A tantalizing teaser for a truly rare (as in I can’t find the complete thing on the innerweb) 1971 doc about husband and wife free-improv duo Paul and Limpe Fuchs (and their two small children) d.b.a Anima Sound. The Fuchs’ toured greater Europa in a most odd fashion: in a caravan pulled by a tractor going 20 kilometers an hour with the purpose of bringing their primitive musical expressionism to remote, uncultured public places. Looks utterly fascinating. Evidently this film did a tour of college film festivals last year. Won’t some kind soul in possession of a copy put the whole thing for us all (OK, a handful of weirdos) to view ?
A fascinating, 30 year old BBC documentary on the Good Doctor and Ralph Steadman, five years after Nixon’s resignation, and on a road trip to Hollywood (to work on what would become “Where the Buffalo Roam“).
Includes an interesting scene of John Dean chatting with Hunter about his Watergate testimony (at about 32 minutes), the birth of the “Re-Elect Nixon Campaign” (with a Bill Murray cameo), and a remarkably eerie scene with Hunter and Ralph planning Hunter’s final monument and his ashes being shot into the air, long before the actual fact.
In 1977 Stiff Records put together the infamous Live Stiffs tour which was comprised of some their better selling acts at the time: Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Wreckless Eric and The New Rockets, Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken in the Shop and Larry Wallis’s Psychedelic Rowdies. There were 18 musicians in total, some doing double duty by playing in more than one band. Imagine a punk rock Rolling Thunder Revue with no budget but with a shitload of booze.
The tour was a financial bust but, by all accounts, a rollicking good time. Though, Costello later satirized the tour in his song “Pump It Up.’
Here’s the entire Live Stiffs tour film featuring all the bands on some battered video tape. It’s rare. If you find a better copy somewhere, please send it to me. This version is like experiencing ancient punk rock field recordings or the Motel 6 version of Cocksucker Blues. Rough but fun.
The late Phil Ochs, one of the greatest singer/songwriters of the 1960s on a rarified perch with Dylan, Joni and Cohen, wasn’t a household name but he was big enough to have affected a lot of people. Director/writer Kenneth Bowser’s powerful documentary of his life is called Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune and it’ll tweak your empathy gland while breaking your heart. Hopefully it’ll also wire and inspire the viewer to go out and demand that America live up to its self-image as a nation of people who care about others. Among the many onscreen friends and troublemakers who tout Phil’s complicated genius are Sean Penn, Paul Krassner, Ed Sanders, Van Dyke Parks, Abbie Hoffman, Christopher Hitchens, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, and Tom Hayden. Brother Michael Ochs (who also produced), sister Sonny, and daughter and activist Meegan Ochs provide the most personal insights.
Born in Texas, raised in Ohio, Phil fused JFK-inspired New Frontier idealism and his natural musical ability and it led him to the guitar and New York City 1962 where folk music and left-wing politics created an army of singing rebels. Phil had a fluid, Irish tenor voice with a perfect vibrato and wrote prodigiously. The songs were ripped from the headlines, as they say, addressing the civil rights struggle (“Here’s To The State Of Mississippi”), Vietnam (“White Boots Marching In A Yellow Land”) and U.S. imperialism (“Cops Of The World”). Two of his classics—“I Ain’t Marching Anymore” and “The War Is Over”—became anthems of the anti-war movement. He also had a razor sharp sense of black humor as heard in “Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends,” his faux-upbeat examination of apathy’s victims.
If there was a cause and an event, Phil was there in a heartbeat. “Phil would turn down a commercial job for a benefit because the benefit would reach more people,” says brother Michael. We see scene after scene of the handsome, upbeat, stiff-spined troubadour singing truth to power and joyously quipping in period interviews. A charter member of the ‘60s counterculture (though not uncritical of its excesses), he helped create the Yippies with friends Hoffman, Krassner and Sanders, Jerry Rubin and Stew Albert. The Yippies’ plan for a Festival Of Life to contrast the festival of death at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago resulted in blowback by the powers that be and while the whole world watched, Windy City coppers ran amok, beating heads in, spilling buckets of blood and mocking dissent in the greatest democracy in the world. Like many, Phil was devastated. “I guess everybody goes through a certain stage of disillusionment and decides the world is not the sweet and fair place I always assumed and that justice would out,” reflected a bitter Phil after Chicago ‘68. “I always thought justice would out, I no longer think that by any stretch. I don’t think fairness wins anymore.”
I’ve been on a bit of a Monkees kick recently. The other day I was listening to Headquarters album—something I’ve not put on in years and years—and within seconds of the track “Zilch” starting, Tara and I looked at one another like “Hey, this is where the sample from “Mistadobalina” comes from!”
