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Watch what was probably David Bowie’s most bizarre interview, ever
02.24.2016
11:15 am

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Amusing
Heroes
Television

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01davidbintsmile.jpg
 
In October 1999, David Bowie guested on the Channel 4 music show TFI Friday. It was a coup for the programme to hook Bowie in for an interview and two live performances—but probably not too unexpected as Channel 4 owned Friday night British TV during during the eighties, nineties and noughties.

This was the channel that served up such original, controversial and utterly unforgettable music shows as The Tube—the benchmark for this kinda thing with a roster of bands that read like a who’s who of the eighties’ greatest acts; The Word—which often seemed like some mad for it ravers got their paws on some TV cameras for an evening; and The Girlie Show which unfortunately was never quite as outrageous or as good as it thought it was. TFI Friday followed in a similar fashion with a mix of music, interviews, pranks and alike, all expertly managed by host Chris Evans.

All of these shows were broadcast live and were often very chaotic. Understandably therefore, each had its own memorable moments—just the quality of live bands on The Tube is ‘nuff said;  Iggy Pop’s see-thru pants, a pissed-up Oliver Reed or the grungy L7 dropping jeans and enjoying a guitar solo on The Word; and er, well, I can’t honestly think of anything too memorable from The Girlie Show other than it made #80 on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest TV Moments from Hell, which kinda tells you all you need to know…

Anyhow…back to Chris Evans who truly excelled as a host on TFI Friday. He skilfully mixed cheeky banter with a self-deprecating bonhomie. Evans was like a well-trained party host who kept the chat flowing, the music up and the beers nicely chilled. His show featured some of the stand-out live performances of the 1990s—enough to mention Pulp, Suede, Black Grape, Napalm Death, Slipknot, etc. etc… (There’s a lot more to be written about this show and its predecessors, but for now it’s back to David Bowie…)

I watched Bowie’s appearance on TFI Friday as was broadcast and thought (in my best Derek & Clive), “Hello, he’s either jet-lagged or has been dabbling in the sherbets...” Bowie arrived for his interview with Evans in a retina-scalding combination of neon pink shirt and fluorescent yellow T-shirt. From the off, he was buzzing with adrenaline—at least I think that’s what it was—and began telling various stories which by turn were funny, surreal and utterly bizarre. His opener was the “helluva time” he had getting to the studio because of traffic congestion on Hammersmith bridge, before segueing into a long tale about a one-legged man and his donkey from Indonesia and a recent debilitating bout of gastroenteritis after eating “monkey breast and parrot beak.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Naked: Iggy Pop’s eye-popping performance in see-through pants leaves little to the imagination
02.23.2016
09:12 am

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Amusing
Heroes
Music
Punk

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Iggy Pop on UK music TV show, The White Room, 1996
Iggy Pop on UK music TV show, ‘The White Room,’ 1996
 
It’s always a treat to feature a vintage performance from Iggy Pop here on Dangerous Minds, and boy do I have a doozy for you today. In 1996 Iggy paid a visit to UK music television show, The White Room...
 
An member of The White Room audience reacting to Iggy Pop's state attire
A member of “The White Room” audience reacting to what you are about to see in the video below
 
Each episode of The White Room featured a different band performing three songs in front of a live audience and according to show legend, were required to wear either black or white clothing to give the show “a serious look.” Never one to play by the rules, Iggy showed up on stage wearing plastic see-through jeans and no underwear. Because I’m pretty sure that just like shirts, underpants are of no use to Iggy Pop.

Keep reading after the jump…

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The MC5 kick out the jams next to a busy Detroit highway in 1970
02.22.2016
08:40 am

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Heroes
Music

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MC5, early 1970s
The MC5, early 1970s
 
On July 19th, 1970 the MC5 performed at Detroit’s Tartar Field at Wayne State University (alma mater of MC5 bassist Michael Davis, (RIP) and drummer Dennis Thompson), while cars roared by on the I-94 highway behind them, unable to drown out the sonic boom coming from the Michigan natives at the top of their game.
 
An ad for the MC5's second record, 1970s, Back in the USA
An ad for “Back in the USA”
 
According to a 2014 interview in Detroit Rock n Roll Magazine with MC5 drummer Dennis Thompson, the band had just returned from a small, rural farming town in Michigan called Hamburg, where they had recorded their second album, 1970’s Back In The USA, produced by Rolling Stone journalist (and future Bruce Springsteen manager) Jon Landau. Thompson was not “into” Landau at all, and would refer to him a “fascist.” He was also deeply concerned that the 23-year-old didn’t have enough industry experience for the job.

