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John Hinckley Jr.‘s DEVO royalty check is up for grabs
09.15.2017
07:11 am
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In 1982, DEVO, a band whose very existence at times seemed to be a prank on the music industry, had the brilliant idea, in the true spirit of de-evolution, to use one of the demented love poems of failed Ronald Reagan assassin, John Hinckley Jr., as song lyrics. Mind you, this was only a year following Hinckley’s attack which wounded Reagan, Reagan’s Press Secretary, and two Secret Service agents.

Hinckley was one of the most infamous names in the news at the time as the man who had tried to murder the president in a deranged attempt at wooing actress Jodie Foster.

Needless to say, DEVO’s record label, Warner Brothers, was less than thrilled with the idea of having to write royalty checks to the criminally insane man who tried to kill the President.

The song, “I Desire,” which appeared on DEVO’s fifth studio album, Oh, No! It’s DEVO, was adapted, with permission, from one of Hinckley’s poems—much to the chagrin of Warner Brothers and, as it turns out, the F.B.I.

From Rolling Stone:

As Mark Mothersbaugh recalled, “[Hinckley] let us take a poem that he had written, and we used it for the lyrics and turned it into a love song. It was not the best career move you could make. We had the FBI calling up and threatening us.”

In the book Are We Not Men? We are DEVO, Mothersbaugh states that “if people told us we couldn’t, that just gave us all the more determination… you know, Spinal Tap syndrome,” with Alan Myers adding, “I thought ‘I Desire’ was a good song. I think that was the cool thing. That was one of the better songs that came out on the last few records… I think that art is art.”

This week a seller on eBay listed the first royalty check stub sent to Hinckley from Warner Brothers along with an accounting statement and a letter explaining to Hinckley that his one-half share of the royalties for “I Desire” amounted to $610.22.

The seller, as of this writing, provides no provenance for the item, but we are assuming it is probably legit as who would forge such an item and sell it on eBay? This item certainly has an appeal to both fans of DEVO and fans of people who tried to kill Ronald Reagan.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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09.15.2017
07:11 am
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‘Is the Father Black Enough?’ Monkee Micky Dolenz stars in bizarre 1970s racial exploitation flick
09.14.2017
01:50 pm
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Poster for sale at Westgate Gallery
 
Micky Dolenz will always be known as a Monkee and not as a dramatic actor, but he did do some non-Monkee acting after the band broke up in the early 1970s. One of Dolenz’s legacies as an actor is certain high-profile roles he did not end up getting cast in. He famously auditioned for the role of Arthur Fonzarelli in Happy Days (Michael Nesmith did too). The only thing we can say for sure about that is that there is zero chance he would have been as successful in the role as Henry Winkler was. He also was considered for the Riddler in Batman Forever, a part that eventually went to Jim Carrey.

One of his early acting roles was his star turn in Night of the Strangler, an exploitation film that came out in 1972. Directed by Joy N. Houck Jr., it’s a pretty run-of-the-mill serial killer movie except for two things, the complete and total lack of any strangling whatsoever during the entire movie and the progressive (???) use of an interracial love affair as the driver of events. The movie begins with the hasty return of Denise to her native Louisiana from Vassar College, where she has fallen in love with an African-American fellow who has impregnated her and whom she intends to marry. (I had to work in a mention of Vassar, seeing as how the same institution unwisely furnished me with an undergraduate degree.) This news is taken rather differently by her brothers Vance (Dolenz) and imperious Dan, who throws around the N-word a lot and threatens to kill Denise and her betrothed. Before that can happen, though, her man is shot by a sniper and Denise is drowned in her bathtub…...
 

 
The taglines for the movie were “He Gets Them All!” and “Southern Revenge!” As happened with many B-movies in the 1970s, this movie was released under multiple titles. I guess it wasn’t common for movies to have quite this many titles, most of which play up the race thing and (thank goodness) don’t mention strangling, as in Dirty Dan’s Women and Is the Father Black Enough? and The Ace of Spades (really?).

