Happy birthday Nina Hagen!
07:04 am


Nina Hagen

Today we celebrate the 59th birthday of that great German singer Nina Hagen. Her cartoon-punkette-channeling-Marlene-Dietrich persona and the sort of high-bombast singing at which Germans seem to excel made her known in the English-speaking world for 1980s albums like the excellent NunSexMonkRock, Fearless and In Ekstase, but she was already known in her home of East Germany for tamer stuff. I can do no better at describing her early years—and the amazing story of how she got out of the GDR—than this DM post from 2011.

Since her ‘80s flirtation with English-language LPs, Hagen has made music primarily for European audiences. Here she is in a rare duet with that other incontestably Teutonic entertainer, Heino, performing a send-up of “Hi Lili, Hi Lo” from the 1953 Leslie Caron film Lili

WHY haven’t those two made albums together? I could listen to that. All. Day. Long.

Hagen remains 100% active, and it might surprise some readers to know that her last two albums have been gospel-tinged. She underwent a Protestant baptism in 2009, which informed Personal Jesus (yes, it includes a cover of the Depeche Mode song) and 2011s Volksbeat. Both are available for streaming.

We’ll end this birthday tribute to an admirably durable artist with an interesting A/B of her early and later years, via these two Rockpalast appearances, shot 21 years apart.

Nina Hagen Band, Rockpalast, 1978

Nina Hagen, Rockpalast, 1999

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto, Buzzcocks and Magazine in vintage punk doc ‘B’dum B’dum’ from 1978

Punk history on the installment plan…part one

The Buzzcocks had to be quick because they didn’t know how long they would last. That’s what Pete Shelley told Tony Wilson over tea and cigarettes in this documentary B’dum B’dum from 1978.

Made as part of Granada TV’s What’s On series, B’dum B’dum follows the tale of the band Buzzcocks from formation to first split and the creation of splinter group Howard Devoto’s Magazine.

Shelley met Devoto at Bolton Institute of Technology in 1975. Shelley responded to an ad Devoto had placed on the student notice board looking for musicians to form a band. The pair clicked and started writing songs together. Then they wanted to perform their songs, so they sought out other musicians to play them (Steve Diggle, bass, and John Maher, drums), and hey presto, Buzzcocks.

Part two…

The influence had been punk and The Sex Pistols, but Devoto found punk “very limiting” as “in terms of music there was a whole gamut of other stuff”:

“...Leonard Cohen, Dylan, David Bowie. With the Pistols and Iggy Pop, it was the anger and poetry which hooked me in really…

“I think that punk rock was a new version of trouble-shooting modern forms of unhappiness, and I think that a lot of our cultural activity is concerned with the process, particularly in our more privileged world, with time on our hands—in a world, most probably after religion.

“My life changed at the point I saw the Sex Pistols, and became involved in trying to set up those concerts for them. Suddenly I was drawn into something which really engaged me. Punk was nihilistic anger, not overtly political anger. Political anger could have been the radical Sixties.”

Pete Shelley, Tony Wilson, Howard Devoto during the making of ‘B’dum B’dum’ 1978.
The Buzzcocks recorded and released the “massively influential” Spiral Scratch a four track EP, which contained the Shelley/Devoto songs “Breakdown,” “Time’s Up,” “Boredom,” and “Friends of Mine.”
Parts three to five with Shelley and Devoto, plus full Buzzcocks concert, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Way USA’: Sleazy punk/comedy travelogue is the greatest cult video you’ve probably never seen

Okay, listen up, because this is one of the single best things that I have ever posted here on Dangerous Minds. I’ve waited for a good version of this to get uploaded to YouTube since we very first started the blog and now that’s finally happened. There have been over 17,000 items posted here and THIS, as I see it at least, is one of the very, very top best of all those various things…

What am I talking about? It’s called Way USA, a pilot for a punk/comedy travelogue that was done for MTV in 1988 and hosted by the silver-tongued—and absolutely fucking hilariousTesco Vee of The Meatmen. It was directed by Peter Lauer (although it’s missing from his IMDB page), then a staffer with MTV’s graphics department who has since gone on to direct dozens upon dozens of major television shows that you have seen, including Strangers with Candy and Arrested Development.

