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Pushin’ Too Hard: The Seeds guest star on a goofy 1968 sitcom
03.27.2015
07:47 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
The Seeds


 
Many things have changed in America over the last five decades, but the quality of network sitcoms has remained constant. Like death and taxes, you can always count on TV networks’ contempt for their viewers; watch a sitcom that has been moldering at the bottom of history’s shitpile for 47 years and, as William S. Burroughs always says, “the bare lie shines through.”
 

 
Take it from me: when you’re jonesing for a bit of the old Verfremdungseffekt, there’s no trash like yesterday’s trash.
 

 
In 1968, the Seeds guest-starred on an episode of NBC’s The Mothers-in-Law, a Desi Arnaz produced series about two neighboring middle-aged couples whose children elope. In this episode, “How Not to Manage a Rock Group,” the kids convince their parents to invest $500 in studio time for the Warts (i.e. the Seeds). If you’re a Seeds fan and you’ve already seen the clip of the band miming “Pushin’ Too Hard” on this program, you’ll still want to watch the whole thing: Sky Saxon et al. suffer onscreen for a surprising amount of the episode, appearing intermittently from their first appearance at the six-minute mark until the end credits roll. I hope you have a high tolerance for punchlines about the “generation gap.”
 

 
Tell me, readers: are the Seeds wearing authentic hippie drag from the freak boutiques of the Sunset Strip, or does this bold gear come straight from the Desilu wardrobe?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Waste your time with this Joy Division/Teletubbies mashup. SERIOUSLY.
03.27.2015
06:57 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Television

Tags:
Joy Division
Teletubbies


 
The Internet works so quickly it could give you whiplash. Yesterday, Vanyaland posted this desaturated image of the Teletubbies, noting that the actually nightmarish image could have been a still from the famous video Anton Corbijn made for the Joy Division song “Atmosphere.”
 

 
In no time flat, a YouTube user named Christopher G. Brown uploaded a black and white video of the Teletubbies frolicking to that song. Somehow, the rotund and eternally chipper children’s TV mainstays’ merry (if admittedly kind of creepily surreal) countryside cavorting is a perfect fit with the forlorn, elegiac majesty of the JD song. I can’t even add anything here, just watch it.
 

 
A million thanks to Nerdhole‘s Mary P. Traverse for this day-making find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Time to Suck’: Wild 70s South African proto-metal band Suck covers Black Sabbath, King Crimson
03.26.2015
02:00 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
proto metal
Suck

Suck Band
 
I have a cold. So instead of coughing up a lung in my wife’s face while she tried to sleep last night, I generously chose to snooze on the couch. It’s not the most comfortable surface in the house on which to catch some Z’s but, making the best of this temporary sleeping arrangement, I was happily able to lull myself into a wheezy, congested slumber by listening to anything I wanted without the fear of driving my significant other insane. Earlier in the day, a friend of mine had posted some photos of a few psych records he had just purchased, one being The American Metaphysical Circus by Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies, a record I had heard once several years ago but that I didn’t know much about. I set a box of tissues and my laptop on the coffee table next to the couch, found The American Metaphysical Circus on YouTube, pressed play, turned down the brightness on my screen and fell sound asleep in maybe 20 minutes without even finishing the record.

The next thing you know, the sun’s out, shining through the curtains behind my head (which feels like a swollen brick) and, through the magic of continual play on YouTube, music is still spilling out from the my tiny laptop speakers. Who knows how many videos played while I slept, but at this point I’m hearing the unmistakably staccato opening riff of somebody’s version of “War Pigs,” but it’s clearly not Sabbath, it’s different somehow (unless it’s some live version or something). Groggy but curious, I bring up the brightness on the screen to be greeted by this:
 
Suck Band Youtube
Suck. The very first thing I saw this morning.
 
Suck. A band called Suck I’ve never heard of who put out a record apparently called Time to Suck on which the band is jamming a pretty solid version of “War Pigs”? My interest piqued and hoping that the title of this record (being the very first thing I saw upon opening my eyes this morning) wasn’t some sort of bad omen about how the rest of my day was going to go down, I start looking into the proto-metal powerhouse which was Suck. I was not disappointed, and hey, I even learned something.

