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Genesis P-Orridge, Lydia Lunch, Martin Rev & more celebrate the music of Alan Vega and Suicide
02.25.2019
04:11 pm
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This coming Wednesday night in New York City an event called Suicide Sally will celebrate the music of the late Alan Vega and Suicide, featuring Vega’s musical partner-in-crime Martin Rev along with special guests like Lydia Lunch, Kid Congo Powers, Liz Lamere, Cynthia Ross, Peter Zaremba and Keith Streng from Fleshtones, Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz, Mr. Pharmacist (Gregg Foreman), Jesse Malin, Luke Jenner from the Rapture along with many others, including Vega’s son, Dante Vega. They will be supported by the Art Gray Noizz Quintet.

Genesis P-Orridge will be DJing and the event (produced by Sally Can’t Dance) will take place at Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery on February 27. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets available at Ticketfly.com.

The event is also a record release party for “You Pay/Too Many Teardrops,” an inspired collaboration that sees Vega backed by the synthesizers of Mr. Pharmacist.The song comes in three sizes: the original mix, a remix by Jim Thirlwell and another by Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos.  It’s out on March 8 and you can order a vinyl copy or grab a download here.
 

Alan Vega and Mr. Pharmacist AKA Gregg Foreman
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.25.2019
04:11 pm
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‘I thought I was dead’: Frank Zappa’s brush with death after being pushed off stage by a jealous fan
02.25.2019
08:18 am
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“I did it because my girlfriend said she loved Frank.”

—Trevor Howell on why he pushed Frank Zappa off the stage during a show at the Rainbow Theater in London in 1971

Ah, jealousy. The ugly sometimes side-effect of falling in love. Recently we told the story here on Dangerous Minds about the time Axl Rose threatened to kill David Bowie because he thought Ziggy was trying to make time with his girlfriend, Erin Everly. This horrifying incident is far worse, though, and involves Frank Zappa plummeting approximately fifteen feet off the stage at the Rainbow Theater in London.

Zappa and The Mothers of Invention had just survived a massive fire at the Montreux Casino in Switzerland the week prior. After Zappa and the group returned onstage for their encore, 24-year-old Trevor Howell shot out from the backstage area and assailed Zappa causing him to fall from the stage where he landed on the concrete floor of the orchestra pit. As if this wasn’t bad enough, as he lay unconscious in the pit, a monitor fell on top of him. In his book Zappa: Visual Documentary biographer Barry Miles recalled the scene inside the Rainbow after Frank fell:

“A chaotic scene ensued outside The Rainbow where the audience for the second concert were joined in the street by the audience from the first show. Wild rumors that Frank had been killed flashed through the massive crowd, and for upwards of at least an hour no one knew what was happening.”

 

The frantic scene following Zappa’s unscheduled landing in the orchestra pit.
 
But wait! It gets WORSE. After coming to, Zappa was taken away by ambulance to the Royal Northern Hospital in Holloway. There he was treated for the following conditions: an acute concussion/head trauma, a fractured leg, a broken rib and a series of fractures and other injuries to his neck, legs and back, as well as suffering from temporary paralysis of one of his arms. The fall even managed to crush Zappa’s larynx, which dropped Frank’s voice a third of an octave lower, making it more throaty and gruff. So what about the man who attacked Zappa, nearly costing him his life? In the book The Real Frank Zappa (written by Zappa and Peter Occhiogrosso), the revered musician wrote about two possible scenarios as to why Trevor Howell, who by various accounts had dropped a bunch of acid that night, came for him while he wasn’t looking:

“He (Howell) gave two stories to the press. One of them was that I had been “making eyes at his girlfriend.” That wasn’t true since the orchestra pit was not only fifteen feet deep but was also twice as wide and the spotlight was in my face. I can’t even see the audience in those situations—it’s like looking into a black hole. I never even saw the guy coming at me. Then he told another newspaper that he was pissed off because he felt we hadn’t given him “value for the money.” Choose your favorite story. After he punched me, he tried to escape into the audience, but a couple of guys in the road crew caught him and took him backstage to hold for the police. While I was recuperating at the Harley Street Clinic, Howell was released on bail, so I had a twenty-four-hour bodyguard outside my room because we didn’t know how insane he was.”

When he appeared in court to answer the charges on March 8th, 1972, Howell was sentenced to twelve months in jail after he admitted to “maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr. Zappa”. Initially, Howell stated he attacked Zappa because his “girlfriend said she loved Frank” (who doesn’t?), but when the judge presiding over the case queried Howell as to why he had assaulted Zappa he said he thought that “Mr. Zappa was not giving value for the money” adding that Zappa and The Mothers of Invention were treating the audience like “dirt” (noted in the book Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story Of Frank Zappa). Zappa would end up spending almost a year rolling around in a wheelchair following the incident and his body never completely healed, specifically his fractured leg which, once deemed healed, was shorter than his other leg. Frank would later write a song about his wonky leg “Dancin’ Fool” including the lyric “Ì don’t know much about dancin’, that’s why I got this song. One of my legs is shorter than the other and both my feet’s too long.” Proof that you really can’t keep a good man down.

