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Girls just wanna be punk: Early recordings and demos by the Go-Go’s


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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Super rare David Bowie promotional items from the 70s and 80s


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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The hard hitting hair metal puppet journalism of Japan’s ‘Pure Rock Digest’
04.06.2017
11:01 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
1980s
Heavy Metal
Japanese TV


 
Given its highly visual element, 80s glam metal was tailor-made for the MTV age. It was born, matured and died on heavy video rotation, perhaps the first, last, and best musical genre defined entirely by its image. A sexual aggressive splatter of hot pink fishnets, bottle-blonde hair and sweaty black leather, the gender-bending men (seriously, despite all the Aqua Net and mascara, the whole movement was 98% dudes) of Hair Metal Nation loved capering around on video.
 

First he gets tossed out of Metallica, now this…
 
Of course, many countries had their own version of MTV or its metal-centric VHS spin-offs like the Hard N’ Heavy series. Japan’s version was called Pure Rock Digest. And Japan being Japan, they threw in puppets interviewing bands in broken English.

You honestly can’t ask for anything more 80s than a nerdy Japanese puppet (with sorta racist slanty eyes, even) talking to White Lion about groupies or swilling beer with WASP. I mean, holy fuck, people.
 

 
More metal puppet madness after the jump…

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Fierce and provocative vintage artwork & images from New York’s infamous Fiorucci store


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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She’s the other funky drummer (and every woman, too): Chaka Khan in the 1970s
03.29.2017
02:01 pm

Topics:
Activism
Heroes
Music

Tags:
1970s
1980s
Chicago
Rufus
Chaka Khan


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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‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie!’: The fantastic 70s K-Pop disco funk of Bunny Girls


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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Meet Aria, the band known as ‘the Russian Iron Maiden’
02.20.2017
12:16 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Russia
1980s
heavy metal
Iron Maiden
Aria


An early shot of Soviet-era heavy metal band Aria, “the Russian Iron Maiden,” (looking here very much like the actual Iron Maiden)

Born during a tumultuous time in Russia where the Communist government was still routinely attempting to repress musical expression—metal band Aria became one of the first Russian bands in the genre to rise up and achieve commercial success in the 80s.

Aria (or if you prefer Ария) came to be around 1985 and if vocalist Valery Kipelov didn’t perform his vocals in his native tongue, the casual metalhead might be inclined to believe that Aria was some undiscovered gem that was a part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands (or “NWOBHM” as I like to abbreviate it) that included heavy hitters such as Motörhead, Def Leppard, Venom, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. After releasing their debut Megalomania in 1985 the Russian music press and metal fans quickly bestowed the band with a weighty comparison, calling the group “the Russian Iron Maiden.” Which begs the question—did Aria deserve to be compared with a band that is as synonymous with heavy metal as leather pants, ear-piercing vocals, and sweaty, bare-chested hedonism? The answer is Da my devil-horn throwing friends.

As I mentioned previously, it wasn’t easy to get a band going as scrutiny by the Soviet government not only made it difficult for bands to do their thing, it also made their ability to procure the things they needed to do their thing difficult. Like instruments and amps and tape recorders. So repressive was the environment in Russia that it was conceivable that it might take more than a decade for a band to go from forming to actually releasing music as even acquiring basic necessities like guitars and drum kits could be next to impossible. Despite these challenges, Aria would thrive much in part to the death of Russian rock and roll’s worst enemy, Konstantin Chernenko, and the appointment of his successor Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985. They would also seemingly pepper their music with anti-US propaganda, which is especially apparent in the title of a song from their debut “America is Behind.”
 

A vintage shot of Aria.

The band’s heavy, melodic sound and use of synth has also been compared to the work of Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner soundtrack composer, Greek electronic wizard Vangelis. I’ve included a number of selections from Aria’s massive catalog that spans over 30 years as well as some live footage, below. If the existence of Aria—who are still active and currently on tour with a 40 piece orchestra—is news to you, I’d highly recommend adding Megalomania to your vinyl collection as a start.
 
More after the jump…

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Vintage guitar ads featuring hot chicks with big hair


Vintage ad for B.C. Rich guitars 1989.
 
Today’s post from yours truly is going to take you on a trip down memory lane to a time when magazines were the main communication device for rock and roll. Though some great rock oriented print magazines do still exist, for at least four decades from the 60s through the 90s magazines were what you spent your money on so you could be sure to get the recommended daily amount of rock and roll information, get fan club info, and pull out centerfolds of a young David Lee Roth to hang on your wall—right next to whatever else covered up the ugly wallpaper in the room you spent your teenage years in.

