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  • John Hinckley Jr. is starting a band! These are the top 5 Hinckley-inspired songs!
    04.25.2015
    08:18 am

    Topics:
    Kooks
    Music

    Tags:
    punk rock
    John Hinckley Jr.


     
    NBC Washington reported on Friday that failed Reagan-assassin, John Hinkley Jr., is interested in starting a band:

    A psychiatrist treating the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 says he wants to start a band and should be allowed to publish his music anonymously.

    Dr. Giorgi-Guarnieri testified Friday during court hearings that will ultimately determine whether and under which conditions John Hinckley Jr. will be allowed to live full time outside a mental hospital.

    Giorgi-Guarnieri says Hinckley should be allowed to start the band, but not perform publicly.

    Hinckley’s lawyer and treatment team say he’s ready to live full time at his 89-year-old mother’s home in Virginia under certain conditions.

    Hinckley has been allowed freedom in stages. He spends 17 days a month at his mother’s Williamsburg home. One of his interests is music, and he sings and plays the guitar. He also participates in music therapy.

    John Hinckley, Jr., best known as the man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981, in a J.D. Salinger and Travis Bickle-inspired attempt to win the affections of a teen-aged Jodie Foster, was found “not guilty by reason of insanity” and has since remained under the care of psychiatrists at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
     

    Hinckley, who never got that big hit he was looking for, now has a chance to put a band together and give it another shot.
     
    The attempt on Reagan’s life was a boon for punk bands looking for song topics in the ‘80s. If Hinckley’s band plans on doing any covers, he might consider looking for some inspiration from those he, himself, inspired.

    After the jump, the top five John Hinckley-inspired punk songs…

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    ‘The Thorn’: Intense orchestral Siouxsie and the Banshees rarity
    04.24.2015
    02:13 pm

    Topics:
    Music

    Tags:
    Siouxsie and the Banshees


     
    The Thorn is one of Siouxsie and the Banshees more obscure releases. A four song EP that was recorded after Hyæna—the 1984 Banshees album featuring The Cure’s Robert Smith moonlighting from his own group on guitar—and before Tinderbox, The Thorn took a handful of previously recorded Banshees numbers—two album tracks and two B-sides—and gave them orchestral makeovers with stunning results. Always a “deep cut” fan favorite, today the EP is only available as part of 2004’s Downside Up rarities box set which is itself difficult to find and usually pretty pricey when you do find it.

    The Wikipedia page for Tinderbox indicates that it was the group’s first outing with new guitarist John Carruthers, but that’s not true, that would be The Thorn. Apparently the impetus behind the EP was to initiate Carruthers into working with the group in the studio, as well as getting a chance to revisit some older songs that had taken on new life on tour and experiment with working with a string section.

    You can listen to listen to the entirety of The Thorn EP (“Overground,” “Voices (On the Air),” “Placebo Effect,” “Red Over White”), below:
     

     
    An intense live version of “Overground” with string section and Robert Smith on guitar, after the jump…

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    Listen to celery being used by Hollywood sound designers to make that disgusting flesh-ripping sound
    04.24.2015
    01:55 pm

    Topics:
    Food
    Movies

    Tags:
    sound effects
    celery


     
    Who knew that celery—the blandest vegetable of all—is a go-to favorite in the film industry to create that gnarly flesh-ripping, bone-breaking sound you hear in movies? I didn’t. BBC Radio 4 host Francine Stock talks with sound effects maestro Barnaby Smyth about how celery is used for just that. Apparently this technique was used in Alien vs. Predator.

    The interview is short, sweet and gets to point. Suddenly I feel compelled to drop my newfound knowledge about celery casually into every conversation I have. Not every conversation, but most. Maybe I’ll just blog about it.

     
    via WFMU on Twitter

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Mind-blowing animatronic of Yul Brynner as the Gunslinger from ‘Westworld’
    04.24.2015
    01:05 pm

    Topics:
    Art
    Movies
    Science/Tech

    Tags:
    Westworld


     
    If you’re a fan of Michael Crichton‘s 1973 science fiction western-thriller WestWorld, then you’re definitely going to dig this life-like silicone robotic version of Yul Brynner as the Gunslinger. It’s truly a work of art and cool as shit to boot!

