follow us in feedly
‘Son of Dracula’: Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr’s cult comedy horror rock opera
12.12.2014
12:17 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Ringo Starr
Harry Nilsson
Dracula


 
I had the soundtrack album to Son of Dracula when I was a kid—you could buy it for 99 cents in virtually any cut out bin in America in the 70s. It featured impressive album cover art that opened out from under Harry Nilsson’s cape (see below). It stayed in my record collection, mostly unlistened to, but still pretty cool, for many years. It’s not like Son of Dracula ever achieved “legendary lost film” status in my eyes—I was never that curious about it and it had the reputation that it stank—but when I saw a VHS bootleg for sale one day at the Pasadena Flea Market (there was a huge section of the market devoted solely to rock memorabilia and bootlegs of every stripe back in 90s) I scooped it up.
 

 
Hmmmm… It’s not like I can stand here before you and tell you that it’s great—because it’s definitely not great—but do take Ringo Starr’s comments on Son of Dracula as the gospel truth: 

“It is not the best film ever made, but I’ve seen worse.”

He ought to know, he produced this turkey. Ringo’s also being a bit cagey with that statement because he’s mum on exactly how many worse films he’s seen? One other? Dozens? I’d venture that it’s probably a number Ringo can count on just one hand…. (All you really need to know about how bad Son of Dracula truly is, is that after the film was shot in 1972, Ringo hired Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, Douglas Adams and Bernard McKenna to rewrite the dialogue which they would then dub over what they’d already shot! Although this notion was abandoned—apparently it was recorded—in retrospect it doesn’t seem like that bad of an idea… Surely it couldn’t have been any worse or more shambolic than it already was!)
 

 
Son of Dracula stars Nilsson as “Count Downe” a vampire rock musician who is about to be crowned Overlord of the Netherworld when he falls in love with a mortal and has a change of heart. Ringo plays—who else—Merlin the Magician. Son of Dracula contains celebrity cameos from Nilsson’s hard-partying rocker mates Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and Keith Moon and his backing band included Peter Frampton, Klaus Voorman and Leon Russell.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Hablar mucho: Talk Talk live in Spain, 1986
12.11.2014
08:40 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Talk Talk


 
The evolution of Talk Talk was probably the greatest New Wave story every told. That journey, from their beginnings as purveyors of slightly more sophisticated than average skinny tie synthpop, to their final form as astonishingly artful, soulful, post-rock trailblazers is astonishing to listen to over the course of their five studio LPs.

Smack in the middle of those five LPs was The Colour Of Spring, their first album on which they jettisoned the synthpop tropes that made their name, and the last on which they had actual pop songs. Working with producer Tim Friese-Greene—who, after working with the band on their It’s My Life album went on to become singer Mark Hollis’ chief collaborator and a de facto member of the band in-studio—Talk Talk brought in a host of guest musicians and partially constructed their songs out of improvisations. As a result, Spring was flexible and organic, a huge creative leap from their earlier output (which itself was fine stuff, it should be stressed). It was their biggest seller, and the last album for which they toured. As Friese-Greene’s improvisational composition and recording methods came to the fore on the band’s increasingly impenetrable and uncompromising subsequent LPs, recreating many Talk Talk songs in concert became totally impractical.
 

 
But though it worked out to be their last, that 1986 tour was a doozy. Talk Talk played to massive, appreciative crowds, their core trio augmented by five additional musicians. The tour was pretty well documented, too: an officially released DVD, Live at Montreux, came out eight years ago. It’s still in print, and is an essential view for even casual fans of the band. But another complete show was captured on that tour, in Salamanca, Spain. It was filmed for television, and you can watch a 2006 rebroadcast right here. Audio bootlegs have turned up, but they’re reputedly of sketchy quality, some full of dropouts, some even transferred at the wrong speed! And that’s unfortunate (such a shame…); while it’s arguably not quite the equal of the Montreaux set, it’s absolutely a worthy performance nonetheless. I’ve indexed the video for those of you who like to jump around, and you might want to pass by the first song, a tepid, we-had-to-play-it rendition of their signature debut single. I wouldn’t skip the lesser known songs, though—the versions here of the It’s My Life tracks “Tomorrow Started” and “It’s You,” and the Colour of Spring deep cut “Give it Up” are particularly awesome. And obviously there’s not a whole lot wrong with the de rigueur cluster of hits at the end.