A few images of Frank Zappa in his trusty wheelchair follow, along with a clip of “Dancin’ Fool” from 1978…
 

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.25.2019
08:18 am
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Rotary Connection: The heavenly-sounding psychedelic soulsters who turned down Woodstock
02.22.2019
05:30 pm
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Minnie Riperton onstage with Rotary Connection

Rotary Connection were a psychedelic soul group put together by Marshall Chess (son of Chess Records founder Leonard Chess, later president of Rolling Stones Records) in 1966. Chess wanted to get away from the straight up rhythm and blues Chess Records was known for and tap into the new psychedelic sound, so he enlisted the aid of Chess staff arranger Charles Stepney (a musical genius who would later work extensively with Earth, Wind & Fire) for help. Stepney and Chess hired members of a white rock band called the Proper Strangers (Bobby Simms, Mitch Aliotta, and Ken Venegas) and added a few more members including, notably, the 20-year-old receptionist at Chess Records, a gorgeous five octave soprano named Minnie Riperton. Soul legend Sidney Barnes was also a Rotary Connection member as was vocalist Judy Hauff.
 

 
Here’s a single, “Turn Me On,” from Rotary Connection’s self-titled 1967 debut album. This chamber-pop masterpiece was recorded with members of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and features a sitar, but the real revelation is Riperton’s voice, which is used here as a background “instrument” almost like the way the Beach Boys used the theremin in “Good Vibrations.”
 

 
Was that not completely sublime??? Once you dive into their music, you can’t help but wonder why Rotary Connection aren’t considered to be one of the all-time great late 60s groups. Their albums are admittedly a little bit spotty, but at their best they could hold their own against, say, The 5th Dimension, and that’s really saying something, if you ask me! Their exotic blend of psych-soul chamber pop was truly original, the musicianship top-notch and the vocals out of this world.
 

What are they smoking?

Rotary Connection went on to record six albums, including a longplayer of Christmas songs, but never really broke out nationally. The blame for this might be said to fall squarely on their management’s shoulders—it couldn’t have been the music—who did stuff like book the group for a better-paying gig in Toronto and turning down a slot for them at Woodstock. Their songs have been sampled by Jay-Z, Fugees, A Tribe Called Quest and countless others. Their records are very easy to find in used record stores. If you seen one, BUY IT. (There’s also a solid 2 CD set titled Black Gold: The Very Best of Rotary Connection that is highly recommended.)
 

 
Minnie Riperton (mother of actress/singer Maya Rudolph) went on to a brief, but brilliant solo career. She died tragically at the age of 31 from breast cancer. She is best remembered for her all-time classic “Lovin’ You,” a number one record in 1975.
 
“I Am The Black Gold of The Sun” from 1971, a more jazz-fusion sound here, but certainly no less interesting:
 

 
Considering how obscure they were, I was surprised to find a couple of clips of Rotary Connection on YouTube. Here’s their fascinating take on the Stones’ “Lady Jane,” mimed poorly on a local Chicago TV show in 1969:
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.22.2019
05:30 pm
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The obscure teen film that inspired ‘Captain Midnight’ the infamous HBO hacker
02.22.2019
08:35 am
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VHS
 
During the early morning hours of April 27, 1986, a Florida man by the name of John R. MacDougall hacked into Home Box Office’s satellite signal. MacDougall owned a satellite dish company, and was upset that HBO and other cable networks had begun scrambling their signals so their programming couldn’t be seen by dish owners any longer. MacDougall, desperate because his business had suffered, decided to send a message. As HBO subscribers were watching an airing of The Falcon and the Snowman, the following appeared on their screens for more than four minutes:
 
Captain Midnight on HBO
 
MacDougall came up with the alias “Captain Midnight” not long after viewing the 1979 teen film, On the Air Live with Captain Midnight.
 
Clipping
Newspaper clipping, July 27, 1986.

The movie chronicles the adventures of a southern California high school student, Ziggy, who’s the voice of a pirate radio station. Captain Midnight has elements of the “teen sex comedy” film type, though it’s relatively tame compared to the onslaught of raunchy R-rated movies that came to define the genre in the 1980s. Anyone who came of age during the decade and remembers sneaking into theater showings of flicks like Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), The Last American Virgin (1982), and Porky’s (1981), or staying up late to watch them on cable—all without mom and dad knowing—is going to love the awesome new book, Teen Movie Hell: A Crucible of Coming-of-Age Comedies from Animal House to Zapped!. Author Mike “McBeardo” McPadden has penned reviews for over 350 films, from the “hard R’s” of the ‘70s and ‘80s, to softer fare such as Captain Midnight, and early teen sex comedies like the 1925 silent picture, The Freshman. McPadden examines these films, many of which are decidedly not politically correct, in the context of our current world, acknowledging, for example, the problematic aspects of Revenge of the Nerds (1984). There are also insightful essays from various contributors, and loads of stunning, vintage poster art that will take you back. 
 
Book cover
 
Teen Movie Hell hasn’t been published just yet, but Dangerous Minds has a preview for you. We’ve got McPadden’s review of On the Air Live with Captain Midnight, along with pages from the book, which will follow. We’ve also included screenshots from the Captain Midnight film.

