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‘Don’t Kill the Animals’: PETA’s 1987 experimental compilation produced by Ministry’s Al Jourgensen


 
Celebrity endorsements of PETA are nearly as infamous as the company’s graphic and often-questionable awareness campaigns. Since the animal rights organization was founded in 1980, influential figures from the arts and entertainment world have voiced their concerns over animal cruelty, whether in favor of vegetarianism or in disapproval of product testing on animals. Even Iggy Pop and Nick Cave are known proponents.
 
The man behind the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ most controversial campaigns is Senior Vice President, Dan Matthews. Much earlier in his career, before more famous people like Paul McCartney, Pink and Pamela Anderson got involved, Dan reached out to none other than Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen—an inspired choice, I think you’ll agree—about a compilation album to benefit PETA. With Jourgensen on board as the album’s primary producer, Matthews put together a different kind of record; one that would find a correlation between music and animal activism.
 

 
Featuring a forlorn monkey in a laboratory on its cover, Animal Liberation was released by legendary Chicago independent label Wax Trax! on April 21st, 1987. All songs on the compilation were donated to PETA by the artists (some had been previously released) and featured subjects of animal cruelty. Among key contributors to the album were musicians like The Smiths, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Captain Sensible, Chris & Cosey, Shriekback, and a collaboration between Nina Hagen and Lene Lovich. Song clips between tracks featured ominous segments of “actual dialogue from animal experimenters and meat farmers and actual alerts from TV and radio shows.” While Jourgensen did not contribute any actual music to the project, the interlude clips were all produced by him.
 
From the album’s linear notes:
 

In 1985, Dan Matthews (PETA) approached Al Jourgensen (Ministry, Wax Tax) about helping put together a “different” sort of benefit album - for animal rights. Sympathetic artists from across America and Europe were approached to donate material on animal issues (some songs previously released). From all these submissions, ANIMAL LIBERATION has surfaced - the songs interspersed with action segments containing actual dialogue from animal experimenters and meat farmers and actual alerts from TV and radio shows. The introduction carries, in 11 languages, the central theme: “ANIMALS ARE NOT OURS TO EAT, WEAR OR EXPERIMENT ON.”

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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11.13.2017
01:23 pm
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You can own Frank Zappa’s Thing-Fish mask
10.27.2017
08:43 am
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Here’s an uncontroversial opinion: Frank Zappa’s Thing-Fish is totally insane. It’s a 1984 parody of a Broadway musical that attempted to satirize the AIDS crisis, South African Apartheid, the Religious Right, and a host of other social concerns by positing a government conspiracy to turn homosexuals and African Americans into duck-billed, potato headed monsters called “Mammy Nuns.” Much of the plot is narrated by one of these mutants, who happened to be Kingfish Stevens from the old Amos ’N’ Andy show. To be clear, it wasn’t supposed to be actor Tim Moore, who played the character on TV, it was supposed to be the actual character Kingfish. In any case, by 1984, hardly anybody remembered that show anymore.
 

Thing-Fish, left; Kingfish, right. Who could have foreseen that this opus would be viewed as problematic?

It’s a mess that tries to do way too much (it was initially released as a triple LP), and at the SAME TIME it’s lazy as all hell—it’s full of callbacks to older Zappa albums, and too many of its tracks are old instrumentals repurposed with Ike Willis’ narration. But most fatally of all, the work availed itself HEAVILY of the tropes of minstrelsy. That conceit was intended by Zappa as a means to attack bigotry and to underscore ongoing unfair media representation of African Americans, but it’s easy to see it as cringeworthy as all fuck even if you know Thing-Fish’s backstory and you get its in-jokes. Though the maddeningly continued relevance of its satire has somewhat rehabbed its reputation in hindsight, and all the callbacks are fun for devoted Zappa trainspotters, it was seen as a deeply alienating failed work in its time, and it remains justly regarded as a monumental dud from Zappa’s most creatively fallow period (it arrived on the heels of The Man From Utopia, saving THAT album from being regarded as Zappa’s worst).

