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Woman transforms her face into Frank Zappa, Iggy Pop, Keith Richards and more
06.24.2015
09:49 am

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Music
Pop Culture

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Lucia Pittalis before transformation

As RuPaul once said, “You’re born naked and the rest is contour and shading.” And Italian portrait painter and artist Lucia Pittalis proves that point with these insane makeup transformations. Lucia uses her own face as a canvas and turns herself into these iconic characters that are simply fan-fucking-tastic. She nailed Keith Richards, IMO.

If you want to see more of her work, you can follow Lucia on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Frank Zappa
 


Iggy Pop
 

Bette Davis
 

Keith Richards
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Watch ‘Cucumber Castle,’ the Bee Gees’ goofy 1970 TV movie
06.24.2015
07:15 am

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Television

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Once upon a time, a king lay dying. His loyal subjects were overcome with grief—and non-payment of wages.

So begins Cucumber Castle, a 1970 BBC film and an oddity in the Bee Gees’ oeuvre. Of course, if the Bee Gees are known for their involvement in a film, it’s Saturday Night Fever, the ‘70s disco movie that became so popular as to pose an existential threat to rock ‘n’ roll itself, but all the really good Bee Gees fans know about their original psychedelic period. If you need to be brought up to speed, this can be done briefly: the early Bee Gees’ four albums from 1967’s Bee Gees 1st to 1969’s masterpiece Odessa are indispensable psych-pop GEMS with which no fan of that era’s rock would be unfamiliar in a better world. I feel like having a home without Bee Gees 1st is as incomplete as having a home without a dog or cat. Sure, it can be done, but why would you want that?
 

 
After Odessa, the band experienced a falling-out. Vocalist Robin Gibb (RIP 2012) left the band for a brief period, leaving the group as a trio of his twin brother Maurice (RIP 2003), elder brother Barry, and drummer Colin Petersen, who himself would be soon out the door. The remaining band’s next endeavor was Cucumber Castle, an affably goofy, mildly Pythonesque musical film about a dying king (TW3 comic Frankie Howerd hamming it up through the damn roof) dividing his kingdom between his sons Frederick and Marmaduke (Barry and Maurice Gibb) into the Kingdom of Cucumber and the Kingdom of Jelly, over which spoils the brothers immediately proceed to quarrel. The Gibbs aren’t half bad comedic actors in a stilted, they’re-not-really-actors way, and the film includes appearances by Bind Faith, Spike Milligan, Vincent Price, and Lulu (who was married to Maurice at the time), with abundant uncredited cameos whom I won’t name, as it’s more fun to watch the hour-long special and do your own trainspotting. And of course there are shloads of musical numbers—though it should be mentioned here that I know of nobody who considers the Cucumber Castle LP essential.

The Brothers Gibb played host to Hit Parader’s Margaret Robin during Cucumber Castle‘s filming, and Barry offered this take, published in that mag’s April, 1970 issue.

The concept was of a Laugh-In type of show, but set roughly in Tudor England. The way that a lot of the sketches worked out was that the punch-line was in the sudden contrast between the Tudor times and a confrontation with the 20th Century.

We are very pleased with the results we have seen so far, but we know that the real art of making a comedy film is in the editing, and we are getting the best professional help that we can in that department.

It was when we began to really work on the story that we both realized that the outline of the story contained so many parables relating to reality. So it worked out that several of the sketches—for us, anyway—have a meaning above and beyond the obvious joke.

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Idea’: Incredible pop-psychedelic Bee Gees TV special, 1968

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘She Said’: The Cramps versus Hasil Adkins
06.23.2015
01:43 pm

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One of the most beloved numbers in all the Cramps’ repertoire will always be their crazed cover of rockabilly psycho Hasil Adkins’ berserk “She Said.”  The song tells the tale of the frightening aftermath of a drunken one-night stand:

Why’s don’t I tell you what it is?
I wen’ out last nigh’ and I got messed up
When I woke up this mornin’
Shoulda seen what I had inna bed wi’ me
She comes up at me outta the bed
Pull her hair down the eye
Looks to me like a dyin’ can of that commodity meat

Like a dyin’ can of that commodity meat???

Pure poetry. William Shakespeare himself couldn’t have written those words together, one after another, if he’d have wanted to (which I doubt very much that he would’ve wanted to, but that’s beside the point entirely).

