follow us in feedly
‘The Beatles Never Existed’ is the greatest, weirdest Beatles conspiracy theory of all time
08:42 am


The Beatles

You think you know the truth about The Beatles? I laugh at your ignorance! Perhaps you naively proclaim that “Paul is dead!” but you have no idea. Wake up, sheeple! Paul never even existed! The rest of ‘em, too! At least, this is the claim made by the batshit-crazy/amazing conspiracy website, The Beatles (as they were presented to us) Never Existed. This is truly the holy grail of music conspiracy sites; it appears it is an ongoing project—Alex Jones style—and the theory is premised entirely on the scrutiny of photographic “evidence.”

The premise?

This is a serious subject, not a joke, and this site is here to expose the actions of those who exploited these young men and defrauded us their fans. It is to defend the honor of everyone involved who did not take part in it willingly. It has become apparent to us in this extensive and painstaking research that there were never just four individual people known as “John”, “Paul”, “George”, and “Ringo” who comprised one Rock & Roll band known as “The Beatles”, and rose to fame as the world’s first supergroup. For all intents and purposes as far as we can tell, no one such group ever existed.

We are here to explore whether the original individuals themselves ever existed (and if so, what may have happened to them and by whom), but have not been able thus far to calculate how many of each persona were fraudulently presented to the world. Please join us at the forum if you care to and can be open-minded. This is a highly-emotional topic for many of us, and most of us have very strong feelings about it. We have started this work because we were once fans to varying degrees, and many of us still listen to and enjoy their music.

So yeah, The Beatles were a series of individuals imitating personas. It’s theorized that this is because four lone human beings couldn’t possibly produce the work of such a prolific band, much less meet all their social/media obligations. The blog concedes an uncanny resemblance between various Beatle bodies, but suggests that clones might have been used to keep up the charade (Clones! of course! Why didn’t I think of that?). Clones, the site argues, would only be “95-99%” identical to their source body, which accounts for the slight discrepancies in photographs.

So far, the three major factors in the site’s argument are height (they don’t seem to understand shoe heels,posture or the concepts of distance and perspective), eyebrows (maybe Paul plucked?!?), and ears, which the site maintains “fluctuated wildly with each Beatle, as to shape, size, placement on the head, and which type of earlobes they had (attached or unattached).”  We are talking about a looooong scroll of Glenn Beck-esque diagramming of Paul McCartney’s eyebrows, crowd-sourced from a community of people on message boards who suspect The Beatles are some kind of elaborate hoax.


On the list I compiled of what different people around the internet on Beatles forums have said were the features and attributes of the “real” JPM (it’s on 2 or 3 of our forum threads), one thing commonly agreed on was that he had a highly-swooped right eyebrow. They said this was for certain one way to identify him as the true Paul McCartney. I can understand that when someone sees that highly-swooped brow, it stays in their memory, so they would always expect to see it again and again when viewing videos or pictures of Paul. So I ask now, if he has a highly-swooped right eyebrow at any given time, age or era that cannot be proven to be doctored or tampered with, that means it’s really Paul McCartney, right? And if he has any other shape of eyebrows at any given time, age, or era, that means it isn’t Paul McCartney?

Intriguing! It’s advertised that the next feature to be examined is Beatle teeth—I cannot wait. I highly recommend immersing yourself in the Quixotic delusion—if you feel bad for laughing, you can donate to a mental health charity for penance… or maybe your eyes will be opened to a whole new reality! Either way, it’s a win-win, right?


Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
The Jimi Hendrix blooper reel
07:59 am


Jimi Hendrix

How much more sublime does psychedelic rock get than “Third Stone from the Sun?” Smack in the middle of side B of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s immortal debut LP Are You Experienced, sandwiched between hard rock classics “Fire” and “Foxy Lady” (on the US release, that is), “Third Stone” coasts amiably and organically between straight jazz, laid-back groove rock, an acid-fried space alien’s ode to Earth, and full-bore tectonic psych freakouts. The song clocks in at about six and a half minutes—not especially overlong in a post “Interstellar Overdrive” world—but when it ends, you feel like you’ve experienced a genuine epic, and it served as notice that Hendrix was perfectly capable of transcending the heavy-blues psychedelia with which he was making his name.

But about that alien ode: it’s not the only spoken material present. There’s a garbled, slowed-down vocal throughout and underneath the song, most noticeable in the quieter passages, especially right at the beginning. It turns out that when sped up to normal, that’s Hendrix having a preposterous back-and-forth with his manager/producer Chas Chandler, also well known as the bass player for the Animals. The outtakes of those vocal sessions—at proper speed—were released on the 2000 Jimi Hendrix Experience box set, a/k/a “the purple box.” And in their unedited glory, they’re pretty damn funny, full of laughter, clowning around, character breaking, and goofy heavy-breathing wind sound effects. It’s tempting to assume they’re both just high as all fuck, because… 1967.

