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Her Little Red Books: Cult figure Bebe Buell plans ahead
11:36 am



Bebe Buell
Courtesy of Bebe Buell

Bebe Buell might have first been brought to your attention as a Playboy model or girlfriend to several major rockstars—Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Todd Rundgren, Jimmy Page, Stiv Bators and Steven Tyler—but don’t call her a groupie. (She prefers “muse” or “rock girlfriend,”) Anyway, that was then, and this is now. Buell doesn’t like to dwell on the past. In fact, this in coming year alone she has a lot planned. Having moved to Nashville after a trip in 2012 to sing on an Eddy Arnold tribute record, Bebe Buell uprooted her New York life and chose the southern comforts. “I fell into some kind of magical vortex that I think happens to some people when they come to Nashville. I don’t think you choose Nashville, I think Nashville chooses you,” says Buell.
Rebel Heart
Buell published her memoir, the New York Times bestseller, Rebel Heart, in 2002, co-written with Victor Bockis. “I can’t even read that book anymore. So much of life has changed since that book was written.” Now, Bebe Buell has three books in the works. “I’m compiling a coffee table photo book which will span my entire life from birth until now. It will have all never-before-seen photos. I’m actually doing the follow up to Rebel Heart which is Rebel Soul and I’ll pick up where Rebel Heart left off. I’ve been diligently working on that for almost three years now. And, I’m also doing a beauty book. People always ask me what my tips and my secrets are so I decided I’m going to do that. It’s going to be very spiritual, it’s going to talk about your inner state of mind and how where you’re at artistically and spiritually emanates in your physical being.”
lynn goldsmith
Photo by Lynn Goldsmith, courtesy Bebe Buell

Bebe Buell first moved to New York after high school, where she worked as a model. She posed for Playboy as “Miss November” of 1974. “If people knew what it was like to do a Playboy shoot it’s very professional. It’s like doing a modelling job except there’s no clothes. You’re there to make a nice photo. I had no idea the backlash I was going to get. But that changed—look what happened in the 90s. Everyone did Playboy including Cindy Crawford. And now fashion magazines have more nudity in them than Playboy.”

She was always drawn to music and quickly found her way to Max’s Kansas City and CBGB. Buell is still close friends with Patti Smith and Debbie Harry whom she met early on, “They’re my girlfriends, these are people I’ve known since I was a young, young girl. I knew Patti when she was a poet, I knew her before she ever started singing. As far as Debbie, she was always a singer. I probably should have gotten started sooner than I did. But I had that modelling thing that Patti and Debbie didn’t have which gave me a lot of security financially. It gave me the ability to be independent. But as soon as I felt that I could, I was in it. By ’78, ’79, I was tinkering. By ’80 I had formed my first band the B-Sides. And by ’81 my first record was out. I got to work pretty quick.”
Covers Girl
After the B-Sides, Buell formed the Gargoyles and then the Bebe Buell band. Now, she’s working on a brand new band and show called Bebe Buell and the Rebel Souls which includes Bebe’s husband, Jim Walters (Das Damen) on guitar and Mindy Wright on drums. Their debut show, called “Baring It All” will take place October 27th at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. “It’s a two hour show, you will travel through my entire life. We’ll start from the very first record I put out, Covers Girl, and we will play songs and travel through my entire catalog in the first hour. The last hour of the show will be all of my new songs, all the stuff I’ve written since I’ve been in Nashville.”

If having three books in the works and a new band isn’t enough, Buell also has a movie in the works as well as hosting a TV show. The movie is set in and will be created in Nashville. She has written it, cast it and will star in it as well as co-direct. “It’s my love letter to Nashville.” The TV show she’s hosting is called Routes of Rock in which Buell will guide viewers through legendary locations where famous bands were created, albums were made and rock n’ roll history was born. How she has time for all of it, I do not know. “I’m not afraid of hard work, never have been.”

