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The Move: The drug-addled, axe-wielding rock group who got sued by the Prime Minister
05.12.2016
09:20 am

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Heroes
Music
Pop Culture

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It’s one of those odd quirks of fate why sixties beat group The Move never became as big as say The Who, Kinks or the Dave Clark Five or even (crikey!) The Beatles or The Stones. There are many reasons as to why this never happened—top of the tree is the fact The Move never broke the American market which limited their success primarily to a large island off the coast of Europe. Secondly, The Move was all too often considered a singles band—and here we find another knotty problem.

The Move, under the sublime writing talents of Roy Wood, produced singles of such quality, range and diversity it was not always possible to identify their unique imprint. They evolved from “pioneers of the psychedelic sound” with their debut single “Night of Fear” in 1966—a song that sampled Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture—through “I Can Hear The Grass Grow” and “Flowers In The Rain” to faster rock songs like “Fire Brigade”—which inspired the bassline for the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”—to the chirpy pop of “Curly” and “Omnibus” to sixties miserabilism “Blackberry Way” and early heavy metal/prog with “Wild Tiger Woman,” “Brontosaurus” and “When Alice Comes Back to the Farm.” Though there is undoubtedly a seriousness and considered process going on here—it was not necessarily one that brought together a united fan base. Those who bought “Flowers in the Rain” were not necessarily going to dig the Hendrix-influenced “Wild Tiger Woman” or groove along to “Alice Comes Back to the Farm.”

That said, The Move scored nine top ten hits during the sixties, were critically praised, had a considerable following of screaming fans, and produced albums which although they were considered “difficult” at the time (Shazam, Looking On and Message from the Country) are now considered pioneering, groundbreaking and (yes!) even “classic.”

The Move was made up from oddments of musicians and singers from disparate bands and club acts who would not necessarily gravitate together. Formed in December 1965, the original lineup consisted of guitarist Roy Wood (recently departed from Mike Sheridan and The Nightriders), vocalist Carl Wayne who along with bass player Chris ‘Ace’ Kefford and drummer Bev Bevan came from The Vikings, and guitarist Trevor Burton from The Mayfair Set. Each of these artists had a small taste of success—most notably Carl Wayne who had won the prestigious Golden Orpheus Song Festival in Bulgaria—but nothing that was going to satisfy their ambitions for a long and rewarding career.

It was David Bowie—then just plain David Jones—who suggested Kefford and Burton should form their own band. They recruited Wood onto the team sheet and decided to follow another piece of Bowie’s advice to bring together the very best musicians and singers in their hometown of Birmingham. This they did. And although technically it was Kefford’s band, Carl Wayne by dint of age steered the group through their first gigs.
 
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The Move’s greatest asset was Roy Wood—a teenage wunderkind who was writing songs about fairies and comic book characters that were mistakenly believed to have been inspired by LSD. This gave the band their counterculture edge when “Night of Fear” was released in 1966. They were thought to be acidheads tuning into the world of psychedelia a year before the Summer of Love—but as drummer Bev Bevan later recalled:

Nobody believed that Roy wasn’t out of his head on drugs but he wasn’t. It was all fairy stories rooted in childhood.

Young Wood and Wayne may have been squeaky clean but the rest of the band certainly enjoyed the sherbets—with one catastrophic result.

After chart success of “Night of Fear,” The Move were expected to churn out hit after hit after hit. Though Wood delivered the goods—the financial rewards did not arrive. Ace Kefford later claimed the pressure of touring, being mobbed by fans, having clothes ripped—and once being stabbed in the eye by a fan determined to snip a lock of his hair—for the same money he made gigging with The Vikings made it all seem rather pointless.

But their success continued apace. By 1967, The Move had three top ten hits, were the first band played on the BBC’s new flagship youth channel Radio One, and were touring across the UK and Europe. They also caused considerable controversy with their live stage act which involved Carl Wayne chopping up TV sets with an axe. While the golden youth were wearing flowers in their hair and singing about peace and love, The Move were offering agitprop political theater.

