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New York’s burning: Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros at Roseland Ballroom, 1999
07.17.2012
02:35 am

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History
Music
Punk

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There are moments in this performance by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros that reach Clash-like power and glory. I saw the band perform in June of 1999 at Irving Plaza in NYC, five months before this Roseland show, and it was thrilling. Strummer had the energy of a man half his age and he blew the roof off the place. The thought he would be dead three years later was inconceivable. In 1999, he seemed to be at the height of his powers and invincible.

01. Safe European Home
02. Yalla Yalla
03. Rudie Can’t Fail
04. Tony Adams
05. White Man In Hammersmith Palais
06. London Calling
07. Tommy Gun
08. X-Ray Style
09. White Riot

This is exciting stuff. It’s edited down from the full set, which I believe was around 16 songs. The quality is terrific.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Heaven Knows He Was Miserable Then: Morrissey’s first postcard to a pen-pal from 1980
07.16.2012
06:51 pm

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Amusing
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morrissey_penpal_1980
 
This is Morrissey’s first correspondence to his Scottish pen-pal Robert Mackie, from 1980.

21-year-old Morrissey was writing in response to a personal ad placed in Sounds magazine, and his message, written on the back of a postcard featuring a picture of James Dean reads:

Steven Morrissey
384- Kings Rd
STRETFORD
Manchester- M32 8GW

Dear Person,

So nice to know there’s another soul out there, even if it is in Glasgow.

Does being Scottish bother you? Manchester is a lovely little place, if you happen to be a bedridden deaf mute.

I’m unhappy, hope you’re unhappy too.

In poverty,

Steven

Morrissey and Mackie remained pen-pals for 18 months, shortly before the formation of The Smiths in 1983.
 
morrissey_letter_of_note_1980
 
With thanks to Letter of Note
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Deep Purple’s Jon Lord dead at 71
07.16.2012
03:21 pm

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Music
R.I.P.

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One time Deep Purple keyboardist, Jon Lord has died in London at the age of 71. In a band with such a continuously flucuating line-up, Lord was one of the heavy group’s few constant members, co-writing hits like “Smoke on the Water,” “Strange Kind of Woman” and “Black Night.” Lord played keyboards in Deep Purple from the band’s formation in 1968 through their first split in 1976 and when they reformed in 1984 until he retired from music in 2002.

The statement from his website reads:

It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday 16th July at the London Clinic, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family.

Jon Lord, the legendary keyboard player with Deep Purple co-wrote many of the bands legendary songs including Smoke On The Water and played with many bands and musicians throughout his career.

Best known for his Orchestral work Concerto for Group & Orchestra first performed at Royal Albert Hall with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969 and conducted by the renowned Malcolm Arnold, a feat repeated in 1999 when it was again performed at the Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and Deep Purple.

Jon’s solo work was universally acclaimed when he eventually retired from Deep Purple in 2002.

Jon passes from Darkness to Light.

Born in Leicester, June 9, 1941, Lord was a classically trained pianist, who originally planned a career as an actor. He attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, while keyboards (piano, Hammond organ) with various Jazz combos.

In 1960, he joined the jazz band the Bill Ashton Combo. He also worked a as session musician playing keyboards on The Kinks first hit “You Really Got Me”. During the mid-1960s, Lord formed and played with a variety of bands (including one with Ronnie Wood) before forming Deep Purple with Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice in 1968.

Deep Purple, along with Black Sabbath, pioneered Heavy Metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Purple had the edge through the Blackmore’s brilliant guitar-playing and Lord’s mastery of the keyboards (primarily the Hammond organ). Together they made Deep Purple one of the most exciting bands on the planet. Of particular merit was their ability to perform a classical album Concerto for Group and Orchestra, mainly under Lord’s influence, and one of Rock’s greatest albums Machine Head, mainly under Blackmore’s influence. It was this ability to try out each other’s musical ideas that made the band so successful. Or as Lord said in 1973:

‘We’re as valid as anything by Beethoven.’

After he left Deep Purple in 1976, Lord released a solo album Sarabande and then went on to join Whitesnake, remaining an integral part of the band until 1984.

Lord was a brilliant musician, whose talents went beyond his work in Rock and Heavy Metal. He wrote and released several classical music albums including The Gemini Suite , Windows and To Notice Such Things. He also had a fruitful collaboration with the singer Sam Brown on the albums, Before I Forget, the concept album, Picture Within and Beyond the Notes.

Jon Lord 9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012.
 

 
Bonus: Deep Purple in concert from New York, 1973, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Velvet Underground eye test chart
07.16.2012
11:08 am

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Amusing
Art
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A nifty Velvet Underground eye test chart modeled after “the classic eye chart developed by Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen in 1862” from Etsy shop Waste and Wounded.

