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New black tarantula spider species discovered near Folsom Prison is named after Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash and Aphonopelma johnnycashi
Johnny Cash and his eight-legged namesake tarantula spider, Aphonopelma johnnycashi

Aphonopelma johnnycashi is a new species of black tarantula spider that was just discovered roaming the hills near Folsom State Prison. The lockdown, near Sacramento, CA, is where Johnny Cash performed two historic shows inside the walls of the still operational correctional facility in 1968, captured on the iconic album, At Folsom Prison.
 
Aphonopelma johnnycashi
Aphonopelma johnnycashi
 
According to Biologist Chris Hamilton of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Aphonopelma johnnycashi was one of fourteen new tarantula species that were discovered in and around western Sierra Nevada mountains. The males of the species are predominately black and while there is no word on how big Cash’s eight-legged namesake is, Hamilton (who also sports a Johnny Cash tattoo, because science), had this to say about the newest arachnid to be named after rock and roll royalty:

Then once we looked at the genomics and looked at some of the ecological constraints, we could see this species was pretty unique and independent from the others that it’s closely related to.

Which fittingly sounds very much much like the Man in Black himself.

After the jump,Johnny Cash sings “Folsom Prison Blues”...

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
David Bowie’s first-ever movie performance, in the creepy ‘The Image’ from 1967
02.08.2016
08:07 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


 
In the February 26, 1966, edition of Melody Maker, David Bowie is quoted as saying, “I want to act. ... I’d like to do character parts. I think it takes a lot to become somebody else. It takes a lot of doing.” In hindsight we know that Bowie not only achieved his goal of acting in movies and on the stage, but ended up becoming one of the most distinctive presences you could include in a movie from the 1970s to the 2000s, from Just a Gigolo and Into the Night to Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and The Prestige....

But it all had to start somewhere. Bowie’s ambitions started to be realized very quickly; already in 1967 he appeared in his first movie, a fourteen-minute short called The Image, written and directed by Michael Armstrong, who would later direct Mark of the Devil.

Michael Byrne, the other actor in the movie, apparently played Nazis all the time, most memorably in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but to me he’ll always be the actor who played young Peter Guillam in the 1980 BBC version of Smiley’s People, replacing Michael Jayston, who had embodied the role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

According to Cinebeats (now defunct), The Image ran into some censorship issues:
 

The Image was shot in just three days and completed in 1967, but it didn’t have its official screen debut until 1969. Due to the violent content of the film it became one of the first shorts to receive an ‘X’ certificate from Britain’s notoriously restrictive film rating’s board.

 
The artsiness is a bit dated to be sure, but otherwise the movie reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe by way of The Twilight Zone, which isn’t a bad place to be.
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Mind Parasites’: The William S. Burroughs / Buzzcocks connection
02.05.2016
12:34 pm

Topics:
Literature
Music
Punk

Tags:
William S. Burroughs
Buzzcocks


 
A Burroughsian post for you all on the 102nd anniversary of William S. Burroughs’ birth…

“A Different Kind of Tension,” the antepenultimate song on the Buzzcocks’ album of the same name, can be hilarious or punishing, depending on the circumstances. Pete Shelley’s lyrics are a series of contradictory commands that alternate between your stereo speakers, coming faster and faster with each verse, and pretty soon, Shelley is simultaneously shouting “live” in your left ear and “die” in your right. On a lazy afternoon, it’s enough to make peach Cisco squirt from your nose, but in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you’re liable to start looking around for the Budd Dwyer exit.
 

