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Kembra Pfahler on 30 years of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, with exclusive Richard Kern pix!


Photo by Richard Kern, courtesy of Kembra Pfahler

On February 15, Marc Almond, the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Sateen, Hercules & Love Affair, and DJs Matthew Pernicano and Danny Lethal will perform at the Globe Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. This absolutely mental, once-in-a-lifetime bill will celebrate the second anniversary of Sex Cells, the LA club run by Danny Fuentes of Lethal Amounts.

Because I am so eager to see this show, and because the life of a Dangerous Minds contributor is high adventure, last Sunday I found myself speaking with Karen Black’s leader, the formidable interdisciplinary artist Kembra Pfahler, by phone, after she got out of band rehearsal in NYC. My condensed and edited take on our wide-ranging conversation follows. If I’d noted every time Kembra made me laugh with a deadpan line, the transcript would be twice as long.

Kembra Pfahler: My guitarist is Samoa, he founded the band with me; he’s the original Karen Black guitarist, Samoa from Hiroshima, Japan. And then Michael Wildwood is our drummer, and he played with D Generation and Chrome Locust, and Gyda Gash is our bass player, she plays with Judas Priestess and Sabbathwitch. I just came from band practice, and I am one of those folks that really enjoys going to band practice. Doing artwork and music isn’t like work, and being busy is just such a luxury. It’s been very pleasant preparing for this show we get to honorably do with Marc Almond. We’re so excited!

We played with Marc Almond at the Meltdown Festival that was curated by Ahnoni in 2011. That was a great show with Marc Almond and a lot of other incredible artists. And I have an art gallery that represents me in London now, which is called Emalin, and I had an art exhibit there, and Marc Almond, thankfully, came to it. He’s friends with one of my collaborators called Scott Ewalt.

I’m not a religious person, but I did think I had died and gone to heaven. When artists that you have loved your whole life come to, for some strange reason, see the work that you’re doing, it’s one of the truly best things about doing artwork. I’m very much looking forward to this concert.

Can you tell me what you have planned for the show? I’m sure you want to keep some stuff a surprise, but is the disco dick in the pictures going to be part of the set?

You know, the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black has always made a lot of props and costumes, and I never really just buy things. I’m not much of a consumer. I’m an availabilist, so I usually make the best use of what’s available, and we are going to have a lot of props and costumes in this show that I make myself, and I have art partners in Los Angeles, collaborators. We’re going to have a big grand finale sculpture that’s going to be my Black Statue of Liberty holding the pentagram. That’s a huge pentagram sculpture. I made that with a friend of mine called Brandon Micah Rowe.

That sculpture lives on the West Coast, and it comes out when I go to the beach and go surfing. I usually take the Black Statue of Liberty with me, ‘cause it’s a great photo opportunity on the beach. And the last time I was photographing the Black Statue of Liberty—‘cause of course I have several—I took this Black Statue of Liberty in a truck and drove down to Sunset Beach, right at the end of Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, and I just have a great memory of almost drowning with the Black Statue of Liberty. It was very much like reenacting Planet of the Apes. That was the impetus for the Statue of Liberty; I’ve always loved the last scene in Planet of the Apes where Charlton Heston realizes that the future is just a disastrous, anti-utopian, dead planet. Kind of similar to what’s happening to us now.
 

Photo by Brandon Micah Rowe
 
[laughs] Yeah, it’s uncomfortably close to the present situation.

To me, it’s very close. I mean, film has always been very prophetic, to me. Orson Welles always talks about magic, and historical revisionism, and truth, and the ways that film can actually inform you of the truth in politics, mythological truth, cultural truths. And I’ve always learned the most just by watching films. That’s why I named the band Karen Black, because I was so educated by the films of Karen Black. I know that sounds sort of wonky, but what I’m getting at is I love listening to Orson Welles speak about magic and truth and film as a way to articulate that truth.

Are you thinking about F for Fake?

I’m thinking about the little tricks and happy accidents that occur in film that are what Orson Welles spoke to. I mean, Kenneth Anger talked about magic and film constantly, and light, and Orson Welles just had a different articulation of the same side of the coin.

I grew up in Santa Monica, so I always loved Kenneth Anger; I was always happy that I lived near the Camera Obscura on Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. I thought, I don’t fit in with any of these other Californians, but Kenneth Anger was here at the Camera Obscura. I can’t be doing everything wrong.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and my family was in the film business, and I left for New York because I wasn’t accepted by my family and the community, because I was interested in music, and it wasn’t fashionable to be a goth or be into punk when I was in high school. So I moved to New York. But no one was going to New York when I first moved there. I really just moved to New York to be as contrary as possible, and I knew no one would follow me at the time.

You moved to New York in ‘79 or thereabouts, right?

Yeah, I did.

I think the LA, probably, that you were leaving was more, I don’t know, provincial. . . I can imagine the appeal that New York would have had in 1979.

Well, also, the thing was that I really wanted to be an artist, and I got accepted to School of Visual Arts when I was in 11th grade at Santa Monica High School. That’s why, really. The Los Angeles that I was familiar with wasn’t provincial at all. I mean, there’s been generations and generations of weird Los Angeles. My grandparents met on the baseball field: my grandmother was playing softball, my grandfather played baseball, and my father ended up being a surfer, and I’ve always had exposure to a really incredible kind of lifestyle that I think people mostly just dream about. Like, Beach Boys songs at Hollywood Park race track in the morning and surfing in the afternoon. If you think about being born into this time when the Beach Boys and the Stones and the Beatles are playing, and then Parliament-Funkadelic’s playing, and then. . . just the most incredible exposure to music and art and nature, surfing even, surf culture. I mean, when most people are born in countries where they can’t even eat dirt for breakfast, I was born in the most incredible place, that I’ll never forget.

It’s such a huge part of my work, I named my interdisciplinary music and art class at Columbia University “The Queen’s Necklace.” Because when I was a child, I used to meditate on all the beach cities. Starting from Zuma Beach, I would meditate on the cities by saying: [chants] “Zuma, Malibu, Topanga, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Venice, Torrance, Palos Verdes”. . . I’d say all of the cities that represented the Santa Monica Bay area. That was in my field of vision, that was what I saw every day. All those piers, all those waves, and all of the mythology that I grew up with was all about beach culture.

So Los Angeles, I feel closer to writers like John Fante than anyone else. Do you have books in your library that you’ve had your entire adult life that you would say represent your thinking, more so than any other books? Do you have your favorite, favorite books? One or two books that always are with you.