But whether the LP succeeds conceptually or not, it birthed some of the most bizarre and indelible imagery of the rock era. The Mammy Nuns themselves, based on the title character’s depiction on the LP cover, look like Howard the Duck sculpted from feces.

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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10.27.2017
08:43 am
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Bunny Hop: Peep inside the Playboy Clubs of the 60s, 70s & 80s


A photo taken at the opening of the very first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1960.
 
The first Playboy magazine hit the shelves in 1953 and in 1960, the late Hugh Hefner opened what would be the very first Playboy Club in Chicago. Other clubs would quickly emerge in more than twenty locations including Boston, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles, as well as more elaborate Playboy Club Resorts which you could visit in Jamaica and Manila. Entrance into the various clubs would run a member $25 a year for which they would receive a special key that when presented to a designated “Door Bunny” would get them inside. The clubs were designed to emulate the “Playboy lifestyle” projected by Hefner, though that’s not what initially ignited the vast existence of Playboy Clubs. The actual inspiration for the clubs began with an article in Playboy published in 1959 that detailed the goings-on at the historic Gaslight Club in Chicago’s River North area. The club was the brainchild of Burton Browne who modeled the club around the “Gay 90s” (aka the “Naughty Nineties” or the decade beginning in 1890) a debaucherous period where creativity and libidos ran wild.

Like Hefner’s future Playboy Clubs, entrance to the Gaslight required a key. Naturally, Hef was already a member of the Gaslight Club as it featured his favorite thing—half-naked women with large breasts everywhere you looked. According to Victor Lownes III, the executive of HMH Publishing Company (which would later become Playboy Enterprises in 1955) he recalled that the article received over 3,000 letters from readers of Playboy inquiring as to how they too could join this exclusive club. This set the wheels in motion for Hefner who knew how to recognize an opportunity, though at the time his vision for his Playboy-themed clubs didn’t include expansion beyond Chicago. When the doors to the fledgling club opened, it employed approximately 30 girls between the ages of 18-23 who were said to be “single, beautiful, charming, and refined.” It also somehow qualifies the old saying that people really did read Playboy articles. At least they read one in 1957. And that’s a fact. 

As you may have already assumed, and much like Hefner’s storied, celebrity-studded events at the Playboy Mansion, Playboy Clubs were frequented by Hollywood’s elite, such as Frank Sinatra. The Playboy Resorts featured entertainment from acts like Sonny & Cher, Melba Moore, and Sinatra’s pal and Playboy Club regular, Sammy Davis Jr. The first Detroit club which was located right across from a church attracted prominent members of that city’s vibrant jazz scene. Even Detroit’s mayor at the time Coleman Young (who held the position for twenty years starting in 1974), was an honorary member of the Playboy Club.

The St. Louis location regularly hosted comedy acts like George Carlin, Flip Wilson, Joan Rivers and Steve Martin. One of the more creative locations was opened on Lake Geneva in Wisconson that featured a ski slope, chairlift and according to former Bunny Pam Ellis, a DJ booth known as the “Bunny Hutch” where Bunnies would spin records while a bubble machine and disco ball set the mood. Most if not all of the girls at Lake Geneva lived in the “Bunny Dorm” which Ellis says was surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. If a girl didn’t live in the dorms, a car would be sent for them to their home to bring them to work where they could also eat for free. Ellis looks back on her time at Lake Geneva’s Playboy Club with fondness—especially the fact that she met her husband while she was DJ’ing in the Bunny Hutch.
 

Frank Sinatra hanging out at the Playboy Club in Las Vegas back in the day.
 
I had been working on this post for a while and had just started to get some words committed to “paper” when Hefner passed away on September 27th at the age of 91. Given that somewhat unexpected event, I held off on finishing it until today as I wasn’t crazy about having DM readers think that capitalizing on the death of someone as well-known and controversial as Hugh Hefner is something we aspire to. However, I do, like so many people, look back with fondness to a time where girls in bunny tails and ears were as glamorous as the movie stars that cavorted around the same clubs with them. Below I’ve posted a huge collection of photos taken inside and on the grounds of various Playboy Clubs including some rarely seen images from the Lake Geneva location that were kindly provided to me by Adam Levin with the help of Christina Ward of Feral House.
 