 
Wikipedia claims that the song quotes William S. Burroughs, but that’s not quite right: it’s more a rewrite of Burroughs’ text than a quotation. Shelley, after all, is credited as the sole author of “A Different Kind of Tension,” whose lyrics are printed in parallel columns on the record’s three-color sleeve:

Wait here - Go there
Come in - Stay out
Be yourself - Be someone else
Obey the law - Break the law

Be ambitious - Be modest
Plan ahead - Be spontaneous
Decide for yourself - Listen to others
Save money - Spend money

Be good - Be evil
Be wise - Be foolish
Be safe - Be dangerous
Be satisfied - Be envious
Be honest - Be deceitful
Be faithful - Be perfidious
Be sane - Be mad
Be strong - Be weak
Be enigmatic - Be plain
Be aggressive - Be peaceful
Be brave - Be timid
Be humane - Be cruel
Be critical - Be appreciative
Be temperamental - Calm
Be sad - Be happy
Be normal - Be unusual

Stop - Go
Live - Die
Yes - No
Rebel - Submit
Right - Wrong
Sit down - Stand up
Create - Destroy
Accept - Reject
Talk - Silence
Speed up - Slow down
This way - That way
Right - Left
Present - Absent
Open - Closed
Entrance - Exit
Believe - Doubt

Truth - Lies
Escape - Meet
Love - Hate
Thank you - Flunk [actually “Fuck you”]
Clarify - Pollute
Simple - Complex
Nothing - Something
Stop - Go
Live - Die
Yes - No
Rebel - Submit
Right - Wrong
Sit down - Stand up
Create - Destroy
Accept - Reject
Talk - Silence


 

A 1969 review of The Mind Parasites by William “Borroughs” (larger)
 
The Buzzcocks had a thing for magazine reviews; they took their name from the last line of a review of the TV series Rock Follies (“Get a buzz, cock”), and, if memory serves, the phrase “a different kind of tension” itself comes from Jon Savage’s review of Love Bites in Sounds. For the sake of consistency, I’d like to think Shelley spotted Burroughs’ list of incompatible injunctions in the author’s 1969 review of Colin Wilson’s The Mind Parasites, which first ran in a New York underground newspaper called Rat and was reprinted that year in John Keel’s Anomaly. But Shelley is just as likely to have encountered Burroughs’ list in the CONTROL section of 1974’s The Job, or some other place Burroughs might have recontextualized these do’s and don’ts:

Stop. Go. Wait here. Go there. Come in. Stay out. Be a man. Be a woman. Be white. Be black. Live. Die. Yes. No. Do it now. Do it later. Be your real self. Be somebody else. Fight. Submit. Right. Wrong. Make a splendid impression. Make an awful impression. Sit down. Stand up. Take your hat off. Put your hat on. Create. Destroy. React. Ignore. Live now. Live in the past. Live in the future. Be ambitious. Be modest. Accept. Reject. Do more. Do less. Plan ahead. Be spontaneous. Decide for yourself. Listen to others. Talk. Be silent. Save money. Spend money. Speed up. Slow down. This way. That way. Right. Left. Present. Absent. Open. Closed. Up. Down. Enter. Exit. In. Out.

 

 
This isn’t quite “Choose life” from Trainspotting, if that’s what you’re thinking. Far from complaining about the modern world’s banality like Steve Martin’s Beat poet on Saturday Night Live (“Oh, Mr. Commuter! / Wash me not in your Mad Ave. paint-by-numbers soap…”), Burroughs was giving his readers detailed instructions in piercing the tedium of everyday life with “a technique for producing events and directing thought on a mass scale [that] is available to anyone with a portable tape recorder.” Burroughs goes on to explain in his Mind Parasites review how the “waking suggestion” technique of Dr. John Dent, whose apomorphine cure for heroin addiction he advocated, can be used for mind control:

These commands are constantly being imposed by the environment of modern life. If the suggestion tape contains the right phraseology, and listeners hear it in the right situation (while doing something else), they will be forced to obey the suggestion. It is like giving someone a sleeping pill, without his knowledge, and then suggesting sleep.

At the unconscious level, any contradictory suggestion produces a brief moment of disorientation, during which the suggestions take place. This is important to remember because this is something you can – in a pinch – employ yourself. (Con artists, spies, military strategists, and social climbers use such diversions to their advantage. Why can’t you?)

This moment of disorientation is not unknown to the human body, because contradictory suggestions are an integral function of human metabolism: “Sweat. Stop sweating. Salivate. Stop salivating. Pour adrenaline into the bloodstream. Counteract adrenaline with epinephrine.”