Then they were sued by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
 
More of The Move, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Negativland documentary now in the works
05.12.2016
09:06 am

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Art
Heroes
Music

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It’s been a rough couple years for Negativland fans. In swift succession, the Reaper took members Ian Allen, Don Joyce and Richard Lyons, decimating our heroes but leaving many ensembles of lesser quality intact. When will it be Air Supply fans’ turn to grieve? Why can’t Coldplay or Weezer come up three members short the next time they wish to prance upon the stage and make their guitars go tweedly-deedly-dee? When can others’ shame be our pride?

The good news, as the late Pastor Dick might have reminded us, is that filmmakers William Davenport and Leah Gold are collaborating on the definitive, full-length Negativland documentary, Media about Media about Media: The Negativland Story. (No slight against Craig Baldwin’s wonderful Sonic Outlaws, in which Negativland is only one of several groups profiled.) Better still, Davenport and Gold reckon they have about half of the movie already shot.
 

 
Aiming for the modest goal of $8000, with a projected release date of September, the filmmakers are offering perks that will make a person of healthy appetites drool. A $250 contribution gets you an endless loop “cart” (i.e. old-fashioned radio programmer’s tape cartridge) that belonged to Don Joyce, $1000 purchases all of Negativland’s releases “including many special surprises from the band and the filmmakers,” and $1500 buys the very model plane that appeared on the cover of the outlawed U2 EP. But I’m not saying you should go knock over a gas station and give the money to these nice people, who are so kind and decent, unlike the gas station attendant, who sits there judging you all the time, so mean and miserly.

Among other treats in the trailer below, Mark Hosler and his mother discuss how and whether the documentary should be marketed, Don Joyce (a/k/a C. Elliott Friday, Crosley Bendix, Izzy Isn’t, et al.) goes “Over the Edge,” and David Wills (a/k/a the Weatherman) hints at the “sexual” meaning of “seat bee sate.”

Visit the Indiegogo page for the Negativland documentary here.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Moving in Stereo’: The Cars’ accidental soundtrack to an entire generation’s sexual awakening
05.11.2016
06:42 pm

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Music
Sex

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The Cars were never what I would call a “sexy” band.

I’m not talking about the way that they ever physically appeared, mind you—though Ben Orr was a bit of a pretty boy, the scale is certainly tipped by the alien spectre of Ric Ocasek, the uberdorkiness of Greg Hawkes and the mod-mullet ‘80s normyness of Elliot Easton and David Robinson. But, no, I’m not talking about “sexy” in the physical, visual sense of the word. What I mean to say is that The Cars didn’t make music that I’d call traditionally “sexy.”  As much as I love Candy-O , one of my favorite quirk-rock albums of the new wave era, it’s not what I’d call a “leg-spreader” to put on in the bachelor den.

Still, like a generation of other “certain-aged” dudes, one particular Cars song, “Moving in Stereo,” is forever-stamped on my brain as absolutely “sexy” even though its mechanical groove sounds like it was played by melancholy robots. There’s one reason and one reason alone for that: it plays over one certain iconic swimming pool scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High that every dude of “that certain age” experienced as a crystalizing moment of their sexual awakening. In other words, Phoebe Cates gave a lot of dudes boners and The Cars are forever linked to that particular boner.
 

 
The classic pool sequence in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was where I really fell in love with The Cars. “Moving In Stereo” was inexplicably not included on that film’s soundtrack, so I, like a lot of other dudes was forced to go out and buy The Cars’ first self-titled album to get it. Of course that record was chock full of other amazing hits too like “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” and “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight.” The latter three songs, as well as “Moving In Stereo” appear on the new “hits” compilation Moving In Stereo: The Best of the Cars which comes out this week.
 

 
This collection replaces the old 1990, out-of-print, Greatest Hits CD. Being of that “certain age” demographic, I have a HD audio system now, so I can take full advantage of the nice new mastering job they’ve done on all the songs (hand-selected by members of the band) by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound. This new “best of” package also contains remastered versions of “Tonight She Comes” and “I’m Not The One (single mix)” which are not on the just-released, Elektra Years 1978 - 1987 six CD box set, as well as a live version of “Everything You Say,” and a new mix by producer Philippe Zdar of “Sad Song” (which is a track from the band’s last album,  2011’s Move Like This.