Buell with Elvis Costello
In Rebel Heart, Buell speaks of her relationship with Elvis Costello and how in love she was with him. Their relationship did not end well. After reading the book, I had to know if they two of them had ever made up.

“You know, I thought we had. Around 2012, when Linda (Ramone) threw the Commando book release party for Johnny Ramone at CBGB, he came to that party and we hugged and he told me everything was okay. I thought we had sort of made amends. But then his book came out and I read his paragraph that he [added] in there and I thought, good lord, what’s wrong with him? There’s two sides to every story. I don’t feel defined by him. There was a time when I did, and I loved him so much it was embarrassing. I was also in my twenties, I’ve grown up a lot. As far as I was concerned, I thought we had made amends. I hope that he has found the happiness that he deserves. I want him to be happy. When I look at the relationship I have with my daughter’s father, I don’t care if Elvis Costello likes me or not. Nick Lowe said the best thing, ‘I don’t what he’s so upset about, all she ever did was talk about how wonderful he was and what a great lover he was.’ You live and you learn and you grow up. And I have such a beautiful relationship with Steven (Tyler), that’s the man I created a child with. Steven’s been in my life for 43 years. I figure that’s what’s important, family.”

To read an extended interview with Bebe Buell, visit Women in Rock.

After the jump, Bebe Buell on ‘The Joe Franklin Show’ in 1981…

Posted by Izzi Krombholz | Leave a comment
Screature feature: Meet Sacramento’s ‘dark psych’ outfit. You: R.I.P.
09:50 am



Recently I’ve been listening to Four Columns by Screature a lot. The album came out last year, a joint release on the band’s Ethel Scull label and Sacto’s worthy Ss Records, and this recommendation to fellow lovers of bad and wicked sounds is overdue.

The band calls what it does “dark psych,” which is their prerogative, of course, but my ravaged ears and withering style detectors pick up a mainly goth vibe. Similarities to Bauhaus and Siouxsie aside, to me, that designation means: As I am entering the club and walking across the dance floor to the bar, the band on stage is not concerned with making me feel relaxed, sexy, confident, warm, righteous, angry, hungry or sad. They make with the fear. In fact, before even reaching the bar, I have to stop in the middle of the dance floor to use my inhaler and call my mother, and after the show, I am hesitant to approach the merch table lest the band steal my breath again. Panic is the idea.

via Bandcamp
So while the unhurried drums (Miranda Vera), hypnotic organ figures (Sarah Scherer) and reverb-laden guitar (Christopher Orr) are all integral to and necessary conditions of the Screature sound, what keeps me coming back to Four Columns is Liz Mahoney and the way she sings as if she has very bad news to deliver. You know the famous California vocal mannerism, where every sentence ends in a question mark, because, like, the pitch goes up at the end? Because “it’s all good”? Mahoney don’t play that, and she inverts the upward inflection to great effect. Her voice is smokier on this album than it was on Screature’s 2013 debut, so there’s a hint of that nice Richard Butler texture happening, too.

I’m not saying you and your friends should spend the night in a graveyard listening to Screature and drinking Boone’s Farm. I never said that. I’m just saying we’re all going to die someday.

After the jump music by Screature

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
You’ll be GG LOL’n with these GG Allin emojis!
09:35 am



Aggronautix, the company that makes those cool “throbbleheads,” has teamed up with Emoji Fame and GG Allin’s brother, Merle, to create just what the Internet needed: GG Allin emojis.

GG Allin, the deceased shit-flinging “Rock and Roll Terrorist,” known for his transgressive live act, lives on digitally in a full set of cutesy cartoon images you can use to spice up your texts. You’ll be GG LOL’n in no time with these scumfuc smileys.


Emoji Fame, the go-to company specializing in making emoji sets for musicians, has thus far primarily developed artist emojis for hip-hop and EDM acts. GG’s set is one of the first punk rock emoji sets available.

“Love him or hate him, GG Allin is an icon. The process of distilling GG into emojis was equal parts revolting and exhilarating, which I think is a good way to sum up his persona. The emojis we created for him reflect that duality,” said Gavin Rhodes, Cofounder of Emoji Fame.



