FINAL (?) THOUGHTS
Well, I must admit that my last post didn't quite elicit the kind of response that I hoped it would have (mainly the public lynching of Ken Shimamoto), but hey, it was a good try. But still, despite me having to resort to making the same claims and defenses over and over again let me clear a bit of the flatulence-laden air (some of it mine, some of it others) and maybe give the final word on this whole sordid affair.
To those who decided to ram themselves into the fray by making personal attacks on me, well, that's your problem I guess, but even though Scott Soriano and Dave Lang pretty much said the same things in their posts (Scott more rabidly than Dave, and repeatedly as well...and Scott, do you beat up retarded people often???) and I repeated my points about ten times as well, please let me clarify things once and for all by saying this (and saying it on my own turf where I am MASTER)...the entire gist of my previous post is not that I can't take "criticism"...have you people read all of the negative reviews of BLACK TO COMM over the years anyway?...it's just that there's a BIG DIFFERENCE between criticism and defamation, and when I'm called on the carpet, brought up before the tribunal etc. for such charges as being a nazi (though Shimamoto probably didn't mean that I don the brown shirt and storm the local synagogue, but deep in his heart he probably wishes I did) and held up as an example of a "bad man" (all the while seeing all of the hard work and money invested into my "creation" being poured down a rathole...after all, who wants to buy a magazine from a BIGOT?), how would you expect anyone with a sense of ever-dwindling pride to react anyway? Scott, I KNOW what you were trying to say and BELIEVE IT OR NOT I can see your point, only when it's being screamed at me like some drill sergeant at a buck private the message seems to get lost somewhere down the line. I've learned as a kid that the more someone yells at you the less you listen, and if I got some hard knocks because of that well too bad for me I guess! And hey Dave (and Karl), yes I KNOW that if I dish it out I have to "take it"...and I have been taking it longer than any of you out there would care to realize. Maybe all of these attacks against me just struck me at the wrong time in my "pathetic" life, maybe I was placed in a rampaging mood because these utter slams were done by people I had no qualms against and who in fact I had admired from afar, and most probably it was a combination of the two that got me into more of a fighting frame-of-mind. And with distributors either going out of business or refusing to touch BLACK TO COMM for their own reasons (which is OK for them, but makes things hard on me), and general readership dwindling more and more as the days go by (you can just hear the violins playing in the background!), why shouldn't I be angered, especially when people have to go and make accusations based on MY PRIVATE LIFE and draw all sorts of innuendo and conclusions acting all the while as if they knew about me more than I did myself.
If I have any apologizing to do, it would be to the readers of the Agony Shorthand blog for using foul language in my response to Soriano (I must keep things clean), not to mention the Next Big Thing one for trespassing into the Greg Shaw obit comment section notifying readers to check out my defense against Shimamoto (didn't know I was breaching any sort of weblog etiquette here, but that's my own stupidity I guess). Like I said, you don't hear this often from me, but "sorry."
But really, there is one thing I am totally disturbed about regarding this whole affair and that's Dave Lang's deleting of his anti-BTC/me posts. I'm sad not only because I knew these posts would eventually come to make Lang look like a bigger imbecile than he's already made himself out to be, but because occasionally I would go to those posts and read 'em for writing inspiration. Really!!! From now on you can expect some pretty lame scribing from me, and blame it all on Dave!!!!!
Another thing I'm sorry about is that both John Righter and J. Neo Marvin didn't weigh in with their comments! I may have said some snide things about Righter in the past because he seemed to jump to conclusions about me and my life (or at least he came off that way), but at least he seems to have a modicum of intelligence that would have been welcome (and just watch, he'll probably now come out with a totally negative appraisal of me!). As for Marvin, the man's a hoot. We could have used some of his levity injected into such a dire situation!
But like, do I really care once you get down to it??? I mean, I've been trashed, mashed, mangled, folded, spindled and mutilated by the best ones over the years, and yeah, I've really suffered sales-wise when Gerard Cosloy pulled his little tricks on me back in the late eighties. And at that time I thought that maybe the bad publicity would work for me, that sales would zoom out of control and BLACK TO COMM would be as big as FORCED EXPOSURE or even THE BIG TAKEOVER, sharing magazine rack space with the glossy rock mags and even being hailed as "the new CREEM!!!" Cosloy and Patrick Amory's attacks on me and the mag certainly put an end to that pipe dream and translated into poor sales and a snowballing of negative publicity for me that I still haven't recovered from. In fact, if you're petty enough like me you could "blame" Cosloy and Amory for the rabid, anti-social tone of the mag from the early-nineties onward if you so desire, or at least blame 'em in part! So maybe that's why I am so touchy, and Scott, you're not "paranoid" if there actually are people out there willing to ruin you and your magazine's reputation for whatever occult reasons they may have. So maybe that's why I try to keep my guard up now and go on the attack at the first whiff of anti-BTC bigotry. Being called a nazi, racist and all of those other unfounded claims may not seem like much, but they can lead to permanent damage as I've learned first hand (and Miriam Linna can also attest to that!). And hey, at one point I didn't mind being called any of those things mainly because these terms were being flung around so fast and so loosely that I thought they've lost all their meaning by now...I mean, how many politicians who are constantly bombarded with those tags really are what their enemies call them??? But I guess times change faster than I thought, or perhaps what doesn't stick to one person sticks to me plenty!
Expect something more light-hearted next go 'round. And Dave, I'm not going to delete the post I wrote about you despite your questionable action. It's the second best thing I've written all year and I already deleted the Agony Shorthand one, which was the first best thing (the jury's still out on my Shimamoto slam)!
Well, my Uncle Tib once told me that I'd get beaten to death if I kept popping off the way I do, and maybe this will be the closest I'll come to it. But I think I got more than a few good swings in myself.
Monday, October 25, 2004
FINAL (?) THOUGHTS
Friday, October 22, 2004
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
Yes, it keeps on happening. Someone I liked, someone I thought was a friend, a pal, a contributor, and a confidant has gone and turned on me faster'n you can say "Benedict Arnold," and if you're wondering just who this torn sphincter I'm talking about is it's none other than (onetime BLACK TO COMM fanboy, now beneath-contempt snivel) Ken Shimamoto, and you can read his grade-z sub-anal opinion of me right here (go to the 10/20/04 post and scroll down a bit after reading a lotta tiresome autobiographical spew). I must say that I was kind of curious as to what had happened to cause one-time pal Shimamoto to take a powder from the BLACK TO COMM camp, thinking that maybe the ol' rummy had once again fallen off the wagon and Signal Tenn'd himself out of commission for good but no, it seems as if Kenji's on the weblog kick just like the rest of us and by the way, he just hadda go and join in the choir along with ALL THE OTHER DOUCHEBAGS OUT THERE and proclaim that your humble scribe is "proudly racist/sexist/homophobic" as if this was the etched in stone and EVERYBODY knows it's true! I would have expected liver damage from you Kenny boy, but BRAIN damage????
I mean...whatta hunka turds! And what really gets my goat is that everybody with a gripe or a beef against me or the mag (I presumed it was because of a layout error that affected Shimamoto's Greg Shaw interview that appeared in issue #24 but I guess I was wrong) has to lay out an entire rant against me (and my beliefs) and distort them (or not know when the humor starts or stops...haven't you guys ever heard of satire???), and then prance away WITHOUT GIVING ANY SORT OF COHESIVE PROOF THAT I AM ANY OF THE THINGS I AM ACCUSED OF!!!! It used to not bother me, but the whole thing has gone out of control like a runaway truck that I gotta step in atop the fray and once and for all say ENOUGH!!!!! But despite my claims to the contrary these ad hominem attacks just a'keep on comin', with besotted jerks like Shimamoto saying all them nasty things about me then go running to hide behind mummy's skirt like a nice little jizbag! How typical! And what frosts my pumpkins is that here I am, a guy who gives VALUABLE SPACE in my mag and the time of day to people who seem all "gosh it" who have approached me and I've taken 'em under my wing and all that big brother give the neophyte a chance stuff WHEN I DIDN'T HAVE TO (hey Ken, say "hi" to Alan Licht for me!), and then they go around and STAB ME IN THE BACK and say all sorts of virtual UNTRUTHS (that's a nicer way of calling you unreconstructed rectums "liars") you KNOW they wouldn't say about all of their "heroes" and "idols" (like Lester Bangs or Richard Meltzer...them names sound familiar Kenny baby?) WHO WERE TEN TIMES WORSE'N ME 'N ON ALL COUNTS but get away with it because they're "hip" bigcity scribes with friends and influence and all I am is some suburban schmuck who's doing this for the FUN of it. Some fun, eh? Any way Kenny boy, did you ever think of giving Nick Tosches grief for his usage of terms like "jazz darkies' ape-like brains" not to mention calling Albert Goldman a "kike"? Oh yeah, he's a big name, well-published guy and all I am is some small-press peon who wouldn't even THINK of printing such bile!
