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‘Frontiers of Progressive Rock’: Five incredible jams with ELP, King Crimson, Yes, and others


 
Lordy lord, do I love footage from the old Beat Club program from Germany in the early 1970s. (The show later turned into Musikladen). Last week we brought you some smokin’ hard rock jams including MC5, Alice Cooper, and the New York Dolls that originally appeared on Beat Club. This week we move onto prog—and the results are nearly as sublime.

This compilation is known as Frontiers of Progressive Rock (and was originally released on a Laserdisc), features five excellent prog bands in their prime, just fucking shit up. Yes, Soft Machine, the Nice, King Crimson, and the biggest seller of them all, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer are each represented with an early gem, and all of them just go to town. My favorite moment comes when Keith Emerson, dressed in glittery blue and green, hurls himself over his second organ and then rocks it back and forth from behind before playing a few notes from the “wrong” side.
 

 
I also really love how much of a premium Beat Club placed on ridiculous video effects. The ELP number has oscilloscope readings projected onto the back wall, whereas the entire Soft Machine number is enring’d in an orange halo on the screen. Meanwhile, during the Yes song a kaleidoscope effect is used wherein the center of the image is “reflected” around itself—you have to see it to get it. For some reason the Yes track incorporates a large revolving head suspended over an old-fashioned chair of some sort…. anyway, I love the intensity with which the bands play their songs, I love the varied instrumentation (violin, saxophone, etc.), and I love the acid-freakout visuals. If you’ve got nothing else going on, I recommend turning this on and finding a pharmaceutical or two to help you enjoy the day.
 

 

Track listing:
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: “Knife Edge”
King Crimson: “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic”
The Nice: “Hang On To a Dream”
Soft Machine: “Composition Based On 3 Tunes” (Medley of “Out-Bloody-Rageous,” “Eamonn Andrews,” and “All White”)
Yes: “Yours Is No Disgrace”

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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DEVO ‘busking’ on French TV, 1980
10.31.2014
06:43 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
DEVO
Stéphane Collaro


 
I’ll bet a lot of bands at the turn of the ‘80s must have envied the media penetration DEVO were enjoying around then. Even before the creation and widespread adoption of MTV, that band’s knowingly goofy presentation made them just so much fun to look at that they were able to storm not just the late night shows where adventurous music was fairly commonplace, but also blandly housewifey daytime chat shows like Merv Griffin‘s.

Here’s a rarely-seen overseas example—this comes from a June, 1980 broadcast of Collaroshow, a French comedy/variety program. DEVO mimed “Girl U Want,” the leadoff song and first single from their then brand new LP Freedom of Choice, as sidewalk buskers. It’s all done in a single camera shot (a tribute to Rope, or just cheapness?) that circles the band with vocalist Mark Motherbaugh. It’s guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh, though, who wins the day here, his energy dome roguishly cocked at an angle as he flips the bird at the camera to punctuate the song’s solo. The ice cream “microphone,” in a perfectly DEVO-ish yellow and red, is an amusing touch, too.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Vincent Price visits ‘The Dating Game,’ 1972
10.30.2014
04:18 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
Vincent Price
The Dating Game


 
On October 31st, 1972, a 61-year-old Vincent Price paid a visit to the ABC game show, The Dating Game. Many notable entertainers were contestants on the show such as Karen Carpenter, Sally Field, Farrah Fawcett and Steve Martin. Dusty Springfield, Andy Kaufman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and even a serial killer made The Dating Game scene.

In case you’ve never seen the show, here’s the premise: three “eligible bachelors” (or bachelorettes) are kept behind a partition as a potential romantic prospect asks them each questions to determine who she (or in some cases he) should go out with. On this episode however, Price, who was promoting his 1972 film, Dr. Phibes Rises Again!, ran interference with the trio of single guys on behalf of the show’s contestant (who was always referred to as “Miss X”), 19-year-old actress Janit Baldwin.

