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Altamont, The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock’s Darkest Day
08.15.2016
07:48 pm

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Literature
Music

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I could feel it before I got there. Several miles out and the dark vibes curled through the air like a toxic vapor. Serpentine streams of people twisted through the hills, uncertain of exactly where they were going. There were no maps. No trails. No signs. Nothing pointing toward our destination: Altamont.

Like some hippie version of The Walking Dead, we just followed whoever was in the lead. We assumed the people in front knew where the fuck they were going. It soon became clear we were on the right path when we started encountering people scattered throughout the hilly scrub lying on their backs, curled up in fetal positions or sitting upright with fear etched on their faces. We were on the periphery of a psychic warzone and these were the first casualties – people tripping on low-grade LSD, speed and alcohol. I parted from the zombie march and went to the nearest person struggling through a bad trip. She was a young girl and she was severely freaked-out. This encounter set the tone for most of my experience of the Altamont rock festival.

Like thousands of young people living in the Bay Area in 1969, I got the news of a free concert headlining The Rolling Stones via radio. Time and date were to be announced and we waited. This was going to be the West Coast’s Woodstock and people were psyched. When the word went out that the festival was taking place at a racetrack 50 miles east of San Francisco it seemed like an odd choice. But it didn’t deter the hundreds of thousands of people who ended up there on Saturday the sixth of December.
 

 
I hitchhiked from Berkeley to Altamont more out of a sense of obligation than excitement. The distance was a hassle and I wasn’t interested in most of the bands on the bill other than The Rolling Stones and The Jefferson Airplane. The Grateful Dead and CSNY were the other major acts and I wasn’t a fan of either. But as a card-carrying member of the hippie counter-culture this was a call I couldn’t ignore. California had always been the rock festival capital of the world and Altamont was going to shift the attention from Woodstock back to where it belonged. Little did anyone know that Altamont would draw the kind of attention that would later be described by some as the death of the Sixties.

Between the vast quantities of freely distributed toxic LSD, the huge mistake of hiring the Hell’s Angels to provide security and a stark and ugly location, Altamont did just about everything wrong. There was plenty of blame to go around, mostly on the part of The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead. But none of us at the concert were aware at the time of the behind-the-scenes fuck-ups. We knew that The Dead had cancelled their gig as soon as they got to the site and we could see the sociopathic behavior of the Angels. Mostly, we could feel the energy. And it was dark. I’ve never taken the concept of black masses seriously. It always struck me as dress-up for losers. But if there is such a thing as a black mass, Altamont would be my reference point.

I saw very little of the actual performances by the bands. I witnessed The Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin being assaulted by the Angels while Grace Slick begged the bad guys to calm the fuck down. The bikers were upstaging the bands, pathetically and repeatedly trying to hog the spotlight. The Hells Angels thought they were the fucking show. I moved as far away as I could from the macho stench and spent most of my time talking people down from bad acid trips and escorting the completely helpless to the emergency medical tents. Between being Florence Nightinghale to weekend hippies, I would stand on a hill behind the Hell’s Angel’s modified school bus and watch musicians struggling to get through their sets alive. There was so much chaos near the stage that no one in their right mind (and I was in my right mind) would go near the mess. The stage itself was about about four feet tall and held together by twine. The bands were barely visible. The whole thing was rinky dink. I waited out the horror show for the Stones. Every cell of my body was telling me to get the fuck out and go back to Berkeley. But I’d come a long way and wanted to see the headliners.

The Stones finally went on after the sun had set. The temperature was dropping and people were burning whatever they could find to create some heat in the cold. Bonfires blazed as far as the eye could see. It was hellish.

When The Stones hit the stage they were bathed in red light and Jagger was draped in a scarlet and black cape. In the context of the bonfires, the Hells Angels’ mayhem, and the wailing of people on bad trips, Jagger’s infernal image spooked the living shit out of me. When the opening chords of their third song of the set signaled they were playing “Sympathy For The Devil,” I turned on my heels and headed toward the nearest highway.

I was not alone. People were leaving in droves. Many couldn’t find their automobiles in the dark. It was pandemonium. I got lucky when a van full of freaks slung open the door and yelled “get in!” The further we got from the site, the better we all started to feel. The drive back to the Bay Area took hours but there was a collective sense of relief in the van and we all started talking about what we had just experienced. We were all weary and heartbroken. Altamont was a disaster.
 

 
While reading Joel Selvin’s new book Altamont, The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock’s Darkest Day, I was so deeply disturbed by memories of that day that I had to repeatedly put it down and regain my emotional balance. There’s only been a few books that have this kind of effect on me. Most of them had to do with either the assassinations of the Kennedys and Malcolm X or 9/11.

