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Sweet Apple’s new video, filmed in a haunted train car
07.26.2017
08:52 am
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In Steuben County NY on August 30, 1943, the Lackawanna Limited passenger train drove at 70 miles per hour into a freight engine that hadn’t cleared the track. The wreckage was brutal; published estimates vary, but around 110 people were injured and 28 died. But most gruesome was their manner of death—only one passenger, one Frank Meincke, was crushed in wreckage. The rest were trapped in a coach that landed atop the freight engine, which emptied itself of steam into the coach. The victims were basically cooked alive. From The Troopers Are Coming: New York State Troopers, 1917-1943:

The Lackawanna Limited struck the left side of a freight engine, tearing up three hundred feet of track and leaving a twisted mass of wreckage scattered along the right of way. A steam jacket torn from the freight engine allowed escaping steam to enter some of the passenger coaches, causing agony and death. Twenty-eight passengers and crewmembers were killed and 117 passengers were injured.

 

 

Images via the Painted Hills Genealogy Society

But though it entombed over two dozen people, the passenger car itself was unharmed, and this grim piece of transportation history remains not just intact, but restored in the disused B&O roundhouse that now serves as a museum and restoration workplace for the Midwest Railway Preservation Society. Due to that key event in the car’s past, it’s acquired a reputation as a haunting site, and is referred to as “The Death Car.” According to Seeks Ghosts, a web site for paranormal enthusiasts,

While this old passenger car was at this yard being renovated many people connected to this society began to believe it was haunted. In fact, the volunteers at this yard dubbed this car—the ”Death Car.”

One volunteer, Charlie Sedgley who works for the society restoring cars believes he encountered at least 17 separate ghosts in the 1943 wrecked passenger car.

The society gives tours of the old train cars they restore. A trustee of the society, Steve Karpos was leading one of these tours when he led his group into the Death Car.

As he spoke a female member of his tour group interrupted him to ask why he didn’t let the other man behind him speak. Karpos didn’t know what she was talking about. She then asked about the “man dressed in the funny suit.”

Karpos recalls that, “Everyone else was saying there was a ghost in the car.” When the tour exited the Death Car several members saw, “a ghost sitting on the roof with his feet hanging over.”


That article goes on to say that the MRPS no longer owns the car, but it is indeed still there, and Sweet Apple have used it as the setting for “World I’m Gonna Leave You,” the first of four videos from their new LP Sing the Night in Sorrow. Sweet Apple is made up of members of Dinosaur Jr, Witch, and Cobra Verde, and the song includes vocal contributions from Mark Lanegan and Bob Pollard. The video is far cheekier than the train car’s grim history would suggest—the band’s namesake bassist Dave Sweetapple enters the haunted car and is bedeviled by—well, the Devil played by singer John Petkovic in a cheap mask. Drummer J Mascis and guitarist Tim Parnin also appear, as do eleven other passengers and, evidently, at least 17 separate ghosts.
 
Watch after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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07.26.2017
08:52 am
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No tears: Tuxedomoon’s Peter Principle dead at 63
07.17.2017
02:45 pm
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Sad to learn that Peter Principle (real name Peter Dachert), the bassist and guitar player of the great American avant-garde musical group Tuxedomoon died today at the age of 63. His passing was announced on Facebook by fellow band member and longtime friend Blaine Reininger, the violinist and keyboardist of the group.

It is my very sad duty to inform the world that our colleague and brother, Peter Principle has left this world behind. He died this morning, July 17, 2017, apparently of natural causes. We are all stunned.

A further statement on the Tuxedomoonnews blog indicated that he…

“... was found in his room at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels, where Tuxedomoon has been preparing a new tour and new music. He was the apparent victim of a heart attack or stroke.”

Dachert’s stage name was inspired by the so-called “Peter principle” management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter and published in the 1969 book The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong which describes how many corporate managers “rise to the level of their incompetence.”

