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Bad Music for Bad People: The second best Cramps footage you’ll ever see!
01.28.2014
12:41 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Cramps
Kid Congo Powers


 
This might not be the very best footage of The Cramps you’ll ever see—that designation would probably be bestowed upon the infamous video shot at the Napa, CA mental hospital in 1978—but it’s most probably the second best. Oh yes…

This is The Cramps—Lux, Ivy, Nick Knox and Kid Congo Powers—caught live at the Mudd Club in NYC, at their prime, in 1981. The source for this was a broadcast of Paul Tschinkel’s Inner-Tube and it was apparently taped off the air. Recently it turned up on the Dime a Dozen torrent tracker and then on YouTube. I’ve owned—for about 25 years—a really good low generation dub of the final three songs, so to see the entire set is pretty glorious.

A few years ago, Paul Tschinkel teased the Internet by releasing a little bit of what he’s got and here’s what I wrote:

Since I was only ever able to catch a few of them on TV (I moved to NYC the year it went off the air), I was always on the look-out for bootlegs of a cable access program called Paul Tschinkel’s Inner-Tube, perhaps THE greatest (I can’t imagine what would compare to it) underground video archive of late 70, early 80s punk, post-punk, No Wave and New Wave music that exists.

The Gun Club, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, The Cramps, Blondie, Talking Heads, James Chance and the Contortions, Johnny Thunders, Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, The Dead Boys, The Ramones, Siouxsie and The Banshees… the list of bands seen on Inner-Tube goes on and on and on. Shows often shot in color, with two cameras and sound board audio. Performances taped at CBGB, Mudd Club, Danceteria, Max’s Kansas City, Irving Plaza and usually the camera was right up front.

Inner-Tube ran for ten years on Manhattan Cable (meaning that you could only watch it if you lived in Manhattan, the outer boroughs didn’t get it, TV Party, Midnight Blue or The Robin Byrd Show, either). Seriously, it was the best of the best. Unbelievable shit.

I’ve been waiting in vain for years, hoping for a proper DVD release of the “best of” Inner-Tube, but the rights issues would probably make that a nightmare. Now it looks like Tschinkel is starting to put some on YouTube. This should be encouraged!

I wrote that two years ago. Since then Paul has released precious little of his treasure trove on YouTube. Hopefully he’ll note the interest in this Cramps post and give us some more? Pretty please???

The sole downside of this amazing video is that Poison Ivy spends much of the time behind a big pillar, hidden from the camera. You do see her, but not as much as you might want to.

Set list:
“Don’t Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk”
“New Kind Of Kick”
“The Green Fuz”
“Can’t Find My Mind”
“Goo Goo Muck”
“Natives Are Restless”
“TV Set”
“Sunglasses After Dark”
“Voodoo Idol”
“Human Fly”
“I Was A Teenage Werewolf”
“Beautiful Gardens”

If this doesn’t get you off, then you don’t like rock and roll… and get the fuck off this blog.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Kid Congo Powers on life with The Cramps, The Gun Club and Nick Cave on ‘The Pharmacy’


 
Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

Legendary guitarist Kid Congo Powers is this week’s special guest. Kid has played with The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds and his own group, The Pink Monkey Birds (touring the US in February, don’t miss them!)

Listen in on the conversation as Kid discusses how Poison Ivy once asked him if he was willing to sacrifice a finger to be in The Cramps… How playing with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds inspired him to quit drinking…. and how he learned to play the blues from Jeffery Lee Pierce.
 

 
Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.
 
Setlist:

Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall
Shot Down - The Sonics
Bert’s Apple Crumble - The Quik
Rx Intro Part One - Blind Man Can See It - James Brown
Kid Congo Interview Part One
New Kind of Kick - The Cramps
Jaguar Shake - Les Jaguars
Akula Owu Onyeara - The Funkees
I Heard it Through the Grapevine - The Slits
Rx Intro Part 2 - Sliced Tomatoes - Just Brothers
Kid Congo Part Two
Preaching the Blues - The Gun Club
The Brother’s Gonna Work it Out - Willie Hutch
Stand Up and Be Counted - The Equals
Caress - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Kid Congo Interview Part Three
Deanna - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Rx Intro Part - Jumping Jack Flash - Ananda Shankar
Kid Congo Interview Part Four
Bo Bo Boogaloo - Kid Congo + The Pink Monkey Birds
Liberation Conversation - Marlena Shaw
Justine - Don & Dewey
Oh Oh Mojo - Volcanoes
Rx Outro - Big City - Spacemen 3
Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall

 
You can download the entire the show here.
 