If you’re a guitar loving gearhead and also a fan of girls, then you’re going to get an especially good kick out of the images in this post that feature the famous “Dean Girls” who helped sell guitars for Dean in a series of ads in the late 70s and 80s, as well as some racy images used by B.C. Rich. All of the images in the post have pretty consistent themes that include bikinis, big 80s hair and lots of skin. Oh, and there’s guitars too. Though there’s really nothing particularly risqué about a girl in a bikini holding a guitar, some of the images are probably NSFW. YAY!
 

Aria Pro II ad.
 

One of the girls from guitar maker Dean and their series of ads featuring scantily clad ladies. This one is known as the Dean “Rip Girl.”

More 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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That time Elvira & ‘Ralph Malph’ (dressed up like Gene Simmons) were on ‘CHiPs’


Erik Estrada as ‘Officer Frank Poncherello’ (AKA “Ponch”) and Donnie Most in character as ‘Moloch’ from the ‘CHiPs’ episode ‘Rock Devil Rock’ that aired on October 31st, 1982. 
 
Like many of you, I spent much of my youth just like the character of “Mike Teavee” from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory did—watching a ridiculous amount of prime time televison programming. What’s especially fun about reflecting back on many of those shows are the occasional appearances of rock and roll luminaries like Suzi Quatro jamming with her fictional band on Happy Days as the awesome “Leather Tuscadero,” Debbie Harry canoodling with Kermit on The Muppet Show, or Plasmatics powerhouse Wendy O. Williams and her Emmy-worthy performance as the ass-kicking “Big Mama” on an episode of MacGyver (“Harry’s Will”). Today I’ve got something that transcends all that as it involves actor Donnie Most who played “Ralph Malph” on the aforementioned Happy Days and his appearance on the goofy TV cop drama based on the California Highway Patrol CHiPs playing “Moloch.” Moloch was a satanic mashup of Gene Simmons and King Diamond in full makeup, clad in red spandex and a fucking cape. And he was played by Ralph Malph of all people!

If you’ve never seen this episode of CHiPs (which is completely understandable) you are in for a treat as it also features Cassandra Peterson all dolled up like her gothy alter-ego Elvira and get this—current Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo (who was only eighteen at the time) playing a character called “Flippy.” Flippy! I’ve included a few images of Mr. Most getting into character as well as some faux concert footage and an amusing Moloch “video shoot” that must be seen to be believed. If you need another reason to watch then here it is—Donnie “I still got it!” Most provided his own vocals for the song “Devil Take Me.” Fuck yes. You can watch the entire episode on iTunes for three bucks and it’s worth every goddamned penny.
 

 

 
More ‘Moloch’ 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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That time Grace Jones tried to ‘kidnap’ Dolph Lundgren from his hotel, at gunpoint


Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren. Photographed by Helmut Newton, 1983.
 
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until I can’t remember that far back—the 80s were a weird, wonderful decade. And a perfect example of how wonderful it was is the unexpected coupling of 6’5” actor Dolph Lundgren and enigmatic Jamaican-born powerhouse, Grace Jones.

Born in Stockholm, before he got into acting Lundgren was an accomplished scholar who by the time 1982 arrived had already received a scholarship to fulfill his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Sydney in Australia. While he was in Australia, Lundgren worked security detail for musicians like Joan Armatrading, Dr. Hook and Grace Jones—and his chance meeting with Jones would turn into a four-year love affair. In 1983 Lundgren was the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship to the equally prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston. According to Dolph he would arrive on the legendary campus on his motorcycle with a leather-clad Jones in tow. At Jones’ urging Dolph soon switched gears and headed to New York to study drama. He worked security at the Limelight nightclub until Limelight boss Peter Gatien caught him eating a sandwich in a stairwell and fired him. But thanks to Jones’ deep connections in the world of entertainment he landed his first acting gig with his exotic paramour in the last James Bond film to star Roger Moore, 1985’s A View to a Kill

1985 would be a pretty big year for the couple. Jones and Lundgren were immortalized together in a stunning photographic series by Helmut Newton that appeared in the July issue of Playboy magazine. Lundgren would then land the role of “Ivan Drago” in the 1985 film Rocky IV that would propel him to stardom. Sadly it wouldn’t be long before things got weird between the gorgeous duo and according to her 2015 book I’ll Never Write My Memoirs Jones’ recalled the moment when her beautiful union with Lundgren would begin to dissolve: after she showed up at his hotel in Los Angeles with a gun. Here’s more from Jones on how that went:

I actually had a gun. It seemed very natural that I would go and fetch Dolph holding a gun. I did so out of desperation — we had been together for years and had made this move to L.A., a place I absolutely loathed, against my better judgment, and then he comes back from being away and Tom [Holbrook, Dolph’s manager] blocks me from even saying hi. What is going on?

