The man who painted Vampirella: The hypnotic artwork of Enrique Torres-Prat
12.13.2017
11:57 am
Topics:
Tags:


A painting of Vampirella by Spanish artist, Enrique Torres-Prat.
 
Spanish comic book artists have had a thing for drawing Vampirella for decades. This is an indisputable fact. Even though the very first illustration of Vampirella is credited to Brooklyn, New York native Frank Frazetta, there are more than a few prominent Spanish artists responsible for creating incredible, almost tangible paintings of one of the world’s most famous female comic book characters. For instance, Jose “Pepe” Gonzalez was a fucking legend when it came to his illustrations and paintings of Vampirella, and his many fans say that his artistic portrayal of the she-vampire perfectly defined the character. In fact, when Frank Frazetta was asked for his opinion about Gonzalez he responded saying that “no one drew women as beautifully as José Gonzalez.” Work by other well-known Spanish artists who drew Vampirella, such as the man who is the subject of this post, Enrique Torres-Prat (aka Enric/Enrich), was compiled into a fantastic book that came out just this past January, Masters of Spanish Comic Book Art, a must-have book that will make your coffee table much more appealing.

Torres-Prat/Enric is a revered artist and his original Vampirella paintings are known to sell for thousands of dollars when and if they become available. It has also been noted by Vampirella experts that Enric was likely the only artist to paint Vampirella into a triptych (a three-paneled painting). His experience with formal artistic training and education as a youth was vast and Ernic had the good fortune to be able to travel around the world during that time visiting museums in Amsterdam and the United States, soaking in work by the true masters such as one of his primary inspirations, Rembrandt. In 1971 the artist scored his first U.S. gig when his artwork was chosen to appear on the cover of People Machines—a collection of science fiction stories written by Jack Williamson who many called “The Dean of Science Fiction” as they did his peer, Robert Heinlein. This success would lead Enric to Warren Publishing where he would ink the covers of horror comic staples, Eerie and Creepy as well as Vampirella. 52 of Enric’s paintings of Vampirella would adorn the cover of the magazine during his time with Warren Publishing. José Gonzalez may be considered the definitive benchmark for Vampirella’s look, but it was Enric paintings that would become synonymous with the ethos of the dangerously-drawn, vampiric femme-fatale.
 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
12.13.2017
11:57 am
|
Metal Gods: Rob Halford of Judas Priest fronts Black Sabbath in 1992
12.13.2017
11:48 am
Topics:
Tags:


Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford onstage with Black Sabbath (guitarist Tony Iommi is pictured to the left), November 15th, 1992.
 
So here’s the backstory as to how Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford ended up fronting Black Sabbath in 1992—and man is it a doozy, mostly due to the fact that this very metal moment also involves two other pivotal members of Sabbath—original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and Ozz’s replacement, the great Ronnie James Dio. So get out your devil horns and turn them up because here we go...

Ozzy had been riding high for a dozen years thanks to a successful solo career after getting kicked out of Sabbath for being a coke and booze-fueled mess in 1979. Then, rather suddenly in 1992, Ozz announced his retirement from touring. Osbourne said his decision to retire from the road was two-part; one was his recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis—which turned out to later be in error. The second reason Ozzy cited is that he wanted to spend more time with his family—which turned out to be a fib as he would quickly announce after the tour he was already bored with being a homebody and jumped back into the limelight. The “No More Tours” tour concluded with two dates at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, California on November 14th and 15th. Per Ozzy’s special request, the opening band would be none other than Black fucking Sabbath led at the time by Ronnie James Dio. But it didn’t go down that way. And that’s because Dio didn’t like the idea of Sabbath seeing their old mate because it might lead to a full-fledged reunion. Here’s more from RJD on his refusal to play the show which ultimately led to his decision to break up with Black Sabbath:

“No, sorry. I have more pride than that. A lot of bad things were being said from camp to camp, and it created this horrible schism. So, by them agreeing to play the shows in LA with Ozzy, that, to me, spelled out ‘reunion with Ozzy.’ And that obviously meant the end of our particular project.”

