Lee Ving, the leader of the notorious L.A. hardcore band Fear, recently appeared on Harper Simon’s forthrightly-titled online talk show Talk Show for a lengthy and often amusing interview. Ving made himself an infamous figure in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s by baiting audiences with utterly brazen homophobia and misogyny, both on Fear’s lyrics and its onstage banter. Their albums The Record and More Beer remain classics because of and despite those problematics, since depending on your particular bent, Ving was and is either a steadfast champion of fully speaking one’s mind come what may, or an immature prick who took a smug delight in senseless punching down. It should probably come as no surprise that Ving himself is of the former opinion…
Surely you’ve seen A Band Called Death by now, right? If not, you seriously need to get on that. Though it seems to have expired from Netflix streaming (booooo), it’s still available to subscribers on Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime (and it’s only like $3 for non-Prime Amazon streaming). If you’ve missed this story somehow, the film relates the saga of the Hackneys, three young African-American brothers in Detroit, MI, in the early ‘70s, whose family band eerily predicted the back-to-basics hard rock ethos and sound of punk by a couple of years, and yet they remained entirely unknown to the world until the discovery of their excellent self-released 7” made them a 21st Century cause célèbre among record collectors.
The rediscovery of Death brought forth some marvelous fruits—Death’s lost LP For the Whole World to See was released to justifiable acclaim in 2009, and the band’s vaults were emptied with the releases of the collections Spiritual Mental Physical and III, and an album of new material by the reconstituted and re-energized band (minus guitarist/visionary David Hackney, who died of lung cancer in 2000), titled N.E.W., is due later this month. And the discovery had generation-spanning effects, in that the three sons of Death’s bassist/singer Bobby Hackney have, rather symmetrically, formed a family band called Rough Francis.
As the documentary reveals, younger Hackneys Julian, Urian, and Bobby Jr. had NO IDEA their dad and uncles had ever been in a hard rock band, only finding out after Chunklet blogged MP3s of the lost single. They retrieved the Death master tapes from their father’s attic and formed their own band to play those songs, copping their name from the pseudonym used by their late uncle David on his last recording. It’s tempting to indulge in cynicism and presume the band to be coattail-riders, but Rough Francis became an original band in its own right, purveying a tight, headstrong and effective post-hardcore sound that harnesses an energy all the band’s own. They released an E.P. in 2010, and the album Maximum Soul Power last year. Next week, their new single, “MSP2/Blind Pigs” will be released on Riot House, and it’s Dangerous Minds’ extreme pleasure to debut “Blind Pigs” for you today… right after the jump.
I can’t think of a better way to spend an hour and twelve minutes than listening to roughly a hundred Thin Lizzy guitar solos (and two keyboard solos), spanning twelve albums, meticulously edited together into a nice, tidy package of unbridled awesomeness. Truly, this is one of those “this is what the internet was made for” cases—a gift for all mankind!
I’ve just played this thing through in its entirety three times in a row and am currently in the process of burning it to a CD for every road trip I ever make EVER, and I’ll be damned if I don’t plan a party just to have this as the soundtrack.
In one fell swoop, we get all of the epic Thin Lizzy soloing, 1971 to 1983, from guitarists Eric Bell, Scott Gorham, Brian Roberston, Gary Moore, Snowy White, and John Sykes, as well as two keyboard solos by Darren Wharton.
...And of course the bass playing of Phil Lynott, pictured here in a DEVO costume, because whynott?
This mix is not presented in chronological order, but rather in a manner aesthetically chosen for maximum flow. From the upload’s “liner notes,” we see that the mix is laid out to start with a bang, and then take the listener through three more crucial periods of the band’s playing:
00:00 Peak Period 1979 - 1980 (maybe not the best LPs, but the best solos)
12:36 Early Years 1971-1973 kinda Psych Prog Power Trio-ish
36:13 Twin Guitar Harmony Attack Developments 1974-1977
1:00:44 Heavy Metal End Phase 1981-1983
Perhaps as interesting as the megamix itself, is the fact that it was put together by none other than former4AD label artist, His Name Is Alive‘s Warren Defever. The bedroom dreampop experimentalist began in the late ‘80s, was signed to the 4AD label in 1989, and remained on that label for 13 years. Since parting ways with 4AD in 2002, Defever has worked as a producer, mastering engineer and remixer for artists including Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore, Iggy and the Stooges, The Gories, Destroy All Monsters, Low, and Ida. He has recorded His Name is Alive records since 2006 for his own Silver Mountain label. The Thin Lizzy solo superedit was constructed by Defever as a method for inspiring the playing on 2014’s His Name Is Alive album, Tecuciztecatl. According to Defever in a recent chat with Dangerous Minds:
Me and Dusty were attempting some harmony guitar solos while recording our new album, Tecuciztecatl, and put it together as a study guide to practice along with.
