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Retro wonderland: exploring the postmodern aesthetics of ‘90s Taco Bell interior design
02.07.2017
09:23 am

Topics:
Design
Pop Culture

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Taco Bell in Las Vegas, NV courtesy of @heycomet‘s instagram
 
The year is 2017, you’re driving across the country and you’ve decided to pull over at a random offramp for a quick bite. You’re not familiar with your locale, but you see a familiar restaurant and you’re hungry so you put your better judgment aside and walk into a Taco Bell. As soon as you enter you are instantly transported 25 years into the past, a time capsule of early 90’s interior design. You are standing in one of the very last Taco Bell franchises that have not yet succumb to the horrible, present day faux-Tuscan make-over.

It was the Milan-based Italian design and architecture company The Memphis Group and their fun, colorful, geometric, postmodern aesthetic that were responsible for this specific style of design. The Art Deco and Pop Art movements collided in all their concepts throughout the 1980s. By the time the 1990s rolled around the style had become so mainstream and widely popular that it could be seen all over television, such as on shows like Saved by the Bell where the gang from Bayside High School hung out in a similarly wacky diner called The Max.

Los Angeles-based interior designer Jared Frank of Topsy Design explains just how quickly Memphis trends trickled down into popular culture. “On TV you could find it, most noticeably all over MTV, which was postmodern not just in design but also in its very style of programming. Another thoroughly postmodern show in both design and concept was Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The Simpsons flirts with it. And of course, every coked-out ‘80s movie about a movie producer, record executive, or radio deejay is guaranteed to show sets that look like Otho from Beetlejuice was asked to design an office space.”

Luckily I was not alone in my nostalgic love of Taco Bell’s past designs. Photographer Phil Donohue (not to be confused with talk show host Phil Donahue) began using film to document the few remaining Taco Bell locations in California that were still home to that beautiful pink, purple, red, and turquoise color combination, artificial plants, and squiggly geometric shapes. “Most of the design from the ‘80s and ‘90s was so quickly discarded for something even more corporatized and mediocre that I wanted to contextualize what was left before it was gone,” Donohue said via e-mail. “Capturing it digitally seemed to only highlight this mediocrity so shooting on film was, for me, the best way to translate this feeling of what the past was, with what is still present. I probably have another year or two before a lot of what is genuinely out there is gone — before everything is stuccoed over or faux-Tuscan.”

Of course, true experts of the postmodern movement will not be fooled by imitators. “In light of Robert Venturi calling out emergent ‘70s architecture as, ‘communication over space’ these Taco Bell interiors are cleanability over communication.” explained Matthew Sullivan of AQQ Design. “Hyper-cleanliness is the designer here—from the impermeable upholstery, to the visible floor drains, down to the drip or crumb channels or whatever the fuck those recesses in the banquets are called. It’s operating room meets diner- super Ballardian. Personally I could never make a value judgment—should be labeled something like disinfranchisementarianism. Looks as fine a place as any to stomp on someone’s face or make-out or enjoy a double-decker-taco-supreme.”

So why did it go away? “Culture eats itself” designer Jared Frank concluded. “Folks then reacted against the exuberance of PoMo and found safety in the corporate style of the ‘90s. And then folks reacted against that with the ‘new sincerity,’ the ‘authentic,’ all those horrible reclaimed wood walls. And of course, Taco Bell followed suit, jumping onboard the latest trends just as they’re flaming out.”
 

Taco Bell in Milpitas, CA courtesy of yelp user Maria A.
 

Taco Bell in Anaheim, CA courtesy of @heycomet‘s instagram
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
1978: The year the world bowed to the power of Styx (or ‘TV spot bites off more than it can chew’)
02.01.2017
11:22 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

 
dadzax
 
I’m not here to convince you of Styx’s late 70s glory—I have a video to do that. It’s a fruitless endeavor anyway. The fact of the matter is, Styx were never cool in the way other once-monolithic hard rock acts like Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Thin Lizzy or even BTO were. Despite a name that dips into the spookier end of Greek mythology and a penchant for trippy concept albums, Styx never dabbled in the black arts, and despite their alleged rampant cocaine use, they never seemed even remotely dangerous. But it’s much worse than that. I’ve been crunching the numbers and their odious 1973 mega-smash “Lady” might be the first significant power ballad, the shameful template that later spawned puffball horrors like “I Want To Know What Love Is,” “Keep On Lovin’ You,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Sister Christian.” Actually that last one is a dope jam, but you know what I’m talking about. Styx was the gateway drug to 80s AOR rock, the boring, toothless garbage that played in mall food courts. If they came out today, Styx would be The Decemberists or some shit.
 
