from what seems today like shocking tone-deafness, there’s little reason to believe it wasn’t one, the Jefferson Airplane’s radicalism wasn’t posturing—then the slur would seem way out of bounds. Like I said right up front, values dissonance all over this. But after that issue of Teenset, perhaps realizing she wasn’t doing anyone any favors, Slick seems to have let the blackface stunt drop and went back to being more productively badass. Until Jefferson Starship…

After the jump, the controversial performances of “Crown of Creation” and “Lather”...

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Blondie bombshell Debbie Harry’s awkwardly awesome late-night disco-diatribe against nuclear power
04.29.2015
05:16 am

Topics:
Activism
Music

Tags:
Blondie
Debbie Harry
no nukes


Debbie Harry, fronting Blondie, on The Midnight Special—October 5, 1979
 
Noted for its live, rather than lip-synced, performances, The Midnight Special was a late-night musical variety show, airing on NBC between 1973-1981. The show tended to feature up-and-coming acts, and an appearance on The Midnight Special was generally a sign that a band had finally “made it.” With only three major television networks at the time, even at its late hour, an appearance on The Midnight Special guaranteed a large, hip, young audience. For those born later than the 1970s, it must be understood that The Midnight Special was a very big deal. To fuck with the conventions of The Midnight Special was a very, very big deal.

On October 5, 1979, Blondie made their second appearance on The Midnight Special. They had appeared earlier in January of that same year performing live versions of “One Way or Another,”  “Hanging on the Telephone,”  and “Sunday Girl.” On their October 5th appearance, the band performed “Dreaming,”  “Slow Motion,”  “The Hardest Part,”  “Accidents Never Happen,”  and “Heart of Glass.”
 

Debbie Harry and drummer Clem Burke on the Midnight Special stage.
 
For their second Midnight Special appearance, Blondie lead singer, Debbie Harry, draped in a simultaneously stunning and ridiculous (backwards?) blue romper, exudes a mesmerizing, other-worldly, “don’t give a shit” sex appeal. Her demeanor is confidently aloof, yet at times straight-up dorky, but what she does at 2:20 into “Heart of Glass” is one of the most awkwardly cool things that ever happened on network television. It’s as bizarre as it is on point. The band goes into the instrumental break of the song, and Debbie launches into a brief diatribe on nuclear power:

The use of nuclear power is merely a symptom of our troubled times. It is time for all Americans to take control of their own lives and stop being pushed around and poisoned. The race for nuclear superiority can only end with the destruction of civilization.

...And then she goes straight back into the ditty. She gives a split second look right after, that seems to indicate “I just did something really cool on this dumb TV stage.” The audience eats it up, and you can audibly hear their reaction over the music. This was the same year as the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, so her rant is especially timely.

Geez, Debbie, as if we needed one more reason to love you.

Here’s the entire song; the “nuclear power” riff is at 2:20:
 

 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Rated X: The DIRTY (and very funny) reggae of Judge Dread
04.28.2015
10:03 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Reggae

Tags:
ska
Prince Buster
Judge Dread

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Judge Dread was a white reggae and ska recording artist who had a string of hit singles during the 1970s. He sold millions of records, and was the second biggest selling reggae artist—only beaten in album sales by Bob Marley, though Dread scored more hit singles than Marley—and had the dubious distinction of being the most banned recording artist ever—with a total of eleven singles deemed unsuitable for broadcast during his career.

Born Alexander Minto Hughes in Snodland, Kent, England in 1945, Dread first became a fan of reggae in the 1960s while living with a Jamaican family in Brixton, London. He was passionate about the music and became friends with the legendary ska and rocksteady artists Prince Buster and Derrick Morgan, who were to have an influence on his musical career.
 
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Dread was a giant of a man, weighing in around 250 pounds, which more than helped with his choice of work as a club bouncer, wrestler (under the monicker “The Masked Avenger”) and eventually debt collector for the ska record label Trojan. It was while working for Trojan that Dread cut his first self-financed single “Big Six.” The track was inspired by Prince Buster’s banned 1969 underground hit “Big 5”—a catchy number about weed, sex and spunk, which Dread used as basis for his own salty take on traditional nursery rhymes in 1972.
 
00drdmnjdgdrd.jpg
 
Dread was a master of the smutty double or perhaps more correctly stated, the single entendre, and although some songs were explicit, he always claimed the innuendo was all in the mind of the audience, as the lyrics to “Big Five” show:

There was an old sailor, who sat on a rock,
Waving and shaking his big hairy…Fist
at the ladies next door in The Ritz,
Who taught all the children to play with their…Ice-creams
and marbles and all things galore,
Along comes a lady who looks like a…Decent young woman,
who walks like a duck,
She said she’s invented a new way to….etc. etc…

 
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After the success of “Big Six” more hits followed in a numerical order with “Big Seven,” Big Eight” and “Big NIne” before Dread recorded his own novelty versions of “Je t’aime… moi non-plus,” “Come Outside” and “Y Viva Suspenders.” Most weeks his mug with his Brian Connolly haircut and paintbrush beard was regularly flashed onscreen during the chart rundown for Top of the Pops but his songs were never played. Which makes Judge Dread’s success all the more incredible, as he never received any airplay—or perhaps it says more about the (lack of) taste of the record-buying public during the 1970s? Whichever—Judge Dread was once a major phenomenon, who continued performing through the less successful 1980s and 1990s until his sudden and untimely death right after a gig in 1998.

Understandably, TV footage of Judge Dread is rare, but here is the reggae giant performing “Big Six” in front of group of topless dancers on Musikladen from late 1980.
 

 
 
Listen to some more of Judge Dread’s smutty reggae, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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