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In a Silent Way: Hear Miles Davis’ voice before he lost it in rare 1953 radio interview
07.02.2013
12:15 pm
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In October 1955, Miles Davis had an operation on his larynx, and was given strict instructions by the surgeon not to even use his voice for ten days afterwards. According to legend, though, he got into an argument, raised it, and so begat the instantly recognizable rasp that he would be stuck with for the rest of his days.

It has always impressed me as quite the irony that Davis’ sobbing, pellucid trumpet tone and massacred speaking voice could emerge from the selfsame lips. Which is partly what makes the following so riveting. Kicking off at 3:36 (following a short 60 Minutes appearance from 1989, presumably included for the lurid contrast) here is a very rare recording of a 1953 Radio KXLW interview with Miles, who sounds a little hoarse, pretty out of his tree (a little horse?), characteristically diffident—but not a bit like a Dalek
 

Posted by Thomas McGrath
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07.02.2013
12:15 pm
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Warm Leatherette: Synthpop classic by The Normal gets ‘the car crash stretch’
07.01.2013
06:43 pm
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“Warm Leatherette” was Mute Records founder Daniel Miller’s 1978 attempt to condense J.G. Ballard’s novel Crash into a two and a half minute pop song.

Here it is stretched out to 27 minutes:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.01.2013
06:43 pm
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MAGMA’s cheerfully insane brand of sci-fi avant garde make them progrock’s weirdest outliers
07.01.2013
04:31 pm
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H.R. Giger’s cover for 1978’s Attahk album

French progrockers MAGMA sing their lyrics in “Kobaïan,” a made-up phonetic language based on German and Slavic languages constructed by the group’s founder, Christian Vander, after he had a “vision of humanity’s spiritual and ecological future.”

MAGMA’s albums tell the multi-part sci-fi saga of humans who have been forced to leave a dying Earth behind and settle on the planet Kobaïa. MAGMA’s unusual sound is described as “zeuhl” in Kobaïan, which means “heavenly” and Vander claims his biggest musical influence is John Coltrane at his most celestial. One can also detect some Zappa, Stravinsky and “Carmina Burana.”

The mysterious MAGMA are considered somewhat tangential members of the progressive subgenre (“avant garde” might be a bit more accurate) and have little in common with the likes of Yes, Genesis or King Crimson. Certainly it can said that they hoe their own row! Often they sound like an extremely dark heavy metal band. You can’t really compare MAGMA to anyone else, they’re just that weird. Give me MAGMA over Emerson, Lake & Palmer any day!

As on YouTuber quipped:

If anything could be more twisted and insane than Magma, it’s early Magma.

They’re even weirder than Gong and that ain’t easy!
 

 
More MAGMA after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.01.2013
04:31 pm
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Happy Birthday Debbie Harry!
07.01.2013
03:41 pm
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Blondie’s Debbie Harry, as unbelievable as it sounds, turns 68 today.

We here at Dangerous Minds wish the eternal style icon and punk rock goddess a truly great day and hope that she’s somewhere with air conditioning!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
KooKoo: H.R. Giger directs Debbie Harry music video, 1981

Death is like a box of chocolates: Debbie Harry on lurid 1971 book cover

When Debbie Harry wrestled Andy Kaufman, 1983

Debbie Harry claims she was almost murdered by Ted Bundy

Below, Debbie Harry explains ‘How To Pogo’ for Americans on Glenn O’ Brien’s TV Party:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.01.2013
03:41 pm
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Weirdest Beatles medley of all time from Cher, Tina Turner and… Kate ‘God Bless America’ Smith?
07.01.2013
02:50 pm
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Kate Smith
Kate Smith, the original, not the Charlie’s angel…
 
As far as The Beatles’ milieu goes, I’ve yet to see a campier, stranger tribute than this April 1975 collaboration on the Cher variety show. (And this is edited to death—- it was actually longer!) Tina Turner had just played the Acid Queen in Tommy, furthering her reputation as an intense, artistic performer. Sonny and Cher had split up a year ago, and while Sonny’s variety show floundered, Cher’s show was incredibly well-received.