Oh my God, I’d have to think about it. 

I do. I mention that because one of them is Ask the Dust. Another one is David J. Skal’s Cultural History of Horror.

What’s that?

It’s a great book that talks about the horror film genre being quite prophetic, and it’s kind of what I was trying to speak about, as far as how film and horror kind of teach us about the future. That’s one book, and also Klaus Theweleit’s Male Fantasies, Volume 1 and 2 is important to me. Do you know that book?

I do not. Is it like a case study?

It’s a case study of men’s relationship to women during World War II and pre-World War II. It’s about men’s relationships to the women in their lives, in Germany, particularly.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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02.07.2019
01:18 pm
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Lux Interior: Ten years gone, but his bones keep rockin’! Unheard 1981 interview!

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Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the passing of Lux Interior, the great frontman of The Cramps, one of the most influential bands of the last 40+ years. Lux lived up to all expectations and truly walked it like he talked it in such a way that he just might be in a group of one. As has been written by myself and a great many others, this band created a style. Not just music, but in every area of life from film subcultures to sexual freedom and just about everything in between, whether they planned to or not. And it’s showing no signs of stopping.

As we learn over and over again, with the Cramps, when we think there’s nothing left to find, something always pops up! Yesterday on the actual anniversary of Lux’s passing, this rare, very early unheard 1981 interview from radio station KALX appeared! This is an early (and interesting) interview as it was done right when guitarist Kid Congo Powers (who is still going strong and making incredible records) joined the band. So let’s transport ourselves 38 years back in time and listen to the beginning of a journey. Who can conceive of a band like this happening now??
 
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And to quote that 50s rockabilly song, “Rockin’ Bones,” made popular in the punk era by The Cramps:
 

I wanna leave a happy memory when I go
I wanna leave something to let the whole world know
That the rock in roll daddy has a done passed on
But my bones will keep a-rockin’ long after I’ve gone
Roll on, rock on, raw bones
Well, there’s still a lot of rhythm in these
Rockin’ bones
Well, when I die don’t you bury me at all
Just nail my bones up on the wall
Beneath these bones let these words be seen
This is the bloody gears of a boppin’ machine
Roll on, rock on, raw bones
Well, there’s still a lot of rhythm in these
Rockin’ bones

 

Posted by Howie Pyro
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02.05.2019
12:29 pm
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Rare behind-the-scenes photos of Alex Cox’s gritty f*ck Reagan masterpiece ‘Repo Man’


Emilio Estevez on the set of ‘Repo Man.’
 
Alex Cox was thirty-years-old when he took on the task of directing his first feature-length film, 1984’s Repo Man. It’s a film which seems to perfectly encapsulate gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s apocalyptic quote “Too weird to live, and too rare to die” as it nears its 35th anniversary this March.

Unlike what the ravages of the aging process does to most of us mortal types, Cox’s film endured and remains as defiantly DIY as does its equally angry soundtrack, containing venomous jams from the Circle Jerks, Iggy Pop, and Suicidal Tendencies. However, Cox faced an uphill battle while trying to shop Repo Man around because nobody outside of actor and writer Dick Rude understood what the fuck the film was supposed to be about. Rude had approached Cox with his short story Leather Rubbernecks, hoping to make it into a short film but ultimately Leather Rubbernecks would become a part of Repo Man, as did Rude in his role of sushi chew and screwer Duke in the movie. At some point, the Repo Man script would end up in the hands of former Monkee and visionary in his own right, Michael Nesmith. According to folklore, Papa Nez was instantly impressed and stepped into the role of Executive Producer for the film because, as we all know, Papa Nez gets it and helped Cox (a former repo man in real life) bring Repo Man to the big screen.

Wild stories surrounding this timeless film have been discussed and dissected by writers, film historians, and scholars since its release. A few weeks ago I cracked open my copy of Criterion’s impeccable 2013 release of the film and rewatched it in all of its pissed-off glory. Of the film’s vast merits, which are too numerous to lay out in this post (all of the repo men are named after domestic beer brands, and so on, and on), let’s focus on what many consider to be Harry Dean Stanton’s best acting performance as unhinged repo man Bud (a play on the gross suds known as Budweiser).

Stanton was 58 when he took on the role of Bud (which almost went to Dennis Hopper) and had long since established his alpha hangdog status in Hollywood starring in films with elite actors like Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, and Donald Sutherland. Stanton didn’t waste any time letting everyone know, especially Alex Cox, what he was and was not going to do during filming. Within a few days, he was already refusing to learn his dialog for the film. Stanton supported his decision by citing actor Warren Oates who Stanton claimed read his lines off of cards stuck to a car dashboard while filming 1971’s Two-Lane Backdrop. All of Stanton’s complaints finally set Cox off and the director began to think it might be easier to cut their losses by writing Stanton out of any future scenes. With Nesmith’s support he shut down Cox’s quest to make Bud disappear and eventually, Stanton delivered his lines without skipping a beat. But that didn’t mean Stanton suddenly became some sort of fucking choir-boy after almost getting ghosted by Cox. And this time his bad-boy behavior involved baseball bats.
 

Stanton and his trusty baseball bat.
 
For a scene involving Otto (played by a 22-year-old Emilio Estevez), Stanton pitched the idea of using a modified baseball hand signal used in a scene to tell Otto where to park a car. Cox said no, and Stanton went off telling Cox that other “great” directors he had worked with like Francis Ford Coppola let him do “whatever the fuck he wanted.” Later in a scene where Stanton was to act aggressively with a baseball bat at competing repo dudes the Rodriguez brothers, Stanton requested he be able to use a real baseball bat claiming he could do the scene in one take. The film’s cinematographer, Robby Müller, didn’t get behind the idea of arming Stanton with a baseball bat for the scene and was afraid the combination of an unruly Harry Dean Stanton and a baseball bat equaled bad times for someone’s head or worse. When Stanton was told he would have to switch out his Louisville slugger for a plastic version he went batshit and allegedly screamed the following in response:

“Harry Dean Stanton only uses REAL baseball bats!”

The quote “Harry Dean Stanton only uses REAL baseball bats!” is on par with Dennis Hopper’s terrifying endorsement in Blue Velvet for Pabst Blue Ribbon and it’s regretful at best that no footage of Stanton screaming these words seems to exists. In closing, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of the Criterion release of Repo Man as, in addition to a fantastic booklet full of illustrations by Cox and Mondo artists Jay Shaw and Tyler Stout. I’ve included all kinds of cool visual artifacts from Repo Man below including rare photos taken on the set, vintage German and Japanese lobby cards and posters, and some of the gritty neon artwork from the Criterion release.
 

