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‘A.N.T.S.’: When Adam & the Ants parodied the Village People
12.30.2016
02:09 pm
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Flexipop! magazine only existed for a couple of years, ending a run of 26 issues in 1983. Having been founded by a pair of Record Mirror refugees, Flexipop! featured music journalism adequate for a young-adult readership, but so did plenty of other rags, so to set itself apart from the pack, it featured in every issue a preposterous photo-comic story about a featured band, and a flexi-disc.

Lots of mags at the time used flexis to supplement their coverage, but with Flexipop! as the name implies, the disc was pretty much the reason you bought it, and they made it worth buying. Like later adopters of the practice Trouser Press and The Bob, Flexipop! had the prescience to include underground and up-and-coming artists who have gone on to achieve cult classic status. Cure, Bauhaus, The Jam, XTC… it’s a stunning list, check out the mag’s Discogs page and drool.
 

 
But we’re here today not to praise the magazine generally (we’ve done that…) but to focus on the flexi disc from the mag’s 4th issue, featuring Adam and the Ants, who were experiencing astonishing success in the wake of an unlikely image makeover, and who could have simply pumped up their Kings of the Wild Frontier album by providing Flexipop! with a deep cut and let that be that. Instead, they released in that magazine an exclusive recording of their crazy parody of the Village People’s 1978 single “Y.M.C.A.,” titled “A.N.T.S.”
 

It’s a pretty fine line, isn’t it?

Fans of Adam’s live performance will be familiar with ‘A.N.T.S.’, the multi coloured maverick’s anthem to his fans (or should that be f.a.n.s.?). The original Village People superhit ‘YMCA’ is one of Adam’s all time fave songs (see Fallout Favourites last ish) and this cover with amended lyrics reprinted below for your delectation, was once featured as an encore on Ant tours. This studio version, especially recorded for Flexipop, is the first time ‘A.N.T.S.’ has appeared on vinyl.

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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12.30.2016
02:09 pm
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Groucho Marx and William F. Buckley debate the nature of comedy on ‘Firing Line,’ 1967
12.30.2016
11:51 am
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On July 7, 1967, Groucho Marx appeared as a guest on William F. Buckley’s current affairs show Firing Line to debate the topic “Is the World Funny?” Firing Line had been in existence only for about a year at that point, broadcasting on WOR channel 9 in New York City; four years later, the show would move to PBS.

Groucho was there to promote his new book The Groucho Letters: Letters From and To Groucho Marx, in which he reproduced selected correspondence with figures like Jerry Lewis, Irving Berlin, E.B. White, Peter Lorre, Edward R. Murrow, David Susskind, Booth Tarkington, Harry Truman, and James Thurber. The book is still in print today. Contrasting himself with Bob Hope, whom Groucho regards as possessing a quasi-pathological need to perform in front of audiences, Groucho asserts at one point that if he weren’t promoting a book, he’d never appear on a show like Firing Line.

Presiding as a kind of arbiter was C. Dickerman Williams, an attorney who had once been director of the American Civil Liberties Union and had defended Buckley’s National Review in a number of free speech cases.

Groucho discusses an appearance he made two years earlier, at a memorial service for T.S. Eliot that was organized by Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Tynan and held at the Globe Theatre in London on June 13, 1965. It turns out that T.S. and Groucho had a prickly frenemy relationship for a few years. On Firing Line, Groucho asserts that Eliot was probably jealous of William Shakespeare.

Groucho’s freeform and scattershot mentality isn’t well suited for a true debate on the nature of comedy and he actually upbraids Buckley whenever he tries to stay on point. During a discussion of ethnic humor, he states that “I don’t regard myself as a Jew when I’m publicly performing,” which is interesting because it’s mainly true, Groucho’s humor might have been generally Jewish as a matter of lineage but not particularly Jew-ish as such.

Groucho also says that he would have voted for Buckley when he ran for mayor in 1965 (he got 13.4% of the vote, not bad at all).

This episode of Firing Line is actually available on DVD too.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.30.2016
11:51 am
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The Rolling Stones unleash riotous version of ‘Street Fighting Man’ during their 1973 European tour
12.30.2016
09:43 am
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1973 European tour poster
 
During the Rolling Stones’ 1973 tour of Europe, the band would usually end the show with their 1968 single (and Beggars Banquet album track), “Street Fighting Man.” On occasion, the Stones’ performance of the tune on the ‘73 jaunt could be magical. One such version was professionally recorded—and bootlegged—eventually seeing official release in 2011, before fading back into obscurity.