You can make out a lot of that in context simply by playing the original LP version at 45rpm. If you don’t have the album on vinyl, a helpful soul on the Internet has done it for you.



Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Tom Waits meets Aesop Rock is actually a good idea!

It’s been over ten years now since Danger Mouse’s notorious Grey Album—a brilliant full length CD that mashed up a capella tracks from Jay Z’s Black Album with remixes of Beatles songs from the White Album—became a cause celebre due to EMI’s attempt to suppress it over the unauthorized use of the Beatles’ material. That move Streisanded all over the place, turning the extremely limited underground release into one of the most-downloaded albums of 2004, one that went on to rank #1 in Entertainment Weekly‘s year end best-of list, and to show up in the Village Voice‘s Pazz and Jop list. It’s so typical—left alone, the album would have remained an insidery bit of DJ culture esoterica, but the effort to bury it instead brought the mashup phenomenon in remix culture to the mainstream.

Since then, many DJs have endeavored high-concept mashup albums, but most have fallen short of Danger Mouse. Hippocamp Collective and DJ BC put out at least three Beatles mashup albums between them, with varying levels of inspiration. A duo called The Silence Xperiment did an album called Q Unit, combining 50 Cent’s rapping with Queen remixes, which was pretty good, though the world had already known since Vanilla Ice that Queen’s grooves are sufficiently potent on their own that they need a special kind of suckage on top to make a lousy song out of them. There’ve even been mashup tributes to unlikely subjects like AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and the practically ancient Australian entertainer/sex criminal Rolf Harris. (Actually, The Rolf Harris Mashup CD is beyond bonkers, and kinda totally rules.)

And still, ten years after Grey, contenders continue to appear. Someone using the name Aesop Waits released Tom Shall Pass this year, with remixed Tom Waits music beds underpinning vocal tracks from rapper Aesop Rock’s acclaimed 2007 album None Shall Pass, and I’ll be damned if it ain’t half bad at all. Since Waits’ old-timey rhythms and timbres don’t easily lend themselves to hip-hop treatment, the DJ here had to go to some effort to make this combination work, and to my reckoning, he (she?) did a good bit better than 50/50—the demented circus-falling-down-a-flight-of-stairs stylings of Waits’ music complements Aesop’s complex and impressionistic lyrics better than I’d have guessed. The best include “Reeperlawn,” “Undercomb Kids,” “Singapore Harbor is Yours,” “Knife Dance for the Whole Family,” and “Dark Heart of Istanbul.” (Each title is itself a mashup of the titles of the combined songs, if you didn’t catch that.) The tracks that fail are the ones that lean too heavily on extraneous drum loops, basically stomping all over the grooves inherent in the Waits samples, prompting wonder at what the point of even using them was in the first place.

Stream the entire “collaboration” after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Johnny Cash at San Quentin: Ten newly released photos
07:54 am


Johnny Cash
San Quentin

1968’s Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison is surely one of the greatest live albums of all time, but just about a year later, Cash recorded another stellar live album for an audience of prisoners, At San Quentin. I don’t think this is a terribly controversial opinion: for my money, San Quentin is the better of the two. Cash’s longtime guitarist Luther Perkins passed away in a tragic house fire in between the two recordings, and absent that familiar mooring, Cash’s sound feels wild, like the band’s ever teetering on the edge of coming unglued on San Quentin. With new guitarist Bob Wootten, Cash is energetic, loose, gnarly, and just much closer to primal rock than he’d been on the preceding LP. The version of “Wanted Man” on that album just goddamn flattens me every time I hear it, and it’s impossible to deny the classic status of “A Boy Named Sue.” But whichever prison album you prefer, this much is surely true: those two concerts probably saw the most raucous upswells of cheering and applause at the line “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” that Cash ever got out of any of his audiences.

That San Quentin performance was filmed by England’s Grenada television, and ten never before seen B&W still photos from the production have just been released by ITV. Prints are available for sale via Sonic Editions.




More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Scatman Crothers scats ‘Stanley (Does It All),’ a ditty he wrote about Kubrick

One of the best things about being Stanley Kubrick would be that people like Scatman Crothers, who played Dick Hallorann in The Shining, would just spontaneously write songs about you and sing them to you. I feel like if that ever happened to you, your life would be complete. And no, you can’t just substitute Kanye in for Scatman or something like that. Biz Markie, maybe.

