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XTC’s Andy Partridge and the ambitious, tantalizing bubblegum pop project that never happened
08:51 am



XTC’s discography is marked by a depressing seven-year gap between Nonsuch, their final album for Virgin that came out in 1992, and the Apple Venus releases for XTC’s label IDEA (TVT in the U.S.) in 1999 and after. In 1997 Keith Phipps of the AV Club asked Andy Partridge why the band had been inactive for so long; with characteristic bluntness, Partridge replied,

Because we’ve been on strike. Because we had the shittiest record deal on planet earth. ... Although we made Virgin Records somewhere in the region of 35 million pounds profit, we were still in debt to them after 15 years on the label.

Eesh, that sucks. After parting ways, an audit conducted at Partridge’s behest revealed that Virgin had withheld substantial royalty payments from the band. 

One episode from late in XTC’s Virgin era that surely helped bring their relationship to an end was Partridge’s idea to concoct a fake bubblegum pop label called Zither and perform “excavated” songs in the bubblegum pop idiom. Leave it to the guys who came up with the psych rock tribute band the Dukes of Stratosphear to come up with a notion like this.

In 1998 Karen O’Brien of The Independent on Sunday described the project thus:

Partridge had presented a new project, songs he had written as homage to the bubblegum-pop bands of the late Sixties to early Seventies. He felt the idea was blissfully simple: “I wanted Virgin to say that they’d bought this entire back-catalogue from this [imaginary] label called Zither. They said, ‘So you go on Top of the Pops and play one of these songs?’ I said, ‘No, this is a fake historical document!’ So they said, ‘Okay, we get a young band and dress them up in early Seventies clothes?’ I said, ‘No, no!’ They just didn’t get it.” Cue much shaking of pony-tailed heads.

One can only imagine the reaction of the Virgin execs (even if they are rapacious thieves) upon hearing that XTC would refuse to go on TOTP to support the Zither project. Actually we don’t have work so hard to imagine it because Partridge has already filled in the blanks in the March 1999 issue of MOJO:

“Nicely banal, pitched around 1970, a dozen tracks about sex—Lolly Let’s Suck It And See, Bubbleland, My Red Aeroplane—all in bubblegum form. I played them the demos and it was like the scene from The Producers where they hear Springtime for Hitler. Open jaws. I was virtually offering them this thing for free and they couldn’t grasp it. It was just one more drop in the Virgin pisspot which was really overflowing by now.”

To be clear about this, Partridge doesn’t say it in so many words but it seems clear that the Zither project was intended to be one degree more radical than the Stratosphear side project. Rather than make up a band that had been rediscovered and play songs by that band, Partridge was proposing to make up a label and play songs by many of its acts!

As proof, check out this list of proposed band names connected to the Zither project that has circulated online—Partridge’s fecundity is quite impressive here:

The Lemon Dukes
Knights in Shining Karma
The Captain Cooks
Sopwith Caramel
The Ten Commandos
The Twelve Flavours of Hercules
Solid Gondolas
The Barbers of Penzance
Anonymous Bosch
The Brighton Peers
The Tweedledeens
The Herbert Fountains
Irving Merlin
The Lollipopes
The Four Posters
The Periwig Pack
Cake’s Progress
Funnel Of Love
The Rubber Ducks
Ancient Grease
The Piccadilly Circus Tent Rip Repair Company
Kitchener’s Sink
Isambard Kingdom Necessary On A Bicycle?

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Collapsing New Satan: Dante’s Inferno, with members of Einstürzende Neubauten
08:46 am



Andreas Ammer is not a famous name in the US, but in Germany he’s long been the object of acclaim. Having been a professor at the University of Munich, journalist, TV and radio producer, playwright and director, he’s probably best known for experimental radio theater, a form he’s been practicing since 1990.

