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Kid Congo Powers returns to the Psychedelic Jungle
03.25.2012
07:29 pm

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Music
Punk

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As journeyman guitarist, Kid Congo Powers has played alongside of three of the most outrageous and notorious front-men of the post-punk era: The Cramps’ Lux Interior, Nick Cave, and of course, his longtime collaborator in The Gun Club, Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Two of these men are dead, the third is very lucky he isn’t… Kid Congo Powers has also added his Satanic magic to the mix collaborating with Jim Thirlwell, Lydia lunch, Die Haut, Annie Anxiety, Julee Cruise, and The Swan’s Michael Gira.

Currently living in Washington DC, Kid’s writing a memoir of growing up in Los Angeles and the early years of that city’s nascent punk scene. The gunslinger guitarist claims he gets more done in the staid, uptight District of Columbia simply because there’s not a lot to do there.

Dangerous Minds caught up with Kid Congo Powers after he and his crack band, the Pink Monkey Birds (named after a line in David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” song) played a right rave up on the stage at Waterloo Records’ parking lot in Austin, TX during the SXSW festival. The Pink Monkey Birds sound is a spicy gumbo of 60’s Chicano rock, Booker T. and the M.G.s, bad LSD trips and seedy psychedelic go-go romps. They even threw in a couple of Cramps and Gun Club favorites.

As the bandleader, Kid is an engaging and charismatic front-man. The Pink Monkey Birds are Kiki Solis on bass; Ron Miller on drums; and Jesse Roberts on second guitar. Their latest album is called Gorilla Rose. If they come to your town, GO SEE ‘EM, they put on a fine show.

New York Night Train’s exhaustive Kid Congo Powers feature with in-depth accounts of life on the road with The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and The Gun Club.
 

 
“Catsuit Fruit”:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Simple Minds: Early live footage, New York 1979
03.25.2012
02:52 pm

Topics:
Dance
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:

simple_minds_chelsea_girl
 
There was a moment back in the late-seventies / early-eighties, when Simple Minds could do no wrong. From their debut album Life in a Day, through to New Gold Dream, 81, 82, 83, 84, they were the likely heirs (by-way-of Kraftwerk) to fill the space left by Bolan and Bowie and even the Velvets, with their mix of pop (Empires and Dance) and experimentation (Real to Real Cacophony). But by 1984 and the release of Sparkle in the Rain, the Minds were a stadium band, with their own rock sound, vying with U2 for world domination.

For me amongst the highlights of being a student in the early eighties was the thrill of listening to I Travel, Chelsea Girl and Theme For Great Cities, played loud, late at night, with friends in shared apartments and rooms, listening and talking, expectant for the life to come. It all came too soon, and sadly much of Simple Minds’ early innovation and brilliance has been too easily forgotten.

Here then is Simple Minds at Hurrah’s Club, New York City, October 1979, performing “Premonition”, “Changeling” and “Factory”.
 

Simple Minds - “Premonition”
 

Bonus - “Chelsea Girl” - Simple Minds
 
More from Simple Minds, plus extra tracks and early interview, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
America’s fastest adopted entertainment technology: The boombox
03.23.2012
02:43 pm

Topics:
Environment
Hip-hop
History
Music
Punk

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Boomboxes provided the soundtrack to my life for much of the late 1970s and 80s. The streets of New York City, uptown, downtown, east side and west, were alive with the sound of music and everyone who had a blaster was a walking deejay. Unlike the anti-social Walkman, the boombox was all about sharing your mix. The bigger the blaster, the better.

 

 
Alexis Madrigal shares this interesting bit of info on the humble but mighty boom box via The Atlantic Monthly:

When we think about the great consumer electronics technologies of our time, the cellular phone probably springs to mind. If we go farther back, perhaps we’d pick the color television or the digital camera. But none of those products were adopted as fast by the American people as the boom box.

... Tarique Hossain included data from the Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Association on the “observed penetration rate at the end of the 7th year” for all the technologies listed above. Hossain’s data didn’t include the starting years for these seven-year periods, but I’m assuming they mark the introduction of the boom box in the mid-1970s. That would mean that by the early 1980s, more than 60 percent of American households owned some kind of portable cassette player with speakers attached to it.

It’s worth noting that all five of the fastest-adopted technologies were for the consumption of entertainment not communication or production of media.”

