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Of overalls and platform boots: Brian Johnson’s ass kicking pre-AC/DC band, Geordie
09.11.2017
11:21 am
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The perpetually jolly Brian Johnson during his days with the band Geordie.
 
A few weeks ago I wrote about former AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson and his “acclaimed” jingle for the Hoover Vacuum company in 1980. Since that time, I’ve been digging around Johnnson’s pre-AC/DC rawk days—and I’ve loved every minute of it. If I were stranded on a desert island and had to live with the music of one band, it would be AC/DC. Give me Sabbath or give me death, I’d still be okay departing this world if Angus, Malcolm, Cliff, Bon, and later Brian Johnson, played me out. A girl can dream, can’t she? For now, let’s get back to the focus of this post—AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson and his band, Geordie.

First off, Geordie’s oddball name was taken from a word that is used to describe the citizens and unique dialect associated with residents of Johnson’s place of birth, Newcastle upon Tyne in England, a place where everyone speaks in Johnson’s nearly impossible-to-understand endearing verbal sway, and the origin site of black metal pioneers Venom. Before joining Geordie, Johnson had some minor success playing various working men’s clubs in the North East of Newcastle with the Jasper Hart Band. Johnson recorded a few singles in the early 1970s with the group before leaving to join forces with his first serious band, USA which would later become Geordie. At the time, glam rock was everything and Geordie was born right smack in the middle of the exploding glitter bomb and musical liberation that was led by the likes of T.Rex and the New York Dolls. Every great story about rock and roll ever written contains at least one piece of WTF mythology, and this one is no exception. The tale associated with Geordie is especially surreal as it concerns the first time that Johnson met Bon Scott while he was fronting one of his pre-AC/DC bands, Fraternity (later known as “Fang”).

According to Johnson, Fraternity/Fang opened a few shows for Geordie in the group’s early days. During one of Geordie’s performances, Johnson was gravely ill battling a dire case of appendicitis—which I can tell you from experience is horrible and will take you down quick and hard. Despite this, Johnson borrowed a tip from the “How to Rock and Roll and Not Be a Giant Pussy” handbook and played the fucking gig in what I can assure you was horrific pain. Johnson was suffering so badly that he laid down on his side on stage and was kicking and screaming in agony—but still, he persisted, and somehow finished the show. Bon bore witness to the spectacle, thinking it was part of the show just like pretty much everyone else at the gig. Later on, after joining AC/DC, he would tell his new bandmates about the gig noting how impressed he was by Johnson’s “performance” and admiring the fact that his future replacement was on the floor kicking and screaming on stage exclaiming “what an act” it was to behold. What an “act” indeed.
 

The awesome cover of Geordie’s 1974 album ‘Don’t Be Fooled by the Name.’
 
Geordie did pretty well for themselves until the later part of the 70s when the increasing popularity of new wave and punk bands like the Blondie and the Sex Pistols killed their appeal. Before their demise in 1976, Geordie would put out four respectable as well as mostly commercially successful records that produced a bunch of hits including “All Because Of You” from their 1973 debut album Hope You Like It that plowed its way into the UK top ten. Though they would technically call it quits in 1976, Johnson would revive Geordie as “Geordie II, ” and his Geordie bandmates would plod onward with a new vocalist Dave Ditchburn. That version of Geordie would produce an album that contained songs featuring Johnson’s vocals as well as Ditchburn’s called No Good Woman before disappearing for good sometime in the early 80s.

More Geordie, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.11.2017
11:21 am
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Mysterious photos of Ozzy Osbourne in the nude performing with a naked hippie band back in 1969
08.15.2017
10:17 am
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Ozzy reacting the same way I did to the news that photos from his brief stint in an all-nude hippie band have surfaced.
 
Okay, here’s the deal—I’m posting two images of what looks like a very young, and completely nude Ozzy Osbourne for a couple of reasons. Reason one is that I am a lifelong disciple of OZZ and look for any legitimate reason to write about Ozzy, Tony Iommi, and his bandmates in Black Sabbath and beyond. However, today, I’m hoping that one of our DM readers, or perhaps Ozzy himself might be able to shed some much-needed light on these mysterious images. Here’s what I know about them so far. Help us, Ozzy, you’re our only hope

According to a site once run by a Germany-based Black Sabbath fan, Black-Sabbath.de, someone sent them two photos of Ozzy from a source in Scandinavia. The first photo allegedly shows a very young Ozzy holding a what appears to be a Fender Precision bass on stage completely nude while sharing a microphone stand with a naked brunette. As much as I’d like to be, I’m no expert when it comes to band gear, and the grainy photos below make it nearly impossible—for me at least—to tell what Ozzy actually has slung over his shoulder. The rest of the all-nude-review includes a drummer—a guy with lambchop sideburns who looks a bit like Monkee Michael Nesmith hitting a bongo, and a beardie nude dude playing a stand-up bass.

