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‘We’re addicted to making fools of ourselves’: The Replacements’ ‘shaved eyebrows’ interview, 1987
09:30 pm



The Replacements had a reputation for unpredictable live shows—gleefully raucous one night, drunk and disorderly the next. With the 1986 sacking of founding lead guitarist Bob Stinson—a move the band made, in part, due to his increasingly erratic behavior—many assumed the ‘Mats would clean up their act.

With new guitarist Slim Dunlap in tow, the unit hit the road in the spring of 1987 in support of their latest LP, Pleased To Meet Me. Though they were indeed more reliable, the band didn’t exactly get sober, and they could still flop like murder on stage, especially if there was something at stake. For a June gig in L.A., in which numerous staff from their record label were in attendance, they rose to the occasion by performing a set of songs that consistently didn’t reach the finish line (reportedly only one was seen to completion), and handing off their instruments to audience members. They would return to the west coast for a final run of dates in December, with pals the Young Fresh Fellows as their openers, culminating with a now legendary disaster of a show in Portland (the night ended with the Replacements playing in their underpants). ‘Mats ringleader Paul Westerberg felt so bad about the performance that he wrote the song “Portland” as an apology.
Members of both bands on stage during the infamous Portland gig.

Prior to the concluding shows of the Pleased To Meet Me outing, the Replacements were having drinks with Scott McCaughey, the singer/guitarist of the Young Fresh Fellows. Perhaps the rigors of touring (along with the alcohol) had gotten to them, as the boys decided to do something most wouldn’t do if you paid them: They shaved their eyebrows. The episode was recounted in Bob Mehr’s fantastic biography, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements.

On December 1st, the band was hanging out at Seattle’s Mayflower Hotel bar with Scott McCaughey when Westerberg suggested they all shave their eyebrows. “By the time we actually got done with it,” said bassist Tommy Stinson, “the feisty stage was over, and it was like, ‘Oh . . . shit. I’m going to bed. I hope this goes away by the time I wake up.’ It didn’t.”

McCaughey later recalled that his eyebrows took months to grow back and that he looked like a “cretin” without them.
Horsing around
The Replacements and the Young Fresh Fellows horsing around in 1987. Note: Eyebrows still intact.

The below interview with the Replacements was recorded for MTV’s The Cutting Edge Happy Hour, hosted by Peter Zaremba of the Fleshtones. The show taped in Hollywood, so the segment was likely videoed when the band rolled through Southern California a few days after the Seattle incident. Looking as they did—ragged from the road and just plain weird without their eyebrows—most groups would’ve cancelled a scheduled television appearance, but not the Replacements. After all, this is the rock-n-roll combo that took the concept of shooting yourself in the foot and made it into an art form.

A variety of topics are covered in the clip—as well as excerpts from their contrary videos—including the elephant in the room: Why’d they shave their eyebrows? According to Westerberg, they did it in order to prank McCaughey’s band-mates.

But who was the joke really on?!
Paul Westerberg
The picture quality ain’t the greatest, but it’s classic ‘Mats, so just watch it already.



Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
‘Love Bites’: Watch the Buzzcocks on ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test,’ 1978
12:16 pm



When Howard Devoto left the Buzzcocks in 1977 to found Magazine, it left full control of the creative direction the band in the hands of Pete Shelley. The Buzzcocks’ first full album, recorded without any Devoto involvement, was Love Bites, released on September 22, 1978. A couple of months later, on November 14, 1978, the Buzzcocks took to The Old Grey Whistle Test to play two of its standout tracks.

The appearance of the Buzzcocks on The Old Grey Whistle Test was something of an innovation for the show. Annie Nightingale, shown in this clip presenting the band, had already created history by becoming the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1; in 1978 Nightingale became a new presenter on the program, and she was responsible for steering the show away from the country, blues, and prog that had been its bread and butter and for integrating underground music, including punk, into the show’s rotation.

Not that the Buzzcocks were the first band with any punk/underground cred to appear on the show; they weren’t—preceding them in the calendar year of 1978 were Talking Heads, XTC, the Vibrators, Television, the aforementioned Magazine, and the Ramones; less than a month later X-Ray Spex would appear on the show.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The return of Khun Narin: More mindblowing psychedelia from Thailand
10:40 am



In March of 2013 I wrote a piece for Dangerous Minds about Khun Narin, a band from the Phetchabun Province of Thailand. I characterized their music as being “indescribably beautiful psychedelia.” Head music is hard to describe so I linked to their Youtube video - which at the time had few views - and it was a stunner. The sound was otherworldly, magic and hypnotic and the performance intense. 

