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That time Grace Jones tried to ‘kidnap’ Dolph Lundgren from his hotel, at gunpoint
01.03.2017
10:23 am

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Heroes
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

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Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren. Photographed by Helmut Newton, 1983.
 
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until I can’t remember that far back—the 80s were a weird, wonderful decade. And a perfect example of how wonderful it was is the unexpected coupling of 6’5” actor Dolph Lundgren and enigmatic Jamaican-born powerhouse, Grace Jones.

Born in Stockholm, before he got into acting Lundgren was an accomplished scholar who by the time 1982 arrived had already received a scholarship to fulfill his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Sydney in Australia. While he was in Australia, Lundgren worked security detail for musicians like Joan Armatrading, Dr. Hook and Grace Jones—and his chance meeting with Jones would turn into a four-year love affair. In 1983 Lundgren was the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship to the equally prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston. According to Dolph he would arrive on the legendary campus on his motorcycle with a leather-clad Jones in tow. At Jones’ urging Dolph soon switched gears and headed to New York to study drama. He worked security at the Limelight nightclub until Limelight boss Peter Gatien caught him eating a sandwich in a stairwell and fired him. But thanks to Jones’ deep connections in the world of entertainment he landed his first acting gig with his exotic paramour in the last James Bond film to star Roger Moore, 1985’s A View to a Kill

1985 would be a pretty big year for the couple. Jones and Lundgren were immortalized together in a stunning photographic series by Helmut Newton that appeared in the July issue of Playboy magazine. Lundgren would then land the role of “Ivan Drago” in the 1985 film Rocky IV that would propel him to stardom. Sadly it wouldn’t be long before things got weird between the gorgeous duo and according to her 2015 book I’ll Never Write My Memoirs Jones’ recalled the moment when her beautiful union with Lundgren would begin to dissolve: after she showed up at his hotel in Los Angeles with a gun. Here’s more from Jones on how that went:

I actually had a gun. It seemed very natural that I would go and fetch Dolph holding a gun. I did so out of desperation — we had been together for years and had made this move to L.A., a place I absolutely loathed, against my better judgment, and then he comes back from being away and Tom [Holbrook, Dolph’s manager] blocks me from even saying hi. What is going on?

We turned up at the hotel, not to shoot anyone, but to make sure he came with us. We banged on the door of his room. Bang, bang, bang! I’ve got a gun! I’m screaming, “Let him out, you bastard!” It was as though Tom was holding him hostage and we had come to rescue him, hair flying, legs flailing, breasts heaving, guns flashing, music pumping. This was the kind of hysteria that took place in Los Angeles. In one of the many lives I never got to live, another Grace (one who never came true) shot Dolph there and then… And that was the end of the ballad of Grace and Dolph.

Later in the book Jones also tells the story of setting Lundgren’s clothes on fire. The couple called it a day before anyone got killed sometime in 1986. I’ve included images from the former power couple’s Playboy shoot as well as a nice assortment of other photos of the two canoodling back in the day that will remind you that love doesn’t follow any kind of rules, and should never have to be subject to them. Some of the images are slightly NSFW.
 

 

A photo shot by Helmut Newton of Jones and Lundgren that appeared in Playboy Magazine in July of 1985.
 

 
More after the jump…

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The Rolling Stones unleash riotous version of ‘Street Fighting Man’ during their 1973 European tour
12.30.2016
09:43 am

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Music

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1973 European tour poster
 
During the Rolling Stones’ 1973 tour of Europe, the band would usually end the show with their 1968 single (and Beggars Banquet album track), “Street Fighting Man.” On occasion, the Stones’ performance of the tune on the ‘73 jaunt could be magical. One such version was professionally recorded—and bootlegged—eventually seeing official release in 2011, before fading back into obscurity.

“Street Fighting Man,” like most of the Stones’ best stuff from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, is not only a fucking great song, but the studio version sounds cool.
 

 
Believe it or not, what you’re hearing during the opening moments of is Keith Richards’ acoustic guitar, which was recorded using a cheap cassette deck, giving it an overloaded, electric character. Charlie Watts used a 1930s practice drum kit on the intro, also captured with the tape recorder, the thin tone of the kit adding to the lo-fi effect. As the song progresses, Indian instruments are heard, giving the track a psychedelic quality. One of those instruments, the shehnai (essentially an Indian oboe) produces the wailing sound heard towards the end of the song. Mick Jagger’s lyrics—is he calling for revolution?—are open to interpretation. Jagger’s words, and the fact that his vocals are partially buried in the mix, contribute to the mysterious nature of “Street Fighting Man.”
 