When the Sex Pistols and the Ramones were churning out retread rock-n-roll, Tuxedomoon was in San Francisco doing something truly dangerous, pioneering “new wave” and post-punk before either term existed. Principle became a member the band in 1979 and joined the others when they chose to go into exile in Europe after Ronald Reagan’s election. They finally settled in Belgium where they founded a record label, Crammed Discs. After some years apart, the band reformed in 2000 and has been productive and active since, touring and releasing new music, film scores and archival box sets.

After Tuxedomoon’s Bruce Geduldig died in 2016, they continued on with David Haneke taking over Geduldig’s visual duties onstage with the band during their 2016 tour. The group’s continuing status is unknown with an August 4th show planned for London now in question. Peter Principle lived in New York City where he was born. He will be missed.
 

Tuxedomoon appear on Glenn O’Brien’s ‘TV Party’ cable access program.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.17.2017
02:45 pm
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Ghost Rider still alive after Suicide: ‘IT’ is the HEAVY Alan Vega release from beyond the grave!
07.14.2017
09:57 am
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Alan Vega the solo artist and lead singer of the groundbreaking synthpunk duo Suicide who passed from this mortal plane almost exactly one year ago (7/16/16) is not done with us just yet and this is the best news I’ve heard in ages…

My own personal experiences and encounters with Alan Vega are varied, and over many decades, sometimes very near and sometimes far away, but always intense. Not like scary movie intense but like escaping death intense. As an innocent 16-year-old going to Max’s Kansas City in 1976 determined to get in “this time,” and being very under age, everything lined up right: my parents went out for the night and I got a friend from school to go with me, but the bands I knew about (Ramones, etc.) weren’t playing but anything would have been good.

Back then every band played two sets each night. We got there right on time for the early show and saw a band called The Cramps playing their third gig ever! (That is a major revelation I have gone into elsewhere many times). When Suicide hit the stage it was not packed but pretty crowded. I had been very into weird music for many of my young years but nothing on earth—I repeat, nothing—could prepare me for what I was about to go through. I had seen “bands.” And for God’s sake I had just seen The Cramps for the first time, but two guys come up, NO guitar, NO bass, NO drums and SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGH#%&*#!$#@ PLAY THE LOUDEST THING I HAD EVER HEARD!! 

I had never seen a band with “no” instruments and they were louder than any band WITH instruments. I had never been literally scared of music and people I paid to “have fun” watching. By this point the singer was bleeding from pummeling his own face with his microphone. And it just got louder and louder. Vega would lean into the audience and people would run to the bar! I was mesmerized. I was glued to my seat. I went into another galaxy and I was changed forever. My friend was long gone, outside I found out, and he’d been outside since thirty seconds after they’d come onstage. This in itself was the dividing line between myself and the rest of my entire world as I knew it. The deciding factor that I needed to exist in THIS world and not the world I had known up until this point. This was a gigantic psychotic green light that I had never known existed but was waiting for my entire young life.

Between the Cramps and Suicide I had found my heart and soul. And I wanted more. And I have never for one moment stopped searching for that something “more.”
 

 
By the 1990s I had followed this path for quite a while and was familiar with and friends with many of these people, and was one of them. When my band D Generation was recording our second LP No Lunch at Electric Lady studio with producer Ric Ocasek, chosen much for the fact that he could work with Suicide and The Bad Brains (musically AND personally), the idea came up for us to have Alan Vega pay a visit. Once there, we thought he’d be tickled about a song we had just finished called Frankie about a tough cross-dressing punk type, a sort of homage to his Frankie Teardrop. Next thing you know he is in the studio recording a vocal. All I can think about was that first life changing night at Max’s Kansas City which was then twenty years prior (now forty one) as I watch and listen to him give Ric and the engineer instructions to take all the music out except the kick drum, the bass (yay!) and Jesse Malin’s vocal. He then went to work squirming and shrieking and saying all kinds of wild heavy stuff. It was truly a privilege to be a part of that.
 