“Haunted Head” by Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds. Directed by Rob Parrish.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘We’re the best of the worst’: The Cramps on B-Movies, sex, drugs & rock-n-roll
01.17.2014
01:11 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Cramps
Lux Interior
Poison Ivy


 
Before there was Kim and Thurston, there was Poison Ivy Rorschach and Lux Interior, one of the most charming, happiest, long-standing (together thirty-seven years) collaborative couples in music. They gave a recently rediscovered interview to Dutch public radio station VPRO around 1990 during The Cramps’ Stay Sick tour.

In the hour long interview, Poison Ivy and Lux talk about the gyrations involved in dealing with major and independent labels, overseas distribution deals, their invention of the word “psychobilly,” the ‘80s war on drugs, voodoo, religion, war, sex, B movies, and how they “Crampified” original classics such as “Bop Pills.” Their encyclopedic knowledge of rockabilly and B movies, which they rattle off effortlessly, is incredible. Lux outlines the history of American B movies for the interviewer:

Lux: The thing that’s so great, I think, about B movies is that when you watch a movie like that, they were made so quickly and usually by fairly amateur filmmakers that what you’re seeing is much more of the reality of the time and place where they were made than a motion pictures studio like MGM or Paramount or something like that. You’re actually seeing people who can’t act very well, so you see them as people, and they usually take place in somebody’s real house and on real streets and things, while all the other movies were being made on sets. There’s a slice of reality you don’t get in regular movies with those. I don’t know what it is.  Once you’ve developed a taste for that, you can’t go back somehow.

 
allwomenarebadposter
 

Poison Ivy: A lot of sexploitation [movies], just even titles, influence our songs. The dialogue from a lot of those movies is in our songs. “Hot Pearl Snatch” is the name of a movie, “All Women Are Bad” is the name of a movie. They’re powerful titles to us enough that we felt like writing songs about them. Also they’re in lines of our songs.

Lux: “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns” could be a B movie. The line in that, “This stuff’ll kill ya,” that’s a title of a Herschell Gordon Lewis movie about moonshine. Our songs are just loaded with B movie titles and lines out of B movies. In “What’s Inside a Girl” I say “In the bottom of the bottomless body pit,” like that, and that’s out of a movie called—

Poison Ivy: “The Love Butcher.” That was actually a line of dialogue out of that movie. It’s hard for us not to use these lines because we’re just kind of submerged in these movies. We think that way. They don’t sound like dialogue to us.

Listen to The Cramps on VPRO radio

lovebutcher
 
Below, Lux Interior and Poison Ivy interviewed in Amsterdam, 1990:

 
Thanks to Kogar!

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
The Cramps’ Lux Interior posing with his John Wayne Gacy portrait
08.26.2013
12:14 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Cramps
Lux Interior
John Wayne Gacy


 
While he was waiting on death row, John Wayne Gacy painted a number of portraits of cartoon characters, clowns and famous people, often at their request, including Lux Interior of The Cramps.

Apparently Gacy never actually listened to The Cramps but wrote (typos included) this on November, 15 1987:

I don’t look at people has hero’s nor do I write to lux interior as fan mail, we have just become friend via writing to each others, he expresses his view on things and I do the same. I don’t try to change people or get them on my side, I let them believe what they want and then if I get a new trial they will see where I am coming from. But I do answer some questions if I feel I can help them out by explaining it. By the way I have never heard Lux Interior music but I don’t pass judgement on it either as I believe his kind of musci make a statement too. I have hread he was dead too, but I think thats just bad rummor. I haven’t heard from him in a month or so but then thats not unusual for him. I just wrote to let him know that a painting he asked me to do is finished. He has been an admirer of my art work and owns four of them now, not including two I have just sent to him and the one I just finished.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Lux Interior and Ivy Rorschach’s McDonald’s job applications

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Stay sick: Cleveland’s legendary 1960s horror host ‘Ghoulardi’ is Paul Thomas Anderson’s father
08.15.2013
09:28 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
The Cramps
Paul Thomas Anderson
Ghoulardi

