For the benefit of future generations, the 1988 cookbook Rock ‘N’ Roll Cuisine collected the recipes for Rod Stewart’s “SANDWHICH [sic] FOR HANGOVER,S [sic],” George Michael’s risotto, Ian Astbury’s “dangerously spicy” chickpeas, Debbie Harry’s nutty shrimp, Ozzy’s chicken curry, and so on.
Ronnie James Dio’s contribution, set in blackletter type, was something like the bill of fare for a feudal baron’s Christmas feast: roast suckling pig with bread sauce, served with cups from the wassail bowl. Not just any wassail bowl, either, but “The Wassail, prepared by Charles Dickens for the entertainment, on Christmas Eve, at the Charity of Richard Watts, Rochester, Kent, England, 1854.” People needed this kind of hot, sugary booze back then. I bet a few good slugs out of this here wassail bowl could make a person forget all about the symptoms of smallpox, typhus and the measles, not to mention the cares of the 10-hour factory shift.
1 quart ale
1/4 ounce ground nutmeg
1/4 ounce grated ginger
1/4 ounce grated cinnamon
1/2 bottle sherry
2 slices toasted bread (1/2 inch thick)
1 lemon, juice & peel
sugar to taste
2 well-baked apples
Put ale in sauce pan and cook gently till it foams, then stir in the spices, add the sherry, lemon peel and juice with sugar. When sugar is dissolved, set pan aside on stove for twenty minutes to infuse. Then warm up, pour into punch bowl, let the toast and apples float in this and serve in cups.
For 1993’s Technodon, Yellow Magic Orchestra acquired vocal tracks from cyberpunk novelist William Gibson, dolphin-dosing scientist John C. Lilly, and Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs.
Burroughs’ contribution to the album’s first song, “Be A Superman,” is a short vocal sample, structurally integral, information-poor. But on “I Tre Merli” (“The Three Blackbirds,” an image from a Wallace Stevens poem that points directly to Burroughs and Gysin’s “third mind”), Burroughs reads a few lines from The Job. His text comes from the book’s “DON’T HAVE TO THINK” section, which describes an exercise for “becoming oneself” through liberation from mental conditioning. According to this counterintuitive practice, you find your true self by pretending to be other people:
What I am here to learn is a new way of thinking. There are no lessons and no teachers. There are no books and no work to be done. I do almost nothing. The first step is to stop doing everything you “have to do.” Mock up a way of thinking you have to do. This is one exercise derived from Scientology we have all studied at one time or another. Exercise loosens the hold of enforced thinking and extends the range of don’t have to think.
Example: You have to run the things you are going to do today write letters call so-and-so take clothes to laundry see about getting the radiators fixed. You run these items ten times when once is already too much. So mock up a run of imaginary errands. Now mock up some thinking you don’t have to do. Select a person whose way of life is completely different from yours and mock up his thinking.
(Example: You have to mock up interviews or situations in which you play an effective role before imaginary audience. Well, mock some up. Now mock up some enforced thinking you don’t have to do, somebody else’s enforced thinking what Dutch Schultz the numbers racketeer had to think, what a hotel manager has to think what a poor Moroccan farmer has to think.)
A few paragraphs down, Burroughs provides a negative definition of this “new way of thinking”:
The new way of thinking has nothing to do with logical thought. It is no oceanic organismal subconscious body thinking. It is precisely delineated by what it is not. Not knowing what is and is not knowing we know not. Like a moving film the flow of thought seems to be continuous while actually the thoughts flow stop change and flow again. At the point where one flow stops there is a split-second hiatus. The new way of thinking grows in this hiatus between thoughts. I am watching the servants on the floor pointing to the map and not thinking anything about what I see at all. My mind moves in a series of blank factual stops without labels and without questions. The objects around me the bodies and minds of others are just there and I move between them without effort or comment. There is nothing to do here, no letters to answer no bills to pay no goals barriers or penalties. There are no considerations here that would force thinking into certain lines of structural or environmental necessities. The new way of thinking is the thinking you would do if you didn’t have to think about any of the things you ordinarily think about if you had no work to do nothing to be afraid of no plans to make. Any exercises to achieve this must themselves be set aside. It’s a way you would think if you didn’t have to think up a way of thinking you don’t have to do. We learn to stop words to see and touch words to move and use words like objects.