00:00 Talk Talk
03:38 Dum Dum Girl
07:25 Call in the Night Boy
14:07 Tomorrow Started
21:55 My Foolish Friend
26:39 Life Is What You Make It
31:02 Mirror Man / Does Caroline Know
39:16 It’s you
43:11 Living in Another World
51:10 Give It Up
56:44 It’s My Life
1:05:38 Such a Shame
1:16:58 Renée
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Talk Talk’s ‘Talk Talk’ pre-Talk Talk
The reticent soul of Talk Talk

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
A Bing Crosby death metal Christmas
12.10.2014
11:43 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
death metal
Bing Crosby


 
Composer/musical prankster Andy Rehfeldt has struck again. You may remember his hilarious smooth-jazz sendup of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” or his polka-fication of Chris Brown. He’s also done metal versions of Abba and Coldplay songs. But in the spirit of the holiday season (gag), Rehfeldt is fucking with Der Bingle. He’s recorded a death metal version of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” synced to old TV footage of Bing Crosby’s rendition. And why not? You’ve got to be sick of that deathless “Little Drummer Boy” with Bowie by now, right?
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Rock Against Racism: On the front line with The Clash, Specials, Undertones & Elvis Costello

10rarclash170s.jpg
 
It all began in 1968 when an old Tory coot Enoch Powell gave a racist speech against immigration and anti-discrimination legislation at his West Midlands constituency in England. Powell claimed he was horrified at what he believed was an unstoppable flow of immigration that would eventually swamp the country where “in fifteen or twenty years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.” It was an incendiary and offensive speech full bile and hate, and became known as the “Rivers of blood speech” because of Powell’s quotation from Virgil’s Aeneid about “‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’”

Many of the white working class supported Powell, most shamefully the London dockers’ union staged a one day strike in his favor. Powell became the pin-up of the far right and his words appeared to sanction their rise, in particular the odious neo-Nazi National Front that promoted its racist policies with the boot as much as the ballot. Against this rose Rock Against Racism—“a raggedy arsed united front” co-founded by Red Saunders, Roger Huddle and others in 1976.

At first, Rock Against Racism was just an idea—a way to bring together a new generation of youth against the stealthy rise of the far right. It may have remained just an idea had it not been for Eric Clapton announcing during a concert in 1976 that the UK had “become overcrowded” and his fans should vote for Enoch Powell to stop Britain from becoming “a black colony.” Allegedly Clapton then shouted “Keep Britain white.” His racist tirade led to Saunders and Huddle writing a letter to the music paper NME pointing out that half Clapton’s music was black. The letter ended with a call for readers to help establish Rock Against Racism. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

In April 1978, 100,000 people marched across London in support of Rock Against Racism, which was followed by a concert at Victoria Park headlined by The Clash and the Tom Robinson Band. It was a momentous event, which singer and activist Billy Bragg correctly described as “the moment when my generation took sides.”

Photographer Syd Shelton documented the rise of Rock Against Racism during the 1970s and 1980s from its first demonstrations, the concert in Victoria Park, to the gigs, bands, musicians (The Clash, The Specials, The Undertones, Elvis Costello, etc), the young activists and supporters who stood up and proudly said: “Love Music, Hate Racism.”
 
20rarclash370s.jpg
 
rar24strummer70s.jpg
 
16rarspecials70s.jpg
 
03rardemo70s.jpg
 
04rardemopolice70s.jpg
 
01rar70s.jpg
 
More rocking pictures against racism, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Dead Kennedys’ ‘International’ punk event, 1984
12.10.2014
09:47 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Jello Biafra
Dead Kennedys


Recognize this guy?

Incendiary pro-shot video Dead Kennedys set from the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, 1984. This was the infamous “International Event” concert held on August 10th that ended in a riot (like many hardcore shows in Los Angeles did at that time, especially ones held at the Olympic, once a boxing arena, now a church). Note that tickets were just $7.50!
 

 
Also on the bill that evening were Italy’s Raw Power, BGK from the UK, Finnish hardcore group Riistetyt, Mexico’s Solución Mortal and Reagan Youth.

Dig Biafra’s boss Carl Jr.‘s tee-shirt. Now THIS is a front man!


