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RIP Twinkle: Nearly forgotten 60s teen pop star, 1948-2015
07.30.2015
10:21 am

Topics:
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
Jimmy Page
Twinkle


 

“I didn’t have an image made up for me by a publicity department. All you saw was what I was. I’m very rebellious, and I was terrible anxious to get in with the fast crowd.”

Some people we think of as being perpetually young, because that’s the sole image we have of them, so it was particularly jarring for me to read about the passing of “Twinkle” at the Ugly Things website over the weekend. She died a few months back, May 21 to be exact, of cancer.

Lynn “Twinkle” Ripley, better known simply as “Twinkle,” was a pretty, blonde, green-eyed teenaged pop star of mid-60s Britain who never really crossed over to U.S. popularity. Her father was a wealthy Tory MP and her older sister, Dawn James, was a well-connected music journalist.  She attended the same posh girls school as Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and the Redgrave sisters. She insisted from the age of six that she was going to be a pop star. Her biggest hit was “Terry,” a sappy, maudlin song she wrote herself. “Terry” tells the tale of an ill-fated motorcycle ride and slightly predates “Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri-Las. It’s sung like a very flat Leslie Gore. Twinkle was not blessed in the voice department, clearly.

“Terry” was not based on a true story, but the fact that it was written by teenaged girl (and not a male songwriter channeling one) makes it all the more charming. None other than Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page was a session musician on the track. The song reached #4 in the British record charts around Christmas of 1964 despite being banned from BBC radio airplay (and TV’s Ready, Steady, Go) because it was considered in “poor taste.” It’s kind of odd today to consider that when the song was banned, it was being called “sick” and “dangerous drivel” by Lord Ted Willis. Pirate station Radio Caroline continued to play the record.
 

 
Her next song, “Golden Lights,” about being the girlfriend of a pop star (she was, Dec Cluskey of The Bachelors was her then steady) was even better, but reached only #20 on the charts. (“Golden Lights” was later covered by The Smiths and is included in their Louder Than Bombs compilation).  Although she appeared on package tours with The Rolling Stones, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders and Herman’s Hermits (Peter Noone became her boyfriend for a while), she never really made it and “retired” from the pop world before she turned 18. She later went on to write TV themes and commercial jingles for ATV Music, recording and performing sporadically throughout the decades. Her later life was primarily devoted to campaigning for animal-rights.

Below, a clip of her biggest hit, “Terry”:

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Two rare Joy Division tracks were just re-released, and you can hear them here
07.30.2015
09:14 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Joy Division
Love Will Tear Us Apart


 
Rhino Records recently did that thing they do very very well, and re-released Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, Closer, Still, and Substance on 180 gram vinyl. My feelings are mixed on the recent flood of vinyl reissues of albums that have been widely available for decades, but the 2XLP reissue of Substance contains some items of interest that have never been featured on any release of that collection—a rare 7” b-side called “As You Said,” and the so-called “Pennine mix” of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”
 

 
“As You Said” was released as a b-side to a flexi-disc of “Komakino” that was given away in The Öther Söund magazine. That flexi also included a version of “Incubation,” and all three tracks were outtakes from the Closer sessions, the band’s final studio recordings. It’s a significantly brighter mix than the version that can be heard on the Heart & Soul box set and the Warsaw CD, and it’s only ever been issued with this level of clarity as part of the preposterous Singles 1978-80, an ultra-limited box set of ten remastered 7"s. It’s a synth-based instrumental curiosity, likely of interest to the überfan who’s heard it all.

