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Boy George presents Captain Sensible and Lene Lovich in grossout animal rights film ‘Meathead’


 
The bad news first: the episode of Boy George’s nineties talk show Blue Radio on which Poly Styrene appeared, though she said she almost didn’t make it because of a close encounter with a spaceship, has not yet entered the worldwide digital video stream. Pair that with Lora Logic singing “Bow Down Mister” and you’ve got yourself the beginnings of a quality Dangerous Minds post!

But while scouring the intertubes in search of material for the Boy George/X-Ray Spex/Hare Krishna ultramegapost already inked in the book of my dreams, I came across this curiosity. Half of Meathead is like every other animal rights movie you’ve ever seen—emetic camcorder tape of fowl, ruminants, canines and hogs trudging through their relatives’ offal in cramped pens, proceeding inevitably toward the animal-snuff-film equivalent of the money shot—but half of it is a black-and-white narrative about a rich guy with an insatiable hunger for gore, fed by his maid (Lene Lovich) and a hamburger-juggling clown (Captain Sensible). If you make it to the end without hurling all over your keyboard, you’ll see Boy George’s interview with director Gem de Silva. Beware: you may blow chunks.

Never having listened to Captain Sensible’s 1995 double album Meathead, I can’t say if the connection between the CD and the film extends beyond a shared disgust with flesh food. But I guarantee the film is much shorter.
 
Watch it, after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.16.2018
08:56 am
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Apocalypso: Watch Stiv Bators & the Lords of the New Church implode during their infamous final gig
07.30.2018
06:10 pm
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Although they never really seemed to quite enter the posthumous pantheon of great late and lamented post-punk bands like, say, the Gun Club, and are unlikely ever to inspire any sort of critical reappraisal, the Lords of the New Church—a “supergroup” formed in 1981 by Dead Boys vocalist Stiv Bators, original Damned guitarist/songwriter Brian James (he wrote “Neat Neat Neat,” “New Rose” and most their first two albums) and the insanely tight and powerful rhythm section of former Sham 69 bassist Dave Tregunna and ex-Barracudas drummer Nick Turner—are, in my opinion, pretty worthy of it. Well at least their first album is.

The group’s rhythm section originally consisted of Generation X bassist Tony James (later of Sigue Sigue Sputnik) and two-time Clash drummer Terry Chimes (he was a member of the only band that matters both before Topper Headon joined and after his sacking) and the Damned’s Rat Scabies had also played drums for a single gig before Turner replaced him. The classic line-up of the Lords, a brash, trashy punk tornado of a band in the mold of the Stooges and the Dolls had all the subtlety of a flame thrower. I saw them live on their first tour and they were utterly awe-inspiring. Their messianic revolutionary street gang warlord “message” was original for the time and spoke to kids like me who were tired of their parents’ religion during the early Reagan years, an epoch that felt like the end of the world was just around the corner from a nuclear attack launched by a senile Republican president…

Perhaps sniffing something similar in the air, the first Lords of the New Church album was re-released by Blixa Sounds Records last week as a deluxe two CD edition along with a blistering 1982 live set included. I’ve had a review copy for about the past two months and I must say, hearing that album again for the first time after… what… 36 years… every single note and every word was still etched in my memory like something by the Stones or Led Zeppelin. That album—practically every single song—is fuckin’ catchy. These riff-heavy songs stick in your craw like the catchiest things on the Nuggets comp and indeed they cover Balloon Farm’s “A Question of Temperature” so this isn’t exactly a coincidence that one might note this. After all those years, it sounded really really good to me and once The Lords of the New Church went into my car’s CD player several weeks ago, well, I still can’t find any reason to hit eject on it. It’s a short album—just over 30 minutes and a frantic burst of energy from the start to finish—and I’ve played it over and over and over again and I’ve yet to grow tired of it. If you fondly recall this album like I do—I mean, to be honest I had practically forgotten that it had ever existed—or even if you’ve never heard of it, I highly recommend it to you either way. It’s an unsung classic and it’s really fucking good…

After that first one the Lords got a bit too Billy Idol meets Hanoi Rocks for me and I stopped following them.
 