“It was fun to think back and develop the imagery relating to GG and his legacy,” said Merle Allin. “These emojis are for you sick fucks who want to keep GG and his scumfuc tradition alive… Keep spreading the disease.”



In other GG goes digital news this week, the GG Allin book My Prison Walls is now available digitally for Kindle via Amazon.

The emoji set is available starting today at the Itunes Emojifame page.

If you’re one of our readers asking “GG who?,” after the jump some footage of Geeg doing his thing…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The hallucinogenic Pop artwork of Japanese master Keiichi Tanaami
12:28 pm



Album artwork for The Monkees by Keiichi Tanaami.
Keiichi Tanaami was a part of the Neo-Dada movement that was born in Tokyo, a force in art spurned forward by the vitriolic anger that was postwar Japan at the beginning of the 1960s. The goal of the painters and other creative artists that were a part of the Neo-Dada Organization (as they were called) was to create works that were “suspended between art and guerrilla warfare.” Tanaami himself was a survivor of the U.S air raids during WWII that targeted Tokyo starting in 1942 which took the lives of more than 100,000 civilians (although some estimates place the number closer to 200,000) and had been deeply affected by the war. One of the horrors that Tanaami recalls during the air raids is the vision of his father’s pet goldfish deformed body still swimming around it its bowl when his family returned from a bomb shelter after his neighborhood had been destroyed. It was this and other unspeakable sights that according to Tanaami robbed him of his childhood.

‘No More War,’ 1967.
Thankfully Tanaami would find a way to channel his grief, anger and loss into a remarkable career as one of the Japan’s most loved “pop” artists despite the fact that his own mother and the vast majority of his family were emphatically opposed to his choice of professions after discovering his passion for art during high school. Tanaami quickly found work as an artist in print media and doing commissions while still in college which would lead to a gig with the pioneering group JAAC (Japan Advertising Artists Club). The pop art influence in Tanaami’s work is vividly aparent and much of his early work centers around pop-flavored eroticism. In 1975 he got another big break after becoming the first art director for the Japanese version of Playboy magazine, called Monthly Playboy. During a trip to Playboy’s New York offices (and according to Tanaami’s extensive bio on his website) the magazine’s editor (or Hugh Hefner I’m assuming) took Tanaami to Andy Warhol’s mythical studio, the Factory. As if this wasn’t transformative enough for Tanaami his path would also cross with underground comix icon R. Crumb along the way, yet another event that helped shape Tanaami’s ever evolving visionary style.

By the time the 80s rolled around Tanaami, though still working, had developed a penchant for boozing around the clock. A lifestyle that landed the artist in a hospital bed for four months where the combination of medication used to help aid his recovery caused intense hallucinations from which he recovered, armed with an arsenal of boundary-pushing subject matter on which to draw from.

Now a triumphant eighty years old, Tanaami’s compelling work is routinely shown at museums across the world and has been the subject of a few books that celebrate various eras in his life that have included collage work and impressive sculptural interpetations of his paintings such as Keiichi Tanaami: Spiral and Keiichi Tanaami: Killer Joe’s Early Times 1965-73. Some of our more astute, artistically-inclined Dangerous Minds readers may also recognize Tanaami’s artwork from the covers of albums by Super Furry Animals and Jefferson Airplane. I’ve included Tanaami’s album art as well as a large selection of his hyper-colorful psychedelic works some of which are slightly NSFW. 



‘Two Twiggy’s.’
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
David Yow and Adam Harding talk to DM about the new Dumb Numbers video ‘Unbury the Hatchet’
10:43 am



During exactly none of the at least 20 Jesus Lizard shows I saw over the course of the ‘90s did I ever imagine that their frontman/moaner/howler-monkey-in-chief David Yow would have a career afterlife as Jimmy the simpleton janitor. But life’s weird.

