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Forensic artist reconstructs horrifying ‘happy face’ using a skull-shaped bottle of vodka


A couple of images taken by forensic artist Nigel Cockerton during his ‘facial reconstruction’ of a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka. 
 
Nigel Cockerton is a Scottish forensic artist with a Master’s degree in Forensic and Medical Art, whose services have been previously utilized by the FBI. Cockerton decided to have a little fun with a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka—a high-end party liquid put out by actor Dan Aykroyd that comes in a skull-shaped bottle. But since Cockerton’s job is to recreate the faces of people who have passed into the great beyond, he decided to bring the skull “back to life.” So to speak, of course.

In about a week, Cockerton reconstructed a “face” based on the Crystal Head bottle glass skull, and the results were not quite what anyone expected. Of course, nobody expected a forensic artist to take on such a task either so there’s that. Using his impressive skills, Cockerton built up the “face” of the skull with muscles, skin, and cartilage made of clay then added some fake hair. When he was finished the skull wore a frozen, exuberantly happy face—which Cockerton speculated belonged to a woman of European descent between the ages of 21 to 30.

The original decision to package the vodka in a glass skull was based on the strange folklore associated with the discovery of various “crystal skulls” that were believed to have originated in ancient Mesoamerica tens of thousands of years ago. This theory was later proven to be false by both the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution who both placed the creation of the skulls somewhere in the middle or late 1800s. The British Museum was also able to determine that the geographical point of origin for the skulls was likely Germany. Now that I’ve cleared that up, it’s time to see the crystal skull that Cockerton gave a “face” to. The images that follow might be slightly NSFW.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.26.2017
10:52 am
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The blood dripped from Dracula’s fangs: The golden age of Hammer Horror movie posters

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I still wasn’t convinced, so the sales assistant upped his pitch.

“And these glow in the dark,” he smiled.

I wasn’t buying it. The guy obviously didn’t know his stuff. Dracula’s teeth weren’t supposed to glow in the dark, not even the Wolfman’s teeth did that. Now I was begrudging the fact I had pocketed my school lunch money to walk into town past the prison, abattoir, and graveyard to buy a set of vampire teeth that glowed in the dark but that didn’t drip with blood like Dracula’s.

“Or, would you prefer this set of Wolfman fangs?” he added rustling through packs of novelty teeth.

To give the man his due, I was in a joke shop among the whoopee cushions, fake dog turds, and electric shock handshake pressers. It wasn’t exactly Transylvania. It wasn’t exactly Hammer Horror either which was the very thing that had inspired me to make this little shopping expedition.

On late Friday nights, the local Scottish television network screened horror movies under the title Don’t Watch Alone. My parents were cool enough to let my brother and I sit up to watch these creepy old black and white films featuring Karloff, Lugosi, Chaney, and co. Then one Friday night, on came Dracula with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. The following week, The Curse of Frankenstein with the same two stars and both films in glorious technicolor. My mind was blown. Hideous monsters and blood-red fangs. I’d found a new thrill, a new passion that superseded even my Spidey collection and my hopeless dreams of ever owning an Aurora Monster Kit.

For the next few years, horror movies and in particular Hammer horror movies ruled my life. I dug up, sought out, and tracked down every little piece of what-have-you on Hammer and the films they made. I signed-up for the Peter Cushing fan club. I asked for Denis Gifford‘s classic Horror Movies book for Christmas—which was almost a mistake as he hated Hammer horror but at least his writing on the old B&W movies was superb. I clipped all the horror movie listings in the Radio Times and the cinema ads from the local paper and stuck ‘em all in a big scrapbook which I kept for years until I lent it to some fucker who never gave it back. (Rule #1 kids: Never lend people stuff you really, really want to keep ‘coz they’ll never give you it back. But if you can lend it, then give it freely, but just don’t expect to ever get it back. Because that’s not going to happen.)

Hammer started way, way back in the early thirties when one-half of a double act “Will Hammer” of Hammer & Smith aka William Hinds, a jeweler and theatrical agent, set up Hammer Film Productions in 1934. He had an early hit with The Public Life of Henry the Ninth, a comedy spoof of Alexander Korda’s The Private Life of Henry VIII. Then with the assistance of Enrique Carreras, the company made a series of short, moderately successful films including one starring Bela Lugosi The Mystery of the Marie Celeste.

