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‘Starry Night’: Music from the wonderful (and criminally overlooked) Chican@ punk band The Brat
08.15.2017
09:21 am
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The influence of Mexican-American musicians on L.A. punk is undeniable thanks to key bands like the Zeros, Plugz, Bags, Stains, Suicidal Tendencies, Los Crudos et al sporting either partly or entirely Chicano/a lineups, but the full story really has yet to be told. That’s partly due to a schism in the L.A. scene—bands from East L.A. really didn’t get to participate much. In a segregated and cliquey city, East L.A. bands weren’t typically prioritized by a scene centered in the more affluent West Side areas where all the clubs were located.

But as ALWAYS happens when a sufficiently motivated creative scene is stifled or confined, a vibrant DIY ethos emerged. In 1980, East L.A. venue The Vex began supplementing a thriving gymnasiums-and-backyards gig circuit, and a creative community grew, a community that included the Boyle Heights band The Brat. Formed in 1979 and fronted by vocalist Teresa Covarrubias, the band purveyed an irresistible catchy, poppy, sound that was underpinned with punk aggression, politically conscious lyrics, and three-chords-and-a-cloud-of-dust arrangements. They were championed by Plugz/Cruzados main man Tito Larriva, who in 1980 released their 5-song E.P Attitudes on his Fatima label. They also released, on the 1983 Los Angelinos: The Eastside Renaissance compilation, a song called “The Wolf,” which sounds for all the world like an inspiration for Concrete Blonde’s indelible “Still in Hollywood” riff.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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08.15.2017
09:21 am
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‘English Boys’: Debbie Harry and Chris Stein visit the BBC children’s show ‘Swap Shop,’ 1979
08.10.2017
09:12 am
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Photo by Lynn Goldsmith (via Morrison Hotel)
 
Blondie is, per Kirsty Young, “the most successful American band ever in the UK.” In December of ‘79, having just topped the chart yet again with Eat to the Beat, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein paid a visit to the BBC’s Saturday morning kids’ show Swap Shop—apparently a rival of Tiswas whose full legal name was Multi-Coloured Swap Shop—where guests offered swag to lucky contestants who wrote in with the correct answer to a trivia question. Some of the dry goods on this episode come from the recently completed “rock and roll comedy” Roadie, in which Blondie’s co-stars were Meat Loaf, Alice Cooper, Roy Orbison and Art Carney.

During the best parts of the episode, Chris and Debbie press phones to their ears as the tiny, halting voices of English schoolchildren blurt out questions and wishes for a happy Christmas:

Ian Rutledge: I wanted to ask Debbie, did she participate in any sports?

Beverly Chinnick: Um, Debbie, who designs your clothes, and um, do you choose them?

Samantha Jarrett: Um, um, Debbie, did you name your group after your hair?

Paulette Baker: Can I ask Debbie a question? Was her hair always that fair color, or was it brown like the other members of her group?

Because the proceedings are so sweet, the mention of the disgraced TV host Jimmy Savile, who was revealed to have been a serial rapist of children shortly after his death, is startling. Brace yourself. (Savile does not appear on the show, though the gross likeness of his gross hair does.)

If Wikipedia is right, BBC wiped its archival tape of this episode in the late eighties. Three cheers for home recording.
 
Watch after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.10.2017
09:12 am
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Breaking news: EVERYONE can own Glenn Danzig’s house

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Well, since everyone is talking about wishing they could buy Glenn Danzig’s now iconic house since yesterday’s popular Dangerous Minds post—good news! We all can!

Well, sorta. The weird folks at Meth Syndicate, one of the top new companies that does the enamel metal pins that are so popular with the kids (along with their friends at Pizzaships) have come up with a way for all people to buy Glenn’s house! Yup, the “Danzig’s House hard enamel pin”!
 
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It’s posted on their Instagram page along with this text:
 
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As some of you reading this know, I used to be in Danzig and I lived in the guest house there for quite a while and it was bat shit crazy! Not because of Glenn, mind you, but because of YOU! YOU PEOPLE are crazy!

A little after I started living there we had to start chaining the driveway gate to keep the nuts out. I’d wake up many mornings to “the spray can girl” who would walk up and down the driveway slowly shaking a spraypaint can (KA-CHUNK, KA-CHUNK, KA-CHUNK) like some kinda tribal death march. Notes, records, dead things, you name it. When people showed up and were calm and friendly, Glenn was always unfailingly nice. I have known him since 1978 and he’s super cool, he was always fair and generous as a bandleader and I think all the kookoo fans that come up with these weird trips about him are both a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have fans but put yourselves in Glenn’s hooves, imagine being bugged by creepy nuts who all have your address, day and night? Just living with it was pretty unnerving. So remember “Do what thou wilt” unless thou art an idiot! Then do the opposite!

Leave your dark idol the hell alone!!
 