Here’s a fun documentary on the history of the boombox. For a more detailed history of ghetto blasters check out The Boombox Museum here. It’s amazingly comprehensive with tons of photos.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
xxx ALL AGES xxx: New Boston hardcore punk 81-84 doc
03.23.2012
12:19 pm

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History
Music
Punk

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Although I did attend a few of hardcore shows in Boston once when I ran away from home for a couple of weeks in 1982 (and stayed around the corner from The Rat, one of the main Beantown punk clubs of the era) I can’t claim to really know all that much about the scene there, other than it seemed especially violent and—surprise, surprise it being Boston—that there was a heavy “jock” contingent attending the shows I saw there.

xxx ALL AGES xxx, an upcoming documentary aiming to uncover the hidden history of Boston’s hardcore punk underground will be premiering on April 27th at the 2012 Boston Independent Film Festival:

“xxx ALL AGES xxx” The Boston Hardcore Film is a documentary film that explores the early Boston Hardcore music scene from the years 1981 thru 1984. Unlike earlier films that were centered on the members of the bands, this film delves into the social and communal aspects of that particular era. The community, culture, straight edge and DIY (Do it yourself) ethic of the time are all explored in the film. Never before seen archival footage, photographs, interviews and dramatizations make up the body of the film.

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Pink Flamingos’ on acid
03.22.2012
12:51 pm

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Drugs
Movies
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Queer

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A blast from DM’s past:

Babs Johnson and Edie The Egg Lady get psychedelicized.

Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye.
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess,
Boy, you been a naughty girl you let your knickers down.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.”

Mr. Vader: “Do you believe in God?”
Babs Johnson: “I AM GOD!”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Roky Erickson and The Black Angels will melt your mind
03.21.2012
11:09 pm

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Drugs
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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Art: John Howard
 
Roky Erickson performing “Bo Diddley” and “Two-Headed Dog” with The Black Angels at The El Rey Theater in 2008.

The man who helped launch psychedelic music is backed-up magnificently by a band whose members were born almost two decades after he released his first single. And they’re all from Austin, Texas, where the The Akashic record of rock and roll is on replay.

This is an excerpt from the undeniably fantastic Night Of The Vampire DVD.

If you dig John Howard’s poster featured above, check out his ultra-groovy website Monkeyink.com. The dude’s a fucking genius. His 3-D posters will blow your frontal lobes out.

So fucking for real.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
New documentary about Bob Gruen’s life and work
03.17.2012
03:10 pm

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Art
Movies
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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Photo credit: Mirgun Akyavas

Veteran photographer Bob Gruen is responsible for some of the most iconic images in all of rock and roll history. His instantly recognizable shots of the Sex Pistols, New York Dolls, and John Lennon (to name just three of his subjects) are permanent parts of the pop culture oversoul.

Over his five decade career, Bob Gruen has captured the likes of Madonna, Elvis, Eric Clapton, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Ike and Tina Turner, The Clash, and The Who. His first concert as a “pro” came when he used his camera to talk himself into the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, the concert when Bob Dylan infamously “went electric.”

Gruen was a close friend of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, serving more or less as Lennon’s personal photographer throughout the Seventies. His shot of John Lennon wearing the New York City t-shirt is probably his single most famous image, and the “Mona Lisa” of Big Apple tourist trap tee-shirts, according to the New York Times. Then there’s the one of Sid Vicious with the mustard covered hot dog, Blondie crawling out from under a car wreck, John Lennon in front of the Statue of Liberty. We could go on and on…

A new documentary about Bob Gruen’s life and work, Rock ‘N’ Roll Exposed: The Photography Of Bob Gruen, directed by another of the rock era’s most energetic chroniclers, Grammy award-winning filmmaker/musician/DJ Don Letts, recently premiered at the SXSW Film Festival.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Exposed is an illuminating document full of fascinating historic moments revolving around the time, people and places memorialized in Bob Gruen’s photographs. With his unprecedented access to John Lennon and Yoko Ono he was able to capture their lives on film with a familial intimacy and Zen-like immediacy. Gruen’s photographs tell stories and in the case of John and Yoko those stories get closer to the subjects than most of the dozen or more wordy volumes written about the couple.

With witty and insightful commentary from Gruen, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Legs McNeil, Tommy Ramone, Alice Cooper and more, Rock ‘N’ Roll Exposed is more than a nostalgic look at over several decades of pop music history. It is a testimony to the power of art to not only immortalize the past but to bring it immediately into the moment. Gruen’s photos are vital because they are so alive.