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The author with Alan Vega
 
After that we knew each other better. Jesse brought him to meet Bruce Springsteen and Alan and Jesse became close. Alan once did a set doing the first Suicide LP live at Jesse’s club Bowery Electric. Jesse’s sideman Derek Cruz (with my help or at my suggestion I believe) sampled all the sounds from the LP and played the sounds on pads so it sounded exactly like the record! Amazing! But not exactly as planned as the sound man didn’t know the record and since I did (and I knew the soundman) I ran into the sound booth and asked him where the echo was and to turn it on and I did the echo frenzy on Alan’s vocal just like the record throughout the show. His beautiful wife Liz Lamere thanked me, as did audience members. That was a perfect experience to bring my life as far as Alan Vega is concerned to a perfect circle.

Until now.
 
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Photo by Bob Gruen
 
Almost a year to the day after Alan Vega passed he has sent us all a massive electronic slap in the face. And like the first time I was exposed to his music, it is harsh, exciting and necessary. Electronic meditations on sorrow, loss and darkness from the Suicide king. The new album, titled IT hits the streets on July 14th and is truly a message from beyond. IT can be downloaded digitally and bought on vinyl, with a 2-LP gatefold including unpublished drawings, writings, and photos by Vega. The digital album is now available for pre-order here, and the standard vinyl can be pre-ordered via Amazon.com here. A special limited release of IT will also be available on transparent orange vinyl, sold exclusively at select indie retail locations, the list of which will soon be announced.

Leading up to the one-year anniversary of Vega’s passing, New York City will host a series of events deemed “Alan Vega Week” including exhibits and performances in Alan’s memory. On June 30th, INVISIBLE-EXPORTS opened an exhibition featuring Vega’s historic light sculptures, as well as his final series of work including acrylic and graphite paintings. Depictions of a single mythical man, they also form, together, a shifting, serial self-portrait. Additionally, on July 18th, Jeffrey Deitch will open “Dream Baby Dream,” a memorial exhibition commemorating Vega’s life and work, including video projections of historic performances by Suicide, and a selection of Vega’s sculptures and works on paper from the 1960s to his last works in 2016. Stay tuned for additional memorial events around “Alan Vega Week” to be announced.
 
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The album opens with its first single and video called Dead To Me. “Life is no joke/It’s days and nights-pure evil/Heyyyyy, sometimes the skanks save souls/DTM-dead to me.” Over a pounding atonal electronic repetitive groove, it is relentless, bleak and very heavy. Spitting out lines of endtimes doom and truth, it’s a tough pill to swallow. But surely one worth forcing down.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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07.14.2017
09:57 am
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That one time Elvis died
07.14.2017
08:01 am
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It’s easy to forget how weird Elvis was. Sure, I mean weird “like a prince from another planet,” in the New York Times’ phrase, but I also mean weird like an ordinary nerd. Kicked, punched, wedgied, swirlied, dumped-in-the-trash-can weird. Sun Records artist Barbara Pittman makes it sound like humiliating Elvis was once a kind of neighborhood sport:

My older brother went to school with him, and he and some of the other boys used to hide behind buildings and throw things at him—rotten fruit and stuff—because he was different, because he was quiet and he stuttered and he was a mama’s boy.

He could have been John Lauber, the gay schoolmate whose bleached hair Mitt Romney reportedly chopped off with scissors as a senior. He very nearly was, according to Memphis Mafioso Red West, who claims to have broken up just such a scene in the high school men’s room:

What sealed our fate forever, I’m sure: between classes, I went into the bathroom one day, and I saw these three guys and Elvis back in the corner. Two of ‘em were holding him, one guy had the scissors. Elvis was different: he wore the long hair, and all of us had crew cuts. And I walked in, looking around. “What’s goin’ on, boys?”

“We gonna cut a little hair off this boy, here, you know.”

And I said, “He don’t look like he wants it cut off, to me.”

He said, “No he don’t, but we do.”

And I said, “Well, if you cut his, you’re gonna cut mine, and I ain’t got too damn much up here to cut.” And they looked at me to see if I was serious, and they saw that I was serious, and they let him go.

