Rare 70s pic of Prince, uploaded by ChrisEagle08
The purple funk pixie turns 54 today. Happy birthday, Prince!
You are the reason I have dedicated my life to music, and also the reason for my occassional feelings of inadequecy. I mean, seriously, how can anyone ever compete with that?
Oh well, we do our best.
Here’s some footage of the master at his post-Purple Rain peak in 1985, tearing it up live at the Grammys, with The Revolution still in tow. He truly is the greatest performer rock or pop has ever seen, let’s just hope he doesn’t yank this cracking clip:
Prince & The Revolution “Baby I’m A Star” (live at the Grammys, 1985)
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.
Here’s an extract from the offending Pitchfork article:
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.
Rock on, bros.
MIA HATES AMERICA!!! AND HERE IS THE PROOF:
Don Cornelius, creator and star of Soul Tain, has been found dead at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. From TMZ:
Law enforcement sources tell us ... Cornelius died from a gunshot wound to the head and officials believe the wound was self-inflicted.
Sad news indeed - I had only posted on Soul Train here on DM a few weeks ago. Thanks for all the awesomeness, Don! In memory here’s the man himself introducing the legendary Soul Train line dancers to Earth Wind and Fire’s “Mighty Mighty” in 1974:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Have Yourself A Soul Train Sunday
Yes, ‘The Can” is the ‘Can’ we all know and love - Holger, Jaki, Michael, Irmin and, in this early 70s incarnation, the iconic Damo Suzuki. Here is a clip of the band performing the title track of the Roland Klick film ‘Deadlock’ in 1970 on Germany’s Westdeutscher Rundfunk television station.
When I first stumbled upon this clip, I assumed the TV producers had made an amusing mistake by adding an unwanted definitive article to the start of the band’s name. However, after checking the Can wiki page, it turns out that the additional “The” may not have been a mistake after all:
[By 1968] the band used the names “Inner Space” and “The Can” before finally settling on “CAN”. Liebezeit subsequently suggested the backronym “communism, anarchism, nihilism” for the band’s name. [Wow, what an amazing backronym!]
However, by the time this footage was recorded in 1970 the band had already released two records as ‘Can’ - Monster Movies and Soundtracks, which mostly featured Malcolm Mooney on vocals rather than Suzuki. So I think a little chortle can be had without feeling too foolish, but who knows, maybe it was a genuine mistake or maybe the bad flirted with a new name for a new singer? Either way, if it’s ‘The Can’ or just plain old ‘Can’ this is some great early footage of true musical pioneers:
The Can “Deadlock” live 1970
After the jump, the awesome ‘Mother Sky’ from the same session…
As a follow up to yesterday’s post of Jean-Jacques Perrey demonstrating the Ondioline on I’ve Got a Secret in 1960, here’s another of the great man in action on the same show - and it’s even better.
Perrey returned to the quiz show six years after his original appearance, and his secret was exactly the same. Only this time he was given more of a chance to display the range of the Ondioline by comparing its voices to that of the real life corresponding instruments. The panel also take longer to discover the secret, and Perrey takes some pleasure in making them guess.This footage is great, but the real treat here comes in the last three minutes, when Perrey is joined onstage by his musical partner Gershon Kingsley to perform the song “Spooks in Space” from their classic electronic pop album The In Sound From Way Out! (available on the compilation The Out Sound From Way In!). It’s a spirited, joyous performance of music that still sounds unique today, and is guaranteed to bring a smile to even the hardest of faces.
I was lucky enough to see Jean-Jacques Perrey perform in 2005 at the ripe old age of 76, and he was just as jolly (if slightly unhinged) as he appears on this show, like a slightly manic but beloved uncle who used a stuffed lion toy to help communicate. Way out, perhaps, but Perrey has been responsible for bringing early electronica to a large audience, while simultaneously stripping the music of its austere trappings. This clip is a great example of how he did it - when Perrey & Kingsley perform the fun is infectious:
On this now more than half a century old clip, the pioneering French musician Jean-Jacques Perrey demonstrates the early synthesiser the Ondioline as part of a quiz show called I’ve Got A Secret. The year is 1960 and electronic instruments (in particular synthesisers) are still fascinatingly new. The point of the show, as the name would suggest, is for guests to reveal a secret to the host and audience and then make the panel of judges guess what their secret is. And I gave away Perrey’s secret in the first sentence of this paragraph. Oops.
Not to worry - the panel guess almost instantly what Jean-Jacques’ “secret” is:
Perrey then goes on to demonstrate the Ondioline to the genuinely awed people in the studio. What is perhaps more awe-inspiring for the modern audience is the host Gary Moore nonchalantly smoking a cigarette:
Man I love Sparks! They are simultaneously the geekiest AND coolest band in the history of rock. We need to be showing more love to the brothers Mael and their highly literate, fun, sexy and intelligent music here on DM - they are California boys after all. This bizarrely brilliant short concert film is the perfect excuse to post about them.