Michael Nesmith and Harry Dean Stanton on the set of ‘Repo Man.’
 

A candid shot on the set of ‘Repo Man’ of Emilio Estevez, his father Martin Sheen, Harry Dean Stanton and Alex Cox.
 

Estevez, Stanton, and Cox.
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.05.2019
09:21 am
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Mark Stewart talks with Dangerous Minds about ‘Learning to Cope with Cowardice’


Illustration from the cover of the ‘Jerusalem’ 12-inch and the ‘Mark Stewart + Maffia’ compilation

Head above the heavens, feet below the hells, the singer Mark Stewart has embodied the international rebel spirit since he fronted the Pop Group as a teenager, giving voice to activist and imaginal concerns shared by punks, Rastas and b-boys. Mark Stewart and the Maffia’s moving, mind-mangling, amazing debut album, 1983’s Learning to Cope with Cowardice, whose sounds still beckon from an unrealized future, will be reissued on CD, vinyl and digital formats tomorrow, supplemented by an extra disc of recently discovered outtakes that differ radically from anything on the finished album. Sales of the double LP edition benefit Mercy Ships, an organization that provides lifesaving surgeries to people in poor and war-torn countries around the world.

I spoke with Mark Stewart last week by transatlantic telephone line. After he expressed his respect for Dangerous Minds, affably breaking my balls about the post in which I outed him as the owner of the face in Discharge’s logo, we talked underground media and mutual aid briefly before settling in for a discussion of his solo debut and the current historical moment. A lightly edited transcript follows.

Mark Stewart: I’m so pleased to be working with Mute again, and Daniel Miller has kind of rejuvenated Mute, and the independents—it’s a pleasure, you know, to work with cool people where something flows, you know? It’s really important for us that there’s those kind of columns in the underground.

Dangerous Minds: Holding it up.

Holding it up.

I wouldn’t have asked you about this, but I interviewed Adrian Sherwood the day after the Brexit vote, so it strikes me as funny that I’m talking to you now, right after the deal failed. Do you have anything to say about the situation?

I think it’s a total distraction. [laughs] I think it’s a complete smokescreen, and I’m very scared what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s like, I was watching something about Goebbels’ control of the media on some history channel, right, and how he learned from Madison Avenue. I’m not taking a position right or left on it, but I think it’s the most bizarre distraction in the last few years, and God knows what’s going on. But, you know, behind the scenes, our health [services]—there’s all sorts of things, all these laws are being passed behind the scenes, but that is the only thing journalists are looking at. Not the only thing, but do you understand what I’m saying? That isn’t a comment against whoever and whatever.

The problem is, in England, and I’m not being rude, is it is so class-ridden, it’s a problem for both sides of the spectrum. I was living in Berlin for a while, and I was talking to a very cool Japanese guy yesterday, who’s translating this friend of mine, Mark Fisher’s, this theorist’s book on capitalist realism. And in Germany, and I think until fairly recently in Japan, skilled laborers were treated with ultimate respect. The unions worked with the entrepreneurs, or the bosses, or whatever, and there was a kind of “synergy,” to use a wanky name, and so the economy was quite strong, and there was a social service system. . . you know, Germany’s quite an interesting model. But here—the craziest thing is, people are speculating, people are making big money out of these sudden changes, they’re spread-betting against these sudden changes of polarity, you know? I was reading, ‘cause I always read all sides of the spectrum, I was reading in a financial thing, suddenly sterling has got very, very strong. You know? And these politicians are being played. Do you know what I mean? They’re being played.

I can sit and talk to a Tory boy, I can sit and talk to whoever. And I’ll listen to people and try and talk to them in their language, and try and understand their point of view, right? ‘Cause being opposed to people, you don’t really get anywhere. But they think they’re doing something for whatever bizarre, medieval idea of nationalism or identity politics or whatever you call it, and there are some—there used to be this thing in England which was called “caring conservatism,” which was quite feudal, it was like how the king of the manor would give the employees some bread. [laughs] Scraps from the table or whatever. But here, the problem is, the working class are envious of the rich, and the rich want to squeeze the working class until it explodes to get every drop of blood out of them. It’s quite a strange system. And the middle ground that you’ve got in Germany, with the, whatever they’re called, Christian Democrats or something; back in the day, when people like Chomsky and everybody used to attack these middle-left kind of parties—you know, I read a lot of theory, but now, that is heaven compared to what’s happening these days! “The center cannot hold.” Everything is just. . . it’s bizarre, you know?
 

Adrian Sherwood and Mark Stewart, London, 1985 (photo by Beezer, courtesy of Mute)
 
But the problem is, again, my personal Facebook is full of loads of cool people who I really respect, so I get utterly impressed when, like, these Italian theorists start talking to me about how this album or our early work inspired people to get into different ideas about the planet. But I’m sick to death of people moaning about these non-events, which could be like—it’s like an orchestrated ballet of distraction. You know, it’s bollocks! “Never mind the bollocks” is never mind the fuckin’—it’s bollocks! And people are constantly talking about it.

And what I would be doing—so many of my American friends are just constantly posting this stuff about Trump, right? And I’m like—sorry, I’ll probably lose a lot of respect for saying this, I’m sorry, but as soon as the polls were looking like that, the guy’s been democratically elected, we’d roll up our sleeves and try and organize for 10 years down the line, if not five years down the line, and try and grow some sense of hope! Spread seeds of hope, culturally, in these small towns. That’s what things like punk are about. You know, with punk, a youth center opened, or a squat opened, and little places changed a bit, you know? Now people are just tutting. Saying “Oh, he’s bad”—so what? You’re bad for not fuckin’ doing anything! Sorry to rant, but there’s this culture, this narcissistic culture of wallowing in defeat. Which is basically another way of saying “I’m not going to do anything, but I’m gonna pretend to have a conscience by tutting.”

Yeah, people are glued to their TV sets and the news constantly, and it makes them feel powerless, and they don’t do anything. I don’t know if it’s a similar thing with Brexit.