 
Now here’s a tale about the end of the band: The Lords were dropped by their record label, IRS, in 1986. They got a new drummer and continued gigging around England and Europe sporadically for a few years. During one show at London’s Astoria Theater, Stiv—a physical performer who once became unconscious and nearly died after a theatrical onstage “hanging” went awry—badly injured his back. The band was set to play another show at the Astoria on May 2nd of 1989, but Bators was apparently not being very cooperative and Brian James placed musician wanted ads in various UK music papers to find someone to replace him.

Bators heard about the “NAME BAND” help wanted ad and he was furious. With a black felt-tipped marker he reproduced the ad large on a white tee-shirt, and agreed to perform with the band at the Astoria not letting on that he knew about the move to turf him from the group he led.

During the encore, Stiv comes out with the tee-shirt on, making sure that both the audience and his fellow band members can clearly read it.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.30.2018
06:10 pm
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The Gun Club, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer on ‘Art Fein’s Poker Party’


Art Fein, Bull Moose Jackson and Paul Body, 1985 (via Another Fein Mess)
 
You know what they say: “Ain’t no YouTube rabbit hole like an Art Fein’s Poker Party YouTube rabbit hole, ‘cause an Art Fein’s Poker Party YouTube rabbit hole goes deep into the bowels of the internet for a very great distance.” It is whispered in some corners of the web that there are as many episodes of Art Fein’s Poker Party as there are stars in the universe.

Fein, the onetime manager of the Cramps and author of The L.A. Musical History Tour, hosted a freewheeling talk show on public access during the eighties, nineties and nothings. Art Fein’s Poker Party was broadcast from sea to shining sea; John Peel watched it. The show presented its guests—Arthur Lee, Nick Lowe, Brian Wilson, Al Kooper, Peter Buck, Randy California, Willy DeVille, Tav Falco, Dion, Pearl Harbour, Willie Dixon, Chris Spedding, P. F. Sloan, Peter Case, Ike Turner, Mojo Nixon, Carlos Guitarlos, Jerry Cole, Peter Holsapple, Dr. Demento, Dwight Yoakam, Brendan Mullen, Harvey Sid Fisher, Steve Allen, et al.—as you might have encountered them over a meal or a drink, telling jokes, obsessing over favorite records, trying to one-up each other’s road stories. They sang and played real pretty sometimes, too.

Below are clips from appearances by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Joe Strummer. Art Fein, please upload the Arthur Lee episode of Poker Party to your luminiferous YouTube account.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Paul Body:
 

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.24.2018
08:28 am
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Brian Eno, Debbie Harry play movie soundtracks on ex-Strangler Hugh Cornwell’s internet radio show
06.28.2018
08:18 am
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The March 3, 1979 issue of ‘Record Mirror’
 
Last summer, I posted clips from MrDeMilleFM, the new internet radio venture of former Stranglers singer and guitarist Hugh Cornwell. It’s devoted entirely to movies and their music, and it’s fun. Hugh’s got specials on William Wellman, John Frankenheimer, Lana Turner, Gloria Grahame and Steve McQueen; he’s got interviews with Ken Loach, John Sayles, John Altman, Peter Webber and David Puttnam. Behold his mighty hand!

Since that time, two episodes of Cornwell’s old internet radio show, Sound Trax FM, have surfaced in the MrDeMilleFM archive. These will interest DM readers, because Hugh’s guests are Brian Eno and Debbie Harry, playing and talking about their favorite movie music.

Among the records Eno spins during his 80-minute visit with Cornwell are Samira Tewfik’s “Hobbak Morr,” the source for “A Secret Life” on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and “I’m Deranged,” the immortal track from Bowie and Eno’s Outside that David Lynch took as the theme for Lost Highway. Speaking about which, Eno praises the still unreleased album-length improvisation he and Bowie recorded at the beginning of the Outside sessions:

In a room together, we played for 72 minutes a kind of suite, really, which he improvised the singing over, and it turned into this amazingly complex and interesting story which finally became something called “Leon,” which sort of became the backbone of the album Outside. But the original improvisation, which I listened to not very long ago, is absolutely incredible! You think: How could anyone do this without having a plan in advance?

