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Lobotomy: LA’s greatest unknown punk rock fanzine, 1978
03.03.2016
01:48 pm

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Just when you thought that you have seen it all, there always seems to be just one more thing. Sometimes the universe saves the best for last, like Lobotomy: The Brainless Magazine, which was founded in Hollywood during the spring 1978 by Pleasant Gehman.

The Xeroxed fanzine became notorious in the Hollywood punk scene from its very first issue, when Kim Fowley threatened to sue 18-year-old Pleasant over the sarcastic and derogatory comments she wrote about him. Because Pleasant couldn’t afford to re-print her ‘zine, she hitchhiked or took a bus to the various record stores that carried Lobotomy and cut out the offending paragraph with scissors!

Gehman, who has written for every magazine under the sun and fronted three bands, The Screaming Sirens, The Ringling Sisters and Honk If Yer Horny, is now known sometimes as “Princess Farhana,” burlesque and belly dancing star, and is exactly as she was then: wild and hysterically funny, which are the main characteristics of her DIY “brain child,” Lobotomy. Lobotomy is the documentation of a demented teenage punk insider’s view of the early scene (mostly in Los Angeles, but also New York and London) with a MAD magazine mentality. Lobotomy had that special freak-out girl flair fueled by booze, drugs and FUN!
 
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Chief photographer Theresa Kereakes, also a teenager, started her career accidentally by doing the first photo shoot for a friend’s new band…The Germs. She took countless onstage and backstage photos of The Cramps, Ramones, Blondie, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Billy Idol, Joan Jett and many more for Lobotomy. Nearly four decades later, they’ve become some of the most recognized and iconic images of the early punk scene. This was in the wild west days of punk and publishing where none of this had any career possibilities or future and this all comes off in the text and photos. Truly done for laughs and love.

Theresa has gone on to be a real heavy hitter photographer working with David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and others before going on to work at Island Records and becoming a programming supervisor at VH-1 and Sirius Satellite Radio. Both Pleasant and Theresa were ticket takers at the Whiskey A Go Go in the 1970’s. You can also see her work on her blog Punk Turns 30 .
 
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Pleasant and Theresa, Hollywood photo booth 1978
 
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Typical night: party at Joan Jett’s house across from The Whiskey A Go Go with Brad Dunning, Lisa Curland, Pleasant, Melissa, Darby & Lorna of The Germs, Billy Idol, etc.
 
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When I asked Pleasant how many issues there were in total, she replied “Maybe twenty?” which pretty much sums it up. She added “I was held together by Scotch tape and safety pins… I don’t really know!” Which is a perfect quote describing a perfect slice of wonderful teenage hysteria.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Remember: ALL albums are actually Aerosmith’s ‘Sweet Emotion’
03.02.2016
11:19 am

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Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (1981)
 
All albums are actually “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith.

I know what you’re thinking: “Sweet Emotion” is not an album by Aerosmith!

But you are wrong. All you have to do is look at gallery of album covers that can be found at the Every Album Is Aerosmith Tumblr.

I told a friend of mine about this Tumblr a few days ago; after he got home he wrote me a text saying that “Sweet Emotion” had come on the radio during his drive home.

All albums are actually “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith.
 

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (1987)
 

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (1979)
 

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (2002)
 

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (1980)
 
More sweet ‘Sweet Emotion’ after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Vintage Occult: This amazing Tumblr will satisfy ALL of your kitschy, witchy needs
03.01.2016
12:02 pm

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If the amazing Tumblr Vintage Occult is any indication, Satanists really need better tailors—so many of the people interested in the dark arts are young women who have inordinate trouble keeping their torsos covered. Then again, where there’s Satanism, there’s gonna be dozens of flickering candles, so I’m not too worried about them catching cold or anything.

Vintage Occult is the best thing I’ve seen on the Internet all day and I’m betting that’s true for you too. A voluminous gallery of images from old, tattered paperback books, schlocky magazines, and straight-to-video movies, midnight classics with titles like Blood Sucking Nazi Zombies or Queen of the Vampires (“La Regina Dei Vampiri”) or my favorite, Satan in High Heels, there’s just no end to the Vampira knockoffs out there.

In case you need the warning, this is probably not something you want to be checking out in your cubicle.
 