Turns out that Suck was a short lived endeavor from South Africa where the early seventies generated a handful of notable proto-metal acts collectively referred to as “The Big Heavies,” a name derived from a 1972 compilation album of the same name featuring fully leaded fellow South African bands, Freedom’s Children and Otis Waygood among several others. Suck’s Time To Suck  was released in 1971 and features a shitload of covers of Grand Funk Railroad, King Crimson, Free, Deep Purple, Colesseum, the aforementioned Black Sabbath (well actually “War Pigs” was not on the original record release, but was added as bonus track when the recording saw the light of day years later on CD) and even a lyrically botched version of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.”

More Suckage after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Frank Zappa & the Monkees: ‘No, YOU’RE the popular musician, I’M dirty gross and ugly’


 
The Monkees are often referred to as the “Pre-Fab Four” in reference to the fact that they were a TV knock-off of the Beatles, recruited from a help wanted ad in Variety. Still, no matter how “uncool” they were supposed to be, the Monkees casting was a rare example of stroke of genius by committee. It’s difficult to imagine anyone but the four of them having the same chemistry, both comedically and (eventually) musically. And to further refute their “uncool” rep, John Lennon called them “the Marx Brothers of Rock” (he was right about that) and the Beatles even hosted a party for the Monkees in London when they toured England. (Furthermore, Mike Nesmith was present at the Abbey Road recording sessions for “A Day in the Life” and Peter Tork played banjo on George Harrison’s eclectic Wonderwall soundtrack).

Even that most far-out of the really far-out musicians of the day, Frank Zappa himself, made not just one, but two onscreen appearances with the Monkees: First in a TV segment where Mike pretended to be Frank and vice versa (which certainly foreshadowed Ringo Starr’s portrayal of Zappa in 200 Motels) before they destroyed a car with a sledgehammer to the tune of “Mother People,” and again in a brief cameo in Head.
 

 
Zappa’s Head cameo, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Watch The Fall break up into a million shards, live at Brownie’s in NYC, 1998
03.26.2015
10:19 am

Topics:
Crime
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Fall


 
This exchange happened after the Fall’s gig at Brownie’s on the Lower East Side of NYC on April 7, 1998:
 

Fan 1: “That was the scariest thing I ever saw. Now I know who I want to go as for Halloween.”
Fan 2: “You mean Mark E. Smith? You don’t understand…he’s not usually like this.”
Fan 1: “Oh, that’s too bad. I feel like I finally saw my first real punk band! That was the greatest show I ever saw in my life.”

 
That reaction merely scratched the surface of what happened that night. An actual fight broke out between longtime Fall drummer Karl Burns and frontman Mark E. Smith midway through the set. Before the sun would rise the next morning, Mark E. Smith would be arrested for assault. Even more momentously, it would emerge that the three members of the then-quintet who left the stage in the middle of the final song had played their last Fall gig ever, including Burns, who had been with the band since 1977, and Steve Hanley, the Fall’s utterly essential bassist who had been slogging it out with Mark E. Smith since 1979. The combination of Hanley and guitarist Craig Scanlon, who had left the band in 1995, was every bit as crucial to the Fall’s elusive brilliance during the early 1980s as MES himself, as can be witnessed on such phenomenal albums as Perverted by Language, This Nation’s Saving Grace, and Hex Enduction Hour. (Few pieces of music bring me as much joy as the lengthy “Garden” off of Perverted by Language.)

It couldn’t have been easy being such a close compadre of volatile genius/crabapple Mark E. Smith for two decades, but in April 1998 frustrations boiled over. Three days earlier, tempers had flared during a show in Philadelphia; Hanley and Smith got into a “fight,” according to WPRB DJs who attended the gig, and half the band quit the stage in disgust, leaving just Smith and keyboardist Julia Nagle on the stage (which would happen again a few days later at Brownie’s). After the show there was an extensive discussion of the fracas on WPRB (this clip is very entertaining). Julia’s rebuttal, written ten years after the fact, can be found here, along with that clip:
 

the UK tour prior to the US had also been a shambles, as the group had received a large VAT/TAX bill and were not happy chickens (threats of houses being lost etc. were the main topic of conversation or argument). Also, regarding to the incident at the beginning of the US tour, I defended myself with my fists during an argument about sharing a room with Mark and in the morning he had a black eye from that fracas. (there were many fracas’s during this time in The Falls history and they were nothing to be proud of).

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Wendy O. Williams, The Misfits, Black Flag—collect ‘em all with these vintage punk trading cards!


 
Totally in love with these cheap little vintage punk rock trading cards. Today we truly live in a post-punk world! Chain gas stations sell Misfits Zippos to oblivious rednecks! Hot Topic has monetized every band under the sun by slapping their logos on everything short of your first-born! Isn’t there something kind of quaint about this modest old school attempt to capitalize off punk fandom? The awkward little captions, the trademarks and copyrights over what I’m almost sure are fair-use press photos—it was a more innocent time of hucksterism!

