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

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

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

 
Lemon Jail 1
Courtesy of Bill Sullivan.

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

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

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

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

 
More after the jump…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Via email, BANG told Dangerous Minds:

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

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

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

Preorder The Best of BANG here.

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

 
Stream ‘The Best of BANG’ after the jump…
 

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.19.2018
01:52 pm
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Dirty Work: Steely Dan was trolling conservative TV host Laura Ingraham way back in 1999
04.18.2018
10:10 am
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You’d think that having achieved the ignominious and largely accidental goal of landing Donald Trump in the White House would have sent conservative “commentators” into a full-on, four-year reverie of glee, but the opposite has been the case. Conservative nattering heads have been consumed with penny-ante rage and pinched with loathing ever since Trump began his term, beating the drums against Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, and Obama’s attorney general Loretta Lynch with the fervor of people who cannot countenance the transparently incompetent and corrupt regime that they have saddled our country with. Tucker Carlson has been doing his best to give white nationalism a limp sheen of preppy respectability, while Sean Hannity has been totally unhinged all year long and this week he learned that he may face serious legal problems due to his questionable relationship with the weirdly mobby Michael Cohen.

And then there’s Laura Ingraham. The crowning achievement of the host of, er, The Ingraham Angle (gag) in 2018 has been to get into an overdetermined brouhaha with arguably the most sympathetic players on the political scene today, those being the young survivors of the horrific shooting spree at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, two months ago. Ingraham mocked the brief spell of misfortune experienced by David Hogg after learning that some California universities had declined his application despite his 4.2 GPA. (He’s since been accepted by UC Irvine.)

The tweet by the Dartmouth graduate started, “David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it.” It’s difficult to see under what circumstances a teenager would not be permitted to be upset about a college rejection letter but in any case, Ingraham let her core inhumanity show a bit there. The public outcry after Ingraham’s inane expression of schadenfreude were apparently enough to make her advertisers take notice, because she apologized a day later. (Hogg sensibly refused to credit her apology, correctly perceiving it to have been a business decision, pure and simple.)
 

 
Back when she was a more normal sort of conservative, before the existence even of Fox News, when she had a program with this silly name of Watch It! on (of all places) MSNBC, Ingraham got on the bad side of rock music’s wittiest jazz-rock duo Steely Dan when she used some of their music in her program. It should have been predictable that ur-Boomers Walter Becker and Donald Fagen would have been spending their lengthy mid-career hiatus (20 years between studio albums) keeping abreast of Monicagate on whatever rudimentary (by our standards) newschannel was available.

Becker and Fagen during this period were fond of writing angry or mock-worshipful missives to people like Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson. In this instance, in early 1999, the two of them tapped out a cease-and-desist letter addressed to Ingraham in which they proposed that Richard Wagner (a favorite of Nazis everywhere, don’t you know) be played instead of the band’s early hit “Dirty Work.”

Here is the letter in its entirety:
 

From: Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
To: Laura Ingraham, Host, MSNBC Television
Date: February 12, 1999

Dear Ms. Ingraham:

It has come to our attention that you have used the Steely Dan recording of our song “Dirty Work” as cutaway music at the end of your show last Monday. We understand that “Watch It!” is a political talk show. We have been sternly advised by a valued visitor to our official website that we should steer clear of politics, so as not to embarrass ourselves and our fans. While we recognize that you are clearly not bound by any such injunction, we nevertheless owe it to our admirers to stay out of trouble when we can. So we must regrettably insist that our recordings not be used on future broadcasts of your show.
It seems likely that, as the impeachment saga draws to a close, your show will be cancelled or else will morph into one sort of non-political daytime talk show or another (although certainly not a fashion show). If, for some unfathomable reason, “Watch It!” continues in its present form, may we suggest some other more suitable music for use during breaks:

          “Horst Wessel” - Traditional Teutonic anthem
          “Ride of the Valkyrie” - Richard Wagner
          “Theo, Wir Fahr’n Nach Lodz” - 70’s German chartmaker
          “The Lady is a Cryptofascist” - by The Welders of Zion
          Anything by Lou Reed, Helmet, or The Velvet Underground

After learning that you were using our music without permission, we looked in briefly on your show this morning. Being the political naifs that we are, we could hardly be expected to follow the learned colloquy between you and your guests. Are they all Ivy Leaguers? Anyway, we did notice that you looked so sad and maybe a little blotchy too. You’re not allergic to plaid, are you? We are very sorry to be cracking down like this at what is clearly a difficult and trying time for you and your pals. Please don’t take it personally. It’s just business. Okay?

