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That time when Jimi Hendrix jammed with Jim Morrison. Too bad it sucked.
05.15.2015
08:24 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix
Jim Morrison


 
You’d think it would have been a dream pairing—two legends, both lost to us young, turning up on stage together, and by sheer stroke of fate, it was recorded. Had those two legends been Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, or hell, even Jimi Hendrix and Mama Cass, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. But no, it was Jimi Hendrix and the drunken clod Jim Morrison. The result was eventually dubbed “Morrison’s Lament,” an apt title if by “lament” one means “drunken, formless discharge of inane profanities.”

The story of how it went down is hazy, accounts are contradictory, and some of the people who could clarify things are dead. What’s certain is that Jimi Hendrix jammed with some folks at the Scene Club in NYC in March of 1968, and a recording—likely made by Hendrix himself—of that night has been widely bootlegged, usually under the title Woke Up this Morning and Found Myself Dead. Some bootleg liners credit Morrison with vocals and harmonica, while online sources say Lester Chambers played harmonica. Some of the drumming is credited to future Band of Gypsys drummer Buddy Miles, some to “Randy Z,” a nom de rock of the McCoys’ Randy Zehringer, who was accustomed to playing with sweet guitarists, as he’s the brother of Rick Derringer. Johnny Winter is credited as rhythm guitarist, which is not implausible, as Zehringer later served Winter as drummer on a couple of albums and the club was owned by Winter’s manager, but many sources hold that Winter not only denies having been present, he claims to never have even met Morrison. Some lore about the night holds that the second guitarist was Rick Derringer. What is certain is that Morrison was on the East Coast in advance of some Doors performances in New York later in the week, and drunkenly grabbed a mic and commenced howling. (You can hear Hendrix telling him to “use the recording mic” at about 0:30.)
 

 
The liner notes on a 1980 UK edition of the LP were written by Hendrix biographer Tony Brown (Jimi Hendrix: Concert Files, Jimi Hendrix: The Final Days), who offered no help as to who played, but DID shed some light on the provenance of the tapes.

This recording stems from 1968 in the Scene Club, owned incidentally by Steve Paul, Johnny Winter’s manager. Jimi was a frequent visitor here because he loved the atmosphere and also loved to jam and as he always had a tape machine on hand, that night was captured forever, giving an insight into Jimi’s blues side, which he always reverted to when playing without any commercial pressures.

The tapes of this jam became the property of Michael Cox, who was founder member of the Irish group Eire Apparent, a band Jimi managed and produced. Peter Shertser from Red Lightnin’ Records had been offered the tapes by Cox and as he liked what he heard, an agreement was made in December 1970. However, another record company famed for issuing country and western records had previously heard the tapes and had surreptitiously made a copy. The tapes soon hit the market as a bootleg under the name “Sky High,” action was taken and an injunction issued to the other record company, whereupon the album strangely disappeared from the market!

 

 
More hammered Jim and Jimi after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
NYC’s rock Apocalypse: ‘The Day The Music Died’ (with Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison)


 
Altamont wasn’t the only hippie rock festival that started with a groovy idea and ended up impacted in the poop chute of the Aquarian Age. 1970’s New York Pop Festival was intended to be three days of fun and music. The result was about as much fun as a weekend with Squeaky Fromme at the Spahn Ranch.

The producers of the festival, appropriately named Brave New World, had put together a truly impressive roster of bands with headliners like Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Ravi Shankar and Van Morrison. But they immediately ran into problems when The Black Panthers, White Panthers, Young Lords and a dozen-plus activist groups wanted in on the action. The feeling among many in the radical community was that rock festivals had made millions of dollars off the counter culture and it was now time for some payback. Among the demands being made was 10,000 free tickets and $100,000 in bail money for an incarcerated Black Panther. There were other causes, other concerns, other demands. Despite attempts by Brave New World to find some common ground the whole thing turned into a fiasco. But the festival did go on. Though there were some musical no shows that angered an already tense audience, including 30,000 who got in free when fences were kicked to the ground. The most notable absence was Sly and the Family Stone. Sly lived up to his name and was smart enough to pull out when no money was forthcoming.