Since the Jesus Lizard’s demise and in between its occasional reactivations (and a sojourn as a member of Qui), Yow has shifted direction to graphic arts and acting. He’s published books and appeared in films and music videos (someone please remake Corrupt and cast Yow in either lead role already please and thank you), and his latest project combines acting with that version of “singing” that’s his and his alone. He’s a guest vocalist for two songs on the new Dumb Numbers album, Dumb Numbers II, and the star of their new video.

Dumb Numbers is a recording project of Australian (now Los Angelean) filmmaker Adam Harding, who uses a Delaney-and-Bonnie-ish heavy friends approach to music making, recruiting his many, many collaborators from the ranks of the musicians with whom he’s made connections as a videographer. This includes not only Yow, but members of Sebadoh, Cows, Warpaint, Melvins, Dinosaur Jr., Best Coast, and Einstürzende Neubauten. Harding neatly avoids a too-many-cooks scenario, and the music coheres really well. It’s difficult to pigeonhole his sound, though certainly ‘90s underground rock figures heavily in the mix. Stoner rock, doom, post-metal, and shoegaze are all clear influences, but Harding goes in more for hooks and pop structures than those genres, occupying the huge sonic space of a band like Isis while avoiding the ponderousness that can sometimes submerge that sort of music.

Which brings us back to Jimmy the janitor. David Yow starred as the character in 2012 for a Harding-directed video by the band Useless Children. The following year, Yow would direct the first Dumb Numbers video, “Redrum,” from the band’s eponymous debut album. And now, Yow has, as mentioned above, joined Dumb Numbers as a guest vocalist on two songs from the band’s second album, and in the new video, released just yesterday, “Unbury the Hatchet.” It follows Jimmy through his surreal daylong failed attempt to go to work—with a wonderful derail to a veterinary clinic waiting room populated with grown men in animal costumes.

Yow and Harding were kind enough to take some time to talk with Dangerous Minds about the video and their collaboration.

DM: OK, I know both of you have directed videos before, which one of you directed “Unbury the Hatchet?”

Adam Harding: I did, I directed, shot and edited it. I had directed a video for a band in Melbourne called Useless Children back in 2012. That was the first thing that David and I ever worked on together, and we just had such a blast making that video, and it was the first appearance of the character “Jimmy.” Jimmy is based on a real person. When I lived in Australia I worked at a printing factory, and Jimmy was the janitor there. He was a simple fellow, and he wasn’t the best janitor in the world but he was a really lovely guy. He didn’t talk much but we bonded over music—I had a boombox and he would kind of get into whatever music I was playing. This was in the mid-‘90s. I played the first Folk Implosion record a lot, and he would dance with his broom and shake his butt. He’d headbang to Sepultura.

David Yow: [laughing] How old was Jimmy?

Harding: He would have been in his early to mid-50s then. So this character is based on Jimmy, and we did this Useless Children video with David doing the character. And over the last four years, often David would do something Jimmy-like to make us laugh, so we had a long time to come up with ideas for Jimmy. It was really really fun to be able to do that finally.

DM: OK, so David, this is obviously not someone you’ve had an opportunity to meet, so how did you develop the character, and what does performing the character mean to you?

Yow: Adam has explained to me about Jimmy. When we shot the Useless Children video, I had done some acting job earlier that day where I’d put grey in my temples, and we just kept that in there, and that became part of it to me. Also he wears a coverall uniform with a badge with his name on it, and just putting on the coverall was helpful in becoming someone else. Adam had described that Jimmy was affable, a really nice guy, not a bad bone in his body, very simple. He doesn’t worry about too much. He might be sort of mentally retarded, and with both of these videos we’ve done, he doesn’t say a word except to talk to his mother in the morning, and you don’t hear him. I’ve been doing a lot of acting in the last few years, and it was really easy to slip into that simple place where Jimmy lives.

Harding: And you put the coveralls on and your belly comes out.

Yow: I’m fat now!

