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Goodnight, sweet prince: There are ‘Big Lebowski’ cremation urns
01.05.2018
10:35 am
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It’s one of the most indelible scenes from one of the most memorable and quotable cult films in cinema history: John Goodman as the unhinged blowhard Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, scattering the ashes of his newly-deceased bowling teammate Donny, eulogizes his friend after spending countless years of his life constantly telling him to shut the fuck up. The ashes are in a Folgers coffee can because the cost of an urn was too dear, and Sobchak utterly ruins the simple, two-person funeral with a pointless detour into his own Vietnam war shell-shock and by scattering the ashes all over the funeral’s other guest, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski.

It’s easy to imagine that at least some among the film’s fanatical devotees—self-identified as “Achievers” after a throwaway detail early in the film—have envisioned using a Folgers can as a final resting place in homage to that scene, and if you’ve ever gone to a bowling alley in a bathrobe and ordered a White Russian, I might be talking about YOU. Well, you’re in luck. Purveyors of gorgeous handmade cremation urns Memento Memorials have tracked down the period-correct cans and mismatched lids (Folgers has never used blue lids, the one in the film is almost certainly from a Maxwell House can) and paired them with pedestals made of bowling balls to create replica Big Lebowski urns.
 

 

 

While there are plenty of Folgers coffee cans to be had on the internet, the exact version of the coffee can used in the movie was made in the mid 90s and not in the kind of quantities that make it easy to come by.  The style itself can be found with some effort but nailing down the “For All Coffee Makers” version is even rarer. There are size variations and condition factors as well. As an extra kicker, the blue lid is from a Maxwell House tin from the same decade that is just as difficult to source.

There are times when we have to buy a group of unrelated coffee cans in order to get the one sweet prize within in order to say goodnight to one sweet prince. We will accept cans that are “Automatic Drip” (or other grind styles as we find them), cans that are unopened and still have what might be coffee in them. Sometimes a seller is wise to the rarity and possible end use as a Big Lebowski Urn and jacks up the price.

 
This is apparently a key detail.

Because Memento Memorials can only sporadically procure the extremely specific cans and lids required, these urns haven’t been available very often, so instead of selling them outright, they’ve taken to auctioning them to benefit the Prevent Cancer Foundation. This month, they’re auctioning three of them. The individual auctions run from January 9-13, 16-20, and 23-27.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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01.05.2018
10:35 am
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William Dailey, Legendary Bookman, 72
01.04.2018
02:07 pm
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William Dailey, the widely-loved, longtime proprietor of Dailey Rare Books, a landmark on the Los Angeles book scene for 40 years, passed away on Friday December 15 in an accident near his home.  Dailey was one of the last in a distinguished line of important Los Angeles bookmen.

Bill Dailey was born in Philadelphia in 1945. He studied art at Lake Forest College, Evansville College and later at University of Indiana. He moved to California in 1967 and landed in San Francisco just in time to witness the Diggers last major parade celebrating the Death of the Hippie.  He made his way to warmer Southern California where he taught at The Dunn School in Los Olivos for just one year. His students included a teenaged John Burnham, later of ICM, and Rob Forbes, the future founder of Design Within Reach.  Dailey maintained friendships with both Burnham and Forbes until the end of his life.  Dailey counted among his many friendships such diverse characters as Barry Humphries, Wallace Berman, Prince Stash Klossowski de Rola, Dane Rudhyar, Dr. John Lilly and Timothy Leary.

Dailey began his apprenticeship in the rare book world at legendary book dealer, Zeitlin & Verbrugge in 1969.  He learned the art of book scouting from “Uncle” John Martin of the Black Sparrow Press, with whom he would scour used bookstores on his off hours.  In 1970, Dailey and Michael Horowitz founded the largest collection of psychoactive drug related literature, The Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library, named after the first American to write a book about drugs and drug use.  The library eventually was housed at Harvard University.

Dailey was also a publisher and a letterpress printer.  In 1972 he co-founded The Press of The Pegacycle Lady, with his then-wife, Victoria Dailey.  Their press specialized in producing the book as art. These books were distinguished by the use of handmade paper and letterpress printing, and often included art such as tipped in watercolor paintings or woodcuts. These were considered exemplars of the book arts in which no detail was overlooked. Published books included works by Dane Rudhyar, Jack Hirschman, Stéphane Mallarmé, the Marquis de Sade, D.H. Lawrence, Edouard Roditi, Roger Bacon, Steve Martin, Ricky Jay, Don Bachardy and Gustave Baumann.

