FOLLOW US ON:
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
Todd Rundgren’s ‘A Wizard, A True Star’ is one of those albums that you MUST hear before you die!
06.15.2018
02:52 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
When I was really young and first getting into music, Todd Rundgren was one of the first artists who I discovered. His AM staple “Hello It’s Me” was at least a daily occurance on my mother’s kitchen radio and in the days of “freeform” 70s FM his weirder “deep cut” album tracks saw a lot of action there. I recall seeing him on one of the very first episodes of The Midnight Special that I was allowed to stay up and watch, and he seemed weird, smart and very talented to me. In his press he came off like a wunderkind—he played all of the instruments himself!—and he was always pictured with hot models. When I finally convinced my parents to buy me a cheap stereo for Christmas, Todd Rundgren’s albums were among the first records I bought. Both Something/Anything and Todd were long double albums that sold for the same price as a single LP, so for an elementary school kid they also seemed like a better value than most things. But my Todd fandom wasn’t especially intense—not a patch on my love for David Bowie or the Sweet at that age—and once new wave and postpunk came around, my interest waned. The last Todd Rundgren album that I bought was Liz Lemon’s favorite Todd record Hermit of Mink Hollow.

The only album that I didn’t have back then was A Wizard, A True Star. I can remember reading a scathingly negative review of that album when it came out and Todd, being a two-record set seemed the better option given my piggy bank. Recently I noticed that Analog Spark had released audiophile SACDs of Wizard and the earlier Something/Anything, and needing “something new to listen to” I requested review copies. I mentioned the new Todd releases to an archly rock snob friend of mine whose taste in music I respect and he told me that A Wizard, A True Star was his #1 favorite album of all time. Really? I looked forward to hearing it even more.
 

 
Several of Todd Rundgren’s classic 70s albums were known to sound a bit tinny due to the narrower vinyl grooves resulting from trying to cram so much music on each side. It was something you were even warned about via a “Technical Note” included on the inner sleeve of 1975’s Initiation:

“Due to the amount of music on this disc (over one hour), two points must be emphasized. Firstly, if your needle is worn or damaged, it will ruin the disc immediately. Secondly, if the sound does seem not loud enough on your system, try re-recording the music onto tape. By the way, thanks for buying the album.”

The new Analog Spark SACD of Something/Anything (mastered like Wizard by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes) does in fact sound much better than I recall the original LP sounding… but HOLY SHIT… A Wizard, A True Star? HOW did I miss out on this amazing album all these years??? I was floored by it. The work of a crazed young lysergic Mozart, A Wizard, A True Star floated effortlessly into my list of favorite albums as I listened to it for the very first time. Admittedly I was totally loaded. So drunk I was almost hallucinating, even, but these kinetically kaleidoscopic alcoholic bedspins put me in a pretty receptive state for the mind-expanding (and mind-blowing) sonic charms of A Wizard, A True Star which I blasted at an ear-splitting volume on my middle-aged man’s stereo. Seriously, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard—not just recently, but ever—and started me off on a whole new Todd Rundgren kick which I am still in the midst of. If you are “looking for something new to listen to,” like I was, look no further.
 

 
But hey, don’t take my word for it, here’s what none other than the great Patti Smith wrote of A Wizard, A True Star in the pages of CREEM magazine:

“Side one is double dose. It takes the bull by the brain. Another point to be examined. He’s always been eclectic. Why didn’t he care? The evidence is here. Something very magical is happening. The man is magi chef. His influences are homogenizing. Like a coat of many colors. May be someone else’s paintbox but the coat is all his.”

—snip—

“Each album he vomits like a diary. Each page closer to the stars. Process is the point. A kaleidoscoping view. Blasphemy even the gods smile on. Rock and roll for the skull. A very noble concept. Past present and tomorrow in one glance. Understanding through musical sensation. Todd Rundgren is preparing us for a generation of frenzied children who will dream in animation. “

I was nodding my head as I read that despite having absolutely no idea of what she intended to convey with all of those words, even if I do wholeheartedly agree with her.

