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Butthole Surfers live in Rotterdam: ‘Those people put a lot of mayonnaise on their french fries’
02.01.2016
04:20 pm

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Drugs
Music
Punk

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I have said it before and I will happily say it again: There was never a band that was as extreme live as the Butthole Surfers. None came even close. Not before and certainly not since. They raised the insanity bar so high with their violent, chaotic, druggy, duel-drummer götterdämmerung that they probably merit a special category of high weirdness all to themselves. Maybe someday someone will coin a term—like surrealism—to describe their potent and singularly evil—yet juvenile, often silly—art form.

During their mid-to late-80s heyday, the Satanic mayhem of a Butthole Surfers show was probably about as far as most people would have ever wanted to go in search of entertainment. For what foul-minded, dark ritual would lie beyond them? The Butthole Surfers pulverized their audience, who were often as lysergically loaded as the demonically jerking jesters onstage. One did not simply attend a Butthole Surfers show, one chemically prepared for it like some horribly fucked-up pagan ritual. Volunteering, as it were, for a very bad acid trip.

Aside from the vicious and lacerating sonic assault of the music—which was fucking loud, I can assure you—there was also the incomparably incomprehensible nude go-go dancer, Kathleen Lynch; seizure-inducing strobe lights and 16mm projections comprised of Faces of Death-type footage, cheap Mexican horror films and 1950s era shots of people with Down’s syndrome ballroom dancing. Gibby Haynes would douse his hands (and the cymbals) with lighter fluid and then stare at the flames like a drooling idiot before putting the fire out by sticking his hand down the front of his pants.
 

 
Perhaps the most legendary of their many legendary interviews was for Forced Exposure, the greatest underground music “zine” of the 1980s. Forced Exposure, like Mondo 2000, was produced erratically, so when a new issue came out, it felt like an event. The Surfers were the cover subject of Forced Exposure, issue #11 in 1987 and much of the “mythology” of the band comes from this one source. Like their hilarious “bed in” interviews (a John and Yoko parody) on their infamous home video release, 1985’s A Blind Eye Sees All, the extra-lengthy Forced Exposure interview is a masterpiece of stoned Jabberwocky and nutty road stories:

FORCED EXPOSURE: How were the shows there?
GIBBY: They were fun. They were really fun. I couldn’t tell if they liked us. We did a good job. We had fun at the show in…
PAUL: Wales?
GIBBY: Wales, yeah.
KING: Rotterdam?
GIBBY: Yeah. What a show in Rotterdam. We used to have a cassette of the radio interview that was played over the Dutch radio station.
KING: Yeah. Gibby was put on videotape putting his dick on the record executive’s shoulder from behind. For a long time. The guy didn’t even know it was there for a long time.
GIBBY: Yeah. And Kid Congo Powers was following me around ‘cause he wanted to be my friend. Then I realized that he thought I had all the money, and he was waiting for me to pass out so he could take it all out of my pocket. I was walking around breaking bottles and trying to push people over these fifty foot things ...
PAUL: Gibby took on five Dutch security guards. That was a fun night. I ended up trying to carry all the band’s equipment back to the hotel by myself. I almost left an overcoat and something else behind because I couldn’t carry them, not knowing that all our money was in the coat. Everybody else took off.
GIBBY: I didn’t take off.
PAUL: Gibby was taking on the entire bouncer scene looking for the money that I was getting ready to leave in the bushes.
FORCED EXPOSURE: You playing Rotterdam again this time?
GIBBY: I don’t know. Those people put a lot of mayonnaise on their french fries.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Shane MacGowan perpetrates ‘Cannibalism at Clash gig,’ 1976
02.01.2016
02:34 pm

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Music
Punk

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On Saturday, October 23, 1976, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London hosted a show by the brand-new punk sensation known as the Clash. It was an eventful evening by any reckoning.

The openers were Subway Sect and Snatch Sounds, who seem not to have made much of an impression. At that point the Clash and the Sex Pistols were in a category of two in terms of being at the absolute pinnacle of delivering pissed-off punk music and generating the electric excitement of punk (and the associated publicity too). The night before and that night too, Patti Smith was playing the Hammersmith Odeon but managed to make her way to the ICA so that she could dance onstage to “I’m So Bored with the U.S.A.” As will be easily imagined, the audience was in a rowdy mood and the alcohol was flowing freely. The show had been billed as “a night of pure energy,” and it surely lived up to that.