Bert Tenzer’s Free is a film of the New York Pop Festival that combines documentary footage with scripted sequences. For instance, DJ Murray The K adds some goofy commentary even though he was nowhere near Randall’s Island at the time. The film was released in 1974 and made little impression. Tenzer even went so far as booking the film with unknown bands performing in the cinema. No one cared. Tenzer then re-edited Free and released it as The Day The Music Died in 1976. Doing what he could to try to recoup his investment, Tenzer added clips of Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, The Doors and more, none of whom were actually at the festival. Archival footage of Angela Davis, The Vietnam War, Richard Nixon and Malcolm X was also tossed in to the mix to give the film some political and sociological context. Still no hit.

Despite its boxoffice failure, The Day The Music Died has a lot going for it, capturing a period of time when doing the right thing often ended up a casualty of good intentions gone bad, a time when revolution often spun out of control because of a failure to see the bigger picture. By 1970 the idealism and hope of the Summer Of Love was replaced by cynicism, weariness and the realization that even the purest of Owsley’s acid wasn’t enough to flush the toxins out of the collective consciousness that had accrued over thousands of years of bad karma. The flower children had gone to seed and our heroes were dropping like flies. Mission aborted. We needed to re-group and think things out. We needed to get real.  “You say you got a real solution / Well, you know / We’d all love to see the plan.”

The Day The Music Died echoes the chaos that erupts when the mistrust between political groups, anarchists and street gangs grows unmanageable. The bottom line is capitalism and revolution is a volatile combination, both determined to destroy the other. The ideas that radical movements should get a free ride on the artistic and cultural products of others isn’t revolutionary, it’s parasitic.  As long as artists expect to be paid (as they should) it might be a good idea for political movements to throw their own fucking festivals. Power to the people means all the people, not just the ones that get the Panthers’ seal of approval. I remember when the movie Woodstock opened in Berkeley in 1970 and hippies were picketing outside of the theater where it was being screened.  Warner Brothers was banking millions off the counter culture and the longhairs were pissed. Even back then I thought the protest was silly… and I had hair down to the crack of my fucking ass. I didn’t go to the movie. Altamont had left a bad taste in my mouth and I had an Aquarian Age size hangover.

Towering over all the bullshit that happens in the The Day The Music Died is Jimi Hendrix who started a revolution without dogma, without arrogance and without rules. But he did have a plan and it was called music. There’s an argument to be made that rock and roll did more to positively change the world than any political movement, radical or otherwise. I may be wrong, but it’s an argument worth having. Whatever the case, I ain’t interested in any revolution that doesn’t include a sense of humor and monster guitar licks.

Watch in HD mode. It ain’t great but it looks a bit better.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
That time when Ringo Starr evicted Jimi Hendrix for being such a shitty tenant, 1967


 
Ah, 34 Montagu Square, the infamous ground floor and basement apartment once leased by Beatle Ringo Starr during the mid-1960s. Many celebrities sub-leased the apartment from Starr then, but perhaps the worst of the worst celebrity tenant award goes to a Mr. Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix—along with his girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham—sub-leased the apartment back in December of 1966. They both lived on the lower-ground floor and paid £30 a month in rent. That’s a pretty rad bargain if you ask me even for back then. I’d consider it living situation that you’d probably not want to fuck up. But… Jimi Hendrix apparently did. One night while on an acid trip, Hendrix decided it would be a good idea to whitewash the entire place. He threw whitewash all over the walls because LSD. That, er, “mistake” led Ringo Starr to issue Hendrix an eviction. Bye-bye, Jimi!

Hendrix and Etchingham only lasted three months in the digs. Hendrix, did however, compose the song “The Wind Cries Mary”  while he lived there. The song was inspired after a fight he had with Etchingham over her lack of cooking skills.

The photographs you see here, by photojournalist Petra Niemeier, are of Hendrix while he lived at 34 Montagu Square. Judging by these photos, I’m surprised Hendrix didn’t burn down the damned place while smoking in bed. Methinks the Beatle probably made the right call.


 

 

 

 

 
via Mashable and Wikipedia

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Jimi Hendrix’s mescaline-fueled session with Arthur Lee and Love
04.03.2015
04:49 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix
Arthur Lee
Love


Arthur Lee and Jimi Hendrix, 1969
 
Jimi Hendrix and Arthur Lee met in 1964 or 1965 at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, where singer Rosa Lee Brooks was recording Lee’s song “My Diary.” Lee claimed the session was Hendrix’s first time in a recording studio, though it seems likely Hendrix had already cut “Testify” with the Isley Brothers.
 