The copy I had was acquired working at the post production house where it was edited. I’m not 100% sure that it even aired on TV. Although Way USA was produced at a time before MTV aimed its content squarely at teenagers, it still seems a little racier than I recall them ever getting back then. (It says at the end that there was one done in Niagara Falls as well, but I have not seen that.)

So, yes, Way USA is a punk/comedy travelogue that begins when Tesco sells his soul to the Devil (in the form of East Village lounge crooner Craig Vandenberg, here billed as “Tony LaVentura, the Adonis from Paramus”) for a good time traveling across America in opulently sleazy style.

First stop, it’s “Charm City—that ‘s Baltimore—and what trip to Baltimore would be complete without making a pilgrimage to the Pope of Trash, John Waters? Naturally Tesco checks that one off his list as well as visiting the notorious red light “Block” district, eating two dozen eggs at a diner with an “all the eggs you can eat” policy, an S&M session with the late plus-sized greeting card model Miss Jean Hill (her segment is a stone classic), visits strip clubs, a crime blotter news reporter, a faith healer/exorcist and does various other things around “the hairdo capital of America,” as Waters so lovingly puts it.

In the late 80s, I’d show my VHS copy of Way USA to anyone and everyone who visited me (people used to do quaint things like that back then). I was really keen on it and thought it was absolutely groundbreaking and hilarious (it’s aged very well). I’ve seen it so many times that as I was watching it just now, I started to realize HOW MANY of Tesco’s lines (or slight variations thereof) I use ALL OF THE TIME. And I’m not talking about a few of them, there must be 100 things he says in this half hour show that I regularly say to this day. For example, last week, sitting across from someone about to tuck into an appallingly unhealthy meal, I deadpanned “If your heart stops, I’ll kick you in the chest.” I got this from the eggs scene, which I haven’t seen since like 1990 probably, yet still quote.

In an alternate universe, Way USA would have made Tesco Vee a huge TV celebrity. Seriously folks, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. If more people knew about Way USA twenty-five years ago, if would probably be as revered today as Heavy Metal Parking Lot or the Butthole Surfers’ Entering Texas are.

Two more things: Way USA was shot on Super 8 film, so if it looks a little “soft,” this is actually the way it was supposed to look. This is, in fact, a very clean upload. However, the sort of jarring “commercial breaks” (Kembra Pfahler clad only in red bodypaint singing and swearing, a Roy Rogers spot, Tesco in San Francisco) included here have nothing directly to do with Way USA and I think come from The Devil’s In The Details, a DVD that Tesco Vee sells on his website. It’s pretty clear what’s from the show and what’s not from it, but you’ll see why I mentioned it, it would be confusing if you were seeing it for the first time otherwise. (As for the cable access footage of Kembra—who is a good friend of mine, I must ask her what that’s from!—and a few other things in the added parts, I’ll give the obligatory NSFW warning).

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Back to her roots: See RuPaul’s New Wave band, Wee Wee Pole, 1983

RuPaul and Robert Warren, circa 1983, via Robert Warren
As RuPaul’s Drag Race enters its sixth season, hundreds of thousands of viewers are girding their loins, praying their favorite girl will be declared “America’s next drag superstar.” Yes, I am glad to live in a time when drag competitions are a televised sport, and prouder still that RuPaul has earned the mantle of America’s Sweetheart—even we NYC Lady Bunny loyalists can’t resist Ru’s gracious charisma, unflappable good humor, and glamorous demeanor. But RuPaul wasn’t always the ultimate glamazon!