Andreas Ammer, one of the most successful German radio drama artists of the last two decades, works with audio art on the border-line between the ‘classic’ radio drama and other representational forms. His radio plays work with various acoustic features like music, noises and language, and they can always be defined as narrative: they tell stories, yet not merely with words, but by using all their possible acoustic characteristics as storytelling devices. Moreover, Ammer’s audio plays are performed live on stage and in front of an audience, recorded, simultaneously broadcast and later brought out on CD. Since these performances are always produced in cooperation with a radio station, the acoustic art works are still called radio plays. The performances themselves are called audio performances, although of course the audience sees the performance… In the live performance, the bodily present performers add another sensory data layer to the acoustic one.

—from Audionarratology, by Jarmila Mildorf and Till Kinzel

1993 saw the production of two noteworthy pieces of post-punk cultural produce based on Inferno, the first cantica of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. One was Anton Corbijn’s video for Depeche Mode’s “Walking In My Shoes.” The more interesting one was Ammer’s landmark production Radio Inferno for Bayerischer Rundfunk, with noteworthy contributors like legendary BBC DJ John Peel, guitarist Caspar Brötzman, and singer Yvonne Ducksworth as Beatrice. It also featured two members of that clamorous and pioneering industrial group Einstürzende Neubauten: singer Blixa Bargeld served as the voice of Dante, and percussionist F.M. Einheit scored the production, which accordingly recalls Neubauten theatre scores of the era like Die Hamletmaschine and Faustmusik. Ammer would go on to collaborate fruitfully with Einheit several more times after the latter’s 1995 departure from Neubauten, culminating with 2002’s Crashing Aeroplanes.

The entire production, broken up into 34 cantos just like the actual book, was released on CD in 1994. That’s out of print, but it can be streamed on the marvelous ubuweb site. Or you can just listen to it right here.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Holiday weirdness: Santa Claus battles the Devil to a psyche-rock soundtrack
12:41 pm

Pop Culture


40 psyche-pop tunes serve as the soundtrack for the extremely wacky Santa Claus (aka Santa Claus vs. The Devil) in a special Holiday mix from me to you.

The trailer narration of Santa Claus gives you a rough idea of the bizarreness that awaits the viewer:

Whether you’re in a cave, or behind a million mountains, Santa Claus sees you through his Master Eye, and invites you to his Magic Wonderland! See Santa Claus in his magic motion picture! Come past the doors of his towering castle, into a fantastic crystal laboratory, filled with weird and wonderful secrets; into his heavenly workshop, the most marvelous toy factory of all! Watch his battle with the mischievous demon who wants to get children into trouble! You’d better watch out!


There are so many disturbing elements to Rene Cardona’s film that it’s difficult to select just one. Advertised as “an enchanting world of make-believe”, it’s a surreal battle between Father Crimbo and Satan, who sends his minion, Pitch, to interfere in the spreading of comfort and joy. Prime nuggets? Pitch whispering to the young ‘uns that Santa’s actually a murderer (classy!) and Santa’s cloud-borne castle that looks less like a cheery base for making toys and more like something from a Bond villain’s architectural wet dream.

Enjoy the music. I don’t think you’ll miss the dialog. Happy Holidays.

01. “Is Anybody Home” - The Mirage
02. “Henry Adams” - The Frederic
03. “Princess Of The Gingerland” - Glitterhouse
04. “Travelling Circus” - The Epics
05. ‘Punch And Judy Man” - Pop Workshop
06. “Red, White And You” - Sounds Around
07. “The View” - Gary Walker and The Rain
08. “Tomorrow Today” - Kippington Lodge
09. “You’ll Find Me Anywhere” - Hi-Revving Tongues
10. Mix within the mix featuring The Groop, The Kinks,
    The Tages, The Exceptions, The Cyrkle, Frank Zappa,
    The Zombies, Mark Eric, The Sidewalk Skipper Band,
    The Beach Boys, Stained Glass, The Shaggy Boys,
    Free Design, Eternity’s Children, Summer Snow,
    The Counts, Johnny Cobb and The Attractions,
    The Family Tree (courtesy of FCR)
11. “What Are You Gonna Do” - The Summer Set
12. “Stop” - The Pan Pipers
13. “My Race Is Run” - The Motleys
14. “Buses” - The Hung Jury
15. “Alfred Appleby” - The Carnival Connection
16. “You Gotta Be With Me” - The Onyx
17. “Midnite Thoughts” - The World Column
18. “In The Land Of Make Believe” Jennifer’s Friend
19. “Walk In The Sky” The Crackerjack Society
20. “Your Way To Tell Me Go” - Plastic Penny
21. “Green Circles (Italian version)” - The Small Faces

