Devil’s Gateway: Throbbing Gristle live in Manchester
04.15.2014
07:57 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Throbbing Gristle


Cosey Fanni Tutti onstage at Rafters. Photo by Peter Bargh

About twelve years ago I was having a conversation with a rock snob pal of mine who opined that Throbbing Gristle was “noise… unlistenable shite.” As I normally respected his taste in music, I decided to to make him a mixed CD to prove that this wasn’t even close to being accurate (they made avant garde classical music for a barren, post-apocalyptic landscape, obviously!) I’ve listened to TG for over thirty years and I know that catalog better than most people. In fact, I even had a long-running argument with Genesis P-Orridge about a song he insisted didn’t exist called “Want You To Kill,” which I was ultimately able to prove did exist. I really do know the insides and outs of TG’s recorded output.

I based my TG mix on the notion explored by A Young Person’s Guide to King Crimson, in other words, a “primer” for a notoriously difficult to categorize band. Something to ease in new listeners who could have been scared off the group should they have picked up something like the live Mission of Dead Souls album first. Over the years there have been a lot of unofficial TG releases. If you don’t know what the good stuff is, it’s probably more of a crapshoot with them than with most groups. (There is one TG bootleg titled Kreeme Horn that Genesis told me was mostly just him and Chris Carter turning stuff on in their studio and letting it warm up and feed back on itself while a tape was running. For the record, I love that one!)

Convinced that this needed to be an actual product in the marketplace—call it a gateway drug—I suggested it to the members of the group. Ultimately they released The Taste of TG (subtitled “A Beginner’s Guide to the Music of Throbbing Gristle”) compilation, but the overlap with my picks was minimal.

A very sweet spot if you’re dipping a toe into Throbbing Gristle’s wall of noise is a live 1979 performance in Manchester released as “Live at The Factory” (and “Live at the Death Factory”) on bootlegs. Most of it is spread across volumes 3 & 4 of the live TG boxset released in 1993 as well. I think it’s the best start to finish TG concert. I’d even give it the edge over their Heathen Earth set. Everything that was astonishing about TG live comes together in this one show. They called their gigs “psychic rallies” and the Manchester show certainly was one. There’s an incredible “mind meld” going on here, as their shows were largely improvised.

“... the one in Manchester… It only happens once every six or seven. You suddenly hit it. It’s like a seance. It’s almost like you’ve been taken over or something’s coming through that’s nothing to do with you or the people there - and everyone can feel it, but you can’t describe it, and that’s why sometimes when it’s like that and people try and describe the gig to someone else they sort of talk about it like a kind of drug or a religious experience. The words they use are much more like that and they almost never talk about the music… because it isn’t music, it’s something else… It was very tribal and pagan, the whole feeling. Like one girl got hysterical… she just couldn’t handle it, and it was like one of those gospel meetings where the odd person goes over the top, you know… and that’s why we started calling them psychic rallies… it’s actually more accurate; a rally or a ceremony that we’re trying to generate a psychic event, and that’s why we deliberately changed it to say that we’re basically no longer affiliated with music in any way. Although we use sound in some musical pattern, our basic concern is a psychic one… and it will become more so, and that’s probably why I feel we’ll have to change the name. So that we can start again and become even more and more focused on that side of it without the history of TG to spoil it.”

Genesis P-Orridge, 1981

 

Genesis, looking just a little bit nuts, onstage at Rafters. Photo by Peter Bargh
 

Live at the Death Factory (side one): “Weapon Training,” “See You Are,” “Convincing People,” “Hamburger Lady”
 

Live at the Death Factory (side two): “His Arm Was Her Leg,” “What A Day,” “Persuasion,” “Five Knuckle Shuffle”
 
Manchester audiences seemed to inspire the group. Here’s a second astonishing TG set from Manchester, shot at the Rafters nightclub on December 4, 1980. The softness of the vérité VHS video lends the proceedings an impressionistic gloss. but the sound quality is quite a bit better than their shows that were supposedly recorded on cheap Sony cassette tapes. The voice you hear on tape at the beginning is Aleister Crowley’s, by the way.