A fun trifle from interesting husband-and-wife schlock filmmakers Beverly and Ferd Sebastian (they also made the sexy 1974 bayou action flick Gator Bait and the crazy 1984 heavy metal movie Rocktober Blood), On the Air Live with Captain Midnight seems to have been unofficially and without acknowledgment remade in 1990 with Christian Slater as Pump Up the Volume. Technically, Pump is the better film, but in terms of conveying the movie’s subject—a teenager turned pirate radio star—the Captain rules the high seas all the way.

 
Title card
 

Tracy Sebastian, son of directors Bev and Ferd, stars as Ziggy, a high schooler who works part-time at a local radio station to make payments on his sweet van. While futzing with the van’s CB radio, Ziggy’s chubby nerdlinger pal Gargen (Barry Greenberg) accidentally takes over an FM broadcast signal. Ziggy immediately grabs the mouthpiece and launches into a rock-jock rap, introducing himself as “Captain Midnight.”

 
Ziggy
 

Every kid at school happens to be tuned in at just this moment. Instantly, Captain Midnight becomes a campus mystery and a hero. Ziggy-as-Cap keeps his good thing going, spinning tunes and spewing truths from his mobile outlaw broadcast station, building the legend each time he hits the airwaves.

 
Gargen
Gargen, a teen movie nerd archetype.

The FCC catches wind of the Captain and dispatches Agent Pierson (veteran tough-guy actor John Ireland) to stop the madness. Real-life Los Angeles FM legend Jim Ladd, as “Disc Jockey,” voices support for the radio renegade.

 
Ziggy and the DJ
Ziggy and the Disc Jockey.

Ziggy finally deigns to save Captain Midnight by destroying him. He announces he will parachute into Magic Mountain theme park, where devotees will finally get to press flesh with their underground idol. As the climactic scene unfolds, a local news report claims five thousand Cap fans have assembled amidst the amusements. The same locale also welcomed the band Sparks in Rollercoaster (1977) and Kiss in Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978). On-screen, the crowd of “thousands” appears to number perhaps a few dozen extras.

 
Girls
 

Though the movie adventures of Captain Midnight end with the big airborne stunt, his spirit lived until at least until 1986, when a satellite TV tech jammed HBO’s Florida signal for five minutes and broadcast a message of outrage against the network’s service fee. The video protestor was named John R. MacDougall, but his on-air live handle was Captain Midnight.

 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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02.22.2019
08:35 am
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‘Lost in Blue’: Anni Hogan’s dark torch songs with Lydia Lunch, Gavin Friday, Soft Cell’s Dave Ball
02.21.2019
03:29 pm
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Anni Hogan by Peter Ashworth
 
There is, I suppose, an almost sort of secret society comprised of the most ardent admirers of Torment and Toreros, the harrowing 1983 Marc Almond solo album released under the name Marc and the Mambas. It’s a cult album, to be sure, but with a seriously passionate fandom devoted to it. If I meet someone who likes this album—not that this happens all that often, but I consider it a variant on the Illuminati handshake for rock snobs—they immediately rise in my opinion. Fellow fans of that album—obviously—have great taste in music, which is something I correlate closely with high intelligence. In fact, everyone who I know who has expressed a fondness for this album, I tend to be very fond of myself. It’s a masterpiece—a singularly bleak vision put to sensuous and violent song—although admittedly not for everyone.

Fans of that album tend to be partial to a handful of other Marc Almond albums recorded in the 80s—Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters, The Stars We Are, the first Mambas album Untitled—and are very well aware of the fact that Almond’s main musical collaborator on these records was classically trained pianist/arranger Annie Hogan, who now goes by Anni Hogan.

Hogan’s contributions to those albums are of a paramount importance to their greatness. If you tried to subtract her playing from them, they simply couldn’t have existed. The sound of her grand piano on those albums is stunning, and distinctly and very uniquely her own. It couldn’t have been anyone else in her role and worked as well as it did, not in this universe or any other. Her style was the perfect accompaniment to Marc Almond’s wonderfully idiosyncratic voice. That they had a falling out and have not worked together in decades, in my eyes, is, and I am not alone in this, truly a damned shame.

But Hogan’s musical journey has seen her collaborate with other notable voices, and prominent musicians along the way, among them Nick Cave, Yello, Robin Rimbaud/Scanner (as Scanni), Barry Adamson, Budgie, Jim Thirlwell, Kraftwerk’s Wolfgang Flur and Simon Fisher Turner. It’s worth noting that as I typed that last sentence I realized I had all of these in my record and CD collection. I have considered Anni Hogan to be one of my favorite musicians for over three decades; if she’s involved with something, I want to hear it.
 

Anni Hogan by Peter Ashworth

And now she’s back with an extraordinary new album, Lost in Blue (Coldspring Records) featuring new collaborations with Lydia Lunch, Gavin Friday, Kid Congo Powers, Kraftwerk’s Wolfgang Flür and Richard Strange from 70s cult band Doctors Of Madness. The album was produced by Dave Ball and Riccardo Mulhall. It’s released on March 8th, although vinyl copies signed by Anni can be ordered here now. I posed a few questions to Anni via email.

Richard Metzger: Anni, you’re best-known for your celebrated collaborations with the other half of Soft Cell, but this time you’re working with Dave Ball. How did that come about?

