After The Yardbirds in Blow-Up, my 2nd favorite band cameo has got to be from The Zombies in Skidoo-auteur Otto Preminger’s Bunny Lake Is Missing. They’re seen only briefly (and on a pub TV at that), but their presence does wonders to anchor the film in a place and time. And in a clear reaching out to, you know, “the kids,” they even cut a promo for Bunny—one that manages to mock, it seems, the very serious film they’re selling!
I accidentally stumbled across this clip of Madonna making a very early appearance at the fabled Danceteria nightclub in New York. It’s a wonder more people haven’t looked at this clip—just 4k as I write this. Must be one of the earliest Madonna performances out there (according to Wikipedia it was her very first “solo” appearance, but I’m not sure I believe that).
Madonna used to work at Danceteria, in the coat check. This is from a weekly talent show/cabaret night there that was called “No Entiendes,” hosted by Howie Montaug and DJ Anita Sarko.
In the garden of my house there’s a tree with lots of randomly grown twigs. It looks odd and nice at the same time. One day I asked myself if I could create a piece of music with it.
To tune the tree I picked a fundamental note and tuned the twigs by trimming them with a pencil sharpener. I used two R?ɬ?de NT6 and a NTG-2 as microphones, combined with a customized stethoscope.
I recorded the tracks live on a Pro Tools LE system. I didn’t use any synthesizer or sampler to create or modify the sounds. All the sounds come from playing the tree, by bowing the twigs, shaking the leaves, playing rhythms on the cortex and so on.
Recent discovery and obsession: The late sixties Vancouver, British Colombia band The Poppy Family. Imagine the Mamas and the Papas if they’d gone off their meds, they had sitars and tablas, and they’d been, you know, good. Apparently they had the biggest hit of all time (all Canadian time) in 1969 with “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” off their album of the same name. I’ve had that album on constant iPhone repeat and it never, ever gets old. It’s classic West Coast pop, but from the opposite end of the coast from California. You can almost hear the gloom creeping in from the Rockies…
Apparently the CD still hasn’t been re-issued, and it’s impossible to find on vinyl?
Despite the fact that his albums sit atop the Italian pop charts for half a year, every year and go platinum five times over, outside of Italy, few have heard of camp superstar Renato Zero. In some respects, Zero could be said to be the inventor of glam rock. He was, you know, just being himself long before Bolan or Bowie ever put on eyeliner or platform heels. He even had a punk name long before Sid Vicious or Johnny Rotten!
So flamboyant that he makes Freddie Mercury (or even Jobriath Boone) seem positively macho, Zero has steadfastly refused to either confirm or deny that he is gay (as if there would be much doubt?) throughout his now five decade long career. Often called “The Emperor of Rome,” he’s still a huge star today, performing spectacular concerts that would make Madonna jealous. Ladies and gentlemen, take a look at pioneering Italian mega-performer, Renato Zero!
1977 performance of “Mi Vendo.” This was my own introduction to Zero and it was a startling one, I think you’ll agree:
Renato Zero performing “Triangolo” in 1978 and rocking an outfit to die for!
I couldn’t find much information on German group New Production Goes to Munich’s 1987 hit “Tippen Ein.” But, for all you Tim and Eric fans out there, I think you’ll really love this twisted synthpop masterpiece. Genius.