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Only assholes don’t like The B-52s (Part 1)
11:36 am



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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


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

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

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Jailbait jamboree: Creepy countdown of the top ten ‘inappropriate’ songs that were somehow hits
06:50 am

Pop Culture


“They don’t write ‘em like they did in the old days”—certainly a true statement, but in some cases that may really be for the best.

Here’s a top-ten countdown of songs with sketchy lyrics or themes related to (Hebephiliac to Ephebophiliac) relations with minors that probably wouldn’t make the cut for acceptability in 2015. Through the backward lens of modern social and moral definitions of appropriateness, these ten tracks err on the side of “not.”

Some of these songs are merely cringeworthy in hindsight. Some are downright scary. Yet each of these songs was either a hit single or a fan favorite on a hit album. In today’s social climate it would be career suicide for a mainstream artist attempting to release a song with lyrics like the ones on this list.

10. Aerosmith “Walk This Way”

This song of young lust does specify that the narrator is a “high school loser,” but “Walk This Way” makes the ten spot for what is certainly one of the sleaziest lines ever uttered in a (really popular hit) rock song: “I met a cheerleader, was a real young bleeder, oh the times I could reminisce.” Gross, dude. What was she? Twelve?
More pedo-pop ‘standards,’ after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Juror wears Metallica ‘electric chair’ shirt to Aurora theater murder trial
10:25 am

Stupid or Evil?


There’s a metalhead in the jury box of the Aurora mass shooting trial and the news is on it!

Colorado’s News 9 reports that an alternate juror in the mass murder trial against James Holmes wore a Metallica Ride The Lightning t-shirt which may have been in violation of a court order banning display of clothing which may influence the jury.

Neither the judge nor lawyers appeared to notice the shirt worn by juror 983, which features bolts of lightning hitting an empty electric chair on the front and the skeletal remains of a prisoner being electrocuted on the back side.

Judge Carlos Samour has “strictly prohibited” from his courtroom the “display of insignias, symbols, pictures, clothing, or any other items that may influence the jury” in an order that appears on a laminated placard in front of every spectator seat in court.

Since the matter was never brought up on the record Thursday, we don’t know whether the judge would have found the attire in violation of his order.

On Thursday, the 12 deliberating jurors delivered a verdict on aggravating factors, the first of three possible phases in the death penalty sentencing hearing.

Juror 983, who has sported heavy-metal themed tees in court before, is not on the panel of 12, but could be called on to deliberate if a juror should be excused for any reason.

The Metallica track “Ride The Lightning” is written from the point of view of a prisoner awaiting death by electrocution. According to James Hetfield, the song “was not a criticism of capital punishment, which I’m actually a supporter of. Rather, it’s simply about a man who faces death in the electric chair for a crime he didn’t commit.”

We’re guessing Juror 983 didn’t put that much thought into it.

We’d like to see “justice for all” in this case.

Via: News 9

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Why I Deleted Your Band’s Promo Email’: How to ensure that your music is never heard
07:26 am



I realize this could come off as the lamest kind of whining, but sometimes, having a job that gets you tons of free music isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, and I’ve had a few of them. It’s not that I dislike people sharing their work with me, to the contrary, that’s a huge plus. But obviously not everyone who reaches out is going to be any goddamn good, and you can’t possibly listen to everything that comes down the pike to sort out what’s what. This was a giant problem in college radio and underground rags in the early ‘90s—once the alterna-goldmine became overrun with prospectors and even indie labels were throwing everything at the wall they could, you had ten times as much music to sift through every week, but the proportion of garbage remained constant. (Sturgeon’s Law says 90%. Kretsch’s Law says 98% if you’re lucky.) So you had to figure out other ways of rooting out the bullshit, and press materials were and still are a surefire step one. After their photo (of course), a band’s influence list is always a great disqualifier—sometimes, with just a glance, you can already hear the bandwagon rounding the corner without even troubling yourself with a single song.

The internet only made things worse, from a certain point of view. On the artist side, yes, it’s absolutely fantastic that you can instantly and inexpensively get your work out to a potentially global audience without having to foot the costs of creating and shipping physical product. But from the listener side, that spells an insurmountable glut of available music, and the gatekeepers of the past, namely labels, radio, and media, remain key filters for a great many music fans who can’t spend all day on the hunt. And when you write about music, or book bands for clubs, you can find yourself submerged in unsolicited material from terrible hopefuls. That hasn’t been a problem in my time at Dangerous Minds; artists and publicists who reach out to us seem to understand what we’re all about, and that we almost never do straight reviews, so it’s extremely rare that I get much that’s wildly off the mark or totally horrid, but we’re kind of lucky here. I have a fair few pals who write for more general-interest music sites, and others who serve as concert venue talent-buyers, and they can get bombarded with musical crimes that would make mere mortals like you or me want to stab a motherfucker with a screwdriver.