Note: There has been some confusion about what happened at Sonos this week. After running this story, we were given reason to doubt that Mothersbaugh ever made these remarks. It turns out that he did say them—at a press preview of the Sonos event that took place one night earlier than the public event. Apologies to Daniel Maurer of Bedford and Bowery for casting his reportage in a negative light. The good news is that Mothersbaugh’s tapes appear to exist! Yay!
Yesterday, at an event hosted by Sonos at its Soho location in Manhattan, Mark Mothersbaugh divulged some news that has some fans of David Bowie positively salivating.
The “Song Stories” event was a tribute to Bowie, in which the lead singer of DEVO was joined by Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy, photographer Mick Rock, Motley Crüe‘s Nikki Sixx, and moderator Rob Sheffield. The idea was that each of the four guests would tell a story about Bowie and each story would be paired with a Bowie track.
According to Daniel Maurer of the Bedford and Bowery blog, Mothersbaugh let it be known that he had recently come across some tapes of a remarkable jam session that featured members of DEVO jamming with David Bowie, Brian Eno, and Holger Czukay of Can (!). “I haven’t listened to it yet because I just found this tape,” Mothersbaugh said to the startled attendees.
The recording stems from the sessions for DEVO’s first album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, which was recorded at the studio of renowned Krautrock producer and musician Conny Plank near Cologne, Germany. Brian Eno produced the album with occasional assistance from Bowie, who was filming the David Hemmings movie Just a Gigolo nearby. Bowie also remixed most of the album’s tracks. Apparently all the members of DEVO participated in the jam session, except for the band’s “bassist,” who had “missed his connecting flight because he was fighting with his girlfriend on an airport pay phone.” Presumably this refers to Gerald Casale?
In 1977, the wife of Michael Aylward, the guitarist in another noted Akron band, Tin Huey, sent Bowie and Iggy Pop a tape of DEVO’s demo songs; both musicians immediately became fans of the band and expressed an interest in producing DEVO’s first album. DEVO’s first gigs in New York took place on July 8 and 9, 1977, when the band played two sets per night at Max’s Kansas City. According to Mothersbaugh at Sonos last night, Bowie “came out on stage when we played our second show at Max’s” on the first night.
He came out on stage and goes, “This is the band of the future, I’m going to produce them this Christmas in Tokyo!” And we’re all like, “Sounds great to us. We’re sleeping in an Econoline van out in front on Bowery tonight, on top of our equipment.”
As Maurer writes, “Bowie ended up taking the band out on the town, putting Mothersbaugh up in his hotel room, and introducing the Akron, Ohio innocent to sushi.”
Mothersbaugh apparently found the tape after bringing his DEVO archive back to his studio. The jam session featuring DEVO, Bowie, Eno, and Czukay isn’t the only interesting tape he found, however. Mothersbaugh also found the 24-track master tapes used for the album, accompanied by Eno’s documentation of each song’s instruments, effects, and audio settings: “There’s these tracks down below that say things like: ‘David’s vocals’ and ‘Brian’s extra synths.’ And I’m like, ‘I remember turning that stuff off when we were doing our final mixes.’”
The band’s lead singer explained the band’s reluctance to use the vocal of a pop star as massive as Bowie by reference to DEVO’s paranoia of having their distinct sound messed with after so many negative experiences with hinky industry people and unauthorized releases.
Mothersbaugh indicated that he’ll have a listen to the tapes. “I’m thinking we should see what’s on those tapes. ... I’m really curious to see what the heck they did.” He joked by saying that DEVO “might have been more successful” if they had used Bowie’s vocal tracks.
Interestingly, Bryan Rolli’s account at Billboard of the Sonos event makes no mention of Mothersbaugh’s revelations, so we’ll see what shakes out.
Here’s footage of DEVO playing Max’s Kansas City that first night, July 8, 1977:
Johnny Cash is all of us this holiday season. Drunk, hiding in the bushes and eating cake.
On average, people gain anywhere between seven to ten pounds over the holiday season. The annual feeding frenzy is now in full swing ready to send our cholesterol into outer space while we simultaneously pour all kinds of delicious booze all over our livers. While I love pie and bourbon just as much as anyone else, I also like to cook so I thought it would be fun to share some fun celebrity recipes from yesteryear.