Harding and Yow in “Unbury the Hatchet”

DM: Is the narrative based on anything about the actual Jimmy? Where did that come from?

Harding: It really wasn’t. I can’t remember which ideas came first. At all. I wanted my buddy Bobb from Best Coast to be in it, and he has this kind of bunny-tough persona he does, he has this old dirty bunny costume that he wears when he does solo shows. I wanted Bobb to be in the video, and from there came the gorilla costume, trying to incorporate those. I knew I wanted Jimmy to be going to work and never getting there.

Yow: And just so you and the rest of the world know, the Gorilla is Matt Cronk from Qui.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Alice Cooper à Paris’: His totally cracked-out 1982 French TV special
10:14 am



Poster for Alice Cooper’s 1982 French tour
Though the man himself doesn’t remember much of it, heavy Alice fans of my acquaintance adore his new wave period. It’s been some years since I worked in a record store, but I bet you can still pick up most of these albums for a song: Flush the Fashion, where AC out-Numans Numan on “Clones”; Special Forces, the one with the manic cover of Love’s “7 And 7 Is”; Zipper Catches Skin, where Alice’s dead dog comes back to life to save him from getting run over by a truck; and the no-shit start-to-finish masterpiece DaDa, which reunited the singer with writing partner Dick Wagner and producer Bob Ezrin.

To promote the French leg of the Special Forces tour, Alice and band filmed this hourlong TV special in France. Roughly the first two-thirds consists of promo films they made on the cheap in the Republic’s wrecking yards, escalators, Métro stations and meat lockers. Then, after a gag “interview” by a really familiar French journalist named “Vincent Furnier,” there follows a TV studio recreation of the Alice Cooper live experience as it was in 1982.

To be sure, these are not the definitive versions of classics like “Generation Landslide” and “Eighteen.” However, I think this video for “Clones,” filmed in front of a heap of junked cars with the band holding a bedsheet and AC wrapped in duct tape, lays waste to the official one they made with a smoke machine, a wardrobe and a second camera. And director Agnès Delarive’s sequencing and setting of “Cold Ethyl” and “Only Women Bleed” is inspired.

Skeleton Alice and his ‘82 band mime “Model Citizen” in a Métro station
If you’re wondering why Alice looks like a moldering cadaver in this footage, check out Supermensch, the documentary about the improbable life of manager Shep Gordon that’s still streaming on Netflix. There (unless it’s Super Duper Alice Cooper I’m thinking of), Alice is pretty open about the cubic miles of freebase smoke he was sucking down during the early ‘80s. (No fool, Gordon stuck to slam-dancing with Mr. Greenjeans, as I’m sure he affirms in his new memoir, They Call Me Supermensch. “Let’s burn another one soon, Shep,” Willie Nelson says in his blurb.)

See it, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Ike and Tina Turner’s former home is for sale and it’s a GROOVY 1970s time capsule
08:46 am



A four bedroom home located in View Park, California that was once owned by none other than Ike and Tina Turner is for sale. It was last sold in 1977 to a woman named Amanda Pittman. According to Pittman, she kept some of the Turner’s furnishings intact and well, as you can plainly see… she didn’t really update it at all. It’s a 1970s time capsule to say the very least. In fact, some of the scenes from What’s Love Got to Do With It—a movie based on Tina Turner’s life—was filmed in the house.

Pittman recalls that Ike Turner had the sofas custom-made, but they were upholstered in a red, possibly velvet material that she disliked, so she had them redone in beige. (Owners are still determining whether or not the furniture is up for sale, says listing agent Ken Conant.)

That’s a deal breaker!

The home is listed at 999k. You can see more photos here.



More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Meet the Father of Prog Rock
02:34 pm

Pop Culture


For some the question is Prog Rock—who’s to blame? But that’s more than a tad unfair. For at its heart Progressive Rock was about great musicianship—virtuoso players who played their instruments more like classical musicians than buskers. It may have been indulgent with endless noodling guitar solos, bass solos and eighteen-minute-long drum solos—but this should not detract from the high quality of musicianship which at the very least deserves tribute.

