The Cake: A real life ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’
02:32 pm



Sad to hear this morning that Eleanor Barooshian, one time member of innovative 60s girl-group The Cake died at the too-young age of 66 on August 30th. On Monday, an obituary ran in the Guardian. To note her passing, here’s Chris Campion’s fascinating liner notes for More of The Cake Please

Three teenage girls are discovered singing along to records in a New York nightclub by two hotshot managers. They are rushed into a recording studio, signed up to a major label deal and whisked off to Hollywood in a matter of weeks where they are treated like stars and consort with rock royalty. It sounds like a story spun from myth. But all this did happen and more. The story of The Cake is one of the last great untold stories of the 60s; a real life Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls.

The Cake were the daughters of Sgt. Pepper, a baroque girl group who wrote psychedelic madrigals and sang blue-eyed soul with rock ‘n’ roll attitude. This trio of brash and beautiful teenage New York City girls Jeanette Jacobs, Barbara Morillo and Eleanor Barooshian jumped onto the rollercoaster of the 60s music scene just as it hit its peak and spiraled into a downward curve. The Cake were formed in ‘66 and baked by ‘68, releasing two albums that have been cherished ever since by music enthusiasts as curios of the time. But their importance goes far beyond that.

Creatively, stylistically, and in terms of sheer attitude, The Cake were way ahead of their time. They were the first girl group to write original material as a group, and the first to have it released on a major label. This was not just a novelty at the time it was completely unheard of. They were also the first to break free of the stylistic yoke imposed by producers, songwriters and managers. In doing so, they bridged the gap between the pliable male fantasy of 60s girl groups and the advent of 70s girl bands who were doing it for themselves. The Cake are the missing link between The Ronettes and The Runaways, the Shangri-Las and the Go-Gos.

Accepted as equals by their peers in the rock world, The Cake palled around and were partnered with Jimi Hendrix, Skip Spence and members of The Animals. They also sang with Dr. John and The Soft Machine. Songs were not only written by them, but about them! The group had its origins somewhere far more mundane.

The Cake were formed in a New York bathroom; two bathrooms, in fact, located several months apart in the heady summer of 1966. The first is somewhere in Manhattan, where 16-year-old Jeanette Jacobs and 18-year-old Barbara Morillo find themselves sharing a mirror in an apartment that both of them are strangers to.

“Being teenagers, both of us had stayed over at someone’s house,” Barbara recalls. “Me, after hanging out at a disco. I don’t know where Jeanette had been and we weren’t even sure whose house it was. We just both woke up and were kind of in the bathroom at the same time. We hit it off really well; there was a chemistry immediately.”

Barbara moved in with Jeanette, who lived at her father’s apartment in Astoria, Queens. They began writing songs together straight away, trading lines back and forth and then laying them down on a reel-to-reel with layered vocal harmonies. “I thought it would be better if we had three parts, like in a choir,” says Barbara, who had sung alto as a child in a Lutheran church choir. “It would make it more complete and we could do more things. So we decided we’d like to find somebody else. Fortune brought us Eleanor.”

One night they ended up at The Scene, a midtown Manhattan venue that had become one of the hippest after hours clubs in the city. The Scene was a regular haunt for 16-year-old Eleanor Barooshian, a slight, cute-as-a-button blonde with a big voice and a ballsy attitude. She had befriended the club’s flamboyant impresario Steve Paul and could often be found performing there, running through a riotous little routine with house act Tiny Tim. They sang a role-reversed version of the Sonny & Cher duet, “I Got You Babe.” The sight of a young girl singing baritone to a ghastly-looking fellow with a shrieking falsetto brought the house down every time.

“We just did it as a lark,’ says Eleanor, now known as Chelsea Lee.“Everybody liked it so much it became a thing. People would ask, ‘Are you and Tiny singing tonight?’ The same routine was later immortalized in Peter Yarrow and Barry Feinstein’s impressionistic 1967 documentary, You Are What You Eat.

“The whole idea of a relationship between Tiny Tim and a young teenybopper was inconceivable,’ says Yarrow. “It was like a Dadaistic expression. A teacup lined with fur. [That performance] was about the absurdity of that conjunction on one level and yet, at the same time, it was highly sympathetic.”

After seeing Eleanor perform, Barbara and Jeanette approached her in the bathroom and asked her to join their group. “I realized she had a very quick ear,’ says Barbara. “She could do the harmony right away. It had a really nice blend and a nice energy.”

In short order, Eleanor also moved in with Jeanette and came up with a name, The Cake. “It just sounded feminine,’ she says. Being the 60s, the first thing they did together was drop acid. ‘We did that to become really one as a group,’ says Chelsea. ‘The three of us went to Central Park South together, but Jeanette got very ill and Barbara and I had to keep telling her how beautiful she was. We went to a friends place in the village and Jeanette was throwing-up! But it did make us tight—we’d only just met!