Anni Hogan: I’ve known Dave the same amount of time as Marc Almond and we have remained friends for nearly 40 years!  I’d chatted with him over the past few years about doing something together and we eventually met up at a pub in Soho, which actually became the album meeting place, The Coach and Horses, where I promptly tripped and spilled his pint all over him, perfect! We laughed a lot and so I knew then this was going to work,  we still had tons in common including our sense of humour, and of course our passion for music and music related books.  A couple of pizzas later and we had a plan.  I knew I wanted to make a really good record and from my heart rather than going through someone else’s remake as it where.  Dave is a genius anyway, but a generous and understanding old school producer.  He felt it was his job to elevate my musical ideas, we share a love of soundtracks and I wanted that shape around the album.  Dave had his own ideas to make this work, including working the main musicians as a band, and a adding electronics, orchestra, etc. where needed. 

It seems like in each case the singer wrote the words they are singing. Generally speaking how did the songs become composed and how did the recordings get made? I would imagine that the circumstances were different for each song. Was the album recorded over a long period of time?

The whole album was recorded mainly over two years, although I did already have a couple of demos from a few years earlier.  I had sent a piano piece to Kid Congo a few years ago and he sent back his wonderful autobiographical adventure in spoken word Kid drawl, which totally worked great against my Bernard Herrmann-influenced piano which I recorded on my baby grand in my own Studio Blue.  I kept it to one side and did the same with Wolfgang Flür, I had already made the song “Golden Light” with him after we met djing at the same event in Dublin, incidentally Dave Ball was also at that event, we all dj’d and destiny was in motion.  Of course I was a much better DJ and I remember Dave was like laughing and calling me “bitch!” when I mixed all my tracks seamlessly, haha, It was a funny night.

Anyway I digress, I sent Wolfgang a piano piece, very emotive and he sent back to me the spoken word “Silk Paper” over the piano.  Sounded gorgeous and perfect.  Again, I kept it to one side and similarly I had a song which I recorded with Richard Strange in London a few years previously, at the time I was house DJ for him at his fabulous weekly night Cabaret Futura.  I had given him a rough demo and we recorded vocals and trumpet in London. So I had these three tracks and late in 2015 began writing some new material. 

I got in touch with Lydia and sent her over a piano and melodica piece which she responded to “I love it” and “Blue Contempt” came from that.  I had not intended to sing anything myself, but after meeting up with David Coulter in Liverpool, he sent me a beautiful, hypnotic viola piece and I immediately heard a vocal melody and had a few words which seemed to fit so I went for it.  My friend of many years—and top sound engineer Andrea Ando Wright—came over to my studio and recorded piano and melodica to David’s violetta and then I said I wanted to try a vocal.  She wrapped me up in quilts and cushions, pillows and more quilt and we got the desired effect.

I don’t usually record vocals at my place. “Thunderstruck” came from a dark place of devastation an instant emotional response on the day Jo Cox MP was horrifically murdered, both the music and lyric came out as one. So I would basically write and pre-produce and then send down to the studio in Richmond, owned by Dave’s production partner Riccardo Mulhall and they worked on tracks whilst I wrote the others. 

I went to London for the physical recording, so for the horns and harp and some backing vocals.  Dave suggested Gavin which was a brilliant idea as was bringing in 1970s legend John Fiddler from Medicine Head and the writers Scarlet West and Celine Hispiche. I wrote the music for them to then respond to, it was a very challenging and interesting aspect of recording to write for people I had not yet met, but did do research on.  Most of the vocals were recorded in London but Gavin wrote and recorded his epic love poem (with a vast array of backing vocals) to a fairly complete demo I sent over.  The real magic happened in production I think, bringing all the songs to full potential and the boys created a wonderful resonant album “sound.”

I’ve always felt that Lydia Lunch is an underrated singer. She’s got such an instantly recognizable voice—when she opens her mouth there is no one else it can possibly be—and that sort of bleak, Erik Satie-esque dreamscape you’ve got her singing to works spectacularly well, I thought. You can really hear the nuances in her voice.

“Blue Contempt” is a sensational recording, and I agree, underrated and oozing visceral edgy coolness forever. Queen Of Siam and 13.13 are two of my favourite albums.  Queen Of Siam particularly blew me away when I first heard it in the 80s and still does. Jasmine Hirst actually filmed Lydia on the day she wrote the lyric and the video was equally sensational with Lydia looking gorgeous as ever.  Dave and Ricc were excited to work on the track and enhanced the delicious “Lynchian” film vibe.

I think her prodigious cigarette smoking has given her voice a greater depth as she’s gotten older, like Marianne Faithfull’s, and that’s also true of Gavin Friday. I understand that he’s a pretty heavy smoker, too. These wonderfully smoky voices. Obviously he’s worked with Dave as a producer in the past, on the final Virgin Prunes album, so it was Dave who brought Gavin into the project?

Yes, sure was, Dave suggested Gavin early on when we were chatting about the album.  Of course I’m a Virgin Prunes fan, saw them live several times and love Gavin’s solo stuff.  Dave suggested I particularly listen to his ‘95 solo album Shag Tobacco (which is brilliant!) as a reference and that helped me find a way into a piece for Gavin. It turned into quite the epic!

I wasn’t expecting Wolfgang Flür’s contribution to be vocal. I guess I was expecting him to be playing drum pads or something!