The odd one out here is Kate Smith, the sturdy, matronly symbol of wholesome American resilience, famous for canonizing “God Bless America” in the 1940s. Kate went through a major re-vamp in the 1970s—one of the weirdest public transformations from wholesome to glitzy I’ve ever seen. (Fun fact: Woody Guthrie actually wrote “This Land is Your Land” as a bitter response to Smith’s inescapably popular tune, which he found schmaltzy. Bonus fun fact: “God Bless America” was written by Irving Berlin, who changed his name from “Israel Isidore Baline,” supposedly to evade American antisemitism. God Bless America, indeed!)

Frankly, I think it’s damn cool that Kate Smith came back as a groovy granny glamour-puss, and that the big 1970s stars embraced her return to pop culture. To this day, Kate Smith remains a lesser-obvious choice for drag queens looking for an esoteric challenge. I guess these three seemingly disparate chanteuses have a common thread, after all!
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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07.01.2013
02:50 pm
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‘SOUL IS A HAM HOCK IN YOUR CORNFLAKES!’: 13 mind-blowing minutes of Parliament-Funkadelic, 1969
06.29.2013
04:32 pm
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“Soul is the ring around your bathtub!”

You are about to have an eargasm…

Try to imagine as you watch this what would have gone through the mind of the average American flipping channels and coming across this by accident in 1969.

Probably just the sort of reaction George Clinton was looking for! I mean, Christ, look at his hair for starters! It predates O.D.B. by decades!

With Fuzzy Haskins, Grady Thomas, Calvin Simon, Ray Davis, and George Clinton on vocals. On guitars, the one and only Eddie Hazel and Tawl Ross. Mickey Atkins on keyboards, Billy Bass Nelson on bass and Tiki Fulwood on drums.

Obviously George Clinton is as high as a fucking kite here. Judging from his beatific expression, he got the good shit! Starts off strong, but really goes supernova with “(I Wanna) Testify,” which will melt your face.
 

 
Thank you kindly, Chris Campion of Los Angeles, California!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.29.2013
04:32 pm
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Anarchy and Surrealism in Belgium: The Bonzo Dog Band, live at the Bilzen Jazz Festival, 1969
06.29.2013
12:31 pm
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For fans of The Bonzo Dog Band, it doesn’t get much better than this outlandish performance shot live at the Jazz Bilzen festival in Belgium on August 22, 1969.

Well, actually had the cameras been pointed at the right place at the right times… Eventually, though, the cameramen do figure it out.

It starts off with an extended interview with Neil Innes.

Set list:

Big Shot
You Done My Brain In
Hello Mabel
I’m The Urban Spaceman
Quiet Talks and Summer Walks
I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
In The Canyons of Your Mind
Trouser Press

I’ve been conducting an interview over email with Neil Innes about his recently released Le Duck’s Box Set collecting his Innes Book of Records-era output that will be published on Dangerous Minds soon.

In the meantime, enjoy this wild video of the Bonzos in all their glory. Imagine someone doing something like this onstage today.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Neil Innes, the ‘Seventh Pytohon’: How Sweet to Be an Idiot

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.29.2013
12:31 pm
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Morrissey’s snide record reviews: Moz dumps on Cyndi Lauper, The Psychedelic Furs and XTC, 1984
06.28.2013
06:03 pm
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stihhsamsyessirrom.jpg
 
In 1984, Morrissey was invited by the editor of glossy pop mag Smash Hits to review the week’s singles. As was no doubt expected, Morrissey flashed his natural flair for writing pithy, caustic and highly amusing reviews: he dismissed Cyndi Lauper’s single as “grossly unmusical”; Status Quo as “unreviewable impertinence”; Tracey Ullman “hopeless”; and of Lionel Richie he wrote, “that people care for such things suggests an unholy amount of human misery.”

It’s a pity Morrissey didn’t continue with his career as a pithy pop reviewer.
 
selgnisy
 
More reviews from Morrissey after the jump…
 
Via Us vs th3m
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.28.2013
06:03 pm
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Up Against the Wall: Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen at The Psylodelic Gallery
06.28.2013
05:09 pm
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Jorma Kaukonen, bottom right

This is a guest post from Michael Simmons

Ah yes—I remember it as if it was yesterday! ‘Twas way back in the aughts, kids – the first decade of the 21st Century. Maybe four, five annums back. I was at a medical facility for a procedure related to what remains of my back. The cute young receptionist asked that I fill out an interminable form – the filling out of interminable forms being a hallmark of The Twenty-Worst Century. Name, address, next-of-kin, zabba-da-doo-bee-waba-da-booty – and ethnicity.

Ethnicity?

