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Burning Down the House: Talking Heads perform live showcase at Entermedia Theater, 1978
07.30.2018
08:57 am
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Forty-years-ago, like a gazillion other kids, I was smitten by the sounds of New Wave. The needle had worn out on punk and there was a need for a newer sound, a bigger sound to hit the decks. And lo, yea, there came unto the local record store, venue, and radio station, New Wave. 

New Wave was really just a catchall term used/devised by NME writers like legendary scribe Charles Shaar Murray to describe a diverse range of bands who often had little in common other than their unique sound like the glorious Blondie and the pantomime horse of the Boomtown Rats. By this definition, New Wave bands weren’t considered quite punk though they may have been inspired by punk, or indeed, were in fact maybe just a little bit punk, or even garage, but were at the time only just coming to the attention of a bigger, far more appreciative audience circa 1978.

So, there I was, dear reader, a young teen living with his parents in a two-up/two-down in the nether regions of Scotland’s capital. Of course, you have to remember, we Scots were still in our penitent sack cloth and ashes for the ignominy inflicted on the world under the name of tartan by the Bay City Rollers and nauseating bands like Slik who had the appeal of stale cold porridge on a hangover morning. Only the Rezillos had pointed the way to a new Eden—though few Scots were actually paying attention. And then, lest we forget, the UK charts were hideously blistered by pustules of horror like Brian and Michael (“Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs”), the Brotherhood of Man (”Figaro”), and John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, all of whom made the #1 spot with last duo staying there for a staggering nine weeks with “You’re the One that I Want.” This was the music, the audio track against which New Wave competed and why, for many, New Wave offered a hope that everything wasn’t Andy Gibb, Father Abraham and the Smurfs, or even on the march with Andy Cameron and “Ally’s Tartan Army.”

In the UK, there was an anger and an edge to the native New Wave sound from bands like the Jam, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, and 2Tone’s the Specials, most of which stemmed from the political failings of the Left who were then running the country. Mass unemployment, a devalued currency, high taxes, IMF loans, endless strikes, and urban deprivation inspired high musical passions. These youngsters wanted change—-but into what? as the only alternative to the Labour government was the Conservatives Margaret Thatcher, and even then, there were those who knew how that would end. These bands were fine, but one can only keep that level of anger up for so long without recourse to beta blockers or an unenviable sense of ennui.

Therefore, dear reader, like gazillions of other kids, I was very quickly smitten by the sounds of bands lumped together under the heading of American New Wave—bands like Blondie and Talking Heads. Blondie was love at first sight. Talking Heads was love from the second album More Songs About Buildings and Food on. Not that I didn’t like their first album Talking Heads: ‘77, it was just I didn’t hear it until after I’d bought the second.

Unlike UK New Wave, Talking Heads and Blondie wrote songs that were clever, smart, ironic, and coded with a delightful upbeat tempo and a scintillating charm. Let’s be honest, if ever given the choice of being trapped in an elevator for hours on end with Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz or Joe Strummer and Sham 69, I know who I’d rather choose…the former, obviously.

Talking Heads formed in 1975 around the triumvirate of David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth. Byrne and Frantz had previously had a band called the Artistics. Weymouth drove the boys to-and-from gigs. Needing a bass player, Byrne and Frantz asked Weymouth to join the band—admirably so, indeed, Weymouth is one of the great unsung heroes of modern music. The Talking Heads played their first gig as support to the Ramones at CBGB’s in June 1975. Two years later, Jerry Harrison, ex-Jonathan Richmond’s band Modern Lovers, added his considerable talents and the Talking Heads were complete.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.30.2018
08:57 am
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The surprising origins of the KISS merchandising machine that generated $100 million in the 1970s
07.20.2018
10:20 am
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Poster
 
It’s a common misconception that the band KISS had a master plan from their earliest beginnings. We recently told you how the marketing of the group evolved, and that no one connected to KISS knew what to do with them in their early years. There have also been assumptions that merchandising was part of the KISS blueprint. In reality, the idea of KISS products didn’t occur to anyone in the group or close to them until they had their first hit. Even then, no one could have predicted just how much money KISS merchandise would generate by the end of the 1970s.

