In 1993 the biggest act in indie rock, by far, was Nirvana, but the Lemonheads weren’t all that far behind. Both acts had enjoyed a spectacularly successful 1992: Nirvana’s Nevermind had hit #1 on the album charts in January, and the Lemonheads followed suit by placing two songs off of the band’s fifth album It’s a Shame About Ray in the top 10, the title track and a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.”
The lead singer of the Lemonheads was a handsome young lad named Evan Dando, a polarizing figure whose beachy good looks didn’t exactly transmit the requisite values of integrity and struggle to the indie rock faithful. The Lemonheads had jumped to Atlantic for 1990’s Lovey, an act that carried far more symbolic meaning at that time than it would today. (Yes, Nirvana made a similar jump but then, Cobain wasn’t as dreamy-handsome as Dando.)
In early 1993, Steve Albini and Nirvana were holed up at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, to record what would become In Utero. At that moment Dando and his band were in Australia for a series of dates that, interestingly enough, would later be documented in a VHS called The Lemonheads: Two Weeks in Australia. While he was there, Dando called up Nirvana to shoot the shit for a while.
Now, indie rockers did not generally have access to email in 1993, and intercontinental telephone calls from hotel rooms were just about the most expensive form of communication imaginable, a fact that doesn’t seem to have fazed Dando a bit. At some point the speculative size of Dando’s hotel bill must have become a topic of conversation in Minnesota because after a while the game became to find a way to keep Dando on the line for as long as possible.
Someone, I’d imagine Kurt, thrusts the receiver in Albini’s face with the mandate to make something up. Forced to improvise, Albini passes himself off as a personal assistant to Madonna, who was just indescribably huge in the early 1990s, any connection with whom would represent a BIG rise in fortune for any former Taang! Records act such as the Lemonheads.
Would Mr. Dando mind waiting on the line while Madonna attends to other business?
And waiting…. and waiting…. and waiting?
Watch Steve Albini himself tell the story after the jump…
Remember the record industry? It was nuts, man. REO Speedwagon had their own plane. Black Sabbath had a $70,000 cocaine allowance. Jimmy Page had his own fucking castle. Michael Jackson, that guy...well, never mind. The point is, if you sold enough records, you could basically do whatever you wanted.
In 1992, when she was sandwiched between her 80’s pop-hit peak and her 00’s disco-feminist golden age, Madonna was generating so much income that Warner Brothers financed her own media empire. Maverick Entertainment was formed initially to release her Erotica album and the infamous Sex coffee table book (i.e. the one with Madonna’s vagina and Vanilla Ice’s penis), but they also operated as a subsidiary of Warners, signing bands and making movies. There were, naturally, high hopes for a Madonna-led entertainment company. She was known for pushing the envelope and edging mainstream culture away from the center and into weirder, kinkier territories. So who knew what she would unearth with Maverick? Could be anything. Crazy, mind-blowing shit, right? We already had full-frontal Maddy getting her freak on in Sex, what could possibly come next?
Spoiler alert: In 1995, they released Jagged Little Pill, one of the biggest selling records of all time. Which is great for Madonna and for Alanis Morrissette, but it wasn’t exactly a cutting-edge release. And most of the Maverick-y stuff that came before it was even more underwhelming. Remember Canadian Bacon, John Candy’s last film, the only non-documentary that Michael Moore ever made? That was Madonna’s thing. So were soft-grunge cretins Candlebox. Maverick would eventually be the home of cuddly mainstream enterprises like Britney Spears, Michelle Branch, and the Twilight twinkling vampire movies. The Brink’s truck continued making regular deliveries to Madonna’s house, but any dreams of the company living up to the name were pretty much dashed when they signed the Backstreet Boys.
But there were actually a couple of early glimmers (rays?) of light suggesting that, hey, maybe Madonna knew what was up all along. For one thing, she signed DC hardcore heroes Bad Brains and released their reggae-heavy ‘95 album God of Love. Unfortunately Brains’ mainman HR was on a real tear that year and assaulted a bunch of people, including the group’s own manager, hastening the band’s (brief, but career-tanking) demise. And she also discovered LA rap-metal pioneers Proper Grounds.
