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Two rare Joy Division tracks were just re-released, and you can hear them here
07.30.2015
09:14 am

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Music
Punk

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Rhino Records recently did that thing they do very very well, and re-released Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, Closer, Still, and Substance on 180 gram vinyl. My feelings are mixed on the recent flood of vinyl reissues of albums that have been widely available for decades, but the 2XLP reissue of Substance contains some items of interest that have never been featured on any release of that collection—a rare 7” b-side called “As You Said,” and the so-called “Pennine mix” of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”
 

 
“As You Said” was released as a b-side to a flexi-disc of “Komakino” that was given away in The Öther Söund magazine. That flexi also included a version of “Incubation,” and all three tracks were outtakes from the Closer sessions, the band’s final studio recordings. It’s a significantly brighter mix than the version that can be heard on the Heart & Soul box set and the Warsaw CD, and it’s only ever been issued with this level of clarity as part of the preposterous Singles 1978-80, an ultra-limited box set of ten remastered 7"s. It’s a synth-based instrumental curiosity, likely of interest to the überfan who’s heard it all.

The Pennine version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was actually the rejected original recording of the song, recorded at Pennine Sound Studios in January of 1980 (the version with which we’re all much more familiar was recorded at Strawberry Studios in March). It was released as the b-side to the original 7” and 12” of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” along with “These Days.” Some versions of the 7” dropped the Pennine recording of “LWTUA” and featured “These Days” alone. It saw a 1988 release on the “Atmosphere” 12” that accompanied the original release of Substance. In a 2010 GQ interview, JD’s drummer Stephen Morris cited this version as his preferred recording of “LWTUA:”

The Pennine version has always been there - it was on the b-side of the 12-inch when it first came out. But it wasn’t called “The Pennine Mix” or anything like that, it was just “Love Will Tear Us Apart” but a slightly different version. That version was the way we always played it live. The one that everybody knows, I actually hate.

Why, because it’s too poppy?
Just because of the bad, emotional things. Martin Hannett [Joy Division record producer] played one of his mind games when we were recording it - it sounds like he was a tyrant, but he wasn’t, he was nice. We had this one battle where it was nearly midnight and I said, “Is it all right if I go home, Martin - it’s been a long day?” And he said [whispers], “OK… you go home.” So I went back to the flat. Just got to sleep and the phone rings. “Martin wants you to come back and do the snare drum.” At four in the morning! I said, “What’s wrong with the snare drum!?” So every time I hear “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, I grit my teeth and remember myself shouting down the phone, “YOU BASTARD!” [smashes up imaginary phone.] I can feel the anger in it even now. It’s a great song and it’s great production, but I do get anguished every time I hear it.

 
Hear both songs after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Hear the Dead Kennedys as a five-piece with KEYBOARDS, play a Rolling Stones cover
07.30.2015
06:25 am

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Music
Punk

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I recently finished reading Michael Stewart Foley’s excellent 33 1/3 series book on the Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables album. 

Rather than merely analyzing recording minutae or picking apart lyrical content song-by-song, the book documents the socio-political climate of late ‘70s San Francisco, exploring the environment that existed which precipitated the need for a Dead Kennedys. It’s incidentally got me on a personal kick of revisiting a lot of DK music, particularly from that early, formative era—when Jello Biafra was writing songs instead of diatribes.

When I’m not wasting my time obsessively A/B-ing different pressings of Fresh Fruit to detect subtle differences in the mastering quality, I’m double checking to see what blessings the gods of the Internet have offered up as gap fillers in the Kennedys’ historical record. A few months ago I wrote here about an incredible 1982 live video from Vienna. Although the recording I’m presenting today is audio-only, it’s a far more interesting historical artifact than even that Vienna show (which totally blew me away). Today we’re going to listen to Terry Hammer’s recording of Dead Kennedys from Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco from June 14, 1980.
 