A Dangerous Minds reader named Josh Marcy read the piece, saw the video and had his mind blown. He flew to Thailand to record the group. The result was the first album to be released by the Thai street musicians, Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band. It’s a terrific record and was greeted with great reviews and coverage by Newsweek, Vogue and Wired, among others. It was also enough of a commercial success to finance a second album. Khun Narin II has just been released via Los Angeles-based label Innovative Leisure and it is another trance-inducing mindbender that even the most jaded of music freaks will find find revelatory.

I asked Josh Marcy to write a bit about the path to recording Khun Narin.

Take it away Josh:

The Dangerous Mind headline said all I needed to know - Mindblowing Psychedelia From Thailand - and the music in the YouTube video delivered in spades, with some of the most beautifully deep and heavy music I’d ever heard.  And there was a perfect challenge to the reader at the end of the DM article with just enough information needed to make it happen:  “Visit [their Facebook page] and implore them to come to your town or city now. Or at least release an album.”  I guess I took that as a personal challenge when I left my job later that year and began tracking down the band, first connecting the dots from the video to the phin player Beer Sitthichai’s YouTube channel and then finding the great Peter Doolan. A couple months later we’d all be together recording the first album in Lom Sak! I definitely sweated it out, but my little portable recording setup managed to get it done…  And a great performance will always outweigh the technological shortcomings.  I just hit record and the band made the magic happen

As I watch that original video, I’m realizing that the first song they play is also the final song on the new album, so it all comes full circle. It’s been such a great pleasure getting to know the amazingly talented guys in the band and, with Innovative Leisure and many others, bring their music to a wider audience, just as that original post on Dangerous Minds helped and implored us all to!

This is the video that got the ball rolling. When I first discovered it, thanks to Joey Zarda, there were just a small handful of views. Now there’s close to 400,000.

A new video from Khun Narin and a must-see complete concert after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Fantastic early footage of young Joni Mitchell (when she was still called Joan Anderson), 1965
04:54 pm



If—like happened to me this morning—the very first thing that assaulted your unsuspecting consciousness when you woke up today was the whole “SHOCKING CLAIMS: Pervy Ted Cruz Caught Cheating — With 5 Secret Mistresses! The romps that could destroy his presidential campaign!” story, as seen in the National Enquirer, which is oh so (not so) coincidentally owned by Donald Trump’s old pal David J. Pecker—and who’s that lady on the far-left?—then you probably need some mental floss. A palette cleanser if you will, to wash the taste of Ted Cruz getting squishy with anyone other than his wife, out of your mouth. There is something utterly terrifying about this, isn’t there? Not in a political sense—no one loves Republican schadenfreude more than I do—but simply in a gross, visceral, oily weasel-flesh kinda way. Ted Cruz. Sex. Get that visual out of my mind. Vivid Video would probably offer Cruz a million dollars to destroy his celebrity porn video. Make it stop. Nobody wants to think about Ted Cruz having sex. So let’s not.

So to brighten your day, fine people, here are some little-seen performances by a young—and so very, very beautiful—Joni Mitchell on the Canadian folk music program Let’s Sing Out in 1965 and 1966. When you consider how many crucial and formative TV performances by young musical giants have been lost—or even worse deliberately destroyed—that these early recordings still exist seems almost miraculous. This was just a low-budget folk hootenanny taped at various colleges around Canada. Thankfully someone preserved these recordings. She’s like an angel just beginning to take flight here. It’s stunning stuff.

In this first clip from Let’s Sing Out, Joni (then going by her maiden name, Joan Anderson) can be seen with Patrick Sky and the Chapins, the trio of folk-singing brothers that included Harry Chapin, who later became famous for songs like “Cat’s in the Cradle” and “Taxi.” Taped at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

More early Joni Mitchell after the jump, including Joni singing Gilbert & Sullivan!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
McCartney, Bowie, Lemmy, Debbie Harry appear in ‘Rock Stars in Their Underpants’
11:45 am



Paula Yates was an interesting figure who sadly passed away much too early at the age of 40 a number of years ago. In the 1970s she had a column called “Natural Blonde” in the Record Mirror and used the Reform Club in London for the site of her Penthouse spread.

