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David Bowie and Jeff Beck together as NOT seen in the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ movie
05.16.2016
11:19 am

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Movies
Music

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“I know what kind of welcome you’re gonna give to JEFF BECK!”

Although it’s widely known—or at least widely known among David Bowie fanatics, MOJO subscribers and guitar otakus—that Jeff Beck was the “special guest” at Ziggy and the Spiders’ send-off show at the Hammersmith Odeon on July 3rd, 1973, Beck’s cameo appearance was cut from D.A Pennebaker’s documentary film of the event, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Beck joined Bowie onstage for a blistering two song encore consisting of “The Jean Genie” and a cover of the Chuck Berry number “Around and Around.” There have been several home video releases of the film over the decades and yet none of them have ever restored the Beck footage or even had it as a DVD extra.

It’s not 100% clear why Beck insisted that his footage be edited out of the film, but it’s most likely to do with him not liking what he was wearing onstage that night. Apparently no one had informed the guitarist that the show was being filmed. Even Mick Ronson, no slouch at the time in the goofy clothes department said of Beck’s outfit:

“I was too busy looking at his flares. Even by our standards, those trousers were excessive!”

By the guitar god’s own admission, though, it might’ve been his shoes. In a 2009 interview with The Sunday Times, Beck revealed that it wasn’t his massive flares, but rather his footwear (“the most disgusting pair of dirty-white stack-heeled shoes you’ve ever seen”) that was the reason. He wouldn’t relent:

“Bowie rang me about 10 times and said, “Look, man, I understand about the shoes, ‘cos I didn’t like what I was wearing either.”

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The ‘Doom Tour’: Incredible archival footage of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young live in 1974
05.13.2016
03:44 pm

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Music

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The coked-out megalomanical circus that saw David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and Neil Young storm across America in the first and most decadent superstar open air stadium tour of the rock era was nicknamed the “Doom Tour” by Crosby because of the feuding, the drugs and the fact that a small army of promoters and hangeroners were sucking at their hyper-megastar corporate rock teets like there was no tomorrow. There had been big rock tours in the past, but CSNY’s extra ginormous 1974 outing—dreamed up by manager Elliot Roberts and put into action by rock promoter Bill Graham—was like plotting a military invasion of each new town that the show moved to. The beachheads were 50-70,000 seat football arenas, which saw stages erected and massive PA systems hooked up by a legion of roadies. Other acts on the tour included The Band, Joni Mitchell, Santana and the Beach Boys. The tour was so decadent that they supposedly had pillowcases with “CSNY” embroidered on them! Don’t even ask what the “coke budget” was.

The “Doom Tour” grossed $11 million back when $11 million was still a hell of a lot of money, but the principals only pocketed half a mill each after expenses (and the promoters, natch) were paid first. There’s an amusing “oral history” of the trek at Rolling Stone.com. Only Young kept both feet (literally) on the ground, traveling in a bus with his son Zeke and avoiding the insanity.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Germany issues commemorative stamp collection in honor of Lemmy Kilmister
05.13.2016
01:13 pm

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Heroes
Music

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One of the five commemorative stamps issued by the German postal service honoring the late Motörhead frontman, Lemmy Kilmister.
 
If you have friends or relatives in Germany, it’s time to call out a favor as the German postal service has just released a collection of stamps honoring the late Lemmy Kilmister.

There are a total of five different images of the iconic Motörhead leader in the book of ten stamps, that will be available for sale starting on May 17th through June 17th, 2016. Sales of the Lemmy stamps will be limited to only 7777 books (an homage to Lemmy’s “lucky seven”), and will run you about eleven bucks (US) over here. But again, you can only purchase them if you’re actually in Germany. So get going on locating your long-lost German Aunt or Uncle as I’m 100% sure these stamps will sell out swiftly. 
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘A True Testimonial’: Essential documentary on the MC5—see it while you can
05.13.2016
12:29 pm

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Music

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Few bands encapsulated the wild tumult of the 1960s as thoroughly as the MC5. In a few short years they went from being dorky enough to wear matching band outfits to performing for the protesters outside the disastrous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. By early 1973 the band would break up after just three albums; in 1975 Wayne Kramer was busted for selling cocaine.

Released in 2002, David C. Thomas’ movie MC5: A True Testimonial was one of the most highly praised documentaries of that year. Unfortunately, in 2004 Wayne Kramer sued Thomas and the film’s producer, Laurel Legler, over purported assertions that Kramer would serve as the movie’s music producer. It took three years but Thomas and Legler prevailed in court.
 