And behold, someone on Tumblr gets it. The anonymous smartass behind “Why I Deleted Your Band’s Promo Email” is assembling a collection of the crucial lines in bands’ solicitations that all but force you to stop reading, because nothing that could follow will ever convince you that you’re not about to be enjoined to gargle a sonic cat turd. I’m having trouble putting my finger on what sector of the music industry this collector is involved in—the tone of a lot of these feels like they’re coming from strivers on the prowl for gigs, but some of them sound like they’re angling for record reviews; some feel like they were written by pros, others read like they were written by overconfident eighth-graders. Perhaps someday the person sharing these will reveal his or her identity, but until then, here’s an assortment of big red flags that the associated music is bad enough to make you hate all music.

















Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Big Eyed Beans from Venus’: Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band destroy minds on French TV, 1980
06:39 am



“God, please fuck my mind for good!”

While I very much doubt there is such a thing as a bad Captain Beefheart performance—at least, I have yet to hear a tape of Van Vliet and the Magic Band sleeping on the job or “phoning it in”—some recordings are better than others, and boy oh boy does this pro-shot, 30-minute French TV broadcast cream the fucking corn. I would have given my right eye for a VHS of this thing when I was a teen.

Taped during the 24-date European tour behind Doc at the Radar Station, this concert took place just two weeks after Beefheart was, improbably, profiled on local news in L.A. by “journalist” Paul Moyer, who became familiar to the Angeleno TV audience during his subsequent very long career as the Southland’s most blow-dried shithead.

This is an especially formidable Magic Band: guitarists Jeff Moris Tepper, Richard “Midnight Hatsize” Snyder and Gary Lucas wrestle manfully with bassist Eric Drew Feldman (later of Pere Ubu, Frank Black, PJ Harvey et al.) and drummer Robert Williams (fresh off his collaboration with the Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell). Warning: if this version of “Big Eyed Beans from Venus” doesn’t move you, you may already be dead.

The set list:

Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man (0:17)
Best Batch Yet (3:44)
Dirty Blue Gene (8:47)
Safe As Milk (12:42)
Flavor Bud Living (16:33)
Bat Chain Puller (17:47)
Big Eyed Beans From Venus (22:58)

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The Kinks visit a hair salon (complete with curlers), 1964
11:31 am



This marvelous piece of news coverage was put together in 1964 by British Movietone. It’s just a couple of minutes long, but totally worth a look. It shows the Kinks visiting the salon of a Richard Conway and getting the full treatment, including the use of curlers and some time spent underneath the hairdryers. Ray Davies especially is described as being unhappy about it, but it’s hard to tell. There’s no audio from the event and while he doesn’t look overjoyed, things might have been much more normal on the scene.

It’s difficult to overstate how new the Kinks were to British audiences at this stage. “You Really Got Me” was their first hit, and that was released in August 1964. If this video truly does date from 1964, then we’re talking about an outfit that had been completely unknown only six months earlier.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Curiously-shaped die cut records from Grace Jones, The Cramps, Bowie and more
11:28 am



