The Art of Punk: Watch great new doc on Black Flag and Raymond Pettibon’s iconic collaboration

Bryan Ray Turcotte, author the classic chronicle of punk rock handbills and posters, Fucked Up + Photocopied, has one of the largest private collections of punk rock-related ephemera in the world—he’s a one-man Smithsonian Institute of the counterculture, truly a maven’s maven.

When I got advance notice that one of the world’s most prominent archivists and historians on the matter of punk rock’s graphic design had made (with Bo Bushnell) a film about Black Flag and Raymond Pettibon , I was expecting something pretty great and… it’s excellent!

It went live this morning. I got the link a little while ago and promptly sat down and watched the whole thing:

On the first episode of “The Art of Punk” we dissect the art of the legendary Black Flag. From the iconic four bars symbols, to the many coveted and collected gig flyers, singles, and band t-shirts, all depicting the distinctive Indian ink drawn image and text by artist Raymond Pettibon. We start off in Los Angeles talking to two founding members, singer Keith Morris and bass player Chuck Dukowski, about what the scene was like in 1976 - setting the stage for the band’s formation, as well as the bands name, and the creation of the iconic four bars symbol. Raymond Pettibon talks with us from his New York art studio. Back in LA we meet with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, about how the art, the music, and that early LA scene impacted his own life and career. To wrap it all up we sit and talk at length, with Henry Rollins, at MOCA Grand Ave in Los Angeles, about all of the above and more.

What’s so compelling about this piece is how filmmakers Turcotte and Bushnell tell you a story that you haven’t already heard a gazillion times before by focusing in on the graphics and how important an iconic logo was back then for outsider kids to rally around, wear on their chests or have etched into their flesh.

In the film, Flea makes, I thought, an especially valuable contribution, because he was young enough then (like Rollins himself was, of course) to have been in the audience and he speaks to how seeing a group like Black Flag could change your direction in life. From what I have heard from a number of people, Flea’s supposed to have an absolutely first rate modern art collection. He’s really inspired when he speaks here.

A production of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. New MOCAtv  episodes exploring the visual identities of Dead Kennedys and Crass will debut soon at the MOCAtv YouTube channel

Above, Flea in his Pettibon-festooned bathroom

Thank you Tim NoPlace!

Posted by Richard Metzger
01:30 pm
Gorburger talks cock with Flea (Kinda NSFW)
12:27 pm

Gorburger has tea with Flea, where the foul-mouthed, alien/monster/talk show host asks the musician/writer/actor about his cock, its sock size, and what to do about unrequited love.

From The Gorburger Show season 2, episode 1.



Posted by Paul Gallagher
12:27 pm
‘The Man Behind the Bass’: Excellent documentary on the legendary Jack Bruce

You can never judge a man by his knitwear, as Jack Bruce proves in this documentary Jack Bruce: The Man Behind the Bass, in which the legendary musician returns to his homeland of Scotland, to give a guided tour through his life and career, and re-interprets 6 of his classic songs. Here are the ingredients:

Jack Bruce fronted the Sixties supergroup Cream alongside Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, and has played with everyone from Marvin Gaye to Jimi Hendrix and from Lulu to Lou Reed. ArtWorks tells the story of his life, from childhood in Scotland to global superstardom, through some of Jack’s favourite songs and with contributions from Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Flea of Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Adam Clayton of U2.

The story encompasses some of the biggest riffs and rifts in rock, taking in family tragedy, drugs and near death. A specially chosen set of six songs mark crucial moments in Jack’s life, including Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”. Jack rerecorded the tracks with some of Scotland’s finest musicians including folk trio Lau, percussionist Jim Sutherland, keyboard player Andy May, guitarist Taj Wyzgowski, drummer Chris Peacock, his nephew Nico Bruce on bass and string ensemble Mr McFall’s Chamber.

This is an excellent documentary, which showcases some of the best of the brilliant Jack Bruce.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

‘Rope Ladder to the Moon’: Solo genius from Cream’s Jack Bruce


Posted by Paul Gallagher
08:18 pm
Flea releases solo EP ‘Helen Burns’: Featuring Patti Smith

Over the past couple of days, Flea has caused a major tremor of excitement as he announced news of his first solo EP Helen Burns.

Described as unlike anything he has created with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flea tweeted that:

i recorded most of the ep when we finished our tour for stadium arcadium. it is not rhcp music or even close to it. it is a trippy freakout.

on helen burns, i play trumpet, bass, synthesizers, drum machine, piano, and a bunch of other shit

all proceeds from my helen burns ep will go towards the silverlake conservatory of music

it will be available for down load at any price you want to pay, it will be a donation to the silverlake conservatory of music

Patti Smith also sings on the EP, along with the Conservatory Choir, and a vinyl copy is also available which “is autographed and contains a piece of a bass string” which Flea has played live.

Over at the download page, Flea added:

Hi people who like The Red Hot Chili Peppers! I love you a lot! Mucho! Just wanted to give you a heads up about this little record “Helen Burns” I am putting out on the Silverlake Conservatory website.

Warning! It is not a Chili Peppers record. It does not have songs that are like the Chili Peppers at all. It is a mostly instrumental, weird and arty record, the music is mostly just me creating soundscapes that are very emotional for me, but certainly not for everyone! Just me tripping out at home. I am putting it out to raise money for The Silverlake Conservatory of Music a community based non profit music school that i am an integral part of. There you have it. See you all soon i hope! and all proceeds from the Helen Burns will go to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

I reckon most of our DM readers will love Flea’s excellent Helen Burns EP, which you can Download here, and follow the great man on twitter here.
Now, as a bonus here’s an early RHCP interview with Flea and Anthony Kiedis from 1986.


Posted by Paul Gallagher
05:30 pm
LA Punks: A TV News investigation from 1983

In 1983, KTTV Channel 11 News aired a series of reports on Punk Rock and “punkers” in Los Angeles area. It’s a fascinating over-view of the West Coast Punk bands, people and fashions, though at times veers into self-parody, as reporter Chris Harris pitches his story with all the earnestness of an Alan Partridge, who thinks he’s uncovered a Pulitzer-winning scoop of teenage “violence, abuse and self-destruction”, only to find it’s all just a bit of fun.

Harris kicks off his 5-part investigation with a look at a riot in Mendiola’s Ballroom, explaining what happened and asking that always pertinent question:

“Did the police use excessive force?”

I think we know the answer to that. Three cheers then, for Harris as he states quite categorically that violence was the exception and not the norm with “punkers”.

Listening to some of these young people talk, one could almost imagine they were talking about current events and OWS, as they discuss hopes for change, and that “the world will get better.” Plus ca change…

The series includes rarely seen footage of many of LA’s punk bands, and has interviews the likes of Spit Stix and Lee Ving of Fear, Keith Morris of Circle Jerks, Nick Lamagna and Felix Alanis from RF7.
Also, look out for a young Flea, seen here just prior to his quitting Fear and joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The whole of the KTTV Channel 11 News investigation of Punk, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
03:06 pm