I don’t know. I think people make a choice not to care from an early age. I’m not being rude. You can blame this, you can blame something outside of yourself, but as I grow a little bit older and I get more pulled into weird, sort of Taoist sort of things, it’s to do with putting a foot forward and breaking outside of the mold, and if you get hit, you get hit. Or if somebody says you’re a nutter, like they said about us back in the day, you know, or they say you’re wrong, or whatever, at least you stepped forward, outside of the embryonic—do you understand what I’m saying? You have to do provocations. In my sense, it’s kind of art provocations. What I do is, even if I’m not sure about something, I think It’s enough of a curveball to go in that direction, or to spin against my own stupid sense of conditioning: sparks will fly. Let’s go! Let’s do it. Do you know what I mean?

It’s this sitting back—and now you’re getting people kind of reminiscing about the Cold War! Which again was a distraction. It’s just nonsense, you know? People want to live in this nostalgic bubble. And now they’re saying that the fuckin’—a journalist in an English paper was saying that the Cowardice times were more paranoid than now? What the fuck? [laughter] With Cambridge Analytica, we got fuckin’ algorithms—if there was a Night of the Long Knives overnight and somebody got control of the algorithms, thousands of people could just be rounded up for reading Dangerous Minds. Do you understand what I’m saying? And it’s all sold to the highest bidder; there isn’t even any politics involved. It’s naked capitalistic control. But, you know, now I’m moaning like I shouldn’t have done. Daniel Miller had this idea of enabling technologies, and in America, there was always like Mondo 2000 and Electronic Frontier Foundation. So I’m positive as well as being. . . it’s very interesting times. And when there’s change, there’s possibility.

One of the main reasons I wanted to interview you about this record is that “Jerusalem” is one of my favorite recordings.

This one, or another one? My one, or somebody else’s?

No, your “Jerusalem” is one of my favorite records. Part of it is, there’s the Blake poem, which has all this revolutionary, visionary significance, but then there’s so much layered on top of it—all this patriotic meaning, and it’s in the hymnal, and I don’t know if you know that story about Throbbing Gristle playing at the boys’ school and the boys singing them offstage with “And did those feet in ancient time”—

No.

—so I wonder if you could tell me about what that song means to you, and whether you were trying to recover some of the William Blake in that song.

Well, it’s a long, long, long story, and a lot of it’s got to do with an ancient tradition of kind of English, kind of Celtic mysticism, which is—I’m gonna sound like David Tibet now or something—but I’m a Stewart, right? And our family history is linked to this other family called the Sinclairs. My father died a couple of weeks ago, and he was a real, to use the word nicely, occultist. He was a Templar, and he taught remote viewing. But for me, I feel, growing up near Glastonbury—this might sound very, very hippie, this, but it’s the kind of mysticism of Blake that I really liked, right? There was a review in the Wire, when the record first came out, back in the day, and they said me and Adrian, it was a perfect alchemical marriage, or something. If you can be kinda hopefully mystical at the same time as being hopefully an activist, there’s an uplifting sense of that tune in specific.
 

Mark Stewart and the Maffia’s first performance, CND rally in Trafalgar Square, 1980 (courtesy of Freaks R Us)
 
What happened was that the last ever Pop Group concert and the first ever Maffia concert were on the same day. Basically, I’d got sick to death of music, I’d kinda packed it all in, I thought we weren’t ever gonna get anywhere with it, and I was just bored of it, right? And I became a volunteer in the office of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in London, in Poland Street, right? And one day in the office, Monsignor Bruce Kent, who was in charge of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament at the time, we were organizing what turned out to be the biggest postwar demonstration against nuclear weapons, and the center of London was brought to a standstill by 500,000 people. People came from far and wide, from Scotland, from everywhere. And he turned round and said, “It might be good to have some music,” ‘cause, you know, Tony Benn and all these amazing people were speaking, and I said, “Oh, I’ve got a band!” And I said, “I can ask some of my mates.” So I asked the Specials and Killing Joke; Specials couldn’t do it, but Killing Joke did it, and we ended up playing between the lions in Trafalgar Square. My brother and loads of my weird artist mates did this huge kind of amazing mural of this baby coming out of this atom bomb.

Basically, I was thinking to myself, What would be a classic rallying song, that people young and old—you know, ‘cause very few people would have known about the Pop Group in this demonstration—young and old, like Woody Guthrie, or Pete Seeger, or something like “We Shall Overcome,” what would be good for England? And immediately I thought of “Jerusalem.” And the Pop Group was going all sort of free-jazzy and out there and stuff, where I couldn’t get it together with the Pop Group. I was already hanging out with Adrian and starting to make some sort of reggaeish stuff, so the first version of the Maffia got up and played “Jerusalem” and a few other songs a few hours later in the day, ‘cause people sing it on marches and stuff in England.

So that was the reason for the “Jerusalem” thing. And that moment, that moment in the middle of London, you know, it was the proudest day of my life, to actually be involved in—I’m just trying to organize something just now, just before you phoned, to try and kick off a big sort of demo this year, because that’s what gets me going! It’s like when we used to do Rock Against Racism; we did stuff for Scrap SUS, when they used to just stop black kids on sight and search them, the police; Anti-Fascist League, you know, and now we’re doing this stuff for these Mercy Ships people, who build these boats—they do up these old kind of trawlers and park them out in international waters, outside war zones, and make them into little floating hospitals and operate on kids and stuff. That’s what the money from the limited vinyl’s going towards. But it’s just like—when it’s a benefit, you can get other cool bands. There’s a band here called Fat White Family and all these offshoots of them, Black MIDI or something, there’s these conscious young bands who are mates of mates, and I know in a couple of phone calls I can get an amazing bill together, and the people around me aren’t gonna ask for so much money, they’re more likely to answer the call, you know? And people remember those events for years to come.

Well, I remember you said something in an interview years ago, “The political and the mystical go hand in hand.”

[laughs] I always say the same bollocks! You’ve caught me out!

Much, much more after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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01.24.2019
10:36 am
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‘Punk Nursery Rhymes’: The entertaining 1981 novelty album and the mystery band behind it
01.11.2019
09:27 am
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Album cover
 
I recently came across a novelty record called Punk Nursery Rhymes. Expecting unlistenable junk, I instead found it highly enjoyable. It was certainly better than it needed to be. Released in 1981, the record was attributed to a band called the Rotten Eggs, but that’s about all that could be immediately discerned. There are no credits included with the album, and it’s the only LP by the Rotten Eggs. I couldn’t help but wonder: who was behind this LP?

