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King of Gonzo: Portraits of Hunter S. Thompson by Ralph Steadman
03:16 pm


Hunter S. Thompson
Ralph Steadman

A portrait of Hunter S. Thompson by Ralph Steadman.
Artist Ralph Steadman remained tight with his friend and muse Hunter S. Thompson until the later’s death in 2005—despite the fact that when Steadman first met the gonzo journalist in 1970 he was convinced that Thompson didn’t like him. And he wasn’t wrong.

When Steadman was given the assignment to create illustrations for a story Thompson was penning on the Kentucky Derby for the short-lived publication Scanlan’s Monthly  (The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved June 1970, Volume one, Number four), true to form, the notoriously cantankerous Thompson took an “instant dislike” to him. Steadman recalls that Hunter thought he was “pompous” and during several occasions when he was attempting to create some of the illustrations for the Derby story he could hear Thompson muttering the words “For God’s sake, stop your filthy scribbling.”

Although they got off to a rough start (like the majority of Thompson’s relationships with most human beings) the two would go on to collaborate for decades. I’ve been a fan of Steadman’s art since I was a kid thanks to my father and the confrontational artist was the focus of a great documentary back in 2012 For No Good Reason which I highly recommend you check out. Many of Steadman’s portraits of the great Dr. Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson follow.


More pure, unadulterated GONZO after the jump…

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‘The Wall’: Stunning behind-the-scenes images from Pink Floyd’s harrowing cinematic acid trip

A behind-the-scenes images of Bob Geldof as ‘Pink’ and actual skinheads from the 1982 film ‘Pink Floyd - The Wall.’
I don’t know how many nights I spent in my youth tripping balls on acid in a dark movie theater with 100 or so of my stoned out peers watching 1982’s WTF film Pink Floyd - The Wall for the 20th time (I guess I answered my own question there: 20). It was truly a rite of passage where I grew up back in Boston and I know that wasn’t the only place where young minds were getting blown apart by visions of marching hammers or a bloody, soon to be eyebrowless Bob Geldof screaming “TAKE THAT FUCKERS!” as he tosses a television out of a window.

Before I continue, I’ll give you a minute to recover from that mini-flashback you just had.

Bob Geldof being transformed into your worst drug-induced nightmare.
If you are following the news at all these days (and I wouldn’t blame you if you and the “news” are on “a break” right now as most of it makes me want to hide under my bed) you’ve likely seen some of the comparisons from last week’s GOP Convention to scenes from director Alan Parker’s brilliant adaptation of Pink Floyd’s 1979 conceptual masterpiece, The Wall. As I am about as nostalgic as they come I decided to watch the film once again (sans acid this go ‘round) and it should be of no surprise that despite a lack of chemicals cavorting around in my head the film is still quite impossible to look away from. It is also quite possibly even more terrifying to watch now when you allow yourself to consider the parallels some scenes seem to run with the ugly rhetoric spewing from the mouths of elected officials and a man who is currently vying to occupy the highest political office in the United States.

But as I often do, I’ve once again digressed away from the point of this post which is to share with you some remarkable behind-the-scenes photos from The Wall that I had never seen before as well as an interesting tidbit about the film’s star Bob Geldof. Apparently Geldof (who’s allegedly the leader of a new liberal political “party” in England called the “Sneerers” in case you were wondering what he’s currently up to) couldn’t swim and was also massively phobic when it came to blood. So when it came time to film the scene where Pink is bleeding out in a swimming pool, the reluctant Geldof was placed on top of a see-through plastic body mold so he could appear to be floating in the pool among a cloud of his blood for the sequence. Yikes. Many of the images in this post can be found in a must-own book for any Floyd fan by David Appleby, Pink Floyd - Behind The Wall.


Director Alan Parker on the set of ‘The Wall’ with ‘Little Pink’ played by actor David Bingham.

Alan Parker and an eyebrowless Bob Geldof.
More glimpses behind ‘The Wall’ after the jump…

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There’s a 50-minute version of the Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ for the song’s 50th anniversary
09:29 am


the Beatles

If you think the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” is a nice place to visit, why not live there?

Andrew Liles, described on his Mixcloud page as “a prolific solo artist, producer, remixer and sometime member of Nurse With Wound and Current 93,” has radically remixed and enlarged the Fabs’ psychedelic studio creation for the 50th anniversary of its release. Over sixteen times longer than the original—nearly one and a half times as long as the entire Revolver album, for that matter—Liles’ “50 Minutes of Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles for 50 Years” is roomy enough to accommodate you and the whole family.