The second photo features Ozzy hanging out backstage at the gig with the stand-up bass player and the buck-naked brunette. What makes this strange scenario plausible is the fact that Sabbath played a a TON of gigs in 1969 including multiple stops in Copenhagen. Since I had gone this far, I decided to research the bands Sabbath played gigs with in 1969 in the hope that one of them would reveal themselves to be the nude quartet jamming with Ozzy. Sadly, the closest I got was that perhaps Ozzy’s hippie band might have been comprised of members of English band Bakerloo who at one time were photographed as the “The Bakerloo Blues Line” along with a cute, unidentified brunette who was perhaps a member of the band. Bakerloo previously toured with Sabbath while they were still known as Earth in London and likely elsewhere. However, as there is a naked bongo player in this scenario, it’s possible that Ozzy is hanging out with members of local Birmingham band, Rare Breed.

Where are those goddamned meddling kids and their snack-happy dog when you need them?

Despite my heroic heavy metal efforts to resolve this mystery, this is where my investigation into Ozzy’s nude (maybe) Scandinavian escapade ends. You can see the intriguing NSFW black and white photos for yourself and draw your own conclusions, after the jump.

Wait are you waiting for?

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.15.2017
10:17 am
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Strangely amusing (& slightly confusing) Japanese subway signs
07.26.2017
09:41 am
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“Do not rush onto the train!” A PSA-style poster that appeared on Japanese subway cars in April of 1979.
 
I love writing about Japanese pop culture, everything from obscure garage rock to game shows to that weirdo Japanese erotica stuff. While I’m not claiming to be some Japanese culture/sub-culture idiot savant, I am rather dedicated to continuing my exploration of a place I’ve sadly never visited. Yet. Today I’ve got something I know our readers are going to dig via of my favorite Internet spots Pink Tentacle—a collection of perplexing PSA posters that were displayed on subway cars during the mid-70s and early 80s. The word puzzling and Japanese pop culture often walk hand in hand, and these public service announcements are quirky, to say the least, when it comes to reminding train patrons to behave appropriately. And yeah, “manspreading” on the train was apparently quite the problem back in the day. How rude! Even aliens did it. Who knew?

Getting back to the posters, as you look through the images you’ll see that many of them use stuff borrowed from American pop culture—you know, like Jesus and Superman—to help convey their messages. There are also a few that are preoccupied with reminding folks riding the train to not leave their umbrellas behind or the perils of leaving your chewing gum on the subway platform for someone, like Superman (don’t laugh, it could happen) to step in it. Oh, the HORROR.
 

“Space Invader” March 1979.
 

“Three Annoying Train Monsters” October 1982.
 

“Don’t Forget your Umbrella” October 1981. I guess we finally now know what Jesus would actually do.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.26.2017
09:41 am
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Big Balls: Rarely seen, intimate photos of AC/DC taken back in the 70s
07.10.2017
01:17 pm
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Angus Young (top left), Phil Rudd (top right), Bon Scott (bottom left), and Malcolm Young (bottom right).
 
Spoiler alert! This post does, in fact, contain an image of AC/DC guitar hero Angus Young’s balls, a sight you may have witnessed yourself if you’ve ever seen the band in concert. And that’s because Angus is known for flashing his ass and low-hanging fruit in the wild, much to the delight of AC/DC’s loyal fans during their live performances.

I got to thinking rather nostalgically about AC/DC on Sunday as it would have marked the 71st birthday of long departed vocalist Bon Scott, who passed away at the way too young age of 34 in February of 1980. Many of the images in this post were previously uploaded to various AC/DC fan forum sites, and others were published in rock magazines in the 1970s. I also came upon more that were taken backstage by fans of the band as well as some behind-the-scenes images that were captured of the boys while they were recording their face-smashing 1978 album Powerage in 1977. Some days, the Internet is very generous, and today was one of those days.

Of all the groups who reside at the top of the mountain that built rock and roll, AC/DC is probably the band with the most universal appeal. I mean, do you know anyone who doesn’t like AC/DC? I sure as fuck don’t.  And if I did, I’d get right to not knowing them as quickly as possible. Even after the death of Bon, which nearly caused the band to call it quits right then and there, they not only carried on but would put out one of the most influential albums of their career—1980’s critically acclaimed Back in Black with vocalist Brian Johnson. With Johnson at the helm, AC/DC would put out a slew of studio albums that collectively sold more than 93,000,000 copies worldwide as of 2014. While it’s possible you may have seen some of the images in this post before, I’m betting that you haven’t seen most of them. Either way, this stuff is a treat for the eyes that deserves two devil horns up! Some of the pictures are NSFW which should make sense since this is AC/DC we’re talking about. Also, balls.
 