In 1975, they opened William & Victoria Dailey Rare Books, which became Dailey Rare Books in 1997. The store on Melrose Avenue became a mecca to those in search of rare and unusual books. Dailey’s love of art, design and the arcane was reflected in his inventory.  In 2007, he closed his store on Melrose and sold books via the internet and antiquarian book fairs.  In nothing resembling retirement, he divided his time between Los Angeles and the Palm Springs area, where he ran The Hacienda Hot Springs Inn and Spa, a boutique hotel which he liked to tell guests he won in a poker game.

An ardent collector, accomplished bibliographer, artist and raconteur, Mr. Dailey’s interests and knowledge always covered a wide range of topics.  Works of Transcendentalist art, sacred geometry, early travel literature of Mexico and a voluminous collection of desert literature were among Dailey’s last passions. One of the most notable collections Dailey amassed was that of books on Vegetarianism, which he began to collect in 1970. That collection contained works spanning from 1547 to 1967. The collection was later gifted to The Lilly Library at University of Indiana, where he gave a lecture about it last year.

William Dailey was a longtime Buddhist and practiced Vipassana meditation for many years with Trudie Goodman of InsightLA.  A relentless seeker, his spiritual practice informed every aspect of his life and is reflected in the many subjects he passionately explored.  He is survived by a wide circle of friends, his former wife and friend, Victoria Dailey, his sister Deanne Dailey Hansen, his beloved partner Nicole Panter and their two dogs.  A private celebration of William Dailey will be held in early February in proximity to the International Antiquarian Book Fair.

This piece was written by Maria Montgomery and Nicole Panter.

Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.04.2018
02:07 pm
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Naked Lunch Box: David Cassidy, cocaine, the end of innocence & William S. Burroughs
11.22.2017
09:40 am
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The late David Cassidy on a 1972 cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
 

I understand the rock star deal having been one and still going out strapping my guitar on and performing. Now, I probably do 30 or 40 dates a year, and I get to relive how I felt at 19 when I played in some really bad bands.—David Cassidy

2017 has been another very sad year for anyone and everyone who likes to rock. We lost Tom Petty and Chris Cornell. Just a few days ago we all suffered through the difficult death of AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, and yesterday we mourned the passing of teen idol, David Cassidy. As I’m at a loss for words for a change, here’s the mythical Danny Fields, punk rock legend, journalist, and allegedly the first get Cassidy to snort coke moments before his photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz:

“When Annie (Leibovitz) brought that back (the nude photo of Cassidy), it was like, oh my God, if you cut it here and it’s just a little bit of pubic hair, and he’s naked, it’s like a Playboy Bunny.”

Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner recalls Leibovitz’s controversial cover-shot in his 2017 book, Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine saying she had helped define Cassidy as the “darling of the bubble-gum set.” He also compared the teen idol’s nearly-nude shoot to Burt Reynold’s two-quarts of vodka cover for Cosmopolitan that same year.

In the Rolling Stone interview Cassidy talked about his drug use and how well-endowed he was, revealing that his brothers had enviously nicknamed him “Donk.” “Naked Lunch Box: The Business of David Cassidy” was published alongside an interview with the notorious William Burroughs in the same issue giving it an extra layer of WTF for past, current and future generations to figure out. The frenzy over the cover apparently sent Cassidy’s mother Evelyn Ward to Mexico to avoid the rabid press coverage concerning the shoot. Talk about teenage kicks. NSFW images follow.
 

 

A Polaroid shot of Cassidy by Leibovitz.
 

The NSFW shot of Cassidy that launched a thousand ships.

Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.22.2017
09:40 am
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Blistering footage of Bon Scott’s final TV appearance with AC/DC
11.07.2017
09:02 am
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AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott showing us all what it’s like to be a real rock and roll singer back in the day.
 