Most of the recipes below were published in the 1978 charity cookbook, Habilitat’s Celebrity Cookbook, 1930’s What Actors Eat When They Eat, and 1981’s Celebrity Cookbook. I’ve included a nice selection of recipes shared by icons such as Cary Grant’s barbequed chicken, Boris Karloff’s guacamole (which calls for sherry mind you), and Johnny Cash’s “Old Iron Pot” family style chili. The majority of the recipes are of the traditional variety—such as beef stew and meatloaf, though there are a few curve balls. Like Bette Davis’ “Mustard Gelatin Ring” which sounds about as appetizing as the rat she served to Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and actress Bea Arthur’s fancy-sounding “Avocado with Jellied Madrilene.” For those of you who lack Arthur’s gastronomical refinement, madrilene is a cold tomato consommé. Check them all out below!
YouTube user Mylo the Cat aka isthishowyougoviral aka Adam Schleichkorn brings us the Muppets-rap mashup we didn’t know we’ve been waiting for—a lengthy montage of Cookie Monster acting as MC over Busta Rhymes’ first single “Woo Hah! Got You All In Check,” which went to #1 on the U.S. rap charts more than 20 years ago, in 1996.
The video came out yesterday. Of the clip, Schleichkorn says. “I just wanted to make something to lighten the mood, in between the inevitable countless amounts of terrible news stories that will come out this week.”
What does he know that we don’t? Oh right, nothing at all. Bad news. That’s one thing you can bank on in 2017.
Earlier this year Schleichkorn came out with an amusing video in which Big Bird does the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” We liked that one too.
It’s a busy time to be Neil Young. He just released a new album, The Visitor on Friday, with a new single called “Already Great,” a mockery of MAGA. On that same day, he performed an intimate show in a small theater in his childhood home of Omemee, Ontario. That show was live-streamed to Facebook, where it still resides, or you can watch it right here on Dangerous Minds, at the end of this post. On top of that, he announced the full-resolution digital release of every song he ever recorded for 100% free-of-charge streaming on neilyoungarchives.com. Note—it’s every song he recorded, not just every song he ever released, so there is an incredible wealth of unreleased music to be enjoyed. Have fun getting nothing done today!
On December 9th, Julien’s Auctions—notorious for once auctioning one of William Shatner’s kidney stones—are brokering the auction of a huge amount of Neil Young’s property. Over half the lots, to the tune of about 250, are model trains; I imagine there are surely Neil Young super-fans out there who knew this was a pastime of his, but I was kind of astonished by the sheer number of toy trains he was making available! There are clothes and some personal effects on offer as well, but of course, Young is a guitarist, and there are a good three dozen brilliant guitars (and some dross, of course) to be had by the tenacious bidder. We’ve gone through the auction and rounded them up for you. We’ve excluded doubles, and we may have elided an acoustic or two—after combing through three dozen guitars, a lot of those can tend to run together. Should you choose to bid, best of luck to you, any of these would make a great score.
This is pretty amazing—it’s called “The Whizzer,” and it’s a set of footswitches that activated servos connected to the knobs on Young’s amp—effectively, a pedalboard that altered amp settings on the fly. The auction catalog states that this was used on the 1975-1976 tour, which means the amp in question was almost certainly a 1959 tweed Fender Deluxe.
1935 Martin F-7 acoustic guitar, serial number 60204.
A 1957 Gretsch Country Club 6182 guitar, in sunburst, serial number 27466.
Christmas 1965, Paul McCartney secretly recorded an “album” at his home in London as a present for his fellow bandmates John, George, and Ringo. There were only three discs ever made of this special festive recording, which have since either worn out or disappeared. This is how author Richie Unterberger described Paul’s Christmas album in his mammoth book The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film:
For years, it had been reported that Paul McCartney recorded an album at home around Christmas 1965 specifically for the other Beatles. Supposedly, it included singing, acting, and sketches, and only three copies were pressed, one each for John, George, and Ringo. In a 1995 interview with Mark Lewisohn, Paul confirmed this in some detail, explaining, “Yes, it’s true. I had two Brenell tape recorders set up at home, on which I made experimental recordings and tape loops, like the ones in ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’ And once I put together something crazy, something left field, just for the other Beatles, a fun thing which they could play late in the evening. It was just something for the mates, basically.”