Posted by Howie Pyro
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08.04.2017
05:34 pm
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‘It’s All True’: Experimental opera based on Fugazi’s live tapes?
07.28.2017
09:46 am
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Photo of Object Collective by Henrik Beck
 
Object Collection, an experimental performance outfit from Brooklyn, has recorded an “opera-in-suspension” based on the Fugazi Live Series. Like a more pretentious “Having Fun on Stage with Fugazi,” all of the opera’s musical and verbal material comes from between-song ephemera:

Grounded upon the Live Archive series of the Washington DC outfit, composer Travis Just and writer/director Kara Feely’s work uses only the incidental music, text and sounds, none of Fugazi’s actual songs. An obsessive leap into 1500 hours of gig detritus spanning shows from 1987 to 2002, and encompassing random feedback, aimless drum noodling, pre-show activist speeches, audience hecklers, and the police breaking up gigs. All of this material is the foundation of an ear-body-and-mind-flossing 100 minutes for 4 voices/performers, 4 electric guitars/basses and 2 percussionists.

The press release describes It’s All True as “a radical incitement to action,” which sounds like a euphemism for massive audience walkouts during the first five minutes. But the members of Fugazi have given the production their blessing. Guy Picciotto says:

All of us were both blown away and disoriented by the work – it was well beyond anything we had anticipated when agreeing to Travis’ early request. We feel moved by Object Collection’s engagement with our archive material and salute everyone involved for their hard work and patience and for wrestling with such integrity with our sounds and words.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.28.2017
09:46 am
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‘Who ate my pie?’ David Byrne plays boorish, mustachioed, pie-loving drunk on PBS sitcom


 
The first episode of the PBS anthology series Trying Times (originally called Survival Guide) was directed by Jonathan Demme. “A Family Tree” stars Rosanna Arquette as a science major and aspiring astronaut on a nightmare first visit to her future in-laws’ place. Everything that can go wrong does, but nothing is worse than the behavior of her presumptive brother-in-law, Byron, the boorish pie-hoarder played by David Byrne. “Ask me what’s the most poisonous snake in the world,” he dares her.

I recommend the whole half-hour episode (split into 1 2 3 parts on the YouTube), but the “Who ate my pie?” scene below is a satisfying quick fix of David Byrne acting like a total asshole.

The New Yorker posted this review of “A Family Tree” shortly after Demme’s death.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.13.2017
10:59 am
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Jerry Only’s original (destroyed) Misfits bass can be yours!
07.11.2017
11:47 am
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Misfits mega-fans take note: Jerry Only’s original customized 1979 Rickenbacker 4001 bass, played throughout the Danzig years of the Misfits, is up for auction on eBay.

The bass, which is in pieces barely even usable for spare parts, was smashed by Jerry at an unnamed Misfits show. It is clearly being sold strictly as a collector’s item, and will undoubtedly fetch a princely sum.

The auction description details the item’s provenance:

This was played live throughout the early years of the Misfits. It can be seen in various states of originality in countless photos and videos. First as a typical black Ric with black hardware and then with Double Precision bass pickups, modified batwing-shaped tuners, painted fingerboard with white skull and red bat inlays, and added headstock attachment complete with rubber skull. It was ultimately smashed at a show and thus retired.

The item was acquired from a Misfits collector who had purchased the bass body separately from the rubber skull, which had been picked up by another fan at the show where the instrument was destroyed.
 

 
When the collector told Jerry Only that he had bought this battered bass, Jerry sent him a care package full of old parts: modified bat-tuners, Rickenbacker bridge,  and a P-Bass style pickup.

Also included is the original strap, a small piece of material used as the pickguard, a thumb pick, and as an added bonus, an Ernie Ball/Music Man hardshell case owned by Danzig bassist Jerry Montano.

As of this writing, with 7 days left in the auction, the bidding currently sits at $1,750.00.
 

 
After the jump, more pics plus some rough quality video footage of what might possibly be the very night this bass was destroyed…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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07.11.2017
11:47 am
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If this is Heaven, I’m nodding off: Watch Nick Cave and the Birthday Party dissolve in a druggy haze
07.11.2017
10:58 am
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When director Heiner Mühlenbrock showed up with his cameras to document the tense April 1983 recording sessions for the final Birthday Party EP, Mutiny!, the group was well beyond the verge of druggy dissolution and barely on speaking terms. Mutiny! was cut at Hansa Ton studios in Berlin and the viewer is shown the development of the haunting “Jennifer’s Veil,” one of The Birthday Party’s finest—and darkest—moments on record and Nick Cave adding his vocal to “Swampland” (some truly, truly impressive scream-singing during that bit).

Although he seems pretty sharp here, initially at least, at a certain point, Cave just nods off in the studio… for several minutes. (Maybe he was… tired?)

Mick Harvey told the Quietus:

“From an outside perspective it wouldn’t have looked like our creative juices had dried up, but I can assure you they had! Getting those five or six songs that ended up on Mutiny! out of the writers was really like getting blood out of a stone.”

More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.11.2017
10:58 am
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The Screamers logo has been stolen for a (Billy Idol-themed?) novelty firework
07.07.2017
10:20 am
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I have often dreamed of a career naming novelty fireworks. How do you describe one particular sparkler that looks almost identical to all the rest of ‘em, in one snappy title? By use of a great stretch of creativity, of course. I’m sure some of you are familiar with much of the web’s “best of fireworks brand names” collections, including clever titles such as the Psycho X-Girlfriend, Nuclear Sunrise, One Bad Mother-In-Law, The Golden Shower, Uncle Sam’s Answer, Forced Entry, and one for the entire family, the Poopy Puppy.