Without repeating the usual grandiose statements holding Altamont responsible for being the death knell of the Sixties, Selvin has done the far more difficult job of investigating the massive fuck-ups that led to the worst rock festival in history without resorting to a bunch of apocalyptic mumbo jumbo. With the precision and liveliness of a hard-boiled crime writer, Selvin digs deep into the murder of 18-year-old Meredith Hunter who was killed at the festival by an Angel. It makes no apologies for the borderline criminal and reckless behavior of the people who organized the festival. Among those responsible were amateur promoters, the clueless Rolling Stones who were following directions from the hippie dippy Grateful Dead, the sleazeball owner of the racetrack and the utterly ineffectual local police. The fact it was so poorly organized makes it’s hard to know exactly who did what, when and where. Selvin sifts through the mess and gives it about as much shape as is humanly possible. People who were acting on behalf of The Stones had no authority to do so. Scammers and hustlers were intertwined with arrogant rock stars who had little knowledge of what was going on and wanted to keep it that way. The less the bands knew, the better. When it came to laying blame, The Dead and The Stones could claim ignorance. Or they just didn’t care. In an attempt to create the ultimate hippie love fest, the people behind Altamont created the world’s biggest bummer. The festival was free but it came at a cost. The last big concert of the Sixties was Vietnam without the big artillery and the Vietnamese. We only had ourselves to blame for this one. No Nixon. No Kissinger. Our good karma had run out. We were devouring ourselves whole.
 
Hells Angels go apeshit. The Stones lose control. Video after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Thundertrain: The band that was ‘Hot for Teacher’ before Van Halen
08.15.2016
04:46 pm

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Music

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The cover of the 1976 single ‘Hot for Teacher’ by Boston rockers, Thundertrain.
 
Bands like Thundertrain aren’t made—they are born and the group entered the Boston rock scene back in the mid-70s with a sonic boom. Thundertrain’s heavy-blended jams are full of fuzzy glam grooves and a hard rock mean streak like the kind of riffy juice that runs through the veins of Chuck Berry. To this day they are still revered back east and it’s not hard to understand why as Thundertrain did a great job of “making it up” as they went along back in the 70s. But the topic at hand is the band’s “connection” to Van Halen—specifically when it comes to a song you could probably recite the lyrics to in your sleep, “Hot for Teacher.”
 

The cover of Thundertrain’s ‘Teenage Suicide’ album released in 1977.
 
According to an 2003 interview with vocalist Mach Bell (aka Mark Bell), back when Thundertrain was out on the road sometime in the mid-to-late 70s Van Halen apparently requested that the band open for them at a gig at the famed Agora Ballroom in Cleveland. So imagine what Bell thought when 1984 rolled around and he heard a song that instantly became synonymous with Van Halen—the adrenalin-charged “Hot for Teacher.” A song with the exact same title as what most fans consider to be Thundertrain’s biggest hit in their too short career. Despite the fact that Boston was a veritable hot bed when it came to its mid-70s musical exports (bands like Aerosmith, The Modern Lovers and Boston), and even though “Hot for Teacher hit #3 in the UK alternative charts in 1977, Thundertrain never got the break they deserved and the band called it a night in 1980.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
One-of-a-kind Bowie-fied DEVO ‘Booji Boy’ mask being auctioned for charity
08.15.2016
03:27 pm

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Music

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Mark Mothersbaugh’s sister, Amy, recently posted an item to her Facebook page that may be of some interest to Dangerous Minds’ readers: a one-of-a-kind “Booji Stardust” mask, produced by SikRik Masks.

The mask is currently up for auction, with the bidding ending on Sunday, August 21st at 5:00 pm EDT.

The posting, originally put up by Rick Fisher of SikRik indicates that all proceeds from the sale of the mask will be donated to the Akron Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund. You can view the mask in person at the Studio 2091 Pop Art Show

The mask itself is more than just a “novelty mashup”—it pays homage to the close personal relationship between David Bowie and DEVO. Bowie was critical to the band getting their first record made and getting signed. Bowie came to one of DEVO’s early NYC shows, went on stage to introduce the band, and made the “outrageous claim” that he was going to produce DEVO in Tokyo. Bowie ended up hooking DEVO up with Brian Eno to produce their first album in Germany. According to Mark Mothersbaugh, Bowie and Eno paid for the band to get to Berlin and record the album, which was then shopped to labels.

Mothersbaugh also credits Bowie with introducing the band to sushi!
 