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Tuxedomoon, Cult With No Name & John Foxx make music inspired by ‘Blue Velvet’
01:22 pm



In 1985 a German photographer named Peter Braatz traveled to North Carolina and ended up filming a good deal of behind-the-scenes footage of the making of one of the best movies of the 1980s, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Diverging from what most people would have done, I’d say, Braatz declined to make a regular documentary and opted instead to make a free-standing work of art called “No Frank in Lumberton”—we wrote about it a while back.

In late 2015, as part of its “Made To Measure” series, Brussels-based label Crammed Discs put out an “original soundtrack” composed by Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name for the documentary Blue Velvet Revisited, a more recent reworking that Braatz forged from his original footage. In 2013 and 2014 Braatz came to realize that the contributions of Cult With No Name and Tuxedomoon would complement his images perfectly—in short order an agreement was made for the two groups to create a “joint soundtrack.”

Of the collaboration, Braatz commented:

In July 2013 I first heard the album ‘Above as Below’ by Cult With No Name. As the song ‘As Below’ came on I immediately had the idea to use it for my ‘Blue Velvet Revisited’ project, and to edit a trailer to the track that would showcase my footage.


I was keen to hand over the making of the soundtrack to one group of musicians, particularly as much of my film would have no dialogue. The soundtrack would need to carry the feel of ‘As Below’ throughout. Erik Stein revealed to me that the amazing trumpet part on ‘As Below’ was played by Luc Van Lieshout of Tuxedomoon, a group I also knew well and greatly admired. Because it was the trumpet part that I found so perfect, we soon pitched the idea of a joint soundtrack between Cult With No Name and Tuxedomoon.

Later on Braatz added a track by John Foxx, the original lead singer of Ultravox. Originating in the Bay Area, Tuxedomoon were one of the most important and influential bands of the post-punk movement. Self-described “post-punk electronic balladeers” Erik Stein and Jon Boux collaborate as Cult With No Name.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘They Saved Zappa’s Moustache’: Negativland do Frank Zappa
08:53 am



It seems like only yesterday I was at a double feature of 200 Motels and Baby Snakes in Santa Monica and Gail Zappa was taking questions from the audience between movies. A scruffy guy sitting in front of me wanted to know: like, what did it mean that Frank’s birthday was December 21? With commendable equanimity and poise, she replied that her late husband had been a Sag, for sure.

Has it really been seven years since those innocent, care- and money-free days? No picnic, but I’ll say this for the Great Recession: at least it was more “Cheap Thrills” than “Concentration Moon.” Gail Zappa was then breathing air, as was Negativland’s Don Joyce, whose KPFA radio show “Over the Edge” became my first podcast subscription right around that time. But look at Don now, resting in that plastic baggie on my shelf. A picture of health he is not.

In March of ‘95, a little over a year after Frank Zappa’s death, Joyce and Phineas Narco devoted an episode of “Over the Edge” to the composer’s life and work. After playing a tape of Zappa’s 1963 appearance on The Steve Allen Show—the whole thing, with a minimum of manipulation—the pair then go full Negativland on a treasury of primary and secondary sources. For five hours, everything Zappa goes into the blender, from Lumpy Gravy and the Synclavier to interviews and glib, stupid obituaries delivered by 1993 media personalities.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop fronts a Stooges-MC5 supergroup, 1978
02:20 pm



After the demise of the MC5, guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith assembled a new band with members of three other Detroit bands of the period: the Stooges (drummer Scott Asheton), the Rationals (guitarist and singer Scott Morgan), and the UP (bassist Gary Rasmussen). The resulting combo, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, recorded what is for me the great American single of the 70s, “City Slang.”

