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‘Feed the World’ with bad music: The wacky world of charity singles


 
In the mid-1980s, the pop music scene had this idea that recording songs with superstar ensemble bands would change the world. Nobody (especially not Sir Bob Geldof) stopped to consider that maybe it was a little condescending, a little patronizing, and a little bit OH I DUNNO colonialist to want to “fix” all the poor starving dark people. Do they know it’s Christmas? Probably not, dude. And they probably don’t care, either. Ever considered that “they” may not be into the whole Jesus thing?

Right. So these songs have existed for years (although obviously George Harrison got in on that action first with The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971.) The most famous ones (of course) were the gazillion-selling hit singles where proceeds went to Ethiopia—“We Are The World” and “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (in 1984 and 1989 respectively). Hell, even the money from George Michael’s “Last Christmas/Everything She Wants” single went to helping the famine in Ethiopia. Not that this was bad. I mean, I’m certainly not gonna attack George because that dude was amazing.

The general feeling of these charity songs ended up being a little “OMGZ we need to helpz the poors who can’t help themselves, c’mon other rich musik frenz! Let us change the world with our synthesizer-ness, big shoulder clothing and rockstar monies!” On the other hand, it catalyzed some pretty HFS songs and mind-blowing music videos. The following works are not all that…good. But they are also not all terrible! Some of them you should love authentically. They are great! Others…well, I love them. But I also recognize that the cheese factor is basically at Wisconsin-level.

Shall we take a look? 

When the pop stars got all philanthropist-y, the metalheads just had to get in on the action. Thus we got the complete insanity of Swedish Metal Aid and Hear ‘n Aid. Both bands were (like their new wave/pop siblings) ensemble acts with proceeds headed towards Africa. Unlike Band Aid and USA for Africa, these two acts had hair, voices and attitudes that went sky-high. And spandex. Lots and lots and lots of spandex.  Swedish Metal Aid was fronted by Joey Tempest of Europe (yes, “The Final Countdown,” that Europe) and involved members from bands with names like Neon Leon & the Bondage Babies, Heavy Load, Trash, Treat, Orion’s Swords and Glorious Bankrobbers. Hear ‘n Aid was organized by the one and only Ronnie James Dio and he got everybody in there—Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsteen, Queensrÿche, Dokken, Mötley Crüe and even Spinal Tap!

More charity singles after the jump…

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Posted by Ariel Schudson
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04.24.2018
12:54 pm
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The savage heterosexuality of macho Australian glam rock band Rabbit
04.24.2018
11:31 am
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Australian glam band Rabbit. Former AC/DC vocalist Dave Evans is pictured in the center.
 

“If I was a parent and read this, I wouldn’t let my kids anywhere near this mob, numbnuts described them as frenetic, violently hedonistic and Dave himself was described as savagely heterosexual.”

—a rock critic describing Aussie glam band Rabbit and their vocalist, Dave Evans.

If you decide to dedicate your life to being up all night falling in love with rock & roll (like yours truly) you have to be all in. The good, the bad, and the glam. So let’s get right to it, shall we? Glam rockers unite as I bring you a brief history of the flashy rise and quick freefall of Newcastle, Australia’s unhearalded glam band Rabbit.

After relieving Rabbit’s second vocalist Greg Douglas of his short-lived duties, former AC/DC frontman Dave Evans assumed the responsibilities of leading the band. This venture did not go unnoticed as Evans’ brief stint with AC/DC was enough to entice CBS to sign the band thanks to his glammy stagecraft which he had cultivated during his time with the Young brothers. In 1975 Rabbit released their self-titled debut record. The album did alright, and a couple of singles even made it to the charts. This gave Rabbit some real teeth when it came to going toe-to-toe with other Aussie glam rock acts like Supernaut, John Stanley Cave (aka the glitter-bomb that was Sydney glam rocker William Shakespeare), and local heroes Hush and their flamboyant vocalist Keith Lamb. (To attest to the power of Lamb’s persona, he was rumored to have been a contender to fill Bon Scott’s place at the head of AC/DC following Scott’s passing. So there’s that.)