Now, the story that these were football players—these weren’t football players. These were just redneck dumbasses.

 

 
So while some of the world’s mean motherfuckers consider Elvis one of their own, their claim is by no means exclusive. To be the King of Rock and Roll is to be the king of every abnormal person who’s ever been on the losing end of a fight. I’ll grant you that Elvis did not always act with these subjects’ best interest at heart, as when, in the rambling letter to Nixon he wrote on American Airlines stationery, he volunteered to use his bona fides with “The Drug Culture, The Hippie Elements, The SDS, Black Panther, etc” to infiltrate those groups as a “Federal Agent at Large.”

But Elvis contained multitudes. At least in the probably apocryphal version of the Elvis story Lux Interior of the Cramps said he heard from Sam Phillips’ son (which one?) “one drunken night,” Elvis was “The Drug Culture” of 1954, leveraging Gladys’ supply of bennies for studio time:

Yeah, we were told that Elvis wasn’t discovered as such at all! He was just some freaky-looking kid always making a nuisance of himself around Sun Studios and nobody wanted to know him. Like here’s this guy who dyed his fuckin’ eyebrows and dressed in black pimp clothes—and this was the ‘50s in the South, you’ve got to remember—and Sam Phillips and all the session guys thought he was some disgusting little faggot!

However Elvis did have this one piece of luck. His mother, right, had a really bad weight problem and the doctor prescribed her this enormous supply of diet pills which just happened to be… these pills were just pure benzedrine, right, which is a very potent form of speed.

And all those Sun guys just lived on speed, man. So when Phillips found out that Elvis could get bottles of these things, he let him hang around. So, like, here was Elvis every week bringing huge bottles of these pills to the guys at Sun until, as he was the studio’s main source of supply for speed, Phillips was more or less obliged to let him cut a record.

So like, rock ‘n’ roll was born simply because Elvis Presley was Sun Records’ number one speed dealer.

 

 
It’s fitting that the book Elvis is said to have taken with him on his fatal trip to the can, A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus, concerned the Shroud of Turin, which is either a holy relic or a total ripoff, depending on who’s talking. He was about to pass into just such an indeterminate state, Elvis was, forever leaving behind the dimension that has toilets for the one made entirely out of meaning. And now that he’s been a pure symbol for so long, hardly anyone remembers that he used to sing. (N.B.: Elvis was fucking great!) But everyone remembers that he died on the shitter.

VCRs and cassette decks everywhere whirred into action on August 16, 1977, perhaps hoping to capture a glimpse or echo of EP kung-fuing his way through the pearly gates. Because I love Elvis, before I am subjected to the inevitable cable news specials marking the 40th anniversary of his death next month, I’m inoculating myself with heavy doses of raw video. There are hours of TV and radio coverage of the event. Perhaps you’d like to join me?

After the jump, nearly two hours of Elvis death coverage and ‘mini-docs’...

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.14.2017
08:01 am
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Fallen Angel: Evelyn McHale’s ‘Beautiful Suicide’
07.11.2017
11:14 am
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Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America. On average there are 121 suicides every single day. Fifty percent of these are achieved with firearms. Just over a quarter are the result of hanging or suffocation. Poisoning makes up about fifteen percent. 

In 2015, seven out of ten suicides were white males, with the highest percentage being middle-aged men. A total of 494,169 were taken to the hospital due to attempted “self-harm.” That works out to an average of twelve people self-harming for every successful suicide. However, most suicide attempts go unreported which means there is an estimated one million US citizens who attempt suicide every year.

For those who have no access to a gun or to poison or worry that hanging might leave them paralyzed from the neck down, then jumping off a tall building or a bridge is the preferred choice for about five percent of all suicides. Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is the top spot for those who choose to jump. To date, around 1600 people have jumped from the bridge—an average of one person jumping to their death every two weeks. However, approximately one in fifty survives the fall—usually with life-changing injuries. Part of the attraction to jumping is the spectacle, as one Golden Gate suicide survivor Ken Baldwin explained in 2011:

“Jumping from the bridge was going to force people to see me….To see me hurting, to see that I was a person, too.”

