Melvins’ frontman Roger “Buzz” Osborne guest DJ’d on Henry Rollins’ KCRW show last Sunday. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to these two yap about music and life. Buzz describes his playlist as “musically schizophrenic.” I’m going to have to agree.
It’s definitely a fun listen. Hope you enjoy.
Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign
Brainiac – Fresh New Eyes
Gang of Four – Paralyzed
Scientists – Set it on Fire
Judy Garland – Stormy Weather
The Fugs – I Want to Know
U-Men – Blight
Birthday Party – Fears of Gun
King Buzzo – Drunken Baby
Jimi Hendrix – Power of Love
Miles Davis – Black Satin
Tweak Bird – Spaceships
David Bowie – Quicksand
Bobby Darin – Beyond the Sea
Gun Club – Ghost on the Highway
MC5 – I Want You Right Now
Tom Waits – Bad as Me
Latin Playboys – Lemon ‘N Ice
Captain Beefheart – Glider
Bob Dylan – It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
Buck Owens – Memphis
Henry Rollins ain’t no George Carlin or Lenny Bruce. He takes aim at sitting ducks like people who shop at Walmart and he isn’t particularly funny and his insights are hardly revelations. But for some reason people really dig him. I don’t get it. I personally don’t turn to rock singers for their analytical thinking or wisdom. Not even the smart ones like John Lennon or Frank Zappa. They may be remarkable musicians but their satirical writings tend to be obvious and sophomoric.
Listening today to my old Mothers Of Invention albums, the stuff that seemed so outrageous and cool to me when I was a teenager seems trite to me now. Zappa’s targets were sitting ducks, too, but at least the ducks were relatively fresh. On the other hand, Henry Rollins’ rants seem tired and cliche-ridden. It’s easy to make fun of the defenseless slobs who work at Walmart or hipster douche-baggery, the military and frat boys. We did that shit back in the Sixties. So when I hear Rollins going on about the culture of greed and the idiocy that surrounds us it all sounds tired and worn out. We know this stuff already. It ain’t funny. In fact, at times, I think it’s cruel and hipper-than-thou classism. Rollins may consider himself some kind of edgy philosopher but I find him to be a dim-witted meathead with a slightly better than average vocabulary and a bunch of half-baked ideas who takes on subjects that have already been beaten to a pulp by superior humorists like the genuinely funny Bill Hicks.
Here’s Rollins in his perfect setting as a cartoon character…
It’s always a treat to see Henry Rollins interviewing anyone, even more so when it’s one of the early architects of rock ‘n’ roll. Hank’s hosting skills are exceptional. Clearly a fan, he’s very proficient in the relevant rock history, and he knows how to keep an interview interesting. But Jerry Lee Lewis? I mean, hey I love Jerry Lee Lewis’ music, but Jerry Lee Lewis is just as well-known for being a dirtbag as he is for his amazing music.
I don’t expect Rollins to give a damn about petty ethics, of course, but he’s a man with a reputation for being just a teensy bit self-righteous and rigidly moral. It’s weird to watch him interview an artist who very publicly married his 13-year-old cousin, as if there’s not a giant pervy elephant in the room. (And before you go all cultural relativist on me, cousin-marrying was not more common in the south than anywhere else in the US, and while marriages average younger in poorer communities, I can assure you, an adult marrying a 13-year-old would still be considered fucking creepy by every old redneck I know.)
Still, Lewis has great stories about Sun studios, and intergenerational rock ‘n’ roll kibitzing is always a fascinating thing to watch.
Bryan Ray Turcotte, author the classic chronicle of punk rock handbills and posters, Fucked Up + Photocopied, has one of the largest private collections of punk rock-related ephemera in the world—he’s a one-man Smithsonian Institute of the counterculture, truly a maven’s maven.
When I got advance notice that one of the world’s most prominent archivists and historians on the matter of punk rock’s graphic design had made (with Bo Bushnell) a film about Black Flag and Raymond Pettibon , I was expecting something pretty great and… it’s excellent!
