Well, at least I didn't promise you a review of the Dom Minasi Trio show at the CBGB Lounge last night. Tried tuning in, and all I got for my troubles was a jerky picture that played for about fifteen seconds (if lucky) before stopping to buffer on and off ultimately kicking me off en toto. Plus there was no sound at all...out of curiousity I checked the goings on at CB's Gallery (some theater performance featuring a woman standing on a table) to see how they were faring and got a comparably smooth picture but just a buzz for sound, while the goings on at CBGB proper (some sorta hardcore thingie) had sound and a smoothly running pic, but that too would stop for buffering after a few seconds or so.
At least it was fun watching Minasi and group set up. Minasi (who reminds me of the guy who played Murray the Cop on tee-vee's THE ODD COUPLE) was dressed very casually and did his own roadie work which I think is cool. Also present were a string bassist and drummer, and like a typical jazz musician Minasi sat on a metal folding chair the whole time he played, at one point switching to an acoustic twelve-string guitar. I wish I could tell you what the thing sounded like, but if you're interested there's a song featuring the trio available on Minasi's own website that comes complete with guest saxist Joe Giardullo (scroll down to the March 14, 2004 listing on the "gigs" page and, as they say, click away!). Recorded at an earlier CBGB Lounge gig, Minasi and band sorta remind me of what Jim Hall woulda sounded like had he gone full-tilt into the avant garde and decided to form a group under the heavy inspiration of the AACM. Perhaps now is the time to give Minasi more than a li'l nod of the hat, especially given the years of obscurity the guy unfortunately hadda wallow in.
Monday, February 28, 2005
Sunday, February 27, 2005
HOW CAN YOUR HEART STAND IT...YET ANOTHER HIGH SIX!
As I've said before, while another blog out there in "notice me!" land thinks it's all fine and dandy to give you top five lists for the day/week/year/whatever, me here at BLOG TO COMM goes the extra mile to give you MORE than just a "high five," mainly a "HIGH SIX" of my top fave raves for whatever span of time I so deem desirable. Of course, you (skeptics) may think the whole kitten-kaboodle middle-class suburban faveraves fall short of the "Real Life Top Ten" that enlightened industry/socio-political wonks like Greil Marcuse and Archie Smith used to give up in the pages of THE VILLAGE VOICE back in the eighties (and perhaps later...I wouldn't know, or care), but look at it this way, since when has anything the VOICE written about or championed outside a few fine music reviews have anything to do with "real life" anyway???
1) A WHOLE BATCH OF CD-Rs sent to me by Dee Pop
You may remember Dee Pop as the fellow who used to man the drum chair in the Bush Tetras back in 1980 or so, but since then he's been involved in a whole slew of musical activities, the best known by far being not only as the drummer/percussionist for a variety of free jazz/improv groupings but as the "curator" of the Sunday nights (and starting in April, Wednesday nights) "freestyle" avant garde jazz series at the CBGB Lounge. I tune into their cybercasts as often as I can and brave the technical glitches (brought on by my having to use a phone line 'stead of a cable setup) in order to see these shows live and as they happen, and maybe if you still have a shard of old-time juvenile wild-eyed love for this sorta still-going-strong chicanery maybe you should too, since this gig seems to be the only really exciting thing happening on the New York Underground as we speak, not counting perhaps one of the old-time sixties/seventies hangers-on making a rare appearance at either of the CBGB-related clubs hovering on the Bowery.
Anyway, as to the CD-Rs...only played a few of 'em so far, but what I have played is rather impressive. The "Unified Theory of Sound" CD-R was guffed up so it doesn't play as smoothly as one would like, but this set-up with jazz scenesters Jameel Moondoc, Matt LaVelle (also of the fine Morcilla) and Wilbur Morris amongst others reminds me of the late-seventies Loft Jazz coming outta Sam Rivers' digs only evolved another twenty years. The sampler CDs also gave a good overview of what's going on these days in improv land...naturally Pop hadda slip a Bush Tetras track on but I can forgive him for the free plugging, but the rest ranges from "eh, it's OK" (Beat Circus) to pretty inspiring. Highlights include Susan Alcorn's moody steel playing, Borah Bergman and Dee Pop's avant-impressionistic "Round Midnight" (w/Bergman on piano, and I thought he was a trombonist!) Dom Minasi (a sixty-plus avant guitarist who has remained rather under-the-covers all these years, and who will be playing the CBGB Lounge with his trio tonight...hopefully a review will be posted tomorrow!) with his string-laden DDT + 2 reminding me of...the Dixie Dregs (?!?!?!), and more things that'll pop into my mind as soon as I give these disques a few more spins. (Like Gary Lucas' solo take of "Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro" followed by Abdullah Ibrahim's take of the same number, and even Noistet, who're playing next week, did a couple good avant jazz cool things as well!)
The Hanuman Sextet CD-R rec'd at the Lounge last 12/19 was also fine, a good compliment to their release on Rent Control which was one of last year's highlights, at least if you ask me. And oh yeah, Jessica Jones was entertaining enough, but there's nothing special on her disc to zone me to a higher elevation or anything like that. And as for the rest...well, I will be getting to it sooner or later, but gee, I dunno if I'm just that anxious to listen to a CD with a cover pic of a mouse with an abnormal growth on its back (Sound on Survival)! I mean, didn't we get enough of that demented gross-out "aht" back in the eighties via the post-Throbbing Gristle crowd, not to mention the Swans???
2) Tertiary Trio-TITLE GOES HERE CD-R (Rent Control)
Not too sure if this one should be on my "HIGH SIX!" since I do have some qualms about it, mainly how it seems more "improv" and less free jazz and doesn't quite gel the way other guitar/sax/drums outfits like Storm or John Abercrombie's Jackalope do, but I find these Rent Control releases satisfactory despite the cyborg coolness which didn't mar other Rent Control offerings like Idiophonic, but seems to dampen things here. Still, I played this one about five times since arrival last Monday so maybe I do find it engaging on some level I'll probably comprehend in twenty year's time. Group features Andy Haas (Hanuman Sextet) on saxophone, Don Fiorino on guitar, and Paul Corio on drums.
While TV Land plays it safe (as usual) and constantly reruns the latter, tamer episodes of this long-lived (19 years!) western, other cable nets (boooo!) run the better-executed 'uns from the program's earlier and infinitely superior years. The Hallmark Network had been airing the earliest half-hour version that was later broadcast under the name of MARSHAL DILLON on Saturday afternoons but they moved those to 6:30 in the morning, and I don't get up that early unless I'm going to be shot at sunrise! Too bad, because the very early GUNSMOKEs are the best, especially with the Sam Peckinpaugh-penned sagas which still seem to stir something feral inside of you. However, the premium Western Channel has the still-cool early-sixties shows on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (directly opposite TV Land's running of the newer, color/colorless ones), and whenever the satellite people feel generous enough to give us a free weekend every few months or so you can bet I'm tuning in to see what Matt and Chester are up to. Like most early-sixties television, there's a fine, mystical quality to these shows which on one hand were trying to be artistic and pleasing to the high-brow yet on the other still realized that they weren't meant to be snobbish since they were being aimed at guys in undershirts with cans of beer in their sweaty palms. A delicate balance, but tee-vee knew how to pull it off at the time despite what Newton Minow thought. The one about the arrogant businessman who ignores the pleas of a nice, middle-aged couple in a sandstorm (his thoughtlessness ultimately resulting in the woman's miscarriage), later on swindling and eventually murdering the husband, had a strange, dream-like effect that one would have seen on THE TWILIGHT ZONE at the same time. Speaking of GUNSMOKE, are any of you readers familiar with the English comic strip based on the program called "Gun Law"? I'd like to get an anthology of those strips, especially since the ones I've seen come off as if Peckinpaugh had directed the show in the seventies complete with the raw violence and nudity he put into such flicks as THE WILD BUNCH and BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA (a film which Dr. Fredric Wertham saw and actually counted the murders!). Any help would be appreciated, but totally unexpected.
4) HOT WACKS BOOK XV...THE LAST WACKS
Just taking a trip back through bootleg history thinking about how cool record buying was at one time before disco, STAR WARS, CDs and generally light musicianship kinda tore a big chunk outta my life! When yer sixteen, taking a gander at them xerox-insert covered wonders in the outta-the-way record shop bin going for a relatively affordable $4.99 a pop (an extra buck for the deluxe covered ones) was just another big part of GROWING UP along with looking at the import and cutout sections, and honest-to-goodness I can't see how the kidz of today can stand living in a world not only without great afternoon rerun tee-vee to rush homework over to but sans all the good, healthy stuff that made a man outta me like record shops and junk food (without the guilt of hearing day in and day out about just how bad it is for you). I still recall the instant surprise I got finding the Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart CONFIDENTIAL boot at the White Wing Records shop in Hermitage, snapping it up immediately upon eyeballing. I consider this one of the smarter things I've done in my life, and so should you too.
5) COMSTOCK LODE #8 (fanzine)
Since there aren't that many good new fanzines coming up over the horizon these days, I have to settle on getting some old ones and here's one I've missed out on back when it originally was being published. I've heard about COMSTOCK LODE before since it had quite a reputation about it, and in fact still have this Red Crayola songbook which reprints a very in-depth Mayo Thompson interview that originally appeared in COMSTOCK LODE's pages. I probably would have bought it at the time, but let's just say that distribution was pretty sparse, sorta like another fanzine I know! Anyway, as you'd gander COMSTOCK LODE was a publication of odd-to-Amerigans dimensions...about thirteen-inches high and eight-and-a-half wide and in many ways it resembled a lotta the other English fanzines not only of then but now such as BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS and PTOLEMAIC TERRASCOPE. Contents seem to straddle both BRAINS' punky concerns and TERRASCOPE's psychedelic leanings, with #8 featuring not only a brief, typically skewered interview with Roky Erickson but very informative pieces on Peter Stampfel and Robert Wyatt. Plus, the Bridget St. John article reminded me that I still have to listen to the CD-R of her Jon Behar burned for me! A pretty enlightening fanzine, and certainly one that shouldn't have left the boards as quickly as it did.