Many would cite Rage Against the Machine as the first significant band to tread this thorny path. Rage are not a metal band and they don’t have a rapper, but okay, sure. Ice-T would point you to his incendiary thrash metal outfit Body Count. But that was a just a rapper playing metal.There were one-offs like the Public Enemy/Anthrax mash-up “Bring the Noize”; the lesser-known Sir Mix-a-lot/Metal Church head-spinner “Iron Man” in ‘88, and if we stretch even farther back, the mysterious hooded rapper The Lone Rager, who spat out a brief history of the genre back in ‘84’s ridiculous “Metal Rap” (“And Metallica? Spectaculah!”). 24-7 Spyz offered up funk-metal that edged into hip-hop territory, and Schoolly D, in his bid to wipe out rock n’ roll once and for all, merged metal riffs with hilariously angry lyrics on his 1988 album Smoke Some Kill (“Fuck Cinderella, fuck Bon Jovi, and motherfuck Prince, man.”). All that shit existed, sure. But none of them merged the gritty realities of life on the street with the intensity and velocity of heavy metal in the same way that Proper Grounds did.
Proper Grounds were, essentially, a panicky Grandmaster Flash with grungy guitars. Or maybe Stone Temple Pilots with scratching. Formed by frontman The Sandman and bass player/producer Danny Saber, they had a deep-rooted social consciousness that neatly subverted the mindless violence and material worship that engulfed rap in the 90’s and their take on metal, was elastic and acrobatic, avoided the genre’s chest-thumping excess. They called their particular brand of noise “anguish rap metal” and that pretty much says it all. Songs like “I’m Drowning,” “Backwards Mass,” and “Money in the Depths of a Plagueless Man” were so dark they were practically gothic. Their sole album, 1993’s Downtown Circus Gang, was a stark snapshot of life on the streets of LA in the wake of the ‘92 riots, bitter and hard and raw and real. Perfect for the 90’s, really.
When you think of the work of Keith Haring, it’s probable that unless you know a great deal about him, you’ll envision it all as being rather similar, brightly colored graffiti-style artifacts with faceless outline-homunculi thrusting their fists into the air and crawling babies and barking dogs with wiggly motion lines, perhaps on a Swatch? CRACK IS WACK: we’ve all seen it.
Well, as is true of nearly all artists, Haring’s signature style didn’t emerge fully formed, and there is a lot of work from his younger years that isn’t much like that at all. While this tendency never really left him, Haring started out as something closer to a standard-issue agit-prop street artist and collagist, one with a huge debt to Warhol, whom he later befriended. In 1980, already having acquired some reputation as a street artist, Haring briefly adopted a style in which he manipulated choice phrases from the cover of the New York Post to create bizarre new headlines in which his most hated public figures (Ronald Reagan and the Pope) became the butt of the joke. In a text that can be found in Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography by John Gruen, Haring wrote:
The most notorious of my street pieces were the ones that looked like the front page of the New York Post. I’d cut out letters from the Post and rearrange them to make fake headlines, like REAGAN SLAIN BY HERO COP or POPE KILLED FOR FREED HOSTAGE or MOB FLEES AT POPE RALLY. I Xeroxed these in the hundreds and I’d paste them on lampposts and on newsstands. Because they looked so real, people were forced to confront them. They were completely confused—and the posters really made a mark, because they got into people’s consciousness.
When I lived in New York, my housemates and I would frequently joke about strange turns of phrase that we would see in the New York Post. For better or worse, the deathless tabloid represents the pinched and chauvinistic and intolerant side of the city, and it does that pretty damn well. The fact that you probably knew EXACTLY how a New York Post cover treatment of any subject looks and feels before you even looked at any of the pictures in this post is a testament to their nauseating skill at getting people riled up, and the damn thing is probably as iconic as Mount Fuji and may well last as long as it, too.