 
The two men remained friends, and on St. Patrick’s Day 1970, after Love finished a European tour, Hendrix joined the band in London’s Olympic Studios. There, Lee says Jimi and the band all ate mescaline (or “Huxley’s hooch,” as we used to call it in the San Fernando Valley). From Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book Of Love—The Authorized Biography of Arthur Lee, here are Lee’s recollections of the Olympic session:

Boy, did we have fun at the Olympic recording studio. The band and Jimi all took mescaline. Although they didn’t know it, I was as straight as Cochise’s arrow. Somebody had to steer the ship. [...]

One of the ways I got Jimi to do the session in the first place—or how I got his attention, anyway—happened one night at the Speakeasy. He and I arrived together. The guy at the front door told me I could come in but Jimi couldn’t. When I asked him why, he said that Jimi had been fighting in the club on an earlier occasion and they didn’t want that happening again. So I told him that Jimi was cool, the entourage that was with us was cool, and I didn’t think any fighting would be going on that night. He finally agreed. I said to Jimi, “Look, man, neither one of us is going to be around much longer, anyway; so while we’re here, we might as well do something together.” When I said that, whatever we were talking about, or he was thinking about, just seemed to stop and I had his full attention. He really went into some deep thought as he looked at me from across the table. He was looking into my eyes and I knew he could only be thinking about our early deaths.

The session went completely differently from the way I was used to recording. I thought it was to be a private session. I don’t remember telling anyone to come, except the band; but, to my surprise, there were people all over the place. There were girls I’d never seen before and faces popping out from where you would least expect a person to be. I was in a state of shock, but Jimi said, “It’s OK, let them stay.” More than once, Jimi thought we were done and went to pack everything up. Then he would come back into the studio while we were playing and say, “What key?” Once, when we were learning a song I wrote, called “Ride That Vibration,” Jimi came walking back in during the middle of it. He asked me, “What did you just say in that song?” I said, “Ride the vibration down like a six foot grave / Don’t let it get you down.” Then he said, “I gotta go; it’s getting too heavy.” He called a cab, took [drummer George Suranovich’s] girlfriend, and was out the door. George just looked at me as if to say, “That’s Jimi.” After a while, Jimi came back and suggested that everyone jam, and were my band members ever happy!

On that session in London, we managed to lay down a few tracks, among them “E-Z Rider,” “The Everlasting First,” and a jam that I would later add lyrics to. Jimi sang on “E-Z Rider.” I gave the master reel to [Blue Thumb Records president] Bob Krasnow. He never gave it back. At the time, I wondered if someone was filming us, although I never saw a camera. I found out, in the early 90s, they had been.

Back in the studio, it was almost daylight, so I signaled to H to start wrapping it up. I don’t think Jimi was ready to quit, but it had been a long night for me. The tour we were doing was over with; I just wanted to get back to Studio City in California. As we were walking out of the building, Jimi asked, “Where are you going?” I said, “Man, I gotta get back to LA; to my woman, dogs, and pigeons.” Jimi said, “Come here, I want to show you something.” We walked back inside the studio. He pointed to his guitar case on the floor. Then he opened it up. I thought he had a stash in there, but as he stood up, he pointed to it again and said, “This is all I have.” I couldn’t figure it out at first, but then it hit me. He was telling me that the white Stratocaster guitar in the case were his only possessions. I felt kind of sad for him.

 

 
Of the three songs Hendrix cut with Love at Olympic, only “The Everlasting First”—the single from Love’s False Start album—was officially released. The other two songs, Hendrix’s “Ezy Rider” and the jam “Loon,” surfaced on an acetate that turned up on eBay in 2009.

The music, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’ revealed


Detail from inside gatefold of Electric Ladyland record sleeve

Lithofayne Pridgon has led a truly extraordinary life. She was the lover and muse of some of the greatest musical icons of our time – Jimi Hendrix, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, “Fever” singer Little Willie John and Eddie Hazel, visionary guitarist of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic family tree; she was the best friend of Etta James, hung out with James Brown and Ike Turner and lived with Sly Stone in Bel Air at the height of his There’s a Riot Going On drugs-and-guns craziness. She was also signed on the spot to Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegun for an album that was recorded with Shuggie Otis, but never released. But it’s Hendrix with whom she is inextricably tied, becoming his lover in 1963 in his pre-fame Harlem years through till his death in 1970.