In his autobiography, ‘Face the Music: A Life Exposed, Paul Stanley writes that, in the beginning, he and his fellow band members in KISS were “clueless about merchandising.” Stanley credits the idea of selling KISS products to their manager, Bill Aucoin. It was Aucoin who, after the initial success of KISS’s double live album, Alive! (1975), presented the group with their very first piece of merchandise: A tour program.
 
Program 1
 

Bill Aucoin always saw the bigger picture. He could tell that we connected with our fans in a way that far exceeded the norm. He grasped the extent to which people would respond to us beyond the music: he understood the potential of merchandising.

When I first saw the tour program Bill created for the later stages of the Alive tour, I had never seen anything like it. He never told us he was going to do it. He just showed up one day and said, “Here’s the tour program.” After paging through its twenty-four pages, I thought it was terrific. Bill also thought—and was quickly proved correct—that our fans would want t-shirts and belt buckles. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. He founded an in-house merchandising company together with a guy named Ron Boutwell. Initially, the company fulfilled orders from our fan club. Bill just announced it to us, very matter-of-factly: “We’re going to start marketing merchandise.”

It could not have happened without Bill. (from ‘Face the Music: A Life Exposed’)

The KISS ON TOUR—1976 program debuted at KISS’s January 25, 1976 at Cobo Hall in Detroit. A fitting location, as Detroit was full of rabid KISS fans, the first city to wholly embrace the group. The program included a KISS ARMY membership form, as well as a merchandise form.
 
Program 9
 
Program 10
 
As KISS’s popularity increased and the money started rolling in from merchandise sales, more and more KISS products were made available. Official KISS merchandise included lunchboxes, radios, model vans, kid guitars, jewelry, watches, Colorform sets, Halloween costumes, jigsaw puzzles, sleeping bags, garbage cans, and a board game.
 
Wrapper
Trading cards wrapper, 1978.
 
Belt buckles
Belt buckles, 1977.
 
Pinball machine
Pinball machine, 1979.

Beginning with Alive!, KISS albums usually included a free item of some sort such as a poster, sticker or booklet—gifts, one might say, from the group to its fans, furthering the connection between band and audience. It also became standard to find a merchandise form inside a KISS LP.
 
Solo albums
The 1978 KISS solo albums, with interlocking posters and merchandise order forms for each member.

Between 1977 and 1979, KISS grossed $100 million from merchandise sales. By the end of the decade, KISS’s popularity had waned in the States—partially attributed to the public’s negative reaction to merchandising excess—so the focus was shifted to other markets. In November 1980, KISS went Down Under as part of their overseas Unmasked tour, where they were greeted with a Beatle mania-like reception. Dozens of KISS products were available in Australia during that time, though many of them failed to sell. KISS could see that writing on the wall, with Gene Simmons telling a Melbourne reporter, “We’re now taking a couple steps back from the merchandising.” Unmasked would be the last U.S. KISS album released during the period to include a merchandise order form and a tchotchke.
 
Tattoos
The temporary tattoos that came with Alive II, 1977.

Fast-forward to 1996: The original four members reunite and put the makeup back on, resulting in a massively successful world tour. KISS was back—and so was the merchandise. New KISS products glutted the marketplace, with even more types of merchandise than in their ‘70s heyday. Once again, this contributed to their overexposure, and the general public quickly moved on. But there was still a market for KISS merchandise, and new items continue to appear to this day. The KISS logo and the likenesses of the Starchild, the Catman, the Space Ace, and the Demon have appeared on virtually every product imaginable.
 
More KISS merch, after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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07.20.2018
10:20 am
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Jayne Mansfield becomes the hottest hot water bottle ever, 1957
07.11.2018
09:55 am
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A surreal shot of Jayne Mansfield floating in her pool surrounded by her novelty hot water bottles designed by Don Poynter.
 

“I stayed in California sculpting her for the mold for a week. I could have done it in two days but thought — why rush it?”