We turned up at the hotel, not to shoot anyone, but to make sure he came with us. We banged on the door of his room. Bang, bang, bang! I’ve got a gun! I’m screaming, “Let him out, you bastard!” It was as though Tom was holding him hostage and we had come to rescue him, hair flying, legs flailing, breasts heaving, guns flashing, music pumping. This was the kind of hysteria that took place in Los Angeles. In one of the many lives I never got to live, another Grace (one who never came true) shot Dolph there and then… And that was the end of the ballad of Grace and Dolph.

Later in the book Jones also tells the story of setting Lundgren’s clothes on fire. The couple called it a day before anyone got killed sometime in 1986. I’ve included images from the former power couple’s Playboy shoot as well as a nice assortment of other photos of the two canoodling back in the day that will remind you that love doesn’t follow any kind of rules, and should never have to be subject to them. Some of the images are slightly NSFW.
 

 

A photo shot by Helmut Newton of Jones and Lundgren that appeared in Playboy Magazine in July of 1985.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Meet ‘The Fred Banana Combo’ Germany’s first new wave punks
12.02.2016
08:56 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Germany
1980s
new wave
The Fred Banana Combo


 
While the name of Düsseldorf band The Fred Banana Combo might sound more like something you’d come across in a bargain bin at your local record shop, don’t let their amusing moniker fool you as it appears the somewhat obscure band was responsible for releasing what has often been classified as “the very first independent punk/new wave single” to come out in Germany in 1978. The single contained two hot tracks, “No Destination Blues” and the in-your-face “Jerk off All Night Long.”

The band were one of many that played legendary Düsseldorf punk club the Ratinger Hof in the 80s, which also served as a rehearsal place for the band. The Ratinger Hof was a mecca for up and coming punk bands, many who gained a foothold thanks to the The Hof’s fertile breeding ground. Discovered by Krautrock king Conny Plank (who would produce the band’s first four records) Fred Banana’s sound, much like Plank’s, is rather unique. Purely punk at times FBC enjoyed infusing their sound up with new wave and power pop with most of their jams punching out in less than three minutes. The band’s first full-length album, 1981’s FBC was fast, loud and rowdy and when combined all eighteen tracks on the record clock in at just over 30 minutes. Like a lot of bands trying to cut their teeth FBC was fond of doing covers and have recorded a few great ones including Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” and “Runaway” by Del Shannon. Both songs feature the fantastic vocals of FBC’s Nicolle Meyer—formerly the muse of influential French photographer and Man Ray protégé Guy Bourdin. The multi-talented Ms. Meyer also doubled as the timekeeper for FBC.
 

 
FBC were no more by the late 80s only to return with their original lineup in 2015 and a new record containing eleven fresh songs. One of them, the devastatingly cool “Splinters”  features the guest vocals of Sara Jay of Massive Attack fame. The Best of The Old Shit and The New Shit also contains twenty tracks from the band’s back catalog as well as a DVD featuring FBC appearances on Rockpalast. I’ve included two FBC live performances from 1980, their excellent cover of “Bird on a Wire,” plus the original song “I Don’t Know,” as well as “No Destination Blues” and “Splinters” for you to listen to below. I would have posted the masterfully weird “Jerk Off All Night Long” but it came along with lots of photos of topless ladies which while they pair perfectly with the songs title, was a little too visually stimulating to post here on a family publication like DM. You can “listen” to it here whenever you’re needing some alone time.

Much more after the jump…

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Intimate photos of David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly & more from the set of ‘Labyrinth’


A candid moment between David Bowie and his look-alike stuntman Nick Gillard on the set of ‘Labyrinth.’
 
As Halloween approaches I’ve become more and more convinced that this year will bring a cavalcade of David Bowie fans dressed as various personas developed by the Thin White Duke over his long career. Even yours truly is planning on “becoming Bowie” on October 31st and I’m so committed to my quest to look like Aladdin Sane that I’m planning on dying my hair bright red for the occasion. Now that’s dedication.