Yours,

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
Founders, Steely Dan

 
Here’s the song Ingraham played on her show, with lead vocals by David Palmer:

 
via Glenn Kenny
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.18.2018
10:10 am
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Tiger Lily Records: The wild story of the tax scam label run by the notorious Morris Levy (Part II)
04.16.2018
11:43 am
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Morris Levy and Tiger Lily
 
Recently, Dangerous Minds shined a light on the shady Tiger Lily Records, the tax shelter label owned and operated by the infamous Morris Levy. We explained that the albums released by the company were meant to lose money, resulting in higher tax breaks for investors. We also told readers about some of the musicians who willingly signed deals with the label. Part two of our Tiger Lily exposé will focus on the artists who were wholly unaware—for decades—that an album of their material was released by the company. In each instance, just a few known copies of each LP are known to exist. Why so few? Well, that’s one of the mysteries surrounding the label, but it’s believed Levy shipped the majority of the Tiger Lily stock to the local landfill.

In record collecting circles, one of the biggest stories in recent years was the eBay listing for one of the rarest and coveted of all the Tiger Lily LPs. The 2014 auction of the album, credited to a little-known group by the name of Stonewall, ended with the winning bid of $14,100 (no, that’s not a typo). Incidentally, the seller found the record at a Goodwill store in New Hampshire; the purchase price there was $1.
 
Stonewall cover
 
Stonewall were a heavy rock quartet from New York City. The band members were Bruce Rapp (lead vocals/harmonica), Bob Dimonte (guitar), Ray Dieneman (bass), and Anthony Assalti (drums). Assalti recently did an in-depth interview with the magazine, It’s Psychedelic Baby, in which many of the unknowns surrounding the band were revealed. As Assalti tells it, in 1972, Stonewall were put in touch with Jimmy Goldstein, the proprietor of a Manhattan recording studio. Goldstein offered the group free studio time, if they’d be willing to record after normal business hours. Before the evening sessions, the Stonewall guys would smoke a ton of hashish, then show up to the studio, where they’d smoke even more with Goldstein. Then, with Goldstein on keyboards, they’d start recording.

Stonewall and Goldstein would jam for hours, then use the best sections as the basis for songs. After half a year of experimenting and recording, Goldstein and the band’s manager took hold of the tapes, telling the group they would shop them around to prospective record companies. Eventually, Goldstein told them there were no takers. The band would soldier on for a period before breaking up.

Years later, after Assalti had relocated to Florida and started a family, he received a phone call from a European collector who had questions about the Stonewall album—which Assalti hadn’t known existed. He was stunned. “It’s kind of sad,” Assalti confessed during the magazine interview last year. “We were four young guys that were ripped off and never got the recognition I believe we deserved.”

Jimmy Goldstein is credited as the copyright holder of the tapes—a strong indicator he was Tiger Lily’s source. The Stonewall LP came out in 1976, the only year the label issued records.
 
Stonewall Side One
 
So, what does a $14,000 record sound like?
 
Find out, after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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04.16.2018
11:43 am
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‘I did one and I’ll never do it again’: Tom Waits’ dog food commercial
04.16.2018
11:04 am
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Tom Waits is in some sense the poster boy for the notion of willful independence from the clutches of corporations tempting musical artists with advertising moolah. Waits isn’t just known for not doing commercials, he famously filed suit against Frito-Lay and its advertising agency Tracy-Locke in 1988 after the mega-manufacturer of salty treats ran a commercial in which a man named Stephen Carter mimicked Waits’ unmistakably gravelly voice intoning the familiar patter of “Step Right Up,” only in this case adapted to alert viewers to the charms of its new product, SalsaRio Doritos.

