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KISS, Sparks, & rock ‘n’ roller coasters: The legendary ‘Magic Mountain’ theme park of the 1970’s
01.11.2017
12:21 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Sparks
1970s
KISS
theme park
Magic Mountain


 
On an incredibly hot memorial day weekend in 1971, Magic Mountain opened in Valencia, California just 18 months after construction began. The “theme” of this theme park was not entirely clear and it only had one roller coaster, however the park’s other offerings—the fireworks, rides, laser shows, arcade games, and nightly concerts—made “fun, magic, and rock ‘n’ roll” the name of the game. By the time the park was sold to Six Flags at the end of the decade, Magic Mountain had cemented a place in rock ‘n’ roll history by giving many young Southern Californians their very first live concert experience. Its three venues (7-Up / Dixi Cola Showcase Theatre, The Gazebo, and Kaleidoscope) were home to many great acts such as Fleetwood Mac, The Carpenters, Sonny & Cher, The Jackson 5, The Everly Brothers, and KISS who attracted a long-haired, beer can drinking parking lot crowd that didn’t meet Disneyland’s strict dress code and could afford the $5 admission price.
 

Sonny & Cher performed nightly from Sept 2nd-12th, 1971 at Magic Mountain’s 7-Up Showcase Theatre
 
When it first opened Magic Mountain secured a short-term deal from Warner Brothers to use their Looney Tunes characters, however when that agreement expired in 1972 a lineup of very unmemorable troll characters were introduced: Bloop, Bleep, King Troll (aka King Blop) and the Wizard. These bizarre, colorful, psychedelic looking walk-around characters became the most recognizable symbols of the park throughout the ‘70s. They greeted guests, posed for photographs, and appeared on all manners of merchandise and advertising before being discontinued in 1985.
 

“Trolls & Fountain” 1977 Magic Mountain postcard
 
By the mid-1970’s the park begun introducing faster and scarier rides such as The Electric Rainbow, Galaxy, and Jolly Monster. However, it was the Great American Revolution (the first modern, 360-degree steel looping coaster) in 1976 that gave the park its first real thrill factor. At the time Universal was filming a disaster-suspense movie called Rollercoaster about a young extortionist (played by Timothy Bottoms) who travels around the U.S. planting bombs on roller coasters promising horrific casualties to those who don’t meet his one million dollar ransom. The film’s climactic final sequence takes place during a huge rock concert celebrating the grand opening of Revolution. While teen-idol fan magazines Tiger Beat and Sixteen reported to their readers that the Scottish glam-rock band the Bay City Rollers were to perform in this film it was actually Los Angeles’ own Sparks who accepted the role having just relocated back to L.A. from England.
 
Sparks were documented on the big screen prior to their breakthrough commercial success during a strange transitional period for the band when they briefly dropped their quirkiness and demanded to be taken seriously. Concerned at the time that their music may have become stale, the Mael brothers left their synthesizers behind for a more “American” guitar sound on their Rupert Holmes produced album Big Beat. Although Rollercoaster was a modest success despite fierce competition from Star Wars at the box office that summer, Ron & Russell Mael of Sparks now look back upon the film with embarrassment. “Yes, you did see Sparks performing ‘Big Boy’ and ‘Fill’er Up’ in the film Rollercoaster during your last airplane trip,” said Russell Mael in the September 2006 issue of Mojo Magazine. “No, we didn’t know that the film was going to turn out like that. Rollercoaster movie proves that you have to be continually careful of what you do… You never know what’s going to last and what’s going to fall by the wayside, and man, does that last!” Sparks’ cameo in Rollercoaster is brief but fun and energetic, especially when Ron Mael gets rowdy and smashes his piano stool on the stage.
 

Russell Mael of Sparks performing in front of Revolution in the 1977 disaster film ‘Rollercoaster’
 
In 1978 at the height of KISS’ massive popularity, Hanna-Barbera Productions produced a made-for-television movie for NBC titled Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. Filmed on location at Magic Mountain, the film’s poor script revolved around an evil inventor living underneath the theme park whose nefarious plans are thwarted by an other-galactic rock ‘n’ roll group with superpowers (played by KISS). Despite the fact that all four members were given crash courses on acting, much of the dialogue recorded was unusable and had to be re-dubbed in post production. Ace Frehley was said to have become increasingly frustrated with the long periods of downtime normally associated with filmmaking and stormed off the set one day leaving his African American stunt double to finish his scenes (which made for perhaps one of the most noticeable and unintentionally hilarious continuity errors in the history of cinema). KTNQ’s “The Real” Don Steele (one of the most popular disc jockeys in the U.S.) gave away 8,000 tickets to see KISS perform live at the Magic Mountain parking lot which was filmed for the movies big dramatic rock ‘n’ roll concert ending.
 