I don't wanna rehash all of the tribunalistic charges that have been brought against me (besides, I thought I pretty much mopped up the floor with my defenses against noted pipsqueak Dave Lang [and no, I'm not going to link up manwithoutballs' site for you either!] and Jay "I haven't read an issue of BLACK TO COMM since 1997 but I can still run you down if I like" Hinman), but for the neophyte idiot out there let me say that I am not racist and I would like someone to give any concrete proof that I am! C'mon all you prissies out there, I dare you for once in your trust funded lives to point to something I said or wrote or printed that could in any way equal ANYTHING spewed by Robert Shelton or George Lincoln Rockwell. Or even popped off by one of your inbred uncles or aunts who got passed over for a promotion at the dung heap for that matter. You think that Jimi Hendrix comic which spoofed his love of white women was "racist"??? C'mon, NATIONAL LAMPOON woulda rejected that one as being too weak had it been submitted back in '74! What else is there...oh yeah, all of the reviews of black avant garde jazz artists and those Funkadelic albums which still give me joy and the like must PROVE that I'm a racist! Hey, how do whatever comments I may make (some of which I have changed my mind on, some which you know were just harmless jokes) rank with some of the ACCEPTED by the hip community racism you see in things like R. Crumb's ANGELFOOD McSPADE fercryinoutloud!!! I would never dare go to levels like that even though I'm the guy who thinks that a lotta things out there verboten to satire and spoofing sure could use it! How RIGHT I am Kenny boy, and you're lucky there are about ten states seperating you and me because if we were in the same room I'd tear you apart as if it were an outtake from DEADBEAT AT DAWN! Suck on that one awhile sunshine!
Point number two..."sexism"!!! Hoo boy, I kinda feel like I'm Archie Bunker and I just walked into that episode of ALL IN THE FAMILY where this uppity feminist type had a cardboard cut out of some Archie lookalike that was supposed to represent "the male chauvinist pig" making all sorts of baseless comments about "men" that men never could get away with making about women! I still wonder what all of these pointed attacks about me being "sexist" amount to anyway...is it because I know that the old style of family (y'know, OZZIE AND HARRIET, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and all that stuff Phil Donahue hates) is way superior to the modern "if it feels like a family it is one" anti-mentality? C'mon kiddies, why don't you give me some CONCRETE PROOF that I'm the antiquated ogre you all DREAM I am rather'n spout off your hip-de-la-hip screeds and sashay away! Afraid of changing my mind, or are you more afraid of your own preconceived notions being challenged???
And as for the grand old finale HOMOPHOBIC, well, when I see pure unadulterated idiots out there running solely on impulse having fun by living from orgasm to orgasm, all the while forcing people who don't want to believe in their views for whatever reasons they may have to ACCEPT THEM OR DIE, ransack churches (while getting a pat on the back from the media at large for doing so) and DEMAND cures for their specific diseases to take precedence over all others (while maladies affecting more people are relatively ignored because their "consituents" aren't politically correct enough), how would you expect me to feel? Especially when the same things continue on even to this day, with radical gays (who never do get called on the carpet unlike yours truly) celebrating the tenth anniversary of "Stop The Church" and all honest criticism of their lifestyles being squelched other than on (perhaps) so-called "hate" radio? You think I'm exactly gonna give in, sacrifice my views and opinions and join in that big march smiling in lockstep with the rest of the hip cause bandwagon jumpers? Hey, I said it before and I don't wanna say it again but I have no real beef with the "homosexual" (the world gave us some good ones, like Roy Cohn, Whittaker Chambers and Justin Raimondo), but the "gay" (with all the modernity that term implies, including all of the critiques I just laid out for you), well that's a different ball of wax entirely. It's like (I don't particularly wanna quote 'em now, but...) what NATIONAL REVIEW said when Cohn died; he may have slept with men, but he wasn't gay. Mull that one over for awhile, sweetie.
I dunno why I go on and on when I could be writing neat blogs about more important subjects like rock & roll (I mean, did KICKS and NEW ORDER have to put up with any of this guff???)...let me just say that JUST BECAUSE I DON'T KISS THE ASS OF THE HIGH GODS OF MULTICULTURALISM, FEMALE SUPREMACY AND GAY HEDONISM LIKE YOU DO DOESN'T MEAN I'M RACIST, SEXIST OR HOMOPHOBIC!!! Listen Shimamoto (and that lying little piece of smegma posting that bit about Miriam Linna not being racist but li'l ol' ME being another story entirely on the Bomp! website), you may have some sort of beef against me for a layout mistake on my part (which I apologized to you for, of course without any acknowledgement) or for whatever cockamammie reason you may want to concoct, but if you have anything you want to say about me why don't you have the GUTS to say it to my face rather'n go around behind my back calling me a buncha names because you think you won't be called on the carpet to "prove" your worthless claims! Well, I'm calling you right now...throwing down the gauntlet and DEMANDING you put up or shut up with regards to your fetid accusations! No hearsay, no half-baked excuses...I want REAL PROOF and not the 150 stuff you were probably swilling when you wrote that tripe.
And hey readers...I mean the honest-to-goodness true fans out there who enjoy BLACK TO COMM and the views expressed and the general fun and games I've been giving you for a long time, why don't you get up off your duffs and give Shimamoto a piece of your mind! I've been a bit miffed at some of you not coming to my defense when I could have used the reinforcements in past excursions against Lang and Hinman amongst other shites, so if you would pleasepleasePLEASE give ol' Chris a li'l hand and tell this evildoer exactly where to get off I really would appreciate it. I've always been more'n happy when you'd help me out in the past (and hey, I don't ask you for much!), but now's certainly not the time to waver! Just scroll up to the first paragraph, click on the underlined link, and KILL!!!!
And so now I find out just what happened...and Ken, I thought you were a fine fellow and true blue BLACK TO COMM fan, but now I know you're just another lower'n low turncoat on par with Cosloy, Lang, Hinman and the rest of the rectal rockets out there in build up/tear down land. And I HATE YOU for that...really, an agonizing death from cancer is too good for you (not to mention a night romancing a roomfulla Turkish sailors)! And while I'm at it (and listen up you other blogwads out there) your funeral is my party! Anyone daring to call me all of those beneath-contempt things thinking they're gonna get away with it ought to know better, but I guess you were way on a bender to realize otherwise. (By the way, do you imbibe around the grandkid???) And you have the unmitigated GALL to call me racist, sexist and homophobic...after all, it was YOU who wrote that stuff about black guys peeing on white women (article to be posted as soon as I dig it up) which even ol' I thought was well beyond the pale!!!
TWO-DAY-LATER ADDENDUM! This latest post hasn't caused quite as much a stir as I thought it would've, but if I may let me direct you to the Agony Shorthand site that's run by one Jay Hinman where this current internet donnybrook of mine is being covered. Hinman of course is the one who's said some rather putrid things about me as well as BLACK TO COMM a few months back (on the tail of Dave Lang's screech...or at least he pretty much said that he agreed with just about all of it), and his latest post dealing with the current brouhaha is, I must admit, an interesting overview of things even though the man doth exaggerate (I haven't been making references to him THAT MUCH...maybe he's the one who's paranoid!). Still, it seems that he wants to smoke the ol' peace pipe, and while I personally thought his olive-branch reaching out rather, er, condescending, I gotta give credit to a guy who really egged on a lotta the distortions and outright lies Lang had stated on his blog. However Jay, why would anyone want to write me telling me I'm an "OK guy" after Lang, Shimamoto and YOU have done your best to ruin my reputation? Still, the idiots keep on attacking both me and BLACK TO COMM via the comments box, and if you'd like to read the piece and even join in with your own pro-BTC opinions, just press here.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:23 PM
Thursday, October 21, 2004
As if I haven't had a bad time of it already. This hasn't been exactly a good week with a load of tension and some potentially bad news down the line, but the week ain't even over and here I find out that none other than Greg Shaw has passed away at the young for the 21st century age of 55. They say it was his pancreas or liver, but considering the stories I've heard about his health, who knows? At first I denied that the story (posted on www.nextbigthing.blogspot.com) was accurate...after all, there was a big rumor floating around back in the late eighties that Shaw was on his deathbed thanks to diabetes and I even mentioned it in passing in an early BTC and felt mighty foolish for doing so. Well, thankfully that one never came to pass but I guess this one has, and if you've ever considered yourself a fan, follower or just plain peruser of late-twentieth-century underground rockism this bitta news will come off as a downright shocker considering just how much of a godfather, mentor and general overseer Shaw had been to this entire rant and rave that has been going under a variety of names (all monikers ultimately translating into PUNK) for over 35 years awlready!