The affable Price is ridiculously entertaining and in line with the Halloween theme of the show, he tweaks his questions to include subject matter just so, leaving the bachelors to respond in ways that are totally cringeworthy (which was business as usual on this program, by the way). Apologies for the quality of the video but it was just too good not to share!
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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Talking Heads: Max Headroom interviews Sting and David Byrne


 
Max Headroom, now there was a weird-ass experiment. In hindsight the digital character is the very definition of a “curio.” It takes only a few seconds of watching Max to remember just how irritating he was, a stuttering, condescending, smarmy non-entity (literally) who is devoid of content (making him a natural pitchman for Coca Cola, which he was for several national advertising campaigns). Watching authentic artists like Sting and David Byrne interact with Max is a little painful. 

Before the narrative sci-fi show Max Headroom descended on U.S. shores in 1987, British audiences had been “enjoying” The Max Headroom Show, which featured interviews and music videos, throughout 1985 and 1986. In the first clip, Sting is promoting The Dream of the Blue Turtles as well as The Bride, his first movie after Dune, so it must be 1985. True to Max’s essential vapidity, they discuss shoes for most of the interview. The strategy of intersplicing unmotivated stock footage resembles nothing so much as a short film by Lelaina Pierce as recut by Michael Grates, to invoke the Winona Ryder and Ben Stiller characters from Reality Bites.
 

 
Of course Sting is inherently annoying—check out his shades—but it’s really not his fault in this case; David Byrne’s naturally distanced temperament works a lot better. Unfortunately, the clip, put up by the official Talking Heads YouTube account, gets badly out of sync after a couple of minutes, but given that it’s Max Headroom, it hardly matters. Byrne is there to promote True Stories, his only directorial feature, so it must be about a year later than the Sting interview.

The Max Headroom Show, not to be confused with the narrative show Max Headroom, was the original Short Attention Span Theater. As many have noted, it was the perfect plastic entertainment for the Reagan era, so much so that Garry Trudeau in Doonesbury turned the sitting president into an unfunny imitation called Ron Headrest.

In retrospect what’s interesting is that the technology was so evidently driving the car—the technical feat of an electronic Matt Frewer cackling at Sting is actually impressive, but the form was miles ahead of the content. Space Ghost Coast to Coast, which hit in the 1990s, evened the scales a bit more successfully.
 
Max Headroom interviews Sting:

 
Max’s interview with David Byrne after the jump….

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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KISS rocks out on ‘The Paul Lynde Halloween Special,’ 1976
10.28.2014
07:02 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Television

Tags:
Halloween
KISS
Paul Lynde


 
Nothing better exemplifies the “everything but the kitchen sink” entertainment mentality of the 1970s than “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special,” which includes the following components: swishy comedian Paul Lynde, Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch, Florence Henderson, Billy Bartie, Tim Conway, “Pinky” Tuscadero (no, not “Leather”), Donny and Marie, Betty White, Sid & Marty Krofft’s Witchiepoo, and ... KISS!
 

 
In addition to being Samatha’s campy Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, and supplying the voice for Templeton the Rat in Charlotte’s Web, Lynde was best known for being the “center square” on the Hollywood Squares, from which perch he would uncork as many double entendres as the format could sustain. He was gay and didn’t apparently seem to care if anyone knew about it, meaning that the home audience could be assumed to be pretty much clueless on the matter. (At the wrap party for Bye Bye Birdie early in his career, Lynde quipped in a toast, “Well, I guess I’m the only one here who doesn’t want to fuck Ann-Margret.”) In any case his jokes are super corny—only masochists will want to sit through the whole thing.
 

Ace Frehley hanging out with Billy Bartie
 
Apparently this was the first prime-time network appearance for KISS—anyone know?

Here’s the part you want to see—KISS doing “Detroit Rock City”:

 
The entire special after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Idea’: Incredible pop-psychedelic Bee Gees TV special, 1968


 
There was a time, long, long ago—as ridiculous as this might sound today—when being a Bee Gees fan was something one didn’t admit to in polite company. By the mid-80s, the Brothers Gibb had more or less been relegated to the “guilty pleasures” category and their second career wilderness. If you liked them, it had to be, you know, “ironic” or something.