Rabbit would go on to put out a second popular record with CBS in 1976 called Too Much Rock ‘n’ Roll which they recorded at the “House of Hits,” or Albert Studios in Sydney, Australia. Its sister company, Albert Productions, was among the first few independent record labels in Australia and played an instrumental role in the rise of AC/DC. The studio was a joint venture of Harry Vanda and George Young (both of notable Australian band the Easybeats, and Young the elder brother of Malcolm and Angus) along with engineer Bruce Brown and they opened Albert Studio in 1973. Brown recorded numerous hits with the Bon Scott era of AC/DC, like “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “Jailbreak,” and what some refer to as AC/DC’s calling card, “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll).  Rabbit’s commercial success would put the band on the map, leading to appearances on music-oriented television shows like Countdown, and a twelve-week Australian promotional tour. Too Much Rock ‘n’ Roll would also be Rabbit’s gateway to markets like Japan and European locations such as Denmark and Belgium where their album sales were swift. Fans have mused nostalgically that Rabbit’s jams drew from bands like The Sweet, T.Rex, KISS, and of course AC/DC—which sounds about right.

As is often the case, the sudden rush of spandex and shirtless adrenalin would ultimately lead to the band’s implosion. Rabbit would disband during their brief tour in 1977
 

The album cover for ‘Too Much Rock ‘n’ Roll.’
 

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.24.2018
11:31 am
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Short-lived, almost-forgotten satire mag ‘Americana’ took a shiv to FDR’s America


 
We think of the era of below-the-belt satirical media with a left-wing edge as a thing that was more or less invented in the postwar era, particularly the 1960s and 1970s, as the rise of alternative newspapers ushered in a style of humorous, scurrilous, no-holds-barred sloganeering that was unafraid to transgress the usual borders of propriety. Before that, most of the good comps come from continental Europe, especially in the welter of strident and audacious movements that sprang into existence in the first decades of the 20th century, including surrealism, dada, and expressionism.

Not coincidentally, George Grosz, one of the leading lights of expressionism after World War I, was involved with a genuinely bracing and angry left-wing political magazine in the unforgiving terrain of the U.S.A. Its name was Americana, its editor-in-chief and founder was a colorful young man named Alexander King, and a host of publications such as The East Village Other, The Black Panther, The Berkeley Barb, and The Realist, whether they knew it or not, all owed Americana a great debt.

The imagery of Americana, unlike a lot of stuff that is more than eight decades old, still resonates. The images strike one as what might happen if the original editorial minds behind The New Yorker in the 1920s and 1930s were somehow given the task of publishing the International Times of the late 1960s and early 1970s, albeit with a modernist fibrousness to the art that The New Yorker mostly lacked. (Basically this means that Americana was, unusually, willing to be ugly if it achieved other aims.)
 

King as an older man in the 1950s, here with Jack Paar; photo taken during Paar’s stint as host of The Tonight Show
 
Publishing historians who track Americana cite it mainly for two things: its impressive roster of contributors and its exceedingly brief publication run. Americana existed only for 17 issues in the calendar years of 1932 and 1933, a moment when America was obviously in the throes of a catastrophic depression. While FDR tried to save capitalism from its own successes, Americana, consistently and with great vitriol, challenged the premise that capitalism was worth saving in the first place. To give an idea of what the folks of Americana thought of the likelihood of Roosevelt solving the problems of the working class, here is what Gilbert Seldes wrote in the issue following Roosevelt’s first election:
 

I will suggest to the editors of Americana that they reform. No more sadism. Only pretty pictures of sweet communists welcoming Trotsky back from exile; sweet capitalists washing the feet of the ten million unemployed, and sweet editors of liberal magazines smiling broadly at love triumphant.

 
In his book An Autobiography Grosz reminisced about editor King and Americana:
 

The only person who took me as I was was my friend Alexander King, who put out America’s first and only satirical magazine, Americana, and regularly published my things. He trimmed neither my wings nor my fingernails: “Scratch their eyes out, George,” he would say to me, “the harder, the better!”