Liles has ventured into this territory before, improving rock history with his creations “45 Minutes of Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath for 45 Years” and the 70-minute Motörhead tribute “Overkill Overkilled by Overkill,” but the treatment is particularly well-suited to the song John Lennon originally called “The Void.” (According to Revolution in the Head, Lennon said “he changed the title in order to avoid being charged with writing a drug song.”) It sounds like you’re sitting inside the tambura for about the first fifteen minutes, and once your brain’s adjusted to that, the appearance of every familiar element—Ringo’s drum pattern, John’s Leslie-treated vocals—is a momentous occasion.

At Abbey Road recording Revolver, 1966
Liles writes:

On the 5th of August 2016 ‘Revolver’ will be 50 years old. ‘Revolver’ is arguably the first mainstream pop album to explore esoteric themes, ‘exotic’ instrumentation and use the studio as a tool to create otherworldly unimagined sounds. It’s an album that rewrote the rules and laid the foundations for audioscopic cosmonauts like myself to venture deeper into uncharted universes of sound. We have the fab five (how can we forget George Martin) to thank for opening new possibilities and new dimensions. Without their innovation the world of sound would be a lot less colourful.

Surrender to the void, turn off your mind, relax and float down stream with my impossibly elongated, psychedelic, smokeathonic adaptation of Tomorrow Never Knows.

Don’t forget to push “repeat” before your senses recede into a dimensionless point of perfect mental vacuity. Oh, and the book that inspired the original song is still in print.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Let Me Hang You’: William S. Burroughs reads the dirtiest parts of ‘Naked Lunch’

In the mid-90s, at the request of his longtime collaborator producer Hal Willner and his manager James Grauerholz, William S. Burroughs recorded selected readings from his notorious novel Naked Lunch—some of the raunchiest and dirtiest parts of what was (and still is) a notably raunchy and dirty book—that were to be set to musical accompaniment.

Wilner brought in guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Wayne Horvitz and violist Eyvind Kang, but the project was eventually scrapped

The project was revived when Wilner was introduced to prolific weirdo garage rocker King Khan through Lou Reed, and he realized that Khan was well suited to put music behind Burroughs’ dry narration. Khan brought on Australian psych rockers band Frowning Clouds and M Lamar (who happens to be the identical twin brother of Orange Is The New Black‘s Laverne Cox) to help.

The resulting album Let Me Hang You will be the first full-length release on Khan’s new record label Khannibalism with the Ernest Jenning Record Co. It comes out this Friday and you can preorder it now. Listen to the full album below. Extremely NSFW.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘I feel good!’: Jordan Peele reenacts James Brown’s crazy drug-fueled CNN interview word for word
04:25 pm


James Brown
Jordan Peele

Here’s a priceless bit of business from the irreplaceable Jordan Peele.

In May of 1988 James Brown was arrested in Aiken County, South Carolina, on charges of drug possession and fleeing from the police after his wife Adrienne called 911 because he was threatening her safety. Brown was released after paying $24,000 in bail, after which he headed for Atlanta to do an interview on CNN’s Sonya Live! in LA wth Sonya Friedman.

Brown, clearly on something (my money is on PCP), seemed scarcely aware that he was in any legal difficulty and insisted on answering most of Friedman’s queries with lyrics from his songs (“I FEEL GOOD!”) or other similar non sequiturs.

You know who Jordan Peele is—he and Keegan-Michael Key have been killing it for years with their Comedy Central sketch show Key and Peele, their 2016 movie Keanu, and various appearances elsewhere, including Fargo.

I desperately want the two of them to interview Donald Trump, but before that happens, this delirious recreation of James Brown’s 1988 CNN interview will have to do.

I wrote about this great event back in 2013, and it still remains one of the most remarkable interviews I’ve ever seen.
Watch Peele’s glorious impersonation after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Vintage flashback-inducing psychedelic ads from the 60s and 70s that will give you a contact high

Who knew that wearing Wrangler Jeans could be this much fun? Vintage ad from the 1970s.
Every product under the the sun in the 60s and 70s seemed to be coated with LSD. Even mundane items like Wrangler Jeans, acne medication and Plymouths caught the psychedelic buzz. If you weren’t taking drugs at the time, all you really had to do was pick up a magazine and check out some of the colorful (and confusing) ads and get experienced.