Keep reading after the jump…

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Murder, death, KILL! Vintage horror pulp novels from the 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond


The cover of ‘Rock A Bye Baby.’ A horror novel from 1984 by prolific horror writer Stephen Gresham.
 
A huge tip of my hat goes out to the exhaustive blog Too Much Horror Fiction (is there such a thing? I think not) for inspiring this post. Curated by the self-described “neat, clean, shaved & sober” Will Errickson, the site has been cataloging and reviewing vintage horror novels since 2010. As a bonafide horror junkie, I’ll never understand how I didn’t know about this site until today. If you’re a horror nerd like I am and were perhaps not hip to Errickson’s dedication to the books that helped shape our youth, then welcome to your new Internet time-killer. Zing!

I’m sure a few of the books I’ve featured in this post will be familiar to you—such as the cover of the 1976 book The Fury which was the basis for Brian De Palma’s 1978 film of the same name starring Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes and Amy Irving. I’ve also included a few H.P. Lovecraft paperbacks featuring fantastic cover artwork that will bring you right back to those times you spent spinning those revolving metal book racks around hoping to find a cover repulsive enough to freak your parents out with. If this post gets you pining away for this kind of vintage goodness then you’re in luck as many of these books can still be found on auction sites such as eBay and Etsy. Some of the artwork that follows is slightly NSFW.
 

The 1976 cover of a reprint of the novel by Jack Finney ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers.’ Finney original penned the book, which has been adapted into several notable films, in 1955.
 

‘Evil Way,’ 1990.
 
More macabre book covers after the jump…

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Infamous London punks Cockney Rejects get banned by the BBC, 1980
01.04.2017
01:07 pm

Topics:
Class War
Music
Sports

Tags:
London
1970s
1980s
Cockney Rejects


 
The 1970s were a hugely contentious time for the UK. In 1973 the country was reeling from a massive outbreak of worker strikes that were in retaliation to new bills that put harsh restrictions on pay increases. By May there were over 1.6 million workers walking the picket lines. On January 7th, 1974, hinging on measures introduced by then Prime Minister Edward Heath, a mandatory three-day work week was instituted. Initially a five-day restriction, the new three-day mandate came into play in order to avoid any further fallout due to the crisis-level lack of energy and fuel resources. Once the measure went into effect 885,000 workers applied for unemployment benefits. All of this discontent during this dangerously tumultuous time would be fuel for the fire of the Cockney Rejects.

The Cockney Rejects were hardass guttersnipes, the sons of East End dockers, who were inspired by the Sex Pistols. They sang about fights, how much they hated the police and how much they loved football. And there were songs about fighting over football and being arrested.

The original group consisted of the Geggus brothers, Mickey and Jeff, AKA Stinky Turner. Both brothers were good boxers and neither had ever lost in the ring. They were joined by Vince Riordan as their bassist in 1979. After getting their start as The Shitters, the band signed with EMI (tipped by Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey) after playing a small handful of live gigs which would quickly become known for regularly descending into violent riots. Much of the contention stirred up by quad was based on their support of their beloved West Ham United Football Club.

When the group appeared on Top of the Pops on May 22nd, 1980 following West Ham’s ascension to the FA Cup Finals, the band literally wore their pride on stage donning their “West Ham” shirts in support of their team. Apparently after barely miming their way through their hit version of the West Ham theme “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” the band ran amok in the hallowed halls of the BBC and were subsequently banned from performing on the show again. Still just teenagers, the Cockney Rejects would continue to live up to their reputation by playing an equally unhinged live gig at The Cedar Club in Birmingham. That show, which left fans lying bloody on the floor would go on to be known as the “Battle of Birmingham” and has been called the most “violent” live show in British concert-going history.  It would also mark a turning point in the band’s career as future gigs would devolve into clashes between opposing groups of football fans and skinheads who followed the Oi! movement.
 

 
Journalist Garry Bushell, who covered the Oi! movement for SOUNDS later wrote:

With the Rejects, football was the trouble. And it was understandable because they’d been fanatically pro-West Ham aggro from the word go. Even at their debut Bridge House gig they decked the stage out with a huge red banner displaying the Union Jack, the West Ham crossed hammers and the motif ‘West Side’ (which was that part of the West Ham ground then most favoured by the Irons’ most violent fans). Their second hit was a version of the West Ham anthem ‘Bubbles’ which charted in the run-up to West Ham’s Cup Final Victory in the early summer of 1980. On the b-side was the ICF-pleasing ‘West Side Boys’ which included lines like: ‘We meet in the Boelyn every Saturday/Talk about the teams that we’re gonna do today/Steel-capped Dr. Martens and iron bars/Smash the coaches and do ’em in the cars’.

