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That time the Clash appeared in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The King of Comedy’
05.24.2016
05:50 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
The Clash
Martin Scorsese


 
An interesting cinematic footnote to the Clash’s time spent in New York City in the early 1980s—while they recorded their sprawling three-record Sandinista album—is their “blink and you missed ‘em” appearance in Martin Scorsese’s dark classic The King of Comedy.
 

 
Apparently both Scorsese and Robert De Niro were huge Clash fans and saw them during their famous series of seventeen concerts at Bonds International Casino in Times Square during May and June of 1981. Aside from the band going out to bars a few times with the director and actor, it’s mentioned in several Clash biographies—and several about Scorsese, too—that Gangs of New York was originally something he envisioned for the group!
 

 
Mick Jones, Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon and some of their cohorts—sometime manager Kosmo Vinyl, singers Ellen Foley and Pearl Harbour and filmmaker Don Letts are credited in The King of Comedy as “Street Scum.”

Here the are in action, take a look:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Adventures of Schoolly D: A Gangster’s Story
05.24.2016
01:24 pm

Topics:
Hip-hop
Movies
Music

Tags:
rap
Schoolly D


 
At the risk of sounding like a middle-aged white guy character in a Mike Judge film, the improbable soundtrack to my life for the past two weeks has been Schoolly motherfuckin’ D. For whatever reason, I pulled out an old CD of his—maybe for the first time this millennium—to listen to in the car the other day and now I can’t get enough of it. Alone in the car I play “P.S.K. (What Does It Mean?)” at an ear-splitting volume that I’m pretty sure bounces my conservative European automobile like a low-rider with tricked-out suspension. I probably look like an idiot, I grant you, but I don’t really care. This shit is amazing. I appreciated it when it came out—I saw him live—but why it captured my attention so much again thirty years later I couldn’t tell you. It just did.

Probably the original original gangster rapper—even Ice-T admitted in his autobiography that he might’ve taken a bite out of Schoolly D‘s style—the Philadelphia native, on his self-released records at least, perfectly played the role of the scary black gang member/rapper, alluding to, cataloging and boasting about the nefarious activities of the “Park Side Killers,” the local posse of bad boys he ran with. Schoolly—real name Jesse Weaver Jr.—was backed by his DJ Code Money and rapped about violence, guns, raunchy sex, “bitches,” crack and “cheeba”—Salt-n-Pepa or Run DMC were never going to mention such things, or use the “N” word in their raps. Schoolly D shied away from none of these topics or that word.
 

 
He told the Philadelphia Citypaper about where his lyrical inspiration came from in a 2004 interview:

“A couple of guys I know, Abdullah, Disco Man and my man Manny, were like, “Why don’t you write a song about us, why don’t you write a song about Parkside Killers?’ It was one of the easiest songs I’d ever written. I wrote it sitting at my mom’s dining-room table, smoking some weed at 3 o’clock in the morning.”

Armed with his newfound inspiration and a large amount of weed, Schoolly hit the studio. Out of necessity he was forced into recording in a studio designed for classical music.

“They had these big plate reverbs, that’s why you got the “PSK’ sound because nobody used the real shit. We did everything live, and if you listen you can hear my fingers programming the drum machine. We just kept getting higher and higher and higher, and smoking and smoking and all of a sudden the song just took on this whole other life because we were just so fucked up. It just made this sucking sound like “boosh, boosh’ and we just looked at each other and were like, “Yeah, do more of that shit.’”

The “boosh” sound is what really made “PSK” stand out as something that, until that time, had never been done. The tweaked-out reverb bass caused a sensation.

“I got home and I put the tape in the tape recorder and I was like, “What the fuck did I do?’ Nobody had ever done something like that before, with all the reverb, nobody. And I was like, “I gotta go back and take some of that reverb out because this shit just sounds kinda crazy.’ But I didn’t know that everyone else was making tapes and passing out copies to everyone in Parkside, so by the time that I wanted to go back to the studio it was already out everywhere, and motherfuckers was going crazy, they was like, “That’s the baddest shit we ever heard in our whole fucking life.’”