Waits alerted his attorneys with alacrity—four years later he was rewarded with a whopping settlement of $2.6 million.

It might surprise you to learn, then, that Waits actually did voluntarily make his gravelly voice available for a large corporation for a commercial—one single, solitary time.

In 1981 Waits did the voiceover for a commercial for Purina Butcher’s Blend Dog Food. Here’s the text Waits was required to read:
 

As dog travels through the envied and often tempting world of man, there’s one thing, above all, that tempts him most…the taste of meat! And that is why Purina makes Butcher’s Blend. Butcher’s Blend is the first dry dog food with three tempting meaty tastes. Beef, liver, ‘n’ bacon. All in one bag. So c’mon, deliver your dog from the world of temptation. The world of Butcher’s Blend. The first dry dog food with three meaty tastes.

 
The gig didn’t pay $2.6 million but it surely put a spring into Waits’ step. The period right after 1980’s Heartattack and Vine was a heady one for Waits in that he not only ended his association with Asylum and joined forces with Island but he also somewhat acrimoniously dumped his manager, Herb Cohen. After making the decision to manage his own career (with his wife and artistic partner Kathleen Brennan) and also without his old label for the first time in almost a decade, it would be understandable for Waits to undergo a process of searching and also at least dip his toe into the advertising waters.
 

 
Waits has never seriously attempted to deny that the Butchers Blend commercial happened. In his book Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits, Barney Hoskyns quotes Waits as saying, “I was down on my luck. And I’ve always liked dogs.” Of Cohen, Waits said pungently that he had “gotten rid of my ex-manager and a lot of the flesh-peddlers and professional vermin I’d thrown in with.” (Captain Beefheart once said that Cohen reminded him of “a red marble in a can of lard.”)

Flush with SalsaRio Doritos simoleons, Waits could later afford to develop his (surely sincere) opposition to letting advertisers run roughshod all over musical artists. It wasn’t just Frito-Lay Waits took on, after all, not by a long shot. Waits has also tussled with the likes of Levi’s, MP3.com, and Audi whenever they threatened to use his likeness or vocal uniqueness in a manner of which Waits did not approve.

In 1999, during an interview conducted by Jonathan Valania of Magnet magazine, Waits made an oblique reference to his experience of selling his voice to Butchers Blend. Asked if he is truly “Big in Japan,” as the title of a new song (at the time) had it, Waits replied:
 

Haven’t played there in a long time. Last time I was there, I was on a bullet train, had my little porkpie hat, my pointed shoes and my skinny tie. There was a whole car of Japanese gangsters dressed like Al Capone and Cagney, really zooted. Everyone says, “Don’t go in there, don’t go in there,” but it was the only place with seats - everybody else was huddled together like cattle. And they are in this huge air-conditioned car, with tea and little cookies and six guys sitting around talking with cigars. I said, “Fuck, I’m gonna go in there and sit down.” And I did. It was like this big, heavy stand-off, then they all started laughing, we all tipped our hats and did that little bow. It was pretty funny. Then I brought my guys in and we all sat down, my mob with the Japanese mob. They always want me to do ads for underwear and cigarettes, but I never did them. I did one and I’ll never do it again. I used to see celebrities doing ads and my first reaction was, “Aw, gee he must have needed the money. That’s tough.” When somebody was on the slide, they would do an ad.

   
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.16.2018
11:04 am
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‘Mad Man in Waco’: The haunting rock ballads of cult leader David Koresh


 
Charles Manson wasn’t the only rock & roll cult leader. As you may have learned from watching the Paramount Network’s new miniseries Waco, David Koresh of the Branch Davidians was also known to pick up the axe from time to time…

In an era plagued by gun violence and incessant mass murders, the siege at Waco remains to be one of the most memorable shootouts in American history. As several sources have depicted the tragedy, the situation at Mount Carmel could have been handled more delicately by the ATF and the FBI, who conclusively relied on force as a method of negotiation. What began as a federal search warrant for a suspected cache of illegal weapons, erupted quite literally into a gun battle between religious cult zealots and the United States government. The standoff lasted 51 days, until the iconic conclusion on April 19th, 1993, when a tear gas attack by the FBI prompted a fire that would engulf the Mount Carmel Center. By the close of the standoff, a total of 76 people would die—including leader David Koresh.
 