Dangerous Minds pal Chris Campion met Lithofayne Pridgon for a very rare interview and argues in the Guardian that, she was the inspiration for not only “Foxy Lady,” but a number of other of songs on Are You Experienced:

The profound influence she had on his life has been so sorely overlooked, it’s likely his love for Lithofayne inspired other songs, too. Certainly, a number of cuts on his debut album, Are You Experienced, seem to have been written with her in mind: the love he clearly felt was written in the stars, destined to last for eternity, of which he sings in “Love or Confusion”; the desperate plea for his devotion to be recognised in “Can You See Me” in which he wails, “Can you hear me cryin’ all over town?” (“If he couldn’t find me,” Lithofayne recalls, “everybody in Harlem knew he was looking for me.” She would visit her usual haunts and people would tell her, “Girl, Jimi, was by here, you better go.”) “And ‘Fire’, in which he determinedly edges every rival suitor for the subject of his affections out of the way.

 

Lithofayne and Jimi experience the food at Wells Chicken and Waffles in Harlem with Albert and Arthur Allen

The piece includes not only the revelation that she first met Hendrix at an orgy:

That day, she had gone out to run an errand for her mother and, on her way back home with the change, had stopped by one of Fat Jack’s apartments. She asked one of his men who was inside.“This little musician cat,” he told her. “I said, ‘Is he a virgin?’ He said, ‘No, but you’ll like him. He’s your type.’ He just knew what I liked.

“I liked skinny, raw-boned, over-fucked, underfed-looking guys,” she laughs. Hendrix, she says, was “my type.”

... but also that she may in fact be the great granddaughter of Henry Ford:

She was raised, for the most part, in a more well-to-do section of the city called Crosstown, by her paternal grandmother, said to be the illegitimate child of Henry Ford who kept a winter home in Georgia, several counties north. “Old man Henry Ford is supposed to have been my great granddaddy,” Lithofayne says. Although the Ford lineage was never definitely proven, her grandmother had a sizeable portfolio of land in Moultrie for reasons that couldn’t be explained — she earned money by taking in washing at a dollar a load.

 

With James Brown
 
Lithofayne Pridgon is said to be writing a memoir of her life in Harlem during the fifties and sixties. You can see her starting just before the one-minute mark in the trailer for the 1973 Jimi Hendrix documentary (look out for a pre-glam early 70s Lou Reed):
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Before he was Jimi: Jimmy Hendrix with Curtis Knight and the Squires
03.19.2015
06:10 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix
Curtis Knight and the Squires


 
It’s pretty much impossible to fully tell the tale of Jimi Hendrix’s ascendance to the guitar-god pantheon without invoking the names of a Harlem R&B singer known professionally as Curtis Knight (née McNear) and a producer named Ed Chalpin. Knight was a veteran of R&B and Doo Wop groups like the Ink Spots and the Titans, who struck out on his own as a talented but only modestly successful bandleader. Knight happened to live in the same building as Hendrix, then still “Jimmy” Hendrix, a struggling journeyman, and after a fateful meeting in their building’s lobby, Knight brought Hendrix into his band the Squires, and introduced him to his manager, the aforesaid Ed Chalpin. It was around this time, October of 1965, that Chalpin signed Hendrix to an infamous exclusive three-year contract with a $1 advance and a promise of 1% royalties. Hendrix was already under contract with Sue Records (prophetic name, given what was to come), and maintained that he signed with Chalpin under the misapprehension that he was merely signing a session release for his work as a sideman. He remained under that belief for long enough that, when he was famously discovered by the Animals’ Chas Chandler, the Chalpin contract was the only one Chandler never bought out. That blunder haunted Hendrix’s career even beyond his death, and the legal knots surrounding those three years have only just been untangled last year.
 

 
Over the decades, Chalpin has released much Curtis Knight and the Squires material, misleadingly, under Hendrix’s name, but often in truncated form, or in crummy sounding editions meant to be passed off as “lost” Hendrix material to rake in quick bucks—one such opportunistic LP was even released in between Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, tricking some fans into believing it was the second Jimi Hendrix Experience LP! All of which is a DRAG, as the Squires’ music deserves consideration on its own merits. Though they would likely have remained almost entirely unheralded were it not for the Hendrix connection, Curtis Knight and the Squires were a good band. Their original work was right in place with much of the energetic, guitar-based R&B of the time, and thrillingly, you can plainly hear Hendrix’s signature style throughout it all.