I assume the cards didn’t move that well, considering these all came from 1981/82 editions of Punk Lives magazine (forget the copyright, most of these bands didn’t even exist in 1978). Perhaps whoever thought them up overestimated the archivist tendencies of early punk rocker, but I like the kitsch of such obsolete tinpot swag. Note early incarnation of The Cult with fresh-faced Ian Astbury; and Mark Chung and FM Einheit, later of Einstürzende Neubauten, back when they were in the Abwarts.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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When Joni Mitchell recorded with Cheech & Chong…
03.26.2015
06:19 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Joni Mitchell
Cheech & Chong


 
Not that I need to hear another word about what a magical place California was in the 1970s for the rest of my life, but I guess it must really have been something if it could bring Joni Mitchell together with Cheech & Chong. In Cheech & Chong: The Unauthorized Autobiography, Chong says that Mitchell was romantically involved with Cheech, and that she witnessed the conception of the duo’s immortal teen rebellion anthem, “Earache My Eye.” The place is Malibu, the year 1972:

Cheech rented a house in the Hollywood Hills and became the party guy in town. Without [former girlfriend] Barbie he was a free man. While he dated a bevy of eligible Hollywood ladies, one in particular fed my admiration for the Cheech charm. Joni Mitchell, the genius Canadian songwriter, was entangled with Cheech for a while. Gaye Delorme, the guitarist, was staying with Cheech when Joni was over with David Geffen, who was Joni’s personal manager at the time. Gaye was trying to convince Joni to buy a Canadian-built acoustic guitar, but David Geffen shot the deal down when he said he didn’t especially like the guitar. David knew the music business and Joni respected his opinion, so she passed on the guitar. This did not stop the Canadian from trying. Gaye wrote the music and the riff for a tune soon to be known as “Earache My Eye”... or “Mama Talking to Me.” Gaye came up with the music and the first line, “Mama talking to me,” and I added, “trying to tell me how to live, but I don’t listen to her cause my head is like a sieve… My daddy he disowned me cause I wear my sister’s clothes. He caught me in the basement with a pair of panty hose.”

The story ends abruptly in the book, but Chong picks it up again in this recent interview with Rolling Stone:

That was a trip, too, because [Gaye] was staying with Cheech at that time, and Cheech was dating Joni Mitchell—or at least he went out with Joni Mitchell one time—and there was Joni Mitchell and David Geffen, and Gaye Delorme came out of the bedroom, and he said “Listen,” and he played the [“Earache My Eye”] riff.

 

 
On Court and Spark, Mitchell enlisted Cheech & Chong to contribute a few spoken lines to her rendition of “Twisted,” a jazz song by singer Annie Ross and saxophonist Wardell Gray. Ross recorded the song with the vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, a group Mitchell refers to as “my Beatles”:

In high school, theirs was the record I wore thin, the one I knew all the words to.

 

 
Biographer Mark Bego writes that “Twisted” was the first song Mitchell recorded that she had not written herself. She paid Cheech & Chong a high compliment, so to speak, by inviting them to fill in for the other two members of the trio she idolized as a teenager. If this jazz thing is too sophisticated for you, fast forward to 1:47 to hear Cheech and Chong’s cameo.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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The Wrecks: Raging early 80’s proto-riot-grrl hardcore band’s demo, gloriously resurrected for you
03.25.2015
07:10 am

Topics:
Feminism
Music
Punk

Tags:
punks
The Wrecks


 
The Wrecks were a raging early ‘80s, all-female, hardcore band from the “Skeeno Hardcore” scene of Reno, Nevada. Considered by Seven Seconds to be a “sister band,” they were a bit of an anomaly at the time—four teenage girls playing ultra noisy, brutal hardcore. Certainly, they were mining similar musical and thematic territory that Bikini Kill would become famous for ten years later. Their “claim to fame” was a single song, “Punk is an Attitude”, which was included on the widely-distributed Not So Quiet on the Western Front compilation LP, released by Maximumrockandroll magazine in 1982. Their drummer, Lynn, went on to play with hardcore gods, The Dicks. Watch some incredible footage of her Dicks tenure here.
 