 
The Branch Davidians arose in 1955 from a rupture within the Shepherd’s Rod, a derivative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The original sect was led by self-proclaimed prophet Victor Houteff who, twenty years prior, had established its headquarters at the Mount Carmel Center near Waco, Texas. When Houteff unexpectedly passed, many disagreements within the church brought about splinter groups like the aforementioned Branch Davidians, now led by the quasi-prophet, Benjamin Roden. Similar to the doctrines preached in the Shepherd’s Rod, the Branch Davidians believed they were living in the final period of Biblical prophecies, right before absolute judgement and the second coming of Christ.

David Koresh joined the Branch Davidians in 1981. Known then as Vernon Howell, the Koresh of his early-twenties seduced Lois Roden, the now-widowed leader of the commune, who was in her late sixties. The following year, Koresh declared himself to be the true prophet of the group and relayed that he had been instructed by God to bear a child with Lois, who would be considered the “Chosen One.” Upon Lois’ death, her son George Roden took over leadership of the Branch Davidians and exiled Koresh from the compound in fear of his rising influence. This was up until 1989, when Roden was convicted of murdering follower Wayman Dale Adair because he was believed to have been sent by Koresh. The former Vernon Howell then changed his name to that of celestial significance (after King David and “Koresh” being the Biblical name of Cyrus the Great) and he, along with his followers, raised enough money to buy-back Mount Carmel from the US government. From that moment forward, David Koresh became the final prophet of the Branch Davidians.
 

David and the Bros
 
Besides stockpiling weaponry, Koresh lived above the law through his teachings of the “New Light Message.” The men who practiced at Mount Carmel, even those who had committed alongside their wives, were to now lead a celibate life. The women, however, would be sexually and reproductively committed to Koresh, who insisted upon a harem of available women known as the “House of David.” The reasoning was, you guessed it, because of God’s commandments, that Koresh was to hold “spiritual weddings” with any woman that their Lord had instructed him to. Many of the women of the Branch Davidian cult became wives of Koresh, several of which had already been legally married—or were underage. At least one follower in particular, Michelle Jones, had her first child with Koresh when she was fourteen years old. The two had begun a sexual relationship years prior while her older sister, Rachel Jones-Koresh, remained the prophet’s only legal wife (whom she also married when she was fourteen). The parents of Michelle and Rachel Jones had been lifelong Branch Davidians and had given David permission to bed & wed their daughters.

It is believed that Koresh had fathered over fifteen children with the women of the group. He expected his children to be perfect and that they would eventually become the ruling elders after the apocalypse and the alleged second coming of Christ. The ideology of the Branch Davidians was heavily focused on Judgement Day and it was Koresh’s prophesy that only he could open the “Seven Seals” as foretold in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. This action would bring about the calamitous end of times, wherefore those devoted “Koreshians” would be led into the heavens by their divine leader. Koresh and his followers’ reaction to the standoff at Mount Carmel was that the Seven Seals had been opened and mankind’s decimation was upon them.
 

 
Just a day before the initial raid at Mount Carmel, the Waco Tribune ran its shocking, multi-part expose’ on the cult of David Koresh titled “The Sinful Messiah.” Among the story’s heinous depictions of child abuse, statutory rape, polygamy, paranoia, and a heavy artillery, another persona of David Koresh had also been characterized—that of a rocker. At 22 years of age, Koresh was kicked out of his mother’s Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston for trying to marry the pastor’s daughter. An aspiring musician, Koresh then moved to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a rock star. His attempt was considered an “utter failure,” and this is what led Koresh to Waco, Texas.

It could be said that David’s rock ambitions were what led him to literally try to become Jesus Christ. Plenty of rock stars regard themselves in self-idolatry, so the career trajectory checks out.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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04.13.2018
09:48 am
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Steve Allen’s fake jazz records that duped critics
04.13.2018
09:43 am
Topics:
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The posthumously celebrated boogie-woogie pianist Buck Hammer was legendary, and the reason he was legendary is that he had four hands. When his debut and swan song, The Discovery of Buck Hammer, came out in 1959, critics heard something vital in these technically impossible performances: the authentic sound of the blues.