 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Psychedelic sounds of The Devil’s Anvil: ‘Hard Rock From the Middle East,’ 1967
12.09.2014
02:19 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Felix Pappalardi
Devil's Anvil


 
The ill-fated Middle Eastern influenced rock group, The Devil’s Anvil were discovered by record producer Felix Pappalardi (Cream’s Disraeli Gears) playing in a New York City cafe in 1967. Pappalardi got the band signed to Columbia Records and played bass on their album.

The Devil’s Anvil were Steve Knight (rhythm guitar, bass, bouzouki), Jerry Satpir (lead guitar, vocals), Elierzer Adoram (accordion) and Kareem Issaq (oud, vocals). Hard Rock from the Middle East would be their only record. Despite their truly original sound—which pre-dated “World Beat” by many years—luck was not on the side of The Devil’s Anvil, for on the very same day that Hard Rock from the Middle East streeted, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War broke out, too, and no American radio station would touch it.

Pappalardi later went on to form Mountain with Steve Knight and Leslie West.

Below, a four song selection from The Devil’s Anvil—“Karkadon,” “Besaha,” “Hala Laya,” “Nahna oud-Diab”:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘AD/BC: A Rock Opera’: Brilliant ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ parody
12.09.2014
10:01 am

Topics:
Belief
Music
Television

Tags:
Matt Berry
Richard Ayoade


 
To list the principal talents of AD/BC: A Rock Opera, a 30-minute parody of 1970s religious rock and roll musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell (hell, throw in Hair as well), is to name a healthy portion of the people who have made British comedy so vital and bracing over the last 10 or 15 years. You’ll find the names Matt Berry, Richard Ayoade, Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding, Graham Linehan, Steve Coogan, Matt Lucas, and Rich Fulcher prominently displayed in the credits of The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Snuff Box, I’m Alan Partridge, Nighty Night, Little Britain, and Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy. Given that pedigree, the puzzle is why it’s not better known outside of Britain and hailed as a Christmas classic.
 

 
If you were for some reason obstinately holding the view that there wasn’t much overdone or mannered about the 1970s genre of religious rock musicals, let AD/BC serve as the ecstatic corrective. Berry and Ayoade’s narrative, which dates from 2004, is a played as a “straight” recreation of a 1978 rock opera focusing on on the “Innkeeper” in Bethlehem who owns the manger where Christ was born. (There’s a clever touch of an in-house network tag indicating that “AD/BC” was broadcast on December 19, 1978.) The plummy intro of composer “Tim Wynde” (Berry), who also plays the innkeeper, introduces us to “a man whom I always thought to be one of the more intriguing yet under-explored figures in this oft-recounted tale—in fact, one might immodestly call it ‘the greatest story never told.’” The innkeeper’s problem in life is that “running an inn is just mumbo and jive”—but no worries, there’s a gratuitous montage of actual 1970s B&B’s to explicate his lot.
 

 
The exquisite joke underlying it all is that the innkeeper’s story is dreadfully boring, so they have to gin up a plot about the innkeeper being threatened by “Tony Iscariot,” a rival hotel owner, played by “Roger Kingsman, from the Purple Explosion” (Barratt, sublime). Ayoade plays “Joseph Christ,” who in a campfire solo heavily influenced by CCR’s “Proud Mary” explains that his wife is pregnant, even though “Christ, I swear I never touched her / But she tells me everything’s all right.”
 

 
Indeed, just about everything in AD/BC is gorgeously, intentionally “over-” something: over-emphatic, over-done, over-ripe. It may be the most meticulously executed and lovingly observed parody since, well, Young Frankenstein. For those who suspect that it might be kind of a one-note gag, the glorious success of AD/BC lies in a thousand tiny details, a cut between scenes that is six frames too early, the sudden and unmotivated amplification of a lyric, the unabashed use of freeze frames and split screens, the anachronistic use of “Christ” as a malediction, the many puzzling cuts and transitions and wipes, the pandering and facile verses that tend to explain everything three times, the unbridled posturing by most every singer, the egregiously dated sexual attitudes (“time is a menstruous women, one cannot control her eddying currents…”), the oddly mis-sync’d vocal tracks, the occasional insertions of dialogue (unadjusted for pitch) between verses…..

