Much has been said about musical miracle man Ivan Kral here on Dangerous Minds. Born in Czechoslovakia where rock ‘n’ roll was heavily frowned upon, Kral came to the United States with his diplomat parents in 1966. After the Warsaw Pact Invasion in 1968 he decided to stay here as a refugee.
Young Ivan bought a Super 8 film camera to keep a visual diary & filmed loads of rock n roll starting with Murray The K shows in the mid 60s. As time progressed this all around talented musician played with Blondie, Shaun Cassidy’s teen glam band Longfellow, a long and fabled stint with the Patti Smith Group, Iggy Pop and many many more. During the early years of the dawning of punk he was filming everything, much of which was edited into two underground films Night Lunch and Blank Generation which were shown all the time at Max’s Kansas City, and were the first glimpses my generation got of the early days of our favorite bands that we had just missed due to our age.
Ivan Kral and friends
Watching people in his films like the Dolls, Wayne County, Ramones, Television, Blondie, Talking Heads all before they made records (except the Dolls) and watching these films in the clubs they were filmed in while the same bands were still playing there was strange to say the least. I can’t imagine what seeing them now for the first time would feel like. These very primitive silent films were shot on crude black and white film stock that made the participants look like they could be from some decadent 1920’s Dada club, or from any time besides NOW. It’s wild to think that these films were just about two years old when I first saw them!
Of his most infamous short films that never made it to these two compilations is the footage Kral shot of Iggy and the Stooges in 1973 at the Academy Of Music on 14th Street in New York, where I spent much of my teenage life seeing middle-sized touring bands on their way up (or down). The infamous yearly Frank Zappa Halloween shows were held there before and after the name was changed to The Palladium, outside of which I can be seen as a kid making a fool of myself in the Zappa film Baby Snakes. Whenever The Stooges films have showed up they have been in black and white and very short, like under a minute.
My old friend, rock superfan and writer Madeline Bochario alerted me to this wild color footage with sound that just appeared on YouTube. A way better and quite lengthy version of the Ivan Kral footage.
Search and destroy, while you can, after the jump…