Though it wouldn’t start out that way, February of 1980 was almost the beginning of the end for Austrailian juggernauts, AC/DC. The band had started the year laying the groundwork for their next studio album, Back in Black. But as we all know, the hard-partying antics of vocalist Bon Scott would catch up with the 33-year-old, and after yet another night of blackout boozing (as well as possibly dabbling in heroin), Scott was found dead inside his Renault 5 in the street by his South London residence on February 19th, 1980. There has always been a fair amount of speculation regarding Bon’s death, new details of which have been painstakingly researched by author Jesse Fink in his 2017 book about Scott, Bon: The Last Highway

Bon would perform his final live gig with AC/DC on January 27th, 1980 in Southampton, U.K. The band was no longer just a sensation in their native Australia but was finally breaking through to U.S. audiences after the Mutt Lange-produced smash, Highway to Hell penetrated the Billboard Top 200. The record would eventually smash through to the top twenty where it would peak at #17. Following the Southampton gig, AC/DC would appear on Top of the Pop’s on February 7th lipsynching to “Touch Too Much.” Three days later the band was in Madrid for an appearance on Aplauso, a popular Spanish television music program. This time AC/DC ripped through “Beating Around the Bush” (whose opening lick borrows a bit of fire from Fleetwood Mac’s 1969 single, “Oh Well”), with an unbridled lipsynching fury so hot that it’s hard to tell they aren’t actually playing “live” at times. Here’s a rough translation of the Spanish host introducing AC/DC for what would be the band’s very first show of any kind in Spain, and their final appearance with Bon:

“Today on TV Aplauso we receive a new group in Spain: AC/DC. They’re Australian and are considered as one of the best rock bands of the last generation without submitting themselves to the New-Wave or Punk. They’ve got a lot of fans in England and today for the first time in Spain, AC/DC!”

The studio audience in attendance for Aplauso is comprised of people who look like they about get a free car from Oprah...

More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.07.2017
09:02 am
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Exquisite Corpses: Polly Morgan’s sculptural taxidermy
10.13.2017
10:06 am
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‘Myocardial Infarction.’
 
Polly Morgan is an artist who specializes in taxidermy to create works of disturbing beauty. Morgan describes her craft as “as part butchery, part sculpture.” While her work may not be to everyone’s taste, it should be noted that all of the animals used by Morgan either died from natural causes or had unpreventable deaths. She has a long list of suppliers, from zoos, vets, farmers, and even family members, who supply her with a range of dead animals.

It wasn’t a straight path to her chosen career. Morgan tried her hand at a variety of jobs before deciding on following-up on a long-held interest in taxidermy. She was raised in the English countryside in a household filled with a menagerie of animals. As a child, she had wanted to keep the bodies of her pets that had died. Morgan now sees her work as “an opportunity to freeze that moment.”

It was while working in a bar that Morgan started her studies in taxidermy. She had asked a friend where she could find a piece of taxidermy for her apartment. Her friend suggested rather than buying one she make one herself. After scouring the Yellow Pages, she eventually contacted George Jamieson, a taxidermist based in Cramond, Edinburgh. For around $200, Jamieson instructed Morgan on the basics of taxidermy. Jamieson gave her a pigeon to work on, which she completed within a day. This was in 2004. Since then, Morgan has exhibited her taxidermied sculptures to considerable acclaim across the world and has been fêted by the likes of Banksy and Damien Hirst.

You might think all this working death and dead animals would make Morgan a tad morbid and even overly downhearted. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Morgan thinks it silly to have an emotional attachment to something that is dead. It’s just decaying flesh. Instead, she believes what she is doing is very positive by making something beautiful out of death.

See more of Polly Morgan’s work here.
 
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‘Lovebird.’
 
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‘Just as Sudden.’
 
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Detail from ‘Rest a Little on the Lap of Life.’
 
More of Polly Morgan’s exquisite work, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.13.2017
10:06 am
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Grant Hart and Hüsker Dü invent noise pop, 1983
09.15.2017
07:56 am
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Hüsker Dü
 
As many of you reading this already know, singer/songwriter Grant Hart died this week at the age of 56. Hart is best known as a member of Hüsker Dü, the group he was a part of from their very beginnings in 1979 until the moment they called it a day in 1988. Hart played drums, and he, along with guitarist Bob Mould, were the trio’s main songwriters (Greg Norton was the bassist). Though they started out as a hardcore band known for their lightning-fast performances, by their third record they began to show signs that they were outgrowing the genre’s rigid style. One song in particular would provide the blueprint for both their future path and the groups later influenced by them.