Set list: “Illuminated 666,” “Betrayed Womb Of Corruption,” “Very Friendly,” “Something Come Over Me,” “Playground,” “Auschwitz,” “Devil’s Gateway”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
The peerlessly weird Beefheartian post-punk of Stump
04.15.2014
07:31 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Unorthodox

Tags:
Stump


 
Stump were a uniquely aberrant Irish/British foursome active in the mid to late ‘80s. After some success in London with the Mud on a Colon EP, the Quirk Out mini-LP, a Peel Session, and a track on NME‘s famed C-86 compilation, they were picked up by Ensign Records to make 1988’s LP A Fierce Pancake, a supremely screwball statement-of-purpose, at turns and at once absurdist, whimsical, and dark. The performance that brought the band to Ensign was their appearance on The Tube, wherein they performed their song “Tupperware Stripper” as “Censorship Stripper,” probably in a dodge against trademark concerns.
 

 
The band initially caught my ear in 1988, with the preposterous single “Charlton Heston,” which featured croaking frogs for a rhythm track and the facepalm-worthy refrain “Charlton Heston/Put his vest on.” But when I heard the whole album, the mere zaniness I expected turned out to be a veneer for some truly mind-bending and aggressively awkward Beefheartian experimentation. The guitar and bass playing here are a few leagues beyond merely idiosyncratic–indeed, there are many passages where one can’t quite tell which instrument is which, and if U.S. Maple didn’t have some Stump in their diet before they set upon their own deconstructions of rock tropes, I’ll eat my foot. The madcap persona and lyrics of singer Mick Lynch must have made it all seem like a joke to some listeners, and sure, it IS mighty fucking daffy to have the chorus of a single consist of a bug-eyed man with Tintin’s hair shouting “LIGHTS! CAMEL! ACTION!” But then you hear songs like “Living It Down” and “Heartache” and you say “whoa, damn.”
 

 

Living it Down by Stump on Grooveshark

 

Heartache by Stump on Grooveshark

 
Stump split by the end of 1988. A Fierce Pancake was deleted in 1990 and has never been reissued in physical media, except as part of a complete anthology CD set from 2008, which is itself also out of print. In spring 2014, Cherry Red UK will be releasing Does the Fish Have Chips—Early and Late Works 1986-1989, which encompasses all of their recorded output except the LP. So just listen to the LP and enjoy some of their videos here.
 

Stump, A Fierce Pancake, full album
 

 

 
This last one sounds too poor to really represent the song properly, it’s a live fan-cam thing shot from behind the P.A. But in one respect, that’s a boon here, inasmuch as all you can really hear is the astonishing bass player Kevin Hopper. Who plays like this? The man is brilliantly mental.
 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Who was that masked man? ORION: The Man Who Would Be King


 
This is a guest post by Jeanie Finlay, director of ORION: The Man Who Would Be King

Ten years ago I was at a garage sale with my husband Steven in our hometown of Nottingham, England. On a stall filled with cheap ornaments and dog-eared paperbacks, standing proudly at the front of a box of faded vinyl records, we found the above album.

Orion: Reborn. Sun Records. Collector’s gold vinyl. Release date on the back said 1979. No songs we’d ever heard of, but that coverWho was this mysterious masked man, standing hand on hips, with his perfect raven hair and sta-press trousers? What the hell was his story?

We took the record home, put it on and within seconds the mystery deepened. Whoever this guy was, he sounded exactly–and I mean exactly—like Elvis. Except these weren’t songs that Elvis ever recorded, and there was no mention of the King on the record. But there was the fact of Sun Records and this odd story on the back sleeve about this guy called Orion Eckley Darnell and something about a coffin, and a book… Most of all, though, there was this guy in the blue rhinestone-studded mask with the voice of Elvis. I had to know more.
 

  

The story I uncovered was one of the strangest I’ve ever encountered. As a documentary-maker, I’ve long been fascinated with stories that peek under the surface of popular culture and the machinations of the music industry, or explore just how important music is in our lives. Stories like The Great Hip Hop Hoax–about two Scottish chancers who faked their way to a record deal by pretending to be American rappers; SOUND IT OUT about the very last record shop in my home town in Teesside or Goth Cruise a documentary about 150 goths (along with 2500 “norms”) taking a cruise in the sunshine to Bermuda.

But this story had it all. A roller coaster tale of the Nashville music scene in the wake of Elvis Presley’s death, taking in deception, a quest for success, a search for identity and ending in brutal and tragic murder.

Even if you’ve never heard of Orion, you probably know about the “Elvis is Alive” myth. What I uncovered was that the story of Orion is the story of how that myth got started. 
In the marketing offices of Sun Records, maverick producer Shelby Singleton came up with the plan to utilize the incredible pipes of Alabama singer Jimmy Ellis – a voice which was both a blessing and a curse to the singer. Ellis had found it hard to get a solid foothold in the industry because of the similarity of his voice to Elvis’ –a similarity which was wholly unpracticed. Jimmy didn’t try to sound like Elvis, he just did. That made it hard for any record company to use him.
 