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Anyway, the Chicago band had reached their commercial apex in 1977 when they released their Grand Illusion album, which shot to triple-platinum status mostly on the strength of yet another power ballad, the over the top diabetes-maker “Come Sail Away.” Naturally, they hit the road to support it and spent basically all of 1978 on tour. It was one of the biggest concert treks of the year. Times may have been changing on the dancefloor and on the left end of the radio dial, but Styx were not afraid of the Sex Pistols or the Village People or anybody, really. They had cocaine, they had hits, and they had the endless road.

Styx’s tour mates throughout the year were a mixed bag of the classic (Thin Lizzy), the Canadian (Trooper, Mahogany Rush), the futuristic (Cars, Dire Straits), the ridiculous (Angel) and the hopelessly obscure (Head East, Starcastle). Lizzy notwithstanding, this was not the hottest hard rock package deal money could buy, especially since KISS, Queen, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, AC/DC and Judas Priest were all on the road, too. So how do you get skeptical pre-teen headbangers like yours cruelly psyched for a band who wore satin and sang songs about The Lord of the Rings?

With literally the most kick-ass tour promo TV ad of all time.

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Meet Dorothée: The French Olivia Newton-John look-a-like who sang about Ewoks and Dungeons & Dragons
01.31.2017
12:23 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Television

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Dorothée is the stage name of Frédérique Hoschedé, the TV host whose hit children’s show Club Dorothée ran in France for ten years. With an insane daily schedule which included a before-school show, an after-school show, and all day long broadcasts on holidays… thousands of kids spent nearly 20 hours a week watching Dorothée on their television sets. Despite the show’s extreme popularity with children, Club Dorothée‘s tight shooting schedule made it nearly impossible for the writers and producers to turnaround any sort of quality, and many teachers, parents, and intellectuals attacked Club Dorothée for being violent, lazy, and even racist programming.

Dorothée received her first break in 1973 when she was asked to host a short children’s program called Dorothée and Blablatus. Blablatus was a skinny, pink, Charles Dickens looking muppet who wore polka dot bow tie and a top hat. Program manager Eliane Victor declared that Dorothée was incompetent for the hosting job and fired her, she then spent the next several years working as a secretary in a plumbing fixture factory, as a waitress, and as a sandwich maker in a supermarket. In 1977 at the age of 24, Dorothée got a second chance at fame when she was hired to host the program Dorothée and her Friends. The show was co-presented by famous French cartoonist Cabu (who sadly became a victim of the January 2015 shootings at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices).
 
In March 1980, Dorothée released her first album Dorothée in the Land of Songs which sold 70,000 copies. She then proceeded to record one album a year from 1982 to 1997. Among her many hits were “Les Schtroumpfs” (a theme for The Smurfs), “Les petits Ewoks,” written for the Star Wars made-for-TV film movie Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, and “Donjons et dragons” (for the animated television series Dungeons & Dragons based on the role-playing game). “Allo allo monsieur l’ordinateur” (“Hello Hello Mister Computer”) was a tongue in cheek song about asking love advice from a machine and in “La valise” she sang about the items she put in her luggage, and released a new version of the song on every album. For her live concert performances, Dorothée would be joined on stage by actors wearing Ewok costumes.
 

 
In 1987, Dorothée and her producers were contacted by rival channel TF1 who offer her a higher budget, attractive salary, and a bigger studio. Club Dorothée immediately became an institution with its wild cartoons, sketches, and games. Children who were members of the studio audience could win a variety of prizes: everything from expensive gifts to series pins and subscriptions to Dorothée magazine. Dorothée presented several music episodes where she sang along with guest stars like Chuck Berry, Percy Sledge, Cliff Richard, and Ray Charles. “I have very good memories, it was non-stop craziness,” she said in an August 2012 interview. 
 