Hear some EARLY Jimi, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Grace Slick has two regrets: Never screwed Hendrix, never rode a horse
03.05.2015
05:25 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix
Grace Slick


 
When Grace Slick talks, I listen. She’s nobody’s fool, she speaks her mind, and she can be hysterically funny. She is a good example for the young people of today.

She’s also got her priorities straight. Lately, I’ve been reading interviews with Slick from recent years, and when the interviewer gets to the inevitable question of regrets, the singer’s answers are remarkably clear-sighted and consistent. There are just two big ones:

The things I wish I did do that I did not do, were screw Jimi Hendrix, and ride a horse.

 

 
There are a few lesser regrets that orbit these two—never went to the Middle East, never screwed Peter O’Toole, never got drunk with Richard Harris, Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, and Peter O’Toole—but Hendrix and horses pretty much constitute the whole of Grace Slick’s regrets in life.

But there aren’t too many regrets, because I did pretty much what I wanted to do. So now, as an old person, I don’t have these huge regrets. Mine are fairly minor. They have to do with drinking and screwing, so that’s not all that important (laughs).

Abso-fuckin’-A-lutely. This is the kind of peace of mind you get as the reward for living a decent, godly life. I am reminded of William S. Burroughs, who, contemplating his relatively good health at the age of 82, attributed his longevity to “living right.” Ignore Grace Slick’s example at your peril, young people.

Slick appeared on Tom Snyder’s show in 1998 to promote her memoir, Somebody to Love? She talks about the time the cops knocked on the door and she answered it wielding a shotgun, the time she tried to outrun police cars in her Aston Martin, the time she and Abbie Hoffman went to the White House to dose President Nixon’s tea, and a lot of other occasions when she grabbed life by the balls.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Penis de Milo’: Learn to make molds of your sweetheart’s nether regions with Cynthia Plaster Caster
02.23.2015
11:29 am

Topics:
Sex

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix
Cynthia Plaster Caster

Cynthia Plaster Caster
 
Cynthia Plaster Caster (born Cynthia Albritton) is the famous “super groupie” who, in the late 60’s started using a substance concocted for dental molds to memorialize the Johnsons of celebrity musicians in plaster. On her website, Ms. Plaster Caster describes herself as having been a shy person when she was young. Looking for a way to stand out from the throngs of other groupies swarming around rock star hotel rooms, she created an official sounding “organization” called the Plaster Casters of Chicago and gained access to many a celebrity’s private parts, probably most famously, Jimi Hendrix. 

Legend has it that there were a few complications with the Hendrix “procedure.”

Here’s Cynthia’s tale about the almost botched attempt to cast Hendrix’s apparently prodigious member:

Because this was one of my first shots at plaster casting, the end result came out kind of gnarly. I prematurely cracked the mold open, only to find a still-moist, broken cast inside. So yes, Jimi did in fact, break the mold! But thanks to Elmer’s Glue, I managed to reconnect the head to the shaft to the testicles. Very statuesque and antique-looking; like Grecian art. The Canadian underground paper Georgia Straight called it the “Penis de Milo.” There’s no denying that Jimi towers over most of my collection. His long, thick shaft combined with his disproportionately small head brings a shudder to the spinal cord!

Jimi’s pubes got stuck in the mold because I didn’t lube them enough. I spent the next 15 minutes pulling out each individual hair one by one, while he had intercourse with just the right sized repository — his negative impression! This unexpected delay made him late for his show that evening, where he was seen scratching his crotch a lot onstage.

 
Plaster Casters of Chicago
The Plaster Casters of Chicago
 
Despite this early setback of sorts, Cynthia has had years to perfect her technique. In the ensuing decades she’s preserved the pricks of everyone from the MC5’s Wayne Kramer to David Yow of The Jesus Lizard eventually even branching out to breast casts, the only preservation process she seems to prefer these days. She’s cast the dirty pillows of Karen O from The Yeah Yeah Yeahs as well as those of performer/provocateur Peaches among several others. Indeed, for $500 you can have your own bust (whether of the male or female variety) preserved for posterity by the legendary artist herself.

And as if that weren’t stimulating enough, you and your significant other now have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to, as Cynthia Plaster Caster puts it: “Learn to Plaster from the Master!” 