Since contradictory commands are enforced by the environment and the human body, contradictory commands are especially effective. All tape recording tricks are useful: speed up, slow down, overlay, run contradictory commands simultaneously, add superfluous “echo” recordings for large spaces, etc.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
If you haven’t seen this, you don’t know what you’ve missed: The Small Faces on ‘Colour Me Pop’ 1968

00smllfces67small.jpg
 
Never trust management. Never trust your PR firm. Never trust admen. Never trust anyone who says they can manage you, promote you, your band, your career, or anything else they’ll swear they can do for you out the love they have for your talents. The history of pop music is littered with fuck-ups by gangster management and public relations parasites who are only interested in making money out of somebody else’s efforts.

Take The Small Faces. Their first manager Don Arden helped them on their way but also claimed a massive percentage of the band’s earnings—some say as high as 80%.

After a series of hit records (including number ones) and sell-out gigs, the band—Steve Marriott (vocals, guitar), Ronnie Lane (vocals, bass), Kenney Jones (drums), Ian McLagan (keyboards)—were still living off a pitiful weekly handout from Arden (the father of Sharon Osbourne, FYI). The band’s parents were so concerned that their kids were being ripped off that they paid Arden a visit to ask what the fuck was going on? It put the wind up in Arden. He blamed the kids. Told the parents the band had spent all their money on pills and drugs. The implication being “Your kids are bloody junkies and I’m the one who’s paying for it!”

While The Small Faces admittedly dabbled with speed and pills—their single “Here Comes The Nice” extols Marriott’s unabashed love for amphetamine, and “Itchycoo Park” was inspired by Lane’s enjoyment of LSD—they were certainly never smackheads. Arden, like Donald Trump, was well aware that the first rule of defense is attack.

Arden would justify his action by claiming he was only trying to get back the $20,000+ he had spent on buying up as many copies of their debut single as it took to ensure it was a hit. Apparently Arden thought he deserved the money for all of his initial outlay and then some.

The band was keeping Arden sweet and he was not going to let them go. When rival producer/manager Robert Stigwood tried to lever the band away from him, a bunch of heavies turned up at Stigwood’s office and threatened to hang him out of the window if he didn’t fuck off.

However, the parents proved to be a bigger threat than rival managers. After the parental intervention, The Small Faces split with Arden and signed-up with former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. In many respects it was a better deal—they had more freedom and more studio time which allowed them to produce their greatest album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake (1968). But the financial returns—well they were only slightly better.

And as for the PR side…
 
001smalface.jpg
 
When The Small Faces’ released Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake in May 1968 it was oddly promoted with a parody of the Lord’s Prayer:

Small Faces
Which were in the studios
Hallowed by thy name
Thy music come
Thy songs be sung
On this album as they came from your heads
We give you this day our daily bread
Give us thy album in a round cover as we give thee 37/9d.,
Lead us into the record stores.
And deliver us Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
For nice is the music
The sleeve and the story
For ever and ever, Immediate.

At time when the majority of the UK identified as Christian and the churches were packed every Sunday, and the views of Archbishops were considered more important than those of politicians—as they dealt with the life hereafter, not just the here and now—the ad was understandably considered blasphemous.

Across the breakfast rooms of England, cups and saucers were rattled in disgust. The press ran BANNER HEADLINES OF SHOCK! AND HORROR! and angry missives sent from Tunbridge Wells, Slough and Lower Perineum filled the letters pages. It certainly was a rum way to pitch a psychedelic concept album. Steve Marriott was equally surprised by the ad:

We didn’t know a thing about the ad, until we saw it in the music papers. And frankly we got the horrors at first. We realised that it could be taken as a serious knock against religion. But on thinking it over, we don’t feel it is particularly good or bad. It’s just another form of advertising. We’re not all that concerned about it. We’re more concerned in writing our music and producing our records.