Vintage psychedelic ad for the Yellow Pages.
I was very lucky to have a wonderful art teacher in the sixth-grade who at the end of the year gifted me with a Peter Max poster book as we both shared a love for that type of counter culture artistic expression which I still have to this day (thanks, Mrs. B!). Max’s widespread notoriety began in the 60s and continues to this day (The 78-year-old artist was commissioned in 2012 to paint the hull of a Norwegian Cruise Line ship). It wasn’t surprising to see his recognizable artwork show up in a 1971 ad for the Chelsea National Bank which I have of course included in this post. I’ve also got a soft spot for the kaleidoscopic ads for the vintage cosmetics line sold at Woolworth’s (the land of neverending bins and shelves full of everything including from 45’s to underpants) called Baby Doll. Grab some sunglasses and enjoy!

Peter Max’s illustration for the Chelsea National Bank, 1971.

An ad for Baby Doll cosmetics sold at Woolworth’s during the 60s and early 70s.

Trippy vintage ad for the ‘New-Hope Soap’ Clearasil.
More after the jump…

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Behind the scenes of ‘Dopethrone’: Electric Wizard demonstrates how to smoke weed
08:28 am


Electric Wizard

Now playing on YouTube: camcorder footage from the sessions for Electric Wizard’s latter-day doom metal classic Dopethrone.

Over the last month, user Rolphonse has uploaded about fifteen minutes of video shot at Chuckalumba Studios around May and June of 2000. In addition to very raw clips of the band tracking “Funeralopolis,” “We Hate You,” and “Barbarian,” there’s a kind of instructional video with singer and guitarist Jus Oborn showing you “how to build one properly,” i.e. how to fill the bowl of a cheap, plastic bong with cannabis and light it on fire.

Promotional Electric Wizard rolling papers from 2014’s Time to Die
None of this makes an ideal introduction to the band—for that, get Come My Fanatics or Dopethrone and play it very loud—and only Amish youth on Rumspringa stand to learn anything of value from Oborn’s bong demonstration. (More than anything, it reminds me of the SCTV sketch “Mr. Science,” in which John Candy’s character Johnny LaRue, rudely awoken by a student following an evening’s debauch, gives a lesson in combustion by lighting a cigarette.) But Wizard fans will be jazzed by the existence of this footage and relieved no one’s dangling it as a bonus DVD in a pricey reissue package.

Read reading after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
A Rolling Stone’s trippy ‘Last Supper’: That time Brian Jones thought he was a goat and ate himself

In 1968 the artist Brion Gysin invited Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones to record a group of traditional Jbala Sufi trance musicians—better known as the Master Musicians—perform at the village of Jajouka in northern Morocco.

Gysin had long been familiar with the Master Musicians having been introduced to them and “Joujouka” music by writer Paul Bowles in 1950. Gysin thought the music of “the people of Pan” would be of some interest to Jones. Jones agreed. He traveled with Gysin to Jajouka, accompanied by his then girlfriend Suki Potier, recording engineer George Chkiantz, and painter/folklorist Mohamed Hamri.

Morocco was a favorite holiday destination for the Rolling Stones as it offered easy access to marijuana. Keith Richards later described the experience as a fantasy where they were “transported” and…

You could be Sinbad the Sailor, One Thousand and One Nights.

Jones used a Uher recorder to capture the songs performed by the Master Musicians. These recordings included songs for Jajouka’s “most important religious holiday festival, Aid el Kbir” when a young boy is dressed as Bou Jeloud the Goat God in the “skin of a freshly slaughtered goat.” The boy then runs around the village as the music becomes increasingly frenzied. Gysin claimed this was a ritual to protect the villagers’ health. He said the festival harked back to an ancient pre-Roman festival Lupercalia, held in mid-February as a cleansing and fertility ritual to ward off evil spirits.
As Gysin later told Stanley Booth (and a very drunk William Burroughs) in a rambling tale in 1970—as recounted Booth’s book The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones—Jones and his companions were guests at traditional meal in the village, when Jones had an epiphanic vision—or more likely he tripped out—and believed himself to be a goat.

‘I would really like to talk about Joujouka and what that music is and what Brian got on tape and how it ever happened that he got there. How does he [Jones] appear in your book?’

‘Brian? As—well—sort of—as a little goat god, I suppose.’

‘I have a funny tale which I’ll tell you about just that. A very funny thing happened up there. The setting was extremely theatrical in that we were sitting under a porch of a house made of wattles and mud. Very comfortable place, cushions were laid around like a little theatre, like the box of an old-fashioned theatre, and a performance was going on in the courtyard. And at one moment—dinner obviously had to be somewhere in the offing, like about an hour away, everybody was beginning to think about food—and we had these acetylene lamps, giving a great very theatrical glow to the whole scene, rather like limelight used to be, a greenish sort of tone.’

[Okay Brion we get the picture it was very very very very very very theatrical…now get on with the story….]