Well he is rather well known for that : )  But yes we explored his performed written word for the tracks we have recorded together.  Previously we recorded “Golden Light”  and he loved it so much he included it on his album Eloquence and Wolfgang has encouraged me ever since we have become friends. “Silk Paper” was seductive little prose which worked so well against my semi classical piano piece and then production enhanced along the way.

How did you coax Richard Strange back into the studio?

Well it wasn’t difficult: I asked, he said yes : )  Richard is a gorgeous, giving guy, very talented and very open.  He was very encouraging actually and wrote and delivered a great lyric and performance in “Death Bed Diva,” an intricate camp tale of faded glory. I love it.

I wanted to ask you about Celine Hispiche. Her voice is so striking. I loved the lyrics where she’s mentioning famous drinkers at the Colony Room and lamenting what’s become of Soho. It seems like that could be an entire concept album on its own, a lost London lament, if you will.

Yes, the regeneration of our famous old cities and the life fading out of them and turning into something corporate and just much less. A lost London lament but it could be equally talking about New York or any other major old city. Celine is a wonderful character, a talented writer and actress, a bohemian figure at the center of Soho life. She painted a perfect picture of the London we all knew and loved, our 80s haunts all but gone now. The album was certainly planned in Soho and Dave and I did a tour of all our old haunts on the fateful “spilled pint” day.

The album factored in to the artists involved and our combined musical histories and many cities did feature in a way, all being regenerated as we speak, Liverpool (my nearest city) London, Dublin, New York ..

Having collaborated with so many iconic voices is there a “dream” collaboration that you’d like to see happen in the future?

Françoise Hardy I listen to practically every day so that’s a secret special desire. I would love to work with Stuart A. Staples and Claire Denis as I love his music for her films and I love her films, they are a beautiful combo and seeing Tindersticks film performance in Liverpool inspired my melodica playing on my album.  Scott Walker still inspires me, his latest musical ventures really challenging textually, visions of wonder and artistic truth.  Beth Gibbons is also an artist I love to listen to and respect very much … there’s a lot more I’m sure!

What happened to your “e”?

Hahahahaha, well there is a photographic artist Annie Hogan who I have actually become friends with, anyway seemed easier to drop the e, less confusion. 

Lost in Blue is released on March 8. You can order signed CDs and limited edition blue vinyl here.

Videos after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.21.2019
03:29 pm
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Test Dept returns with the new video ‘Landlord’ (a DM premiere)
02.21.2019
08:58 am
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Test Dept’s new album, ‘Disturbance’

Next week, the London-based activist industrial group Test Dept, forgers of the “Stakhanovite sound,” will release their first new album in over 20 years: a merciless piece of work called Disturbance.

Though Test Dept’s first records included collaborations with Cabaret Voltaire, FM Einheit and Genesis P-Orridge, in that milieu, their left politics stuck out like red flannel underwear. Their second album, Shoulder to Shoulder, was a split release with the South Wales Striking Miners Choir on which the two groups combined to perform a track called “Comrades.” I have a hard time picturing this moving gesture of solidarity coming from, say, Blixa Bargeld or Adi Newton.

We’ve got the premiere of the brand new Test Dept video “Landlord” below, and founding members Paul Jamrozy and Graham Cunnington were kind enough to answer a few questions by email.
 

Courtesy One Little Indian

There’s a very funny contribution from Laibach in [the excellent Test Dept book] Total State Machine enumerating the industrial groups active in 1984 and dismissing all but one: “only Test Dept were somehow made of (industrial) flesh and blood, only they were actively involved within concrete political and social space.” What is Test Dept’s political orientation? Is it true that Test Dept was the only industrial group of the left?

Paul Jamrozy: I am not entirely sure of that but certainly many groups that were linked to industrial music flirted with right wing iconography or were overtly apolitical, some with a snooty attitude as if politics were something beneath them. There came a point where that kind of trendy indifference became untenable, or you could say part of the unacceptable face of freedom.

Graham Cunnington: Orientation? Left. Socialist with somewhat anarchist tendencies.

Are there any plans to reissue the Test Dept catalog? Are there any plans to tour?

Graham: We are looking to release the back catalogue with One Little Indian in the near future. We have the album launch live show in London on 26th April with Manchester on 18th and Portsmouth on 25th. There are plans to tour UK and mainland Europe later in the year.

From my perspective, Test Dept’s return helps me make out the continuity of historical developments in the UK and US over the last four decades. For instance, Brexit and Grenfell appear on the news as illustrations of our strange, uncertain times, in which shocking events come out of nowhere and nothing is connected to anything else; but if I put on The Unacceptable Face of Freedom or Disturbance, a very clear story about the neoliberal period emerges. How does it look from your point of view?

Graham: The material on Disturbance has as its DNA our earlier work. The Unacceptable Face of Freedom was about the days of the Thatcher-Reagan axis driving forward the inception of the neoliberal period and the effects that had on society at the time; and Disturbance is about the effect that the development of that is having now. We are in the end-game of that whole arc and the system, quite obviously unsustainable, is collapsing, shored up by those with vested interests in its ongoing implementation who continue to tighten their grip; leading to austerity, the fragmentation of the welfare state, a return to Victorian levels of inequality and the rise of darker forces, as profit is extracted in ever more inventive ways and surveillance capitalism attempts to hook every aspect of our lives into the raw material for further gain and control.
 