—the creator of whiskey-flavored toothpaste and other weird delights, inventor and designer Don Poynter musing about his collaboration with Jayne Mansfield

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Don Poynter showed an aptitude not just for creating things, but also possessing a good head for business as a young child. When he was eleven, Poynter began making and selling remote-controlled tanks with working cannons. While a student at the University of Cincinnati, Poynter formed Poynter Creations (later changing the name to Poynter International) and the company would begin its weird journey making bizarro novelties of all kinds for decades, the first being the wildly successful partnership of booze and good oral hygiene, Whiskey-Flavored toothpaste in 1954. In the early 60s he created the boozehound icon “melting wax” that appears to drip from the top of Maker’s Mark whiskey bottles. In 1967 he put out “Uncle Fester’s Mystery Light Bulb” (an homage to actor Jackie Coogan’s portrayal of lightbulb-loving Fester Addams in The Addams Family television show) and sold a staggering fourteen million of them. He was a champion baton twirler at UC, and this particular talent got him a gig touring with the Harlem Globetrotters. As cool as Poynter’s many life achievements are, there are few things cooler than the nearly two-foot-tall hot water bottle he sculpted in the image of blonde temptress—and good pal of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey—Jayne Mansfield.

Poynter had a knack for taking the public’s temperature as it pertained to embracing novelty items. In other words, Poynter knew you wanted a talking toilet seat before you did. When the idea came to him to make a hot water bottle in the image of Jayne Mansfield in a black bikini, he was fully confident such a product would sell like crazy. He spent weeks sculpting the water bottle while negotiating with Mansfield’s Hollywood honchos, who weren’t at all keen on the idea of their star becoming one of Poynter’s novelties. It seems Jayne was fond of the idea from the start and she asked Poynter to come to Hollywood so they could work on their joint venture.

In 1957 Poynter flew to Hollywood where he would remain for a week sculpting the actual Jayne in his studio on a daily basis. Poynter had to throw away his original sculpture of Jayne and start from scratch after realizing the 5’5 actress was not as tall as he had imagined. He also had the pleasure of shopping for a cheeky nightie for Mansfield to wear in a pin-up-style promotional ad for the bottle. Jayne didn’t own any herself as she slept in the nude.

Poynter paid Mansfield five grand for her time, and before the actress’ untimely death in 1967 his company sold 400,000 water bottles for ten bucks a pop. As of this writing, as far as I can ascertain, Poynter is still hanging out in Cincinnati “acting much younger” than his age of 94. Photos of Jayne and Poynter posing with her water bottle, and the gloriously bodacious bottle itself follow.
 

Another shot of Mansfield in her pool with her water bottles.
 

The illustrated ad for the Jayne Mansfield Hot Water Bottle. One should presume Mansfield is wearing the nightie purchased by Poyner for the promotional ad.
 

A very pleased looking Poynter pictured with Mansfield and her hot water bottle.
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.11.2018
09:55 am
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Red Devils, Black Bats & Angry Cats: The wacky art of vintage fireworks packaging
07.03.2018
10:48 am
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The arresting artwork from a vintage package of Black Bat flashlight crackers made in Macau, China.
 
Aside from an annual 4th of July family event I am quite fond of attending (let’s drink together next year, Atlanta), I’m not huge into celebrating Independence Day. One of the reasons is as a pet owner and animal lover, I hate to see how dogs, cats, and other animals in the wild react to the sound of fireworks. Alternatively, I have zero sympathy for the parade of idiots who end up parting with their fingers or even an entire hand lighting off fireworks. Every year someone blows off bodyparts on the 4th of July—it’s a stone-cold fact. They also start fires and one set off by fireworks in September of 2017 burned 48,000 acres I have traversed through extensively in the majestic Columbia River Gorge. Sure, I’ll kick back and watch firework shows on the television because guess what? The other thing I hate is crowds—especially if the said crowd is A: drunk, and B: armed with matches and packages of firecrackers and cherry bombs. My holiday crankiness aside, as a lover of art, I can’t help but appreciate the vintage artwork used to adorn packages of fireworks. Whoever came up with the idea of using a werewolf to help sell fireworks is a damn genius as I’d buy a pack for this reason alone.