As with many violent B-movies, there isn’t enough motivation for the series of killings, which are there mainly to draw audience and titillate viewers. In between the spurts of violence, you can barely glimpse a more interesting movie, but even that aspect is just sketched together. Dolenz’s training from the Monkees sitcom helped him, however. He’s not great or anything but he’s perfectly engaging as the more recessive of the two brothers.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.14.2017
01:50 pm
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Custom made action figures of Robert Smith, The Cramps, Eraserhead & more!
09.14.2017
09:35 am
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A nice shot of the custom Poison Ivy and Lux Interior figures by an artist known as “N TT” over at Figure Realm. YES!
 
There are times when I’m out and about on the Internet looking for new and exciting things to bring to all of our dedicated Dangerous Minds readers, and occasionally (or always) I come across something I wasn’t looking for in the first place. And that’s how I happily ended up finding a bunch of different DIY figures and dolls based on the gothy likeness of Robert Smith, the one and only vocalist for The Cure, as well as Poison Ivy and Lux Interior of The Cramps. According to the person behind theses figures, artist “N TT” over at Figure Realm, it was noted that the six-inch version of Lux was made out of an action figure of Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe. Way to make the world a better place by recycling, N TT. Well done.

If you keep up with me here at DM, you know I have a deep affinity for all things action figures and the like. So stumbling on these figures by N TT was kind of like winning the action figure lottery for me. Anyway, good-old N TT has created some pretty fantastic DIY dolls/figures such as Robert Smith, Ivy and Lux (with Mr. Interior wearing a pair of black heels no less) and Jack Nance in character from the 1977 film Eraserhead. And since I know you’re wondering, though it’s not entirely clear, it would appear that N TT occasionally sells the tricked out figures that are posted on this page at Figure Realm.
 

Custom Lux Interior and Poison Ivy figures. Nice.
 

 

This disturbing interpretation of The Cure’s Robert Smith is based on the video for “Lullaby” from 1989. YIKES!
 
Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.14.2017
09:35 am
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Space is in the Bass: Meet Constance Demby, High Priestess of Electronica
09.14.2017
06:45 am
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Constance Demby, “The Electronica High Priestess of Priestesses.”
 
A while back a friend of mine was telling me about a video he had seen of a woman who played music in her apartment using experimental musical equipment. My friend, an experienced and worldly musician, said that it looked as though she might have rigged her apartment with equipment that she had built herself. I was, of course, intrigued, but unfortunately, that’s where the trail of this very interesting sounding woman ended. Until last week that is. The woman in question is Constance Demby and, as it turns out, the “instrument” she was playing in the video was in fact something that she had created called a “Space Bass.” Demby’s massive Space Bass consists of ten-feet of mirrored stainless steel that can produce five octaves of sound via their attached steel and brass rods. According to Demby’s website, a person with the very groovy job title of “Sound Scientist” was able to surmise that the sound waves on the lowest notes of the instrument were approximately thirty feet long.

Born in Oakland, California, Demby’s musical talent was discovered early and by the age of twelve, she had already been studying classical piano for four years. After her family moved to the east coast, the now teenage Demby was personally responsible for creating a jazz ensemble at her high school. She would later enroll in college but would leave sometime in 1960 taking up residence in the bohemian mecca that is (well, was) Greenwich Village. Over the course of the next decade, Demby’s real experimentation with music would flourish. During her time in the Village, she would meet Robert Rutman—a notable and fantastically talented German-born musician who had a particular affinity for idiophones, which are instruments that generate music by way of vibration. Together Rutman and Demby would hold collaborative performances using their unique instruments which would eventually lead them to relocate together to Maine where they formed the completely excellent sounding Central Maine Power Music Company (CMPMC). After about six years of touring and playing live gigs with the various other musicians that were a part of the CMPMC, Demby and Rutman parted ways in the mid-70s.
 

Constance Demby behind the wall of sound that is her “Space Bass.”
 