Anyway, in a 1980 interview conducted by Mick Garris, Crothers discusses Kubrick’s excessive perfectionism (as represented by the unwieldy number of takes) and then essays a rendition of a little song he composed about Kubrick during a down moment on the set of The Shining—it sounds like there were plenty of down moments to choose from.

Even more fabulously, Scatman, true to his name, actually does do some scat-singing in the song. Here are the lyrics to “Stanley (Does It All)”—Scatman was very insistent about the parentheses there.

There’s a man
Livin’ in London Town
Makes movies
He’s a world renown
Yes, he’s really got the fame
Stanley Kubrick is his name
He does it all
He does it all
I’m tellin’ y’all
Stanley does it all

He’s a writer, he directs
He produces his projects
He’s the man behind the lens
And Stanley always wins
He’s a man who looks ahead
Can make you think he raised the dead
It’s and cuts all his flicks
He’s a genius with his tricks
He does it all
He does it all


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Bob Dylan records with members of the Sex Pistols and Clash, 1987
07:10 am


Bob Dylan
Paul Simonon
Steve Jones

Bob Dylan played with just about everybody on his 1988 album Down in the Groove: Sly and Robbie, Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, Mark Knopfler, most of the Grateful Dead, and, yes, Kip Winger all appear on this record. Why, your dear old dad probably blew a little harp on it, too. The album is not one of Dylan’s best, but its cover of Arthur Alexander’s first single, “Sally Sue Brown,” is notable because it features Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols on guitar and Paul Simonon of the Clash on bass.

If you’re expecting rebel rock on the order of “God Save the Queen” or “The Guns of Brixton,” you will certainly be disappointed—let’s call this version of “Sally Sue Brown” a historical curiosity. Jones described the session to Dylan biographer Howard Sounes in Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan:

Why Bob chose to contact Steve Jones remains a mystery to everybody, including Jones himself, who had never met or even spoken to Bob before. “He called me up and said can I put a band together to do some sessions in the studio? I said, Yeah. Paul Simonon was in town at the time, from The Clash. So was the guitar player I was working with [and] a drummer from Pat Benatar’s band.” They met at Sunset Sound in Hollywood. “It was a strange, fucking surreal day.” Bob had a long list of songs and, without preamble, began working through them. The band had to keep up as best they could, but were unable to get a very satisfactory take on anything because Bob would move so rapidly on to the next number. “It was like that all night, basically just fucking about,” says Jones. The only track to make the album was “Sally Sue Brown.”

According to the exhaustive Dylan “session chronology” at, the band recorded six songs on that night in March of ‘87: in addition to “Sally Sue Brown,” they played “Wood In Steel,” “Heaven,” “Shake Your Money,” “Chain Gang” and “If You Need Me.” So far as I know, none of the five unreleased songs has yet surfaced on any medium, bootleg or legit.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
follow us in feedly
A face-melting freakout with The Icarus Line
10:45 am


The Icarus Line

Los Angeles’ feral freakout rock saviors The Icarus Line will be melting faces up and down the West Coast for a short December tour with Zig Zags and Zodiac Death Valley as support. The tour started last night in Santa Barbara

12/2 – Fulton 55 – Fresno, CA
12/3 – Elbow Room – San Francisco, CA
12/5 – El Corazon – Seattle, WA
12/6 – The Know – Portland, OR
12/7 – 1078 Gallery – Chico, CA
12/8 – Starlite Lounge – Sacramento, CA
12/9 – Night Lite – Oakland, CA
12/10 – Constellation Room – Costa Mesa, CA
12/11 – Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
12/12 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA

A very special (and very legendary) guest guitarist is expected to show up to inject some extra raw power into a few of the shows. Don’t be a stooge and miss that.

Below, here’s an exclusive taster of what you’ll see at the gigs, The Icarus Line performing material from their pulverizing Slave Vows album taped at Valley Recording Company in Burbank on November 22, 2014.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Hawkwind’s ‘Galactic Tarot’ deck, 1971
10:44 am



A couple of weeks ago Arthur’s Jay Babcock tweeted that he had stumbled upon a fascinating two-page Hawkwind spread while “trolling thru the online International Times archive.” It turns out it wasn’t just any Hawkwind spread, it was a full Hawkwind tarot deck! Here’s a look at the spread, rotated 90 degrees. (If you click on the image, you can see a much larger version.)

This spread appeared in Issue 117 of International Times, or IT, which bears a publication date of November 18, 1971, a date that coincides neatly with the release of Hawkwind’s second album, In Search of Space or X In Search of Space, depending on who you ask, which had come out just a few weeks earlier. Linking to Babcock’s tweet a couple of days later, John Coulthart speculated, “Is this an overlooked Barney Bubbles design?”