It’s selling for $65.00 + shipping.

The Velvet Underground Eye Test Chart

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The mondo world of rock ‘n’ roll: Punksploitation (NSFW)
07.14.2012
11:44 pm

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Amusing
Media
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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I am so curious about the plot to get Patti Smith. Aren’t you?  I’m going to track down that “collectors” issue of Punk Rock Stars magazine and get to the bottom of that headline. Stay tuned.

The whole notion that punks were sex-crazed is far from the truth. Most hardcore punks I knew back in the ‘70s were apathetic when it came to sex. Free love was for the hippies. And the S&M thing was more about fashion than action.
 

 
More shocking photos after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Shocking: Was Woody Guthrie a racist?
07.13.2012
06:19 pm

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Class War
History
Music

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Tomorrow will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie, and here in Los Angeles, where Guthrie lived pre-fame, a town square will be re-dedicated in his honor. But in the midst of all of the nostalgic left-wing lionization of the singing poet of the Dustbowl, the downtrodden and the little guy (and the songwriter of “This Land Is Your Land”), a seldom-discussed aspect of the great folk singer’s life has come to light…

In a post titled “Little Known Fact: Woody Guthrie Was a Big Ol’ Racist” by Jonny Whiteside on the LA Weely’s blog, Whiteside lays out the case (supported by several Guthrie biographies), that Guthrie was not always the enlightened, politically progressive Okie sage who influenced Bob Dylan:

Having blacked-up as a teenager in Okemah to perform a half-baked minstrel show, Guthrie while living in Echo Park took time out from championing oppressed white Okies to doodle his innumerable cartoons of what he described as “jungle blacks,” a group he also referred to as “n*ggers,” “darkies,” “chocolate drops” and, yes, “monkeys.”

After encountering a group of African-Americans on Santa Monica Beach one day in 1937, Guthrie immortalized the meeting in a lengthy poem that included stanzas like “What is that Ethiopian smell / upon the Zephyrs, what a fright!” and “We could dimly hear their chants / and we thought the blacks by chance / were doing a cannibal dance.”

Broadcasting on Pasadena’s KFVD, Guthrie often indulged in on-air employ of ebonics and was stunned when a black listener characterized the singer as “unintelligent” after hearing Guthrie perform songs with titles like “Run, N*gger, Run” and “N*gger Blues.” Fortunately for him, recordings of these tunes do not survive.

(Guthrie apologists are quick to point out that “n*gger” was then in common usage. But it’s intended meaning was pejorative then—and, yes, racist—just as it is now.)

Later, Guthrie said, “A young Negro in Los Angeles wrote me a nice letter one day telling me the meaning of that word [n*gger] and that I shouldn’t say it anymore on the air. So I apologized.” He next “tore all the n*gger songs out of his songbook.”

Sounds like he had a change of heart. And, indeed, he went on to pen anti-racist songs.

But the bottom line is that Guthrie was clearly not the simple, working-man’s champion that he’s portrayed as. The full story is the full story, and glossing over the man’s faults does everyone a disservice. Even if it is his birthday.

You can hear two of the four recently unearthed Woody Guthrie songs, “Big City Ways” and “Skid Row Serenade” here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Gun Club live at The Hacienda in Manchester, 1983
07.13.2012
03:03 pm

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Music
Punk

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Gun Club live at the Hacienda, Manchester, England 1983.

Jeffrey Lee Pierce vocals, Jim Duckworth guitar ,
Patricia Morrison bass, Dee Pop drums

Strange Fruit
Fire of Love
Run Through The Jungle
John Hardy
The Lie
Black Train
Cool Drink of Water Blues
Fire Spirit
Death Party
Sex Beat
Goodbye Johnny
Texas Serenade
Heebee Geebees
Disco Inferno Mix
 
Watch the Gun Club video after the jump…
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Filth & The Fury: Christeene’s LA album launch, tomorrow night!
07.12.2012
08:53 pm

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Dance
Music
Queer
Unorthodox

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Christeene live photo by Donald Mason
 
Hey LA, watch out, ‘cos Christeene is comin’ for you! Tomorrow night sees the obscene (and obscenely talented) drag phenomena bringing her filthy ass to your town, to terrorise the locals, and officially launch her debut album Waste Up, Kneez Down with a live performance at Trannyshack on Sunset Blvd.

And what a damn good album it is! Make no mistake: Christeene may come across like a novelty act, pushing drag to its most unacceptable social limits, but there is a true artist at work here, with a style, voice and a sound that is completely unique.