 
Featuring names like William Steig and James Thurber, Americana did have a fair bit of cross-pollination with the aforementioned New Yorker. (King managed to run an interview with New Yorker grandee Alexander Woollcott in which the acerbic writer allowed that the New Yorker “is got out by a shiftless reporter with the help of two country bumpkins,” the latter two being non-East-Coast-ers Harold Ross and Thurber.)

In addition, Americana published contributions by E.E. Cummings and Nathanael West. Americana’s run coincided precisely with the West’s first great productive period, during which he wrote and published A Cool Million and Miss Lonelyhearts (The Day of the Locust arrived a few years later)—it’s not too much to say that Americana was an near-perfect periodical correlative for West’s corrosive fiction, and it’s not surprising that he found a warm welcome there. Americana was also an early venue for the work of Al Hirschfeld, who later became much more renowned for sticking the word “NINA” into the whiskers of Orson Welles and the locks of Bernadette Peters.
 

A remarkable editor’s note from Americana
 
Not surprisingly, King himself was from the Continent—he was born Alexander Koenig in Vienna in 1899. In his later years he became a talk-show personality and wrote several books which did very well. In its review of King’s 1960 book May This House Be Safe From Tigers, Time magazine summarized the author’s eventful life, with some affection, as follows:
 

an ex-illustrator, ex-cartoonist, ex-adman, ex-editor, ex-playwright, ex-dope addict. For a quarter-century he was an ex-painter, and by his own bizarre account qualifies as an ex-midwife. He is also an ex-husband to three wives and an ex-Viennese of sufficient age (60) to remember muttonchopped Emperor Franz Joseph. When doctors told him a few years ago that he might soon be an ex-patient (two strokes, serious kidney disease, peptic ulcer, high blood pressure), he sat down to tell gay stories of the life of all these earlier Kings.

 
It’s my impression, researching this topic, that there is just damn little out there about Americana, which is a real shame. However, the images of the publication have aged remarkably well in my estimation, still possessing the power to catch the eye and even to shock, whether it’s the casual yolking of the “modern messiahs” Stalin and Gandhi (!) or the unflinching presentation at the suffering of the destitute. Here is a representative sample of images from the magazine, but by all means there’s more here.
 

 
Much more after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.24.2018
10:21 am
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Meet the David Bowie of Brazil: The wild, weird glam tropicália hybrid of Secos e Molhados
04.23.2018
01:03 pm
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Secos e Molhados (“The Dry & Wet”) was a hybrid glam-rock/Tropicália band formed in Brazil in 1971 during the most repressive phase of the military dictatorship. The band was short-lived, recording just two albums, but launched the career of feminine-sounding vocalist, Ney Matogrosso. Their name apparently refers to different categories of food in Brazilian supermarkets. Their unusual sound combined elements of baião, jazz, pop, glam and prog rock, along with Portuguese folklore, Brazilian and Portuguese poetry, and instruments of Latin American music.
 

 
Matogrosso’s distinctive voice is “sopranino” meaning that he can hit notes higher than F6. Now 76, he’s still a huge star in Brazil, but has dropped the wild costumes and make-up, concentrating more on the purely vocal aspects of his talents, and re-interpreting classic Brazilian pop songs.
 

 
João Ricardo, who founded the group, and Gerson Conrad were the other two members. Secos e Molhados recorded in a wide variety of styles. Their innovative make-up and costuming caused a sensation, if not exactly scandal, in early 70s Brazil and they sold millions of records. An urban legend in Brazil was that KISS copied their makeup from them. Although entirely possible, this seems unlikely as their albums were released only in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Portugal.

Below, Secos e Molhados performing “Flores Astrais.”

 
More Secos e Molhados after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.23.2018
01:03 pm
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Meet the man with the world’s largest collection of Coca-Cola cans
04.23.2018
10:41 am
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Davide Andreani first drank a Coke when he was six years old. A native of Pesaro, along the Adriatic coast of Italy, Davide doesn’t recall anything special about the beverage at first sip. His father would often travel for business and one of the things he would bring back to his son as a memento would be a special can of Coke. The first one in his collection was from Germany in 1979, featuring the word “Coca-Cola” translated from various languages in the world.
 