Iggy spent 1977 touring with different configurations of the players on The Idiot and Lust for Life; the only constant was Tin Machine’s future rhythm section, comprising Soupy Sales’ sons Hunt and Tony. In an interview with I-94 Bar, Gary Rasmussen explains how Iggy came to recruit SRB for his ‘78 tour of Europe, on which former Stooge Scott Thurston replaced Scott Morgan:

I think at that time, [Iggy] was having trouble with his record company. He’d been a mess, screwin’ up, and he pretty much needed to prove to the record company that he could do a good tour with a good band - it had to be somethin’ special - and that he wasn’t just a total junkie and all that stuff. He called up and was talking to Scott Asheton to start with, and then to Fred. We knew Iggy because he’d come through with his band and we’d go see ‘em, and we’d be playing some awful place down in Detroit, in Cass Corridor or somewhere, and Iggy would be playing at the Masonic Temple; he’d come to our gig after, y’know, and come up onstage. We were all friends.

So at that point, I think he needed something like that, and asked if we would do that - come and do a tour with him and be his band. Scott Thurston was in that band… Scott was already with Iggy, so he knew all of the songs that Iggy was doing, he knew kinda what was going on, so I think Iggy wanted to keep Scott Thurston in on it, so he didn’t need Morgan, basically. You don’t need another singer… if you ever tried to harmonize with Iggy, you’d realize it’s a pretty hard thing to do. But we didn’t need another singer, we didn’t need another guitar player, so Scott was kinda left out of that one.


Iggy Pop onstage with Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, Detroit, 1979 (photo by Robert Matheu, via
In the same interview, Morgan says that the tour with Iggy contributed to SRB’s premature dissolution. I’m sure that’s true, and it’s a shame; on the other hand, this is surely one of the best bands Iggy ever had. The Copenhagen bootleg embedded after the jump, which popped up on YouTube earlier this month, is the shit. (For comparison, check out the quality of this boot from the tour’s Stockholm date, and while you’re there, listen to that night’s “Kill City.”)

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Picking a lock to the divine: Earliest known recordings of The Doors surface in ‘London Fog 1966’
08:54 am



When UCLA film student student Nettie Peña borrowed a reel-to-reel recorder from the high school where her father worked to record her friends’ new group, The Doors—then the “house band” at a small Sunset Strip nightclub—really more of a scuzzy, beer-stained redneck bar than the name might imply called London Fog—she probably had very little idea that she’d one day contribute their earliest known live recordings to rock ‘n’ roll history, but that’s what happened one night in May of 1966.

Released to coincide with the group’s 50th anniversary, the new London Fog 1966 box set from Rhino is—clearly—something that’s targeted to the most serious Doors fanboys. And there are a lot of ‘em, obviously. The deluxe (and it should be noted quite clever) packaging is designed to look like a run-of-the-mill cardboard storage box, the type that you might store under your bed, or in a closet, and then forget about for fifty years. A time capsule, in other words, and this set lives up to that conceit complete with well done facsimile reproductions of that night’s set list written by Robby Krieger’s hand, Peña’s excellent photographs of the baby-faced Doors printed as ever-so-slightly yellowing 8” by 10” B&W glossies, and even a flyer for a UCLA film school midnight screening of Peña’s student film “Call It Collage ‘66” which had a soundtrack by the Doors. (Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek were Nettie Peña’s fellow students at UCLA.) The music is pressed on a 10” record that looks a bit like an acetate test pressing in a brown sleeve and on a CD.