    Made by sculptor Nick Marra of Nick Marra Studios, the video below goes into detail about how the Gunslinger was created. The video was shot at Monsterpalooza convention in Burbank, California.


     

     
    via Tested and Laughing Squid

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Square people gawk at Haight-Ashbury hippies from the safety of a tour bus, 1967
    04.24.2015
    08:55 am

    Topics:
    Drugs
    Fashion

    Tags:
    hippies
    Haight Ashbury
    squares


     
    Between January and April 1967, the following albums were released: the Doors’ first album (January), Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow (February), Donovan’s Mellow Yellow and the Grateful Dead’s first album (both March), and the Electric Prunes’ first album (April). Four of those albums were recorded in California, and as a group the albums helped define the psychedelic scene of the Bay Area; just a few months later San Francisco would be immersed in the Summer of Love.

    Something was brewing in the city, and the word had gotten out. The Human Be-In took place in Golden Gate Park in January; for the April 26, 1967, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, reporter J. Campbell Bruce and photographer Art Frisch collaborated on an article by embedding themselves (to use much later terminology) on a tourist bus that would cruise by the Haight-Ashbury district so that regular folks could see real hippies in action. According to Brian J. Cantwell, the bus was called the “Hippie Hop.”

    In the pages of the Chronicle, legendary columnist Herb Caen sniffed with bemused contempt at the tour buses:
     

     
    What’s striking about the pictures from the perspective of today is that the ostensible “hippies” seem indistinguishable from most young adults today. The “little old lady” cited in the original article as saying “You’re sure they’re not beatniks? WE have beatniks in Cleveland” surely had a point. My guess is that the intervening 48 years (!) have made it difficult to see what was so gawk-worthy about these young people; also, by the end of the summer, things were likely looking quite different on Haight-Ashbury.

    The tours were well known at the time. Just two weeks later, Hunter S. Thompson wrote about them in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, in an article titled “The ‘Hashbury’ Is the Capital of the Hippies”:
     

    The only buses still running regularly along Haight Street are those from the Gray Line, which recently added “Hippieland” to its daytime sightseeing tour of San Francisco. It was billed as “the only foreign tour within the continental limits of the United States” and was an immediate hit with tourists who thought the Haight-Ashbury was a human zoo. The only sour note on the tour was struck by the occasional hippy who would run alongside the bus, holding up a mirror.


     
    That article appears in HST’s collection The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time. The first thing I thought of when I saw this story was Renata Adler’s 1976 novel Speedboat, which is mostly set in New York; it includes the following passage:
     

    At six one morning, Will [the narrator’s boyfriend] went out in jeans and frayed sweater to buy a quart of milk. A tourist bus went by. The megaphone was directed at him. “There’s one,” it said. That was in the 1960’s. Ever since, he’s wondered. There’s one what?


     
    All pics except the Caen column will spawn a larger version if you click on them. Be sure to see the full gallery at SF Gate. All photographs by Art Frisch.
     

     

     
    Continues after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    John Lennon becomes the first Beatle to admit to taking drugs, in 1965: A DM exclusive

    0jhnldndl.jpg
     
    It was fifty years ago today…well, almost…

    While it has been long believed that Paul McCartney was the first Beatle to ever admit taking drugs during an interview with Independent Television News (ITN) in June 1967, it can now be revealed that John Lennon was in fact the first Beatle who owned up to the band being “stoned” two years before this in an interview with an American journalist.

    Writer Simon Wells discovered Lennon’s comment in a rarely heard interview while researching his book Eight Arms To Hold You—a definitive history on the making of The Beatles’ second movie Help!. Wells is the best-selling author of Coming Down Fast (a biography of Charles Manson), Butterfly on a Wheel: The Rolling Stones Great Drugs Bust, Quadrophenia: A Way of Life and the drugs, sex and paganism novel The Tripping Horse.
     
