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‘Tutti Frutti,’ Little Richard’s graphic ode to butt sex?
03.20.2015
07:08 am

Topics:
Music
Sex

Tags:
Little Richard


 
Never forget that “Tutti Frutti”—the song grandma danced to, the song you sang at the church picnic, the song that lent its name to a popular chain of frozen yogurt stands—began as a bawdy celebration of butt sex. Little Richard recorded bowdlerized lyrics for his 1955 hit single, and the popularity of the throwaway tune, whose main appeal seemed to reside in the original version’s goofy lyrics about lust and lube, took its author by surprise:

I’d been singing “Tutti Frutti” for years, but it never struck me as a song you’d record. I didn’t go to New Orleans to record no “Tutti Frutti.” Sure, it used to crack the crowds up when I sang it in the clubs, with those risqué lyrics: Tutti Frutti, good booty/If it don’t fit, don’t force it/You can grease it, make it easy…

But I never thought it would be a hit, even with the lyrics cleaned up.

Well, I was at home in Macon when I heard them play it on Randy’s Record Mart, Radio WLAC out of Nashville, Tennessee. The disk jockey Gene Nobles said, “This is the hottest record in the country. This guy Little Richard is taking the record market by storm.” I couldn’t believe it. My old song a hit!

Friends, imagine the kind of world we’d be living in today if Pat Boone had gotten his hands on the original version of “Tutti Frutti.”

The original dirty lyrics, or at least what can be recalled of them, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Finally: The Peanuts gang takes on AC/DC, Led Zep, Journey, Floyd, and the Who


 
Everyone’s already seen YouTube videos in which Snoopy, Pigpen, and the rest bop and gyrate to the dulcet tones of Bad Brains’ “Pay to Cum.” In fact, lots of folks have repurposed that dancing footage from A Charlie Brown Christmas to make it seem like the Peanuts gang is into Pharrell or whatever.

But it took YouTube user Garren Lazar/Super G to see the possibilities in the rest of the animated Peanuts oeuvre. He has made a whopping 34 videos (!) using Peanuts characters to animate videos for songs by a variety of classic hard rock acts, as seen below. These videos are remarkably good—I especially like the use of Schroeder’s impressionistic “Pathétique” sequence, which was just waiting to be used for something like this. The Peanuts version of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”—24 minutes long, mind you—is especially mind-blowing.
 

 
I’ve embedded a few of my favorites here, but there’s plenty more on Garren Lazar’s YouTube page.
 
Led Zeppelin, “In the Light”:

 
More “classic rock” fun with the Peanuts gang after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Wild Angel,’ the 1976 album Lou Reed produced for his college roommate
03.19.2015
07:23 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Lou Reed
Nelson Slater


 
In 1976, Lou Reed produced Nelson Slater’s debut LP, Wild Angel. In the early 60s, both men had attended Syracuse, where they were bandmates and, according to at least one source, roommates. The two rockers would have gravitated toward one another, according to Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison, who recalled:

Syracuse was very, very straight. There was a one percent lunatic fringe.

The album’s back cover reproduces a note from Slater, introducing the singer to his audience. Recording artists used to do things like this.

I first knew Lou when we played together in a band at school in upstate New York. We kept in touch, and the last time I ran into him in San Francisco he decided it was time to unleash me on the world. This is what we came up with on my first album. Hope you find something nice within.

Nelson Slater
March 1976

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Wild Angel to anyone who likes Reed’s 70s work. The band consists mainly of players from Reed’s Coney Island Baby and Rock and Roll Heart albums (namely, bassist Bruce Yaw, drummer Mike Suchorsky, saxophonist Marty Fogel, and guitarist Bob Kulick), and Reed himself is all over Wild Angel, playing guitar and piano and singing backing vocals. To my ears, Slater’s voice falls somewhere between Daryl Hall’s and David Byrne’s, which sounds more pleasant than you might imagine.

 

Reed and Slater performing together
 
Victor Bockris’ Reed biography, Transformer, has only this to say about Wild Angel:

After finishing [Rock and Roll Heart], however, Lou managed to muster the energy to produce an album, called Wild Angel, for a friend of Lou’s at Syracuse, Nelson Slater. “That was one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Reed commented. “RCA released it to about three people, I think. So no one very much noticed it. I think we sold six copies.” The critics who picked up on it singled out a track called “We” as a great showcase for Reed’s production talents.