Now I don’t tend to be someone taken in by tsotchkes that come in box sets—but this one, I must say, is kinda neat. I’m not even that big of a Doors fan, but a big Doors fan would definitely eat this shit up. And again, that’s the person this limited edition (just 18,000 copies) is targeted at, a big Doors fan who wants to hear the earliest known recording of the legendary Doors.

They do seven songs, blues covers such as B.B. King’s “Rock Me” and Muddy Waters’ “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man.” They do Little Richard’s “Lucille” (an odd choice). There’s an embryonic “You Make Me Real” (later recorded for their second album Strange Days) and a pretty fully-formed version of “Strange Days” which is probably the short set’s highlight. This set is for the hardcore fan who will frankly forgive the generic garage band blues numbers for a chance to hear The Doors picking the lock on the door to something much more divine, working their way from cover band to magicians.

Buy London Fog 1966

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Lou Reed and John Cale’s soundtrack to Andy Warhol’s ‘Hedy,’ 1966
08:45 am



Andy Warhol and Mario Montez filming Hedy (via Continuo)
On the night of January 27, 1966, the actress Hedy Lamarr was arrested for stealing $86 worth of merchandise from the May Company department store in Los Angeles. She was not driven to crime by a condition of need: police told reporters she had $14,000 in checks when she was arrested.

Andy Warhol and screenwriter Ronald Tavel knew a good story when they saw one, and Hedy (1966)—with Lupe and More Milk, Yvette, part of the “Hollywood trilogy” about movie actresses Warhol made that year—advanced down the Factory’s film production line. The lovely Mario Montez starred in the title role, while on the soundtrack, Lou Reed and John Cale dramatized Hedy’s inner life with an ominous, bottomless noise.

via Toronto International Film Festival
Richie Unterberger’s authoritative White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day by Day files the Hedy soundtrack under February 1966:

Only Lou Reed and John Cale are heard on the soundtrack to Hedy, a Warhol film inspired by press reports of the arrest for shoplifting of 30s and 40s actor Hedy Lamarr. None of the Velvets appear in the film, but the cast does include the two most celebrated dancers of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable – Gerard Malanga and Factory newcomer Mary Woronov – as well as another EPI dancer, Ingrid Superstar, and Cale’s old friend Jack Smith.

The Hedy score is closer in spirit to the avant-garde recordings Cale and Angus MacLise appeared on during 1963-1965 than anything The Velvet Underground are currently playing. The music builds around an instrumental storm of shrieking, rumbling viola, guitar, and a rickety piano that sounds like it hasn’t been played since doing time in a 19th century saloon, while Cale’s ‘thunder machine’ – the sound made by the head of a Vox Super Beatle amp being dropped on the floor – occasionally cuts through everything else with hair-raising, high pitch bursts of feedback. This might be the closest approximation of how the nascent Velvet Underground sounded when they played, with Angus MacLise, behind the screen at Piero Heliczer’s ‘happenings,’ but those days are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

Hear ‘Hedy’ after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The annual Dangerous Minds last-minute shopping guide for rock snobs & culture vultures
08:50 pm



Each year around this time, I put together a “last minute” list of cool things meant to aid the friends and loved ones of rock snobs and especially hard-to-buy-for people-who-have-everything during the holiday season. I would imagine that I’m probably in the top 1% of the top 1% of the infuriatingly difficult to gift—trust me, I already own it and I probably got it for free from a record label—so I feel uniquely qualified to be of assistance here.

The mammoth, slick, classy, near definitive career-spanning 10-CD Marc Almond package, Trials of Eyeliner: The Anthology 1979-2016, is easily the very best box set of the year. Hell, it’s one of the best box sets ever released, period, if you ask me. From Soft Cell’s greatest hits to each and every one of Almond’s single releases, some hidden gems, collaborations and demos, this is the ultimate Marc Almond collection. Why would this make a good gift and for whom? For a gay uncle or brother who loves music, it’s a solid choice, but it’s a great pick for anyone who loves music, really. Marc Almond is a genius, one of our greatest living vocalists and this is a box set to lose yourself in, a true musical journey and an exceeding rare pleasure to discover for the very first time. For someone whose musical tastes would intersect favorably in a Venn diagram triangulated by Nick Cave, Scott Walker and Maria Callas. It’s also not that expensive for a 10-CD set, often selling on Amazon for around $60. It would be a bargain at ten times the price. Here’s a longer review.