Here are a bunch of those, I believe all of these date from 1980.
Obviously this is the original taped-together collage version of the one above it, in Xerox form.
Many more examples of Keith Haring’s New York Post collages after the jump…
I wish more of the discussion that takes place about Sonic Youth would bring that band’s collective sense of humor to bear. Yes, they are of course very very important, so talk of their innovative early days is all alternate tunings, noise, and no-wave nihilism. Their later days, it’s all blah blah blah elder statesmen of alternative rock—which, again, yeah, they absolutely were, but they’ve done some funny, funny shit that’s every bit as praiseworthy. Last fall, we showed you their preposterous video “Lou Believers,” but there’s much more to share, so let’s get on with it, shall we?
In 1986, Sonic Youth teamed up with Minutemen/fIREHOSE bass player Mike Watt for a Madonna covers 7”. Having temporarily re-dubbed the band “Ciccone Youth” in a nod to Madonna’s disused surname, they recorded ridiculous travesties of the pop icon’s hits “Burnin’ Up” and “Into The Groove” (renamed “Into the Groovy”), with the latter introduced by way of “Tuff Titty Rap,” which gave Thurston Moore a fine forum in which to be a complete fucking goofball for 40 seconds.
The band was giving vent to a bizarre Madonna obsession in other ways at the time—on their EVOL LP, released the same year, they listed the song “Expressway to Yr Skull” as “Madonna, Sean and Me” on the album cover, and as “The Crucifixion of Sean Penn” on the lyric sheet. Two years later, Ciccone Youth expanded the gag to a full album’s worth of, um, stuff. The Whitey Album included all three tracks from the single, plus a mix of the inane (“Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening to NEU!,” “Silence,” both of which are exactly as stated by the titles), some material that recalled SY’s experimental early days before they fully embraced pop song structures, a bit of spoken word, and a version of “Addicted to Love” (about which, previously on DM, enjoy all the Robert Palmer white-knights in the comments). Check out Dave Markey’s video for the Whitey cut “Macbeth.”
The Whitey Album is singular in the Sonic Youth catalog—the only other SY release I can think of that approaches its pure diverse weirdness is the Master=Dik E.P., released six months earlier, the title track of which just happens to be laden with “Ciccone” references. Six months later and the goofing off would be over. In October of 1988, Sonic Youth would release their 2XLP masterwork Daydream Nation, which left zero room for doubt that the band belonged in the pantheon of art-rock’s greats. Enjoy a bonus video of that album’s “Silver Rocket,” from a STUNNING network TV performance on the far too short-lived Night Music.
It was a clash of two future musical titans, New Year’s Eve, 1983 at New York’s legendary Danceteria.
Madonna, still the part-time coat-check girl at the nightclub, was chosen to open for, of all artists, The Smiths. This was the band’s first trip to the U.S. and they had just landed hours before. It was also on this trip that Morrissey worried about being thrown out of the band, and two days later Johnny Marr sweet-talked Sire Records’ Seymour Stein into buying him a new guitar: his iconic cherry red ‘59 Gibson ES-355.
According to Marr, the jet-lagged band paid very little attention to the girl opening for them, and he personally didn’t think very highly of her. Of course, Morrissey has said a lot nastier things about her over the years.
Johnny Marr on the night Madonna opened for The Smiths:
Ever see this? It’s an “answer” song to Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach,” and sung by Danny Aiello (who was the dad in the Madonna video).
I’ve been talking about it for years, and my friend Ted Travelstead just dug it up. Was starting to think that I hallucinated it. Incredible.
I’m not proud of myself when I tell you that although I’m the type who can’t remember what day I was married on or my father’s birthday, not only do I recall this terrible, then surprisingly moving and then ultimately really fucking terrible again video, I could even recall the damned title: “Papa Wants the Best for You.”