Metal Circus came out in October 1983, and though often seen as an EP, due to the fact that there are just seven songs and it runs less than 20 minutes, it’s still considered part of their album discography. Grant Hart wrote just two of the songs on the record, and they’re quite different than anything the band had attempted previously. At the time, it was Hart’s harrowing ballad, “Diane,” that got Metal Circus the most attention, but it’s his other number on the album that proved to be the game changer.
 
Metal Circus
The cover of ‘Metal Circus.’ Artwork by Fake Name Graphx (a/k/a Grant Hart).

Initially, what must have been most striking to Hüsker Dü fans listening to “It’s Not Funny Anymore” in 1983 was the tempo. This was definitely not a hardcore song. There’s also more of a focus on melody—with Hart actually singing some of the words—and hooks, like the super cool harmonics Mould plays during the chorus. The lyrics are more advanced, too, with a meta quality that seems to be addressing the new approach the band is taking with the tune.
 

 
In his book, Hüsker Dü: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock, author Andrew Earles writes:

“It’s Not Funny Anymore” is Hüsker Dü running into the loving arms of hook-filled noise-pop. The song is a thinly veiled proclamation: “Like it or not, we are going to do this pop thing.”

When Hüsker Dü made Metal Circus, no other act was releasing music like this. Aside from the Beatles’ single version of “Revolution” and some of the early Velvet Underground material, the very idea of a lyrical pop/rock song with a thick layer of guitar distortion was essentially unheard of. Hüsker Dü continued in this direction until the very end, producing noise pop gems like “Books About UFOs” and “Makes No Sense At All” along the way.

It’s hard to imagine how modern rock would’ve evolved without Hüsker Dü. To name just a couple of bands influenced by them: the Pixies, who famously put an ad in their local paper looking for a bass player who liked both Peter, Paul and Mary and Hüsker Dü (Kim Deal was the only respondent); and Nirvana, whose melodic punk rock sounds very similar to the Hüskers. Krist Novoselic once remarked that Nirvana’s style was “nothing new; Hüsker Dü did it before us.”
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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09.15.2017
07:56 am
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The Illuminati of rock and roll: Remembering Pat Fear, a real-life Robert Anton Wilson character

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

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

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

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

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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09.13.2017
11:06 am
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Sweet Apple’s new video, filmed in a haunted train car
07.26.2017
08:52 am
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In Steuben County NY on August 30, 1943, the Lackawanna Limited passenger train drove at 70 miles per hour into a freight engine that hadn’t cleared the track. The wreckage was brutal; published estimates vary, but around 110 people were injured and 28 died. But most gruesome was their manner of death—only one passenger, one Frank Meincke, was crushed in wreckage. The rest were trapped in a coach that landed atop the freight engine, which emptied itself of steam into the coach. The victims were basically cooked alive. From The Troopers Are Coming: New York State Troopers, 1917-1943:

The Lackawanna Limited struck the left side of a freight engine, tearing up three hundred feet of track and leaving a twisted mass of wreckage scattered along the right of way. A steam jacket torn from the freight engine allowed escaping steam to enter some of the passenger coaches, causing agony and death. Twenty-eight passengers and crewmembers were killed and 117 passengers were injured.

 

 

Images via the Painted Hills Genealogy Society

But though it entombed over two dozen people, the passenger car itself was unharmed, and this grim piece of transportation history remains not just intact, but restored in the disused B&O roundhouse that now serves as a museum and restoration workplace for the Midwest Railway Preservation Society. Due to that key event in the car’s past, it’s acquired a reputation as a haunting site, and is referred to as “The Death Car.” According to Seeks Ghosts, a web site for paranormal enthusiasts,

While this old passenger car was at this yard being renovated many people connected to this society began to believe it was haunted. In fact, the volunteers at this yard dubbed this car—the ”Death Car.”

One volunteer, Charlie Sedgley who works for the society restoring cars believes he encountered at least 17 separate ghosts in the 1943 wrecked passenger car.

The society gives tours of the old train cars they restore. A trustee of the society, Steve Karpos was leading one of these tours when he led his group into the Death Car.