It was not as damaging as say John Lennon’s claim that the Beatles were bigger than Christ (though let’s be clear: that outburst actually helped sell more Beatles albums in the US, as protesters bought copies just to burn ‘em). Or as damagingly litigious as The Move’s management putting out an advertizing postcard of then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in bed with his secretary Marcia Williams for the single “Flowers in the Rain”—which led to them being sued and band’s songwriter Roy Wood losing all of his royalties in perpetuity for the hit. But the Lord’s Prayer advert did The Small Faces no real favors. If anything, it was another stumbling block to them ever making it in the States. The album made number one in the UK but only edged the top 200 in the US.

More about The Small Faces, plus their appearance on ‘Colour Me Pop,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Explore ‘unconventional sex’ with spiritual rockers Lightstorm and their ‘Missionary is Impossible’
02.05.2016
10:46 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Lightstorm

Lightstorm (a/k/a Teeth)
 
For nearly 50 years, Johnima and Kalassu Wintergate have been the husband and wife team behind the rock band Lightstorm. The unit has always had a split personality, with major stylistic differences in both their lyrics and their music. As a result, they’ve recorded and performed under a variety of other monikers, including One, 33 1/3, and Teeth. Drag City Records (in partnership with Yoga Records) is about to release the first-ever compilation showcasing the yin-yang of Lightstorm.
 
Lightstorm, c. late 1960s
 
The group formed in Los Angeles in the late ‘60s, touring the world over. In 1972, they issued their first album, Warning (under the name Lite Storm). As they continued to tour and release records, members would come and go, with Johnima (lead vocals, guitar) and Kalassu (lead vocals, keyboards) the sole mainstays. Regardless of whatever musical mode they happen to be in, their message has always been driven by their belief in spiritual truth and unconditional love. 
 
Johnima and Kalassu
 
In the late ‘70s, the Wintergates decided to give filmmaking a try, writing a script and starring in their own movie. Johnima, who had some movie production experience, directed the picture, which was shot on video in 1981. The result was the 1982 horror-comedy, BoardingHouse, a gory, perplexing, and super-entertaining flick that must been seen to be believed. It has the distinction of being the first shot-on-video (SOV) horror feature to be blown-up to 35mm and shown in theaters. BoardingHouse has since developed a cult following, with the most recent DVD edition a celebration of its 30th anniversary.
 
BoardingHouse
 
Drag City/Yoga’s Lightstorm compilation, Creation, comes out February 19th on vinyl and digital formats. The collection draws from Creation Earth: Who Am I—released in 1977 as One—a highly spiritual double album reflecting their taste for the lighter side of psychedelic rock; and the self-titled 33 1/3 LP from 1980, a record that explores their carnal side, lyrically, while embracing the musical approaches of new wave, punk, post-punk, and hard rock, resulting in a style that’s completely uncompromising and totally awesome.
 
33 1/3
 
The absolute highlight of the entire set is the 33 1/3-era track extolling the virtues of unconventional sex, “Missionary is Impossible.” Kalassu’s vocals, initially breathy and confessional, shift between snotty, sultry, and defiant tones, as the music progresses through various stylistic changes, punctuated by Johnima’s chugging guitar riffs and loud, distorted chords that hang in the air. The track ends with an incongruous vocal refrain that sounds like it was shouted from the heavens.

More Lightstorm after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Watch this essential Björk documentary from 1997
02.05.2016
10:38 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Björk


 
In 1997 The South Bank Show produced an hour-long documentary on Björk, who of course was right in the middle of an impressive run during which she established herself as a global pop star and icon of the first order.

The program is divided up into two parts. The first half is a straightforward account of Björk’s life up to 1997, including her solo album at the age of 11, her teenage work with Tappi Tíkarrass and KUKL, her breakthrough success with the Sugarcubes, and her initial success under her own name, also covering extensively her relationship to her native Iceland.

The second half shows Björk recording her third album Homogenic in southern Spain with Eumir Deodato.
 