 

 
Debbie Harry’s episode is too short at 47 minutes, but she brings along the best song on the Performance soundtrack and talks about working with David Cronenberg on Videodrome and John Waters on Hairspray.

Tracklists and the shows, after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.28.2018
08:18 am
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Jello Biafra and his father interviewed at the ‘Frankenchrist’ obscenity trial
06.22.2018
08:54 am
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Jello Biafra in court, 1987 (via Heather Harris Photography)
 
In December 1985, a Southern Californian teenager named Tammy Scharwath bought the Dead Kennedys’ latest album, Frankenchrist, from the Wherehouse at the Northridge shopping mall. Then her mother saw the poster of H. R. Giger’s “Penis Landscape” included with the record and lodged a complaint with the Los Angeles city attorney, setting in motion a series of events that culminated in the breakup of the Dead Kennedys and a 1987 obscenity trial for singer Jello Biafra.

The hysteria that surrounded rap and rock music 30 years ago is hard to imagine today, now that the anti-smut crusaders have elevated Mr. Obscenity himself to the White House, but the incoherent language of the reactionary right hasn’t changed much: at one point during the trial, in an ecstasy of outrage, the prosecutor compared H. R. Giger to the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez. (Biafra discusses the PMRC “porn rock” panic and recounts the whole ugly Frankenchrist mess from his point of view on his second spoken word release, High Priest of Harmful Matter.)

During the trial, the Canadian TV show The NewMusic sent correspondent Erica Ehm to Los Angeles, where she interviewed Jello and his father at the courthouse. How cool was Jello’s dad?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.22.2018
08:54 am
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For an unbelievable trove of indie/punk bootlegs from the 1980s, the McKenzie Tapes has you covered
06.19.2018
08:55 am
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Any music fan from the New York City area knows what an important part of the city’s music scene Maxwell’s was, until recently located in Hoboken, New Jersey, directly across the Hudson River from the West Village. Yo La Tengo, the Feelies, and Sonic Youth are three frequently cited bands in connection with Maxwell’s but it was so much more than a regular venue for great local bands. I became familiar with the venue well after its true heyday of the 1980s but I still saw a ton of incredible bands there—the Wrens, Archers of Loaf, the Frames, Bobby Conn, Future of the Left, Os Mutantes, the Unicorns, etc. etc. For decades now, Hoboken has been on an implacable course of gentrification, of course, to the point that scruffy and legendary music venues can’t hack it there anymore. Sadly, Maxwell’s closed its doors for good in 2013.

One of the Maxwell’s employees back in the day was a fellow named David McKenzie, who cleverly recorded a huge number of gigs at the venue (and elsewhere). Recently he entrusted his buddy Tom to get them online in a responsible fashion, and the result is The McKenzie Tapes, a charming blog that features high-quality uploads of McKenzie’s, er, tapes. Every post includes a modest amount of context (just right, a couple of key facts but it’s generally just a paragraph) as well as pictures of the cassette, the ticket, and the show’s listing in the Village Voice, where available. It’s this last bit that has me so fascinated:
 




 
I learned via those listings something I didn’t know, which is that Maxwell’s used to show movies like Fritz the Cat and Los Olvidados and Rumble Fish.

The McKenzie Files covers approximately 1985 through to the early 2000s, and while most of the shows took place at Maxwell’s, you also get a nice cross-section of Manhattan venues of the period such as Brownie’s, Bowery Ballroom, CBGB’s, Irving Plaza, Coney Island High, and so forth. (City Gardens in Trenton also gets represented.) Once in a while you get a true outlier like a show from The Hague in the Netherlands but Dag Nasty at Maxwell’s (1988) is what the blog was constructed to provide.

The mid-1980s was an interesting period during which the grassroots fandom of indie rock had reached a groundswell of sorts (cf. Huskers jumping to Warner Bros.), with some of the no-fi champs from earlier in the decade showing impressive maturation (Sonic Youth). The blog features some incredible documents, such as SY playing a big chunk of Daydream Nation before the album’s release, the Feelies filming a set for a Japanese documentary crew, Frenz Experiment-era Fall, and Pixies right after releasing Surfer Rosa.