Ghoulardi
 
In the city of Cleveland, people of a certain age get all misty-eyed when the name “Ghoulardi” is uttered in their presence. He was a mysterious, anarchic, goofy “degenerate” Beatnik character who hosted a Friday late-night horror movie show from 1963 to 1966 on WJW-TV, Cleveland’s channel 8. Ghoulardi was more daffy than scary. You can see traces of Lenny Bruce, Soupy Sales and Ernie Kovacs in his shtick—the Bruce influence is evident in Ghoulardi’s slogan, which was “Stay Sick!”, whereas the Kovacs influence was demonstrated by Ghoulardi actually appearing in the monster movies thanks to a camera trick that superimposed him over the film chain. He would also use sound effects, shoot off fireworks and employ his own soundtracks for comic effect, often “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” by The Rivingtons. The Soupy Sales influence came with the general anarchy on the live TV set and Ghoulardi’s jabberwocky catchphrases like “Cool it with da boom-booms!” and “Turn blue!” There might have been a soupçon of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth in the mix, too.

Many of Ghoulardi’s baby boomer fans might be only dimly aware that Ghoulardi—real name Ernie Anderson—was also the father of some big-shot director who’s been making waves in Hollywood lately, P.T. Anderson or something like that? That’s right, Paul Thomas Anderson’s production company is called “The Ghoulardi Film Company” in honor of his father. Ernie Anderson died in 1997 and the movie Boogie Nights is dedicated to his memory.
 

 
Given how fondly his fans remember his show, Ghoulardi’s tenure in Cleveland was surprisingly brief—but this was an era in which television dominated everything (and with far fewer distractions). Ghoulardi was a huge influence on The Cramps, so much so that they titled their 1990 Stay Sick album in homage to him. When Anderson died, they dedicated their 1997 album, Big Beat From Badsville to the memory of Ghoulardi. David Thomas of Pere Ubu once complained that The Cramps were “so thoroughly co-optive of the Ghoulardi persona that when they first appeared in the 1970s, Clevelanders of the generation were fairly dismissive,” but from the vantage point of 2013, as John Petkovic wrote earlier this year in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ghoulardi (and his rock and roll progeny) “altered the gene pool, leaving a legion of freaky followers to continue in his wake.”

Ernie Anderson left Cleveland for the warmer climes of Los Angeles, where he became a respected voice-over artist and more or less the voice of the ABC television network. In 1983 he demonstrated some of his voice-over artistry on Late Night with David Letterman.

This November 1 marks the start of the three-day Ghoulardifest in Cleveland to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the show.

Catch some of Ghoulardi’s comedy stylings from 1963. Only 18 minutes of his programs actually survived. In this clip he opens up his mailbag, a format that Letterman himself would later make hay with. Ghoulardi gets away with an “racy” joke about poker that wouldn’t make an 11-year-old blink today.
 

 
After the jump, the Emmy-winning Ghoulardi documentary, ‘Turn Blue: The Short Life of Ghoulardi’

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Hippie Daze: Early 70s photo of The Cramps’ Lux Interior
07.25.2013
10:56 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Cramps
Lux Interior


 
This image, making the rounds on Facebook via the For the Love of Ivy page, purports to be an early long-haired image of Cramps’ main man, Lux Interior.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:

The Cramps’ Lux Interior and Poison Ivy photographed in 1972 when they were hippies!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Lux and Ivy of The Cramps explore the mystic arts of gardening and 3D photography
02.27.2013
11:26 pm

Topics:
Punk

Tags:
The Cramps
Lux Interior
Ivy Rorschach


 
The Cramps perform some toonz and Lux and Ivy discuss photography, cars and gardening in this nifty concert/interview made for Croatian TV in 1998.

I have always argued that if it were not for rock ‘n’ roll many of its practitioners would have gone insane or ended up in jail. In the case of Lux and Ivy, it seems to have been the glue that kept them happily together for 37 years. You can see it and feel it in this clip - a love supreme.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A cute baby picture of The Cramps’ Poison Ivy
02.09.2013
04:23 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Cramps
Poison Ivy


 
Kristy Marlana Wallace aka Poison Ivy.
 

What’s inside a girl?
Somethin’ tellin’ me there’s a whole other world.”

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Cramps live in New Jersey: One hour of rock ‘n’ roll mayhem
02.04.2013
11:20 am

Topics:
Punk

Tags:
The Cramps


 
On the fourth anniversary of the passing of the dearly beloved Lux Interior, I present The Cramps performing in Trenton, New Jersey in 1982 at the legendary City Gardens.

