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Hear the Dead Kennedys as a five-piece with KEYBOARDS, play a Rolling Stones cover
07.30.2015
06:25 am

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Music
Punk

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I recently finished reading Michael Stewart Foley’s excellent 33 1/3 series book on the Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables album. 

Rather than merely analyzing recording minutae or picking apart lyrical content song-by-song, the book documents the socio-political climate of late ‘70s San Francisco, exploring the environment that existed which precipitated the need for a Dead Kennedys. It’s incidentally got me on a personal kick of revisiting a lot of DK music, particularly from that early, formative era—when Jello Biafra was writing songs instead of diatribes.

When I’m not wasting my time obsessively A/B-ing different pressings of Fresh Fruit to detect subtle differences in the mastering quality, I’m double checking to see what blessings the gods of the Internet have offered up as gap fillers in the Kennedys’ historical record. A few months ago I wrote here about an incredible 1982 live video from Vienna. Although the recording I’m presenting today is audio-only, it’s a far more interesting historical artifact than even that Vienna show (which totally blew me away). Today we’re going to listen to Terry Hammer’s recording of Dead Kennedys from Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco from June 14, 1980.
 

Dead Kennedys played with Paul Roessler’s band, Bent, and the Subhumans from Canada.
 
Terry Hammer was an audio engineer during the heyday of first wave punk in San Francisco. He maintains a mind-blowing YouTube channel upon which he has graciously decided to share dozens of live recordings he engineered for Bay Area radio stations KALX, KTIM, KSAN, KSJO, KUSF, and KSFS. The channel features no less than five different (crucial) Dead Kennedys recordings—all worth investigating.

I’ve previously gushed all over Dangerous Minds about Hammer’s recordings of DEVO and Husker Du. The quality of this recording exists somewhere in between those two, preserving, with remarkable clarity, this point in the Kennedys’ history where they were feeling more comfortable in their arrangements and picking up the tempos (but before going full hardcore with the replacement of original drummer, “Ted,” with D.H. Peligro).

But what’s really, truly astounding about this recording is the inclusion of Paul Roessler on keyboard for the final five songs of the gig. At twenty-eight and a half minutes in, Jello sardonically introduces Roessler (brother of Black Flag’s Kira Roessler) as the “Remora of Rock and Roll.” Roessler was known up to that point for his work with the Screamers, Nervous Gender, Mommymen, Bent, and Silver Chalice. Bent had opened for Dead Kennedys on that night’s bill.

“Torture those keys,” directs Biafra, and Roessler does, with distorted organ sounds blaring even more raw, jagged and cutting than East Bay Ray’s bright surf-overdrive guitar damage. Roessler performs on “Stealing People’s Mail,” “Drug Me,” “Holiday in Cambodia,” “Too Drunk to Fuck,” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time.”

The keys are particularly effective on “Too Drunk To Fuck,” changing the entire vibe of the song, giving it a campy horror sound, not far from the early death rock of bands like 45 Grave (whom Roessler was also a member of).

Roessler had previously worked with Dead Kennedys, in the studio, where he played keyboard tracks on “Drug Me” and “Stealing People’s Mail” for the Fresh Fruit LP. According to Alex Ogg’s book Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: The Early Years, “Stealing People’s Mail” was musically influenced by Roessler’s group the Screamers.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Hype!’: The 1996 documentary that captured grunge’s explosive rise (and immediate co-optation)
07.29.2015
08:46 am

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Movies
Music

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Vogue’s 1992 grunge feature, “Grunge & Glory,” becasue nothing says “grunge” like Naomi Campbell in Perry Ellis!
 
The “grunge speak” hoax of 1992 may be the greatest youth culture response to unwanted media hype in the history of “shut up, old man!” A reporter for The New York Times was working on a grunge story for its Style of the Times section—a little exposé on the scene’s hip, new slang. Trouble is, there really wasn’t such thing as a grunge slang, so when the Times contacted Sub Pop Records receptionist, she just made up a bunch of silly shit. The result was a comically ridiculous list of phony jargon titled “Lexicon of Grunge: Breaking the Code.” When Thomas Frank over at The Baffler pointed out that no one was calling anyone a “cob nobbler” or a “lamestain,” the Times was so miffed that they demanded Frank apologize before finally realizing they’d been had.