6) VOCELLI PIZZA
People think that because I'm a wop-a-dago I automatically like Eyetalian food. Wrong again, sweetie. Actually, I can take or leave the stuff being force-fed that swill ever since I was a li'l toddler, but on occasion I do get a hankerin' for some macaroni or ravioli (which I never had as a kid since it wasn't around inna part of Italy where my ancestors came from!) amidst my cravings for Chinese and Mexican food. Anyway, there's this new pizza place that opened nearby called Vocelli's and although their prices are pretty high (though I've seen much higher!) they do have some good things to eat for sale such as their sandwiches and especially pizza...now the red-sauce variety o' pie ain't anything that special, but I really go for their spinach/garlic "specialty" pizza with not only less-than-generous hunks of the green leafy stuff (they should use about twice as much!), but mushrooms, onions, tomato slices and smegma-like blobs of feta cheese (!) amidst the mozzarella and a white garlic sauce! And it's all really good-tasting on their better-than-usual chewy crust, but the real reason I like this one is because it reminds me of the Ripp's Special sandwich one can find at Tommy's restaurant in Coventry/Cleveland Heights. Although it had a boho-hippie image for quite some time, Tommy's (located between the two record shops I wrote about in this earlier posting) is (presumably, haven't eaten there in quite some time despite having the chance last November) a pretty decent place to chow down if you want some Spinach pie, falafel, carob shakes and of course the aforementioned Ripp's, which has cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sunflower seeds, onions and other goodies I can't remember between pita. And yeah, you may think this is purely sissyfood hippychow unfit for your not-so-acquired tastes, but Crocus Behemoth didn't. In fact, when Jim Jarmusch (!) interviewed Crocus for THE NEW YORK ROCKER during Yuletide 1976 part of that interview took place in none other than Tommy's! I still wonder what the man called Behemoth ordered that day, and I'm afraid this bit of pertinent information is forever lost to history.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:34 AM
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
CD REVIEW: ARCH HALL JR. AND THE ARCHERS-WILD GUITAR! (Norton)
Good thing this Cee-Dee arrived when it did...y'see, I'm just not getting enough of a boss 1959-1963 fix in my life, and all of those LEAVE IT TO BEAVER reruns and COMBAT discs just aren't enough for me to osmose into those great times of high-energy TV and low-quality lunch meat. Neither are my early Marvel reprints nor a steady Hostess Twinkies/Yoo-Hoo diet helping matters much, and even a cruise down the main drag can't elicit any cool 1962 energies a'stirrin' in my soul like they should. (Of course, if the strip still had alla them old drive-ins with the George Jetson-styled early-sixties space age designs and used car lots and mini-plazas like it usedta then maybe my 40+-year urges'd be satiated for once! But who knows if I can really go home again!) So it's grand that the wonderful people at Norton Records sent me a copy of this 'un or else I'd probably go nuts and start drooling over 1969-1973 gulcher...LANCELOT LINK! NANNY AND THE PROFESSOR!! PAUL LYNDE!!!
An Arch Hall Jr. disque certainly is something that people like me have been waiting for ever since the Norton folks (who remain who else but Billy Miller and Miriam Linna) printed that hotcha story on Arch and his films way back in one of those eighties issues of KICKS (a fanzine that was one of the bigger influences on my BLACK TO COMM...please don't hurt them!!!). Believe me, that saga of a kid who was more or less tossed into the teenage idol whirlpool by his father and all he hadda show for it were a buncha good zilch-grade films and a short-lived singing career was just something that appealed to my pre-hippie funtime Amerigan sense of cheepniz, and soon after that missive hit the stands I was on the search not only for videos of Hall's flicks (which got dubbed for me usually at low speed on cheap VCR's which I didn't mind considering that most of the people who first saw these films on TV probably saw them in worse quality via some distant UHF station) but for his recordings that were hopefully available via the vast array of reissues that were beginning to clog the collections of a lotta anal-retentive compulsives like me. Naturally a few of Arch's single sides (one actually released on STEVE ALLEN's label if you can believe that!) did pop up on a variety of those great sixties samplers that I was buying up (and reviewing) a decade back, and come to think of it, the Norton people had a hand in those too which might make one think there was something a li'l shady going on, but if you ask me, all I gotta say is they sure knew how to MILK a long-gone teenage-idol wannabe for all he's worth!
Anyway here's an actual Arch Hall Jr. CD. It's got a whole buncha stuff from singles, films, live gigs, and to top it off a lotta classic dialogue between tracks kinda like the PULP FICTION soundtrack, but at least Hall's flicks weren't film geek pretentious with lotsa swearin' to boot! What you do get is about eighty minutes of boss music, all them cool lines that should be spouted off by YOU in group situations just like people trying to be hip at gatherings always do that "pucker up and blow" routine, 'n not only THAT but we also get a whole buncha live recordings tagged at the end, most of 'em from a Drive In appearance in Pensacola during the hot month of December, 1962 even if the definitive book notes tell us that it was freezing cold that night Arch and band took to the stage! (And you can just see the kiddies in front in their jammies on the swings and jungle jim, complete with mittens 'n overcoats weaving and bobbing while Arch and band belt out "Suzie Q"!!!)
You'll probably be disappointed in Arch and the Archers if you think this is gonna be a wild and raving Northwest-styled screamfest or at least something Ralph Neilsen or Link Wray woulda whipped up. But don't...Arch Hall is still the master of great early-sixties fun and games not only on his pleasant, steady-rocking single sides and film tracks (which include the eerie theme to EEGAH recorded with an organ borrowed from Arch's mom!) but live and in action where he trots out a lotta the current top forty (Ricky Nelson...) and does 'em his way! Not only that, but the wacky between-song patter (including a spot where WILD GUITAR co-star Nancy Czar interviews Our Hero onstage!) is worth the price of admission, and it all holds up better'n not only all of the lesser aspects of what was going on at the time (pre-packaged teen idols with little verve, budding folkies...) but ranks well with the best stuff from that musical era that everybody seems to love putting down despite all the evidence to the contrary (the Tornados, early Beach Boys...).
And, as is expected from Norton's high quality stable, the whole thing comes with a nice li'l booklet complete not only with the usual rare snaps and informative bits of trivia (like, did you know that one of Hall's Archers was none other than Dobie Gray of "In Crowd" and "Drift Away" fame???), but it also comes with that smooth and underappreciated writing style courtesy of none other than Miriam Linna herself. Being a fan of Ms. L's style for quite some time I've always wondered why the lady never made it "big" on the rock scribner circuit especially since her work for fanzines and other mags has always seemed so tippity-top notch in a world where "aspiring" rock writers ("critics" and otherwise) seem to be more or less doing a written version of the act commonly known as "felching." The answer to this query came to me only recently...the ONLY reason Miriam Linna never "made it" as a pro writer is because she's good! And in a world of flaccid alternative rock and Quinlanesque big hypes that never do go anywhere, is there really any room for good writing in the current "rock" scene?
With a package like this who can go wrong? It's only February, but this one just might tie the Chinaboise CD for best archival dig of 2005! Geddit??? GET IT!!!!!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:14 PM
Sunday, February 20, 2005
BOOK REVIEW...COMIX, A HISTORY OF COMIC BOOKS IN AMERICA by Les Daniels (Outerbridge and Dienstfrey, 1971)
I've mentioned this book in a variety of outlets over the past twennysome years. It is a tome that had a major effect on me, not only because it was one of the first places where I got to read a detailed rundown on the whys and wherefores of comic books and just what they meant to an overweight pre-pubescent pariah of dago extraction, but because it was published at a time (and read at a time) when said pariah had discovered comic books as an inexpensive (fifteen then twenty cents, less for old ones at the garage sales) means of entertainment that one could easily get obsessive over. So, to be gosh-it-all honest about it, I would consider COMIX to be one of the few books that has made a lasting impression on me and I'd also consider it a downright influential read as well, up there in shaping my being along with LEFTISM REVISITED, INTELLECTUALS and THE MAD READER amongst material a little less, er, heady. Besides, this book is at the top of the pile in my bedroom and every time I have to head to the porcelain throne to do something I prefer not to mention in such high-class company, I have to grab something to read in order to get my mind off the fact that there's brown smelly stuff popping outta my hiney and this book just always happens to be handy enough. It's not like I always have the time to go searching for other reading material, especially when the Sorbitol is starting to kick in...
Anyway, this book (which was part of FUSION magazine's attempts at starting a STONE-styled publishing company along with Peter Guralnik's [hope I got the spelling right] FEELS LIKE GOING HOME and the dead rock star obit NO ONE WAVED GOODBYE) gives us a pretty good, not detailed or anything like that history of the Amerigan brand of comic book (you'll hafta look elsewhere for a Euro histoire which sure could be used by old timey comic fans like me!) and to beat all, it was written by a guy who is pretty knowledgeable about his subject matter and comes off like some grown-up kid that once went to school with Beaver only it's ten years later and he's a hip longhair now but the years of comic mania are still deeply inbred in his suburban soul. It's a fan to fan talk we're getting here, and given how many comic book histories and general studies since could range from brilliant to downright term paper dull, we gotta be thankful that this book (perhaps due to its rock mag connections?) reads as hip/snot smoothly as some of the better early-seventies Golden Age of Rock Criticism pieces that I've tried to emulate for the past twennysome years!
After giving a brief-yet-packed history of Amerigan comic strips, author Daniels launches head-first into the early days of comic books, mainly in praise of the DC line and their stellar efforts along with the other early publishers and their high-quality wares (most notably those of who else but Quality Comics who not only had the top-notch Plastic Man but the Spirit...nothing on Timely/Atlas/Marvel here since they get their own chapter later on). It's pretty snat stuff since it gives us that feeling of just what superheroes of all stripes meant for the ever-growing pre-adlo kids who made millionaires out of pulp publishers once on the brink of ruin. The book goes on, covering all of the basic stops ("Dumb Animal" comics, EC, the Comics Code, the post-Code oversized comic book/magazines...) in that aforementioned style that could also be well-used in a punk rock or local horror host history making COMIX perhaps one of the better historical reads (for "our" gulcher) extant.