Adkins trained himself to be a one-man band due to an assumption he made as a child that only the credited musician (like Hank Williams, one of his idols) must have played all the instruments on their records, hence his uniquely hillbilly caveman performing style where he played several instruments—usually guitar, drums, harmonica, toy horns and some kind of homemade backwoods rhythm pole—simultaneously. The Haze’s subject matter tended to lean towards topics of meat (especially chicken), fucking and murder or all three (“No More Hot Dogs” is about decapitating his girlfriend and mounting her head like a hunting trophy). Despite being active musically (in an improvised home studio) since the late 1950s, his records were released only on the most microscopic of local West Virginia indie labels (or self-released) and he really wasn’t much of a “name” until the Cramps raised his profile in the early 80s by recording “She Said” and when (former Cramps drummer) Miriam Linna and Billy Miller brought his music to greater prominence in the late 80s and early 90s via their Norton Records label.
 

 
I’ve seen Hasil Adkins play live a few times, and I even got a chance to meet him in 1999. It was a memorable encounter: The scene was the Charles Theater in Baltimore where Rest in Pieces Robert Pejo’s documentary about painter Joe Coleman (which Hasil figures in prominently) was being screened.  I was in the projectionist’s booth with Joe, his then fiancée Whitney Ward, some people who worked at the theater and John Waters and Mary Vivian Pearce. At one point Hasil arrived with a guitar, various cases and a rucksack on his back. He was a one man “commotion” and clearly not entirely a “well” person (like you could easily picture him going completely psycho without warning. “Unmedicated” is the word I’m looking for). Trying to be friendly, I mentioned to him that I, too, was a West Virginia native, but this didn’t seem to impress him at all. I mentioned, too, that I’d seem him at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ, but this also failed to impress him—he just balefully glared at me like “yeah whatever, preppy” whenever I tried to make conversation—so I just stopped trying.

Then he told a story about how someone he knew in West Virginia had ripped off an entire truckload of gallon vodka bottles and brought all of this illegal hooch over to Hasil’s house to hide. The way he told the story, there were a few hundred gallons of cheap hooch and he’d drunk every last drop of it.

Then he shrugged, shook his head and said regretfully “...but I don’t drink anymore.”

Forgetting for a moment my earlier chilly reception, I innocently asked the reason he stopped drinking—I was merely curious—whereupon he fixed me with an evil stare, like I was a complete idiot, and slowly shouted (directly in my face) “BECAUSE. I. DRANK. IT. ALL!”

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘The Sonic Assassins’: Groovy psychedelic comic starring Hawkwind, 1971
06.23.2015
10:54 am

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This fantastic two-page comic appeared in the British underground magazine Frendz in November 1971. At the start this comic credits Michael Moorcock for the “words” and Jim Cawthorn for the “art.” Moorcock is a highly respected sci-fi writer who produced several classic sci-fi novels in the 1960s and 1970s, including The Knight of the Swords, The Hollow Lands, and Gloriana. Cawthorn was a frequent collaborator with Moorcock, both as an artist and as a writer—Cawthorn actually did many of the original covers for Moorcock’s novels.
 

Michael Moorcock
 
Frendz was a weird duck, an underground magazine with ties to Oz and International Times—its original name, dating from 1969, was (weirdly) Friends of Rolling Stone, which was then shortened to Friends and later changed to Frendz.

According to John Coulthart, who found these Hawkwind images several years ago, this comic was “done largely as a promotional piece for that year’s new album, In Search of Space, the Sonic Assassins tag was one which stuck, becoming almost a secondary name for the band in later years. The name Void City also recurred later as the name of a track on the Choose Your Masques album.” “Sonic assassins” is a marvelous turn of phrase, isn’t it? Here’s a poorly Xeroxed gig poster from 1977 referring to Dave Brock’s band as “Sonic Assassins.” 
 

 
The cover for In Search of Space was executed by Barney Bubbles, whom we highlighted a few days ago. Coulthart himself designed several Dave Brock/Hawkwind covers starting in the 1980s.

This “Sonic Assassins” cartoon (a.k.a. “Codename: Hawkwind”) has a wonderful “MAD Magazine on acid” feel, note King Kong in the background of the first panel bowled over by the lameosity of the sounds of Engelbert Humperdinck, Simon and Garfunkel, Donovan etc.