 
At one point Kramer explains that Rob Tyner came up with the name MC5, which he liked because it reminded him of the name of a machine part such as those being manufactured all around him in Detroit. “MC5” stood for “Motor City 5,” of course, but the band members would sometimes make up other possibilities, such as “morally corrupt” or “marijuana cigarette” or “more cock” or “marijuana cuntlappers” or “Mongolian clusterfuck.”

The MC5 were surveilled by the U.S. government in connection with their revolutionary politics; MC5: A True Testimonial includes some of the government’s footage of their 1968 performance in Chicago.

Watch the doc—while you still can—after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Me & the Devil: Dig the authentic 21st century Southern Gothic blues howl of Adia Victoria
05.13.2016
11:23 am

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Music

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“I don’t know nothin’ about Southern belles/ But I can tell you something about Southern hell…”

Last month I idly read an article about a singer/guitarist named Adia Victoria in one of the free weeklies I’d picked up in a coffee shop. It seemed like her music might be worth following up on—the article made her look really intriguing—and so I tore the page out and put it in my pocket. Back home later that day I looked her up on the Internet and read this article and then this one while I listened to her music on Soundcloud and watched her read poetry and perform live on YouTube. Since then I’ve been pushing all of my rock snob friends to look out for Adia Victoria and as her debut album, Beyond the Bloodhounds, is out via today (via Atlantic Records subsidiary Canvasback Music) I think it’s high time for me to post about her here on Dangerous Minds. I’ve been chomping at the bit to write about Adia Victoria for weeks to be honest, but I wanted to wait until the record came out.

Adia Victoria’s gestalt can be summed up in a musical Venn diagram wherein PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple and Hank Williams meet Jack White, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent, Gary Clark Jr. and Patti Smith. She’s an incredible guitarist. In her songwriting she has a remarkable talent for getting straight to the point. Her literate lyrics are sharply observed; direct yet intangible, so the listener can project themselves onto her poetry. (Neil Young is a master at this, obviously, and so is she.) I’ve read that she’s heavily influenced by blues singer Victoria Spivey—and Nirvana—and this makes sense.

Her blues is an authentic 21st century Southern gothic blues. Would you press play if I described Adia Victoria as “Jeffrey Lee Pierce reincarnated as Ronnie Spector”?

Well, you’d be a fucking idiot if you didn’t, wouldn’t you?
 

 
Listen to “Stuck in the South” first:
 

 
Much more Adia Victoria after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Department S: The cult band who were more than just ‘a bunch of cults’
05.13.2016
11:11 am

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Music
Pop Culture

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01_deptssubstan.jpg
 
The one good thing about music show Top of the Pops was the chance of eyeballing something special, something new, something you might not get the chance to see anywhere else. This could be David Bowie, or Motorhead ripping through their latest number, or Public Image Ltd. or Blondie or Siouxsie and the Banshees throwing pocketfuls of confetti onto the studio audience.

Sometime in early 1981, I was very fortunate to catch a new five-piece band from London called Department S who made a damned fine impression on me with their debut single “Is Vic There?” The track had been played a few dozen times on the radio but I was none the wiser to the who, what, when, where, why of the band.

Taking their name from a cult TV series, Department S looked assured, interesting, had a catchy first single and an iconic lead singer in Vaughn Toulouse. Their music was different to many of the angry disillusioned post-punk bands clogging up the charts—they were upbeat, thrilling, with an almost John Barry Bond-like riff countered by Toulouse’s vocal delivery.

Department S. came out of London’s punk and ska scene. Toulouse had been with a band called Guns For Hire. Guitarist Mike Herbage joined the band and wrote their only single. The group then evolved into Dept. S and was joined by Tony Lordan (bass), Stuart Mizon (drums) and Eddie Roxy (keyboards). In one early interview they described themselves as “not just a bunch of silly cults”—a reference to their crafted individualism.

There’s no particularly dominant member of the band, although Vaughn writes all the lyrics and mostly steals the limelight “Cos I’m the best lookin’ I s’pose.”

“We’re not a group as such,” he continues. “We’re five individuals that make Department S. It’s like a closed-circuit business-sort of a PIL set-up.”