Warren Defever of His Name Is Alive and Thin Lizzy megamix fame.
We asked Defever about the layout of the edit, which does not follow a chronological order. According to Defever:
I spent more time trying to figure out how to arrange it conceptually than actually editing. It quickly became clear that going in chronological order or reverse chronological order would leave the most familiar solos buried in the middle of the seventy minute piece. It also became clear that just presenting every solo in the order they occurred on the records would not flow well, but presenting the solos within each record together would be easy because of the consistent sound quality, style and era. I broke them down roughly into four eras - peak period, psychedelic early years, twin guitar developments and heavy metal end phase.
I was a big fan of His Name Is Alive in the ‘90’s and I have to admit I’d kind of forgotten about them until now. Thankfully, this Thin Lizzy mix also reintroduced me to Defever’s work and their excellent new album,Tecuciztecatl, which is totally worth your attention.
But for right now, you’ve got the next hour and twelve minutes of your life planned out.
The solo megamix is available on soundcloud or via Defever’s Youtube upload here:
On April 21st, Jobriath A.D., Kieran Turner’s incredible 2012 documentary on the life of glam rock casualty and gay icon Jobriath, will be released on DVD, paired with an LP’s worth of previously unreleased recordings. One of the cool bonuses on the DVD is a short film of a 1971 Jobriath studio session with a bunch of celebrities—before they were famous—and Dangerous Minds has scored an excerpt for your viewing pleasure. But first, some background for the uninitiated.
Jobriath Boone is a fascinating and tragic figure. His story is one that seems torn from the pages of a Hollywood screenplay. Jobriath’s 1973 debut LP (released by Elektra Records) was a showcase for an intriguing talent—one that mixed classical, pop, Broadway musicals, and good ol’ rock-n-roll—but it went virtually unheard. Jobriath was preceded by incredible hype, with much of the publicity focused on his homosexuality. Jobriath was actually the first rock performer to out himself (David Bowie and Lou Reed merely danced around the issue), but there was a backlash to the hard sell of this “true fairy,” with critics and the public soundly rejecting him. After a second record, 1974’s Creatures Of The Street, also bombed, Jobriath was dropped by Elektra and promptly vanished from the music scene. A few years later, he re-invented himself as the classy lounge singer Cole Berlin, performing in New York City piano bars; he took requests, but refused to play his old songs. Just as this new persona was gaining momentum, Jobriath was diagnosed HIV positive. He died of AIDS in 1983 at age 36, his body found in the pyramid-shaped apartment he resided in atop the Chelsea Hotel.
So, this is a sad saga, yes, a cautionary tale on the perils of fame and what can happen to those that break ground before the world is ready. But it’s also an account of a talented artist lost through the cracks of time that has been waiting to be told for decades. Kieran Turner does an incredible job of finally telling his story and does so in a definitive manner. Interviews with fans and many of the people who populated Jobriath’s personal and professional universe are interspersed with photos, footage, and even a few nicely done animated sequences, resulting in a compelling and well-rounded documentary that does his legend proud. And Jobriath is a legend—you may not know it yet, but you will after watching Jobriath A.D..
The demos and rehearsal tapes for his musical Popstar make up the contents of the previously unreleased LP. Though some elements of the musical were lost, it’s a gift to be able to hear any previously unreleased Jobriath tunes, and these recordings are the most intimate to emerge to date. It’s obvious that Popstar was based on his own brush with fame, and the re-writing of the facts was likely a form of therapy for Jobriath. Unfortunately, Popstar, like his later show, Sunday Brunch, wasn’t produced.