Click on both images for a larger view.
 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Happy 60th Birthday Glenn Danzig (and fuck your ‘Mother’)
06.23.2015
09:53 am

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Amusing
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Today, June 23, 2015, is Glenn Danzig’s 60th birthday. Danzig, of course was the founding vocalist of the cartoonish New Jersey horror-punk band Misfits and the similar Samhain, and he moved on from those bands’ B-Movie lyrical tropes when he founded the eponymous metal band he’s led since 1987. Nothing about him is understated—his stage persona combines gothic affectation with some pretty ridiculous macho posturing, an unswervingly and grimly imperious mien, and grandiose baritone singing.

And it’s that distinctive singing voice that makes Danzig’s signature song “Mother” so damn sticky. It was initially released in 1988, on Danzig’s self-titled debut LP, and it saw an unlikely rise to hit status years later when a live version on a stop-gap E.P. called Thrall-Demonsweatlive suddenly started getting radio and MTV play. The videos for both the original studio single and the 1993 live version were treated to the ministrations of Beavis and Butthead (“These guys are pretty cool but this lead singer looks like Patrick Swayze”), which back then actually helped.

Danzig discussed the song with Jeff Kitt of the short-lived Flux magazine:

FLUX: Why do you think “Mother” became a hit six years after its initial release?

GLENN DANZIG: We wanted to put out an EP after Danzig III, but the record company told us we were crazy because EP’s don’t sell. As far as I was concerned, it was too soon to do another studio album or record a live album, so I thought an EP with four live tracks and three studio tracks would be the best thing to do. So we went into the studio and recorded “It’s Coming Down,” “Violet Fire” and “Trouble” in one day. We put them together with some live tracks, and put it out as Thrall-Demonsweatlive.

“Mother” was one of the live songs, and it just started getting airplay. So we decided to shoot a live video for it. MTV had to play it because it was doing so well on radio. It was kinda cool because no one called us a “sell-out” since “Mother” was already six years old when it became a hit. [laughs]

FLUX: Is it possible that when Danzig was first released back in ‘88 the mainstream music scene just wasn’t ready for a song like “Mother”?

DANZIG: That’s exactly what happened to us. When we first came out, we were doing things that few bands did - we had to go up against all the hairspray/glam bands of the late Eighties. A lot of people liked “Mother,” and some deejays played it, but people called us Satanists and all kinds of crap - they just didn’t understand us. That’s not to mention the fact that the first “Mother” video freaked MTV out and they pretty much banned us from the station for the next few years. Hell, MTV had a heart attack when they saw our video for “It’s Coming Down” - and that was just us on stage! [laughs]

FLUX: Did you notice something special about “Mother” when you first wrote it?

DANZIG: Yeah, I did. I remember calling [producer] Rick Rubin in the middle of the night and telling him that I wrote an incredible song - probably the best song I’d ever written. It was the song I always wanted to write. The first time we played it, people went crazy. But I never wrote that song to make it a hit - I never wrote that way, and I still don’t. I write songs so that they say something and do something, and if people like ‘em, great - and if they don’t, they don’t.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
David Bowie’s transgender muse Romy Haag
06.23.2015
09:12 am

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Music
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Glamorous Romy Haag is one of the most famous transgender women in Europe and a cabaret performer of some renown. She is also well-known as a former lover and muse of David Bowie during his Berlin years (and indeed was the apparent reason for his move to the city in 1976). Her influence on his work is clearly evident in the “Boys Keep Swinging” video, where Bowie appears in triplicate as a chorus of drag queens.

Haag was born in 1948 and early in her life, the issue of gender reassignment was discussed. She developed breasts naturally. Haag left her home at the age of 13, working as a clown, then a trapeze artist with the Circus Strassburger before becoming a female impersonator in Paris. At this time, Haag began living as a woman.
 

 
After performing her nightclub act in Fire Island and Atlantic City in the early 70s, in 1974, she opened what would become Germany’s most popular nightclub during the disco-era at the age of 23, “Chez Romy Haag.” Celebrity guests included Bowie and Iggy Pop, who were regulars, Bryan Ferry, Freddie Mercury and Lou Reed. Mick Jagger was another patron and allegedly had a brief affair with Haag.
 

 
Haag began her musical career in earnest in 1977. In 1983, when she was in her 30s she had a sex change operation and in 1999, published an autobiography with the great title, A Woman And Then Some. She’s still an honored performer and going strong at the age of 67. Follow Romy Haag on Twitter.

Below, Romy Haag discusses her relationship with David Bowie.

