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Beautiful Colors: Early posters of Duran Duran
01:55 pm


Duran Duran

Andrew Golub has been collecting Duran Duran memorabilia for a very long time—well over 30 years—and has probably (definitely?) amassed more, well stuff relating to their career than they’ve even got themselves. It’s hard to keep track of posters, lunch boxes and promotional key rings when you’re off gallivanting around the world shooting big budget music videos with supermodels on yachts made of pure cocaine, isn’t it? Careless memories? Thanks to Andy’s archival efforts—the results that can be see in his book, Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran, gallery exhibits he’s mounted and his website—Duran Duran can relax, he’s got them covered.

Duran Duran emerged at the height of the New Romantic movement. Inspired by the escapist fantasies of Bowie and Roxy Music, and motivated by the do-it-yourself credo of bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash, for Duran the scene was a natural fit. As Nick Rhodes would reflect many years later in 1998, talking to Boyz magazine, “Of course [New Romanticism] was camp and over the top, but we felt very comfortable with that. It seemed very natural to put something forward that had a great visual aspect. It grew out of glam and punk, both of which were incredibly stylish movements.”

—Text above and below from Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran by Andrew Golub. Here’s a selection of posters from the group’s early years.


On September 12, 1981, Duran Duran played a show at Amsterdam’s most famous concert venue, Paradiso. The poster below is among Paradiso’s collection of over 1000 silkscreens designed by Martin Kaye. As the concert hall’s in-house designer from 1972 to 1983, Kaye perfected a signature style of bright, attention-grabbing colors and unique lettering that helped define Paradiso’s reputable image for many years.



This poster advertises a Manchester gig on the band’s first UK tour. The artwork incorporates elements from the ‘Planet Earth’ 7” single sleeve, designed by Malcolm Garrett, who engineered Duran Duran’s graphic work and packaging up until 1985. Garrett’s close attention to detail and the importance he placed on interconnectivity between record sleeves, advertisements, and merchandise would play a huge part in realizing the band’s visual identity: “I was looking to have a kind of consistency, so that everything that might come out with the words ‘Duran Duran’ on it felt like it had come from the same family, the same visual floor.” Helping to usher in postmodernism, Garrett’s use of fonts was a conscious effort to create something new by looking back: “There was a feel in the graphics of the early ‘60s that they were really futuristic. So, if you like, I was looking backwards to move forwards. It felt right and it felt contemporary—but it also felt timeless.”



In November 1980, an English singer-songwriter and actress named Hazel O’Connor had just starred in a critically acclaimed film called Breaking Glass. She also penned the film’s soundtrack and was about to tour the UK in support of her album. For an opening act, O’Connor enlisted a then-unknown group from Birmingham called Duran Duran. Michael Berrow, one of the band’s managers, sold his flat to purchase the support slot on the tour, taking advantage of the media interest O’Connor had generated from her film. Duran Duran enjoyed valuable exposure on the Megahype tour, earning 10 GBP a week and spending nights sleeping together in the back of a van. On the road, the band got an opportunity to hone its live performance and test a brief catalog of material with large audiences. Requests for encore performances and emphatic approval from females in the audience gave Duran a first glimpse of things to come.

More early Duran Duran posters plus some very early videos of the band, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The Beatles play for 18 people in Aldershot, 1961
01:27 pm


The Beatles

Photos of the 18 damned lucky buggers who got to see The Beatles play at the Palais Ballroom, Aldershot, on December 9th, 1961. The Beatles’ then agent, Sam Leach, effed-up and didn’t advertise the show properly—hence the lousy turnout of less than two dozen people in attendance. Sam Leach was replaced by Brian Epstein as their manager after the Aldershot disaster.

However, according to Beatles’ Source, Sam Leach didn’t screw up, but, “The local newspaper, Aldershot News, neglected to feature Sam Leach’s advertisement for the show.” If this is to be believed, you really can’t blame Leach.

Truth be told, they all look like they’re having a good time regardless of the poor turnout.




More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Oh ‘Kitty’ You’re So Fine?: Toni Basil’s 1982 smash first released by UK band in 1979
10:39 am

One-hit wonders

Toni Basil

Mickey 45 sleeve (US)
It’s all about the beat. It doesn’t take more than a moment after pressing play on one of the most famous songs of the 1980s before just about anyone who has even a toe in the pool of pop culture is able to recognize Toni Basil’s “Mickey.” But relatively few realize it had a former life under another name and that Basil played such a large role in its success.