Dead Kennedys played with Paul Roessler’s band, Bent, and the Subhumans from Canada.
 
Terry Hammer was an audio engineer during the heyday of first wave punk in San Francisco. He maintains a mind-blowing YouTube channel upon which he has graciously decided to share dozens of live recordings he engineered for Bay Area radio stations KALX, KTIM, KSAN, KSJO, KUSF, and KSFS. The channel features no less than five different (crucial) Dead Kennedys recordings—all worth investigating.

I’ve previously gushed all over Dangerous Minds about Hammer’s recordings of DEVO and Husker Du. The quality of this recording exists somewhere in between those two, preserving, with remarkable clarity, this point in the Kennedys’ history where they were feeling more comfortable in their arrangements and picking up the tempos (but before going full hardcore with the replacement of original drummer, “Ted,” with D.H. Peligro).

But what’s really, truly astounding about this recording is the inclusion of Paul Roessler on keyboard for the final five songs of the gig. At twenty-eight and a half minutes in, Jello sardonically introduces Roessler (brother of Black Flag’s Kira Roessler) as the “Remora of Rock and Roll.” Roessler was known up to that point for his work with the Screamers, Nervous Gender, Mommymen, Bent, and Silver Chalice. Bent had opened for Dead Kennedys on that night’s bill.

“Torture those keys,” directs Biafra, and Roessler does, with distorted organ sounds blaring even more raw, jagged and cutting than East Bay Ray’s bright surf-overdrive guitar damage. Roessler performs on “Stealing People’s Mail,” “Drug Me,” “Holiday in Cambodia,” “Too Drunk to Fuck,” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time.”

The keys are particularly effective on “Too Drunk To Fuck,” changing the entire vibe of the song, giving it a campy horror sound, not far from the early death rock of bands like 45 Grave (whom Roessler was also a member of).

Roessler had previously worked with Dead Kennedys, in the studio, where he played keyboard tracks on “Drug Me” and “Stealing People’s Mail” for the Fresh Fruit LP. According to Alex Ogg’s book Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: The Early Years, “Stealing People’s Mail” was musically influenced by Roessler’s group the Screamers.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Cover versions: Debbie Harry stars in pulp romance novels based on Blondie songs
07.29.2015
07:08 am

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Art
Music
Punk

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Debbie Harry faux pulp novel
“Rip Her to Shreds” faux pulp romance novel cover. Title taken from a song found on Blondie’s eponymous 1976 debut album

These clever faux pulp romance novels featuring Debbie Harry by Atlanta-based pop artist, Zteven are pretty much the best things I’ve seen this week. And I see a lot of cool stuff on a daily basis.

Not only did Zteven manage to portray Harry as one of the coolest salacious sirens to ever grace the cover of a smutty, old school pulp romance novel, he also incorporated the lyrics of songs from Blondie’s catalog in the titles and descriptions. There are even a few sly nods to Blondie co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein, as well as songwriter and producer Mike Chapman who worked with the group on their breakthrough 1978 record, Parallel Lines as well as Eat to the Beat (1979), Autoamerican (1980) and The Hunter (1982). The set of four prints, framed, will run you $40.
 
One Way or Another faux pulp novel with Debbie Harry
“One Way or Another” faux pulp romance novel cover. Title taken from a song that appears on 1978’s Parallel Lines
 
More Blondie cover versions after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Wot? Captain Sensible of the Damned tried to start a political party
07.24.2015
07:09 am

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Amusing
Politics
Punk

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The last quarter-century of political history is full of celebrity-led “get out the vote” initiatives (Rock the Vote, P. Diddy’s preposterous “VOTE OR DIE” campaign), and celebrities from outside the realm of politics recruited to goose the profiles of long-shot small parties (Howard Stern’s aborted flirtation with the Libertarian Party, Ralph Nader’s total destruction of the Green Party’s U.S. viability for probably a couple of generations), but notwithstanding satirical campaigns, non-politician notables actually attempting to launch new parties are much rarer.
 