Bubbles had designed the cover for In Search of Space, which featured a die-cut interlocking foldout. Coulthart himself designed the covers for the 1980s Hawkwind comps Zones and Out & Intake. According to Paul Gorman’s Reasons to Be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles, Coulthart once credited Bubbles with inventing “cosmic art nouveau” in his early work for Hawkwind.

For any readers of IT wanting to make a deck of their own, the following instructions are provided: “Paste this page down onto a stiff sheet of cardboard. Wait till it’s dry. Then cut out each card until you have a pack of 21. Shuffle and deal into three rows of seven. Read the image / word combinations thus formed. The Galactic Tarot does not speak of the future or the past, for all galactic time is contained in the present.” Yeah, man, faaaar out….. (Cannabis and quaaludes are not mentioned.) If you’d like help deciphering the text, this page is very helpful.

Here are the cards. The text on the cards is a little bit puzzling. If you forgive a transposed word or two, the cards contain the full text of two Hawkwind songs: “Born to Go” and “Infinity.” (If you order the cards Earth-Atlantis-Pluto-Jupiter-Flying Saucer-Sun-Pyramid-Alien-Horus-Machine, you get the verses and chorus for “Born to Go,” and if you order the cards Winged Hero-Icarus-Mercury-Time Card-Aquarian Age-Galaxy-Mars-Saturn-Venus-Infinity, you get the verse and chorus for “Infinity.”) The truly bizarre thing is that neither of those songs appears on In Search of Space—“Born to Go” first appears on the live album Space Ritual, which was released in 1973, while listeners had to wait eight solid years, until 1979’s PXR5, to hear “Infinity.” (Since not everything works out so neatly, the left-over “Space” card has a line from “Black Corridor.”)

Earth: “We Were Born to Go / We’re Never Turning Back”
Pyramid: “We Were Born to Go / As Far As We Can Find”

Atlantis: “We Were Born to Go / And Leave a Running Track”
Flying Saucer: “We Were Born to Blaze / A New Clear Way Through Space”

Space: “Space Is the Absence of Time and of Matter”
Alien: “We Were Born to Blow / To Blow the Human Mind”

Time Card: “Infinity So Beautiful / Has Turned My Soul to Ice”
Machine: “We’re Hatching Our Dreams”

Sun: “A Way Out of the Maze / That Held the Human Race”
Winged Hero: “I Used to Be of Human Kind / I Had a Life to Lead”

Galaxy: “I Met Her in a Forest Glade / Where Starbeams Grew Like Trees”
Horus: “We’re Breaking Out of Our Shell / We’re Breaking Free”

Icarus: “But Now I’m Frozen in a Dream / My Life Is Lost It Seems”
Aquarian Age: “And Crystallized Eternity / For All My Future Time”

Infinity: “In a Dream / Infinity”

Mars 12a: “I Did Not Take Her for a Witch / She Wasn’t What She Seemed”
Jupiter 12b: “We Were Born to Learn / We Were Born to Grow”

Saturn 12c: “She Led Me to a Palace Gate / With Constellation Towers”
Venus 12d: “She Is the Keeper of My Fate / I Sleep Locked in Her Powers”

Pluto 12e: “We Were Born to Go / And Leave No Star Unturned”
Mercury 12f: “She Turned the Key / Of Endlessness and Locked Me”
“Born to Go”:


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘Devotees’: Beautiful mutants create insane DEVO tribute album, 1979
08:18 am



The cover for the first DEVO album was “inspired” by the logo of golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez

The enduring vogue for tribute compilations can probably be traced back to an origin in the late ‘80s, when the Johnny Cash tribute ‘Til Things Are Brighter and the Neil Young tribute The Bridge both earned critical raves and much college radio spinnage. But though the concept didn’t catch real fire until almost the turn of the ‘90s, it had been around. Witness 1979’s Devotees Album, the DEVO tribute album produced by L.A.‘s legendary radio station KROQ.

The album differs substantially from most tribute comps, which are typically heavily curated affairs, like the popular and long-running “Red Hot and [whatever]” series. The aforementioned Johnny Cash trib was assembled as a labor of love by members of the Fall and the Mekons, years before Cash’s resurgence in popularity. But this DEVO tribute is basically a collection of fan art! KROQ invited listeners to submit DEVO covers, and the selections that made it to the comp were determined in a contest. So instead of marquee names, you have a lot of genuine weirdo shit, crafted by creative obsessives, few of whom were ever heard from again. As such, it’s a mixed bag, ranging from shitty-but-endearing efforts you maybe never need to hear more than once in a blue moon, to totally brilliant mix-tape staples.

