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Honda scooter ads featuring DEVO, Lou Reed, Miles Davis, Grace Jones, and Adam Ant

In the mid-1980s Honda had a series of quite dauntingly cool musicians hawking their scooters. They had particularly playful, sexy commercial in which Adam Ant and Grace Jones flirt with each other and then presumably fuck because they are so preposterously vital and attractive. Others featured DEVO, Berlin, Lou Reed, and Miles fucking Davis.

The Adam Ant/Grace Jones ad was “racy” enough that there was an edited version. In the full version Jones bites Ant’s ear, an act that doesn’t seem especially interesting. In any case, there was second version that trimmed the ear bite. The video below features both versions.

Were the commercials successful? I don’t know, Honda is still in business so probably, yeah. Do you know anyone who owns a Honda scooter? Hmmmmmm.

References to Reed‘s Honda commercial are inevitably rather amusing. Mick Wall in his book Lou Reed: The Life writes:

New Sensations was so listenable that ... it attracted the attention of an advertising agency executive, Jim Riswold, then chief copywriter for the Madison Avenue [actually Portland] giants Wieden & Kennedy. ... So he approached Lou Reed to help make an ad for Honda scooters.

At the time, Riswold recalled, “advertisers didn’t put people in commercials who had a long history of drug addiction, and of course [Lou Reed] was a man who at one time in his life was married to a man, and that man was a transvestite, so I guess you could say he wasn’t your typical spokesman. But if you looked at who we were trying to sell scooters to, it was natural. Actually, when you look back at that commercial it seems pretty damn tame today.”

Actually, at the time it just seemed plain hilarious. Lou Reed in a TV commercial? Selling scooters?

As Wall points out later, it was doubly weird because in the title track of New Sensations, Reed rhapsodized about a competing vehicle, the Kawasaki GPx750 Turbo motorcycle, singing that “the engine felt good between my thighs.”

Similarly, here’s Nick Kent, in the anthology Miles on Miles: Interviews and Encounters with Miles Davis:

America’s TV heartland has already witnessed this curious image of a man, a skinny figure with gleaming skin and what remains of his hair curling all over his shoulders: his hands grip (what else?) a trumpet, his lithe form is slouched against a small Japanese scooter, his eyes stare out at the viewer with imperious disdain. Then the voice, emanating from that shredded, node-less killing-floor of a larynx, mutters, “I ain’t here to talk about this thing, I’m here to ride it.”

Watch the Honda scooter commercials after the jump….....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Buffalo: Australia’s answer to Black Sabbath
08:37 am


Black Sabbath
Australian TV

Buffalo and Black Sabbath
The Australian band Buffalo was one of the earliest acts to show an obvious debt to heavy metal pioneers, Black Sabbath. Their Sabbath-inspired debut, Dead Forever…, came out in 1972 and sold over 25,000 copies. The Sydney-based group was signed to Vertigo Records, which was also Sabbath’s label in Australia.

Prior to the release of their third album, a live Buffalo set was recorded for Australian TV, with portions airing over multiple nights during the GTK (as in “get to know”) program. The below video is a collection of the five clips, ending with their version of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” which doesn’t appear on any Buffalo LP. If you want to skip to “Paranoid,” start at 19:47, though I’d suggest you watch the whole damn thing. You’ll be glad you did.


Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Guided by Voices make their drunken TV debut on ‘The Jon Stewart Show’
10:39 am


Jon Stewart
Guided By Voices

Before he took over the hosting duties of The Daily Show in 1999, comedian Jon Stewart had his very own late-night talk show, The Jon Stewart Show, which aired weeknights on MTV. The short-lived program lasted just two seasons (1993-1995) but despite its failure to garner high ratings, Stewart would achieve much fanfare among the MTV clientele. Besides launching Stewart’s career as a TV host, The Jon Stewart Show boasted an impressive list of musical guests, many getting exposure to a mainstream audience for the first time. Memorable performances include those by Quicksand, Killing Joke, Slayer, Body Count, The Breeders, Marilyn Manson, Sunny Day Real Estate, Bad Religion, Rocket from the Crypt, Naughty by Nature, Danzig, Warren Zevon, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Notorious BIG, Redd Kross, and many more.
The sixty-fourth episode of The Jon Stewart Show saw appearances by celebrity guests Anthony LaPaglia, Lisa Rinna, Matt Borlenghi and featured the television debut of lo-fi indie rock heroes Guided by Voices. The performance, which aired on March 30th in 1995, contained three numbers from GBV’s seminal album Alien Lanes, which would be released later that week on Matador. Almost as noteworthy as Guided by Voices’ relentless musical output of simplistic rock ballads (under two minutes), was their celebrated pastime of bigtime boozing. Their alcoholic aspirations were even pursued on live television performances, as vocalist Robert Pollard can be seen throughout the first half gripping a red Solo cup—the sign of a pro (see also Bannon, Steve) just moments away from full-blown inebriation.