In case any of you youngster upstarts are in the dark as to just who this Greg Shaw fellow was, he was one of the architects, nay, creators of this whole balla wax called rock fandom that more than a few neophytes and well-traveled types have been dabbling in ever since the first rock fanzines began popping up on the scene way back when. Shaw was one of the first to do 'em (after a good seven or so years of Sci-Fi worship though he seemed embarrassed having me reprint the covers of some of his early efforts to illustrate an interview done with him printed in BLACK TO COMM #24 which is why I didn't) with the infamous MOJO NAVAGATOR, a '66-'67 affair covering the early San Francisco scene mingling between mid-sixties punk aggression and upstart hipster concerns, the mag thankfully petering out before the latter won over. Of course it was with WHO PUT THE BOMP a few years later that Shaw made his mark on the rock scene with a mimeo job that took all of the low-fidelity rant of Sci-Fi and Comic Book fanzines and channelled it into worship of forgotten fifties rockabilly and sixties punks leading the way for magazines the likes of THE NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS (of which Shaw was a contributor) and JAMZ (ditto) and perhaps even TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE if you want to stretch things a bit. I wouldn't call BOMP the archetype for the punk rock fanzines of the seventies (that was FLASH), but it sure set the stage for a lotta much-needed impetus like sixties garage-band praise (in a world when most thought the sixties punks from the Seeds to Stooges big jokes best forgotten in a world of singer-songwriters and the usual early-seventies culprits usually vililfied in the pages of BLACK TO COMM and a variety of similar-minded pubs), rockabilly rambunctiousness, surf historical overviews and, of course, groups who were continuing the punk tradition that far down the line (though at that time what was there other than Hot Poop?). And, like it or lump it but it was Shaw who really helped get all of that punkism that made the decade so appealing into gear. I gotta add that looking through those early issues it's kinda funny reading Shaw's want list asking for records and information re. a lotta acts most of you readers would consider well known, thanks to Shaw no doubt...like, at one time he actually thought the Sonics were from Texas!
At this time Shaw was the James Brown of rock criticism/fandom, not only putting out his own fanzine (which was improving in content and quality as time went on, with contributions from Bangs, Meltzer, Saunders and the best of the young gonzo brats) but editing the much-better-than-ROLLING STONE PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE and writing rather astute rock criticism for everyone from CREEM to STONE. Then of course there was Shaw's "Juke Box Jury" column in CREEM which blabbed on about the then-current 45s you could or could not hear on the radio...it's interesting reading Shaw's rather all-encompassing views on everything from West Coast hippie musings you'd'a thunk he hated (Eagles, Poco) to groups like the Flamin' Groovies and Roxy Music who according to Shaw were nothing but the best distillation of the early-Velvet Underground sound! You gotta say that even Shaw (who reportedly showed Jan Wenner the ropes, but not the noose!) was lucky enough to have had some pull with ROLLING STONE reviews editor Jon Landau, as his write-up of NUGGETS in a '72 issue was given the lead spot, something not exactly expected for a compilation of sixties rejects that had about as much to do with the average RS readership as soap and water.
Meanwhile, Shaw had become one of the leading lights of the underground rock scene, pushing the aforementioned Flamin' Groovies when nobody else cared (his activism ultimately led to their re-birth as late-seventies mod-punks with a string of winning albums on Sire), starting up his own label, and more or less becoming one of the leading lights of punk promotion with his Stooges/Weirdos etc. singles and a slew of records that at least gave unaware nimnuls like me an idea of what the pop side of the punk revolution was like. BOMP the fanzine was continuing on at a fine pace, not only going nicely slick a la TROUSER PRESS but leading the 'zine pack with in-depth coverage of the budding underground (plenty of reviews of the new bands both in the USA and afar), sixties garage rediscovery (tying the bands of the past and present pointing towards the future...very prophetic fellow that Shaw was!) and all the while acting as Mr. Nice Guy to just abour everybody he came across. He responded to most of my letters which I thought was cool considering how I was just starting out as a geekoid "rock critic" in the early-eighties, and believe-it-or-not but Shaw even thanked me for a live tape of local garage wannabes the 8-Balls (whose "Science Gone Too Far" single from the day is perhaps "the" forgotten early-eighties pop/punk masterpiece nobody seems to know about) when I sent him a hand-held cassette tape along with an interview taken from the pithy Youngstown State University student paper back in '81. With a whole slew of biggies either ignoring me or smashing my face into the dirt throughout my illustrious career it was great being treated like an "equal" by Shaw. A true gentleman all the way.
Shaw was pretty quiet after the seventies punks gave way to eighties fragmentation. Of course he was the prime mover behind the sixties revival throughout the eighties with not only his Voxx label offshoot and such ambitious albums as BATTLE OF THE GARAGES but who could forget his efforts to push the garage scene into overdrive as the owner and head-honcho of the short-lived Cavern Club in Los Angeles? However, Shaw never really did cozy up to the hardcore scene in El Lay and elsewhere for that matter (sitting on the first Black Flag record when it could have started the rage a few years earlier, something which earned Shaw a lotta derisive words in Joe Carducci's ROCK AND THE POP NARCOTIC)...come to think of it, he didn't seem to like a lotta post-seventies underground rock and remained silent with regards to newer trends, with perhaps a nice word for the Butthole Surfers or Spaceman 3 somewhere down the line in THE BOMP NEWSLETTER or even the infamous Bomp catalog where you could find a load of the kind of records people like me used to dream about. But that was cool...I find Shaw's disdain for a lotta latterday rock movements pretty much in gear with my own in many ways, since there was a very high level of energy and excitement that even a relatively tame band could have exuded in the seventies which few could have or would have cared to duplicate as the days went by.
I could go on about how I really flipped over the first issue of BOMP I came across via a trip to the Drome in Cleveland (actually it was the last issue, but eventually I got hold of most of 'em one way or another), or the excitement I got receiving my first Bomp! mailorder catalog with the Christmas insert featuring the group photo of Greg, ex-wife Suzy and fanzine/Frontier Records great Lisa Fancher amongst others where I FINALLY got to see a lotta records I wanted being made available to me for the first time, but maybe I tell you people a little too much about my private life only opening myself up to more ridicule. Fooey on that! Let's just say that Shaw was a biggie...as big as Roxon and Bangs and even bigger than Alan Betrock, and I can imagine the whole bunch of 'em on some clouds with wings and halos talking about the sixties and seventies and all the fun and games they had before everything had to be nicey nice and we all had to "get along." Well, it seems like more fun than writing about comparatively dull records by zilch-dimensional grooveless wonders like you see in most rock scribing these days, and Shaw, if you somehow can read what I'm writing here lemme say you deserve A BIG THANKS, so thanks!
THE SPOOKY PART...remember when I mentioned somewhere on this blog about when I was about ten or so I used to think that I could inadvertently cause harm or even death by buying a certain thing by a certain artist or read a certain thing by someone or listen to a certain record and then blam said artist is DEAD??? Well, would YOU consider it a "coincidence" that two days ago I got hold of a copy of Fancher's 1977 STREET LIFE fanzine with not only a Shaw interview but a nice love letter from Fancher herself saying how great it was that Shaw printed her first ever article in BOMP in 1975 (age 15), then last night I gabbed on the phone with Don Fellman and told him the story about the time Shaw was sweet-fifteen and none other than Forrest Ackerman began taking a romantic interest in him??? And then again in the mail today, I received without warning a copy of HIPSTERS QUARTERLY REVIEW courtesy Jeff Smith of FEMINIST BASEBALL fame which features an interview with Shaw! And now THIS. I don't consider myself overly superstitious if superstitious at all, but these happenings have me feeling a little creepy just like they would've back when I was a kid. Well, it's almost All Hallows Eve anyway, so who knows?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 8:57 PM
Sunday, October 17, 2004
WHAT WOULD SHEMP BOMB?