 
Shelby had already tried one tack, dubbing Jimmy Ellis’ vocals uncredited onto the Jerry Lee Lewis tracks in the Sun catalog, releasing the recording under the name of Jerry Lee Lewis “and friends.” He’d leave it up to the audience to come to the conclusion –if they saw fit—that it might just be a previously unheard recording from the depths of the Sun vaults. After all, it sounded just like Elvis…

 

“I was born in Sun Records, in the studio.”

But it wasn’t until Shelby came across an unpublished manuscript by Georgia writer Gail Brewer Giorgio that the stars aligned for Jimmy Ellis.  Orion was the story of the world’s greatest rock star and how he fakes his own death. As a character, her “Orion” was not a million miles away from a certain Memphis-dwelling King. It was a fantasy that so easily could be true. A fantasy that could be made true… In a move that Shelby himself later described as “part madman, part genius,” Sun Records put a mask on Jimmy Ellis, rechristened him “Orion” and unleashed him on an unsuspecting world. In Jimmy Ellis, Shelby had “The Voice.” And the book gave him a name, and a backstory.
 

A copy of the letter announcing the name “ORION” for the first time. The mask was the beginning of the Orion mystery.

In May of 1979, one month after his announcement of the imminent arrival of “ORION,” Shelby Singleton sent the first single to the radio stations. The cuts were “Ebony Eyes” and “Honey,” but there was no label on either side. Shelby wanted to build the mystery. The voice was the thing. He knew that the moment they heard that voice, they would have a million questions. And they’d want to see the mouth it came from…
 

 
Orion’s first album was readied – but hit controversy when there were complaints about the depiction of the masked singer appearing to rise from the dead from an open casket. (It was replaced by the blue cover above, which was later to catch my eye.)

Orion was now out in the world. Performing across America, always in the mask, always in character (legend was that Shelby would fine Jimmy if he were caught not wearing the mask at any time). And the crowds came. Hundreds and thousands of them, many coming for that voice–and many simply coming for the fantasy, the fantasy that the thin mask kept precariously in place. But for Jimmy, it was a frustrating ride.
 

 
Orion traveled the world while on Sun–including, bizarrely, performing with Kiss in Germany—putting out seven albums on Sun in just five years, but Jimmy hated the mask; the gimmick that provided the all-important mystery was ultimately a trap.  He could never be himself.
 

“Look Me Up”

When the gimmick wore thin, Ellis discarded the mask. The fragile spell was broken – but Jimmy was free. However, he struggled to step out of the shadow of Presley and the voice he was “blessed and cursed” with. He tried out many different identities – Ellis James, Mister E – he put the mask back on, then took it off again - but he never really found the same bright spotlight again. In December 1998, back in Orrville Alabama, the town he had left many years before to find success in music, Ellis was brutally murdered in his pawnshop during an armed robbery. A tragic ending for the man with the voice of a legend.
 

 
For the past four years, I have tracked down the people that were close to Orion to discover his story and I am raising finishing funds for ORION: The Man Who Would Be King on Indiegogo so that I can finish the documentary. You can support getting this story to the screen by pre-ordering the film, getting some original Orion memorabilia or even a bejeweled Orion mask.
 

Orion and author Gail Brewer Giorgio interviewed in 1979 TV news report.
 
More Orion, the man who would be King, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Happy birthday Coal Miner’s Daughter: The Loretta Lynn megapost
04.14.2014
11:53 am

Topics:
Music
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Loretta Lynn


 
Today is country great Loretta Lynn’s 82nd birthday. The “coal miner’s daughter” was born on April 14 in Butcher Hollow, a poor mining community near Paintsville, Kentucky in 1932. Her distinctive voice and groundbreaking songwriting have made her an American icon.

Throughout her career—now in its sixth decade—Loretta Lynn has been known to sing and write about blue-collar women’s issues—childbirth, cheating husbands, “the other woman,” alcoholism, birth control pills and being a Vietnam war widow. It’s interesting to note that “The First Lady of Country Music” was once considered quite controversial with nine of her numbers being blacklisted by commercial country radio. Even her first #1 hit, 1967’s “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (with Lovin’ on Your Mind)”—a song about a woman pissed off about her drunk man wanting to get jiggy with it (obviously!) was considered too edgy by country radio of the day (and incredibly spawned a pro-drunk husband song the following year sung by Loretta’s own brother, Jay Lee Webb titled, “I Come Home A’Drinkin’ (To a Worn Out Wife Like You).”