But Hammer really didn’t take off until Anthony Hinds and James Carreras joined their fathers William and Enrique as directors. Suddenly, Hammer was branching out into sci-fi and then horror films with The Curse of Frankenstein which sealed the company’s success and then, of course, Horror of Dracula which famously had a marquee at the Haymarket, London that dripped neon blood from Christopher Lee’s vampire fangs. Over the next twenty years, a rotation of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and various vampyros lesbos made Hammer the brand name for the best in British horror movies.

So, back to the joke shop where I ultimately went for the Wolfman’s teeth, as those green glowing, non-bloody vampire fangs were pretty damned anemic and being a werewolf was the closest I ever came to having a dog in my childhood.

Now, here for your retinal pleasure is a damned fine selection of Hammer movie posters from early science-fiction to late kung-fu vampirism and devil worship. Enjoy.
 
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The Quatermass Xperiment’ (1955).
 
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‘The Creeping Unknown’ (aka ‘The Quatermass Xperiment’) (1955).
 
More marvellous montser posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.26.2017
10:00 am
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Blackboards in Porn: What do they write and is it correct?
06.26.2017
09:19 am
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Blackboards in Porn is an amusing blog dedicated to figuring out if the mathematical equations seen written on blackboards in classroom-themed pornos are accurate. The website actually breaks down the formulas for you!

Celebrating pornographers who go the extra mile when set dressing classroom porn and actually write something on the blackboard. What do they write, and is it correct?

The website is totally safe for work and what’s cool about it is you might actually learn something. I’m no math nut, so a few of these equations went over my head (no pun intended).

Here are a few condensed examples, below:


A-level standard trigonometry. Maths all correct. Good pluralisation of ‘formulae’. Neat handwriting. Loses a mark for ‘Tan’ instead of ‘tan’. But otherwise: excellent work!
9/10

 

This is a frustratingly inconsistent approach to writing chemical formulae. On the one hand the teacher has gone to the trouble of also using structural formulae to improve clarity (eg H2N2O2 could be nitramide, but the addition of HO-N=N-OH makes it clear that we are dealing with hyponitrous acid here), but then writes SI (sulphur iodine) instead of Si (silicon) in the formula for orthosilicic acid. This, combined with not using subscripts for many of the numbers, could lead to a great deal of confusion.

Whilst this lesson appears to be aimed at quite a high level, such elementary errors may affect comprehension.

5/10 - rather sloppy.
 

If the teacher is looking for a way to show how fun algebra can be by making words out of the symbols, she might instead try asking her students what the volume of a circular pizza of radius z and height a is.

2/10 A nice try in engaging students, but riddled with errors.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.26.2017
09:19 am
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Uhhhhh, WHAT? Lydia Lunch covers Bon Jovi
06.23.2017
01:54 pm
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For the last few years, venerable no-wave provocateur Lydia Lunch has been collaborating with guitarist Cypress Grove, releasing in 2014 a split album with Spiritual Front called Twin Horses and a full LP called A Fistful of Desert Blues. The latter title is aptly descriptive of the moods evoked by Grove’s guitar playing—he initially gained notice as a collaborator with The Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce, and the sounds he wrests from his guitar can recall the barrenness of Ry Cooder’s Paris, Texas soundtrack, or the lush menace of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. And Grove has in fact worked with Cave.

The duo’s new release is Under the Covers, which you’ve surely already guessed is a covers album because evidently when you make one of those you’re required to give it a title that telegraphs its content with a pun. The track list is…amusing. It includes versions of Cracker’s “Low,” Tom Petty’s “Breakdown,” Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe,” and Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory,” a terrible song written for the pointless movie Young Guns II, which nonetheless became a huge hit because America’s love affair with quality is motherfucking unstoppable.

