British comic Adam Buxton does deadpan readings of YouTube comments on his Adam Buxton’s BUG TV series. He shows videos—some really good ones, too—-but the real draw of the show is the hilarity Buxton wrings from ordinarily mundane YouTube comments, especially when anonymous people with ridiculous web handles start arguing and insulting each other. He’s really funny. It’s a low budget program with some of the deepest laughs belly-laughs of anything currently on television. I highly recommend it.
But comedy renaissance man Adam Buxton does a lot of things beyond merely making me laugh so hard I cry, he’s also a musician, and a bit of a mimic. Here’s his imagined version of Scott Walker singing Will.i.am’s “Scream and Shout” featuring Britney Spears:
Someone called soudofjura quipped:
“The only thing that would improve this is if it were actually Scott himself.”
Close your eyes and it is!
Below, an episode of Adam Buxton’s BUG. The YouTube comments start at about 7:00 in:
This time, before there could be any serious preparations for a 50th anniversary tour – something Richards wanted to see happen – Jagger made it plain that there would have to be some sort of reckoning. The details of whatever transpired between the two men remain private, but as Wood commented, things were “tense and awkward.” There was even a rumor that Richards’ position as the Rolling Stones’ rhythm guitarist might be in peril. Some thought he was having trouble playing – that perhaps his hands were growing afflicted with arthritis or that his steady intake of alcohol affected his musical agility. Following a critical review of his performance at a 2007 Rolling Stones concert in Gothenburg, Sweden, in which it was suggested that the guitarist was “super-drunk,” Richards demanded an apology from the reviewer, Markus Larrson, who replied that he wasn’t going to apologize to “a rock star who can hardly handle the riff to ‘Brown Sugar’ anymore.” According to a source close to the band, when the Rolling Stones convened in London in December 2011, it wasn’t merely for rehearsals but, as far as Jagger was concerned, to see if Richards could still get the job done.
Yikes! Doesn’t Keith sound like a drunk Jandek? And Gwen Stefani? Keith Urban? This is whole thing seems so preposterously godawful. The current Stones tour could be the last time, it may be the last time, it bloody well should be the last time (but I don’t know…).
At least Mick and the boys will be eternally youthful on YouTube, even if this 50th anniversary victory lap is rather obviously a consumer fraud… In the clip below, David Frost introduces the Stones performing “Honky Tonk Women” when it was high in the charts in 1969. Nevermind if the band is actually playing live, or else this is a doctored track with live vocals (I really can’t tell), in 1969 Keith Richards was one of the greatest rhythm guitar players alive. Time waits for no one…
“White Bird” is a song that most music fans (at least those of us of a certain age) will instantly recognize. It’s a Beautiful Day were “Summer of Love” San Franciscan contemporaries of The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Santana and their lilting rock, jazz, folk, classical style was unique in that context. They were neither very “proggy” or “fusiony. They certainly weren’t very psychedelic, either, but they made lovely music that still evokes an era splendidly, even if they are remembered primarily for just this one song. “White Bird” is one of the ultimate hippie anthems and has been a staple of FM radio for decades.
Ironically, bandleader and violinist David LaFlamme later said of “White Bird,” that the oh so pretty ditty was inspired by living in gloomy, soggy Seattle without a car:
“Where the ‘white bird’ thing came from ... We were like caged birds in that attic. We had no money, no transportation, the weather was miserable. We were just barely getting by on a very small food allowance provided to us. It was quite an experience, but it was very creative in a way.”
The group was managed by Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape minder Matthew Katz, but the association was apparently an unhappy one and the band went through various personal changes before finally breaking up in 1974. Lead singer Patti Santos died in a 1989 automobile accident, but LaFlamme keeps the It’s A Beautiful Day flame burning with occasional live appearances and reunion shows.
In the clip below, taken from the 1972 documentary Fillmore, It’s A Beautiful Day perform “White Bird” while Bill Graham pontificates on the flower power generation. Sadly, they cut away to Graham speaking just as LaFlamme was about to go into his violin solo.
When The Damned’s guitarist Captain Sensible hit with his whimsical solo cover of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Happy Talk” and “Wot?” it looked to me like one of the original punks wanted to host a kid’s program. He could have been the Pee-wee Herman of Britain (Oh, come on, you know what I mean! How dare you disrespect the good Captain with your filthy minds!!!).
At the very least they could have given The Damned their own Young Ones-type sitcom. That would have been classic, what a tragically missed opportunity.
I’m obsessed by “Wot?” with its fantastically “chic” bassline and “straight out of Croyden” rap. Nine times out of ten, when I was actively DJing, I’d put this sucker on. People would always go nuts for this record.