So in honor of Independence Day, let’s take a look at some old-school firecracker and firework packaging. Many are from Macau, a region of China located on the country’s south coast. During its heyday, the Taipa area of Macau was the largest producer of fireworks, employing more than one-third of Macau’s residents. In a single day, the factory was capable of turning out three million firecrackers. The Iec Long Firecracker Factory (established in 1926) still stands after closing its doors in 1984 in an effort to help to preserve the long history of firework manufacturing in Macau. In the latter part of the 80s, Macau looked once again to its history with fireworks and threw the first Macau International Fireworks Display Contest. The contest has since expanded to several days of firework displays in September and the first week of October. Anyway, enjoy the kooky photos below, get your pet some earplugs, and try not to shoot your fingers off this week!
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.03.2018
10:48 am
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‘Rock Wars’: The super-trippy 1979 sci-fi graphic novel about the quest to reunite the Beatles
06.28.2018
08:18 am
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Rock Wars 1
 
The psychedelic sci-fi graphic novel Rock Wars concerns a group of twelve volunteers from Galaxcentra (the center of the galaxy), who have been sent to earth—in the form of a rock band dubbed “Children at Arms”—to reunite the Beatles.

Quite a concept, ‘eh?

Published in 1979, Rock Wars came about during an era when there was a strong desire to see the Beatles reunite. The group broke-up in 1970, and rumors that they were going to reform periodically sprouted over the decade. By the mid ‘70s, the interest in seeing a Beatles reunion happen was very much in the zeitgeist. On April 24, 1976, Lorne Michaels famously appeared on Saturday Night Live to make the Beatles an offer of $3,000 to perform on SNL. Later in the year, a New York promoter said he would pay a reformed Beatles $230 million if they played a one-off concert. The public so wanted a Beatles reunion to occur, many believed the 1977 rumor that the Canadian group Klaatu were actually the Fab Four incognito.
 
Klaatu
 
Though Rock Wars didn’t include any creator credits, it was written by brothers James and Kenneth Collier. The Colliers spearheaded the project, bringing in an artist they knew as Shakti to illustrate it.
 
Rock Wars 3
 
The Colliers were certainly motivated individuals. They were the force behind a rock band called Year One, and managed to secure performances for the group in the Grand Canyon and on top of the World Trade Center. The brothers also wrote the lyrics for Year One’s rock opera, which is said to share the Beatles reunion quest concept with Rock Wars (listen to the Year One double album here).

The Colliers were also journalists, and spent decades investigating voter fraud in the United States. The result was Votescam: The Stealing of America (1992).

There was a plan to turn Rock Wars into a film, but as far as I can tell, it was never completed. The murder of John Lennon on December 8, 1980, might have been the tragic reason the movie was abandoned. It certainly put an end to the idea of a Beatles reunion—for the time being.

Both James and Kenneth Collier died in the 1990s.

More brain-warping images from Rock Wars:
 
Rock Wars 6
 
Rock Wars 5
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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06.28.2018
08:18 am
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Star-struck: Fabulous pages from a scrapbook of Hollywood’s Golden Age
06.25.2018
08:07 am
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Progress doesn’t always end in the best results. Take Hollywood. Once, this great movie industry was driven by women screenwriters like Anita Loos, Frances Marion, and Dorothy Arzner who together wrote dozens of screenplays. There were also more women directors making movies in Hollywood’s early years than the tiny 6% produced between 2013-14. Moreover, these women writers and directors produced original work with strong female leads rather than today’s tokenistic and unwanted reboots like Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8. Where it all went wrong is a moot point—perhaps the Hays Code had something to do with it or the easy common denominator of crash commercialism.

I prefer ye old Golden Age movies than the majority of dire, sloppy, flicks churned out today, which, in large part, is why I dig this vintage scrapbook featuring newspaper and magazines clippings of some of Hollywood’s greatest stars. This scrapbook was compiled by I. F. Grant—who s/he was is a mystery but they were certainly assiduous in their dedication to collecting some choice pix and stories of Hollywood’s stars. Another reason this volume appeals is a liking for collage, with many of the following pages reminiscent of work by Grete Stern, Matthieu Bourel, Deborah Stevenson, and John Stezaker.

And finally, like I. F. Grant, I spent way too much time compiling my own scrapbooks on likes and loves over the years, but these are far more special.
 
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More vintage pages from Hollywood’s Golden Age, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.25.2018
08:07 am
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Of flying monkeys & Fellini: Seattle movie mecca Scarecrow Video turns 30 (help them stick around!)
06.05.2018
07:05 am
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“I love movies. It’s still my candy store, and I’m the biggest kid in it.”