Sure you get the author's personal views injected into just about everything, but I don't mind even if I disagree with him not only because of his swift style, but the fact that Daniels is right most of the time. Por ejemplo, very little is written about the Archie Comics Group and their contributions to the industry, and what is written's less-than-complimentary (perhaps due to MLJ head John Goldwater's fierce rivalry with the groundbreaking EC line as well as his role in helping establish the infamous Comics Code Authority, which is deftly taken apart along with spearhead Dr. Fredric Wertham in its own chapter), but I find that perhaps a minor aberration alongside the lack of space given to some of the Silver Age publishers like Gold Key, who maybe shoulda gotten a li'l space just for effort but didn't probably because Daniels just wanted to cut the gristle outta his saga.
And yeah, you get the obligatory gaffes that one comes to expect from these otherwise accurate studies (such as Daniels' confusing of the Fantastic Four's arch-enemy Dr. Doom with the first Marvel Silver Age hero Dr Droom, something which I took as truth until comic historian Larry Boyd [hey, get in touch!] corrected me years later), but I can't complain otherwise. I can't even complain about Daniels' now-patented tying in of Dr. Wertham's anti-comic book crusade with "McCarthyism" and the middle-class values of the "fifties" (booo, hisss!). But even then, Daniels is adept enough to know that Wertham was your garden variety liberal and even states it, and in many ways this book is written in the hip collegiate libertarian style that one could still find on the left in the seventies before it all went down the tubes towards posthumous LBJ deification, and it's perhaps this attitude which makes COMIX such a nice, smooth, breezy read.
The fact that this book stops at 1971 with chapters on Marvel (and their move towards more "relevant" material) and underground comix putting a lid on things is fantastico, because (at least for me) the early-seventies of comic bookdom was right at the end of at least my classic Golden Age of Comics Reading period. The mainstream of comics became a little too pretentious (again, at least for me) due to the new move towards liberalization of past modes, and if it weren't for the Marvel sci-fi/horror reprints of the 20-cent era I probably wouldn't've been buying comic books at all. I mean, whereas The Man of Steel was once a force of might and good beyond the trammels of an increasingly-sick society, by now he was giving the Teen Titans patented, paternalistic homilies on racism and sexism in the pages of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, which shoulda changed their title to THE WEAK AND THE SIMPERING after publishing "The Thing That Destroyed a Town" (and it wasn't the monster on the cover I'll tell ya...it was YOU and ME!). Anyway, I still get a charge out of COMIX, for believe-it-or-leave-it but that's MY culture, MY civilization, and who knows, it might be yours too.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:31 AM
Saturday, February 19, 2005
(just a reminder that) THERE ARE STILL PLENTY OF BACK ISSUES OF BLACK TO COMM AVAILABLE AND AT REASONABLE PRICES TOO! SO WHAT'CHA WAITING FOR, A GOLDEN INVITATION OR SOMETHIN'?
To be frank about it, I need the money. You can't buy records, old fanzines, desperately-needed stereo equipment and tasty Chinese takeouts (that's takeaways for you English readers) with merely a highly-regarded rockism reputation! I also need all the space I can get for those records, fanzines and stereo system that fewer back issues piled up in my closet, den, basement, crapper etc. would give me, so if you would (pleasepleasePLEASE) send your orders to Christopher Stigliano, 714 Shady Ave., Sharon PA 16146-3149 USA, and make your payment out to me and not the magazine, I'd be a happy man. Postage is FREE inna USA and Canada, though elsewhere send $5.00 in US funds for the first ish and an additional $2.00 per rest.
PHFUDD #11-Hey, I found a few copies of this once-gone and forgotten issue (back when the mag was wrestling under a totally different name I had to change due to adverse publicity!) in a box with a whole slew of VILLAGE VOICE rejection slips! Just kidding, but I do have a few mags to sell you that not only feature cover-boy Jamie Klimek and his Mirrors (complete with the usual rare photos and flyers and ads and junk like that), but live VON LMO photos at Max's Kansas City with Lou Rone mugging it up for the camera (plus a Rudolph Grey chronology!), Sonny Sharrock, Jeff Dahl and Powertrip, a live Styrenes photo taken by ME (which accounts for its fuzziness!), Birdhouse (remember them?), the Standells and some live Rocket From the Tombs snaps with lyrics that should cause your heart to be racing by now. Also included is the enticing article entitled "Is There No End To Those Pesky Chuck Eddy Rumors?" which, as we know, is still as relevant today as it was in April/May 1988 when this issue originally came out. Since this is a rarity, I'm asking $10.00 each, and no frowning!
PHFUDD #12-This one features a cover story on the Droogs, who at the time had released this wowzer of a "Great American Rock & Roll Album" (in the tradition of BACK IN THE USA, ONE KISS LEADS TO ANOTHER and HALF MACHINE LIP MOVES...no kidding!) entitled KINGDOM DAY, as well as a piece on Peter Stampfel and the Bottlecaps, the new glut of Detroit '60s hard rock exhumations coming out of France, and Electric Eel lyrics accompanied by pictures that may still be "rare" even to this day! There's also a query about Detroit rock legend Sirius Trixon as well as a reprint from an old CBGB listing as to what the Vanessa Vickers Duo with Billy Ficca (of Television, natch!) that were playing at that famed club back in the spring of '75 sounded like! I've been curious for years and did find out that there was a pianist with the same name working the cabaret (!) circuit who put out a CD a few years back so that might be her, but she has since died, so if anyone has any information (even Billy Ficca seemed to shrug the whole thing off saying that it was just a gig he did two nights at CBGB, neglecting to give us any information as to how the thing started up or what they sounded like!) how about letting me know for history's sake. This is getting to be a rare one, and I need the money so...$10.00 each!
BLACK TO COMM #14-The first issue with the new and improved name features part one of the Ron Asheton interview, a nice though could be much better given all the information discovered since piece on the Deviants, an article on Peter Laughner's Cinderella Backstreet and the Seeds. Oh, there's also a piece on Charlemagne Palestine written by someone or other, and it can all be yours for $5.00 a pop!
BLACK TO COMM #16-This one has the Rudolph Grey interview. some reprints of Peter Laughner things I copped out of old issues of ZEPPELIN and elsewhere, more Electric Eels lyrics with a pic, Laughing Hyenas and of course tributes to the recently departed Lucille Ball and Jim Backus. The first, cruddy version can be had for $2.50, though the better take will cost an extra buck ($3.50 in case you can't add).
BLACK TO COMM #17-The first of the "big" isssues has a cover story/interview with Scott Morgan and Gary Rasmussen from the old Scott Morgan band, also inside's an interview with Borbetomagus' Donald Miller as well as one with Maureen Tucker, not to mention pieces on Fish Karma (who I liked until hearing his overly-preachy kiss kiss moosh anti-gun song entitled "God Bless The NRA"), the Dogs (from Detroit, not the French ones or the Flamin' Groovies for that matter!), Rocket From the Tombs (with loads of old photos and the like, some never seen before or since!), the top 25 of heavy metal, METAL MACHINE MUSIC, a piece on the then-new proto-punk reissues and archival digs of the day and the usual reviews and news. Buy a copy for $7.00.
BLACK TO COMM #19-Just found a few of these niceties with my Miriam Linna interview plus one done with Jeff Clayton of Antiseen, not to mention the Pink Fairies, Czech Underground Rock (Plastic People of the Universe, Umela Hmota...), Lester Bangs (unpublished photos too!), NUGGETS, the Shangs, a history of proto-punk fanzines, lotsa old TV stuff and of course the regular departments. This is the first ish to really dig into a lotta the anti-youth fascism mentality so popular in rock circles these days, so sissies beware!!! Since this is getting rare you can have one of these soon-to-be collector's items for $8.00 each if you can believe it! A real steal deal!!!!
BLACK TO COMM #20-This has a Mick Farren (Deviants) interview, a talk with Roky Erickson (!), a Craig Moore (the Gonn!) interview, the Seeds, Richard Meltzer, a retrospective on the DENIM DELINQUENT fanzine, the New York Dolls, an old Adny Shernoff (Dictators) interview done by Greg Prevost in 1978, a Harriet Nelson obituary, loads on old TV shows and the like and of course the usual stuff that makes Dave Lang a hot and bothered honorary marsupial. Buybuybuy for only $8.00 each!
BLACK TO COMM #21-A VON LMO cover story and interview grace this ish, as do interviews with Metal Mike Saunders, Brian McMahon (Electric Eels) and rockabilly star Ronnie Dawson, plus you can read much-desired items on the Trashmen, Velvet Underground and Hawkwind like I knew you would! And all you'll have to do to get it is seperate yourself from $8.00 and send it all to me!!!
BLACK TO COMM #22-The printers (and myself to a degree) messed this one up but it became one of my biggest sellers anyway! Cover story features Alice Cooper, and there's also things on Steve Mackay (Stooges), Umela Hmota in Josef Vondruska's own translated words, a lengthy BACK DOOR MAN history (one of SEVEN...ha ha! Just kidding, J-y!!!), Jymn Parrett telling us his version of the DENIM DELINQUENT story, the Planets (NYC version), the Sidewinders (Boston version), a warped krautrock history entitled "Krautrock: The Final Solution to the Aryan Question!" and the usual gunk. Plus this one comes with a CD with a hand-decorated by memeME cover numbered and all, featuring Carnal Kitchen (Steve Mackay pre-Stooges!), Umela Hmota, Umela Hmota 3, Dom (post-UH), Rockin' Blewz (early Metal Mike Saunders!), Backsnider (Mike Snider's old band), Milk (early-seventies Cleveland proto-punk glam), Moving Parts and more! If you want it, I have some, but not as many as before so in order to make up for past losses...$15.00 EACH!
