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Captain Beefheart conducts the Magic Band’s feet and fingers on TV, 1971
04.13.2017
06:25 am

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Heroes
Music
Television

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Live on ‘Detroit Tubeworks,’ 1971
 
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s appearance on Detroit Tubeworks is justly famed. On January 15, 1971, Don Van Vliet’s 30th birthday, the group cooked and ate Trout Mask Replica‘s “When Big Joan Sets Up” and two cuts from side one of Lick My Decals Off, Baby, “Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop” and “Bellerin’ Plain.” There is a Library of Congress in my mind, and this tape reel is the only item on its windswept shelves.

The group also played an untitled, unreleased, improvised number for 120 digits. Under what sounds like the whine of an air conditioner—though it could just as easily be a swarm of bees at a Ligeti concert, a first lesson on the musical saw or a plain old case of sticky-shed syndrome—a dozen feet and a dozen hands follow Beefheart’s direction. His mouth moves, so maybe he was vocalizing in the studio. What’s the difference? You can’t hear it.

The YouTube comments point to a 2012 interview in which John “Drumbo” French says Van Vliet’s main concern was keeping the Magic Band from talking to the press:

There’s a film of The Magic Band that I think is from ’71 where you’re playing three or four songs in a TV studio, and then the band is filmed silently twirling your feet underneath a table…

(chuckles) Yeah.

Do you remember this?

Don’s idea.

He appears to be conducting you as you’re twirling your feet, and I was just curious, was that the idea that you were, like, playing the parts of one of your songs with your feet supposedly in time with each other, or…

No, actually, I really think that those kind of, sort of Dadaistic moments that Don created, were because he would do anything to keep us from being interviewed. He didn’t want the band to be interviewed. And I think mainly the reason was because he had created such an alien environment to work in that it would have become evident right away that there were a lot of problems in the band, that something wasn’t quite right. So he would invent these things to do as a diversion. I had no idea what that was supposed to mean one way or the other, but we all took off our shoes and they filmed our feet under the table. That’s all I remember about it. I think that was done in 1971 on a tour in January. If I recall, it was either outside of Detroit or outside of… let’s see… yeah, it was outside of Detroit, and we did it at night en route to the hotel.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The opera based on Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’
04.12.2017
03:05 pm

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Books
Movies
Music

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Last year the Minnesota Opera showcased the world premiere of a new opera based on Stephen King’s famous novel The Shining, the starting point for an unsettling adaptation by Stanley Kubrick starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. 

The operatic version was composed by Paul Moravec with a libretto by Mark Campbell. Moravec won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2004 for his work Tempest Fantasy.

The opera is an adaptation not of Kubrick’s movie but of King’s book—although the movie, firmly embedded in the minds of virtually everyone in the audience, will surely have an effect. As an example, the famous words “Here’s Johnny!,” shouted by Nicholson’s Jack Torrance in a moment of frenzy, is not in the novel and thus does not appear in the opera either. King has never had any affection for Kubrick’s version of his novel, so it’s noteworthy that the prolific author “maintained libretto approval and gave Campbell the green light 24 hours after receiving the final version.”

The Shining capped off the Minnesota Opera’s 2015-2016 season, with the premiere taking place on May 7, 2016.

The reviews have been respectful to more than respectful. In the magazine Opera News, Joshua Rosenblum was effusive about the production, saying that “Moravec proves to be a masterful musical dramatist.” He added that “Brian Mulligan does the seemingly impossible—he actually makes you forget Jack Nicholson” and that “watching Vega’s Danny step slowly toward the bathtub with the drawn curtain in the forbidden room 217 was as riveting as anything I’ve ever seen in a theater. “

Fun fact: Rosenblum did not mistype Room 237, nor did the librettist commit a flub—in King’s novel the locus of dread is actually Room 217.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Ceremony’: Peter Hook reanimates New Order’s classic first single
04.12.2017
11:36 am

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Music

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I’d hardly be the first to observe that “Ceremony” is THE emblematic song of Joy Division’s sometimes shaky transition to New Order after the suicide of JD singer Ian Curtis. It was a JD song that, tragically, was never properly recorded during the singer’s lifetime; only the live version on Still—from which half the vocals are absent—and a really crummy rehearsal tape are known to have survived, but the song became New Order’s first single.