But perhaps Thompson’s initial negativity toward Landau had more to do with the fact that he forbid the use of drugs and booze (the band were huge fans of LSD and were avid pot smokers), and even had them on a strict diet and exercise routine while they were in Hamburg. In a nutshell, Landau had the MC5 doing the exact opposite of what every other band (or most young people for that matter) in the 70s were doing. And the result is what many fans consider to be the band’s best outing, despite the fact that it was somewhat of a commercial failure when it was released.
 
Jon Landau and Wayne Kramer, 1970
Jon Landau (right) and Wayne Kramer

This footage captures the band performing “Looking at You” from Back in the USA, for the very first time live, as well as “Ramblin’ Rose,” (during which Wayne Kramer does a pretty hot imitation of a James Brown-style shuffle), and “Kick Out the Jams” from their first album, Kick Out the Jams. The looks on the faces of the awestruck crowd is one of the many highlights from this ten-minute piece of fuzzed-out rock and roll history.

Set your speakers to stun!
 

The MC5 performing songs from 1969’s “Kick Out the Jams”, and their 1970 album “Back in The USA” at Wayne State University’s Tartar Field, July 19th, 1970

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Six degrees of Marty Feldman
02.19.2016
10:41 am

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Heroes
Movies
Superstar
Television

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Marty Feldman said his distinctive looks were “the product of a thyroid condition caused by an accident when somebody stuck a pencil in my eye when I was a boy.” Whether true or not, it made Feldman instantly recognizable and in a way led to his breakthrough role in America as the scene stealing Igor in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Feldman later quipped he was the only man to appear in a horror film without make-up.

Feldman was a hero, a rebel, a maverick. A comedy genius who co-wrote with Barry Took some of the best British TV and radio comedy during the 1960s. When he moved to Hollywood in the 1970s, his movie career started brightly and ended dismally—he died during the making of his last feature Yellowbeard.

Born to Jewish immigrant parents in Canning Town, London in 1934, Feldman was a wild and rebellious child, constantly in trouble and expelled from several schools. He later claimed he had a lot of violence which he eventually exorcised through performing in shows.

He was anti-authoritarian. His attitude was “ya-boo-sucks.” England, he claimed, was a country that had “produced a great number of passionless mass murderers” or “little bank clerks, the neighbourhood doctor. They all have the sort of bald, bony heads and wear pebble dash lenses and raincoats.” When considering this, one has to ask, what he made of West Coast America with its serial killers and shopwindow sincerity?
 
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A tip of the hat to Marty’s comedy hero Buster Keaton.
 
He left school with no prospects but a great desire, a burning desire to do something creative—anything creative. He followed the beatnik trail to Paris. Feldman loved jazz. He played trumpet. He was apparently so bad he was once described as the “world’s worst trumpet player.” Whether true or not, jazz was the first avenue Feldman tried to map. He met his idol Charlie Parker in Paris. But the great jazz legend could only talk about snooker much to Feldman’s chagrin.

He adopted the jazz life—smoking weed, eating bennies and shooting junk. It wasn’t for him. He returned to England and worked in fairgrounds. He then started working in repertory theater where he met his future writing partner Barry Took.

Feldman and Took were among the most significant comedy writers in England during the 1950s and 1960s. Together they wrote classic comedy sitcoms like The Army Game and Bootsie and Snudge. While for radio, the world will be eternally grateful for Round the Horne and the creation of two Polari-speaking omi-palones Julian and Sandy.

Feldman also co-wrote two of British TV’s best known comedy routines—the “Class Sketch” for David Frost’s show (which starred a young John Cleese) and “The Four Yorkshiremen Sketch”—which is now best known as being part of Monty Python’s oeuvre. It was inevitable that Feldman would one day make the transition from being a much sought after writer to a much-loved performer. He joined John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Tim Brooke-Taylor for At Last, The 1948 Show before having his own award-winning series Marty in 1967.


Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Is this footage of a 21-year-old Bernie Sanders getting arrested in 1963?
02.17.2016
09:04 am

Topics:
Activism
Heroes
History
Politics
Race
U.S.A.!!!

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This sure looks like my Bernie to me.

Yesterday on the In These Times website, Miles Kampf-Lassin alerted readers to a newly posted video that purports to be of a young Bernie Sanders getting arrested at a civil rights protest against school segregation in Chicago in 1963. The future Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate was then just a 21-year-old student at the University of Chicago.