Adults were highly critical of Club Dorothée, they thought games and the sketches were ridiculous, stupid, and noneducational. Channel TF1 purchased a high volume of Japanese cartoons to help fill out the length of each program. These cartoons were poorly dubbed and broadcast without first being reviewed. Many parents found them to be too violent for children, and many complaints were filed to the CSA (the french equivalent of the FCC) after one particular cartoon featured a character wearing a Nazi-like symbol. Viewers also complained about the blatant lack of diversity in the show, pointing out that the only black people ever to have appeared on Club Dorothée were represented by the most archaically outdated stereotypes imaginable, such as a “comedic” dance sequence for a song called “Banania.”
 

 
In addition, the actors often complained about the bad sketches and dialogue that were presented to them on a daily basis. “We do not talk like that, the endless sentences that don’t mean anything, the tirades that have nothing to do with anything… we have been legally bound to go along with these scripts that don’t make any sense” said actor Philippe Vasseur. Terrible rumors about Dorothée began spreading in the early days of the internet: that she hated children, had previously acted in pornographic films, and was only interested in making money. As audience viewership and album sales declined, Club Dorothée was finally canceled in August 1997 after a ten-year run. When the show ended, Dorothée disappeared from the spotlight and immediately fell into the “Where are they now?” file. 
 

 

 

 

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
The kick-ass movie poster art of Frank McCarthy
01.30.2017
07:24 am

Topics:
Art
Movies
Pop Culture

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‘Where Eagles Dare’ (1968).
 
I don’t go to cinema as much as I once did. In large part because there is too much stuff out there waiting to be seen in places other than the cinema but also because today’s movie posters don’t sell their product. Most of them—and okay there are quite a few exceptions—look like they’re selling something other than a damn good film. They could be hawking deodorant, beer, suppositories—anything but a movie. They’re bland, anonymous, tasteful, safe and utterly in-o-fucking-fensive. They look like they’ve been designed by a committee of cockwombles who are all dressed in identical wool shirts and bowties who like to stroke their imaginary beards and talk about you know nuance.

That’s not the movie posters I like. I want to see the ingredients on the label first before I consume the product. That’s why I dig the artwork of Frank McCarthy.

McCarthy (1924-2002) produced a staggering and unparalleled selection of movie posters, book covers and magazine illustrations during his long and respected career. When I look at one of McCarthy’s film posters I know I’m gonna go and watch this movie—even it turns out to be a piece of shit—because he sold me the damned thing in a single image.

McCarthy started out copying frames from his favorite comic strips. After high school, he attended Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute where he majored in illustration. And so on and so on, into his career as a commercial artist. But you know an artist’s life is rarely as interesting as their work and McCarthy’s film work is the best. Just look at the way he gets the whole thing down to a few key painstakingly detailed scenes. That’s how you sell a movie.
 
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‘The Chairman’ (1969).
 
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‘Danger Diabolik’ (1968).
 
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‘The Dirty Dozen’ (1967).
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The subversive world of Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies: Underground comic satirizes 70s rock
01.24.2017
03:10 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

RRM1
 
Ahh, the endless subversive thrills of underground comix. It is hard to fathom in these everything-goes days of informational overload, but during their early 70’s heyday, they were a thumb in the eye to everything holy and sacred about American culture, including its worship of bland, morally-incorruptible superheroes. Instead of lame-os like Superman and Captain America we had pervy creeps like Fritz the Cat and weed-smoking slackers The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Rife with drugs, violence, sex and sedition, these thoroughly adult “funnybooks” were counter-cultural timebombs. Once you’ve read an issue of Bizarre Sex, Death Rattle or Cocaine Funnies, Archie and Jughead just won’t do anymore.
 
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The underground comics (or “comix” as they were widely known) phenomenon sprouted from the fertile artistic well of San Francisco in the late 1960s. Some of its earliest practitioners/pioneers included Gilbert Shelton (Freak Brothers), S. Clay Wilson (The Checkered Demon), Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead) and of course Robert Crumb (Zap Comix, Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural). It took a few years for these gritty, greasy comics to slither across the pond, especially since Britain had a knack for banning this kind of hippy-dippy counter-culture stuff. In fact, the bible of British hippies, Oz magazine, was undergoing an obscenity trial in 1972 and was withering on the vine when it split off into its own short-lived underground comic offshoot, cOZmic Comics. The title combined strips borrowed from American comics with new British artists like Mike Weller, Ed Barker and Malcolm Livingstone and became the flagship for underground comics in the UK.
 