While that single is imperfect, it preserves a magnificent song that could have ended up lost. The instrumental performances and production are excellent, but vocals were handled by guitarist Bernard Sumner, who’d go on to become the band’s main singer. His tentative, mannered, flat-affect singing style was a good fit for NO’s later work, but his rookie effort couldn’t approach Ian Curtis’ expressive depth, and so lines like “I’ll break them all/No mercy shown” land weightlessly. The song’s excellence still being amply evident, it went on to become one of the most-covered songs the band ever released, and it’s a badge for their determination to persevere in the face of tragedy, however wobbly their very public march towards their own post-Curtis identity was.

In recent years, estranged from his former New Order bandmates, JD/NO’s Peter Hook, the architect of a post-punk bass style so singular and genre-defining it’s still being copied 40 years later, has eschewed original music for a while to devote himself to the project of reanimating his bands’ earliest works. He formed Peter Hook and the Light with members purloined from his prior band Monaco, and they’ve spent the last several years producing concerts in which they’ll play an early JD or NO album in its entirety. They’re currently on tour performing both bands’ ‘80s best-of compilations, both titled Substance. (That tour’s schedule is why multiple attempts to interview Hook for this post fell through, to my lasting regret—his is a brain I’d love to pick.)
 

 
Doing the best-ofs sounds almost like an endcap to the project, as does the series of releases Hook is issuing this year, documenting live versions of Joy Divisions’ Unknown Pleasures and Closer, and New Order’s Movement and Power, Corruption, and Lies, but audiences are reportedly LOVING the shows, so while it’s a shame that Hook is no longer pursuing original music (all the more a shame given how very so-so the Hookless New Order album Music Complete was), who’s to say they shouldn’t/won’t continue?

On the album honoring Movement Peter Hook and the Light included the non-LP “Ceremony,” and it’s quite a good version. Hook’s vocals are far rougher than Sumner’s, which is surely why Sumner became the default singer as the band solidified it’s slick, synth-based identity, but Hook’s rawness better conveys the emotive strength of Ian Curtis’ lyrics. I’d stop WAY short of calling this version definitive, but it’s good to have available a well-recorded version other than Sumner’s.

Joy Division debuted the song at what ended up being their final concert (the one released on Still), and the only other recording ever made was the crummy-sounding rehearsal tape released on Heart and Soul, made four days before Curtis’ death. In his book Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, Hook talks about where “Ceremony” fit in when the band decided to carry on:

The only thing we took from Joy Division—the only two things, actually—were the songs Ian had left us: “Ceremony” and “In a Lonely Place.” To one another we said, “See you on Monday,” and that was it. Me, Barney, and Steve got together on the Monday to work on the songs. I took the riff for “Dreams Never End” into rehearsal. It was weird because I was looking for Ian to tell me if it was any good or not. Realizing that we’d lost our spotter, our mentor. Realizing that suddenly we had to find a new way of working that didn’t rely on him. We had to learn to record everything, play it back, and pick out the good bits ourselves.

In Substance: Inside New Order, Hook details the how the recording of the “Ceremony” single with Martin Hannett solidified New Order’s division (sorry) of labor:

Despite the fact that Steve, to say the least, wasn’t keen on singing, he still tried out, and so did me and Barney. I think secretly both of us fancied being the frontman. But we were all shit according to Martin. At one point in Strawberry Studios we were recording “Ceremony” and Martin had decided to use all three of our vocals mixed together in the track at the same time. ‘The best of a bad bunch!’ he cried. Then he started cackling. But then Bernard insisted on having ‘just one more go’, and in doing so used up mine and Steve’s tracks, wiping them, so by the Time Martin finally threw up his hands and told us to fuck off, Barney’s was the only vocal left on tape. Which is pretty much how he became our singer.

Dangerous Minds is proud to premiere the stream of Peter Hook and the Light’s soon to be released version of “Ceremony,” after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Topless crocheted finger puppets of Tura Satana, Wendy O. Williams, Siouxsie Sioux & other bad girls
04.12.2017
06:23 am

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Amusing
Art
Heroes
Movies
Music

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A shot of a crocheted Tura Satana finger puppet (in the image of Tura’s character from the 1968 film ‘The Astro-Zombies’ playing behind her on the television) by Galen Djuna Green.
 