Courtesy One Little Indian
 
I wish I could have attended the Assembly of Disturbance festival marking the centenary of the October Revolution. Please tell me about it. Was it the debut of the new material on Disturbance?

Graham: Assembly of Disturbance incorporated a platform for discussion and artistic expression, with live music, film, sound-art, installation, performance, DJs and talks on various forms of artistic, political and philosophical thinking. In its early days, the October Revolution gave rise to a huge explosion of creativity and radical new forms of art that expressed the visionary possibility of a new age and a different path for society, even though the society that spawned it was soon crushed by the dictates of Stalin’s despotic regime. That kind of visionary thinking, not for a communist state but for a radical systematic change with a global perspective, is something that the world is crying out for now – a disturbance in the present order. That’s what we were marking with the event.

The new material on Disturbance had been developing in a live format over a few years, from electronic remix work to a full live presentation, but it was certainly a coming together of many of the ideas we had been working on.

Collaboration with dancers, visual artists, and performance artists has long been part of your practice. How did you hook up with Kris Canavan for the “Landlord” video?

Graham: We met Kris while working with Rebecca Shatwell and the AV Festival in Newcastle (the DS30 installation/film and An Unprecedented Campaign live film soundtrack). We were looking towards doing a large-scale show for the AV Festival in 2018 and Kris was a possible collaborator on that. Unfortunately, in that year, the AV’s funding was cut and their final iteration had to be scaled back.

The video is a recording of Canavan performing his piece “Yes, it’s Fucking Political”, against a wall to wall video installation by our visual director David Altweger, which displays a stream of chopped up and manipulated broadcasts including the events around Grenfell – a tapestry of media fragments and surveillance footage that encompasses Kanavan’s body from all sides.

“Yes, it’s Fucking Political” was conceived in 2010 & originally designed to be a rallying cry or call for direct action against the betrayal of the electorate by the Liberal Democrats and a forthcoming Conservative agenda of austerity, which would predictably see the poorest suffer and shoulder the burden of responsibility.

One Little Indian will release Test Dept’s new album, Disturbance, on March 1. Below, Kris Canavan performs in the video for the new song “Landlord.” 
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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02.21.2019
08:58 am
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Get your hands on Peter Hook’s personal Joy Division and punk memorabilia
02.20.2019
08:44 am
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Over the years, legendary New Order and Joy Division bassman, Peter “Hooky” Hook has been collecting almost every single piece of memorabilia relating to his long career in music. From early club and concert tickets to his own numbered ticket, photograph, and recording of the famous Sex Pistols gig at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1976 that kickstarted the Buzzcocks, the Fall, Joy Division and would you believe? Mick Hucknell. Thru to the original master tapes of singles, 7” test pressings, artwork, bass guitars, amps, clothes, records, limited edition boxsets, CDs, right up to the scripts, publicity material, and posters for movies featuring the Manchester music scene (24-Hour Party People) and the Ian Curtis biopic Closer.

Now Hooky has decided to auction off all his prized personal collection of Joy Division and punk memorabilia to raise money for charity for the likes of CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), the Epilepsy Society, and The Christie. A total of 291 lots are up for grabs consisting of some of the finest punk/new wave memorabilia ever made available in one auction. As Hooky told Louder than War:

Every single piece that I own is in the catalogue. There is nothing else. This is every single thing I own. I only kept one thing back that a wonderful kid I met years ago gave me an art piece – a black felt square with hand wired Unknown Pleasures on it and it’s the only thing I kept and it’s in my office. All the proceeds go to charity. I don’t want to insult the people by keeping the money. I didn’t want to end up like a King Midas figure sitting there on my own cackling, look what I got! That feels nuts.

If you want Hook’s original bass guitar, or the original handwritten lyrics to Joy Division songs, or studio master tapes then get your bid in NOW for Peter Hook: The Joy Division Signature Collection.

The auction commences on 20th March, at 13:00hours (UK time) at Omega Auctions, Sankey Valley Industrial Estate, Newton-Le-Willows. Viewing takes place on 25th February—1st March. However, if you can’t get along have a swatch at some of the items for sale below or check the whole catalog here.
 
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Lot 1: 1970s Club Tickets.
 
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Lot 3: Hooky’s 7” singles including his first two punk singles.
 
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Lot 5: Sex Pistols collection.
 
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Lot 6: Sex Pistols Free Trade Hall ticket, recording, and photograph.
 
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Lot 10: Joy Division handwritten and signed lyrics.
 
See more of Hooky’s Joy Division Signature Collection, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.20.2019
08:44 am
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My kind of hero: The Catholic priest who poured blood on, burned hundreds of Vietnam draft cards
02.19.2019
06:39 am
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Let us not forget those civilian heroes who have opposed the American military machine in the name of peace and freedom. School textbooks often detail protests at Berkeley and Washington DC as pivotal moments in the anti-war movement. But I am just now learning about Father Philip Berrigan.
 
Berrigan returned from army service in World War II “sickened” by the unjustified violence and institutional racism he frequently encountered while on the force. A victim of the corrupt, “nationalistic propaganda” that favors white Europeans over everyone else, Berrigan was a bold participant in the American civil rights movement, whose participation in sit-ins and bus boycotts earned him his first stint in the clink. By his death in 2002, Berrigan had spent a total of 11 years behind bars.
 