 
There an interesting bit on the success of the Sugarcubes, which both Einar Örn and Björk herself seem to agree was probably not such a good thing. According to Björk, it may have had an adverse effect on the literary development of Iceland:
 

Two or even three of the Sugarcubes were probably the most promising poets or writers of Iceland’s new generation. And they were finding themselves… They hadn’t written a letter for two years… because they were doing soundchecks in like Texas and Alabama and playing doing guitar solos. Which is kinda funny. I mean, it is funny. But it’s only funny for so long, you know.

 
Whoever put this together did an excellent job of showcasing what makes Björk so special. There’s a bit in the first half where she stands next to a fellow playing a harpsichord and belts out “Unravel.” Bono calls her “the Imelda Marcos of good ideas.” In Spain we see her lay down a big chunk of the vocals for “Jóga,” which is kind of amazing.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Powerful Siouxsie & The Banshees performance: Live at ‘The Futurama Festival,’ 1980

Siouxsie & The Banshees, 1980
Siouxsie & The Banshees, 1980

On September 13th and 14th, 1980, the second installment of “The Futurama Festival” was held in Leeds, a city in the English county of Yorkshire. This year the lineup included a cavalcade of incredible acts like Echo and the Bunnymen (fronted by a 21-year-old Ian McCulloch), The Psychedelic Furs, Athletico Spizz 80, U2, Wasted Youth and Siouxsie & The Banshees, headed up by a then 23-year-old Siouxsie Sioux. Apparently this was also one of the very earliest Soft Cell performances.
 
Futurama Festival lineup, September 14th and 15th, 1980
The lineup for The Futurama Festival, September 13th and 14th, 1980

Despite the handwritten fliers claims that the festival was being “immortalized on film,” footage of any quality from early Futurama gigs is almost non-existent on YouTube, but I did find this clip that someone recorded on VHS from a television broadcast of the festival.

While the video isn’t up to today’s high definition standards, it is still quite good. The seven-minute clip captures the band on top of their game performing two songs, “Paradise Place” from the 1980 album Kaleidoscope and “Eve White/Eve Black” which was released in 1980 as the B-side to the band’s “Christine” single.
 

Siouxsie & The Banshees performing at the Futurama Festival, Saturday, September 13th, 1980
 
Bonus clip of high energy punks Athletico Spizz 80 at the 1980 Futurama Festival, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
27 years of MTV’s ‘120 Minutes’ has been recreated online
02.04.2016
10:20 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
120 Minutes


 
On April 27, 1986, on what was the fourth episode ever of MTV’s 120 Minutes, the first video was Lou Reed’s “No Money Down,” off of Mistrial, which was released in May of the same year. The video was directed by former 10cc stalwarts Godley and Creme, and it featured a crude animatronic version of Lou Reed that gets dismantled by the time the video ends. That episode of 120 Minutes also featured videos by the Hoodoo Gurus, the Art of Noise, Oingo Boingo, and Laurie Anderson

How do I know any of this? Because of the website, created by one Tyler C., a.k.a. tylerc, called The 120 Minutes Archive, which is in the process of achieving a massive undertaking, namely providing all the information you would ever know about 120 Minutes and the related replacement show that ran from 2003 to 2011, Subterranean, which includes (where available) host and guest information for each episode, track listings for each episode, and links to the full videos on YouTube. It’s incomplete, but a great many people have put in a lot of work to make the site a reality.

If you were a Generation X slacker baby like me, which would make you a teenager for much of the early part of the 120 Minutes run, then this website will provide hours of entertainment, as you relive the joys of getting high to Fields of the Nephilim videos and (perhaps) trying to make out with someone with similar tastes. (But maybe you’ve moved on since then?)

Here’s that April 27, 1986, edition of the show, although it’s been cut up a bit—the Lou Reed video has been edited out, but e.g. “Modern Times” by Latin Quarter is included, don’t know why. The host was J.J. Jackson, one of the “original 5” VJs who passed away in 2004.

 
via AV Club

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Crucial photos of the San Francisco punk scene 1977-1982
02.04.2016
09:06 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Avengers
San Francisco punk
James Stark


The Avengers. Photo by James Stark.
 