The moment Mr. Baldwin let go of the rail and began to freefall downwards, he quickly realized that:

“...everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable – except for having jumped.”

He was lucky enough to survive to tell his tale after being pulled out of the water by the coast guard.
 
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Suicide has had a bizarre, and let’s be honest, dumb romantic appeal since Cleopatra was bitten by an asp. This notion was further endorsed by the English Romantic poets, in particular, Thomas Chatterton who poisoned himself at the tender age of seventeen—supposedly in fear of having caught a dose of the clap. This trend to romanticize suicide carries on to present day which sadly suggests we never learn from our mistakes. And I can ‘fess up to being that special kind of stupid having survived two suicide attempts. As Dorothy Parker noted—it ain’t worth it and we might as well live.

The photograph that perhaps captures this strange romantic idea about suicide as somehow “beautiful” was taken by student Robert Wiles on Thursday, May 1st, 1947. His photograph shows the body of Evelyn McHale atop a limousine parked outside the Empire State Building on 33rd Street, New York. Evelyn was a 23-year-old bookkeeper with the Kitab Engraving Company. She had just returned to New York from celebrating her fiance Barry Rhodes’ 24th birthday on April 30th, in Easton, Pennsylvania. Rhodes later said he had no idea of Evelyn’s intentions:

“When I kissed her goodbye she was happy and as normal as any girl about to be married.”

At some point on the train journey back to the city, Evelyn made her mind up to commit suicide. Arriving at Penn Station, Evelyn is believed to have entered the Governor Clinton Hotel where she wrote her suicide note which read:

“I don’t want anyone in or out of my family to see any part of me. Could you destroy my body by cremation? I beg of you and my family – don’t have any service for me or remembrance for me. My fiance asked me to marry him in June. I don’t think I would make a good wife for anybody. He is much better off without me. Tell my father, I have too many of my mother’s tendencies.”

The most telling part is Evelyn’s line about having “too many of [her] mother’s tendencies.”

Evelyn was the sixth of seven children born to Vincent and Helen McHale. In 1930, the family moved to Washington D.C. where her father worked as Federal Land Bank Examiner. This was the year Evelyn’s mother Helen quit the family home leaving Vincent to look after the children. It’s not known why Helen McHale moved out.
 
Read more about the ‘beautiful suicide’ of Evelyn McHale after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.11.2017
11:14 am
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William S. Burroughs’ answer to the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’


The author at home
 
It’s the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen,” and you know what that means: it’s the 40th anniversary of the letter of support William S. Burroughs sent the band, along with his own all-purpose slogan and answer song, “Bugger the Queen.”

Victor Bockris writes that Burroughs’ piece predated the Sex Pistols’ single by three years, but even so, “God Save the Queen” was the occasion for its debut. As far as I can tell, Burroughs never mentioned “Bugger the Queen” without reference to the Sex Pistols. In October ‘77, writing from Naropa, Burroughs sent Brion Gysin a Rolling Stone feature on the Sex Pistols (presumably Charles M. Young’s contemporary cover story) along with the words to “Bugger the Queen,” which he referred to as a new song he might record with Patti Smith. Though the published letters haven’t yet caught up to the punk rock period, Ken Lopez Bookseller has made the typescript of this one available. Punctuation and spelling are WSB’s:

Dear Brion:

Enclose article from the Rolling Stone on the Sex Pistols and punk rock, in case you didnt see it. This explains the action in Paris. I guess we are classified with Mick Jaeger. I am writing some songs and may do a record with Patti Smith. Here’s one
My husband and I
The old school tie
Hyphonated names
Tired old games
It belongs in the bog
With the restofthe sog
Pull the chain onBuckingham
The drain calls you MAM.
BUGGER THE QUEEN
Whole skit goes withit illustratting everything I dont like about England.