Today Loretta Lynn’s music—and hardscrabble life story—is a part of the fabric of the American experience and she’s been honored with the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and, of course there was the Academy Award-winning film about her life, Coal Miner’s Daughter starring Sissy Spacek. Her 2004 album Van Lear Rose was produced by Jack White and it topped the country charts. Lynn and White were nominated for five Grammy awards, winning two. Last year Lynn told Rolling Stone that she wants to record another album with White and has nineteen albums for release already in the can.

Loretta Lynn has sold an estimated 48 million albums.

“You’re Lookin’ At Country”
 

“One’s on the Way”
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Kurt Cobain asks William Burroughs to appear in a Nirvana video
04.14.2014
09:37 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
William Burroughs
Kurt Cobain

coburainough.jpg
 
In August 1993, Kurt Cobain wrote William Burroughs to ask if he would appear alongside his band Nirvana in the first video release from their album In Utero. Though Cobain had been in touch with Burroughs before, the pair had not yet met. Cobain had previously supplied music for Burroughs’ spoken word disc The “Priest They Called Him.

Interviewer: How did you get on with William Burroughs when you recorded together recently?

Cobain: That was a long distance recording session. [Laughs] We didn’t actually meet.

Interviewer: Did he show a genuine awareness of your music?

Cobain: No, we’ve written to one another and we were supposed to talk the other day on the phone, but I fell asleep — they couldn’t wake me up. I don’t know if he respects my music or anything; maybe he’s been through my lyrics and seen some kind of influence from him or something, I don’t know. I hope he likes my lyrics, but I can’t expect someone from a completely different generation to like rock’n’roll — I don’t think he’s ever claimed to be a rock’n’roll lover, y’know. But he’s taught me a lot of things through his books and interviews that I’m really grateful for. I remember him saying in an interview, “These new rock’n’roll kids should just throw away their guitars and listen to something with real soul, like Leadbelly.” I’d never heard about Leadbelly before so I bought a couple of records, and now he turns out to be my absolute favorite of all time in music. I absolutely love it more than any rock’n’roll I ever heard.

Burroughs was one of Cobain’s idols, and he hoped he could convince the writer to appear in the video for the song “Heart-Shaped Box” as an old man on a cross who is pecked by crows. In his journal, Cobain explained that birds are “reincarnated old men with tourrets syndrome.”

“. . . their true mission. To scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth . . . screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears but sadly we don’t speak bird.”

Burroughs knocked back the offer to appear with Cobain in the promo, though he would later make his final appearance in a piece of shit video by U2.

August 2, 1993

Mr. William Burroughs
WILLIAM BURROUGHS COMMUNICATIONS

Dear William:

It’s a bit odd writing someone whom I’ve never met but with whom I’ve already recorded a record.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to do the record—it’s a great honor to be pictured alongside you on the back cover.  I am writing you now regarding the possibility of your appearing alongside my band (Nirvana) in the first video from our new album, “In Utero.”

While I know Michael Meisel from Gold Mountain Entertainment (my management company) has been speaking to James Grauerholz, I wanted the opportunity to personally let you know why I wanted you to appear in the video.

Most importantly, I wanted you to know that this request is not based on a desire to exploit you in any way.  I realize that stories in the press regarding my drug use may make you think that this request comes from a desire to parallel our lives.  Let me assure you that this is not the case.  As a fan and student of your work, I would cherish the opportunity to work directly with you.  To the extent that you may want to avoid any direct use of your image (thus avoiding the aforementioned link for the press to devour), I would be happy to have my director look into make-up techniques that could conceal your identity.  While I would be proud to have William Burroughs appear as himself in my video, I am more concerned with getting the opportunity to work with you than I am with letting the public know (should that be your wish).

Having said that, let me reiterate how much I would like to make this happen.  While I am comfortable letting Michael and James discuss this further.  I am available to discuss this with you at your convenience.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Best regards,

Kurt Cobain

 
222burrocoba.jpg
 
While on tour with Nirvana in October 1993, Cobain visited Burroughs at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. In Nirvana: The Day-By-Day Chronicle, Burroughs recalled the meeting:

“I waited and Kurt got out with another man. Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost. He smoked cigarettes but didn’t drink. There were no drugs. I never showed him my gun collection.”