Most musical genres are born out the cross pollination of different musical styles. Usually there are one or two pioneers who can be credited with starting the whole thing off. In the case of Prog Rock that honor goes to one (not so very well known) Scot by the name of Billy Ritchie and his band 1-2-3.

Ritchie was born and raised in the small village of Forth—nestling midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Born the year of the D-Day landings, Ritchie started off his musical career playing harmonica as a boy. Coming from a working class family meant that owning a musical instrument was not one of life’s necessities. His talent as keyboard player may never have flourished had it not been for a neighbor throwing out an old piano. The piano was reclaimed and given a new home. Though in disrepair, Ritchie quickly taught himself to become a wizard on the ivories.

The facility with which he learned to play the piano made Ritchie think he was just an okay player. He didn’t fully appreciate his staggering musical talent as a pianist until he joined a band. While his fellow bandmates found it difficult to pick up on one of the more tricksy rock ‘n’ roll tracks—Ritchie could master the song—any song—after just one hearing.

He also had a great ability to improvise variations on any song—reinventing it as something altogether new. His talent for arrangement was to play a key part in the development of the Prog Rock gestalt. Another key was his choice of Hohner Clavinet as his preferred instrument. In the years of guitar bands no one played the organ and no one took the instrument seriously, but Billy Ritchie’s chosen keyboard (he later changed it to the Hammond organ) was another key influence in shaping the Prog Rock sound.
Ritchie played with various bands eventually joining The Satellites in the early 1960s. He then joined up with another group—The Premiers who become the Prog Rock pioneers 1-2-3 around 1966—and were later renamed Clouds in 1968.

In 2011, Prog Archives interviewed the band about their earliest beginnings:

When, where and by whom was Clouds started ? Did any of you, past and present Clouds members, play in any other bands before joining up in Clouds? Why did you choose that name?

In 1964, Ian (Ellis) and Harry (Hughes) were playing together in a group called ‘The Premiers.’ The line-up of the band was two guitars, bass, drums (Harry), and vocalist (Ian). The band decided to recruit an organist, and Billy (Ritchie) joined (1965). Billy had been playing in a band called ‘The Satellites.’ The organ was so obviously the leading instrument, it changed the dynamic of the band, the lead guitarist left, the band fragmented, leaving just Ian, Billy, and Harry, and we decided to start a new band together.

We wanted to do something different, and as there were only three of us, we decided to call the band 1-2-3, it seemed a hip name, and something different, like the band itself. It was only much later (the winter of 1967) that we became Clouds. The name was chosen by our new manager, Terry Ellis. He felt we needed a fresh start and a new name. We never liked the name, we preferred 1-2-3.

Usually keyboard players are situated to the side and back when a band perform live, but Ritchie rejected this formation. He wanted to play up front, center stage under the spotlight. He was also one of the first—if not the very first—to play keys standing up. Sure Jerry Lee Lewis played standing up but he alternated between standing and sitting and occasionally even jumping on the piano. Ritchie didn’t.

Back to the interview:

Not many people know this, but Clouds was one of the first bands who combined rock and classic music. If not the first band, that is. Other bands like The Nice, Genesis, Procol Harum, Yes and ELP followed suit. How did you get this idea and how did this idea really take off in Clouds?

1-2-3 was the earliest band to play that form of music. It was only later that this style became part of what would be called progressive rock. We were certainly the only band around the Marquee and London scene playing that form of music, though experimentation was beginning to take place in other ways. Cream, and Pink Floyd, are the other names that spring to mind, though all three of us were trying new music from different directions. It just so happens that our music seemed to find a branch of its own in progressive channels. The basic idea was rewritten versions of pop music songs, and it all sprang from Billy, who had a very radical approach to the arrangements. He took the view that anything was possible, and there were no barriers. The blueprint he used was the exact model that Yes used a year or so later.