In the November 6, 1976, issue of the New Musical Express ran an account of the show written by Barry Miles, who preferred to go simply by “Miles” as a nom de journalisme. The cheeky, startling headline of the piece was “CANNIBALISM AT CLASH GIG,” with the subtitle “But why didn’t anybody eat MILES?” At the top and the bottom of the writeup were two pictures, taken by Red Saunders, of Shane MacGowan and a renowned punk fan named Jane Crockford, unflatteringly nicknamed “Mad Jane.” The pictures show indistinct mayhem as well as a generous portion of blood flowing from MacGowan’s right earlobe. Interestingly, both of the subjects were, or would be, in notable bands of their own; MacGowan was in the Nipple Erectors and (of course) the Pogues, while Jane was in the Bank of Dresden and the Mo-dettes.
 

 
In Bob Gruen’s must-own book The Clash he gets Mick Jones and Paul Simonon to comment on the show:
 

Mick: That was the night of Shane MacGowan’s earlobe, wasn’t it? He didn’t really have it bitten off, you know. Isn’t that the same show where Patti Smith got up on stage during our set?

Paul: That was the ICA—it was called A Night of Pure Energy. My haircut’s gone very mod; it had flopped down from all the jumping around onstage. In the beginning all that jumping about was a way of dodging gobs and missiles generally. There’s Joe with his sharks’ teeth—when I first met him they looked just like a real sharks’ teeth.


 
Gruen notes of the MacGowan incident that it gave the Clash “their first significant press coverage.” He also quotes Joe Strummer as saying, “Without Mad Jane’s teeth and Shane’s earlobe, we wouldn’t have got in the papers that week.”
 

 
In The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town, Marcus Gray writes about that evening:
 

When the Clash started playing, a couple in front of Miles and Red were obstructing their view of the band. Apparently intent on attacking each other while laughing like maniacs, they refused to move out of the way. So Red took pictures of them. “I had no idea how famous those photos were to become.” The NME used them to accompany Miles’s report under the headline “CANNIBALISM AT CLASH GIG”: “A young couple, somewhat out of it, had been nibbling and fondling each other amid the broken glass when she suddenly lunged forward and bit his ear lobe off [while the crowd] watched with cold, calculate hipitude.” ... the Clash gig was a wild night fuelled by speed and alcohol. The bar staff entered into the spirit of the evening to such an extent that they gave away a further £80 worth of booze ... and the twosome Miles and Red observed, Mad Jane and Shane MacGowan, were by no means content to loiter at the back of the queue.

“Me and this girl were having a bit of a laugh which involved biting each other’s arms till they were completely covered in blood and then smashing up a couple of bottles and cutting each other up a bit,” Shane informed ZigZag’s Granuaille in 1986, setting the record straight on the occasion of punk’s 10th anniversary, and, in the process, offering another insight into the mythopoetics of punk. “That, in those days, was the sort of thing that people used to do. I haven’t got a clue now why I did it or why anyone would want to do it, but that was how teenagers got their kicks in London if they were hip. Anyway, in the end she went a bit over the top and bottled me in the side of the head. Gallons of blood came out and someone took a photograph. I never got it bitten off—although we had bitten each other to bits—it was just a heavy cut.” As Shane noted, though, the anecdote was exaggerated with each telling. “It’s like the old story about the bloke who catches the fish. He says that it weighs this much and it’s that big, and within a couple of days it’s a whale.” Over the years, few have been prepared to let the fact that his earlobes are both present and correct stand in the way of a good story.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Can we just talk about how great The Dicks (the band) were?
02.01.2016
08:44 am

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Music
Punk

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‘80s punk band, The Dicks, are the subject of a documentary being released this month titled The Dicks From Texas, as well as a related compilation tribute album. I recently had the opportunity to screen the documentary, which can be pre-ordered here, and it rekindled my love affair with The Dicks—who, in my opinion, are a top shelf American punk act, worthy of as much attention and admiration as Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, or Minor Threat.
 

Head Dick, Gary Floyd
 
Hailing from Austin, Texas at a time when the town wasn’t quite the bastion of liberal hipsterocity it is today, the self-proclaimed “commie faggot band” featured singer Gary Floyd, a flamboyantly queer, communist behemoth who often performed early gigs in drag.  Floyd’s larger-than-life stage presence wasn’t mere shock value, he had the pipes to back it up. His, please forgive this played-out term, soulful vocals lent an impassioned urgency to the band’s sharp trebly guitar attack. In my opinion, no other singer from the “hardcore” era can touch him. Bad Brains’ HR and Fear’s Lee Ving may sit in his court, but Gary Floyd is the king.

The band began humbly as not even a band, but as a “poster band”—a fake name put on posters as sort of an “art piece.”