Continued McCartney, “It was called Unforgettable and it started with Nat ‘King’ Cole singing ‘Unforgettable,’ then I came in over the top as the announcer” ‘Yes, unforgettable, that’s what you are! And today in Unforgettable...’ It was like a magazine program: full of weird interviews, experimental music, tape loops, some tracks I knew the others hadn’t heard, it was just a compilation of odd things. I took the tape to Dick James’s studio and they cut me three acetate discs. Unfortunately, the quality of these discs was such that they wore out as you played them for a couple of weeks, but then they must have worn out. There’s probably a tape somewhere, though.”
If it ever turns up, it might be the earliest evidence of the Beatles using home recording equipment for specifically experimental/avant-garde purposes—something that John and Paul did in the last half of the 1960s, though John’s ventures in this field are more widely known than Paul’s.
Barry Miles in his biography of McCartney Many Years From Now notes the former Beatle had been regularly making experimental tapes for his then grilfriend Jane Asher which pips Lennon to the post as far as pioneering the avant-garde. As McCartney told Miles:
I would sit around all day, creating little tapes. I did one once called Unforgettable and used the Unforgettable Nat King Cole “Is what you are ...” as the intro. Then did a sort of “Hello, hello ...” like a radio show. I had a demo done by Dick James of that, just for the other guys because it was really a kind of stoned thing. That was really the truth of it.
This stoner recording has popped up on bootlegs but thanks to DM pal author, biographer, musician, and all-around good guy, Simon Wells we can share with you the whole of McCartney’s Unforgettable Christmas recording from 1965.
On December 1st, 1991, members of Nirvana played a stealthy acoustic gig in a Scottish bar. The group’s second album, Nevermind, had been released a few months prior and was steadily increasing in popularity. The “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video was all over MTV, and the band were consistently covered by the rock music press. It was in this moment that Nirvana were asked to play a benefit show in Edinburgh. Recently, after 26 years, audio has surfaced from this historic performance.
Nirvana was in the midst of a U.K. tour when they played Calton Studios in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 29th, 1991. Scottish group Captain America, led by Eugene Kelly of the Vaselines, and Shonen Knife opened. Kurt Cobain was ill, and the gig was nearly called off when a doctor advised Kurt not to perform. But Kurt blew off the suggestion and loaded up on painkillers prior to show time.
Dave Grohl and Kurt during the Calton Studios gig.
Edinburgh band the Joyriders had asked Nirvana if they’d like to join them for a December 1st show, which would benefit a local children’s hospital. The event would take place at a nearby bar. The group agreed, and after Nirvana’s Calton Studios performance, the Joyriders passed out handbills for the upcoming benefit, noting the appearance of “very special guests.”
The night of the show, a large crowd assembled inside the Southern Bar. Since it was only a rumor that Nirvana would appear, many eventually split, leaving less than 30 in attendance when the band walked in.
Kurt and Dave set up on the bar’s small stage for an acoustic performance. For reasons unknown, bassist Chris (now Krist) Novoselic didn’t take part, though he was present. Rather than play the drums, Dave borrowed Chris’s acoustic bass. The duo was introduced as Teen Spirit.
After some amusing pre-show banter with the rowdy locals, they launch into “Dumb,” then an unreleased tune (it would turn up on In Utero), followed by a Nevermind number, “Polly.” The third and final song on the audio recording is the Vaselines’s “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam”, which Nirvana had been opening their shows with, and would be played during their 1993 performance for MTV Unplugged (as would the previous two songs). Unfortunately, it fades out before completion. Witnesses have noted that they also played Shonen Knife’s “Twist Barbie,” (the band members were in attendance) and one or two more.
The four-song EP Barnes & Barnes released in 1982 goes by the name of its best-known track, “I Had Sex with E.T.,” and is distinguished in Steven Spielberg’s biography as “perhaps the most egregious unauthorized product” related to the sci-fi blockbuster. Adding insult to injury, one half of the group that wrote and recorded the song was Bill Mumy, who had played Will Robinson on Lost in Space as a child actor. Had he no respect for the sacred fraternity of showfolk?