Demby’s professional accomplishments are vast and include the completion of over a dozen studio albums, Grammy nominations, the creation of her record label, Sound Currents, as well as designing her sonic musical instruments. During her long career, she has been called the “undisputed founder of Symphonic Sacred Spacemusic” and the “Godmother of contemporary classical electronic music.” Demby has collaborated on musical scores with the Dalai Lama, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and George Lucas. And that’s where Demby’s “Space Bass” comes into higher prominence as Lucas has used the instrument to create atmospheric ruminations which were officially licensed for use in scores by Lucas Films.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.14.2017
06:45 am
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Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat: Watch Charles Mingus get evicted from his NYC studio, 1966
09.14.2017
06:45 am
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It is not always the case that financial rewards flow to the most creative pioneers in our society. Case in point: In 1966, jazz legend Charles Mingus got evicted from his apartment at 5 Great Jones Street due to nonpayment of rent. A young documentary filmmaker named Thomas Reichman had a crew on hand the night before Mingus had to vacate the premises, and he left with some astonishingly poignant footage of Mingus in a garrulous, charming, angry, self-pitying mode.

The footage was incorporated in an hour-long movie that was released two years later with the somewhat confusing title Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968, which isn’t what I would call a movie that was shot in 1966. Whatever!

Anyway, Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968 is quite fascinating. Mingus is fully aware that Reichman and his crew are there, of course, and he is in his most florid and theatrical mode. Early on Mingus delivers a lengthy impromptu “pledge of allegiance” that starts like this:
 

I pledge allegiance to the flag—the white flag. I pledge allegiance to the flag of America. When they say “black” or “negro,” it means you’re not an American. I pledge allegiance to your flag. Not that I have to, but just for the hell of it I pledge allegiance. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. The white flag, with no stripes, no stars. It is a prestige badge worn by a profitable minority.

 
Later on he sings the altered refrain of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” with the line “sweet land of slavery.” He unloads his shotgun into a nearby expanse of plaster and asks his young daughter Kiki to tug on a noose made of trick theatrical rope that he has placed around his neck.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.14.2017
06:45 am
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David Bowie, Dennis Hopper and/or Dean Stockwell bring blow to Iggy Pop in a psych ward, 1975
09.13.2017
10:05 am
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Iggy Pop and Dennis Hopper talking shop back in the day.
 

“By 1975, I was totally into drugs, and my willpower had been vastly depleted. But still, I had the brains to commit myself to a hospital, and I survived with willpower and a lot of help from David Bowie. I survived because I wanted to.”

—Iggy Pop on how he got by with a little help from his friend David Bowie while locked up in the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital .

If you suddenly broke into an off-key chorus of “That’s What Friends Are For” while reading through this post about Iggy Pop’s stay at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital, I’d understand. Let’s face it—when the cards are stacked against you, and your life takes a giant nosedive into a pile of shit (or cocaine, booze or other bad shit, or shit in general really), you get to find out who your real friends are. In this case, Iggy Pop found out that none other than Dennis Hopper, that suave motherfucker himself Dean Stockwell, and of course his BFF, David Bowie, were his. However, this was back in 1975, and Iggy’s trio of pals at the time routinely consumed cocaine and all kinds of other drugs at alarming rates just like he did—which was one of the reasons Pop had voluntarily checked himself into the UCLA psych ward. 1975 was a tough year for Iggy after he found himself in Los Angeles with virtually no money and mostly no Stooges after the band disbanded, due in part due to Iggy’s heavy heroin problem which culminated in Iggy and the Stooges falling apart onstage at a gig in Michigan in 1974. Here’s rock journalist Lester Bangs’ account of what went down the night Iggy and the Stooges imploded:

“The audience, which consisted largely of bikers, was unusually hostile, and Iggy, as usual, fed on that hostility, soaked it up and gave it back and absorbed it all over again in an eerie, frightening symbiosis. “All right,” he finally said, stopping a song in the middle, “you assholes wanta hear ‘Louie, Louie,’ we’ll give you ‘Louie, Louie.’” So the Stooges played a forty-five-minute version of “Louie Louie,” including new lyrics improvised by the Pop on the spot consisting of “You can suck my ass / You biker faggot sissies,” etc. By now the hatred in the room is one huge livid wave, and Iggy singles out one heckler who has been particularly abusive: “Listen, asshole, you heckle me one more time, and I’m gonna come down there and kick your ass.” “Fuck you, you little punk,” responds the biker. So Iggy jumps off the stage, runs through the middle of the crowd, and the guy beats the shit out of him, ending the evening’s musical festivities by sending the lead singer back to his motel room and a doctor. I walk into the dressing room, where I encounter the manager of the club offering to punch out anybody in the band who will take him on. The next day the bike gang, who call themselves the Scorpions, will phone WABX-FM and promise to kill Iggy and the Stooges if they play the Michigan Palace on Thursday night. They do (play, that is), and nobody gets killed, but Metallic K.O. is the only rock album I know where you can actually hear hurled beer bottles breaking against guitar strings.”

