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The Stranglers’ secret recordings as Celia and the Mutations, 1977
02.02.2017
09:06 am

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During the summer of ‘77, the new wave band Celia and the Mutations released its first single, an update of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Mony Mony” backed with a cover of the Stranglers’ “Mean to Me.” Celia was a new face, but there were clues to the identity of her backing band: that Stranglers tune on the B-side, for one, and the distinctive sounds of Dave Greenfield’s keys and JJ Burnel’s “Barracuda bass” on the actual record itself, not to mention the ads in the music papers that paired Celia’s face with the same image of the Stranglers’ silhouettes that was printed on the back of the record sleeve. In fact, these were not so much clues as a series of billboards, blimps and skywriters announcing the Stranglers’ participation; I think that, if you were a Stranglers fan, it would have taken genius to miss the Mutations’ true identities. “Yes, we know!” the ads screamed over the outlines of Cornwell, Burnel, Greenfield, and Black. “But who is Celia?”

Celia Gollin’s discography is easy reading. Just before the Mutations, she and Brian Eno were credited as the vocalists on Gavin Bryars’ “1, 2, 1-2-3-4” from Ensemble Pieces, a 1975 release on Eno’s Obscure label. Then there are the two Celia and the Mutations singles, and “the rest,” in the words of Albion’s ever-living poet, “is silence.”

Gollin came in contact with the Stranglers through their manager, Dai Davies, Burnel says:

Dai Davies came up with the idea of us working with Celia and to lend our kudos and musicianship to this girl he was trying to push. He wanted me to write songs with her, one of which featured Wilko (Johnson) too.

Sounds profiled the Mutations in July, after writer Chas de Whalley witnessed their performance of “Mony Mony” during a Stranglers gig at the Nashville. De Whalley gave Celia’s last name as “the Tolkienesque Gollum,” and reported that Davies had discovered her singing “camp cabaret” in a Chelsea restaurant, where she was accompanied by Kilburn and the High Roads’ keyboardist, Rod Melvin. Davies:

She was mixing Marlene Dietrich songs with Kinks and Velvet Underground stuff. And she sounded so polite and English and proper that I thought it would be really great to see her singing in front of a nasty dirty rock band like the Stranglers. The contrast would be incredible.

But if we credit the comments section of this discography, years later, Davies told a different story to the Stranglers’ fan club magazine, Strangled:

She was a make up artist who had done the band’s make up for one of the albums. The Mutations idea wasn’t as successful as we hoped, but we did a new Mutations which consisted of Terry Williams the drummer from Man, Wilko Johnson and Jean-Jacques [Burnel].

 

 
Make-up artist was one of the professions listed in the Sounds profile; that checks out. But who knows what to believe anymore, in the “age of computer”? Could up be down? ¿¿¿Could future be past???

The “new Mutations” Davies refers to above recorded Celia’s second and last single, “You Better Believe Me” b/w “Round and Around.” The change of personnel might explain why the A-side is credited to “Celia and the Fabulous Mutations” and the B-side to “Celia and the Young Mutations.” But who knows what to believe anymore, etc.

After the jump, hear both sides of Celia and the Mutations’ thrilling debut from 40 summers ago…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Night of the Living Rednecks’: Dead Kennedys live in Portland, 1979
02.01.2017
09:40 am

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While it is still legal to select your own music and video entertainment, why not seize the day? Come join me in YouTube’s deep Dead Kennedys hole. After you’ve exhausted the band’s slender official home video catalog, there’s more than enough not-so-official footage to absorb all the sleepless hours after curfew.

This video of the DKs at Portland’s Earth Tavern on November 19, 1979 captures them in between their first single, “California Über Alles,” and their second, “Holiday in Cambodia”: pre-Peligro (the drummer is Bruce Slesinger, a/k/a “Ted”), but post-6025.
 

via Division Leap
 
It’s the second set of the night (and substantially different from the first, to the DKs’ credit), which explains Biafra’s hoarseness. Portland-area YouTube user MikeBrainfollies claims the video is his work, but doesn’t say more; in any case, it’s a two-camera job with the kind of video mixing you just can’t get these days.