“What goes here?” I asked the receptionist, tossing back what remains of my longhair with a twinkle in my good eye, the one I can still see through. She assured me that it was an optional question for a study the facility was conducting and not for nefarious purposes or denying me my constitutional rights. I thought about it. What am I? I’m Caucasian, an agnostic Jew, an American, a human being (most days, some nights), but none of these rang right. And then the twinkle in my eye broke into fractals and I put pen to paper.

I answered Hippie-American.

“Hippie” is an inexact term that has many definitions depending on the perspective – and bias – of the definer. Many think of floral children with stupid grins and pinned eyes or The Eagles or people who subsist solely on brown food. Not I. My Hall Of Hippie Fame short list includes The Beatles, The Fugs, Allen Ginsberg (also a Beat), Abbie Hoffman (who held his flower in a clenched fist), a friend of mine who once punched a cop and who shall be nameless here, and Grace Slick—The Queen Of Sarcasm.

Graced with a thrilling set of pipes–pun intentional–Slick was in a rock band called the Jefferson Airplane that I dearly loved–and still do. I’ve been a frothing fan ever since I heard “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit” on the radio in ’67. I first saw them live on Friday, November 28, 1969 at the Fillmore East in New York City. They were a ragtag gang of freaks who eschewed any semblance of show biz, but whose advanced respect for—and pursuit of—musicality was on par with jazz cats and kitties. Their guitarist was Jorma Kaukonen, a singular slinger who invented an electric style too personal to be recreated by others. Jorma can wah and fuzz with the best and is also a primo exponent of fingerpicking blues, gospel and folk from the Reverend Gary Davis school of intricate hand gymnastics. He and fellow Airplaner–bassist Jack Casady (another absolute axe master)–also formed Hot Tuna, a kickass band that’s played everything from ragtime to heavy metal for 45-sumpin’ years now.

As he told me a few days ago, Jorma sobered up “16 years, 5 months, and 23 days ago – but who’s counting?” At the same approximate time, he and wife Vanessa Kaukonen founded the Fur Peace Ranch–a guitar camp in Darwin, Ohio. (O come all ye free associative evolution riffs!) Young and old alike attend Fur Peace to learn and play—it’s one of America’s coolest music schools. Jorma also gigs 150 to 200 nights a year under his own handle and with variations of acoustic and electric Hot Tuna. (Casady and mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff are regular partners–the latter being part of the “Jewgrass” Scene in Noo Yawk in the ‘70s–as was I.)

Given that the Airplane and Tuna are two of the mightiest hippie bands to emerge from the ‘60s, one day Vanessa suggested–nay urged—Jorma that they create something to keep the spirit truckin’, as it were, and make the artistry of that era available for education and inspiration. “I’m not a particularly nostalgic person,” he points out.  “I recognize the significance of a lot of this stuff, but since I was there I take a lot of it for granted and it’s kinda like ‘who gives a shit?’ Fortunately my wife is not like that. She’s younger than me and she does give a shit and she pointed out this stuff and I got it.”

They built a two-story silo next to Fur Peace in Darwin and dubbed it the Psylodelic Gallery. Being an American with a unique twistory of history, Jorma had his own take on the project. “The Psylodelic Gallery is a lot more interesting than The World’s Largest Ball Of Twine,” he explains. “I’m a huge fan of roadside America and I go see all that shit. The World’s Largest Prairie Dog in Oakley, Kansas – whatever. We have a little sign on the road, so we’re part of roadside America too.”

This Saturday, June 29 is the Grand Opening of the Psylodelic Gallery. Pioneer psychedelic rockers Big Brother & The Holding Company will perform and there’s an exhibit of photographs from the first day Jorma met Janis Joplin in 1962, plus the actual typewriter that can be heard in the legendary “Typewriter Tapes” of him and Janis playing together all those years ago. Also featured is Jorma’s original Fillmore Auditorium poster collection and his 1958 Gibson J-50 acoustic guitar that he picked with the Airplane and Tuna. (If you’re familiar with Jorma’s solo instrumental classic “Embryonic Journey” from Surrealistic Pillow, then you know the J-50.) Ephemera from Jack Casady and Wavy Gravy are displayed, quotes from Martin Luther King, Timothy Leary, Jerry Garcia and others line the walls, and a film and liquid lightshow by Chris Samardizch of The Brotherhood Of Light will be screened. 