So I have some good news and some bad news about the strange, crocheted little finger puppets in this post made by artist Galen Djuna Green. The good news is that as recently as last year Green was offering her topless finger puppets for sale on her Etsy page Galendjuna Knitty Titties. So what’s the bad news? Well, there aren’t any up for sale currently on the page. Which is really sad as Green’s naughty knitted bad girls are rather covetable.

I will say this—since the Knitty Titties page is still active that *may* indicate that Green is still taking orders for past designs or new custom requests. Which I really hope is the case as some of her past finger puppets include Siouxsie Sioux, Wendy O. Williams, Kembra Pfahler (The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black), a few fantastic drag queens and an uncanny likeness of Tura Satana based on her “Satana” character from the 1968 film The Astro-Zombies (pictured at the top of this post). Tiny Tura’s little pink top even comes off! I’ve posted a number of images below of Green’s puppets which while small, clearly have big attitudes. They are also very NSWF much like the ladies they are based on themselves.
 

 

 

Wendy O. Williams.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Police break up full-on rave on a random London Underground train car
04.11.2017
02:49 pm

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Music

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Last night police were summoned in order to break up a “fully-fledged rave” that started on a subway car on the Bakerloo line of London’s Underground network, known as “the Tube.”

The event was organized by “award-winning MC Harry Shotta” and included flashing lights, a sound system, and (of course) an MC.

Judging from the video, some of the passengers enjoyed it. A passenger named Iain Souttar registered his bafflement on Twitter:
 

 
However, not everyone was so amused. A woman named Elise Myette wanted to know why this distraction was preventing her from achieving some alone time at home:
 

 
Call me when they do a Burning Man on a pedicab.
 

 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
These are probably the worst album covers ever created
04.11.2017
01:09 pm

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Amusing
Music

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Although I could be wrong, in my opinion these are some of the worst album covers I’ve ever seen. A few of these covers have been making the rounds on the Internet for a least a decade (so they’ll probably look familiar to you). Others were new to me and simply godawful but totally funny at the same time. What in the hell were they thinking?

Feel free to add your “worst album cover” in the comments section here on Dangerous Minds or on our Facebook page. I’m curious to see them. I need a good laugh today. But don’t we all?


 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Germs give out the telephone number of a drug dealer on KROQ radio, 1979
04.11.2017
01:07 pm

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Drugs
Music

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One of the best DJs in American history was Rodney Bingenheimer, whose show Rodney on the ROQ was an important force in bringing punk acts to a wider audience in southern California in the late 1970s. Rodney once described his programming philosophy as “anti-Eagles, anti-beards.”

On November 30, 1979, the Germs joined Rodney in the studio for an hour or so of utterly sophomoric fun. The Germs’ only studio album, (GI), had come out a few weeks earlier; the guys make fun of the producer of the album, Joan Jett, saying that her contribution was “sleeping on the couch.”

The general immaturity of the Germs is fully matched by the callers. Right after a guy calls in just to say “Punk rockers have a 10-inch cock,” another dude calls in wanting to know who this band is. The answer given is “Led Zeppelin.” A few minutes later and they’re reading “satellite numbers” on the air, which was a way you could make free long-distance calls. It’s bullshit but this was just the kind of thing that could have landed KROQ in hot water.

Much of the time Rodney is reading plugs for upcoming gigs, which are just mouthwatering. Bands include the Go-Gos, the Busboys, the Plimsouls, Sham 69, Dead Kennedys, Fear, the Bags, X, and Black Flag.

Around the 32nd minute a woman named Michelle calls the show from the Whiskey, where Madness is playing. One of the gang has some urgent information for her: “Snickers has some really good pot for sale, call 312-960-3662. It might be 714 area code.”

Back in the day, there weren’t very many area codes so it would be assumed that Snickers has a 213 area code, which covered all of downtown Los Angeles, unless otherwise specified. 714 covered Orange County and eastern L.A. County.

As a commenter usefully pointed out, Snickers’ real name was Richard W. Scott—as the singer for the Simpletones and the Klan, he was a well-known part of the L.A. punk scene. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose in 1997.

By the way, I tried calling both of the numbers. They were disconnected. Oh well.
 