—Scarecrow Video founder and owner, the late George Latsios

In the early 90s, Scarecrow Video founder George Latsios would spend every Saturday night behind the counter of his store, offering movie recommendations to customers he knew by their first and last names, including young Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana. Scarecrow buyer for the last 25 years Mark Steiner fondly recalls his former boss and friend saying, “There was no other place George would rather be on a Saturday night.”

In the early 80s, Latsios started loaning out selections from his 600-800 title collection of giallo and horror VHS tapes through Backtrack Records and other locations. By 1995 Latsios and his then-wife/Scarecrow co-founder Rebecca Soriano had amassed approximately 26,000 titles (noted in the book Videoland: Movie Culture at the American Video Store). 1995 would also mark the year Latsios received a life-altering medical diagnosis—he had brain cancer and only six months to live.

At the time of his diagnosis, Scarecrow had been doing business at their 5030 Roosevelt Way North East location for several years and was in dire financial trouble. Instead of shuttering Scarecrow’s doors, Latsios focused on expanding the store’s video collection. He also aspired to open other stores not just in the U.S. but globally in destinations like Japan—one of Latsios favorite spots for buying trips. To some, Latsios’ spending habits and his aversion to paying taxes in a timely fashion appeared reckless. But as Steiner plainly states, this was far from the truth. Latsios was very “level-headed,” and those who knew him didn’t confuse actions driven by his passion for film as symptoms of failing health. Was George in denial about his spending habits? Perhaps a little bit. This chapter of Scarecrow Video’s history sounds like the plot of a gritty-yet-endearing film, which seems fitting as it illustrates Latsios’ love of cinema and his desire to share it with everyone. Here’s more from Steiner, who I spoke to in Scarecrow’s homey in-store screening room last week, on what made George Latsios tick:

“He spent money to curate the store he believed in. It was his baby, and we (the employees of Scarecrow) were all his family. He treated us generously like you would treat your actual family. We’d have meals together, and they were always special. If your paycheck bounced, he’d turn on a dime and ask you how much money you needed to tide you through and go get it from the till. One of the most telling things about George is when you consider the name “Scarecrow.” You see, the endearing Scarecrow was his favorite character in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. He often wore an old t-shirt with the Scarecrow’s famous quote/lament “If I Only Had a Brain.” One of my favorite memories of George was the time a woman and her young teen daughter came to the store and struck up a conversation with him. At some point, the woman asked George to help her understand the difference between an R-rated film and an NC 17 one. After a brief pause, George replied, “An R-rating = titties with no bush, and an NC 17 rating = titties with bush.”

By 1999 Latsios was over-burdened with financial woes, and reluctantly put Scarecrow up for sale. Then, as if from a movie, two Scarecrow customers who happened to be making a pretty good living during the day over at Microsoft, John Dauphiny and Carl Tostevin, joined forces and bought the store. Though they told George they would love for him to stay on as long as he’d like, Latsios declined and moved back to his native Greece where he passed away at the young age of 44 in 2003. For three decades, Scarecrow has been a come-one-come-all custodian of pop culture for Seattleites and host to avant-garde and counter-culture heroes of the movie industry like John Woo, Troma‘s Lloyd Kaufman, Alex Cox, and Alejandro Jodorowsky. There was also the time director Quentin Tarantino, in town for the SIFF International Film Festival and without a car, called the store to ask for walking directions, noting he was “not going to take the bus, alriiiight.” Later, as Steiner was jawing with a friend while on his way to work, he noticed a very sunburned Quentin Tarantino striding up Roosevelt Way North East and into Scarecrow. During his visit, Tarantino asked permission to browse through the store’s vast library, which he did for several hours, later hanging out with the staff.
 

A very sunburned Quentin Tarantino hanging out at Scarecrow Video in 2001. Photo courtesy of Mark Steiner.
 