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Lee Ving of Fear—now in bobblehead form
05.24.2016
09:50 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
Throbbleheads
Lee Ving


 
Fear singer/honcho Lee Ving is a divisive figure who’s been called a LOT of things ending in “-head.” The unabashedly juvenile and boneheaded misanthropy in Fear’s lyrics makes him a hero to anti-PC reactionaries (he’s called himself an “equal opportunity offender” in interviews, which right there is a huge dog whistle), and a juvenile misanthropic bonehead to everyone else. He’s basically a loudmouth who unabashedly speaks his mind, a quality considered highly praiseworthy by people who happen to think like him. I can think of another figure who appeals to reactionaries for “speaking exactly what’s on his mind.” I’ll shut up now.

But whatever you can say about Ving’s assholiness, his band left a pretty remarkably big musical stain on Hardcore. In their 39 year history (of the original band only Ving remains) they released only two truly significant albums—1982’s The Record and 1985’s More Beer. Since then their output has been paltry, sporadic, and lacking in fire. It’s clear the band exhausted its trove of ideas early; their last album, 2012’s The Fear Record, is merely a re-recording of their debut. But that debut was sufficiently loaded with classics that it practically constitutes a best-of in its own right. That, and the publicity generated by their infamously chaotic Saturday Night Live appearance (the were invited by John Belushi) made the utterly misanthropic and hostile Fear, for better or for worse, the band civilians thought of when they thought of Hardcore at all, which let’s face it, didn’t do punk a whole lot of favors in the public relations department. As with all things Ving, your mileage may vary.

So whether you think he’s a savior or a destroyer, it’s fairly inarguable that he genuinely deserves the honor of his own bobblehead figure. Ving lately joins DEVO, Descendents, Mike Watt, Wendy O. Williams, and GG Allin, among other underground heroes, in Aggronautix’s “Throbblehead” line of punk rock bobbleheads. He’s the 30th punk icon so honored, and his edition of figures is limited to 1000, numbered. And it looks a damn shot cuddlier than the real-life model. If these don’t sell, maybe Aggronautix can lop off the middle finger, scrub the Fear logos, and try to pass these off as Joe Strummer.
 

 

 
Pre-orders are happening now at Aggronautix’s web site. The figures are expected to ship this summer.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
KISS, with the vocals half a step out of key, sound like drunk frat boys at a karaoke bar
05.24.2016
09:35 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
KISS


 
Post delivers.

Here’s KISS doing their 1979 hit off the Dynasty album, “I Was Made For Loving You”—remixed, sounding something like your favorite karaoke bar superstar.

The advent of games like Rock Band brought about a lot of classic pop songs being salvaged from their master tapes and separated into their core instrument tracks in order to facilitate gameplay. Clever hackers have been able to grab those separated tracks from the games, turn them into MOGG files, and an underground cottage industry has developed around remixers re-appropriating these isolated instrument sounds. This is partially responsible for the explosion in mashup songs over the past decade. Sometimes really amazing creations can be concocted using a guitar line from one song and a vocal from another.

Or you can do what YouTube user Pluffnub has done: take a bunch of beloved songs and pitch down only the vocals a half step… making them sound like retarded drunks.

The effect is beautifully subtle—it sounds off JUST ENOUGH to be fucked up, but it might take you a few seconds to notice just HOW fucked up.

Pluffnub has done several of these, including songs by Queen, Duran Duran, A-Ha, and Iron Maiden.

But this one is the best. “I Was Made For Loving You” by KISS. It really gets good on the choruses. It’s especially satisfying in light of Gene Simmons making such a turd out of himself lately.

“Feel the magic” after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The Smashing Pumpkins—very early on—live for an hour on a local Chicago TV show, 1988


Smashing Pumpkins
 
What you are about to see is some pretty incredible early footage of the Smashing Pumpkins performing songs from their first demo tape on a local Chicago television show, The Pulse back in 1988.