Bunnies on top of a locally made tractor at the Lake Geneva Playboy Club in Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Adam Levin.
 

Bunnies having fun at Dunn River Falls in Ochos Rios, Jamaica in 1972.
 

New York 1960s.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.18.2017
09:37 am
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They Were There: Composite photos of Queen, Jagger, Beatles and Floyd on London streets then and now

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I’m reliably told that photographs are polysemous—that is they have multiple meanings which can change depending on mood or understanding of what the image represents. Seems legit.

So let’s take, for example, the picture posted above of three long-haired guys hanging around some city street in the 1970s. It kinda looks like a regular snap of buddies hanging together. But, as soon as we realize its a pic of John Deacon, Roger Taylor, and a rather cool-looking Freddie Mercury of Queen, this picture takes on a whole new meaning.

Now that we know who it is, we probably want to know where this picture of Freddie and co. was taken. The trio was photographed standing outside 143 Wardour Street, Soho, London, in 1974. Next, I suppose we might ask, What were they doing here? Well, from what I can gather, it was taken during a break in the recording of the band’s second album, Queen II at Trident Studios directly opposite. Then we might inspect the image to glean what feelings these young nascent superstars are showing.

Photographer Watal Asanuma beautifully captured the personalities of these three very different individuals (and to an extent their hopes and ambitions) in a seemingly unguarded moment. Queen was on the cusp of their chart success with the “Seven Seas of Rhye” and the imminent release of “Killer Queen.” This photo now has a historical importance because of what we know this trio (and Brian May) went on to achieve.

I guess some of us might even want to go and visit the location to see where exactly Freddie or Roger or John stood and maybe even recreate the photo for the LOLs. It’s a way of paying homage and drawing history into our lives.

For those who can’t make it all the way to London, Music History, the Twitter presence of Rock Walk London, has been compiling selections of such pictures and making composites of the original image with a photo of what the location looks like today. Okay, so it saves the airfare but more importantly It’s a fun and simple way of bringing to life London’s rich history of pop culture in a single image.

If you like this kinda thing and want to see more, then follow Music History here.
 
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More then and now pix of Jagger, Clash, Floyd, and more, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.16.2017
11:34 am
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‘Raquel!’: Kooky, camp, and kitsch TV special starring Raquel Welch and friends

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Raquel Welch by Terry O’Neill.
 
In 1970, movie star Raquel Welch starred in her very own TV variety extravaganza Raquel! which was intended to showcase her talents as a singer. Raquel! featured Welch performing a selection of classic pop songs in different locales and hamming it up alongside the old-school talents of Bob Hope and John Wayne, and young buck Tom Jones.

In just over a decade, Welch had gone from cocktail waitress to A-list movie star. She first made her mark as a scientist in The Fantastic Voyage then knocked teenage boys (and dads) for six as a cavewoman dressed in a fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. The media made her name synonymous with the term “sex symbol.” But she was more than just a celluloid beauty, she could act. Welch co-starred with Frank Sinatra in Lady in Cement, proved her mettle by refusing to go nude in 100 Rifles , and confounded critics by starring in Gore Vidal’s tale of a transsexual Myra Breckenridge. Despite all this, Welch was still hailed by Playboy (who else?) as the “world’s most desirable woman.”