In 2011, around the time he released his second album, Steam-Age Time-Giant, Slater discussed his career in an interview with WFMU. He attributed the poor showing of his debut, at least in part, to the S&M imagery in Mick Rock’s cover photo, and said that the final mix of Wild Angel was a disappointment:

I was in San Francisco at that time, and I had an incredible demo tape that I got RCA interested in, and things were cooking, and I actually signed with the label, and I needed a producer who wouldn’t produce, you know? My ideas are maybe a little difficult for a conventional producer to really get into. So, after looking for a producer for about a year, talking to Lou [about] the frustration I was having, he said, ‘Why don’t I try.’ [...] [The album was] a great disaster. The mix wasn’t quite representative of what we actually recorded. To me, it was way too soft.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Gary Quazar: Unknown 1979 sci-fi prog-punk insanity finally demands an audience
03.19.2015
06:53 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
punk rock
Gary Quazar


 
I’m about to describe a very specific First-World-Problem that will sound completely stupid to anyone other than record collectors who have reached a certain level of accumulation -  but they will totally understand this. You know how you sometimes buy records faster than you can play them and you end up with those piles that might end up there for years before you ever get around to re-discovering shit you acquired who-knows-how-long-ago? Yes, it’s a thing that actually happens and it recently happened to me—I was going through a stack of 45s that had been waiting to be played for - who knows? - five years? One of the records I pulled out caught my eye because the cover was so weird. I couldn’t remember where or when I had actually purchased it, but I was damn sure why—this thing looked downright bizarre. It was a three song EP from 1979 by a fella named Gary Quazar, who according to the back cover was responsible for vocals, guitar, base (sic), and synthesizer. As soon as I put the thing on the turntable I was in love, and proceeded to keep flipping sides, playing it over and over all night long. “Base” may not have actually been a misspelling. There may indeed have been some baseing going on in the production of this EP. It’s completely nuts.
 

 
The music of Gary Quazar isn’t easily pigeon-holeable. It’s simultaneously punk, new wave, prog, and metal. You can hear King Crimson and Von LMO and Hawkwind and Middle Class, with vocals that sound like the unholy offspring of DEVO’s “Booji Boy” and the girl from Suburban Lawns. It’s just straight up weird and fast and incredibly out-there, and I’m willing to bet ol’ Gary didn’t really fit in with many “scenes” back in 1979. What do you call this? Sci-fi prog-core? Whatever it is, it’s fucking awesome.

So this record became sort of an instant-obsession, and I went straight to the Internet to find the scoop on Gary. That journey left more questions than answers, as Gary Quazar seems to be a bit of a mystery artist. A search for the specific record only revealed it being on some want-lists and auction results of it having sold a couple of times. Further digging into an alternate spelling of “Gary Quasar” revealed an old myspace page that has some of Gary’s other music recorded under the name “Panty Raid.” I recommend checking those tunes out, even though I don’t think they are quite as wild as the songs on the EP.
 

 
Following the “Gary Quasar” and “Panty Raid” breadcrumbs, I stumbled upon this crazy story about Gary which seems to indicate he was a bit of a, uh, wild-man.

The Gary Quazar saga continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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Before he was Jimi: Jimmy Hendrix with Curtis Knight and the Squires
03.19.2015
06:10 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix
Curtis Knight and the Squires


 
It’s pretty much impossible to fully tell the tale of Jimi Hendrix’s ascendance to the guitar-god pantheon without invoking the names of a Harlem R&B singer known professionally as Curtis Knight (née McNear) and a producer named Ed Chalpin. Knight was a veteran of R&B and Doo Wop groups like the Ink Spots and the Titans, who struck out on his own as a talented but only modestly successful bandleader. Knight happened to live in the same building as Hendrix, then still “Jimmy” Hendrix, a struggling journeyman, and after a fateful meeting in their building’s lobby, Knight brought Hendrix into his band the Squires, and introduced him to his manager, the aforesaid Ed Chalpin. It was around this time, October of 1965, that Chalpin signed Hendrix to an infamous exclusive three-year contract with a $1 advance and a promise of 1% royalties. Hendrix was already under contract with Sue Records (prophetic name, given what was to come), and maintained that he signed with Chalpin under the misapprehension that he was merely signing a session release for his work as a sideman. He remained under that belief for long enough that, when he was famously discovered by the Animals’ Chas Chandler, the Chalpin contract was the only one Chandler never bought out. That blunder haunted Hendrix’s career even beyond his death, and the legal knots surrounding those three years have only just been untangled last year.
 