As he spoke a female member of his tour group interrupted him to ask why he didn’t let the other man behind him speak. Karpos didn’t know what she was talking about. She then asked about the “man dressed in the funny suit.”

Karpos recalls that, “Everyone else was saying there was a ghost in the car.” When the tour exited the Death Car several members saw, “a ghost sitting on the roof with his feet hanging over.”


That article goes on to say that the MRPS no longer owns the car, but it is indeed still there, and Sweet Apple have used it as the setting for “World I’m Gonna Leave You,” the first of four videos from their new LP Sing the Night in Sorrow. Sweet Apple is made up of members of Dinosaur Jr, Witch, and Cobra Verde, and the song includes vocal contributions from Mark Lanegan and Bob Pollard. The video is far cheekier than the train car’s grim history would suggest—the band’s namesake bassist Dave Sweetapple enters the haunted car and is bedeviled by—well, the Devil played by singer John Petkovic in a cheap mask. Drummer J Mascis and guitarist Tim Parnin also appear, as do eleven other passengers and, evidently, at least 17 separate ghosts.
 
Watch after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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07.26.2017
08:52 am
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No tears: Tuxedomoon’s Peter Principle dead at 63
07.17.2017
02:45 pm
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Sad to learn that Peter Principle (real name Peter Dachert), the bassist and guitar player of the great American avant-garde musical group Tuxedomoon died today at the age of 63. His passing was announced on Facebook by fellow band member and longtime friend Blaine Reininger, the violinist and keyboardist of the group.

It is my very sad duty to inform the world that our colleague and brother, Peter Principle has left this world behind. He died this morning, July 17, 2017, apparently of natural causes. We are all stunned.

A further statement on the Tuxedomoonnews blog indicated that he…

“... was found in his room at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels, where Tuxedomoon has been preparing a new tour and new music. He was the apparent victim of a heart attack or stroke.”

Dachert’s stage name was inspired by the so-called “Peter principle” management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter and published in the 1969 book The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong which describes how many corporate managers “rise to the level of their incompetence.”

When the Sex Pistols and the Ramones were churning out retread rock-n-roll, Tuxedomoon was in San Francisco doing something truly dangerous, pioneering “new wave” and post-punk before either term existed. Principle became a member the band in 1979 and joined the others when they chose to go into exile in Europe after Ronald Reagan’s election. They finally settled in Belgium where they founded a record label, Crammed Discs. After some years apart, the band reformed in 2000 and has been productive and active since, touring and releasing new music, film scores and archival box sets.

After Tuxedomoon’s Bruce Geduldig died in 2016, they continued on with David Haneke taking over Geduldig’s visual duties onstage with the band during their 2016 tour. The group’s continuing status is unknown with an August 4th show planned for London now in question. Peter Principle lived in New York City where he was born. He will be missed.
 

Tuxedomoon appear on Glenn O’Brien’s ‘TV Party’ cable access program.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.17.2017
02:45 pm
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Ghost Rider still alive after Suicide: ‘IT’ is the HEAVY Alan Vega release from beyond the grave!
07.14.2017
09:57 am
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Alan Vega the solo artist and lead singer of the groundbreaking synthpunk duo Suicide who passed from this mortal plane almost exactly one year ago (7/16/16) is not done with us just yet and this is the best news I’ve heard in ages…

My own personal experiences and encounters with Alan Vega are varied, and over many decades, sometimes very near and sometimes far away, but always intense. Not like scary movie intense but like escaping death intense. As an innocent 16-year-old going to Max’s Kansas City in 1976 determined to get in “this time,” and being very under age, everything lined up right: my parents went out for the night and I got a friend from school to go with me, but the bands I knew about (Ramones, etc.) weren’t playing but anything would have been good.

Back then every band played two sets each night. We got there right on time for the early show and saw a band called The Cramps playing their third gig ever! (That is a major revelation I have gone into elsewhere many times). When Suicide hit the stage it was not packed but pretty crowded. I had been very into weird music for many of my young years but nothing on earth—I repeat, nothing—could prepare me for what I was about to go through. I had seen “bands.” And for God’s sake I had just seen The Cramps for the first time, but two guys come up, NO guitar, NO bass, NO drums and SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGH#%&*#!$#@ PLAY THE LOUDEST THING I HAD EVER HEARD!! 