The Pennine version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was actually the rejected original recording of the song, recorded at Pennine Sound Studios in January of 1980 (the version with which we’re all much more familiar was recorded at Strawberry Studios in March). It was released as the b-side to the original 7” and 12” of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” along with “These Days.” Some versions of the 7” dropped the Pennine recording of “LWTUA” and featured “These Days” alone. It saw a 1988 release on the “Atmosphere” 12” that accompanied the original release of Substance. In a 2010 GQ interview, JD’s drummer Stephen Morris cited this version as his preferred recording of “LWTUA:”

The Pennine version has always been there - it was on the b-side of the 12-inch when it first came out. But it wasn’t called “The Pennine Mix” or anything like that, it was just “Love Will Tear Us Apart” but a slightly different version. That version was the way we always played it live. The one that everybody knows, I actually hate.

Why, because it’s too poppy?
Just because of the bad, emotional things. Martin Hannett [Joy Division record producer] played one of his mind games when we were recording it - it sounds like he was a tyrant, but he wasn’t, he was nice. We had this one battle where it was nearly midnight and I said, “Is it all right if I go home, Martin - it’s been a long day?” And he said [whispers], “OK… you go home.” So I went back to the flat. Just got to sleep and the phone rings. “Martin wants you to come back and do the snare drum.” At four in the morning! I said, “What’s wrong with the snare drum!?” So every time I hear “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, I grit my teeth and remember myself shouting down the phone, “YOU BASTARD!” [smashes up imaginary phone.] I can feel the anger in it even now. It’s a great song and it’s great production, but I do get anguished every time I hear it.

 
Hear both songs after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Robot Monster,’ Lux Interior’s favorite B movie, a bad movie for bad people
07.30.2015
06:44 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
The Cramps
Robot Monster


“At what point on the graph do ‘must’ and ‘cannot’ meet?”
 
KDOC, the Orange County station that broadcast Wally George’s The Hot Seat, was also home to a wonderful show with even lower production values than Wally’s called Request Video. After school, I would rush to the TV to watch Request Video, hoping to catch another glimpse of the Ramones.

The Cramps paid a visit to Request Video before one of their early 90s shows at the Hollywood Palladium, and their wide-ranging discussion with host Gia DeSantis touched on many things that are still of vital importance to your life, such as the size of Lux’s pumps, the band’s makeup tips, and Lux and Ivy’s favorite B movies. While Ivy picked the classic Gun Crazy, Lux named this appalling 1953 movie about a robot from the moon who looks like a gorilla wearing a diver’s helmet. Its mission, to exterminate all human beings on Earth, doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after you’ve spent a few minutes with the cast.
 

 
Lux expanded on his love for Robot Monster in a 1995 interview with Phoenix New Times:

“I’m interested in Jungian archetypes, what it is that makes people want to see movies about flying saucers and alien invasions. I’m interested why someone would write a film like Robot Monster [a notoriously bad Fifties piece featuring a monster that was essentially a gorilla with a deep-sea-diving helmet for a head]. And why a lot of people would write films that have so much in common—Robot Monster, Plan 9 From Outer Space, you name it, all those old horror movies.

“I think it has something to do with the collective unconscious. I feel like watching these films to be just like dream interpretations. When I see an old horror movie, it really strikes a chord in me, and it’s because I’m connected to the same thing that the person who wrote the movie is connected to.”

Lux pauses briefly, then provides a summation: “I think the reason I do things is a lot like the same reason Johnny Rotten did what he did, or the same reason Marcel Duchamp did the things he did. We’re all connected together in one aspect of consciousness.”

 

Ro-Man’s hideout in Griffith Park
 
Screenwriter Wyott Ordung talks about working on Robot Monster in the book 3-D Revolution: The History of Modern Stereoscopic Cinema. Though he doesn’t shed much light on Lux’s concerns, he does relate that the movie’s reception nearly proved fatal for him and director Phil Tucker:

When I went to see the picture, I was sitting in the Hollywood Paramount [theater]. It’s funny now—it wasn’t funny then—and as I’m walking out of the theater the manager of the popcorn stand says “We should skin the writer alive.” [...] The next thing I know Phil Tucker tried to commit suicide. There was a picture of him in the Los Angeles Mirror on the front page. He was lying there clutching the cans of film. Was it because of the film? I think he wanted publicity. That’s what I think. Young genius thinks he made a great picture for $45,000. People are not going to the movie and so on and he ended up in Camarillo [State Mental Hospital].