But fuck that. It was around that time, when I was in my early 20s, that I personally started to go absolutely nuts for their music. In my world, only an asshole doesn’t like the Bee Gees. If you don’t like the Bee Gees, best to keep it to yourself around me if you want to retain my respect for your musical tastes. It’s like admitting to being secretly Republican.

I’m serious. I’ll just cut you off!
 

 
That said, as big of a Bee Gees fan as I am—I have nearly everything—I was never, ever able to get my hands on a copy of their 1968 Idea TV special from German television. This morning, while looking for something else entirely, I came across some pop art style promo clips for two of their songs that I’d never seen before and they blew me away. I assumed that these were from the wonderfully art-directed French TV series Dim Dam Dom, but upon doing a little searching around, I found that they were were in fact from Idea and that the entire special was on YouTube in very high quality. It’s phenomenal!

The German Idea TV special coincided with the release of the Bee Gees’ fifth album, Idea, in 1968 but was actually shot in Belgium. At the time, they were a five-piece band, the brothers Gibb along with Vince Melouney on guitar and vocals and Colin Petersen on drums. Their special guests are Brian Auger and The Trinity with Julie Driscoll (who are incredible) and Lil Lindfors, a Swedish singer who performs “Words” in Swedish.
 

 
It was directed by Jean-Christophe Averty, who also directed three of my very favorite things ever: the short film “Melody” aka “Histoire de Melody Nelson” starring Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, his WILD (and technically advanced) adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, and the incredible 1966 documentary A Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dali, which is hands down the very best film ever made about the painter. Averty has had a long and distinguished career in French TV, film and radio. The art direction, which owes much to the Beatles’ then-new Yellow Submarine, was done by the grand Guy Peellaert, the Belgian artist best-known for his cover for David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and the Rock Dreams book.

The whole thing is amazing, but here’s the title number to whet your appetite. If you don’t get high from watching this, I can’t help you.
 

 
After the jump, the entire Bee Gees’ ‘Idea’ TV special…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Bizarre 80’s public access TV gone insane: ‘Unwind With The Sweeties’
10.25.2014
09:12 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
cable access
The Sweeties


 
The eighties were so weird. Even at the time we thought that era was bad, but looking back I always am blown away at how truly amazing that decade was.

It was a time of learning about so much wild stuff because there was suddenly a “critical mass” interest in the “weird” past and tons of CD reissues of… virtually everything. And we were all digging it up—and digging the shit out of it—just as it was about to be dumped, burned or lost. In this pilgrimage was also a great sort of confusion of the decades, known by myself and friends as the “eighties/fifties.” Loads of bands were “eighties/fifties” in great and horrible ways (think DEVO or B-52s as opposed to, say, the Stray Cats). Add onto all this the emergence of cable/public access TV and its availability to anyone with an idea (and follow-through).

My friends in LA and I (in NYC) would trade the weirdest stuff we could find and tape off air. At that time (and still, amazingly enough) my West Coast friends were members of Redd Kross, White Flag, filmmaker and Painted Willie drummer Dave Markey and a whole lot of the insane genius people they hung around with. When our almost mirror image of them (New York-style) collided, it was always amazing.
 

 
One of the biggest public access obsessions of my West Coast tape-trading pals was a show called Unwind with the Sweeties. Two bizarro “fifties/eighties” entities with odd faces attached to wool ski-masks pulled completely over their faces, who called each other “Sweetie.” They did boring and mundane things like go to the mall, the bakery, or sometimes, sitting in their cool junk-infested set, they’d just drift into kooky daydreams, or do nothing at all AND IT WAS AMAZING!

They were shrouded in mystery and we all tried to find out who they were. We really went all out, at least my LA buddies did. But we never found out any information about the Sweeties! Nothing! How perfect is that? Like the Residents in a dada situation comedy.
 

 
I got to thinking about writing this piece so of course I googled them. There wasn’t much, but there was what seemed to be a blog that was done by them all these years later!  The first couple of entries were funny and what I expected but suddenly, things became very very dark.

