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Morrissey talks to nobody on MTV, 1985
11.26.2014
06:27 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Morrissey
MTV


 
I can hardly think of a better format for a Morrissey interview than this: in 1985, MTV’s monthly weirdomusic program IRS Records Presents the Cutting Edge put him in a room alone with a camera and a pile of envelopes each containing a one-word topic, like “fashion,” “money,” “music,” and so forth. The Smiths’ vocalist simply opened the envelopes and expounded the topics given therein (and it’s a goddamn shame none of those envelopes contained the names of any bands he disliked). The results are, unsurprisingly, classic Morrissey. Would it surprise you to learn that he thinks every art form he can name is a dying art, and that the greatest art form is the one he happens to be known for? Of course it wouldn’t.

Allowing that this was probably sourced from someone’s VHS dub of the broadcast, it looks like even by 1985 standards that that was kind of a shit video camera in there with him—the whole thing has the hazy and noisy feel of old surveillance footage. The entire video was broken up into several segments and spread out through the broadcast, but what’s here just contains the edited-out Morrissey segments. Bafflingly, the beginning is labeled “Part 2,” and there’s a lot of needless overlap between the two parts. I’ve set it up to play here in the proper order without the loads of overlap. The alternative was to post a ghastly looking and sounding screen-shot video.
 

 
The rest after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Another year, another awesome Descendents Christmas sweater
11.26.2014
05:40 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music
Punk

Tags:
Descendents


 
SoCal punk heroes the Descendents have turned their Christmas sweaters into an annual tradition—here’s a gander at last year’s edition. This year, instead of emphasizing the noggin of Milo, from their 1982 album Milo Goes to College, they’ve gone in a different direction .... oh, who are we kidding, Milo’s gonna be on all the Descendents Christmas sweaters, okay?

The sweater costs $64.99 and comes in sizes ranging from XS to 2XL.
 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Made in Germany’ documentary explores the enigmatic blankness of Heino
11.26.2014
05:36 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Heino


 
There is something about Heino’s image that captures the imagination. All of the interview subjects in the documentary Heino: Made in Germany talk about the elements of the look: the blond hair, the dark sunglasses, the turtleneck, the inert stage presence. “Like a traffic sign or a pictogram, even children can memorize him,” former Heino impersonator Norbert Hähnel says. But what hides behind those dark glasses? There’s no lust, no dread, no anger, no sorrow, no mischief, no humor, no identifiable human desire of any kind in his persona. One young fan praises his “sobriety and modesty,” which may be the only qualities that can be positively attributed to the star.
 

 
Heino has called himself “the singer of the silent majority,” boasting that he’s sold more records in Germany than Frank Sinatra or the Beatles. There isn’t a perfect American analogue to Heino, but Pat Boone might give you some idea of the singer’s temperature. Both singers strive to appear wholesome and nonthreatening, though there’s a touch of militaristic pomp in Heino’s voice that would sound very strange coming from Boone. On his 2013 comeback album Mit Freundlichen Grüßen, Heino took a page out of Boone’s playbook, adopting a kind of Vegas/Ed Hardy “hard rock guy” image and covering Rammstein’s “Sonne,” along with other “folk songs of the young generation.”
 

 
Norbert Hähnel, one of the most interesting characters in the film, owned a Berlin record store and label called Der Scheissladen (I don’t speak German, but I believe this translates as “the Shit Shop”). Hähnel created a minor scandal in the 80s by impersonating the singer and insisting that he was the real Heino, earning him the hatred of Heino fans everywhere. Heino’s record company ended Hähnel’s career as “the true Heino” with a lawsuit that landed the Shit Shop owner in jail. Hähnel’s reminiscences of his first encounter with Heino are telling; even his youthful attempt to antagonize the singer only left him staring into the void:

It must have been at the end of the ‘60s. Maybe I was 17 at that time. Heino performed at a fashion show for older people. He had like two or three singles out so far. I thought it was actually very frightening to see what came up to us. But still I was fascinated by that person and so I had to watch his show. [...]