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Hear the Dead Kennedys as a five-piece with KEYBOARDS, play a Rolling Stones cover
07.30.2015
06:25 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Dead Kennedys
Screamers
Paul Roessler


 
I recently finished reading Michael Stewart Foley’s excellent 33 1/3 series book on the Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables album. 

Rather than merely analyzing recording minutae or picking apart lyrical content song-by-song, the book documents the socio-political climate of late ‘70s San Francisco, exploring the environment that existed which precipitated the need for a Dead Kennedys. It’s incidentally got me on a personal kick of revisiting a lot of DK music, particularly from that early, formative era—when Jello Biafra was writing songs instead of diatribes.

When I’m not wasting my time obsessively A/B-ing different pressings of Fresh Fruit to detect subtle differences in the mastering quality, I’m double checking to see what blessings the gods of the Internet have offered up as gap fillers in the Kennedys’ historical record. A few months ago I wrote here about an incredible 1982 live video from Vienna. Although the recording I’m presenting today is audio-only, it’s a far more interesting historical artifact than even that Vienna show (which totally blew me away). Today we’re going to listen to Terry Hammer’s recording of Dead Kennedys from Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco from June 14, 1980.
 

Dead Kennedys played with Paul Roessler’s band, Bent, and the Subhumans from Canada.
 
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. The channel features no less than five different (crucial) Dead Kennedys recordings—all worth investigating.

I’ve previously gushed all over Dangerous Minds about Hammer’s recordings of DEVO and Husker Du. The quality of this recording exists somewhere in between those two, preserving, with remarkable clarity, this point in the Kennedys’ history where they were feeling more comfortable in their arrangements and picking up the tempos (but before going full hardcore with the replacement of original drummer, “Ted,” with D.H. Peligro).

But what’s really, truly astounding about this recording is the inclusion of Paul Roessler on keyboard for the final five songs of the gig. At twenty-eight and a half minutes in, Jello sardonically introduces Roessler (brother of Black Flag’s Kira Roessler) as the “Remora of Rock and Roll.” Roessler was known up to that point for his work with the Screamers, Nervous Gender, Mommymen, Bent, and Silver Chalice. Bent had opened for Dead Kennedys on that night’s bill.

“Torture those keys,” directs Biafra, and Roessler does, with distorted organ sounds blaring even more raw, jagged and cutting than East Bay Ray’s bright surf-overdrive guitar damage. Roessler performs on “Stealing People’s Mail,” “Drug Me,” “Holiday in Cambodia,” “Too Drunk to Fuck,” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time.”

The keys are particularly effective on “Too Drunk To Fuck,” changing the entire vibe of the song, giving it a campy horror sound, not far from the early death rock of bands like 45 Grave (whom Roessler was also a member of).

Roessler had previously worked with Dead Kennedys, in the studio, where he played keyboard tracks on “Drug Me” and “Stealing People’s Mail” for the Fresh Fruit LP. According to Alex Ogg’s book Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: The Early Years, “Stealing People’s Mail” was musically influenced by Roessler’s group the Screamers.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Hype!’: The 1996 documentary that captured grunge’s explosive rise (and immediate co-optation)
07.29.2015
08:46 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
documentary
grunge
Hype


Vogue’s 1992 grunge feature, “Grunge & Glory,” becasue nothing says “grunge” like Naomi Campbell in Perry Ellis!
 
The “grunge speak” hoax of 1992 may be the greatest youth culture response to unwanted media hype in the history of “shut up, old man!” A reporter for The New York Times was working on a grunge story for its Style of the Times section—a little exposé on the scene’s hip, new slang. Trouble is, there really wasn’t such thing as a grunge slang, so when the Times contacted Sub Pop Records receptionist, she just made up a bunch of silly shit. The result was a comically ridiculous list of phony jargon titled “Lexicon of Grunge: Breaking the Code.” When Thomas Frank over at The Baffler pointed out that no one was calling anyone a “cob nobbler” or a “lamestain,” the Times was so miffed that they demanded Frank apologize before finally realizing they’d been had.