Billed as a “multi-million dollar” extravaganza Raquel! seemingly spared no expense (though it reputedly cost nearer the $350,000 mark).  There was a luxurious wardrobe by Bob Mackie with spacesuits by Paco Rabanne, some pop art and space-age set designs and a variety of exotic locations. Welch clocked-up her air miles performing songs to camera in London, Paris (where she sang “California Dreamin’” in view of the Eiffel Tower), Acapulco, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Yucatan, and Big Sur. Though Welch has a passable singing voice—one perhaps better suited to being heard in an elevator—Raquel! was a major success pulling in 58% in the Nielsen ratings. It’s a fine camp confection that has some strange and memorable moments—Welch and Hope (in Davy Crockett hat) singing the Beatles’ “Rocky Raccoon” being just one. 
 
Take a look after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.04.2017
09:33 am
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When the legendary Hipgnosis did fashion shoots for ‘classy’ porn mag Club International (NSFW)

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It’s a fair bet that a large part of many (most?) record collections includes a good percentage of covers by the legendary London-based graphic designers Hipgnosis.

Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell who were the original founders of Hipgnosis turned out a massive array of iconic designs for bands as varied as Pink Floyd (who had been the first band to commission the duo), T.Rex, Hawkwind, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, 10CC, Wings, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Genesis, Jon Anderson, Depeche Mode, XTC, ABC, Megadeth, and even England’s former poet laureate John Betjeman.

Apart from album covers, Hipgnosis also designed a series of fashion spreads for the softcore porn mag Club International and its more hardcore American edition Club.

Club International was founded by porn supremo Paul Raymond, who ran the legendary strip club the Raymond Revuebar in London’s seedy Soho district and a series of best-selling porn mags. Under its first editor Tony Power, Club International was intended as a high-quality adult entertainment magazine mixing the best of writers with the finest photographers and designers.

Hipgnosis was hired to add a classy touch to the magazine’s fashion spreads. The gig allowed Thorgerson and Powell to try-out a few ideas which they would later re-use on album covers—the flasher who would reappear on Pink Floyd’s A Nice Pair, for instance, while the water-in-the-face shots would feature on Peter Frampton’s Something’s Happened. See more Hipgnosis glorious work here.
 
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See more of Hipgnosis’ fashion work for Club International, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.20.2017
12:55 pm
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Stuck in the Mudd! Four decades later, the doorman of the wildest nightclub in NYC lets you in!

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Here’s a drink ticket—enjoy the post!

“If you’ve been standing here for more than ten minutes you’re not coming in” announces Richard Boch in a stern but cute, almost teenaged stoner way. Don’t get me wrong, he means it. This was how “normal people” were greeted much of the time at the door of the Mudd Club (and many other ultra hip clubs in New York City at the time). This made getting in a huge badge of honor and being turned away a major disgrace. Imagine riding on THAT possibility just to pay to go into a nightclub? An anonymous “sniper” refused entrance once even hit Boch with a dead pigeon from a few yards away and sped off in a taxi cab!

Back then these normal people showing up at Manhattan nightclubs were mostly referred to as the “bridge and tunnel” crowd (Queens, Jersey, Brooklyn) a term not heard much these days, but once heard hundreds of times every night in NYC clubs. Some were 9-5ers, some wealthy disco-types expecting to stroll in on the doorman’s view of their Rolex or hot girlfriend. These regular folks were basically told to cool their heels or fuck off while an 18-year-old kid like me dressed to the hilt in what may have looked to them like idiotic rags, parted the seas and strolled in like I was Mick Jagger. This was not Studio 54 as they would find out soon enough. What it was, though, was a trip into known and unknown galaxies of hip culture throughout history, like a living, breathing museum/funhouse/drug den/concert hall/discotheque, mixed with nitroglycerine and LSD and thrown into a blender to create the unknown. The future. THE NOW!

The Mudd Club was almost literally unbelievable. Inmates running the asylum on an outer space pirate ship. This vessel was founded, funded and schemed by Steve Mass, who was on every side of the street all at once. When I first met Steve, he was roommates with Brian Eno and got that input, but he STILL drove me out to my parents’ apartment in Queens to help pull my record collection from under my bed, my parents shrugging their shoulders until reading about us a year later in the New York Times, thereby making it “Okay.” But really he was always very curious, constantly grilling me, getting inside my head. I once told him I thought he should round off the corners and ceiling of the Mudd Club like a giant cave and have live bats flying around the club. He actually considered it! He did this with certain other kids, rock stars, Warhol superstars, models, designers, Hollywood royalty, junkies, freaks and lord knows who else. We all had a bit of our heart and soul in that place.
 