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Cozmic Comics ran for three years and eventually a handful of spin-offs were released, including Animal Weirdness, Half-Assed Funnies, and Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies. Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies only ran for two issues and then vanished, but it serves as a crucial snapshot of an era that treated its rock stars like untouchable gods. As is the job of any subversive, Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies turned that notion on its head, filling its pages with zonked out weirdos blowing their minds and millions on drugs and death trips. Many of the stories in both issues were written by musician/journalist Mick Farren and drawn by Dave Gibbons, who would later go on to fairly massive success with titles like 2000 AD and The Watchmen.
 
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None of the stories are particularly hard-hitting and everyone’s favorite, a tawdry descent into drugs and debauchery by a Crumb-ian rock n’ roll cat named “Dirty Pussy,” was never credited. But what makes these two comics so eminently cult-y are the stunning covers by American artist Greg Irons. Irons was a prolific poster artist from SF who had worked on the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film and was also responsible for the frequently hair-raising underground horror comic Slow Death. He died in 1984 after getting hit by a bus in Thailand, which is a helluva time/place/way to go. The covers he created for Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies achieve what they’re supposed to—portray a slice of live, out-of-control, all-knobs-to-the-right rock action. But in his attempt to concoct the freakiest, wiggest-out cartoon bands imaginable, Irons managed to lampoon rock stars who didn’t even exist yet. Issue one’s skinny glam rocker is such a shoo-in for Antichrist Superstar-era Marilyn Manson that you would assume he was capable of time travel or ESP, and issue 2’s thoroughly amazing blood-splattered tableau seems to predict both hardcore punk and corpse-painty black metal in one-over-the top image.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
When Sparks formed a band with Franz Ferdinand: The best of FFS live
01.24.2017
10:21 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Pop Culture

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0ffs.jpg
 
Wait a moment. Hold it. Just back up a second. Let me see. Nope, we haven’t as yet covered FFS on Dangerous Minds. So, okay, let me sort this little oversight out right now.

FFS is the group formed by Sparks and Franz Ferdinand circa 2014 when they started recording their scintillating and perfectly formed eponymously titled album together. This glittering 24-carat nugget was released in June 2015 to rave reviews and promoted with a series of sell-out, headline concerts all across Europe and in parts of America.

So far so good.

But let’s hold on a second. For you see, in a way, FFS really all began back in 2004 when Franz Ferdinand, a four piece out of Glasgow Scotland, released their second single. This was a little number called “Take Me Out” which kinda put the band on the international playlist and hit the number three spot in both the UK pop charts and on Billboard’s Alternative Songs listings.

Apart from all the admiring reviews and sudden expectations, Franz Ferdinand’s single was heard by two brothers living out on the west coast of America in Los Angeles. Nothing too unusual about that except these two brothers happened to be pop royalty, Ron and Russell Mael, who for over forty have been producing some of the greatest most original and utterly delicious art pop/alternative music as the legendary band Sparks. Ron and Russell liked what they heard and decided Franz Ferdinand were creating a similar kind of original and utterly gorgeous music to themselves.

Sometime shortly after this, Ron and Russell (or Russell and Ron) read in the music press that Franz Ferdinand were big, big, big, big fans of Sparks. Now, this all happened around the time Franz Ferdinand were gigging in LA. So, word went out from one band to the other and a meeting was arranged “for no particular reason.” Well, probably other than to share a little mutual admiration. They met in a coffee shop and at the end of their little conversation together came the suggestion “We should do something together some time.”
 
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Now, Ron Mael describes this kind of coda as “Usually, that’s an empty kind of expression between bands.” But Sparks really got on with Franz Ferdinand and they liked what they were doing. So Ron and Russell wrote the song “Piss Off” which they sent over to Franz Ferdinand.

But like life, promises tend to drift with the pull of work commitments and personal relationships and well, you know. So, nothing happened until one day, almost a decade later…

Franz Ferdinand were playing in San Francisco at the very same as time as Sparks. The band’s lead singer Alex Kapranos was out wandering the streets looking for a dentist—Huey Lewis’s dentist to be precise—who he sought to fix some broken teeth. Looking for the right address, Kapranos suddenly heard a voice ask, “Alex is that you?” And lo, almost miraculously, there was Ron and Russell (or Russell and Ron) standing right behind him. And then they said, “Whatever happened to that project?”