Like the grunge speak hoax, Hype! is a fascinating record of the grunge phenomenon, specifically because it’s about the tension between the scene and the media. The bands themselves tell the story (and I mean nearly all the bands—Mudhoney, Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Gits, The Melvins, Mono Men, Pearl Jam, 7 Year Bitch and a host of less famous acts), and though there is a genuine love for the Seattle scene and the community it produced, there is already a bitter awareness of grunge’s fate. Members of 7 Year Bitch point out the sexism of the coverage women in bands receive, Eddie Vedder expresses anguish over the immediate commercialization of the grunge phenomenon and the discomfort of living the shadow of Kurt Cobain looms large for many bands.

Far from the bitter, childish personas so often associated with angry young people and their guitars, the subjects of Hype! are thoughtful and clear-eyed, still professing a genuine love for the music and the organic nature of the scene, despite the obvious reality that Grunge has been thoroughly appropriated for mass consumption.
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Cover versions: Debbie Harry stars in pulp romance novels based on Blondie songs
07.29.2015
07:08 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
Blondie
Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry faux pulp novel
“Rip Her to Shreds” faux pulp romance novel cover. Title taken from a song found on Blondie’s eponymous 1976 debut album

These clever faux pulp romance novels featuring Debbie Harry by Atlanta-based pop artist, Zteven are pretty much the best things I’ve seen this week. And I see a lot of cool stuff on a daily basis.

Not only did Zteven manage to portray Harry as one of the coolest salacious sirens to ever grace the cover of a smutty, old school pulp romance novel, he also incorporated the lyrics of songs from Blondie’s catalog in the titles and descriptions. There are even a few sly nods to Blondie co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein, as well as songwriter and producer Mike Chapman who worked with the group on their breakthrough 1978 record, Parallel Lines as well as Eat to the Beat (1979), Autoamerican (1980) and The Hunter (1982). The set of four prints, framed, will run you $40.
 
One Way or Another faux pulp novel with Debbie Harry
“One Way or Another” faux pulp romance novel cover. Title taken from a song that appears on 1978’s Parallel Lines
 
More Blondie cover versions after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Ministry’s Al Jourgensen guests on the new single by ONO: A DM premiere
07.28.2015
06:44 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Ministry
Al Jourgensen
ONO


 
Now that ONO’s second incarnation has lasted longer than its first, the theatrical gospel/avant-noise performance-poet/musicians (did I leave anything out?) seem to be picking up long-overdue steam. Dangerous Minds clued you in on them a few months ago, in a guest post by Plastic Crimewave Sound/Moonrises psychedelia pooh-bah Steve Kraków, so I’ll go easy on the history here and refer you to that post, but the tl;dr is that ONO’s singer/invoker of spirits Travis and sonic guru P. Michael Grego led the archly arty Chicago band from 1980-86. They resurrected the project with new and returning members in 2007, releasing the album Albino in 2012, and going on their first tour in 2014, in support of the album Diegesis.

I was incredibly fortunate to have been in one of the opening bands for ONO’s very first show on tour last summer, and it is to my lasting regret that I didn’t think to shoot any video. Travis, resplendent in white (he often sports a wedding dress, to match his white beard) cut a compelling and shamanic figure while the band’s improvisations lurched about dizzyingly and unpredictably. I could not help but think that if only they had gotten out of Chicago more in their original incarnation, they’d be so much better known today. P. Michael was quoted in an excellent 2008 Rocktober article as having said “We toured in our mind, but not in our feet.” Pity. An ONO show can be described, but only seeing one is seeing one. Frontmen like Travis do not come along often.
 