BLACK TO COMM #24-This issue's cover feature's a nice interview with Doug Snyder of not only Sick Dick and the Volkswagens fame (the NYC no wave band from the late-seventies lower-Manhattan ka-BOOM!, not the nineties group with the same moniker!) but the Doug Snyder/Bob Thompson DAILY DANCE album which has achieved legendary status long ago, plus there's an interview with the Dogs (Detroit) and Greg Shaw, a piece on the old CAN'T BUY A THRILL fanzine and the usual feature-length reviews and the like. $9.00 gets you one!
BLACK TO COMM #25-The latest, 162 pages brimming with such goodies as a New York City Scene history (featuring interviews with Max's Kansas City's Peter Crowley and Ruby Lynn Reyner from Ruby and the Rednecks plus pieces on coverboys the New York Dolls and VARIETY scene-booster Fred Kirby), an interview with J. D. King (Coachmen, comix) plus one with guitarist Lou Rone, who would probably be best known to you as leader of the early CBGB-era band Cross as well as one-time guitarist for both Kongress and VON LMO, the Screamin' Mee-Mees, Simply Saucer rare photos, family tree and gigography, rare fanzines of the Golden Age (and more), tons of book and record reviews (which make up the bulk of this ish!), plus a CD with live Simply Saucer 1975, the Coachmen, The Battleship, Ethel with David Nelson Byers and Ruby and the Rednecks. I think it's the best issue so far and if you wanna find out for yourself, send me $10.00 if you order this one with any assortment of other issues, but if you buy it on your lonesome send me an additional $2.00...outside the immediate area add more!!!!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:05 PM
Friday, February 18, 2005
IT WAS THIRTY YEARS AGO TODAY...
Anniversaries and notations of the passing of time usually go ignored in the BLOG TO COMM sphere of things, but I feel that this little piece of historically-significant news is important enough to send your way. Yes, thirty years ago today, Rocket From The Tombs recorded their demo tape (to be broadcast on local hippie rock station WMMS-FM a week or so later) in a Cleveland loft they shared with the Electric Eels and another band whose name never was revealed to me and OK, maybe that's not exactly a "noteworthy" moment in rock history if you're the kinda guy who continues to believe the old-line ROLLING STONE anti-garage credo rant (you know, "technology + ultra-fast playing + artistic aspirations - energy and motion = hot get-high music!"), but for fellers like me who swear by trash aesthetics and groups playing awful rackets in their basements, well a day like today is worth celebrating just as much as the Fourth of July or St. Swithin's Day so please excuse me if I get a little frothy over the whole thing.
After all, considering what Rocket From The Tombs did that evening thirty years ago and how inconsequential it may have seemed at the time, the IMPACT of this against-the-tide thrust can still be felt lo these thirty years later. This was not just an act of some nth-string rock 'n roll band in Cleveland who had the audacity to play original material making a demo tape...it was true rock 'n roll insurrection at a time when rock had pretty much settled into a comfy chair and was taking a nice li'l nap, and everybody seemed to approve of this new old fogey image! Putting all the "givens" together ("given" this was being done in Cleveland Ohio which never really had a keen interest in the "underground" talent that was coming out of its garages, "given" that this was a band that was still trying to find its bearings, perhaps unsure of not only itself but its future, "given" that two of the biggest p-rock exponents of the late-seventies were to spring from Rocket's soon-to-be-ruptured loin...) the recording of these numbahs was, in the long run, a much bigger STRIKE for the cause of rockism than I'm sure anyone involved would have believed way back when, and perhaps we should celebrate this anniversary in the only way we know how, mainly by blasting your Rocket recordings while osmosing their ultimate timlessness, their raw glory and (best of all) that loud, distorted drone...
I thought I'd also take this opportunity to give a brief disseration on just how much underground rock has evolved, or perhaps devolved in the three decades since Rocket laid their stellar playlist to two-track. Obviously there have been many changes...in the mid-seventies for all intent purposes underground rock (whether it be "punk" in the classic CREEM sense or garage bands or street rock for that matter, though "underground" seems to be the best all-enveloping term to use for this at-times uncategorizable music) was pretty much on one hand a dead and buried issue, yet on the other a sound waiting to be born. Really. The majority of kids, even the kinds who'd be listening to the end results of Rocket's bold initiatives these days, weren't even aware that such a thing as underground rock existed. The sad state of not only AM/FM radio but the rock press made sure to that, with a heavy emphasis on the more tiresome aspects of "pop music" of the day being pushed over and over again on an audience that didn't really have any options. If it weren't for the likes of Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer dropping dead-group names into then-current prose, not to mention BACK DOOR MAN's noble efforts, who woulda known that ANYTHING had existed, let alone was happening in the there and then!!! The last bold punk uprising of the early-seventies, most notably the New York glitter putsch of the Dolls, resulted in two poorly-selling albums and a quick and perhaps indecent burial as high school USA merely yawned. There were rumblings of a new New York scene via Television and a few scraggly bands that perhaps CREEM would drop mention of here and there, but that was still a good two years away from coming to full bloom glory. As for what would be considered a real "alternative" to the overpowering progressive music and stadium rock (not to mention quickly-dying AM pop), what was there other than some old Velvets/Stooges/MC5 albums, NUGGETS, a few import chestnuts re. Can and Neu!, and maybe a lotta memories of what coulda been had the buying public not have been so brain-washed as to prefer buck-toothed folkies and fancy-pants hairweaved British pansies to the REAL THING, if you know what I mean.
But oddly enough, there was a movement growing, clandestinely developing without other parties knowing about it, all seemingly with the same hard-edged intent and guttural growl based on the same old Velvet Underground/Stooges axis (with whatever you could throw in) that may not have seemed like much in 1975, but looked more or less like an EXPLOSION a few years later when suddenly all of these bands (or their members in new bands) became aware of each other and the word spread via NEW YORK ROCKER articles or perhaps even a li'l word o' mouth for that matter. True there was Rocket From The Tombs in Cleveland, but there was also the Imperial Dogs in El Lay, Death (with James Chance) in Milwaukee, Umela Hmota in Prague, Simply Saucer in Hamilton Ontario, MX-80 Sound in Bloomington Indiana and probably a few hundred more who will be documented and perhaps digitized in the not-so-distant future. A hundred years from now rockologists will be categorizing and flow-charting the whole bunch of 'em perhaps laboring under the impression that all this musical rabblerousing was a calculated and studied plan-of-attack. Not quite...it was just a buncha people armed to the teeth with not only rock gear but unbridled ambition, bared-wire intensity and healthy record collections who didn't know better, or if they did really couldn't care less.
Flash forward to TODAY, where not only have there been thousands of rock groups playing under the "vague rubric or alternative music" (copyright 1985 Robert Christgau), but the vast majority of them have taken the original impetus/thrust and watered it down into a non-sound that really doesn't speak for the suburban TV-watching spoiled brat mid-Amerigan tub that I grew up being. After spending the eighties going through all of the new underground movements that sprang up once the original seventies punk (or dare I say "new wave") period seemingly died out (garage revival, hardcore...) on and on up through the newer offshoots and treks into endless chasms of boring musical possibilities, I passed through the nineties feeling mighty cheated seeing what was once an unchecked THROB reduced to plain collegiate slop. Whereas the underground was once a mad, driving impulsive music, it had become the new mewl for a type of person and ideal that I didn't want much, if anything, to do with. Whereas this music (at least throughout the seventies) was custom-made for the suburban teenage Beaver Cleaver or his dope-fiend counterparts, now it seemed as if the same overly-wrought flower-pressing doom-laden ban-the-bomb crowd that was so adverse to this sort of "juvenile" chicanery at the outset had now taken punk to their hearts, and gave it the anti-motion, anti-drive and anti-life credo that these spiritual zombies seem to thrive on. James Taylor and Carole King with a Velvets-beat...big deal!
Which is one good reason why, save for thirty/forty-year-old classics continuing to get heavy BTC airplay, the only modern musical acts lighting my buttocks nowadays are the new post-Rallizes Denudes Japanese underground bands like Uptight and LSD March, not to mention the exciting avant garde jazz/improv aggregates playing at the CBGB Lounge on Sundays...at least these groups haven't forgotten their roots while heading for new vistas that seem about as uncharted as the ones the Byrds reached for on FIFTH DIMENSION almost FOUR decades back which is something I can't say about the whole bunch of constantly pushed amerindie/college groups that seem to be considered the haute new item amongst people who usually do know better (but not this time!).
Oh yeah, as for Rocket From The Tombs...I think I'll pass on spinning their demo tonight. Don't want to throw myself into a cataleptic fit, and besides, I gave up on all the ritualistic music playlist obsessions of my youth (like just having to spin, no ifs ands or buts, WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT every New Year's Eve) long ago!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 7:08 PM
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
A HIGH SIX!
1) Can-EGE BAMYASI CD (Mute/Spoon)
Gosharootie, it's hard to swallow the fact that it's been twenty years since I first read Hot Scott Fischer's review of this classic krautrockschpiel that not only originally appeared in a 1973 issue of the infamous PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE, but got me all hot and bothered about getting a copy of this classic rockismkampf stomp into my sweaty clams. Fischer's then-twelve-year-old epic was one of those fine pieces of rockscribedom that just seemed to snugly fit in with the Golden Age of Rock Criticism (roughly 1969-1981), with Our Hero making Can's quintessential endeavor out to be the perfect distillation of early-Velvet Underground explorations mixed with Stoogian madness (which would figure given how none other than Lester Bangs said that Fischer once played him some Can and then beamed approvingly about how much better they were than the Stooges themselves!). EGE BAMYASI still holds up lo these many years later, despite the load of subpar/human rock vultures in the music and critical realms who have reduced Can and their works to just another hip-slapping "influence" on the alternative rock gravy train. I mean, it was cool when we heard that Sid learned to play bass listening to Can records back in in 1977, but having every just out-of-the-basement "alternaindie" group covering Can tracks in the nineties and singing their praises as we speak pretty much ruined my tastes for more than a few things!