In the studio during the recording of ‘Powerage’ in 1977.
 

An early shot of AC/DC and drummer Phil Rudd’s awesome sweater.
 
More mayhem with AC/DC after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.10.2017
01:17 pm
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Girls just wanna be punk: Early recordings and demos by the Go-Go’s
04.19.2017
03:46 pm
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An early single by the Go-Go’s on Stiff Records.
 

AMERICA AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, meet the Go-Go’s: International, Filthy Rich, Jet-Setting Rock- and Screen-Star Bitch Goddesses

Rolling Stone journalist Steve Pond being very, very right about the Go-Go’s back in 1982.

 
Easily the most famous all-girl band in the world, the Go-Go’s played a hugely influential role in the emerging punk/new wave scene in Los Angeles. In the late 1970s before they became the Go-Go’s they called themselves the Misfits despite the fact that the name was already taken by a group of muscle-bound horror punks in New Jersey led by a certain Glenn Danzig. Belinda Carlisle was unsurprisingly a cheerleader in high school in her hometown of Conejo Valley, but that all allegedly changed after she saw the half-naked image of Iggy Pop on the cover of the Stooges’ 1973 album, Raw Power. At nineteen Carlisle left home with her pal Theresa (aka the future “Lorna Doom” of the Germs) bound for Hollywood. Once the Germs were born Carlisle did a brief stint with them playing the drums and calling herself “Dottie Danger.” She and Doom dropped acid, Carlisle did some modeling and in her autobiography Lips Unsealed: A Memoir she confesses to having had a make out session with Alice Bag.

Prior to getting with the Go-Go’s timekeeper Gina Schock was drumming for John Waters’ star Edith Massey and her punk band Edie and the Eggs. Before rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin joined the band, she was a seamstress in a sweatshop in downtown Los Angeles who preferred crystal meth to coffee so she wouldn’t fall asleep on the job. While at her day-job Wiedlin would use the paper that the sewing patterns were printed to write her punk poems, parts of which would make their way to the band’s albums. Wiedlin and Carlisle ended up living across the way from each other (Carlisle was rooming with Lorna at the time) and their friendship would eventually lead them both to the Go-Go’s.

When the band started playing gigs around town it didn’t go unnoticed. They partied as hard as their male counterparts, did tons of coke, popped pills and excelled at the rock ‘n’ roll 101 skill of destroying hotel rooms. Early on their gigs were kind of a hot mess. Their first set was opening for the Dickies at LA punk club, the Masque. For a short time, the band was just a trio comprised of Wiedlin (who was going by the gonzo name of “Jane Drano”), Margot Olavarria on bass and with Carlisle front and center on vocals. According to Olavarria even though they really didn’t have a clue as to what they were doing it really didn’t matter because at the time there was “no shame in being a horrible musician.” In another punk rock six-degrees of separation type moment worth noting, Olavarria found out she had been given the boot by Belinda and her bandmates from none other than Exene Cervenka of X. The reason for Olavarria’s dismissal was said to have stemmed from her getting pinched by the po-po trying to score some cocaine. Oh, the shifty-eyed, typewriter-jaw irony that is two coke-heads accusing another coke-head of doing something shady. Tisk tisk.
 

Jane Wiedlin.
 
The then very new Stiff Records had the girls make a bunch of great recordings including a single that you may have heard of before called “We Got the Beat.” Their early recordings and demos are not only really fucking good but are a real scream to listen to if you’ve never heard them for some of the in-studio banter between the band members. Later I.R.S. head-honcho Miles Copeland (the brother of Police drummer Stewart Copeland) came calling and signed the Go-Go’s and they embarked upon making their first record which they had always envisioned as a punk record. I.R.S. was already a home away from home for other punks like The Cramps, The Damned and The Fleshtones. But the production team behind Beauty and the Beat of Rob Freeman and Richard Gottehrer had other ideas. Beauty and the Beat was miraculously completed in three weeks while the party animal antics of the Go-Go’s terrorized New York City and Penny Lane Studios. When the girls first heard the record they were pissed off. Go-Go’s guitarist Charlotte Caffey said she and the rest of the band and even cried while listening to it the first time. It wasn’t a punk album, it was pure pop perfection (Which is a good enough reason to shed a few tears if you ask me). They went over Gottehrer’s head and appealed directly to Miles Copeland to have the record remixed. Copeland refused and the album, which was released in 1981, would go down in history as one of the most successful debut albums by a band in history.