I dunno. I was having a perfectly happy day minding my own biz while scouring the competing blogs to see if anything nasty was being said about yours truly, and no sooner do I hit THE NEXT BIG THING blogspot (which never says anything nasty about me...in fact I like 'em and I think they like me!) that I come across this, all ready and rarin' to ruin my day worse'n had some bloghead written a nasty anti-BTC screed to help kill another hundred or so sales! Well, not quite totally ruin it, but things like calculated chic sloganeering civil disobedience (especially when espoused by someone who should know better) does make for a nice premise for today's post which, for a change, rambles away from the usual music and gulcheral concerns that this writer and BLOG TO COMM are best known for.
Listen, I like the idea of peace. I even think there should be more of it in this world and as soon as possible, but the abstract concepts regarding peace and non-violence being touted about today just come off as altruistic jive when they sweetly flow from the lips of notorious con-men and a wide variety of socialist useful idiots. I mean, given the track record of the professional peaceniks out there with their cloying slogans you can see on freeway blogger and elsewhere ("War is not good for children and other living things"...gee, that's enough to make me wanna napalm an entire village of crippled orphans!), not forgetting their often unchecked streaks of vandalism, I almost feel like going out there and campaigning for faux-Republican George W. Bush given the appalling credentials of his sworn enemies!
At least there was a time when the (twentieth-century) Republicans were the Peace Party and the Democrats certainly weren't. It wouldn't be surprising, since if anything, war is one way to expand government control over every facet of life out there as the power-hungry Abraham Lincoln discovered and William McKinley (a Republican, but we're still talking nineteenth-century!), Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson perfected (I'll give Nixon a break here...after all, he inherited the mess!). All of 'em were war presidents and all of 'em used war to make themselves and their offices more powerful. Despite all of the movies and TV shows showing Abraham Lincoln to be a warm and witty folksy guy straight out of the Will Rogers/Andy Griffith playbook, he sure knew how to lock up Southern sympathizers and throw away the key. Wilson had people cheering him at the 1916 convention promising no American involvement in World War I, who fortunately saw the error of their ways and eventually helped give rise to the anti-war/government movements that helped pushed Barry Goldwater (who was pretty hawkish himself, but probably would have been much more prudent in how to wield his power had be not been trounced in '64) to the forefront of the Republican party at the expense of a lotta country club snoots no less. As for the beloved FDR, he sure knew how to put the screws on businesses and politicians who got in his way and later on threw all of the West Coast Japanese into concentration camps much to the joy of a lotta yes-men out there. (According to the book LEFTISM REVISITED, Roosevelt was presented with the tailbone of a Japanese soldier killed at the Battle of Midway, which he gladly accepted!) And hate to tell you Democrats out there this, but George W. Bush is more or less carrying out that great tradition of your party., the one you don't always like to talk about (mainly war) along with that other great tradition that you love to blab about all over the place (expanding government even more than LBJ coulda dreamed of...but at least he cuts a nice swath with the lumpen anti-left so I guess he can get away with it without being seriously challenged).
Now, I can't see exactly how some right wingers would actually wanna go out and support John Kerry or Ted Rall like a few are doing, as if Mr. Atrocity himself stands for anything remarkably different than what's happenin' now. If anything, things will remain the same no matter who's in there, though as Russell "CAN'T BUY A THRILL" Desmond told me, the only difference between the two at this point is that Bush won't raise taxes. Good point, but I won't hold my breath.
Then again, the professional antiwar types are laden with contradictions themselves. First off they keep talking about absolute freedoms regarding a variety of cool causes, as long as these freedoms are copasetic with their own ideals of a world where everyone is happy and marching in lockstep with their Great Leader smiling in approval. No need to tell you all about the violence these acknowledged pacifists love to revel in against people whose freedom to stick up for their candidate is certainly being abridged, and without any sort of meaningful, deservedly humiliating chastisement I should add. And then again, when there's a war that suits the professional peaceniks' purposes you can bet your bottom dollar that these acknowledged pacifist types are gonna be all for it! Like they were with the Spanish Civil War, that great attempt by the communists and their lackeys to overtake the Iberian peninsula in the name of "the people" using every cockamammie excuse in the book ("Oh, but the entire country was disproportionately filled with priests and nuns!!!" Yeah, and have you ever counted the rabbis in Israel??? I mean, what would you have expected in pre-free immigration Spain, a nation brimming fulla Swedenborgians?????) And people think I'm a hypocrite! Yeah, you can be free not to own weaponry and rely on the police (right, even though the left hates 'em just for what cops are even if these peace officers aren't club-swinging thugs!). You can be free to espouse your own political beliefs if you like, but since yours are beyond the pale don't complain when you get beat up or your car gets keyed. It's everything to pop off your opinions on the current war if you're a demagogue socialist-type like Michael Moore (who is allowed to do what he wants and I understand has more than a few points you can't deny are worth listening to, but when it's wrapped up in that hip-even-NEWER-left smarm it comes off like just another one of his massive bowel movements) but just try letting Mel Gibson make a movie reflecting his religious beliefs without jumping to a lotta conclusions that you KNOW are never gonna happen! Wow, what open-minded, all-encompassing idealists these starry-eyes are. Too bad there aren't enough ice-picks to go around, or enough Trotskys for that matter!
And yeah, either alternative leaves more'n a lot to be desired (didja see how some of the Republicans were phoning up gullible boobs tellin' 'em how the Dems were gonna confiscate their bibles???) and having a president who is about as liberal as John Kennedy somehow be the standard-bearer of the right (especially when there are serious anti-left purveyors of useful ideas out there like Justin Raimondo, Ron Paul, and Pat Buchanan, all of whom happen to be solidly antiwar in the Old Right tradition) only goes to show you just how far left the left has gone, with the current "right" wigglin' somewhere in what used to be the middle. In either case, the right wing as it stands today is more or less like the Republicans in the wake of FDR (people forget just how much of a Democrat Ike, and for that matter Gerald Ford really were!) while the Democrats are shoveling the same old same old at ya which all of the professional prole types are gonna cheer on, at least until they get tired of Kerry and berate him for not going socialist enough just like they did with Carter. It's a losing proposition either way. As for me, I'm gonna let Paul Craig Roberts and not Michael Moore speak for me as far as my antiwar concerns go, and if I do decide to get up from under the bed to vote November 2 I won't waste my "power" (hah!) pulling either the "D" or "R" tab...I'll give a well-deserved vote to whoever's running on the Constitution Party ticket, or maybe the Libertarians if I so desire or even Ralph Nader if he makes it to Pennsylvania (well, Pat Buchanan sorta likes him and I gotta admit he'd make a better choice than either of the biggies if only because I don't think he'll have the energy or mandate to pull off some of his wilder ideas). But as it stands, either way it don't look good...on one hand seeing Bush get four more years is gonna alienate anyone from pursuing more anti-government, anti-interventionist and libertarian-right movements within the establishment (like I said, during the seventies libertarianism was poised to be the dominant theory of the right wing, only it hadda've been taken over by the feely-good paternalistic types out there!) and on the other, with Kerry in place all of those mouth-frothing Stalinist mind-clampers are gonna be running rampant tearing down every aspect of real free thought (if you thought that campus leftists confiscating newspapers of opposing opinions and publicly harassing political enemies in the nineties was bad, just you wait and see what's gonna happen once these same nimnuls get a foothold!). I only wonder how many more people are going to be beat up and automobiles damaged before its all over. And I also wonder just how long a fellow can live under a bed! Maybe I should do what William Shakespeare did when things were getting too hot and violent in London for his own tastes...mainly scrambootch to the woods and cool off for the rest of my life. I'll tell ya, it makes for a much better choice'n to play into any of the "options" we have to look forward to!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 3:38 PM
Thursday, October 14, 2004
King Arthur's Quart-LIVE AT ALLEN JR. HIGH CD (Sin, PO Box 782, Tujunga CA 91043)
I was under the impression this was a brand-spankin' new release (available only through the mail), but since Rudi Protrudi's liner notes (yes, that Rudi Protrudi!) were written in 2000 I guess this one's been around the block a few times already! Either way, it's a mad gas (as they used to say), a recording of the future Tinapeel/Fuzztones leader's mid-sixties high school band in all its NUGGETS glory romping through the typical best moments of the 1966 do-it-or-DIE! catalog ("Psychotic Reaction," "Hey Joe," "Louie Louie"...) for an entire gymfulla kids who looked even squarer'n these bozos did! Protrudi's not the singer here, that "honor" belonging to some whacked-out kid named Bigler Brant who was eventually carted off to a group therapy session with Roky Erickson, Sky Saxon, Syd Barrett and Skip Spence, and he sorta whines the lyrics atonally sounding like a lovesick twelve-year-old who just discovered a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula gal issue. Guitarist Prodtrudi and band back Bigler up in more than ample fashion, doing their best to transcend the one-note organ and rudimentary guitar playing yet still coming off like the fine doofuses they were! If anything, King Arthur's Quart were thee (no sic) definitive mid-sixties garage band as defined by Alan Betrock in JAMZ #3...y'know, the ones that worked up a sweat (or at least tried to) with the lead singer way out front trying to emulate Mick Whazizname while shaking tambourines and maracas while the organist had one hand on the keys pecking out a simple line as the guitar whined on and the bassist and drummer tried to keep it all together.