 
Over the decades, Chalpin has released much Curtis Knight and the Squires material, misleadingly, under Hendrix’s name, but often in truncated form, or in crummy sounding editions meant to be passed off as “lost” Hendrix material to rake in quick bucks—one such opportunistic LP was even released in between Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, tricking some fans into believing it was the second Jimi Hendrix Experience LP! All of which is a DRAG, as the Squires’ music deserves consideration on its own merits. Though they would likely have remained almost entirely unheralded were it not for the Hendrix connection, Curtis Knight and the Squires were a good band. Their original work was right in place with much of the energetic, guitar-based R&B of the time, and thrillingly, you can plainly hear Hendrix’s signature style throughout it all.

Hear some EARLY Jimi, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The whimsical anarchism of the White Bicycle revolution

002whitebike.jpg
 
In the summer of 1965, Dutch designer and political activist Luud Schimmelpennink suggested a simple radical scheme that would eventually change the world. Schimmelpennink had an idea for creating a more sustainable environment by giving away free bicycles for communal use in Amsterdam’s city center. The suggestion was called the “White Bicycle Plan” and was part of a series of “White Plans” devised by the Dutch anarchist group Provo.

Provo is a Dutch word for “young trouble-maker” and was considered an appropriate name for a group of young anarchists to carry out political “happenings” and stunts that were inspired as much by DADA as by Herbert Marcuse. Provo was formed by artist and anti-smoking campaigner Robert Jasper Grootveld, writer and anarchist Roel van Duijn and activist Rob Stolk in May 1965. Their motivation, they explained, was to fight back against capitalist society that was “poisoning itself with a morbid thirst for money,” where its citizens were “being brought up to worship Having and despise Being.”

Because this bureaucratic society is choking itself with officialdom and suppressing any form of spontaneity. Its members can only become creative, individual people through anti-social conduct.

Because the militaristic society is digging its own grave by a paranoid arms build-up. Its members now have nothing to look forward to but certain death by atomic radiation.

Provo attracted anarchists, beatniks, activists, hippies, philosophers and even “charlatans,” “scratchers and syphilitics, secret police, and other riff-raff.”
 
00provbik.jpg
 
The group listed their beliefs as:

Provo has something against capitalism, communism, fascism, bureaucracy, militarism, professionalism, dogmatism, and authoritarianism. Provo has to choose between desperate, resistance and submissive extinction. Provo calls for resistance wherever possible. Provo realises that it will lose in the end, but it cannot pass up the chance to make at least one more heartfelt attempt to provoke society. Provo regards anarchy as the inspirational source of resistance. Provo wants to revive anarchy and teach it to the young. Provo is an image

In 1965, Provo announced their plan to stop all personal motorized transport within Amsterdam, making the streets safe for the public and only accessible by walking, cycling or public transport. Provo presented their proposal to the municipal authorities, suggesting that they should buy 20,000 white bicycles every year giving them away free for public use. This proposal was rejected by the local politicians. Provo then decided to supply 50 free bicycles themselves—this was the “Witte Fietsenplan” or “White Bicycle Plan.”

The White Bicycle Plan proposes to create bicycles for public use that cannot be locked. The white bicycle symbolizes simplicity and healthy living, as opposed to the gaudiness and filth of the authoritarian automobile.

 
00firstbikwhi.jpg
The first white bicycle is given away.
 
However, as soon as these 50 white bicycles were made freely available they were impounded by the police on the grounds the bikes were not “lockable.” Apparently, all bikes in Amsterdam at that time had to be lockable. Undeterred by the police actions, Provo waited until the bikes were returned and they then fitted each bike with a simple combination lock with the number painted on the bike’s frame. Of course, some of the bikes were stolen, but the White Bicycle revolution had begun.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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When Pigs Fly: 1977 TV commercial for Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’
03.18.2015
03:53 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Pink Floyd
Hipgnosis


 
During Danny Boyle’s short film “Isles of Wonder,” shown as part of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the camera flies from a small stream in the country down the Thames and into the Olympic venue. When the camera gets to the Battersea Power Station, a floating pig flies by, a fun wink, of course, to that most iconic of album covers, the 1977 Hipgnosis-designed sleeve for Pink Floyd’s Animals album.

Animals, a bitter Orwell-inspired anti-capitalism screed needed an image that was appropriate for the dark vision of humanity heard within its grooves. Before they settled on the porcine zeppelin—Roger Water’s concept—Hipgnosis had pitched the group on the notion of a child discovering his parents fucking like… animals. Which could have been interesting, but instead they hired noted Australian artist Jeffrey Shaw to design the inflatable pig, which was then manufactured by the German company Ballon Fabrik, who constructed the Zeppelin airships of the early part of the 20th century.
 