In the 1990s Yates had a show on Channel 4 called The Big Breakfast in which she would interview people while lying in a bed. She was married to Bob Geldof for a while, and they had a messy divorce in 1996 when she left him for Michael Hutchence of INXS. Hutchence committed suicide in 1997 and Yates died of a heroin overdose in 2000, which probably tells you everything you need to know about the volatility of their relationship.

Paula Yates
When she was still in her early twenties, in 1980, Yates released a cheeky book called Rock Stars in Their Underpants. It was just what it seemed to be, a series of pictures of prominent rock musicians wearing underwear. Andy Warhol somewhat hilariously called it ‘‘the greatest work of art in the last decade.’‘
In addition to the luminaries pictured here, the book features Yates’ future husband Geldof as well as Sparks, Chrissie Hynde, Frank Zappa, Godley & Creme, Steve Jones, Jools Holland, and Phil Lynott.



After the jump, Bowie, Lemmy and Macca in their skivvies…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Maelstrum’: Ronald and Russell Mael star in their own Sparks comic strip
10:02 am



For a three-year period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the official fan newsletter for the marvelous band Sparks, known as Sparksound, ran a regular comic strip about the witty pop duo that was drawn by a fan—and it’s not bad at all. The full title of the strip is “Maelstrum: A Sparkling Tune of Ron & Russell Mael.”

On the website of Xavier Lorente-Darracq, the fan who was responsible for the strip, one can find the following explanation, translated from the French and a little curiously rendered in the third person:

From 1988 up to 1991, Xavier Lorente-Darracq was member of the Sparks official fan-club and one day he sent secretary Mary Martin a caricature of Ron Mael & Russell Mael (on the bottom right). As this cartoon was published in the newsletter, Xavier Lorente-Darracq released a comic strip named “Maelstrum”.

Maelstrum strips were drawn in a assumed naive graphic style and many Sparks’ songs were hidden into the dialogues. A good knowledge of the history of the band and Maels’ hobbies and practices is sometimes necessary to the good comprehension of some of these strips.

Then Xavier Lorente-Darracq provided the fan club newsletter with crosswords puzzles and some illustrations. Xavier Lorente-Darracq definitively ceased his collaboration with Sparksound in December 1991 because of his regular job. About fifteen strips of “Maelstrum”/The Sparkling Tunes Of Ron & Russell Mael were released.

It’s not really surprising that a rock and roll duo as witty and talented as Sparks would boast a fan base capable of such creative cleverness—indeed, the real question is why we haven’t seen any fan-generated comic strips for Ween and Steely Dan......

The Mael brothers have never curtailed their artistic endeavors, releasing eight albums since 1994, without any noticeable decline in quality from their 1970s heyday. Sparks’ most recent release was FFS, their 2015 collaboration with Franz Ferdinand.

Of the fifteen strips, six are available on Lorente-Darracq’s website, which we’ve reproduced here (click on any strip to see a larger version).

More “Maelstrum” strips after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Ressurection Joe’: The amazing early single by The Cult that fell through the cracks
05:19 pm



The Cult’s “Ressurection Joe” single came out at the end of 1984 and sonically it’s the midpoint bridge between their Dreamtime album of that autumn and what would come a year later with their more “classic rock”-styled longplayer Love, the album that broke the one time goth rockers into the big leagues.’s Ned Raggett called the (intentionally misspelled?) “Ressurection Joe” single:

“... a queasy, nervous, and frenetic combination of aggro epic and swampy funk, which remains an undeservedly forgotten highlight from the early ‘80s, topped only by the dramatic sweep of the later “She Sells Sanctuary.”

I’d have to agree. It’s easily one of their best, most memorable songs but it’s one that fell through the cracks for many fans more into their later harder-rocking albums like Love, Electric or Sonic Temple but less aware of the tribal/goth ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ squat punk of their earlier incarnations as the Southern Death Cult and later just Death Cult.