Along with his family and his child, Cobain counted meeting William Burroughs as one of the high points of his life.
 
11cobaburro.jpg
 
Below, Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” video. Imagine how extra amazing this video would have been with WSB hanging from that cross!
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
When Kurt Cobain met William Burroughs
 
Via FuckYeahBeatniks!

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Famous composers doing normal shit
04.14.2014
07:25 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
John Cage
Gustav Mahler
Prokofiev
Aaron Copland

1114copyard.jpg
 
Whether it’s Aaron Copland raking the leaves in the yard, John Cage picking mushrooms, or Prokofiev playing chess, these photographs show famous composers in their everyday life doing normal everyday shit.
 
232debpicuss.jpg
Claude Debussy having a picnic with his daughter.
 
232321kite.jpg
Sergei Rachmaninoff flies a kite with friends.
 
191919hches.jpg
Sergei Prokofiev plays chess with violinist David Oistrakh, while another violinist, Liza Gilels watches on.
 
17shacar17.jpg
Caroline Shaw kayaking on the Hudson River.
 
11cagshroom1111.jpg
John Cage picking mushrooms.
 
Via Composers doing normal shit
 
More composers doing normal shit, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Bay City Rollers We Love You’: Nick Lowe’s secret musical love letter
04.14.2014
07:09 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Nick Lowe

Tartan Horde
 
According to Nick Lowe, the first musical release he did “all by myself” was a bizarrely enthusiastic fan club-style ditty written in mock adulation of one of the dominant pop sensations of 1975, the Scottish quintet known as the Bay City Rollers. The same song was also the catalyst from his sorely desired move from United Artists to Stiff Records, the independent label that did so much to define a certain brand of brainy pop in the early punk era, including, in addition to Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Damned, and Ian Dury.
 
Tartan Horde
 
“Bay City Rollers We Love You,” by the ad-hoc (and fictional) outfit “Tartan Horde,” in addition to being a damn fine pop ditty (I’ve included it on plenty of mixes over the years), is one of the more intriguing products of the continual strife between pop artists and record executives, an honorable lineage that includes Prince scrawling “Slave” on his cheek, Neil Young’s Landing on Water, the Sex Pistols’ “EMI,” and Graham Parker’s “Mercury Poisoning.”  (It might not be a coincidence that two of the examples named here emerged in the the UK of the late 1970s, the same general record label petri dish that Lowe was working in.)
 
The Bay City Rollers
The Bay City Rollers
 
Here’s an account of the single’s creation, drawn from Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter’s Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982 by George Gimarc:
 

Back in 1975, when Brinsley Schwartz split, United Artists were quite keen on keeping Nick Lowe under contract. He had written the songs, he was the “valuable one.” He desperately wanted out of the contract so he could pursue his own things and puzzled about how to do it he decided to submit some really bad records to UA. Lowe recalled “I couldn’t be obvious about it by turning in Country & Western songs with sitars [not a bad idea!] … so I decided to make one of those fan type records like in the ‘60s …. at the time there was no escaping the Bay City Rollers they were everywhere! So I wrote this stupid little song. … I recorded it and it was actually the very first thing I’d done all by myself.

 
The song was written pseudonymously, under the slightly hilarious name “Terry Modern.” I haven’t been able to track down the personnel on the song, but that sure is Rat Scabies of The Damned in that picture up top. The Internet contains several references to the song “topping the charts” in Japan, but I haven’t seen details. Here’s the Japanese cover art, which is very Peter Max influenced:
 
Tartan Horde
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
1000 band T-shirts in 1000 days
04.11.2014
07:11 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music

Tags:
t-shirts

1000 band T-shirts
 
Isac Walter sure does love his band T-shirts. With a small number of exceptions, for 1,000 consecutive days he wore a different band T-shirt—and he documented the process. This is a lad who positively luxuriates in the golden era of AmerIndie: the Tumblr project is even called “Minor Thread.” Click through and you can see Isac’s torso several hundred times, each time draped with a bit of fan memorabilia. He only revealed what he looked like from the neck up after the project was completed.

I’m guessing that Isac is an Angeleno—these pics were taken at XIX Studios in Eagle Rock—and from all appearances he loves his SST records—there’s lots of Descendents here, Black Flag, fIREHOSE, Hüsker Dü, All (not SST but Descendents-related), Dinosaur Jr. and so on. Some of them are label shirts, I definitely saw Sub Pop and Dischord. 