“Bugger the Queen” was still on Burroughs’ mind one year later when he told a writer for the San Francisco punk zine Search & Destroy about his letter to the Sex Pistols (as quoted by Victor Bockris):

I am not a punk and I don’t know why anybody would consider me the Godfather of Punk. How do you define punk? The only definition of the word is that it might refer to a young person who is simply called a punk because he is young, or some kind of petty criminal. In this sense some of my characters may be considered punks, but the word simply did not exist in the fifties. I suppose you could say James Dean epitomized it in Rebel Without a Cause, but still, what is it? I think the so-called punk movement is indeed a media creation. I did however send a letter of support to the Sex Pistols when they released “God Save the Queen” in England because I’ve always said that the country doesn’t stand a chance until you have 20,000 people saying BUGGER THE QUEEN! And I support the Sex Pistols because this is constructive, necessary criticism of a country which is bankrupt.

 

The cover (cropped) of ‘Little Caesar’ #9, the first publication of ‘Bugger the Queen’ (via dennis-cooper.net)
 
The “skit” Burroughs mentions in the letter to Gysin, or a later version of it, is one of the entries in the essay collection The Adding Machine. Burroughs read it toward the end of 1978 at the Nova Convention celebrating his work. It was first published in the ninth issue of Dennis Cooper’s zine Little Caesar, whose previous number featured an interview with Johnny Rotten; International Times ran it too. The gist: chants of “Bugger the Queen” lead to a spontaneous uprising that forces Her Maj to abdicate. From the opening, a few words of inspiration, and the annotated lyrics:

I guess you read about the trouble the Sex Pistols had in England over their song “God Save the Queen (It’s a Fascist Regime).” Johnny Rotten got hit with an iron bar wielded by HER Loyal Subjects. It’s almost treason in England to say anything against what they call “OUR Queen.” I don’t think of Reagan as OUR President, do you? He’s just the one we happen to be stuck with at the moment. So in memory of the years I spent in England—and in this connection I am reminded of a silly old Dwight Fisk song: “Thank you a lot, Mrs. Lousberry Goodberry, for an infinite weekend with you . . . (five years that weekend lasted) . . . For your cocktails that were hot and your baths that were not . . .”—so in fond memory of those five years I have composed this lyric which I hope someday someone will sing in England. It’s entitled: Bugger the Queen.

My husband and I (The Queen always starts her spiel that way)
The old school tie
Hyphenated names
Tired old games
It belongs in the bog
(Bog is punk for W.C.)
With the rest of the sog
Pull the chain on Buckingham
The drain calls you, MA’AM
(Have to call the Queen “Ma’am” you know)
BUGGER THE QUEEN!

The audience takes up the refrain as they surge into the streets screaming “BUGGER THE QUEEN!”

Suddenly a retired major sticks his head out a window, showing his great yellow horse-teeth as he clips out: “Buggah the Queen!”

A vast dam has broken.

Alas, no one has stepped up to record “Bugger the Queen” during the intervening decades. I hold out hope Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye will set it to music. Below, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in June 1977, the Pistols make themselves heard from a boat on the River Thames in what must surely be Sex Pistols Number 2.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.02.2017
09:30 am
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My grandfather is on the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ album cover and here’s the story


From the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ photo shoot
 
The Summer of Love hasn’t begun. There’s LBJ at Expo 67, thanking God for putting the U.S.A. next to Canada instead of, say, Pakistan or Greece; there’s Cher modeling the short-cut pantsuit. There’s Robyn Hitchcock saying goodbye to his late grandmother with a little help from Brian Eno, and there’s my father, Gary, not yet 18, hearing Peter Bergman announce on Radio Free Oz that his own father, Huntz Hall, is pictured on the cover of the Beatles’ new album.