Smash and Grab cover
The British band Racey were discovered by producer Mickie Most in 1978, and their second 45, “Lay Your Love On Me,” was their first hit. Written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, the Chapman-Chinn partnership had already proved extremely successful, and the duo were known for penning strong and winning material for a number of acts, most notably Sweet (“Ballroom Blitz,” “Blockbuster,” etc.). Racey’s debut LP, Smash and Grab, was released in 1979 and though the hits continued, they failed to crack the coveted U.S. market. Smash and Grab featured a number of Chapman-Chinn songs, including a catchy number called “Kitty,” which, for some reason, wasn’t released as single.

Toni Basil was a show biz veteran when “Mickey” began scaling the charts in the early 1980s. Her first single came out in 1966 and she appeared in a few movies, including Easy Rider and dancing with Davy Jones in the Monkees’ Head. She also had directed videos, but was primarily known in the industry as a choreographer.
Word of Mouth cover
“Mickey” appeared on her Word of Mouth LP and was released as a single in 1981. Though it took a while to take off, by late 1982 it was a smash, going all the way to #1 in the states. It was one of the first songs to benefit from having a popular video—which Basil choreographed, produced and directed—on MTV.

Basil changed the title of the track to fit her gender, and chose Mickey as it roughly rhymes with Kitty. She also wrote the “Oh Mickey you’re so fine/You’re so fine you blow my mind” hook—a hook so massive that it can’t be overlooked when considering the song’s popularity.

I was always a cheerleader and I remember the echoing in the basketball court of cheerleaders, of us, stomping, chanting. I said I would do it if I could put the cheerleader chant on it. The record company asked me not to put the chant on because they were concerned it would ruin the rest of the tune.

There has been much speculation over the years as to what “Mickey” is about. Some believe the song is about Micky Dolenz of the Monkees; others think the song alludes to anal sex! Here’s what Basil had to say on the matter:

It’s not about anything dirty. You change the name from boy to girl and they read anything they want into it! When it’s a guy singing about a girl, it’s a sweet line. But when a girl sings it, it must mean butt fucking!

Oh, Mickey

No matter what anyone might think regarding the lyrics, one thing is certain: Basil essentially took an already appealing pop song and turned it into a #1. It is now considered one of the most iconic songs (and videos) of the entire 1980s. But she received no writing credit, and after 30+ years she claimed she had only earned about $3,000 in royalties from “Mickey.”
Mickey 45
Love it or hate it, Toni Basil’s colossal hit was a pop culture moment in 1982 and refuses to leave our collective consciousness. Long live the beat, I say!


Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
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‘It’s a virus’: Tom Waits on musicians allowing their work to be used in commercials
09:39 am


Tom Waits

Below, Tom Waits responding to a 2002 article in The Nation by John Densmore of The Doors regarding musicians and artists “allowing their songs to be used in commercials.”

Woodland Hills, Calif.

Thank you for your eloquent “rant” by John Densmore of The Doors on the subject of artists allowing their songs to be used in commercials [“Riders on the Storm,” July 8]. I spoke out whenever possible on the topic even before the Frito Lay case (Waits v. Frito Lay), where they used a sound-alike version of my song “Step Right Up” so convincingly that I thought it was me. Ultimately, after much trial and tribulation, we prevailed and the court determined that my voice is my property.

Songs carry emotional information and some transport us back to a poignant time, place or event in our lives. It’s no wonder a corporation would want to hitch a ride on the spell these songs cast and encourage you to buy soft drinks, underwear or automobiles while you’re in the trance. Artists who take money for ads poison and pervert their songs. It reduces them to the level of a jingle, a word that describes the sound of change in your pocket, which is what your songs become. Remember, when you sell your songs for commercials, you are selling your audience as well.

When I was a kid, if I saw an artist I admired doing a commercial, I’d think, “Too bad, he must really need the money.” But now it’s so pervasive. It’s a virus. Artists are lining up to do ads. The money and exposure are too tantalizing for most artists to decline. Corporations are hoping to hijack a culture’s memories for their product. They want an artist’s audience, credibility, good will and all the energy the songs have gathered as well as given over the years. They suck the life and meaning from the songs and impregnate them with promises of a better life with their product.

Eventually, artists will be going onstage like race-car drivers covered in hundreds of logos. John, stay pure. Your credibility, your integrity and your honor are things no company should be able to buy.


Tom Waits successfully sued Frito-Lay, Inc. in 1992 and was awarded $2.6 million in compensatory damages.