 
But cross your fingers, if we’re lucky another tour could be in the offing, as ONO’s third new album since their reactivation is due this fall. Titled Spooks, the album features contributions from Tiger Hatchery drummer Ben Baker Billington, OBNOX singer/guitarist Lamont Thomas, and I shit you not Ministry leader Al Jourgensen. Jourgensen contributed to the band’s first album, Machines That Kill People, and has significant behind-the-scenes history with ONO. P. Michael again, from the same Rocktober interview:

We ran into this guy that was skating that turned out to be Al Jourgensen. He was in the Immune System and then he left them and then he was going into Special Affect. One night they were playing with Naked Raygun. Somehow we knew Naked Raygun, probably by going out dancing. No, we hadn’t played any shows at all, but Naked Raygun saw us somewhere. Special Affect was playing at the Exit, and Naked Raygun was opening for them. They asked us to go on after them, like at two in the morning. So the first ONO show was me, Travis and Mark [Berrand, guitar]. After that, we had gotten shows at O’Banions, Lucky Number. We played a lot of these old punk venues little by little. Mark eventually had to leave town; that’s how Ric [Graham, sax] got into the band. Al, who by then had left Special Affect and was starting up a group called Ministry, his girlfriend was Shannon Rose Riley at the time. He said, “I got somebody that would really be cool for you guys,” and he introduced us to her. She sorta played saxophone and the accordion. She was a character. She joined up with us, and Al said “I got this record deal. Thermidor Records (owned by Joe Carducci and Joe Boshard, distributed by SST) wants Special Affect singles. They had officially broken up, but he had told Thermidor Records about us. So they were interested. Al was going to go into the studio with us. We were gonna make a single. We were able to get a hold of Al and his engineer, which was Iain Burgess, so we went out to Chicago Recording Studios to record two numbers with Shannon, and Al was the producer.

 

 

 
Shannon Rose Riley—who Jourgensen credits with launching his career in his autobiography Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen—is still involved with ONO, listed in the band’s Punk Database page as “Sax-Bass, Percussion and Keyboards.” The collaboration with Jourgensen is called “Punks,” and you’re hearing it here first.
 

 
After the jump a taste of live ONO that actually captures the chaotic feeling of being there… and more!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa documentary announced: Will be directed by Alex Winter of ‘Bill & Ted’ fame
07.27.2015
01:44 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Frank Zappa
Alex Winter


 
Alex Winter, best known for his roles in The Lost Boys and the two “Bill & Ted” movies with Keanu Reeves (and this infamous Butthole Surfers “home movie”), is developing a documentary on Frank Zappa, which he will direct from his own script and produce with Glen Zipper. The Zappa Family Trust has given its blessing to the untitled project.

Variety reports:

“There has yet to be a definitive, authorized documentary on the extraordinary life and work of Frank Zappa,” Winter said. “I am beyond thrilled to be embarking on this journey. Our tale will be told primarily in Frank’s own words; he will be our guide through this journey.”

Winter expects the doc to be finished in time for release in 2017.

“This is not an easy story to tell and we trust that Alex truly understands the complex and multi-faceted man that my father was,” Zappa’s son Ahmet Zappa said.

This is excellent news indeed and it’s been a long time coming.

Below, Frank Zappa and the original Mothers of Invention performing “King Kong” in Essen, Germany, 1968:

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Only assholes don’t like The B-52s (Part 1)
07.27.2015
11:36 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
B-52s


 
You know it’s true… (just ask this guy).

Yesterday at our yoga class, a guy said to the twenty-something yoga instructor that her new hairstyle reminded him of the B-52s. She raised an eyebrow and looked at him questioningly, even annoyed, and asked “What is a B-52?”

My wife turned to me, sighed and declared “We’re old.”

True, but… how sad it is to think that someone—anyone—can go through their lives not knowing who the B-52s are! It’s unfair! And in that spirit I decided to revisit this post from 2011… for the kids!