Philip Berrigan became a Roman Catholic priest in 1955. In the mid-Sixties, while serving an impoverished African American parish in Baltimore, he founded Peace Mission, an anti-war advocacy group. They declared their displeasure in the “American Empire” by picketing the homes of Defense Secretary Robert S McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk. But people were still dying overseas.
 

Father Phil in 1960
 
On October 17 1967, Berrigan and three others, later to be known as the “Baltimore Four,” entered the Baltimore Customs House, where Vietnam draft cards were being issued. After distracting office clerks, the protesters splattered blood - made partly using their own - on the Selective Service records. While they waited for the police to come arrest them, the group passed out Bibles. Berrigan stated that the action was committed with dissent to “the pitiful waste of American and Vietnamese blood in Indochina.” It earned him six years in prison.
 
Six months later, Philip was out on bail and along with his older brother, Jesuit priest Rev Daniel Berrigan, the two formed the “Catonsville Nine.” A more grandiose version of what happened in Baltimore, the Catholic demonstrators set hundreds of draft cards ablaze in the parking lot of a Catonsville, MD board office using homemade napalm. Unified around the fire, they proceeded to recite the Lord’s Prayer. The press was given the following statement: “We destroy these draft records not only because they exploit our young men but also because they represent misplaced power concentrated in the ruling class of America. We confront the Catholic Church, other Christian bodies, and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country’s crimes.”
 

The Catonsville Nine
 
There is no proof on whether any lives were saved by the actions of the Catonsville Nine. It is known, however, that it inspired several similar pacifist movements across the US: the DC Nine, Milwaukee 14, Boston Eight, Camden 28, etcetera. Out on bail once more, the Berrigan brothers soon “went underground,” which earned them placement on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list. Their actions would also land them on the cover of TIME.
 

Catholic Anarchists: Philip and Daniel Berrigan
 
Philip Berrigan was eventually excommunicated from the church. Ironically, it wasn’t because of his activism, but rather a love affair he developed with a nun while incarcerated. Government screening of their letters also revealed new schemes to commit the “citizen’s arrest” of Henry Kissinger. Berrigan was acquitted of all major conspiracy charges in 1972.
 
Even after Vietnam, Philip and Daniel Berrigan would dedicate their lives to exposing the injustices within our country. With six others, they formed the Plowshares Movement, an anti-nuclear operation that is still active today. Its inception was marked by the raid of a General Electric plant that produced warhead nose cones. It was reported that the group hammered on two of the noses, poured blood on documents, and performed prayers for peace. They were held on ten different felony and misdemeanor charges.
 
Let us pay a moment of silence for those brave American heroes who have fought before us.
 

News footage from Catonsville Nine’s draft card burning, May 17, 1968
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Mickey Mouse in Vietnam’: Lee Savage & Milton Glaser’s rare anti-war animation
Watch Martin Scorsese’s bloody 1967 anti-Vietnam War short, ‘The Big Shave’

Posted by Bennett Kogon
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02.19.2019
06:39 am
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“Rap Sabbath?”: Black Sabbath’s bizarre collaboration with Ice-T in 1995
02.18.2019
11:02 am
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Ice-T and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi.
 
By the time Black Sabbath took ten days to record their eighteenth record Forbidden, they had parted ways twice with vocalist Ronnie James Dio, as well as another Sabbath vocalist, Tony Martin. Dio would go back to his solo work, and Martin would return to Sabbath for Forbidden. Dio really dodged a bullet as Forbidden would go down in history as one one of the Black Sabbath’s biggest blunders, kind of like Metallica’s Lulu. This is not meant to knock Iommi’s superior riffs or the thunder brought by Bill Ward’s replacement, Cozy Powell, or to be dismissive of the multi-talented Tony Martin who, among other things, can play the fuck out of the bagpipes. Alas the combination of star power and talent does not always result in righteous ear candy.

For many fans, Forbidden falls below the categorization of “For Fans Only” to a spot lower on the rock and roll ruler somewhere around, as Blender magazine called it, “the band’s worst album.” Of course, not everyone hates Forbidden, including Tony Iommi who began the process of remastering the album in early 2018 saying he hoped to release it sometime this year. In all honesty, I do not hate this record and if you think you do, or should, maybe give it another listen. So how was Ice-T enlisted to provide some vocal assistance for the song “Illusion of Power,” which was written by Ice and Tony Martin?