Via Letters of Note

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The Melvins/Love mashup shirt you didn’t know you wanted has arrived
09:08 am


Forever Changes

Artist/musician Brian Walsby has been active for a solid 30 years, making art for Maximum Rock ‘N Roll and Flipside, and drumming for bands as varied as SoCal hardcore shit-stirrers Scared Straight and math-rock gurus Polvo. His latest opus is a hilarious Melvins shirt that parodies the famous cover art of Forever Changes, the classic third LP by Love.

The shirt features six members of the Melvins’ forever-changing (GET IT? GET IT?) lineup, including Jeff Pinkus (Butthole Surfers), Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk), Jared Warren (Big Business, Karp), Coady Willis (Big Business, Murder City Devils) and, obviously, ur-Melvins Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover. These will be limited in quantity to 500, and per the Melvins’ Facebook page, they’re already running low, so pre-ordering soon would seem wise if you’re just dying for one of these.

The Melvins’ new LP, Hold It in, features Jeff Pinkus and Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers, and is due out in October. While you wait, enjoy the Osborne / Crover / Willis / Warren lineup’s live performance at L.A.‘s Amoeba Records in 2008.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Sweet, sweet music: Meet the man who makes playable chocolate records
05:28 am



If you want to know how to make sweet, sweet music, then take a tip from Peter Lardong who created the world’s first chocolate record—the only disc that can be played and eaten. Herr Lardong from Berlin, Germany, came up with the idea of using chocolate to make discs after experimenting with ice cream, cheese, butter, beer, cola and sausages. Eventually the former brewery worker hit upon his own “special” mixture of chocolate which he melts, then pours onto a silicon mold of his favorite recordings. When the chocolate sets, the disc is removed and is ready to play or eat.
Each chocolate record costs approximately $6 and can be played on a standard record player for up to twelve times before it wears out (no doubt ruining the stylus) and then has to be eaten.

H/T Voices of East Anglia

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Saturation 70’: The Greatest Sci-Fi Cult Movie (starring Gram Parsons) You’ve Definitely Never Seen

Six years before Alejandro Jodorowsky’s extraordinary but ill-fated 1975 attempt to film Frank Herbert’s Dune—the story of which was compellingly told in the recent documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune—there was another similarly ambitious and ground-breaking film project that, until recently, was largely unknown: Saturation 70, a science fiction movie starring Gram Parsons, Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and Julian Jones, the five-year-old son of Rolling Stone Brian Jones and Linda Lawrence (later Linda Leitch, Donovan’s wife, of “Legend of a Girl Child Linda” fame.)

Unlike Dune, Saturation 70 did actually make it into production and was shot, but never completed, then was forgotten and undocumented for over forty years. Dangerous Minds pal Chris Campion reveals the story of the film’s production in an article for The Guardian:

The film was the brainchild of an American writer-director named Tony Foutz, the son of a Walt Disney company executive and a friend to both Parsons and the Rolling Stones. The film was shot (but never completed) at a 1969 UFO convention at Giant Rock, near Joshua Tree in the Mojave desert, and in Los Angeles. It tapped into the spectrum of esoteric interests and outlandish ideas — aliens, psychedelics, time travel— of the late 60s counterculture. “The whole experience of making the film was like a technological tribal throw-down, with an energy buzz off the Richter scale,” Foutz says now. “It took on a life of its own.”


The Kosmic Kiddies, from R to L: Tony Foutz, Michelle Phillips, Gram Parsons, Phil Kaufman and Andee Cohen. Photo: Tom Wilkes

Also appearing in Saturation 70 were Stanislaus Klossowski de Rola (aka Rolling Stones confidant, ‘Prince Stash’, the son of painter Balthus) and Nudie Cohn, creator of the Nudie suit. The shoot took place from late 1969 to early 1970.

Filming guerrilla-style, without permits, they managed to realise several ambitious set-pieces, including a surreal shootout between a Vietcong soldier and an American GI in the aisles of Gelson’s supermarket in Century City (Phil Spector, a noted gun fan, visited the set to watch from the sidelines) and a parade of Ford Edsel cars roaring through the City of Industry in a flying-V formation.


Skid Row Los Angeles, 1970. Not much has changed. Look closely at the signs.

Director Tony Foutz was also behind another, even wilder film project, a vehicle for the Rolling Stones to star in and write an original soundtrack for, entitled “Maxagasm,” which was co-written with Sam Shepard in 1968.

Closer to Mad Max than the Beatles’ Help!, the film was to feature the group as a band of unemployed mercenaries wandering through Moroccan desert, in a plot that involved UFOs and Mayan-style human ritual sacrifice.