I mentioned much of this stuff happened before I was going to shows, so I was dubious I would find any gigs I’d been to, but damn if the blog didn’t deliver. I was present at this Rollins Band show at CBGB’s in early 1990, I positioned myself right at the main monitor and Hard Hank sweated on me for the whole show. To this day I don’t think the Rollins Band ever came close to topping Life Time, which is mostly what they played that night.
 
After the jump, listen to the Butthole Surfers play the Marquee in 1991…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.19.2018
08:55 am
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Sheffield Tape Archive, one-stop shop for the Gun Club, Rudimentary Peni, the Fall and Pulp


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

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

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

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

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

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.15.2018
07:44 am
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Punk mystery solved: the face in the Discharge logo is Mark Stewart of the Pop Group
06.07.2018
06:51 am
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One item you might have missed in the neverending news tsunami of the past couple years: the quadrisected, photocopied face in the Discharge logo belongs to the great singer Mark Stewart.

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


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


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

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

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

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.07.2018
06:51 am
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When Johnny Thunders endorsed Jesse Jackson’s presidential bid in song
05.18.2018
08:51 am
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Let it be said that I had this, at least, in common with Johnny Thunders: we both supported Jesse Jackson’s candidacy in 1988. I was just starting the fourth grade, and Johnny was getting ready to graduate from the planet Earth, but we were both willing to forgive Jackson’s offensive characterization of NYC as “Hymietown” and his prudish condemnations of “sex-rock.”

This video of Thunders’ impassioned plea to the American soul comes from September 4, 1988, the last day of the Hotpoint festival in Lausanne, Switzerland. The DNC had come and gone, with Bill Clinton’s windy nomination and Michael Dukakis’ narcotizing acceptance speech. No matter: Johnny Thunders still liked Jackson’s chances, and if he was discouraged by Dukakis’ nomination or Bush’s subsequent election, he gave no sign. He kept “Glory, Glory” in the set in 1989, and when he entered the studio in 1990, Thunders was still stumping for the Rev.

Here, weeks before the first broadcast of the Willie Horton ad, Johnny Thunders sounds like a schoolboy telling the Swiss festival crowd why he’s for Jesse Jackson. Then he “takes them to church”:

Okay! Well, I’m from America, and we’re having a presidental—presidential election. And I think, uh, the only person that I think is worthy of being a president of America is Jesse.

Oh, Jesse!

Oh, Jesse, Jesse Jackson!

Ooh, Jesse, Jesse, Jesse! etc.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.18.2018
08:51 am
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New book collects every issue of the Crass zine ‘International Anthem’


The ‘domestic violence issue’ of International Anthem, 1979
 
This deserves more press than it’s received: a new book collects every issue of International Anthem: A Nihilist Newspaper for the Living, including two never before published. The volume is an official product of “the publishing wing of Crass and beyond,” the venerable Exitstencil Press.

International Anthem was Gee Vaucher’s newspaper, but denying its connection to the band would be a challenge. Its 1978-‘83 run coincided, roughly, with Crass’s (as opposed to, say, Exit‘s), and the Crass logo sometimes appeared on the paper’s cover (see above). Eve Libertine, $ri Hari Nana B.A., Penny Rimbaud, G. Sus (aka Gee Vaucher) and Dave King contributed to its pages.
 

Gee Vaucher collage from International Anthem #2 (via ArtRabbit)
 
The book contains scans of the originals (“bad printing, creases, mistakes and all”), reproduced at full size. If it is good to buy quality art books, it is better to buy them directly from the artist. Buddhists call it “accumulating merit,” and they say you want to do a lot of it in this life, so you don’t have to come back as Eric Trump. Below, consume two hours of Crass programming broadcast on Australia’s JJJ Radio in 1987, featuring some Crass texts read in Australian accents and contemporary interviews with Gee and Penny at Dial House.

Help Gee Vaucher collect 20 million hand-drawn stick figures for her World War I project.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.17.2018
08:47 am
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