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
06.15.2018
02:52 pm
|
Dez Dickerson’s awesome blink-and-you’ll-miss-it song (featuring Prince) in ‘Purple Rain’
06.15.2018
08:51 am
Topics:
Tags:

Prince and Dez
 
Less than 60 seconds of a tune called “Modernaire” is heard in Purple Rain, the 1984 film starring Prince. The group performing the song, led by Prince’s former guitarist, is on screen all of fifteen seconds. For my best friend at that time, those tantalizing bits left him—and others (myself included)—wanting more. My buddy became obsessed with hearing the full track, and hunted high and low for a copy, but to no avail. After a while, we had to wonder: Is it even for sale? This was the pre-web days, when finding answers to questions like this wasn’t so easy. Turns out, it wasn’t obtainable, and decades would go by before “Modernaire” was released.

Dez Dickerson was the lead guitarist in Prince’s band from 1978 until 1983. During this period, Prince usually performed all of the instruments on his records, but that’s Dez playing the guitar solo on “Little Red Corvette.”
 
UK picture sleeve
 
Dickerson departed the Prince organization after the 1999 campaign ended in the spring of 1983. Though Dez was leaving to pursue a solo career, Prince still wanted the guitarist to be involved in the Purple Rain project. Dez was offered screen time in the film, which would highlight his new group and one of Dickerson’s songs.
 
Dirty Mind tour
Prince and Dez during the ‘Dirty Mind’ tour, c. 1980.

It’s believed that “Modernaire” was recorded in May 1983 at Prince’s home studio. At the time, Dickerson was in Minneapolis for a performance at the Minnesota Music Awards on May 16, which would be his last gig with Prince. The recording of “Modernaire” was very much a collaboration between Dez and Prince, who co-produced the sessions. Prince played all of the instruments and sang back-up vocals. Jill Jones, who was part of the Prince camp, recited a couple of lines from Romeo and Juliet, which are heard in reverse on the finished track.
 

 
In the fall of 1983, Warner Bros. expressed their interest in releasing “Modernaire” as a single. Prince even arranged for his managers to represent Dez, but a deal couldn’t be worked out with the label or any other. There was also talk of including it on the Purple Rain soundtrack album, but in the end, only Prince’s material was included. During the subsequent Purple Rain mania, Dez received a call from the Warner Bros. requesting a B-side and artwork, as they planned to put it out. But, ultimately, a “Modernaire” 45 never materialized.

Though the song was shaped to fit with the other music in Purple Rain, and wasn’t really reflective of his style, Dez grew to like the tune. Dickerson has said “Modernaire” is about “someone who is not just ahead of the curve, but around it already.”
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Bart Bealmear
|
06.15.2018
08:51 am
|
Sheffield Tape Archive, one-stop shop for the Gun Club, Rudimentary Peni, the Fall and Pulp


The 1985 compilation ‘Sheffield Calling’ (via Sheffield Tape Archive)
 
Sheffield Tape Archive collects demos and live tapes recorded in Sheffield and its environs between 1977 and 2007. Nick Taylor, the custodian of the archive, has assembled a bonkers array of musical goods: the 1979 demos of ClockDVA and I’m So Hollow, both recorded (at least in part) at Cabaret Voltaire’s Western Works studio; a 1993 Rudimentary Peni gig in Derby that opens and closes with back-to-back performances of “Teenage Time Killer” and “B-Ward”; a Leeds show from Screaming Lord Sutch’s barnstorming anti-Thatcher campaign in 1983; the Fall, live at Hallam University, 1993 (with a great instance of typo-as-rock criticism: “Why Are People Grudgeful?” is mislabeled “Why Are People Grungeful?”); Eighties sets by Crass, Eek-A-Mouse, and Chumbawamba at Sheffield’s Leadmill; a typically flattening 20-minute Stretchheads set from 1990; and much else.

For the Pulp fan, the compilation Live at the Hallamshire Hotel 1981-85 mixes dour performances from ‘84 and ‘85 gigs with live material by the Membranes, Bog-Shed, Heroes of the Beach, and the Wacky Gardeners. Speaking of the Wacky Gardeners, many groups are featured here whose fame has yet to reach our benighted American shores, such as the Fuck City Shitters, Naked Pygmy Voles, the Wealthy Texans and A Major European Group.

Some of the material at Sheffield Tape Archive comes from the collection of the late Sheffield music journalist Martin Lilleker, who suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease before his death in 2016. Taylor donates the proceeds from Lilleker’s tapes to charity.