For years, Saturation 70 was little more than a rumour among Gram Parsons fans—a strange anomalous event in his short gloried career—but now all the existing footage and production photos have been dusted off for an exhibition in London that recreates the film shoot, and the story of Saturation 70 can finally be told.

Saturation 70: the Gram Parsons UFO film that never flew (The Guardian)

Saturation 70, the exhibition, runs at the Horse Hospital in London from September 6th to 27th. More information here.

Julian Jones and his fairy godmother

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Future Feminism: A social, cultural and political vision for a feminine utopia

The power of pussy: The inimitable Kembra Pfahler, spreading the gospel with a friend

So much of the popular, social media-driven feminist discourse is desperately treading water these days. The advances we’ve made over the years that have drastically improved the lives of women (unions, better wages, health care advances , reproductive rights) are under attack, and it only makes sense that we’d cling to what little we have left. It’s in this frantic crisis that we can sometimes forget the more utopian ambitions of the feminist second wave—the impulse not to preserve what little we have, but to recreate society entirely, in a way that exceeds the meager ambitions we’ve come to accept. Future Feminism seeks to nurture and develop that impulse.

The brainchild of Kembra Pfhaler (best known for The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and her performance art), Johanna Constantine (of The Blacklips Performance Cult), Sierra and Bianca Casady (CocoRosie) and Antony Hegarty (Antony and The Johnsons), the collective is the result of three years’ of consensus-based artistic and intellectual collaboration, much of it forged during rigorous retreats in isolated locations.

Kembra Pfhaler, Johanna Constantine, Sierra Casady, Bianca Casady and Antony Hegarty, presumably on retreat
I had to opportunity to speak with Bianca Casady about the projects’ multi-faceted development.

“We didn’t have any plans, so we definitely didn’t have any models [for organizing],” Casady confesses, “it was five artists—the most obvious thing to do was an art project together, a co-authored piece.” The “group-authored sculptural work” is to be debuted at The Hole gallery in NYC, Thursday September 11, but it’s merely a fraction of the multimedia project that Future Feminism has bloomed into. The Hole also promises performances and lectures from such heroic foremothers as Lydia Lunch, Laurie Anderson, Marina Abramović and no-wave goddess No Bra. The sculpture itself remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, as are the “13 Tenets of Future Feminism” they will reveal on the opening night.

The five artists central to the collective will perform a concert at Webster Hall this Sunday to fund the exhibition, as it’s completely artist-funded thus far. Casady notes that the relative independence and autonomy of the Future Feminist collective has allowed them the freedom and time necessary to truly work as a unified body, though the timing for the reveal could not be more provident.

Some of us are very unplugged from the media. Mostly we really come together as artists. We’re certainly noticing a lot of uprising and actions going on formally, and a lot of momentum and energy right now. The timing feels like less of a coincidence. It feels like things are at a boiling point.


Image from the Future Feminism Benefit Concert poster
No one can predict which projects will inspire or move the masses, but it’s exciting to see feminism embrace the ambition of utopian thinking again—and it’s especially powerful to see women working together and creating new, strange culture—something that could (if we’re lucky) threaten the status quo.

“We’re not really looking for equal rights—that’s really different in our attitude,” says Casady. “We’re not looking to climb up the male pyramid scheme and try to assimilate into it to find some kind of balance. We’re proposing a complete shift, with the goal of balance, but it’s not like we want to meet in the middle. We have to reach for a better sense of ‘middle.’”

That’s a sentiment that’s existed before in feminism—the idea that having “what men have” is not enough, that we all deserve more. It’s fallen to the wayside in years, but I foresee a revival, as movements like Future Feminism strive for a radically different society, invoking the very qualities so often derided as “feminine.” In the words of the collective, “The future is female.”

The (absolutely packed) roster for the run at The Hole gallery is below.

Thurs Sept 11: Opening 6-9PM

Fri Sept 12: Bianca and Sierra Casady, Sarah Schulman

Sat Sept 13: Johanna Constantine, Lydia Lunch

Sun Sept 14: Clark Render as Margaret Thatcher, Laurie Anderson

Wed Sept 17: Narcissister, Dynasty Handbag, No Bra

Thurs Sept 18: Ann Snitow speaks with the Future Feminists

Fri Sept 19: Kiki Smith presents Anne Waldman, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge and Anne Carson

Sat Sept 20: Kembra Pfahler and The Girls of Karen Black

Sun Sept 21: Lorraine O’Grady

Wed Sept 24: Marina Abramović

Thurs Sept 25: Carolee Schneemann, Jessica Mitrani, Melanie Bonajo
Fri Sept 26: Terence Koh as Miss OO