 
The 30 feet (9.1 m) long pig balloon—dubbed “Algie”—was inflated with helium and positioned in place on December 2, but bad weather delayed the shoot and the following day the balloon broke free of its tethers and floated off, ultimately ending up in a farm near Kent where it apparently terrified a herd of cows.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Remember that time when Menudo covered KISS and it was kind of awesome?
03.18.2015
09:18 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Kiss
Menudo


 
Menudo and KISS are two bands that would never be mistaken for one another, though some historical fan-base overlap wouldn’t be out of the question. Both acts in their heyday tended to appeal to pre-teens, through either calculated intention or accidental finding of their niche.
 

 
By the time KISS cranked out the top 40 disco hit “I Was Made For Loving You,” they were comic book heroes with their own Hanna-Barbera-produced sci-fi action movie for kids and their own line of dolls. 1979’s “I Was Made For Loving You,” penned by Paul Stanley and hitmaker Desmond Child, was largely decried by KISS fans at the time as a major “sell-out,” despite the fact that KISS had already long sold out in every possible way imaginable. It was incidentally one of their biggest selling singles.
 

 
Time seems to have been kind to the “I Was Made For loving You” legacy, however, as “KISS Army” die-hards seem to have come around to accepting the track thanks to the band making it a barnstorming live concert staple, best exemplified on their Alive III album.

But before the “KISS Army” came around to “I was Made For Loving You,” the biggest latin boy-band of all time, Menudo, took their crack at it - and here’s the thing - their cover is actually pretty great.
 

 
“Fui Hecho Para Amarte” from Menudo’s 1981 Xanadu album is a cover of the KISS tune, played straight ahead, retaining most of the rock of the original. This track is one of five fascinating Spanish language covers on that album, the other four being “Cosita Loca Llamada Amor” (“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen), “No Se Puede Parar La Música” (“Can’t Stop The Music” by Village People), “Voulez-Vous” (originally by ABBA), and “Xanadu” (originally by Olivia Newton-John and the Electric Light Orchestra).

Menudo, whose own band rules forced their members into retirement by age 16,  would later go on to launch the career of Ricky Martin, while KISS’ members never knew when to quit and would of course go on to spectacularly piss all over their own legacy for the next 30+ years.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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Browser-based TB-303 emulator: Old-school ‘Acid House’ on the go
03.18.2015
07:23 am

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
Acid House
TB-303


 
For the past several days, I have been having an absolute BLAST messing around with the beta for Liverpool, England-based web developer Errozero’s Acid Machine. I learned about it via Fact last week, and I don’t even know why I didn’t just post it here right away, but better later than never, no? The Acid Machine is a free browser-based electronic composition device based around the legendary Roland TB-303, and it’s great fun.

Some background for those who need it: Roland’s Transistorized Bass 303 was a unique example, in the history of sound producing devices, of abject failure redeemed. It was (mis)conceived as a bass accompaniment tool/toy for guitar players, and God only knows why—has any guitarist in history ever despaired of finishing a song for want of a bass player who sounded like a ‘50s b-movie robot enduring a painful gastric incident? Since its target market couldn’t have cared less, production of the little wonders was stopped in 1984, after just a year and a half of their existence. But the deeply messed up sounds it could produce were like mother’s milk to the burgeoning Acid House movement just a few years later. That wonderfully mind-bending squelch/fart noise common to all early Acid House tracks was made by hitherto unwanted 303s that found proper homes where they’d be loved and cared for. The sound became so sought-after among techno artists and the happy-face t-shirt crowd, it’s eternally baffling that Roland didn’t just start making them again. Original devices perpetually hover around $2,500-3,000 on eBay. A clone made by a company called Cyclone Analogic can be had for much less.
 

 
The device inspired software emulators just about as soon as software synthesis became widespread in the late ‘90s, including the still legendary ReBirth, which was discontinued ten years ago but lives on as a (FREE!) Reason plug-in, and as a $15 tablet app. There’s seriously no reason to spend three thousand dollars to chase that sound unless you’re a collector looking to possess one of the devices as a trophy. The Errozero Acid Machine is a simplified take on the ReBirth interface; it features two 303 simulators you can pit against one another, and a basic drum machine. You can store up to eight patterns for each device, and organize them into compositions with an intuitive sequencer. Like I said, I’ve been having a FINE old time with this. I don’t have a tablet, and there’s no phone version (the iPhone screen is frankly just too goddamn small for ReBirth’s many controls), so I’m loving the browser-based Acid Machine beta. Other useful functions: it will generate a URL to make your finished composition shareable, or it will generate a .wav file you can download and save. No MIDI output that I can see, but this is, again, a beta: the tiny-print reads “A work in progress web audio tool by Errozero - Works best in Chrome.” Perhaps the ability to output MIDI files is forthcoming?