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    February 1965, The Beatles had just arrived on location at New Providence Island in the Bahamas to film Help!.  On being asked what The Beatles had been up to on their flight over, Lennon replied “We got stoned.” There is a stunned silence before the interviewer says: “Alright. I know you’re only kidding.”

    Of course, Lennon wasn’t kidding, as The Beatles had been popping pills since at least 1960 and smoking weed since being “turned-on” by Bob Dylan in 1964. Simon Wells exclusively explains for Dangerous Minds:

    The Beatles took a chartered jet to the Bahamas for the start of filming of Help! on Monday 22nd February 1965. Perversely as it may seem, the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein had become intoxicated with the idea of tax shelters and havens—and after his dismal performance of selling off the Beatles rights to A Hard Day’s Night for little more than the average house price in Britain, he sensed an idea to set up an offshore interest in the Bahamas, hoping that the money from the film would escape the extortionate financial red tape and punitive taxes that would attract to the film’s future successes.

    To defer suspicions, Epstein cooked up the idea of filming part of Help! in the Bahamas and so eager was he to establish a presence there, filming for what would be the finale of the movie was shot first. Temperatures at a constant high for the area, the group would have to shield themselves from the likelihood of considerable tanning – an issue that would have colored (excuse pun) the earlier shots in the film, all set in London. Nonetheless, The Beatles knew little about this, and happily trundled onto the caravan of filming—the shores of Nassau were far more attractive than a gloomy British February. Equally, it meant a break from the rigours of touring, something they had grown to hate.

    The group’s plane continued the majority of the film’s attendant circus, plus a few liggers and reporters to help things along. The nine-hour flight requiring more than just alcoholic sustenance, the band happily tugged on a succession of marijuana joints to elevate the time between touching down in the Bahamas. Since August the previous year when Bob Dylan famously turned the band onto the magical herb, the group had indulged heavily in the newly found pursuit. The effects were immediate on their dress and music, heavy shades and dissonant chords were now pitting their senses; introspection tossing “boy meets girl” out of the window.

    While the media were well aware that The Beatles (and most of the other groups of the period) took drugs, there was no need for them to spill the beans and spoil the party. By 1965 standards, The Beatles were still good cheeky copy—guaranteed to bring a smile to the nation’s breakfast tables, and still with the consent of Britain’s parents, the girls and boys could shower them with unbridled adoration. Behind closed doors in Buckingham Palace and at (the Prime Minister’s home) Number 10 Downing Street, plans were already afoot to adorn the band with the M.B.E. If an admission of naughty chemical use had surfaced prior to the award announcement, it would have clearly stymied the whole pantomime. The press knew this too—so all was on course to preserve the Fab’s innocence—for the time being.

    For those who chart such things, this is the first admission from a Beatle that drugs were now a part of their lives. The evident shock from the reporter is testament to the disbelief that these sweet boys could ever do such a thing. Predictably, the comment was not used in print, and it remained buried on the reporter’s tape – until now!

    Simon Wells new book on The Beatles Eight Arms To Hold You is available from Pledge Music, details here.
     
    After the jump, hear the recording…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Just imagine how STRANGE this Residents’ radio special from 1977 sounded in 1977
    04.24.2015
    06:28 am

    Topics:
    Music

    Tags:
    The Residents


    “SIAMESE TWIN TAG TEAM WRESTLERS INDEED”: Arf and Omega on the Vileness Fats set
     
    In 1977, the Residents marked their fifth anniversary with an hour-long radio special. It purports to be a broadcast from RAO (Residents Arf Omega?) Studios in Houston, Texas. Along with a number of obscurities—such as the entire The Beatles Play the Residents and the Residents Play the Beatles 7-inch, the B-side of the “Satisfaction” single (“Loser ≅ Weed”), and Snakefinger shredding Zappa’s “King Kong” in the style of Les Paul—the program includes incidental music performed by the Residents, who are, we are told, “content to walk around the studio, banging on instruments and making strange noises.” Meanwhile, a hostile interviewer, one “Sid Powell,” asks Jay Clem of Ralph Records Cryptic Corporation a series of insulting questions about the group. (“Now, don’t you feel a little foolish in this position? You’re no more than babysitters to a group of malcontented young fops.”) While I generally avoid speculating about the Residents’ identities in print, I can’t help but observe that Powell sure does sound an awful lot like one member of the band.
     