This actually happened.

So I was amused to learn that founding Damned member Raymond “Captain Sensible” Burns attempted in earnest to form a political party in 2006. Calling it “The Blah! Party” (yes, the exclamation point was part of the name), Sensible endeavored to simultaneously galvanize protest votes and energize the disaffected, while taking public stances on matters like the proliferation of obesity, the imprisonment of non-violent offenders, public transport, renewable energy, and U.K. companies being bought out by international conglomerates. It was an ambitious undertaking, but Sensible had the help of a PR firm and—I’m not kidding—a potato chip company.
 

 

After all those exasperated rants from the stage during concerts over the years I have finally done the decent thing and started a political party with the aim of shaking up British politics.

My colleagues and I have named it the Blah! Party because this is what goes through your mind when you hear our great leaders spewing out the usual old garbage…. ‘45 minutes’, ‘WMD’, ‘faith schools’, ‘nhs reforms’, education education education’.... it’s enough to make to put a brick through the TV - so have put my money where my mouth is and decided to take on the vile frauds on their own turf.

The Blah! party is ridiculously easy to join via blahparty.org and once you’ve done that you can start firing off policy ideas as we are aiming to be the most representative and democratic party of ALL…... YOU will write our manifesto! Bearing in mind of course that as I am involved it will not tolerate racism, sexism or any other unpleasantness. We aim to be a NICE party, and although we are not adverse to having some fun along the way we ARE deadly serious about holding the current ghastly crop of political clones to account on your behalf for the nonsensical decisions they all too often make.

The more members we get - the harder it will be for them to ignore us…. and the possibilities really start opening up so if YOU TOO have had enough then get over to the Blah! website and let’s shake some action!

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Curiously-shaped die cut records from Grace Jones, The Cramps, Bowie and more
07.23.2015
11:28 am

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Music
Punk

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Grace Jones Party Girl shaped 7
Grace Jones, “Party Girl” special remix on shaped 7” picture disc. B side: “White Collar Crime.” 1986
 
This post started out as a singular homage to German record label, Musical Tragedies and their super collectable line of saw blade-shaped 7” records. As it is often the way on the Internet, all it took was a few images in my browser to distract me from my “work.” And thanks to that distraction, I’m now able to share some pretty unique looking die cut shaped vinyl with you. Much of which I had no idea existed until now.
 
Blondie X Offender saw blade vinyl from Musical Tragedies - 2001
Blondie “X Offender” on saw blade shaped colored vinyl with center label picture image by Musical Tragedies (2001)
 
Pictured above is the A side of one of the saw blade-shaped records put out by Musical Tragedies. It features two tracks, “X Offender,” from the first Blondie record, Blondie, and a rare B side track from Bloodless Pharaohs, one of the first bands Stray Cat Brian Setzer ever recorded with back in the late 70’s. Other covet-worthy records in this post include the two-record 2004 release from DJ Shadow; DJ Shadow vs. Radiohead - “The Gloaming Mix” and DJ Shadow vs. Cage - “The Grand Ol’ Party Crash” (featuring the vocals of Jello Biafra). The shaped records themselves are in the image of two of the most vilified politicians of the last 25 years, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Holy shit!
 
DJ Shadow Vs. Cage ‎– The Grand Ol' Party Crash. Shaped vinyl record of Donald Rumsfeld
DJ Shadow “Donald The Merciless” 10” shaped picture disc with an image of the syphilitic face of ex US secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Track: “The Grand Ol’ Party Crash” with vocals by Jello Biafra. B-side: “Party Crash” instrumental
 
DJ Shadow Vs. Radiohead ‎– The Gloaming shaped vinyl record with image of Dick Cheney
DJ Shadow Vs. Radiohead ‎– The Gloaming shaped 10” shaped picture disc with an image of Dick Cheney. A/B sides feature Radiohead and Thom Yorke
 
As with colored vinyl, artistically shaped die cut colored records aren’t made to be played—and they don’t sound as good as straightforward black vinyl records. But WHO would actually dare to put a stylus on a shaped piece of rare vinyl featuring Poison Ivy of The Cramps holding a machine gun in a gold bikini? Not me, that’s for sure. Many images of waxy oddities that must be seen to be believed, follow.
 