I think I remember a situation in which he was onstage saying, “All the young people nowadays don’t sing in anything but the English language,” and so on. I interrupted by yelling “fascist” or something like that. It ended up in a tumult. All the old people turned around looking for me. That’s the story. Just a small commotion, nothing to be too excited about.

 

 
Schlager singer Guildo Horn suggests the secret of Heino’s popularity lay in the relationship between his folk repertoire and postwar German identity:

After the Second World War, everything concerning German culture, German music, and especially folk music was so infested that you better not touch it at all. All the folk songs and stuff like that had been sung by the Nazis. They broke and tainted those songs. But then Heino came and didn’t give a damn about it.

It seems there was a thrill of the forbidden associated with Heino’s return to traditional German culture—that’s why it was banned in East Germany. The documentary includes a clip of East German broadcaster Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler denouncing Heino:

Every young and old reactionary can identify with this right-winger of the West German Schlager business. He is the flaxen-haired past singing the old songs.

The film also includes quite a bit of Heino-head Jello Biafra talking about his fascination with the singer, whose records used to blast through the PA before Dead Kennedys shows to wind up the crowd. Be warned: if you listen to enough of this stuff, you might start to like it.
 

 
Thank you Greg Bummer of Azusa, CA!

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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‘How To Blow Your Mind And Have A Freak Out Party’: The stupidest record of the 1960s?
11.25.2014
12:01 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
psychsploitation

kjtggytft
 
I have been avidly buying records since I was eight. By that age, I had a pretty full grasp of rock and roll and its furthest reaches (the second record I ever bought was Mothermania by The Mothers of Invention). I “got” what oddball records were and looked for them specifically. The Audio Fidelity label was for the most part the home of sound effects records, newfangled stereo experiment records with bongos going back & forth from speaker to speaker, calliope music, Nazi marching orchestras and all other kinds of similar cheapo ephemera. It was a budget label like the ones pre-VU Lou Reed worked for, but it rarely delved into rock and roll. There was a three-volume set called Jet Set Discotheque with a few truly remarkable garage tunes from god knows where and a little later, this psychedelic abomination, How to Blow Your Mind and Have a Freakout Party.
 
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Had this come out on the ESP Disk label (and it certainly could have) it would have found fans who “dug” the Fugs and other off-kilter freaks, but because it was on this un-hip “bow-tie-daddy” label it aroused suspicion and was relegated to stay where these records were placed anyway, even when they were brand new—in the 99 cent cut-out bin.

Don’t get me wrong, this is most definitely an exploitation record (or a “psychsploitation record” as they are known in deep record collector lingo). Most exploitation records are recorded by older hack musicians with no clue of the subject matter (which is what gives them their charm, especially when they’re trying to be psychedelic). This record was most definitely recorded by young people. On acid. It’s crude, young, and innocently dumb, which is what saves it from being just another boring psych record. The art also resembles a kids school book drawing version of the great Cal Schenkel art on the Mothers of Invention LP covers.

I found this in a used record store in 1972 and knew immediately from the cover that I would love it. And I was right. The record is experimental beyond its time, has incredibly bizarre effects I’ve never heard on any other record from this time period, plus catchy songs (at least on side one). Around the same time I bought a Grateful Dead record and expected it to sound just like this due to their extreme hype, not the boring country record I wound up being disappointed with.
 
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The band credited is called The Unfolding. There is one name I recognize, David Dalton. There is a David Dalton won the Columbia School of Journalism Award for his Rolling Stone interview with Charles Manson, wrote bios on Andy Warhol, Sid Vicious, The Stones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, etc., and he co-wrote Marianne Faithfull’s autobiography. I have no idea if this is the same person but it very well may be as this was a New York label and Mr. Dalton was a New Yorker (the CD reissue liner notes are no help in this department).

This record was most certainly made for a kid like me. It comes with hysterical instructions on “how to freak out,” plus an insert where you can send for psychedelic “stuff” for your very own freakout party! The TV trick is my favorite and the first thing I ran to try, messing up my parents TV in the process!
 