The Cars were a great singles band, and every song on this new set is a time-tested classic. And at least one of those songs will still always remind me of being a dumb prepubescent dude falling in love with a pair of perky boobs on cable TV. Thank you forever, top-ten-all-time-crush Phoebe Cates… and thank you, The Cars.
 

 
Below, The Cars in concert in Texas during their ‘Heartbeat City Tour,’ recorded live at The Summit in Houston on September 12, 1984.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Where did this popular children’s farting song originally come from? (+ the Doctor Who connection)
05.11.2016
02:08 pm

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History
Music

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Rufe Davis was an American actor, singer and “imitator of sounds.” He was best known for his “rural” comedic radio act, “Rufe Davis and the Radio Rubes” during the 1930s, for being a co-star along with Hoot Gibson, John Wayne, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers in dozens of Hollywood B-Westerns and for his role as “Floyd Smoot,” the train conductor of the “Hooterville Cannonball” on the 60s CBS TV comedy series, Petticoat Junction.

Davis’ rendition of “The Old Sow Song” was his musical calling card for obvious reasons and something that those of us of a certain age might remember from a popular 60s kiddie record made by Mel Blanc and others called Bozo And His Pals (which is where I first heard it—and loved it—as a tyke), although it was originally released as a 78rpm record many years before that. The same song was also given away as cardboard record in cereal boxes. His version of the song was probably what kept the song “alive” in the 60s and 70s, and even beyond, but there was another famous version that we’ll get to in due course.

Maybe you heard “The Old Sow Song” from one of your grandparents singing it to you? They might’ve heard it in a vaudeville theater. It might also be something that was passed down from long before that, an actual working class English folk song. I’ve also seen it described as a Yorkshire farmer’s song. It’s claimed by Scotland and Ireland, too. One of the earliest recorded versions was one done in 1928 by Albert Richardson. It was also recorded by Cyril Smith and Rudy Vallee, as well as by opera singer Anna Russell. Novelty songsmith Leslie Sarony did his hit version of “The Old Sow Song” in 1934. Apparently John Ritter performed the song on Three’s Company but sadly I could find no clip of this. According to YouTube comments, Hee-Haw featured more than one rendition of “The Old Sow Song.”

Perhaps many of you learned “The Old Sow Song” at summer camp or grade school, where I am guessing it can still be heard to this day, since children’s songs with farting noises never truly die. This evergreen sing-a-long is up there with “Bingo was his name-o” and “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” but neither of them has blowing raspberries as an integral part of the song. Can you imagine what the sheet music must’ve looked like?

I’m truly delighted that a vintage visual representation of “The Old Sow Song” exists. I don’t have an exact year for the clip, but it’s described as a “talkie” or “soundie” in the descriptions of the various uploads which might indicate that this was an early sound film, and yet there is a Hitler reference, so I think it might be a bit later than the uploaders think.

I high recommend taking any—and all—drugs you have handy before hitting play. If Rufe Davis’s face doesn’t turn green and if time doesn’t seem to bend like taffy and come to a complete standstill while you watch this, then you clearly haven’t taken enough drugs. So take more.
 

 
After the jump, the Doctor Who connection!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘I’m A Boy’: The many fantastic times Keith Moon dressed up in full-on drag back in the 1970s
05.11.2016
10:31 am

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Amusing
Heroes
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The cover of Trouser Press magazine featuring Keith Moon, #14, June/July 1976.
 
According to super-groupie Pamela Des Barres, during the time she dated Keith Moon for about a year, Moon seemed to be happiest when he was “anyone but himself.” During their short time together, Des Barres recalls that Moon enjoyed dressing up in her clothes and “frolicking” in her high-heels in the middle of the night, as well as trading “sexes” for kicks from time to time. Let there be no mistake, in the 32 short years Keith Moon walked among us mere mortals, he really lived every moment like it was his last.
 

Keith Moon in drag with Pamela Des Barres.
 
Dougal Butler, Moon’s personal assistant who was with Moon for ten tumultuous years, would refer to The Who’s timekeeper as a “heterosexual drag queen” who frequently enjoyed acting like a “ginger beer” (a “ginger beer” is a Cockney rhyming slang for “queer”) and was happiest when he could “get ahold of a dress or two.” Dougal, who authored two books on Moon, Full Moon: The Amazing Rock and Roll Life of the Late Keith Moon and Moon the Loon, noted of all of Moon’s many drag ensembles, the drummers favorite was anytime he could dress up in full regalia like an actual Queen.