The Cramps - Bikini Girls With Machine Guns shaped 7
The Cramps, “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns” 7” shaped picture discl. B- Side: “Jackyard Backoff” (1990)
 
The Cramps Bikini Girls With Machine Guns shaped vinyl record - Side B view
The Cramps, “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns” 7” vinyl picture disc, Side B view
 
Monty Python fishbowl 7
Monty Python Galaxy Song 7” shaped picture disc (1983). Side A: “Galaxy Song”/Side B: “Every Sperm Is Sacred”
 
David Bowie ‎– Underground 7
David Bowie “Underground” 7” shaped picture disc (1986). A/B-sides: “Underground” edit and instrumental
 
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
GG Allin is seeking gainful employment: Read his actual resumé!
07.22.2015
12:26 pm

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Punk

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In 1989, GG Allin wrote to the Maximum RocknRoll fanzine and declared that he would commit suicide, live and onstage on Halloween night of that year. But when the date arrived, Allin—conveniently or otherwise—was safe… in prison. He continued to threaten a Halloween suicide every year after that, but he always ended up back in jail each time October 31st came around, before dying offstage of a drug overdose in 1993.

So it was through no fault of his own that the infamous scum rocker failed to off himself in front of a paying audience. And apparently few things pissed him off more than being accused of faking his suicide threat for publicity as can be seen in this extraordinarily strange video footage shot in Boston at what was apparently billed as a “reading.” A clip of this appears in the Hated documentary, but this is the entire thing, just under ten minutes in two parts below.

It begins with Allin ranting and raving about a local paper accusing him of “crying wolf” about his announced “in concert” harakiri. He’s not happy about this and burns the paper in protest. From what can be gathered from his huffing and puffing, GG Allin had not been booked to play a show in a Boston rock club for several years at this point. This also makes him very, very mad at everyone. In Boston. Someone has a laugh box in the audience which likewise infuriates him. He violently hits a woman and pulls her hair. He breaks beer bottles on his head. Throws chairs at people. Cuts his chest open with a beer can and bleeds.

And so forth and so on!

As unlikely as it may sound, for much of his life, GG Allin was actually employed. He held down a job. Not only was he gainfully employed, but if his resume is to be believed, he was employed long term. Remarkably, Allin held one job for three years, and another for five, something that doesn’t really square much with the popular image of the shit-stained performer: GG Allin was at least somewhat employable at one point.

This resumé, which was used to write a setlist on, is being auctioned off with some other GG Allin memorabilia at RR Auction in Boston on Thursday. You can read a larger version at their website.
 

 
After the jump the footage of the explosive Boston “reading” from 1989. He doesn’t read anything…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
I wanna be your DOLL: Plush toys of Iggy, Bowie, DEVO, Blondie, Lemmy, Bjork, Siouxsie and MORE!
07.21.2015
09:02 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Punk

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Iggy Pop plush toy
Plush Iggy Pop toy
 

The plush renditions you are about to see of some of the most influential cultural icons in history were created by Sao Paulo, Brazil based illustrator and toy designer, Josmar Madureira. His work was recently featured in a fantastic looking book, Toy Land by Louis Bou which boasts more than a half of a million examples of toy art from around the world created in various mediums such as vinyl, metal, fabric and of course, plush.
 