Even before he had given himself much of a makeover, RuPaul was quite the event in the queer New Wave/Punk scene of Atlanta. Below you can see Wee Wee Pole featuring RuPaul and The U-Hauls making their Atlanta debut in 1983. The interviewer, James Bond, is from The American Music Show, a LOOONG running, legendary super-weird program that’s just too brilliant for anything other than cable access (ask anyone halfway cool from Atlanta about it, they will know about The American Music Show, trust me). But then, RuPaul has always held in the weird and novel in very high esteem:

While channel surfing one night, I came across a local “public access” TV show called “The American Music Show.” Obviously videotaped in someone’s living room once a week, it had a talk show/sketch comedy type format that had no format at all. Hosted by Dick Richards and James Bond and featuring a weird cast of social misfits. It was very politically irreverent, funny, sick, wrong and I loved it. In my gut I knew, I had found my tribe. I immediately wrote a letter to the show explaining how much I loved what they did and that I would love to be a part of it. Two weeks later, I got a call from Paul Burke, saying they got my letter and would love for me to be on the show after the holidays.

By the time of the Atlanta show, Ru had already played New York CIty, but was still anxious to perform for the home crowd. The band is high-energy, dancey, and a little bit nasty (in the good way). Ru himself is (obviously) warm, bubbly, and genuinely excited—a legend in the making.

Below, RuPaul and The U-Hauls introduced onstage by “perpetual write-in candidate for the Lt. Governor of Georgia,” Col. Lonnie Fain:

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Siouxsie and the Banshees’ greatest lineup in concert, July 1981

This is SO GOOD, and it seems that it’s only just turned up on YouTube in its entirety in the last few months: quality footage of a complete Siouxsie and the Banshees concert—from arguably their strongest period, the three years when guitarist John McGeoch was in the band—broadcast on the superb long-running German TV program Rockpalast.

Please indulge a detour here so I can hyperventilate like a gushing fanboy about McGeoch before we get to the music—he’s far from a household name even among guitar geeks, but McGeoch’s playing ranks with Rowland S. Howard’s and Daniel Ash’s in its importance to the sound of post-punk, particularly in its gothier forms. Before the Banshees, he had noteworthy tenures in ur post-punks Magazine and new-romantic instigators Visage, but with the Banshees, he adopted a richly textured style of layered picking that recalled both The Police’s Andy Summers and his own Banshees predecessor and successor Robert Smith (more famously of The Cure, of course), without actually sounding quite like either. He’d been pointing the way to this kind of thing here and there in Magazine, but it seems like the Banshees set him loose to turn the idea into something magical. His style during this period has been singled out as an influence by guitarists like The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro. McGeoch’s performance on the indelible classic “Spellbound” earned him a slot in Mojo’s 1996 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time; hear for yourself, here it is on Top of the Pops.

McGeoch contributed excellent work to the Banshees’ LPs Kaleidoscope, Juju (cited just yesterday as one of ten must-have post-punk records), and the astounding A Kiss in the Dreamhouse before his struggles with alcohol led to his ouster from the group. He soon joined The Armoury Show with refugees from The Skids, and a few years later turned up in the most commercially successful version of Public Image Limited, but it was his work with the Banshees that made him a hero. Here’s that Rockpalast concert, offered into evidence.

March 4, 2014, will mark the 10th anniversary of McGeoch’s death.

Previously: Siouxsie and the Banshees: in concert Amsterdam, 1982

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
In the Flesh: Blondie live in Asbury Park, NJ, 1979
12:52 pm



Pure pleasure to be found in this B&W multi-camera recording of Blondie in 1979, just prior to the release of their fourth album, Eat to the Beat.

Set list
One Way Or Another
Hanging On The Telephone
Look Good In Blue
Youth Nabbed As Sniper
Pretty Baby
Slow Motion
Sunday Girl
In The Flesh
Man Overboard
Heart Of Glass
Rip Her to Shreds
In The Sun
X Offender
I’m On E
Kung Fu Girls

The show was taped at the Asbury Park Convention Hall on July 7th, a home-state crowd for Jersey girl Debbie Harry, who was raised in Hawthorne. Check out her “Lolita” heart-shaped sunglasses.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
John Lydon’s rallying call to youth: ‘Learn how to beat this system intelligently’
09:48 am


Sex Pistols
John Lydon
Public Image Ltd.

It started with a look.

John Lydon was wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt that he had modified to read “I Hate Pink Floyd.” It was this piece of anti-fashion that brought him to the attention of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, owners of the King’s Road boutique SEX.  Malcolm and Vivienne were conjuring up plans for a new band that would fuse fashion and music, and Lydon’s tee-shirt suggested the right kind of attitude the pair were looking for. Lydon was asked to audition for the band, so he mimed to an Alice Cooper number and won the role of lead singer with The Sex Pistols. He looked the part, you might say.