 
Romy Haag in 1978 performing her disco single “Superparadise” on the ‘Musikladen’ TV show. Compare this to the “Boys Keep Swinging” video.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Dead Flowers’: Watch the Rolling Stones get their country honk out at the Marquee Club, 1971
06.22.2015
01:34 pm

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Music

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I don’t know about you, but as the years go by, I find that I really have to struggle to justify buying a CD or DVD anymore—not to my wife, I mean, but to myself. There’s a higher threshold for me spending ten bucks on a Blu-ray today than there ever was for me spending $59 for a VHS back in 1985 when I had far less disposable income.

Like with movies, if there’s little chance of repeat viewings, why would I want to own it? The last time I went to LA’s gigantic record emporium, Amoeba Records in Hollywood, I came home with seven DVDs and Blu-rays purchased with store credit and not one of them has even had the cellophane cracked on it yet. In fact, I doubt that I will watch ANY of them in the next twelve months. And perhaps not during the year after that. Or ever. And do I really, really NEED to own The Wizard of Oz on Blu-ray when it’s probably streaming in HD on Netflix? Why? What’s the real difference if it’s on a disc or digitally pumped into my house like a utility? Why did I bother?

Furthermore, I’m planning to move soon so I’m sizing up everything in my office with a wary eye, and most of what I’m keeping are straight up “in concert” DVDs with 5.1 soundtracks and stuff like that. Gorillaz. Pulp. Nick Cave. The Grateful Dead Movie. Born to Boogie. Paul McCartney and Wings’ Rockshow. Magical Mystery Tour. Yellow Submarine. The Monkees movie, Head. Tommy. The Last Waltz. Ladies & Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones. Things like that. Things with “playability.”
 

 
I’m only boring you with this information, dear reader, to let you know that the latest release “From the Vaults” of the Rolling Stones, The Marquee Club Live in 1971, which comes out tomorrow on SD Blu-ray (and various other formats) from Eagle Vision, is one such “keeper.” If you’re a serious Stones fan, this short set showcasing some songs from the soon-to-be-released Sticky Fingers album and shot for American television (it doesn’t say for what exactly, or if this ever aired in the liner notes) is a must own. To my mind, this release, which has been lovingly remastered in DTS-HD Master Audio by Bob Clearmountain from the original multitrack masters (and they’ve done a great job with upscaling the video) belongs in the “essentials” of a Rolling Stones collection. Next month sees their Hyde Park concert of 1969 coming out, too. Can an unexpurgated release of Robert Frank’s notorious document of the Stones’ drug and groupie fuelled 1972 American tour Cocksucker Blues be far behind?

Tonight at the The Perfect Exposure Gallery in Los Angeles is the opening of a show of photographs taken at the Marquee by Alec Byrne from 7-9pm. The show will be running until the 28th.

Below, “Dead Flowers,” a clip from the Rolling Stones famous Marquee Club performance of 1971, shot in front of an audience of VIPS that included Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh predicts the rise of matriarchy
06.22.2015
12:17 pm

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Music
Sex

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This interview with Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO has been bouncing around for a while but with inexact provenance information. Yesterday Televandelist uploaded a better copy and usefully marked it as coming from The Cutting Edge Happy Hour, an MTV show started by the I.R.S. record label in 1983. For most of its existence the host of the show was the Fleshtones’ lead singer, Peter Zaremba, whose flat Long Island accent can be heard at the start of the clip.

It’s safe to say that this clip dates from 1987—Televandelist labeled it as 1987-1988. First off, Wikipedia explains that The Cutting Edge Happy Hour went off the air in 1987. Furthermore, Mothersbaugh was being interviewed to promote an exhibition of his postcard paintings—the astute Dave Thompson mentions in his book Alternative Rock that Mothersbaugh had just such an exhibition of his postcards in Los Angeles in 1987, so that’s certainly what we’re looking at here. 
 

 
These are the same postcards featured in Mothersbaugh’s 2014 book Myopia, which we wrote about last November.
Towards the end of the interview Mothersbaugh offers his views on the future of society—not so strongly in the hyperbolic Mothersbaugh “character”—and they’re pretty darn interesting:
 

I’m anticipating a matriarch system, where women finally say, “We’ve had enough of this shit [bleeped] with men in control,” and they take over. I mean, they’re smarter, they’re prettier, they live longer, they’re healthier, they don’t need men to have children anymore, they don’t need us as beast of burdens anymore even, they got machines to take care of all that, and so I think men should be ready to assume their logical place on the planet, and that is as objects of pleasure for females.