As a testament to Latsios’ unrivaled love of film, the vast majority of Scarecrow’s employees and volunteers have been working there for decades, ensuring Scarecrow can continue to provide access to the largest publicly accessible video collection in the world. A staggering selection of 130,000+ titles can be found inside, including thousands you can’t stream anywhere else (sorry, Netflix). Some titles in Scarecrow’s catalog can only be viewed on the premises, such as a series of John Frankenheimer television dramas gifted by the director personally, and Japanese 70s superhero series Spectreman on VHS in its entirety which is extremely rare. Latsios mused about Scarecrow being a candy store of sorts for film buffs, and I can attest from first-hand experience, it is absolutely a magical labyrinth full of motion picture treasures, including a well-curated selection of movie soundtracks you can purchase on vinyl. Films are expertly categorized not only by genres, but also by region of origin, director, and a dizzying array of sub-categories with intriguing classifications such as “Little Bastards” (anything small wanting to kill you), “Rock Hell” (heavy metal themed horror films), as well as both a “Women in Prison” and “Men in Prison” sections. Scarecrow has something for everyone. Even the extensive XXX section is broken down with care including by director.

As of this writing, the now non-profit is turning 30 and is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to help keep them in business for the long haul. Trust me when I say anything helps, including sharing this post to spread the word. Right now your financial contributions will be doubled thanks to a recent $25K donation from a generous Scarecrow supporter. I’ve posted photos of the store as well as some neat artifacts from Scarecrow’s past including a rare video that hasn’t been seen since the early 90s (and only then if you were watching the tube in Seattle), which drives home the importance of keeping Scarecrow, and other champions of pop culture like them, around.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.05.2018
07:05 am
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KISS comes ‘Alive!’: How to market a band of superheroes
05.04.2018
09:22 am
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Alive II booklet
 
After the first three KISS studio LPs failed to sell, album #4 was a do or die situation for the band and their label, Casablanca Records. The company had sunk a ton of money into the group, but had little to show for it. They were so broke, they couldn’t afford to make royalty payments, forcing KISS to borrow money to stay afloat. By mid-1975, attendance for KISS concerts was on the upswing, but that wasn’t reflected in album sales. During Halloween night 1975, Casablanca president, Neil Bogart, and his vice president, Larry Harris, took Bogart’s children trick-or-treating, and saw one kid after another made up to look like their favorite member of KISS. Despite KISS’s lack of commercial success, there was certainly something brewing in the zeitgeist.
 
Kids
 
Though the members of KISS each have their own unique makeup and costumes, highlighting their personas hadn’t initially occurred to the band or anyone else in their orbit. In a TV commercial for the band’s second record, Hotter Than Hell (1974), they’re referred to as “the demons of rock,” depicted more as a marauding gang than as an group of intriguing individuals.
 

 
After KISS’s third LP, Dressed to Kill (1975), didn’t make much of an impact, it was decided that rather than go back into the studio, the group would record a live record. For a number of reasons, this was a risky proposition. Live albums generally weren’t big sellers at the time, and they acted as a kind of live greatest hits, but KISS didn’t have any hits. The release would be a double album housed in a gatefold sleeve with a booklet, adding to the manufacturing costs, which the label could scarcely afford. With band and record company hemorrhaging money, if Alive! tanked it had the very real potential of sinking both Casablanca and KISS.
 
First promo photo
Their earliest promo photo.

For the first time, an advertising agency was hired to design the packaging for a KISS album, and Dennis Woloch at Howard Marks Advertising was given the task. In the book, Shout It out Loud: The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon, Woloch talks about the inclusion of handwritten messages from KISS pictured on the inside of the Alive! gatefold:

I don’t remember if it was me or Bill [Aucoin, KISS’s manager] who came up with the idea, but the image of KISS was just starting to form. We told those guys, ‘You’re different characters. You each have your own persona. How about writing a little personal note to the fans from each of you?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, sure, fine.’ They just went along with everything in those days, because they weren’t hot shit yet.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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05.04.2018
09:22 am
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Muppets with people eyes still haunt my dreams
04.16.2018
10:12 am
Topics:
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This morning I legitimately woke with an image of Kermit the Frog with soulless stoner eyes staring through my soul, wondering if I was remembering a terrifying image I had actually seen on if it was conjured in the darkest nightmare-worlds of the subconscious. It bothered me enough to do a google search to jog my memory, and I was relieved to learn that I’m not actually losing my mind—Muppets With People Eyes is (or was) an actual thing.