In 1972 as the emcee of “The Ultimate ROQ Concert” festival for KROQ FM at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that featured co-headliners Sly and the Family Stone and the Bee Gees (as well as Stevie Wonder among others), Moon appeared on stage dressed in silver sequins (a particular number he would wear many times to many events, pictured above), makeup and a blonde wig when he introduced the shows “special added attraction” Sha-Na-Na. Des Barres recalls in her book, I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, that she and Moon shared a dressing room with the Bee Gees, who got to watch the perpetually drunk Moonie’s many “wardrobe” changes. Yes.

Of course if you are a fan of The Who, then you’ve probably seen some of the photographic outtakes or magazine adverts from the band’s, 1971’s Who’s Next that feature Mr. Moon cheesecaking it up in ladies lingerie, full makeup and brunette and blonde wigs. In issue #14 of Trouser Press magazine (June/July 1976), the cover (seen at the top of this post) had a side-by-side image of Moon that amusingly suggested that Keith had a “split personality” of sorts. The image included a photo of Moon dressed in drag (and looking super hot I might add), for his gig as the emcee for two shows at New York’s Carnegie Hall with Sha-Na-Na and Cheech and Chong (during which, according to a news item from Billboard Magazine in 1972, Moon sat in on the drums during Sha Na Na’s set. WHAT?). A gig for which Moon flew from England to New York for one night’s work. Keith Moon’s unwavering dedication to having a good time truly (and quite sadly), knew no bounds. 
 

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” ad featuring Keith Moon vamping it up in ladies lingerie, 1971.
 
More Moon the Loon, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The world premiere of guitar hero Steve Gunn’s new video ‘Ancient Jules’
05.11.2016
09:10 am

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Every time I hear a new piece of music by virtuoso guitarist and singer/songwriter Steve Gunn, from the moment the first play ends, I immediately start the song over again. And then I play it again. And then again. That’s exactly what I did what I first heard his mystical and monumental John Fahey does La Monte Young drone jam “Tommy’s Congo.” I could not stop playing that song. The album that song comes from, Way Out Weather, same thing. It didn’t leave my CD player for months back in 2014. Steve Gunn’s shit is hypnotic. His music is… deep. (In fact I went on another marathon with that same track on repeat last week for about two solid hours at top volume. I’m sure my wife wasn’t thrilled, but she didn’t ask me to stop, either.)

Gunn is one of the best guitarists of his generation. Period. There is no one else doing what he’s doing. Don’t take my word for it, there are dozens of goddamned amazing clips of him playing on YouTube. It’s a rabbit hole I suspect you will enjoy going down, especially if you enjoy listening to someone play guitar like they were issued one at birth, and have been practicing since that day. Talk about prowess. And his tonality. The guy is the Yo Yo Ma of guitarists, he really is.

Steve Gunn has got a new album coming out this summer—Eyes On The Lines comes out on June 3rd via Matador—and I’m pleased to able to premiere the new video, “Ancient Jules” which co-stars another guitar hero, Michael Chapman here on Dangerous Minds. And yes, I played this one over and over again. I think you will too, it’s hard to resist.

I asked Steve Gunn a few questions over email.

Eyes On The Lines is a road album. Are they your road stories or road stories that you’re telling, like a novelist?


The new album is a combination of different kinds of stories and perspectives. Some are my own stories and some are not, a few are combinations of both. I tried to mix it up a bit more for this record.

I find that your music is so evocative of wide open spaces and expansive landscapes—like in the video—that it seems counterintuitive to read that you live in New York City.

The music I make obviously doesn’t have the urgency of a place like New York, but for me I suppose that’s where I find a balance. I’ve lived in a city most of my life, and a lot of these open spaces exist in my mind, rather than out of my kitchen window. I also travel a lot, and these songs are written far away from New York. I don’t think it’s counterintuitive to make the music I make and live in a city, because I don’t want to ride on a packed subway and come home and work on a crowded song. With that being said, I do think this new album is a bit more urgent than my previous records - both lyrically and musically. I’ve been slowly moving away from a more pastoral sound overall I think.