Below, our exclusive interview with Bob Gruen.


 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Dangerous Minds interviews H.R. about new film ‘Bad Brains: A Band In D.C.’
03.16.2012
03:57 pm

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Movies
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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Aside from the obvious— they were the first all-black punk band— two additional things must be said of the early Bad Brains: they were the most ferocious musical tornado ever unleashed; a frantic, thrashing monster of a group that had absolutely no competitors for the crown of being the most hardcore of all of the hardcore bands in Washington, D.C.

They were also the best, most skilled musicians of any of their compatriots. Sure, they played buzz-saw punk rock music that sounded like a Black Sabbath album spinning at 45rpm, but they actually came from a jazz fusion background (think Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra!) before the energy of the D.C. hardcore scene turned their attention to punk.

Lead vocalist H.R. was, simply put, one of the greatest frontmen of the punk era, up there with Johnny Rotten or Jello Biafra as a presence so incendiary, so crazed and so utterly unhinged that you wondered if he was possessed. Backed by Dr. Know (guitar), Darryl Jenifer (bass) and H.R.‘s younger brother, Earl Hudson, on drums, the Bad Brains would explode onto the stage like a nail bomb had gone off. If that prospect seemed worrisome, well, stand back!

It wasn’t long before the group found they weren’t able to play shows in their hometown, hence their famous number, “Banned in D.C.” which has been appropriated for the title of the new film about the group, Bad Brains: A Band In D.C. co-directed by Mandy Stein and Ben Logan. The film actually started as an offshoot of another project about CBGBs, but as Stein told us “What director wouldn’t want to tell this story?”

The 30+ years of the Bad Brains’ existence has been fraught with interpersonal conflict— one epic argument was caught on video by the directors— but it’s that tension that makes the band so great that also, perhaps, prevented them from being as big as they might have otherwise been. Band in DC features some fierce archival footage, more recent live performances and interviews with Henry Rollins, The Beastie Boys, Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye, British black punk DJ and filmmaker Don Letts and The Cars’ Ric Ocasek, who produced the band in the studio.

In the clip below, co-director Mandy Stein and Bad Brains singer H.R. discuss the film and the energy of the early Washington, D.C. punk scene.


 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Bruce Springsteen’s keynote address at SXSW
03.16.2012
12:56 am

Topics:
History
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Reggae

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Bruce Springsteen and Eric Burdon performing “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” in Austin. 3/15.

Bruce Springsteen’s keynote address at SXSW 2012.

Springsteen spoke passionately about the music that had had a profound impact on his own writing. The Boss rhapsodized about Elvis, James Brown, the Animals, and the Beatles, and the anecdotes he told about his encounters with each were revealing, mesmerizing, and sometimes hilarious. But it was the story of his awakening to Woody Guthrie’s work that tells the most about how Springsteen’s writing has changed over the last twenty years, and where he’s likely to going next.

Whether you’re a fan or not, this speech by Springsteen is full of heart and truth. And having just come home from his phenomenal performance at SXSW, I am fully prepared to take on all comers. This cat still rocks and rocks hard!
 

 
When Springsteen introduced special guest Eric Burdon at the show he did so by commenting on The Animals hit We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, “That’s every song I’ve ever written. I’m not kidding, that’s all of ‘em.” Burdon proceeded to prove him right. A lovely rock and roll moment.

Fan shot video:
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A day in the life of Iggy Pop
03.14.2012
11:10 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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Here’s what the 64-year-old is up to these days according to The London Sunday Times:

7:30 a.m.: Juice and Cuban coffee.
9:30 a.m.: Look at Koi Pond, listen to waterfall, look at clouds.
10:30 a.m.: 1/2 hour of Qigong.
11:00 a.m.: Breakfast (fruit, cheese, maybe a bagel)
11:30 a.m.: Look at email, but don’t answer them.
Noon: Iggy usually doesn’t eat lunch. Surprised?
1:00 p.m.: Shower. Apply moisturizer or leather polish to skin. Lament that it’s in vain.
2:00 p.m.: Read New York Times, books, etc.
3:00 p.m.: Lose mind listening to music.
5:00 p.m.: 15 more minutes of exercise then dress for dinner. If dinner is at home, Iggy prefers to wear only a smoking jacket and slippers. Iggy will also indulge in a couple of glasses of Claret, a dark, rose wine.
10:00 p.m.: (or earlier): Bed

With thanks to Cherrybombed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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