I’ve included a few choice photos of the band from their early days as well as various songs, demos and recordings of the band rehearsing back before they became America’s sweethearts in the early 80s. If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about the Go-Go’s, I hope this shines a light on the fact that they were pretty much the best and deserve way more credit (as many female musical artists do) for the deeply impactful mark they made. And that my friends is a goddamned fact.
 

Belinda in a Germs t-shirt back in the day.
 

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.19.2017
03:46 pm
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Bad girls behind bars: Vintage ‘women in prison’ exploitation movie posters


A movie poster for the 1986 film ‘Reform School Girls’ with Wendy O. Williams, Sybil Danning and Andy Warhol pal Pat Ast (pictured prominently above).
 
The “WIP” (“women in prison”) film genre has several sub-genres ranging from nuns in prison to an interpretation favored mostly by European filmmakers who loved to include Nazis in their chick-centric prison flicks. Italy, Germany, and France put out quite a few WIP films back in the 70s and 80s, as did the U.S. of A. and the Philippines. When the first women in prison films made their way to the big screen they were more dramatically inclined. One of the very first films to tell the tale of a girl behind bars is Hold Your Man starring the profitable on-screen power couple of Jean Harlow and Clark Gable. The film is full of some pretty salacious stuff. Thankfully, this was 1933 and Hollywood films were still getting away with more on screen prior to the enforcement of rules laid out in the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 being widely adopted within the industry as it wasn’t really wasn’t policed until late in 1934. Which made a film like Hold Your Man—whose plotline involved a gorgeous blonde getting stuck behind bars while she’s knocked up with her lover’s baby—possible.

You can find WIP films in every decade but because both the 1970s and 1980s are so near and dear to my heart—and because I’d quite frankly love the opportunity to do another one of these posts—we’re going to stay put in those two consecutive decades. The genre can be pretty strange and runs anywhere from girl-heavy drama which would generally fall into the “redemption” film category to straight-up pornography. In the 1950s WIP films were heavily influenced by pulp fiction novels but it wouldn’t take long for the films to evolve (or devolve perhaps) into exploitation flicks with lots of nudity, sex, violence, rape, and notably deviant plotlines.

The popularity of the genre and its many sub-genres soared during the 70s and 80s which would bring us , Chained Heat starring teen queen Linda Blair and Wendy O. Williams’s prison warden in Reform School Girls. So now that I think I’ve given you more than a few compelling reasons to take a deep dive into this strangely complex film genre, I’ve posted a large selection of WIP movie posters that are mostly NSFW as you would expect them to be.
 

‘The Big Bird Cage’ with Pam Grier and Sid Haig
 

A German movie poster for ‘99 Women.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.18.2017
01:45 pm
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‘Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip’: Stream some obscure vintage fuzz rock from the 60s & 70s
04.13.2017
06:43 am
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The cover of ‘Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip.’ 
 
Some of the mind-melting jams on Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip are so rare that the die-hard fuzz junkies who compiled the Brown Acid series say that you’d have a better chance of hitting the lottery than finding a physical 45 single by the bands featured on their latest installment. If there’s one thing that vinyl nerds love it is unearthing something that nobody else they know has in their collection, and Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip brings more music from unsung bands like Australian heavy metal/psych band Ash; Kanaan out of Dangerfield, Texas; and the proggy sounds of nearly unknown Indiana band, AXAS and their four-minute tribute to “Lucifer.”

Since I enjoy a challenge I had a lot of fun digging up details on a few of the bands that are featured on the latest installment of Brown Acid. Though “Lucifer” is the only AXAS tune that the band has licensed in over 40 years, according to AXAS band member Bill Carbaugh it seems that the group put out more than 65 songs during their six-year run. So guarded are the band of their back catalog that Carbaugh keeps the copyrighted and notarized score for “Lucifer” locked away in his safe. In light of this information, there’s likely a good chance that we have yet to hear the last from AXAS. Then there is Aussie band Ash, whose sick stranglehold of a single “Midnight Witch” popped up on Brown Acid: The Second Trip which we premiered here on DM last year. This time their ripping track “Warrant” will kick your ass all the way from 1971 with its impossibly psychedelic riffs and vocals that make the band sound like a much heavier version of Jethro Tull.

Rounding out the nine singles on Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip is the pre-punk sound of Chicago band Bad Axe. Inspired by The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple and The Who, Bad Axe vocalist and guitarist John Turner recalls that the recording sessions for “Coachmen” were done while the band consumed Jack Daniels and a bunch of weed. However, due to various issues especially a lack of finances (and maybe being too stoned) Bad Axe was never able to actually able to get their recordings pressed until 2014 when Permanent Records uncovered the band’s recordings and put out both “Coachmen” and “Poor Man, Run” on 45 which promptly sold-out.