Here’s what she has to say on her website (where you can also find her contact information and a sidebar menu made entirely of animated dicks):

Rather than designing just another do-it-yourself kit, I thought it would be fun to teach people one on one (or, rather one on two) how to cast their significant other’s – significant body parts…

For $3500, I will walk two lovers, gay or straight, start to finish, through the entire process (approximately two days). This would consist of: mixing dental mold, making the plaster cast, cracking it out of the mold and filing off excess plaster. All materials are included. Your city or mine (Chicago). If I have to travel to your town, my round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations would be in addition to the fee. I’ll take notes as per my tradition, and issue a diploma – presuming the course will be passed with flying colors (hey, if I can do it ANYBODY can do it!). Cameras are allowed (but not for commercial purposes).

Just so you know – I won’t be doing any casting or stimulating. I’ll only be the coach on the sidelines. This is not for MY collection. It’s for YOURS! And YOU get to keep the trophies!

More after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
The Jimi Hendrix blooper reel
12.04.2014
07:59 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix


 
How much more sublime does psychedelic rock get than “Third Stone from the Sun?” Smack in the middle of side B of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s immortal debut LP Are You Experienced, sandwiched between hard rock classics “Fire” and “Foxy Lady” (on the US release, that is), “Third Stone” coasts amiably and organically between straight jazz, laid-back groove rock, an acid-fried space alien’s ode to Earth, and full-bore tectonic psych freakouts. The song clocks in at about six and a half minutes—not especially overlong in a post “Interstellar Overdrive” world—but when it ends, you feel like you’ve experienced a genuine epic, and it served as notice that Hendrix was perfectly capable of transcending the heavy-blues psychedelia with which he was making his name.

But about that alien ode: it’s not the only spoken material present. There’s a garbled, slowed-down vocal throughout and underneath the song, most noticeable in the quieter passages, especially right at the beginning. It turns out that when sped up to normal, that’s Hendrix having a preposterous back-and-forth with his manager/producer Chas Chandler, also well known as the bass player for the Animals. The outtakes of those vocal sessions—at proper speed—were released on the 2000 Jimi Hendrix Experience box set, a/k/a “the purple box.” And in their unedited glory, they’re pretty damn funny, full of laughter, clowning around, character breaking, and goofy heavy-breathing wind sound effects. It’s tempting to assume they’re both just high as all fuck, because… 1967.
 

 
You can make out a lot of that in context simply by playing the original LP version at 45rpm. If you don’t have the album on vinyl, a helpful soul on the Internet has done it for you.
 

 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Superstars In Concert’: Jimi, Cream, Rolling Stones, Ike & Tina Turner & more in obscure classic


 
When the question of “What’s the best/great rockumentary of all?” is asked, the answers can range quite widely obviously, from something like Don’t Look Back or Let It Be to The Last Waltz or Stop Making Sense (which both seem to make almost everyone’s lists) to something totally out of left field and life-affirming like Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King. I really loved the new Pulp: a Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets... and wouldn’t “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” be in the running for all-time best rockumentary? Of course it would be!

It’s an impossible question to answer, but sidestepping it somewhat, if I had to pick the best overall “time capsule” of the rock era to preserve for future generations, it would probably be Peter Clifton’s Superstars In Concert.  Also known as Rock City in a different edit, the film was directed and produced by Clifton (The Song Remains the Same, Popcorn, The London Rock and Roll Show) and is a hodge-podge compiling (mostly) his promotional short films and snippets of concert performances shot between 1964 and 1973 by the likes of Peter Whitehead (Wholly Communion, Charlie Is My Darling, Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London), Michael Cooper (who shot Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising), Ernest Vincze (the cinematographer responsible for the 2005 Doctor Who reboot) and Ivan Strasburg (Treme).
 

 
Featured in the film are The Rolling Stones (several times), Eric Burdon and The Animals, a typically demure appearance of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Otis Redding bringing the house down, Cream, Steve Winwood, Blind Faith, Cat Stevens (a stark Kubrickian promo film for his “Father and Son” single) , The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Donovan, Joe Cocker, a segment with The Ike and Tina Turner Revue that will bring a smile to your face, Pink Floyd and Rod Stewart and the Faces. Pete Townshend is seen getting in his digs at the Stones for promoting pot use, managing to make himself look like a blue-nosed twat in the process, while Mick and the boys are seen doing “Jumpin Jack Flash” in the (decidedly more evil) warpaint version of that promo film (there were two, this is the one that was NOT shown on The Ed Sullivan Show for obvious reasons) and in their promo film for “We Love You” which features Keef in a judge’s wig, Marianne Faithfull as a barrister and Mick nude wrapped up in a fur rug (a sly joke that if you don’t get, then google “Rolling Stones,” “Redlands,” drug bust, her name and “Hershey Bar.”)