“Is Vic There?” seemed to hang around the chart for ages—as if the public weren’t quite sure about the group, the song, or what to make of the strange attractive Gene Vincent allure of the lead singer—before eventually (thankfully) making it all the way to number 22.
 
0_1depts.jpg
 
Come summer: Dept. S were playing support and headline gigs around London and working on an album (Sub-Stance) when they released a second single “Going Left Right” on glorious 12-inch. While the B-side “She’s Expecting You” sounded like the same band who had recorded “Is Vic There?” the second single almost sounded like a completely new and different band. It led some music critics to describe Dept. S as “a tricky band to pigeonhole” while giving “Going Left Right” two thumbs up—calling it “far superior” to “Is Vic There?”
 
More from the Department S. file, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sun Ra invokes the Egyptian sun god at the Pyramids
05.13.2016
09:16 am

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Music
Occult

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One of my favorite bits of Sun Ra lore is this story from the bandleader’s 1971 trip to Egypt. John F. Szwed’s biography Space Is The Place recounts how customs officials, perplexed by Sun Ra’s passport (“To be named after the sun god twice was really a bit too much”), held most of the Arkestra’s instruments and luggage after letting the band into the country.

But jazz drummer Salah Ragab, “the head of military music in the Egyptian army,” came to the rescue, lending the Arkestra his gear and assisting them at some personal risk. Their shows in Egypt generated material for a trilogy of live albums, since collected on the CD releases Nidhamu + Dark Myth Equation Visitation and Horizon, and a dozen years later, during a subsequent visit, Ra collaborated with Ragab on an album with the truth-in-advertising title The Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt.
 

 
At some indeterminate time, Ra, who could see the pyramids from his hotel outside Cairo, had decided that during the trip he would invoke his divine namesake in one of antiquity’s most sacred places. In an undated interview with Atlanta’s WREK, Ra gives his version of the Egyptian space theurgy:

...while I was there, I went in the [Great] Pyramid, up in the King’s Chamber, and I said, “Now, this pyramid was made for the name Ra. And it hadn’t been said in here in thousands of years, so let’s say it nine times and see what’ll happen.” So we said “Ra” nine times and all the lights went out in the pyramid. So I had a psychic experience there.

Ra says the guide then led the party in darkness along a dangerous path with a twelve-story drop and through the narrow entrance to the Queen’s Chamber, where the lights miraculously came on again.
 

 
With the evenhandedness that is one of his biography’s strengths, Szwed at once casts doubt on Ra’s version of events and adds a strange detail that seems to confirm his supernatural powers:

They climbed the staircase, crawled through the low entrances, and slipped through the narrow corridors in order to reach the King’s Chamber, and as they did the lights suddenly went out. Sun Ra later said that he had chanted the name of Ra nine times when it happened, although [eyewitness Hartmut] Geerken remembered only Sun Ra saying, “Why do we need light, Sun Ra, the sun is here.” Whatever, they managed to walk back out through the darkness. (When Sun Ra recounted this story to writer Robert Palmer in 1978 at the Beacon Theater in New York, the lights went out in the theater, leaving a dead spot in the middle of the tape recording as evidence.)

After the jump, candid footage of the Sun Ra and his Arkestra visiting the pyramids…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
You love the Shaggs and Wesley Willis, but have you met Norma Lee?
05.13.2016
09:10 am

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Music
Unorthodox

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Oh, the wonders of the Internet. Somehow this one is only now hitting my radar, but boy-oh-boy is it good. Kentucky’s Norma Lee ticks off every check box on my list of what makes an outsider artist truly great: creative use of the form, provocative content, and a complete and utter lack of self-awareness. Like the Shaggs or Wesley Willis before her, Norma Lee is trying her darndest, seemingly oblivious to her own lack of talent in a traditional sense—but all the while being incredibly entertaining.

I adore her Kentucky hills accent. She sounds a bit like a brain-damaged Loretta Lynn when she sings in “He’s Swapping His Boat” about her husband being “retard from a factory.” “He’s Swapping His Boat” is Norma’s big hit. It’s essentially about giving up on every bit of joy in one’s life—specifically her poor husband who had to sell his boat to buy a tractor to clear six acres of land. If you only hear one Norma Lee song in your life, IT MUST BE THIS ONE.

He’s a middle-aged man who needs a hand to help him work his land… he’s just a swappin’ all that fun on that boat, ‘cause he done sowed his oats… now it’s time to get down to earth and put his hands to work.