Rewinding to eight years ago, a tumblr page with that title appeared and quickly got its fifteen minutes of fame. In this case, it was almost literally fifteen minutes. The page, created by WONDER-TONIC only lasted for about two weeks in 2010. After eleven posts, I suppose the novelty wore off, but these images—I dare say—are timelessly horrific.

There’s an “uncanny valley” quality about slapping realistic human eyes onto slightly humanoid-but-not-really forms. Our brains—or at least mine—immediately perceive such visages as foreign and threatening. The ones that don’t look straight-up terrifying, look… somehow… HIGH AS FUCK.

Muppets with People Eyes might be old news to some of our readers—possibly not to some of our younger readers. If you have never seen these off-putting images before, be forewarned: you too may awaken from a dream, a decade later, wondering if the images that haunt you are imagined… or real-life crap from the Internet.
 

 

 
More Muppets with people eyes after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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04.16.2018
10:12 am
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What Mark E. Smith liked: Lou Reed, Sex Pistols, Frank Zappa, Philip K. Dick & Kurt Vonnegut, a list
04.04.2018
12:18 pm
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When asked what he would do if he was ever elected Prime minister, Mark E. Smith replied:

“I’d halve the price of cigarettes, double the tax on health food, then I’d declare war on France.”

Daft questions got daft answers. Smart ones were few and far between. Most questions were recycled answers from previous interviews. No matter the question, Smith always stayed true to what he thought was right and what he believed in—he never softened his answer to suit more fashionably sensitive times. That’s what made his band the Fall so special—it led, it never followed, even if it was just Smith and “your granny on bongos.”

Among the more interesting questions came in 1981, when the NME asked Smith for a list of his favorite things. The list was for the paper’s column “Portrait of the Artist as a Consumer” which centered around the idea the way to the heart of artist was through the food their brains consumed. Or something like that… In his answers, Smith offered up an eclectic mix of genre and cult writers—including Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Norman Mailer and two novels by Colin Wilson; artists, in which he includes soccer player-cum-manager, Malcolm Allison; comedians where he gives a nod to “Ian Curtis derivatives,” Bernard Manning and drag artist/comedian/actor Alan (Alana) Pellay; and some of his favorite albums/cassettes. All of which ran as follows in the NME 15th August 1981:

READS

Gulcher—Richard Meltzer
A Small Town in Germany—John Le Carré
A Scanner Darkly—Philip K. Dick
The Sirens of Titan—Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The Deer Park—Norman Mailer
The Black Room—Colin Wilson
Ritual in the Dark—Colin Wilson
Cogan’s Trade—George V. Higgins
At the Mountains of Madness—H.P. Lovecraft
Beyond Good and Evil—Frederich Nietzsche

....AND

U.S. Civil War Handbook—William H. Price
How I Created Modern Music—D. McCulloch (a weekly serial)
True Crime Monthly
Private Eye
Fibs About M.E. Smith by J. Cope (a pamphlet)


WRITERS

Claude Bessy
Burroughs


ART

Wyndham Lewis
Malcolm Allison
Virgin Prunes Manchester live, Manchester Dec. ’77


COMEDIANS

Lenny Bruce
Alan Pellay
Bernard Manning
All Ian Curtis derivatives


FILMS

Polanski’s Macbeth
Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety
Fellini’s Roma
The Man with X-Ray Eyes and The Lost Weekend starring Ray Milland
Visconti’s The Damned
Days of Wine and Roses with Jack Lemmon
Charlie Bubbles with Albert Finney


TV

Bluey
John Cleese adverts


MUSIC

Take No Prisoners—Lou Reed
Peter Hammill
Johnny Cash
The Panther Burns
God Save the Queen—The Sex Pistols
Raw and Alive—The Seeds
Pebbles Vol. 3—Various
16 Greatest Truck Driver Hits cassette
Radio City—Philip Johnson (cassette)
Der Plan
Alternative TV
Land of the Homo Jews and Hank Williams Was Queer, live—Fear (L.A. Group)
We’re Only In It for the Money—Mothers of Invention

 
MES on interviewers ‘waging war on you with your own words,’ after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
04.04.2018
12:18 pm
|
Page 3 of 221  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›