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You can really turn your guests on with a mind-blowing light show with two things you probably have in your house right now: a TV set and a see-through kaleidoscope (not the kind with colored glass in the bottom). First put a rock and roll record on the phonograph. Turn on your TV and make the image jump in time to the music by turning the vertical knob all the way to the left or right. Now point the kaleidoscope at the TV screen. This is a guaranteed TRIP. Now play the same record at another speed. YOU ARE NOW FREAKING OUT. Enjoy it.

 
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To set the scene for the party, spray pop bottles or an old chair with DAY-GLOW PAINT in bright colors, then light the whole room with DAY-GLOW light (you can buy these in any hardware or art-supply stores). This will make everything glow with weird luminous psychedelic colors. Guaranteed to blow their minds right away.

There’s even instructions on how to dress:

Wear bright really out-of-sight combinations, things that look strange together. GIRLS! This is a chance to wear something exotic and fantastic that you wouldn’t get a chance to put on. Perhaps spray an old pair of shoes with DAY-GLOW and wear DAY-GLOW tights to match. Bright oranges and greens, goofy jewelry, peacock feathers as earrings and a super mini-skirt.  GUYS! The idea is to look cool and mysterious, so wear moccasins, prayer beads, or Indian bells, psychedelic buttons, and groovy mod clothes. If you really want to blow your guests’ minds, paint your face in wild colors. It’s a chance to use some way-out make-up effects. Paint flowers on your arms and wear a mystical PSYCHEDISK on your forehead. Hypnotize your friends with its hallucinating effect.

In case you don’t have it memorized, they clue you into the (hysterical) “Psychedelic Top Ten”!
 
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A few more instructions with a green and purple gleam in their winking third eye and we’re on our way:

Invite your grooviest friends, people who really swing, and enjoy exploring new and exciting experiences. BLOW YOUR MIND, FREAK OUT, etc. on pieces of colored paper, then glue them on to a piece of tinfoil and fold. This will let them know what kind of scene it’s going to be. Ask everyone to bring things they really dig: records, candy, people, flowers, books on flying saucers, kooky things. Tell them it’s a costume party and to come in their most out-of-sight clothes. Tell them it’s going to be a happening; they’ll get the message.

 
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By now your guests should be really grooving with your head. Get everyone involved in way-out conversations. Read your horoscopes. Compare the personalities of people born under different signs.

Oddly they leave almost nothing to your imagination, truly the antithesis of a psychedelic experience, but they must have known the plastic people they were aiming this at.
 
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The record is broken into two parts in more than just the physical sense. The great side A (Acid Rock)  is the where all the actual songs are: “I’ve Got a Zebra—She Can Fly,” “Play Your Game,” “Girl from Nowhere,” “Flora’s Holiday” and “Love Supreme Deal.” Then the heavy comedown of the slow moving side B: “(Meditations) featuring Prama,” “Electric Buddha,” “Hare Krishna” and “Parable.” It is is a heady mix of weirdness, chanting and sound effects (from the Audio-Fidelity library no doubt) and is meant for the coming down period (of course the record is only 35 minutes long so good luck. Good luck on even turning a record over while tripping your ass off… how did we DO that? Haha and truly, good luck on even listening to side two with its babbling nonsense surrounded by slide whistles, bells, and backwards thingamajigs). You can hear the whole record in this YouTube clip Listen Seriously Dudes!
 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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Bland Aid: ‘Fleece the World (Let Them Know It’s Pantomime)’
11.25.2014
09:18 am

Topics:
Amusing
Current Events
Music

Tags:
Bland Aid


Who the fuck are these people?

You knew this would happen. Somewhere in the back of your mind you knew this was bound to happen, even as you hummed along to that charity single raising money and awareness about Ebola, poverty and alike, you thought someone, somewhere, would eventually get it together to put an end to all those privileged pampered pop star millionaires getting a buzz out of telling people what to do (you know who they are…). Well, you were right. Someone has done just that. And they’re called Bland Aid and their song is “Fleece the World (Let Them Know It’s Pantomime).”