Ian Curtis of Joy Division plush toy
Ian Curtis
 
A a self-described addict of artifacts such as old cartoons, 60’s psychedelia and pop art among other cool pursuits, Madureira (who operates under the moniker “Katkiller”), has put out an extensive line of plush toys in the images of cultural movers and shakers such as Iggy Pop, Bjork (in her infamous “swan dress” that she wore to the Academy Awards in 2001 no less) and Ian Curtis of Joy Division, as well as artists and famous couture designers like Salvador Dali and Vivienne Westwood. There’s even a few cinematic characters thrown into Madureira’s massive mix of toys from the film A Clockwork Orange and everyone’s favorite taxi driver, Travis Bickle.
 
Debbie Harry of Blondie plush toy
Debbie Harry
 
Joey Ramone plush toy
Joey Ramone
 
After the jump, more than 30 images of Josmar Madureira’s posh plush collection for you to peruse!

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Check out this blazing, amphetamine-fueled Hüsker Dü 1981 live set
07.21.2015
06:56 am

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Music
Punk

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Hüsker Dü, formed in 1979 by singer/guitarist Bob Mould, bassist Greg Norton and drummer Grant Hart, began their musical journey as a blazing fast hardcore band—their breakneck tempos often attributed to heavy use of cheap amphetamines.

Though they were later known for their strong melodies, hooks, and pop sensibilities, the early years of the Hüskers were balls-out, speed-freak bursts—referenced in the title of their first LP, Land Speed Record.

A soundboard tape from a July 1981 gig at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco has surfaced online that may eclipse the aforementioned Land Speed Record as the definitive document of this era of the group. The recording was made by Terry Hammer who did a lot of live remote recordings during that era in San Francisco. We wrote about Terry before when we presented his amazing live DEVO recording.

This soundboard tape, while not as crystal clear as Hammer’s DEVO tape, is still a crucial document. It has been bootlegged twice. Once as The Children’s Crusade, and once as Do You Remember Radio?
 

One of the two titles this set has been bootlegged under.
 
This recording, direct from the source is far better quality than either of those bootlegs. Also, it’s free.

Hüsker Dü were still relatively unknown at this point. You can hear club promoter Dirk Dirksen announcing their set: “Jello Biafra, while touring in the Northwest, ran across these people and asked me to book ‘em, so here they are, uh, a[n] addition to the program… Here’s… [seems unsure of their name]... Hüsker Dü.”
 

Fab Mab flyer which mentions nobodies, Hüsker Dü in the fine print.
 
There seems to be some discrepancy in the historical record online as to when exactly this show took place, but it was either July 24th or July 25th of 1981.

This set is absolutely killer—you’ll wanna play this one loud.
 

 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘New Wave’ Anne Murray ‘plays’ to the punks, 1985
07.17.2015
12:00 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

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murray
 
It’s no secret that when the New Wave hit, its repercussions shook some unlikely classic rock scenesters (Exhibit A: Neil Young’s Trans; Exhibit B: Everyone from Mick Jagger to Bob Seger dressing up in dayglo and Exhibit C: SYNTHESIZERS!), but witness the little “Snowbird” herself, Anne Murray, of all people, taking a swerve into an edgy career detour in her 1985 TV special The Sounds of London.

Though she was hardly shaving her head or shoving a safety pin through her tongue (the TV audience is left to do that to themselves), Murray’s confusing London travelogue includes a bizarre extended stage segment set at the massive Hippodrome nightclub. It looks like all the Goths, New Romantics, and other subterranean types in London were issued an all-points bulletin to get their asses down for some camera time, and to do the Dark Dance to the newly-crowned Queen of MOR New Wave. Oddly, her “performance” here is pretty much her singing along to other stars’ music videos (in the case of the Police and Eurythmics, Murray is uncomfortably inserted into the videos themselves). That doesn’t seem to stop Anne’s newfound fans (who were apparently dragged here from the Batcave) from dancing up a storm and even invading the stage to join in. Because who wouldn’t want to stage rush an Anne Murray gig, right?