As an added bonus there's a track from the post-King Arthur's Quart group Rigor Mortis, who were more into the late-sixties "underground" style as defined by the likes of the Fugs and Velvet Underground complete with the outrageous dirtiness of the former and the jaded decadence of the latter (they did songs with titles like "Crotch Rot" and "Penis Between Us," later made famous by Tinapeel). On this track (an original called "Bandit") Bigler has already been committed, replaced by Craig Stouffer who could actually SING but don't hold that against him! Rigor Mortis sound like the aforementioned Fugs doing "I Couldn't Get High" with a few airs of hard-guitar heaviness thrown in...coulda used a lot more of 'em here, since this CD is a shortie and padding would have helped!
A great CD, not only because somebody famous (at least as much as a person could have been famous in eighties garage revival circles) was in the group, but because this stuff encapsulates just what was so fantab about general pre-hippie peace and love gulcher back when it seemed as if everything from TV shows to food products and records was aimed at some 15-year-old pimple-farm of a pot-bellied consumer! Sure beats caterin' to some gal with ironed-straight hair and fashion sense copped from a Melanie album cover, that's for sure.
So a WORD TO THE WISE to whoever's putting any archival CDs of lost material like this out...KEEP IT UP! We need more of this whether it be sixties basement splatter or Exploding Plastic Inevitable wannbes making the best racket one could get out of their Stratocaster copies. I wanna hear it all. Not only because it sounds great and was done before garage consciousness became an all-important catch-phrase or someone famous was involved, but because no matter what, you know it's gonna make more sense than all of the current sub-energy rants this stuff ultimately LED TO!!! (And a note to Sin Records...how about releasing something from local proto-punk heroes the Ratz, mentioned in BACK DOOR MAN as Tujunga's answer to the Velvet Underground!)
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 8:04 PM
Sunday, October 10, 2004
NOTHING LIKE A GANG-REVIEW (TO PASS THE TIME AWAY)
Hi readers. Rather than wait until the next BLACK TO COMM, due sometime in 2100 or so to come out, I'm gonna piecemeal reviews of a number of previously-unreviewed items in order to keep the size of the next ish down to maybe 200, 300 pages. That is, if a next one ever comes out, but you, dear reader, can do your best in order to see that one does materialize by buying up the current as well as back issues of BLACK TO COMM with a frightening regularity just so's I'll have the capital to put out another one of these monstrosities! Just check out my back issue posting from July 31st for more information and remember, the more you buy, the faster the next one makes it to your door!
Anyway, here are some new and maybe not-so items that have graced my laser-light as of the past few days/weeks/months, and I'm sure there will be something of interest in here to capture your attention, even if it is for only a few nanoseconds...
Homestead & Wolfe-OUR TIMES CD (Anopheles, PO Box 170045, San Francisco CA 94117)-What the hippydippy's going on here??? Anopheles, the same label that gave us the Twinkeyz and Debris, have now gone whole hog (well, maybe only half-hog) into seventies "relevant" music that comes off about as dated as a GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW comic book, not to mention a BILLY JACK/BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN/SOLDIER BLUE triple bill playing at the Peace Palace. Some guy from early-sixties surf act the Ripchords goes to seminary school, grows his hair, and puts together a hippie/folk/Christian hootenanny band with some equally liberated parishioners doing numbers about the massacre at Wounded Knee ("See The Children Die") and Richard Nixon ("Your Freedom's In Question") that'll make you wanna join the cavalry and plaster Spiro Agnew posters all over your abode. Believe-you-me, I hadda live through that era when this stuff was being force-fed down us gullible kiddies' throats and you couldn't even watch a bloody YOGI BEAR or POPEYE cartoon without getting some peace and love message straight outta the Woodstock handbook crammed into it! If you wanna know why I'm the way I am, just give this platter a listen! Hopefully Anopheles will wize up on their next offering and return us to the golden days of proto-punk (Twinkeyz, Debris) and forget all about this hootenanny nabobism that Homestead & Wolfe ooze from their all-natural pores.
Stiv Bators-DISCONNECTED CD (Bomp, PO Box 7112, Burbank, CA 91510)-Sad to say, but I just haven't been listening to as much Ohio rock as I should be given how just about every nimnul with a computer out there thinks I'm some sorta big Ohio music expert or something. And that includes Ohio pop as well as punk...believe me, I haven't had the desire to listen to just about anything that has come out of that sainted state 'cept for a number of review items here and there not to mention a few once-in-awhile goodies like Rocket From the Tombs, and I've been so lethargic over the entire area that I've even neglected to buy the new Blue Ash (see PHFUDD! #7, if you can) 2-CD set that has come out recently which must PROVE what a lazybones I am with regards to a sound and an area that I've been hopping up and down and cheerleading all over the place about as long as I can remember.
So here comes this CD of Stiv Bators' debut solo trip entitled DISCONNECTED, a special edition thingie as well with added bonus tracks and a whole slew of goodies including new booklet notes and tracks and things like that to lure in the dummies who already bought the original version ten years back! And for a guy who hasn't listened to this CD or any Ohio sixties-pop for well on a decade, it sure did bring back memories. Stiv goes teenage idle (no sic) here, with that patented Cleveland pop sound that started with the Choir and developed full-throttle with the Raspberries and a slew of bands in their wake (Circus and Freeport amongst 'em) that had everyone from Greg Shaw to A*******a P******s yellin' NEW LIVERPOOL from here to Stow. It is convincing, enough so that not only did the local FM AOR station plug this about as much as they could to the sopor minds they were caterin' to (complete with geek FM disc jockey Thomas John braggin' about how he was gonne ba "hanging out" with Stiv that weekend and all!), but when a local shoe store needed a version of "It's Cold Outside" (inexplicably not here like it shoulda been!) for a television commercial, Stiv's take was used over the original!
But enough reminiscences, DISCONNECTED is a nice spin back to what Youngstown was probably like back when the Pied Pipers, Human Beinz and all of those great British wannabes were playing high school gyms during the best time in the history of this earth for what used to be known as "youth." Nice, snappy pop with enough energy in it to save it from going the Climax route (they of Sonny Geraci and Outsiders fame who hit in '71 with "Precious and Few," which wasn't quite as sappy as everybody made it to be!), and once you start worryin' Bators throws in just enough punk rock to show you he was still sicko all the way.
Zuno Keisatsu-TITLE IN JAPANESE (that's not the actual title, I just can't read it!) CD (Invitation, Japan)
Having conquered just about all of the proto-punk information and recordings that I could hope to scarf up elsewhere, this Alexander the Great of rock & roll has gone in search of other worlds to conquer, mainly that of the Land of the Rising Garage Band. I always had the suspicion that there must have been some interesting proto-punk attack going on there despite the fact that Japan seems to be the ultimate march-in-lockstep gulcher one could imagine...I mean, in a world where kids go to school all year 'round and have to wear uniforms (cute on the gals but the boys look faggy!) and things cost so much that one can only afford to buy maybe one recording a month if very lucky, just how can an Ameriganized trash aesthetic take root?
Well, such an aesthetic has, because Japan's got enough of its share of maddening high-energy (and maybe not-so, but I don't care cuz they're so good!) groups these days that, like I said, makes me wanna take the first plane to Tokyo to see a whole buncha these bands playing in maybe not-so-cultured clubs. You've read about 'em in this blog before, groups with monikers like LSD March, Doodles, Nagisa Ni Te, and of course the granddaddy of 'em all Les Rallizes Denudes. These groups are perhaps some of the most interesting ones on the planet in this day and age that I can think of ('cept from Denudes, that is), and the best thing about 'em is that they aren't superficial stylists without the dimension and depth of the original groups like the new generation of underground spew tend to be, but have that energy, verve, passion and power that got me so obsessed over groups like the Velvet Underground, Styrenes and Flamin' Groovies in the first place!
