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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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Revolting Teens Lose Their MINDS! The awesome illustrated covers of ‘Punk Magazine’
08.16.2016
01:03 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Punk

Tags:
1970s
Punk Magazine
John Holmstrom


The cover of the first issue of ‘Punk Magazine’ featuring an illustration of Lou Reed by John Holmstrom, January, 1976.
 
Many of the excellent illustrated covers of Punk Magazine in this post were done by the zine’s cofounder John Holmstrom—the man behind the cover of the Ramones album Road to Ruin and Rocket to Russia as well as other illustrated oddities since embarking on his long career as an artist.
 

Members of the Sex Pistols and Malcolm Mclaren perusing issue #12 of ‘Punk’ featuring an illustration of Robert Gordon on the cover
 
A dear friend of mine recently gifted me with a copy of Holmstrom’s 2012 book The Very Best of Punk Magazine and I haven’t put the massive thing down in a month. Though Punk only published for a few short years the book itself is a literal goldmine of punk rock artifacts from beautiful reprints of hard-to-find early issues of Punk, photos, essays and even handwritten anecdotes from Lou Reed, journalist Lester Bangs, Debbie Harry, cartoons drawn by R. Crumb and other visual time-capsules too numerous to mention.

While I’m sure that many of our DM readers already own a copy of this heirloom, if you are not one of them I highly recommend picking one up as it is a much a joy to read as it is just to look at. One of my favorite parts of the book were the images of the illustrated covers of Punk the epitome Holmstrom’s cartoony DIY style which some liken to a giant punk rock coloring book. It’s almost criminal that you can find hardcover copies of the book for about $20 bucks out there but you can and it’s well worth the small investment especially if your memories of the 70s are fuzzy thanks to all that bad acid you dropped and whatnot.

Holmstrom recently announced that he is selling some items from his personal collection such as the first issue of Punk
(pictured at the top of this post). More comic-styled images from the covers of Punk follow.
 

The cover of issue #10 of ‘Punk Magazine’ featuring a big-headed version of Blondie.
 
More after the jump…

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Thundertrain: The band that was ‘Hot for Teacher’ before Van Halen
08.15.2016
04:46 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
1970s
1980s
Van Halen
Boston
Thundertrain


The cover of the 1976 single ‘Hot for Teacher’ by Boston rockers, Thundertrain.
 
Bands like Thundertrain aren’t made—they are born and the group entered the Boston rock scene back in the mid-70s with a sonic boom. Thundertrain’s heavy-blended jams are full of fuzzy glam grooves and a hard rock mean streak like the kind of riffy juice that runs through the veins of Chuck Berry. To this day they are still revered back east and it’s not hard to understand why as Thundertrain did a great job of “making it up” as they went along back in the 70s. But the topic at hand is the band’s “connection” to Van Halen—specifically when it comes to a song you could probably recite the lyrics to in your sleep, “Hot for Teacher.”
 

The cover of Thundertrain’s ‘Teenage Suicide’ album released in 1977.
 
According to an 2003 interview with vocalist Mach Bell (aka Mark Bell), back when Thundertrain was out on the road sometime in the mid-to-late 70s Van Halen apparently requested that the band open for them at a gig at the famed Agora Ballroom in Cleveland. So imagine what Bell thought when 1984 rolled around and he heard a song that instantly became synonymous with Van Halen—the adrenalin-charged “Hot for Teacher.” A song with the exact same title as what most fans consider to be Thundertrain’s biggest hit in their too short career. Despite the fact that Boston was a veritable hot bed when it came to its mid-70s musical exports (bands like Aerosmith, The Modern Lovers and Boston), and even though “Hot for Teacher hit #3 in the UK alternative charts in 1977, Thundertrain never got the break they deserved and the band called it a night in 1980.

More after the jump…

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Sex, Satan and the single girl: Bewitching vintage occult-themed ‘men’s interest’ magazines


Black Magic magazine, Volume three, Number two.
 
The rise of interest in New Age and occult practices in the 60s and 70s (with a heavy nod of thanks to satanic merchant Kenneth Anger for picking up where Aleister Crowley left off) helped pave the way for a new crop of niche “men’s interest” magazines that focused on hot girls getting down with the devil as well as witches and other kinds of sexy pagan-flavored pursuits. Nice.
 

Bitchcraft magazine, Volume three, Number one.
 