Another effect of its mob-sourced curation is that there are repeaters, which is usually a tribute comp no-no: the album contains three versions each of fan favorites “Mongoloid” and “Jocko Homo.” Amusingly, two of the “Jocko Homos” included music played on touch tone telephones. The first was “Jocko Bozo,” a clown-themed sendup by the Firemen. Some YouTube smartass dubbed that cut over some actual DEVO live footage, and I’m not 100% sure how I feel about that, but you can watch it here. The second was by the Touch Tone Tuners, who, true to their name, played ALL their track’s music on a phone. Embeddable media for that one seems nonexistent, but the ever-helpful WFMU has an MP3 of it online.

Another big winner is the Bakersfield Boogie Boys’ version of “Okie from Muskogee,” the presence of which is a bit of a headscratcher—did DEVO ever do that song? I can find no evidence that they did, but that hardly matters, as this track was so well received that Rhino gave that band an EP all their own, which is so ridiculously DEVO-ish in its robotic affect and squared-off synth textures, I’m sure someone out there thought the BBBs were actually just DEVO playing a prank.

Finding the LP in its entirety online is difficult, or I’d have just streamed the whole damn thing for you. It’s never come out on CD, which is amazing, not just because it’s DEVO-related, but because the original LP was released by the reissue-happy Rhino Records. Fortunately, re-sale prices for the LP on Amazon and Discogs are perfectly reasonable. But despite the paucity of sharable tracks, there is an illuminating contrast yet to draw—two versions of “Mongoloid,” one a fairly straight, if silly, take, and the next a disturbingly lysergic “Revolution #9”-ish mishmash, redolent of dorm room delirium tremens.


Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Let Charles Mingus help you with your cat poop problems
07:31 am


John Cassavetes
Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus is one of the greatest jazz composers of all time, and he also, it seems, shared some similarities with your typical crazy cat lady. He liked having cats around, and spent a lot of time thinking about the nettlesome issue of feline fecal matter.

On p. 77 of Cassavetes on Cassavetes we find the following anecdote, told by John Cassavetes, about enlisting Mingus to do the soundtrack for his first movie, Shadows. Mingus would only do it if Cassavetes would come over to Mingus’ house and clean up the cat shit—but even that didn’t solve Mingus’ problem:

First we were going to use Miles Davis, but then he signed with Columbia Records and I got so angry I didn’t want to use him. Anyway, someone said there was this great improvisational artist down in the Village who’d cut a few records, so I listened to a couple and oh!—this guy was wonderful! Charlie Mingus. So Charlie said, “Listen, man, would you do me a favor? I’ll do it for you, but you have got to do something for me.” “Sure, sure,” I say. “Listen, I’ve got these cats that are shitting all over the floor. Can you have a couple of your people come up and clean the cat shit? I can’t work; they shit all over my music.” So we went up with scrubbing brushes and cleaned up the thing. Now he says, “I can’t work in this place. It’s so clean. I’ve got to wait for the cats to shit.”

Cassavetes had intended for Mingus to improvise the needed music in a single session, but Mingus demanded to compose it properly. Cassavetes ended up using music composed by Mingus’ saxophonist Shafi Hadi. Meanwhile, two years after the first release of Shadows in 1957, Mingus completed his own soundtrack to the movie. According to Cassavetes, those Mingus compositions are “Nostalgia in Times Square” and “Alice’s Wonderland.” 

At some point Charles Mingus figured out the best method of toilet training a cat, and he felt he had to get the word out. He wrote a short pamphlet called “The Charles Mingus CAT-alog for Toilet Training Your Cat.” You could order the “CAT-alog” directly from Mingus, and it also appeared in a publication called Changes that existed between 1968 and 1975 and was run by Mingus’ wife, Sue Graham. (Interestingly, the officiant at their wedding was Allen Ginsberg.) You can read the entirety of Mingus’ “CAT-alog” at this website, which is administered by Graham. Mingus’ main point is to execute the transfer to the toilet very slowly: “The main thing to remember is not to rush or confuse” the cat. Also, don’t use kitty litter: “Be sure to use torn up newspaper, not kitty litter. Stop using kitty litter. (When the time comes you cannot put sand in a toilet.)”

Recently Studio 360 dedicated a segment to Mingus’ kitty program, even enlisting actor Reg E. Cathey, familiar from such TV shows as The Wire and House of Cards, to read Mingus’ pamphlet in its entirety.

Listen to Mingus’ “Pussy Cat Dues,” after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Page 4 of 566 ‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 6 >  Last ›