If “Wot?” isn’t one of the greatest, glorious and most underrated singles of the early 1980s, I’ll eat a red beret…
Bonus: “(What D’Ya Give) The Man Who’s Gotten Everything?” from 1981’s “This is Your Captain Speaking” EP on Crass Records:
In 1965, a year before hooking up with the musicians who would form The Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young had a brief stint in a Canadian rock group called The Mynah Birds fronted by Rick James (yes, THAT Rick James). At this point in James’ career he was known as Ricky James Matthew and did a stellar imitation of Mick Jagger. The group had a raw exciting sound that hinted at The Stones, Them, and various American garage bands. The Mynah Birds nailed a deal with Motown Records (the first white band to do so) and recorded sixteen tracks in Detroit. But things turned bad.
In his authorized Neil Young biography, Shakey, Jimmy McDonough describes the scene:
The Mynah Birds—in black leather jackets, yellow turtlenecks and boots—had quite a surreal scene going. The band was financed by John Craig Eaton of the Eaton’s department-store dynasty. Legend has it he poured money into the band, establishing a bottomless account for the band’s equipment needs.
Those lucky enough to see any of the band’s few gigs say they were electrifying. ‘Neil would stop playing lead, do a harp solo, throw the harmonica way up in the air and Ricky would catch it and continue the solo.’
Unfortunately, everything screeched to a halt when James was busted in the studio for being AWOL from the navy. “We thought he was Canadian,” said Palmer. “Even though there are no Negroes in Canada.” A single, “It’s My Time,” was allegedly pulled the day of release, and the album recordings were shelved and remain unreleased to this day.”
Here’s a couple of hard-rocking tracks from the legendary Motown Mynah Birds’ sessions. The musicians are Young and future Buffalo Springfield member Bruce Palmer and Goldy McJohn and Nick St. Nicholas who would later establish Steppenwolf with John Kay.
Hewson is an English producer, arranger, conductor and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with the likes of The Beatles, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac and Carly Simon. He was the sole member of The RAH Band and played all of the instruments himself.
When the song made it to #6 in the UK pop charts in 1977, a band was put together for a Top of The Pops performance (that’s not Richard Hewson playing the keyboards). Although this video is crazy and great, the original track is still way better than even this super-flipped-out live stomper. Despite what’s seen in the clip, the original song’s arrangement used no synthesizers, only electric guitar and an organ with pedal effects.
When I was a teenager growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1980s, on Saturday nights, a pirate radio station would sometimes elbow its way to the fore, past the college stations in the lower FM band. One piece I very clearly recall being introduced to on one of these illegal broadcasts was “Music on a Long Thin Wire,” by Alvin Lucier.
Lucier’s curious acoustical installation was originally set up in a shopping mall in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1979 and broadcast for five uninterrupted days and nights on PBS station KUNM. The “score” consisted simply of a very long piano wire (in some installations as long as 80 feet) clamped by magnets at both ends to tables and driven by a sine wave oscillator. Variations in ambient temperatures, room vibrations, humidity and (who knows what) quantum ephemera would cause the wire’s sound to slowly drift and change over time. Aside from setting up the wire and switching it on, there were no performers per se, so experiencing the piece “live” was difficult by definition.
As Lucier started “composing” (if you want to call it that) such work in the mid 1960s, you could probably include him in that subgroup of the early John Cage-influenced minimalists who, like Steven Reich (with his mind-blowing phase-shifting tape manipulation “Come Out”), were rejecting European traditions about how music should be made, and through what means. Unlike Reich or Glass, however, Lucier never made a transition back into more conventional performance-based music, but indeed kept going deeper and deeper into more formidable and abstract sonic territories. That’s why it’s hard to find any Alvin Lucier “fans,” as only someone with access to a private jet could ever have seen more than a handful of his distinctive installation compositions.
Lucier described the piece as “an interest in the poetry of what we used to think of as science.”:
“I always thought that the world was divided into two kinds of people, poets and practical people, and that while the practical people ran the world, poets had visions about it…. Now I realize that there is no difference between science and art.”
You have to admit that if you ran across something like this you’d stand there with mouth agape, simply amazed that someone decided to put something like this together (Kinda similar to encountering a Richard Serra sculpture in real life). YouTube was obviously invented for the express purpose of allowing you to get a sense of “Music on a Long Thin Wire” as it looks and sounds in real life. “Like” it or not, it’s undeniably ambitious and impressive.
I dare you to listen to this insanely catchy instrumental number and then try to scrub it out of your head. As with Hot Butter’s “Popcorn” and “Apache” by The Incredible Bongo Band, two similar hit instrumental songs of the same vintage, it cannot be undone. You’re stuck with this “Pepper Box” by The Peppers for life after just one listen (mind you, not that this is a bad thing!)
‘Pepper Box’ was originally supposed to be a TV commercial jingle, but producer Roger Tokarz, thinking he might have a “Popcorn” on his hands, held back and offered his client something else. Tokarz asked Pierre Alain Dahan and Matt Camison to expand on his theme and “Pepper Box” was born, ultimately selling over 3.5 million singles.
I read the above album cover being described as “self explanatory” on the Internet. That cracked me up.
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
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