Like the grunge speak hoax, Hype! is a fascinating record of the grunge phenomenon, specifically because it’s about the tension between the scene and the media. The bands themselves tell the story (and I mean nearly all the bands—Mudhoney, Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Gits, The Melvins, Mono Men, Pearl Jam, 7 Year Bitch and a host of less famous acts), and though there is a genuine love for the Seattle scene and the community it produced, there is already a bitter awareness of grunge’s fate. Members of 7 Year Bitch point out the sexism of the coverage women in bands receive, Eddie Vedder expresses anguish over the immediate commercialization of the grunge phenomenon and the discomfort of living the shadow of Kurt Cobain looms large for many bands.

Far from the bitter, childish personas so often associated with angry young people and their guitars, the subjects of Hype! are thoughtful and clear-eyed, still professing a genuine love for the music and the organic nature of the scene, despite the obvious reality that Grunge has been thoroughly appropriated for mass consumption.
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Cover versions: Debbie Harry stars in pulp romance novels based on Blondie songs
07.29.2015
07:08 am

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Art
Music
Punk

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Debbie Harry faux pulp novel
“Rip Her to Shreds” faux pulp romance novel cover. Title taken from a song found on Blondie’s eponymous 1976 debut album

These clever faux pulp romance novels featuring Debbie Harry by Atlanta-based pop artist, Zteven are pretty much the best things I’ve seen this week. And I see a lot of cool stuff on a daily basis.

Not only did Zteven manage to portray Harry as one of the coolest salacious sirens to ever grace the cover of a smutty, old school pulp romance novel, he also incorporated the lyrics of songs from Blondie’s catalog in the titles and descriptions. There are even a few sly nods to Blondie co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein, as well as songwriter and producer Mike Chapman who worked with the group on their breakthrough 1978 record, Parallel Lines as well as Eat to the Beat (1979), Autoamerican (1980) and The Hunter (1982). The set of four prints, framed, will run you $40.
 
One Way or Another faux pulp novel with Debbie Harry
“One Way or Another” faux pulp romance novel cover. Title taken from a song that appears on 1978’s Parallel Lines
 
More Blondie cover versions after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Ministry’s Al Jourgensen guests on the new single by ONO: A DM premiere
07.28.2015
06:44 am

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Music

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Now that ONO’s second incarnation has lasted longer than its first, the theatrical gospel/avant-noise performance-poet/musicians (did I leave anything out?) seem to be picking up long-overdue steam. Dangerous Minds clued you in on them a few months ago, in a guest post by Plastic Crimewave Sound/Moonrises psychedelia pooh-bah Steve Kraków, so I’ll go easy on the history here and refer you to that post, but the tl;dr is that ONO’s singer/invoker of spirits Travis and sonic guru P. Michael Grego led the archly arty Chicago band from 1980-86. They resurrected the project with new and returning members in 2007, releasing the album Albino in 2012, and going on their first tour in 2014, in support of the album Diegesis.

I was incredibly fortunate to have been in one of the opening bands for ONO’s very first show on tour last summer, and it is to my lasting regret that I didn’t think to shoot any video. Travis, resplendent in white (he often sports a wedding dress, to match his white beard) cut a compelling and shamanic figure while the band’s improvisations lurched about dizzyingly and unpredictably. I could not help but think that if only they had gotten out of Chicago more in their original incarnation, they’d be so much better known today. P. Michael was quoted in an excellent 2008 Rocktober article as having said “We toured in our mind, but not in our feet.” Pity. An ONO show can be described, but only seeing one is seeing one. Frontmen like Travis do not come along often.
 

