I went to see “dirty” rapper Blowfly play sometime in the 80s at an eco-friendly hippie nightclub in New York called the Wetlands Preserve with John Sex, who, no surprise, was a huge Blowfly fan. The Wetlands Preserve was then, and probably still is, the kind of joint where you would eat sea-weed salad and brown rice and watch a jam band play, like Blues Traveler or the Spin Doctors. I also saw Terence McKenna and Timothy Leary speak there. It’s that sort of place, so watching Blowfly, the world’s filthiest rapper, whip out his thang there was a tad incongruous with the tie-died Grateful Dead-inspired decor and surroundings.
Looking like a low-budget combination of a Mexican wrestler, Sun Ra and “Dumb Donald” (one of Fat Albert’s cartoon Cosby Kids cronies) Blowfly came onstage in a glittery cape and superhero outfit in a billow of dry ice smoke. I think his first song was called “Doin’ the Fuck and Suck,” a take-off of Rufus Thomas’s already fairly suggestive “Doin’ the Push and Pull.” His second number was the more moody, contemplative “Suck My Dick.” He did “Shittin’ On the Dock of the Bay” and “Soul Man” became… “Hole Man.” You get the idea. It was good dirty fun, but not necessarily the kind of act that I needed to see twice…
Apparently, Blowfly was an alter-ego developed to hide behind, so that successful R&B songwriter Clarence Reid (who wrote songs for Gwen McCrae and KC & the Sunshine Band) could continue his career while letting his freakier side out… Now there is a new documentary about Blowfly, featuring the participation of Jello Biafra, Ice-T and Chuck D. I haven’t seen it yet, but I want to after watching this trailer. The Weird World of Blowfly is released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 15th by Indie Blitz/E1 Entertainment.
I have been waiting for a band or an act to put into music all the feelings that have been driving the Occupy movement. Music is still one of the fastest means of spreading a meme, and I think it’s a mark of how truly “popular” a movement has become when it has its own protest music that reflects the anger and desires of the protesters.
It seems rather fitting then that the first large-scale act to do so would be squat-rave and black block veterans Atari Teenage Riot. Alec Empire and Nic Endo’s Berlin-based anarchist mob have been screaming about this kind of thing since the early 90s, and it looks like the world has finally caught up with what they have to say. While personally I would have thought it would be a new act to break through representing a new generation, no-one can doubt ATR’s credentials when it comes to this kind of thing. In fact, maybe in this age of ultra-commodified music it would HAVE to take a more veteran, established act to represent OWS and Anonymous so as to avoid claims of false appropriation?
You have to hand it to ATR though, “Black Flags” is a pretty great tune. I’d say it’s one of their most accessible yet while retaining all that dark techno-punk scuzzy energy we know and love (metal guitars over distorted 909 drums? fuck yeah!). You can hear the track, and download it for free, right here:
The video for ‘Black Flags’ has been put together using footage supplied by fans of the band, and they are still looking for more if anyone reading would like to get involved. Here’s a statement from the Alec Empire / Atari Teenage Riot Soundcloud page:
In the past decade we have witnessed how dangerous corruption can be for ordinary citizens, from Fukushima to the financial crisis, we could even include the current phone hacking scandals in the UK in this. The list goes on. Almost weekly more shocking news is being published. Corporate greed has too often put the lives of people in danger.
Historically, the Black Flag stood for not belonging to a certain Nation State (due to the fact that no national colors were used on it). For the us, it means also that no individual can look at him/herself as superior to others just because of his/her national identity.
The mainstream media often looks at “consumers” and labels them as “apathetic.” But as the protests around the world have indicated, there is more political activism than ever before. And not only that, we see the same activism and energy at our concerts.
Cynics always find many reasons for not doing anything and being miserable. Often they say that the world is too “complex” to get involved. We believe that even though the world is complex, there are some fundamentally powerful ideas. Respect for another human being, for example, is a fundamental idea that grants great power.
If you agree to the basic principles of equality and freedom, join us and make a statement!