Forget emo or goth. You want monotone music extolling the bleak reality of absolute depression? Here it is.

Your dreams are dead, get to work:
 

 
After the jump, hear how Norma Lee feels about Paris Hilton, and more!

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Is ‘The Crying of a Generation’ the saddest album of all time?
05.12.2016
04:24 pm

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Music

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This poster was included with the LP.
 
In 1975 a folk singer named Bill Clint released The Crying of a Generation. Seldom has an album had an apter title.

This album is about crying—it is seriously, and deeply, about the act of shedding tears. For instance, the refrain of the third song, “Christmas in July,” is “No one’s gonna hear you if you cry.” But we’re just getting started.

The undisputed centerpiece of the album is “Angels Don’t Need Friends,” an 11-minute song in which Clint actually bawls about the evanescence of life (I’m not kidding) for a full couple of minutes. Here are some of the song’s lyrics (if I couldn’t make a line out, I just skipped it):
 

Where’s the little boy that I’m lookin’ for?
That I used to be? Where’s he gone?
And are the teardrops dry? Can I cry once again?

I was told that angels don’t need friends.

Where’s the little house I’m lookin’ for?
I used to live? Where’s it gone?
I came runnin’ up the front door
I don’t live there anymore

I was told that angels don’t need friends.

Where’s the little family that I’m lookin’ for?
Used to be here and now we’re gone.
And I just want to see the faces and why’d we have to die?
To live in different places

I was told that angels don’t need friends.

Where’s the little world that I’m lookin’ for?
Used to be here, locked away inside.
And I’ve forgotten all the pain, and now I’m lost
And I just want to be Billy again.

And I was told that angels don’t need friends.

 
It’s at this point that Clint commences a session of tearful mourning of his lost childhood that lasts a couple of minutes. To be clear, Clint didn’t spontaneously start sobbing in the studio—it was undertaken consciously, as an artistic strategy. You don’t think of an actor crying as necessarily not in control of what he or she is doing, and something like that is what’s happening at the end of “Angels Don’t Need Friends,” even if it is a bit unusual.
 

 
If the first side is about regression into childhood, side B plunges headlong into infancy. The first two tracks on side B, which are called “Babe Is It Easy” and “Mama I’m a Baby,” take up the crying motif again—there’s an interlude in which Clint himself cries, only this time it’s the way an infant would cry, and the song rapidly segues to a snippet of an actual baby crying. At least I think that’s what’s happening.

Oh, and somewhere in there are these remarkable lyrics:
 

I just want your nipple, the bottle’s cold and dead
Plastic isn’t fleshy, the needle’s in my head

 
To be honest, I admire the hell out of Bill Clint. This album could so easily be ridiculous—it is a little ridiculous—but to Clint’s credit, the album remains fairly listenable and shows no small amount of craft. And for a male in our society to be that in-your-face about crying takes a huge amount of guts.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Church: Watch a gorgeous performance by the Aussie New Wave youth group, 1981
05.12.2016
09:59 am

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Music
Television

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A single for The Church's 1981 track, The Unguarded Moment
A single for The Church’s 1981 track, ‘The Unguarded Moment.’
 
I don’t think that Australian music television show Countdown could have picked a better backdrop for The Church to perform in front of for one of their most memorable songs—“The Unguarded Moment” from their 1981 album Of Skins and Heart—than a stage rigged with lighting that resembled church-style stained glass. The 35-year-old footage is really quite surreal.
 

A shot of Steve Kilbey on the churchy-looking stage of ‘Countdown’ in 1981.
 

 
In his 2014 autobiography, Something Quite Peculiar, Church vocalist Steve Kilbey, (who also hosted Countdown himself a few times) recalls how that very performace on made such an impact overnight that people were turned away at the door of at their gig the following eveing, as the venue was quickly (and quite unexpectedly) packed to capacity. Kilbey also fondly refers to the early days of The Church’s career as his “halcyon days” thanks to the rather sudden fame the band experienced back in 1981 (as they had only formed the year before). I saw The Church (along with The Psychedelic Furs) last year and can personally vouch that Steve Kilbey’s voice is still as swoon-worthy as it was to my ears back in 1988 when I wore out my cassette copy of Starfish listening to “Under the Milky Way” and “Destination” over and over again. If you missed your chance to see one of the 2015 Church/Furs’ string of gigs, you’re in luck as the two bands are set to embark on a new fifteen-show tour of the US on July 15th, 2016.
 
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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