My month long homage to all things Halloween also includes watching as many horror films that I can fit into a 31-day period (which isn’t a huge departure as I’m actually a year-round die-hard horror film fan) and this year it seemed fitting to throw one of my favorite films into the mix: David Bowie as the unforgettable villain “Jareth” in the 1986 flick Labyrinth. Originally director Jim Henson was seriously considering at other musicians for the role—Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson and Sting (as well as David Lee Roth and Roger Daltrey)—that would ultimately go to Bowie. Henson also gave thought to the idea that the Goblin King should be played by one of his Muppets. According to folklore it came down to Jackson and Bowie and after receiving a handwritten letter penned from Henson along with an early version of the Labyrinth script Bowie became convinced that he should take the role.

As with other movies that have achieved the cult status that Labyrinth has, there’s a fair amount of great behind-the-scenes legends associated with the film. Such as the use of juggler Michael Moschen who was responsible for helping Bowie make it look easy to twirl a crystal ball, and actor Toby Froud who played adorable infant kidnapping victim “Toby” (and the bane of Jennifer Connelly’s teenage existence). Fround actually grew up to be a puppeteer of sorts himself, a natural move as his father Brian Froud was responsible for contributing to the design of the set and the inhabitants of both Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal

Of course if you are of a certain age then you may even remember the massive marketing campaign that produced oddities such as Labyrinth-themed bubble gum (tastes like Hoggle?), a talking door knocker, and a bizarre hot pink phone card (released in Japan) with Bowie and Jennifer Connolly on the front. There was even a sweet belt based on the film that sadly never made it past the prototype phase made by Lee Jeans. The 80s were so goddamn weird and wonderful, weren’t they?

And now to the point of this post which is to show you some fantastic behind-the-scenes photos captured during the filming of Labyrinth (which celebrated its 30th anniversary this past summer) especially ones of our departed hero who has perhaps inspired your Halloween costume this year. In other good news, a new nearly 200 page book Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History promises to take an exhaustively detailed look at every aspect of the film from rare artwork, concept sketches and equally rare photos taken on the set. You can pre-order it here. So in lieu of what wonders the book will reveal I hope you enjoy looking through the images in this post as well as a video of Bowie as “Jareth” and juggler Michael Moschen trying to make Bowie look like he can do mystical things with crystal balls that follows.
 

David Bowie as ‘Jareth (aka, ‘The Goblin King’ the star of the 1986 film, ‘Labyrinth.
 

Jareth and ‘Baby Toby.’
 

35mm contact sheet from ‘Labyrinth.
 
More after the jump…

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Email from the edge: Rock journalist takes on a deranged REO Speedwagon fan club president & wins!


REO Speedwagon back in the 80s.
 
Back when I was attempting to finish college (unsurprising spoiler alert: I dropped out) I met future long-running rock journalist Ken McIntyre and since hooking up back in Boston in the late 80s, we’ve been close pals (despite losing touch for a while when I ran away from home and landed in Seattle in the late 90s). Penning for Classic Rock Magazine and Metal Hammer for the past decade under the very metal moniker “Sleazegrinder” my heavily tattooed BFF has interviewed pretty much everyone that had a hit record in 1976. McIntyre has pretty much seen it all but nothing could have prepared him for his bizarre interaction with a woman named “Kathy” who was running a Yahoo-based REO Speedwagon Fan Club back in mid-2000s.

So brace yourselves DM readers because when it comes to levels of insanity this email exchange is beyond bat-shit crazy and truly the product of a dangerous mind.
 

The amusing cover of REO Speedwagon’s 1979 album ‘Nine Lives.’ Former REO guitarist Gary Dean Richrath is pictured front and center.
 
When McIntyre got the assignment to pull together a feature for Classic Rock on REO Speedwagon (a band responsible for various relentless earwigs back in the 1980s such as “Keep on Loving’ You” and “Take it on the Run”) he reached out to “Kathy” to see if he could get ahold of former REO guitarist (and the writer behind “Take it on the Run”) Gary Dean Richrath to get “his side” of the REO Speedwagon story. What you are about to read is a verbatim transcript of McIntyre’s email correspondence with “Kathy” that quickly spiraled out of control and devolved into a slugfest of epic proportions. So fire up your bong or grab a drink (I’m quite sure it’s noon somewhere) because you’re going to need it. Here we go!