It was a red rag to testosterone-charged bulls all over the country. At North London’s Electric Ballroom, 200 of West Ham’s finest mob-charged less than fifty Arsenal and smacked them clean out of the venue. But ultra-violence at a Birmingham gig really spelt their undoing. The audience at the Cedar Club was swelled by a mob of Birmingham City skinheads who terrace-chanted throughout the support set from the Kidz Next Door (featuring Grant Fleming, now a leftwing film maker, and Pursey’s kid brother Robbie). By the time the Rejects came on stage there were over 200 Brum City skins at the front hurling abuse. During the second number they started hurling plastic glasses. Then a real glass smashed on stage. Stinky Turner responded by saying: “If anyone wants to chuck glasses they can come outside and I’ll knock seven shades of shit out of ya”. That was it, glasses and ashtrays came from all directions. One hit Vince and as a Brum skinhead started shouting “Come on”, Micky dived into the crowd and put him on his back. Although outnumbered more than ten to one, the Rejects and their entourage drove the Brummy mob right across the hall, and finally out of it altogether. Under a hail of missiles Mickey Geggus sustained a head injury that needed nine stitches and left him with what looked like a Fred Perry design above his right eye. Grant Fleming, a veteran of such notorious riots as Sham at Hendon and Madness at Hatfield, described the night’s violence as the worst he’d ever seen.

More after the jump…

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Never mind the Sex Pistols, Here’s ‘The Kids’: Pissed-off pioneering punks from Belgium
12.19.2016
03:34 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
1970s
Belgium
The Kids


 
In 1976 Ludo Mariman took on the vocalist spot for The Crash, a group that would quickly change its name to The Kids. According to Mariman nobody in the band could really actually play an instrument so they ended up sounding like a “really bad version of Velvet Underground.” When punk rock began its search and destroy tour in the UK, it still hadn’t become a scene in Belgium yet with a couple of notable exceptions. Such as the band Chainsaw who if you blinked in Belgium back in 1977 you missed, and the wild success of Plastic Bertrand’s world-wide smash “Ça Plane Pour Moi.” Mariman headed off to London to see what all the fuss was about where he witnessed a live gig by the Ramones. It was then that Mariman had an epiphany of sorts and realized even though the Crash lacked actual “musical” talent they had the same kind of drive and energy that the quad from Queens possessed.

In 1978, when they were still quite literally kids (bass player Danny Haes was only fourteen at the time) The Kids put out two pretty blistering albums. The first was a self-titled record full of anarchic jams that all punched the time clock in under three-minutes like “Fascist Cops,” “Do You Love the Nazis,” and “I Don’t Want To Get a Job in the City.” The band’s second album, Naughty Kids was also full of catchy, pissed-off tracks including a fun sing-along I currently can’t get out of my head called “Jesus Christ (Didn’t Exist).”

As of last year The Kids were still touring rather extensively around Europe. I’ve included a few singles by The Kids below as well as footage from their first appearance on television in Belgium in 1978—which includes the band performing a cover of “Anarchy in the U.K.” If you dig The Kids, I’d highly suggest adding the 2006 compilation marking the band’s 30th anniversary that includes all the tracks from The Kids’ first two albums and a few live tracks put out by French label Wild Wild Records. Posers get LOST!
 
Listen the the Kids, after the jump…

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FEEL THE FUZZ: Insane music from obscure vintage Japanese psych & garage rock bands


An excellent shot of Ai Takano, the timekeeper for Japanese psychedelic ‘group sounds’ band The Carnabeats. The band was well-known for their numerous covers from the catalog of English rock band The Zombies.
 
As I’ve said before, of the many excellent aspects of my “job” here as a writer for Dangerous Minds is that I get to share things I love with all of you groovy readers. As I’m a huge fan of Japanese art and culture my show and tell for you today is some prime sounds from little-known Japanese psychedelic and garage rock bands from the 1960s and 1970s. I can say with complete confidence that you’re going to want to carve out some time to listen to The Voltage covering Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin’” and The Spiders’ out-of-sight riff on John Lee Hooker’s 1962 “Boom Boom” as well as original jams from some of Japan’s lesser-known vintage rockers.

The Voltage was one of many bands associated with “group sounds” (or simply “GS”) music genre in Japan and the band demonstrated a strong affinity for classic Motown, recording numerous musical homages to artists like The Temptations, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett throughout their career. Though I’m a sucker for bands putting their own unique spin on vintage hits, I always love digging up different sounds from around the globe that mirrored more famous genre-defining moments in better-known geographical locations. Such as Japan’s vibrant interpretation of the psychedelic and garage rock movement that was flourishing in the 60s and 70s in the United States. Though it’s a little difficult to imagine a happening psyche-rock scene in Japan without the proper party-favors (drugs were and still are very illegal there) you’d never know that the bands you’re about to hear in this post were kicking out groovy, LSD-free grooves such as The Flowers (who later became “The Flower Travellin’ Band)” like their rambling fifteen-minute instrumental from 1969 “Opera Yokoo Tadanori Wo Utau” that gives “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” a run for its money.