Punk Nursery Rhymes was issued by the Golden Editions label in 1981. Golden Editions was a part of Music World, a record company that could be described as Australasia’s version of K-Tel Records. Music World and their sub-labels specialized in budget compilations and novelty records, and like K-Tel, marketed their products through infomercials. You can see, above, that the “As Seen on T.V.” logo was worked into the album art, which features a rendering of Humpty Dumpty after his great fall. The “Humpty Dumpty” track was my introduction to Punk Nursery Rhymes. The song is brilliantly ridiculous—a nursery rhyme executed with the energy and attitude of punk. The song collapses at its conclusion, which is a perfect ending, as it works as both a parody of the ramshackle nature of early British punk, but also represents Humpty Dumpty’s tumble off the wall.
 

 
So, who were the Rotten Eggs? Blair Parkes a member of the Christchurch, New Zealand band, All Fall Down, has shed some major light on the mystery. Parkes has shared his memories of the All Fall Down days on his website, and in one section, wrote about their mid ‘80s visit to Tandem Studios in Christchurch. In it, he reveals who was behind Punk Nursery Rhymes:

I’d been up to Tandem Studios about five years earlier, as a member of the Newz fanclub. The band [the Newz] was briefly back from Melbourne and were recording Punk Nursery Rhymes as “The Rotten Eggs” for Music World. They were making the songs up as they went along. I’d not known you could do that. Eric Johns engineered both the Rotten Eggs sessions and ours. Eric was a very cool African-American guy married to a New Zealander. He had been in Heatwave who had struck it big with “Boogie Nights” and another couple of disco-era hits.

The Newz were a new wave act around for a spell in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. Also from Christchurch, the Newz released one album, Heard the Newz, which came out in 1980. Like Punk Nursery Rhymes, it was produced by Eric Johns and recorded at Tandem Studios. The LP was put out by Music World, with the Newz said to have been the only “proper” group on the label, at the time. It’s unclear how Punk Nursery Rhymes came to be, but my guess is that it was commissioned by Music World, and the Newz and Eric Johns did it to make a few extra bucks. It was all anonymous, so why not?
 
The Newz
The Newz

When I first found a stream of the full LP online, I figured I’d never get through all 18 songs, but Punk Nursery Rhymes is surprisingly entertaining. Punk parodies rarely capture the spirit of the genre accurately, but the Newz and Eric Johns not only did just that, they successfully paired punk with nursery rhymes—! The project may have come together quickly, but nothing about it seems haphazard. There’s even some post-punk weirdness worked into the mix, which was above and beyond the call of duty. The Newz are good players, and genuinely sound inspired. It’s all very infectious and splendidly absurd.
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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01.11.2019
09:27 am
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Listen to Siouxsie Sioux’s glorious isolated vocal for ‘The Killing Jar’
01.09.2019
08:57 am
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The second single off Siouxsie and the Banshees’ ninth studio album Peepshow was “The Killing Jar.” The dark song centered around the process that entomologists use to kill hard shelled insects “quickly and with minimum damage” by gassing them in a glass container.  It brings to mind the warped entomologist in John Fowles’ twisted novel The Collector, in which one Ferdinand Clegg moves from bugs to humans when he kidnaps a young art student Miranda Grey, as a specimen to be kept and examined in his cellar. The song reiterates a theme apparent throughout most of the Banshees work that adults are not to be trusted as they can never behave responsibly.

This was a harsh fact Siouxsie Sioux learnt early. When she was nine years old, she and a friend were sexually assaulted by a man. When she told her parents, they did not believe her. It became an unspoken secret in the family, leaving Siouxsie (aka Susan Ballion) isolated as she told Word magazine in 2005:

I grew up having no faith in adults as responsible people. And being the youngest in the family I was isolated – I had no-one to confide in. So I invented my own world, my own reality. It was my own way of defending myself – protecting myself from the outside world. The only way I could deal with how to survive was to get some strong armour.

Siouxsie’s old man was a drunk who died when she was fourteen. This caused more trauma that led to her being hospitalized with ulcerative colitis. Against this, Siouxsie dreamt of a different life. There were hints of what this could be—like seeing Bowie perform on Top of the Pops, or listening to Roxy Music—but it all came together when she saw the Sex Pistols perform with her friend Steven Severin (aka Steven Bailey) in 1976. Not long after, the pair formed Siouxsie and the Banshees.
 
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Released in September 1988, Siouxsie and the Banshees’ album Peepshow is one of the best in their catalog. Described at the time of release as the band’s “finest hour” which showcased “a brightly unexpected mixture of black steel and pop disturbance.” The single “The Killing Jar” was written by Severin, Siouxsie, and Budgie (aka Peter Edward Clarke) and featured Jon Klein on guitar and Martin McCarrick on keyboard and accordion. Released the same month as the album, “The Killing Jar” hit #2 in the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Much has been written about the vocal range of artists like Freddie Mercury but not so much on the equally brilliant Siouxsie Sioux, who developed from spiky, punky vocals to rich, powerful, and glorious textured tones in her later albums. She can hit the high notes and bring an unnerving warmth and menace to her lower range. Take a listen to this isolated track of Siouxsie singing “The Killing Jar” and you’ll hear just how good she is.

Hear Siouxsie’s isolated vocal for ‘The Killing Jar,’ after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.09.2019
08:57 am
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‘Population: 1’: The post-apocalyptic art punk film that starred Tomata du Plenty of The Screamers
11.16.2018
09:04 am
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The Screamers may have never released any music, but their punk legacy lives on through the rough bootleg tapes and high-energy video recordings that have resurfaced over the years. And lest not we forget the lingering rock appropriation of Gary Panter’s notorious “screaming man” logo. When citing them as a major influence, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys once referred to the electro punk outfit as “the best unrecorded band in the history of rock ’n’ roll.”
 
A raucous force of dystopian, feral energy with a timely, but uncanny absence of guitars, The Screamers set into motion a new era of punk rock and showmanship in the few years that they existed as a functioning band. In its heyday, they were considered the biggest band in Los Angeles without a record contract, known to sell out multiple nights at the Whiskey a Go-Go and headline the Roxy (something previously impossible for an unsigned band).
 

 
As forward-thinking as their synths were futuristic, The Screamers, led by the eccentric frontman Tomata du Plenty, weren’t interested in putting out just a record. Nearly predating MTV, the band envisioned its full-length debut to exist strictly in video format. Not only would it allow them greater control over the aesthetic and message being conveyed, but if the TARGET videos were any indication, it would’ve been really fucking cool. Sadly, The Screamers dissolved before the rest of the world was able to catch up with them.
 