The thing that I find most interesting about editing this blog and seeing the comments and being able to parse through a vast amount of information about our readership that we’ve got access to (even just between Google Analytics and Facebook Insights alone, that’s a helluva data set in our case) is that the largest segment of the Dangerous Minds audience—the 18-34 bloc—is, very often, finding out about many classic rock and punk, post punk and New Wave acts here for the first time or thereabouts. Then there are around 20% of the readers who were “there” when these things happened. To these readers, I would like to inform you that (and I admit this is a bit of a guesstimate, but one informed by reams of data, I can assure you) more of our readers than you might expect—by my reckoning 40%—have probably never even heard of DEVO.

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not kidding.

*****

If you can’t tell from the title, I’m a B-52s fan. A pretty big one. They came into my life when I was a 13-year-old and have never left. I’ve seen them live numerous times and they have never failed to bring the house down (in fact, I once nervously wondered if they were going to literally bring down the balcony at Radio City Music Hall due to all the frenzied frugging to “Rock Lobster.”  A balcony I was seated under, I might add). The B-52s are so good live that I once stood in one of the worst torrential downpours I’ve ever been caught in, for hours, so that I could get in the front row for a tiny pre-Cosmic Thing warm-up gig at a PAPER magazine party in New York. I was drenched from head to toe, soaked to the bone, but it was still one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had. I was about four feet way from the band as they played. Heavenly!

Over the weekend, I downloaded an absolutely superb live B-52s video from 1983, a show from Dortmund, Germany (it’s easy to find, the quality is perfect) and I’ve watched it over and over again. It’s not like I needed to be convinced or anything, but I was reminded watching it of what an absolutely genius band they are. They’re so original that they fall into a category of one. What they do is a uniquely American art form. They’re a national intergalactic treasure
 

 
I intended just to do one big mega mega-post about the B-52s, but instead I’m going to do four or five posts about them because there’s just way too much “good stuff” out there to not share it here.  Tons of it. They often made multiple music videos for their songs, so it can be hard to choose the best ones. I don’t want to crash anyone’s browser with the B-52s bounty, so I’m breaking it off into chunks. Here’s a selection of material from their classic first album, released in 1979:

Cindy Wilson stirred my teenage hormones mightily. Check out this performance of “Dance This Mess Around” recorded live on November 7th,1980 at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. How cute was she back then, right? Be still my heart!
 

 
A rousing “Planet Claire” from Dortmund, Germany, 1983:
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Pogues are launching their own brand of Irish whiskey because of course they are
07.27.2015
07:13 am

Topics:
Drugs
Food
Music

Tags:
The Pogues
whiskey


 
Since the 1980s, the Pogues have been fusing the tropes and melodies of traditional Irish folk music to the energy of punk rock while posing a serious threat to the continued functioning of their own and their fans’ livers, in the process releasing unspeakably awesome albums like Rum Sodomy & The Lash and If I Should Fall From Grace With God during their mid-to-late ‘80s high water mark. In a news release that should come as no surprise at all, it was announced that the band has aligned with West Cork Distillers to produce their own brand of Irish whiskey. Via The Spirits Business:

The Pogues Irish Whiskey is targeted towards 25 to 35-year-old drinkers and is said to be Ireland’s highest malt-containing blended Irish whiskey, with 50% grain and 50% single malt liquid.

The whiskey, described as having a “malty and floral” flavour with notes of mild chocolate and citrus, was developed by distillers Barry Walsh and Frank McHardy.

“We wanted to create an Irish whiskey with global appeal, which isn’t without its challenges,” said John O’Connell, co-founder of West Cork Distillers.

 

 
It may not take long to find it outside of Ireland, as the band and distillery plan to establish Pogues Irish Whiskey as an international brand. It’ll sell in the UK for £30 a bottle, which is about $45 USD, though import fees might jack that figure up a bit.

After the jump, some live footage of the Pogues from 1984…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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