Listen after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.13.2017
06:43 am
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Super rare David Bowie promotional items from the 70s and 80s
04.07.2017
07:34 am
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An image of David Bowie used for a poster put out by RCA Japan in 1980. Bowie was in Japan filming a television ad for Takara Shochu “Jun” Sake. The image was later recycled for the sleeve for the 1980 Japan exclusive instrumental single “Crystal Japan.”
 
I recently came across some pretty amazing images of David Bowie that were taken for various promotional endeavors in the 70s and 80s. Some were a part of press kits assembled for various films featuring The Thin White Duke, some from his record marketing collateral as well as some incredibly rare posters that were only released in Japan and the UK. Some of the scarce items showcased in this post include promotional “mobile displays.” Here’s the thing about mobile displays, since they were made in super small quantities and most ended up getting carried off or ruined by wear and tear, they are incredibly difficult to come by. Especially if it happens to involve David Bowie. They also tend to be expensive when you do find them/

A few of the photographs and other ephemera I’ve posted below are actually for sale at collectibles site Rock Explosion though some contain the requirement that you inquire as to their cost—and you know what that means. If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. So in light of that, I suggest that you kick back and enjoy looking at our dearly departed David below.
 

BBC publicity photo of Bowie from the production of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Baal’ taken in 1981.

 

An almost unrecognizable Bowie in a promotional poster for the EP release of ‘Baal,’ his last with RCA, 1981.
 

A cardboard standup display of Bowie holding a glass of milk for ‘Young Americans’ 1975.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.07.2017
07:34 am
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Televangelism for the jet-set: The rise & fall of the ‘World Action Singers’ of the 1970s


 
“The World Action Singers, ORU students who love to sing as they prepare for their responsibilities in tomorrow’s world.” In the 1970s Richard Roberts greeted millions of Americans on his evangelist father’s prime-time television specials and syndicated weekly programs. His group the World Action Singers flew all over the globe in a private jet to exotic locations such as Hollywood, Alaska, Hawaii, London, and Japan, earning them the nickname “The Worldly Action Swingers.” Meanwhile, back home at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma they were reportedly receiving 32,000 pieces of fan mail a day. By 1980, despite their near-perfect public image, The World Action Singers found themselves facing multiple scandals, serious financial crises, and a loss of approximately 40% of their audience.

Oral Roberts was a televangelist pioneer who trained a generation of jet-setting, superstar pastors. In the sixties, he hired Oklahoma architect Frank Wallace to sculpt a multimillion-dollar dream campus in one of Tulsa’s classiest suburbs. When it opened in 1967, ORU’s space-age academy resembled Disney’s Tomorrowland and instantly became the finest example of modern architecture at any university in the world. Located in a sunken garden in the heart of the campus, a 200-foot Googie-influenced building called The Prayer Tower was topped by a gas flame which lit up the evening sky. Pylon-like columns, gold-tinted windows, CityPlex Towers, a state-of-the-art Aerobics Center, and a geodesic dome gave ORU a Jetson’s city quality. It was a building named Baby Mabee which opened in 1971 that was used as a television studio for the production of Roberts’ specials. (FYI, Elvis Presley’s live album Elvis - Sold Out! was recorded at the adjacent Mabee Center in 1974).
 

 
Oral’s third son, Richard Roberts was working as a singer at parties and pizza parlors in the Tulsa area. When it came time for college he rebelled against his father by attending the University of Kansas instead of ORU and married his girlfriend Patti against the wishes of his family and friends. Soon after, Oral called Richard and Patti into his study, sat them down by the fireplace and began to weep. Oral explained that he had a terrible dream where God told him that if they should continue living an “unchristian life” outside of ORU then they would be killed in a plane crash. Richard and Patti immediately returned to Tulsa and formed the wholesome, singing and dancing sensations the World Action Singers made up of a dozen elite ORU students including Kathie Epstein who would later become known as Kathie Lee Gifford. With flashy sets, costumes, well-choreographed dance sequences, the World Action Singers were an overnight success and reached millions of viewers every week.

But while Richard and Patti maintained a Ken & Barbie facade on television, behind the scenes their behavior was far from perfect. Richard had a reputation for off-campus smoking, drinking, and womanizing. He even maintained a difficult reputation on-set, and one day snapped at producer Jerry Sholes by exclaiming, “Is he a director or a pussy?” without any regard to the Christian students within earshot. As the 1970s went on it became increasingly difficult for Richard to put in a full work day, he was often MIA or leaving set early to go golfing. Meanwhile, ORU was knee-deep in cash: the Roberts enjoying vacations, expensive cars, shopping trips, and flying around the world in luxury, all at the expense of the school. Frank Schaeffer (son of the famous Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer) was the first to call Richard and Patti out on their behavior, describing their lifestyle as “poisonous.” According to Frank, his confrontation with the Roberts was successful, with Richard finally admitting “You’re right, you’re right, this is terrible. We need to get out.”
 