 
But cross your fingers, if we’re lucky another tour could be in the offing, as ONO’s third new album since their reactivation is due this fall. Titled Spooks, the album features contributions from Tiger Hatchery drummer Ben Baker Billington, OBNOX singer/guitarist Lamont Thomas, and I shit you not Ministry leader Al Jourgensen. Jourgensen contributed to the band’s first album, Machines That Kill People, and has significant behind-the-scenes history with ONO. P. Michael again, from the same Rocktober interview:

We ran into this guy that was skating that turned out to be Al Jourgensen. He was in the Immune System and then he left them and then he was going into Special Affect. One night they were playing with Naked Raygun. Somehow we knew Naked Raygun, probably by going out dancing. No, we hadn’t played any shows at all, but Naked Raygun saw us somewhere. Special Affect was playing at the Exit, and Naked Raygun was opening for them. They asked us to go on after them, like at two in the morning. So the first ONO show was me, Travis and Mark [Berrand, guitar]. After that, we had gotten shows at O’Banions, Lucky Number. We played a lot of these old punk venues little by little. Mark eventually had to leave town; that’s how Ric [Graham, sax] got into the band. Al, who by then had left Special Affect and was starting up a group called Ministry, his girlfriend was Shannon Rose Riley at the time. He said, “I got somebody that would really be cool for you guys,” and he introduced us to her. She sorta played saxophone and the accordion. She was a character. She joined up with us, and Al said “I got this record deal. Thermidor Records (owned by Joe Carducci and Joe Boshard, distributed by SST) wants Special Affect singles. They had officially broken up, but he had told Thermidor Records about us. So they were interested. Al was going to go into the studio with us. We were gonna make a single. We were able to get a hold of Al and his engineer, which was Iain Burgess, so we went out to Chicago Recording Studios to record two numbers with Shannon, and Al was the producer.

 

 

 
Shannon Rose Riley—who Jourgensen credits with launching his career in his autobiography Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen—is still involved with ONO, listed in the band’s Punk Database page as “Sax-Bass, Percussion and Keyboards.” The collaboration with Jourgensen is called “Punks,” and you’re hearing it here first.
 

 
After the jump a taste of live ONO that actually captures the chaotic feeling of being there… and more!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa documentary announced: Will be directed by Alex Winter of ‘Bill & Ted’ fame
07.27.2015
01:44 pm

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Movies
Music

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Alex Winter, best known for his roles in The Lost Boys and the two “Bill & Ted” movies with Keanu Reeves (and this infamous Butthole Surfers “home movie”), is developing a documentary on Frank Zappa, which he will direct from his own script and produce with Glen Zipper. The Zappa Family Trust has given its blessing to the untitled project.

Variety reports:

“There has yet to be a definitive, authorized documentary on the extraordinary life and work of Frank Zappa,” Winter said. “I am beyond thrilled to be embarking on this journey. Our tale will be told primarily in Frank’s own words; he will be our guide through this journey.”

Winter expects the doc to be finished in time for release in 2017.

“This is not an easy story to tell and we trust that Alex truly understands the complex and multi-faceted man that my father was,” Zappa’s son Ahmet Zappa said.

This is excellent news indeed and it’s been a long time coming.

Below, Frank Zappa and the original Mothers of Invention performing “King Kong” in Essen, Germany, 1968:

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Only assholes don’t like The B-52s (Part 1)
07.27.2015
11:36 am

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Music

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You know it’s true… (just ask this guy).

Yesterday at our yoga class, a guy said to the twenty-something yoga instructor that her new hairstyle reminded him of the B-52s. She raised an eyebrow and looked at him questioningly, even annoyed, and asked “What is a B-52?”

My wife turned to me, sighed and declared “We’re old.”

True, but… how sad it is to think that someone—anyone—can go through their lives not knowing who the B-52s are! It’s unfair! And in that spirit I decided to revisit this post from 2011… for the kids!

The thing that I find most interesting about editing this blog and seeing the comments and being able to parse through a vast amount of information about our readership that we’ve got access to (even just between Google Analytics and Facebook Insights alone, that’s a helluva data set in our case) is that the largest segment of the Dangerous Minds audience—the 18-34 bloc—is, very often, finding out about many classic rock and punk, post punk and New Wave acts here for the first time or thereabouts. Then there are around 20% of the readers who were “there” when these things happened. To these readers, I would like to inform you that (and I admit this is a bit of a guesstimate, but one informed by reams of data, I can assure you) more of our readers than you might expect—by my reckoning 40%—have probably never even heard of DEVO.

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not kidding.