Bland Aid wants you to remember:

Charity begins at home, please supply your local tramp with butties [sandwiches] and a brew this Christmas

Or, if you know any homeless people, why not show them some love this Christmas and buy them a Bob Geldof boxset?
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Turn on Negativland’s ‘No Other Possibility’ and fry your brain
11.25.2014
08:40 am

Topics:
Idiocracy
Music
Television

Tags:
Negativland


 
No Other Possibility was Negativland’s first video, released in 1989, the same year as “Helter Stupid,” pitched right between their “Christianity Is Stupid” hoax of a couple years earlier and “U2” a couple years later.

I hadn’t seen this in quite a while—I had honestly forgotten how tremendously enjoyable Negativland is. Their stuff is way more entertaining than any anti-establishment culture-jammin’ nutcases have any right to be. (I guess if you invent the term “culture jamming,” you have a license to transcend the genre.) This video is very good, and I had also not realized the high level of musicianship on display here—certainly “Nesbitt’s Lime Soda” and “Fire Song” and “Very Stupid” (I’m not sure that last one has an official title, the Internet seems to call it “Theme From ‘a Big 10-8 Place,’” which is dumb) are all top-notch.

Negativland are pitched almost exactly between DEVO and Tim & Eric—with less instinct for schtick than either (this is a brave and good thing). And yet there is a kind of schtick to it, too. In the opening crawl, supposedly penned by “Crosley Bendix, Director, Stylistic Premonitions” (later played by Don Joyce), you can hear that excessively modest and self-annihilating tone, familiar from David Letterman in his NBC days and also certain misanthropic comix guys like Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes. I think the idea is that you have to be as hard on yourself as you are on your target; you have to torch the self because you can begin to reconstruct (and also criticize/satirize others).
 

 
The video is purest 1980s slacker fodder in that the biggest sin is to be unaware, to be incapable of irony. If only the suburbans/corporates/normals could be more ironic! You see much the same idea in, say, Reality Bites, but it’s not really a good tack—the slackers (hey, I’m one too) couldn’t figure out any other point of attack. Negativland’s methods haven’t dated much at all IMO, but that part, the pro-irony ethos, does feel a bit dated here.

In addition to being an essay about the vapidity of American culture, No Other Possibility also serves as a kind of diary for the Negativland guys themselves. About halfway through we get a video report about a fire that destroyed their apartment/studio in El Cerrito, California on Friday, February 13, 1987. The very end of the video is taken up with a terribly earnest report about Negativland’s involvement in the David Brom murders of 1988, based on connections that were entirely made up by Negativland.

At some point “Crosley Bendix” (Don Joyce) has a little speech about numerology, at the end of which he cries, “Thanks a million! You’ve been a wonderful audience. Bye, Cleveland!” Which is only noteworthy because I was in fact watching it in Cleveland.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Kurt Cobain and Mark Lanegan’s short-lived Leadbelly tribute band


 
Before either of their bands achieved major national prominence, Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain were briefly members of a tribute band honoring the great blues artist Leadbelly. The band, called “The Jury,” was ill-documented, but it’s been mentioned in passing in numerous articles, like this one in the old Seattle music mag The Rocket.

That’s also how he [Lanegan] describes the events that led to his two highly-acclaimed solo albums on Sub Pop. He says the solo records came out of some work he was doing with his close friend Kurt Cobain, and that he felt it was pretentious to release a solo album. “It happened because Kurt and I were going to do this thing—with Krist Novoselic and Mark Pickerel—of Leadbelly covers. And that just kind of fell apart. But Pickerel and Jonathan Poneman kind of dreamt up the idea of doing the solo thing. I had some demos that I’d been working on and a bunch of demos I’d done with Kurt, that I never really gave him credit for.”

Those demos were recorded with Skin Yard guitarist Jack Endino, then and still the go-to producer in Seattle for heavy rock, during two sessions in August of 1989.
 