McIntyre: Hi Kathy, I’m wondering if you can help me out…I’m a writer for Classic Rock magazine, and I am working on a feature on the band for the May issue. I’ve spoken to Bruce and Kevin, and I would love to speak to Gary to get his side of the REO story. Do you know how I can reach him? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,

Ken McIntyre

Kathy: Hi Ken: Sorry, but Gary is a gentleman, and prefers not to respond to Cronin’s slamfests. Glad to see they’re using you to hype the new album. It’s going to need a lot of help, since their last live album, “Arch Allies” sold less than 50,000 copies—with the help of Styx.

McIntyre: Jesus, Kathy. They are not “using me” for anything. It’s an objective story on the history of what, apparently, is your favorite band. Thanks for the jaundiced comments. Wish Gary had the chance to speak for himself.


Kathy: Hi Ken: How many times do you think Gary ‘s been asked these questions over the last 18 years? How many times does he have to get slammed by Kevin before he’s had enough? JESUS is right! I get tired of it myself. You’re telling me that in this interview with KC that has nothing but glowing reports about Gary, and how that offer is still open to re-join the band? When the day after his VH1 interview he threatened to sue them and demanded a re-edit? And told fans the next day that Dave Amato was in the band “forever?” Forward it to me, and I’ll run it by Gary. Until then…. good luck! LOLOLOL!


McIntyre: You obviously have some sort of bizarre agenda. And you can keep it.


Kathy: And you obviously don’t know much about the history of this band. Good luck promoting the UK tour.


McIntyre: Can I just ask, out of curiosity, why you would be so rude to a complete stranger asking for simple information? It seems odd to me.


Kathy: Sorry, but I answered your questions honestly and forthrightly. If you want to be pissed off about not scoring an interview AND throw a tantrum by trying to insult me, that’s seems counter-productive to me.


McIntyre: Kathy - I am not pissed off at all, nor am I throwing a tantrum, I am just trying to figure out why you are being hostile. I have no agenda one way or the other. How would I know whether Gary has been answering the same questions for 18 years? I am not a member of the REO fanclub. It doesn’t matter to me whether I “score an interview”, or not. I certainly get paid the same whether I talk to Gary or I don’t. I was simply trying to get both sides of the story. What is odd is that you are treating me like I am from some enemy camp. And Kathy, that is not answering my questions honestly and forthrightly. Honestly and forthrightly would have been, “Sorry, I choose not to help you with this matter.” That would have been fine. Instead, you chose to be needlessly aggressive. I would really like to know why. What have I done to you, except ask a question?


Kathy: You claim you’re not pissed off, throwing a tantrum, or a member of the fan club. Our records show you just signed up tonight. You’re batting 0-3.


McIntyre: Aye yi yi, I signed up for the Yahoo group for research. And you have no evidence of the other two. I meant ‘fan club’ in the metaphorical sense, which I’m sure you knew. That hardly counts as ‘0-3’. Prior to receiving my assignment for Classic Rock, I had not listened to, or thought about, REO Speedwagon for 20 years. I had no idea Gary left the band or who he even was a week ago. I am from Boston, which is not exactly REO territory. Whether you choose to believe that or not is your business, but it’s the truth. My pen name is “Sleazegrinder”, after all, which certainly doesn’t sound like the sort of person who would normally listen to Midwestern arena rock, does it? I have had to soak up as much info as I can about the band, and the Yahoo group was one tool for that. What I don’t get is why you wouldn’t want to cast a better light on “REO fans”. Are they all like you? I would not feel welcome at an REO show if they were.

I just wish you would act like a real person instead of whatever mawkish persona this is. If you are just trying to ward me off the Richrath trail, congratulations, you have done so. But I would still like to get to the root of your rudeness to me. Do you honestly think I have bad intentions?

Thanks,


Kathy: Gosh, Kevin forgot to tell you about Gary ? Sounds like a riveting interview!


McIntyre: Incredible. What a remarkable horror you are!

Jesus CHRIST. Now I need a drink. And somehow the well-chosen words from McIntyre’s SOL salutation “remarkable horror” barely seem to scratch the surface of this 80’s throwback trainwreck. After pouring through the “REO FANS” site it appears that “Kathy” has moved on to other things, perhaps a job with a cable TV company in which she can use her unprovoked argumentative communication skills to talk customers out of cancelling their service or an operator for a suicide hotline.

H/T: Rock journalist Ken McIntyre

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Rhubarb-stealing, foul-mouthed crazy lady screams insults at neighbor, needs her own reality TV show

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