While the producer of The Pulse Lou Hinkhouse had heard the buzz on the street regarding the band, he hadn’t yet heard their music. Corgan had just moved back to Chicago from Florida after ditching his gig as the vocalist and guitarist of The Marked. After meeting up with James Iha, the two started writing music together with the help of a drum machine (much like his days with The Marked), and were soon doing live gigs around Chicago. Corgan then hooked up with bassist D’arcy Wretzky and the Smashing Pumpkins became a trio. After some urging, Corgan ditched the drum machine and enlisted a human timekeeper, Jimmy Chamberlin. Hinkhouse was “blown away” by the demo and immediately contacted Corgan (who was just 21 at the time), and asked if the band would perform on the show’s “Basement Jam” segment.
 

A 21-year-old Billy Corgan
 
With only a few live gigs under their belt, the Pumpkins agreed to Hinkhouse’s proposal and in the footage below you will see and hear the band perform nine songs, “There it Goes,” “She,” “Under Your Spell,” “My Eternity,” “Bleed,” “Nothing and Everything,” “Jennifer Ever,” “Death of a Mind (that would later be called “Sun” on the 1991 album, Gish),” and the blistering track, “Spiteface.” According to Corgan, during this early time period when the band was still developing their own sound, they were heavily digging on the melancholy sounds of “sad-rock” being made by bands like The Cure…

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Dave Davies explains how he REALLY got the raw guitar sound on The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’
05.21.2016
08:48 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Kinks
Dave Davies


 
The fuzzy riff of the Kinks’ epochal 1964 hit “You Really Got Me” is one of the great “opening statements” in rock and roll history. For so many of us, that lick was the first time we ever heard the Kinks—leading to countless hours spent listening to some of the greatest rock and roll ever recorded.

Recently, the origins of that notably fuzzy sound were the topic of a passage in Rich Cohen’s new book The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones, which was excerpted in Slate a couple of weeks ago. In addition to writing this book, Cohen is one of the creators of the HBO series Vinyl, along with Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, and Terence Winter.

Dave Davies, who wrote the riff, is very annoyed at Cohen’s portrayal of how it came about. Davies spoke out on the Kinks’ official Facebook presence earlier today with a lengthy open letter to “Rich Cohen, Random House, and Slate magazine” in order to air his grievances.
 

 
The roots of Davies’ annoyance seem to relate to the notion that his brother Ray was involved in the incident, which involved a speaker being cut by a razor blade, when he actually was not involved at all. Obviously, the relationship between Ray and Dave Davies has been notoriously difficult for decades now. Dave once said of Ray, “I love my brother… I just can’t stand to be with him.”

According to Davies, neither Cohen nor Slate have responded to his requests to identify the source of the anecdote. Here’s the section of Cohen’s book that irritated Davies (boldface added):
 

When Keith listened to the new version, he knew what was missing. The riff! He had to crank it up. The next morning, Ian Stewart came back from the music store with a Gibson Maestro fuzz box, a new gizmo that distorted guitar, junked it up. The sound was akin to the lead on the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” which, according to legend, resulted from a fight between Dave Davies and Ray Davies. One of the brothers cut a speaker with a razor blade, causing the same sort of snarled line Richards achieved with the fuzz pedal.

 
And here’s the relevant portion of Davies’ response:
 

Mr. Cohen and Slate magazine editors have refused to provide a source for this passage despite repeated requests from my staff. As I have stated in interviews and print since 1964, I was alone at home in the front room of 6 Denmark Terrace in Muswell Hill North London when I got angry because I was upset about being separated from my girlfriend. I slashed the speaker cone with a razor blade IN A FIT OF RAGE. Ray was not with me. I was alone in my ANGER. IT had nothing to do with a fight with my brother.

 
The full letter is much longer—it’s definitely worth a full read. According to Dave Lifton at Ultimate Classic Rock, Dave Davies got bent out of shape in late 2014 when Ray stuck an incident along these lines into his musical-in-progress about the Kinks, which goes by the title Sunny Afternoon. Dave’s comment on the situation at that time was:
 

“My brother is lying. … I am just flabbergasted and shocked at the depth of his selfish desire to take credit for everything. I never once claimed songwriting royalties on “You Really Got Me,” yet this song would not have happened without my guitar sound.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Eye-popping latex masks of Lemmy, Prince and David Bowie


Lemmy Kilmister latex mask with black “rocker” hair by Ireland-based company, Rubber Johnnies.
 