Superstars In Concert came out in Japan on the laserdisc format and that’s how I first saw it, in the late 80s. Since then, other than the various clips showing up cut from the film on YouTube, it’s remained an obscurity. Apparently there was a Malaysian bootleg and then in 2003 a Brazilian magazine called DVD Total gave away the film for free with one of their issues. So far fewer than 200 people have viewed the video.

DO NOT miss what’s perhaps the most intense version of Pink Floyd’s “Careful with That Axe Eugene” ever captured on film. This entire film is absolutely amazing from start to finish, but it jumps off the scale during that part (Otis Redding is no slouch, either!) I highly recommend letting it load first before you hit play, otherwise it’s kind of flickery. If you wait a while, it doesn’t hang up and looks and sounds great.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
BASS IN YOUR FACE: Isolated bass parts of Sonic Youth, Rolling Stones, The Police, Rick James & more


 
Poor bass players. In the hierarchy of rockbandland, even the mercenary backup singers get more love. Like a drummer, a crummy one can wreck your band, but unlike a drummer, even a superb bass player can fade into the background, seeming for all the world like a mere utility placeholder while the singer, guitarist and drummer all get laid. Before the ‘80s, the bass player was perceived as the would-be guitarist who couldn’t make the cut and got offered a reduction in strings as a consolation prize. Since the ‘80s, bass has been the “easy” instrument a singer hands off to his girlfriend to get her in the band.

It’s all a crock of utter shit. A good bass player is your band’s spine, and is a gift to be cherished.

An excellent online resource for bassists, notreble.com, has links to an abundance of isolated bass tracks, from celebrated solos to deep cuts to which few casual fans give much thought. There are, of course, song-length showoffs like “YYZ” and “Roundabout,” but there are unassuming gems to be found too. Check out how awesome Tony Butler’s part is in Big Country’s kinda-eponymous debut single. It wanders off into admirable weirdness, but when the time comes to do the job of propelling the song forward, this shit is rocket fuel.
 

 

 
Though Sting has been engaged in a long-running battle with Bono to see who can be the most tedious ass to have released nothing of worth in over 25 years, listening to his playing in the Police serves as an instant reminder of why we even know who he is. The grooves in “Message In A Bottle” are famously inventive and satisfying, but even his work on more straightforward stuff like “Next To You” slays. You can practically hear the dirt on his strings in these.
 

 

 

 
Funny, as much of a trope as “chick bass player” has become, loads of time spent searching yielded almost no isolated tracks from female bassists. Which is ridiculous. The only one I found was Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, heard here on “Teenage Riot.” It takes a bit to work up to speed. Taken on its own, it’s a minimal, meditative, and quite lovely drone piece.
 

 

 
Here’s a gem—a live recording of Billy Cox, from Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, eating “All Along The Watchtower” for breakfast.
 

 

 
This one was a revelation—the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman on “Gimme Shelter.” I knew this was a great bass part, but there’s stuff in here I’ve never heard before, and it’s excellent. I should have been paying more attention.
 

 

 
But is there “Super Freak?” Oh yeah, there’s “Super Freak.”
 

 

 
I searched mightily to find isolated bass tracks from Spinal Tap’s gloriously excessive ode to both low-ends, “Big Bottom,” before I realized there would be absolutely no point in doing that. So I leave you with the unadulterated real thing.
 