In the original photo shoot for the album cover, Huntz appeared next to Leo Gorcey, his co-star in hundreds of Dead End Kids, East Side Kids, and Bowery Boys movies, or “pictures,” as he would have said. (Though Leo isn’t in in it, I’m partial to Looking for Danger, in which the Bowery Boys lend Uncle Sam a hand by impersonating Nazis in North Africa.) But Leo asked for money, and Peter Blake airbrushed him out. Huntz, bless him, did not ask for money, so he stands alone in the back row between a Vargas girl and Simon Rodia, whose head seems to be growing out of Bob Dylan’s. Lined up in front of him are Karl Marx, H.G. Wells and Paramahansa Yogananda.
 

 
Now, some smart aleck will claim FEAR settled the balance when they conspicuously thanked Leo, but not Huntz, in the liner notes of More Beer, another album that is close to my heart. This game of one-upmanship will only end in triumph for my mighty clan and tears of shame for the rest of humanity. He can deny it all he likes, but Rick Nielsen of John Lennon’s onetime backing band Cheap Trick bit gramps’ style. And it was Huntz, not Leo, who shared the stage with Duke Ellington, busted a hang with Alice Cooper, and accompanied Ken Russell to a Sex Pistols show during the filming of Valentino. After which these candid shots of Huntz posing with members of THOR at a Travelodge in 1983 seem hardly worth mentioning. Q.E.D.!

It is strange and puzzling to see your grandfather on the cover of a Beatles album. When you are on the playground 20 years after the Summer of Love and you tell your school chums your grandfather is on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s, they respond that you are wrong and he is not. Juvenile rock scholars immersed in the backstairs literature of the Satanic panic tell you about the “Paul is dead” clues, so you lie awake all night wondering: My God, what was peepaw’s role in all that? And the title of the NME compilation Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father had an unusual resonance.

The biggest puzzle was Huntz’s appearance. Squinting in the daylight, wearing a tarboosh, a green djellaba and a red velvet scarf, he looks more like a carpet dealer standing in the Jemaa el-Fnaa at high noon than a Depression-era NYC tough. But, at last, I have discovered the solution to this puzzle: he is not wearing any of those things. Thanks to the good work of the Sgt. Pepper Photos blog, I now see that cover artist Peter Blake’s source was this black and white group shot of the Dead End Kids, with Huntz in familiar attire.
 

via Sgt. Pepper Photos
 
While Blake says the Bowery Boys were his choice, my father—who has contributed to a forthcoming book of essays about the crowd on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s whose name I do not yet know—thinks the pot bust that sent Huntz to jail in 1948 must have endeared him to the Fabs. (Though he was exonerated, I can confirm that Huntz was a lifelong slave to the ruinous vice of marijuana abuse. He may have been a comedian, but take it from me: there is nothing funny about watching a loved one support a $2-a-day drug habit.)

Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.25.2017
07:06 am
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Before James Bond: Roger Moore knitwear model
05.24.2017
11:37 am
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Depending on your age and first exposure to a James Bond movie, Sir Roger Moore may well be your favorite 007. Younger viewers, ahem, may prefer Daniel Craig or maybe Pierce Brosnan, but for many, it is the late Roger Moore (who died yesterday) or (my own choice) Sir Sean Connery who best epitomize the “real” Bond, James Bond. (I’d say Ian Fleming’s character lies somewhere in between these twin poles of Connery and Moore.)

Yesterday, in among all the tweets of Roger Moore photos, clips, and comments, was this rather delightful story about Moore as Bond.
 

 
Sweet.

But Roger Moore was more than just another James Bond, he was also Ivanhoe, and Lord Brett Sinclair to Tony Curtis’ Danny Wilde in The Persuaders, and my personal favorite, Simon Templar in The Saint.

Moore’s performance as Simon Templar led me to write my first ever fan letter asking for a signed photograph. A week or so later, I duly received a beautiful color photo with Moore’s signature—something I still treasure. Moore as Templar epitomized all the charm and bravery of a cultured super-spy I hoped to emulate when I grew up. As you can appreciate, I never quite managed these fine qualities but it’s always good to have ambition… In real life, Moore was by all accounts equally as charming and as debonair as the characters he played, although he once quipped that his acting chops were limited to his right eyebrow being raised, his left eyebrow being raised or both being raised together. What came across on screen was apparently very much the real man.