But it was video that also ‘killed’ the synthpunk stars. In 1979, The Screamers teamed up with Dutch filmmaker Rene Daalder for a series of mixed media, highly theatrical live shows. In doing so, Daalder and Du Plenty had hoped to develop their idea of a music video concept, but it didn’t necessarily pan out. What did result, however, was the 1986 sci-fi art punk musical, Population: 1.
 

 
Using footage shot over the years layered-in and chroma-key’d with additional scripted content filmed at Tomata’s Hollywood Blvd apartment, Population: 1 is one man’s rambling hour long monologue at the end of the world. Du Plenty stars as mankind’s sole survivor, who has somehow survived both a nuclear holocaust and a bizarre plague-induced suicide pact. Restricted to his personified fallout shelter reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Tomata presents a distorted, beatnik memoir depicting his time on Earth and the final vestiges of civilization.
 
Part warped history lesson, part devoted tribute to his lost love Sheela (Edwards), the hypothetical narrative is sprinkled with musical numbers throughout and plenty of impressive punk rock cameos. See if you can spot appearances by members of Los Lobos, Penelope Houston of The Avengers, Vampira, Carel Struycken (the giant from Twin Peaks), El Duce, Al Hansen, his grandson Beck (the Grammy Award-winning musician), among many others.
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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11.16.2018
09:04 am
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Legendary ‘zine Ben Is Dead turns 30: ‘We’re just gonna do it’
11.06.2018
09:20 am
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The fanzine Ben Is Dead was, and still is, a fucking LEGEND as far as ‘zines go so, interviewing founder Darby Romeo about her life and times was other-level-cool for me. Growing up in Los Angeles, certain things remain indelibly printed in my memory: driving by the enticing Anti-Club sign just before my mom got onto the 101 South, the sexy smell of leather jackets from rock shops on Hollywood Blvd, and this principle: comic book stores and coffee shops could be judged on quality based on whether you could find a copy of Ben Is Dead in their publications area. So therefore the mighty Bourgeois Pig, on Franklin Ave., rocked.

Ben Is Dead had collaborators from all walks of life, featured punk bands, performance artists and gender activists and didn’t believe that there was anything that couldn’t be talked about. It was an honest read and they had fun. Mostly run by women—and men who respected women—that, in itself, was something that my friends and I noticed. Ben Is Dead was a glowing engine that couldn’t be stopped—celebratory and wise-beyond-its-years, that ‘zine was a reflection of people, places and movements that were forces in and of themselves and could (and would) never be repeated again. It served as an unintentional documentary of life, art, culture and human existence in El Lay. And it was fucking cool, man.
 

Lorraine Mahru, left, one of Darby Romeo’s many Girl Fridays from Ben Is Dead, and Darby Romeo, right.
 
Ben is Dead’s founder, Darby Romeo briefly went to Pierce College, studying to be a graphic designer but quit school to get a job. She was temping and developing computer skills with the MacSE40 that she got from her father when she ended up temping as a secretary at Grey Advertising. She told the art director at Grey that she had graphic design training, and they ended up hiring her as an art director. I asked her about the beginnings of Ben Is Dead.

Darby Romeo: In the late 80s, I was already making $25/hr at Grey Advertising, and my only good friend there was this comic and the guy in the mailroom who sent out all the Ben Is Deads for free. But that’s basically what paid for Ben Is Dead. So I got the computer from my dad, I got this job at Grey, and that was it because you didn’t really make money on it [Ben Is Dead and ‘zines in general] you just spent money on it. So Grey Advertising kinda started Ben Is Dead. And the LA Times doesn’t really know this but they kinda helped us do our first issue for us! My dad would’ve hated that we did this but I kinda considered it to be like pro-bono and that they should be supporting zines, y’know? But I remember that this was right before the first issue came out and I was talking to someone at Flipside [another well-known and beloved LA punk-rock fanzine]  and I was like, “We’re gonna make 1000 issues!” or something like that and they [seemed unimpressed]. Cuz I didn’t know what I was doing! So someone from the LA Times snuck us in there at two in the morning and we printed another 1000 on the LA Times’ huge copy machines. So, thank you, LA Times! I don’t know what the statute of limitations on that is but, there’s a little known story!


How do you feel now that there is now a dedicated space at the UCLA Library Special Collections Punk Archive for the preservation and archiving of the entire Ben Is Dead collection?

Darby Romeo: I’m really thankful that this nerdy librarian lady came—what year did she come?—I think her name was Julie Graham, I can’t remember, but she would come over to the Ben Is Dead offices, I can’t remember the hook-up, but we would go through all the issues and I was looking at the archive and there were 78 boxes of ‘zines. We went through each one so that she could archive it. Like who would be that patient? We even archived the [letters to the editor] and included those, just knowing that there are people who are willing to do stuff like that—especially for ‘zines since they’re not online mostly, like 95% of the ‘zines are not online, and these libraries and people like her are vital! Having UCLA treasure these and keep them safe is amazing. So many of them are fading or falling apart or getting thrown away and in a few more decades those are going to be the only places besides your grandpa’s collection in the attic where you’re going to find them.

And we’re working on putting ours online but you can’t trust online as much as you can trust an archive that isn’t going to get tossed. Libraries are so important. And it’s so funny because in creating Ben Is Dead, we created it before there was an Internet. There was no Internet to find a photo, there would be a whole long process to print a photo! So it was a whole different thing creating ‘zines back then and having them in a place where we don’t have to worry if the Internet goes down, they’ll always be there, y’know?
 

A “Retro Hell Party” complete with Hostess HoHos. Party people include: Darby (blue dress), Reverend Al Cacophony (in black), Noel Tolentino of Bunnyhop (wearing a McDonald’s Grimace party hat)
 
What’s the difference between analog and digital research and how important were libraries to the creation of Ben Is Dead?

Darby Romeo:: We used the libraries much more back then than people do now… I just remember how much time I would spend in the microfiche section. I loved microfiche! I loved just sitting there and looking for old stuff and just going into the basement of the downtown LA Library and that smell and the old bookstores. But the libraries were important and the photos from Ben Is Dead—a lot of them were because my friend ran the photo department of AP. He was the archivist, basically of AP, so he’d slip us a bunch—so thank you AP for supporting Ben Is Dead!
 

 
While BID had many striking qualities, one unique aspect was the way it platformed the symbiotic connection that LA punk rock has with local queer icons and performance artists like Ron Athey and Vaginal Davis. Tell me about the Sean deLear video tribute that will be playing at the 30th anniversary Ben Is Dead Festival.