The masks featured in this post are made by an Ireland-based company called “Rubber Johnnies.” The first one I came across was the one of a rather surprised looking David Bowie as his glam-rock alter-ego Aladdin Sane (which you can see below) complete with Bowie’s distinctive eyes as well as some false eyelashes. Of course, after finding the Bowie mask, I was hoping that a quick look through Rubber Johnnies’ online store would produce more latex oddities (here is probably as good a place as any to inform you that “Rubber Johnny” is British slang for condoms)—and I wasn’t disappointed. They’ve got Obama, the Queen, a mean hillbilly mask and of course, Donald Trump (no Hillary mask, though).
 

Prince latex mask.
 
In addition to the slightly insane looking Aladdin Sane mask, there is also a mask in the image of Lemmy Kilmister (pictured at the top of this post) that is adorned with Lem’s ever-present moles and long black hair for that “realistic rocker effect.” But neither one of these fantastically strange creations can compare with Rubber Johnnies’ latex homage to the late, great king of all things purple, Prince (above). The face of the Prince mask (that has realistic looking black hair that I’d say is modeled after Prince’s 1996 “Emancipation” era do), is frozen in a smirky half-smile with a shot of come hither side-eye—a look that Prince perfected. In addition to the Lemmy, Bowie and Prince masks, there is also one of Michael Jackson where he looks like he’s wearing Marilyn Manson’s make-up (It’s very “The Child Catcher” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. See for yourself, below.)

The masks retail for about $30 - $40 bucks plus shipping and Rubber Johnnies also appears to do custom orders. More images follow. Happy nightmares!
 

The forever ‘surprised’ looking Aladdin Sane latex mask.

More, including that frightening Michael Jackson mask, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Own Elvis’ personal Quaalude bottle
05.20.2016
09:01 am

Topics:
Drugs
Music

Tags:
Elvis Presley


 
There seems to be quite a market for Elvis Presley drug paraphernalia out there! Just six months ago we posted about an auction featuring Valium and Naldecon bottles once owned by The King™, along with a prescription written by his infamous doctor George “Dr. Nick” Nichopoulos (R.I.P February 24, 2016). Tomorrow, still more prescription bottles are being made available to “lucky” bastards with more money than sense—each is expected to fetch $6,000-8,000, and auction house estimates tend to be on the low side so as not to discourage bidders.

I’d love to know who the hell is buying these. Is there a trader scene, like with Grateful Dead tapes? “DUDE, you have doubles of Trisoralen? I’ll swap you two Valium and a Maolate!”

This auction—being held tomorrow by “Auction House to the Stars” Julien’s—features not only the evidently de rigueur Valium and Naldecon, but Dalmane, Temaril, Triavil, Trisoralen, and something called “Sanilert” that doesn’t appear to be a drug that actually existed but one that sounds alarmingly like a portmanteau of “sanity” and “alertness.” (What’s visible on the partial label in the photo provided clearly reads “keep sanity.”) God only knows what the hell that actually was. And then there’s the grail: a bottle that once held Elvis’ supply of that most acutely ‘70s chemical refreshment, Quaaludes.
 

 

 
See more of The King™‘s drug bottles, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Hoodoo,’ John Fogerty’s lost, occult-tinged disco rock album
05.20.2016
09:00 am

Topics:
Music
Occult

Tags:
Creedence Clearwater Revival
John Fogerty


 
I won’t hear any badmouthing of John Fogerty on my internet. John Fogerty is tops. If he’d drunk a bottle of poison after recording “Proud Mary,” we’d still remember him as a peer of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. But Fogerty left the cyanide on the shelf and led Creedence Clearwater Revival for an astonishing run of hit singles and albums, every last one of which (okay, maybe not Mardi Gras, but that leaves six LPs of quality) belongs in the collection of even the most half-assed, fair-weather, penny-pinching, Sunday-driving, miserable, mean, craven self-abnegating rock fan. I guarantee it!