*****

If you can’t tell from the title, I’m a B-52s fan. A pretty big one. They came into my life when I was a 13-year-old and have never left. I’ve seen them live numerous times and they have never failed to bring the house down (in fact, I once nervously wondered if they were going to literally bring down the balcony at Radio City Music Hall due to all the frenzied frugging to “Rock Lobster.”  A balcony I was seated under, I might add). The B-52s are so good live that I once stood in one of the worst torrential downpours I’ve ever been caught in, for hours, so that I could get in the front row for a tiny pre-Cosmic Thing warm-up gig at a PAPER magazine party in New York. I was drenched from head to toe, soaked to the bone, but it was still one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had. I was about four feet way from the band as they played. Heavenly!

Over the weekend, I downloaded an absolutely superb live B-52s video from 1983, a show from Dortmund, Germany (it’s easy to find, the quality is perfect) and I’ve watched it over and over again. It’s not like I needed to be convinced or anything, but I was reminded watching it of what an absolutely genius band they are. They’re so original that they fall into a category of one. What they do is a uniquely American art form. They’re a national intergalactic treasure
 

 
I intended just to do one big mega mega-post about the B-52s, but instead I’m going to do four or five posts about them because there’s just way too much “good stuff” out there to not share it here.  Tons of it. They often made multiple music videos for their songs, so it can be hard to choose the best ones. I don’t want to crash anyone’s browser with the B-52s bounty, so I’m breaking it off into chunks. Here’s a selection of material from their classic first album, released in 1979:

Cindy Wilson stirred my teenage hormones mightily. Check out this performance of “Dance This Mess Around” recorded live on November 7th,1980 at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. How cute was she back then, right? Be still my heart!
 

 
A rousing “Planet Claire” from Dortmund, Germany, 1983:
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Pogues are launching their own brand of Irish whiskey because of course they are
07.27.2015
07:13 am

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Drugs
Food
Music

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Since the 1980s, the Pogues have been fusing the tropes and melodies of traditional Irish folk music to the energy of punk rock while posing a serious threat to the continued functioning of their own and their fans’ livers, in the process releasing unspeakably awesome albums like Rum Sodomy & The Lash and If I Should Fall From Grace With God during their mid-to-late ‘80s high water mark. In a news release that should come as no surprise at all, it was announced that the band has aligned with West Cork Distillers to produce their own brand of Irish whiskey. Via The Spirits Business:

The Pogues Irish Whiskey is targeted towards 25 to 35-year-old drinkers and is said to be Ireland’s highest malt-containing blended Irish whiskey, with 50% grain and 50% single malt liquid.

The whiskey, described as having a “malty and floral” flavour with notes of mild chocolate and citrus, was developed by distillers Barry Walsh and Frank McHardy.

“We wanted to create an Irish whiskey with global appeal, which isn’t without its challenges,” said John O’Connell, co-founder of West Cork Distillers.

 

 
It may not take long to find it outside of Ireland, as the band and distillery plan to establish Pogues Irish Whiskey as an international brand. It’ll sell in the UK for £30 a bottle, which is about $45 USD, though import fees might jack that figure up a bit.

After the jump, some live footage of the Pogues from 1984…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Jailbait jamboree: Creepy countdown of the top ten ‘inappropriate’ songs that were somehow hits
07.27.2015
06:50 am

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Music
Pop Culture
Sex

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“They don’t write ‘em like they did in the old days”—certainly a true statement, but in some cases that may really be for the best.

Here’s a top-ten countdown of songs with sketchy lyrics or themes related to (Hebephiliac to Ephebophiliac) relations with minors that probably wouldn’t make the cut for acceptability in 2015. Through the backward lens of modern social and moral definitions of appropriateness, these ten tracks err on the side of “not.”

Some of these songs are merely cringeworthy in hindsight. Some are downright scary. Yet each of these songs was either a hit single or a fan favorite on a hit album. In today’s social climate it would be career suicide for a mainstream artist attempting to release a song with lyrics like the ones on this list.
 

 
10. Aerosmith “Walk This Way”

This song of young lust does specify that the narrator is a “high school loser,” but “Walk This Way” makes the ten spot for what is certainly one of the sleaziest lines ever uttered in a (really popular hit) rock song: “I met a cheerleader, was a real young bleeder, oh the times I could reminisce.” Gross, dude. What was she? Twelve?
 
More pedo-pop ‘standards,’ after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Juror wears Metallica ‘electric chair’ shirt to Aurora theater murder trial
07.25.2015
10:25 am

Topics:
Music
Stupid or Evil?
Thinkers

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There’s a metalhead in the jury box of the Aurora mass shooting trial and the news is on it!