Like you perhaps, I’m also a huge fan of the super-psyche rock trio, Speed, Glue & Shinki that featured the wizardry of guitarist Shinki Chen who before he even turned 21 was already commonly referred to as the “Japanese Jimi Hendrix.” The band itself at times also channels one of my other beloved heavy metal staples, Black Sabbath so it’s no wonder I can’t get enough of them. As I’m quite sure that you’re going to dig the shit out of the bands in this post I’d highly recommend picking up the 2015 release Kaminari-Nineteen Japanese Garage Monsters or The Definitive Collection of Group Sounds (Japanese Garage & Psychedelic Bands) 1965-1971 released back in 2000 that contains a staggering 122 songs from several of the bands included in this post. And though I’ve written about them previously on DM, I don’t want to get called out for not including The Mops so I included the fucking impossibly heavy track “Illjanaikada” below along with many others and some sweet vintage images of what it looked like to be a rock star in Japan all those decades ago.

Dig theFUZZ!
 

Speed, Glue & Shinki.
 

The Dynamites.
 

The Spiders.
 
More after the jump…

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Strassenjungs: The ‘fake’ German punk rockers who toured with The Clash
11.23.2016
09:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Clash
Germany
1970s
Strassenjungs


German ‘punk’ band Strassenjungs circa 1980.
 
In 1977 two German producers decided to try to follow Malcolm McLaren’s success with the Sex Pistols by creating a “fake” punk rock band. The result would be a quad hailing from Frankfurt called Strassenjungs (which translates as “Street Boys”).

Axel Klopprogge and Eckehard Ziedrich pulled Strassenjungs together during a time when the punk scene was still in a formative state in Germany. Their timing, as far as Strassenjungs was concerned, was pretty perfect. It should have worked. But it didn’t.

Despite getting lucky enough tour rather extensively through Europe with The Clash in late 1977 (and according to the band’s official site Siouxise & The Banshees in 1980), Strassenjungs’ albums pretty much bombed as soon as they were released. Which is strange because they were seemingly laser-focused on being as “aggressive” as possible penning songs about teenage rebellion, sex, drugs and booze. While the combination of these things generally produce hit-making results, this was not the case for Strassenjungs until much later in their career. They were never truly accepted into the punk scene in Germany and in 1977 German musician Peter Hein accused the band of not being “punk” at all but “langhaarig, blödfressig, deutsch” or “long-haired, loud-mouthed Germans.”

If certain folklore about Strassenjungs is to be believed after a couple of failed records in 1982 the band’s debut record was added to the German Index (a censorship program) under the charge of “inciting crime and alcohol abuse” both of which seem pretty fucking punk rock to me. Sadly the dubious classification now prevented the album from being sold to minors. With all that working against them you’d think Strassenjungs might have called it quits, but they didn’t. Though they’ve been through various lineup changes over the decades the band still performs today with original bassist Nils Selzer. I’ve included some singles from Strassenjungs for you to consider below as well as a couple of photos of the band pretending to be punks back the day. If you dig what you hear in this post here’s a link pick up a “best of” compilation from the band Strassenfeger: Die Hit-Box! (best of) by Strassenjungs.
 

The goofy cover of Strassenjungs’ 1977 debut.
 
More after the jump…

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‘Back in the New York groove’: Say hello to 70s UK teenage glam rockers Hello
11.16.2016
10:38 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
1970s
KISS
Hello
Argent
Russ Ballard


Hello in the early 70s.
 
If after reading the title of this post you just felt your heavy metal spidey sense acting up then congratulations. This means you already know that London-based glam rockers Hello were the first band to record the impossibly earwiggy jam “New York Groove” popularized by Ace Frehley of KISS on his 1978 solo record.

Getting together while still in their teens, dreamy denim enthusiast and Peter Frampton-esque frontman Bob Bradbury hooked up with drummer Jeff Allen (who also happened to be the sibling of Chris Cross, later the bassist for Ultravox), Keith Marshall and Vic Faulkner and Hello was born sometime during the year 1971. During the next few years the band would fall victim to a bizarre series of missed opportunities when it came to scoring a hit, though in 1974 the band reversed some of that bad luck and chalked up one in the win category with “Tell Him,” an Exciters cover. Then another lucky break came Hello’s way thanks to Russ Ballard, who in addition to his numerous songwriting and production credits scored a couple of hits of his own during his time with the group Argent, “Hold Your Head Up,” and “God Gave Rock and Roll to You.”