Sat Sept 27: Viva Ruiz, Julianna Huxtable, Alexyss K.  Tylor

Sun Sept 14: The Factress aka Lucy Sexton, Clark Render as Margaret Thatcher, Laurie Anderson

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Kraftwerk’s 1975 BBC TV appearance: ‘The germinating moment for British dance music’
08:11 am



The BBC science and technology show Tomorrow’s World ran for almost 40 years (and was affectionately parodied in Look Around You), but the bit of that show that concerns us here was just a hair longer than two minutes. It was a short glimpse at the seminal German band Kraftwerk, performing their song “Autobahn” in 1975, just before their ten year run of LPs from Radio-Activity through Electric Café completely changed the face of popular music, inspiring electronic dance/techno, hip-hop, and pretty much every form of post-punk rock music that used a synthesizer, making their classic lineup arguably as influential as Elvis. If only the BBC had known what was to come, they might have been persuaded to show more than just two minutes of the 22-minute song.

A few years ago, The Guardian made a rather bold claim about the snippet of footage, placing Kraftwerk’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it segment at NUMBER 1 in their series of 50 key events in the history of dance music! I actually find that assertion entirely plausible.

The germinating moment for British dance music occurred, strangely, in a 1975 edition of Tomorrow’s World, which featured four young Germans dressed like geography teachers, apparently playing camping stoves with wired-up knitting needles. This was Kraftwerk performing “Autobahn.”

“The sounds are created in their studio in Dusseldorf,” presenter Raymond Baxter explained, “then reprogrammed and then recreated onstage with the minimum of fuss.” Here was the entire electronic ethic in one TV clip: the rejection of rock’s fake spontaneity, the fastidious attention to detail, the Europhile slickness, the devotion to rhythm. It was sublime.

When Kraftwerk toured Britain later in 1975, David Bowie’s patronage ensured a long line of followers from OMD to Underworld. Not that everything they planned came to fruition. “Next year, Kraftwerk hope to eliminate the keyboard altogether,” Baxter told us, “and create jackets with electronic lapels that can be played by touch”. It could still happen.


Bonus! Enjoy this clip of Kraftwerk’s robot doubles, also on Tomorrow’s World, but from 1991.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Kraftwerk songs performed by string quartet
Kraftwerk sings ‘Pocket Calculator’ in Italian… and several other languages
‘Ralf and Florian’: the Kraftwerk sitcom
Newly unearthed footage of Kraftwerk—with long hair and leather jackets! Live 1970

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Julian Cope plays the first Phoenix Festival wearing a yellow jockstrap, 1993
07:02 am


Julian Cope

This isn’t professional footage, but it’s the only footage you’re likely ever to see of Julian Cope’s unhinged performance at the first Phoenix Festival, held near Stratford-upon-Avon in 1993. Captured two-thirds of the way through recording the sublime Peggy Suicide trilogy and in the full flower of manhood, Cope and band blast through a thirteen-song set drawn mostly from this beloved period of the Arch-Drude’s solo career.

As if to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Cope played Stratford a little over four centuries after Shakespeare moved away from the town to make his name in London. In fact, I believe the Bard foretold this performance in Act 3, Scene 3 of Henry V. It’s all there but the yellow jockstrap:

The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
And the flesh’d soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand shall range
With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass
Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.

To Island Records’ lasting shame, the label had dropped Cope days after the release of 1992’s JEHOVAHKILL, which remains one of his very best albums. In the UK, this dickhead move redounded to Cope’s benefit, making Island look greedy and clueless, Cope righteous and cooler than ever. So here he was, less than a year later, playing second only to Sonic Youth on the first night of a big new festival.

He takes the stage in a boilersuit and some kind of bearded headgear about which I am not qualified to speculate, kicking off with JEHOVAHKILL‘s motorik epic “The Subtle Energies Commission.” Cope then strips down (have I mentioned the yellow jockstrap?) to sing the most brain-damaging song in his oeuvre, “Hanging Out & Hung Up On The Line,” and if your full attention hasn’t been captured by this point, then I suspect you and I might disagree about what constitutes an interesting phenomenon, to say nothing of “a good time.”  

Julian Cope live at the Phoenix Festival, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1993
In case you want to watch Julian Cope but crave higher production values, here’s an excellent feature from a 1991 episode of BBC’s The Late Show:

And check out Cope’s new “time-shifting gnostic hooligan road novel,” One Three One.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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