Todd Bridges and the ‘Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience’ cover the ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ theme
06.23.2017
12:52 pm
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The actor Todd Bridges, best known for the role of Willis Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes, which he inhabited between the ages of 13 through 21, has precisely one credit on Discogs, the exhaustive music recording resource that you’ve probably already consulted five times this week, if not many more times than that. It’s a fascinating one, and actually, his performance pretty much puts the question of why he doesn’t have more music credits in his CV to rest.

In 1997, in the middle of a big era for hastily assembled CD compilations, Which? Records put out an amusing comp called Show & Tell: A Stormy Remembrance of TV Theme Songs, which exploited the marketable idea of having a bunch of punk and thrash bands do covers of famous TV theme songs. The Meatmen contributed two tracks, “Green Acres” and “Mission: Impossible,” Murphy’s Law did the theme to “Zoom” (with DM’s own Howie Pyro on backing vocals), and the Dickies recorded a cover of “Secret Agent Man.” It’s fun stuff—really, how could it go wrong?

The attention-getting bit of business—enough to merit special mention on the album cover, done up to vaguely resemble a copy of TV Guide—was Todd Bridges singing lead vocal on a thrashy cover of the theme song from the show he will never not be associated with. The full credit runs Todd Bridges and the Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience cover “Diff’rent Strokes”—the familiar, perky ditty that was co-written by none other than Alan Thicke. 
 

 
Not surprisingly, there was no such thing as the Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience, other than that record. The bassist, John Jesse, and the guitarist, Roy Mayorga, at that time were members of a band called Thorn but were rather better known for their work in the influential crust punk band Nausea. Weirdly, Mayorga is credited as playing guitar on this song but is really a drummer.

The rendition lasts a cool 50 seconds, and Bridges….... well, let’s just say holding a tune is not a big part of Bridges’ skill set.

The October 1998 issue of Vibe featured a Q&A with Gary Coleman, Bridges’ diminutive co-star on the TV show, and writer Peter Relic asked Coleman about Bridges’ recent turn as a singer:
 

Vibe: Have you been to a gig of Todd Bridges’ punk band, the Whatchu Talking ‘Bout Willis Experience?

Coleman: You’re kidding! Todd didn’t tell me about that.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.23.2017
12:52 pm
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‘Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse’: The Warlock Pinchers hate Moz, but love them some Satan


 
I first discovered the Warlock Pinchers while working at a record store in East LA. Buried among the piles of LPs that circulated through the store daily was what I personally consider to be one of my most treasured “finds”: the delightfully titled record, Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse. Nowadays, the lack of impulse record shopping doesn’t allow for much discoverability. I’m guilty of it, too—it’s much too easy to see an album that looks kinda cool staring back at you from the bin, but then to preview it online before you would consider buying. I guess that’s what happens as the $$$ sticker-shock for rarer records sets in. Needless to say, when someone wanted to sell off their copy of Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse, I have no choice but to blindly take the dive.
 

 
The Warlock Pinchers sound like a blend of Big Black, Butthole Surfers, and the Beastie Boys; all presented in a fury of adolescent shenanigans. The punk hip-hop pranksters and self-proclaimed “Official Sound of Satan” were the kind of people who enjoyed pissing off their fans—and if you weren’t a fan, then “fuck you!”
 

 
Sharing a record label with the Melvins, opening for the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and once having had their record reviewed by Damon Albarn for NME, sadly the band did not pick up much steam outside of their hometown of Denver, Colorado. If anything, their alleged commitment to the devil was the one thing that helped give them some form of notoriety outside of their local scene, as if spraying flames around small clubs and giving their audiences muffins and pancakes wasn’t quite enough.
 

Blur reviews Warlock Pinchers at the NME office, 1991

Fire by Nite was a Christian youth variety program that operated out of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the late eighties. By presenting in a context of “relatable” youth material, the show oftentimes tackled highly controversial subjects that have plagued (or improved) the lives of many young Christians, namely drugs, sex, and the devil. “Satanism Unmasked” was a multi-part special that saw the “real-life” testimonies of self-confessed former Satanists like Mike Warnke (later disputed as a fraud) and Lauren Stratford (ditto), and hosted a bizarre conversation with convicted murderer, Sean Sellers. Slayer is spoken about briefly, but they are quickly dethroned as a bunch of charlatans; using the devil for their own shock-value appeal.