So it is not to mock Fogerty that I draw your attention to a low point in his career, but to praise him. Behold: this lowly nth-generation bootleg of this ridiculous album, Hoodoo, which was to have been his second solo LP before he destroyed the tapes—even this sorry thing, with its stiff beats, gratuitous synths and friendly gestures toward the disco audience, is like unto one of Paul Bunyan’s labors compared with the bleats of today’s puny “Americana” people. It’s pretty good!

Hoodoo sure is weird, though. Since none of the surviving images of the cover are up to DM’s standards, let me tell you about it. Picture Fogerty’s name (in yellow) and the album title (in blood red) printed in the kind of Gothic script you’d expect to find on a Hellhammer LP. Below stands Fogerty, his sunburst-finish Fender slung over a black jacket embroidered with a crescent and a pentagram, his right hand raised in warning to point at some haint or zombie lurking just over your shoulder. And if you were there with him at the photo shoot, you’d be pointing at the exact same spot, because there’s a fucking knight in a full suit of armor over Fogerty’s right shoulder. The overall effect: you’re gazing into a magic mirror that reveals you to yourself as John Fogerty, trapped between worlds in the Pit of Souls.
 

 
In 1976, “You Got The Magic” b/w “Evil Thing,” the lone single from Hoodoo, “managed to escape,” in Fogerty’s words, before he and the label agreed to flush the album down history’s toilet. Here’s how it happened, according to last year’s Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music:

Joe Smith was now the head of Asylum, and just before my new album Hoodoo was to be released, he requested to meet with me in Los Angeles. Very gingerly, he said, “This isn’t very good, John. We’ll put it out if you want us to. We just kind of feel like it’s not up to your level.” You can’t be any more generous or diplomatic than the way Joe Smith handled it. That was hard for him to do. You have to be able to be brutally honest if you’re ever going to be worth a crap.

It was hard for me to hear it, too. Nobody likes to hear, “You stink!” But they didn’t really have to twist my arm too much. I kind of knew it in my heart. “On the Run” was one of the songs on Hoodoo. I could never quite get the words to make sense. Funny: about a week before I wrote this chapter I was still trying to write that song. People under duress will do stuff because of a deadline, let it go, call it finished when they really don’t think it’s finished. My head just wasn’t right. I was in a bad way. The one-man-band thing was really hard. And the stuff with [Fantasy Records owner] Saul [Zaentz] was eating me up. Those were the hardest times I ever went through up to that point.

Joe Smith was right, of course, and I knew it, so I went back home and instructed my engineer, Russ Gary, to destroy all the Hoodoo tapes. Some things in life it’s better not to get snagged by. It’s better to move on. I didn’t want to have this come out after I’d died in some plane crash. One of the things Joe said to me was, “Why don’t you go home and fix whatever it is that’s bothering you?”

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Hilariously angry NYC news editorial tells the ‘scummy’ Sex Pistols where to get off
05.19.2016
04:30 pm

Topics:
Media
Music
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
WPIX


 
I grew up in the suburbs of NYC, so I remember the news coverage of WPIX channel 11 from the late 1970s and early 1980s quite well. For one thing, WPIX had the best sports roundup, hosted by the acerbic Jerry Gerard.

This fantastic clip dates from May 18, 1977, and made an appearance on WPIX’s own Facebook presence yesterday, which proves that they have a sense of humor. In the clip anchorwoman Pat Harper (I remember her) throws it to a lady named Doris Lilly (don’t remember her), who apparently was “previewing” an appearance by the Sex Pistols, to take place at the Elgin Theater, that never ended up happening.
 

 
Did the Sex Pistols have a gig scheduled for the Elgin in late May 1977? Lilly says “later this month.” Please do weigh in if you happen to remember this.

The Elgin Theater was on the intersection of 19th Street and Eighth Ave., and later became the Joyce Theater, a notable center for dance. Interestingly, the Elgin was located just a couple blocks south of the Hotel Chelsea, the site of the final days of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.

It’s well known that the classic lineup never did play New York City—in that sense, Lilly, who passed away in 1991, must have died a happy woman. The Sex Pistols would have to wait until 1996 before playing their first Manhattan show.

In any case, Lilly wants you to know that she’s had it up to here with these scummy punks and .... just watch it, it’s great.
 

 
h/t: Ned Raggett

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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