Aiello later said of the video:
“You know, that came about in a very strange way,” Danny explains. “I had no idea who [Madonna] was, so I said to [daughter] Stacey in passing, ‘They want me to do this music video with this girl named Madonna.‘She said, ‘Dad, Dad, you have to.’ I went back and said I’ll do it if my daughter is permitted on the set taking pictures with Madonna. ... Madonna sort of backed up and told her representative that I don’t do that. My daughter has hated her ever since. I’m a movie actor doing this piece of crap!”
Danny Aiello put it up on his own YouTube page in May but as of this writing, only 11 people had viewed it, including me.
Cornettos are similar to the American Drumstick ice creams, only better. Though it would be more entertaining if there had been photographs, one can still picture the scene as customers, at this local supermarket, tampered with the frozen goods in an effort to give their best Madonna in that pointy bra impersonation.
Along with being a D.I.Y. Jean-Paul Gaultier bra, Cornettos are a favorite confection across Europe, and are the linking motif for the Simon Pegg-Nick Frost-Edgar Wright “Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy”: Shaun of the Dead (strawberry Cornetto), Hot Fuzz (original Cornetto) and The World’s End (mint Cornetto).
“Britney Spears and Madonna Kiss/Life is Beautiful” by Mr. Brainwash, 2008
Usually recollected (if at all) as one of the decade’s more craven publicity stunts, it now transpires that like Madonna’s recent Illuminati-themed Super Bowl half-time spectacle, Madge’s earlier 2003 MTV Video Music Awards number—where she famously kissed Britney Spears—was also, in fact, a massive, multi-leveled working of choreographed sorcery…
Such, anyhow, is the contention of many so-called “synchromystics,” an enjoyably kooky sub-sect of conspiracy theorists who seem to spend most of their time on the lookout for occult and mythical phenomena in popular culture. Imagine, if you will, a combination of David Icke and D-Listed blogger Michael K.
Based on previously unobserved details and events before, during and after the MTV performance itself –such as the thirteen step staircase in the middle of the stage and of Madonna subsequently changing her name to “Esther” (yeah I missed that too) – the revised interpretation is summed up by leading synchromystic Freeman in the footage below: “What’s actually going on here is Madonna passing on her priestess status to these two ex- Mouseketeers” (refering also to Christine Aguilera, who was involved in the proceedings as well, but is usually dismissed as a sort of symbolic decoy – it seems that the jury’s out regarding Missy Elliot’s rapping cameo, however). As likeminded blogger the Celtic Rebel puts it:
The purpose of the kiss in the ceremony was more than the passing of the ceremonial staff of Queenship; it was the sharing of saliva (i.e. DNA), symbolic of the dualities that are Isis (in this case, the Dark/Light, Evil/Good, Pure/Soiled) becoming one (an insemination of sorts).
Dig? Now, for any self-respecting synchromystic, Freeman’s Mouseketeer reference is no mere aside. To them, Disney’s in-house fame academy is a byword for mind control and degradation, where the eventual participants in these mass rituals (celebrities themselves) are selected and groomed for service to, and to become part of the so-called “priest class”... which is why Britney’s 2007 visit to Esther’s Hair Salon (not Madonna’s) to get her head shaved caused such a synchromystical stir, as Freeman and his trusty sidekick explain below, following a more detailed discussion of that kiss.
Let’s get one thing clear before we go any further - this new Madonna single is AWFUL. It’s really is so terrible that I’m gonna call “Girl Gone Wild” Madonna’s Showgirls moment: it’s so bad, it’s good!
And that’s why this video is just perfect.
You’ll have seen the footage before, no doubt, as Tara posted it a few weeks back in its original form: “Skeletons Having Sex On A Tin Roof” by Orphic Oxtra. It works even better here, as Madonna’s insipid, wannabe-edgy lyrics (“girls just wanna have some fun” - er, okay) are juxtaposed by that cheerful-slash-insane-looking dancing lady. The overall half-assed vibe of the song’s production fits the video’s green-screen ethos like a glove. Madonna will have to go some way to top this with the official video.