If you’re a fan of the Dead Kennedys’ compilation album Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death, “Night of the Living Rednecks,” Biafra’s spoken-word rant about getting hassled by rich dickheads on a previous visit to Portland, comes from this show. After “Chemical Warfare,” East Bay Ray exits the stage holding his guitar—a sunburst Strat?—by the neck; “Ray’s guitar broke,” Biafra complains. Klaus and Ted blow some jazz.

It’s very strange to see a performance you’ve heard on record hundreds of times. When Jello says “His fists didn’t go up so quickly this time,” you can see the person in the audience he’s talking about. You also see Jello using a cigarette as a prop, a strange sight to behold. After Ray finally returns to the stage, Jello asks the audience for a cowboy hat in which to sing “Rawhide,” but has to settle for a beanie that makes him look at once like Mike Nesmith, Bruce Springsteen, and Dumb Donald of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. I appreciate what he says about “clowndominiums.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
A Sex Pistol is born: Take a look inside ‘The Sid Vicious Family Album’
01.26.2017
12:00 pm

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An eighteen-year-old John Simon Ritchie (aka ‘Sid Vicious’) taken at Hackney Technical College in 1975. The photo is featured in the 1980 book, ‘The Sid Vicious Family Album.’
 
In 1980, about a year after Sid Vicious OD’d on heroin, his mother Anne Beverley, herself a junkie, put together a 32-page book full of photos of her late son calling it The Sid Vicious Family Album.

I’m pretty sure most of you are aware that young Sidney’s story is about as tragic as they come. When he joined the Sex Pistols as their bass player (replacing actual musician Glen Matlock) he couldn’t even play the bass and had pretty much nothing to contribute to the band musically. Except for when it came to his image, which was powerful and intimidating—and not at all what he was really like. Once Sid crossed paths with Nancy Spungen, the two became inseparable shooting heroin and trashing hotel rooms until they were parted by death. By the time he was only twenty his odds for survival were insurmountably stacked against him. After Spungen’s murder Vicious tried unsuccessfully to take his own life. Then, after a seven-week stint in Rikers Island following a brawl at a club, Sid’s own mother provided her son with the heroin hotshot that killed him. So why am I giving you the “Sid Vicious 101” here? Let me clear that up.

Perhaps I’m getting a little soft, but when I saw these photos I found it very difficult to not feel an overwhelming sense of sadness while looking at them. Although it’s pretty far from the truth these pictures seem to suggest that Sid had a pretty nice, seemingly normal upbringing. There are photos of him as a baby playing on the grass surrounded by a picket fence. He vacationed in Ibiza as a child. For his school photograph when he was eleven, Sid wore a striped tie, and as his mother Anne would say, a smile that “seemed to light up the world.” In his teens he developed a crush on David Bowie and there is a photo of Sid wearing bellbottoms, a denim jacket and a red shirt with Bowie’s image on it. It’s hard to believe that this baby-faced teen with the Ziggy-esque mullet was the same, sneering, snotty Sid Vicious that would go on to perfect the art of stumbling around on the edge of chaos, without so much as a clue as to how he got there.

The book itself is quite rare, but copies of it do often appear for sale on auction sites such as eBay for $50-$75 bucks a pop depending on the condition. In addition to photos of Sid dating back to his birth in 1957, it also contains rare photos of the Sex Pistols, making it a pretty cool punk collectable.
 

A baby Sid with his mother Anne and father John Ritchie.
 

Baby Sid in the arms of his mother, Anne Beverley, 1957.
 
More from ‘The Sid Vicious Family Album’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The Jackofficers: House music from Hell with this Butthole Surfers side project
01.26.2017
08:56 am

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Dance
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The Jackofficers’ ‘Digital Dump’ LP

Pioughd, the first and last record to discern the revolutionary content of the late Garry Shandling’s life and work, was also the Butthole Surfers’ first and last album for the Rough Trade label, which went bankrupt in 1991. Two years later, Paul Leary told Fiz:

Apparently, Rough Trade’s entire existence was based on getting in a position to be able to fuck the Butthole Surfers, and they fucked the Butthole Surfers. And almost doing that, they had no further reason to exist so they went belly up and took all our money with them.

I wouldn’t presume to question Leary’s analysis, but I think it’s fair to point out that Pioughd was bookended by Buttholes side projects for Rough Trade that probably did not contribute much to the label’s solvency: Leary’s own meticulously produced solo debut, The History of Dogs, and the house record Gibby Haynes and Jeff Pinkus made as the Jackofficers.