 
Easily the best-known expression of Lanegan and Cobain’s Leadbelly fandom was Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged version of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” a/k/a “In the Pines.” If you were breathing, sentient, and reasonably conscious in 1994, you saw the footage of that performance about twelve million times in the months following Cobain’s suicide, but Cobain had previously recorded that song with the Jury, and it was released on Mark Lanegan’s 1990 solo debut, The Winding Sheet. Cobain appears here on guitar, and shares vocals with Lanegan, though it’s Lanegan’s voice that dominates. It’s much more stylized and menacing than Nirvana’s more organic Unplugged take on the song—and one of the doomiest versions of that much-recorded old song there is.
 

 
Other recordings of the Jury that have surfaced are an instrumental version of “Grey Goose,” a solo acoustic Cobain performance of “They Hung Him on a Cross,” and a full band version of “Ain’t It a Shame to Go Fishin’ on a Sunday.” They turned up on the completist’s goldmine 2004 Nirvana boxed set With The Lights Out, the last one’s title truncated to “Ain’t it a Shame.” Cobain is out in front on that one. Some Internet sources have it that Lanegan played guitar on this, but as far as I can tell that credit is absent from the release, and I’m unaware of Lanegan playing any instrument. When you have a singing voice like his, who needs to?
 

 
Happy 50th birthday to Mark Lanegan! Also, happy birthday and bottomless gratitude to Beth Piwkowski, whose idea this post was.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Cheer up with your very own Mark Lanegan bobblehead
Absolute Nirvana: new Steve Albini mixes push ‘In Utero’ anniversary set into essential territory

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Up against the wall, Redneck Mama’: Don’t mess with Amanda the Power Child
11.24.2014
06:26 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
outsider music
Amanda


 
If you are a fan of outsider music, The Shaggs, and/or feral, obnoxious children in general, then the “music” of Amanda is probably right up yer strasse. You could even think of her as a much, much younger soul sister of Ari Up when she was first fronting the Slits as a 14-year-old. Or not, maybe it’s just a kid mucking about sans any inhibition or parental control. You decide!

Irwin Chusid tells the Amanda story in “Don’t Mess With the Power Child: The Amanda Chronicles”:

The “Amanda” recordings have emerged as an unexpected cult sensation on my WFMU program over the past two years. The chronicles feature Amanda Whitt, a growling (think Cookie Monster), defiant pre-pubescent with a Southern twang spewing mayhem over 1980s breakbeats and disjointed shards of pop hits. On some tracks Amanda shrieks while clanging pots & pans. The recordings exude undeniable charm, but there’s nothing cute about it. Any sentient adult witnessing this behavior would commence punitive action or summon law enforcement.

Power-child Amanda was recorded between 1986-89 at home in Alabama, between ages 8 and 11, by her older (by 7 or 8 years) brother Joseph (a.k.a. Jody). Joseph and Amanda were a couple of hyperactive kids pretending to be, respectively, a music video director and a child star. Most recordings were captured on cassette, others on video cam, in the lowest of lo-fi. The duo sometimes enlisted friends in the frolics, and often drove their parents crazy (with incidents caught on tape). The most durable performances were titled (e.g., “The Pickle People,” “Horrible Hybrid Tulips,” “Indian Hoots Echo Baby,” “Me Swinging in Cookieland”) and compiled on “albums,” whose design awkwardly replicated the commercial cassette format. Inserts were pasted up and xeroxed, and collections assigned titles (e.g., Primitive Swagger, Monumental Whopper Turmoil Jam, Empires and 5th Dimension Perspective, and Worship Me). The recordings were not circulated beyond friends.

At age 11, Amanda began to chafe at Jody’s stage-brother puppeteering; she soon discovered boys, and the recording project was abandoned. The tapes were stored in shoe boxes in Joseph’s closet, where they remained for decades as forgotten adolescent artifacts.