It went live this morning. I got the link a little while ago and promptly sat down and watched the whole thing:
On the first episode of “The Art of Punk” we dissect the art of the legendary Black Flag. From the iconic four bars symbols, to the many coveted and collected gig flyers, singles, and band t-shirts, all depicting the distinctive Indian ink drawn image and text by artist Raymond Pettibon. We start off in Los Angeles talking to two founding members, singer Keith Morris and bass player Chuck Dukowski, about what the scene was like in 1976 - setting the stage for the band’s formation, as well as the bands name, and the creation of the iconic four bars symbol. Raymond Pettibon talks with us from his New York art studio. Back in LA we meet with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, about how the art, the music, and that early LA scene impacted his own life and career. To wrap it all up we sit and talk at length, with Henry Rollins, at MOCA Grand Ave in Los Angeles, about all of the above and more.
What’s so compelling about this piece is how filmmakers Turcotte and Bushnell tell you a story that you haven’t already heard a gazillion times before by focusing in on the graphics and how important an iconic logo was back then for outsider kids to rally around, wear on their chests or have etched into their flesh.
In the film, Flea makes, I thought, an especially valuable contribution, because he was young enough then (like Rollins himself was, of course) to have been in the audience and he speaks to how seeing a group like Black Flag could change your direction in life. From what I have heard from a number of people, Flea’s supposed to have an absolutely first rate modern art collection. He’s really inspired when he speaks here.
A production of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. New MOCAtv episodes exploring the visual identities of Dead Kennedys and Crass will debut soon at the MOCAtv YouTube channel
This show was originally broadcast on April 6, 2013 on KCRW. Not only are there great tunes to listen to, but good conversation between two old friends.
01: Booker T. & The MG’S — “Green Onions” (Stax Revue Live At The 5/4 Ballroom)
02: Vile Cherubs — “Man With A Photograph” (The Man Who Has No Eats No Sweats)
03: Q And Not U — “Kiss Distinctly” (No Kill No Beep Beep)
04: Lungfish — “Wailing Like Dragons” (Feral Hymns)
05: Radio Birdman — “New Race” (Radios Appear)
06: Black Eyes – “Drums” (Cough)
07: Follow Fashion Monkeys – “Managerie” (Unreleased Session)
08: Slant 6 — “Double Edged Knife” (Soda Pop*Rip Off)
09: Stooges Brass Band — “Where You From” (It’s About Time)
10: Eddy Current Suppression Ring — “She’s Dancing Away” (So Many Things)
11: The Ramsey Lewis Trio — “Hang On Sloopy” (Hang On Ramsey!)
12: Led Zeppelin — “The Song Remains The Same”
13: Happy Go Licky – “Twist And Shout” (Happy Go Licky Will Play)
14: Medications — “The Perfect Target” (5 Songs)
15: SPRCSS — “Ours Is Expanding Light” (Unreleased)
16: Funkadelic — “Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow”
17: The Nurses — “D.Y.F.” (Single)
18: Nation Of Ulyses — “SS Exploder” (Plays Pretty For Baby)
19: Red C — “Pressure’s On” (Unreleased demo)
20: Rocket From The Crypt — “Pressure’s On” (All Systems Go)
I guess I was sleeping under a rock or something, but I completely missed Henry Rollins turning over his KCRW show to Ian MacKaye on April 7. Beyond Ian’s DJ set, it’s a treat to hear these two pals—Rollins and MacKaye—who go way back chatting it up.
Oh, and I’m happy to see Lungfish made the cut on Ian’s set. Do listen!
