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If you haven’t seen this, you don’t know what you’ve missed: The Small Faces on ‘Colour Me Pop’ 1968

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Never trust management. Never trust your PR firm. Never trust admen. Never trust anyone who says they can manage you, promote you, your band, your career, or anything else they’ll swear they can do for you out the love they have for your talents. The history of pop music is littered with fuck-ups by gangster management and public relations parasites who are only interested in making money out of somebody else’s efforts.

Take The Small Faces. Their first manager Don Arden helped them on their way but also claimed a massive percentage of the band’s earnings—some say as high as 80%.

After a series of hit records (including number ones) and sell-out gigs, the band—Steve Marriott (vocals, guitar), Ronnie Lane (vocals, bass), Kenney Jones (drums), Ian McLagan (keyboards)—were still living off a pitiful weekly handout from Arden (the father of Sharon Osbourne, FYI). The band’s parents were so concerned that their kids were being ripped off that they paid Arden a visit to ask what the fuck was going on? It put the wind up in Arden. He blamed the kids. Told the parents the band had spent all their money on pills and drugs. The implication being “Your kids are bloody junkies and I’m the one who’s paying for it!”

While The Small Faces admittedly dabbled with speed and pills—their single “Here Comes The Nice” extols Marriott’s unabashed love for amphetamine, and “Itchycoo Park” was inspired by Lane’s enjoyment of LSD—they were certainly never smackheads. Arden, like Donald Trump, was well aware that the first rule of defense is attack.

Arden would justify his action by claiming he was only trying to get back the $20,000+ he had spent on buying up as many copies of their debut single as it took to ensure it was a hit. Apparently Arden thought he deserved the money for all of his initial outlay and then some.

The band was keeping Arden sweet and he was not going to let them go. When rival producer/manager Robert Stigwood tried to lever the band away from him, a bunch of heavies turned up at Stigwood’s office and threatened to hang him out of the window if he didn’t fuck off.

However, the parents proved to be a bigger threat than rival managers. After the parental intervention, The Small Faces split with Arden and signed-up with former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. In many respects it was a better deal—they had more freedom and more studio time which allowed them to produce their greatest album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake (1968). But the financial returns—well they were only slightly better.

And as for the PR side…
 
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When The Small Faces’ released Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake in May 1968 it was oddly promoted with a parody of the Lord’s Prayer:

Small Faces
Which were in the studios
Hallowed by thy name
Thy music come
Thy songs be sung
On this album as they came from your heads
We give you this day our daily bread
Give us thy album in a round cover as we give thee 37/9d.,
Lead us into the record stores.
And deliver us Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
For nice is the music
The sleeve and the story
For ever and ever, Immediate.

At time when the majority of the UK identified as Christian and the churches were packed every Sunday, and the views of Archbishops were considered more important than those of politicians—as they dealt with the life hereafter, not just the here and now—the ad was understandably considered blasphemous.

Across the breakfast rooms of England, cups and saucers were rattled in disgust. The press ran BANNER HEADLINES OF SHOCK! AND HORROR! and angry missives sent from Tunbridge Wells, Slough and Lower Perineum filled the letters pages. It certainly was a rum way to pitch a psychedelic concept album. Steve Marriott was equally surprised by the ad:

We didn’t know a thing about the ad, until we saw it in the music papers. And frankly we got the horrors at first. We realised that it could be taken as a serious knock against religion. But on thinking it over, we don’t feel it is particularly good or bad. It’s just another form of advertising. We’re not all that concerned about it. We’re more concerned in writing our music and producing our records.

It was not as damaging as say John Lennon’s claim that the Beatles were bigger than Christ (though let’s be clear: that outburst actually helped sell more Beatles albums in the US, as protesters bought copies just to burn ‘em). Or as damagingly litigious as The Move’s management putting out an advertizing postcard of then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in bed with his secretary Marcia Williams for the single “Flowers in the Rain”—which led to them being sued and band’s songwriter Roy Wood losing all of his royalties in perpetuity for the hit. But the Lord’s Prayer advert did The Small Faces no real favors. If anything, it was another stumbling block to them ever making it in the States. The album made number one in the UK but only edged the top 200 in the US.