Waste Up, Kneez Down is the best album to come out of any kind of “queer” underground in a loooong time. Christeene (aka performance artist Paul Soileau) has really come through with the potential she showed in her early clips, and delivered a fully-rounded, tight-as-hell, funky and filthy album that can hold its own against anyone else in dance and electronica.

Producer JJ Booya has done an excellent job here. There’s shades of the dirty south and British dubstep in the bass and the beats, with a majority of the tracks being guaranteed dancefloor dynamite. The less dancefloor-orientated songs are like the demented, bizarre offspring of R Kelly and Beyonce, kids that came out all wrong and remain chained up in the basement, but in their isolation have developed a surreal and shocking humour all of their own. Just what exactly are you “Workin’ On Grandma” with, Christeene?!

I haven’t been as excited about a queer act since I first heard Yo Majesty, and there’s even some mumblings about Waste Up, Kneez Down being the first true successor to The Teaches Of Peaches. And maybe it is. Yeah, it’s that good.

You can buy (and hear) Christeene’s debut album over at CD Baby, and if you are anywhere near Trannyshack LA tomorrow night, then this is one show that’s a MUST. To whet your appetite, here’s an interview with the lady herself, care of the very nice people at Austin’s Vesper magazine, who did us all a favour by subtitling Christeene’s guttural drawl. There’s also some neat footage of Christeene performing live (and performing lewd acts) with her dancers, so you know what to expect.

Watch the video after the jump…
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Previews for every movie ever made starring Elvis Presley
07.12.2012
08:09 pm

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Movies
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I own a commercially-released and now very rare VHS copy of this trailer compilation. It wasn’t available for very long. Licensing issues? Probably. The quality is of the bootleg variety. Presley fans may consider downloading it. Though the King may come looking for you.

Here’s a list of films included in the video.

That poster up there for King Creole was created for the French release of the film. It’s 47 x 63 inches. I just had mine framed - I’ve owned if for almost 20 years. It takes up an entire wall in my dining room. I’m not a big Elvis fan but that poster looks awesome when it’s right in front of you. Pop art that pops.
 
Watch the video after the jump…
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Deconstructing ‘Sympathy for the Devil’: Hear The Rolling Stones in the studio, 1968
07.12.2012
03:30 pm

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Movies
Music

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image
 
The way the Rolling Stones classic “Sympathy for the Devil” was developed in the studio is well-known, with an almost real-time documentation (at least it feels like real-time) of the recording sessions shown in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1968 film, One Plus One AKA Sympathy for the Devil. The film featured long, uninterrupted takes of the Stones working the song up in the studio and the number’s basic structure is changed several times over before they finally hit on the sound they want (The rest of the film shows scenes of supposed Black Panthers, newsreel footage of the Vietnam War, pans across a bookstore’s comic, girlie magazine and political book covers and features hefty doses of Marxism and Maoism in the voice-over, this being Godard in the 60s, after all.)

The original sessions took place in Olympic Studios in London, between June 4th to the 10th, 1968. The working title of the song was “The Devil Is My Name.” In the film, the group goes through several iterations of the song, from almost a bluesy, folky ballad (similar to “Jigsaw Puzzle”) to the freaked-out samba it ultimately became. During the session, the words were changed from “who killed Kennedy?” to “who killed the Kennedys?” after the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

Although the song was primarily a Jagger composition, its lyrics inspired by the great Russian novel, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, it was Richards who came up with the song’s samba arrangement, playing both bass and lead guitar. The druggy dissolution of Brian Jones is seen unvarnished in Godard’s film, his usefulness in the studio coming to an end (he is not heard on the finished track). Rocky Dijon played the congas, Bill Wyman is heard on maracas, and frequent Stones sideman, Nicky Hopkins is on piano. (In the Godard film, Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, producer Jimmy Miller, Wyman and Richards are seen recording backup vocals, but the “whoo whoo” backing vocals were overdubbed in Los Angeles by Miller, Jagger and Richards alone).

Charlie Watts told the authors of 2003’s According to the Rolling Stones: “‘Sympathy’ was one of those sort of songs where we tried everything. The first time I ever heard the song was when Mick was playing it at the front door of a house I lived in in Sussex… He played it entirely on his own… and it was fantastic. We had a go at loads of different ways of playing it; in the end I just played a jazz Latin feel in the style of Kenny Clarke would have played on ‘A Night in Tunisia’ - not the actual rhythm he played, but the same styling.”

The Stones in the studio from Jean Luc-Godard’s One Plus One AKA Sympathy for the Devil. This is all of their bits from the film minus the Maoist sloganeering and Black Power sermonizing of the rest of it.
 

 
After the jump, the isolated tracks…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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