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An elegy for Davy Jones: Carole King’s demo for ‘Porpoise Song’
08:32 am


Carole King
Davy Jones

In light of the unexpected passing of Monkee Davy Jones, here’s Carole King’s original demo for Head’s “Porpoise Song” (co-written by Gerry Goffin). The Gregorian chant thing she’s got going here (it’s the Mass of the Dead, remember this was the song playing during Micky Dolenz’s “suicidal” jump off the bridge in the beginning of the film) seems like a fitting thing to post in Jones’ honor.

Sound quality is what it is, but no matter, this is still pretty amazing. Listen LOUD!

Thank you Simon Wells!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ding dong: Andrew Breitbart is DEAD at 43!
07:01 am

The wrong side of history

Andrew Breitbart

The rage-aholic conservative blogger is no more…

Death at such a young age (although he looked so much older) is normally a tragedy….but in my opinion, the Grim Reaper couldn’t have visited a more deserving recipient. Hooray! It’s a gift!

You can just bet that the fact checkers did a triple check on this death notice. Via Huffington Post:

Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger and journalist, died suddenly on Thursday morning, according to his website Big Journalism. He was 43.

The site said that Breitbart died of “natural causes” shortly after midnight on Thursday. ABC News confirmed that Breitbart had passed away. Breitbart’s attorney also confirmed the news to CNN.

“We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior,” the post said. “Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.”

Breitbart came to be well-known for his work with the Drudge Report (he also played an early role with The Huffington Post), and would go on to found the Big Journalism, Big Hollywood and websites. He was also an author, columnist and ubiquitous commentator in the media.

They say you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, so I deleted all the stuff I wrote about pissing on his grave, doing a happy dance of joy over the good news and feeling elated to know that one of the single nastiest, most sociopathic human beings ever to stain American civic life has shuffled off this mortal coil.

Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it? Fuck Andrew Brietbart. All he accomplished with his life was to make his world a meaner, shittier place to live in. I’m glad he’s dead.

He’s in a better place now..!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The other Monkees react to the death of Davy Jones

Gathering up the reactions of remaining Monkees Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter to the passing of Davy Jones

Mike Nesmith:

All the lovely people. Where do they all come from?

So many lovely and heartfelt messages of condolence and sympathy, I don’t know what to say, except my sincere thank you to all. I share and appreciate your feelings.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

While it is jarring, and sometimes seems unjust, or strange, this transition we call dying and death is a constant in the mortal experience that we know almost nothing about. I am of the mind that it is a transition and I carry with me a certainty of the continuity of existence. While I don’t exactly know what happens in these times, there is an ongoing sense of life that reaches in my mind out far beyond the near horizons of mortality and into the reaches of infinity.

That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you. I will miss him, but I won’t abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane.

David’s spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us.

I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels.

Peter Tork posted the following on his Facebook fan page:

”It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones. His talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. My deepest sympathy to Jessica and the rest of his family. Adios, to the Manchester Cowboy.

Peace and love, Peter T.”

Micky Dolenz released a statement:

“I am in a state of shock; Davy and I grew up together and shared in the unique success of what became The Monkees phenomena. The time we worked together and had together is something I’ll never forget. He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart. The memories have and will last a lifetime. My condolences go out to his family.”

Below a forever young Davy Jones makes a prom date with Marcia Brady.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Malcolm X: The truth is eternal
02:35 am

Class War

Malcolm X

Malcolm X was assassinated 47 years ago today.

In this two hour compilation of speeches, the brilliance of Malcolm reaches through time and space to touch us and remind us of the harsh truth that almost a half century after the man was killed America is still struggling with most of the same problems we were struggling with back then. Technology, drugs and the silhouettes of cars may have changed, but the reptilian brain still keeps us anchored in the murk of class war, racism and injustice.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Whitney Houston stunningly beautiful on American TV 1985

As the airwaves become flooded with the deafening clamor of mindless chatter revolving around the death of Whitney Houston, I hope the voice of the woman herself isn’t drowned out.

This clip from the TV series Silver Spoons features 22-year-old Houston singing her first top ten hit “Saving All My Love For You” and it’s gorgeous.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Long live the Ugly One: R.I.P. pioneering reggae MC King Stitt
08:25 pm



It can hardly be said that Jamaican microphone man King Stitt, who died today at the age of 71, was a conventional pin-up boy in his time. In fact the man was a bit of a physical mess due to a facial deformity with which he was born. But he made the absolute best of it. Stitt nicknamed himself The Ugly One (inspired by the spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly). He then proceeded to help shape the MC tradition in reggae over the next 50-plus years, and inspire less-than-handsome rhymers (like albino MCs Yellowman, Mellow Yellow and Purpleman) to pick up the mic and overcome their looks with expert vocal hype. 

Born Winston Sparkes in 1940, Stitt began deejaying (as Jamaica used to call MCing back in the day) at age 16 with Coxsone Dodd’s sound system, called Sir Coxsone’s Downbeat. Although Stitt’s mic work prefigured rap, his vocals plugged into the more laidback, syncopated, hype-man style of the day, with his rhymes spread across bars rather than sticking strictly in time to the beat.

Stitt’s style and courage stunned Jamaica’s dancehalls and in 1963, he was crowned “king of the deejays.” By 1969 he had recorded a bunch of singles for various labels, including his most famous, the Clancy Eccles-produced “Fire Corner,” which featured his later-much-sampled intro line, “No matter what the people say/This sound lead the way…”

Throughout reggae music’s development over the past half-century—from ska to rocksteady to roots to dancehall to today’s bashment—Stitt has remained a stalwart reminder of the determination it took back in the day to become a star.
Producers like Bruno Blum recognized the history, and let the Ugly One do his thing on “The Original Ugly Man,” Blum’s remix of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Des Laids Des Laids” from the 2001 reissue of Aux Armes Et Cetera, one of the French crooner’s late-‘70s reggae sets.

Here’s a bit of the King in raw action in the dancehall from the Studio One Story DVD, doing a bit of tune selecting as he chats…

After the jump: check out an interview with Stitt on his early days…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Funk legend Jimmy Castor RIP
06:17 pm


Jimmy Castor

Legendary funk saxophonist and band leader Jimmy Castor, of The Jimmy Castor Bunch - the sample source for a huge amount of hip-hop records - died today in Las Vegas of causes that are “currently unknown.” Sad news. Castor is best known for the evergreen breakbeat classic “It’s Just Begun,” “Troglodyte (Cave Man),” which was a huge hit for The Jimmy Castor Bunch in 1972 and “The Bertha Butt Boogie.” Here’s an excellent clip of the band performing “It’s Just Begun” live on TV (apparently the show is called Soul School), and tearing the roof off that sucker:

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Jennifer Miro of The Nuns R.I.P.
07:36 pm


The Nuns
Jennifer Miro
Jennifer Anderson

Jennifer Anderson (aka Jennifer Miro) of pioneering San Francisco punk band The Nuns died on December 16 at the age of 54. Cause of death was cancer. She died in New York City. News of her death was only officially announced today.

Anderson co-founded The Nuns with Alejandro Escovedo and Jeff Olener in 1975. The band performed regularly at legendary S.F. music club Mabuhay Gardens. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1980.

Combining provocative lyrics and imagery with an aggressive musical attack, The Nuns were part punk, part goth, part satire and totally themselves.

While continuing to periodically record and perform with The Nuns (sans Escovedo) through the 1990s and beyond, Anderson was a popular model within the fetish and S&M community and a budding screenwriter. In the last few years of her life she worked in the law office of Raoul Felder.

Despite her cancer becoming progressively more incapacitating and pain increasingly intense, Anderson shunned conventional treatment and followed a regime of homeopathy and exercise.

According to long-time friend Peter Young, “she was very optimistic and positive. One of the last things she told me was she wanted to do another modeling shoot because she was so skinny from the last bout with the disease.”

Estranged from her family, with just one close friend and the occasional nurse attending to her, Anderson spent the last months of her life by herself in her apartment in Manhattan. Even for a woman who embraced privacy, this was a particularly lonely end. When remaining at home was finally no longer an option, she was moved to Bellevue Hospital where she died.

In this footage from a Nun’s performance at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on July 30, 1977, Anderson’s haunting beauty and dark humor is in full display.

Songs: “Lazy” and “Savage.”

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Sean Bonniwell of The Music Machine R.I.P.

Sean Bonniwell lead singer and songwriter for The Music Machine has died of lung cancer at 71.

Dressed all in black, with each member wearing one black glove, The Music Machine appeared like dark lords against the backdrop of the day-glow Sixties. And in songs like their big hit “Talk Talk” their sound was hard-edged, oozing a punk attitude, that would later influence groups like The Ramones and The Dictators.

Sean Bonniwell’s career with The Music Machine only lasted two years. He later formed a group called The Bonniwell Music Machine before selling the name to his record company to be released from his contract. A solo album followed in 1969 before he retired from the music scene for good. He briefly returned to recording in 2006 when he laid down some tracks with L.A. neo-garage band The Larksmen.

For a band that only released one album and had just a couple of hits, The Music Machine left an indelible mark on rock music and it is Bonniwell’s intense presence and tough guy baritone that I’ll most remember.

Here’s the situation
And how it really stands
I’m out of circulation
I’ve all but washed my hands
My social life’s a dud
My name is really mud
I’m up to here in lies
Guess I’m down to size
To size

Bonniwell may be out of circulation but he’ll never be down to size.


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Always a Hitch: R.I.P. Christopher Hitchens

It’s impossible to know where to begin when paying tribute to an intellectual giant and truly Dangerous Mind like author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, who died today of metastized esophogeal cancer.

Far more elegant remembrances will pour in from far more skilled writers than I could ever hope to be. Here’s three hours of the guy speaking for himself on CSPAN’s Book TV show.

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
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