Grace Jones Party Girl shaped 7
Grace Jones, “Party Girl” special remix on shaped 7” picture disc. B side: “White Collar Crime.” 1986
This post started out as a singular homage to German record label, Musical Tragedies and their super collectable line of saw blade-shaped 7” records. As it is often the way on the Internet, all it took was a few images in my browser to distract me from my “work.” And thanks to that distraction, I’m now able to share some pretty unique looking die cut shaped vinyl with you. Much of which I had no idea existed until now.
Blondie X Offender saw blade vinyl from Musical Tragedies - 2001
Blondie “X Offender” on saw blade shaped colored vinyl with center label picture image by Musical Tragedies (2001)
Pictured above is the A side of one of the saw blade-shaped records put out by Musical Tragedies. It features two tracks, “X Offender,” from the first Blondie record, Blondie, and a rare B side track from Bloodless Pharaohs, one of the first bands Stray Cat Brian Setzer ever recorded with back in the late 70’s. Other covet-worthy records in this post include the two-record 2004 release from DJ Shadow; DJ Shadow vs. Radiohead - “The Gloaming Mix” and DJ Shadow vs. Cage - “The Grand Ol’ Party Crash” (featuring the vocals of Jello Biafra). The shaped records themselves are in the image of two of the most vilified politicians of the last 25 years, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Holy shit!
DJ Shadow Vs. Cage ‎– The Grand Ol' Party Crash. Shaped vinyl record of Donald Rumsfeld
DJ Shadow “Donald The Merciless” 10” shaped picture disc with an image of the syphilitic face of ex US secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Track: “The Grand Ol’ Party Crash” with vocals by Jello Biafra. B-side: “Party Crash” instrumental
DJ Shadow Vs. Radiohead ‎– The Gloaming shaped vinyl record with image of Dick Cheney
DJ Shadow Vs. Radiohead ‎– The Gloaming shaped 10” shaped picture disc with an image of Dick Cheney. A/B sides feature Radiohead and Thom Yorke
As with colored vinyl, artistically shaped die cut colored records aren’t made to be played—and they don’t sound as good as straightforward black vinyl records. But WHO would actually dare to put a stylus on a shaped piece of rare vinyl featuring Poison Ivy of The Cramps holding a machine gun in a gold bikini? Not me, that’s for sure. Many images of waxy oddities that must be seen to be believed, follow.
The Cramps - Bikini Girls With Machine Guns shaped 7
The Cramps, “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns” 7” shaped picture discl. B- Side: “Jackyard Backoff” (1990)
The Cramps Bikini Girls With Machine Guns shaped vinyl record - Side B view
The Cramps, “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns” 7” vinyl picture disc, Side B view
Monty Python fishbowl 7
Monty Python Galaxy Song 7” shaped picture disc (1983). Side A: “Galaxy Song”/Side B: “Every Sperm Is Sacred”
David Bowie ‎– Underground 7
David Bowie “Underground” 7” shaped picture disc (1986). A/B-sides: “Underground” edit and instrumental
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘The Sound of Progress’: Coil, Current 93, Foetus and Test Dept star in Dutch TV documentary
11:26 am



Scraping Foetus off the Wheel
Broadcast on Dutch TV’s Videoline program in 1988, the forward-looking documentary The Sound of Progress combines interview and performance footage of some of the period’s most thoughtful and articulate musical extremists. If you have any interest in what Coil, Current 93, Scraping Foetus off the Wheel or Test Dept thought about, sounded like, or ate for lunch three decades ago, these 40 minutes will whiz by. And if you don’t have any interest in these four artists, might I recommend, as your personal medical adviser, that you remove the shit from your ears?

Let the anger, despair and hatred of these musicians, who all recognize the total emptiness of their cultural moment, stand as a corrective to ‘80s nostalgia. Their diagnosis still applies because the whiny, sedative, garbage-ass clown music saturating everyday life was just as bad then, though it might be twice as pervasive now. Here’s David Tibet’s take on the hot sounds of 1988, which he concludes by prescribing “a good kicking” for the anesthetized pop audience:

People listen to pop music for an easy way out, just for enjoyment of the most shallow and tedious type, really. The problem with Western music—contemporary Western music—is that it offers nothing except shallow pleasure, petty enjoyment, and the promise of dancing the night away and drinking, fucking, picking people up, all completely pointless things to do. Western music used to have something important in it if we look back at the classical composers, but even the classical music of the West now can’t offer anything to people, because it exists in its own sphere. It’s a finished sort of music.


“Maldoror Is Dead”: Current 93
As you might expect, Tibet speaks for C93 and JG Thirlwell for Foetus, while everyone in Test Dept—the most explicitly left-wing of the industrial groups—gets an equal say. John Balance and Stephen Thrower do most of the talking for Coil, though you’ll catch glimpses of Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson sticking his fingers in Balance’s mouth over a champagne lunch and playing a Fairlight in the studio. Everyone looks really young.

Sleazy pops the cork
Aside from their shared disgust with the popular music of the time, the four groups don’t necessarily agree on much. Coil’s insistence on the primacy of mystical experience is met by Test Dept’s stark social realism; Tibet’s conviction that Western civilization is stone dead is balanced by Thirlwell’s professed love for cultural trash. Nor do the occultists in the bunch agree on what is to be done: as the members of Coil turn inward, Tibet prepares to abandon the moldering corpse of Western civilization and seek truth in India. (It’s worth sticking around until the end of the doc to learn what he found there.)

Some of Test Dept’s instruments
For years, the only version of this documentary on YouTube was of fucking ghastly quality. I salute user vortexeyes for uploading this sharp copy in December 2014.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
KISS: Their X-rated early days
09:30 am



Before KISS became a kid-friendly marketing machine with their own line of dolls and comic books aimed at the eight-to-sixteen demographic, the group maintained a darker, edgier, and more decidedly adult image. KISS, after all, came from the same sleazy New York scene as the Dolls and were demonstrably more musically aggro than most of their early ‘70s contemporaries—and let’s not forget the lyrical themes of alcohol abuse, prostitution, pedophilia, and anal sex

It was during these early years that KISS recorded their second album, Hotter Than Hell. Though it contains some of KISS’ best songs, the record suffered from notoriously muddy production. The cover artwork, while striking with its Japanese-inspired visuals, also suffers from a degree of print-muddiness in the photo images of the group. What ended up on the album sleeve barely hints at the debaucherous photo session that spawned those images. Some sources have described this shoot as having devolved into a full-on “orgy,” although Peter Criss’ ex-wife, Lydia, has played down those allegations.