Street Fighting Man - French picture sleeve
French picture sleeve

In support of their new record, Goat’s Head Soup, the Stones launched the 1973 European trek on September 1st in Vienna. Though significantly less dramatic than their infamous 1972 U.S. tour, the outing still had its moments. Take this one, in which saxophonist Bobby Keys quits the band right before the first of two scheduled performances that were to take place in Brussels, Belgium, on October 17th. In his autobiography, Life, Richards describes the scene:

No sign of Bobby at the band assembly that day, and finally I was asked if I knew where my buddy was—there had been no reply from his hotel room. So I went to his room and said, Bob, we gotta go, we gotta go right now. He’s got a cigar, bathtub full of champagne and this French chick in [the tub] with him. And he said, fuck off. So be it.

More after the jump…

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‘Kimono My House’: Sparks’ audio guide to the Los Angeles rock scene of the Sixties
12.30.2016
09:31 am

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Music

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Before they were Sparks, brothers Ron and Russell Mael were teenagers growing up in Pacific Palisades. More than the sunbeams, they bathed in the sound waves of the mid-to-late Sixties’ rock product, nourishing themselves on the transcendent and the trash alike. A decade later, after Sparks had achieved champion status on the international rock market, Russell Mael went on the radio to play his favorite songs from that period and talk about his LA adolescence.

The broadcast is about two hours long. According to the blog stranger than known, where I came across this remarkable recording, it’s a tape of Russell Mael’s appearance on BBC Radio 1 around November 1979. If the date’s correct, Mael would have been promoting Sparks’ collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, No. 1 in Heaven.

Mael sets up each song with a cultural observation, bit of rock lore, or a memory: seeing the Doors at local dances, auditioning bass players for garage bands with the ascending line from “Hey Joe,” driving up to San Francisco to see Moby Grape, watching surfers put lemon juice in their hair, playing the “Louie Louie” single at 33⅓ rpm in the hope of hearing a secret, lewd message, and so on.

More after the jump…

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Spend New Year’s Eve 1968 with The Who, Small Faces, Françoise Hardy & Pink Floyd
12.30.2016
09:02 am

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Music
Television

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New Years Eve, Paris, 1968. Amidst a volatile political climate of civil unrest that nearly brought the entire country to a virtual halt, rock ‘n’ roll music was still prevailed as “teenage entertainment” before being overthrown by the hippie culture of Woodstock the following year. The 3 1/2 hour New Years Eve Surprise Partie broadcast from the ORTF Studios (the only French TV channel at the time) is a beautiful, ultra-mod, time capsule that features rare performances by Jacques Dutronc, The Troggs, Françoise Hardy, Aphrodite’s Child, Johnny Hallyday, Fleetwood Mac, The Who, The Small Faces, P.P. Arnold, Booker T & The MGs, The Pink Floyd, Marie Laforet, The Equals, and many others. The invitation-only guest list included hundreds of fashionably dressed Parisian partygoers wearing the latest styles, and casually lounging about every inch of a cool, modern, space-age set.
 
Many of the artists here are documented during a very specific transition period in their careers. The Who lip-sync to “I Can See for Miles,” “Magic Bus,” and the rare Jigsaw Puzzle version of “I’m a Boy” with high energy despite the fact they had just suffered a year long dry spell devoid of commercial hits. Just a few months later they would switch gears with the musical Tommy and go on to become one of greatest stadium rock bands of the ‘70s. Later, during the Small Faces performance Keith Moon and Pete Townshend can be seen sitting behind Kenney Jones’ drum riser grooving to the music and having a good time without drawing attention to themselves. The Small Faces didn’t even bother to plug their gear in—they were only weeks away from breaking up—and performed tracks from their final album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake.
 
The Pink Floyd can be seen still finding their way after the loss of vocalist and songwriter Syd Barrett just one year prior. In 1969 they would get back on track becoming the premiere live space rock band, incorporating their success into their fourth album Ummagumma, recorded five months later. The Equals (notable for being one of England’s first racially integrated bands) perform their million-selling chart-topper, “Baby, Come Back,” with guitarist Eddy Grant looking as if he had just time traveled from the 1981 punk scene, sporting bleached blonde hair and an orange vinyl suit. Eddy Grant‘s futuristic vision would serve him years later with a very successful solo career that included the platinum single “Electric Avenue.” Fleetwood Mac is also in wonderful form here with Jeremy Spencer taking the lead on two of the three songs, he would abruptly leave the band just two years later to join a religious group called the Children of God.
 