 

 
A sample lyric:

“WORSHIP ME”

Worship me
I am Cookie
You must worship me
Bow before MeMe
I am your idol
I am the goddess of cookie
You will worship me
Chant before me butt-slave
Come to me at the temple of MeMe
Worship me
You must worship me
Don’t mess with the power child
I control you

The Amanda recordings found their way to Irwin Chusid’s ears via New Jersey home recording legend, R. Stevie Moore. Now you can hear them yourself: Stream or download here. Listen to a contemporary interview with siblings Joseph and Amanda here. (Part 2 is here.)
 

 
As seen on WFMU’s mighty Beware of the Blog blog

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Sparks, Christian girls, drugs & lemon meringue pie: Meet obscure new wavers Gleaming Spires
11.24.2014
06:10 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Sparks
Gleaming Spires

Re-Dux album art work for
 
As much as the mainstream clamors for something truly unique and edgy, the minute they get it is the minute that they typically do not want it. It’s this cultural miasma where cult artists are born and a perfect example of this is the early 1980’s band, Gleaming Spires. The seeds of the Spires were first planted in a Los Angeles new wave rock band called Bates Motel, but it took the fertile ground of joining Sparks in 1981 to help sprout one of the better—albeit obscure—cult bands to have emerged out of the post-punk musical landscape.

While they were together for only handful of years, ending with 1985’s Welcoming a New Ice Age, new label Futurismo have been working with the two brilliant minds behind Gleaming Spires, vocalist and bassist Les Bohem and drummer David Kendrick on a re-release and remastering of their first album originally released on the legendary Posh Boy label, Songs of the Spires. Available as both a digital download, as well as 180 gram vinyl album (colored either lemon meringue or blue movie, depending on your preference), Songs of the Spires has never looked or sounded this good. It’s a pitch-perfect debut album with that mix of quirky humor, emotional angst and sonic layers that could have only come from the dynamic duo of Bohem and Kendrick.

So in honor of this release, here is an exclusive interview with the Spires themselves, the first since their final album in 1985.

What was the big inspiration early on to get into music? Was it anything encouraged or discouraged by your family?

Les Bohem: Well, I took guitar lessons when I was a kid – my mom’s family was deep into Pete Seeger and I saw him at a Unitarian church when I was maybe seven. I had a subscription to Sing Out and an older cousin who was very cool and knew about Bob Dylan. In fact, I can remember that we thought it was lame that Peter, Paul and Mary covered “Blowin In the Wind.” My first performance was said “Wind” at my grammar school graduation. Aldous Huxley was in the audience. He told my Mom I had a nice voice. This either means he was old and deaf, not paying attention, or was on Psilocybin.

The Beatles during my first year of Junior High and that was it. The Kinks, Them, the Stones, the Who – We did “Substitute” in my first band at the 8th grade talent show – American lyrics ‘cause we didn’t know any better. Then my folkie roots began to show and I wore striped T-shirts and a vest and glasses, which I didn’t need, so I could look like the Lovin’ Spoonful.

My mom was always forgiving and she tried hard to like what I was doing. My dad never really got it. I broke his heart a bit when I left college to become a rock star. Having both worked as writers in the movie business, they had a healthy suspicion of any career in the arts.

David Kendrick: Both of us had artistic families. My father was a sculptor. I won’t say I was “forced into music” but was definitely encouraged. I mean, I had a very loud drum set in my bedroom. I was in bands outside of school.

How did you two meet? What events led to the formation of Bates Motel?

Les Bohem: I formed Bates Motel with Bob Haag and Alan Slater somewhere around 77-78, and we added Bob Beland somewhere right after that. We had a drummer who was a friend of Alan and Bob Haag’s. He left to join another band and then Bob Beland left. We were playing around L.A. and I don’t remember how we put the word out for drummers. I feel like I’d met David once at the Troubadour before that. He wore funny shoes. He was the first really good drummer and still far and away the best that I have ever played with. I remember how good the songs sounded the first time we practiced with him. Alan was gone by now, by the way, since he formed another band, and we had added another guitar player, Dave “the Rave” Draves. He and Bob Haag were from Lancaster, a town about 60 miles into the desert from L.A. We practiced there in a studio space that was in an arcade, which had been owned by Judy Garland’s father. On the long drives up and back, David and I become friends quickly. We’d bring tapes of favorite songs. We’d talk about books, music. We were still young. We’d get heavy.