For Forbidden, Sabbath brought in Detroit-born guitarist Ernie C (Ernie Cunnigan) to produce the album. Ernie and Ice-T go way back to high school, where they first met in 1975, and has been playing with Ice in Body Count for nearly three decades. Ernie headed to Par Street Studios in Liverpool to record with Sabbath completing it in just ten days. Here’s more from an interview with Tony Martin and Cozy Powell talking about when they heard Ice-T was going to “rap” on the album:

Tony Martin: We had a phone call basically. He wanted to work with us. Tony went to meet him, they got on well, and from Ice-T, Ernie C was recommended to us as a producer for some of the tracks on the album, so it all started to develop, step by step. And in the end, Ernie ended up producing the whole album, which is quite good. His input really was a “feel”-thing, all the songs were already written by the time he got there. Well, you see, we didn’t know what he was gonna sing…In fact, he didn’t know what we were gonna write, and we didn’t know what he was gonna rap! So it was kind of rap by post if you like. We did the songs in the UK, sent one of them over to him, he rapped on it and sent it back. It turned out quite good.
Cozy Powell: I mean, if it had been a typical rap-thing with us it would have been ridiculous, but what he’s done on the track is actually really good.
Tony Martin: It is different, but that’s the point, it was supposed to be.
Cozy Powell: It was meant to be a guest appearance on one track, nothing more. It’s just a little bit different.
Tony Martin: We had to ask a lot of questions… It’s not something that sort of came up, like, “oh yeah, let’s do that,” we all looked at each other and went: “Are you sure ??” Do we really wanna do this? But it turned out good.
Cozy Powell: I think Ice and Ernie were a lot influenced by Sabbath anyway, so…That was where the connection originally came from, not that we absolutely wanted some rappers on a Sabbath-album..!
Cozy Powell: Goodness only knows…! We’ll probably have Madonna on the next!
Tony Martin: (laughs) NOT!!”

Martin has also been quoted saying that during the process of recording Forbidden, the band seemed to be okay with making what he called a “rap Sabbath” record. Which really makes no sense as Ice’s lyrical contribution to the song is a whopping sixteen seconds long. And he phoned it in from Los Angeles, so there’s that. The song is posted below. You have been warned.
 

“Illusion of Power” featuring vocals by Ice-T.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The curious case of Black Sabbath guitar god Tony Iommi and his very 70s sweater collection
‘Kiss My Baadasssss: Ice-T’s Guide To Blaxploitation’
Black & Blue: The infamous riot at a Black Sabbath & Blue Öyster Cult gig in Milwaukee, 1980
Black Sabbath’s 1972 cocaine budget: $75,000
Did Black Sabbath lift the opening riff from ‘Paranoid’?
Metal Gods: Rob Halford of Judas Priest fronts Black Sabbath in 1992

Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.18.2019
11:02 am
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Big Star’s Alex Chilton and his darkly upbeat song about the AIDS crisis, ‘No Sex’
02.15.2019
10:22 am
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No Sex French sleeve
 
Alex Chilton’s 1986 EP, No Sex, was his second release after a period of self-imposed exile. Following the debaucherous recording sessions that resulted in his chaotic 1979 LP, Like Flies on Sherbert, Alex took a step back from recording and touring as a solo act, preferring to play the role of sideman. He eventually moved from Memphis to New Orleans, where he cleaned up a bit. He worked jobs outside of the music business for a while, before easing back into performing, playing anonymously in various bands. The 1985 EP, Feudalist Tarts, marked his return to releasing studio records, and it was a fine effort, for sure, but nothing on it was as great—or shocking—as “No Sex.”

The song focuses on the then-developing HIV/AIDS crisis. AIDS was first identified in 1981, and in the mid ‘80s there was a lot of confusion surrounding the disease. It was still unclear how it was spread, but sexual contact had been identified as one way the disease was acquired. There was no treatment, no vaccine, and no cure. People were scared. In January 1986, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that in 1985 more people were diagnosed with AIDS than in all previous years combined. The following month, Alex Chilton went into the studio to record “No Sex.” His lyrics address a new, stark reality—sex was a possible death sentence.
 
No Sex US sleeve
 
If you’ve never heard “No Sex” before, you’re probably assuming it’s a depressing tune, but despite the bleak subject matter, it’s actually an overall upbeat number, reflecting Alex’s off-kilter sense of humor, while giving voice to the anxiety of the times. Much of its tone has to do with the music, an infectious (sorry, no pun intended), blend of rockabilly and Stax-like soul, executed in a tight yet loose fashion. Even with its profane refrain of “C’mon baby, fuck me and die,” the song did receive some college radio airplay—it’s that good.
 
Shades
 
Doug Garrison, who played drums on the track, gave us some insight into the recording of “No Sex,” as well as Chilton’s general production methods.

I’d be surprised if there were more than two or three takes on this. Alex didn’t like to belabor the point. His producing style was to preserve the edge, the little mistakes that give character to a performance in the studio. The first song I ever recorded with him was done in one take.

“No Sex” has been included on one of two new Alex Chilton collections recently released by Bar/None Records. From Memphis to New Orleans is a best-of spanning the years 1985-89, featuring a mix of solid originals and inspired covers. Songs from Robin Hood Lane highlights Alex’s love of Chet Baker and jazz standards. Amongst the fabulous recordings on this set, which all date from the 1990s, are four previously unreleased cuts.
 
Mountains
 
The newly remastered “No Sex” is embedded below. Log in to Spotify to hear the whole song, or listen to it on YouTube.
 

 
We’ll part with video of an Alex Chilton performance from 1985.
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Alex Chilton’s rarely heard ‘tribute’ song for the Replacements
What’s Your Sign?: Big Star’s Alex Chilton and his obsession with astrology
Tav Falco and the meaning of ‘anti’-rockabilly (with special guest Alex Chilton)

Posted by Bart Bealmear
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02.15.2019
10:22 am
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