 

 
Much more from Vintage Occult, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Every issue of OZ, London’s legendary psychedelic newspaper, is available online
02.24.2016
02:43 pm

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We all owe the University of Wollongong a great debt, because they are hosting the only repository on the internet that features every single page of OZ, the influential psychedelic underground newspaper that was published in London between 1967 and 1973 after several years of an Australian version that was equally mind-blowing.

The newspaper featured an impressive roster of contributors, including Germaine Greer, Lillian Roxon, Barney Bubbles, David Widgery, Clive James, Edward de Bono, Richard Meltzer, Clay Wilson, Colin MacInnes, Anthony Haden-Guest, and Raymond Durgnat. Interview subjects included Pete Townshend, Timothy Leary, Jimmy Page, and Andy Warhol.

OZ magazine was edited by Richard Neville. Both in Australia and in the UK, OZ had to weather several serious legal challenges over obscenity. The May 1970 issue was called the “Schoolkids” issue; it featured a filthy comic strip in which Vivian Berger adapted a R. Crumb cartoon to place the beloved Rupert Bear cartoon character in an explicitly sexual situation (PDF link here). They were defended in court by John Mortimer, later the author of the highly successful “Rumpole” series of British legal novels. A few years earlier Mortimer had defended Hubert Selby for the Last Exit in Brooklyn trial, and in 1977 Mortimer also successfully defended the right of the Sex Pistols to use the word “bollocks” in an advertising display. However, Mortimer’s luck with OZ was not quite as good, and Neville, along with editors Felix Dennis and Jim Anderson, were sentenced to up to 15 months imprisonment, although the ruling was later overturned on appeal.
 

Issue No. 28, the “Schoolkids” issue
 
The art director of OZ was Martin Sharp, who was one of the true artistic geniuses of the psychedelic movement. He had been with the publication since its Australian period, and his many meticulously wrought, daring, and colorful covers and internal illustrations guaranteed that OZ would stand out from a visual perspective. Sharp also did the cover art for Cream’s albums Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire, if you’re wondering why his style looks so familiar.

OZ used to do this thing where they would transcribe the lyrics of new songs, so for instance, the September 1968 issue features the lyrics to “Street Fighting Man” and “Jigsaw Puzzle” which were credited as being “from the unreleased album Beggars Banquet.” The album was released in December of the same year.
 

 
Note: The first version of this post neglected to thank the Exile on Moan Street blog for the tip.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
This Is Radio Clash: Listen to 6 episodes of Joe Strummer’s glorious ‘London Calling’ BBC radio show
02.24.2016
12:50 pm

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During the 1990s and early 2000s Joe Strummer, former lead singer for the Clash, did a radio show for the BBC World Service using the name of the band’s galvanizing third album, London Calling.

Anyone who’s heard the Clash or Strummer’s later work with the Mescaleros won’t be surprised at his tastes as reflected in these shows, a mix of good old-fashioned rock and roll, punk rock, reggae, world music….. Strummer’s expansive, politically engaged, and generous spirit encompassed artists as varied as Bob Dylan, the Ramones, Cornershop, Thu Zahina, Afel Bocoum, Amaswazi Emvelo and Mahlathini, and Los Corraleros de Majagual

The first track on the first show (not available here) is, fittingly, Rachid Taha’s cover of “Rock the Casbah.” The first song in these embeds is Trini Lopez’ cover of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” which works just as well.
 

 
In this post we’ve embedded six episodes of “London Calling” that were broadcast in 1998 and 2000; the show stretched into 2001 as well (you can hear these episodes plus another handful on iTunes).

You just know that any radio program Strummer would have consented to be involved with is going to be a ray of diverse, exultant sunlight, so dig in and improve your day.
 
Series 1, Episode 1: August 31, 1998

 
5 more delightful programs, after the jump….....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Talking Heads talk sex and drugs, 1979
02.22.2016
12:13 pm

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In the August 1979 issue of Oui Magazine, there appeared a revealing single-page interview with all four members of Talking Heads conducted by Scott Cohen. According to the intro, the interview took place at the group’s loft in Long Island City, which is where the basic tracks for Fear of Music were laid down in late April and early May of the same year. So the timing on that works pretty well; this interview probably occurred right around the recording sessions, and the album came out the same month as the interview.
 