In an impressive television debut, English singing, French-based rock band Les Variations belt out some classic ‘60s garage tunes in front of a wildly enthusiastic home crowd. In his memoirs, guitarist Marc Tobaly remembers everyone getting a little bit drunk at the canteen down the street from ORTF Studios, insisting that the viewers at home were indeed watching a “real” party on television. American soul singer P.P. Arnold sang her interpretation of the Bee Gees song, “To Love Somebody.” Sadly, her performance here suffers from a poor sound mix, and she is not joined by The Small Faces for “If You Think You’re Groovy” despite the fact that they played on the recording and were present at the TV studio during the taping. While YouTube videos of Surprise Partie are constantly being removed because of content-ID matching, the fine folks over at Modcinema are selling a fantastic looking transfer on DVD as a 2-disc set. Dig it!
 

 
More after the jump…

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Gary Numan talks with DJ Lance Rock (of TV’s ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’) about giving up guitars for synths
12.29.2016
08:42 am

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Music

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Back in May, the indisputably influential synth pop pioneer Gary Numan was honored with a three day residency and a Moog Innovation award at the 2016 Moogfest in Durham, NC. He gave live performances of his three most acclaimed albums—Replicas, The Pleasure Principle, and Telekon, and did a short but substantive live stream interview with DJ Lance Rock, a musician best known for hosting Yo Gabba Gabba, and that interview finally found its way to YouTube this month.

Rock drops the kiddie routine here and gets to a meaty discussion with Numan, who talks about how he came to see the virtues of synths as expressive tools, how he re-tooled his process to accommodate the new technology, the rejection he faced, and his eventual commercial triumph. It’s under 15 minutes long, and worth the time.
 

 
After the jump, Gary Numan’s live set from the second night of Moogfest…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
George Michael and Morrissey discuss Joy Division (and breakdancing) in 1984
12.28.2016
10:03 am

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Amusing
Dance
Music
Superstar
Television

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02georgmorr.jpg
 
In May 1984, George Michael and Morrissey appeared alongside the unhip, uncool and utterly square antique DJ Tony Blackburn on BBC youth programme Eight Days A Week. The show was a weekly round-up of the latest music, film and book releases as pecked over by a trio of celebrities. It was aimed at a young happening audience with the intention of fulfilling the ye olde BBC charter obligations to “educate, inform and entertain” (perhaps not necessarily in that order).

The week George appeared on the show he was storming up the UK charts alongside Andrew Ridgeley as Wham! with their hit single “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” while Morrissey with bandmates The Smiths were just about to release their song “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.” And Blackburn—well, he was still unutterably anodyne, nauseating and the very establishment edifice these two young artistes were (in their own ways) rebelling against—no matter how much Blackburn sought credibility by pronouncing his deep love of soul music.

At the time of its broadcast, the fey, young aesthete Morrissey would have been seen as the “cool” one. But in truth it’s George Michael who steals the show with his honesty, sensibility and utter lack of pretension. He says it as it is and plays to no gallery as both Morrissey and Blackburn were wont to do.

The topics up for review the week this trio appeared were Everything But The Girl‘s debut album Eden, the crap movie that film producers Golan & Globus called Breakdance (aka Breakin’) and a book about Joy Division called An Ideal for Living: A History of Joy Division by Mark Johnson. While Morrissey does Morrissey whilst talking about another Mancunian band, it is George Michael who delights with his (low) opinion of pompous English rock scribe Paul Morley and surprises by revealing his love of the brooding quartet.  While the show’s host Robin Denselow (probably an apt surname) asked, “George, I wouldn’t imagine you as a Joy Division fan, maybe I’m wrong?”

George: Ah, you might be wrong! This book, just became incredibly suspect for me, the minute I saw…

Denselow: You do like them?

George: I do like them, yeah. It became very suspect when I saw that it was partially, a lot of the contributions were from a gentleman called Paul Morley.

Denselow: You don’t approve of Paul Morley?

George: You’d need a book a lot thicker than that to list that man’s ideas or hangups, whatever you’d like to call it. It became very, very pretentious, in so many areas, I actually didn’t finish it, I did not get anywhere near finishing it.  And I actually really liked Joy Division, or particular their second album Closer. I thought Closer, the second side of Closer…it’s one of my favorite albums, It’s just beautiful.