 
Lynn of Reno’s The Wrecks. Touch and Go #19

The excellent blog One Chord is Enough has a detailed post compiling several vintage reviews and interviews with The Wrecks:

“This band hails from Reno, Nevada and is composed of four teenage girls that do mostly all hardcore material. The nine songs on this tape are definitely not of the slam’n'thrash variety but are more akin to art damage, sorta like Flipper. Anyway everything here is original and well, kinda weird. Broken-up rhythms and strange singing abound but this stuff really does grab ya after repeated listenings. Also the lyrics are top notch and these girls definitely have something to say! They deal with subjects such as high school, Cuban refugees, and the all important question about drug use. What ya got here is a fairly rewarding tape from a rebellious crew of teenage girls ready to shake up the system.” Frankie DeAngelis (Ripper #7, May 1982)

 

 

“The Wrecks were one of the first all-female hardcore punk bands. They rocked Reno from 1980 to 1982. Two of the members went on to form the still-active Imperial Teen: Lynn Truell and Jone Stebbins. Lynn was just named one of the 100 best alternative-rock drummers by Spin magazine, which neglected her time in The Wrecks but included her drumming in The Dicks and Sister Double Happiness.” Mark Robison

 
Hear the Wrecks after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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‘The Game is Over’: Previously unreleased Ministry song from 1983
03.25.2015
04:52 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Ministry
Al Jourgensen


 
In late 1983, after completing the With Sympathy tour, Ministry hunkered down at Pierce Arrow Recorders in Evanston, IL, to write and demo new music. Four songs were tracked in what would be just about the last gasp of the band’s first incarnation. The band’s singer/guitarist/keyboardist Alain Jourgensen, keyboardist Robert Roberts, and drummer Stephen George were joined by touring bassist Brad Hallen to work on the songs “The Game Is Over,” “Let’s Be Happy,” “Same Old Scene,” and “Wait,” none of which were ever officially released.

Which may have been because the band was about to change dramatically. Founding keyboardist John Davis was already out, and Roberts would exit for good soon after these sessions, and while George and Hallen would remain on board in diminishing capacities, appearing last in a remix of song that made its way onto the Twitch LP, Jourgensen’s increasing interest in the danceable industrial music typified by Cabaret Voltaire was steering Ministry away from the dark synthpop they’d been pursuing, and towards the much more aggressive sound of the band’s lasting fame. But from what one can hear of those four dead-end demos, Ministry may well have evolved satisfyingly even without such a major sea change. Here’s “The Game is Over.” It’s never been heard before—I couldn’t even find it bootlegged, and believe me, I hunted. It’s of a piece with all of Ministry’s early work, but, and perhaps this is due to the prominence given bassist Hallen, it feels more organic and flexible than With Sympathy, and more in line with the band’s live recordings from that era.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘How the Rules of Evidence Handcuff the Piano Man’ and more from the Billy Joel law conference
03.24.2015
09:11 am

Topics:
Crime
Music

Tags:
Billy Joel
lawyers


Billy Joel surveys the damage done by a rock-throwing hoodlum
 
If you’re like me, you can’t hear the Billy Joel song “All for Leyna” without wondering whether Leyna would have benefited a solid grounding in tort and accident law. And Brenda and Eddie, from “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” who “got a divorce as a matter of course,” who represented them in that legal matter? Well,  wonder no more.

In Central Islip, NY, legal scholars from all over North America gathered to honor Long Island’s foremost bard, Billy Joel with academia’s most esteemed form of celebration: the academic conference. Yes, that’s right: the Touro Law Center hosted a two-day conference called “Billy Joel and the Law” at the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center on March 22 and 23.

The program promised the following: “Speakers at the conference will include judges, lawyers, law professors, and music scholars, who will discuss ways in which Billy Joel’s work relates to American law, society, and culture.” The brainy festivities included “a wine and cheese reception with musical performances related to the educational content of the program.” No, in case you were wondering, Billy Joel did not supply the music for the conference. 

There were the usual paper titles that played on Joel’s song and album titles, such as “Downeaster Alexa: a Perfect Storm of Regulations,” “Behind the Nylon Curtain: Billy Joel, the Reagan Revolution, and the Unraveling of the ‘Me’ Generation,” and “The Minstrel Testifies or How the Rules of Evidence Handcuff the Piano Man.” How did they neglect to do anything with “You May Be Right.” And not a single mention of “Lawyers in Love”!! (Oh wait, that’s Jackson Browne.)

Here’s my best guess as to what Billy Joel would have looked like had he not become a rock and roll troubadour but instead had decided to become a law professor:
 

 
via Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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