Are you on the road all the time?

Not all the time, but a lot. I’ve been home for while these past 6 months or so. Last year I was traveling more than half of the year. I’m looking at a long stretch of travel starting in a week. I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and playing theses new songs with the band.

Who is “Ancient Jules”?

He’s a long white bearded basement dwelling wizard guru who I once called for directions when I was lost on tour. He told us to cancel the gig, hang out for a while, and make our way to his place when we felt like it. We ended up there in the evening and hung out until the morning listening to records and playing broken guitars through solid state Peavey amps.

Tell me about the video. You get rescued by Michael Chapman?

In the video I’m on a road trip and l’m lost and broken down on the side of the road for a while. Michael happens to drive by and come to the rescue. I leave my motorcycle and we go back to his place and proceed to drink wine, talk, listen to records, and play some guitars. I thought making a video with Michael for this song would be an appropriate salute to him, and I was glad he agreed to do it. Michael has been a huge inspiration and friend to me for a while now, and I’ve been trying to get out to his house for a visit for years. I’ve heard so much about it - that it’s really this legendary place. He’s been in this old stone farm house on the UK/Scottish border since the mid sixties. Nick Drake showed up and slept on his couch one night. It’s a time capsule, and Michael has some of the most incredible stories. The guitar that I play in the video was once played by Jimi Hendrix at the legendary Les Cousins club in London in the late 1960’s. Michael accidentally napped through Jimi’s set in his car outside.

The album that he shows you… I’m guessing that it must be significant or else you probably wouldn’t have bothered to include a shot of it. What is it?

That night we were listening and talking a lot about different records, and Michael was playing me a few lps that his friend Don Nix produced. Michael spent a lot of time with Nix in the 70’s, and he’s got some good stories about how much of a character he was (and I guess still is). Nix came to England from Memphis and worked with Michael in the early 70’s. At this point in the video we were talking about the guitar player Jesse Ed Davis, and how he played guitar on so many great albums (his solo albums are also good).The LP he was shows me is Albert King’s Love Joy, which was produced by Nix and has Jesse Ed Davis, Jim Keltner, and Duck Dunn in the backing band. It’s not Albert King’s best record, but their playing on it is amazing.

So is the “message” of the song to allow life to take you on a detour every now and again and just see what happens?

Yes. I think about the night we had with Jules once and a while and smile.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Whatever happened to The Dave Clark Five?
05.10.2016
05:50 pm

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Music

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Although they were one of the top selling pop acts of the British invasion—just under the Beatles with sales of over 100 million records—The Dave Clark Five is little-remembered today. Despite a (belated) 2008 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the airing of a documentary about them several times on PBS, if you are much younger than say 60, then chances are that you’ve never heard of them, or heard any of their music.

Which is really too bad, because they were an awesome band. Their sound was exciting. The guitars buzzed, the vocals were frenzied and the drummer (Dave Clark) was a right thumper. Lead singer Mike Smith was a great frontman and songwriter. They weren’t exactly that hip, I will grant you, but most rock snob aficionados of 60s garage bands will come around to The Dave Clark Five eventually—sometime after exhausting the Paul Revere and the Raiders catalog down to the last B-side I would imagine—but the civilian, the man on the street? Nope, no idea who you are talking about. Dave Clark? The name might ring a bell but they think that maybe Dick Clark had a band, or something.

Suffice to say that this wound—i.e. the poor decision that would for all intents and purposes erase them from pop culture history (or at least see their career summed up as I am doing it here)—was self-inflicted. Unlike most groups, The Dave Clark Five owned their own masters. They weren’t obliged to go along with just any company who wanted to release their music on CD, they—Dave Clark in particular—had complete control and sat on the catalog hoping for the biggest pay-off they could get. But Clark apparently waited too long. You couldn’t purchase the music of The Dave Clark Five on any format from 1975 to 1993!
 