 
In 1977, Oral Robert’s prophecy came true in a shocking roundabout turn of events when Rebecca Roberts (Oral’s oldest child) and her husband were killed in a plane crash. Soon after, Richard and Patti’s marriage fell apart. Oral previously had a strict policy against divorce, however, he bent the rules and gave Patti permission to end the marriage. She later described it as “a corporate marriage designed not to upset the flow of dollars into the prized ministry.” Controversy quickly arose when the divorce went public, and combined with serious financial crises regarding construction on the campus, the Roberts began facing opposition from even their most devoted followers in the early ‘80s. Despite Richard’s fast efforts to re-marry (he wed a 23-year-old named Lindsay Salem within a year of the divorce), ORU would never fully recover. Over the next several decades the university would rake up about $52.5 million in debt which left its once beautiful campus in shambles. The Prayer Tower considered the symbol of the university, became rusty, and the tiled steps to the library ended up in complete disarray, missing almost all of its tiles.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Doug Jones
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04.04.2017
09:37 am
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Fierce and provocative vintage artwork & images from New York’s infamous Fiorucci store
03.30.2017
10:18 am
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A vintage 80s ad for Italian fashion brand, Fiorucci featuring Divine. Art by Richard Bernstein

“Went to Fiorucci and it’s so much fun there. It’s everything I’ve always wanted, all plastic.”

—Andy Warhol diary entry for December 21, 1983

Although Fiorucci was a global brand, it was the NYC store where Elio Fiorucci’s visionary day-glo retailing vision was best realized. Everyone from Jackie O to Andy Warhol spent time hanging out and shopping at Fiorucci—a glammy New York store that was fondly referred to as the “daytime Studio 54.” From the late 70s and most of the 80s the clothing brand founded by Elio Fiorucci in Milan was a fashion trendsetter and can be credited with many looks that defined the era. Like primary colors and “neon” fabrics, form-fitting “stretch” denim jeans and the accessories that were worn by a young Madonna, thanks to Fiorucci’s art director, jewelry designer Maripol who styled her iconic look. (Ms. Ciccone even performed at the store’s 1983 anniversary party). Maripol also dressed the likes of Grace Jones and another New York fashion icon, Debbie Harry. Keith Haring would draw on the walls. Kenny Scharf did his first art show there. Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine had office space in the store for a while, too, and it was pretty difficult to turn up at the store—across from Bloomingdale’s flagship on 59th and Lexington Ave—and not see someone incredibly famous.
 

Madonna and her dancers
 
And since this is New York we’re talking about, one of the store’s most popular employees (he was the manager) flamboyant performance artist Joey Arias appeared with David Bowie and Klaus Nomi on what would become one of the most infamous episodes of Saturday Night Live on December 15th, 1979. Because everybody was somebody in New York back then. Fashion designer Betsey Johnson

I was recently made aware of the fact that earlier this month high-end UK retailer Selfridges debuted a pop-up shop where you could actually purchase items from Fiorucci’s classic clothing catalog. Everything from the brand’s famous denimwear to an accessory I have been obsessed with since I was skating around the roller rink to Sister Sledge (who sang about the store), Fiorucci patches. Selfridges even provided a service where you could have a vintage patch, which were created in 1984, affixed to the item of your choosing. If you missed that, like I sadly did, the store is now carrying a number of new Fiorucci items including some cool, vibrantly colored t-shirts with the brand’s neon, zig-zagging logo on the front. Below I’ve posted an array of images from Fiorucci ad campaigns, marketing posters as well as a few of the vintage patches sold at the Selfridges’ pop-up store.

Sunglasses are encouraged to protect your eyes. Some are NSFW.
 

The famous Fiorucci logo
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.30.2017
10:18 am
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She’s the other funky drummer (and every woman, too): Chaka Khan in the 1970s
03.29.2017
02:01 pm
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A young, fierce-looking Chaka Khan behind the drum kit for Rufus back in the early 1970s.
 
Unless a significant generation gap presented itself, I would find it hard to trust someone who was not familiar with the “Queen of Funk” Chaka Khan. Likewise, I’d probably have trouble hanging out with someone that actually didn’t at least enjoy grooving to a few songs from Chaka’s vast body of work. I mean, saying you don’t dig Chaka Khan is pretty much the same thing as hating on Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner or Donna Summer. And you don’t want to be that guy, do you, dummy?