 
Amazing! Mothersbaugh accurately anticipated much of this decade we are in—women are increasingly the breadwinners in many families, and the question of machines supplanting workers in general has already become a pressing issue for unions and politicians for the foreseeable future.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Cocaine In My Brain’: The greatest cocaine anthem of the ‘70s is NOT by Eric Clapton
06.22.2015
06:26 am

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Drugs
Music

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There exists a rich musical history of recorded songs about cocaine use dating at least as far back as Victoria Spivey and Lonnie Johnson’s 1927 “Dopehead Blues,” or Dick Justice’s 1928 “Cocaine.” On one end of the spectrum are commendably classic tunes about nose-candy such as Johnny Cash’s “Cocaine Blues,” J.J. Cale’s (later made shitty by Eric Clapton) “Cocaine,” and Laid Back’s quirky “White Horse,” which advises the listener to ride the “white pony” (coke), rather than the “white horse” (heroin), and of course on the other end of the spectrum are absolutely dreadful blow anthems that will totally ruin your night at the club like Buck Cherry’s “Lit Up.”

Perhaps the greatest (or at least weirdest) joy-powder paean comes to us via Jamaican artist, Dillinger. 1976’s “Cokane in My Brain” from his CB 200 album is a funky slice of reggae/proto-rap, clearly recorded under the influence of—I don’t know—let’s say a kilo of the white stuff. The song’s “riddim” is based on the Gamble and Huff-produced Philly soul classic “Do It Any Way You Wanna” by People’s Choice. The refrain “I got cocaine runnin ‘round in my brain” comes from Reverend Gary Davis’ “Cocaine Blues” but the (apparently) nonsensical riddle about the correct way to spell New York:

“A knife, a fork, a bottle and a cork, that’s the way we spell New York, Jim!”

... comes from an actual Disney record!

Do go to the seven-minute mark and hit play. You will laugh:
 

 

“No matter where I treat my guests, you see they always like my kitchen best. Cause I’ve cocaine running around my brain.”
 
Incredibly, the song went to number one on the Dutch charts.

Here we have a video from the Dutch music program TOPPOP, broadcast in the Summer of 1977. TopPop was the first dedicated Dutch pop music TV show, broadcast weekly from 1970 to 1988. Hit songs were generally mimed by artists appearing on the show, but often times tracks were played to a dance routine by choreographer Penney de Jager and her troupe, as is the case with this particular clip.
 

TOPPOP choreographer, Penney de Jager
 
The feel of a ‘70s New York club is recreated here through a Dutch lens. The dancing seems a bit awkward, not through any fault of the talented dancers, but because the song itself is rather awkward in its coke-damaged delivery. Still, trust us, it’s an earworm you’re not likely to shake anytime soon.

A knife, a fork, a bottle, and a cork… That’s the way we spell New York
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Paintings of vintage cassette tapes by ‘Sir Horace Gentleman’ of the Specials
06.19.2015
08:33 am

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Music

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When the Specials’ self-titled first album, produced by Elvis Costello, dropped in 1979, it instantly became one of the founding documents of the ska revival movement, or 2 Tone, as it became known. The band had a remarkable run of hit singles from 1979 to 1981, with both “Too Much Too Young” and “Ghost Town” hitting #1 on the U.K. charts before the group broke up. Terry Hall , Neville Staple and Lynval Golding would go on to form Fun Boy Three, whilst the Jerry Dammers-led contingent pressed on as The Special AKA, releasing new material through 1984, including the influential hit single “(Free) Nelson Mandela.”
 

 
Before he even became the bassist of the Specials, Horace Panter, who went by Sir Horace Gentleman, had a degree in fine art from Lanchester Polytechnic, and he apparently imbibed a solid sense of the pop aesthetic in addition to considerable draftsmanship skills. From 1998 to 2008, Panter was “Head of Art” at a secondary school. Panter lists as his influences “Peter Blake, Kenneth Noland, Wayne Thiebaud, and Joseph Cornell as well as the naive style of Henri Rousseau.”

Panter’s pop art paintings cover a wide swath of ground but I found his series of cassettes the most amusing. Most of the canvases are about three feet wide, and many are available for purchase.

Clicking on any painting will yield a larger image.
 

Prince Far-I
 

One Step Beyond
 

Gangsters
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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