    The J-card from the cassette release of The Residents Radio Special
     
    Ralph Records released the program on a few small cassette runs in the early 80s. In 2002, Ralph re-released the radio special on the limited-edition CD Eat Exuding Oinks (named for a lyric in “Walter Westinghouse”), now equally scarce. Long ago, at one of the Bay Area’s gigantic record emporia, I snagged one of the original unmarked white tapes, still in the J-card printed on blue construction paper, for less than one dollar. Granted, that’s more than what it’s going to cost you to listen courtesy of YouTube, but it’s significantly less than what today’s junior Residents collector will expect to pay. I bring this up not so much to illustrate a point, as to gloat.
     

     
    Anyway, this Fingerprince-era artifact is a delightful piece of radio theater. You’ll hear Clem and Powell discuss the relationship between the Residents and the Beatles and the possible identity of same; the Theory of Phonetic Organization developed by the Mysterious N. Senada, who, we learn, sat in on “Kamikaze Lady” from Baby Sex; and the band’s work-in-progress Eskimo.

    Hear the broadcast after the jump…

    Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
    Hoarders: Photographer recreates grim scenes from his childhood
    04.24.2015
    06:15 am

    Topics:
    Art

    Tags:
    photography
    hoarders


     
    The hoarders I’ve seen on reality TV tend to be isolated and lonely. Often the shame of hoarding fosters seclusion, and/or the environment their disorder has produced alienates and repels friends and loved ones. I’ve never seen a hoarder living with children, presumably because a lucid parent (most hoarders appear to have some level of self-awareness about what they’re doing), would know that a filthy home is a health hazard. Hoarder parents would have to be more secretive for fear of losing their children, though tragically this would leave them less likely to reach out for help, preserving the conditions of an afflicted family. Photographer Geoff Johnson and his sister grew up in hoarder’s house, and his series, “Behind the Door” tells the story eloquently:

    Behind the Door explores the daily life of living with a parent who is a hoarder from a child’s perspective. This work is a personal reflection from Geoff and his sister’s life growing up.

    Geoff recreated images displaying how stuff not only consumed his childhood home, but deteriorated conditions for daily living, ultimately shaping who he would become.

    Johnson actually went back to his childhood home to stage the scenes—the first time he’d been in the house since he moved out in 1995. The photos are immediately tragic, but there is an anxiety too, as you try to imagine little feet navigating such irregular and unstable terrain.
     

     

     

     
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
    Everything ever recorded of Bill Hicks—EVER—to be released in 2015
    04.24.2015
    06:05 am

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Heroes

    Tags:
    Bill Hicks


     
    The premature death of Bill Hicks was one of the greatest tragedies to ever befall American comedy. His hilarious and unabashedly angry attacks on conservatism, complacency, and stupidity made him a cult figure in his lifetime, but cancer claimed him in early 1994, just as he was poised to achieve real fame, so we never got to see him continue maturing into the gifted comedic truth-seeker he seemed bound to become, a legitimate heir to Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. Like any tortured genius type worth discussing, Hicks was full of contradictions—he criticized the alcohol industry for peddling poison, but he took a perverse and boastful pride in his own cigarette consumption. He embraced a deeply moral we-are-all-as-one-in-the-cosmos philosophy, yet he sometimes took a sadistic glee in dehumanizing the rural underclass (as a conservative-raised southerner himself, he gets a pass on that). And though he constantly torpedoed commercial opportunists, he himself was seeking career visibility, and paradoxically, purity, in a milieu that necessitated rather a lot of commercial engagement. His career wasn’t helped, either, by his willingness to derail a performance to attack his audience, or even just a single member thereof, though that shit was every bit as golden as his prepared material. Behold:
     

     
    If you’re skeptical of Hicks’ counterculture bona fides, consider that one of his most infamous bits was a call-to-action for the entire advertising industry to commit suicide.
     