Before Ballard left Argent the band opened a few shows for KISS in 1974. Ballard left prior to the completion of the tour and ended up producing and playing guitar for Roger Daltrey’s 1975 solo record Ride a Rock Horse. Upon Ballard’s suggestion, the decision was made to master that record at Sterling Sound in New York. During his long plane trip from London, Ballard ended coming up with the phrase “I’m back in the New York Groove” which he would later work into “New York Groove.” While at Sterling, Ballard connected with Hello on the recommendation of his brother who had just seen the teens tear it up at a live gig. Hello recorded “New York Groove” which ended up breaking the Top 10 in the UK. Ace Frehley put his own twist on “New York Groove” and the song would help propel sales of Frehley’s solo record, the most successful of the four solo releases put out by the original members of KISS in 1978. The “New York Groove” single charted within the Top 20.

Hello would enjoy a short time in the spotlight even moving their base of operations to Germany (where audiences were digging on them more than in the UK) before calling it quits in 1979. Full disclosure—I LOVE all things glam rock and Hello is no exception to my cool rule. I’ve included four of Hello’s jams in this post which showcase the band performing (or lipsynching) “New York Groove,” “Tell Him,” “Star Studded Sham,” and “Love Stealer.” In other good news for your ears Cherry Red Records has just released a four-CD box set that contains pretty much everything the band ever recorded, 74 tracks in all. As Cherry Red said in their press release it’s a “long overdue” collection of great glam from the past that if you just might have missed.

Bob Bradbury still tours with the most recent lineup of Hello.
 

 

Hello doing ‘New York Groove.’
 
More Hello after the jump…

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‘Thar She Blows!’ Amusingly illustrated ‘X Rated’ movie posters from the 60s and 70s


An illustrated poster for 1971’s ‘The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio.’
 
I’ve seen my fair share of what your Mom refers to as “dirty movies” in my lifetime and I’m sure most of our Dangerous Minds readers have too. As I also know that many of you have a thing for movie posters it is with particular amusement and pride that I bring to you a collection of illustrated movie posters advertising various ‘X-Rated’ films from the 1960s and 1970s. Pretty much no topic was off limits back then apparently. There was even an erotic flick based on the sexploits of Pinocchio. Which I suppose makes perfect sense when you think about it (ahem) long enough.

One of the more amusing aspects of these film posters is the cheesy tongue-in-cheek copywriting that accompanies the posters that’s supposed to help sell you on the idea that the Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio would be a good time because “his nose isn’t the only thing that grows!” A few others are also are based on stories originally conceived for kids such as Cinderella (“the sexiest comedy of 1977 Cinderella 2000”), Alice in Wonderland or 1969’s The New Adventures of Snow White which I believe I’m safe in assuming involves sexytime with at least seven dwarves. At least I hope it does.

If you’re digging them like I do most of the posters featured in this post can be purchased over at Heritage Auctions and other online auction sites. It should go without saying I wouldn’t be doing my job right if I didn’t say that many of the images in this post are NSFW. You already knew that, right?
 

An X-Rated musical version of ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ 1976.
 

‘Cinderella 2000,’ 1977.
 

‘The New Adventures of Snow White,’ 1969.
 

‘Thar She Blows,’ 1968.
 
More after the jump…

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Patti Smith on Bob Marley, comics, and opening her own pot cafe when she ‘grows up,’ back in 1976


‘The Two Faces of Patti Smith.’ photograph by Guillemette Barbet and art design by John Holmstrom.
 
Over the weekend I was yet again getting in some good quality time with my lovely copy of The Best of Punk Magazine and came across an amusing and highly entertaining interview by a musician and performer that undeniably embodies the word “hero” the multi-talented punk powerhouse Patti Smith.
 

 
In the interview that appeared in Punk (Volume One, Number Two from March of 1976) Smith agreed to talk to the magazine in the backroom of legendary Long Island club My Father’s Place where she sat on the grungy floor before her gig later that night. Of the many highlights and wide variety of topics covered in the lengthy chat include her love of comics, Bob Marley, her vivid dreams about Jimi Hendrix and her not-so-secret plan to hijack The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (who Smith very much admired) and turn it into “totally stoned TV every night.” If you are at all a fan of Patti Smith (who was 30 at the time of this interview), prepare yourself to adore her even more. Here’s Smith on her love of two things that go great together—comics (or “comix” as Punk likes to spell it) and rock and roll:

I was a painter. All I cared about was art school and painting. I used to be an artist before I became an artist. You know the French love comic strips. Comix are considered art. Comix are art. I mean the only two arts—comix and rock n’ roll are the highest art forms.

If that last passage got you daydreaming about what it would be like lounging around with Patti Smith in France in some cafe reading comic books and while listening to Alain Kan belting out David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” then get in line. As the interview progresses Smith talks a fair amount about Bob Marley while lamenting the current “grass shortage” in New York (never forget!) and her dream of opening a pot cafe that pretty much sounds like the best plan ever:

I’m gonna have a cafe when I grow up where it’s just gonna feature coffee and dope and mint tea and great music. What I’m gonna do is work to legalize marijuana and hashish. We’re gonna start a string of cafes where you smoke, drink coffee and listen to great music—like McDonald’s.