If you want to be in the video and show that you support the ideals mentioned above, please send us the following footage:
• Take your mobile phone, webcam or any other camera and film yourself lip-synching the song Atari Teenage Riot - Black Flags (feat. Boots Riley) by Alec Empire/ ATR • Have a black flag in the background, or hold it while you’re lip-syncing. (The black flag motif will link all images together. If you don’t have one to hand, use a black T-shirt, pull it inside out, stick the arms into it…there you go.) • You can choose any location for it. If you want to do it at home, great. If you know a crazy location, do it there. (In front of your school or university? At a shopping mall? With your friends at a party?) • We will use fragments of all videos, which are sent in and ultimately add all of you to the official video. • If you want to support the idea but want to do so anonymously, you can cover your face. No problem.
I love everything about this video of Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone being interviewed for cable TV in Eugene, Oregon on May 2, 1983. Their uncompromising purity is so rare and genuine. When the female interviewer insistently and cluelessly pushes the idea that they will somehow become bored and outgrow their unique style of rock and roll, the guys respond with frustration and disbelief. Why would anyone want to change something that was and is perfect?
At one point Johnny says The Ramones’ career might last a couple of more years. And he’s fine with that. Little did he know. The band continued for almost another 20 years before 3/4s of the band died. I miss them dearly.
During the interview Johnny mentions that MTV rejected their new, at the time, video for “Psychotherapy” for being too violent. Watch the uncut version after the jump.
DM’s Richard Metzger is on a B-52s jag and I thought I’d add a little something to the party.
33 years after seeing Fred, Kate, Cindy and Ricky at Max’s Kansas, I caught their show tonight here in Austin. Ricky sadly has long since departed this mortal coil but Keith Strickland has ably filled his shoes for the past two and a half decades.
The band is going through the motions but the motions are still fluid, funky and fun. It’s hard to believe the 52 in their band name could now be construed as a reference to their ages.
Here’s a clip of the group doing the THE party song of the 80s, “Love Shack.” They’re joined by Sterling Campbell (drums), Paul Gordon (keyboards, guitar) and Tracy Wormworth (bass)
“I never saw Joe pass a needy or homeless person without giving them something.” – Bob Gruen
Strummerville will be releasing a Christmas card this year to raise money for music in schools related charities, featuring an unpublished photo by Bob Gruen of Joe Strummer. You can order them starting November 11th.
Ciao! Manhattan director David Weisman claims that this is “the only known footage of the inside of Max’s Kansas City.” Of course, he’s not including all the films and videos of performances shot at Max’s. But those don’t reveal what the club as a whole looked like.
A brief glimpse into New York’s epicenter of cool when everything and everyone seemed larger than life.
Viva, Richie Berlin, Ara Gallant and Paul America make fleeting appearances. This was shot in the late Sixties. Weisman narrates.
It’s great to see some B-52s lovin’ going on at DM just now. As Richard has mentioned they’re a uniquely American band, and a serious gateway to trashy American kitsch-and-camp like John Waters and Russ Meyers. They’ve been known to inspire some extreme reactions in their fans too. Just take a look at this guy:
Lost and found rock and roll gems meet 42nd street sexploitation, biker movies, Blaxploitation, Euro-sleaze and more!
NSFW unless you work the night shift at a strip joint.
01. “The First Time I Saw You” - The Others
02. “Hot Smoke And Sassafras” - Nite People
03. “You Got Me High” - New Order
04. “Spoonful” - Rats
05. “Psychotic Reaction” - Positively Thirteen O’ Clock
06. “Sha-La-La-Lee” - Small Faces
07. “Satin City News” - Trolls
08. “This Week’s Children” - Twas Brillig
09. “Please Don’t Hurt Me” - Nomads
10. “Hold On” - Rupert’s People
11. “Every Day, Every Night” - Trolls
12. “Reality” - Prodigal
13. “Lawdy Mama” - Cream
14. “Dirty Old Man” - Twas Brillig
15. “Vagrant Writer” - Bob Seger And The Last Heard
16. “Just Wanna Be Myself” - Na-Na-Mees
17. “I Found A New Love” - Ognir And The Nite People
18. “Nadine” - Smokestack Lightning
19. “Facts Of Life” - X-Treems
20. “The Two Of Us” - The Yellow Payges
21. “You Can Make It” - Richard And The Young Lions
22. “Fifteen” - Highway Robbery
23. “Sweet Woman Like You” - Stonehenge
24. “Tiki God” - The Legends
25. “Deathhead” - Punch