Though marketed as house music—Rough Trade’s ad campaign called the record “demented house dada”—I’m not sure today’s EDM fan will rush to acclaim Digital Dump as a classic of the genre. I like the album because it’s an audio cartoon of what the future sounded like in 1990, when the future sounded like samplers. The pink balloon-animal turd monogram on the cover of Digital Dump perfectly depicts the title and tells you a lot about the style of the period. At the time, there were some people among us who had revived the wearing of DayGlo colors and the taking of acid, but instead of Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles, these people danced to whump whump techno sounds. If it was this crowd’s dollar the Jackofficers were after, they misfired; but if they set out to make the soundtrack to the ultimate L.A. cop drama, they struck the bull’s-eye. Digital Dump sounds great in the car.

Speaking of LSD, Oliver North’s sexual life was a topic that captured the imaginations of the Butthole Surfers. They made a few bold assertions about Ollie’s habits over WNYU-FM on July 28, 1987, just as Attorney General Edwin Meese III was explaining to Congress that, upon looking into the matter, he suspected nothing criminal in the Iran-Contra affair (on which this Bill Moyers special is good if you can survive the terrible Jackson Browne song near the beginning). At least two of the Jackofficers’ songs are seasoned with bits of Oliver North’s testimony from the Iran-Contra hearings, making them valuable sources for a neglected area of Butthole Surfers scholarship. “Time Machines Pt. 1,” the second song embedded below, is one of them: “You know that I’ve got a beautiful secretary, and the good Lord gave her the gift of beauty.”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Extremely ‘Childish’ Donald Trump posters
01.12.2017
03:23 pm

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Activism
Art
Current Events
Politics
Punk
Stupid or Evil?

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GOP Info Poster

British cult artist/musician/poet/author and anti-authoritarian legend Billy Childish has just announced publication of a trio of specially commission poster prints commemorating “the occasion of Donald Trump being crassly maligned by the world’s press.”

The posters were created at the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop. Each measure 52.5 x 35 cm and are in stamped and numbered editions of 113 for £25.00 each. All posters come folded and in a deliberately distressed condition. The first orders will be dispatched on January 19th.

Mr. Childish is represented by L-13 in London, Neugerriemschneider in Berlin and Lehmann Maupin in New York.
 

Presidential Cunt Elect
 
More extremely Childish Trump posters after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Legendarily obnoxious Irish punks, The Outcasts: ‘The band you love to hate!’
01.12.2017
11:09 am

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Belfast, Ireland-based punks The Outcasts have a fair amount of mythology attached to their riotous time together.  The group formed in 1977 and after getting rejected by five different Belfast clubs their name took on a more personal meaning for the band and it stuck.

When they finally were able to land an actual live gig, fellow Irish punks Jake Burns, the vocalist for Stiff Little Fingers and guitarist Henry Cluney bore witness to the first few shows played by The Outcasts, which according to Greg Cowen as noted in the book Burning Britain: The History of UK Punk 1980–1984 were “disasters.” Cowan attributes the early lackluster impressions of the band to the fact that nobody in the Outcasts could actually play their instruments. There was also the issue that by time The Outcasts were getting ready to stumble through the third or so song in their set (which at the time consisted of covers of the Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash along with a few originals), also seemed to be some sort of signal for drummer Colin Cowan to trash his kit. It wouldn’t take long before The Outcasts would be routinely referred to as “The Band You Love to Hate” by local music journalists.

Despite their seeming inability to successfully play a gig that lasted more than a few minutes (which sounds pretty punk rock to me by the way), the band scored a coveted invitation to open for The Radiators From Space—a band championed by one of Ireland’s greatest musical exports—Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy—and Johnny Thunders. Held at Jordanstown Polytechnic on October 21, 1977 The Outcasts stayed true to their disastrous live track record. Here’s more from Greg Cowan on how that went:

We got the gig because I had written a letter that was published in NME magazine berating English punk band for not playing Northern Ireland. Colin (Cowan) had filled plastic bags with fake blood, which he threw at students in the audience. And Martin (Colin’s brother and guitarist for the band) assaulted The Radiators because he caught members of the band changing their flared jeans into drainpipes (old-school code for “skinny jeans”) before going on stage.