“Street Fighting Man,” like most of the Stones’ best stuff from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, is not only a fucking great song, but the studio version sounds cool.
 

 
Believe it or not, what you’re hearing during the opening moments of is Keith Richards’ acoustic guitar, which was recorded using a cheap cassette deck, giving it an overloaded, electric character. Charlie Watts used a 1930s practice drum kit on the intro, also captured with the tape recorder, the thin tone of the kit adding to the lo-fi effect. As the song progresses, Indian instruments are heard, giving the track a psychedelic quality. One of those instruments, the shehnai (essentially an Indian oboe) produces the wailing sound heard towards the end of the song. Mick Jagger’s lyrics—is he calling for revolution?—are open to interpretation. Jagger’s words, and the fact that his vocals are partially buried in the mix, contribute to the mysterious nature of “Street Fighting Man.”
 
Street Fighting Man - French picture sleeve
French picture sleeve

In support of their new record, Goat’s Head Soup, the Stones launched the 1973 European trek on September 1st in Vienna. Though significantly less dramatic than their infamous 1972 U.S. tour, the outing still had its moments. Take this one, in which saxophonist Bobby Keys quits the band right before the first of two scheduled performances that were to take place in Brussels, Belgium, on October 17th. In his autobiography, Life, Richards describes the scene:

No sign of Bobby at the band assembly that day, and finally I was asked if I knew where my buddy was—there had been no reply from his hotel room. So I went to his room and said, Bob, we gotta go, we gotta go right now. He’s got a cigar, bathtub full of champagne and this French chick in [the tub] with him. And he said, fuck off. So be it.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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12.30.2016
09:43 am
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‘Kimono My House’: Sparks’ audio guide to the Los Angeles rock scene of the Sixties
12.30.2016
09:31 am
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Before they were Sparks, brothers Ron and Russell Mael were teenagers growing up in Pacific Palisades. More than the sunbeams, they bathed in the sound waves of the mid-to-late Sixties’ rock product, nourishing themselves on the transcendent and the trash alike. A decade later, after Sparks had achieved champion status on the international rock market, Russell Mael went on the radio to play his favorite songs from that period and talk about his LA adolescence.

The broadcast is about two hours long. According to the blog stranger than known, where I came across this remarkable recording, it’s a tape of Russell Mael’s appearance on BBC Radio 1 around November 1979. If the date’s correct, Mael would have been promoting Sparks’ collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, No. 1 in Heaven.

Mael sets up each song with a cultural observation, bit of rock lore, or a memory: seeing the Doors at local dances, auditioning bass players for garage bands with the ascending line from “Hey Joe,” driving up to San Francisco to see Moby Grape, watching surfers put lemon juice in their hair, playing the “Louie Louie” single at 33⅓ rpm in the hope of hearing a secret, lewd message, and so on.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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12.30.2016
09:31 am
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Couch potato special: Feast on these classic TV movies now!
12.30.2016
09:28 am
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Looking for something decent to watch while you wait for those ‘I Survived 2016’ t-shirts to arrive? Something suitably entertaining and thrilling to see out a bad year on a high? Then try these….

The much maligned TV Movie turned out a number of classics during its 70s/80s prime. Now Headpress has recently given the phenomena the attention it so richly deserves in a cracking new book Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999 edited by Amanda Reyes.

Here, exclusively for Dangerous Minds, Reyes has selected six standout classic examples of the genre—and has provided a little introductory commentary too. The list include credits from the likes of none other than a young Steven Spielberg, Dennis Weaver, Valerie Harper and Charles Durning. And they’re all classics.

But best of all—you can view most of them right here right now. So without further ado, here’s Amanda to tell you about our first little feature…
 
1. Duel (1971)
 
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Amanda Reyes: Duel is the ultimate Movie of the Week. It was an early directing job for Steven Spielberg and he shows off some amazing directing skills in this tale about a man being chased by a creepy semi across a desert highway.

Everything is simple, pure and absolutely petrifying. Dennis Weaver plays the man on the run, and turns in an excellent performance. The script was written by the great Richard Matheson, and there’s not much I can say about this one except it’s very near perfect on every level.
 