GBV perform “King and Caroline” into “Motor Away”
More after the jump…

Posted by Bennett Kogon | Leave a comment
The Apprehension Engine: The most terrifying musical instrument of all time
10:03 am


Harry Partch
The Apprehension Engine
The VVitch

I recently fell down a rabbit-hole of “unusual musical instrument” videos while doing some research on aquaphones for some indie-horror soundtrack work I’m doing. While aquaphones and theremins are the go-to instruments when thinking of “classic” horror sounds, I happened to run across the ultimate terror instrument—a home-made device that can produce a wide array of horrific soundscape elements all in one compact unit.  “The Apprehension Engine,” as it is called, was created by Canadian guitar maker Tony Duggan-Smith as a “one off” for Mark Korven, who is best known for his soundtrack work on The VVitch.

The unit has a hurdy-gurdy-like mechanism, along with a spring reverb, suspended metal parts which can be used percussively or played with a bow, and a string which can be played with an Ebow. The echoey sounds coaxed from this machine are other-worldly and much more terrifyingly organic than similar tonalities which may be produced digitally through synthesis.

According to one of the comments on the video from a week ago, Duggan-Smith is considering the idea of producing more of these infernal machines. If that’s the case, I’d like to be added to the waiting list!

Fans of Harry Partch and other outsider musical instruments, take note!

See this amazing instrument in action, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Sun Ra’s recipe for Moon Stew
09:23 am


Sun Ra
Moon Stew

Starting in the sixties, when Sun Ra and his Arkestra were living in a communal house in the East Village, the group sometimes subsisted on a home-cooked vegetarian meal named after their lunar complement. Like Gurdjieff’s salad, not all of its ingredients could be precisely measured, says Ra’s biographer John F. Szwed:

Sometimes when they were short of money for food [Sun Ra] took over the cooking, and his cooking was like the music, individualized, spiritually guided, mysteriously concocted. Moon Stew was his chief dish, a mix of green peppers, onion, garlic, potatoes, okra, tomatoes, and ears of corn. And when it was done right, he said you could taste each ingredient individually. Once when he was asked to share the recipe for a musicians’ cookbook, he warned the authors that there were no fixed proportions to it, and that it required the ingredients of sincerity and love, to say nothing of the ability to make the fire burn with psychic intensity:

“You can’t say, ‘One teaspoon of this, or one teaspoon of that.’ Like a musician, you improvise. It’s like being on a spirit plane; you put the proper things in without knowing why. It comes out wonderful when it’s done like that. If you plan it, it doesn’t work.”

The cookbook was Jazz Cooks: Portraits and Recipes of the Greats, which included recipes for Dave Brubeck’s burgers and Max Roach’s corn. One of the book’s editors told the LA Times Sun Ra made him work for the Moon Stew recipe:

“I sat with him for an hour and a half, and it was hard to keep him on planet Earth,” Young said. “He never did give exact amounts of his ingredients, or cooking time, but he really went on about what he ate as a child.”

The Arkestra’s current director, Marshall Allen, recently confirmed that no one makes Moon Stew like Sonny did:

I tried making the Moon Stew myself. I used all the same ingredients like him, but it didn’t taste like his.


As reported by the food blog A Slice of Earthly Delight, the unharmonized melody goes like this:

Moon Stew

Green Peppers
Butter or Vegetable Oil
Broth (chicken or vegetable)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1) Chop the vegetables.