 
If you are interested in bidding on the one-of-a-kind “Booji Stardust” mask, you should be able to contact Amy Mothersbaugh or Rick Fisher at one of the above links.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Early-Black Sabbath ephemera including postcards from a young Ozzy Osbourne head to auction
08.15.2016
02:23 pm

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Heroes
Music

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An early shot of Black Sabbath.
 

Arrived here safely, but it is not a very nice place, I don’t think the people like long hair.

Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in a postcard to his parents while the band was on tour during their early days.

 
Memorabilia from the early days of Black Sabbath including a rare show poster advertising the band under their original name “Earth” will head to an auction at the end of September at the Sheffield Auction Gallery. According to the house the items were discovered by a resident of the the town of Sheffield in a building that was set to be torn down in the London Docklands area in the 1980s.

In addition to the Earth-era ephemera are early publicity photos of the band as well as handwritten lyrics and a large number of postcards written by Ozzy Osbourne to his family (including Ozzy’s first wife Thelma Mayfair) while the band was out touring the world. And while I’m on the topic of the postcards from Ozz I took the liberty of transcribing one note Mr. Osbourne sent to his Mom and Dad from France that is so sweet it might hurt your teeth while reading it. Unless you’re reading this somewhere in France of course:
 

 

Dear Mom + Dad

Arrived here safely but IT IS NOT a very nice place, I don’t think that the people like long hair. We start playing tomorrow afternoon at 3-OCLOCK until 7-OCLOCK on the night. But apart from that I am still in one peace. By the way don’t forget we are on the radio next Saturday, I hope Iris and the baby are alright. I might phone Jean on my birthday. See soon.

Lots of Love, John xxxxxx

 
Awww. The heavy metal artifacts (that date from the years 1968-1973) are being presented as one lot which means everything in it goes to one buyer and is expected to fetch anywhere between $2500-$3800 bucks. Images of a few of items in the lot follow.
 

Earth-era show poster, late 60s.
 

Handwritten lyrics for ‘The Wizard’ that would appear on the Sabbath’s eponymous debut.
 

Handwritten lyrics from the ‘Earth’ era of Black Sabbath called ‘Changing Phases.’ The song would become ‘Solitude’ from Sabbath’s 1971 record, ‘Masters of Reality.’
 

Two postcards written by Ozzy to his parents while the band was off on tour. Awww.
 
H/T: Antiques Trade Gazette

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Winter’s new immersive tech 3-D dream-pop video: A Dangerous Minds premiere
08.15.2016
09:24 am

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Music

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Winter, led by American-Brazilian musician, Samira Winter, is one of the most-acclaimed groups in the current dream-pop scene.

Their new immersive music video for “Wherever You Are,” premiering here at Dangerous Minds, “portrays the multi-verse galaxy of what a Winter world would look like through augmented reality visuals.”

The video which uses new technology to allow YouTube users to navigate 360 degrees through the image field “breaks all perception of space and time” according to Winter’s press release. Well, that might be overstating it just a bit, but the ability to move through 3-D space is a novel concept and one wonders what artists will be able to do with this technology in the future. One gets the feeling that this is only the beginning.

The ability to interact with the imagery makes this worth checking out, completely aside from the fact that Winter are really good at what they do musically. 

Lionel Williams (AKA Vinyl Williams) created the unique video and also mixed the track, which is from their forthcoming album Ethereality.
 

Artwork for upcoming Winter single.
 
According to the band:

“We wanted Lionel Williams to mix this song because of the sound of his music. We all really love his work and the expansiveness in his music which can feel so spacey and so maximalistic at the same time. We sent him the stems to the track and he sent us a mix back in a few days. That mix felt really magical and had some really cool delays which he created in separate tracks adding more to the spacey feel. The title of the song “Wherever You Are” leaves it a lot open- this feeling of space, of longing, of desire, of reach to something far.“

Check out “Wherever You Are” after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Frankie Teardrop City: D Generation’s Jesse Malin remembers Suicide’s Alan Vega
08.12.2016
03:03 pm

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The author and one of his biggest heros

A guest post from D Generation’s Jesse Malin on Alan Vega

I first heard Suicide on a cassette tape I came across at the False Prophets’ studio on Avenue B, a cool old thrift store turned punk rock rehearsal spot and teenage crash pad. It was live tape that I believe belonged to the Prophets’ bass player, Steve Wishnia.  It was on a label called ROIR that only put out cassettes, if can you imagine that, but they had a very cool thing going on, like the first Bad Brains LP, Johnny Thunders’ Stations of the Cross and the infamous New York Thrash tape.