More about The Small Faces, plus their appearance on ‘Colour Me Pop,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Powerful Siouxsie & The Banshees performance: Live at ‘The Futurama Festival,’ 1980

Siouxsie & The Banshees, 1980
Siouxsie & The Banshees, 1980

On September 13th and 14th, 1980, the second installment of “The Futurama Festival” was held in Leeds, a city in the English county of Yorkshire. This year the lineup included a cavalcade of incredible acts like Echo and the Bunnymen (fronted by a 21-year-old Ian McCulloch), The Psychedelic Furs, Athletico Spizz 80, U2, Wasted Youth and Siouxsie & The Banshees, headed up by a then 23-year-old Siouxsie Sioux. Apparently this was also one of the very earliest Soft Cell performances.
 
Futurama Festival lineup, September 14th and 15th, 1980
The lineup for The Futurama Festival, September 13th and 14th, 1980

Despite the handwritten fliers claims that the festival was being “immortalized on film,” footage of any quality from early Futurama gigs is almost non-existent on YouTube, but I did find this clip that someone recorded on VHS from a television broadcast of the festival.

While the video isn’t up to today’s high definition standards, it is still quite good. The seven-minute clip captures the band on top of their game performing two songs, “Paradise Place” from the 1980 album Kaleidoscope and “Eve White/Eve Black” which was released in 1980 as the B-side to the band’s “Christine” single.
 

Siouxsie & The Banshees performing at the Futurama Festival, Saturday, September 13th, 1980
 
Bonus clip of high energy punks Athletico Spizz 80 at the 1980 Futurama Festival, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Martin Scorsese Directs

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Martin Scorsese started making movies when he was a kid. He suffered from asthma which meant he spent time a lot of isolated at home in bed. He couldn’t play like the other kids. Instead he watched them from his bedroom window running free, playing baseball and getting in fights. His bedroom window was his first viewfinder. He watched the world outside and imagined stories about the people he saw. His imagination was inspired by the movies at the local cinema—films starring Victor Mature, or those made by Powell and Pressburger.

Scorsese was raised a Catholic. He was an altar boy and his parents thought one day he might become a priest. In church Scorsese saw the power and drama contained in the religious statues and paintings—the pieta with its crucified Christ draped across his mother’s lap. The martyred saints showing their wounds and pointing to unknowable heavens. Imagery was a visceral source of communication. At home in bed he created his own movies, spending hours painstakingly drawing storyboards, frame by frame, for the imaginary films he would one day direct.

In his teens he gave up on being a priest and went to the film school at NYU. He made the short films What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963) and The Big Shave (1967). Scorsese’s greatest films are the ones informed with his own personal experience and knowledge of the world. Catholic guilt (Who’s That Knocking at My Door?); machismo posturing and violence (Mean Streets); violence, redemption and isolation (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull).

Much of this is well covered in Joel Sucher and Steven Fischler’ profile of Scorsese. Made for the PBS series, American Masters  in 1990, this documentary follows the director during the making of Goodfellas.  It contains superb interviews (most delightfully Scorsese’s parents), choice cuts from his films and contributions from actors (Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Amy Robinson), producers and fellow directors—like Steven Spielberg who says the intense emotional turmoil of Scorsese’s work, “Sometimes you don’t know whether to scream or to laugh.”
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
 
Behind the Scenes of Martin Scorsese’s ‘Mean Streets’

Behind the Scenes of ‘Taxi Driver’

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Bernie Sanders / Johnny Cash T-shirt mashup America has been waiting for
02.02.2016
11:14 am

Topics:
Fashion
Heroes
Politics

Tags:
Johnny Cash
Bernie Sanders


 
Wear Dinner, the apparel purveyors who gave the world that wonderful Black Sabbath/Minor Threat mash-up we told you about last summer, have upped the I-want-one stakes with their new Bernie Cash shirt, which plops the face of encouragingly popular left-wing insurgent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders onto Jim Marshall’s indelible image of Johnny Cash flipping the bird at San Quentin prison in 1969, a juxtaposition that aptly captures a lot of the anti-establishment hostility expressed by some of the candidate’s backers.
 