Kiss Fan Site has reprinted some outtakes of the Hotter Then Hell photo session, along with quotes from the band members describing the wild shoot. One wonders how history would look back on KISS if they had kept with the Bacchanalian “sex and drugs and rock and roll” image implied in this shoot. Photographer Norman Seeff emerges as the character responsible for much of the insanity. Apparently everyone was wasted, except for life-long tea-totaller, Gene Simmons.

This is definitely not the kid stuff we saw a few years later with Marvel Comics and Hanna-Barbera TV movie productions. The mise-en-scène of furs and rugs and glitter and skulls and ropes and Coors cans with drunkenly splayed, mugging, groupie-groping band members is, if nothing else, a beautiful rock and roll mess.


Gene Simmons: We did a photo session with Norman Seeff in Los Angeles. Norman was a very bright but strange guy who believed that photo sessions should be this other thing. So he would create a climate and bring down everybody and anybody. Girls who would blow you, anything that would happen just to get a sense of something.



Peter Criss: It was a wild photo session for the back cover. I was sitting in the armchair there with this broad giving me head with this mask on. It was really fucking wild. Paul was in bed with a bunch of broads and me in a robe over this big knight’s table’s chair. The photographer [Seeff] got us all drunk. That was the idea. He got us all loaded. Everyone was drunk except Gene but Gene had to be drunk on the whole room being drunk. Even the models and the people in the room were drunk. No one was sober but Gene but he had to be intoxicated from just the intoxication of the whole vibe.



Paul Stanley: I don’t know if anybody can make out the back cover of the album but we were having this wild, wild party with tons of people in weird outfits. Ten minutes after that picture was taken I passed out. I cut my hand, I don’t know how I did it. It was pretty strange. I was so drunk that they locked me in a car and I couldn’t find my way out. Like any of the Fellini films, Satyricon, it was bizarre but it was really great too. It was a party unlike most others that I’ve been to. A lot of the pictures taken for the back cover have never seen the light of day because some people didn’t want to be incriminated by the pictures. Someone would go, “Oh, I can’t let so-and-so see me at that party.”



Norman Seeff: The Hotter Than Hell photo shoot was done at the Raleigh stages in Hollywood. The front and back cover were shot on the same day. I had just come back from Japan and met one of the great Japanese artists, Tadanori Yokoo. He was a combination of Timothy Leary, Andy Warhol, and Picasso. I think the way KISS were dressed and who they were suggested to me that Yokoo’s work would be an ideal direction for them. As we went further, I thought “Why not put the title in Japanese as well?” I called in a brilliant designer, John Van Hamersveld, to do the design. The album’s title dictated the party shot, the Satyricon fantasy concept for the back cover. My whole approach is forging a creative partnership with people, it’s very free-form. I made it clear that this is a stage for creative improvisation. KISS were doing a rock ‘n’ roll ballet for the shoot where each of the individuals were playing a part. It was incredibly exciting, they worked so well off of each other. They came in and they delivered.



Gene Simmons: That session was one of the few times that I’ve seen Paul drunk. He was blitzed. The only thing that was missing was Rod Serling going [imitates Serling’s voice] “Witness Paul Stanley entering the Twilight Zone.” There was a photo of him with a girl who had nothing on, sort of painted like Goldfinger with silver stuff. I don’t even think Paul was aware that there were forces of gravity. So he reached over and in one shot you sort of see him nuzzling with this chickie and the next second he’s over the bed. He’d fallen over. At the end of the photo session I had to carry him to the car and lock him in the back seat.



Ace Frehley: For one photo session we did for the Hotter Than Hell album, this doctor told me I could only put makeup on half of my face. So all the shots were profiles [laughs]. I got into a car accident. Something pissed me off. I got drunk one night and I kept driving around the Hollywood Hills. I kept going around the same block faster and faster [laughs] until I lost control and hit a telephone pole. I think I was just testing destiny. I got out of the car and I had cut my head. I walked back down to the hotel and I knocked on my road manager’s door and there’s blood running all down my face. He said, “Oh God, what happened to you?” I go, “I wrecked a car.” One of many [laughs], it was like the beginning of the saga.

More photos after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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