The 1971 session for a Jobriath song called “As The River Flows” took place the evening of August 24th at Electric Lady Studios in New York (with producer/engineer extraordinaire Eddie Kramer behind the board). In the film of the session, Jobriath can be seen directing a chorus of singers through the paces of the track. This chorus was largely comprised of Jobriath’s friends and cast mates in the musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair, including future disco queen Vicki Sue Robinson (“Turn The Beat Around”) and everyone’s soon-to-be favorite bartender, Issac, a/k/a Ted Lange from The Love Boat. But the biggest star on the horizon there that night was Richard Gere, who was brought along by Robinson. “As The River Flows” was placed on Jobriath’s 1972 demo tape, but the song remained unavailable to the general public until last year, when it was included as the title track of a compilation of Jobriath outtakes. Jobriath looks positively ecstatic in the film of the session, which, aside from a few brief segments in the documentary, hasn’t been seen since. Our preview of this charming short can be seen below.
Check out the Jobriath A.D. trailer and pre-order the DVD/LP set here, or get it on Amazon.
Finally a book that can adequately express the exquisite ambition and ego of the one and only Kanye Omari West, the man behind such stirring religious texts as “Jesus Walks” and “New God Flow.” Kanye reportedly considered naming his sixth album I Am God (it was actually named Yeezus) but then settled for merely calling one song on it “I Am a God.” In an interview with BBC News in September 2013 Kanye defended himself on his use of the title by in effect crying racism:
I just told you who I thought I was: A god. I just told you. That’s who I think I am. Would it have been better if I had a song that said “I am a n*gger” or if I had a song that said “I am a gangster” or if I had a song that said “I am a pimp”? All those colours and patinas fit better on a person like me, right?
Well, maybe, Yeezus. The opposite of naming a song “I Am a God” isn’t naming a song “I Am a Pimp,” it’s opting not to name a song “I Am a God” in the first place! And the end result is that you do seem to spend an awful lot of time wondering if you are God. So there’s that.
Seemingly designed to mock at least as much as honor Kanye, you can now buy a bound edition of the Book of Genesis in which “God” or “Y——A” has been replaced “Kanye” and “Yeezus.” So for instance, the first sentence of The Book of Yeezus is, “In the beginning Kanye created the heavens and the earth.” The books costs $20 but includes “a 300-word social commentary on the religion and spectacle of media icons in the 21st-century.”
A few months ago, I was on some music geek forum boards and one of the posters mentioned that he’d bought an audiophile download of Stan Getz’s Big Band Bossa Nova album, a 1962 recording that was arranged and conducted by a guy named Gary McFarland.
And then another poster chimed in about how this Gary McFarland fellow was once a HUGE presence on New York’s fledgling FM jazz stations in the mid-60s. How if it wasn’t music by McFarland under his own name they were playing something done in collaboration with the likes of Getz, Gábor Szabó, Gerry Mulligan, Johnny Hodges, John Lewis, Bob Brookmeyer, Lena Horne, Zoot Sims, Anita O’Day or Bill Evans. The guy’s point was that McFarland’s style of Latin-tinged orchestral jazz got lots and lots of radio airplay, at least in the New York/Long Island area, but then… you never heard from him again. The guy didn’t seem aware that McFarland had died young—a mysterious death at the age of 38 in 1971—until he read that very thread and discovered why the music stopped.
Gary McFarland was an impressive character, a charming, handsome, almost impossibly suave, ascot-wearing James Bond/Hugh Hefner/Dean Martin-like slickster with a great head of hair. McFarland was jokingly referred to by friends as an “adult prodigy” as he showed little interest in music until a stint in the armed services, after which he attended Berklee School of Music for a semester before moving to New York. He achieves some notice working with Gerry Mulligan, and with The Jazz Version of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” album in 1961. From there his career as a composer/arranger sees a fairly meteoric rise before his life comes to a shocking end less than a decade later, just as he was moving in the direction of scoring motion pictures and Broadway.