Anyway, Zuno Keisatsu (Japanese for "Brain Police"), like Les Rallizes Denudes, are part of that great pre-mid-seventies swell of local underground talent that didn't quite know where to go until fanzines and on-target rock writers began networking things in a few years time. However, unlike such similarly-minded types as Umela Hmota, these guys actually put out a slew of albums in the seventies, broke up by '75, then got together for a reunion CD and tour in the early-nineties. Originally a duo featuring teenage-y heart throb Panta on guitar and vocals plus Toshi on bongos, this "anarchist folk-punk" aggregation started life as a Tyrannosaurus Rex clone releasing their debut (with one of the weirdest insert sleeves ever) on some small independent label before graduating to Japanese MCA for a series of albums.
This is their second offering which comes in a great sleeve showing Panta and Toshi posing in front of some brick edifice...really nice early-seventies bargain-bin cheapness sorta like the kind Kama Sutra indulged in. Musically this shows us just how far Zuno Keisatsu has evolved from their Tyrannosaurus Rex roots...by now, these guys have gone the full group blast into T. Rex terrain and in the process put out an album that, like ELECTRIC WARRIOR, proves that there was still room for rock with the "& roll" firmly in place even that late in the youth consciousness game.
However, unlike Marc Bolan's woodlands bopparoo, Panta just hadda fall face down into the mire of KYU SAKAMOTO balladeering. Never mind that even the rockinger of the tracks here aren't exactly high energy (more or less mid-level), but there tends to be a mellowness here that reflects something about the Japanese pop mindset that's foreign to my pinned-back ears. It's pleasant enough, but if I wanted more of that stuff all I'd have to do is listen to WSOM-AM in Salem Ohio which plays all of those sappy fifties/sixties/seventies hits like the kind you used to hear as a kid being played between the good stuff. And although this one attempts to be the Japanese ELECTRIC WARRIOR (with actual revolutionary lyrics I am told), it tends to fail as far as any high energy jamz go.
For an eyefulla Zuno Keisatsu, try to get hold of GENYA CONCERT (available through Eclipse), a two-CD box set reissue of some early-seventies Japanese mudfest (the only worthwhile stuff besides Zuno Keisatsu being Lost Aaraaff, Keiji Haino's avant garde jazz band) which contains a DVD of some cheap b&w film made of Panta and Toshi (and nobody else!) acoustic guitarring and bongoing away at the festival. It's interesting to see the group operating as an obviously Bolan-esque duo (though the tunes on GENYA CONCERT are mighty thin-sounding) even though you have to sit through not only some of the most amateurish camera work imaginable but a whole buncha naked hippies doing the bunny-hop during Keisatsu's set. Also noteworthy of mention is the fact that longtime Japanese underground figure Hiroshi Nar, who also played in a version of Les Rallizes Denudes, was a one-time member of Zuno Keisatsu. There are a whole bunch of Nar recordings available through Eclipse including these nicely-packaged three-inch CDs with neat color covers and recordings dating from the mid-sixties (a particularly garbled take of "The Times They Are A' Changin'") up through the early and mid-seventies punk days on, and you can believe all are highly-recommended for not only the serious students of Japanese punkism but mad fans of the form as well. Also worthy of your lucre are some of Nar's more-current wares such as the Jokers CD (his band with Toshi on drums!) and maybe Port Cuss, not to mention the limited bootleg series of CD-Rs with either Kazuo and Youji or Nishinihon backing him up. However, whatever you do, avoid the "legitimate" reissue of the HIROSHI NAR WITH NISHINIHON CD because it's a real bad job released by a sniveling opportunist bandwagon-jumper and it's a lousy, expensive deal at that!
One more thing...hefty thanks to BLACK TO COMM reader Matthew Pellaggi who got me a copy of this one in exchange for the latest issue of BLACK TO COMM. Hope the magazine got to you safely, please write!
Michael Yonkers-13 YONKERS CD (Empath)
I wasn't overly excited, if excited at all, by the recent Michael Yonkers Band LP that got more than a few pointy-heads all hot and bothered just like their spiritual hippie forefathers were yapping all over the place about that MUSIC OF BULGARIA album back in 1965, but this new release (where Yonkers is backed by a Michael James, a name which sounds familiar, who also wrote all the songs and produced) is pretty good. Imagine a mad atonal guitar screech (sorta like the kind a lotta those late-sixties wah-wah'd out bands who sounded like the early Stooges but never heard of 'em perfected) and gruff vocals playing what could only be described as the weirdest offspring of early-seventies heavy rock and late-seventies punk...or maybe a late-seventies punk band trying to gross their audience out playing early-seventies hard rock or an early-seventies hard rock band trying to gross their audience out playing punk. Either way it's a surprise, and I actually like it a tad more than the original thing!
The Troggs-ARCHAEOLOGY 3-CD set (Fontana UK)
They're BETTER than the Kinks! I gotta say that I never really cozied up to the Kinks despite having purchased a copy of the "Sunny Afternoon" single at a flea market age 13 and lusting over the cover of THE KINKS GREATEST HITS at the record shop at the same time, but having seen Ray Davies and company kinda devolve into elder statesmen of ever-boring and aging hipster concerns in the late-seventies dimmed my opinion about them to (almost) the point of no return. (I know this is sacreligious to the hoardes of Kinks fans and BLOG TO COMM readers who have sworn by Davies and co.'s music and image for well over four decades, but for me the Kinks were to the late-seventies just what the Who and Stones were...mainly TOO BIG FOR THEIR BRITCHES!!!) The Troggs were another thing entirely...throughout their career they remained a buncha bricklaying louts which is what made 'em so wonderful...while their countrymen were playing big halls and appearing on TV acting out the patented seventies rock star roles handed down to them, the Troggs were playing Max's Kansas City and continuing on as just another rock & roll group to come down the pike and not get swell-headed about it. Now don't get me wrong, I love success; in fact, I wish I'd see a little of it myself, but I can't stand seeing once-interesting rock & rollers all of a sudden put on airs of Jackie Kennedy-ness appearing at Studio 54 with the rest of the mightier-than-thous who forgot all about us peons back on the farm from whence these demigods have come. Ooooh!
Anyway, here are two discs filled with the best moments of Trogglodynamism, almost but not quite a dupe of the perennial late-seventies bargain-bin 2-LP Sire set with Ken Barnes liner notes (oddly enough, he also does 'em here!) but with a lotta the newies that didn't make it to the Sire one like "Good Vibrations" (which was a great departure from the original take just like Sparks' "I Want To Hold Your Hand"!) and the single side of "Summertime" which has this spidery acoustic guitar line and's more sublime than the oft-heard Max's version! Then again this also includes an extra disc with the famous "Troggs Tapes" showing the boys in full bloom cursing each other out while trying to record a song called "Tranquility"! A very good collection of Troggs tracks that I tried weaseling out of Phonogram "for reviewing purposes" when it came out in 1992 (hear that Tom???), but better late than never is what I say even though it woulda made a HUMONGOUS impact had I heard it age 13. As you probably would have guessed already.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 2:54 PM
Friday, October 08, 2004
A BARGAIN AT ANY PRICE!
Any reader, Czech or otherwise, who can get hold of a copy of the Umela Hmota sampler/collection released last year on Globus International for me will get his choice of any or all BLACK TO COMM back issues that are available. First one to write in with a definite positive gets the mags.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:30 PM
Thursday, October 07, 2004
CHRIS' ALL-TIME TOTALLY OBJECTIVE (HAH!) "BEST OF" LIST TO PUT ALL THE OTHER "BEST OF" LISTS YOU'VE SEEN OVER THE PAST TWENTY YEARS TO SHAME!!!