Barnes & Barnes’ erotic outer-space adventure in intellectual property rights was over almost as soon as it began. It is alleged that, when the duo had sold just 73 copies of the EP’s limited run of 200, they received a stern warning from Spielberg’s or Universal’s lawyers that compelled them to delete the release. (This Barnes & Barnes discography quotes Mumy’s allusion to “serious bigtime showbiz legal problems.”)
If Barnes & Barnes don’t sound familiar, their novelty hit “Fish Heads” will. As Art and Artie Barnes, Mumy and his partner Robert Haimer recorded a string of albums and singles for Rhino and their own Lumania label, and they collaborated on LPs with Wild Man Fischer and Crispin Glover. This number was just one in their series of kiss-and-tell songs, all of them set to the same one-minute-and-twenty-second backing track: “I Had Sex with Pac-Man” (on the same EP as “I Had Sex with E.T.”), “I Had Sex on TV,” “I Had Sex with Santa,” and the still-unreleased “I Had Sex with Madonna” and “I Had Sex with Your Mother.”
Speaking of the sacred fraternity of showbiz, Mumy and Haimer have a bunch of writing credits on records by the band America, and Mumy used to play with the late Miguel Ferrer of Twin Peaks fame in a blues band called the Jenerators. On the sole release by their previous band, Seduction of the Innocent, you can hear Ferrer sing “Sunshine Superman.”
Imagine deciding to execute your own tarot deck using the photographic arts. Not just the 22 cards of the Major Arcana, mind you, but the whole kit and caboodle—all 78 cards, right down to the 7 of swords and the 3 of cups, every damned repetitive variation. Now imagine that there’s no such thing as Photoshop and that digital photography also isn’t yet a part of our lives either.
How difficult would that be, how much planning would it require? Even if you were able to do it, do you think you could make them turn out good? What are the odds that it would have any artistic merit at all?
Bea Nettles has dedicated her life to photography, and she executed what is believed to be the world’s first-ever photographic tarot deck in the early 1970s. She was enrolled as a printmaking student at the Penland Art School in Bakersville, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, when in 1970 she had a dream in which she came up with the idea of producing her own tarot deck using the art of photography.
The resulting deck is often breathtakingly gorgeous. It is also whimsical, homespun, frequently funny, personal and intuitive. Lacking a lion to portray “Strength,” she used a hardy sheepdog instead. The images exploit the Appalachian setting. While it is never far from the spirit of a modernist like Man Ray, it also has a distinctively spooky vibe that is in keeping with the tarot. The project took her several years; in 1975 it was published by Inky Press Productions as The Mountain Dream Tarot. In the deck she posed as the Queen of Pentacles wearing the same black taffeta dress that had inspired her dream.
Nettles was assisted in her project by two professor at the University of Florida, with whom she had worked as an undergraduate. Jerry Uelsmann introduced to her the idea of combining multiple negatives in a single image. Robert Fichter taught her how to paint on photographs and negatives to get various results.
As part of the introduction to her deck, Nettles wrote,
The mountain dream tarot came to me in a dream in the summer of 1970. The decision to assemble a photographic set of cards was made in my sleep. I began the next morning at Penland School in North Carolina. I chose models who suited the cards and after reading the card’s description we took a walk to find the right place to make the picture. ... I based my imagery on the classic Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Waite. My cards are an intuitive, not a literal interpretation of the deck.
If you needed an eagle in an image, you had to find an eagle to photograph…. The same was true with flames, water, boats, swords, and all of the other props. I shot the images with my medium format Yashica D camera, processed the film, and printed either in Penland’s darkroom or my own. The cards in the original deck were machine stitched between 2 sheets of frosted mylar.
In 2007 Bruce Springsteen released his 15th studio album, called Magic. On the CD itself (and on the label on the LP) is an evocative image of a heart being pierced by three swords, which—of course—comes from the three of swords card in Nettles’ deck.
Today Nettles is in her early 70s and has spent her life as a professor of photography, at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Tyler School of Art, and the University of Illinois, where she is currently Professor Emerita. I’d be shocked if she weren’t a good one.