Here’s the video for “Ressurection Joe” with Ian Astbury playing a voodoo-y Dickensian snake-oil salesman—his look perhaps pinched from Christopher Lee’s character in 1958’s Corridors of Blood named—ahem—”Resurrection Joe”—who is clearly up to no good. It says on the Wikipedia page that this video was unknown until the mid-90s when it was released on the VHS home video collection Pure Cult: The Singles 1984-1995, but I seem to recall that MTV was running this fairly regularly at the time when Love was first charting.

After the jump an amazing ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ performance of “Ressurection Joe

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
A brief history of 90s Britpop as told through the covers of ‘Select’ magazine
01:01 pm

Pop Culture


Selective memory can be a marvellous thing. It ensures we are never wrong, always right and (best of all) that we have always had such impeccable taste in music.

In Britain there were a lot of drugs about in the nineties—a lot of bad drugs—which might explain why so many of us—who lived through that heady decade—only recall the really good stuff rather than all that crap we apparently really enjoyedMr Blobby? Babylon Zoo? Rednex? Will Smith?—well, somebody bought this shit, how else did it all get to #1?

Personally, I have no recollection (officer) as to how all these records charted, but I can certainly give you a brief illustrated history of what we were actually listening to and what we all supposedly liked.

Exhibit #1: Select magazine

Select was arguably the magazine of the 1990s—the one that best represented (or at least covered) what happened during that decade—well, if you lived in the UK that is. Select had attitude, swagger and wit and was very, very opinionated. It didn’t tug its forelock or swoon before too many stars—though it certainly had its favorites.

Select kicked off in July 1990 with his purple highness Prince on the cover. It was a statement of the kind of magazine they were going to be—cool, sophisticated, sexy, sharp. Prince was good—everybody loves Prince. It didn’t last long. Over the next few months, the magazine struggled to find a musical movement it could wholeheartedly endorse. In its search for the next big thing—even The Beatles (rather surprisingly) featured on its cover.

Select threw its weight behind such bands as Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, Blur and most significantly Suede—who never quite managed the level of success the magazine hoped for. Then Select did something remarkable—rather than follow the trend the magazine decided to shape it.

In April 1993, Select published an article by journalist Stuart Maconie entitled “Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr. Cobain?” In it Maconie made a very convincing case for abandoning the influence of American music (grunge) and taking up with the “crimplene, glamour, wit, and irony” of local British talent.

Maconie offered up a list of bands he thought would make it big—Suede, Saint Etienne, Denim, The Auteurs and Pulp—lumping them together under the title “Britpop.” Within a year—the idea of one journalist had become a movement of disparate bands, genres and styles—from Oasis to Blur, Elastica to Pulp, Sleeper to The Verve.

Maconie’s idea gave Select their drum—one they were going to bang until everyone was deaf or the thrill had gone.

Select lasted for just over a decade 1990-2001. Its final cover featured Coldplay—which might explain where Britpop had gone wrong. Some kind soul has scanned all of the back issues—inside and out—and a trawl through their covers tells the story of what was in, what was hip, and what was “going on.”

If you’ve a hankering for the past or just want to relive the heady days of the 1990s, then check here to read, view and enjoy the whole archive of Select magazine.
Prince on the very first cover of ‘Select’ July 1990.
Something old, something new… a taste of what’s to come…
Something very old: The Beatles—but a hint of what this magazine hoped to find in the 1990s…Britpop. November 1990.
You get the feeling this bloke’s gonna feature a lot in this magazine…Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder, January 1991.
More Select covers for selective memories, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Patti Smith pays homage to reggae genius Tapper Zukie
09:45 am



Robert Mapplethorpe’s cover for the Mer Records reissue of Man Ah Warrior

Since its founding in 1974, Lenny Kaye’s Mer label has put out a total of five records. Of these, two are by Patti Smith, one by Kaye. The other two releases belong to the only artist on Mer who wasn’t in the Patti Smith Group: toaster, DJ and producer Tapper (a/k/a Tappa or Topper) Zukie.