Here’s Jarvis Cocker playing guitar in ‘82 in one of Taylor’s groups, Heroes of the Beach. They’re doing an original number called, ah, “Psycho Killer” (so named “because it had a bassline similar to the Talking Heads song,” Taylor explains):

 
Listen to some Gun Club. Crass and Clock DVA, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
06.15.2018
07:44 am
|
Psycho killer? David Byrne’s isolated vocals from ‘Once in a Lifetime’ sound like a crazy person
06.13.2018
11:48 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Once in a Lifetime” is not only one of best-known tracks ever released by Talking Heads, in some ways it represents the culmination of the entire Talking Heads project. It appeared on the band’s fourth album Remain in Light, which represents the approximate midpoint of their run. David Byrne was in the arguably most creative phase of his career, working with Eno on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (a very relevant album for the messianic preaching found in “Once in a Lifetime”) as well as churning out the soundtrack to The Catherine Wheel. Shortly after the release of Remain in Light, Esquire magazine unveiled its list of 373 Americans under 40 who are “changing the world”—according to Sytze Steenstra in Song and Circumstance: The Work of David Byrne from Talking Heads to the Present, Byrne was the only figure from the rock world to be selected.

I was in middle school when “Once in a Lifetime” came out—I saw that video countless times on MTV. Nobody who’s seen the video can really forget it, what with twitchy, skinny David Byrne rapping himself in the forehead with the heel of his hand, backed up by a quartet of Byrnes all sync’d together in this hypnotic way. Toni Basil, who was also a choreographer on top of being a singer, and Byrne worked out the unusual movements, pitched (per Steenstra) “remained at midpoint between dance and muscular spasms.”
 

 
In the pages of the April-May 1981 issue of Musician, another David B.—namely Breskin—asked Byrne about the origins of the “voices” that inspired Remain in Light and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts:
 

Breskin: Do you think of the voices on Bush Of Ghosts as ghosts?

Byrne: No. But I think of the music on the record as very spiritual, so you might connect that with ghosts.

Breskin: How spiritual?

Byrne: It’s difficult to explain. I think it’s a combination of the rhythms and the more mysterious textures and sounds. Like Remain In Light, there’s a positive, affirmative feeling there but then there’s also a mysterious, other-worldly feeling. Almost all the vocals we put on it have to do with one kind of religious experience or another …

Breskin: Which in a couple of cases intersect with current political experiences, like with the “Unidentified indignant radio host” railing against our lack of nerve in the you-know-what crisis and on the other side of the coin, you include Algerian Muslims chanting Qu’ran. Where did you get the “Unidentified exorcist” vocal to take Kuhlman’s place?

Byrne: Right off the radio. It was a phone-in show, people called in to have this guy drive off the evil spirits. There’s another guy in California who has you put your hands on the TV screen and he puts out his hands to touch yours and heal you through the TV.

Breskin: Can you imagine yourself in a similar role?

Byrne: What, telling people to put their hands on the set?

Breskin: C’mon David, you know what I mean …

Byrne: Helping to heal people? Preaching? Yeah, in a way. I get a lot of inspiration from the evangelists one hears on the radio throughout the U.S. I think they’re dealing with a similar aesthetic; in the more exciting preaching I think they’re going after a thing similar to the music. But I’m not very direct about it though. I like to plant just the seed of an idea in someone’s head rather than telling him exactly what I think.

Breskin: With a lot of those testifyin’ preachers, there seems to be a contradiction — or a tension — between what they’re actually saying and the way they’re saying it.

Byrne: Yes, sometimes there is. Sometimes their delivery is real ecstatic, but what they’re saying is so conservative and moralistic. It’s hard to reconcile the fact that these guys are going absolutely berserk while they’re telling everyone to behave themselves. And they’re madly raving, jumping all over the place. In that kind of preaching — like in a music piece — as much is said in the delivery and the phrasing as in the words. What’s important isn’t what’s literally being said.

 
Not surprisingly, the isolated vocal track for “Once in a Lifetime” sounds very strange indeed—you almost wouldn’t think it was part of a song.