2) COMBAT! SEASON ONE CAMPAIGN II DVD
These are the burned copies Paul McGarry made for me that I mentioned a few posts back. I've said enough about this stellar early-sixties intensity-laden series in a earlier missive, but to add just a li'l lemme say that the additional episodes that I've eyeballed are very good in their own right as well. (The one where a bitter Frank Gorshin accepts a Silver Star under false pretenses [that Star deservingly going to his now-deceased pal, played by Joseph Campanella who can now be heard doing the voiceovers on the Dumont-era Bishop Sheen reruns on EWTN] seemed to strike a doom-laden chord at least with me.) Only the episode about a frog boy who wants to join the US Army and ends up killing Ted Knight as a friendly Nazi (and how long have you MARY TYLER MOORE-haters yearned for that???) tended to waiver a bit, but given COMBAT's track record I'm sure we can accept a few misfires just like we did with NAKED CITY and even THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Still it's nice seeing something that extols the legend of the tough guy before we hadda go see Burt Reynolds get sodomized by a buncha hillbillies in DELIVERANCE and all of that seventies manhood trashing that's been going around ever since.
3) UNDERGROUND FILM by Parker Tyler (Grove Press, 1969)
Here's a book that I usedta love reading at the library back when I was a teenbo mainly because it seemed so "daring" and "controversial," and since I was starting to pay attention to film as "aht" at the time, the information given on the avant garde origins of the underground seemed more than necessary to this pimple-popping pusfarm even if Tyler's book is about as obscure as you can get. Caveat: in case you're wondering why author Tyler spends a lot of his time writing about such people as Andy Warhol, Charles Henri Ford (with whom Tyler wrote the sickie novel THE YOUNG AND THE EVIL way back in the thirties) and Charles Boultenhouse, it's because the whole lot of 'em were lovers! Well, at least UNDERGROUND FILMS was written long before it coulda been categorized into a gay/lesbian/transgendered histoire like everything else with Lavender Mafia sensibilities in it these days!
4) Chinaboise-THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD CD (Gulcher)
Don't wanna go overboard squawking about this 'un, but as of 2:18 PM on February 16, 2005 this is the best proto-punk reish of the year. Music that oddly enough frames the great underground era sounding just as fresh at the end of it as it did in the beginning.
5) Freedomland-YIA YIA'S SONG CD-R (Rent Control)
Still one of my favorite groups now habituating the Sunday night (and soon to be Wednesday nights as well!) freestyle avant garde shows at the CBGB Lounge. Old hands Daniel Carter and William Parker hook up with new hands David Hofstra, David Sewelson and Dee Pop creating a free jazz spew that utliizes the seventies new thing of the former and dollops on a lotta a downtown no wave punk attitude of the latter making the music about as storm-front clashing as it was in the sixties when Tony Williams' Lifetime and the MC5 were mixing and matching the same influences coming up with new vocabularies in jazz, rock and (dare I say) beyond... Highly reminiscent of the better seventies avant/co-ops like Air and the Creative Construction Company, and hopefully more than the same few VILLAGE VOICE types will be willing to pay attention to the music this time out.
6) HUMBUG #'s 10 and 11 (Humbug Publications, 1958)
These are the last two issues of Harvey Kurtzman's second post-MAD publication (the first, TRUMP, was ditched by publisher Hugh Hefner after only two issues while the third, HELP! managed an impressive five year run), and the only two to be of MAD magazine-sized proportions. Ten has the brilliant Soviet-styled FLASH GORDON spoof entitled "Flyashi Gordonovich" illustrated by Jack Davis complete with imitation Cyrillic lettering as well as a lotta great Cold War jokes that still grab me (for example, the Soviet Dale isn't a sexy gal in a clingy outfit but some hulking sterotypical female Russian ox in a uniform---hey, I like the OBVIOUS just as much as everyone else!). However, there seems to be too much text and little downright comic material in this ish, and that's one thing that I believe just might have led to HUMBUG's premature downfall after only a year of publishing. The last issue does have Bill Elder delineating a Japanese monster movie spoof entitled "Randan," but what makes this one a "getter" is the TRUMP reprint material used to pad this swan song out including Davis' "Rin Tin Tin" sendup worthy of the classic MAD comic book days plus Elder's "L'l Ab'r," which not only puts the "Li'l Melvin" spoof he drew for PANIC to shame both artistically and especially story-wise but thanks to Kurtzman's brilliant abilities ranks with those great early MAD comic strip take-offs like "Starchie" and "Bringing Back Father" for mind-twisting laughs and impeccable mimicry. Too bad the mag had to die out (Kurtzman seemed to see the end coming or at least I get that impression from his opening schpiel in #11, where he also notes how the ex-MAD contributors' names were getting edited out of the newer reissues of the Ballantine MAD paperbacks, probably out of revenge more than anything!)
Speaking of those old MAD paperbacks, I bought a bunch of 'em up cheap at this remaindered book shop in Greensburg Pennsylvania a few weeks back and really enjoyed reading 'em all over again even if these things have been reprinted, repackaged and reprocessed ad infinitum/nauseum. Not only are they nice to have around just for "old time's sake" but it's especially pleasant reading these stories without being reminded of just how "bad" the fifties were via a load of horrid anti-anti-communist commentaries that seem to permeate a lotta the more-recent MAD repros, usually written by the "Castro-taught-the-Cubans-to-read!" apologists in order to educate today's lumpen and limpen youth of supposed past evils. Why are these leaden and falsified lectures always preached at us by people who, if anything, are the total embodiment of upper-class elitist youth pamperdom extant?!?!?! Well, I guess they hafta do something between workshops! Blah!!!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 3:15 PM
Monday, February 14, 2005
The fact that the "Windows Media Player" kept stopping to buffer every minute or so before totally kicking me off (me having to go back on and on seemingly ad infinitum in the hopes that maybe one time the program would stay on long enough for me to enjoy things) during last night's Freestyle Avant Garde Jazz show at the CBGB Lounge meant that I didn't get to digest the talent playing at that sainted space the way I would've liked to. From what I could discern...Aylet Rose Gottleib was slightly interesting though too middle-eastern World Music for my personal tastes (I found it mildly pleasant though), while Morcilla with Matt Lavelle cooked with great late-seventies avant-tension (and the weirdest electric piano sounds I've ever experienced!) making me long for a release in the hopefully near future. It's very interesting hearing some of these new avant garde jazz acts who seem to be consciously tossing totally mid-class punkisms into their overall makeup, making this music (at least to me) even more meaningful to my everyday existence than the music of today from whence punkisms have naturally developed! I mean, why should I spend money on a Franz Ferdinand CD when I can get many more thrills out of a Freedomland one???
Anyone interested in obtaining two out of print and hopelessly unobtainable back issues of BLACK TO COMM are advised to go here and here, and while you're at it BID on these collectible fanzoonies as soon as you can! It's not everyday that these old, obscure BLACK TO COMMs (well, one of 'em is actually the old[er] PFUD! if you can believe it!) are made available to the general public, so rather than pester me for back issues you know you're not going to get (especially after certain people slobbered all over me and begged for such rarities, then started calling me names on their blogs!), why don't you just bid on these items and take your chances like a MAN! Believe me, both of these issues are highly desirable (at least in some small circles) and rare...so rare that in fact even I don't have one of these issues in my own collection! Not only that, but if you bid on these fanzines and boost the price up to ridiculous heights, you're also boosting my ego and pride along with it...and can you think of a better way to make your faverave blogmeister a happy man that by paying $79.58 for a magazine you coulda bought for two bucks only fifteen years ago?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:55 PM
Sunday, February 13, 2005
ANOTHER RIGHT-WINGER FOR THE PUNK BRIGADES!
For years, liberals have been pleasantly pleased, no, make that downright snotty, over how they're not only systematically smarter but have better (read: "hipper," "avant garde") tastes than those ol' stick in the mud right wingers they always seem to know about but never seem to come across in their tight little circles. I mean, it is kinda pathetic in some ways that these anointed types do tend to look down upon those of the "right" (whatever that may be these days) for being such cubes, yet in other ways their airs of superiority are, I hate to admit, totally understandable. After all, just how many reviews/mentions of rock music of any stripe do you see in most right-wing periodicals these days? You're lucky if you see something on a phenomenon (whether pro or con) that's been around for the past fifteen years, and usually written about in the dryest, most urbane way! And when such subjects as rock or experimental film or whatnot are presented to the likes of people who have problems with anything post-baroque, what is one to expect...you may remember, when William F. Buckley in his glory days was writing about the Beatles and "Back in the USSR," he got a lotta heat for promoting what was thought of as the Beatles' obviously communist leanings!!! Yet still, I'm seeing more and more right wingers (usually those of the more libertarian right line, not of the sissy Republican mainstream that seems all the rage) coming out and downright admitting their punkism past and (perhaps even) present. Wayne McGuire was the first (albeit he has been in on the game for quite awhile...since 1968 in fact), then came Russell Desmond of CAN'T BUY A THRILL fame, and now I find out that Thomas Fleming, the head of the right-wing libertarian Rockford Institute and editor of CHRONICLES magazine, can also be counted as part of the freedom punk pack! Make no doubt about it, Dr. Fleming is about as right wing as they come (BTW, I don't consider racist/National Socialist groups "right wing" given they share more common ground with their supposed leftist adversaries than anyone on either side would dare admit), finding fault with the likes of the new NATIONAL REVIEW direction under the tutelage of Jonah Goldberg amongst a bevy of other "conservative" movements abounding, but in the course of a rather negative obituary of Johnny Carson and some quips about current music (mainly, a thumbs-down comment re. Elvis Costello), I came across the following gem from the good Doctor:
"While living in San Francisco I attended several concerts of the Velvet Underground and spent some minutes backstage chatting with Lou Reed about modern verse. I still think several of their songs from that period--Sweet Jane, Rock and Roll--are quite good and hold up well. As the pop Baudelaire, Reed was interesting, though as the conventional liberal he has become he is as insufferable as Bob Dylan."