The one-off special, credited as being written by Alan Thicke, also features guests Miss Piggy, Bananarama, and Dusty Springfield, and is clearly the effort of Anne Murray’s “people” to round her square edges a bit. The AM radio-friendly country-pop chart-topper Murray of course garnered her own fanatical suburban housewife following throughout the 70s, and this totally batshit 80s show seems to be aimed at kickstarting her image for a whole new “alternative” fanbase not quite aware of her, uh, crossover potential. Maybe she pulls it off better than Lady Gaga/Tony Bennett?

Personally, I feel a Die Antwoord collaboration is the logical next step to making Anne Murray “relevant” again.
 

Posted by Brian Turner | Leave a comment
Dick Tracy meets the Punks
07.14.2015
09:55 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Punk

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I first learned of the existence of a punk plotline in the long-running Dick Tracy series in Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage’s essential compilation Punk: An Aesthetic, which reproduces a page from a 1979 issue of Circus magazine reporting on it.

Here’s what happened. From August through November 1979, Dick Tracy ran an extended plot in which the bad guys were two punk rockers. It certainly bears some resemblance to the famous “Quincy punk episode,” and the timing is right too. Note that the credit line on these comics is Gould/Fletcher/Collins. Max Collins wrote it, and Rick Fletcher was the artist—Chester Gould had created the strip and wrote and drew it for several decades, but he retired in 1977.

In the plot, Dick and his wife, Tess Trueheart Tracy, take a vacation to Washington state to visit their daughter Bonnie. Traveling with them is their elderly actor friend Vitamin Flintheart. While they’re on their trip, two punks named Bony and Claudine are perpetrating some kind of Badlands-ish spree of terror. The idea is that Bony needs money to finance a studio session to record an album, so he’s been holding up stores. We see him hold up a pawn shop, where he also snags an original Les Paul guitar. Eventually Tracy links up with the local authorities—Tracy and the local man on the scene are drawn to look almost exactly the same, to my eyes—and there’s a kind of hostage situation involving Vitamin and Bonnie—during which Bonnie gives birth to Dick Tracy’s second grandchild—and eventually Bony and Claudine are apprehended. In a nice touch, it turns out that the omnipresent safety pin in Claudine’s ear is used to aid in the delivery of the newborn.
 

The Circus article from 1979 covering the Dick Tracy plot about punk music
 
The writer of the series, Max Collins, states in the introduction this was inspired by the recent interest in new wave music—Collins himself was in a band called Crusin’, it turns out. There doesn’t seem to be much animus towards the punk musicians here except insofar as the nihilism inherent in the punk philosophy does seem consistent with an amoral attitude and thus a crime spree that can be used as a narrative. Bony doesn’t seem based on anyone in particular, and his criminal tendencies aren’t presented as deriving from his status as a punk musician per se—he’s just a psychopath. The only band name-checked by the series is Cheap Trick, in the strip reproduced by Circus, according to whom the original panels mentioning them were sent to the band as a gift.

I got ahold of the paperback and have scanned in some of the pages here. I’ve included some of the key moments involving Bony, but I’ve left a lot of the story out. IDW Publishing has been putting out the complete Dick Tracy comics for a while now, but I don’t know which volume this plot appears in.

You can see in the Circus article that the Sunday strips apparently just jammed two regular-length strips together with a couple of introductory panels. In a story of this type, told over many weeks 3 panels at a time, narrative compression and curious juxtapositions are paramount. The book presents those panels differently, in groups of three, no matter what day they appeared. The reason for pointing this out is that the dates I’ve provided aren’t to be taken as gospel; in some cases they may be an approximation. (Some of the strips include the date, but not all do.)

The Circus article points out that the plot that came after the Bony plot featured characters named Quiver and Tom Trembly, who were based on Debbie Harry and Elvis Costello; I’ve included pics of those characters at the bottom of the post.

If you click on any image in this post, you will be able to see a larger version.
 

 

August 16, 1979
 

August 17, 1979
 
Read the rest of the panels after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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