Davide has always been a collector at heart. When he was young, he would seek after unique coins and stamps. Now he is only interested in Coke cans. There isn’t a particular reason for the beverage choice, other than his passion for assemblage and that it is something he got into at an early age. Today, Davide’s collection consists of over 20,000 distinct cans of Coca-Cola.
 

 
Digging through the garbage for empty cans is not how one develops a surplus like Davide’s. A lifetime of meticulous searching of the globe has brought him to where he is today. The assortment of cans on display in his collection are those that the Coca-Cola company had only released for a limited time, sometimes not available to the public. Unique cans are usually produced for commemorative purposes, such as the celebration of special events like sporting events, Christmas and other holidays, the opening of a new factory, or a presidential election. The rarest and most hard are those that are gold or silver in color, some worth upwards of $500.
 

 
The internet has helped contribute to Davide’s growing soft drink collection. His website is used to display his individual findings and to communicate with others hoping to trade their rare collectibles. He has several duplicates (not included in the total count), which are used to swap with fellow collectors. Several of Davide’s cans are available for purchase here.
 
Someday, Davide hopes that his collection will be displayed in a museum. His modest home is where the cans live today, and it is not nearly big enough to showcase all of his findings. Approximately 5,000 cans line his walls and pile up on his floor, with another 15,000 or so catalogued and buried away in the garage. Thus far, the Coca-Cola company hasn’t had much interest in acquiring Davide’s tremendous collection.
 

 
Davide received a Guinness World Record in August of 2013. The award title is “Largest Collection of Soft Drink Cans - Same Brand.” In order to distinguish the title, the GWR judge closed Davide’s home for two days to count every can. At the time of certification, the assortment totaled 10,558 unique Coca-Cola cans from 87 different countries. Davide’s collection, now much larger in size, still holds the Guinness World Record.
 
Other than his amusing hobby, Davide enjoys playing volleyball, tennis, and working with computers. His dream is to visit every country in the world (all while pursuing the rarest soda cans, I’d presume), but for financial reasons he is content with sightseeing via the World Wide Web. When asked whether he enjoys the taste of the soft drink that inspired his life’s work, Davide responded “I drink Coca-Cola very little.”
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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04.23.2018
10:41 am
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‘The Dance of Death’: Gnarly Medieval woodcuts of Hans Holbein
04.23.2018
10:31 am
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01ddexpulpara.jpg
‘The Expulsion from Paradise.’
 
The miser’s gold won’t save him, nor the knight his belted armor, Death holds dominion over all and is indifferent to our pleading.

The story of Hans Holbein’s woodcut illustrations for The Dance of Death would fit snugly as a vehicle for Bill and Ted to explain the meaning behind these most excellent pictures with their bodacious representations of gnarly death playing a tune for all to follow into the grave. Cue air guitar riff. Which, Bill would add, is but a timely reminder to be most excellent to each other. And now here’s Hans Holbein (1497–1543) at San Dimas High explaining how his outstanding drawings were carved into wood by Hans Lützelburger, one of Holbein’s regular collaborators, who cut forty-one wood blocks before Death did call on him and lead swiftly him away.

But wait, let’s get an idea of size. These images are small, seriously small. Two-and-a-half inches by one-and-seven-eighths. The size of four postage stamps placed together to form a rectangle, as Ulinka Rublack notes in her excellent commentary in the Penguin edition of Holbein’s work. Fascinating she is too, as Rublack points out that these images came at a time of egregious turmoil when the Protestant Reformation was calling out the Catholic Church as most bogus and heinous and the Pope as ye AntiChrist. Think of this rising Protestant faith like emo Goths dressed in black, with a liking for The Cure and a bit death-obsessed. While the Catholic Church was like the New Romantics poncing about in fabulous costumes of silk and lace with a predilection for cardinals having a choirboy sitting on their cocks. This world was run by faith and disease. If the church didn’t punish you then the plague would.

The Protestants saw the Catholic faith as a false representation of Christ’s ministry on Earth. The Catholic Church was rich and corrupt. Its clergy indifferent, its flock abandoned (see the images of sheep wandering lost among the fields). The Church’s interest seemed more fixed on money (for indulgences, prayers, and masses to buy the rich a place in Heaven) rather than on souls. The Protestants wanted to bring the Church back to an austere faith based on the gospels. This is the background noise while Holbein worked on his pictures.