Colorado’s News 9 reports that an alternate juror in the mass murder trial against James Holmes wore a Metallica Ride The Lightning t-shirt which may have been in violation of a court order banning display of clothing which may influence the jury.

Neither the judge nor lawyers appeared to notice the shirt worn by juror 983, which features bolts of lightning hitting an empty electric chair on the front and the skeletal remains of a prisoner being electrocuted on the back side.

Judge Carlos Samour has “strictly prohibited” from his courtroom the “display of insignias, symbols, pictures, clothing, or any other items that may influence the jury” in an order that appears on a laminated placard in front of every spectator seat in court.

Since the matter was never brought up on the record Thursday, we don’t know whether the judge would have found the attire in violation of his order.

On Thursday, the 12 deliberating jurors delivered a verdict on aggravating factors, the first of three possible phases in the death penalty sentencing hearing.

Juror 983, who has sported heavy-metal themed tees in court before, is not on the panel of 12, but could be called on to deliberate if a juror should be excused for any reason.

The Metallica track “Ride The Lightning” is written from the point of view of a prisoner awaiting death by electrocution. According to James Hetfield, the song “was not a criticism of capital punishment, which I’m actually a supporter of. Rather, it’s simply about a man who faces death in the electric chair for a crime he didn’t commit.”

We’re guessing Juror 983 didn’t put that much thought into it.

We’d like to see “justice for all” in this case.
 

 
Via: News 9

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Why I Deleted Your Band’s Promo Email’: How to ensure that your music is never heard
07.24.2015
07:26 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

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I realize this could come off as the lamest kind of whining, but sometimes, having a job that gets you tons of free music isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, and I’ve had a few of them. It’s not that I dislike people sharing their work with me, to the contrary, that’s a huge plus. But obviously not everyone who reaches out is going to be any goddamn good, and you can’t possibly listen to everything that comes down the pike to sort out what’s what. This was a giant problem in college radio and underground rags in the early ‘90s—once the alterna-goldmine became overrun with prospectors and even indie labels were throwing everything at the wall they could, you had ten times as much music to sift through every week, but the proportion of garbage remained constant. (Sturgeon’s Law says 90%. Kretsch’s Law says 98% if you’re lucky.) So you had to figure out other ways of rooting out the bullshit, and press materials were and still are a surefire step one. After their photo (of course), a band’s influence list is always a great disqualifier—sometimes, with just a glance, you can already hear the bandwagon rounding the corner without even troubling yourself with a single song.

The internet only made things worse, from a certain point of view. On the artist side, yes, it’s absolutely fantastic that you can instantly and inexpensively get your work out to a potentially global audience without having to foot the costs of creating and shipping physical product. But from the listener side, that spells an insurmountable glut of available music, and the gatekeepers of the past, namely labels, radio, and media, remain key filters for a great many music fans who can’t spend all day on the hunt. And when you write about music, or book bands for clubs, you can find yourself submerged in unsolicited material from terrible hopefuls. That hasn’t been a problem in my time at Dangerous Minds; artists and publicists who reach out to us seem to understand what we’re all about, and that we almost never do straight reviews, so it’s extremely rare that I get much that’s wildly off the mark or totally horrid, but we’re kind of lucky here. I have a fair few pals who write for more general-interest music sites, and others who serve as concert venue talent-buyers, and they can get bombarded with musical crimes that would make mere mortals like you or me want to stab a motherfucker with a screwdriver.

And behold, someone on Tumblr gets it. The anonymous smartass behind “Why I Deleted Your Band’s Promo Email” is assembling a collection of the crucial lines in bands’ solicitations that all but force you to stop reading, because nothing that could follow will ever convince you that you’re not about to be enjoined to gargle a sonic cat turd. I’m having trouble putting my finger on what sector of the music industry this collector is involved in—the tone of a lot of these feels like they’re coming from strivers on the prowl for gigs, but some of them sound like they’re angling for record reviews; some feel like they were written by pros, others read like they were written by overconfident eighth-graders. Perhaps someday the person sharing these will reveal his or her identity, but until then, here’s an assortment of big red flags that the associated music is bad enough to make you hate all music.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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