During the few lean years of his early career in the 1950s, Moore supplemented his acting work as a model for knitting patterns. This led the more cynical to dismiss his acting talent and label him the “Big Knit.” It didn’t irk Moore, who was always more than capable of pricking his own image and deflecting the most ridiculous of criticisms. I think Moore’s career as a model for cardiagns, pullovers, and v-neck sweaters makes him all the more likable as he managed to carry it all off with great style and considerable aplomb, not that James Bond would have ever been caught dead in any of these.
 
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More fashions worn by the ‘Big Knit,’ after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.24.2017
11:37 am
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Ultramega OK: Soundgarden destroy the Whisky a Go-Go, 1990


 
Like many of you, I’m still trying to process the sudden death of Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell last week. Here in Seattle, where Cornell was born, there were several memorials held around the city including one at the site that inspired the band’s name—A Sound Garden—a musical sculpture park where twelve 20+ foot structures outfitted with organ pipes emanate with sound whenever the wind blows. After Cornell passed, Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron posted a heart-wrenching comment on his Facebook page saying “My dark knight is gone,” a sentiment that hit entirely too close to home for those who knew Cornell as well as those who often suffer in silence—forever searching for ways to deal with their own depression and anxiety.

At an impromptu memorial held at the radio station KEXP on the day of Cornell’s death, 400 people showed up to collectively grieve at the station’s gathering space. While addressing the crowd, long-time DJ John Richards said that “part of the city (of Seattle) had died” that day. Often, music is something that can be hugely helpful and cathartic when you’re trying to make sense of unfathomable events such as Cornell’s impossibly sad, untimely passing. And that is exactly the purpose of my post today—to share Soundgarden’s legacy by way of their sonic, ear-smashing music.

Though I know your social media feeds have likely been filled with news about the legendary vocalist, I really wanted to support as well as spread the idea of celebrating Cornell’s life and his work with Soundgarden, who are/were without question one of the greatest rock bands of the last 30 years. A large part of their appeal was, of course, the animal magnetism of Chris Cornell’s stage presence and his immaculate four-octave vocal range. Cornell was also the primary lyricist for Soundgarden, which helped solidify his deep connection to their fan base.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.22.2017
12:59 pm
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‘100,000 tabs of acid’: Lemmy talks records, touring with Hendrix, and sex with a trans person
04.20.2017
08:25 am
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Back in 2000, Lemmy was the guest on Channel 4’s series All Back to Mine, an interview show based on Desert Island Discs. Usually, Sean Rowley, the host of the show, would visit musicians at home and listen to a few of their favorite records, but this episode was filmed at a bar table with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

Lemmy lists a few favorite records—“Good Golly, Miss Molly,” something by the Shadows he doesn’t name, “Hotel California”—in the course of this freewheeling conversation, which is not really about his favorite records and offers something for everyone. There’s material on being a Ted and hating Mods (“How can you be mean on a Vespa?”), the Hawkwind way of life (“We weren’t in a regular job, we weren’t paying our taxes regular, we weren’t like joining the Young Conservatives or whatever it is, y’know—we were just, like, gettin’ wrecked and playing music that we liked”), and megadosing with Jimi:

Lemmy: I was Jimi Hendrix’s roadie, what’d you expect? I mean, he’d come back from America with a hundred thousand tabs of acid, right?
Rowley: Who, Jimi had?
Lemmy: Yeah, and it wasn’t even illegal then. He brought it back in his suitcase. And he gave half of it ‘round the crew. I mean, that’s a lot of acid, you know.
Rowley: And you were part of the crew, at the time, then.
Lemmy: There was only two of us.

And then there’s the astonishing answer to Rowley’s question about having sex with a trans person, in which Lemmy frames gender reassignment surgery in terms of manly virtue…

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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04.20.2017
08:25 am
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