The idea of Death as some dancing skeleton was popularized by a 13th-century play The Three Dead and the Three Living, in which a band of three young noblemen while out hunting in the deep, dark forest came across three skeletons at three different stages of their journey. The story inspired a series of religious paintings and meditations of skeletons waiting to harvest the living. The skeleton unified everyone for one day we will all come to bone and dust. Once the image was set, the skeleton of Death soon had his victims dancing to his discordant tune.

And so it goes.

It’s not quite clear who exactly commissioned Holbein to produce these images. He was then an artist living in Basel with his wife and two children and the work was, no doubt, a welcome and lucrative commission.  He produced his drawings between 1523 and 1525, which were intended to focus throughts towards God—-or at least Death. And like Death itself, Holbein’s deeply serious yet to our eye darkly satiric illustrations take aim at all classes of society—even the infant child is not spared the grisly clutch of Death.
 
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‘The Pope.’
 
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‘The Emperor.’
 
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‘The King.’
 
More from Holbein’s ‘The Dance of Death,’ after the jump….
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.23.2018
10:31 am
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Jefferson’s Cock: This rarely discussed Replacements side project was fronted by their roadie
04.20.2018
10:22 am
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Jefferson's Cock
 
Bill Sullivan has been the tour manager for a number of acts, including Bright Eyes, Yo La Tengo, Soul Asylum, and Syl Johnson. But it all began with the Replacements. Sullivan worked as a roadie for the group, from their first tour in 1983 through their 1989 trek opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. His duties included hauling amps, keeping rowdy fans off the stage, and finding places for the entourage to crash. The Replacements’s debaucherous antics are now the stuff of legend, and Sullivan was a frequent co-conspirator. On many occasions, he was behind the microphone, taking the lead on lively covers of such gems as Roger Miller’s “Kansas City Star,” Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” and the goofy Elvis Presley tune, “Do the Clam.”
 

 
One night during the Petty tour, the Replacements were in the midst of their set, when Paul Westerberg started playing the opening chords to Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen.” Taunted by Westerberg, Sullivan ran out and grabbed the mic to belt out the Cooper chestnut for 20,000 people.
 

 
I met Sullivan decades ago, a few years after his time with the Replacements had ended. Mentioning I had bootlegs of him singing “If I Only Had a Brain” and other covers with the ‘Mats, he smiled and said, “If I only had a brain, I wouldn’t be on all of those bootlegs.”
 

 
Lemon Jail 1
Courtesy of Bill Sullivan.

Sullivan fronted Jefferson’s Cock, an informal Replacements side project that played just a handful of times. The story of Jefferson’s Cock begins in 1983 during a stop in Lawrence, Kansas. The Replacements had agreed to play a house party, but it turned into the first JC performance. In Sullivan’s absorbing new memoir, Lemon Jail: On the Road with the Replacements, he writes about the genesis of Jefferson’s Cock.

Paul decided we were going to play the party as Jefferson’s Cock, a name he just pulled out of his ass. Tommy and Bob were not involved, but [fellow roadie] Carton played bass and Mars played drums. We got into the roommates’ closets and dressed in housedresses and combat boots, which was the look at the time by the women who hung out at the Hüsker shows. We spent the afternoon painting our eyes and powdering our noses and then did a set of covers including “You Think I’m Psycho (Don’t You Mama),” “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” “Borstal Breakout,” and of course, “Eighteen,” “Kansas City Star,” and “Do the Clam.”

The Cock’s next appearance would be at the Rat in Boston.

We had more than ample help for this show and showed up in severe makeup (Paul had gotten a diagram and instructions from a beautician he had met in Ohio). We also had housedresses and boots. We hit the stage with no sound check and little gear of our own and gave them the Hits, this time adding a little Gary Glitter. After our set a little sweaty guy in an ill-fitting three piece came back and told us he wanted to sign us to a label. Pulling out an enormous ziplock full of blow, he shouted, How much of this will it take to make the deal? and dumped it on the carved-up cable-wheel table full of beer ashes and tahini. As we were digging the last crystals out of the grooves, security arrived and made him leave.