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Mudd Club owner Steve Mass. Photo by Kate Simon

The above mentioned Richard Boch is the author of a incredibly well-written new book from Feral House titled The Mudd Club. Boch was the main doorman there and the book is his autobiography or a coming of age story told in pretty much the aftermath of the glorious Sixties during the truly, in retrospect, harsh, dark, real version of what was hoped for, but lost in that previous decade. Richard’s story is all of our stories, those of us lucky (or unlucky) enough to have grown up or wound up in New York City’s grimy punk/art/drugged musical and historical mish-mosh. It was the Velvet Underground’s songs come to life after waiting a decade for the world to catch up to it, or crumble to its level.
 
To quote Richard:

I’ve always referred to the Mudd Club as the scene of the crime, always meant as a term of endearment. It was the night that never ended: the day before never happened and the day after, a long way off. There was nothing else like it and I wound up right in the middle. I thought I could handle it and for a while, I did.

 
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Author Richard Boch. Photo by Alan Kleinberg
 
Boch was given marching orders orders early on to avoid bloated seventies superstars and the limo crowd. On one of his first nights of work he was faced with a huge, loud, and very sweaty Meatloaf. “Definitely not something I wanted to get close to, physically or musically,” Boch says, and ignored him. My first ever DJ gig was early on at the Mudd Club and I was told told by Steve Mass to do things like play Alvin and The Chipmunks records when it got a bit crowded, to “make everyone uncomfortable,” including myself. Of course I had the record. I also gouged a 45 with scissors insuring the record would skip horribly and then pretend that it wasn’t happening. Just long enough to get the asylum to freak out a little bit.

Later this stuff went out the window but it was quite a formative experience. Humor filtered through even to the most deadly serious moments there. The Mudd Club was a place where twenty people could literally have had twenty different experiences on the same night during the same hour as there was just so much happening on different mental/pharmaceutical levels and different floor levels. Everywhere you turned there was someone amazing. From the way I had grown up, seeing Andy Warhol, John Waters, David Bowie and the Ramones within a twenty minute span was “my” Studio 54. Watching Screamin’ Jay Hawkins while standing next to Jean-Michel Basquiat, seeing the Soft Boys, girl groups like the Angels and the Crystals, Frank Zappa, Bauhaus, Nico, the Dead Boys, Captain Beefheart, John Cale, a Radley Metzger film presented by Sleazoid Express or an impromptu freakout by Warhol Superstar Jackie Curtis, well this was my dream come to life!

My dream hasn’t changed in 40 years. I’m still in awe that it happened. And in the middle of all that I was allowed to put on my own demented conceptual events with friends (“The Puberty Ball,” etc.) and be a regular DJ. The people I came to know in the punk world who wanted more found it at the Mudd Club. Our mad obsession with the Sixties, especially the Warhol/New York sixties, informed much of what we did, and at the same time the Warhol Factory itself became more corporate. The Superstars were by then getting older and pushed out, but they were looking for more themselves, and they were looking to us to inform them, making for some extremely insane morality and immorality plays coming to life before our eyes. Mudd had the pull of what the press called “downtown,” and for the downtown types, well our voices were about to be heard loud and clear.
 