Clearly—if this footage is indeed Bernie Sanders and it sure looks like him to me, he was rather a distinctive-looking fellow even in his younger years—then this is visual proof positive that Sanders has been consistent in his beliefs—and fighting the good fight—for his entire adult life. And yes, this was back when a young Hillary Clinton was a confirmed “Goldwater girl.” Feel the burn?

The footage was taken from Kartemquin Film’s ‘63 Boycott project, which chronicles the Chicago Public School Boycott of 1963, and was filmed by Kartemquin co-founder Jerry Temaner.

The protest on Chicago’s South Side took aim at racist education and housing policies being carried out in Englewood—namely the proposed construction of a new school for black students made up of aluminum trailers known as “Willis Wagons,” named after the Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Benjamin Willis who first ordered them. These trailers were used by the city to deal with overcrowding in black schools, thereby preventing integration of black students into less-densely populated white schools.

 

 
Sanders was arrested for his civil disobedience—specifically resisting arrest—and fined $25.

Look at the glasses. Also, compare the big chunky watch in the clip below with the big chunky watch the young Sanders is seen sporting in the photo below:
 

 
I wouldn’t bet my life on it that it’s a young Bernie Sanders in this footage, but I’d surely wager a pinky or a toe…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Louder than a bomb: Public Enemy’s intense extended live set on Dutch TV from 1988
02.11.2016
08:50 am

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Heroes
Hip-hop
Music

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Public Enemy - Chuck D, DJ Terminator X and Flavor Flav
Public Enemy - Chuck D, DJ Terminator X and Flavor Flav
 
1988 was a huge year for Public Enemy. That year they released their second record, one of the most important records in history (hip-hop or not), It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and toured all around the world in support of the album, to insanely enthusiastic, packed house crowds.

I saw PE on that tour, and it was like nothing else that I’d ever seen before. Everything about that show was in fact, harder than the hardcore. Love them or hate them, everybody knew who Public Enemy was in 1988. Even in the Netherlands.
 
Public Enemy, 1988
 
During the tour, PE found themselves in Holland and made an appearance on a Dutch music television show called Fa. Onrust. During the show, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, and DJ Terminator X rip through “Night of the Living Baseheads,” “Rebel Without a Pause,” “Bring the Noise,” and “Don’t Believe the Hype.” If that’s not enough for you, Run DMC just happened to be in Holland themselves at exactly the same time, and Joseph Simmons/DJ Run and Darryl “D.M.C.” Matthews joined PE on stage to kick out their 1988 track, “How’d Ya Do It Dee?” from Tougher Than Leather. Damn.
 
Public Enemy and Run DMC on Dutch television, 1988
Public Enemy and Run DMC on Dutch television, 1988. Chuck is asking the audience to throw up the “peace sign”
 
Despite all the good times that you will see in the video below, there is a slightly uncomfortable interview segment with the two (rather clueless) female hosts of the show. The interview was already going off the rails—thanks to the always brutally honest Professor Griff)—but then the always eloquent Chuck D. decides to give a pop quiz his hosts about the Netherlands’ political system, which they obviously don’t know a lot about…

Here come the drums!
 

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New black tarantula spider species discovered near Folsom Prison is named after Johnny Cash
02.08.2016
08:39 am

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Amusing
Heroes
Music
Science/Tech

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Johnny Cash and Aphonopelma johnnycashi
Johnny Cash and his eight-legged namesake tarantula spider, Aphonopelma johnnycashi

Aphonopelma johnnycashi is a new species of black tarantula spider that was just discovered roaming the hills near Folsom State Prison. The lockdown, near Sacramento, CA, is where Johnny Cash performed two historic shows inside the walls of the still operational correctional facility in 1968, captured on the iconic album, At Folsom Prison.
 
Aphonopelma johnnycashi
Aphonopelma johnnycashi
 
According to Biologist Chris Hamilton of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Aphonopelma johnnycashi was one of fourteen new tarantula species that were discovered in and around western Sierra Nevada mountains. The males of the species are predominately black and while there is no word on how big Cash’s eight-legged namesake is, Hamilton (who also sports a Johnny Cash tattoo, because science), had this to say about the newest arachnid to be named after rock and roll royalty:

Then once we looked at the genomics and looked at some of the ecological constraints, we could see this species was pretty unique and independent from the others that it’s closely related to.

Which fittingly sounds very much much like the Man in Black himself.

After the jump,Johnny Cash sings “Folsom Prison Blues”...

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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
02.05.2016
11:14 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Pop Culture

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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
02.04.2016
11:52 am

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Heroes
Music
Punk

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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
02.03.2016
10:47 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies

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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
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