Listen after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
06.13.2018
11:48 am
|
The Fool: The Dutch artists who worked for the Beatles (and made their own freak folk masterpiece)
06.12.2018
06:32 am
Topics:
Tags:


 

“It appears that some part of Slothrop ran into the AWOL Džabajev one night in the heart of downtown Niederschaumdorf. (Some believe that fragments of Slothrop have grown into consistent personae of their own. If so, there’s no telling which of the Zone’s present-day population are offshoots of his original scattering. There’s supposed to be a last photograph of him on the only record album ever put out by The Fool, an English rock group—seven musicians posed, in the arrogant style of the early Stones, near an old rocket-bomb site, out in the East End, or South of the River. It is spring, and French thyme blossoms in amazing white lacework across the cape of green that now hides and softens the true shape of the old rubble. There is no way to tell which of the faces is Slothrop’s: the only printed credit that might apply to him is “Harmonica, kazoo—a friend.” But knowing his Tarot, we would expect to look among the Humility, among the gray and preterite souls, to look for him adrift in the hostile light of the sky, the darkness of the sea…)”

― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Although they are hardly household names today—and they should be—the Dutch art collective The Fool created some of the most potent, striking and exotic imagery of the psychedelic era. Their hippie-gypsy clothing was seen on the Beatles and their wives, Cream and other rock stars and their album covers and other creations have today become iconic. They also recorded an incredible, but long-forgotten album—its limited edition vinyl re-release is the occasion of this post—but more on that below.
 

Marijke Koger
 
The Fool, before it was so named, started with just with two members—Marijke Koger the visionary psychedelic artist who was the collective’s leader and Simon (or Seemon) Posthuma—and later Josje Leeger, Koger’s friend from art school. Englishmen Barry Finch and photographer Karl Ferris were also involved.
 

 
Posthuma and Koger met in 1961 and participated in a nascent counterculture boutique in Amsterdam called Trend. Posthuma staged a “happening” in 1965 called Stoned in the Streets featuring an “electronic striptease” from a bodypainted Marijke, future Firesign Theatre member Peter Bergman reading poetry and weirdo medical student Bart Hughes revealing the trepanation hole he’d drilled into his own skull to grossed out hippies. The two were living on Ibiza selling posters and making clothing when they were “discovered” by Ferris. His photos of them and their work caused quite a stir when they were published in England, which was then starting to turn from drab postwar black & white to swinging psychedelic day-glo. The pair relocated to London and began to design clothing and more for bands like Cream and Procol Harum. Cream manager Robert Stigwood had Koger and Posthuma paint Eric Clapton’s Gibson SG—one of the most iconic guitars in history—as well as Jack Bruce’s bass and Ginger Baker’s bass drum head, the stage clothes and posters for Cream’s first US tour. They did album covers for the Move, the Hollies and the Incredible String Band and an illustration for the concert program at Beatles manager Brian Epstein’s Saville Theatre in Covent Garden. Of course it’s not surprising that the Beatles themselves wanted to work with such forward-thinking and creative young people. One day, as Simon told it, John Lennon and Paul McCartney simply turned up at their home:

During John and Paul’s first visit to our house in Bayswater, they saw the ‘Wonderwall,’ a composition consisting of a decorated armoire and a bust, against an arched wall, painted in the style that was up until then new to the world. “I love it, I want to live in it,” John said when he saw the ‘Wonderwall’, and Paul agreed. Afterwards, Marijke laid the tarot cards for Paul. It turned out to be his inspiration for writing “The Fool on the Hill.”

Although you can see Marijke and Simon’s fashions on the Beatles during the “I am the Walrus” sequence in Magical Mystery Tour, it was not until a bit later, when the Beatles asked them to work on the Apple Boutique on Baker Street that they formed, and so named, the Fool artistic collective with the others. It was a big job, with the Fab Four basically charging the Fool to design the exterior of the store (including a controversial mural on the outside of the building that was painted by the duo over the course of a weekend with some art students including Mickey Finn, later the bongo player of T.Rex, assisting them), the interior, and all of the clothing sold there.

Film director Joe Massot was also inspired by the “Wonderwall” cabinet and it became the title of a psychedelic film he created of that name to showcase their striking vision starring Jane Birkin.The Fool, who also appeared in the quirky cult favorite, served as the art directors for the film and it’s clearly as much their vision as it is Massot’s. Indeed it was they who got George Harrison to do the Wonderwall soundtrack.