Though I don’t usually advocate the use of violence, I’m pretty sure that if you show up to a punk show wearing flared trousers you’re probably at the wrong fucking gig. Later on the band would start crashing shows by notable groups and musicians like Elvis Costello when he played Ulster Hall in the boys’ hometown in 1978. The band allegedly stormed the stage, grabbed Elvis’ microphone and spit out the self-promotional phrase “We’re The Outcasts, buy our single!” Apparently there were a fair number of punk/football fans in attendance who enthusiastically supported the antics The Outcasts pulled on poor Declan and a short time later they were playing to thousands of fans in Dublin. This affinity for commandeering other band’s shows was continued by drummer Colin Cowan when he disrupted sets by both Graham Parker and the Rumor and The Boomtown Rats. But let’s be honest here—there is a line in the sand when it comes to this pre-Jackass guerrilla music marketing. Sure I give them a pass for making Bob Geldof even grumpier than usual, but you simply do not fuck with THE CLASH. Sadly The Outcasts’ must have missed school the day they taught “Joe Strummer 101” and they set out to crash the stage where the Clash—who they had just supported in Belfast—were playing another show. When they showed up, a group of pissed-off bouncers were waiting for them, and according to Cowen who were ready to beat their “fuck in.”
 
More of the Outcasts after the jump…

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Iggy Pop fronts a Stooges-MC5 supergroup, 1978
12.22.2016
02:20 pm

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After the demise of the MC5, guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith assembled a new band with members of three other Detroit bands of the period: the Stooges (drummer Scott Asheton), the Rationals (guitarist and singer Scott Morgan), and the UP (bassist Gary Rasmussen). The resulting combo, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, recorded what is for me the great American single of the 70s, “City Slang.”

Iggy spent 1977 touring with different configurations of the players on The Idiot and Lust for Life; the only constant was Tin Machine’s future rhythm section, comprising Soupy Sales’ sons Hunt and Tony. In an interview with I-94 Bar, Gary Rasmussen explains how Iggy came to recruit SRB for his ‘78 tour of Europe, on which former Stooge Scott Thurston replaced Scott Morgan:

I think at that time, [Iggy] was having trouble with his record company. He’d been a mess, screwin’ up, and he pretty much needed to prove to the record company that he could do a good tour with a good band - it had to be somethin’ special - and that he wasn’t just a total junkie and all that stuff. He called up and was talking to Scott Asheton to start with, and then to Fred. We knew Iggy because he’d come through with his band and we’d go see ‘em, and we’d be playing some awful place down in Detroit, in Cass Corridor or somewhere, and Iggy would be playing at the Masonic Temple; he’d come to our gig after, y’know, and come up onstage. We were all friends.

So at that point, I think he needed something like that, and asked if we would do that - come and do a tour with him and be his band. Scott Thurston was in that band… Scott was already with Iggy, so he knew all of the songs that Iggy was doing, he knew kinda what was going on, so I think Iggy wanted to keep Scott Thurston in on it, so he didn’t need Morgan, basically. You don’t need another singer… if you ever tried to harmonize with Iggy, you’d realize it’s a pretty hard thing to do. But we didn’t need another singer, we didn’t need another guitar player, so Scott was kinda left out of that one.

 

Iggy Pop onstage with Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, Detroit, 1979 (photo by Robert Matheu, via robertmatheu.com)
 
In the same interview, Morgan says that the tour with Iggy contributed to SRB’s premature dissolution. I’m sure that’s true, and it’s a shame; on the other hand, this is surely one of the best bands Iggy ever had. The Copenhagen bootleg embedded after the jump, which popped up on YouTube earlier this month, is the shit. (For comparison, check out the quality of this boot from the tour’s Stockholm date, and while you’re there, listen to that night’s “Kill City.”)

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Classic, intimate photos of The Misfits by Eerie Von
12.21.2016
08:48 am

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Art
Books
Music
Punk

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Eric “Eerie Von” Stellmann may be the ultimate ascended fan. A high school student in Lodi, NJ in the ‘70s, he was pals with one Paul Caiafa, whose older brother Jerry was the bass player in a fledgling punk band called The Misfits, and so it was that Stellmann’s immediate social circle was ground zero for all horror-punk to follow. Caiafa eventually joined his brother in the band, under the name “Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein,” and eventually, Von himself would play bass on some Misfits recordings, moving on in 1983 with singer Glenn Danzig after that band’s breakup to form the similarly themed but darker and more metallic Samhain, and then Danzig’s eponymous metal band, who did very well indeed. (Small world: Von left Danzig in the mid ‘90s, and his vacated bass slot was eventually filled by Dangerous Minds’ own Howie Pyro.)