BEST ROCK & ROLL GROUP (fifties division)-Link Wray and his Raymen
BEST ROCK & ROLL GROUP (sixties division)-Velvet Underground
BEST ROCK & ROLL GROUP (seventies division)-Stooges
BEST ROCK & ROLL GROUP (eighties division)-MX-80 Sound
BEST MALE VOCALIST (fifties division)-Elvis Presley
BEST MALE VOCALIST (sixties division)-Gerry Roslie
BEST MALE VOCALIST (seventies division)-Iggy
BEST MALE VOCALIST (eighties division)-Von Lmo
BEST FEMALE VOCALIST (fifties division)-Janis Martin
BEST FEMALE VOCALIST (sixties division)-Yoko Ono
BEST FEMALE VOCALIST (seventies division)-Annisette
BEST FEMALE VOCALIST (eighties division)-Iolsa Hatt
BEST GUITARIST (fifties division)-Link Wray
BEST GUITARIST (sixties division)-Lou Reed
BEST GUITARIST (seventies division)-Bruce Anderson
BEST GUITARIST (eighties division)-Von Lmo
BEST ROCK & ROLL ALBUM (fifties division)-THE FABULOUS WAILERS
BEST ROCK & ROLL ALBUM (sixties division)-THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO
BEST ROCK & ROLL ALBUM (seventies division)-NO NEW YORK
BEST ROCK & ROLL ALBUM (eighties division)-Von Lmo-FUTURE LANGUAGE
BEST ROCK & ROLL SINGLE (fifties division)-Link Wray-"Rumble"/"The Swag"
BEST ROCK & ROLL SINGLE (sixties division)-MC5-"Looking At You"/"Borderline"
BEST ROCK & ROLL SINGLE (seventies division)-Pere Ubu-"Heart of Darkness"/"Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo"
BEST ROCK & ROLL SINGLE (eighties division)-any Halo of Flies (you can see my obvious disgust growing as the high-energy seventies morph into the dull and staid eighties/nineties/oh-ohs...still, Halo of Flies were the kings of the eighties underground rock singles bands!)
BEST ROCK & ROLL WRITER (sixties division)-Wayne McGuire
BEST ROCK & ROLL WRITER (seventies division)-Miriam Linna
BEST ROCK & ROLL WRITER (eighties division)-Byron Coley
BEST ROCK & ROLL WRITER (nineties division)-Tim Ellison
BEST ROCK & ROLL FANZINE (seventies division)-DENIM DELINQUENT
BEST ROCK & ROLL FANZINE (eighties division)-KICKS
BEST ROCK & ROLL FANZINE (nineties division)-BREAKFAST WITHOUT MEAT*
BEST ROCK & ROLL FANZINE-CIRCUIT WRITER (seventies division)-Kenne Highland
BEST ROCK & ROLL FANZINE-CIRCUIT WRITER (eighties division)-Bill Shute
BEST ROCK & ROLL FANZINE-CIRCUIT WRITER (nineties division)-Grady Runyan
BEST ROCK & ROLL MANAGER-Danny Fields
BEST ROCK & ROLL RENAISSANCE MAN-Lenny Kaye
BEST ROCK & ROLL BOOK (sixties division)-THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ROCK-Lillian Roxon
BEST ROCK & ROLL BOOK (seventies division)-THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK-Richard Meltzer
BEST ROCK & ROLL BOOK (eighties division)-LIPSTICK TRACES-Greil Marcus**
BEST ROCK & ROLL BOOK (nineties division)-ROCK AND THE POP NARCOTIC-Joe Carducci
BEST ROCK & ROLL AESTHETE-Eno pre-1976
BEST ROCK & ROLL INTELLECTUAL-Russell Desmond
BEST ROCK & ROLL RADICAL-Mick Farren
BEST ROCK & ROLL SAVANT-Wild Man Fisher
BEST ROCK & ROLL SELF-PROMOTER-Eddie Flowers
BEST BLOG-CLICK HERE FOR THE ANSWER (fooled you, didn't I?)
*OK, this, like some other entries here, might be considered on the cusp of various decade-ish trends and not really indicative of the entire ten-year nineties timespan per se, but considering how the nineties were a pretty lean era as far as rock & roll fanzines go (despite being a decade where fanzines of all stripes began to proliferate and even be acknowledge as important to their causes by mainstream writers), there weren't that many of 'em on the market, sad to say. Still, I would call BREAKFAST WITHOUT MEAT the most, if not one of the most important nineties fanzines even though it, like eighties winner KICKS, was pretty much a 1980's baby!
**This is obviously a joke...frankly, I can't think of any good rock & roll books to have come out of that sorry decade!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:58 AM
Sunday, October 03, 2004
Monoshock-WALK TO THE FIRE CD (Blackjack, 663 10th St., Oakland CA 94607, or try Eclipse, not to mention the usual outlets like Bomp! who sell these things)
Monoshock-RUNNIN' APE-LIKE FROM THE BACKWARDS SUPERMAN: 1989-1995 CD (S-S Records, 1114-21st St., Sacramento CA 95814)
Let's face it, the nineties weren't all they were cracked up to be. Oh yeah, I know a few of you out there will say that they were a vast improvement over the eighties with punk rock suddenly going full-blast and even heavy metal making some noise we could all appreciate (that is, if you thought Alice in Chains were the ultimate in heavy metal jamz), but I thought of 'em as an even more downward spiral started when the energy and verve of the seventies (the good seventies mind you) became prostituted to loads of subpar trash that some were stupid enough to believe was an evolutionary step upwards from all of that promise the previous two decades held. But I don't wanna re-rehash things here...just take a gander at yesterday's post for more'n a gist of what I'm tryin' to say here.
So when it comes to the nineties (and the oh-ohs for that matter), it was stuff like Monoshock that at least made them years more or less a bit more bearable in the wake of Nirvana and a lotta their grunge brethren that always came off like the derivative shuck they most certainly were. In a decade that paid lip service to high energy, Monoshock were high energy without the sociology major attitude that plagued (and continues to plague) way too many musical aggregations out there. Rock & roll stripped of forty years of self-consciousness. Lemme tell you, it was a relief to get an earfulla Monoshock back then especially when the competition seemed to be decaying right before my very eyes.
WALK TO THE FIRE was Monoshock's first and only album, a two-disc affair at that which had me salivating upon first listen and made such a shovel-to-the-head smashing IMPRESSION that I actually gave this one the lead review slot in BLACK TO COMM #22 back in 1997. Well, I guess it's now available as a CD (maybe it was then, I don't remember), and you can read that review over by yourself if you like rather'n have me explain to you again and again as to what a nice set that was, a real hard-thump of noise rock that seemed in-place with what the nineties were giving us on one hand, yet too good for them years or the doofuses who populated the "hip" underground enclaves writing reams about every cheap piece of alternative/indie goop to come down the line in order to be "with it." That review of mine was such a wowzer that I feel that I should quote at least one juicy part of it, which'll maybe give you a taste so's you'll go out and buy yourself a copy:
"Imagine a not-so-standardized rock & roll band (guitar, bass guitar, bass bugle, saxophone, drums, percussion and "vox") taking up four sides of vinyl trying to re-enact THE PARABLE OF ARABLE LAND with hefty references snatched from early Hawkwind, early Black Sabbath, FUNHOUSE-period Stooges, RADIO ETHIOPIA-period Patti Smith, Ohr-period Guru Guru and just about everything cool that has gone down in the past 40 years of rock & roll gulcher. Or is that the entire history of the Western World."
Need any more excuses (not) to buy it?
RUNNIN' APE-LIKE is a collection of single/ep sides, comp tracks and a few unreleased things tossed in in order to rope a few nimnuls who think they already have it all on rekkids anyway. Actually, I prefer this one to WALK TO THE FIRE which may prove that Monoshock were a singles band more than anything. The songs are more driving if you can believe that and at times show a mad glint of avant garde pop that seemed to be lacking in most nineties music. From neat covers which also happen to reflect Monoshock's influences(Hawkwind, Radio Birdman and Mirrors) to over-the-top originals, you can't miss with this truly cult classic that may do for early/mid-nineties underground reference points what the Cleveland underground groups did for the early/mid-seventies! Personal fave, the electronic gutter-burst of "Psychedeic Warlords" which is strange because I think when I first heard it the song didn't make any great impression on me, or at least enough of an impression to warrant me wanting to play it again. Just goes to show you something, but even at this point I'm not sure what exactly that is!
Oh, and did I tell you I caught a riff swiped from the Gizmos' "Chicken Queen" (though they swiped it from RAW POWER)???