Like many—no doubt most—of you reading this, I had never heard of Gary McFarland before, but I found the thread intriguing and clicked over to YouTube to see what I could find. There I found some delightful soft samba Beatles covers (”Get Back” “And I Love Her” “She Loves You” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”) and “More” (see what I did there?) often featuring vibraphone and vocalised with “ba baya” style scat singing. (Apparently McFarland had a difficult time memorizing lyrics… problem solved!). I found his incredible song cycle, The October Suite performed with Steve Kuhn, and plenty of other things.
I also read an interview with Love’s Johnny Echols who indicated how much McFarland’s Soft Samba album influenced Da Capo and Forever Changes! (Listen to “Orange Skies” after you hear some of McFarland’s material, the “ba baya” influence becomes quite obvious!)
I’m one of the world’s consummate crate diggers… and a fanatical Arthur Lee fan… HOW had McFarland’s work escaped my notice?
In any case, my appetite whet, I set about immediately picking up any and every project I could nab that Gary McFarland had a hand in. The torrents trackers offered little help, Amazon didn’t have much either, most of McFarland’s work is still trapped in vinyl, but they did have… a documentary about him!
Honestly, would you expect anything less from Mark E. Smith after watching this hilarious short video? I mean, really? That’s how the magic is made, right?
If you turned this video into a drinking game and took a shot of whiskey every time Mr. Smith said “fucking”... you’d be on the floor, smashed to the gills, in 1 minute and 38 seconds.
Kevin and his assistant just go with the flow. When you sign on to work with Mark E. Smith, I think this is pretty much exactly what you expect it’s gonna be like. I’m sure if Smith turned out to be a nice guy it would be… disappointing.
Happy Birthday, Mike Ness! Somehow you still have a career after all these years! Also, congratulations on still being alive—sadly, two of the members of Social Distortion featured in this video have left the planet.
RIP Dennis and Brent.
What we have here is some killer 1983 rehearsal space footage of Social Distortion performing “Mommy’s Little Monster” from the album of the same name which was recorded for a Flipside Video Fanzine.
This song, included in the excellent 1982 documentary Another State of Mind, was an introduction to hardcore punk for thousands of kids of a certain age who witnessed it on the classic USA Network Nightflight TV series, and it remains a concert staple for Social Distortion, despite their radical departure from the hardcore punk sound of the first LP.
“The Creeps (I Just Wanna Give You)”
This clip is a crucial reminder that dudes with spiky hair and eyeliner will always be cooler than dudes in vests and fedoras. Not to knock what Social Distortion has become, but… actually, yeah, I’ll go ahead an knock what Social Distortion has become—a sort of fakey Americana band for dudes who used to be skinheads—but now have pompadours and dice tattoos—and their Bettie Page-banged girlfriends with rollerderby arms and polka dotted dresses…
Jimi Hendrix and Arthur Lee met in 1964 or 1965 at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, where singer Rosa Lee Brooks was recording Lee’s song “My Diary.” Lee claimed the session was Hendrix’s first time in a recording studio, though it seems likely Hendrix had already cut “Testify” with the Isley Brothers.
Boy, did we have fun at the Olympic recording studio. The band and Jimi all took mescaline. Although they didn’t know it, I was as straight as Cochise’s arrow. Somebody had to steer the ship. [...]
One of the ways I got Jimi to do the session in the first place—or how I got his attention, anyway—happened one night at the Speakeasy. He and I arrived together. The guy at the front door told me I could come in but Jimi couldn’t. When I asked him why, he said that Jimi had been fighting in the club on an earlier occasion and they didn’t want that happening again. So I told him that Jimi was cool, the entourage that was with us was cool, and I didn’t think any fighting would be going on that night. He finally agreed. I said to Jimi, “Look, man, neither one of us is going to be around much longer, anyway; so while we’re here, we might as well do something together.” When I said that, whatever we were talking about, or he was thinking about, just seemed to stop and I had his full attention. He really went into some deep thought as he looked at me from across the table. He was looking into my eyes and I knew he could only be thinking about our early deaths.