Born Yvette Marie Stevens, Chaka came into the world in 1953, a few years before the Chicago music scene exploded once again in the 60s and 70s. Meaning that she was old enough to properly bear witness to the baffling number of musical acts making things happen then. I’m talking the Staple Singers, the Chi-lites, Minnie Ripperton and Earth, Wind & Fire. And this is just a small sampling of the kind of musical genius that surrounded the soon-to-be-funky-as-hell singer during her most formative years. At the age of eleven, Khan (who was still going by her birth name Yvette Stevens) was already performing with her first band, the Crystalettes along with her sister Yvonne. As she entered her teen years Chaka was exposed to the messages and activism of the Black Panther Party and at the age of fourteen, she became a part of the radical political organization. It would be during her time with the Panthers that she would acquire her new name Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi. She became deeply involved in working with underprivileged youth in Chicago. Chaka soon dropped out of school and embarked on what would be a long musical career that continues to this day.
 

The “curve-some” Chaka Khan in action with Rufus back in the 1970s.
 
When she was discovered by members of Chicago band Rufus singing in a local club in 1972, Chaka was nineteen and already divorced from her first husband Hassan Khan whose last name she decided to keep. The timing was perfect as Rufus would sign on with ABC Records in 1973 with the enchanting powerhouse that is Chaka Khan at the helm. Her partnership with Rufus would prove to be hugely successful and the band would produce six gold and platinum records over the course of four short years. And that was just a start for Chaka as her solo career would arguably eclipse her time with Rufus starting with a song that propelled her debut record into the funky stratosphere (and one that everybody knows at least seven words to), “I’m Every Woman.” Here’s the thing, I’m only really able to scratch the surface of Khan’s compelling and complicated life here today, so I’ll leave you with my final thoughts as to why we should all have the love for Chaka Khan.

In 1984 Khan got the idea to cover a song from Prince’s self-titled 1979 album called “I Feel For You.” Highly influential producer Arif Mardin was able to secure the services of both Stevie Wonder to play the harmonica on the single, and hip-hop god Grandmaster Melle Mel to provide opposing vocals to Chaka’s. While Prince never released the song as single, it was a goddamn smash for Khan and the album as a whole has stood the test of time. By the way, as mentioned in the title of this post, Khan has always been a pretty great drummer, so I posted a short vintage video of Chaka behind her kit below. I’ve also included a number of images of Chaka Khan in action, as well as videos of Khan working her magic with Rufus live back in the day. Bow to the Queen of Funk, baby.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.29.2017
02:01 pm
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‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie!’: The fantastic 70s K-Pop disco funk of Bunny Girls
03.27.2017
09:40 am
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The cover of the 1978 album by South Korean duo Bunny Girls.
 
The obscure South Korean girl group that went by both Bunny Girl and Bunny Girls were around for over a decade, and the music they put out under both monikers is full of funky disco-synth goodness.

If my research is correct, Bunny Girls put out their first album Yes Sir, I Can Boogie in 1978 at the height of the disco craze in the U.S. and continued to release a few albums and singles throughout the end of the 1980s. So obscure are the adorable duo that despite my efforts to dig up much more on them In English, I came up pretty empty handed—except for the four tracks posted below—one which includes South Korean psych-guitar god, Shin Joong Hyun. Though one of the songs as well as the title of their debut album share the exact same title as the disco smash by Spanish duo Baccara, it doesn’t appear to be a cover of Baccara’s 1977 single, “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie.” Flash forward to 1989 and we hear Bunny Girls sound as if they went back to 1985 for inspiration by way Oingo Boingo’s bouncy hit, “Dead Man’s Party.”

If any or all of this sounds good to you then you’re in for a treat because the music of the mysterious Bunny Girls is addictive ear candy that will leave you wanting to hear more. Which will sadly prove to be a difficult task though I’m sure some of our more intrepid disco fans will give it a shot. It’s also probably worth noting that Bunny Girls’ obscurity in the 70s was likely a result of the repressively dark political environment in South Korea thanks to the president and military general Park Chung-hee who lived to prevent musicians from making music during his time in office. In fact, after Bunny Girls’ fuzzy collaborator Shin Joong Hyun flatly refused to write a song for the strongman in 1972, he was blacklisted from the music industry in his homeland and his music was banned. A few years later Hyun got popped for marijuana possession and spent several years traveling between psychiatric hospitals as well as prison, where he was tortured. Which all proves at least one thing pretty clearly—if you were making pop music in South Korea in the 1970s, you were a goddam hero.