 
Previously on DM: The incomparable James Jamerson: isolated

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World’


 
The wah-wah guitar effect pedal makes a “cry baby” sound by filtering the electronic frequencies up and down controlled by the players foot. The first one was put on the market in 1967 by Warwick Electronics Inc./Thomas Organ Company, the somewhat accidental creation of Brad Plunkett, a junior electronics engineer at the company. Plunkett’s prototype used a volume pedal from a Vox Continental Organ and a transistorized mid-range booster, but his original goal had only been to switch from a finicky tube to a much cheaper, easier to use piece of solid state circuitry. (Chet Atkins had designed a somewhat similar device in the late 1950s, which you can hear on his “Hot Toddy” and “Slinkey” singles)

Almost immediately the Cry Baby wah-wah pedal was adopted by the most famous guitar slingers in rock. One of the first was Eric Clapton, who used the effect to great effect in “Tales of Brave Ulysses.” Frank Zappa was a huge fan of the effect and is said to have introduced Jimi Hendrix to the Cry Baby who used it on “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” and quite a bit after that. One of the most famous uses of the wah-wah pedal’s “wacka-wacka” effect is heard on Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft.”

In Joey Tosi and Max Baloian’s documentary Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World, the filmmakers explore the influence of the wah-wah pedal on popular music, talking to inventor Brad Plunkett, longtime Rolling Stone contributor Ben Fong-Torres, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Buddy Guy, Art Thompson, Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Dweezil Zappa and Jim Dunlop, a man whose name is synonymous with the production of musical effects devices.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Beautiful Mutants: DEVO’s utterly mind-bending Jimi Hendrix cover
03.25.2014
01:48 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix
DEVO


 
Once upon a time this DEVO video was widely known, but the Jimi Hendrix estate refused to allow it to be used after a certain point, saying it was insulting to Jimi (which it kind of is, I can see why they think that, but still, why deprive the world of this greatness?!). I used to have it on Laserdisc, but when that same collection came out on DVD, this clip—one of the best things on it—was missing.

From an interview with DEVO’s Gerald Casale in Ear Candy:

Ear Candy: Speaking of de-evolution, why didn’t the Hendrix estate give you permission to put the “Are U Experienced” video on the DVD?

Gerald Casale: Further de-evolution. You understand that the consortium of people that now represent the Hendrix estate are basically run by lawyers; the lawyer mentality. Lawyers always posit the worst-case scenarios. Though that video was loved for years by anybody who saw it including the man who commissioned it—Chuck Arroff—a luminary in the music business who still claims to this day that it was one of his five most favorite videos ever; they [the lawyers] didn’t get it and assumed we were making fun of Jimi. That’s like saying “Whip It” makes fun of cowboys. This is so stupid it’s unbelievable.”

This high budget clip, one of only two DEVO promos to be shot on 35mm film, was produced by group and Rev. Ivan Stang, founder of The Church of the Subgenius. I especially like the part where Mark Mothersbaugh has the big eyes of Margaret Keane’s paintings. Apparently this particular video also marked the first use of the “morphing” video effect.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
When Jayne Mansfield met Jimi Hendrix
02.19.2014
08:36 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Sex

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix
Jayne Mansfield


 
Sex appeal, according to Jayne Mansfield, is a wonderfully warm, healthy feeling that isn’t manufactured, or has anything to do with measurements or lipstick color, rather:

“An effervescent desire to enjoy life, that’s what sex appeal is to me.”

Though Mansfield regularly played-up to her vital statistics, she was no dummy. Jayne allegedly had a genius IQ, spoke five languages, and was smart enough to buck the Hollywood system—breaking away to achieve international success as an actress, singer, burlesque and cabaret entertainer starring in sell-out shows on both sides of the Atlantic

In 1965, Jayne cut two tracks in New York with a young session musician named Jimi Hendrix on guitar. Apparently this strange combo happened as Jayne and Jimi shared the same manager.
 

A-Side: As Clouds Drift By—Jayne Mansfield with Jimi Hendrix on guitar and bass.
 

B-Side: Suey—Jayne Mansfield with Jimi Hendrix on guitar and bass.
 
Below, Mansfield speaks from a bed on the set of Brit flick The Challenge (aka It Takes A Thief) to comb-over interviewer, Robert Robinson, in 1960:

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Final Jimi Hendrix interview, one week before he died
02.04.2014
04:38 pm

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix


 

“When things get too heavy just call me helium—the lightest known gas to man.” - Jimi Hendrix

The sad (and beautiful) thing about this interview—the last interview Jimi Hendrix ever gave on September 11, 1970, a week before his death at the age of 27—is how happy the guy seemed.

He sounds neither druggy, nor in any way troubled. Full of life and excited about where his music was taking him.

The animation was done by Patrick Smith at Blank on Blank. Produced by David Gerlach. The interview was conducted by Keith Altham and you can hear the full recording at RocksBackPages.com
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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