Franz Ferdinand were about to release their fourth album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action while Sparks had released their epic live album Two Hands, One Mouth: Live in Europe. This time Kapranos decided not to let things slip, “I remember sitting down with the others and saying, ‘It doesn’t matter how busy we are, we have to make this happen.”
Watch highlights of FFS on tour, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Twin Peaks’ vinyl figures to be released in March
01.24.2017
09:27 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:


 
Two months before Twin Peaks is set to premiere on May 21, toy manufacturer Funko will be releasing their Pop! Television line of vinyl figures depicting characters from the beloved reborn cult TV series. The figures are expected to be in stores by the end of March 2017.

The Pop! toys feature Laura Palmer, Dale Cooper, Audrey Horne, the Log Lady, Leland Palmer and Killer Bob.


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Thrill to ‘The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor,’ forgotten comic book hero
01.23.2017
11:14 am

Topics:
Art
Occult
Pop Culture

Tags:

01dr7april74.jpg
#7 April 1974.
 
Excuse me while I drool. I know it’s not polite but really what else can I do? Having missed out on this classic comic book horror series The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor the first time around, I really don’t have much choice. You see, being landlocked on a distant island far, far off the coast of America, Doctor Spektor never made house calls to my neighborhood comic book emporium in Edinburgh or even Glasgow. There were lots of Spideys and Hulks and Avengers but much less of my preferred taste in the Boris Karloff’s or even the Cryptkeeper’s ghoulish delights to keep my boyhood imagination suitably fevered.

And look what I missed….

The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor was the brainchild of one Donald F. Glut—a whizzkid filmmaker who made a total of 41 amateur movies during his teens and early twenties. These mini-movies featured “dinosaurs, the Frankenstein Monster, teenage monsters, Superman and other superheroes”—basically anything that took his fancy. Though none of these films were blessed with any real script they did achieve enough “notoriety”—mainly through the pages of Famous Monster of Filmland—to allow Glut to rope in actors like Glenn Strange—the man who filled the Frankenstein’s monster’s boots after Boris Karloff moved on—to take part on his features. Strange starred as (who else?) the Frankenstein Monster in Glut’s The Adventures of the Spirit in 1963.

Glut’s last amateur film was his take on Spider-Man in 1969 which was a seriously loopy Ed Wood-like film.

But anyhow….

His apprenticeship in home movies earned him a career as a scriptwriter for film and TV. He wrote novelizations of films, too—most notably for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He also wrote storylines for comic books like Marvel’s Captain America (1978) and X-Men Adventures (1993) as well as DC’s House of Mystery (1974-81) among many, many other titles. Since the mid-1990s, Glut has been carving a niche as a writer/director of exploitation horror films like The Erotic Rites of Countess Dracula (2001), Countess Dracula’s Blood Orgy (2004) and most recently Dances with Werewolves (2016).

But we don’t need to know that. What we do need to know is that Glut created the sophisticated Doctor Adam Spektor—occult detective and monster hunter. (Imagine having that on your business card…) Spektor along with his Native American assistant Lakota Rainflower investigated strange goings on in the weird and terrifying supernatural world of vampires, werewolves, ancient curses and swamp creatures.

Now having just about caught up with—or rather having enjoyed a prescription of—Doctor Spektor’s marvellously thrilling adventures I just wanted to share my enthusiasm for Glut and artist Jesse Santos’ work. Look at these covers—just look at ‘em. They are awesome, aren’t they?

The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor ran from May 1973 to February 1977. And while there has been a pale reboot since, here’s a gallery of Santos’ excellent cover art for Glut’s debonair hero who almost manages to make wearing a bolo tie and a goatee beard seem cool.
 
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#9 August 1974.
 
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#23 December 1976.
 
More fabulous covers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Ballroom Blitz’: The teenage rampage that inspired Sweet’s greatest hit
01.23.2017
09:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

01sweetballr.jpg
 
Well now, I suppose you could call it art out of chaos. That in a sequinned nutshell is the story behind Sweet‘s “The Ballrooom Blitz.” For glam rock’s catchiest trashiest most lovable song was inspired by a riot that saw the band bottled off the stage at the Grand Hall, Palace Theater, Kilmarnock, Scotland, in 1973. Boys spat and hurled abuse while girls screamed their loudest to drown out the music. Hardly the kind of welcome one would expect for a pop group best known for their million selling singles “Little Willy,” “Wig-Wam Bam” and of course their number one smash “Block Buster.”

Why this literal teenage rampage (the title of another Sweet hit) ever occurred and what caused such unwarranted and let’s be frank unnecessary violence against such four lovable glam rockers has been the focus of much speculation over the years.