And with that, Dio closed the iron door on Sabbath leaving them without a vocalist for the gigs, so they turned to metal god Rob Halford to save them. Halford had just called it quits with Judas Priest in May blaming his exit on the band’s long-time record label Columbia and their lack of support for his desire to pursue solo work. As Dio’s departure was unexpected and quick, Halford had very little time to learn Sabbath classics such as “Mob Rules,” “Into the Void,” “Neon Knights,” and “Sweet Leaf,” but he did. The first show was all Halford ripping through a ten-song-set including a two-song encore featuring 1972’s “Supernaut.” For the tour finale the next night the crowd got what they were all wishing for—a reunion of Sabbath with all but one of the original members of the band. During the second encore, Ozzy joined Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and drummer Vinny Appice on stage performing four songs together; “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Black Sabbath,” “Iron Man,” and “Paranoid.” The mini-gig didn’t turn into a full-on reunion as Dio had suspected until 1997 when Ozzy, Iommi, and Butler (along with Faith No More timekeeper Mike Bordin on drums who replaced Bill Ward due to health problems) headlined Ozzfest along with Ozzy’s touring band. Halford would once again sit in on vocals for Sabbath on August 26th, 2004 when Ozzy got bronchitis and wasn’t able to perform—something that Halford considered a birthday gift of sorts as the day prior he had just celebrated his 53rd year around the sun. Awww.

I’ve posted eighteen minutes of footage of Halford killing it with Sabbath on November 15th, 1992 as well as a few photos from the blessed event after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
12.13.2017
11:48 am
|
Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith’s band before the Dream Syndicate, the Suspects
12.13.2017
11:00 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Before the Dream Syndicate, there was Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith’s college band. Wynn, Smith, and Russ Tolman met as students at UC Davis, where all three had shows on KDVS. With Steve Suchil on bass, Gavin Blair on drums, Wynn and Tolman on guitars, and Smith on lead vocals, they formed a garage band called the Suspects, which made it possible for them to play in the punk clubs of late-Seventies San Francisco. A few years later, back in Los Angeles, Wynn and Smith started the Dream Syndicate with Karl Precoda and Dennis Duck, while Tolman and Blair played together in the contemporary Paisley Underground outfit True West.

The Suspects left behind one self-released single, “Talking Loud” b/w “It’s Up To You” (the B-side of which sure sounds an awful lot like “Fortune Teller”), and a 10-minute video performance shot in the AV room of a Sacramento high school in 1979. At the very bottom of this post is an audio recording of a full Suspects set from a night at the Fab Mab in 1980, complete with Dirk Dirksen’s introduction. There’s also the Suspects’—or Smith and Wynn’s, anyway—June 1981 performance of “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” sung in German, which is all the more enjoyable if you recall the Dream Syndicate’s later insistence that they had never heard the Velvet Underground.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
12.13.2017
11:00 am
|
The (Foolproof) Annual Dangerous Minds’ Christmas Shopping Guide for Hard-to-Buy-for Rock Snobs
12.12.2017
10:21 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Every year about this time I write up my annual “Christmas Shopping Guide for Hard-to-Buy-for Rock Snobs” list of cool things for your musichead loved ones. Last year I was all about 5.1 surround, Blu-ray audio, “studio masters” and so forth. High tech, high quality, high resolution digital audio. I’d jettisoned a huge record collection in the mid 1990s that was crowding me out of my apartment and I never looked back. Then one snowy day this past February, a beautiful brand new high end turntable was sitting on my porch, a gift from my genius audio designer pal Alexander Rosson (the man who designed the famous Audeze LCD-3 headphones that you see in every good recording studio). And I mean, what does one do when one gets such an amazing toy as a gift? Obviously one needs some new records to throw at it. I immediately logged on to Discogs and decided to reconstitute much of the collection I’d sold off, repurchasing a lot of the very same stuff I used to own—at twice the price—over the course of… a matter of days. (I’m good like that.)

So yeah, Digital Dan reverted back to Analog Andy pretty fast. Anything that I have ever said in the past about the superiority of 24-bit digital audio to vinyl I hereby repudiate. I was stupid. I take it all back. Please forgive me.

To attone for my sins, I’ve compiled a (mostly) vinyl rock snob shopping guide this year. The object is not only to highlight what I think are the best releases of 2017 but also to provide a public service for my people: There is a certain type of “person” (okay, guy) who already has everything he ever wanted at the age of 12, and no matter how cool that sweater, new socks and wallet might be, he ultimately only cares about the stuff that they sell in record stores. Christmas is often so unsatisfying for this sort of chap, but if you follow my handy suggestions, even the most difficult-to-buy-for rock snob giftee on your shopping list will have a very merry Christmas this year and you’ll look like a genius.

Or even like you actually really care about them…
 

 
The classic 70s Brian Eno half-speed 2XLP 45rpm releases are THE BOMB. Since they only recently came out, it’s a safe bet that finding a couple of these under the tree will go down a treat. Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy both blew my doors off and I know these albums like the back of my hand. Remastered from the best analog sources available, at Abbey Road Studios, the heavy, dead quiet pressings spread a single album’s worth of songs over two long players, allowing for an increased audio level to be cut into the lacquers for a superior signal-to-noise ratio. These albums have never sounded better. Usually I’m all about getting an original pressing of 60s and 70s classics, but I’m starting to be convinced that new pressings have much to offer, maybe more. Not always, but certain labels are really doing it right. If it’s sound quality vs. the “trophy” value of a certain original pressing that motivates you, “new” vinyl releases of vintage titles are looking better all the time.