 
Germs play the Whiskey on December 23, 1979:

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Almost Famous’: Artist discovers his music was released by shady record companies in 1977 (Part II)
04.11.2017
11:16 am

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Music

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Richard Goldman on stage, c. early 1980s
 
Yesterday, we told you about “tax scam records,” and the incredible story of Richard Goldman, the exceptional singer-songwriter who made the shocking discovery that two versions of an album—largely made up of his tunes—had been released without his knowledge. But that’s not the end of this strange tale. Decades had gone by, when Richard happened upon yet another LP of his songs, the vinyl pressed up by a similarly mysterious record company. How did this happen—again?
 
Sweethearts
 
Sweethearts was released by Granya Records in 1977. The album was comprised of studio demos Richard recorded between 1971 and 1974. Sweethearts was distributed by Album World, a division of International Record Distributing Associates (a/k/a IRDA). Based in Hendersonville, Tennessee, IRDA was formed in 1974 by Hank Levine and Mike Shepherd, two record industry veterans. The year they opened for business, the pair told Billboard magazine that IRDA was an “association of small independent labels, with the strength and distribution of a major label.”
 
1975 clipping
Billboard magazine clipping, 1975.

By 1977, IRDA was manufacturing tax shelter albums for a variety of labels, many of which seem to have been established solely to take advantage of the tax credit. Levine and Shepherd were responsible for creating the finished product and then distributing the records via their Album World and Album Globe subsidiaries. It isn’t known how many tax shelter albums Levine and Shepherd distributed, but it’s estimated to be well over 100 titles, including LPs of Beatles and Led Zeppelin material.
 
The Fantastic Dena Carrol
‘The Fantastic Dena Carrol,’ Lanark Records, 1977. Distributed by Album World. The cover art recalls both Marilyn Monroe and a certain Lou Reed LP. Note the price tag.

The conventional wisdom among collectors of “tax scam records” is that Levine and Shepherd sold tax shelters to investors and then created new, fake record labels for each release. But that wasn’t the case. What happened was, the labels—companies that were often established for one-time only tax shelter albums—came to Levine and Shepherd. In the tax shelter orbit, it was known that they could do the required work.

I spoke with Jack Millman, one of the biggest players in the tax shelter game. Millman had a trove of master recordings—obtained through various connections in the music industry—which he would sell to individuals who wanted to create a tax shelter album. He told me about the people in his circle, and that included Levine and Shepherd. As part of a 1985 federal case—in which the investor in a tax shelter record was denied tax credits related to said album—the court noted Millman had recommended the services of IRDA to the investor.

Album Globe distributed the tax shelter record comprised of Christmas messages recorded by the Beatles, but Levine and Shepherd were removed enough from the equation that neither they nor their companies are mentioned in the lawsuit filed by the group’s lawyers.

Granya Records was likely just another tax shelter label hipped to the professional services of Levine and Shepherd. Sweethearts is the only known Granya release. Who exactly was behind Granya is still unknown, though I have a hunch.
 
Side A
 
Through my research, I learned that Granya, Incorporated was established in 1975, listing a post office box in San Marino—a city in Los Angeles county—as their address. The owner of the company is also the CEO of a real estate agency in Southern California. I called the agency, and left messages requesting an interview on the CEO’s personal voicemail, but have yet to receive a response.

In 1977, the year Sweethearts was released, Granya, Incorporated was the only registered company in the United States using the name “Granya.”

But who provided the tape of Richard’s songs? Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Metal gods Judas Priest cover Joan Baez, Fleetwood Mac, and Spooky Tooth
04.11.2017
06:58 am

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Heroes
Music

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Defenders of the faith, Judas Priest.
 
If you’ve found yourself with a bad case of the heavy metal bed spins after reading the title of this post, you have my sympathy fellow headbangers. And I’m going to tell you right now that you are not alone as many Priest fans are completely unaware that the epic 1978 jam most would credit JP for, “The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown),” was originally done by Fleetwood Mac in 1970 while guitarist Peter Green was still with the band. According to folklore surrounding the song, the influential Green has said that it was the product of a drug-soaked dream involving a green dog. While the revelation that “The Green Manalishi” isn’t a Priest original might be a surprise to some, Green’s drug use, especially the psychedelic variety, was well-known. Shortly after the release of what the guitarist referred to as his “least appreciated” song, Green would succumb to the side-effects of his overuse of party favors and mental illness and bow out of Fleetwood Mac.