 
Watch more classic TV movies, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.30.2016
09:28 am
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Spend New Year’s Eve 1968 with The Who, Small Faces, Françoise Hardy & Pink Floyd
12.30.2016
09:02 am
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New Years Eve, Paris, 1968. Amidst a volatile political climate of civil unrest that nearly brought the entire country to a virtual halt, rock ‘n’ roll music was still prevailed as “teenage entertainment” before being overthrown by the hippie culture of Woodstock the following year. The 3 1/2 hour New Years Eve Surprise Partie broadcast from the ORTF Studios (the only French TV channel at the time) is a beautiful, ultra-mod, time capsule that features rare performances by Jacques Dutronc, The Troggs, Françoise Hardy, Aphrodite’s Child, Johnny Hallyday, Fleetwood Mac, The Who, The Small Faces, P.P. Arnold, Booker T & The MGs, The Pink Floyd, Marie Laforet, The Equals, and many others. The invitation-only guest list included hundreds of fashionably dressed Parisian partygoers wearing the latest styles, and casually lounging about every inch of a cool, modern, space-age set.
 
Many of the artists here are documented during a very specific transition period in their careers. The Who lip-sync to “I Can See for Miles,” “Magic Bus,” and the rare Jigsaw Puzzle version of “I’m a Boy” with high energy despite the fact they had just suffered a year long dry spell devoid of commercial hits. Just a few months later they would switch gears with the musical Tommy and go on to become one of greatest stadium rock bands of the ‘70s. Later, during the Small Faces performance Keith Moon and Pete Townshend can be seen sitting behind Kenney Jones’ drum riser grooving to the music and having a good time without drawing attention to themselves. The Small Faces didn’t even bother to plug their gear in—they were only weeks away from breaking up—and performed tracks from their final album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake.
 
The Pink Floyd can be seen still finding their way after the loss of vocalist and songwriter Syd Barrett just one year prior. In 1969 they would get back on track becoming the premiere live space rock band, incorporating their success into their fourth album Ummagumma, recorded five months later. The Equals (notable for being one of England’s first racially integrated bands) perform their million-selling chart-topper, “Baby, Come Back,” with guitarist Eddy Grant looking as if he had just time traveled from the 1981 punk scene, sporting bleached blonde hair and an orange vinyl suit. Eddy Grant‘s futuristic vision would serve him years later with a very successful solo career that included the platinum single “Electric Avenue.” Fleetwood Mac is also in wonderful form here with Jeremy Spencer taking the lead on two of the three songs, he would abruptly leave the band just two years later to join a religious group called the Children of God.
 
In an impressive television debut, English singing, French-based rock band Les Variations belt out some classic ‘60s garage tunes in front of a wildly enthusiastic home crowd. In his memoirs, guitarist Marc Tobaly remembers everyone getting a little bit drunk at the canteen down the street from ORTF Studios, insisting that the viewers at home were indeed watching a “real” party on television. American soul singer P.P. Arnold sang her interpretation of the Bee Gees song, “To Love Somebody.” Sadly, her performance here suffers from a poor sound mix, and she is not joined by The Small Faces for “If You Think You’re Groovy” despite the fact that they played on the recording and were present at the TV studio during the taping. While YouTube videos of Surprise Partie are constantly being removed because of content-ID matching, the fine folks over at Modcinema are selling a fantastic looking transfer on DVD as a 2-disc set. Dig it!
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Doug Jones
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12.30.2016
09:02 am
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High-end hipster clothing for your action figures is a thing
12.29.2016
12:58 pm
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Two of the best dressed 1/6th scale action figures you’ll ever see. Clothing designed by Monika Hegedus Strada of Hegemony77.
 
If you follow my posts here on Dangerous Minds you know that I’m kind of a huge freak when it comes to action figures. But even with my extensive experience in the world of plastic people I actually had NO IDEA that there was a market for custom made clothing for 1/6th scale figures. And now that I know I’m completely obsessed. Specifically with Monika Hegedus Strada the fashion designer behind the Etsy shop Hegemony77 that sells cargo pants, sweaters, t-shirts and even tighty-whitey knit underwear for action figures. Yes, really.

Based in Sheffield, UK Strada makes the tiny designer duds herself and even does custom orders. So if your dream is to clothe your figures in a pair of skinny jeans, an Iron Maiden t-shirt and a cool pair of kicks, then this is your lucky day. Though I will warn you that Strada’s expertly tailored Ken-doll couture does not come cheap and can run anywhere from $23 bucks for a long sleeved shirt (for an action figure mind you) to almost $150 for a long sleeve olive drab henley with four buttons and a seven-pocket cargo pant with belt loops. Many of their “models” were even captured in settings that look like tiny Abercrombie & Fitch stores. Because everyone knows that any discerning action figure owner really needs to have their toys wearing the latest hot styles.