Oddly, written in a similar tone as the Sweeties’ first entries were sicker entries with illustrations straight out of a Mexican tabloid. This was like a horror film. I cannot imagine what the hell this is all about and though I’m curious it also really freaks me out. I would not look if you don’t want to see a mutilated dead body, yet the text is written in their “voice” and is actually quite funny. There’s also a link to their Facebook page which does not seem to exist.

More on the mystery of The Sweeties after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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Ridonkulous ‘Beat Club’ showcase featuring Captain Beefheart, MC5, Alice Cooper, NY Dolls and more!


 
Beat Club was the German TV show dedicated to rock performance that later became Musikladen (Music Store), a show we’ve featured here at DM many times. I don’t know exactly what kind of acid they put into the performers’ (or the producers’) drinks, but this compilation, known as “The Crazy World” (and originally released on a Laserdisc) is totally out-o-sight and generally kicks ass. Enhancing all the rockin’ are a lot of groove-tastic green screen effects. The visuals on this show were almost as mind-bending as the audio.
 

The Three Faces of Vliet
 
The music is tuneful and heavy, all around. I’d scarcely heard any Flo & Eddie, but they hang right in there with the rest of them. I was prepared not to dig the Slade number much, but it rocked. Everything on this compilation rocks, even the otherwise sprightly number by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.

They really don’t show music like this on TV anymore, like ever. I’m not sure people can even make music like this any more, maybe the iPhones are slowly sucking it out of us. Hmmm. I’m open to hypotheses.
 

Track listing:
Alice Cooper: “I’m Eighteen”
Alice Cooper: “Public Animal #9”
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band: “I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby”
Phlorescent Leech and Eddie: “Feel Older Now”
MC5: “Kick Out The Jams”
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: “Fire”
Slade: “Goz I Luv You”
New York Dolls: “Lookin’ For A Kiss”
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: “I’m The Urban Spaceman”

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Amazing vinyl toys of Bill Murray, Mighty Boosh, IT Crowd, The Shining & Christopher Walken


Tubbs & Edward from The League of Gentlemen

UK-based advertising and design company A Large Evil Corporation has these amazing vinyl dolls they’re creating daily for their blog to get into the Halloween spirit. I’m completely drooling over the The League of Gentlemen and Mighty Boosh vinyl toys. I never thought in a million years I’d see Tubbs and Edward dolls! They’re just brilliant!

Keep checking out A Large Evil Corporation’s blog as they’re adding new ones all the time. I’m curious as who or what they’ll do next (and if one can purchase these masterpieces? It’s unclear.) Maybe a Jill Tyrell figure (played by Julia Davis) from the dark British comedy Nighty Night?


What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
 

Christopher Walken
 

The Hitcher from The Mighty Boosh
 

The Torrances from The Shining
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Walter White goes Gonzo: ‘Breaking Bad’ illustrations by Ralph Steadman
10.14.2014
01:11 pm

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Television

Tags:
Breaking Bad
Ralph Steadman

Saul Goodman Ralph Steadman
Saul Goodman by Ralph Steadman
 
For the upcoming limited-edition Blu-ray release of Breaking Bad, show creator Vince Gilligan joined forces with Gonzo illustrator Ralph Steadman to create six different covers for each season of the show. Available in February, these spectacular collectibles will be sold exclusively by Zavvi.com ($30 bucks each). Pre-order is going on now but be forewarned, the Gus “The Chicken Man” Fring edition for season four (as well as Mike Ehrmantraut’s season five and Hank Schrader’s show finale edition) have already sold-out. Images from each of the six covers follow.
 
Gus Fring by Ralph Steadman
Gus Fring
 
Walter White by Ralph Steadman
Walter White
 
Hank Scrader by Ralph Steadman
Hank Schrader
 
Mike Ehrmantraut by Ralph Steadman
Mike Ehrmantraut
 
Jesse Pinkman by Ralph Steadman
Jesse Pinkman
 
Via Paste Magazine

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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