Action Time Vision, a new 111-track “story of independent punk 1976-79” from Cherry Red Records is the sole obscure punk box set that anyone will care about in the future. Let’s face it, once you get much beyond the Sex Pistols, the Damned and the Clash—and precious few others—there wasn’t really a whole lot of truly great punk rock music that was produced during the punk rock era. What came after punk was a deluge of amazement and creativity, whereas the vast majority of “classic” punk bands, well the essential “A list” stuff could be rounded up into one good box set. Action Time Vision is the onion layer beyond that one good box set, boasting material not from all the usual suspects. Some of this stuff is truly thrilling and will send your rock snob giftee (or you yourself, if that’s who you’re buying for) spanning out to look for more from below-the-radar groups like the Hollywood Brats, Poison Girls, Swell Maps, Rezillos and others.

For someone who you are fond of, but not so fond of them that they merit a freakin’ box set, may I (strongly) suggest Beyond the Bloodhounds, the debut album by the incredible new talent, Adia Victoria? Earlier this year I described her music as “an authentic 21st century Southern gothic blues” and asked “Would you press play if I described Adia Victoria as ‘Jeffrey Lee Pierce reincarnated as Ronnie Spector’?” before answering my own question: “You’d be a fucking idiot if you didn’t, now wouldn’t you?” When a new artist arrives this fully formed, you should pay attention. This one has the makings of a future icon. She’s gorgeous and she plays a mean guitar. By a narrow margin, I rank Beyond the Bloodhounds as my top favorite album of 2016. A+.

Just one half-notch below Adia Victoria’s debut comes Häxan, the new longplayer from Dungen. I was nuts—absolutely crazy—about last year’s Dungen alum, Allas Sak, and I pretty enthusiastic about this one too. Dungen can do no wrong in my eyes, each and every one of their albums is a thing of finely crafted beauty, something I hope they themselves are fiercely proud of, because they should be. Dungen make beautiful music for a world that needs more beautiful things. Häxan is their soundtrack to the Russian silent animated feature film from 1926 The Adventures of Prince Achmed. It’s pure magic from the first note to the last. Note that this would be something especially good to get on vinyl.

Then there’s the latest from Luke Haines, Smash the System. This album fucking rocks and contains the very best song of 2016: “Black Bunny (I’m Not Vince Taylor).” In fact, let me offer you the best musical advice I could possibly offer you: Buy every album by The Auteurs and every solo album by Haines (and his books). Start with After Murder Park, then get New Wave or How I Learned to Love the Bootboys. Don’t miss out on the oddball terrorist punk funk of the Baader-Meinhof album. But get ALL of Luke Haines’ output, first for yourself, and only then should you worry about other people. You’re welcome.

The three CD Momus collection, Pubic Intellectual: An Anthology 1986-2016 is another sure-thing, cast miss, all-killer, no-filler that will delight just about any rock snob. The smarter they are, the better they’ll appreciate what the eyepatch wearing Scotsman has on offer culled from the past 30 years of his output. Momus is not a household name, although he should be. If I didn’t already own this and someone gave it to me, I would not only be super happy, I would think that it reflected well on the giver’s musical tastes. (More on Momus here)

Rhino recently released an “elevated edition” of Jethro Tull’s mighty Stand Up album remixed for 5.1 surround by Steven Wilson. If you have someone on your shopping list who is an aficionado of 5.1 music (or happen to be one yourself) this is another must-hear effort from Wilson’s audio lab. I was already a big fan of Stand Up, but in surround, it’s simply sublime. Even better the edition—which comes packaged like a hardback book—includes a 5.1 mix of their classic “Living in the Past” single and DVD footage of the group playing live in Sweden in 1969