Dr. Fleming goes on to mention a few other things about rock as in "garage," re. how he thought that the only good thing about Steven Stills was that he wrote the Mojo Men's "Sit Down I Think I Love You" (!-though he sheepishly admits that he liked some CSN stuff but I'll give him a pass because I think I might too! Aaaarrrrrgh! [Well, at least CSN&Y!]). And, to put the frosting on the cake (and make yet another interesting connection), none other than Russell Desmond himself had contributed some articles to Fleming's magazine a decade back...maybe if these two rockism minds had gotten their act together we could have had a truly libertarian/hard right rock music section in Fleming's rag that could have easily counteracted all of the bad (and nowadays downright flaccid) rock scribing seen in a bevy of left-leaning weekly papers (amongst other places) these days. So the next time some pointy-headed, regime-loving left winger picks on YOU for being an L-7 void-of-taste neanderthal, just direct him to the likes of McGuire, Desmond and Fleming, whose tastes do seem a lot more on target than the usual patented rebel rabble revolutionary amerindie rooter who, despite his flaring nostrils and flashy rhetoric still seems to have a great affinity for...the Democratic Party???
And if you're interested in the kinda right-wing classic liberal-leaning politics that I've had a liking for over the past decade or so, give CHRONICLES a try. Not only do they have some of my favorite writers like Paul Craig Roberts and Sam Francis amongst their ranks (though Francis does seem to get to me at times with his praise, and perhaps deification of the WASP male which [in my humble opinion, me being decidedly non-WASP] can be bogus...I mean, isn't Dave Lang a WASP male [I hear he ain't a kraut like I originally thought]??? Case closed!), but they have some of the best, most cutting political scribings one can find on or off the web these days. Fleming's terse obituary/putdown of Christopher Reeve (I tried linking it without luck, so just click on the mag title, then go to the "Hard Right" section, then click on "BRAIN-SUCKING FREAKS") had even brave me shuddering in my boots even though I totally disagree with his assessment/putdown of the real Superman, George Reeves (I guess there's no accounting for taste, at least as far as moom pitchers are concerned). Anyway, if you'd like to see at least another facet of my, er, sociopolitical makeup, CHRONICLES is da place ta BE!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:12 AM
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Tim Buckley-THE STARSAILOR IS COMING HOME DVD (VTN [Video Tape Network])
Dunno where you can get hold of this one (Jon Behar duped his copy for some dupe, mainly me), but it's (to say the least) an enlightening little bit of obscuro rockism that would have wowed me had I given this an eyeballing back in '77 but I got to see it in the here and now which is better'n had I waited an additional 28 years so I gotta be THANKFUL for such small favors.
At first, I didn't care about Tim Buckley one way or another. It was only until I found out that he was at one time involved in the Frank Zappa gristmill of tax writeoff productions that I deemed him important enough of my attention (remember, this was at the time I thought that Zappa and whatever he did was of such a wowwee how can anyone TOP THIS sense of juvenile mid-finger salutation that I was searching out just about ANYTHING that had the Frank Zappa Seal o' Freak Approval even if it was Tim Dawe). I eventually got hold of the oft-desired $1.00 "loss leader" sampler ZAPPED w/a selection of just about everything that came out of Zappa's Bizarre/Straight entourage at the time (sans the early Verve-period Sandy Hurvitz/Jeff Simmons wares by now totally forgotten even by Zappa, not to mention that 2-LP set where Lenny Bruce bores us to death only we're supposed to act as if we were learning something about ourselves and our society so I guess that "redeems" everything) and finally got to hear Buckley off his BLUE AFTERNOON disque and merely yawned. It was a pleasant yawn, but still tiresome hipster jazz/mode laidbackisms to THIS blubbered-out teenage pimple farm getting his jollies not only with Patti Smith albums but Amon Duul's DISASTER helping him lose status at the high school!
And, as if the godz of rockism were smiling upon me, about a half-year later DOWN BEAT printed a huge, no, humongous piece on Buckley written by then-editor and former Buckley guitarist Lee Underwood, and although the piece was marred by that very irritating and once-common seventies over-emote (y'know, "...if the public had only accepted Tim and just how down-to-earth honest he was and how he performed miracles and walked on water, maybe he wouldn't have died and we'd all be marching happily down the yellow brick road to true awareness...") it still gave at least me a reason to get obsessive/compulsive all over some musical act that was so "old" that he was beyond the cut out stage but that didn't matter one iota to me! Avant garde jazz was starting to make inroads into my listening parameters and everything from the AACM to Derek Bailey seemed like a whole new, exciting, throbbing world for me to discover, and reading about how Buckley was at one period starting to sing in mythical languages and scream while playing in odd time signatures as gongs banged and bells tinkled to the "new thing" captured my ever-mutating bounds of musical attention the same way people like the Velvet Underground, John Cage, Ornette Coleman and the Shadows of Knight were doing the exact same thing at the exact same nanosecond.
I did give it the ol' college try, but it took around a year for me to finally latch onto Buckley's two avant garde platters, namely LORCA and STARSAILOR. You can read reviews of both of 'em elsewhere on this blog (I'm too lazy to link 'em up), but to make a not-so-long story perhaps not-that-shorter, I merely listened to both, thought "hey, tis good," and filed 'em into my collection somewhere between NI KANTU EN ESPERANTO and GEORGE "GOOBER" LINDSAY SINGS I LIKE UGLY GIRLS...nice try, but there was a new era of music more attuned to my suburban doofus Amerigan living coming up while my excursions into past product seemed to be relegated to the groups that (at that time) seemed to be pointing the way towards the modern-day pounce that was beginning to be my new obsession! It wasn't until that excitement died down that I was again able to look at the past and see just what there was outside the punk realm worthy of my time and temperature. And it wasn't for YEARS that I would even think of giving Tim Buckley another spin, but thanks to some blog action (and my desire to TOP whatever was transpiring on said blogs, at least when it came to music/film that doesn't bore me to pieces) my attention was once again piqued, if only for a few more minutes.
Anyway here's this Tim Buckley DVD of stuff that I believe was taken mostly off long-circulating videotapes, and it's a very enveloping experience for the Buckley maniac while a mere passerby like myself can learn a thing or two about it as well. The early Elektra-era footage is pretty much what I expected...a more "adult" folk/rock toss that wasn't quite gonna settle well with the sweathog types, but then again I'm sure that the pseudo-intellectual folkies at the local high school weren't going to snuggle up to it as well. Kinda mature, perhaps "grown up" as in only someone over twenty-five would want to listen to this, but it's still fine seeing Buckley (on THE MONKEES) sing his mournful "Song To The Siren," later to show up not only on STARSAILOR but Pat Boone's almost-legendary attempt to cash in on the new youth music a few years before he grew his hair long, dragged his entire family outta mothballs and made a partially-successful comeback on television shows like NIGHT GALLERY. Still, I can't really enjoy this part of Buckley's career, since to me he comes of more or less as a less-addled, with-it Southern Californian folk/rock hybrid, perhaps a male Joni Mitchell (yeah, she's Canadian, but California folkiedom was bred in her soul despite Fairport Convention doing excellent versions of her songs) fortunately without any neuroses that I can discern!
The part of this DVD that's bound to capture the interest of your normal BLOG TO COMM reader is that of Buckley's appearance on (get this!) BOBOQUIVAKI! This was some show filmed at the studios of KCET-TV in Los Angeles and perhaps broadcast throughout the nation courtesy of PBS (which may still have been NET at this time), but whatever, BOBOQUIVAKI has that same weird PBS air that permeated all of their music shows throughout the seventies, giving people the feeling that they're hanging out at some hippoid den of peacenlove when they'd rather be hanging out at Max's Kansas City . Buckley and band are spread out across some typical abstract in-the-round stage as the audience sits cross-legged on the floor (!), but despite the airs of early-seventies mellow-downness there is a purpose to this broadcast, mainly in that it's perhaps the only surviving piece of STARSAILOR-era Buckley that's out there and fans of that particular piece of commercial suicide should be glad this footage wasn't destroyed after broadcast for the sake of "good karma"!
No pipe organ, tympani or even Bunk Gardner on saxes here, but we do get brother Buzz on horns, gong and tinkling bells while Buckley and the rest of the group do a pretty good subdued, sublime performance that, although not the screamer that I was expecting, is still good enough with the power and tension controlled yet downright overbearing. Camera closeups of Buckley's grimacing, and totally into-"it" face seem to take up a majority of the shots (though we do get some nice views of Gardner on trumpet), and while this ain't exactly the knock-out-drag-down I woulda expected had I seen this in 1978 (when the idea of Buckley singing "Starsailor" as the rest of the group howled along in an attempt to imitate the recorded version would have sent me into fits of eternal avant bliss), it's still a fine encapsulation of SoCal folkiedom meets sixties new thing jazz a la Pharoah Sanders that anyone out there woulda known wasn't gonna sell nearly the same numbers Joe South would, but thankfully Buckley and a whole slew of others (Hampton Grease Band, Stooges...) didn't mind. No wonder even ROLLING STONE was confused.
The rest of the DVD is taken up with early-seventies Buckley appearances (I believe the one where he does "Sally Goes Round The Roses" was filmed at Max's Kansas City...anyone know if this is so?), all from a period which Underwood said was one of pressure on Buckley to "conform" and make accessible music, and the choice of material and general staidness of these performances perhaps prove Underwood's point. Buckley's later records not only had none of the avant-garde wildness that at least perked my lobes, but they're equally nowhere when compared with Buckley's early folk musings which, although not my cup o' tea, at least have some motion and sway to their introspective demeanor. Maybe someday someone will uncover a cache of Buckley's under-the-table group with John Balkin on electric stick, but I'm not holding your breath until it happens or anything.