One suggestion was the band’s androgynous nay effeminate appearance in figure-hugging clothes, eye-shadow, glitter, long hair and lipstick—in particular the gorgeous bass player Steve Priest—was all too much for the sexually binary lads and lassies o’ Killie.

Bass player Priest thinks so and has said as much in his autobiography Are You Ready Steve? But this does raise the question as to why an audience of teenage Sweet-haters would pay their hard-earned pocket money to go and see a bunch of overtly camp rockers they hated?

Money was tight. After all this was 1973 when the country was beset by cash shortages, food shortages, strike action, power cuts and three-day work weeks. People couldn’t afford to waste their readies on some pseudo queer bashing.

Moreover, homosexuality was out and proud, Rocky Horror was on the stage, Bowie was the androgynous Ziggy Stardust, teen magazines were giving boys make-up tips, and the #1 youth program was the BBC’s music show Top of the Pops—on which Sweet appeared to have a weekly residency.

Another possible reason for such fury was the virulent rumor Sweet didn’t play their instruments and were just a “manufactured” band like The Monkees. This story gained credence as the famous song-writing duo of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who wrote and produced Sweet’s hit singles were well-known to prefer using session musicians to actual members of a given group. It was just easier and faster to leave it to the pros.

The sliver of truth in this well-known rumor was the fact Sweet only sang on their first three Chinn-Chapman singles “Funny, Funny”, “Co-Co” and “Poppa Joe”. It wasn’t until the fourth “Little Willy” that Chinn and Chapman realized Sweet were in fact way better musicians than any hired hand and so allowed the band to do what they did best—play their own instruments.
 
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Give us a wink…
 
Chinn and Chapman may have blessed Sweet with their Midas hit-making skills but it came at a price. This unfortunately meant the band was dismissed by London’s snobbish music press as sugar-coated pop for the saccharine generation. A harsh and unfair assessment. But this may also have added to the audience’s ire.

In an effort to redefine themselves with the public Sweet also tended to avoid playing their best known teenybopper hits when on tour. Instead they liked to perform their own compositions—the lesser known album tracks—and a set of standard rock covers. A band veering from the songbook of hits (no matter how great the material) was asking for trouble. As Freddie Mercury once said after Queen made their comeback at Live Aid, “always give the audience what they want.”

But it was the album tracks that gave Sweet and glam rock itself its distinct sound. The credit for this must go to Andy Scott’s guitar playing (his six-string prowess was often favorably compared to the talents of Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck), Steve Priest’s powerful bass and harmonizing vocals, and Mick Tucker’s inspirational drums (just listen to the way he references Sandy Nelson’s “Let There Be Drums” in “The Ballroom Blitz”). Add in Brian Connolly’s vocals and it is apparent Sweet were a band with talents greater than the sum of their bubble gum hits might indicate.
 
More plus a short documentary on 24-hours in the life of Sweet, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Early photos of Boy George, Steve Strange & more at the club that launched the New Romantics
01.20.2017
01:47 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

01princessjgeorge78.jpg
DJ and singer Princess Julia with George O’Dowd aka Boy George.
 
Billy’s was a nightclub in Soho, London, where every Tuesday for most of 1978 two young men—Steve Strange and Rusty Egan—ran a club night playing tracks by David Bowie, Roxy Music and Kraftwerk. The club was in a basement underneath a brothel. From this small cramped space a new generation of artists, writers, performers and DJs first met up and planned the future together. Punk was dead. It was uncool. It had gone mainstream. The teenagers who came to Billy’s wanted to create their own music, their own style and make their own mark on the world.

Among this small posse of teenagers were future stars like Boy George, Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama), Marilyn, Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), DJ Princess Julia, Jeremy Healy (Hasyi Fantayzee), Andy Polaris (Animal Nightlife) and an eighteen-year-old Nicola Tyson who would go onto become one of the world’s leading figurative painters.

It’s rare that someone is savvy enough to ever take photographs of a nascent cultural revolution. But Nicola took her camera along to Billy’s and she documented the teenagers who frequented the club that launched the New Romantics and a whole new world of pop talent.
 
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A blonde-haired Siobhan Fahey with at friend at Billy’s long before she joined Bananarama and later Shakespeare’s Sister.
 
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Club host Steve Strange (in cap) with an unknown friend.
 
See more photos of Nicola’s photos, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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