We’re always asked how long we can keep going. But it’s not really an issue for us. Besides, what else could we do? We must be among the world’s most unemployable people. If we hadn’t been in The Cramps, I can’t imagine the trouble we’d be in. We often find ourselves wondering about the difference between what we do and being locked up. It’s a pretty thin line. Rock ‘n’ roll is the greatest way for weirdos like us to find a purpose in life. In that sense, our goal has never really changed. We just want to carry on getting away with it. Not getting caught – that’s our only ambition.” Lux Interior, NME.

 
This is for the weirdos out there.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Cramps’ Lux Interior rocking out on SpongeBob SquarePants


 
Boing Boing just directed me to a 2002 episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where Cramps’ frontman Lux Interior provides the voice for the lead singer a band called the Bird Brains. Gotta share. Awesome.
 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Cramps’ Bryan Gregory on Memphis TV
08.16.2012
11:29 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Cramps
Bryan Gregory


 
The first time I saw The Cramps they were opening for The Ramones at CBGB IN 1977. It was the original lineup which in addition to Lux and Ivy included hot rebel girl Miriam Linna laying down a deep voodoo groove on drums and the diabolically dashing Bryan Gregory strafing the audience with his deadly guitar. They were a fucking dynamite combination. But as much as I loved the band as a whole, I found myself particularly drawn to Bryan Gregory. While Lux was funny scary, Bryan was really fucking scary. And sartorially speaking, I always thought Bryan was the best-dressed Cramp (a tough call).

Bryan left The Cramps in 1980. He worked as a tattoo artist, did bit parts in horror films, managed an adult book store and re-entered the music scene with several bands, none of which really caught fire. There was a bit of buzz and excitement surrounding his collaboration with Andrella Canne in Beast (sounding a lot like Siousxie and The Banshees) and a decade later The Dials, but that phase of Bryan’s musical career got snake bit when Canne became too ill to continue performing and The Dials broke up. And bad luck followed Bryan when he suffered a heart attack at the age of 49 just as he was putting together a new band called Shiver. While most heart attacks are unexpected, Bryan’s shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise to anyone close to him. His health had been lousy for awhile and he wasn’t doing anything to make it better. His body was breaking down and whatever death spiral he was in had begun to spin out of control. The heart attack didn’t kill him, it just weakened him beyond what he could handle. Bryan died of “multiple system failures” in a hospital in Anaheim, California.

Gregory never achieved the kind of fame that his undeniable star quality warranted. He had a vibe, a style and presence, that was as magnetic and intensely mesmerizing as any guitar player I’ve ever seen. Only artists as charismatic as Lux and Ivy could share a stage with Bryan and not be overshadowed. When he left The Cramps, the band felt less dangerous without him.

There’s not a lot of video footage of Bryan out there. Here’s something that was shot for Memphis TV when The Cramps were recording their debut album, Songs the Lord Taught Us, at Sam Phillips studio with Alex Chilton producing. The quality is lousy and the bits with Bryan are brief but you take what you can get.
 

 
Bryan Gregory and The Dials after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Cramps’ Lux Interior and Poison Ivy photographed in 1972 when they were hippies!
04.25.2012
07:29 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Hippies
The Cramps
Lux Interior
Poison Ivy


 
This vintage photo of The Cramps’ Lux Interior and Poison Ivy—taken in April of 1972—is starting to make the rounds on Facebook. Consider my mind blown.
 
Source: Michael Murphy

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Some New Kind of Kick: The Cramps live at the mental hospital, 1978
03.30.2012
08:56 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Cramps


 
“Somebody told me you people are crazy! But I’m not so sure about that; you seem to be all right to me.”—Lux Interior

On June 13, 1978 The Cramps gave a free concert at the California State Mental Hospital in Napa. It is, simply put, one of the single greatest rock and roll moments ever captured on videotape (in this case, on a half-inch open reel Sony Portapak by Joe Rees and his Target Video outfit). Also on the bill were The Mutants from San Francisco.

One hundred years from now this video will be as iconic as The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. But enough description, HIT PLAY AND WATCH IT, ALREADY!

Artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard meticulously recreated this event (and the video itself) as an elaborate art project at the ICA in London in 2003. Forsyth and Pollard’s “Cramps” also performed in front of an audience comprised of psychiatric patients in their “File under Sacred Music” re-staging of the infamous 1978 gig.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Kid Congo Powers returns to the Psychedelic Jungle


 
As journeyman guitarist, Kid Congo Powers has played alongside of three of the most outrageous and notorious front-men of the post-punk era: The Cramps’ Lux Interior, Nick Cave, and of course, his longtime collaborator in The Gun Club, Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Two of these men are dead, the third is very lucky he isn’t… Kid Congo Powers has also added his Satanic magic to the mix collaborating with Jim Thirlwell, Lydia lunch, Die Haut, Annie Anxiety, Julee Cruise, and The Swan’s Michael Gira.

Currently living in Washington DC, Kid’s writing a memoir of growing up in Los Angeles and the early years of that city’s nascent punk scene. The gunslinger guitarist claims he gets more done in the staid, uptight District of Columbia simply because there’s not a lot to do there.

Dangerous Minds caught up with Kid Congo Powers after he and his crack band, the Pink Monkey Birds (named after a line in David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” song) played a right rave up on the stage at Waterloo Records’ parking lot in Austin, TX during the SXSW festival. The Pink Monkey Birds sound is a spicy gumbo of 60’s Chicano rock, Booker T. and the M.G.s, bad LSD trips and seedy psychedelic go-go romps. They even threw in a couple of Cramps and Gun Club favorites.

As the bandleader, Kid is an engaging and charismatic front-man. The Pink Monkey Birds are Kiki Solis on bass; Ron Miller on drums; and Jesse Roberts on second guitar. Their latest album is called Gorilla Rose. If they come to your town, GO SEE ‘EM, they put on a fine show.

New York Night Train’s exhaustive Kid Congo Powers feature with in-depth accounts of life on the road with The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and The Gun Club.
 

 
“Catsuit Fruit”:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Miriam Linna: ‘Obsessions from the flipside of Kicksville’


 
“A weed is a plant out of place.”
― Jim Thompson, “The Killer Inside Me”

As a teenage renegade straight out of the rock and roll heartland of Ohio, Miriam Linna was the drummer in the “Cramps first lineup which played forty-odd dates over an eight month period from the first show on All Saints Night 1976 through July 13, 1977, the date of the NYC blackout.”

I was lucky enough to see The Cramps open for The Ramones at CBGB in April of 1977. The original lineup, Miriam, Bryan, Lux and Ivy, were always my favorite configuration of that great band. They really had it goin’ on. Their look, their intensity and mad energy was alchemical; an exhilarating voodoo that could spook an audience while simultaneously sending them into the throes of rock and roll ecstasy. They got under your skin and fucked around with your spleen.

The Cramps opened up a door that led to a mother lode of forgotten bands and singers that had been residing in the shadows, left behind by deejays, music critics, record labels - the mole-like gatekeepers of pop culture. While radios spewed their acrid breath, Cramp acolytes like myself followed Lux and his bandmates, lurching steadily ahead like the freshly exhumed living dead in Val Lewton’s I Walked with a Zombie, into the heart of rock’s dark and tangled jungle, excavating and unearthing lost vinyl treasures and musical artifacts that contained real magic.

The Cramps, and the second wave of garage bands that followed in their wake, were as much musical anthropologists as they were rock and rollers. Like punk pioneers Patti Smith, The Ramones, Blondie and The Dictators, The Cramps were on a mission from god to revive the roots of rock at a time when what was being called rock and roll was mass-marketed product that had about as much in common with Little Richard and Gene Vincent as Lana Del Ray does with The Del- Vikings.

From her early days in New York’s downtown music scene to archivist of all that is hep, Miriam Linna was, is and always has been a rock fanatic . She, along with the fabulous Billy Miller, created one of the coolest record stores and record labels on the planet, Norton Records, and her love for the distilled, cut-to-the-chase, blunt energy and gutbucket prose of pulp novels led her to start her own publishing company Kicks Books.

Having published work by Nick Tosches, Sun Ra, Andre Williams, Eddie Rocco and with upcoming titles from Harlan Ellison and Kim Fowley, Linna is bringing the same passion and intelligence she brought to Norton Records and Kicks magazine (with Miller) to the world of book publishing and, as usual, she’s doing it in her no-bullshit way.


Dangerous Minds:  From playing drums with The Cramps to being a co-founder of Norton Records and now a publisher of books by Sun Ra and Andre Williams, you’ve forged a path of being a champion for music and literature that might have gone undiscovered without your help. What first inspired you to explore the world of outsider art and obscure rock and roll?