If you’ve made your way this far through this post still having no earthly idea what the hell I’m talking about, “Acid Trax” by Phuture is as definitive as 303 songs come. It’s a slow build, but the distinctive device starts fading in at about 1:05.
 

 
This wonderful 20-minute doc on the devices tells you anything you’d want to know about them.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
New online theremin simulator kind of sounds cooler than the real thing

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The convicted child killer who made a career out of impersonating a dead member of Sha Na Na
03.17.2015
10:06 am

Topics:
Kooks
Music

Tags:
Sha Na Na

Solly
 
Just when you think you’ve heard it all, right about at the point when it seems that the United States could not get any more odd, a story like the one I’m about to relate rears it’s head from the annals of the Internet reminding you about how completely insane this entire thing we all call the “American Experience” can be and has always been. This, readers, is the story of Edward Elmer Solly, a convicted fugitive child killer who, after escaping from jail in 1974 and hiding in plain sight, went on to make a living for himself by impersonating and claiming to be deceased Sha Na Na guitar player, Vinnie Taylor.

As many of you already know, Sha Na Na formed in 1968 as an intentionally retro act imitating doo-wop groups from the 1950’s, slicking back their hair and dressing like what could have been Elvis’ personal, gold lame donning entourage. Famously, they played Woodstock, had a syndicated T.V. show that ran from 1977 to 1981 and appeared in the movie Grease in 1978.  Vinnie Taylor (born Chris Donald) was not in the group at the time of the Woodstock performance, joining the band as lead guitarist in 1971. Sadly, Taylor died of an accidental heroin overdose in 1974, so he wasn’t part of the group during the Grease period, either, but he left an indelible mark on the band of anachronistic performers.
 
Vinnie Taylor
The real Vinnie Taylor, 1973
 
Fast forward to May of 2001 when a guy by the name of Edward Elmer Solly gets arrested while, according to a New York Times report  on the incident, “fishing for snook from a pier in St. Petersburg, Florida.” But Solly wasn’t being arrested for fishing without a license. His capture was in fact the result of years of searching.  You see, in 1969, Solly was convicted for killing the 2-year-old son of his then-girlfriend, Linda Welsh, in Runnemede, New Jersey in what was allegedly a drunken rampage.  He was sent to jail, but escaped in June of 1974 while, according to the New York Times article, “on furlough to visit a dying sister.”
 
Sha Na Na
Sha Na Na circa 1972
 
Amazingly, somewhere in the mean time between his 1974 escape and his 2001 capture, Solly made the seemingly insane choice for a wanted man of turning himself into somewhat of a public figure by impersonating Vinnie Taylor in a variety of doo-wop acts in Florida. Solly told people that he had changed his stage name to “Danny C” from Vinnie Taylor, who Solly claimed had faked his death in 1974 for personal reasons.

In a 2004 CBS News article about Solly, Rebecca Leung reported that:

In Florida, doo-wop bands have always been a hit in bars and clubs along the beach. That’s where Tommy Mara’s group, The Saints, and Joe Locicero’s group, The Mello Kings, became two of Florida’s top local groups.

Both men remember being thrilled that living legend and former Sha Na Na singer Vinny Taylor had moved to town.

“You know, he had the talk,” says Mara. “He talked the talk and he walked the walk.”

The former bad boy of Sha Na Na said he had a new stage name: Danny C. And he even had his own Web site, where fans could log on and see all the rock ‘n’ roll legends he performed with over his career.

Locicero and Mara couldn’t believe their luck when Danny C asked their groups to back him up on stage.

“We featured Tommy and The Saints, and then we featured Danny C from Sha Na Na,” says Mara. “Sold it out.”

People from Sha Na Na eventually got wind of Solly’s act (he had a website for crying out loud, and a minivan with the web address printed prominently on the side) and, not knowing that he was on the run from the law, long-time Sha Na Na member, Peter Erlendson even sent Solly a cease-and-desist email asking him to stop performing as Taylor. According to a 2001 article on Philly.com, Solly actually responded to the email and even tried to convince Erlendson that he was in fact Vinnie Taylor and that Taylor had faked his death.  According to the article, Erlendson said “I can assure you Vinnie is dead. He was a friend.”  Sha Na Na threatened a lawsuit, but allegedly didn’t follow through because they didn’t want to give Solly any more undue attention. 
 
More of this strangeness after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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