Also, just for the record, no “808 drums” were used in the making of this song:
Madonna “GIrl Gone Wild” [Official Music Video - NOT!]
Drag superstar Alexia Twister recreates Madonna’s entire Super Bowl spectacle in Brazilian gay club Victoria Haus - a rather amazing feat considering this show was probably produced with less money than the cost of Cee Lo’s dressing room deli tray.
Hollywood Illuminati’s website blows the cover off of Madonna’s half-time spectacle revealing it to be a lavish Lucifer worshiping group grope fueled by cosmic lunar forces in synchronization with ancient Illuminati rituals. It seems that Madonna was voguing with the Devil.
According to Lucifer Freemason Texts, Lucifer is the lord of light and to worship Lucifer one would wear a black robe (like Madonna had on) and by her having the entire stadium participate with her in this ritual by holding up lights to her ritual, she basically did a classic musician performance of casting a spell on her audience and fooling them into Satanic Worship.
Dont forget that before Madonna put on the black robe, her dancers were in red, gold & black outfits and some were in red & white, which are colors that one uses to worship Lucifer. The entire show had a Lucifer color theme.
We see the male dancers doing acrobats for her track “Music”. During this chaos, there were two male dancers that got down on all fours, like the Muslims do when they pray to Allah. Most cheerleading teams, do not actually assume a prostration position when building a pyramid but in Satanic Rituals, it is believed that Lucifer or the devil would assume a prostration position and the witches would line up and kiss his anus as a sign of respect. We not only saw a classic Lucifer Ritual Pose but we also saw the quick building of a pyramid by her dancers.
During the last act “Like a Prayer” we not only see lights that are made to look like Hell Fire & sometimes the beams of light even take on a giant, quick pyramid formation but also during this supposedly ”church song” she ends the show by dropping into the ground. This was a Satanic Ritual.
What did this ritual mean? This Satanic Ritual, is a classic petition to Satan, in an effort to call for chaos out of order. While many people think that the Illuminati wants order out of chaos, that is simply not true.
According to Illuminati text, the Fallen One, desires Chaos out of Order. They will take what is orderly and make it chaotic!
So, this ritual, done by Madonna along with millions of Americans, spells wars, disease and a crashing of the Old World Order. While the lights at the end said “World Peace”-it doesnt matter what you see but instead you have to look at what they do and what is their definition of “peace”
For more startling revelations visit Hollywood Illuminati’s website.
So far there is no discussion of M.I.A.‘s arcane hand gestures and their link to the occult. But I have my own theories. Born Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam (oral/pray/orgasm), this deity worshiping Hindu rapper’s middle name “Maya” is Sanskrit for “illusion.” The question is, what kind of illusion was the dark-skinned Delilah trying to lure millions of unsuspecting TV viewers into? What horrible vortex of evil were we spared when NBC blotted out the “finger of death?”
Watch for yourself the whole sordid event. What has this world come to?
It’s been brought to my attention by Collapse Board’s Wallace Wylie that Pitchfork have dedicated an entire page to calling MIA an asshole because she apparently told the American public to fuck off during Madonna’s Super Bowl performance last night. In case you hadn’t heard, MIA did indeed raise her middle finger during Madonna’s overblown performance of “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” on which the rapper makes a guest appearance. To see the incident, scroll down to the bottom of this post.
What’s extra annoying about last night’s event is that M.I.A. doesn’t need these cheap ploys to up her visibility, even when the stage design and costuming is best described as “GoldenPalace.com.” After all, she released her first great single in years just last Thursday, and its music video had already racked up more than 3 million YouTube views even before the Super Bowl send-up. Following the rep-shattering press surrounding 2010’s /\/\/\Y/\, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to draw as much focus as possible back to her music. [So why run this story?]