The highlight is the exposé of Warlock Pinchers, who dismiss Jesus as the real source of evil, in favor of Satan, “the good guy.”

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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06.23.2017
12:39 pm
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‘The Best of Times’: Bonkers TV pilot starring baby-faced versions of Nicolas Cage & Crispin Glover
06.23.2017
11:00 am
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Crispin Glover and Nicolas Cage react to the news that their failed television series from 1981, ‘The Best of Times’ is still kicking around out there on the Internet.
 
In 1981 both Nicolas Cage (who at the time was going by his real name “Nicholas Coppola”) and a baby-faced Crispin Glover both made their television acting debuts. However, the pilot, The Best of Times, only aired once before getting the boot from ABC.

I don’t want to ruin any of this for you, but if you haven’t seen The Best of Times—which was part musical, part teen drama, and part comedy—then clear your calendar for the next hour because you simply haven’t lived until you’ve seen an eighteen-year-old Nicolas Cage participating in a bizarre car wash sequence while his pals kick out a vanilla version of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” In a pair of overalls with no shirt.

Your life is also a lie if you’ve never experienced the crazy that is Crispin Glover (who was also eighteen) having a spastic meltdown about the latest Talking Heads cassette tape. Adding to the weirdness, most of the actors on the show went by their own names and there’s something very strange about hearing Glover’s real mother Betty yelling at her boy Crispin throughout the episode. But that’s ALL I’m going to say because this totally golden television oddity that really must be seen to be believed.

PS: You’re welcome.
 

An image of Cage with another star of ‘The Best of Times’ actress and future scream queen, Jill Schoelen.
 
Watch it, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.23.2017
11:00 am
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Painting with Light: Incredible portrait photographs of young outsiders
06.23.2017
06:19 am
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‘Iris’ (2011).
 
At a cursory glance, I thought I was viewing some small figure detail from a Baroque painting or maybe a canvas by a Dutch Old Master. The richness, depth, and subtly of light fooled my eye. This was the photographer’s intention—to make the viewer re-examine what is seen.

The photographer is Pierre Gonnord. He previously turned his talents to photographing the last coal miners working in the pits at Asturias and Castilla y León, Spain. His portraits gave these men a dignity and nobility. They were “a tribute” to the lives being destroyed by economic cuts and governmental indifference—or as Gonnord described it “social genocide.”

Now Gonnord has thrown focus on to a series of painterly portraits of young people. He is specific in who he chooses to photograph, selecting “the person, the individual, alone in the margins of his social group…”

‘When I travel and meet a community, I have time enough to establish contacts and connections, to know individuals that move me for their charisma, sensitivity, intelligence, shyness, beauty … and this is why I decide to invite them (and no others) to do a portrait’

Gonnord takes his time photographing his subject and almost makes it sound almost like a forensic process:

‘Installed in the silence of a room, generally a very small space, sometimes with daylight, sometimes with a lamp, a flash, just one spot … in a short distance, in the same living area, I can talk with the individual, my fellow, a chosen human being, and looking at him I repeat once again this old ritual. A very short moment. Probably the most ancient since man has been on Earth. Strip little by little all the details, and in silence try to catch what maybe is under the skin’

His passion for portrait photography offers Gonnord the chance learn what he describes as “life experiences” allowing him to:

‘Learn from others, listen, watch, see, feel, express. It’s to open one’s eyes to the world, to know other universes, other realities in order to go beyond one’s own small frontiers in the urban environment and enter little by little into the sharing and the understanding of humanity’

and

‘To look into the eyes of these models is to feel in a certain way that we are looking at our own essence as human beings.’

See more of Gonnord’s portraits here.
 
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‘Attia’ (2010).
 
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‘Sophie’ (2012).
 
See more of Gonnord’s beautiful portraits, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.23.2017
06:19 am
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