“Zilch” is a nonsensical, dada fugue composed and performed by all four Monekees. It begins with Peter Tork saying “Mr. Dobolina, Mr. Bob Dobolina. Mr. Dobolina, Mr. Bob Dobolina,” etc., before Davy Jones comes in with “Zilch. China clipper calling Alameda. China clipper calling Alameda,” etc., before Micky Dolenz comes in with “Zilch. Never mind the furthermore, the plea is self defense. Never mind the furthermore, the plea is self defense,” (which is a line from Oklahoma) and Mike finally joins in with “Zilch. It is of my opinion that the people are intending. It is of my opinion that the people are intending,” etc. Ultimately the four repeat these lines faster and faster until they break up in laughter.
The Monkees would sometimes sing “Zilch” as they entered a public performance. It was also used in one episode where they’re being interrogated by a police sergeant and a bit of “Zilch” is what they respond with.
Below, the video for Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s hip-hop classic, “Mistadobalina”:
The other samples used by Del tha Funkee Homosapien in “Mistadobalina” are “Pin the Tail on the Funky” by Parliament and James Brown’s “Stone To The Bone.”
“Zilch” is also referenced in the film Honeymoon in Vegas when “Bob Dobalina” is paged over a PA system.
In the late ‘60’s I worked for Bell Labs for a few years managing a data center and developing an ultra high speed information retrieval system. It was the days of beehive hair on the women and big mainframe computers. One day I took a camera to work and shot the pictures below. I had a great staff, mostly women except for the programmers who were all men. For some reason only one of them was around for the pictures that day.
Dangerous MInds pal Michael Simmons posted the following at the LA Weekly website. I know Brad Laner will be there! The date will be January 13th.
As the human race more and more resembles a high school production of Invasion of the Body Snatchers , the departure of authentic nonconformos like Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet) is conspicuous. Beefheart’s bucket kick on Dec. 17 was a big sinkhole; he took with him a half-century career of skid-row-sweet-chariot blues-rock, esteemed artwork and a scathing skewering of Squareworld. Former Magic Band guitarist-manager Gary Lucas hosts a Captain Beefheart Symposium tonight with live yap from Matt Groening, Pamela Des Barres, Stan Ridgway, Kristine McKenna and Bill Moseley. Rare footage of Cap ‘n’ band and a clip of David Lynch reading “Pena” from Beefheart opus Trout Mask Replica will be screened, along with slides of Van Vliet’s paintings and sculptures. Weba Garretson will recite “Lick My Decals Off, Baby” and Lucas—one of the greatest guitarists you may or may not have heard of—will demo singular Beefheartian musical concepts with help from his ax; he’ll also present unreleased audio tracks. Fast and bulbous!
The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd. L.A., CA 90026 (213) 413-8200
The Doc Blows Forward ‘n’ the Doc Blows Back (LA Weekly)
During the 1970 election campaign, an anarchist/squatters activist group formed in east London, called E.X.P.O.S.A. (Extra Parliamentary Opposition Socialist Alternative) to persuade a non-voting stance. This is a BBC news report. Can you imagine something similar to this on American TV news? Other than the times conservative intellectual William F. Buckley would have guests like Allen Ginsberg, Noam Chomsky and Stokely Carmichael on his Firing Line TV show, I can’t of anything even remotely like this that I’ve ever seen on American television from that era. (Note: I’d love to be proven wrong, please send in any and all American equivalents you might know about)
Almost everything these guys say, to my mind, is right on the money. Forty years later and… nothing has fucking changed!
Note how much more intelligent “the man on the street” responses are compared to the “throw-a-rock, hit-a-moron” types seen on camera at the various Tea party gathering.
It’s not like I’m some phone book enthusiast or anything, but these vintage designs over at Old Telephone Books are pretty great. The site touts being, “Possibly the world’s largest online collection of phone books.” I believe them.
See more vintage phone book designs after the jump…
For the past few days, I’ve been reading Lorre Rackstraw’s fascinating book, Love as Always, Kurt: Vonnegut as I Knew Him. Rackstraw’s lovely, intimate look at the great American novelist, humorist and moralist is chock full of letters from Vonnegut which sparkle with wit, advice on the craft of writing (they met when Rackstraw was a student of Vonnegut’s at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in 1965) and Vonnegut’s bittersweet, world-weary views on the human race. Although I’m loving the book, it makes me incredibly sad that we no longer have his voice with us today. I can only imagine what Vonnegut would be making of the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and the know-nothing Tea party-types.
June, 1998: Kurt Vonnegut writes a light-hearted letter to Avatar Prabhu - pseudonym of the author Richard Crasta - in response to Crasta’s controversial novel, The Revised Kama Sutra, being dedicated to the Slaughterhouse Five novelist. Vonnegut closes the missive by amusingly taking a swipe at Salman Rushdie who, whilst in hiding years previous, had written a less-than-glowing review of Vonnegut’s 1990 novel, Hocus Pocus.