 
The shirts are available only in black because duh. $5 from each shirt sold will benefit the Sanders campaign.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Happy birthday Clint Ruin, a/k/a J.G. Thirlwell of Foetus (and ‘The Venture Bros!’) infamy
01.29.2016
11:35 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Foetus
J. G. Thirlwell


 
Even among the very strange artists who pioneered industrial music, Foetus was an outlier. While that project—the nom de noise of J.G. Thirlwell, a/k/a Clint Ruin a/k/a about a zillion other names—indulged deeply in that movement’s difficult, grating sounds and nihilism that approached absurdity, Thirlwell never bound himself to the genre like industrial’s grimly serious noise explorers or its goth-crossover synth mopers. Foetus, while expressing a self-loathing impossible in any organism with an intact survival instinct, also expressed a wicked and wry sense of humor, not only in the one-man-band’s name, which varied from release to release (You’ve Got Foetus on Your Breath, Foetus Interruptus, Scraping Foetus off the Wheel, Foetus All-Nude Revue… this list could go on for awhile), but in the music itself, which cheekily incorporated elements from classical music, showtunes, film noir and spaghetti western incidental music, even doo-wop.

Check out the incredible and representative “Enter the Exterminator,” from the 1985 album Nail (Thirlwell beat the Jesus Lizard to the punch on the all-LP-titles-will-be-four-letters-long schtick), chosen because it blew my mind when I was a kid, and it got me started on exploring the industrial program as much as anything off of Micro-Phonies or Twitch. The at-once growled and whispered lyrics snared me, but it was the music that compelled me to the record store. NSFW for bad words, jobber.
 

 

 
Not one to sit still, in the later half of the ‘80s Thirlwell formed the duo Wiseblood with Swans drummer Roli Mossimann, which was about as bludgeoning a project as you’re imagining, and The Flesh Volcano with Soft Cell’s Mark Almond. In 1988 he released the absolute must-have Stinkfist, a collaborative EP with no-wave heroine Lydia Lunch. That EP features two tracks of tribal-drumming insanity plus the ten minute “Meltdown Oratorio,” an admirable nightmare of Neubauten-esque slow-burn menace spiked with still more manic tribal percussion. Even if Lydia Lunch monologues aren’t your thing, this is really fucking great. (If I even need to tell you that a Lydia Lunch piece is NSFW for profanity, um, hi, welcome to Dangerous Minds, we hope you like what you find here.)
 
More mayhem from Clint Ruin, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Watch wall-to-wall Stax Soul: Otis Redding, The Bar Kays, Percy Sledge, Sam & Dave on ‘The!!!! Beat’
01.27.2016
11:58 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Television

Tags:
Otis Redding
The Beat

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Before Otis Redding became a star in America, he was already a superstar in Europe. He was feted by The Beatles, hailed by the NME and Melody Maker as the world’s greatest male vocalist, and had major record sales and sellout concerts wherever he appeared. A generation of young singers ranging from Rod Stewart—who claims he modeled his singing style on Redding—to Bryan Ferry were in awe of The Big O: Mr. Otis Redding—the King of Soul.

By 1966, Redding was so popular in the UK he was given his own one-off special in the primetime music show Ready, Steady, Go!. Redding joined a very select band of artists who were honored in this way—the others being The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who. 

For Otis and the other Stax artists who toured the UK and Europe during the mid-1960s, the biggest surprise was discovering it was the white kids who idolized them. Unlike America, there was was no racial segregation in Europe. No color bar. No diners or rest rooms for “whites only.” None of the brutal racism blacks encountered in their homeland on a daily basis. It was a discovery that altered all of these artists’ belief in themselves and was a sign that right was on their side and the times they were a-changin’.
 