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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04.20.2018
10:22 am
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My Three Sons: ‘General Boy’ talks about his sons in DEVO
04.20.2018
09:46 am
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A recent DEVO fandom YouTube-rabbit-hole led me to a late 80s interview with Robert Mothersbaugh, Sr., father of DEVO members Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh. I found myself enamored with this interview which was not in-and-of-itself emotional in any way, but it inspired great emotion in me, as a viewer, watching this extremely straight-laced midwestern granddad describe his sons’ band and his pride in their accomplishments. For as subjectively weird of a band as DEVO were, Mr. Mothersbaugh’s almost-folksy, matter of fact descriptions of the band and their philosophy are extremely charming.

Mothersbaugh, who played the character of “General Boy” in a handful of DEVO videos and short films, explains how he was originally roped into playing the character: He was given the part when another actor couldn’t (or refused) to make it to a DEVO film shoot and it just so happened that the military jacket costume fit him.

In the interview which takes place around the time of the Now It Can Be Told album, Mothersbaugh discusses his opinions on changes in DEVO’s sound, explaining that he feels the sound of the band at that time was returning more to their roots, and that it had previously become in his words “too mechanized”—probably referring to the albums Oh No, It’s DEVO and Shout.

He talks about supporting “one hundred and one percent” the fledgling band, which included not just his sons Mark and Bob, but also his son Jim, DEVO’s second drummer before Alan Myers. He goes into some detail about Jim’s invention of synthesized drums for the band before going to work for the Roland company, developing MIDI technology.

He talks a bit about his granddaughter, Alex, being in the DEVO offshoot band Visiting Kids.

When asked about his son Mark’s artwork, the elder Mothersbaugh describes his son as a “genius” and later describes one of his fondest memories as seeing his sons “entertaining” on television for the first time.

If you are a DEVO fan, this charming interview is well worth your time.
 
Watch it after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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04.20.2018
09:46 am
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Scratching The Door and Seeing the Unseeable: Flaming Lips, the early years
04.19.2018
09:50 pm
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The original line-up of the Flaming Lips when they formed in Norman, Oklahoma in 1983 was Wayne Coyne on guitar, his brother Mark sang lead; Michael Ivins was on bass and Dave Kotska played drums. When Kotska left the following year, he was replaced by Richard English, who would stay with the band until ’89. In 1984 they recorded their sole release with Mark Coyne singing lead vocals–The Flaming Lips—put out in a green vinyl pressing on their own Lovely Sorts of Death Records (a label name they’d revive in 2011.)

Then there was a flip of the Coynes, and with Mark’s departure to get married in 1985, Wayne took over his brother’s microphone and became the Lips’ frontman. In 1986 the band released their first full-length album, Hear It Is, on Pink Dust Records (a sub-label of Restless Records’ Enigma imprint) and this incarnation of Flaming Lips would record two more albums: 1987’s Oh My Gawd!!! and 1989’s Telepathic Surgery.

Drummer Nathan Roberts replaced English and guitarist Jonathan Donahue (also a member of Mercury Rev) joined in 1989. It was then that the Lips started working with producer Dave Fridmann, who helped them greatly expand their sound in the studio for In a Priest Driven Ambulance, which was recorded in a studio at SUNY Fredonia for $5 an hour on a $10,000 budget.

Soon after this, the band got noticed by Warner Bros. Records and were snatched up in 1991 when one of the label’s A&R execs saw them nearly burn down the American Legion Hall in Norman, Oklahoma when their pyrotechnics got out of control. Thus began one of the oddest arrangements in major label history.

Today—and I’m thinking it’s no coincidence that it’s 4-20 day—marks the release of Scratching The Door: The First Recordings Of the Flaming Lips, a 19-track compilation of early work by the band’s original lineup.  The album highlights tracks recorded with Mark Coyne on vocals including the band’s first and second cassette demos, and the Lips first self-released EP, remastered from the original 1/4” analog tape master. Among the featured tracks are covers of The Who’s “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere,” Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown” and the theme song from the Batman television series.
 