TL;DR: AD/BC is a hilarious parody of Jesus Christ Superstar that has a half-dozen smashing songs and dozens of rib-tickling details. I’m tempted to just list the many, many delicious jokes buried in here, but it’s best you discover them for yourself—and best of all, it’s just in time for our weeks-long celebration of the birthday of… Our Lord.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
You know you want these knitted Morrissey dolls
12.09.2014
08:50 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Music

Tags:
Morrissey


 
Kate Park makes these fantastic knitted Morrissey dolls. Sad thing is, since Kate’s work has blown up on the Internet, she simply can’t fill all the orders she’s been getting. That’s a good problem to have for a small business that makes knitted Morrissey dolls, right?

If you’d like to contact Kate about her tiny open-shirt Mozzer, here’s how:

Enquiries are still arriving and I’m thinking that at this rate, I might do a mailing list next year, so if you’d like to be on that (should it happen) and get emailed when a new doll goes on sale, please email knittedmoz@gmail.com to leave your details.

Please, please, please let me get what I want!

Yesterday on his website Morrissey listed his reasons for declining to deliver Channel 4’s rival programming for Her Majesty’s annual televised Christmas Day message on BBC. The singer, well known for despising the monarchy, said that he was sympathetic of the Queen’s right to address the country, adding that she’s irrelevant anyways, so why bother?

“My view that the monarchy should be quietly dismantled for the good of England is reasonably well-known, but I don’t think Christmas Day is quite the time to be trading slaps. The Queen should be allowed the impassioned trance of her annual address to the British people, if only to once again prove that, in her frozen posture, she has nothing to offer and nothing to say, and she has no place in modern Britain except as a figure of repression; no independent thought required. The Queen very well might be the most powerful woman in England, but she lacks the power to make herself loved, and the phony inflation of her family attacks all rational intellect.

All over the world highly civilized peoples exist without the automatic condescension of a ‘royal’ family. England can do the same, and will find more respect for doing so.”


 

 

 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Primitive: Lou Reed’s pre-Velvet Underground recordings
12.08.2014
03:13 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Lou Reed


 
Some seldom heard early recordings of a recently-out-of-college Lou Reed made during his pre-Velvet Underground days as a staff songwriter and performer at Pickwick International Records, a cheapy record company that did “cash-ins” based on current fads and dance crazes.

These four tracks recorded in 1964 showed up on a 1979 Velvets bootleg called “the velvet underground, etc.” This particular bootleg, which came from Australia, was once a record collector’s holy grail, along with its companion volume, “the velvet underground & so on.” Now you can easily find both of them on audio blogs.
 

 
“You’re Driving Me Insane” by The Roughnecks:

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘Blue’ Gene Pitney: The all-American crooner who was an honorary member of the ‘British Invasion’
12.08.2014
12:28 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Gene Pitney


 
Clean cut, All-American crooner Gene Pitney was a massive star in the 1960s—and remained popular in Europe—but he is all but forgotten today in the country of his birth. Pitney possessed one of the most distinctive male voices of the 60s, a high-pitched, quavering vibrato that made his songs of unrequited love and losers promising to prove themselves to their women particularly moving.

Starting off as a songwriter—Pitney wrote “He’s a Rebel” for the Crystals and “Hello Mary Lou” for Rick Nelson—and recording engineer, Pitney racked up an impressive string of sixteen top forty hits. Along with but a small handful of American performers (Roy Orbison, Beach Boys, The Supremes) Gene Pitney not only survived the British invasion, but practically became an honorary member of it. In fact, he played piano on the first Rolling Stones album. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards reciprocated by gifting him with “That Girl Belongs to Yesterday,” a top ten hit in Britain the first hit song they would write together. (Pitney also had an affair with Marianne Faithfull, who allegedly said he was the “best lay” she ever had. She also called Pitney pompous and a “complete asshole” in her autobiography.)

By the 1970s, Pitney’s fortunes sagged in the US, but he was still able to play to packed houses in England and Italy. In 1989, Pitney scored a month-long British #1 with a duet of his “Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart” recorded with Marc Almond. The pair famously appeared on Terry Wogan’s program, Almond sporting black leather and Pitney, a white tux (Nick Cave also did a killer version of this song on his Kicking Against the Pricks covers album).
 

 
In 2002, Gene Pitney was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He died in Cardiff, Wales in 2006 after a performance there. If you’re interested in a good “greatest hits” collection, you can’t go wrong with Rhino’s Gene Pitney Anthology 1961-1968.

Below, Gene Pitney doing one of his very best numbers, “Looking Through the Eyes of Love,” written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil:

 
A plethora of Pitney, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Page 2 of 566  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›