Instead, in the few bars Madonna was kind enough to grant her during the biggest television event of the year, M.I.A.‘s message to America was simply, “Fuck you.” Well, in M.I.A.‘s own words, the little people will never win, but they can fuck shit up. Success might be the best revenge, but apparently, being an asshole is forever.
Seriously Pitchfork, GET A FUCKING GRIP.
As I stated in my last post about her, I am an MIA skeptic. I have found her performances and music to be underwhelming in the past, though I have really warmed to her latest video “Bad Girls.” The same goes for last night’s performance at the Super Bowl - it ain’t no great shakes, though she does look great. But if you take this much offense at last night’s throw-away hand gesture—which I honestly might not have noticed if it hadn’t been pointed out to me—then you seriously need your head examined. Yes, seriously. Just look at the clip below, and then tell us how offended you are on a scale of one to ten.
What I find truly bizarre about this reactionary Pitchfork piece is the level of personal affront the writer has taken at MIA’s (actually rather tame) gesture. According to this article MIA is not just flipping the bird at a camera or a camera person, she is not just flipping the bird as a routine hand gesture that countless MC regularly use, she’s not flipping the bird to accentuate her line about “not giving a shit” - no, MIA is flipping the bird to show her disgust at every single person in the United States of America. AMERICA, MIA HATES YOU!!! And especially those who may have tuned in to the Super Bowl to see her!! Yes, this makes perfect sense.
With that in mind I’m really, REALLY looking forward to seeing Pitchfork calling out Kanye West, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Fred Durst, Jonathan Davis and countless other rappers and rockers who have raised their middle finger on national television at some point in the past and will do so again in the future. Because THEY must hate America and everyone watching them at that moment TOO, right?
Unfortunately, this will never happen. As other writers have pointed out in the past, Pitchfork has a legacy of sexism to its tarnished name, which explains the hyperbolic over-reaction to a common hand gesture in this news piece. Had this been done by a man it would surely be lauded as “punk,” yet when MIA flips the bird during a televised game where grown men BEAT THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF EACH OTHER, she’s an asshole who hates every single person watching her at that very moment. Living and dead. I mean seriously, how is anyone watching American Football going to cope with the mental scars that seeing a raised middle finger can bring?!?
That’s leaving aside the fact that MIA is a brown woman, and not even from America itself. Unlike Madonna of course, who can remain completely blameless during this entire farrago, and who was “kind enough” to grant MIA exposure on her tune. As opposed to hiring MIA in the hope that some of her credibility will rub off on a very lukewarm track. Or even—get this—simply being a female performer who wants to work with another female performer.
What is also “extra annoying” is that Pitchfork has, in the past, given critical support to acts who condone the most brutal of violence against women and who have been deemed somehow edgy and confrontational because of it. Presumably because rape, sexism and homophobia is “punk” as opposed to “a cheap ploy to gain visibility.” I await with glee the moment when Pitchfork tells Tyler the Creator/Eminem/Lil Wayne to drop their bird-flipping schtick and draw our focus solely back to the music.
Again though, I doubt this will ever happen.
Pitchfork, with this news piece you have placed yourselves firmly (and finally) on the side of the fucking establishment.
Rather grateful to ace musician Fleabag Jones (aka Woody Mcmilan) for reminding me how well this mash-up between the Sex Pistols and Madonna works.
Called “Ray of Gob” (“Ray of Light” / “Pretty Vacant” / “God Save The Queen”), it was created by Mark Vidier, the Watford based DJ who has produced a whole jukebox of bootleg mash-ups via his Go home Productions.
“Ray of Gob” is rather special as it was the one which “broke the camel’s back” and allowed Mark to give up the day-job in February 2003. Still sounds as good today.
An uncredited photo taken of William S. Burroughs and an “up and coming” young Madonna during the author’s big 70th birthday bash at the Limelight nightclub in New York, February 1984.
You have to love this example of her insane chutzpah. He probably had no idea who she was, but there she is, right in the middle of it! I also like the detail of the joint being passed. What a great photo.