In contrast with her legendary rep as the often frightening and often tuneless screamer who announced her existence to the world chanting “LITTLE ORPHANS RUNNING THROUGH THE BLOODY SNOW,” Lunch’s Bon Jovi cover is a fairly reverent take (though it should go without saying it’s infinitely more listenable). But that shouldn’t really come as a surprise if you know her career—she’s done a fair few covers that would seem out of character. On her very first solo album, Queen of Siam, she did a straight cover of Classics IV’s “Spooky.”
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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06.23.2017
01:54 pm
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Todd Bridges and the ‘Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience’ cover the ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ theme
06.23.2017
12:52 pm
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The actor Todd Bridges, best known for the role of Willis Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes, which he inhabited between the ages of 13 through 21, has precisely one credit on Discogs, the exhaustive music recording resource that you’ve probably already consulted five times this week, if not many more times than that. It’s a fascinating one, and actually, his performance pretty much puts the question of why he doesn’t have more music credits in his CV to rest.

In 1997, in the middle of a big era for hastily assembled CD compilations, Which? Records put out an amusing comp called Show & Tell: A Stormy Remembrance of TV Theme Songs, which exploited the marketable idea of having a bunch of punk and thrash bands do covers of famous TV theme songs. The Meatmen contributed two tracks, “Green Acres” and “Mission: Impossible,” Murphy’s Law did the theme to “Zoom” (with DM’s own Howie Pyro on backing vocals), and the Dickies recorded a cover of “Secret Agent Man.” It’s fun stuff—really, how could it go wrong?

The attention-getting bit of business—enough to merit special mention on the album cover, done up to vaguely resemble a copy of TV Guide—was Todd Bridges singing lead vocal on a thrashy cover of the theme song from the show he will never not be associated with. The full credit runs Todd Bridges and the Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience cover “Diff’rent Strokes”—the familiar, perky ditty that was co-written by none other than Alan Thicke. 
 

 
Not surprisingly, there was no such thing as the Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience, other than that record. The bassist, John Jesse, and the guitarist, Roy Mayorga, at that time were members of a band called Thorn but were rather better known for their work in the influential crust punk band Nausea. Weirdly, Mayorga is credited as playing guitar on this song but is really a drummer.

The rendition lasts a cool 50 seconds, and Bridges….... well, let’s just say holding a tune is not a big part of Bridges’ skill set.

The October 1998 issue of Vibe featured a Q&A with Gary Coleman, Bridges’ diminutive co-star on the TV show, and writer Peter Relic asked Coleman about Bridges’ recent turn as a singer:
 

Vibe: Have you been to a gig of Todd Bridges’ punk band, the Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience?

Coleman: You’re kidding! Todd didn’t tell me about that.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.23.2017
12:52 pm
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‘Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse’: The Warlock Pinchers hate Moz, but love them some Satan


 
I first discovered the Warlock Pinchers while working at a record store in East LA. Buried among the piles of LPs that circulated through the store daily was what I personally consider to be one of my most treasured “finds”: the delightfully titled record, Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse. Nowadays, the lack of impulse record shopping doesn’t allow for much discoverability. I’m guilty of it, too—it’s much too easy to see an album that looks kinda cool staring back at you from the bin, but then to preview it online before you would consider buying. I guess that’s what happens as the $$$ sticker-shock for rarer records sets in. Needless to say, when someone wanted to sell off their copy of Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse, I have no choice but to blindly take the dive.
 

 
The Warlock Pinchers sound like a blend of Big Black, Butthole Surfers, and the Beastie Boys; all presented in a fury of adolescent shenanigans. The punk hip-hop pranksters and self-proclaimed “Official Sound of Satan” were the kind of people who enjoyed pissing off their fans—and if you weren’t a fan, then “fuck you!”
 

 
Sharing a record label with the Melvins, opening for the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and once having had their record reviewed by Damon Albarn for NME, sadly the band did not pick up much steam outside of their hometown of Denver, Colorado. If anything, their alleged commitment to the devil was the one thing that helped give them some form of notoriety outside of their local scene, as if spraying flames around small clubs and giving their audiences muffins and pancakes wasn’t quite enough.
 

Blur reviews Warlock Pinchers at the NME office, 1991

Fire by Nite was a Christian youth variety program that operated out of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the late eighties. By presenting in a context of “relatable” youth material, the show oftentimes tackled highly controversial subjects that have plagued (or improved) the lives of many young Christians, namely drugs, sex, and the devil. “Satanism Unmasked” was a multi-part special that saw the “real-life” testimonies of self-confessed former Satanists like Mike Warnke (later disputed as a fraud) and Lauren Stratford (ditto), and hosted a bizarre conversation with convicted murderer, Sean Sellers. Slayer is spoken about briefly, but they are quickly dethroned as a bunch of charlatans; using the devil for their own shock-value appeal.