Smith has said that she practiced reciting her poems over Zukie’s first album, 1973’s Man Ah Warrior, before she worked them up as songs. Presumably, she heard the album through Kaye, who writes that he brought it back to NYC from a “West London back alley reggae stall” when it was brand new. Three years later, when both Zukie and the Patti Smith Group had achieved cult fame in the UK, the “M.P.L.A.” singer joined the band onstage in London. Kaye: November 1976 at the venerable Hammersmith Odeon, Tapper Zukie joined the Patti Smith Group onstage for a babylon-burning rendition of “Ain’t It Strange,” and we became friends. Tapper came to visit us in New York, preparing a dinner of roast fish just after he got off the plane; and we released Man Ah Warrior on our Mer label. He opened for us at the Rainbow Theater in London the following year, and with such hits as “M.P.L.A.” and “Go Deh Natty, Go Deh” and the sinuous “Pick Up the Rocker,” encapsulated a moment where two different musics with the same sense of apocalyptic vision and revolutionary spirit could go forth and conquer.


Smith seriously injured herself in Tampa on January 23, 1977, when her ecstatic spinning during that night’s performance of “Ain’t It Strange” took her over the lip of the stage. She fell fifteen feet, fracturing two of her vertebrae and smashing her face on the concrete floor. Shortly after the accident, she told a Sounds writer that writing the poem “Tapper the Extractor” during her hospital stay aided her recovery:’s the best poem I’ve written for a real long time. Tapper’s poem kept me from losing consciousness; it’s all about ‘the thread of return.’ ...Yeah, the thread of return kept me here.


The back cover of Zukie’s Man from Bozrah LP, featuring “THE TAPPER EXTRACTS”
This poem, or a version of it, appeared as the liner notes of Zukie’s outstanding 1978 LP The Man from Bozrah, where it was credited to “PATTIE [sic] SMITH & L. Kaye”: 

“one does not hold the key, he extends it”

Zu-Kie, the Tapper of precious blood, looks down at his mother bending over the river beating the clothes w/a stone. in/space the Tapper extracts; the sky full of numbers . . . the mute procession of the 12 tribes . . . the insatiable dreamer that totems the manor . . . the rude Zugernaut . . . a Mesopotamia hotel . . . Taj Mahal . . . keeper of bees . . . aluminum comes exuding the icing of light. awareness is relative and anyone relating to the Tapper feels the fluid of the future flooding his veins . . . the screen projects deliverance . . . vague silver members . . . the lost years of Jesus + Cleopatra . . . Tablets unearthed from the dawn of time . . . a rose glow . . . searchlights over the labyrinth . . . rube flux and a vibrant twist of thread . . . .

Tapper, the extractor, ties it all together. like a playful cat he taps the raveling ball . . . sending it in/space like a corvette over Detroit landing on the throat of the babbeling son of ritual.

he cried ah/men oh/men
his bodily fluids coagulate into a smooth stone
etched w/the synchronizing symbols;
words of power/words of light
cries from the valley of the forgotten
the gentle panorama/the shackles of slaves opening like a laughing wound
the shining faces of the liberation
the ma/sonic key of the Tapper is turning
the ball of thread is unraveling . . .
the walls of the labyrinth are splitting . . .
and the people are rushing . . .
Rushing like the blood of the lion merging w/Zu-kie, the Tapper of blood, looking down at his mother bending over the river and his father working in the Field.

A slightly longer and differently punctuated version of the poem, in which “Zu-kie” is spelled “zookey,” can be found in Smith’s Babel.

After the jump, hear the two sides of Zukie’s Mer single, “Viego” and “Archie, the Rednose Reindeer”

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Not just for vampires anymore: Putin, Obama and Angela Merkel cavort in evil new White Hills video
05:06 pm



Prolific New York-based psych rockers White Hills’ hypnotic, intense, riff-heavy music got them noticed by director Jim Jarmusch who decided to write his favorite band into his 2013 indie vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive. The critically acclaimed film starred Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston and featured White Hills—Dave W. on guitar and vocals and Ego Sensation on bass and vocals—as themselves playing their song “Under Skin Or By Name” in scene that takes place in a Detroit dive bar.

The first White Hills album, 2005’s No Game To Play was basically a solo project released by Dave W as a CD-R. Julian Cope reissued the album as They’ve Got Blood Like We’ve Got Blood on his Fuck Off and Di label and it’s no surprise that White Hills’ epic pounding—influenced by Hawkwind, the Stooges and the MC5—is something the Arch Drude felt he needed to get behind. Comedian Stewart Lee has also championed White Hills in a review of their self-released Glitter Glamour Atrocity in the pages of the Sunday London Times.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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