‘And the most beautiful goat that anybody had ever seen—pure white!—was suddenly led right across the scene, between Brian and Suki and Hamri and me [...] so quickly that for a moment hardly anybody realized at all what was happening, until Brian leapt to his feet, and he said, “That’s me!” and was pulled down and sort of subsided, and the music went on, and it went on for a few minutes like that, and moments lengthened into an hour, or two hours, which can sometimes be three hours or four hours or five hours—-’

‘Long as it takes to kill a goat,’ Burroughs said.

‘—and we were absolutely ravenous, when Brian realized he was eating the same white goat.’

‘How did he take that?’

‘He said, “It’s like Communion.”’

‘“This is my body,’” I [Booth] said. ‘But Jesus didn’t eat himself, he fed the others.’

‘If he’d been sensible, he’d have eaten Judas,’ Burroughs said. ‘I’m gonna eat Graham Greene next time I see him. Gulp!’

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Get High On Yourself’: Robert Evans’ coke-bust community service mega-turd TV special
09:00 am


Robert Evans
TV special

Robert Evans, the wunderkind Hollywood studio executive best known for his work on Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, The Godfather and Chinatown had gotten himself into a bit of a jam back in 1980.

He was busted after agreeing to purchase $19,000 worth of cocaine—an amount he claimed was for himself as a user, denying the federal selling and distribution charges that were brought against him. Evans was convicted, and in a punishment befitting a big shot Hollywood producer, he didn’t get jail—he was ordered to create a public service anti-drug campaign. The end result of this slap on the wrist was one of the biggest TV mega-turds of all time: Get High On Yourself which aired on NBC in the Fall of 1981. 

Evans put up $400,000 of his own money and recruited That’s Incredible‘s Cathy Lee Crosby to co-produce an hour-long “very special program.” Evans put his rolodex to work and pulled in over 50 celebrities including Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, Muhammad Ali, Paul Newman, Scott Baio, Robby Benson, Kristy McNichol, Herve Villechaize, Dana Plato, Mark Hamill, and Bruce Jenner. Evans hired the jingle-writer responsible for “I Love New York” to compose the cornball earworm theme song. The special consists of the celebrities getting together to sing the song—a format which would be used to much greater success a few years later with Band Aid’s “Don’t They Know It’s Christmas” and USA For Africa’s “We Are the World.”

NBC turned this preachy anti-drug celebrity clusterfuck into a week-long celebration titled Get High On Yourself Week. At least 28 different commercials and promos were shot for the NBC roll out which was promoted for weeks in advance. NBC aired one Get High On Yourself spot every hour during prime time for eight days.

In his autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture Robert Evans cites Get High On Yourself as the high mark of his career.

More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Rahsaan Roland Kirk spoons out coke (or something) for his audience at Montreux, 1972
08:14 am


Rahsaan Roland Kirk

When I first heard the song “Seasons” over the radio in Berkeley some 20 years ago, I pulled to the side of the road, parked my car, and sat there until the KALX DJ back announced it. It’s one of those pieces of music.

Record stores being more numerous than gas stations in the East Bay of that faraway era, it was no time before I found “Seasons” on a budget four-CD set of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s late 60s and early 70s Atlantic LPs that’s been a constant companion ever since—though I’d probably recommend The Inflated Tear first to a neophyte, unless it was the kind of neophyte who wanted to have the top of her head shorn off by the bracing music Kirk recorded as a one-man band, in which case I’d suggest Natural Black Inventions: Root Strata.

It was significant that I first encountered Kirk’s music on the radio, before I’d seen his picture; I didn’t yet know what everyone knows about him, namely that he was famous for playing multiple horns simultaneously. I just liked the tune.

Insane live footage is one reason to see the new documentary about Kirk, The Case of the Three-Sided Dream (named after one of his albums), and its insight into how myths and reputations are made is another. Kirk’s superhuman technical abilities—not just his gift for playing independent melodies simultaneously on different instruments, but his mastery of damn near every wind instrument and of the technique of circular breathing, too—actually counted against him, making his music seem like gimmickry, unserious and undignified show-off stuff. When people called him a “showman,” it was a euphemism for “freak” or “clown.” Really, what first-rate genius would play an instrument called the nose flute?

Well, just as, in William Blake’s account, God used his feet to make the tiger, Rahsaan Roland Kirk used his nose to make music, and he was fucking good at it, too. At one point in The Case of the Three-Sided Dream, when Kirk is making the case for the nostrils’ legitimacy as apertures of musical expression and chemical nourishment, I thought back to this rip-snorting performance at the 1972 Montreux Jazz Festival, where Kirk sniffed a thing or two during his set.
More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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