Like a lot of creatively inclined kids, the young Eerie Von was an avid photographer, and he amply documented The Misfits. As it was with all of the great punk rock photography, Von recorded images of great future significance just by dint of having been in the right place with a camera, but to say so is no slight to his talent—as you’ll see below, Von’s superb eye for composition and drama is undeniable, whether the band was posing or performing, and even in candids. Some of his images are very familiar to Misfits/Samhain/Danzig fans, and some have gone largely unseen, but they were collected several years ago in the book Misery Obscura: The Photography of Eerie Von (1981-2009), which has recently been reprinted in a deluxe hardcover by Bazillion Points. It’s an altogether nicer edition—sturdier stock, recalibrated color, and forewords by Killswitch Engage’s Mike D’Antonio and Minor Threat’s Lyle Preslar.

Bazillion Points have graciously allowed us to share a selection of Von’s early Misfits photos. Enjoy.
 

 

 
More Misfits after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Never mind the Sex Pistols, Here’s ‘The Kids’: Pissed-off pioneering punks from Belgium
12.19.2016
03:34 pm

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Music
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In 1976 Ludo Mariman took on the vocalist spot for The Crash, a group that would quickly change its name to The Kids. According to Mariman nobody in the band could really actually play an instrument so they ended up sounding like a “really bad version of Velvet Underground.” When punk rock began its search and destroy tour in the UK, it still hadn’t become a scene in Belgium yet with a couple of notable exceptions. Such as the band Chainsaw who if you blinked in Belgium back in 1977 you missed, and the wild success of Plastic Bertrand’s world-wide smash “Ça Plane Pour Moi.” Mariman headed off to London to see what all the fuss was about where he witnessed a live gig by the Ramones. It was then that Mariman had an epiphany of sorts and realized even though the Crash lacked actual “musical” talent they had the same kind of drive and energy that the quad from Queens possessed.

In 1978, when they were still quite literally kids (bass player Danny Haes was only fourteen at the time) The Kids put out two pretty blistering albums. The first was a self-titled record full of anarchic jams that all punched the time clock in under three-minutes like “Fascist Cops,” “Do You Love the Nazis,” and “I Don’t Want To Get a Job in the City.” The band’s second album, Naughty Kids was also full of catchy, pissed-off tracks including a fun sing-along I currently can’t get out of my head called “Jesus Christ (Didn’t Exist).”

As of last year The Kids were still touring rather extensively around Europe. I’ve included a few singles by The Kids below as well as footage from their first appearance on television in Belgium in 1978—which includes the band performing a cover of “Anarchy in the U.K.” If you dig The Kids, I’d highly suggest adding the 2006 compilation marking the band’s 30th anniversary that includes all the tracks from The Kids’ first two albums and a few live tracks put out by French label Wild Wild Records. Posers get LOST!
 
Listen the the Kids, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Sandra Bernhard and the Butthole Surfers cover Heart, in Spanish, 1987
12.16.2016
08:50 am

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Bands come and go; Butthole Surfers rarities are forever. This one is especially mysterious.

The April 1987 issue of SPIN gave it one sentence, in between items about the Fat Boys’ upcoming feature film Disorderlies and Bob Stinson’s recent firing from the Replacements:

Sandra Bernhardt [sic] has teamed with pals the Butthole Surfers to desecrate Heart’s “Barracuda.”

Not much, but it’s more than you would have learned from the Buttholes’ interview with Blatch, which ended like this:

I saw Sandra Bernhardt [sic] on David Letterman and she said she hung out with you g—(Tape Ends)

Though it’s possible the Butthole Surfers biography that came out last year has more details about the Bernhard-Buttholes relationship, above are the scant facts in my possession touching on this 30-year-old event. Since then, Bernhard has covered Heart’s “Alone” (with Winger!) and spoken of her love for the Wilson sisters. She apparently recorded two versions of the vocal to the Buttholes’ “Barracuda,” one in English and one in Spanish. If either has ever surfaced on a bootleg, it’s news to me.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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