Pawing through Strada’s Wordpress site is sort of like taking a deep-dive down the Internet K-Hole and for me it was nearly impossible to stop scrolling once I happened upon it whilst conducting some very important “research” for my job here at DM. Lest you doubt that there is a market for Strada’s spendy threads, she’s made over 2000 sales since opening the virtual doors of Hegemony77 in 2011. And just so you know you’re not going crazy some of the faces on the figures are plastic facsimiles of Michael C. Hall, Christian Bale, Jake Gyllenhaal and other hunky actors made by Hot Toys.
 

Steve Aoki t-shirt and beanie for a 1/6 scale action figure.
 

An action figure fronted hipster band wearing clothing designed by Strada.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.29.2016
12:58 pm
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Diabolical images of Hell and its demons from the 15th Century
12.29.2016
10:09 am
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For such a beautiful book containing such rich and powerful religious iconography there is surprisingly little known about Livre de la Vigne Nostre Seigneur other than it is a French book written circa 1450-70 and is an illustrated treatise “on the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ” and “the Antichrist, Last Judgement, Hell, and Heaven.”

The book’s title Livre de la Vigne Nostre Seigneur is an “allusion” to:

...a vineyard often evoked in the Old Testament, planted by Yahweh and symbolizing the people of Israel. The image is taken up in the New Testament [Matthew 20-21], Jesus comparing the Kingdom of God to a vine whose Christians are the winegrowers.

The manuscript is illustrated throughout with stunning miniatures produced by many different hands depicting a diverse range of demons carrying out their dastardly deeds in Hell.

These “medieval demons”:

...undertake a much broader variety of activities—none of them good—and as observable here and elsewhere in the Livre de la Vigne imagery, their physiognomies often incorporate a baroque set of negative pictorial signs, which may include dark skin; deformity; bestial features such as fangs or beaks, horns, hooves, and tails; ugly grimaces; and supernumerary bodily orifices.

Demonic attributes, such as military weapons, pitchforks, fleshhooks, and flails, are associated with warfare, agricultural labour, and torture; and the torments inflicted by demons upon the damned include some of those familiar to medieval viewers from earthly spectacle, including public punishment.

Writer and researcher Jenny Judova notes the “most interesting aspect of these demonic depictions is”:

...that according to F. Carey (The Apocalypse and the Shape of Things to Come, p.93) ‘many of the details of the pictorial depictions follow the account in the text, which incorporates the description (in Latin ) from the book of Job 41:5-12:

(41-5) Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. (41-6) His body is like molten shields, shut close up with scales pressing upon one another. (41-7) One is joined to another, and not so much as any air can come between them: (41-8) They stick one to another and they hold one another fast, and shall not be separated. (41-9) His sneezing is like the shining of fire, and his eyes like the eyelids of the morning. (41-10) Out of his mouth go forth lamps, like torches of lighted fire. (41-11) Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, like that of a pot heated and boiling. (41-12) His breath kindleth coals, and a flame cometh forth out of his mouth’

Jenny also points out the manuscript’s depiction of the Devil is “to some extent based on scripture and not social expectations of what the devil should like and artistic imagination.”

The Bodleain Library has uploaded a large selection of images from Livre de la Vigne Nostre Seigneur which can be viewed here.
 
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More images of Hell’s angels, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.29.2016
10:09 am
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Get ready for Amazon’s creepy and marvelous floating warehouses of the sky
12.29.2016
09:18 am
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As we churn into the bracing new era of Trump and Brexit, one of the big themes to look out for is automated process replacing jobs that used to be done by humans. This has already begun, of course, but it looks like the next few years are going to be pivotal ones in the coming of a future leisure-oriented paradise or our inevitable domination under the control of Skynet, depending on how you look at it.

It is also becoming clear that Amazon is going to be a major driver of these processes. Amazon is known to be aggressive about narrowing the time gap between product order and product delivery, including mechanisms such as drones delivering products directly to Amazon Prime users’ doors.

In line with that, Amazon has been awarded a patent for warehouses that float in the sky (as “dirigibles”) and dispense unmanned drones carrying items directly to users. This is simultaneously a great development for Amazon’s many users, who will soon be able to expect instant gratification of its materialistic desires, and an ominous portent of a world without employment for many of its human beings.