And speaking of labels that really do it right, have you heard about the recently-launched ultra high quality audiophile vinyl concern known as Intervention Records? IR’s mission is to offer the very best-sounding pressings of classic albums by the likes of Big Audio Dynamite, Judee Sill, Erasure and Joe Jackson. Intervention’s release of The Gilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Bros. is probably the single best-sounding record that I have in my collection and is definitely the first thing I grab whenever I want to geek out and impress someone with my epic middle-aged man’s stereo system. No one who loves music and owns a turntable is going to be disappointed when they slap that particular slab on the record player, this I can promise you.
 

 
IR’s deluxe 2XLP 45rpm Judee Sill releases are the best those albums (Judee Sill and Heart Food) are ever going to sound and their Joe Jackson releases, same thing. The ball gets knocked squarely out of the park. There’s still a pretty dedicated Joe Jackson fanbase out there (I saw him in concert recently myself) and despite the fact that mint copies of most of his albums can easily be acquired for $5 in any decent used record store, remarkably these IR reissues still rate quite a significant improvement over records that already sounded good to begin with. If you told me that there was a pressing of Night and Day that was, say, 15% better than the original record (and a lot better than the CD) then that is something I need to hear, stat. Same for I’m the Man and Look Sharp. Intervention Records goes the extra mile and beyond. Support what they do.
 

 
The next three albums I’m going to group together because each features the participation of my pal multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter producer/studio owner Jonathan Wilson. He’s currently playing guitar on the second leg of Roger Waters’ world tour (he also sings many of the David Gilmour numbers in the set) and he’s all over Waters’ incredible new album (his first collection of original material for 25 years) Is This the Life We Really Want? Produced by Nigel Godrich and mostly recorded at Wilson’s Fivestarstudios, man did I play the shit out of this album in 2017 and consider it to be a strong addition to Waters’ legendary discography, the best since Pink Floyd’s Animals. (Allow me to direct you to a more fleshed out review here).
 

 
And then there is Father John Misty’s latest and greatest, Pure Comedy. I describe this sprawling, stunning album as 2017’s answer to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and what I mean by that is that it’s clearly a “prestige” release by a major “serious” artist, plus both have lots of piano. Obviously Sub Pop agreed as the elaborate packaging they sprung for announces this platter’s artistic importance loud and clear, just as it did with Elton John’s classic. Did I say classic? Yeah, I did and this new FJM album is as classic as it gets. Pure Comedy might a bit on the nihilistic side, sure, but when has a soundtrack for the endtimes ever sounded so lush and gorgeous? Here FJM comes off like an omniscient Harry Nilsson filled with bemused weltschmerz alternately mocking and pitying mankind or a particularly sardonic Loudon Wainwright III observing the folly human beings with a jaundiced eye and with the sort of grandiose orchestral tendencies associated with his son. And there is Double Roses, the second album by supermodel Karen Elson and produced by Wilson. Taking its title from Sam Shepard, Double Roses is a confessional divorce/breakup album in the mode of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks or Joni Mitchell’s Blue. Her voice reminds me a lot of Tammy Wynette’s. I realize these comparisons are high praise, but they are also legitimately deserved. Elson was previously married to Jack White and here is the story of their divorce and the aftermath told in a way that anyone who has ever had a broken heart or been disappointed in love could relate to. If you know anything at all about the artist going in, you know exactly who she’s singing about, but even if you didn’t, it wouldn’t make any difference. Double Roses captured my attention from the first listen and seldom left my turntable for several weeks. If your reaction to the notion of an album by a top fashion model is skeptical, just get over it.
 

 
One of the best “various artist” compilations of 2017—and sure to please the most jaded and sophisticated musical tastes—is Follow the Sun, Anthology’s anthology of 1970s AM radio folk rock from Australia. This is one of those comps that’s so goddamn good that you just keep playing the first side over and over and over again before you ever play side two even once. I’m NUTS about this record and cannot recommend it highly enough (buy it for yourself, you won’t regret it). Another phenomenal comp that came out this year is the Numero Group’s Wayfaring Strangers:Acid Nightmares, a collection of obscure late 60s/early 70s sub-Sabbath barre chord rockers about drug addiction, freaking out, puking, etc. Surprisingly it sounds really good, not a low-fi thing at all. And a lot of it is really ridiculously catchy. And like I say, how can you go wrong with underground hard rock songs about bad LSD, popping pills, hypodermic needles, night sweats and so forth? YOU CANNOT.
 

 
My final musical recommendations are CD box sets…

Keep reading after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
12.12.2017
10:21 am
|