     
    A 1997 drop of CD releases on the Rykodisc label kept Hicks’ memory and work alive while introducing him to those who missed out. Four were issued in the first batch, the excellent Dangerous and Relentless, which were reissues of albums released during Hicks’ lifetime, and Arizona Bay and Rant in E Minor, which Hicks completed and mixed, but were only released posthumously. Those latter two feature Hicks’ guitar playing layered in with his standup, to deeply mixed effect—there are significant portions of Arizona Bay where Hicks’ words are rendered maddeningly inaudible by his psych guitar efforts, while Rant is the Hicks album to get if you can only get one. It was recorded after his cancer diagnosis, and is unparalleled in its bitterness and audacity—as though cancer were vitriol and he was trying to purge himself— and good GOD, it is funny as hell. The bit about Rush Limbaugh in the bathtub alone could have made Hicks a legend.

    Continues after the jump…

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    ‘The Twilight Zone’ meets M.C. Escher meets Dali in the philosophical comic strip ‘the bus’
    04.23.2015
    02:08 pm

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Art
    Books

    Tags:
    Heavy Metal
    Paul Kirchner


     
    A few weeks ago I highlighted “Dope Rider,” the trippy Wild West cartoon that appeared in High Times over a number of years in the 1970s and 1980s. The talented artist of those comic strips was Paul Kirchner, whose masterwork may well be a thoughtful and surreal strip about a municipal bus that appeared regularly in Heavy Metal over the same period, from 1979 to roughly 1985. That strip, “the bus” (always scrupulously set in lower-case), provided an ideal starting point for Kirchner’s fertile imagination, as the strip explored many variations of futility and disaster, fueled as much by The Twilight Zone and Godzilla as the paintings of Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher. As Kirchner himself writes in the afterword to a dandy collection of “the bus” published in 2012 by a French company called Éditions Tanibis,
     

    The humor was inspired by the crazy logic of Warner Brothers cartoons; the paranoia of the Twilight Zone television program; and the surrealistic artwork of Bosch, Magritte, Dali, and Escher.

     
    Escher, for sure—although the comic strips remind me of nothing so much as the playful, deadpan philosophy presented in the works of Jorge Luis Borges.

    The book collects 73 of the strips (if my counting is accurate), which would represent almost precisely six years’ worth of output, as reflected in Kirchner’s account. According to Kirchner, he had wanted to present the strip in a horizontal format in the hopes of selling it to the Village Voice, but an editor at Heavy Metal had the shrewd idea of reducing the size:
     

    Shortly after getting my foot in the door, I approached editor Julie Simmons [at Heavy Metal] with a comic strip called “the bus” (always written in lower case). I had drawn the first ten episodes in a horizontal format because I had intended to sell it to a weekly newspaper, the Village Voice. However, the Village Voice turned it down, though the art director was gracious enough to tell me it was the best thing he had ever rejected. Julie liked it and decided to run it as a half-page feature, as Heavy Metal often sold half-page ads and had to fill the remaining space.

     
    Many, though not all, instances of “the bus” have precisely six panels, and most of my favorites are wordless. Tanibis to be saluted for rescuing these great strips from obscurity—even Kirchner himself admits that he never had much idea if anyone really liked the strip:
     

    In those days before the internet, I rarely got feedback from readers about my work. It was published and I was paid, but what did people think of it? I didn’t know.

     
    According to Tanibis, Kirchner has recently started doing “the bus” cartoons again, and Tanibis intends to publish an updated collection before the year is out. Very good news for all of Kirchner’s fans.

    (For all the comics embedded in this post, clicking on the image will spawn a larger version.)
     

     

     

     
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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