Interestingly, after Rob Halford returned to Judas Priest in 2004 following his departure in the early 90s, bassist Ian Hill said that when the band finally got to perform again the first song they would rip into was “The Green Manalishi.” Nice. So how did one of the heaviest bands from the NWOBHM get the idea to put their own spin on Joan Baez’s devastating, “so long love” song about her ex, Bob Dylan? Vocalist Halford recalls it happened like this:

It was 1978 and I remember we were all together and someone from the label or the management came in and said, ‘Listen to this song. The label would like you to consider covering it.’ And when we put it on, all we heard was Joan Baez singing this song with the guitar, and your knee-jerk reaction is, ‘Are you fucking crazy? We are a heavy metal band.’ But again, typical of Priest, we’re like, ‘What’s the logic behind this?’ And then after a couple of listens, we decided it was a good song. And a good song will take any kind of interpretation. It opened the door for us in radio in a lot of ways, and I think that for the first time, a metal band was able to get the kind of accessibility.

 

Dylan and Baez in happier times.
 
So what did Baez think when she heard Priest’s version of “Diamonds and Rust?” She loved it, just like I do. Now, let’s get on to JP’s cover of a Spooky Tooth song found on the final album from the Carlisle band with their original late-1960s lineup, “Better by You, Better than Me.” If you had a pulse and paid attention to the news during the mid-80s, you will likely recall that the song brought a lot of horrifically unwarranted heat on Priest after the 1985 suicide/suicide attempt of Raymond Belknap and James Vance who both shot themselves on a church playground after a six-hour long alcohol and drug infused session listening to Priest’s 1978 album Stained Class. Belknap’s death was instantaneous, however, and despite the fact that he suffered massive facial injuries, Vance would survive though he never quite recovered from the incident physically or mentally. Three short years later he was dead, too.

In court, the song became one of the primary targets of the prosecution who alleged it was a harbinger for subliminal suicidal messages that infiltrated the drug-addled minds of the two young Judas Priest fans. The story is immensely troubling and it is difficult to comprehend how “Better by You, Better than Me” could be considered the impetus for what Belknap and Vance did at the behest of imaginary hidden messages on the version recorded by Judas Priest.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Great Hipgnosis album covers you probably weren’t aware of
04.10.2017
03:59 pm

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Art
Music

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The Creation, ‘66-‘67

Hipgnosis is the kind of creative entity that could be said to be exactly the kind of thing that Dangerous Minds readers know about that maybe isn’t common parlance to the rest of the world. If you’re reading this, I’m going to guess that you know all about (to pick almost at random) the cover for Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and the cover for Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and Peter Gabriel’s first three albums and maybe the words “Throbbing Gristle” flitted through your head as well.

In 1968 Cambridge natives Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell were approached by Pink Floyd to do a cover for A Saucerful of Secrets, and that partnership proved incredibly fruitful, as Hipgnosis was an absolutely perfect correlative for the music of Floyd, both being so very strong on concept and strong on execution at the same time.
 

 
I think of an album cover like Hipgnosis’ design for Def Leppard’s second album High and Dry as the kind of thing that cannot happen by accident, you need professionals with vision, daring, and resources to make an image of a perfectly vertical diver flanked by a crowd of people curiously staring upward to work. If you’ve seen that cover just once, that’s enough for you to remember what album it is every time you flip past it in the LP rack.

Hipgnosis did many covers for 10cc and Genesis and Bad Company and Wishbone Ash and many others. What made their ad-ready covers stand out was their enigmatic feel for drama, and they weren’t short on humor either, as their cover for Scorpions’ Lovedrive would establish forevermore. Many of their covers involved high-definition photography and staging, that was their thing.
 

 
The style that Hipgnosis so excelled at didn’t live much past the 1970s, but they’ve continued to be active and they did a great many covers including a few for bands you didn’t know they were associated with. On the occasion of Vinyl . Album . Cover . Art: The Complete Hipgnosis Catalogue, an utterly mouth-watering book to be released by Thames & Hudson in May (quite affordable at under $30, pre-order here), we call your attention to the sustained excellence of Hipgnosis, even on albums you might not have known or not known they had anything to do with.
 

Ian Dury, Reasons to be Cheerful
 

The Police, “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” single
 

XTC, “This Is Pop?”
 
Much more after the jump…....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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