I had never seen a band with “no” instruments and they were louder than any band WITH instruments. I had never been literally scared of music and people I paid to “have fun” watching. By this point the singer was bleeding from pummeling his own face with his microphone. And it just got louder and louder. Vega would lean into the audience and people would run to the bar! I was mesmerized. I was glued to my seat. I went into another galaxy and I was changed forever. My friend was long gone, outside I found out, and he’d been outside since thirty seconds after they’d come onstage. This in itself was the dividing line between myself and the rest of my entire world as I knew it. The deciding factor that I needed to exist in THIS world and not the world I had known up until this point. This was a gigantic psychotic green light that I had never known existed but was waiting for my entire young life.

Between the Cramps and Suicide I had found my heart and soul. And I wanted more. And I have never for one moment stopped searching for that something “more.”
 

 
By the 1990s I had followed this path for quite a while and was familiar with and friends with many of these people, and was one of them. When my band D Generation was recording our second LP No Lunch at Electric Lady studio with producer Ric Ocasek, chosen much for the fact that he could work with Suicide and The Bad Brains (musically AND personally), the idea came up for us to have Alan Vega pay a visit. Once there, we thought he’d be tickled about a song we had just finished called Frankie about a tough cross-dressing punk type, a sort of homage to his Frankie Teardrop. Next thing you know he is in the studio recording a vocal. All I can think about was that first life changing night at Max’s Kansas City which was then twenty years prior (now forty one) as I watch and listen to him give Ric and the engineer instructions to take all the music out except the kick drum, the bass (yay!) and Jesse Malin’s vocal. He then went to work squirming and shrieking and saying all kinds of wild heavy stuff. It was truly a privilege to be a part of that.
 
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The author with Alan Vega
 
After that we knew each other better. Jesse brought him to meet Bruce Springsteen and Alan and Jesse became close. Alan once did a set doing the first Suicide LP live at Jesse’s club Bowery Electric. Jesse’s sideman Derek Cruz (with my help or at my suggestion I believe) sampled all the sounds from the LP and played the sounds on pads so it sounded exactly like the record! Amazing! But not exactly as planned as the sound man didn’t know the record and since I did (and I knew the soundman) I ran into the sound booth and asked him where the echo was and to turn it on and I did the echo frenzy on Alan’s vocal just like the record throughout the show. His beautiful wife Liz Lamere thanked me, as did audience members. That was a perfect experience to bring my life as far as Alan Vega is concerned to a perfect circle.

Until now.
 
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Photo by Bob Gruen
 
Almost a year to the day after Alan Vega passed he has sent us all a massive electronic slap in the face. And like the first time I was exposed to his music, it is harsh, exciting and necessary. Electronic meditations on sorrow, loss and darkness from the Suicide king. The new album, titled IT hits the streets on July 14th and is truly a message from beyond. IT can be downloaded digitally and bought on vinyl, with a 2-LP gatefold including unpublished drawings, writings, and photos by Vega. The digital album is now available for pre-order here, and the standard vinyl can be pre-ordered via Amazon.com here. A special limited release of IT will also be available on transparent orange vinyl, sold exclusively at select indie retail locations, the list of which will soon be announced.

Leading up to the one-year anniversary of Vega’s passing, New York City will host a series of events deemed “Alan Vega Week” including exhibits and performances in Alan’s memory. On June 30th, INVISIBLE-EXPORTS opened an exhibition featuring Vega’s historic light sculptures, as well as his final series of work including acrylic and graphite paintings. Depictions of a single mythical man, they also form, together, a shifting, serial self-portrait. Additionally, on July 18th, Jeffrey Deitch will open “Dream Baby Dream,” a memorial exhibition commemorating Vega’s life and work, including video projections of historic performances by Suicide, and a selection of Vega’s sculptures and works on paper from the 1960s to his last works in 2016. Stay tuned for additional memorial events around “Alan Vega Week” to be announced.
 
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The album opens with its first single and video called Dead To Me. “Life is no joke/It’s days and nights-pure evil/Heyyyyy, sometimes the skanks save souls/DTM-dead to me.” Over a pounding atonal electronic repetitive groove, it is relentless, bleak and very heavy. Spitting out lines of endtimes doom and truth, it’s a tough pill to swallow. But surely one worth forcing down.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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07.14.2017
09:57 am
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