Then there are the curveballs: a David Lee Roth Eat ‘Em and Smile tour T-shirt, a Foreigner Agent Provocateur shirt, a Phil Collins But Seriously tee with the cursive handwriting in the corner, a Slayer shirt with the Dodgers’ “LA” logo between the S- and the -yer, and my absolute favorite, a Belle and Sebastian shirt done up in the style of a Bad Brains rasta shirt.
 
1000 band T-shirts
See a much larger version of this image here.

As Isac says of the above picture, “if you click on the picture it should take you to a full size version you can nerd around on and look in more detail. have fun with it, spend some time kooking out.  share it with your friends.  then go make something like this yourself.” 
 
The question I’d love Isak to answer is, Is it OK to wear the band’s shirt when you are seeing that band’s show? I’ve had this conversation with a lot of music fans, and opinions vary widely—some people feel strongly about it. I think Isak should have the final word on that one.
 
band T-shirts
At least he’s tidy….. this is just a fraction of the full 1,000 shirts
 

 

 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Teen Talk’ on early ‘80s L.A. punk
04.11.2014
07:07 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:


 

I’ve seen beatniks, hippies and flower children. I’ve heard Guthrie, the Beatles and the Stones…

It’s almost poetic, like a dorky, suburban, baby-boom travesty of Howl. Those words, spoken by San Fernando Valley high school teacher Joe Feinstein, introduce the “punk rock” episode of his early ‘80s TV show Teen Talk, one of those grownup-rappin’-on-the-real-with-the young-people shows which every media market seemed to have. For this episode, Feinstein invited “punk rockers and new wavers and all kinds of rock ‘n’ rollers to talk with us about their extreme forms of communication.”

It’s as naively charming as all such shows are, but given the subject, it could have been horrible—was any “punk rock” episode of ANYTHING ever any good? Quincy and After School Special had punk episodes so clueless they remain notorious decades later. So I kind of have to hand it to Feinstein for finding smart kids who listened to credible music. (Name-checks include X, Urban Guerrillas, Siouxsie, Oingo Boingo and TSOL—not bad! I’ve still never heard Meyer Goldstein and his Seven Cockamamies, though…) So while this has a lot of the same goofy naiveté of all such shows, it also contains glimpses into the SoCal punk scene, not from the usual perspective of aging, semi-famous rockers indulging in self-glorification long after the fact, but from fans who were actively checking this stuff out while it was still new, and had the self-awareness to talk about it all intelligently—though one can’t say he got a truly representative sample, as none of his guests seem to be junkies.

One little postscript—the uploader, hipsville, notes that Feinstein went on to become a cruise ship Rabbi. Kudos to him for landing such a plush gig.
 

 

 
More Teen Talk after the jump…
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
El Vez, the Mexican Elvis: Che Guevara meets ‘Viva Las Vegas’
04.10.2014
06:42 pm

Topics:
Art
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
The Zeros
ELvis
El Vez


 
Although he regularly tours internationally—and he might not even live here anymore—I tend to think of El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, as one of the best things about the city of Los Angeles. One of my very, very first nights out “on the town” when I first moved here involved catching El Vez and the Elvettes—totally by accident—at the Atlas Bar and Grill on Wilshire Blvd. Claiming to be the bastard son of Elvis and Charo, his act was super fun—reminding me of John Sex, Deee Lite or The B-52s—and the sort of multilayered political and racial satire and hilarious dog whistles that went into his material like “En El Barrio” made me an instant fan. Over the years I’ve seen El Vez (real name Robert Lopez) at least a dozen times and it’s always been a blast. He’s a local institution. (Still in high school, Lopez co-founded LA punk legends, The Zeros way back in 1976. He can also be seen as part of Catholic Discipline in The Decline of Western Civilization.)

El Vez doesn’t only do Elvis songs. He might do something by ABBA or The Clash or T.Rex or David Bowie (El Vez had his “Thin Brown Duke” phase), but it’s always ultimately filtered through his “Chicano power” persona, one part Che Guevara, one part Viva Las Vegas. The guy pays attention to the details and the revolutionary politics in his idiosyncratic (and very, very funny) artform. Is it just a novelty act? Well, sure, but only to someone too stupid to get all the jokes. He’s like The Simpsons, even someone thick would enjoy seeing El Vez do his thing.

El Vez will be touring with his Cinco de Mayo review. Dates are listed on his website, where you can also buy a lock of his hair (in a “deluxe” ziplock bag) for just $3.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Much more El Vez after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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