Miriam Linna:  I don’t consider the music, movies, or books that make my life worthwhile “outsider art”. Actually, I’m repelled by what the expression represents and have no association whatsoever with anyone who is involved with it. Like most people, I like what I like. On top of that, I’m curious, obsessive and refuse to be told what to do and how to do it.

DM:  In spite of all the talk of the publishing business dying and the emergence of electronic books, there seems to be a movement toward a return to books you can hold in your hands kind of like the resurgence of interest in vinyl records. Would you agree?

ML:  There is no charm in digital anything.

DM: I like the format of your books. The fact they fit in your pocket is like old style pulp paperbacks. What prompted that design decision?

ML:  I’ve always considered “hip pocket paperbacks” the perfect book format. I like paper, I love books. I’m a nut for Signet- style “talls” and find a slim, unique book capable of causing all sorts of visceral reactions extremely appealing.


DM:  How did you come upon the poetry of Sun Ra?

ML:  Music historian and Sun Ra archivist Michael Anderson contacted us when he discovered a large cache of Sonny Blount dictations and recordings on tape. Norton records had issued three albums of early Sun Ra music, and followed with three spoken word albums culled from these newly discovered recordings. I transcribed the audio, plus several additional tapes’ worth of lost poetic dictation. This material trashed my horizontal with its consistency—here was a cohesive collection of poetic writings—pretty much all attitudinal science fiction with a serious political bent.  Afro-futurism at its earliest and most intentional. 

DM: Given your involvement with Norton Records, you’ve obviously grown to know Andre Williams over the years. Did he bring you his novel and short stories?

ML:  Andre had no novel or short stories until he went into rehab a couple of years ago. He called me when he went in (not of his own volition), saying he was going to bust out. I told him if he did that, he would not live to see the end of the year. We started talking and he said if he was going to stay he needed something to do, that he was going stir-crazy. We got around to talking about him writing, and I suggested he write some fiction. This was a new concept for him, but I knew already from his brilliant plot-rich song lyrics that he was a class-A storyteller. Over the several weeks of his rehabilitation, Andre and I spoke at least every two or three days via collect phone calls, with him faxing in drafts and outlines. Right off the bat, I was shocked by the fact that he was writing from the first person vantage point of a fifteen year old girl named Sweets, a kid who gets in trouble, becomes a prostitute, a madam, a drug runner, and everything in between.  Andre’s storyline was part fever dream, part wishful thinking (loaded with cocaine and sex), part autobiography. I promised him that if he could stick with it and finish a short novel, that I would publish it.

DM: Nick Tosches wrote one of my favorite rock books, “Unsung Heroes Of Rock and Roll.” You recently published his “Save The Last Dance for Satan.” When did you and Nick meet?

ML:  I’ve known Nick for many years. He wrote the intro to “Sweets,” and he and Andre read together at the book launch at St Mark’s Church here in New York.

DM: You published “The Great Lost Photographs Of Eddie Rocco” in 1997 and it has since become a collector’s item. Any plans for a second edition?

ML:  Plans, yes. Something definite - not at the moment.

DM: Where do you see the business of music heading? It’s getting harder and harder for bands to exist when their art is so easily downloaded for free on the Internet. Do you ever despair for the future of rock?

ML: I’m not worried. Real music will always be made by real people for real people. Real records will be made so long as they can be manufactured. Should the day come when all manufacturing ceases, well, we have countless great existing shellac and PVC discs of various sizes spinning at various speeds to discover and thrill to. And if they stop making phonographs, then they will become a commodity, but those who need them will be able to maintain them. Maybe some enterprising individual can reinvent the wind-up pre-electricity phonograph for when the power grids go down and even the download monsters and children of the damned Internet can wallow in silence while the analogue minions crank up wax by candlelight. Now there’s an Escape From New York for you!

DM: Are you still playing music?

ML: I play drums in my long time band the A-Bones and my not-so-long-time band the Figures of Light.

DM: What’s in the pipeline for Kicks Books?

ML: Harlan Ellison’s “Pulling A Train” and “Getting In The Wind”... Kim Fowley’s “Lord Of Garbage”... Andre Williams’ sequel “Streets”... and in a larger book format “I Fought The Law (The Authorized Biography of Bobby Fuller)” by Randy Fuller and myself… and eventually my “Bad Seed Bible.”

You can follow Miriam on her ultra-groovy blog Kicksville66, where the writing is fast and furious. You can also visit Norton Records Records website “where the loud sound abounds.”

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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