 

Iggy and Stooges guitarist James Williamson.
 
Following that act, Iggy went back to LA and as Stooges guitarist James Williamson recalls Pop was living in a small apartment on Sunset Strip where he spent his days completely blotto on any substance he could put in his body to get high. Pop would eventually lose his digs and stayed with Williamson for a short time before he ending up romancing the streets of Los Angeles where he apparently got arrested several times for various infractions. Upon his last appearance in court, he was given two options—prison or he could voluntarily check himself into a psychiatric hospital. While in treatment at UCLA under the care of Dr. Murray Zucker he went through detox and was diagnosed with a condition known as hypomania. Though it was likely no fun, it was probably a lot better than being in prison. Besides, as the title of this post indicates, he had lots of friends coming by to visit him. And that’s where this story gets a whole lot weirder.

According to the 2012 book David Bowie: The Golden Years, actor Dean Stockwell visited Pop at UCLA along with Bowie allegedly dressed up in space suits (though perhaps just Bowie was in disguise), completely stoned politely demanding “We want to see Jimmy. Let us in.” According to Pop’s account of the event, they actually let Bowie and Stockwell see him because they were “star struck” by their presence, despite the fact that they were clearly high as fuck. Once inside Iggy’s room, Bowie broke out some blow to share with Pop which he took, but in Iggy’s own words, he only indulged “a little.” David Bowie has also spoken about his clandestine visits to Pop recalling that it was Dennis Hopper who he came calling on Iggy with while the former Stooge was trying to maintain his sobriety and mental health. Here’s the Thin White Duke on how that went:

“If I remember it right, it was me and Dennis Hopper. We trooped into the hospital with a load of drugs for (Iggy) him. This was very much a leave-your-drugs-at-the-door hospital. We were out of our minds, all of us. He wasn’t well; that’s all we knew. We thought we should bring him some drugs because he probably hadn’t had any for days!”

I’ve always believed that only a real friend would smuggle drugs for you, and David Bowie (and Dennis or was it Dean?) proved that point for me.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.13.2017
10:05 am
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What’s Your Sign?: Big Star’s Alex Chilton and his obsession with astrology
09.13.2017
09:20 am
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Big Star
 
Alex Chilton had quite a career in the music business. As the singer of his first group, the Box Tops, he had a number one hit with “The Letter”; he was just sixteen at the time. Later, he joined Big Star, writing pop gems that failed to find an audience then, but are now so beloved that the band has one of rock’s biggest cults. He recorded wonderfully chaotic material from the mid-to-late ‘70s, before setting on a steady course of gigging and albums that focused on his interpretations of other people’s songs, as well as periodic reunions with the Box Tops and Big Star. He died in 2010 at the age of 59.

When Chilton was around 20, he began using something he found useful in helping guide his life’s path: the zodiac. Alex initially became intrigued with astrology during his teenage years, but it was only after he moved to New York in 1970 did he fully embrace it. While living in Manhattan during the post-Box Tops/pre-Big Star period, Chilton befriended the Brooklyn musician, Grady Whitebread, who schooled Alex on astrology. Over the years, Chilton used horoscopes to decide who he should hang out with—including potential band members—and generally deal with life’s uncertainties. In a 1992 interview, Alex talked about the subject:

I’ve studied it rather extensively and I’ve gotten really, really sharp at it. I’m a pretty good interpreter of [astrological] charts. It is interesting as far as understanding people and it’s just darn interesting in and of itself. The longer you study something you believe in, the more profound it can get for you. (from the 2014 Chilton biography, A Man Called Destruction)

His fascination with astrology has, in turn, influenced his songwriting. Two tracks from the second Big Star album, Radio City, come to mind: “Morpha Too”,  which contains the line, “Kitty asked me to read her stars”; and “September Gurls,” arguably Chilton’s best tune. Alex was born on December 28, referenced in the song’s refrain, “December boy’s got it bad.”
 