 
Although the magazine wasn’t his creation, Oui ended up being Hugh Hefner’s attempt to compete with the more explicit Penthouse. (Interestingly, the group didn’t merit inclusion on the cover, which touted instead their interview with Gregg Allman.) In that spirit, Cohen’s interview is kind of rude and frank, the questions have the flavor of ones that Howard Stern might ask. Here is a representative sample, with one Q and A for each member of the band:
 

Oui: Which Talking Head has the biggest microphone?
Jerry: My microphone is about eight inches long and two inches wide. Everyone in the band is about the same size.

Oui: As the Talking Heads get better, do you get laid more?
David: About 25 percent more.

Oui: As the Talking Heads get better, did you get higher?
Chris: Yes, but basically there seems to be something inadequate about drugs in that they’re so temporary. I wish they were better, longer lasting and more beneficial in a permanent way.

Oui: Do you wish your tits were bigger?
Tina: No, I think my tits are perfect, by themselves. I don’t wish they were bigger. I wish one was exactly the same size as the other. They usually aren’t. I wish they both were the same size as my big one.

 
In the interview, Tina Weymouth does the most talking, probably for the simple reason that she’s a woman and it’s more fun for a porn mag to put her on the spot and make her say things like “I like cock,” even though she meant more like a linguistic thing.

In an issue of Sounds a bit later, Weymouth said (a little hilariously) that “she was out of her head after a party when the tape recorder was switched on, and when she saw the interview in print she didn’t know whether to be more annoyed about being taken advantage of or about the fact that Oui had left all the best bits out, about butt-fucking and so on.”

I think I’d probably feel the same way….....

Here it is. Click for a larger view:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Vintage documentary charts the rise of the Superstar DJ
02.02.2016
12:03 pm

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John Peel
 
Once upon a time, long, long before TV and computer technology made them all irrelevant, the radio disc jockey was the person millions turned to in order to hear the latest, hippest, grooviest tunes their earholes could handle.

Radio DJs were the arbiters of sound, music, information, gossip, jokes, fashion and news—a bit like the Internet, except far, far more cuddly—as some of those who got too close to them unfortunately found out.

In Britain during those promiscuous 1970s, millions of youngsters were shocking their parents by going to bed with John Peel and waking up with Tony Blackburn… and his dog Arnold. The sound of the DJs could be heard everywhere—from cars, shops, kitchens, homes, factories, schoolyards and those dinky little pocket radios that everyone and their Mom seemed to have, dangling from plastic wristbands.

The music revolution of the 1960s really began with the arrival of cheap polyvinyl chloride in the fifties which meant record companies could mass produce singles and albums. Previously record discs had been made of the far more expensive Bakelite. The PVC revolution tied in very neatly with the incredible flourishing of young musical talent—and so the Swinging Sixties were born.

Suddenly youngsters wanted to hear music before they bought it, or even if they didn’t buy it. This gave rise to Pirate Radio. At the time the BBC was the only organization in Britain with the license to transmit radio shows. However a small loophole in maritime law allowed DJs to broadcast from ships anchored just outside UK waters. And so pop-pickers Pirate Radio was born.
 
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Radio genius Kenny Everett.

In 1967 the BBC admitted defeat and launched Radio One—a youth radio station for pop music. Radio One became the biggest and most successful radio station in the country with generation after generation of youngsters learning their love of music or finding their inspiration to form bands from listening to the station’s DJs.

This BBC documentary from 1970 looks at the rise of the Radio One DJ and features Emperor Rosko, John Peel, Kenny Everett and Tony Blackburn—a rum bunch of four very different radio hosts. Condescending in tone throughout, the documentary voice over even has the temerity to suggest that sex with fans was one of the perks of working for the BBC—-shurely not:

Radio One belongs to the taxpayer and doesn’t splash princely salaries around for men like Emperor Rosko. He accepts the BBC’s shop policy of paying low wages as both sides know about the big big perks that can accompany the adulation of this new empire—British teeny boppers.

The interviewer then grills one poor little teenybopper about her infatuation with Emperor Rosko:

“I listen to him and I like listening to his voice and I get carried away” says one young besotted teenager about the subject of her adoration DJ Emperor Rosko:

“What do you mean you get carried away?” says Ms. Prim from the BBC

“I just hear his voice and I imagine him…” says adoring young fan.

“When you say you imagine him…you imagine him doing what?” continues our interrogator.

“Talking and smiling and…all the actions with it. It’s just good.”

“And where do you do your listen to this?”

“In the bedroom.”