Ritchie was taking songs by other artists—sometimes songs that had as yet not been recorded—and turned them into something different—something exciting. He took Paul Simon’s “America” before it was recorded in 1968 and rearranged it onto a jazz—rock—proto-Prog song. He did the same with David Bowie’s “I Dig Everything.”
More on the birth of Prog Rock with Billy Ritchie and 1-2-3, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Spiders ‘tune’ their webs, just like guitar strings
12:56 pm



A team of researchers from the United Kingdom and Spain has demonstrated that spiders are capable of tuning their webs for the purpose of receiving information about the local environment, including the presence of prey and potential mates.

Similar to the strings of a finely tuned instrument, every strand of spider silk conveys vibrations across a wide range of frequencies over the span of a web. Spiders require a system like this to detect the presence of prey and mates, as their visual acuity is very low.

The general phenomenon has been understood by scientists for some time; what wasn’t clear were the precise characteristics of these vibrations or (more to the point) whether spiders exercised control over the practice. Researchers from Oxford University and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have released a study, available in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, that looks into the material properties of spider webs and the way that vibrations propagate through the silken strands. The team has shown that spiders do in fact tune their webs to transmit specific messages. The paper’s title is “Tuning the Instrument: Sonic Properties in the Spider’s Web.”

The researchers used lasers to measure the tiny vibrations, isolating three particular features that allow spiders to turn their webs into data transmitters: web tension, silk stiffness, and overall web architecture. It turns out that spiders are capable of manipulating all three of these characteristics.

Spiders “tune” the waves that emanate from the web by adjusting the web’s tension and the stiffness of the web’s outer rim and spokes, also known as the dragline. In fact, spider webs are so customizable, the researchers hypothesize that some properties of silk evolved for this very purpose. Quoting from the paper’s abstract:

[W]e propose that dragline silk supercontraction may have evolved as a control mechanism for these multifunctional fibres. The various degrees of active influence on web engineering reveals the extraordinary ability of spiders to shape the physical properties of their self-made materials and architectures to affect biological functionality, balancing trade-offs between structural and sensory functions.

Unsurprisingly, the cunning evolved knowledge that a spider uses to construct its web far exceeds a simple “hope for the best“ model. Spiders actually tweak their webs to ensure the propagation of specific vibrations. The primary purpose of a web is to trap prey, but the structure of the web is optimized to capture important information about the area. Spiders constructing and then fine-tune their webs to act as a multi-function device.
via Gizmodo

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘He was like a walking hit of acid’: Remembering Rex Thompson of the Summer Hits (1968-2016)
11:59 am