The highlight is the exposé of Warlock Pinchers, who dismiss Jesus as the real source of evil, in favor of Satan, “the good guy.”

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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06.23.2017
12:39 pm
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‘The Best of Times’: Bonkers TV pilot starring baby-faced versions of Nicolas Cage & Crispin Glover


Crispin Glover and Nicolas Cage react to the news that their failed television series from 1981, ‘The Best of Times’ is still kicking around out there on the Internet.
 
In 1981 both Nicolas Cage (who at the time was going by his real name “Nicholas Coppola”) and a baby-faced Crispin Glover both made their television acting debuts. However, the pilot, The Best of Times, only aired once before getting the boot from ABC.

I don’t want to ruin any of this for you, but if you haven’t seen The Best of Times—which was part musical, part teen drama, and part comedy—then clear your calendar for the next hour because you simply haven’t lived until you’ve seen an eighteen-year-old Nicolas Cage participating in a bizarre car wash sequence while his pals kick out a vanilla version of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” In a pair of overalls with no shirt.

Your life is also a lie if you’ve never experienced the crazy that is Crispin Glover (who was also eighteen) having a spastic meltdown about the latest Talking Heads cassette tape. Adding to the weirdness, most of the actors on the show went by their own names and there’s something very strange about hearing Glover’s real mother Betty yelling at her boy Crispin throughout the episode. But that’s ALL I’m going to say because this totally golden television oddity that really must be seen to be believed.

PS: You’re welcome.
 

An image of Cage with another star of ‘The Best of Times’ actress and future scream queen, Jill Schoelen.
 
Watch it, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.23.2017
11:00 am
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Painting with Light: Incredible portrait photographs of young outsiders
06.23.2017
06:19 am
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‘Iris’ (2011).
 
At a cursory glance, I thought I was viewing some small figure detail from a Baroque painting or maybe a canvas by a Dutch Old Master. The richness, depth, and subtly of light fooled my eye. This was the photographer’s intention—to make the viewer re-examine what is seen.

The photographer is Pierre Gonnord. He previously turned his talents to photographing the last coal miners working in the pits at Asturias and Castilla y León, Spain. His portraits gave these men a dignity and nobility. They were “a tribute” to the lives being destroyed by economic cuts and governmental indifference—or as Gonnord described it “social genocide.”

Now Gonnord has thrown focus on to a series of painterly portraits of young people. He is specific in who he chooses to photograph, selecting “the person, the individual, alone in the margins of his social group…”

‘When I travel and meet a community, I have time enough to establish contacts and connections, to know individuals that move me for their charisma, sensitivity, intelligence, shyness, beauty … and this is why I decide to invite them (and no others) to do a portrait’

Gonnord takes his time photographing his subject and almost makes it sound almost like a forensic process:

‘Installed in the silence of a room, generally a very small space, sometimes with daylight, sometimes with a lamp, a flash, just one spot … in a short distance, in the same living area, I can talk with the individual, my fellow, a chosen human being, and looking at him I repeat once again this old ritual. A very short moment. Probably the most ancient since man has been on Earth. Strip little by little all the details, and in silence try to catch what maybe is under the skin’

His passion for portrait photography offers Gonnord the chance learn what he describes as “life experiences” allowing him to:

‘Learn from others, listen, watch, see, feel, express. It’s to open one’s eyes to the world, to know other universes, other realities in order to go beyond one’s own small frontiers in the urban environment and enter little by little into the sharing and the understanding of humanity’

and

‘To look into the eyes of these models is to feel in a certain way that we are looking at our own essence as human beings.’

See more of Gonnord’s portraits here.
 
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‘Attia’ (2010).
 
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‘Sophie’ (2012).
 
See more of Gonnord’s beautiful portraits, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.23.2017
06:19 am
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Manson, Larry Flynt, Abbie Hoffman, O.J. and other infamous folks depicted by court sketch artists


Abbie Hoffman’s Viet Cong flag tug-of-war with deputy marshal Ronald Dobroski during the Chicago Eight trial as depicted by Howard Brodie.
 