The Dicks from Texas producer, Cindy Marabito:

The Dicks started when singer Gary Floyd returned to Austin, TX after seeing the Sex Pistols in San Francisco. He started claiming he had a band called the Dicks. This was known as a “poster band.” Fliers were made with fake shows and non-existent groups.

Gary Floyd would go around town putting up posters advertising The Dicks with crazy ass pictures and promises that the ‘first ten people with guns drink for free.’ It was a wild and crazy time in Austin, back when ‘keeping Austin weird’ got you thrown in jail.

 

 
The title cut from The Dicks’ first single, “Hate the Police,” released in 1980 is one of their most well-known songs, but everything they recorded in their original incarnation from 1980 to 1986 is gold. The Peace? EP, the split live LP with the Big Boys, the Kill From the Heart LP, and the These People LP are all monsters and I’d be torn on trying to recommend any one of those over another. Alternative Tentacles put out a compilation titled Dicks: 1980-1986—that’s a good “greatest hits” type starting place.
 

 
If you’re among the Dangerous Minds readership that has somehow never been exposed to the glory of The Dicks, I have a few favorites I’d like to share that have been mixtape staples of mine for decades, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘The Rusty James Show’: The idiot bastard son of Woody Allen and Firesign Theatre, starring Elvis?
01.30.2016
03:18 pm

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Drugs
Idiocracy
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

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efklsxjgyes
 
Fifty years ago—in the perfect pop culture year of 1966—Woody Allen did his first film project for American International Pictures, home to Roger Corman, monsters, bikers, acid heads and futuristic Death Races looking way forward to the year 2000. I say film project as he didn’t make his first film, he sort of stole it! Legally.

Basically Allen took the Japanese action film International Secret Police: Key of Keys and re-dubbed the dialogue, changing the plot to make it revolve around a secret egg salad recipe being fought over by rival James Bond-type spy characters. The film became What’s Up Tiger Lily? and was quite well received. The idea had been done before of course, on a smaller scale by Rocky and Bullwinkle creator Jay Ward for his Fractured Flickers TV series in 1963, and surely others had toyed with the concept, but not in a feature length film. The opportunities for juvenile, MAD Magazine humor were endless and very funny.

What’s Up Tiger Lily? created a model that has been followed by some of the funniest people in history. Here is the trailer in which Allen explains to an unsuspecting public what it is that he has done. (The entire film can also be found on YouTube.)
 

 

 
The next one of these dubbed comedies that comes to mind was in fact done by two of the funniest people to ever grace this planet, Phillip Proctor and the late Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre fame. In 1979 Proctor and Bergman took clips from 1940s Republic Serials and overdubbed and rewrote an extremely stoned cliffhanger entitled J-Men Forever, starring themselves in newly filmed black and white bits that were inserted into the insane mess of rearranged reality. To top this off they used modern loud rock n roll music for the soundtrack.

To quote the blurb under the YouTube clip:

J-Men Forever became the signature for Night Flight’s stoned comedy audience in the 1980’s. This ultimate late night chronic high comedy was the most demanded rerun for the entire 8 years Night Flight was on the USA Network.

After the jump, experience the inspired insanity of ‘The Rusty James Show’...

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Master of disguise: Peter Gabriel’s mind-blowing make-up, masks and costumes from the 70s
01.29.2016
11:51 am

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Fashion
Music

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Peter Gabriel in costume as
A 23-year-old Peter Gabriel of Genesis in costume as “The Watcher in the Skies,” 1973
 
During the tour for their cosmic 1974 double record, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (the subject of an excellent book by the same name by Kevin Holm-Hudson), Peter Gabriel and his many different theatrical personalities took center stage. But that wasn’t the first time Peter Gabriel tripped his bandmates out with his on-stage personas.

In an 2012 interview, Gabriel recounted how the audience reacted the first time he appeared on stage in his wife’s dress, and a custom made fox head back in 1972 during Genesis’ tour for their album Foxtrot.

With the costumes, I started wearing bat wings and stuff, and getting a little more outlandish, and then on Foxtrot I wore the fox head and the red dress. My wife, Jill, had a red Ossie Clark dress which I could just about get into, and we had a fox head made. The first time we tried it was in a former boxing ring in Dublin, and there was just a shocked silence.

 
Peter Gabriel as the Fox during the tour for the 1972 album, Foxtrot in his wife's dress and a custom made fox head
Peter Gabriel as “The Fox” during the tour for the 1972 album, ‘Foxtrot’  with his wife’s red dress and a custom made fox head

When it comes to how the other members of Genesis felt about Gabriel’s getups, he said that “some of them hated it” (I’m looking at you Phil Collins). According to Gabriel, none of the members of Genesis knew what “clothing” he had packed in his suitcase for the six-month Lamb tour, until he arrived to rehearsals. After the last performance of the tour, Gabriel left the band.
 