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David Bowie and Dee Dee Ramone. Photo by Bobby Grossman
 
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Howie Pyro deejaying at Mudd

Richard Boch understood all this, and was also an artist himself so he knew who everyone in the art world was, as well as all the new punk stars and celebutantes, no wavers, new wavers, culture vulture gods and the ones who would become gods themselves in a year or so. In the book he talks about being nervous about starting working there but man, he was the one for the job. In the pages of The Mudd Club, Boch’s quite candid about everything you’d want to know (gossip but not mean gossip: sex, drugs, more drugs, and getting home at ten AM, having done every drug and a half dozen people along the way—normal stuff like that). It reads in one, two, or three page sections, my favorite kind of book. You can put it down in ten-minute intervals or read it in any order you want, IF you can put it down at all. I have literally read certain sections backwards for 40-50 pages while looking for something and didn’t really notice. It made me laugh out loud, and it brought tears to my eyes. It’s kind of like “Please Kill Me, the Day After,” though it’s not an oral history as such, as it is written from Richard Boch’s point of view, but it has the same immediate anecdotal feel.
 
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‘TV Party’ at Mudd. Photo by Bob Gruen
 
The club’s benevolent benefactor, Steve Mass, was responsible for making this incredible witches brew keep bubbling and kept the happenings happening. He was willing to do anything, just for the sake of doing it. Steve originally owned an ambulance service. For my 19th birthday they had a huge party for me on the second floor of the Mudd Club. Since Steve had medical connections, and since we were ALL junkies (well, a good 85% of us were), he furnished a massive cake with dozens of syringes with the plungers & needles removed so they could put the candles in the open syringes. This of course turned into a massive cake fight with the participants looking like the Little Rascals (with pinned eyes). Steve was always down for this sorta stuff. As for the main floor, the bands, writers and performers that I saw in a single month’s time was staggering! More than some people see in a lifetime.
 
From the book:

January 1979. The Cramps freaked out The Mudd Club with a loud Psychobilly grind that included such hits as “Human Fly” and “Surfin’ Bird.” A few months later, the “big names” started to appear…

He goes on to say:

The legendary Sam and Dave got onstage a few weekends later, and it was the first time on my watch that I got to see the real deal. By late summer, Talking Heads took the stage while Marianne Faithful, X, Lene Lovich, and the Brides of Funkenstein waited in the wings.

There were so many great performances: Scheduled, impromptu, logical and out of left field. The locals and the regulars were the staple and the stable and performed as part of the White Street experience. They included everyone you could imagine and some you never could. John Cale, Chris Spedding, Judy Nylon and Nico, John Lurie and Philip Glass were just a few. Writers and poets such as William S. Burroughs, Max Blagg, Cookie Mueller, and “Teenage Jesus” Lydia Lunch all wound up on the Mudd Club stage. The talent pool was so deep and occasionally dark that even Hollywood Babylon‘s Luciferian auteur Kenneth Anger got Involved.

Steve’s willingness and generosity along with his guarded enthusiasm offered support to a local community of artists, musicians, and filmmakers. Together with Diego (Cortez)’ and Anya (Phillip’s) short-lived but “dominating” spirit, the Mudd Club became an instant happening, a free-for-all with No Wave orchestration and very few rules.

Diego described the Mudd Club as “a container, a vessel, but certainly not the only one in town.” What made the place unique was its blank-canvas emptiness. When the space filled up, IT happened and everyone wanted to be a part. A living, breathing work of art, it was beautiful and way off center, a slice of golden time.

I was lucky, and soaked it all in.

 
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Nico playing her wheezing harmonium. Photo by Ebet Roberts

All of us who got to be there were lucky. This was a timeless world of it’s own. A world that could be compared to any and all magical artistic movements, scenes or spaces. Dada. Warhol’s Factory, the Beats in NY and SF, Surrealism, etc.—times, places, people all endlessly written about as there’s just so much to say. Everyone involved had a unique experience, true to themselves. This wasn’t just a nightclub, it was so much more. It almost seemed like a private place where, on the best nights, people’s lives and fantasies were put on display and the public was allowed to watch. The public who just came to do coke and dance (as we all did) but who accidentally got touched by a bizarre and wonderful world that lived in the shadows of the city then, usually just brushing against them like a ghost in the night. Whether they even noticed or not, well, who cares?