2) Bring the broth to a simmer on the stove while making a rue. To make the rue, melt the butter or vegetable oil in a pan and add flour, stirring until it reaches the consistency of wet sand. Stir a little of the broth into the rue and then add the rue into the broth.

3) Add the vegetables, salt, pepper, sincerity, and love to the broth.

4) Cook for at least one hour and serve to family and friends!

At 44:09 in the interview below, Marshall Allen and Danny Thompson of the Sun Ra Arkestra (now on tour) describe life in the Sun Palace, the Arkestra’s former East Village digs.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Disneyland’s mega-discotheque Videopolis was the ultimate 1980s dance party experience
09:47 am




“Tonight’s your special night for an exclusive premiere of the summer’s newest hotspot—Videopolis. It’s the dancing, dating, party scene you’re going to hear a lot about. The volume’s cranked up, the videos are rolling. And the lighting effects? A real killer! Tonight, you’ll be the first to experience this high-tech, high-energy nightclub phenomenon.”

When the obviously un-cool Michael Eisner became Disney’s C.E.O. he was desperate to appeal to teenagers and young adults. In an attempt to attract edgier teens of the MTV generation Eisner developed Videopolis: an epic 5,000 square foot all-ages discotheque located just west It’s a Small World in Fantasyland, strategically placed in the corner of the park where the loud volume would not disturb the other park guests. This state-of-the-art, $3 million outdoor venue complete with hundreds of neon lights & lasers, 70 video monitors displaying music videos, spotlights shooting into the sky, a snack bar called “Yumz,” and a dance floor large enough hold 3,000 guests opened on June 22nd, 1985. It was constructed in just 105 days using some staging elements from a 1984 Los Angeles Olympics facility. A sophisticated light show slowly lowered from the ceiling, and three camera crews captured dancers and projected them onto two 16-foot screens as computer generated “light sticks” effects were superimposed onto them in real time.

Imagineer Carl Bongiorno described Videopolis as “the first, the fastest, and the finest… it is the first attraction completed under the new Eisner-Wells team. The fastest construction project we’ve ever completed, and the finest dance facility of its kind anywhere.” To help make the attraction popular and affordable to teens, Disneyland introduced the “Summer’s Night Pass” for just $40 which gave you a Videopolis membership card plus admission into the park every evening after 5pm all summer long. Local 106.7 FM KROQ deejay Swedish Egil gave away prizes such as a $25 gift certificate to Tower Records, a Sony AM/FM Walkman, and free concert tickets to the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre. Every night, Videopolis would play “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood during the fireworks show which took place right above the dance floor, offering partying guests a spectacular view.

Many special videotaped events were held where popular singers like Rick Ashley and DeBarge performed live. A 2-hour TV special titled Disneyland’s Summer Vacation Party aired in 1986 and featured Miami Sound Machine, Boy George, The Bangles, and Oingo Boingo performing live on the Videopolis stage. In 1987 Videopolis had a short run as a TV series on the recently launched Disney Channel. Hosted by Randy Hamilton, the show spotlighted top-notch dancers as well as awkward teens who would interact with celebrity guests such as Debbie Gibson, New Kids on the Block, Tiffany, New Edition, Pebbles, and Janet Jackson.

The Disney dance party’s popularity soared in the late ‘80s surpassing its competition over at Knott’s Berry Farm’s “Club K” which was attracting up to 2,000 teenagers a night. Not all parents approved, and one mother wrote to the Anaheim Bulletin warning of “Punkers in Fantasyland,” claiming that since the dance club opened “It’s Halloween every day” at Disneyland.

Much more after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
The Jazzus Lizard exists, and it’s exactly what you think it is
08:16 am


Jesus Lizard
Jazzus Lizard

I have done and still do some quality goofing on tribute bands, but I’ve softened the hardline stance I used to take against them. It used to irk me that tribute bands could be such big moneymakers while the VERY SERIOUS ARTISTS in the original bands I was into could barely afford to replace their broken shoelaces, but I get it—people only have so much going-out money, and while local original bands are exciting to check out, quality can be an unknown. More casual music fans—which is to say most music fans—KNOW their door money’s going to buy them a good time if they opt for the proverbial incredible simulation. And I can fault people even less if those incredible simulators make an extra effort on concept and presentation—any four paunchy, flannely alterkakers with sufficient skill can adequately reproduce Crazy Horse songs, so *yawn*, but Blobbie Williams, the overweight Robbie Williams impersonator? I would go see the shit out of that and I don’t even think I could name a Robbie Williams song if you were dangling me over a cliff. So hail to thee, We Are Not Men, Minikiss, and Mac Sabbath. Tribute bands you may be, but you go the extra mile conceptually, and that, I respect. (Except Dread Zeppelin. Fuck that hippie bro bullshit.)