Sparks always move with the times, and frequently they were well ahead of it. In 1974 they took baroque opera-pop to the top of the UK charts, a whole year before Queen did the same thing to more acclaim. In 74/75 they pretty much invented New Wave (the proof lies in this film) and 4-5 years later when it had caught on Sparks had already moved on to inventing that staple of 80s pop, the synth-duo (through their incredible work with Giorgio Moroder). That’s not even taking into account the theory that 1976’s Big Beat album paved the way for power-pop. By the early 80s the brothers had settled down and repositioned themselves as perhaps THE quintessential New Wave band, hooking up with uber-fan Jane Weidlin of the Go-Gos along the way, and delivering the MTV staple “Cool Places”. Sparks were on the ball with their music videos too, recognising that the moving image was going to be key to music in the coming decades, and hiring a certain director called David Lynch to helm the promo for their classic 1983 stomper “I Predict”.
And that brings us back to this concert film. It is of course a brilliant look at the Sparks live set-up of the mid-Seventies post-glam era, but it also gives us some unintentionally funny moments too. It must have been a bit of a nightmare for the record company to position this brainy, sarky, odd-looking band as being another teeny-bop pop product, but boy did they try. See the over-enthusiastic reaction from the crowd to every single move the band make! Hear the roars that sound like they were from a different concert! Feel the prodding from assistant directors for bored audience members to get up and dance! Still, none of this hides the true, what-the-hell weirdness that shines out of Sparks, and particularly Ron Mael. Just check the moment at 1:40 when Ron gives a wry smile to an audience member and we see her shocked reaction.
This film is pretty short and only features four songs (“Something For The Girl With Everything”. Talent Is An Asset”, “B.C.” and “Amateur Hour”) and pop spotters will also be interested to see that Sparks are given an introduction by none other than Keith Moon and Ringo Starr:
Sparks Live 1974 Part 1
Part 2 after the jump…
Graffiti Rock‘s Michael Holman and DJ Jimmy Jazz
Before Yo! MTV Raps and Rap City hit the markets in the late ‘80s, New York culture maven Michael Holman first made the move to put hip-hop culture on TV with the show Graffiti Rock.
In 1984, Holman—who played music with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vincent Gallo in the legendarily obscure band Grey—got a bunch of banker friends to put together $150,000 to shoot the pilot for the series at Madison Ave. and 106th St. It screened on WPIX channel 11 in June 1984.
Holman turned the show into a seminar on the culture. Alongside future superstars Run D.M.C., Kool Moe Dee and Shannon—and cameos by “Prince Vince” Gallo and Debi Mazar—he featured his own crew the New York City Breakers, pieces by graf artist Brim, and hilarious slang translations. For the time, the show is pretty slick and ready for prime-time. Holman picks up the tragic story from there…
So the show airs and actually does much better than people thought! We got great ratings and aired in 88 syndicated markets, nationwide. But when we went to Las Vegas to sell the show at NAPTE (National Association of Producers of Television Entertainment) we hit a wall. First, the station managers (the people responsible for purchasing new shows in their markets) didn’t understand why “Graffiti Rock,” and hip hop was different to what Soul Train was offering. Secondly, certain stations wouldn’t take the chance to buy “Graffiti Rock,” unless other, larger markets did first. Chicago was waiting on L.A. to bite, and L.A. was waiting on New York. But the major New York syndicated stations at the time, were controlled by unsavory characters, and they wanted money under the table to put the show on the air! My main investors refused to deal with these forces (I of course would have done whatever I had to to get it on the air, and am still pissed they didn’t play along!)...
Graffiti Rock proved a legendary snapshot into what hip-hop TV was about to be. What a shot in the arm it would have been for the culture. Gnarls Barkley would later lovingly spoof Holman and the show for the video for their 2008 hit “Run” and before that, the Beastie Boys sampled Holman’s excellent little seminar on scratching in pt. 2 on their tune “Alright Hear This.”
I’ll leave part 3 of the YouTube of Graffiti Rock off this post in an appeal for you to reward a culture hero like Holman by buying the DVD.
After the jump: more Graffiti Rock
In my post about Rockets the other day, I mentioned the Italian TV program Stryx. Here’s some more bizarro music performance clips from the show, in its own particular late 70s batshit/fierce style. They really don’t make ‘em like this anymore! According to Wikipedia:
Stryx thematically referred to Hell, devils and underworld. The scenography featured elements resembling Middle Ages-like gloomy castles and caves… The show caused many controversies in more conservative societies, mainly because of its devilish theme and referring to underworld as well as exposing nudity. Due to numerous protests the show was taken off the broadcast and the production of following episodes was cancelled.