And speaking of soundtracks, the Fool made their own. Having met Hollie Graham Nash when they did that band’s Evolution album cover, they tapped him to produce their eponymously-titled psychedelic freak folk album that was released by Mercury Records in 1969. Whereas it’s a fascinating document of the era no matter the angle of regard, it also happens to be REALLY AMAZING MUSIC. The first time I heard it, my initial thought was “Oh, it sounds like an Incredible String Band kinda thing” and indeed it does, from the (fairly cack) singing to the use of exotic instrumentation, including tabla, Moroccan stringed instruments and Scottish bagpipes. One song even sounds like an ISB pastiche done by the Residents. But here’s the thing, also like Incredible String Band, you have to give this one quite a few spins before you really “get” it. Had I written this review a few days ago, it wouldn’t be such a “rave” review—because that’s what this is, in case you were wondering, I’m unexpectedly NUTS about this album—but after listening to it a couple more times over the weekend, well, I’ve totally fallen in love with it. I went from a generally positive, but lukewarm appraisal to thinking The Fool sounded like an album I’d known and loved since childhood. Every song on it forced its way into my head where they will now reside forever. Had I written this post last week, let’s just say it still would have gone over my head. At that point the magic of this album had not reached me. But then it did. This is one of those play-it-until-you-get-it things—like ISB, like Frank Zappa, like Pink Floyd even—that is absolutely worth putting the effort into. Even if you are initially turned off at the idea of flower children visual artists dabbling in pop music, get over it. This record is the real deal. I mean look at these people. Look at their artwork. They are authentically psychedelic!!! You can’t fake this!

The Fool has been lovingly packaged and released as a numbered limited edition turquoise vinyl longplayer (with an extra track) by Holland’s mighty Music on Vinyl label. They’ve pressed up just 1000 of them so if this is something that sounds intriguing to you—and I hope that it does—you might want to get on buying one stat before it’s sold out and selling used for $80 on Discogs. A final thought about the album is that Graham Nash did a remarkable job producing it. I realize that he got pretty busy right after this (it came post Hollies, but before CSN had ramped up) but this album is a lost masterpiece in so very many ways. It’s a pity that he didn’t have a parallel career as a producer like Todd Rundgren.

The Fool even made an American tour, but disbanded as a working entity in 1970, leaving Posthuma and Koger, who were married for a time, to continue as a duo, Marijke & Seemon. They relocated to Hollywood where they painted a psychedelic mural on the exterior of the Aquarius Theater on Sunset Boulevard for the 1969 production of Hair. Today, Posthuma is based in Amsterdam—he’s also written his autobiography A Fool such as I - The Adventures of Simon Posthuma, but so far it’s only in a Dutch edition—and Marijke is based near Los Angeles. She still paints guitars and in recent years has been commissioned to do some outdoor murals in Europe. She is open for designing album covers and can be reached at her website. Finch and Leeger married on the day man landed on the moon, had six children (each named for a color) and remained together until her death by stroke in 1991. A store in Amsterdam inspired by their mother’s work was opened by two of their daughters.

Although the Victoria & Albert Museum has some of the Fool’s creations in their permanent collection, there needs to be a full-on Fool museum-level survey. And a coffee table book! SURELY a museum in the Netherlands should be looking into this!?!?! Look at the work below. This art (and history) deserves to be cataloged and respected; and preserved for future generations to enjoy.  (I’m assuming that Karl Ferris took many of the photos below, but I’m not sure which ones.)


Painting John Lennon’s piano
 

Inside the Apple Boutique
 
Much much more after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
06.12.2018
06:32 am
|
No, I hate you MORE: The decades-long feud between Morrissey & Robert Smith of The Cure
06.11.2018
07:58 am
Topics:
Tags:


A fantastic photoshop of Robert Smith and his arch enemy Morrissey.
 
To be fair, Morrissey doesn’t seem to like anyone or anything very much including his old bandmates from The Smiths. He also doesn’t like Siouxsie Sioux, either. According to Sioux, the pair haven’t spoken since they collaborated on the 1994 single “Interlude” after a dispute involving of all things, a fucking bulldog. He’s called Kate Bush “unbearable” noting her voice was utter “trash.” Moz hates meat, roller coasters, rain, cold weather and dance music, most likely because it’s too hard to be morose when someone is laying down a sick beat. He detests Stevie Wonder and even hates his birth name of Steven as it reminds him of Colonel Steve Austin as played by actor Lee Majors in the television series The Six Million Dollar Man, which also means he probably hates Lee Majors as well. It’s hard to say if Moz likes anything aside from animals—although his ire is particularly strong when it comes to hating on perpetually glum Cure vocalist, Robert Smith.