Photographer James Stark got his start shooting photos for the band Crime in 1976 and thereafter began documenting the early punk scene in San Francisco. Many of his visually arresting photos of both local SF bands like Crime, the Nuns, the Dils and the Avengers, and national acts like Blondie, DEVO, and the Sex Pistols made their way into his 1992 self-published book Punk ‘77. The title was picked up and reissued by RE/Search publishing in 1999, and now exists in an expanded third edition.
 

First edition of Stark’s photobook. Click image to order the expanded third edition.
 
I bought the first edition when it came out, and it remains one of my favorite photo books documenting what is my personal favorite of the early American punk scenes.

Here are a few photos from Stark’s Punk ‘77:
 

The Screamers
 

 

Booji Boy, DEVO
 

 
What I didn’t realize until recently is that James Stark has a web presence with a lot more of his awesome photos of bands and show-goers from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. His website is a fun place to spend some time, and his Facebook page has a lot of neat stuff not in the book—including many color photographs of San Francisco scenesters.

As much fun as band photos are, I revel in seeing what people attending shows looked like. To me, the best part of live concert footage is always when the camera pans to the audience—just to see what regular people were looking like when they went to see their favorite bands.

Here’s a sampling of Stark’s work from his Facebook page which is not featured in his fantastic and recommended book:
 

The Mutants
 

The Avengers
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
An emotional David Bowie sings ‘Imagine’ on the third anniversary of John Lennon’s death, 1983
02.03.2016
11:38 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
John Lennon


 
Although I can easily think of better circumstances for its recent unveiling, at long last a much bootlegged (audio only) and highly emotional performance by David Bowie of John Lennon’s “Imagine” on December 8th, 1983—the third anniversary of the Beatle’s murder—at the Hong Kong Coliseum has surfaced on YouTube.

Incredibly the number was caught by the cameras of Gerry Troyna, director of Ricochet, the (frankly unremarkable) cinéma vérité documentary of 1983’s “Serious Moonlight” tour as it was winding down in the Far East. Bowie is seem walking about Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, shopping and getting his fortune read, but there are few actual musical numbers in the film, usually a result of producers being unable to pay for the sync rights of the songs. This would, I should think, explain who such an amazing piece of footage was cut from the film. It would have simply been too expensive to include.

In an interesting interview that was posted at The Voyeur, backup singer George Simms was asked about the performance:

During the last show of the tour in Hong Kong, Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ was played. How did that develop?

George Simms: If I remember well, we didn’t rehearse that song. The night David did the ‘Imagine’ song, none of us in the band had any idea how that song was going to come off. David told us before, at a certain point, he would cue the band to start the song instrumentally. We didn’t know what he was going to do in the beginning but he had it very carefully worked out with the lighting people. We were on stage and it was dark. David was sitting on the stage at one particular place and, all of a sudden, a single spotlight went on David and hit him exactly where he was sitting. David started to tell something about John Lennon. During this, it went dark a few times again, but then when the spots went on again David was sitting somewhere else on the stage. David cued the band and we started the song. It was the third anniversary of Lennon’s death; it was December 8. We all grew up listening to The Beatles and John Lennon. After we did “Imagine,” we all went off the stage and back into the holding area. Normally we’d be slap-happy, talking and laughing, but that night there was absolute silence because of all the emotion of doing a tribute to John Lennon—especially knowing that David was a friend of his and that David was speaking from his heart. We didn’t know how dramatic the lights’ impact was going to be. Nobody wanted to break the silence; it was like a sledgehammer into your chest. I’ll never forget that.

I don’t want to spoil this in any way, except to say that it begins with Bowie speaking of his friendship with Lennon—with whom he and Carlos Alomar co-wrote and recorded “Fame” together, of course in 1975—and of the final time he saw him, which was in a Hong Kong marketplace where Bowie asked Lennon to don a replica Beatle jacket, and took a photo.

Fun fact: Lennon and Bowie were first introduced by Elizabeth Taylor when both attended a party at her home in Los Angeles in 1974.
 

 
Thank you very kindly Spencer Kansa!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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