So in these videos, all of which are worth watching, we get two huge gay disco icons in the one clip (Amanda Lear & Grace Jones), Patty Pravo giving Gaga a run for her Illuminati wage packet, Mia Martini getting burnt at the stake in a fabulous glittery dress, and some more of those amazing Rockets. My favourite clip is Gal Costa performing “Relance” - it’s quite subdued for Stryx (apart from the dozen or so extras who are lying still at the front of the stage) but is carried by Costa’s no bullshit performance and the incredible gypsy funk of the track itself. But first let’s start with Grace and Amanda:
Grace Jones (introduced by Amanda Lear) - Fame
After the jump, more Grace Jones, Amanda Lear, Patty Pravo, Gal Costa, Mia Martini and Rockets…
Six years after he graduated high school, and four years after the LSD experiences that he’s called “one of the two or three most important things I’ve done in my life,” and less than two years after he co-founded a company named after a fruit, the biological son of graduate students Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Simpson prepped nervously for his first TV interview.
Ya gotta figure most game-changers have found themselves “deathly ill and ready to throw up at any moment,” right?
Thanks, Cameron Macdonald!
You gotta love Charlie Brooker. He’s on a one man mission to tear television apart from the inside. Nowhere is that more clear than in the title of his new show, the first episode of which looks at how and why fear dominates the airwaves. His new series How TV Ruined Your Life debuted on the BBC on Tuesday, and some helpful person has gone and uploaded it to YouTube, in two parts. If you live in the UK you can see the full show, unbroken, on the BBC iPlayer for the next week.
In an age where dwindling ratings are forcing channels and shows to become more extreme, we need voices like Brooker’s more than ever. He seems like the only one left trying to fill a Chris Morris-shaped hole on mainstream UK TV (he and Morris worked together on 2005’s Nathan Barley series), speaking what seems a glaringly obvious truth to power. Most of the televisual references here are British, but it doesn’t really matter as it’s the same fundamental principles all over the globe. People are biologically trained to be alert to warnings, we find it hard to look away - fear sells, and Charlie helps us laugh at it.
On another level, this also gives non-British viewers a chance to see some of the terrible crap that has come out of the goggle box in the UK over the years. It’s not all as good as Fawlty Towers. .
Part Two of How TV Ruined Your Life after the jump…
Speculating on how an 85-year-old Lenny Bruce would be celebrating his birthday today is as fun as it is pointless.
But it’s pretty easy to guess that edgy comedy’s patron saint would not have been able to stretch out casually on TV for 25 minutes in conversation with a legendary publisher and lifestyle creator like the Hef.
That’s what happened in 1959 on the first episode of Playboy’s Penthouse, Hugh Hefner’s first foray into TV, which broadcast from WBKB in his Chicago hometown. This was the first mass-market exposure of the erstwhile club-bound Bruce, and its high-end hepness set the tone for the show’s two-season run, which featured a ton of figures in the jazz culture scene.
Of course, the dynamic between the eloquent snapping-and-riffing Long Islander Bruce and the perennially modest Midwestern Hefner is classic as the comedian covers topics like “sick” comedy, nose-blowing, Steve Allen, network censorship, tattoos & Jews, decency wackos, Lou Costello, integration, stereotypes, medicine and more.
In 1956 hipster humorist Lord Buckley appeared on TV game show You Bet Your Life hosted by Groucho Marx. This was a meeting of two brilliant minds and it’s hard to believe that it actually occurred on network television. But, Buckley was so underground that the viewing audience was clueless as to who he was. While he’s rather low-key on the program, he still manages to slip some of his bebop prose into the mix. The ‘housewife’ Buckley’s teamed up with is a pretty cool broad herself. In contrast to the two contestants, Groucho comes off a bit square.
As an added attraction, I’ve included a rare clip of Buckley’s appearance on TV’s Club 7 circa 1949.
more Buckley after the jump…
Marshall McLuhan would have turned 99 years old today, and his status as the god-daddy of media studies still seems pretty rock-solid. I wasn’t previously aware of how often the Canadian theorist appeared on TV, and was especially unaware of his November 1967 duet with New York novelist Norman Mailer on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show The Summer Way, bravely moderated by Ken Lefolii.
Recovered from recent treatment for a benign brain tumor he suffered while teaching in New York, McLuhan gamely tugs at a few of Mailer’s pretensions. Mailer is recently back from levitating the Pentagon with the Yippies, with the siege of Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention in his future.
McLuhan pops off a bunch of gems, including:
The planet is no longer nature, it’s now the content of an artwork.
Nature has ceased to exist…it needs to be programmed.
The environment is not visible, it’s information—it’s electronic.
The present is only faced by any generation by the artist.
More after the jump…