The vicious word volley between Smith and Morrissey (downplayed by Moz in 2004 on CNN), has been documented to an extent by a timeline thanks to author and blogger Andrew Barger. The feud started after Smith had been told about comments Morrissey made in a 1984 interview with UK mag The Face. During the interview, journalist Elissa Van Poznak asked Moz if he had a loaded gun and was in a room with Mark E. Smith of The Fall and Robert Smith, who would be “the first to die.” Moz must have been feeling extra cranky on this occasion as he coldly answered he’d “line them up so one bullet penetrated both simultaneously.”

Here’s Robert Smith recalling his reaction to Morrissey’s wild threat in an interview with NME which would kick off years of verbal sparring between the two:

“When I was told that at the time I kind of took umbrage, ‘That’s fucking nice, cunt.’ I felt it was a bit unnecessary. I’d never said or done anything. So that engendered one of those tedious feuds. I’ve never met him, I’m not even sure we’ve been in the same room. I’m sure it’s the same for him, he got really aggravated at my response. I was very over the top, but I felt justifiably so, having just been shot in print. It was one of those things, a mini Blur/Oasis thing. I don’t think I played along with it enough for it to become anything more. It kind of got resurrected from time to time, I think on his fansite it got reinvigorated, and there have been various attempts to reignite it, but I think he’s actually said something really nice about us recently, about the fact that I’m a little bit wayward. Honestly, I’ve never really had a problem. I felt it was unfair that he would shoot me. If you asked him again, he might choose to shoot himself rather than me and whoever else it was.”

 

Another fun photoshopped image of Moz and Robert Smith.
 
In light of wanting to get right to the good stuff in this post, here are a few of the best of the worst things Smith and Moz have said about each other since the early 80s:

In an interview to NME in 1989 (the NME is another thing Morrissey hated by the way), Moz accused The Cure of giving “a new dimension to the word crap.” Upon hearing of Moz’s latest dig, Smith responded to Morrissey’s insult saying at least The Cure had “added a new dimension in crap, not built a career out of it.” He would later slag Moz calling him “so depressing” and “if he doesn’t kill himself soon, I probably will.” Far from done Smith continued to rail on his sworn enemy with this gem:

“If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’m going to eat meat; that’s how much I hate Morrissey. He’s a precious, miserable bastard. He’s all the things people think I am.”

In the November 1993 issue of Spin magazine, Smith went after Morrissey again admitting he “never liked him, and still didn’t.” At some point during their insult fest, Morrissey allegedly referred to Smith as a “fat clown with makeup weeping over a guitar.” Ooof, now that’s cold blooded even for Moz. I’ve posted an amusing animated video below of Morrissey and Smith recounting much of this tale because no such real-life footage of this epic battle exists. Yet…
 

Posted by Cherrybomb
|
06.11.2018
07:58 am
|
The explosive teenage garage rock of Pittsburgh proto-punks, the Swamp Rats
06.08.2018
11:52 am
Topics:
Tags:

Swamp Rats
 
If you’ve never heard ‘60s garage rock maniacs, the Swamp Rats, you’re in for a treat. Though the teenage outfit almost exclusively dealt with material that was first recorded by others, this was no mere “cover band.”

The Swamp Rats were from the small Pennsylvania town of McKeesport, which is close to Pittsburgh. The origins of the group are complex, but I’ll do my best to explain. The basic gist of it is that they evolved from the ashes of another area band, the Fantastic Dee-Jays.
 
The Fantastic Dee-Jays
 
Bob Hocko, the drummer/vocalist of the Fantastic Deejays, would go on to sing lead on most of the Swamp Rats material, though he wasn’t an original member. The first Swamp Rats single was recorded as a trio—the guitarist from the Fantastic Deejays and two guys Hocko was in another band with before he quit to join the Fantastic Deejays. See, I told you it was convoluted.
 