 
Harold Bronson, one of the co-founders of Rhino Records wrote about “what happened” to the Dave Clark Five on Huffington Post. He ably gets across how “Who are these guys?” one’s first exposure to the DC5 might be today:

To a younger pop music fan, familiar postwar newsreel footage of hysterically screaming girls and a beaming boy band lip synching to a soundtrack of unfamiliar songs might lead one to suspect that the program is a spoof documentary of a fake group like the Rutles. Although the Dave Clark Five were a real group that had more hits than bands like the Kinks, the Animals and the Yardbirds, why are they less-well remembered?

Bronson goes on to answer this question at length in his essay “Dave Clark’s Miscalculation”:

Dave hadn’t realized that by keeping the records out of the stores for nearly twenty years, he diminished their value. Oldies radio programmed less of the hits, as they were not available to the stations. Similarly, the records did not get exposed in other media like movies, TV shows, and commercials. He also was insensitive to music fans who wanted to hear the records: some wore out their vinyl copies, others replaced their turntables with CD players. Whatever residual presence the Dave Clark Five records had, had dissipated, and much of the band’s great music faded from memory. Record fans might still remember “Glad All Over” and maybe “Catch Us If You Can,” but how many can recall the top ten hits “Because,” “Can’t You See That She’s Mine” and “Over and Over”?

 

After the jump your crash course in The Dave Clark Five...

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
John Carpenter to release two double-A-side singles of his film themes
05.10.2016
02:42 pm

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Movies
Music

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It took a while, but John Carpenter has lately been getting due recognition for his considerable accomplishments as a composer.

Just a month ago the director of so many classic movies from the 1970s and 1980s released Lost Themes II, the follow up to his successful 2015 album Lost Themes, which so effortlessly made a decidedly ‘80s aesthetic sound fresh as a daisy.

It’s strange to think of someone starting a second career as a touring musician in his late 60s, but that’s pretty much what Carpenter is doing this year. In 2016 Carpenter will play his first-ever performances as a musician, hitting New York City and London as well as the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona and All Tomorrow’s Parties in Iceland.
 

 
Today came news of Carpenter’s intention to release two double-A-sided 12-inches featuring film themes from four of his movies from 1976 to 1981. Halloween (1978) will be paired with Escape From New York (1981) (available for preorder here), and Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) will be paired with The Fog (1980) (available for preorder here).

The dueling 12-inches will be released by Sacred Bones Records, which also put out both of the Lost Themes albums.

Today was apparently John Carpenter Day at Sacred Bones, which also released this terrific video of an in-studio performance of the Escape From New York theme:
 

 
via FACT

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Watch the Buzzcocks’ farewell concert before they split in 1981
05.10.2016
11:54 am

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Music
Punk

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The story of the Buzzcocks begins with an ad on a college notice board in 1975. The ad was placed by a young musician named Howard Trafford at the Bolton Institute of Technology. Trafford was looking for like-minded musicians to form a band. A student called Peter McNeish replied and the band that was to become the Buzzcocks was born.

McNeish changed his name to Pete Shelley. Trafford changed his to Howard Devoto. A drummer and bass player were recruited and the foursome played their first gig in February 1976.

They had ideas, they had a sense of what they wanted to do, but it didn’t really all gel until Shelley and Devoto traveled to London to see the Sex Pistols play. This was the kind of music they wanted to play—fast, furious, with purpose and edge. Being enterprising young lads, they booked the Pistols to play a gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester—the venue Bob Dylan played in 1965 when he went electric and was called a “Judas.”

The Sex Pistols first appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall was in June 1976. It’s been well documented and fair to say it was one of those gigs that changed musical history.  Among the 35-40 people in attendance that night were Mark E. Smith who would form The Fall, Steven Patrick Morrissey who would go on to form The Smiths, Ian Curtis who became the lead singer of Joy Division, Paul Morley who would write for the NME before becoming involved with record label ZTT and the Art of Noise, and er…Mick Hucknall….which proves that not all revolutionary events end in change.
 
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He was there: Pete Shelley showing the poster for the Sex Pistols second appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall with support from the Buzzcocks.
 