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Otis Redding on ‘The!!!! Beat,’ 1966.
 
One of those small shifts in change with seismic importance happened fifty years ago this week, when ABC affiliate station WFAA recorded the first of their music series The!!!! Beat in Dallas, Texas. Hosted by legendary DJ Bill “Hoss” Allen—who played blues and black gospel on his radio show during the 1950s—his beautiful piece of delicious pop history ran for one season of 26 episodes in 1966. It was one of the very first music series to be shot on videotape and in color. The!!!! Beat showcased such legendary artists as Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, Etta James, Carla Thomas, Sam & Dave, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Joe Tex and many, many more. If asked what my idea of heaven would be—if heaven was a TV show—I would reply something like The!!!! Beat with its wall-to-wall R ‘n’ B and soul artists.
 

 
Watch the first five episodes of ‘The!!!! Beat’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Miserable in Manchester: Amusing letters and music reviews from a young Morrissey

Morrissey, the writer
A young Steven Morrissey contemplating the state of punk rock
 
Recently, I spent some time collecting for you my dear Dangerous Minds readers, numerous amusing pieces of personal correspondence (adorable typos and all) from a young, pre-Smiths Morrissey. Even back then, Morrissey was busy cultivating the melancholy persona that we all know and love today.
 
The home address of a teenage Morrissey
The home address of a teenage Morrissey
 
A page of a letter from Morrissey to his pen pal, Robert Mackie
Part of a letter from a young Morrissey to his pen pal, Robert Mackie, October 22nd, 1980
 
In addition to excerpts from many of his pen pal letters to Robert Mackie, I’ve included a few of Morrissey’s letters to various magazines and several of his reviews of bands like Depeche Mode and The Cramps that appeared in the weekly British newspaper, the Record Mirror from 1980.

I’m especially fond of the then teenaged Morrissey’s review of a live gig in April of 1980 by The Cramps at Manchester Polytechnic (which you can read below) that he wrote for Record Mirror in which he muses “Is it true that guitarist Ivy Rorschach sets fires to orphanages when she’s bored?” If only. What follows makes for some fantastic reading, enjoy!
 
A review of a live Cramps gig at Manchester Polytechnic that appeared in Record Mirror on April 4th, 1980
A review of a live show of The Cramps at Manchester Polytechnic that appeared in the Record Mirror, April 4th, 1980 written by a 21-year-old Morrissey
 
More Morrissey, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Love it to death: Alice Cooper’s original guillotine ‘headed’ to auction
01.25.2016
02:25 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Alice Cooper
auction
Neal Smith

The guillotine used during the Billion Dollar Babies tour, 1973
The guillotine used during Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies tour in 1973
 
Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith will be auctioning off some of his career memorabilia including what Smith says is the guillotine used during the tour in support of Billion Dollar Babies in 1973. Nice.
 
The guillotine used during Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies tour, 1973
The guillotine!
 
Neal Smith's mirrored drum kit used during the
Neal Smith’s mirrored drum kit
 
Other items of note in the auction held by Heritage Auctions which is set to begin sometime in early February are Smiths’ mirrored drum kit that he used during the Billion Dollar Babies tour, and a load of glammy clothing Smith wore on stage in the late 60s and early 70s. Some of my favorite items from the auction follow.

Interested in bidding? Click, here.
 
Silk shirt worn by Neal Smith made by Alice Cooper's mother, Ella Mae, 1968
Silk shirt worn by Neal Smith and hand-made by Alice’s mother, Ella Mae in 1968
 
Bodysuit worn by Neal Smith during the Billion Dollar Babies tour, 1973
According to the auction description, the “pink dye” from Smith’s red and black pants seeped into the bottom of the bodysuit causing it to stain
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The Dangerous Brothers: That time Rik Mayall set fire to Ade Edmondson

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Probably the most hazardous double act to appear on TV during the 1980s was the aptly named Dangerous Brothers—a frenetic pairing created and performed by Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson. Mayall was the pretentious but sycophantic Richie Dangerous and Ade was the gullible yet blase Sir Adrian Dangerous.