So all of that was prelude to a band whose existence I have recently been alerted to, though they’ve been around for a while—Jazzus Lizard, the jazz Jesus Lizard tribute. They’ve released two albums digitally, titled Keys and Horn in keeping with their mothership band’s four-letter album titling convention. Those albums came out back in 2008 and 2009, but this is hardly the kind of band that needs to keep up a vigorous release schedule. They hail from the Jesus Lizard’s hometown of Austin, TX, and not only do they have their parent band’s approval, Jesus Lizard singer David Yow has gigged with them.
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Do the Oz,’ John and Yoko’s benefit single (and hopeful dance craze) for OZ magazine

John and Yoko march for OZ, August 1971 (via Meet the Beatles for Real)
“I think that everyone should own everything equally and that the people should own part of the factories and they should have some say in who is boss and who does what,” John Lennon announced to Hit Parader during his militant period. When he and Yoko Ono joined a march in London in August ‘71, holding up the latest issue of the Marxist newspaper Red Mole, they were demonstrating in support of both the IRA and the underground magazine OZ, whose editors had just been sent up the river on an obscenity beef.

John and Yoko took up the cause of the “OZ Three.” For their now-famous “school kids issue,” number 28, OZ had solicited and printed contributions from teenage readers, and was alleged thereby to have struck a mighty blow against the morality of English youth. During the ensuing obscenity trial, the defense actually called an expert witness to testify that just seeing the cover illustration was not enough to turn a healthy young person into a lesbian.

Note the “OZ Obscenity Trial” souvenir T-shirt, featuring R. Crumb’s character Honeybunch Kaminski
In the end, the editors got fifteen months in prison, and the hip community rallied to their defense, Jon Wiener reports in Come Together: John Lennon in His Time:

The OZ defense committee announced it would appeal, and John and Yoko joined the fundraising effort. They wrote the songs “God Save Us” and “Do the Oz,” released as a single by Apple in July 1971. John played on both and sang lead on “Do the Oz,” calling the group “the Elastic Oz Band.” Full-age ads appeared in all the British underground and radical newspapers: “Every major country has a screw in its side, in England it’s OZ. OZ is on trial for its life. John and Yoko have written and helped produce this record—the proceeds of which are going to OZ to help pay their legal fees. The entire British underground is in trouble, it needs our help. Please listen—‘God Save Oz.’”

Bill Elliot (later of the Dark Horse band Splinter) sings the A-side of the Elastic Oz Band single, which Lennon originally called “God Save Oz” but retitled “God Save Us.” Both sound the same in a Liverpool accent, I think Lennon is telling Sounds here:

First of all we wrote it as God Save Oz, you know, ‘God save Oz from it all,’ but then we decided they wouldn’t really know what we were talking about in America so we changed it back to ‘us’.

But the B-side, “Do the Oz,” is the keeper. Mutilating the lick from “Smokestack Lightning” on guitar, John hollers the steps of his modified hokey pokey while Yoko sings the terrifying, beguiling hum of modernity. Backing them are the Plastic Ono Band and, on acoustic guitars, two contributors to the “school kids issue,” future NME contributor Charles Shaar Murray and “Michelle.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Rock n’ roll sex warriors: The motor-driven bimbos of Rockbitch
05:19 pm


hard rock

A major element of the current rock n’ roll crisis we’re in is that contemporary bands have almost no willingness to provoke. It’s just not a Millennial impulse to shit themselves on stage or strut around arenas wearing Charles Manson t-shirts or brawl with the audience or carve their arms up with razor blades during press interviews. They just don’t wanna do it, man. And that’s a drag because every generation deserves their own Iggy, their own Lux, their own GG. How do you know where too far is unless somebody you know goes there?