Oh, for some reason there's a whole batch of DONOVAN tee-vee appearance on this DVD as well. You know something bad's coming when David McCallum announces that Mr. Leech is "the voice of our conscious" when in reality he's the voice of our UNconsciousness (like in a BAD DREAM), and frankly I can't think of anything as boring as sitting through clips of Donovan singing socially-profound folkie musings while the audience gapes in awe as they look inside their souls and get into a whole lotta proto-John Bradshaw introspective goo before heading towards the nearest old cemetery to make gravestone rubbings. After awhile you kinda wish either some bikers (or better yet, whatever punk rock group was appearing on the same episode of HULLABALLOO Donovan was appearing on) would approach the stage and beat Donovan to smithereens with bike chains, but alas this does not occur.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 8:17 PM
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
THERE'S NOT A THING, NOT EVEN A MENTION, OF JAY HINMAN OR DAVID LANG ON THIS POSTING! NO FOOLIN'! SCOUT'S HONOR!!!!
Birdbrain-I FLY CD-R (Persian Cardinal, try www.theworldofbirdbrain.com for more information)
As any astute reader of BLOG TO COMM knows, the main brain motivator for me these days ain't rock & roll as much as it is FREE JAZZ (read: avant garde jazz/new thing/fire music...). Oh yeah, I like rock & roll, but hardly any of the new stuff coming out moves me like a hefty helping of sonic Ex-Lax mighta some quarter-century ago, and frankly, all of these new groups that are being touted as the RAW AND ALIVE thing if you're a young and grooving guy just ain't cuttin' anything whether it be mustard or cheese as far as THIS "well-respected" (HAH!) scribe (NOT "rock critic") is concerned. Like, Mike Snider has been hyping some new group called The Fiery Furnaces at me, tellin' me all these things about how they recall past rock achievements of various respected stripes and all that, which sounds fine and dandy to me, only I've been around the block more than a few times and tend to be a little more wary about picking up some of these new items by groups who seem to have their "hearts" in the right place, but does that really mean anything in the light of all those bands of the past who took their guiding light from sources both stellar and dismal but made well with what they had solely on garage-addled primitivism alone?
So maybe that's why when I'm checking out the action at CBGB I'm not always paying close attention to what's happenin' at their main club nor their next-door art gallery/quieter-rock/folk music space. For me, the main action happenin' at this world-reknown club is goin' on at the CBGB Lounge on Sunday night's "Freestyle avant" showcase where the best of the old and the new freedom players are gathered in what has proven to be the best running gig in New York City since the Central Park wilding. I know that more than a few of you out there could care less about "jazz," feeling that it's the music of hi-fi nuts wearing suits going to see lounge-y pianists playing soft schmooze while martoonies clink, but this is the AVANT GARDE I'm gabbin' at you about! This is the music of high energy, atonal screech, nerves fraying and mental breakdown, and if you can't go for any combination of the above not only in your musical listening but your living patterns, what kind of BLOG TO COMM reader are you?!?!?!
Anyway, I assumed that Birdbrain, who play the series on occasion, were just another one of those great unknown avant jazz groups that have flocked to the Lounge for some rare gig in a world of apathy. Well, I am right, but there's a lot more to Birdbrain than juat being another free jazz group on the chopping block. This aggregate is more or less a weird juxtapoz of white avant-jazz chamber moves and alternative music (with just about everyone in the group coming out of a new wave/alternative background inc. two ex-members of the well-known in new wave circles Bloomington Indiana group The Dancing Cigarettes who I never were able to enjoy to the fullest...sorry guys!) consisting of vocalist Yvette Perez (who looks the 1981 new wave chanteuse role to the max) and three horn players (Don Trubey on alto sax, Tim Noe on tenor and Peter Zummo on trombone) and nada more! (A drummer has since joined the ranks which should change their sound dramatically...there is a gig coming up at the Lounge which I'm going to do my durndest to try and catch via cybercast!)
If you think I was somewhat bored silly by such a concept in music (being played out as avant garde jazz), you're mistaken as usual. I'll admit that I was at first puzzled after watching an archived 'cast of theirs available through CB's website, but this CD is not only "listenable" but downright enjoyable. Perez can purr and coo like you wish Cathy Berberian woulda w/o coming off too brash, while the horn structures, while not free in the classic sense, are abstract enough to add tension to Perez's warblings. If you get into Jimmy Giuffre's more experimental sides you might like this if only for the starkness. Plus, for a change, the final cut ("I Hear It on the Vine") has Perez singing to an organ accompaniment for a switch that I'm sure will bring a smile to even the cube-est of modern rock followers as well as practitioners of the sorry form.
George Cartwright's Glorious Ponycat-BLACK ANTS CRAWLING CD (Innova, available through Wayside)
Maybe it ain't so funny that I haven't touched my Albert Ayler box set since its arrival (other'n to spin a disc or two and do a little burnin') yet I'm buying up and playing this post- (some may say "sub-", but I don't) Ayler spurt in the interim. Pretty nice mid-energy romp from some guys who I think might not be that big on the "jazz scene" but given how lively the freedom quotient is these days does it matter??? Funny, the liner notes bring up none other than the Stooges masterpiece FUNHOUSE which I think is crazy since Glorious Ponycat are pretty much legit, "real" avant garde jazz while FUNHOUSE (and a variety of other rock/jazz crossovers a la Tim Buckley's STARSAILOR) were "fake" avant garde jazz...not that it means a hill of beans mind you. It just seems strange seeing it brought up in the liners of a "serious" jazz offering, but nowadays you can expect everything done anyway anywhere so why should I be surprised! Still, I'll take Glorious Ponycat over any of the "new" and "improved" supposedly hot "garage" groups of the day who more or less come off like warmed over Dream Syndicate retreads, not to mention most any group over the last decade who have been compared to the Stooges' sophomore sides.
Wire-PINK FLAG CD (EMI-Harvest UK)
Guess what! Ol' Chris has actually gone out and purchased a disque that just about everyone else in the world has bought, chomped, digested and pooped out ages back! I never really was that sold on the Wire legacy, perhaps because too many people were pointing to them as some all-encompassing musical act without whom our musical vocabulary would be severely limited. I never bought into such bunk, which is why I waited until the late-eighties to buy a Wire disc (actually, the one LP/one 12-inch EP Rough Trade issue) and didn't quite osmose to that as I'm sure more than a few spectators out there in BTC-land wish I had. However, I liked the the way Wire played with their audience...these relatively old-fogies romping around in the punk idiom (and in the extremely ageist Britpunk one too!) who were going around telling everyone just how much they hated rock music rather appealed to me...pure genius as in PLAY THE FANS FOR THE ZILCH-DIMENSIONAL SUCKERS THEY ARE!!! Advice I can live by. Besides, (as so eloquently pointed out in the last issue of BOMP!), Wire were a group that was using their standard rock instrumentation more or less as an experimental/electronic blare wall-of-sound along with the Slits, Subway Sect and Pop Group (OK, that ain't the exact meaning of the quote or anything near it...save your time writing in!) which sounded rather neat back when I first read it back in '80.
Anyhow, PINK FLAG is great, not as "Syd" as CHAIRS MISSING which I've had for a coupla years already but not as "duh" as much of the quickie punque flybynightisms of the time. Sorta like art rock Ramones (yeah, I know that the Ramones ARE art rock already...art like in the Sunday Funnies!) with major white-sound blare that "does" have its artsy quotient, but that doesn't matter when the punkisms offer a solid counterpoint. It's nothing to make me wanna go out and kill people (like the best music does!) but an interesting piece in that British punk puzzle I thought I didn't care about anymore, but maybe I do (a tad).
Sunny Murray-HOMAGE TO AFRICA CD (BYG/Sunspots)
It was a thrill seeing Sunny Murray on the CBGB Lounge cybercast last year and knowing that the man is still active long after becoming one of the first (along w/Milford Graves) truly free drummers, and this previously unheard-by-me BYG release, like Murray's other offerings both on and off BYG, reminds me of just how important avant garde jazz is to a person's (mainly mine) rockism sense and how it perhaps even surpasses it, at least nowadays when so little rock flashes on me like it usedta. Featuring the cream of the BYG in-house players (Shepp, Silva, Thornton, most of the Art Ensemble...) along with Jeanne Lee singing and playing bells, HOMAGE TO AFRICA is yet another free tour-de-force perhaps improved on given BYG's hands-off production. I only hope that Murray etc. get paid for this reissue!
A BIG HEAPING HUNKING THANKS TO BLOG TO COMM FAN PAUL McGARRY for sending me the rest of the first season of COMBAT on DVD-R! Just got 'em today and'll start spinnin' 'em as soon as the spirit moves me. Hope you're enjoying the Ayler CD-Rs I burned for you (don't wear yourself out listening to 'em!)...whadja want for this batch pal?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 5:31 PM
Friday, February 04, 2005
BLOG TO COMM DREAM INTERPRETATION!
Do you ever have weird dreams? I sure do, especially while I'm under the influence of not only some powerful medicine (Ny-Quil comes to mind), but rock & roll (or any other relevant gulcheral obsession) can also bring on some mighty midsummer's night's screams. I mean, whadja expect given my gotta hear it and hear it NOW sense of purpose??? F'rexample, I still remember a dream I had way back in the spring of 1977, where I happened to be at a flea market or used record shop or something like that and I found a cassette tape of a Hampton Grease Band album I never knew about in some cheapo bin. I had the obscure object of desire in my increasingly-clammy claws (the cover, btw, was taken from that group photo that appears in the gatefold sleeve of MUSIC TO EAT so mebbee it was a bootleg) only to wake up with a humongous feeling of "AAAARRRGHH!!!" overcoming my sensitive highschool being as I slowly realized that it was nothing but a mere dream and this recording I wanted to hear so bad didn't even exist! In the eighties I had a dream where I had gotten hold of a cassette tape with Rocket From The Tombs doing "Sonic Reducer" (complete with the opening vacuum-cleaner drone chant) and let me tell you that the legit release that has been going around for the past few years definitely pales next to the wall of screaming distortion and feedback that I encountered coming from my still-standing (two feet away from me as I type this) boom box! Believe me, I've had many weird/strange/cool dreams o'er my lifetime, some as faint as a distant UHF signal while others so vivid I coulda sworn they actually happened, but whatever the case whether they be dreamers or screamers, what can you do about your nighttime brain activity anyway???