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Legend of Bruce Lee’: The little-known syndicated comic strip
01.25.2016
11:46 am

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The world premiere of Enter the Dragon, the kung fu crossover hit, happened in Hong Kong on July 26, 1973, six days after Bruce Lee’s shocking death at the age of 32. Less than a month later the movie hit America, sparking a global sensation into that most charming of martial arts heroes.

The absence of Lee from his own worldwide phenomenon made it an inviting prospect for others to cash in. This led to the advent of “Bruceploitation,” analogous to the dozens of Beatles imitation LPs that were released in 1964 and 1965, in which “Lee-alikes” were cast in obvious imitations of signature Bruce Lee classics like Fists of Fury or Game of Death.

The kinetic skill of Bruce Lee doesn’t seem like the greatest starting point for a syndicated comic strip, but then again, that bizarre Amazing Spider-Man daily strip has been around for decades and is still going strong. At any rate, there were several attempts to do a Bruce Lee strip in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Actually, one of the widely acknowledged legends of cartooning, Milton Caniff, known for his work on Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon, almost got involved with a daily Bruce Lee strip. In 1977 he and Noel Sickles (of Scorchy Smith renown) produced at least one strip for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate before Caniff lost interest, which you can see below (click for a larger view):
 

 
According to Allan Holtz, author of American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide, “Caniff grew disgusted with what he considered nitpicky suggestions from the syndicate and dropped the project.”

However, five years later, in 1982, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate did run a Bruce Lee strip for approximately a year in “a vanishingly small number of newspapers,” as Holtz puts it. So don’t be too surprised if you missed it in your halcyon youth, it didn’t last very long and it wasn’t in too many papers.

The strip was called “The Legend of Bruce Lee.” It was written by Sharman DiVono, who was also penning the Star Trek strip at the time, and drawn by Fran Matera, who just a couple years later would commence on a 20-year run putting out Steve Roper and Mike Nomad. Later on the strip was taken over by Dick Kulpa.

Holtz is insightful on the reasons the Bruce Lee strip didn’t get wider distribution:
 

The small client list might seem odd given the devoted fandom for Bruce Lee. However, we must consider a few factors. First of all, newspaper editors were pretty much convinced that continuity strips were dead, so the strip had a lot of resistance to overcome. Secondly, the market was awash in media tie-in strips at that time—Spider-Man, Hulk, Dallas, Star Trek, Star Wars and others were all jockeying for newspaper space. Bruce Lee may have just seemed like the low man on that totem pole—popular with teens, certainly, but did he have the mass appeal to sell newspapers? Strips featuring much higher-profile media stars were just limping along as it was—why take a chance on a cult figure that many older readers had never heard of?

 
There aren’t too many images of “The Legend of Bruce Lee” out there, but I was able to score a few. First up is this gorgeous, full-color Sunday edition (in all cases, click for a larger view):
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘A Clockwork Orange’ trading cards
01.06.2016
02:40 pm

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The late, great Blogspot site Bubblegum Fink bit the dust several years ago, but we can ensure that the Fink’s creativity lives on for future generations to appreciate. Last spring I brought you a set of fake trading cards that might possibly have been manufactured in an alternate universe for The Wicker Man. Today we have an similarly impossible set of trading cards for children to enjoy outlining the decidedly adult plot points of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange

The Fink’s comments on this set, in part:

A Clockwork Orange is another set of trading cards, like The Wicker Man, that never could have existed at the time the film was released. But now, I would rush out to buy a box. Wouldn’t you? I’m happy with the card design, but less so with the Clockwork Orange font which I wish had been a little sharper. To do it over again, I’d just get rid of it. Of course, the cards represent a sort of edited-for-television version of the film, and it’s also the shortest set I’ve done at only 33 cards.

My favorite part is the PG, hamfisted, one might even say clueless captions (“Surprise Visit,” “Work of Art,” “Apology”).
 

 

 

 

 

 
Many, many more cards after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing
01.05.2016
12:33 pm

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Leonard Koren was surely one of the more eccentric people to ever run an influential magazine, although admittedly the category of influential publishers would not be expected to produce the most normal lot by any reckoning. Part of Koren’s charm, for sure, was his straight-faced insistence of sincere obsession over the superficially uninteresting world of baths and bathing. In the 34 issues that were published between 1976 and 1981, Koren’s signature creation, WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing was a tongue-in-cheek celebration of dousing oneself with water with a deadpan tone arguably undercut by Koren’s authentic interest in the subject of wetness.