The Buzzcocks were supposed to support the Pistols that night—but Shelley and Devoto couldn’t rally any musicians together. This led to a more professional attitude and a new more permanent line-up. Steve Diggle joined on bass guitarist with John Maher on drums. When the Pistols returned in July, the Buzzcocks did support them this time. The Buzzcocks name came from a magazine headline—a review of the Rock Follies TV show—containing the words “buzz” and “cock.” You can see how this Sex Pistols-inspired name appealed to a group of young guys.

The band formed a record label, New Hormones, to release their first EP (the third ever punk single in the UK) “Spiral Scratch.” Unexpectedly, Devoto quit the band. Shelley took over lead vocals and shared songwriting duties with Steve Diggle—who had moved from bass to guitar while Stephen Garvey eventually joined as new bass player.

Over the next four years, the Buzzcocks produced a selection of powerful, memorable and infectious songs (“What Do I Get?” “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t've),” “Harmony In My Head” and “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” to name but four) that were sharp and clever and often lyrically as good as songs written by Ray Davies for the Kinks but with a more frenetic beat.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Instant Karma 1955: John Lennon’s high school detention logs
05.10.2016
10:17 am

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Amusing
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Pop Culture

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That John Lennon, inarguably one of the rock era’s greatest creative figures and pop culture icons, had a troubled childhood is hardly a secret—he came from the broken home of Julia Lennon (née Stanley) and the husband she’d married on a lark, an itinerant sailor called Fred Lennon who may have been in jail in North Africa at the time of his son’s birth. The young Lennon was raised by his aunt Mimi, not knowing that Julia was his real mother until he was almost 10, and behavior problems showed up early. Lennon once related to Beatle biographer Hunter Davies (The Beatles, The John Lennon Letters) the following:

The sort of gang I led went in for things like shoplifting and pulling girls’ knickers down. When the bomb fell and everyone got caught, I was always the one they missed. I was scared at the time but Mimi was always the only parent who never found out.

It merits mentioning that Lennon above is describing primary school, before he even attended high school. Upon his arrival at Liverpool’s Quarry Bank High School, his grades began to plummet, except in art. Celeb biographer Jeff Burlingame, in his John Lennon: Imagine, notes that

Even the corporal punishment administered by the teachers at the all-boys school did not stop John from misbehaving. He began his first year at Quarry Bank (which is equivalent to the seventh grade in the United States) as a top student, placed in what was called the “A” class, along with his best friend, Pete Shotton. As the years wore on, Shotton recalled the pair had clowned around and neglected their studies so frequently that they were moved down to the lowest-possible class, the “C” level “among the hardcore troublemakers, deadbeats, and halfwits.”

 

Troublemaker. Deadbeat. Halfwit.

Burlingame quotes Lennon:

I looked at all the hundreds of new kids and thought, Christ, I’ll have to fight my way through this lot…There was some real heavies there. The first fight I got in I lost. I lost me nerve when I got really hurt. Not that there was much real fighting. I did a lot of swearing and shouting, then got a quick punch…I was aggressive because I wanted to be popular. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted everybody to do what I told them to do, to laugh at my jokes and let me be the boss.

Because of the Beatles’ seismic popularity and outsized influence, pretty much anything even remotely connected to them is basically a fucking cash forge, so a page from Lennon’s Quarry Bank High School detention log from the 1954/55 school year is up for auction, and expected to fetch up to $4,000 USD. Per the auctioneer, Julien’s (the same auction house that recently sold for charity an intimidatingly huge trove of memorabilia from Ringo Starr’s personal hoard, including White Album #1), Lennon’s infractions included “silliness,” “fooling,” “nuisance,” “noise,” and “paper dart,” and notes that Lennon seems to have been referred for discipline every day, and sometimes twice a day. To be fair, Lennon’s were hardly criminal behaviors, and Quarry Bank must have been a mighty strict school—the last item shown in one image provided by the auction house is “decorating his exercise book.” What clearer pathway to prison could there be than THAT shocking transgression?
 

 
Whether you’re a Lennon obsessive or just a really specific discipline fetishist, the auction goes live on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 10:00 AM EDT. The auction theme is “Music Icons,” so there are other lots of interest to classic rock ‘n’ roll and Beatles fans generally, and Lennon fans specifically, including autographed photos, some of Lennon’s artwork, and White Album #2. Good luck.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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