Peter Gabriel as
Peter Gabriel as “Old Man Henry” during a performance of “The Musical Box” from the album ‘Nursery Cryme
 
If for some reason you’re not acquainted with this era of Genesis (which is perfectly understandable if you are of a certain age), the following images of a young Peter Gabriel, will probably blow your mind (man). Even if you are long-running fan of the band, it’s nearly impossible to not admire Gabriel’s pioneering weirdness, and chameleon-like ability to look like anyone but himself.
 
Peter Gabriel as
Peter Gabriel as the deformed “Slipperman” (Phil Collins’ most hated costume of the ‘Lamb Lies Down’ tour)
 
Peter Gabriel as
Peter Gabriel as “Britannia” 1973
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Happy birthday Clint Ruin, a/k/a J.G. Thirlwell of Foetus (and ‘The Venture Bros!’) infamy
01.29.2016
11:35 am

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Heroes
Music

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Even among the very strange artists who pioneered industrial music, Foetus was an outlier. While that project—the nom de noise of J.G. Thirlwell, a/k/a Clint Ruin a/k/a about a zillion other names—indulged deeply in that movement’s difficult, grating sounds and nihilism that approached absurdity, Thirlwell never bound himself to the genre like industrial’s grimly serious noise explorers or its goth-crossover synth mopers. Foetus, while expressing a self-loathing impossible in any organism with an intact survival instinct, also expressed a wicked and wry sense of humor, not only in the one-man-band’s name, which varied from release to release (You’ve Got Foetus on Your Breath, Foetus Interruptus, Scraping Foetus off the Wheel, Foetus All-Nude Revue… this list could go on for awhile), but in the music itself, which cheekily incorporated elements from classical music, showtunes, film noir and spaghetti western incidental music, even doo-wop.

Check out the incredible and representative “Enter the Exterminator,” from the 1985 album Nail (Thirlwell beat the Jesus Lizard to the punch on the all-LP-titles-will-be-four-letters-long schtick), chosen because it blew my mind when I was a kid, and it got me started on exploring the industrial program as much as anything off of Micro-Phonies or Twitch. The at-once growled and whispered lyrics snared me, but it was the music that compelled me to the record store. NSFW for bad words, jobber.
 

 

 
Not one to sit still, in the later half of the ‘80s Thirlwell formed the duo Wiseblood with Swans drummer Roli Mossimann, which was about as bludgeoning a project as you’re imagining, and The Flesh Volcano with Soft Cell’s Mark Almond. In 1988 he released the absolute must-have Stinkfist, a collaborative EP with no-wave heroine Lydia Lunch. That EP features two tracks of tribal-drumming insanity plus the ten minute “Meltdown Oratorio,” an admirable nightmare of Neubauten-esque slow-burn menace spiked with still more manic tribal percussion. Even if Lydia Lunch monologues aren’t your thing, this is really fucking great. (If I even need to tell you that a Lydia Lunch piece is NSFW for profanity, um, hi, welcome to Dangerous Minds, we hope you like what you find here.)
 
More mayhem from Clint Ruin, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Semi Detached’ Anarchy: Watch Gee Vaucher’s Crass videos, 1977-1984
01.29.2016
11:15 am

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Music

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Gee Vaucher was a founding member of the anarcho-punk collective that produced Crass. She was responsible for most of the arresting cover art for their albums, although she wasn’t the one who came up with the band’s ingenious logo; Penny Rimbaud’s friend Dave King came up with that one.

Crass was one of the first bands to use bewildering back-projected films and video collages to enhance their stage performances. Vaucher was the woman responsible for those, and watching them today, it’s startling how little they’ve dated since their creation. The anger and the need to fuck with people, that seems very late 1970s, but the fast-cutting use of grainy archival footage seems perfectly contemporary today and indeed would seem vital and relevant at really any point between then and now.

Vaucher’s Crass-related imagery is collected in the volume Crass Art and Other Pre Post-Modernist Monsters.
 

 
Semi Detached collects all of Vaucher’s Crass-related videos for the the first seven years of Crass’ output. The full title is Semi Detached: CRASS performance videos 1977-1984.

The first third or so of the hour-long video features “Reality Whitewash,” “Shaved Women: 1979,” “Mother Earth,” “Mother Love” (the opening credits have it as “Smother Love”), and “Bomb Plus Tape (Well Forked—But Not Dead).” Then the rest is dedicated to videos for the entirety of Crass’ 1983 album Yes Sir, I Will.