In terms of books, there’s only one that I’m going to recommend this year and that is The Essential Paul Laffoley: Works from the Boston Visionary Cell edited by Douglas Walla. This is the best art book of 2016, and to my mind there can no other competition. How could anything else possibly outweigh it? Nothing can. A stunning compendium of beautiful art and ideas by the late visionary artist. There’s no one with a brain who wouldn’t be thrilled to get this for Christmas.

Movie posters make awesome gifts and they show that you’ve really thought about the person you’re giving it to (provided of course, that you did really think about them and didn’t just buy a ratty Home Alone 2 poster on your way home from work from a homeless guy.) My favorite poster store on the entire Internet, the Los Angeles-based Westgate Gallery is currently running a big 40% off sale (that’s almost half off) which continues into the new year so you can spend your “Christmas money” on exquisite poster art curated by someone with a particularly good eye. If you know a movie, or a particular actor or actress that your intended giftee is into, something from Westgate Gallery during their 40% off sale would make a fantastic gift. Hundreds upon hundreds of amazing images there, you can surf around for hours. Featuring a large selection of Italian Giallo, “golden age of XXX” and cult film favorites.

Which brings me to DVDs. This year if I had to pick the sort of offbeat film that I would be happy to get on DVD, I’d chose Candy, the star-studded adaptation of the Terry Southern-Mason Hoffenberg farce—yes it’s a terrible movie but the cast includes Ringo Starr, James Coburn, John Astin, Richard Burton, Walter Matthau and Marlon Brando as the horny guru Grindl. And then there’s Otto Preminger’s Skidoo, a Hollywood attempt at a counterculture comedy where Jackie Gleason plays a retired mod hitman who accidentally takes LSD and Groucho Marx is “God.” It costars Carol Channing and most of the unemployed villains from TV’s Batman. Nilsson did the soundtrack and—get this—sings the credits. But I had you at Jackie Gleason dropping acid, didn’t I?

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Classic, intimate photos of The Misfits by Eerie Von
08:48 am



Eric “Eerie Von” Stellmann may be the ultimate ascended fan. A high school student in Lodi, NJ in the ‘70s, he was pals with one Paul Caiafa, whose older brother Jerry was the bass player in a fledgling punk band called The Misfits, and so it was that Stellmann’s immediate social circle was ground zero for all horror-punk to follow. Caiafa eventually joined his brother in the band, under the name “Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein,” and eventually, Von himself would play bass on some Misfits recordings, moving on in 1983 with singer Glenn Danzig after that band’s breakup to form the similarly themed but darker and more metallic Samhain, and then Danzig’s eponymous metal band, who did very well indeed. (Small world: Von left Danzig in the mid ‘90s, and his vacated bass slot was eventually filled by Dangerous Minds’ own Howie Pyro.)

Like a lot of creatively inclined kids, the young Eerie Von was an avid photographer, and he amply documented The Misfits. As it was with all of the great punk rock photography, Von recorded images of great future significance just by dint of having been in the right place with a camera, but to say so is no slight to his talent—as you’ll see below, Von’s superb eye for composition and drama is undeniable, whether the band was posing or performing, and even in candids. Some of his images are very familiar to Misfits/Samhain/Danzig fans, and some have gone largely unseen, but they were collected several years ago in the book Misery Obscura: The Photography of Eerie Von (1981-2009), which has recently been reprinted in a deluxe hardcover by Bazillion Points. It’s an altogether nicer edition—sturdier stock, recalibrated color, and forewords by Killswitch Engage’s Mike D’Antonio and Minor Threat’s Lyle Preslar.

Bazillion Points have graciously allowed us to share a selection of Von’s early Misfits photos. Enjoy.


More Misfits after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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