The act was an offshoot of their original pairing in 20th Century Coyote. The Dangerous Brothers carried on with the same kind over the top violent slapstick they made famous through Rik and Vyvyan in The Young Ones and later as Richard “Richie” Rich and Edward “Eddie” Elizabeth Hitler in Bottom.

Mayall and Edmondson first met at Manchester University where both were studying drama. According to Mayall their introduction was across a crowded classroom:

It was our first lecture and the professor swept in with his flowing hair and gown and I stood up because that’s what I’d been taught at school. No one else did. And this one bloke – with long hair and John Lennon glasses and a fag in his hand and his f-ing feet on the table – just laughed at me and said, “Tosser!” That was Ade.

Maybe I always wanted to be as cool as him. Maybe that’s why I took great satisfaction in him going bald. He was always so strong and quick and self-assured. I wanted him to be my friend. I got a 2:2 in the end, which Ade won’t f-ing shut up about because he got a 2:1.

The pair shared a similar taste in cartoon comedy (Roadrunner) with a large dash of Python and a twist of Tommy Cooper. They became involved with the improvisational theater group 20th Century Coyote which soon became just Rik and Ade. By the late 1970s, they were part of the new roster of stars appearing at London’s Comedy Store. Together with Alexei Sayle, Peter Richardson and Nigel Planer (The Outer Limits), Arnold Brown and French & Saunders, they set up The Comic Strip—the foundation stone of Britain’s Alternative Comedy, blah-de-bloody-blah…
 
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Anyhow…after conquering the known universe with The Young Ones in 1982, Mayall and Edmondson returned to the small screen with The Dangerous Brothers. They appeared on a UK version of Saturday Night LIve—imaginatively titled Saturday Live in 1985. Compered by comic in a shiny jacket Ben Elton, Saturday Live hosted “a veritable Who’s Who of Alternative Comedy.” Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Morwenna Banks, Harry Enfield, Craig Ferguson and even Emo Phillips all appeared, along with too many others to mention. However, one of the highlights, nay, the highlight of the series was Richie and Sir Adrian Dangerous.

While the bulk of the show was broadcast live Mayall and Edmondson’s insert sketch as The Dangerous Brothers was previously recorded. Thankfully as it would turn out. For in their opening skit Rik set fire to Ade with near fatal consequences—as Edmondson later recalled:

I did set myself very badly on fire in a Dangerous Brothers sketch. They put this special gel on my legs, which was only supposed to go up to my knees, but I must have been feeling particularly confident that day because I told them to go all the way to the groin. I said, “If the flames come too high, I’ll shout out the special emergency code word.” The trouble was I forgot the word, so they let me burn like kindling.

Mayall was supposed to set Edmondson alight for the sketch “The Towering Inferno”—the title gives a big clue. But as the flames took hold no one noticed “that Sir Adrian’s convincingly pained expression was because the flames had started burning through his protective clothing.” Just before Edmondson was engulfed in flames, the filming stopped and the fire extinguished. Yet like real pros, they kept the fire in the final edited package… Edmondson’s legs were badly burnt and his eyebrows singed. Don’t try this at home….
 

 
More manic mayhem from the Dangerous Brothers, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Draw David Lynch’s hair
01.20.2016
11:09 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Heroes

Tags:
David Lynch


 
The good people at Welcome To Twin Peaks have shared a wonderful web widget with which you can kill some quality time today—”David Lynch Doodle.” It’s a caricature of Lynch (who turns 70 today) with his epic haircut lopped off, and you get to draw it in, with eleven simulated brushes to choose from. (While you justly make fun of my shitty efforts, bear in mind that I went to art school. And graduated. In lots of debt.)
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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