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:45 PM
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Chi-Pig-MIAMI CD (Chi-Pig, 2301 Parker Road, Akron, OH 44313)
Chi-Pig sure dredge up a lotta memories of my fanatical late-seventies/early-eighties Akron/Cleveland underground appreciation days back when there was something else for me to get all obsessive/compulsive about (and believe-you-me, the seventies were an obsessive/compulsive decade starting with comic strips/books all the way through movies, TV, rock, jazz, oriental gals...). Hearing Chi-Pig on the infamous Stiff Records AKRON COMPILATION was an eye-opening revelation, and finding their "Bountiful Living"/"Ring Around The Collar" single at the Record Exchange (the same store Miriam Linna used to espy for inexpensive vinyl wonderments) on the same day I went to the Kent Creative Arts Festival to see the Styrenes and Daevid Allen was just a nice cherry on top of a whipped-cream and hot fudge sundae afternoon of one of the five or so most remarkable days of my life. (No, I'm not going to tell you what the other four are!) To me, Chi-Pig came off like a female (with a man drummer---nice gimmick!) take on Devo who were only a month or ten away from irritating me for all time, complete with lyrics that seemed to get to the heart of the female problem as dictated by THE VILLAGE VOICE---no wonder hippie crit Richard Reigel gave this CD a rave in the VV music section! And while we're at it, Cleveland irritant Anastasia Pantsios seemed to be pretty keen on the likes of the Pig (despite her abject hatred for the more innovative and dare-I-say Velvet-y aggregations on the scene) even going as far as to have a nice dileniation of head Pig Sue Schmidt adorn the cover of an early-eighties CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER FRIDAY MAGAZINE insert which used to house Pantsios' vast array of usually vomitous musical opinions. Between you, me and the stylus, I think the only reason Pantsios cozied up to Chi-Pig was because they were primarily a female band (with the only male "subjugated" to the drum seat) and that gave Pantsios more fodder for her pseudo-feminist "women in rock" writings which were even shallower than her mid-eighties wrestling and rock articles where she always stuck up for the good guys like the nice little gooch she is.
A WMMS-FM live show ("wow, we gotta be hip and air all of this neat-o stuff and osmose to it and rock lobster all over the place before going back to Segar!!!") didn't quite zone me out when I heard it way back when, but by that time my musical tastes were beginning to branch out in different directions. And besides, that whole scene was changing and perhaps for the worse...all of the attributes which had made the late-seventies new wave idiom so exciting had rapidly declined into a one-shot joke while the truly innovative bands had either broken up, slipped into obscurity despite still functioning or worse yet joined the eighties gimp rock movement. Whereas something like Chi-Pig meant a lot to me back in 1979, by 1982 they seemed more or less has-beens...musicians who had outgrown their usefulness and failed to attain any sort of energy level that could capture my attention the way that Rocket From The Tombs, the Styrenes, Tin Huey (the early version...the later ones seemed to have fallen into the same gnu wave trap as Pere Ubu and so many groups with promise) and plenty of others still do. At least Chi-Pig did what they should have done by disbanding at a time when it seemed as if they didn't have anything more to say.
Anyway, this new CD (an actual promo!!!---hear that Tom, I got an actual living, breathing PROMO!!!! Oh goodie!!!!!!) made it to my door this afternoon and totally took me by surprise! I mean, one of the last things on my mind here in 2004 with all its trials and tribulations (to coin a phrase) was that distant memory Chi-Pig, and whaddya know, here comes a CD of 'em collecting not only an unreleased album recorded in (where else but) Miami FL '79, but their single and track from the infamous Stiff album! Not only that, but I also got a promo "fact sheet" featuring a whole buncha reviews from the likes of Cleveland's own SCENE as well as the previously-mentioned Reigelschpiel from the ol' VV (which I gotta say is even worse than when I thought it was worser than worse two decades back---and I hate to say it but even the scribings by such enlightened minds as Metal Mike Saunders and Tim Ellison that appear in its pages, or better yet on its website, aren't exactly their best moments, but that's my opinion) and whaddya know but even that ol' gorgon Pantsios wrote this CD up in something called THE CLEVELAND FREE TIMES, and as you can bet getting that dribble sent to me in the mail really made my day!!!!
But how do Chi-Pig hold up in a world where the energy and vigor of the sixties/seventies punks still seems to be in force in one way or another??? To be totally honest, pretty good...the unreleased album portion actually reminds me more or less of a local band take on mid-seventies Roxy Music style and swerve, perhaps because of its bouncy demeanor that too many of these new wave groups swiped from Ferry and his Friends before they started swiping from Talking Heads. The cover of "Going To a Go Go" might have a twinge of gnu wave jerky motion to it, but it doesn't make you wanna ridicule all of those ineffectual geeks that YOU coulda easily turned into had you failed to jump off the bandwagon at the right time. But actually, the good bulk of this doesn't offend your sense of rockism proprieties. It doesn't quite rock 'em at least some of the time, but it's ingenious and sixties-pop catchy enough to have you returning to it at least a few times in your life.
For me, the track that's the hands-down winner here's the grande finale from the Stiff sampler, "Apu Api (Help Me)," which has the intensity and achtung that I used to associate with the creme de la seventies NE Ohio underground at the time when primitivism was such a shock to rock audiences bred on technically-precise guitar solos without the distortion or atonality custom-made for disturbing squares and classic rock radio fans, one and the same if you ask me! And hey, I would have loved to have heard more from that session but I guess I can't have anything, but for a nice obscure slice of Akron underground music give this CD outta nowhere a try and be sure to file it next to the Bizarros, Tin Huey and the rest of the seventies hard-edge scene that made more than a few rock critics turn their heads towards the land of rubber. And while you're at it, why don't you contact head Pig Susan Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org and discuss the new wave with her.
LSD March-SUDDENLY, LIKE FLAMES CD (Last Visible Dog, available through Eclipse)
After being knocked-down silly by the LSD March tracks on THE NIGHT GALLERY compilation of new Japanese underground rock bands who seem to take the spirit and direction of the early Velvet Underground more seriously than just about everyone else who claims to these days, I decided to break down and fork over more money than I could afford on a CD of theirs (this being their second offering originally released in a very small quantity of vinyl a few years back) via Eclipse, who always seem to have these rare Japanese wonders available. However, on first spin I didn't care for it, thinking that the energy and innovation that pretty much bowled me over on their comp tracks had somehow gotten lost in the shuffle. However, I gave SUDDENLY, LIKE FLAMES another chance, not necessarily because of any generosity on my part but because hey, I paid for it and I better get my money out of the thing one way or another. It's not like one of those beyond-hideous it's-good-because-it's-alternative piles that the misguided editors at OPTION and YOUR FLESH used to send me back when the promo gravy train was getting mighty lumpy, and frankly, in no way could I even fathom the concept of having to listen to the X-tal album twice!!!! Life is too short to waste gazing up the orifices of boring San Franciscan self-important cultural charlatans even if Angel Corpus-Christi plays on their album.
On SUDDENLY, LIKE FLAMES it's amazing just how close LSD March get to not only the Les Rallizes Denudes/Up-Tight sound, but that uniquely Japanese proto-whatever feel that's hard to describe. Les Rallizes Denudes' use of an early Velvet Underground template (along with sidesteps into 1966 San Franciscan quasi-hippie leanings well before they evolved into David Crosby singsong) gave us thirty years of recordings that hardly ever let us down and made ears bleed even with their ballads. Up-Tight took the basic mold and went in their own direction with it, perhaps getting even more wiry in the process. One listen to the title track (which resembles those free-for-alls that Denudes were performing at their debut gig in '68!) will prove that LSD March are continuing that fine Japanese tradition...the one where a certain style and mode is crafted into what some might see as a cheap copy of the original, but on closer inspection it takes on a life and form of its own perhaps being not quite Western in some respects, and not quite Eastern as well. Omnidimensional.
Being non-innerlectual about it, LSD March have SEARING DISTORTED ELECTRIC GUITAR LEADS, REVERB AND TIN ALL OVER THE PLACE, LATE-SIXTIES APOLCALYTPIC VISION AND MUFFLED THREATS/GARBLES PASSING AS VOCALS!!!! It's really hard to fathom that there can even exist groups like LSD March, Up-Tight and their comrats in arms from THE NIGHT GALLERY CD this late in the rock might as well be dead game, but they're here and although they ain't exactly in your face they oughta be. And frankly, you gotta give these groups credit, because I haven't really cared about the ol' Velvets continuum (as a currently functioning entity) for about fifteen years already and not only have these bands done it, but I think it's absolutely keen-o the way they recycle 40-year-old concepts that still sound avant garde (at least in their hands) and fresh even though more than an few tries from the early-eighties onwards have done their best to run the whole thing into the ground for longer than I can hope to imagine.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 5:55 PM