Inside the covers of such magazines as the wickedly titled BDSM-themed magazine Bitchcraft (which was actually pretty nuts by all accounts) you might find erotic fictional depictions of satanic rituals (such the faux fiends on the cover of Bitchcraft) and others, such as Satan magazine were more like devilish Playboy doppelgangers purporting to be flirting with the dark side when in fact it was just another way to sell pictures of pretty girls and perhaps celebrities (such as gorgeous fireball, actress Tina Louise who played Ginger on Gilligan’s Island who appeared the publication in 1957) in various stages of undress with devil horns on their heads. During the course of researching this very sexy post, I came across this composed yet completely depraved letter that was written by a reader of girl-loving magazine Nymphet back in the March 1976 issue in response to an illustrated image of Anton LaVey and a nude woman. Although it’s a fairly terrifying read it does help support the fact that there was indeed a market for publications to help satiate the sexually deprived Satan worshipers of the world:

I’ve been a fan of skin mags for a long time, now and one of the things that bugs me in particular, is the absence of the occult from sexually oriented material. For a brief spurt about three or four years ago, voodoo, Satanism and the occult were getting a fair amount of play in magazines similar to your own. Now, however, there’s little––if anything, appearing on this shadier side of human sexuality. I find extremely arousing, the rituals and ceremonies involving the symbols of witchcraft and devil worship––especially the idea of sacrificing a virgin and the actual deflowering of the virgin by the Evil One himself. One of the most exciting aspects of that brief period was the popularity of Anton La Vea [sic], occult leader of the 5000-member Satanic Church in San Francisco, California. I thought he was very colorful and the sensual practice of nudity among his worshippers, stimulating indeed! Other than this, I really have no complaints about your magazine. But I would like to see more kinky types of sex handled visually, as well as in the articles––subjects like necrophilia and bestiality.”
J. L. Jackson, Atlanta, Georgia.

Well said, J.L. Jackson of Atlanta—you sir or madam clearly know how to party. Images from the covers and pages of magazines such as Pagan, Satan’s Scrapbook, Black Magic and of course Satan (because, Satan) follow. Some are NSFW.
 

The cover of a vintage Satan magazine.
 

Actress Tina Louise in the February, 1957 issue of Satan magazine.
 

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The Nightmare Before Halloween: Insane early Van Halen set from 1977
07.14.2016
10:29 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
1970s
Van Halen
Pasadena


The original lineup of the mighty Van Halen standing on the steps of David Lee Roth’s Pasadena mansion.
 

We try to look like the music sounds.

—David Lee Roth, 1977.

After leaving their disco pimping days as the house band for LA rock club Gazzarri’s back in the late 70s Van Halen would go on to play the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on nearly a monthly basis to thousands of enthusiastic air guitarists and other awestruck fans before exploding into mega-stardom. The audio from this performance recorded on October 15th, 1977—VH’s last at the PCA—will send chills down your spine as the quality is nearly beyond compare. As are the ear-piercing vocals of David Lee Roth that team up seamlessly with the on-point brightness of backing vocals from bassist Michael Anthony (a sound I sorely miss since Anthony departed VH).

Here’s Van Halen’s manager Marshall Berle (nephew of comedian Milton Berle) echoing my feelings about one of the band’s performances at the PCA in a quote from the 2011 book by photographer Neil Zlozwer’s on guitar mangler and musical virtuoso, Eddie Van Halen:

The lights went down and the announcer introduced Van Halen and the kids went nuts and started screaming. They started playing and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I got a chill right through my bones. I had never seen anything like this in my life. These guys were so good I almost crapped my pants. I thought “what the fuck is this?”

 
More after the jump…

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Nostalgic images of drive-in movie theaters


The giant stone ‘marquee’ on the first drive-in movie theater in Camden, New Jersey that opened on June 6th, 1933.
 
83-years ago this week (June 6th, 1933 specifically) the very first drive-in movie theater opened for business in Camden, New Jersey. Originally conceptualized and patented in 1933 by entrepreneur Richard Hollingshead who astutely recognized that despite the failing economy (the Great Depression was in full swing) people were still going to the movies and would cut back on basic necessities such as food for the opportunity to escape their bleak day-to-day existences in a dark theater for a few hours. Hollingshead’s outdoor theater cost only a quarter a car (plus 25 cents for each occupant) and the sound from the speakers broadcasting the films to the 400 car capacity lot were so loud that they could be heard miles down the road.
 

A print advertisement for Richard Hollingshead’s new drive-in theater in Camden, New Jersey.
 
According to a historical reference noted by the University of Michigan not everyone was happy about Hollingshead’s invention of the drive-in—and aparently a group of teenage girls actually took to protesting its creation as it put a big dent in the booming tween babysitting business since families were now bringing their infants, toddlers and young children along in the car to see the latest celluloid offerings from the comfort of their car. Drive-in theaters started to proliferate all over the country from Massachusetts to New Mexico and by 1942 there were 95 drive-ins with locations in 27 states. Ten years later there were approximately 5000 drive-in movie theaters in operation across the U.S. When the decade of spandex and neon otherwise known as the 80s rolled around drive-in theaters began their decline thanks to urban sprawl and technological advancements such as cable TV and the cheaper price of that in-home movie machine, the VCR.

These days (and according to an article published in 2014) there are still 338 drive-in theaters in operation including one of my favorite haunts in my younger days, the 67-year-old Weir’s Beach drive-in in New Hampshire. Tons of images of drive-ins from the past follow.
 

West Virginia, 1956.
 

A ‘carhop’ at the Rancho drive-in, San Francisco, 1948.
 
Many more after the jump…

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