They made their first public appearances performing at The Scene between Tiny Tim and the Chambers Brothers. But the girls were filled with an energy that was so irrepressible, they ran around New York City singing their songs to anyone who would listen and acquiring new friends in the process. “Every day was a show for us,’ says Chelsea. “We sang for everyone. In the middle of the street, in the clubs, everywhere.”

Among the people they charmed with their singing was Jimi Hendrix. At the time, he was just another face in the village and still undiscovered, playing R&B covers as a sideman to Curtis Knight & The Squires. “Jimi always used to say our songs soothed him,’ says Chelsea. “He and Jeanette had a thing,’ adds Barbara, ‘so we ended up staying with Jimi a bunch instead of going home. He’d say, “I’ll get a room and we can all stay together.’”

Barbara managed to inadvertently bag herself a rock star boyfriend too: ‘I met Hilton Valentine from The Animals one night at Ondine’s. He just came in with these crystal rose glasses on. He looked like so much fun and, you know, he asked me to go for a walk with him. He was my first boyfriend.’

Located in a basement, right underneath the on ramp for the 59th Street bridge, Ondine Discotheque—known to all and sundry as Ondine’s—was the crucible of New York’s early club scene. All the hottest bands played there between 1965-67—the Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Animals and Buffalo Springfield all came through in a blur, either to perform or just to party there—and all the hippest kids came to see them. The club was so small there was no division between the two.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
These adorable cartoons are dark as fuck
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These cartoons are a bit like what you’d get if you combined Ziggy (already a bleak little production) and Eraserhead. The artist is Gypsie Raleigh, an artist and playwright who lives in Portland, Oregon. Earlier this year she published a novel called Soolie Beetch and the Dying Light.

Raleigh has said of her work:

Sometimes life leaves me speechless. When I fail to find the words, I try to find an image that can speak in my silence. My drawings have been inspired by everything from the deaths of people close to me, anxiety, and my own broken heart–to seeing an old bird cage or having a bad work day. I turned to art, because my parents raised me off grid in the Mount Hood Wilderness, and there wasn’t anything better to do. At the time, I was just sad that I didn’t have friends. Now, it’s a way of life.

Enjoy these ice-cold examples of macabre humor.


More Kafkaesque yuks after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Watch the infamous ‘Disco Demolition Night’ fiasco of 1979 in its entirety
10:52 am



A bounty from the Internet! Some outstanding personage has uploaded the entire broadcast of the WSNS Channel 44 Chicago broadcast of the July 12, 1979, double-header between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, better known to you as “Disco Demolition Night,” a promotion spearheaded by DJ Steve Dahl at Chicago rock station WLUP. The event notoriously became a single-header after the second game had to be canceled because of the mayhem brought upon by the antics of the mostly white audience of rowdy rock music lovers.

On that day, disco-haters were enticed by inexpensive admission (98 cents and a disco record to add to the pile) to come out in droves. The gimmick was that between the two games, a large box containing hundreds of disco records would be blown up. Some time earlier, Dahl had lost his job after WDAI switched to a disco format, which inordinately pissed him off, and he turned that ire into a big part of his schtick at WLUP, and eventually the idea for “Disco Demolition Night” was born. In the event, the large crowd was full of rowdy stoners who didn’t give a hoot about baseball and just wanted to heap scorn on disco music. The detonation of the disco records had the double effect of rendering the field unusable and causing the throngs to descend into truly lawless chaos. 

The uploaded video is nearly three and a half hours long. It shows the entire first (and, it turned out, only) game of the twin bill, in which the visiting Tigers defeated the hometown White Sox 4-1. By the way, Harry Caray, who later became a national icon for his work with the crosstown Cubs, was a White Sox employee at this time, and he is one of the announcers calling the action. (In fact, Caray’s true mark on baseball history came decades earlier, during his quarter-century of radio broadcasting for the St. Louis Cardinals.)

Moments after hundreds of disco records were exploded in center field
As Slate’s Matthew Dessem astutely points out, the tone of the day’s action was set early on, during the National Anthem, during which a fan’s cry of “Faggot!” can clearly be heard (it’s at the 6:44 mark).

In retrospect, the spasm of hatred directed towards a pleasure-oriented music genre that was inclusive in terms of African-Americans, Latinos, and homosexuals seems positively Trumpist in spirit. The United States is the only country that has had a strong “anti-disco” movement. I like the Allman Brothers and Black Sabbath as much as the next music lover, but you know, enough’s enough!

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Awesome 1960s Timothy Leary ‘Twelve O’Clock High’ watch
10:39 am



Since I don’t wear a watch, I thought I’d throw this one out there to you fine folks since this sucker seems right up our readership’s strasse. It’s a really cool Timothy Leary watch from the 1960s. Each hour on the watch is tagged as some type of drug.

As in “It’s a quarter to meth” or “Half-past hash.”

According to the listing on eBay the watch still works.

From eBay seller the-image-builder:

“This watch has been in a box for about 45 years. It was given to me and I am the only owner. It does have some scratches on the face and body. Please look carefully at the photos.”

The watch is listed at $275 and so far has zero bids. I’d wear the shit out of this.



Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment