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:
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.
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
Bonniwell may be out of circulation but he’ll never be down to size.
This surprisingly good documentary includes interviews with people who know what they’re talking about. Unexploitive and free of the usual finger wagging.
“One of them (The Sex Pistols) had to be a casualty to make the myth work, and Sid was only too willing to do it.” Steve Severin (Siouxsie And The Banshees).
Sid’s short and controversial life with The Sex Pistols and Nancy Spungen is profiled with new interviews from Jah Wobble, Steve Severin, Vivienne Westwood, Malcolm McClaren, Dave Vanian, Rat Scabies, Marco Pironi, Viv Albertine, and many others who actually knew Sid.
Seeing a very fucked-up Sid performing onstage at Max’s with Jerry Nolan and his band The Idols (Jerry was a friend of mine and another dope casualty) was one of the saddest spectacles I’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing. A train wreck in slooooow motion.
The last few gigs that Sid played at Max’s before his death (and Nancy’s) had become freak shows drawing crowds of curious bridge and tunnel punks to watch the ex-Pistol crash and burn right in front of their eyes. Something to share with your grandchildren as you tug your beard and run your fingers through your thinning gray Mohawk.
So, dear readers, this is one of the things I do when I am not busy scribbling and posting here on DM - I am part of a Joy Division tribute act called Joyce D’Vision. As the name would suggest, it’s not just any run-of-the-mill tribute act - it’s a drag queen tribute, fusing those two quintessentially Northern English traits of woe-is-me miserableism and end-of-the-pier transvestitism.
Before you ask, no, I am not Joyce D’Vision herself, but rather Noel Order, keyboard whizz extraordinaire and Bontempi aficionado. Joyce is played by the very talented Joe Spencer, and we are often joined on stage by other queens such as Sheela Blige, Kurt Dirt and Sahara Dolce. Joyce has been lucky enough to share the stage with British queer performance legends like David Hoyle (The Divine David) and Scottee Scottee (Eat Your Heart Out), but those were just warm-ups for what happened last week…
A few months ago Joe took part in a reality competition show May The Best House Win, where Joyce and friends had a cameo near the end. The program was finally broadcast last Tuesday, and seen by the comedian Harry Hill, himself a fan of Joy Division. Harry hosts a show called TV Burp, which looks over the best bits of the last week’s telly, and he invited Joyce and her friends to London to sing live on the show. Joyce performed as the final segment on the final show of the series, which was broadcast right before X Factor. Meaning that this went out on a Saturday evening, just after dinner time when everyone’s getting ready to watch the biggest show of the week. Seriously - that’s prime fucking time.
The reaction since (mostly gauged through Twitter) has been interesting - some people really get it, while others have stated that Ian Curtis would be rolling in his grave. I like to think Curtis would have seen the funny side, as would Tony Wilson I’m sure, and we have heard through the grapevine that there are even Joyce fans in the New Order camp.
Joyce D’Vision is not done out of hatred of the band or the man, but rather from love - and a simple desire to deflate the pomposity that surrounds JD and their legend, as perpetuated by magazines like NME and high street stores like Primark (currently selling an Ian Curtis t-shirt). So while the idea (and sight) of a fat, bearded man in a wig singing a boss nova version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is definitely going to rub some people up the wrong way, I’m pretty sure our readers here at DM can handle it:
So take a moment to remember all the gender variant people who have been killed in the past 12 months just for being who they are: Idania Roberta Sevilla Raudales, Luisa Alvarado Hernandez, Lady Oscar Martinez Salgado, Reana ‘Cheo’ Bustamente, Genesis Briget Makaligton, Krissy Bates (pictured), Alice Ferg, Tyra Trent, Priscila Brandao, Marcal Camero Tye, Shakra Harahap, Miss Nate Nate Daivs, Lashal Mclean, Didem, Camila Guzman, Gaby, Gaurav Gopalan, Ramazan Cetin, Shelley Hillard, Jesica Rollon, Astrid Carolina Lopez Cruz, Chassity Nathan Vickers, and the countless more un-named or unidentified murder victims (from the Transgender DOR website).
In their memory, and for all the gender variant people putting up with close-minded shit every single day, here’s Jayne County performing “Are You Man Enough To Be A Woman?” from the Japanese documentary New York Underground:
In memory of the late great Paradise Garage dj here’s a mystery set that has turned up on Soundcloud and is credited to Levan from the early 80s. Uploader R_co hasn’t been able to locate a playlist, but he has found a list of (nearly) every song played during his run as resident at the Garage - that’s quite a lot of music if you care to have a look. The mixing on this set is a bit hit and miss, but the crowd audibly loves it and the drop into Loose Joints’ “Is It All Over My Face” (from an excellent mystery track) at around 6 minutes in is heavenly:
Of course, Levan was more than just a dj - he was a remixer of no small talent, and some of his remixes are guaranteed dance floor fillers more than 30 years after their release (such as the previously mentioned Loose Joints track, one of my desert island discs). As a special bonus, here’s Levan’s first ever remix, which he mixed as a try-out for the Sesame Street disco album project, and which remained unreleased for almost 30 years:
Cookie Monster & The Girls “C Is For Cookie (Larry Levan Special Version Funky Disco Mix)”:
Thanks to Tara McGinley
After the jump more of Larry Levan’s best remixes, including the Joubert Singers, Grace Jones, Gwen Guthrie and more…
The legendary disc jockey, TV presenter and charity fund-raiser, Sir Jimmy Savile has died at the age of 84, at his home in Leeds, England.
Savile who was a major star of British TV and radio, was best known as host of Top of the Pops from the 1960s-2006, and his own highly successful show Jim’ll Fix It, where Savile fixed it for selected viewers to have their dreams come true. At its height the show received over 20,000 letters a week, asking to have their dreams fulfilled.
Savile with his distinct blonde hair, clunky jewelry, track suit and trademark cigar, was a genuine maverick and one-off. Born on 31 October 1926, Savile was widely acknowledged as the world’s first disc jockey, pioneering the use of twin-turntables, and continuous play “discos” during the 1940s and 1950s.
He was a Bevin Boy during the Second World War, conscripted as a coal miner, Savile worked down the pit at the South Kirkby Colliery, West Yorkshire. After the war he continued deejaying, and also took up a career as a wrestler, which, at one point, made him the highest paid wrestler in the world. He later claimed wrestling led to his breaking every bone in his body.
During the 1950s, Savile continued with music and ran several clubs throughout England, bringing rock and pop music to generations of youngsters.
By the 1960s, Savile was the most visible and best known disc jockey on radio and TV, promoting Beat, R’n’B, Motown, Northern Soul, Heavy Metal and Glam Rock over the years.
Apart from music, Savile worked tirelessly for charity, running over 200 marathons, and raising £40 million.