The session went completely differently from the way I was used to recording. I thought it was to be a private session. I don’t remember telling anyone to come, except the band; but, to my surprise, there were people all over the place. There were girls I’d never seen before and faces popping out from where you would least expect a person to be. I was in a state of shock, but Jimi said, “It’s OK, let them stay.” More than once, Jimi thought we were done and went to pack everything up. Then he would come back into the studio while we were playing and say, “What key?” Once, when we were learning a song I wrote, called “Ride That Vibration,” Jimi came walking back in during the middle of it. He asked me, “What did you just say in that song?” I said, “Ride the vibration down like a six foot grave / Don’t let it get you down.” Then he said, “I gotta go; it’s getting too heavy.” He called a cab, took [drummer George Suranovich’s] girlfriend, and was out the door. George just looked at me as if to say, “That’s Jimi.” After a while, Jimi came back and suggested that everyone jam, and were my band members ever happy!
On that session in London, we managed to lay down a few tracks, among them “E-Z Rider,” “The Everlasting First,” and a jam that I would later add lyrics to. Jimi sang on “E-Z Rider.” I gave the master reel to [Blue Thumb Records president] Bob Krasnow. He never gave it back. At the time, I wondered if someone was filming us, although I never saw a camera. I found out, in the early 90s, they had been.
Back in the studio, it was almost daylight, so I signaled to H to start wrapping it up. I don’t think Jimi was ready to quit, but it had been a long night for me. The tour we were doing was over with; I just wanted to get back to Studio City in California. As we were walking out of the building, Jimi asked, “Where are you going?” I said, “Man, I gotta get back to LA; to my woman, dogs, and pigeons.” Jimi said, “Come here, I want to show you something.” We walked back inside the studio. He pointed to his guitar case on the floor. Then he opened it up. I thought he had a stash in there, but as he stood up, he pointed to it again and said, “This is all I have.” I couldn’t figure it out at first, but then it hit me. He was telling me that the white Stratocaster guitar in the case were his only possessions. I felt kind of sad for him.
Of the three songs Hendrix cut with Love at Olympic, only “The Everlasting First”—the single from Love’s False Start album—was officially released. The other two songs, Hendrix’s “Ezy Rider” and the jam “Loon,” surfaced on an acetate that turned up on eBay in 2009.
This is kind of nuts: in March of 1982, Angela Bowie, the former Mrs. David, appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test, reciting poetry, while Mick Karn (RIP 2011), the brilliant bass player from the glam/New Romantic band Japan, vamped on bass. Karn was predictably amazing, but Bowie’s poetry was savaged in the UK press. Getting a drubbing from the notoriously drub-happy British media doesn’t necessarily mean something was actually bad, and I’ve attended readings of far worse poetry than Angie Bowie’s. However, it must be conceded that it seems doubtful she would have been invited onto that program to recite poetry in the first place had she been just anyone not called “Bowie.”
Though they’d not performed together before this appearance, Karn and Bowie were no strangers—coincidentally, both originally hailed from Cyprus, but they met in the late ‘70s. Karn related the story of how they met, and how their odd TV pairing came about, in a 1984 interview conducted around the release of Karn’s collaborative album with Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy, under the name Dali’s Car:
B: You did the “Whistle Test” with Angie Bowie. How did that come about? It was so funny, we just couldn’t stop laughing! The expressions on your face were just brilliant!
M: Oh! I’d love to see that again! That was weird – Angie and I have known each other for years.
B: How did you first meet – where and when?
M: Must’ve been 1978, just round a friend’s house, we used to keep strange company in those days. The friend happened to be a friend of Angie’s and she stayed about 2 weeks, we were staying there as well. An opportunity not to stay at home with your parents, we’d always jump to in those days. So we met her there. Then she went away for 3-4 years and when she came back we met up again. We’d been on the “Whistle Test” the week before as Japan, I think, and Angie was in the audience watching. After we’d finished we spoke to Mike Appleton, the producer, and he jokingly said, “You know it’d be great to get both of you on the show next week to do something together” and we thought, “That’s a stupid idea! There’s nothing we can do together, she doesn’t play an instrument and I can’t sing!” So we came up with this idea of playing along to her poetry, which he seemed to like. The expressions are probably because we didn’t have time to rehearse beforehand – I had some bass lines in mind – she had some poetry in mind and it was our first time to do it together – live on the show, which was very nerve-racking. So I think the expressions were looking at one another trying to know when one of us was going to finish…’cos she’d finish the poem and I didn’t know that it was over, so I carried on playing! (Everyone laughs)