This first book on the subject (I guarantee it will not be the last) is Richard Boch’s own experience, peppered with those of us who he interviewed for the reminders. This book is about his eyes opening, his chain-wielding power stance, his blowjobs, his drinks, his drugs, all of which are plentiful. It includes a little of most of us, the people we loved, the ones we lost, the games we played, and the love we shared of each other and our mutual history. Still though, there are a million stories in the Mudd’s microcosm of the naked city, this is just one of them.

And what a glorious place to start: right at the front door.
 
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The trailer for the book
 
More Mudd Club after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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09.19.2017
02:47 pm
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Take a look at highlights from this large collection of wacky vintage novelty phones
09.15.2017
08:41 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Kids today just don’t know what they’re missing.

Yesterday I called up my local cable company in hopes of setting up a landline. Not that I really need one or anything. People can reach me just fine on cell, but I like the idea of only being reachable while at home. Just like in the olden days. We’ve gotta do what we can to loosen society’s grip over our hyper-connected, over-stimulated lives. But apparently my cable provider isn’t offering that anymore?!?

A study published in May by the Center for Disease Control (of all people!) found that for the first time in American history, the majority of households are cellphone-only (50.8%). This statistic was compared to the feeble 6.5% population of strictly-landline users, with the remaining being a mix of the two (or even neither). Well, that’s truly a bummer, because I had the perfect ‘analog rig’ already picked out.
 

Author James David Davis with his prized $600 Ronald McDonald phone

Collectible Novelty Phones was the comprehensive reference godsend for any collector of weird phones way back when (people were actually able to use them). Having hit shelves back in 1998, the book today can mostly be found among other helpful guides to shit nobody cares about anymore in your neighborhood’s “Little Free Library” (or on Amazon). Written by former AT&T technician James David Davis, a true devotee of the movement, the book is basically a photo gallery of one dude’s enormous phone collection. Each blower is professionally displayed, categorized, and technically detailed to a marvelous result. It might even be enough for you to think twice about getting the new iPhone in favor of a kitschy talking Garfield phone with an actual dial-tone.

Below are some of my favorites from the collection.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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09.15.2017
08:41 am
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The Illuminati of rock and roll: Remembering Pat Fear, a real-life Robert Anton Wilson character

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It was recently the birthday of one of my lifelong best friends, Bill Bartell (1961-2013)

Bill aka “Pat Fear” was a walking, talking anomaly, a living Robert Anton Wilson conspiracy theory, a wisecracking character out of a Firesign Theatre sketch, a Discordian trickster imp of the perverse. His credit card even said “The Illuminati” under his name (for real, I swear!). Bill also went by the names “Kixx”; “Sitting Bill”; “Pat ‘Slowhand’ Fear”; “Billy Jo Gun Rack,” etc., etc., and these are just the ones that he used on records! I can’t even imagine the secret pseudonyms he used “off stage.” I also can’t actually believe that he is not still alive. It seems like some kind of shitty cosmic joke. The world that doesn’t get to know Bill is a sad world.

Bill did so much for our culture, mostly by ridiculing it. He was a super mega ultra fan of so many disconnected things. He lived to tear down so many idols. His band White Flag was formed originally solely just to piss off Black Flag (one of his favorite bands). Bill pissed many people off, which was his life’s mission or so it seemed.
 
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He was just SO good at it!
 
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Bill’s side project, but really his life’s work as it was so open-ended was a grouping called Tater Totz. This project dealt with Bill’s obsessions. As it grew, many people from his obsessions wound up on Tater Totz records. Who? Man, so many! Always Redd Kross of course, but also members of the Runaways, Germs/Nirvana, Partridge Family, Sonic Youth, Lovedolls, Tesco Vee, El Vez, The Zeros, The Posies, Jimmy McNichol (!!??!!), Hole, Sator, Starz, Zeros, Melvins, Shonen Knife, Go-Go’s, Adolescents, Pandoras, Roman Coppola, Circle Jerks, Frightwig, Chemical People, Sin 34/Painted Willie, myself and just about everyone else who came into Bill’s orbit. The main focus of Tater Totz was Bill’s Yoko Ono obsession, followed closely by his interest in Os Mutantes, the Beatles, Blue Oyster Cult, even a mashup of John Lennon and Queen. Their greatest moment, in my opinion, was when they showed up at a Beatlefest convention and did all Yoko Ono songs, driving the Beatle nerds to violence and riot! They literally chased them out of the building and down the street like the villagers did to poor Frankenstein’s monster! Part of this is on YouTube and can be seen here on Dangerous Minds (link at bottom of this post). Bill, of course, immediately put it out as a double seven-inch bootleg EP called Live Hate at Beatlefest, one of the best titles ever, obviously.
 