Pitched somewhere in the general vicinity of Details and Interview and Raw, WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing showed the world, as much as anyone did, what the 1980s were going to be like. True to its title, the magazine’s visual gestalt was dominated by lush depictions of people, often women, bathing or swimming. Based out of Venice, California, it’s a contender for the most ineffably Cali periodical ever, reminiscent of say, the swimming pools artworks of David Hockney, who, surprise surprise, was an interview subject in the magazine’s 28th issue. In its interest in fashion and design, WET also pointed the way to a hard-edged, plastic decade that would be dominated by the likes of Patrick Nagel, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Jeff Koons.

Koren had the guts to forge his own path as well as a keen eye for talent. In addition to offering an early site for the work of Matt Groening, Gary Panter, Matthew Rolston, and Herb Ritts, WET featured Koren’s masterful deployment of tone, brilliantly deadpan textual style, and undisuputed visual chops in every issue.

Among other things Koren is a relentless, if frequently amusing, self-promoter, having produced two volumes (of which I’m aware) dedicated to his version of events behind the creation of WET (Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing and 13 Books).
 

Koren in San Francisco in 1985, four years after the last issue of WET
 
Koren’s interest in bathing is one of the mainstays of his career. Koren’s first published work, in 1975, was 17 Beautiful Men Taking A Shower, which is just that, seventeen black-and-white pictures of Los Angeles men like Ed Begley Jr. lathering up in Koren’s fancy bathroom. (Koren had wanted to do 23 Beautiful Women Taking a Bath but a friend “suggested that the less obvious artwork for a heterosexual male—and hence the more interesting—was the one with the men.” He took the advice.) More than a decade after the demise of WET, Koren was publishing works with titles like Undesigning the Bath and How to Take a Japanese Bath.

As Perry Vasquez points out, WET’s colorful, playful qualities didn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t pushing the envelope, as one of the covers late in its run indicates:
 

WET covers consistently presented strong and unforgettable statements. Koren did not shy away from intellectually challenging or controversial material. The image of the copulating pigs that appeared on the March/April 1981 issue is visually unforgettable but caused great anxiety among the ad sales team who feared it would make their job more difficult. By this time, WET was beginning to penetrate the mainstream so it was sold inside a brown paper wrapper to avoid giving offense at the supermarket checkout line.

 
Kristine McKenna, WET’s music editor from 1979 to 1981, aptly writes that the magazine “espoused a post-hippie philosophy of pleasure, sensuality and play,” but methinks in her use of the term “anti-materialist” she doth protest too much. She explains that Koren frequently didn’t pay contributors or staff but that “what Koren offered in lieu of money was an arena for people to develop whatever creative gifts they had.” Fair enough. For his own part, Koren strikes much the same note, saying that “WETs operating bywords were ‘cheap is good.’”

But would an anti-materialist liken his goals to that of the world’s largest soda pop conglomerate, as Koren did in WET’s opening issue? Read on: “WET is a magazine devoted to upgrading the quality of your bathing experience. Hopefully, in the great American tradition of Coca-Cola, doggie diapers and Pet Rocks, WET will become one of those things you never imagined you needed until you find you can’t live without it.”
 

 
Interest in bathing might technically qualify as “anti-materialist”—lavish possessions are not required to enjoy the process of aquatic submersion—but the topics, tone, and visuals of the magazine surely reeked of well-heeled entitlement, pure and simple. The style the magazine had the same shiny and sleek appeal as an expensive container of Voss bottled water when it wasn’t serving as a precursor for that most disposable of ‘80s celebrities, Max Headroom. And Koren’s manner of disbanding the operation had a similarly flippant air redolent of some kind of privilege: Once Koren became bored with the routinized process of running an established magazine, he thought about trying to sell it to someone but decided against it, commenting, “I felt better about dumping the magazine altogether and letting its memory live on undefiled.”

Still, the influence of WET can’t be denied, taking an honorable place alongside Slash, SPY, and Ray Gun as short-lived magazines that cut a bold aesthetic and editorial line that would come to be cherished by the generations to follow. For an issue-by-issue description of every issue of WET and a cover gallery, see here.
 

 

 

 
Get even WETter, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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