But enough of that—let’s get down to the sounds of the Bunny Girls, shall we? Yes, sir we can boogie, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.27.2017
09:40 am
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Chuck Barris is dead, but the scandalous ‘Popsicle Twins’ will live forever
03.22.2017
10:05 am
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Well, the CIA lost their greatest assassin today. Gong Show host Chuck Barris has died, aged 87.  Dumb but beautiful and entirely emblematic of the decade in which it flourished, The Gong Show was quintessential 1970s junk TV, a swirling, whirling dimestore cocktail of low-watt celebrity worship, vaudeville schmaltz, and punk ferocity. Half game-show, half freakshow, it allowed ordinary knuckleheads a chance to shine on national television while D-grade stars like Jamie Farr, Jaye P. Morgan, and Rip Taylor mocked them. It was like American Idol, except for that everyone was in on the joke. Lording over the whole chaotic enterprise was game-show impresario Barris, a bucket hat wearing goofball who could not care less if anybody won or if anybody died. It was so, so good, a riot of polyester, bubbles, desperation and abject failure. It made legitimate stars out of unlikely characters like Gene Gene the Dancing Machine and The Unknown Comic.

It was everything the 1970s promised and more.
 

‘Gong Show’ greatness: Gene Gene the Dancing Machine
 
Barris also created The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game and, according to his kooky autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (!), he ran his media empire while working as a spy-slash-assassin for the CIA. The CIA denied it, but of course they would.

Anyway, let us not mourn the man’s tragic passing, but celebrate his most towering achievement: the 1977 Gong Show appearance of “Have You Got A Nickel” AKA the Popsicle Twins. We could analyze it, but that’s not what Chuck would’ve wanted. All you really need to know is that sometime in 1977, The Gong Show featured 17-year-old twins eating orange popsicles on stage—that’s it—and the whole country almost had a heart attack.

Rest in peace, Chuck. You truly were a Dangerous Mind. Gong, but not forgotten…

Watch the Popsicle Twins after the jump…

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Posted by Ken McIntyre
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03.22.2017
10:05 am
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Fantastic flashback: Travel back to the word of 70s rock with ‘Phonograph Record Magazine’


Slade on the cover of ‘Phonograph Record Magazine’ November 1972.
 
During its eight-year run Phonograph Record Magazine served up sweet pictorials and articles written by some of the best music journalists around during the 70s, such as John Mendelsohn who was already contributing to Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times while still in his teens; the hugely influential Jonh Ingham and Lester Bangs, and several other notable rock and roll word slingers.

Started by one of the true kings of the hustle, journalist and sometimes song writer Marty Cerf when he was only 21, Phonograph Record Magazine (or PRM) was known for digging deep with their articles on popular as well as unsung musical acts. One of Cerf’s editors was Ken Barnes—another prominent rock writer who credits Cerf for helping him get his start. Here’s more from Barnes on his old boss, who says one of his many jobs at PRM was general hanger-on:

Marty was around 5’ 10” in height, skinny, always bubbling over with more ideas than he could spit out (he tended to spit a bit when excited, which was most of the time). I’ve always been grateful to Marty, who was pretty much running the entire PRM show at that time, for getting me started.

In addition to the magazine’s artful covers, Cerf allowed his writing staff to really bring their voice and personality into their pieces. Though he wasn’t part of PRM‘s staff, a great example of this was an article written by Frank Zappa in PRM, “Hypothetical Interview With Frank Zappa by Frank Zappa As Told To Suzie Creamcheese & Rodney Bingenheimer.” The article itself is a fascinating and hysterically indulgent promotion for Zappa’s bizarro 1971 film, 200 Motels and letting Zappa run wild like this is as close to genius as it gets for a rock mag. I highly encourage you to read it (while you are high if at all possible) here in its entirety.

As someone who has always aspired to do what I’m currently doing for a living, I find the ethos embodied by PRM truly inspiring and worthy of reminiscing about. Not just because of the memories the photographs conjure up—but for the dedication by the young team of writers who cultivated their craft within its pages, and would go on to create the standard for music journalism that can’t be achieved without passion and genuine enthusiasm. Copies of PRM are rather rare but can be found from time to time on auction sites like eBay or on Etsy. Image of the covers and content from inside PRM follow.
 

October 1972.
 

 

David Bowie and guitarist Mark Ronson glamming it up on stage in a photo from the October 1972 issue of ‘Phonograph Record Magazine.’

 

A scan of the first page of an article written by Frank Zappa for PNR, “Hypothetical Interview With Frank Zappa by Frank Zappa As Told To Suzie Creamcheese & Rodney Bingenheimer.”
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.03.2017
12:33 pm
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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
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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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Posted by Doug Jones
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01.11.2017
12:21 pm
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