Watch George Michael & Morrissey talk pop, film and books, after the jump….

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That time it cost Bill Maher $1,700 to insult the Melvins
12.28.2016
08:46 am

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Amusing
Music
Television

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Bill Maher is sometimes a trenchant, cranky, and astutely funny gadfly telling brave truths to power, and that guy can be a joy to watch. However, sometimes he’s merely a smug and cringeworthy backpfeifengesicht poster child nursing a nauseating schoolgirl crush on his own opinions. Maher’s unabashedly opinionated nature is an asset, but his arrogant posturing often blemished (I won’t say “marred” because that’d be cheap) his otherwise great feature length documentary-as-takedown Religulous. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool atheist who largely agrees with him on matters of faith, but his pomposity in that film sometimes felt just as gross to me as the most self-satisfied hubris of right wing Christian exceptionalists. But when he’s on, he can be magnificent, and the remarks that land him in the hottest water often happen to be the ones where he’s most dead-on correct.

And once in awhile he’s just an ass with shit for taste in music.

Just a couple of years ago, Maher tweeted that the game show Jeopardy was a game show for smart people and that Wheel of Fortune was for idiots. He’s not really wrong, but he might be a wee bit biased, as he himself appeared on Jeopardy twice. In November of 1995, he played Celebrity Jeopardy against actors Swoosie Kurtz and Charles Kimbrough. (His charity of choice: PETA. Have fun with that.) He returned two years later for a “Power Players” match against NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell and I shit you not disgraced Lieutenant Colonel and serial non-recaller Oliver North. In that episode, Maher pulled an Audio Daily Double in the category “It Came From Seattle,” wagered $1,700, and was treated to a clip of the excellent Melvins’ song “Copache,” a fan favorite from their 1993 album Houdini that’s liable to turn up in the band’s live sets to this day. The clip accompanied a question about the grunge movement, which of course rather famously emerged from Seattle (though Melvins themselves did not). Maher chose to opine about the song instead of answering the question, betraying his pedestrian tastes by lamely joking “well that song sucked, that’s for sure.” His pleas that he intended to answer the question fell on the tinnitus-deaf ears of righteous sludge metal rager Alex Trebek, and Maher forfeited his $1,700.

Serves his ass right. He’s probably a fuckin’ Eagles fan, anyway.
 

 
There is more, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Game of Microphones: Hip-hop/‘Game of Thrones’ mash-ups
12.27.2016
11:23 am

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Amusing
Fashion
Hip-hop
Music

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000gammicro2pac.jpg
Tupac.
 
London-based artist Madina produces Hip-Hop designs for posters, pins, T-shirts and sweaters. He was the designer behind the best-selling GoldenEra Hip-Hop stamp collection—previously featured on DM.

Now Madina has launched a range of clothes and prints titled Game of Microphones featuring a mashup between the Kings and Queens of Hip-Hop and George R. R. Martin’s The Game of Thrones.

Check out the full set here.
 
02gammicrobiggy.jpg
Biggie Smalls.
 
03gammicroicecub.jpg
Ice Cube.
 
09gammicrotshirt.jpg
Full set on a T-shirt.
 
More ‘Game of Microphones,’ after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
XTC’s Andy Partridge and the ambitious, tantalizing bubblegum pop project that never happened
12.27.2016
08:51 am

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XTC’s discography is marked by a depressing seven-year gap between Nonsuch, their final album for Virgin that came out in 1992, and the Apple Venus releases for XTC’s label IDEA (TVT in the U.S.) in 1999 and after. In 1997 Keith Phipps of the AV Club asked Andy Partridge why the band had been inactive for so long; with characteristic bluntness, Partridge replied,
 

Because we’ve been on strike. Because we had the shittiest record deal on planet earth. ... Although we made Virgin Records somewhere in the region of 35 million pounds profit, we were still in debt to them after 15 years on the label.

 
Eesh, that sucks. After parting ways, an audit conducted at Partridge’s behest revealed that Virgin had withheld substantial royalty payments from the band. 

One episode from late in XTC’s Virgin era that surely helped bring their relationship to an end was Partridge’s idea to concoct a fake bubblegum pop label called Zither and perform “excavated” songs in the bubblegum pop idiom. Leave it to the guys who came up with the psych rock tribute band the Dukes of Stratosphear to come up with a notion like this.