Darby Romeo: Stuart [Swezey, from Amok Books] was going to show Desolation Center [but then it was unable to be shown] and he came up with this bright idea and it’s so awesome and so touching because everyone loved Seande [Sean deLear] and Seande was such an influence in the scene and was such a big part of Ben Is Dead and played one of my favorite shows at Al’s Bar during our “Gross” issue. I love chickens now so I feel awful but everything was gross—we had chicken feet in bowls at the bar, and I remember people were throwing them at Seande and he was throwing them back during his set with Glue. Yeah, he was really vital. And we were all really shocked when he passed last year and we are really honored that Stuart is going to put together a documentary about his life because he did some interviews with him just before he passed for Desolation Center and stuff, so that will be playing early on in the day at the Zine Fest on Saturday.
 

 
Tell me some of your wildest Ben Is Dead stories…

Darby Romeo: A crazy story? Probably when Kerin wanted to interview Anton LaVey. I mean, you grow up goth dancing at Phases and Odyssey [local LA dance clubs] and all but I’m not into the REAL darkside or whatever. So [Kerin] was planning with Anton and his wife at the time a Ben Is Dead interview and he really liked the magazine. It was supposed to be me and her going [up to San Francisco] for the interview but at the last minute I’m like: Um, I don’t wanna meet Satan, nope, uh uh, I’m not going up there, nope nope nope! So I call up [Germs drummer] Don Bolles and I tell him that he has to go up there and do the interview instead and I’m just like freaking the fuck out. I just tell him “Go with Kerin and do this interview. She wants to do this interview.” And he said, “Okay, cool.” And then Anton said, “Nope.” It was like he knew I was petrified! He could just sense it! He was like we’re not doing the interview without Darby. And I was like “Nooooo!”

So we get to his house and they sleep by day and are up all night so we get there at night and he has this old house and it just smelled like Europe. We go in and we’re in the waiting area and his wife—Blanche was her name—she has her new baby with her and she leaves the baby alone in the room with us! So we go and check the baby to see if there’s a 666 on top of its head. We really did! They were so sweet and nice but Anton would not allow me to record the interview and that was like the worst nightmare because now you have to take notes and remember everything!  The Anton LaVey interview was the only interview we ever did that we gave someone permission to approve. And the thing was, he didn’t ask for any changes, he just approved it!
  

 
So we go to his favorite restaurant—Olive Garden—and I’m still distraught, I remember begging them to let me use my tape recorder, I remember hiding it for a little bit at one point, I remember having it in the bathroom at one point talking into it, saying some of the stuff he’d already said, documenting it out of my mouth. Then we go back to the house and his other favorite thing was animal cookies—the frosted ones [Mother’s brand, pink and white with little sprinkles]. So we’re sitting there, he’s playing the organ, we’re eating animal cookies, and I’m trying to write notes and it’s going on all night because that’s their daytime because they sleep all day and I’m wishing that we still did drugs! But the piece came out great and he was happy and he was a really nice guy but I never ended up joining the Church of Satan or whatever. 

You’ll probably never think of Olive Garden in the same way again.

There were a lot of stories around the “Sex” issue too [Most issues of Ben Is Dead had themes: the “Gross” issue, the “Broke” issue, the “Black” aka “Death” issue.] That’s when we actually started selling it and when we realized that we had a lot of fans. Like Jon Spencer was like, “Your “Sex” issue really inspired the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion,” um, what? Okay. Then we interviewed Malcolm McLaren and gave him the “Sex” issue and the same technological issues that just devastated us every single day—our voicemail system would sometimes just eat our voicemails—our voicemail being our Ben Is Dead Hotline which was how you found out about shows every week. So he calls and in his British accent he says, “Darby, this is Malcolm McLaren, y’know that ‘Sex’ issue I just want to tell you…” and it gets cut off! Fuck! What about the “Sex” issue? I go into the voicemail place and tell them that I need this voicemail back, where is this voicemail, and I think I got three months free and that was it! 
 

 
Is it true that you promised Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran that you would find him a massage therapist?

Darby Romeo: I told him I would get him a masseuse and the one lady that I thought I hooked up cancelled! I had a couple Girl Fridays over the years, and Jessy, Jessica Jones, was one of them—so I was like “Jessy! I have to go over to Simon LeBon’s! Help me get dressed!” And I put that red velvet dress on and the Elvis Penis [a wig Darby nicknamed the Elvis Penis—it was huge and bouffant-style], she stuck flowers from the vase that we had that we had gotten from Mrs. Gooch’s [a local LA health food store] in my hair and I go and I get in the car and the wig is hitting the top of the car and I go and I drive over to the Beverly something—they always stayed there.

So I get there and I’m valeting the car and I didn’t even know at the time that you’re supposed to have a massage table, right? That would make sense? So I have sunglasses on, and the car guys are like what the fuck is this? And I think I had my Fluevogs on—yeah, my Fluevogs, it was tragic—with (of course) this bright red lipstick, and I go to Simon’s door, and I knock and he opens the door and he looks and I’m like [in fake European accent] “Hello, I’m your massage therapist,” and he looks at me and he’s like what the fuck is this? And he didn’t know what to do so he opened the door and he’s like, what the fuck? And he sees that I don’t have a massage table but I don’t know that that’s a thing.

I later go on to become a massage therapist—I’m now a licensed massage therapist, by the way—so I’m sitting there on the couch and he knows me but I’m all dressed up with the glasses and everything and we’re having this full on conversation and he’s just trying to figure out what to do with me. Like “Who sent you? Darby knows you? What are you…?” And after about ten minutes I just busted out laughing and told him, “I couldn’t get you a massage therapist, I’m sorry!” and the fucker made me massage him anyway! I’m in this velvet dress with this Elvis Penis wig, he takes off all of his clothes, puts a towel on the floor, lays there, and I’m like: I have no idea what to do so I’m just kinda mushing him and stuff? And I don’t even think I had massage oil? Anyway, he had a cute little butt and he was a very sweet guy but…he didn’t even tip me!
 