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Bill Bartell also single-handedly turned the entire world onto Os Mutantes, a bizarre Brazilian band from the 60s whose first LP his sister, an exchange student there, brought back to him in the Sixties. Bill went around throughout the 80s with a Walkman with Os Mutantes on it and plopped the headphones on to everyone he met.

This is in fact, how I met him.
 
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He also did this to his buddy Kurt Cobain who, when he got famous, and toured in Brazil, went on the news and asked where Os Mutantes were, and said that his friend Bill who “has a mustache” told him about them. He then held up a drawing he did of Bill. This, from the then biggest rock star in the world! Os Mutantes, who had broken up for decades have publicly stated that their resurgence was totally due to Bill and they came from Brazil on their own dime to play at his memorial in LA.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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09.13.2017
11:06 am
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That time Marc Bolan interviewed Stan Lee, ‘nuff said?

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Marc Bolan loved comic-books. The Beano, The Dandy, The Topper, he read ‘em all and enjoyed the hilarious hijinks of the cheeky school kids contained therein. But he had a particular love for Marvel Comics and their far out superheroes like Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange. Bolan went so far as to even make reference to his favorite comic-book heroes in songs like “Mambo Sun” where he sang:

On a mountain range,
I’m Doctor Strange for you…

Yes, Marc, you are, oh but you are…

So, maybe it was inevitable, fated even, that Bolan would one-day interview legendary Marvel Supremo Stan Lee.

In 1975, Bolan had an occasional stint doing interviews on BBC radio program Today. It was the Beeb’s way of “getting down with the kids” by having a pop star talk to the kind of hip people they would like to interview in the hope this would bring in a younger audience to their flagship news and current affairs show.

That October Stan Lee was in London to launch a new British comic book The Titans. He was also in the Big Smoke to give a “one performance only” at the Roundhouse where he was to talk about “all your favorite Marvel superheroes” followed by the opening of a major exhibition of Marvel Comic’s artwork at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Having Lee in London was too good an opportunity for Bolan to miss, so an interview was arranged…
 
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To get some more skinny on Bolan’s love of Marvel Comics let’s spool forward a year to when Neil Tennant—long before he was one-half of the Pet Shop Boys—interviewed Bolan about his love of Marvel Comics:

“I’ve been into Marvel since 1967.  The Silver Surfer, in particular, was one I liked, Dr. Strange was another.  At that time they were very weird compared to the other comics on the market, though they got more commercial since then and Stan Lee was a great writer.”

“It was nice meeting Stan last year, he was lovely to interview.  Really he’s a hustler, a solid gold easy hustler! That’s just the way Comic guys should be,  he’s got such a lot of energy.”

“We talked about the possibility of me creating a super-hero for him.  something along the lines of Electric Warrior, a twenty-first century Conan.”

“In fact, I don’t like Conan as a character—I think he should be something less of a barbarian, more like one of Michael Moorcock’s characters.  You could make a much better composite character using Moorcock’s Elric, with a bit of the Silver Surfer, a bit of Thor, and create a far more involved character, a character more in touch with now ...”

 
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Bolan as he appeared in his own comic strip ‘The Magic of Marc’ from ‘Jackie’ magazine 1972.
 
More Marc Bolan on Marvel Comics plus his interview with Stan Lee, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.12.2017
08:21 am
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