As Arjun Kharpal of CNBC phrased it, the patent is for “a giant flying warehouse that acts as a launchpad for drones to deliver items within minutes.” The warehouses could potentially hover at an altitude of 42,000 feet (this is similar to the altitude that planes usually fly), although they could also be positioned much lower, under certain circumstances.
 

 
The patent filing was awarded in April of this year but only circulated recently. Just a couple of weeks ago Amazon successfully completed its first delivery by drone to a paying customer in the U.K.

U.S. Patent 9,305,280 bears the title “Airborne Fulfillment Center Utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Item Delivery.” In it a process is described of floating warehouses in the sky, called “aerial fulfillment centers” or AFCs, dispensing potentially many thousands of delivery drones, or “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs), to its users. That Amazon’s depiction of this system involves blimps, zeppelins, or dirigibles, however you wish to call them, may bring to mind certain texts or utterances of Jules Verne or C. Montgomery Burns.

Amazon’s patent aggressively imagines a world in which “items may be delivered within minutes of placing an order,” thus providing (in a phrase Amazon uses un-ironically that is also pretty much the bumper-sticker summation of capitalism writ large) “near instant gratification.” The ability to have warehouses floating around in the sky would also expand Amazon’s ability to deliver “perishable items or even prepared meals.” In other words, Amazon is positioning itself to be in direct competition with Domino’s and Uber Eats.

The background section of the patent describes our current system of retail delivery, using the soon-to-be-archaic method of a “human controlled truck, bicycle, cart, etc.” delivering items from a “ground-based building,” culminating in a familiar scene in which “a human may hand the item to a recipient, place the item on the user’s porch, store the item in a post office box, etc.” It is rather chilling and (almost?) hilarious how easy it is to make our everyday lives sound like a bizarre scene out of sci-fi novel.
 

“An unmanned aerial vehicle delivery process that utilizes an airborne fulfillment center”
 
Later on, the patent continues: “An airship, or dirigible, is a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft which can navigate through the air under its own power. ... An AFC may be positioned at an altitude above a metropolitan area and be designed to maintain an inventory of items that may be purchased by a user and delivered to the user by a UAV that is deployed from the AFC.”

A few paragraphs later, the patent gets positively feverish about the many benefits the system of airborne warehouses will provide:
 

The use of an AFC and shuttles ... provides [a] benefit in that the AFC can remain airborne for extended periods of time. In addition, because the AFC is airborne, it is not limited to a fixed location like a traditional ground based materials handling facility. In contrast, it can navigate to different areas depending on a variety of factors, such as weather, expected demand, and/or actual demand.

An AFC may navigate to an area based on various positioning factors. For example, a temporal event (e.g., a football game) may be expected to produce a demand for certain types of items (e.g., sporting paraphernalia, food products, etc.). In advance of the event, the items may be delivered to the AFC in a quantity sufficient to satisfy the expected demand and the AFC may navigate to a position such that the UAVs deployed from the AFC can safely navigate to the location of the event and deliver the items, thereby satisfying the demand. In some implementations, the AFC may navigate to a lower altitude and provide advertising for the temporal event or for other occasions (e.g., product announcements, product releases, sales).

 
It was widely reported earlier this year that the advent of automated trucking (obviously, a related industry) could easily result in the disappearance of millions of U.S. jobs in a relatively short time. (Truck driver is the #1 occupation in all 50 states.) As a society we are still happy to demonize government “handouts” to the jobless, and we just are not prepared for this shit. It seems inevitable that some form of universal basic income will be necessary sooner than anyone is expecting.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.29.2016
09:18 am
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Gary Numan talks with DJ Lance Rock (of TV’s ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’) about giving up guitars for synths
12.29.2016
08:42 am
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Back in May, the indisputably influential synth pop pioneer Gary Numan was honored with a three day residency and a Moog Innovation award at the 2016 Moogfest in Durham, NC. He gave live performances of his three most acclaimed albums—Replicas, The Pleasure Principle, and Telekon, and did a short but substantive live stream interview with DJ Lance Rock, a musician best known for hosting Yo Gabba Gabba, and that interview finally found its way to YouTube this month.

Rock drops the kiddie routine here and gets to a meaty discussion with Numan, who talks about how he came to see the virtues of synths as expressive tools, how he re-tooled his process to accommodate the new technology, the rejection he faced, and his eventual commercial triumph. It’s under 15 minutes long, and worth the time.
 

 
After the jump, Gary Numan’s live set from the second night of Moogfest…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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12.29.2016
08:42 am
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