 
And of course I have to ask about I Hate Brenda…

Darby Romeo: The thing about I Hate Brenda—and people never got it right then and the only reason we did it—was that we were on the side of the victims. The victims were like security guards at clubs who were like, “God, we’re getting abused because she [actress Shannen Doherty who played “Brenda” on TV’s Beverly Hills 90210]  was at the door, yelling at us because she’s not on the list and she’d be like, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’” and we just kept getting these stories and different stories [of Doherty terrorizing people] from labels and people in the scene and they just kept coming to us and we had no plans on doing a newsletter… at the time the fax machine was like social media so we made our version of a flyer or our version of a meme and it had Brenda on it and it said “I wash my hair in Evian” which was her thing and we pretended it was the “I Hate Brenda Newsletter” and we sent it out to everyone and they were like, “Oh my God! When is the I Hate Brenda Newsletter coming out? Oh you gotta include this and you have to interview Eddie Vedder! Oh you have to do this and dadadada and this story and this happened to me and all this stuff!” and that’s how that ended up happening. It’s not like we were really going to do anything but yeah. And what’s kind of weird in the scheme of things is that we would all go to bars or knock on the neighbor’s fucking door just to watch 90210. We’d be working in the offices and there was some model next door and we’d bang on her door and say, “No, you have to let us in! 90210 is on!”
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Ariel Schudson
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11.06.2018
09:20 am
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The NYC hardcore episode of ‘Regis and Kathie Lee’


Raybeez, Jimmy Gestapo and Lemmy at the Ritz, 1986
 
This video of two members of Warzone on The Morning Show with Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford has been circulating due to the recent death of Todd Youth, whose improbable career connected Agnostic Front and Glen Campbell. When Todd was 16, he and four other members of the scene shared an enormous couch belonging to WABC. He’s sitting next to Natalie Jacobson, the show promoter and writer then attached to Jimmy Gestapo of Murphy’s Law; to his right are a Pratt student named Christine, Todd’s late bandmate Raybeez and fanzine writer Debbie. 

Natalie complains about her treatment on a recent episode of Donahue (“I’m sorry Phil, but you really blow”) and the way Peter Blauner portrayed her in a New York Magazine profile of NYHC bands and fans. But what may seem like a friendly reception from Regis and Kathie Lee is really just the inability to listen, see or think that made the hosts favorites of the morning-show audience. Kathie Lee wonders how the HxCx crew is different from the beatniks of her childhood; Regis asks Dr. Joy Browne to explain the hardcore phenomenon from a psychiatrist’s point of view. If you need any more proof of Schopenhauer’s doctrine that perception is an intellectual faculty, just watch Regis and Kathie Lee trying to size up the struggle and the streets.
 

 
via Reddit

Posted by Oliver Hall
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11.02.2018
09:47 am
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Hey! Ho! Halloween! Ramones fans decked out in costume at a gig in a college gym, October 1978
10.30.2018
08:45 am
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A flier for a Halloween-themed dance party in a gym belonging to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) on October 28th, 1978.
 

“The Ramones are on the verge of making it big. Their dreams will come true in their quest for stardom. Now that bands like Black Sabbath and Foreigner are letting the Ramones be their opening act, it will eventually lead to the others’ demise and the Ramones’ rise. Johnny is confident that the kids will see the difference in energy, and finally let bands like Black Sabbath fade and die.”

—the words of a journalist for the Commonwealth Times going by the name “Million Dollar” Gamble in a review of the Ramones’ Halloween gig at the Franklin Street Gym.

In September of 1978, the Ramones released their fourth album, Road to Ruin which included the sing-along anthem, “I Wanna Be Sedated,” a song Joey Ramone often referred to as his favorite recording with the band. It was also the band’s first record with Marky Ramone (Marc Steven Bell) who replaced original drummer Tommy (Thomas Erdelyi). In their review for the record in 1978, Rolling Stone called it a “really good album” noting while Road to Ruin didn’t have the power of their 1976 self-titled debut, this was in no way an indication the Ramones were “losing their grip.” Since 1976 their tour schedule was relentless taking them around the world—in 1978 alone they played approximately 147 shows often playing bigger venues and college campuses sharing bills with Blondie, The Heartbreakers, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, The Cramps, and Patti Smith. One such show went down in the gymnasium of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) the Saturday before Halloween on October 28th, 1978. VCU billed the event as a “Halloween Dance” and if you were a student attending in costume, tickets were only $2.50 with the promise of a certain “golden beverage” being on hand at the show.
 

Illustrations and signatures from Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, and Marky Ramone published in the Commonwealth Times, 1978.
 
As a veteran participant of all things Halloween (I went out to a party last weekend dressed as Ronnie James Dio because of course, I did), I can assure you the Saturday preceding Halloween is serious business for revelers like myself. So when VCU put out the word the Ramones were playing the annual Halloween Dance and there was going to be beer, you better believe the kids came out in costume to see it all go down. A few weeks later, and as noted by “Million Dollar” Gamble, the Ramones would play a gig with Black Sabbath and Van Halen during VH’s first world tour. This event also relates back to what Gamble said in the quote at the top of this post indicating it was time for bands like Black Sabbath to “fade and die” as the original version of Sabbath was about to implode anyway. In addition to the review of the show, I also came across a very cool recollection from a former VCU student named Doug who was not only at the show, but held the dream-job position of “dressing room security.” Get ready, because Doug’s story is really, really something:

“My favorite Ramones memory was at a 1978 VCU Halloween concert in Richmond. I had just joined the school Concert Committee and was assigned to dressing room security. Basically, the job entailed hanging out with the Moans before and after the show and attending to their simple needs. I remember running back to my dorm room to get my crappy black & white TV so the boys could watch the KISS movie (Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park) before their turn on stage. I also did a horrible poster for the show with a silhouette of the band from their first album cover. Tommy had left by then, so when I got the band to autograph it, Marky Xed out Tommy’s head before he signed.

Other fond recollections include watching Dee Dee use his switchblade to carve the lining out of Joey’s new leather jacket ‘cause it was “too hooooot.” Sitting in and asking a question or two during the prerequisite backstage interview. Joey whining cause he couldn’t find his mineral water. Johnny being quiet and sweet. Marky acting dumb and silent. And Dee Dee drawing vaguely fascist graffiti on the chalkboard.

Ah, youth…”

As they say, not all heroes wear capes, but, as this was a Halloween-themed event, perhaps Doug was wearing one that night. At the very least I hope he wears one when he tells this story. Thankfully, a photographer with the Commonwealth Times was there taking snapshots of fans at the show, as well as a few black and white shots of the band on stage in the gym, which you can see below. I also included the official video for “She’s the One” shot in 1978 which, until recently, had resided inside a nondescript 16mm film canister for 40 years. Rhino unleashed the video in conjunction with the release of a 40th anniversary box set for Road to Ruin late last month. Hey! Ho! Let’s GO!
 

Photos from the VCU gym show.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.30.2018
08:45 am
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