More Patti Smith, after the jump…

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Super-early video of The Police performing at legendary Boston rock club the ‘Rat’ in 1978
09.19.2016
11:24 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
1970s
The Police
Boston
The Rathskeller


The Police circa 1978.
 
A huge tip of my hat goes out to the excellent Boston-based music and culture blog Vanyaland and their equally excellent editor-in chief Michael Marotta for posting this previously unseen footage of The Police performing at legendary Boston club “The Rat” (or the Rathskeller if you prefer) back in 1978. The footage was captured during the band’s four-night stand at the Rat in October just before Halloween.
 

The legendary ‘Rathskeller.’
 
During the club’s heyday it played host to pretty much every band you’ve ever loved like Mission of Burma, Thin Lizzy, the Ramones, Sonic Youth, Talking Heads and the subjects of this post, The Police are just a few off the top of my head. Local rock and roll radio station WBCN (where yours truly got her start as an engineer and producer during the late 80s) was championing the single “Roxanne” from the band’s 1978 debut Outlandos d’Amour which was also rotating heavily on college radio airwaves. According to Jan Cocker who shot the footage, nobody—not the band themselves—has ever seen it. Until now.

Watch the video after the jump…

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Stunning images & footage of Queen’s first visit to Japan in 1975 & their triumphant return in 1976
09.09.2016
10:28 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Japan
1970s
Queen


 
In the spring of 1975 Queen set foot as a band for the first time in Japan much to the delight of their legions of fans there. The band played their first of many gigs at Budokan after the release of 1974’s Sheer Heart Attack and the footage from the show is truly something to behold as are the images of the then 29-year-old Mercury sitting along with his bandmates and a few lovely geishas at a formal ceremony on the grass in front of the Tokyo Tower.

Queen would return the very next year to Tokyo in support of their 1976 album A Day at the Races and were photographed hanging out with Sumo wrestlers, drinking sake and greeting a group of fascinated Japanese children who likely had no idea what to make of Freddie Mercury dressed in a multi-colored knit coat sporting long hair and dark sunglasses. The photos are as charming as they are gorgeous to look at. I’ve also included fantastic footage from Queen’s very first press conference in Tokyo (that includes lots of other footage such as their arrival at the airport and the ceremony in front of the Tokyo Tower) as well as a stellar performance of the single from Sheer Heart Attack “Now I’m Here” from the band’s debut show at Budokan that is going to blow your socks off.

Queen’s inaugural performance at Budokan was of course bootlegged and can be tracked down on various Internet sites but as a huge fan I remain hopeful that the performance will get a proper official release as did Queen’s legendary show at the Odeon in London on Christmas Eve in 1975 Queen- A Night At the Odeon (which just so happens to include a bit of footage from Queen’s Budokan gig—three songs specifically “Now I’m Here,” “Killer Queen,” and “In The Lap Of The Gods… Revisited”). On September 5th—or what would have been Freddie’s 70th birthday this past Monday—guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May announced that an asteroid formerly known as “Asteroid 17473” had been re-named “Freddiemercury” in Mercury’s honor. May had his own asteroid named after him, “Brianmay” (formerly “Asteroid 52665”) back in 2008. Awww.
 

Queen hanging out on the grass in front of the Tokyo Tower during their first visit to Japan in 1975.
 

1975.
 

Mercury greeting a group of Japanese children in 1976.
 
More Queen in Japan after the jump…

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Climb aboard ‘Hare-Force One,’ Hugh Hefner’s $5 million DC-9 jet with its own discothèque


‘Hare-Force One’ aka the ‘Big Bunny’ Hugh Hefner’s DC-9 jet.
 
Well, would you expect anything less from what was basically the Playboy Mansion with wings? Hugh Hefner’s custom DC-9 jet “Hare-Force One” (also widely known as the “Big Bunny”) pretty much had that and a lot more as you might imagine. In fact the jet was so ostentatious that when Hefner has it painted black so it would “stand out” while in flight he added spotlights to the tail of the plane so that the Playboy Bunny logo could still be seen at night. Nice.
 

Hef’s fabulous ‘Jet Bunnies’ standing outside of ‘Hare-Force One’ aka the ‘Big Bunny.’
 