September Gurls
 
Chilton frequently covered other artist’s material, and one choice in particular was surely swayed by the star signs.
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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09.13.2017
09:20 am
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Krautrock master Klaus Schulze’s porno soundtracks for ‘Body Love’ and ‘Body Love, Vol. 2’
09.12.2017
02:19 pm
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Klaus Schulze is an important figure in the development of the “kosmische musik” known popularly as Krautrock, being one of the founding members of Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream and a player on a staggering number of releases. While Can was breaking new ground in Cologne and Kraftwerk became international superstars based out of Düsseldorf, Schulze operated mostly out of Berlin, where bands like Cluster and Birth Control held sway, as well as the aforementioned bands Schulze was in.

Schulze’s contributions are littered all over Julian Cope’s top 50 Krautrock albums of all time. His solo albums Irrlicht, Cyborg, and Blackdance all get a mention. He was on Tangerine Dream’s first album Electronic Meditation, but that band went on to its incredibly prolific output without input from Schulze. Schulze also played on Ash Ra Tempel’s incredible self-titled debut as well as their fourth album, Join Inn. He was one of the composers of the legendary album Tarot by the Swiss musician Walter Wegmüller. He participated on all of the Cosmic Jokers releases, and he actually sued Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser (founder of the Ohr, Pilz, and Cosmic Couriers record labels) over the unauthorized release of the final one, which more or less sent Kaiser into exile.

On top of all of that, Schulze has released seven albums under the name Richard Wahnfried and released a dozen collaborations with Pete Namlook and Bill Laswell under the series title The Dark Side of the Moog, which engage a British visionary art rock group called Pink Floyd.

Clearly, this dude is in it to win it.
 

 
In 1977 Schulze put out three albums, two of which were a soundtrack to a porn film called Body Love and a follow-up featuring “Additions to the Original Soundtrack,” as the French release had it. Body Love was directed by Lasse Braun, who was born in Algiers but was from Italy—his given name was Alberto Ferro. Braun was the kind of principled porno director of whom it can be said (per Wikipedia) that he, ahem, “placed himself firmly in the tradition of 18th century pornographers such as Rétif de la Bretonne.....” One thing that made Body Love somewhat out of the ordinary was that the lead actress was Catherine Ringer, a member of one of France’s most innovative pop groups, Les Rita Mitsouko.

As “Yum-Yum” at the House of Indulgence put it a few years back,
 

Seriously, the score is incredible. Reminiscent of the chillout techno music that was semi-popular in the early ‘90s (The Orb, Pete Namlook, The Aphex Twin, etc.), the music—to be blunt—is way too awesome to wasted in a film like this. Okay, I realize that what I just said oozes the worst kind of porn prejudice (what? you don’t think porn movies deserve to have cool music?). What I’m trying to say is that there are only handful movies in this world that are truly worthy of the music Klaus Schulze was making in the late 1970s.

 
Yum-Yum is right! There really is hardly any movie that’s worthy of this soundtrack.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.12.2017
02:19 pm
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Of overalls and platform boots: Brian Johnson’s ass kicking pre-AC/DC band, Geordie
09.11.2017
11:21 am
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The perpetually jolly Brian Johnson during his days with the band Geordie.
 
A few weeks ago I wrote about former AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson and his “acclaimed” jingle for the Hoover Vacuum company in 1980. Since that time, I’ve been digging around Johnnson’s pre-AC/DC rawk days—and I’ve loved every minute of it. If I were stranded on a desert island and had to live with the music of one band, it would be AC/DC. Give me Sabbath or give me death, I’d still be okay departing this world if Angus, Malcolm, Cliff, Bon, and later Brian Johnson, played me out. A girl can dream, can’t she? For now, let’s get back to the focus of this post—AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson and his band, Geordie.