In 1998 Karen O’Brien of The Independent on Sunday described the project thus:
 

Partridge had presented a new project, songs he had written as homage to the bubblegum-pop bands of the late Sixties to early Seventies. He felt the idea was blissfully simple: “I wanted Virgin to say that they’d bought this entire back-catalogue from this [imaginary] label called Zither. They said, ‘So you go on Top of the Pops and play one of these songs?’ I said, ‘No, this is a fake historical document!’ So they said, ‘Okay, we get a young band and dress them up in early Seventies clothes?’ I said, ‘No, no!’ They just didn’t get it.” Cue much shaking of pony-tailed heads.

 
One can only imagine the reaction of the Virgin execs (even if they are rapacious thieves) upon hearing that XTC would refuse to go on TOTP to support the Zither project. Actually we don’t have work so hard to imagine it because Partridge has already filled in the blanks in the March 1999 issue of MOJO:
 

“Nicely banal, pitched around 1970, a dozen tracks about sex—Lolly Let’s Suck It And See, Bubbleland, My Red Aeroplane—all in bubblegum form. I played them the demos and it was like the scene from The Producers where they hear Springtime for Hitler. Open jaws. I was virtually offering them this thing for free and they couldn’t grasp it. It was just one more drop in the Virgin pisspot which was really overflowing by now.”

 
To be clear about this, Partridge doesn’t say it in so many words but it seems clear that the Zither project was intended to be one degree more radical than the Stratosphear side project. Rather than make up a band that had been rediscovered and play songs by that band, Partridge was proposing to make up a label and play songs by many of its acts!

As proof, check out this list of proposed band names connected to the Zither project that has circulated online—Partridge’s fecundity is quite impressive here:
 

The Lemon Dukes
Knights in Shining Karma
The Captain Cooks
Sopwith Caramel
The Ten Commandos
The Twelve Flavours of Hercules
Solid Gondolas
The Barbers of Penzance
Anonymous Bosch
The Brighton Peers
The Tweedledeens
The Herbert Fountains
Irving Merlin
The Lollipopes
The Four Posters
The Periwig Pack
Cake’s Progress
Jellyache
Funnel Of Love
The Rubber Ducks
Ancient Grease
The Piccadilly Circus Tent Rip Repair Company
Kitchener’s Sink
Isambard Kingdom Necessary On A Bicycle?

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Collapsing New Satan: Dante’s Inferno, with members of Einstürzende Neubauten
12.27.2016
08:46 am

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Andreas Ammer is not a famous name in the US, but in Germany he’s long been the object of acclaim. Having been a professor at the University of Munich, journalist, TV and radio producer, playwright and director, he’s probably best known for experimental radio theater, a form he’s been practicing since 1990.

Andreas Ammer, one of the most successful German radio drama artists of the last two decades, works with audio art on the border-line between the ‘classic’ radio drama and other representational forms. His radio plays work with various acoustic features like music, noises and language, and they can always be defined as narrative: they tell stories, yet not merely with words, but by using all their possible acoustic characteristics as storytelling devices. Moreover, Ammer’s audio plays are performed live on stage and in front of an audience, recorded, simultaneously broadcast and later brought out on CD. Since these performances are always produced in cooperation with a radio station, the acoustic art works are still called radio plays. The performances themselves are called audio performances, although of course the audience sees the performance… In the live performance, the bodily present performers add another sensory data layer to the acoustic one.

—from Audionarratology, by Jarmila Mildorf and Till Kinzel

1993 saw the production of two noteworthy pieces of post-punk cultural produce based on Inferno, the first cantica of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. One was Anton Corbijn’s video for Depeche Mode’s “Walking In My Shoes.” The more interesting one was Ammer’s landmark production Radio Inferno for Bayerischer Rundfunk, with noteworthy contributors like legendary BBC DJ John Peel, guitarist Caspar Brötzman, and singer Yvonne Ducksworth as Beatrice. It also featured two members of that clamorous and pioneering industrial group Einstürzende Neubauten: singer Blixa Bargeld served as the voice of Dante, and percussionist F.M. Einheit scored the production, which accordingly recalls Neubauten theatre scores of the era like Die Hamletmaschine and Faustmusik. Ammer would go on to collaborate fruitfully with Einheit several more times after the latter’s 1995 departure from Neubauten, culminating with 2002’s Crashing Aeroplanes.

The entire production, broken up into 34 cantos just like the actual book, was released on CD in 1994. That’s out of print, but it can be streamed on the marvelous ubuweb site. Or you can just listen to it right here.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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