As we head into the last days of campaigning before the Iowa caucus, enjoy this very different political message…
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The drugs that fueled the Meat Puppets’ first five LPs
01.29.2016
09:52 am

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Drugs
Music

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Meat Puppets scholar Matthew Smith-Lahrman, the author of The Meat Puppets and the Lyrics of Curt Kirkwood from Meat Puppets II to No Joke, has posted a number of his in-depth interviews with the band on his blog, Perspective. Toward the end of one such conversation with main Puppet Curt Kirkwood, the singer and guitarist breaks down which drugs the band used while recording each of their first five albums for SST:

The first album was, “Let’s do it all on acid.” We thought that our heroes did. And I always thought, “Wow, the Grateful Dead and Jimi were trippin’,” and so we did it in the studio, Meat Puppets I sounds like that because we really are on drugs. Meat Puppets II we had MDA: lots of it. Really good MDA. We just had a ball with the stuff for about four or five days and recorded the record, but nobody is going to do that again after that. It’s like, “This record depends on this.” Well, it kind of does. Up on the Sun is just a big pot and beer album. “Now this one we’re going to go smoke pot and drink beer.” Then we go do Mirage and Huevos and snort cocaine.

 

 
For the Meat Puppets fan whose response to the above paragraph is “tl;dr,” here’s the Dangerous Minds easy-reference, wallet-sized taxonomy:

Meat Puppets: acid
Meat Puppets II: MDA
Up on the Sun: pot and beer
Mirage: cocaine
Huevos: cocaine

And here’s a story from Gregg Turkington’s liner notes to the Rykodisc reissue of Meat Puppets that should help you remember which drug goes with that album:

Curt once told me a story of a night he spent in the Arizona desert under the influence of hallucinogens. Wandering around in a patch of barren desert far from town, he came upon what appeared to be a beautiful Persian rug, laid out in the sand. Under the influence as he was, he couldn’t help but lie down on the rug and attempt to commune with its cascading patterns and beautiful colors. He eventually wrapped himself up in this gorgeous rug, and drifted off to sleep. Upon awakening to the heat of a desert morning, he was instantly sobered up by the realization that the rug was in fact, an extremely dead coyote, covered in maggots and stinking like the bowels of Hell from days spent rotting in the sun. The influence of incidents like these (and there are others!) definitely gave the Meat Puppets their particular and peculiar edge.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Never mind the bollocks, here’s some unseen photos of the Sex Pistols in 1978
01.29.2016
09:01 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen, John Lydon and Poly Styrene
 
Sadly this isn’t a photo essay with the images—you’ll have to watch the video to see the photographs of the Sex Pistols by French photographer Pierre Benain. Benain shot these back in the Spring of 1978 for a French magazine. A few of these you might have seen before, like the one image of Sid Vicious holding a knife to Nancy Spungen’s neck, but most should be new to you.

For some odd reason in the interview, Benain makes no mention of X-Ray Spex’s frontwoman Poly Styrene being there. She was, as you can see from another photo from that day, which you can see above.

 
h/t Declan O’Gallagher

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Mark David Chapman is the ultimate Beatlemaniac’: Lester Bangs trashes Beatles nostalgia on TV
01.28.2016
12:30 pm

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Music

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Can you spot the back cover of Meet the Beatles in Lester’s so-called living room?
 
During the brief interval between the 1980 murder of John Lennon and his own death by accidental overdose in 1982, Lester Bangs told a TV crew what he thought about Beatles nostalgia: it sucked. His complaint refers to “Beatlemania,” by which I think he must have meant both the deathless cultural phenomenon and the eponymous movie that opened the year of this interview, based on the (s)hit Broadway musical:

The nostalgia for it and this obsessive living in the past and, y’know, Beatlemania in 1981 is sick. It’s basically that nothing is going on right now, and people are desperate, and there’s a giant nostalgia industry, as we all know. And as far as I’m concerned, Beatlemania is just like Happy Days—it’s a ripoff. And guess who pays? The consumer, and John Lennon.

 

Bangs with Paul and Linda, 1976
 
Luckily, unlike poor old Lester back there in benighted 1981, you and I live in the amazing future year 2016, where there’s never any shortage of new ideas keeping our culture fresh and vital. Pinch me!

Lester’s rant below is excerpted from a longer segment about the Beatles. The YouTube user who uploaded this video and who “hearts” the 80s (meaning, I’m sure, such totally 80s moments as the El Mozote massacre, Chernobyl, the Challenger crash and the Loma Prieta earthquake) says the footage comes from a long-lost series about music called FM-TV.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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