Courtroom sketches in the United States date back to the 17th Century Salem Witch Trials, and were a necessary staple of reporting on court cases up until recent years when the courtroom was off-limits to photographers and television cameras. It wasn’t until 2014 that all 50 states allowed cameras in the courtroom, though by the late ‘80s most states already had. 

As portraits that exist solely out of the necessity for historically documenting legal proceedings, such sketches have never been considered high art, but a current exhibition of sketches housed at the Library of Congress shines a spotlight on some of the talents behind these documents.

The Library of Congress’ exhibition, “Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustrations,” features a selection of the Library’s collection of more than 10,000 courtroom drawings, many of which were donated to the library by the estates of the artists themselves.

From the Library of Congress’ website:

The exhibition begins with the work of Howard Brodie, who popularized reportage-style courtroom illustrations with his documentation of the Jack Ruby trial in 1964 for CBS Evening News.  Brodie supported and encouraged the first generation of artists who created the artwork for television and print media.  Brodie donated his trial drawings to the Library of Congress, which spurred the development of the courtroom-illustration collections.

In addition to Brodie, the artists represented in the exhibition include Marilyn Church, Aggie Kenny, Pat Lopez, Arnold Mesches, Gary Myrick, Joseph Papin, David Rose, Freda Reiter, Bill Robles, Jane Rosenberg and Elizabeth Williams.

The exhibition is being held in the South Gallery on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building and runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. It is free to the public.

Enjoy, below, a gallery of some of the more interesting pieces in the collection:


The New York Black Panther trial as depicted by Howard Brodie. Twenty-one members of the New York Black Panther Party faced charges of conspiracy to bomb several sites in New York City. They were acquitted of all 156 charges on May 12, 1971.


Bobby Seale, sketched by Howard Brodie, taking notes while bound and gagged at the Chicago Eight trial.


John Hinckley, failed assassin of Ronald Reagan, shown by artist Freda Reiter in front of a television broadcasting his obsession, Jodie Foster.

Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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06.23.2017
06:04 am
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‘Metal Man Has Won His Wings’: Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa’s early ‘60s R&B band, the Soots
06.23.2017
06:04 am
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Zappa at the door to Studio Z in Cucamonga

Briefly, during 1963 and 1964, Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa were in a proto-Magic Band called the Soots, and among the numbers they recorded at Studio Z in Cucamonga was “Metal Man Has Won His Wings.” It isn’t the first recording the pair made together (that’s the my-baby-flushed-me-down-the-toilet epic “Lost in a Whirlpool,” recorded at Antelope Valley Junior College in the late ‘50s), but it’s the first instance of the Frank Zappa blues adventure style that crystallized in later classics like “Why Don’t You Do Me Right,” “Trouble Every Day” and “Willie the Pimp.”

The Magic Band’s John “Drumbo” French identifies the song as a breakthrough in his massive study Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic:

In Metal Man Has Won His Wings the music immediately bursts forth, a music surprisingly reminiscent of the early Magic Band. Zappa was obviously making headway in his production attempts. The young Vliet’s repetitive Wolf-esque ramblings are buried in the mix. The song is brought to a halt with a typical blues kick - something Zappa may have learned while playing at Tommy Sands’ club.

“Metal Man Has Won His Wings” (misheard by bootleggers for years as “Metal Man Has Hornet’s Wings”) first surfaced on Mystery Disc. Zappa’s liner notes shed light on how the track’s vocals came to be “buried in the mix”: Beefheart used an unorthodox recording technique, one that reminds me of his later refusal to wear headphones while overdubbing his parts on Trout Mask Replica.

In our spare time we made what we thought were ‘rock & roll records.’ In this example, Vliet was ‘singing’ in the hallway outside the studio (our vocal booth) while the band played in the other room.

The lyrics were derived from a comic book pinned to a bulletin board near the door.

 

On the road, 1975 (via beefheart.com)
 
Zappa scholar Biffy the Elephant Shrew has identified the comic book as issue #7 of the DC title Metal Men. Beefheart took part of the song’s title and “wheet! wheet!” from an ad in that number promoting the new book Hawkman:

HAWKMAN HAS “WON HIS WINGS”... AND FROM NOW ON HIS FAMOUS “WHEET! WHEET!” BATTLE CRY WILL APPEAR IN HIS OWN MAGAZINE!

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.23.2017
06:04 am
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