Hef had his “Jet Bunnies” (who were cherry-picked from Playboy clubs in LA and Chicago) attend formal stewardess training at a school run by Continental Airlines and their outfits were as slick as the jet itself, consisting of leatherette mini-dresses, leatherette pants and black go-go boots. According to Hefner he wanted his stewardesses to look like “Bond Girls” and again since this is Hugh Hefner we’re talking about how they did. Of the many features that the plane had to offer were a discothèque, a bar, a shower and a movie theater of sorts featuring a Cinemascope projector. There was also a round water bed covered in fur that was accessed through Hef’s private entrance. Essentially the jet included all the comforts of “home” as long as your actual home was the Playboy Mansion.

During the time that Hef owned the plane it made numerous trips around the world and at the end of the Vietnam War became a giant stork of sorts used to bring orphans to their new adoptive homes in the U.S. Hefner would routinely lend out the use of the jet to celebrities like Yul Brynner, Elvis and Sonny and Cher and also entertained a litany of famous guests like Twilight Zone host Rod Serling, director Roman Polanski and poet and author Shel Silverstein. Hefner sold the jet in 1975 to Venezuela Airlines and in a 2010 interview for the Wall Street Journal when asked if he missed his sweet, sweet mile-high club ride his response was “only when I fly.” Awww. Images of Hef’s beloved Big Bunny, Hare-Force One follow.
 

 

 
More livin’ large with Hugh Hefner after the jump…

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‘Raw Power’: The vintage ‘zine run by teens who took on rock & punk (and won) back in the mid-70s


The cover of Raw Power magazine featuring Iggy Pop, 1977.
 

“I’m gonna die anyway and I’d prefer it to be at my leisure.”

—Iggy Pop on his admission that he only planned to live “two more years” back in 1977 in an interview with Raw Power magazine

Founded by the sixteen-year-old duo of Scott Stephens (who wrote under the name “Quick Draw”) and Robert Olshever (aka “Bobalouie”) the LA-based ‘zine Raw Power got started in 1976 and almost immediately got the attention of major record labels who would give Stephens and Olshever an all access pass to rock and punk stars like Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, DEVO, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Van Halen, the Ramones and other musical luminaries that the average sixteen-year-old only got close to by way of their poster-covered bedroom walls.
 

The teenage masterminds behind Raw Power Magazine (L to R): Robert Olshever (Bobalouie), Scott Stephens (Quick Draw) and Murray Schwartz.
 
Joined later by Murray Schwartz (who would take photographs for the magazine) Raw Power would publish for about three years and routinely featured all the stuff you’d expect to find in a magazine that fused the worlds of rock and punk together like interviews, album reviews and that—according to an archive of the magazine run by Stephens—LOVED to publish unedited “letter to the editor” many of which were laced with obscenity. And here’s a rather mind-blowing revelation from Stephens which took place during an interview with Ozzy in 1979 right after Osbourne (who repeatedly “teared up” during the interview) had been given his walking papers by Black Sabbath. According to Stephens it was the boys of Raw Power who recommended pint-sized guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads to Osbourne for his new band which at the time Ozz was considering calling “Son of Sabbath.”

Ozzy was quite depressed during this time but had recently met Sharon Arden and was in the process of putting together a new group that would eventually record “Blizzard of Ozz”. It was during this interview that members of Raw Power suggested to Ozzy that he consider auditioning a guitarist by the name of Randy Rhoads. Randy was the guitarist of Quiet Riot and Raw Power had interviewed them for a cover story for the 2nd issue in 1977. Shortly thereafter Ozzy auditioned Randy and hired him on the spot. The rest is history.

When the 2000 film by Cameron Crowe Almost Famous came out many of folks in the trio’s circle immediately thought that the flick was about them—which should help put some perspective on how much of an impact Raw Power made in its short run despite its humble design and young founders. As I mentioned Stephens runs an archive for Raw Power where you can read through three issues in full, which I did and I can’t lie—it was a blast. I’ve posted a few images from the magazine as well as some fantastic vintage photos of Stephens and his cohorts cavorting with the likes of Ronnie James Dio, Iggy Pop, Geezer Butler and Ozzy among others. Raw Power was also one of the only publications to have the opportunity to get some great live shots of Van Halen (taken by Murray Schwartz) while they were still performing in the LA club scene back in 1977. These had never been seen outside of the magazine until they were posted over at the Van Halen News Desk in 2014.
 

Scott Stephens of Raw Power Magazine with Iggy Pop, 1977.
 

Stephens with Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath.
 
More ‘Raw Power’ after the jump…

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Van Halen wanted to crush a Volkswagen Beetle with a tank in 1979… just to piss off Aerosmith
08.22.2016
08:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Music

Tags:
1970s
Van Halen
Aerosmith


Van Halen on top of a Sherman tank at the CaliFFornia World Music Festival in LA, 1979.
 
Today’s rock and roll history lesson comes courtesy of David Lee Roth’s highly entertaining 2000 autobiography Crazy From the Heat in which DLR recalls the details about the time VH rented a Sherman tank so they could destroy a vintage VW Bug—all to spite Aerosmith. According to Roth the occasion would mark the last time that he would ever speak to Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and the rest of the boys in Aerosmith. Say what you want about Aerosmith but if you’ve got Boston blood flowing through your veins then you also know how to hold a wicked long-term grudge, pal.
 