The latest from this year’s Independence Day collection arrives with one for the nation’s imaginary population of patriotic punks. Produced by a company out of Osage City, Kansas (but made in China, natch), the Rebel Yell novelty firework (obviously) packs much of the same punch as Billy Idol’s hit song of the same name. Its description reads:

Three stage whistle cake will leave you screaming more, more, MORE!

It seems pretty obvious that they thought this logo was meant to represent Billy Idol. While this is not the first novelty firework with this name (another contains Confederate flag imagery because there’s a market for that), it is perhaps the first ever to utilize the explosive logo of first-wave Los Angeles electropunk band, The Screamers. The iconic image, which was designed by artist and cartoonist Gary Panter, is almost too perfect for use on a firework that I’m actually surprised it took someone nearly forty years to rip it off!

More after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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07.07.2017
10:20 am
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L7 sell their souls in Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic’s road movie ‘The Beauty Process’
07.07.2017
09:52 am
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Krist Novoselic’s band after Nirvana, Sweet 75, opened for L7 on their tour for The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum. Novoselic cast L7 as the stars of his surrealistic Super 8 tour movie, L7: The Beauty Process, and released it as a now-scarce home video. It’s good fun.

A collection of live clips linked by skits, this vid’s amateurish 8mm vibe recalls Desperate Teenage Lovedolls and In the Beginning Was the End: The Truth about De-Evolution. Musicians and other non-actors ad lib unsteadily through single takes filmed in conference rooms and parking lots.

Because it captured the specific emptiness of its time and place, I think of Gregg Araki’s Nowhere, a movie I last saw in 1997, as a cousin to L7: The Beauty Process. In one scene in the L7 movie, a guy from market research subjects the members of the group to the year’s hot new sounds. It’s a tour of everything awful: confessional singer-songwriters, third-wave ska, and “Nirvana-lite angst crybaby middle-class-white-boy grunge.” Then a record industry sleaze takes the band to lunch and offers them anything on the kids’ menu. Straightforward and entertaining enough, but the scene where the devil himself officiates a graduation ceremony for the four women of L7 is the one you take home. (They are graduating from having souls, I think?) And the live footage is, of course, a blast.

The bullshit copy on the sleeve is a good indication of the picture’s tone:

The Beauty Process is a bonafide Rock ‘n’ Roll film. The sensational rock group, L7, take us on a musical flight into the stratosphere only coming down to burrow deep into the sub terrain of music commerce. Bitter and irresponsible, it is a cautionary tale to those who aspire merging art with commerce. Ultimately, The Beauty Process is a moving inspiration demonstrating personal triumph and liberation in the face of adversity. Including the songs; Fast & Frightening, Drama, Shitlist, Andres & more!!!!

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.07.2017
09:52 am
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Todd Bridges and the ‘Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience’ cover the ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ theme
06.23.2017
12:52 pm
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The actor Todd Bridges, best known for the role of Willis Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes, which he inhabited between the ages of 13 through 21, has precisely one credit on Discogs, the exhaustive music recording resource that you’ve probably already consulted five times this week, if not many more times than that. It’s a fascinating one, and actually, his performance pretty much puts the question of why he doesn’t have more music credits in his CV to rest.

In 1997, in the middle of a big era for hastily assembled CD compilations, Which? Records put out an amusing comp called Show & Tell: A Stormy Remembrance of TV Theme Songs, which exploited the marketable idea of having a bunch of punk and thrash bands do covers of famous TV theme songs. The Meatmen contributed two tracks, “Green Acres” and “Mission: Impossible,” Murphy’s Law did the theme to “Zoom” (with DM’s own Howie Pyro on backing vocals), and the Dickies recorded a cover of “Secret Agent Man.” It’s fun stuff—really, how could it go wrong?

The attention-getting bit of business—enough to merit special mention on the album cover, done up to vaguely resemble a copy of TV Guide—was Todd Bridges singing lead vocal on a thrashy cover of the theme song from the show he will never not be associated with. The full credit runs Todd Bridges and the Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience cover “Diff’rent Strokes”—the familiar, perky ditty that was co-written by none other than Alan Thicke. 
 

 
Not surprisingly, there was no such thing as the Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience, other than that record. The bassist, John Jesse, and the guitarist, Roy Mayorga, at that time were members of a band called Thorn but were rather better known for their work in the influential crust punk band Nausea. Weirdly, Mayorga is credited as playing guitar on this song but is really a drummer.

The rendition lasts a cool 50 seconds, and Bridges….... well, let’s just say holding a tune is not a big part of Bridges’ skill set.

The October 1998 issue of Vibe featured a Q&A with Gary Coleman, Bridges’ diminutive co-star on the TV show, and writer Peter Relic asked Coleman about Bridges’ recent turn as a singer:
 

Vibe: Have you been to a gig of Todd Bridges’ punk band, the Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience?

Coleman: You’re kidding! Todd didn’t tell me about that.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.23.2017
12:52 pm
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