 
Then a second release of the Lips early music comes out at the end of June with Seeing the Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings of The Flaming Lips: 1986-1990, a six-CD boxed set comprised of the band’s first four studio albums with Restless Records, and two discs of rarities, B-sides, flexi disc and compilation releases. Over 40 tracks will be released digitally for the first time.

All of the music on both releases has been remastered from the original masters by longtime producer David Fridmann with help from the Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Michael Ivins.  Later in the year, the Restless albums will be made available on vinyl.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.19.2018
09:50 pm
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BANG: Proto-doom metal cult band of the early 1970s return!
04.19.2018
01:52 pm
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BANG (L to R): Frank Gilcken (guitar), Tony Diorio (drums), Frank Ferrara (bass)

If you’re a fan of the druggy, pimply, riff-laden hesher rock as heard on the very very wonderful Brown Acid and Acid Nightmares compilations, then you might want to check out the unsung proto-doom metal group BANG, who released three full-length albums for Capitol Records in the early 1970s. Originally formed in Philadelphia in late 1969 by 16-year-old high school dropouts Frank Ferrara (vocals, bass) and Frank Gilcken (guitar), the duo added 26-year-old Tony Diorio on drums when he answered their “help wanted” ad in a local newspaper. After a year and a half of practicing in a basement, the lads took a road trip to Florida to see what might happen. Hearing about a Rod Stewart & the Faces/Deep Purple double bill in Orlando, they went to the venue and auditioned for the promoter, earning them an immediate opening slot. Soon they’d open for Steppenwolf, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Deep Purple, Three Dog Night, Yes, The Byrds, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, J Geils Band, The Kinks, Ike and Tina Turner, Allman Brothers, Dr. John, Joe Cocker, The Doobie Brothers, BB King, Chuck Berry, The James Gang, Mountain, Guess Who, Alice Cooper, Peter Frampton, Nazareth, Jethro Tull, Billy Preston, Funkadelic and Black Sabbath, a group BANG idolized and was often compared to. Fleetwood Mac even opened for them!

Capitol Records released their eponymous debut album BANG in 1972, which made it to #164 on Billboard’s Top 200, with a reviewer at the publication commenting that the band “on first listen sound incredibly like Led Zeppelin…they play at the same frenetic pace as Zeppelin, and Frank Ferrara’s vocals are so similar to those of Robert Plant’s as to be downright amazing.” Ah, if only talent, hard work and ambition were enough!.

In rapid succession came the albums Mother/Bow to the King (1972), and Music (1973), but all three of them basically flopped as Capitol’s A&R people sadly had no idea what to do with BANG. The three moved on to other things after Music failed to gain any traction in the charts, but they reunited in 1996 and continue to perform live. Their tale is told in The BANG Story: From the Basement to the Bright Lights written by the band with Lawrence Knorr and published earlier this year.

Via email, BANG told Dangerous Minds:

“The Sound of BANG is our own; big and powerful, guitar driven. Melodic and dynamic. Many notable shows stand out from over the years, but one of coolest was opening a show for Black Sabbath, a band we loved. As we were leaving town the next morning, we were listening to the radio and the host brought up the fact that BANG had stolen the show…that’s when we realized we really belonged with the “big boys”. It was the three of us against the world and music was our lives. No TV, no news, just playing, writing and recording.”

“The BANG story is so unique, in just what happened. It was 1971, seven years after The Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. Rehearsing every night for eighteen months got us so tight…not just musically, but as people and friends. I really believe that if you work hard enough for something, you can inflict your will and make things happen. The fact that we just decided on a whim to go to Florida, walked into a music store at five minutes to nine because we needed rolling papers, and ended opening up for Rod Stewart and Deep Purple was awesome.  I believe that break came to us because of all the hard work and the eighteen months that we put into it.”

“More than anything, that the biggest takeaway is the fact that three guys from a small little town were able to craft a destiny for ourselves and the fact that we were contemporaries to all the great bands of that era makes us extremely proud and humble.”

Preorder The Best of BANG here.

If you’d like more of the BANG story, here’s video bio of the group:
 

 
Stream ‘The Best of BANG’ after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.19.2018
01:52 pm
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