Van Halen at the CaliFFornia World Music Festival, 1979.
 
The story goes that back in 1979 were a part of the CaliFFornia World Music Festival held at the LA Coliseum and on the second night of the two-day festival Van Halen was co-headlining the gig with Aerosmith—who would to on to temporarly implode six-months later after the release of their sixth record Night in the Ruts (or as we called it back in the day in Boston “Right in the Nuts”). In an effort to one-up Aerosmith, the troublemakers in Van Halen cooked up a plan that involved renting a Sherman tank from a local Hollywood prop shop and the purchase of a couple of yellow VW Beetles. The idea was that announcements made over the Coliseum’s PA system would lay the groundwork for folks to think that one of the members of Aerosmith parked the Bug illegally and were asking for it to be moved. The “punchline” in all this excessive craziness was that the tank would roll out just as Van Halen took the stage, crushing the Bug to bits. Sadly someone in VH’s camp must have been a Boston native because Aerosmith caught wind of Van Halen’s shenanigans and had already come up with a plan of their own to one-up the tank gag and VH aborted their awesome caper.

Since Van Halen does not fuck around when it comes to fucking around they actually tested out the prank by having a hired driver roll the tank down some stairs over one of the yellow Beetles which sent debris hurtling in all directions including one of the doors that Roth still has in his massive collection of Van Halen related artifacts. Luckily a few images of the mighty VH riding on top of the tank and Roth taking a swipe at the pile of rubble that was formerly a VW bug like the charming ringmaster of mayhem that he is exist which I’ve posted below. In my mind if VH had actually pulled this one off the already dangerously drug-addled Aerosmith might have called it a day right then and there and we never would have had to endure the shambolic record that is Night in the Ruts (full disclosure—I love that record and I welcome your hate mail). I’ve included some other photos taken at the festival like the little people security detail “employed” by Van Halen and a few other gems that will make you wish you were there yourself (though I’m sure that at least a few of our DM readers probably were).
 

 
More after the jump…

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Elf: Early recordings of Dio covering Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry & Black Sabbath in 1972


Elf.
 
Like many of our DM readers I’m a huge fan of everything that the late Ronnie James Dio did during his time walking among us mere mortals. Dio’s love of music started early and by the late 50’s at the age of fifteen he was already gigging regularly with a band. When it came time for Dio to graduate high school he apparently turned down a scholarship (which he earned for playing the trumpet, a discipline that Dio credited his powerful vocal range to) at the plush and prestigious Juilliard School to pursue a career in rock and roll. The band that Dio started out with, The Vegas Kings went through several name/lineup changes until they ended up settling on the proggy sounding The Electric Elves that in turn evolved into the more metal-edged sounding moniker Elf sometime in the early part of 1970s.

Once the 70s rolled around Dio (and most of the rest of Elf) ended up hooking up with one of the guitar gods Dio would perform with during his career Ritchie Blackmore, and that relationship produced three Rainbow albums including one of my favorite records of all time 1978’s Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll. The reason I’m giving you my take on what the heavy metal history books refer to as Ronnie James Dio 101 is because when I mentioned in the title of this post that Dio was “covering” Black Sabbath I thought it might cause a few of our readers to throw a massive lump of “duh” in my general direction. But this is RJD circa 1972—a full seven years before he would front the sludgy outfit after Sabbath fired Ozzy who had become so “undependable” in 1979 that he stopped showing up to most of the band’s rehearsals. So to hear Elf along with Dio slaying one of Sabbath’s most epic jams, 1970’s “War Pigs” for a full nine-minutes in 1972 is rather surreal to say the least.
 

Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore and Mr. Blackmore’s very metal Pilgrim hat.
 
The other notable covers that Elf performed live and recorded as demos back in 1972 (that became the bootleg known as Elf: War Pigs ‘72) are a mish-mash of hits from bands like The Who, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and even the odd Rod Stewart song. As a forever fan of all things Black Sabbath it’s nothing short of thrilling to listen to Dio take on Chuck Berry’s 1959 classic “Little Queenie” and win. I’m not going to go so far as to tell you that the all of the recordings are good, because they aren’t. But I did post a few of my favorite tracks from War Pigs ‘72 and feel like it’s an interesting snapshot into where Dio was headed and something that any hardcore fan of RJD would brag about owning just for its high (and slightly odd) nostalgia factor. I also included an original Elf track called “Driftin” which is a dreamy track reminiscent of Queen that really showcases Dio’s remarkable vocal range. Devil horns OUT!
 
Listen to early Ronnie James Dio after the jump…

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