Like Mary Anne Jackson, Hammer was an invention of the comedian, composer, pianist, writer, and original host of the Tonight Show, Steve Allen. His Make ‘Em Laugh confesses:

Since my youth I have enjoyed playing occasional practical jokes and have even staged some outrageous hoaxes. Two of the wildest involved albums of jazz piano music I recorded under fictitious names: Buck Hammer was supposedly a shy, black boogie-woogie pioneer whose album was released posthumously, and Mary Anne Jackson was, according ot the liner notes, a black pianist and composer who performed with “bold authority,” mainly in Europe. The picture of Buck Hammer shown on the record cover was an artist’s sketch, and the photo of Mary Anne Jackson was actually a photograph of one of our former housekeepers, named Mary Sears. I not only did the piano playing on both albums but wrote the liner notes, in the deliberately stuffy, overly analytical style of some critics.

I fooled some real critics with those, who gave Hammer and Jackson splendid reviews. Downbeat magazine awarded Hammer three-and-a-half stars, and the New York Herald Tribune said the pianist’s death was a terrible loss to the world of jazz.

Allen talks about the hoax records at some length in Living the Jazz Life, where he credits Ralph Gleason as the first critic to notice that Buck Hammer was a fake:

“Just for the hell of it I got an idea to do an album and I got a good rhythm section together and then I wrote some very stuffy scholarly notes, purposely dry notes, of a sort that do exist in one branch of criticism, and I drew up this imaginary character called Buck Hammer. I had an artist sketch a black gentleman who looked a little like Fats Waller or one of those heavy-set piano players, cigar in his mouth and big stubby fingers. The story line was that he had made only this one album and was a little strange personally, a little inhibited emotionally. Some jazz players had met him over the years as they would move through Mississippi and Alabama, and they would encourage him to join their groups, but he was too shy. He avoided the big time, he wanted no glory, he lived a very simple life, and after making this album he had in fact passed away.

“It’s a very touching story,” Steve said, laughing. “I was recording a lot with Bob Thiele at the time and we put the album out. And Down Beat gave it three and a half stars and the New York Herald Tribune gave it a real rave and said, ‘Hammer’s death was a tragic loss to the world of jazz.’ And it got a couple of other nice write-ups around the country.

“And then, finally, [jazz critic] Ralph Gleason listened to it carefully and realized that on some of the tracks what he was hearing was not physically possible, because I had double-tracked and so had two hands going in the bass and two going in the upper register. So he smelled a rat and called Bob Thiele, who confessed the truth right away. And then Time wrote something about it and it was finally exposed.”

 

 
As he explained to the band during the session for The Wild Piano of Mary Anne Jackson, which featured Allen and Jayne Meadows’ housekeeper, Mary Sears, on its cover, he intended the hoax records to expose the ignorance and gullibility of music critics:

“‘What we’ll do is establish a tempo and you guys play and we’ll agree on a starting key. And then after that it’s every man for himself. Follow me as best you can, but I’m going to deliberately make some meaningless changes, I won’t modulate; I’ll just jump from, like, C to A flat or whatever—any two keys. And I won’t make it sensible; I will deliberately make it non-sensical as a jump and there’ll be rhythm changes in a tune.’ They immediately saw what I was doing. I said, ‘I’m not putting on some of the guys who play ultra-modern, but some of the critics who claim to understand what these guys are playing.’ In both cases, Buck and Mary Ann, it was really aimed at critics, not at anybody else.”