First off, Geordie’s oddball name was taken from a word that is used to describe the citizens and unique dialect associated with residents of Johnson’s place of birth, Newcastle upon Tyne in England, a place where everyone speaks in Johnson’s nearly impossible-to-understand endearing verbal sway, and the origin site of black metal pioneers Venom. Before joining Geordie, Johnson had some minor success playing various working men’s clubs in the North East of Newcastle with the Jasper Hart Band. Johnson recorded a few singles in the early 1970s with the group before leaving to join forces with his first serious band, USA which would later become Geordie. At the time, glam rock was everything and Geordie was born right smack in the middle of the exploding glitter bomb and musical liberation that was led by the likes of T.Rex and the New York Dolls. Every great story about rock and roll ever written contains at least one piece of WTF mythology, and this one is no exception. The tale associated with Geordie is especially surreal as it concerns the first time that Johnson met Bon Scott while he was fronting one of his pre-AC/DC bands, Fraternity (later known as “Fang”).

According to Johnson, Fraternity/Fang opened a few shows for Geordie in the group’s early days. During one of Geordie’s performances, Johnson was gravely ill battling a dire case of appendicitis—which I can tell you from experience is horrible and will take you down quick and hard. Despite this, Johnson borrowed a tip from the “How to Rock and Roll and Not Be a Giant Pussy” handbook and played the fucking gig in what I can assure you was horrific pain. Johnson was suffering so badly that he laid down on his side on stage and was kicking and screaming in agony—but still, he persisted, and somehow finished the show. Bon bore witness to the spectacle, thinking it was part of the show just like pretty much everyone else at the gig. Later on, after joining AC/DC, he would tell his new bandmates about the gig noting how impressed he was by Johnson’s “performance” and admiring the fact that his future replacement was on the floor kicking and screaming on stage exclaiming “what an act” it was to behold. What an “act” indeed.
 

The awesome cover of Geordie’s 1974 album ‘Don’t Be Fooled by the Name.’
 
Geordie did pretty well for themselves until the later part of the 70s when the increasing popularity of new wave and punk bands like the Blondie and the Sex Pistols killed their appeal. Before their demise in 1976, Geordie would put out four respectable as well as mostly commercially successful records that produced a bunch of hits including “All Because Of You” from their 1973 debut album Hope You Like It that plowed its way into the UK top ten. Though they would technically call it quits in 1976, Johnson would revive Geordie as “Geordie II, ” and his Geordie bandmates would plod onward with a new vocalist Dave Ditchburn. That version of Geordie would produce an album that contained songs featuring Johnson’s vocals as well as Ditchburn’s called No Good Woman before disappearing for good sometime in the early 80s.

More Geordie, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.11.2017
11:21 am
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Group: xex, the awesome early ‘80s all-synth band from NJ who mixed Gary Numan with DEVO & the B-52s
09.11.2017
09:34 am
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Group: xex
 
Hailing from South River, New Jersey, the electro group xex put out just one record, the stellar 1980 LP, Group: xex. The no guitars/all-synthesizers band lasted just a few short years, falling off the radar by the early ‘80s and languishing in obscurity until the late ‘90s, when their album was—by chance—re-discovered.

xex (yes, it’s supposed to be lowercase) was formed in 1978 by three high school students, simply for their own amusement. By 1980, the project had become a more serious thing, with the unit expanding to a quintet. In August of that year, they recorded the material that would make up their debut LP. Pressing up just 1,600 copies and assembling the package by hand, the self-released Group: xex came out in November.
 
xex
 
The group’s lyrical subject matter is largely a means for social commentary, in which the members of xex sing about consumer culture, suburban conformity, organized religion, automated technology, the surveillance state, the rat race of life, and the threat of nuclear war. What makes Group: xex such an awesome album is that it’s a thought-provoking and super-fun record, filled with catchy songs, in which the band effortlessly blends the robotic stiffness of DEVO, and the electro coldness of the Normal and Gary Numan, with the liveliness of the B-52s. There’s a level of sophistication here, but still the air of outsider art.

Much more xex after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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09.11.2017
09:34 am
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