The name Suicide always intrigued me but the raw electronic minimalism went way over my teenage hardcore head.  Where were the guitars?  Where were the drums?  At that age, I needed things to be a certain way.  Looking back, I guess I wasn’t ready for it.  Truthfully, it kinda scared me a bit.  Then I saw a copy of the New York Rocker with a cover shot of Alan Vega and Johnny Thunders looking cool and dangerous, hanging out on the floor, smoking and drinking in some downtown loft.  Alan looked like Johnny’s more together older brother, but still badass as fuck. That photo spread would revisit my mind in the mid 1980s when I was looking for something outside of the hardcore scene to stimulate me again as a listener and as a musician.  The scene I was in was becoming way too macho—and way too metal—for me. 

The conformity level had risen to such heights that it was contradicting everything we originally stood for… so I began listening to Billy Bragg, The Replacements, Graham Parker & The Rumor, and many other troubadours fueled by anger and song.  I saw the Bob Dylan film Don’t Look Back at midnight at the St. Marks Cinema and began to see that my precious punk rock had existed way before and worked on many levels… not just “Loud Fast Rules” (Hey, I was still in my teens).

One day I came upon a copy of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, and, even though I always had mad respect for him as an artist and live performer, I was not a real fan until I sat down with Nebraska by myself and read along with the lyric sheet.  It felt like it was the middle of the night and he was sitting there right with me telling these hauntingly honest stories with dead-eyed conviction.  How could this this huge rock star be so connected to the human struggle and the working class on such a street level while still giving us a glimmer of hope?

By this time, Born in the USA was out and I got a lot of shit from my punk rock friends thinking that it was all some patriotic, macho Rambo crap.  I had to argue to get them to read the lyrics where, in almost half the songs on album, the main characters all ended up in jail.  So I was a new fan, and so was most of the world in that summer of 1985.  Hopefully some of the masses got the message through the FM dial: Use the system to fuck the system, or as least hold up the mirror up to it…like Dylan, the Beatles and the Clash had also done.

As a kid I always wanted to know all the crazy backstories about the records and artists I liked.  I read tons of music mags, trying to get all the info I could. One day I came across an interview where Springsteen talked about Suicide and how their first record, especially a song “Frankie Teardrop,” influenced Nebraska in a big way (check out the screams on “State Trooper”).

I had recently broken up my first band Heart Attack and formed a group called HOPE.  We were playing at a place called the Cat Club one night when an old school record guy named Marty Thau approached us.  He said he was interested in taking us into the studio to record a record, and that he had worked with the the Ramones, NY Dolls, and was currently working with Suicide.  Next thing we know, we had a gig opening for Suicide at a jam packed sold out CBGBs on a boiling August night.  We played our songwriter-esque rock set and went out into the crowd to watch Suicide.  It was the loudest, most intense thing I had ever seen (and I had been to a few Motorhead shows). 

Suddenly the CBGBs that we were so familiar with became a very different place that night.  Alan was screaming like he was going to have a breakdown.  It was scary as anything and full of anger, but yet there was something very romantic and classic about it, in a 1950s way, while still sounding like it was from another planet.  The levels got louder and louder and pulse was so intense, made by only two people (Alan and his counterpart Martin Rev), without even trying. 

Then, all at once, it ended abruptly with Alan smashing the microphone several times into his face and then slamming it down on to the floor.  After the show, Alan collapsed down on a broken wooden bench behind a sheet in our dressing room, sweating and breathing like he just came out of a heavyweight brawl, but dressed like an Elvis apparition passing through the Bowery.  He didn’t say a word, just slowly nodded his head at us kids.

About a year or two later, my friends and I find ourselves out every Sunday night at a New York City nightclub in a big old church called Limelight.  It was the height of the hair band days and, even though we hated 99.9% of the music, we went there to chase the girls (which there plenty of). Sometimes, feeling a bit self-conscious about how lame we were hanging out in this scene, we would hide in the dark sidelines and drink up the courage to yack to as many big-haired, sleazed-up ladies as we could.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Highly detailed action figures of King Diamond, Alice Cooper, Lemmy, Mad Max & more!
08.12.2016
01:57 pm

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Art
Movies
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A custom figure of Lemmy Kilmister by ‘Elvis 1976’ (or Sébastien Bontemps’ if you prefer…)
 
If you read Dangerous Minds on a regular basis then you know that from time to time myself or one of my intrepid colleagues enjoy spotlighting various action figures based on bands like Crass or perhaps a poseable version of Al Pacino’s portrayal fictional cocaine-gobbling drug lord Tony Montana from Scarface. If you dig these kinds of posts then I’ve no doubt that you will soon be coveting the custom action figures by Brussels-based artist Sébastien Bontemps who works under the moniker “Elvis 1976.”