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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04.13.2018
09:43 am
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Baby Love: A Diana Ross & The Supremes megapost
04.11.2018
10:38 am
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I’ve been on a big Diana Ross and the Supremes kick lately, gorging myself with back-to-back plays of their albums like their music is Halloween candy. I listened to seven Supremes longplayers yesterday alone. I’m just not in the mood for anything else. But as anyone who has ever owned classic Motown albums can tell you, for the most part the Supremes catalog sounds terrible. Motown wax has always had the reputation for being highly compressed and ALL TREBLE. Not a bad strategy for 60s hit singles and jukeboxes perhaps, but this approach didn’t always translate to albums very well. It’s also difficult to find 50-year-old Supremes records in mint condition, and even if they do appear to be flawless, there’s still at least a 50/50 chance that they will sound like bacon frying when you get them home. From an audiophile standpoint, Motown albums are usually the worst. Many original Supremes albums were serious ear-bleeders and frankly Motown has never really done right by them on CDs either. I can recall eagerly busting the velvet-covered box set The Supremes out of its cellophane wrapper when it came out in 2000 and how disappointed I was. It sounded so shrill that I thought my speakers’ tweeters would explode. Like having sonic screwdrivers aimed straight for your eardrums. What on paper should have been the ultimate Supremes collection, was largely unlistenable.

If you wanted to reliably hear the Supremes at their best—minus the bad compression, minus the crackly, cheap vinyl, then this pretty much meant shelling out for pricey Japanese SHM-CD imports. Everywhere else the Supremes catalog has been given short shrift. Certainly there’s still a sizable audience out there who’d like to hear the Supremes sound the best that they can, they were after all Motown’s premiere group of the 60s, rivaling even the Beatles in records sales internationally and racking up twelve #1 singles, five of them consecutive. The Supremes were the most successful girl group of all time and yet unless you’re ready to shell out for the Japanese discs, your options in recent decades have been limited to a choice between the horribly mastered and pressed original records, really horribly mastered CDs and a few that sounded okay. Quality vinyl? Not so much.
 

 
No doubt sensing this heinous gap in the marketplace, the mighty Third Man Records has served up a tasty platter—make that four tasty platters—of Supremes goodness in the form of the new box set Supreme Rarities: Motown Lost & Found. This product is as good as vinyl box sets come. Not only does it sound amazing—mastered, I am told by Third Man’s Ben Blackwell, from high quality digital transfers that Motown struck from the original analog master tapes—it’s nicely designed and HEAVY. Not only the records themselves—pressed to Third Man’s exacting standards in their Detroit plant not far from where the Supremes themselves were raised, the first time for a Motown product believe it or not—but also the firm, substantial built-to-last packaging. You know when you are holding a new record in your hands and you’re thinking “Fuck yeah, this is gonna be good”? That’s what I was thinking when my review copy arrived in the mail and trust me Supreme Rarities: Motown Lost & Found does not disappoint. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
 

 
Speaking of the Supremes, Motown, vinyl box sets, the perfect pairing for Supreme Rarities (there’s no overlap) is the superb Diana Ross And The Supremes ‎– 25th Anniversary set from 1986. One half greatest hits and one half unreleased rarities, this now 32-year-old three record set is one of those instances where Motown got everything quite right. It’s also the first place that anyone heard any of the Supremes songs known to be in the Motown vaults. The Supremes were Berry Gordy’s cash cow, his greatest international success and he worked them around the clock. Aside from released “theme” albums where the Supremes would “sing Rodgers & Hart,” numbers from Funny Girl, country and western songs, get the Liverpool sound or do Broadway show tunes, they were known to have had dozens of songs recorded for these albums that never saw the light of time until decades later. The Rodgers and Hart album, for instance, was intended to be a two-record set. Twenty-seven songs were recorded while only twelve were released (the other thirteen were released as bonus cuts when it was reissued on CD in 2002.) The trio also recorded an album that was to be titled Diana Ross & the Supremes sing Disney Classics which was completed in 1967, then shelved. Over the years some of these songs—“Heigh-Ho,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “When You Wish upon a Star,” “I’ve Got No Strings,” and “Whistle While You Work”—have appeared as bonus tracks on Supremes CDs, whereas known recordings of “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” never have.

Here’s hoping for more Motown/Third Man collaborations. A great place to go next would be an expanded version of that stellar 25th Anniversary collection.
 

 

Below, a collection of amazing Supremes TV performances:
 

“Reflections”
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.11.2018
10:38 am
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