Rex in the Sea of Cortez, Baja Mexico 2001
Rex in the Sea of Cortez, Baja Mexico 2001 Sasha Eisenman/Sun-Godz
In the early 1990’s a 22-year old surfer kid from Newport Beach hit the L.A. music scene and turned it inside out. Rex Kingsley Thompson (nickname: “Tatarex”) was a thin, cool, attractive, 6’4” tall creation that looked like he had just arrived in a time machine. His band The Summer Hits released a handful of singles between 1992-1996 and were played on BBC Radio 1 by legendary deejay John Peel. Then like a flash, Rex left southern California for Europe without a penny in his pocket where he spent twelve years exploring chic, tropical islands and castles with beautiful women of royalty. Last week the news of Rex’s passing at the age of 47 hit the internet and saddened thousands of friends and followers who recount his super unconventional lifestyle and profound cult-like influence on people everywhere he went.
Known around skateboard parks for always drinking pink lemonade, Tatarex was also somewhat of a local at “The Wedge” in Orange County, a surfing spot just off the end of the Balboa Peninsula popular for its big waves and laid-back lifestyle. As a mohawked youth back in Glendora, Rex had originally intended to be a tennis player but once he hit his 20’s and left home he began shifting his focus towards other interests such as fashion, the beach, music, and recreational drug use. “He walked around like he was this psychedelic blue blood sometimes. You know what I mean? Because he was always asking everybody about their fashion, and clothes, and hygiene, and appearance. He didn’t judge you he would just kind of point people in the direction of the finer things in life. Not just expensive things, but the things that make you live free and think that you can really enjoy life” says longtime friend Brent Rademaker.
Rex drove around in a Volkswagon bus he called “Peanut” searching local vintage stores for groovy clothes and groovy records. Brent recalls the modes of communication before cell phones existed: “He worked at the Newport Classic Inn, I’d call him there. The only way to get in touch with him would be to call him at work. He’d answer the phone ‘Good afternoon the Newport Classic Inn Hotel this is Rex speaking’ It was kind of like the thing in Quadrophenia when the Ace Face gets outed as a bellboy. I even went down there and Rex is dressed in a button-down shirt with a tie. Darren and I came from Florida and Rex really lived all things west coast and lived all things southern California. He made us honorary Californians and he didn’t treat us as outsiders.”
The Summer Hits, mid-'90s collage courtesy of Brent Rademaker
The Summer Hits, mid-‘90s collage courtesy of Brent Rademaker
With no prior musical experience or training, Rex picked up a left-handed bass and taught himself to play. After his first band fell apart (a C86 influenced local group called Speed Racer) Rex formed The Summer Hits by recruiting friends Darren Rademaker and Josh Schwartz (of the lo-fi “indie rock” band Further). They released a handful of 7"s on labels such as Small-Fi, Volvolo, Silver Girl, and 1000 Guitar Mania. Rex’s unique singing voice on the 8-track recordings was nearly drowned out by a wall of fuzz and feedback, with lyrics that reflected all of his most favorite things: summer, the beach, drugs, listening to music, girls, runnin’ from the fuzz, and retreating into the desert night.
In 1997 the year following the band’s split, Brent issued The Summer Hits compilation CD on his own label Xmas Records. “I took every dime I had to put that Beaches and Canyons CD together. I found all the comp tracks and all the singles and all the tapes and I took them down to Capitol (Records) tower and mastered them. The guy looked at me like I was insane when it came on. You know? And I’m like ‘Can you add even more fuzz?’ and he’s like ‘What?! I can’t clean these up,’ I said ‘I don’t want you to clean them up, I want you to make them dirtier.’”

Besides being the life of the party and a psychedelic social butterfly, Rex Thompson had been making amazing mixtapes which were then duplicated and passed down by friends and friends of friends. The more tapes Rex made the deeper the tracks got and the more extensive his handwritten linear notes became.  One tape of Rex’s in particular titled Find the Sun really stood out amongst his circle of friends and focused on recordings from 1966-1973 by groups all over the world experimenting with the “west coast sound.” Rex’s personal description of the tape was “Magic hippie vibes for lost cosmic children with countrified brains.” Brent recalls, “It had a great title and it was full of obscure, beautiful, beautiful groups. One day Chris Gunst, Josh Schwartz, and I were listening to that tape and one of us just said ‘We can make a group that sounds like this.’ Slowly our clothes started changing, next thing Chris was wearing cowboy western shirts.” L.A. supergroup Beachwood Sparks was formed, they had a successful career on Sub Pop Records and were later featured on the soundtrack to the 2010 cult classic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. “We wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for that tape and Rex’s influence.”
Radio Stars vol.8 mixtape courtesy of Sasha Eisenman
“Radio Stars vol.8” mixtape courtesy of Sasha Eisenman/Sun-Godz
Find the Sun mixtape linear notes courtesy of Maura Klosterman
“Find the Sun” mixtape linear notes courtesy of Maura Klosterman
“Another thing that speaks so highly of Rex, the linear notes on his tapes are so in depth. And I’m not saying that the pre-internet world didn’t learn or share knowledge or do research. But at what he had at his disposal he really went in depth and he knew what he was talking about when he was talking about country rock, psych, folk, west coast garage, fuzz. Whatever it was, he knew it.”
More after the jump…

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