They don’t make ‘em like they used to: Lux Interior letting it all hang out
We had a great run of truly berserk performers in the 80s and 90s, from the Dwarves to Suckdog, from the Genitorturers to Psychodrama, and I figured we’d reached our apex of onstage WTF when Karen Finley started shoving yams up her ass, but then Rockbitch hit the scene and blew up that notion completely.

Sex cult or rock band? Rockbitch were a little bot of both.
A (mostly) female commune/collective of like-minded British sexual warriors, Rockbitch formed in 1989. They played hardcore rock n’ roll, and they lived it, too. Their shows were a literal orgy of golden showers, scissor fights, fist-fucking, and every other extravagant live sex act you can imagine. And this was just during the guitar solos, dude. They turned the whole notion of the conquering male rock star on its head, proving female musicians were just as capable of initiating debauchery and free-flowing sexual mayhem both on and off-stage. At every show, they’d throw out a “golden condom” to the audience. The lucky recipient got to have group sex with the band backstage. You may not have started out as a libertine, but by the end of your first Rockbitch gig, you were basically Caligula. Rockbitch took it all the way.

Rockbitch in action
Naturally, they were banned just about everywhere, and mostly regulated their activities to the Netherlands, where the locals really “got” Rockbitch. The band broke up in 2002, leaving behind one album, 1999’s Motor Driven Bimbo, an eye-popping documentary, This is Rockbitch, an archival website featuring plenty of alarming photos, and a handful of pretty incredible videos. They might’ve been the last vestige of truly out-there rock n’ roll we’ll ever get unless Katy Perry or whoever starts peeing on her dancers.

See Rockbitch in action, after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Rock is Hell: Meet GOD, the teenaged Australian punk rockers and their awesome one-hit wonder
12:22 pm

One-hit wonders


The back cover of Melbourne-based punk band GOD’s 1987 single ‘My Pal.’
First things first. Yes, a band actually had the balls to name themselves GOD. Although historically they are not the only band to ever do so in the name of punk or rock and roll, they weren’t calling themselves the Godz or something like that, but GOD. The difference might be subtle, but it’s there.

Aside from their cheeky name, the Melbourne-based group GOD had a short but impactful history in the Australian music scene. Though they are generally characterized as a punk band, some musical historians credit GOD for one of the earliest cultivations of grungy sounding grooves that did not originate from the Pacific Northwest area back in the late 80s.

So who exactly were this GOD? Well, they were kids, teenagers quite literally, when they got their first taste of success. Vocalist/guitarist Joel Silbersher was only fifteen when he penned “My Pal” and bass player/guitarist Sean Greenway was the oldest member of the band at the ripe old age of seventeen. In fact when it came time for GOD to sign with Au Go Go Records in Melbourne the details of the contract were negotiated by their parents on their behalf. When the single hit the stores it even included Silbersher’s home address which was noted to be the address to send fan letters to the “GOD Army” (pictured at the top of this post.) That probably made things very weird, and also pretty great back when “My Pal” was the go-to song for punk youth in Australia back in 1987. Because who doesn’t want a legion of female groupies and fans camping out on your lawn when you’re just fifteen? The answer to that question is no one, because everyone does. End of story.

GOD’s first album, Rock is Hell would come out a year later in 1988 and for some strange reason did not include “My Pal.” What it does include are a bunch of kooky-titled songs like “Tommy the Toilet” (remember these are teenage boys we’re talking about), “Worm Sweat,” and “Rok Zombi.” Despite the juvenile naming conventions I just mentioned, Rock is Hell is actually a pretty great, super fuzzy listen. There is also pretty much no doubt that the boys from down under were channeling the emerging grunge sounds of Seattle and the PNW that ring clear in the songs posted below. Sadly, they would disband shortly before the release of their second and final record, 1989’s For Lovers Only which, while different sounding from their debut, really isn’t half bad either. I’ve included fantastic live footage of the band performing “My Pal” and a few other songs from both albums, as well as an adorable interview with GOD from 1988 where they talk about adjusting to their new-found fame in which vocalist Joel Silbersher is still wearing his braces. Awww


See GOD performing “My Pal” live (and much more) after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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