Bontemps’ interest with action figure customization started with a Joker figure released by DC Comics in the late 2000s and though his exceptional creations are generally “one-offs” it does appear that the talented artist sells his figures from time to time. You can find out how to purchase one by contacting the folks over at One Sixth Warriors for more information.

If you’re more of a movie memorabilia kind of collector I’ve no doubt that Bontemps’ highly detailed take on the most famous mohawked member of Lord Humungus’ Marauders from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, the completely badass crossbow-wielding Wez will make your head spin. Images of some of my favorite inhabitants of Bontemps’ ultra-cool world follow. 
 

King Diamond!
 

Super Duper Alice Cooper.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Excess All Areas’: Mötley Crüe Vibrators
08.12.2016
10:23 am

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Amusing
Music
Sex

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003motcrushot80s.jpg
 
Mötley Crüe may be no more but they still have plenty of merchandise to sell.

Next month a range of eight Mötley Crüe Vibrators go on sale. These “eye-catching” (eye-catching? you’re obviously doing it wrong…) “vibes” are said to “capture”:

...the style and sex appeal of the band perfectly and deliver the power and pleasure you’d expect from The World’s Most Notorious Rock Band.

But wait there’s more…

Even those unfamiliar with the band are bound to enjoy them just as much thanks to the high quality, intense power and gorgeous designs.

The “vibes” are available in mini- and midi-size and are emblazoned with the iconic typography and distinctive artwork from some of Mötley Crüe’s classic albums:

Classic Skull 10 Function Bullet Vibrator (Gold)
Classic Skull 7 Function Vibrator (Black)
Dr Feelgood 7 Function Vibrator (Black)
Girls Girls Girls 10 Function Bullet Vibrator (Black)
Girls Girls Girls 7 Function Vibrator (Black)
Shout at the Devil 10 Function Bullet Vibrator (Pink)
Shout at the Devil 7 Function Vibrator (Black)
Too Fast For Love 10 Function Bullet Vibrator (Silver)

It would seem you’re not really successful unless you have a vibrator named after you.
 
001motcruvibpic.jpg
 
More ‘eye-catching’ Mötley Crüe vibes, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder drops another dynamite Soundcloud mix
08.12.2016
09:43 am

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Music

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If you’re looking for someone to put together a killer mix, you could hardly do better than Stephen Mallinder, pioneer of industrial music and co-founder of Cabaret Voltaire. Although then again, it’s a little strange to seek out a dance mix from a man who once adhered to the forbidding watchword “We will not allow any dancing.” But Mallinder is surely comfortable with ironies of that sort.

Two years ago Mallinder put together a mix called “Before Electricity” for FilthyBroke Recordings, based in Providence, Rhode Island, and just this week he dropped what they’re calling “Part Two,” which has the title “Wonk.”

In 1976 Cabaret Voltaire put out a truly limited edition cassette called, er, Limited Edition that had a run of 25. “Wonk” has already gotten wider distribution than that, having been played by 171 people (including me).

Mallinder has been involved with many outfits over the years, including Acid Horse, Hey, Rube!, and Ku-Ling Bros. His most recent project is Wrangler, which includes Ben Edward of John Foxx and the Maths and Phil Winter of Tunng. They put out an album this year called Sparked: Modular Remix Project.

Put “Wonk” on at your next party and then when people ask who’s responsible for those arresting beats, just say casually, “Oh yeah, that’s Stephen Mallinder, you know, of Cabaret Voltaire. He dropped this mix the other week…..”
 
Listen to Mallinder’s “Wonk” mix after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
You can cruise the River Thames with Gary Numan for £280 (BBQ included!)
08.12.2016
09:26 am

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Music

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The official T-shirt of the Gary Numan VIP Thames Cruise
 
Gary Numan is selling tickets to a cruise on London’s River Thames next month. After his tour of the UK ends, Numan, band, and crew are going to celebrate with a four-hour party on a river boat. And if you can (1) make it to London on September 27 and (2) put your hands on £280—roughly 360 of our good American dollars—like today, you, the lucky fan, have a chance to join them!

I can’t really picture Gary tucking into a plate of Carolina-style ribs as Big Ben recedes in the distance, but the email I got says BBQ is included (plus salad, and a toilet!):

The Amazonica will be DJ’ing and a bar will be available for drinks throughout the cruise with a complimentary barbecue (vegetarian options will be available) and salad as part of the evening meal.

The boat has a large indoor lounge, an outside open deck at the rear, toilet facilities and all required safety equipment.

Gary will be there throughout to chat, sign fan items and for any photographs.

 
More Gary Numan, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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