David Kendrick: Bates already existed. I joined after they fell for my lamppost drummer propaganda. I liked the film reference name too
 
Les Bohem playing behind the Mael Brothers. Note Ron's smile.
 
It’s been written that the Mael Brothers discovered you after becoming familiar with Bates Motel. Where you fans of Sparks beforehand?

Les Bohem: It all begins with a screenwriter named Bill Kerby. I liked their album covers but had only heard a few songs. David, I believe, was the bigger fan. In those days, there was no place to get espresso in Los Angeles and the thing that David and I really bonded over was espresso. I had been going to the Belgian Waffle stand at the Farmer’s Market on Fairfax for years to have coffee with Bill, a writer who I’d met through my friend Miranda when they were dating. So this actually all begins with Miranda. Anyways, I would meet Bill for coffee mornings. Then, in the Bates days, a whole bunch of us would go in the afternoons and we would see Ron and Russell, who hung out there most afternoons. It was a celebrity sighting. “Look, it’s those guys from Sparks.” After a while, we developed one of those nodding relationships. One day, I went over to their table. We were trying everything to get signed and I thought that maybe they’d produce us. I said, “You guys are supposed to be the fathers of New Wave, how about you come see your kids,” or something equally lame and gave them a flyer to a show we were doing at Blackies, a club in Santa Monica. They came. They did not want to produce us. They asked us to be their band.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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The Jam deliver two scorching songs on ABC’s ‘Fridays,’ 1980
11.24.2014
06:05 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
The Jam
Fridays


 
From 1980 to 1982 ABC ran a live comedy show on Friday nights at 11:30 pm—live, just like Saturday Night Live; it had the appropriate (and similar) name of Fridays. As Dennis Perrin, author of Mr. Mike: The Life and Work of Michael O’Donoghue, the Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous, observed at the comedy blog Splitsider, Fridays was “the SNL ripoff that nearly surpassed the original,” given that the mix of comedy and pop music performances owed a hell of a lot to Saturday Night Live. Indeed, according to Wikipedia, the very first sketch of the very first episode tried to defuse that issue by joking about it: “Backstage, the producers remind the cast that the show will not be a clone of Saturday Night Live and the cast (dressed as SNL recurring characters) take off their costumes.”

Fridays two-year run was marked by some controversies. In an early episode, a sketch about a zombie diner cost them some much-needed affiliates. The most famous Fridays episode is likely the February 20, 1981, episode, for an incident involving Andy Kaufman, who was hosting that night. During a sketch about two couples at a restaurant who keep sneaking off to the bathroom to smoke pot, Kaufman seemed to break character, saying, “I can’t play stoned,” and there was an altercation with Michael Richards, who was also in the sketch. It turned out that the whole apparently authentic breakdown had been orchestrated by Kaufman and Richards and a couple others on the Fridays staff.

According to Perrin, for many years a DVD edition of Fridays was blocked by Larry David, but finally a 4-disc set was released in 2013. 
 

The cast of Fridays. Standing at upper right is Larry David; seated at lower left is Michael Richards.
 
Fridays benefited from SNL’s rocky 1980-1981 season, the one with Charles Rocket and Gilbert Gottfried and headed by Jean Doumanian. Suddenly the ripoff didn’t seem so derivative anymore. As Splitsider’s Perrin wrote, “If SNL was classic rock, then Fridays was decidedly punk.”

Ah, punk! That’s right, I remember now, punk rock on the tee-vee. SNL may have had Fear and Patti Smith and Elvis Costello, but only Fridays could boast an appearance by the Jam. Here we have Paul Weller and Co. playing “Start!” off of Sound Affects (1980) and “Private Hell” off of 1979’s Setting Sons.
 

 
After the jump, the Jam play “Private Hell”.....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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