It may have started with a look, but for John it was never about the image, as he later explained to Melody Maker in 1978:

”The rest of the band and Malcolm never bothered to find out if I could sing, they just took me as an image. It was as basic as that, they really were as dull as that.

“After a year of it they were going ‘Why don’t you have your hair this color this year?’ And I was going ‘Oh God, a brick wall, I’m fighting a brick wall!’”

We all know The Sex Pistols, they were “a damned good band,” as Lydon recalls in this interview from That Was Then This Is Now in 1988, ten year’s after the band’s demise.

“And to be quite frank, how right it was we ended when we did, because it would have been really futile to have continued with it. We all knew that…

“When you feel you’re running out of ideas you must stop, and go onto something else, which is precisely what all of us did.

Lydon went on to form Public Image Limited with Keith Levene (guitar), Jah Wobble (bass), and Jim Walker (drums). PiL was “different,” and “experimental without being arty-farty about it.”

Their first release “Public Image,” partly written while Lydon was in the Sex Pistols, dealt with Lydon’s frustration at being only seen for the clothes that he wore. Lydon has always been aware that he is an individual, and as can be seen from his interview on That Was Then This Is Now—love him or loathe him—he has always been consistent in being true to himself, and saying whatever he thinks.

Such honesty makes Lydon good for quotable sound bytes, which fits well with the format of That Was Then This Is Now, where information was served up like the ingredients of a recipe.

For example, he tells us how he moved to America because of police harassment. His home was raided on four separate occasions, his belongings damaged or destroyed, his pet cat killed by overzealous police dogs.

While next, Lydon tells us how he considers himself to be an Englishman, and resents paying his hard-earned cash in taxes to pay for Fergie’s (Princess Sarah Ferguson) frumpy tents.

However, no matter how funny, amusing, insightful and inspiring the answers, having them all cut together, one-after-another, reveals the problem with That Was Then This Is Now: information is arbitrarily doled out as sound bytes, signposted by graphic captions, with no connective structure other than the answers given by the interviewee. It’s a nice research tool, and certainly one for future biographers and archivists, but the form lacks any sense of engagement between the audience and Lydon, as there is no possibility of knowing how rigorously he was questioned about his life or his beliefs.

Of course, there are plenty of highlights, including Lydon’s rallying call to the teenage viewer about intelligence:

“All kids should learn this in school—this is the weapon the Tories use against you.

“They want to keep you stupid. They want to keep you down.

“If you do not learn how to beat this system intelligently, you never will.

That is the only lesson really in life to learn. Period.”

Recorded in 1988, That Was Then This Is Now presented the great, the good and the oh-no of Punk, New Wave and the New Romantics, discussing their musical careers in entertainment.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Punk poet John Cooper Clarke, this week on ‘The Pharmacy’
07:47 am


The Pharmacy
John Cooper Clarke

Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

Gregg writes:

If you do not know who John Cooper Clarke is you probably should…

Some call him a “performance poet,” others a “punk poet.” Clarke was often found reciting his rapidfire verse in unlikely places, whether it was in the burlesque bars of 1970s Manchester or opening for the likes of Joy Division, The Fall, The Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and New Order. The man made quite an impression on audiences with his trademarked spiky black hairdo black suits and Ray Ban Wayfarers, resembling a mid 60s Bob Dylan or Keith Richards at his decadent “elegantly wasted” best/worst.