Louie Louie
 
Covers of “Louie Louie” and “Hey Joe” were released on a 45 in 1966 by regional label, St. Clair Records. Yes, these are two of the most frequently recorded songs by ‘60s garage bands, but boy, are they stellar takes. The Swamp Rats’ version of “Louie Louie” is a scorcher, similar to the Sonics’ interpretation—which came out the previous year as a B-side—but even wilder. Over raw, slashing guitar and a loose rhythm (ala the famous Kingsmen recording of the song), initial vocalist Dave Gannon sings the verses in a manner best described as “teenage cool.” He then ratchets up the intensity for the choruses, screaming like a lunatic a few times, for good measure. It’s really something.
 

 
Much more after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Bart Bealmear
|
06.08.2018
11:52 am
|
‘Avoid all systems’: Dangerous Minds interviews Damo Suzuki
06.08.2018
09:57 am
Topics:
Tags:


via energythefilm.co.uk

Damo Suzuki, the legendary singer of Can, Dunkelziffer, Damo Suzuki Band and Damo Suzuki’s Network, is the subject of the upcoming documentary Energy. Director Michelle Heighway’s Indiegogo campaign to finish the movie runs through June 20. I never imagined I would speak to Damo Suzuki, and I leapt at the chance to call him by long-distance videophone, Los Angeles to Cologne, earlier this week.

When he said authority was against God’s will, I thought of the English Peasants’ Revolt, and John Ball’s sermon at Blackheath on June 13, 1381:

In the beginning all men were created equal; servitude of man to man was introduced by the unjust dealings of the wicked, and is contrary to God’s will. For, if God had intended some to be serfs and others lords, He would have made a distinction between them at the beginning.

I understand if you’re tired of talking about your health, but if you can just briefly tell us what’s been going on with you over the last few years…

It was end of August until last year, March. But I’m not still 100 percent good condition. I had really heavy-duty during that time—I had cancer. After the cancer, they made some mistakes, and things like this, so that’s why I have to stay so long. And still not that good. Maybe two hours after I wake up it’s not such really good condition, I must take medicine. Then this effect comes, maybe, after two hours, then I feel okay. I can live quite normal. But many things are handicapped, because I cannot carry stuff. More than 20 kilograms, maybe less, I cannot carry. So my work is quite limited. So it’s not sort of really like Californian sun [laughter].

It must be frustrating for you, because you’ve traveled so much and you play music all the time. Has it been hard for you to tour?

No no no, it’s not so bad like I thought. Actually, it’s good, because it’s kind of a therapy that [gives] me a little bit of motivation and enjoyable moment that I’m together with the audience, and I make things which I really like to make. So that way I feel really comfortable. So that’s my answer, not so bad to have this time.

But actually it’s not me traveling. Everybody’s traveling, you too, you are traveling too, every day, in a way. My thing is both sides: geographically and also spiritual way, so I am traveling quite hard. But it’s okay; I survived it already twice. I had once, also, in the middle of the Eighties, I had same sickness, and I survive after that 30 years. So now I survived, maybe I can live for another 30 years.

Mainly I perform in England, UK, and I have quite a young audience. Some of them is really teenagers. So I can perform another 40, 50 years, until they get old. [laughter] Maybe they can find their grandkids, you know, things like that, will come to my concert. So it’s really a nice thing, because I don’t have any kind of a special epoch, you know? I’m always quite into the times. I like it, because I just improvise music, so you cannot say, “This is old, but this is new”—actually, these are not the things that people like to hear in improvised music. They like to hear just what Damo Suzuki is doing, is all. It’s not a matter of “30 years before” or “30 years later,” the main thing is that I’m doing something, because I’m not singing every day the same songs 300 or 400 times. That I cannot make. Like everybody else, I’m doing things which are, for me, easier to make. So life is as simple as possible this way. What I’m doing for myself is the best way. Then I don’t get so much stress.

Much more after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
06.08.2018
09:57 am
|
Joy at Sea: That time the Meat Puppets and the Minutemen played a show on a boat (A DM premiere)
06.07.2018
07:28 am
Topics:
Tags:

Kirkwood and Boon
Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets) and D. Boon (Minutemen) [photo: Ann Summa]

Wait, the Meat Puppets and the Minutemen played on a boat?! Yep, it happened. The outing was part of a series of events staged by the Desolation Center, a Los Angeles collective guided by a pioneering punk promoter, whose creative concepts resulted in some of the most memorable punk rock shows of the 1980s. There’s a fantastic new documentary about this subject in the can, though it’s not ready to set sail just yet.