New exhibits will go up every three months–four a year total. Vanessa’s already working on visits from local students. She’s intent on promoting “Art through activism, art through action, art through conversation.” As for definitions, Jorma says his “vision of the hippie is productive, honest intensity. There were a lot of people back then who followed that creative path simply for the love of it. They couldn’t be bothered getting involved in the incredibly complex fine arts world or the business aspect. They did it cause they loved it and they did a lot of it.”

Makes one damn proud to be a Hippie-American.

For more information, check out the Psylodelic Gallery on their website or via Facebook. The first eight Hot Tuna albums have been reissued on CD and can be ordered from Culture Factory USA.

Below, Jorma Kaukonen and The Jefferson Airplane rip through “Eskimo Blue Day” live at The Family Dog in 1970:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.28.2013
05:09 pm
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Dancing with a two-headed dog: Historic videos of Roky Erickson
06.28.2013
02:00 pm
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Here’s something quite special from the Dangerous Mind’s archives.   Roky Erickson’s life has been an American nightmare. That he somehow managed to dig deep within himself (with the help of therapy, his brother Sumner and stabilizing meds) to emerge, more or less intact, from a past in which he literally lost control of his life, endured imprisonment in a mental institute and electro-shock therapy, is a tale of torture turned to bittersweet triumph. The fact that he survived, is alive, and making stunningly good music today is astonishing and inspiring.

Erickson’s life is well-documented in books and film. A victim of small-town justice, Erickson was given the choice of jail time or a stint in an institute for the criminally insane. His crime: being different, being a rock ‘n’ roller and possessing marijuana.

Like most kids in the Sixties, I first encountered Roky’s music with the 13th Floor Elevators. Later, my punk band covered one of his solo classics “Two-headed Dog,” which has one of the coolest choruses in the history of rock:

Two-headed dog, two-headed dog
I’ve been working in the Kremlin
With a two-headed dog

If Erickson was insane, so are most artists that go out on a limb for their art. Rimbaud, Antonin Artaud, Sylvia Plath, Syd Barret…the list is so long I could spend the entire day compiling it. Some of these geniuses probably shouldn’t have taken mind-altering drugs, but whose business is it for me or anyone to pass judgment? Without the drugs, there are those on my theoretical list who may have burned out early but whose greatest creations were the result of a “derangement of the senses,” a term Rimbaud used to describe his efforts to enter a psychedelic state. All I know, is the work lives on and ultimately that’s all that matters in the here and now.

Erickson is a visionary and visionaries see things we don’t. Words are generally inadequate to the task of communicating the specifics of these visions, so the visionary turns to art and finds a method to articulate the indescribable in metaphor, myth and symbol. In describing his contact with aliens and demons, Roky may have used the only analogies he knew in order to describe his Muse (the voices in his head). He grew up with comic books and horror movies and they became his vernacular. As the poet Jack Spicer said in attempting to define the Muse (and I’m paraphrasing): “it’s the Martian that comes down and re-arranges the furniture in your head.” In Roky’s case the furniture was comprised of EC Comics, Mario Bava movies, The Outer Limits and whatever rustled through the woods on moonless Texas nights. Add a steady diet of LSD to the mix and that extraterrestrial Muse is moving furniture on several floors at the same time. No question that acid re-arranged Erickson’s senses for awhile, but what was it that made him fall over the edge into complete helplessness? My opinion: it was the cure that did it - a shock to the system that only a machine in co-operation with electrically-charged particles can induce. Take a man whose consciousness is malleable, zap his brain full of fire, and not only do the demons get burned, the angels do to.

In 1975, Erickson signed a notarized document in order to protect himself from continued attacks from Earthlings.
 

 
Fortunately, Roky Erickson never lost his connection to the meaningful voices in his head. He continues to walk with the zombies, sing with the spirits and dance with a two-headed dog. It could be surmised that the aliens weren’t the problem. It was the human beings that fucked Roky up.

Although he still sings about them, these days Erickson doesn’t talk about the aliens. Sharing such thoughts will bring you a shitload of problems. It’s best to keep quiet about where the songs come from. Better to be happy that they keep on coming.

The following video is two hours of clips compiled from Austin cable television and footage shot for Swedish TV. It includes some mesmerizing footage of Roky and musician/producer Mike Alvarez performing by an underground creek beneath the Congress Street bridge on Halloween night.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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06.28.2013
02:00 pm
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