But by the early 1980s, Clarke’s radio went silent. With his vagabond friends—Beat poet Gregory Corso and Nico (who Clarke roomed with during this period)—Clarke traversed the dark Manchester underworld of drug addiction. Ultimately John Cooper Clarke came out on the other side of this darkness, revived, renewed and more prolific than ever… Now come listen in on my phone conversation interview with the Punk Poet Laureate and “Bard of Salford,” John Cooper Clarke here in the Rx…

Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall
Miss Judy’s Farm - The Faces
Alright - The Groop
Intro 1 / I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore - Rx / The Young Rascals
John Cooper Clarke Interview Part One
Qui est in , Qui est out - Serge Gainsbourg
I Wanna Destroy You - The Soft Boys
Get In The Groove - the Mighty Hannibal
Sha la la la Lee - The Small Faces
Honey Hush - Jonny Burnette + the Rock n Roll Trio
Intro 2 / Blow Up - Rx / The James Taylor Quartet
John Cooper Clarke Interview Part Two
Evidently Chickentown - John Cooper Clarke
Dead Moon Night - Dead Moon
Digital - Joy Division
Summer Wine - Lee and Nancy
Intro 3 / Restless - Rx / the Cobras
John Cooper Clarke Interview Part Three
Femme Fatale - The Velvet Underground and Nico
Pair of Brown Eyes - The Pogues
Baby I Love You - The Ronettes
Intro 4 / There is No Satisfaction - Rx / Manfred Hubler & Siegfried Schwab

You can download the entire show here.

Below, Ten Years in an Open Neck Shirt, a documentary about John Cooper Clark:

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Punk’s not dead, but… The Exploited’s Wattie suffers onstage heart attack
06:52 am


The Exploited

Per a report in the Scottish Daily Record, the notorious, mohawk-sporting singer Walter “Wattie” Buchan, of the long-running U.K. punk band The Exploited, collapsed onstage during a performance in Portugal.

Buchan, 57, was taking part in the Tour of Chaos with Hatebreed and Napalm Death at the Republica Da Musica venue in Lisbon when he became unwell.

It is thought the singer will be kept in hospital and the East Kilbride band have cancelled all gigs until at least May. A video from on Thursday night shows Buchan having to stop midway through a song before slumping to his knees.

The Exploited became instantly infamous with their 1980 debut single “Army Life” (Wattie is a military veteran), and unwittingly coined an enduring slogan with the title of their debut LP Punks Not Dead. Controversy continued to find the uncompromisingly anti-establishment band when they released the essential Horror Epics, featuring the song “Maggie,” the single most succinct, direct, and vulgar anti-Thatcher anthem ever crafted. Do I even need to tell you to turn the volume down if you’re at work? Do I even need to tell you just skip it altogether if pottymouth makes you feel faint? I thought not.

Below, an unlikely Top of the Pops appearance from 1981:

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Raw Power: James Williamson of The Stooges this week on ‘The Pharmacy’

Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times.

This week’s guest is James Williamson of The Stooges. Topics include:

—Iggy nearly choosing to a see movie over meeting David Bowie.

—The final Stooges show that saw a rain of bottles, cans, glass—even cameras—hurled by angry bikers at the band.

—How Raw Power got made while management was preoccupied trying to break David Bowie in the USA.

—Elektra records dropping the band due to drug use and Ron Ashton’s Nazi paraphernalia-filled room.

—When James got fired from the band temporarily and found himself working as a projectionist at a porn theater.

—How The Stooges had no idea what effect their sound would have on future bands.

Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall
Ramblin Rose - The MC5
Shake Appeal - The Stooges
Intro 1 / Honky Tonk Popcorn - Rx / Bill Doggett
James Williamson Interview Part One 
I Gotta Move - The Kinks
I Just Wanna Make Love to You - The Rolling Stones
Sonic Reducer - The Dead Boys
Sunshine of Your Love - Spanky Wilson
Intro 2 / Do Your Thang - Rx / Dennis Coffey
James Williamson Interview Part Two
Know Your Product - The Saints
I’m Bored - Iggy Pop
Try It ! - The Standells
Intro 3 / Guess I’m Falling in Love (Rx on Organ) - Rx / Velvet Underground
James Williamson Interview Part Three
Let a Woman Be a Woman , Let a Man Be a Man - Dyke and the Blazers
Gone and Passes By - the Chocolate Watchband
Intro 4 / Twin Stars Of Thence Ra - Rx / Sun Ra
James Williamson Interview Part Four
Gimme Danger - The Stooges
Mr.Pharmacist (Outro) - The Fall

You can download the entire show here.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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