The Desolation Center concerts were organized by Stuart Swezey. He started out booking punk bands into the usual venues, but once the intimidating presence of the LAPD became commonplace at punk shows, Stuart began to think of non-traditional sites. This led him to come up with the idea of putting on a concert in the Mojave Desert.
 
Mojave Exodus
‘Mojave Exodus’ [photo: Mariska Leyssius]

The first of these happenings, dubbed the “Mojave Exodus,” was held on April 24, 1983. Minutemen and post-punks Savage Republic performed, and the ticket holders—who were clueless as to the location of the gig beforehand—were bussed in. Though there were unforeseen circumstances, like sand blowing into band members’ faces as they played, it was an extraordinary affair for all concerned. Stuart had pulled off what had previously been unthinkable: a punk rock show in the desert.
 
Minutemen
Minutemen (photo: Bob Durkee]

For “Mojave Auszug,” which took place on March 4, 1984, Stuart booked the German industrial band, Einstürzende Neubauten, Savage Republic-related group, “Djemaa el Fna, and performance art outfit, Survival Research Laboratories—who blew shit up.
 
Blixa Bargeld
Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten) [photo: Fredrik Nilsen]

A few years back, we told you about the final Mojave Desert concert, “Gila Monster Jamboree.” Held on January 5, 1985, it featured Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Redd Kross, and lots of free LSD. Psi Com, the opening act, was fronted by a young Perry Farrell. It’s no coincidence that Farrell later conceived the traveling outdoor festival, Lollapalooza, as he was very much inspired by his desert experience. Other events like Coachella and Burning Man also owe a debt to these Desolation Center concerts.
 
Gila Monster Jamboree
‘Gila Monster Jamboree’ (Spy the Blue Öyster Cult logo?) [photo: Bob Durkee]

After two events in the desert, Stuart started brainstorming other ways the Desolation Center could present shows. He thought, ‘What’s the opposite of desert? Water.’

Stuart had gone to a number of backyard parties in San Pedro, a neighborhood of L.A, and the hometown of the Minutemen. The Port of Los Angeles is partially located in San Pedro, and on his evening drive home from these parties, Stuart would pass the illuminated harbor, the giant cranes positioned there lit up in the night sky. It looked incredible. This is where the next Desolation Center event would be.

Stuart invited the Minutemen to play on a boat as it went around the harbor. The band, who rarely had proper gigs in their hometown, jumped at the chance, and told Stuart they could get the Meat Puppets to do the gig, too.

Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Bart Bealmear
|
06.07.2018
07:28 am
|
Punk mystery solved: the face in the Discharge logo is Mark Stewart of the Pop Group
06.07.2018
06:51 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
One item you might have missed in the neverending news tsunami of the past couple years: the quadrisected, photocopied face in the Discharge logo belongs to the great singer Mark Stewart.

That’s him staring back at you (or so it seems; I always assumed Discharge guy’s eyes were open but hidden by shadows, not closed as Stewart’s are) on the reverse of Discharge’s first seven-inches, “Realities of War,” “Fight Back” and “Decontrol,” not to mention all those T-shirts, back patches and leather jackets. The image comes from the print ad for the Pop Group’s debut single, “She Is Beyond Good And Evil” b/w “3’38,” released in 1979, when Stewart was still a teenager.


The ad for the Pop Group’s first single in the March 31, 1979 issue of NME (via Beat Chapter)


The back cover of Discharge’s first release, ‘Realities of War’ (‘thanks to no fucker’)

The Pop Group posted one Randulf Stiglitz’s astonished discovery of the Discharge logo’s identity on Facebook last year. I assumed it would pass immediately therefrom into the common fund of human wisdom, so I did not write about it at the time. As it happened, everyone was distracted by alarming signs of the human species’ descent into barbarism, with the result that news algorithms—today’s cigar-chomping J. Jonah Jamesons—buried this fun fact on the last page of the internet. So enjoy it again, for the first time!
 

 
After the jump, video clips of Discharge and the Pop Group…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
06.07.2018
06:51 am
|
Page 1 of 808  1 2 3 >  Last ›