01. Bikini Kill - “New Radio” / single
02. Scream - “Walking By Myself” / single
03. Lungfish - “Savings” / single
04. Nervous Norvous – “Transfusion” / single
05. Trashmen - “King Of The Surf” / single
06. Cold Cold Hearts - “Broken Teeth” / Cold Cold Hearts
07. The Vibrators – “Petrol” / Pure Mania
08. Viktims - “Television Addict” / single
09. Wire - “Ex Lion Tamer” / Pink Flag
10. Eddy Current Suppression Ring - “Which Way To Go” / single
11. Vernon Walters - “The Truth About You” / single
12. Felt Letters - “600,000 Bands” / single
13. Satan’s Rats – “Louise” / single
14. The Pack - “King Of Kings” / single
15. Skunks - “Good From The Bad” / single
16. The Need - “Let Them Eat Valiums” / single
17. Shine - “Lost Sun Dance” / single
18. Dog Faced Hermans - “Keep Your Laws Off Of My Body” / Those Deep Buds
19. Creation - “Through My Eyes” / single
20. The Arbors - “Hey Joe” / The Arbors
Henry Rollins spins some of Iggy Pop’s classic tracks and a few lesser known songs in a nicely done career overview of America’s patron saint of punk rock.
Henry runs it down thusly:
We are going to go at it somewhat chronologically, although I may have a couple of songs out of order on that front but by and large, it’s a trip through the man’s catalog. Two hours isn’t enough time to be completely release-by-release, so I went for what I thought sounded good.”
01. The Stooges - 1969 / The Stooges
02. The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog / The Stooges
03. The Stooges - Down On The Street / Fun House
04. The Stooges - T.V. Eye / Fun House
05. The Stooges - Search And Destroy / Raw Power
06. The Stooges - Raw Power / Raw Power
07. The Stooges - Open Up & Bleed / Heavy Liquid
08. The Stooges - Scene Of The Crime / Anthology Box - The Stooges & Beyond
09. The Stooges - Gimme Some Skin / Anthology Box - The Stooges & Beyond
10. The Stooges – Johanna / Heavy Liquid
11. The Stooges - Tight Pants / Anthology Box - The Stooges & Beyond
12. Iggy Pop & James Williamson - Consolation Prizes / Kill City
13. Iggy Pop – Funtime / The Idiot
14. Iggy Pop - The Passenger / Lust For Life
15. Iggy Pop - New Values / New Values
16. Iggy Pop - Get Up And Get Out / Soldier
17. Iggy Pop - Run Like A Villain / Zombie Birdhouse
18. Iggy Pop - Repo Man / Repo Man Soundtrack
19. Iggy Pop - Fire Engine / Anthology Box - The Stooges & Beyond
20. Iggy w/ Debbie Harry - Well Did You Evah! / Red Hot + Blue: Tribute To Cole Porter
21. Iggy Pop - Bang Bang / Party
22. Iggy Pop - He’s Frank / Heroes Soundtrack
23. Iggy Pop - This Is A Film / Arizona Dream
25. Iggy w/ Teddybears – Punkrocker / Soft Machine
26. Iggy Pop - Fix Me / Rise Above 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the WM3
Rollins, like myself, found much inspiration in the first Stooges album. For me, there was a delayed reaction. It took me seven years after hearing that seminal chunk of punk before I started my own band in 1976. One of my first gigs was at a country and western bar in Boulder, Colorado. The shitkickers, bikers and assorted mountain men grew homicidal when my group, The Ravers, tore into “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” At the end of the song, the place fell silent and it suddenly hit me as hard as a pool cue to the forehead that being a punk in the land of “Rocky Mountain High” was as about as much fun as being set upon by a pack of rabid wolves. But I got used to it.
Of all the records I own, some of the most frequently played, decade after decade, are ones that Iggy has had something to do with. One of the great hot-night listens of all time, perhaps the purest rock & roll recording I have ever heard, is the self-titled first album by the Stooges. So minimal and perfect. Every note, beat and lyric are essential to the whole. The older I get, the more I learn about music, the more amazing this album is to me.” H. Rollins.
A short video from Big Think wherein Henry Rollins describes the actions he would take if he were President of the United States of America. Say what you like about Rollins’ music and his stand-up (or even his views about the younger generations) but he seems to have a pretty good grasp of what would be expected of him in office. So, would you vote Rollins for President?