Other'n analyze the entire disgusting mess, that is! Yeah I've seen all the dream books out there (though never did come across Peter Reich's) and know that what I'm about to deal in is a mere parlor game time passer, but as I was told in highschool psycho class you can learn a lot from your dreams, so learn on I will. The following are some dreams I've had in the very and not-so-recent past, and in order to shed some light on my own psychological makeup (so's you'll feel sorry for me) I will tell you what these dreams mean, and how they fit into my overall tip-top mental health. For the sake of taste, I am going to forego telling you about some long-running repeato dream themes (having to urinate/defecate and then finding out that the toilet being used is in the middle of some open-air public area and people are staring at me [maybe not], my grades being so bad that I get sent back to either high school, grade school or kindergarten and have to go through all twelve grades all over again, or that thrilling one where I'm in public and I'm either in my pajamas, underwear, or nude [again, with nobody noticing me!]!) because I haven't had any of those dreams recently (other'n the nude one, where to add insult to injury I'm back in grade school so I guess I had a two for one shot there). Given my luck I probably will have one of these recurring whackmares tonight due to subliminal suggestion, but that's the price I must pay in order to write this VITAL, IMPORTANT post dealing with a subject very relevant to my life today, mainly SANITY!
PART ONE: TEE-VEE DREAMS!-I've had a lotta these over the years. In the distant past (seventies/eighties) I've had a dream that I was in this film noir-esque situation, wearily entering into a small motel room decorated in a 1940s motif, switching on the television where some fifties program, say THE RED SKELTON SHOW was ending watching the station ID (a channel 2) all done in the old. pre-computer fifties/sixties look/style, kinda feeling like Humphrey Bogart after a hard day on a case the whole while. I've also had dreams about a variety of independent stations in the local area airing those old shows I used to want to watch with a PASSION that had been broadcasting for years AND I DIDN'T KNOW THEY WERE ON! leading to a lotta frustration and anger over missing years of MY LITTLE MARGIE reruns. (There's a road I continually drive past where one of these stations was supposed to be, and guess which dream I think of when I go past that place!) However, there are some rather recent (and not-so)dreams I want to run through the old pseudopsychological grist mill today, and I'll betcha my bottom dollar my tee-vee dreams have yours beat all hollow!
First tee-vee dream...this is one I had a while back but it's still cool enough. I'm watching SGT. BILKO, only I'm not watching it as much as standing in the scene observing things as they happen (as in many of my tee-vee dreams). Anyway, Bilko and gang are in the barracks putting plaster all over Doberman's head in order to make a bust of him, Doberman going "Geeee Sahge" like he always does and Bilko responding "Now now Doberman..." while slopping this grey glop all over his noggin, forgetting to leave tubes to stick up the Private's nostrils in order for him to breathe not to mention a divider in order to remove the hardened mold. Then from in back of me I hear a whining voice which I thought to be Jane Dulo's only I wake up finding out that some horny neighborhood cat's outside my hot and humid August night bedroom window serenading me at three in the morning.
Second tee-vee dream...it's LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, only it's taking place in my old gradeschool hallway which looks different than in real life. But only slightly. There's a costume party going on or at least people are dressed up, and Beaver (circa. 1962-1963) is walking down the hall looking like Robin Hood. Then suddenly Eddie Haskell, dressed as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (similar to Chaney only w/o the curly wig or cataract eye though with facial makeup and an obviously phony hump that makes him look like a camel when he stands straight up) leaps out from a classroom door, grabs Beaver and viciously starts biting him on the neck! Beaver looks like he's in agony as Haskell bites and growls away! Then, after about ten seconds of this, Eddie releases Beaver and starts laughing, telling everyone how "funny" his little prank was as Wally (I forget who/what he was dressed as) says in his typical Wally way "Yeah, sure Eddie" as the dream more or less dissolves into something I can't remember so it must not have been important.
Third tee-vee dream...Another oldie...I'm over at my now-deceased uncle's house (he was alive at the time) watching tee-vee and the show that happens to be on is an episode of GET SMART only star Don Adams is wearing a moustache and has fashionably-long early-seventies hair hanging over the ears in it. I think to myself that this must be from the last season or something like that which I probably missed out on for whatever stupid reason. I also found it strange that Adams would stoop so low as to actually have his toupee fly off his head for a cheap joke in this episode! After the show, there're some weird announcements having to do with (I believe) a storm warning, then THE TWILIGHT ZONE comes on, only the opening is rather different...strange images (including a slightly shaggy dog with a wolfhound body and a human skull for a head) appear and the voice-over is not that of Rod Serling, but Ernie Kovacs doing Percy Dovetonsils! I start feeling weird, then look at my uncle who gives me this sinister grin and starts showing fangs! Then I wake up.
PART TWO: TEE-VEE/ROCK & ROLL DREAM...a mixie! This one happened only two nights ago so it's fresh in my mind. I'm actually watching a tee-vee in this one, an old film from SHINDIG of the Turtles performing one of their best, "Let Me Be." Only this film is in color, and Mark Volman (wearing a white suit jacket similar to the one he had in the Crossfires) is playing drums and singing background instead of just twirling his tambourine! Howard Kaylan sings, but he's starting to look like he did in the Mothers here plus he's playing guitar (!) while singing his lungs out as the seven-piece (!!!) group (including a guy on a vox organ---the entire group consists of, besides drums and organ, FOUR guitarusts and one bassist and they're all dressed in hip gear and striped shirts and vests and a floppy cap or two!) join in on the chorus and swing and sway to the music like it was going out of style! And the sound...loud and high-energy, close to something a band the caliber of the Sons of Adam, Love or one of the better West Coast wonders might have cooked up. The ending of the song was wild, as Kaylan runs from the performing area onto this open field (still singing and playing guitar) as the rest of the group follows and the camera shot rises to directly above the fray where you can see the group (and others) joking around playing tag (and the song doesn't even fade out but ends solid---whew!).
PART THREE: I DON'T KNOW HOW TO CATEGORIZE THIS ONE...it's supposed to be a thirties (late thirties I guess judging from the greying tint gloss look, even though I'm once again watching the film as if I were on the set) film starring a young Arlo Guthrie as some sorta comedic boxer. He looks about fifteen, is really skinny as well as tall and has longish hair which I think is strange for the late-thirties, but since Moe and Larry could get away with long hair then I guess Arlo could too. Also starring in the film is a young Cary Grant as something like Guthrie's older brother or manager, and in one scene both Guthrie and Grant throw a tantrum burying their heads in chairs and kicking their feet while some thirties-type actress explains to us something of moral significance going on but I can't remember what, if anything. Then the place turns into some area reminiscent not only of my uncle's aforementioned house/yard but the farm where my sister lives where some strange gathering is going on (the cats who live on the farm are there, as does a pachyderm which lifts one of the cats with its trunk). The strangest part of this dream is where I happen to look into a mirror and who do I see but young Arlo Guthrie smirking back at me!
PART FOUR: HIGH TENSION, JUVENILE DELINQUENCY DREAM...I'm a kid. About twelve, and I'm with a buncha kids that I went to school with (no names, since they might be reading this), and we're hanging out around Stambaugh Avenue here in Sharon. Suddenly, a buncha black kids (with seventies afros and black power sneers) corral us and take us hostage, forcing us into a garage located where Tony's Pizza Kitchen should be. (It should be known that a black kid who I went to school with is part of the entourage I'm with so I dunno if this attack is 100% racially motivated...in fact, he's vocally arguing with the perpetrators.) Me and the guys are threatened with our lives for reasons I can't remember and, after some harrassment on their part, the younger kids in our group (none of whom I recognize though another one is black) are set free even though they're STILL going to kill the rest of us. (I guess they figured that the freed kids would be too chicken to call the cops!) I find a hollow steel tube in the garage and try to hide it until I can use it to bop some heads and make an escape, only I'm caught. However, I do struggle with one of the captors and then we're all free. No attempt to bring the evildoers to justice is made, but I eagerly head on home.
BLOG TO COMM INTERPRETS THESE DREAMS!!!-First off, the dream about Bilko signifies my love for not only the fifties, but subjugating women, minorities and gays. However, the act of Bilko smearing plaster upon Doberman's face signifies how I (as Doberman, a low on the ladder rung of life soldier?) am being constantly humiliated by those higher up (mainly Sgt. Bilko who perhaps represents others, like more, established, famed bloggers perhaps?), smearing something that's NOT plaster on my face while telling me that my suffering is for "my own good." The presence of Jane Dulo/the cat is I believe something of an occult nature I cannot interpret at this time.
Regarding the LEAVE IT TO BEAVER dream, once again I'm the victim as Beaver, who I guess I am "identifying" with (the Robin Hood outfit signifying a noble heart perhaps) is persecuted for his virtue while Eddie plays the Bilko/higher-up role with his "joke" signifying typical rank-pulling abuses that many in authority are wont to execute for their own nefarious purposes. The fact that Eddie is dressed as a famous film "monster" adds to the tenacity of the attack, while Wally's nonchalant response to seeing the living daylights being scared out of his kid brother once again represents "Big Brother" watching you, but not really caring what happens one way or the other.
As for the Don Adams/TWILIGHT ZONE dream, it's merely nostalgia. When I was younger I used to watch a lotta television with my relatives including my uncle, who lived in an area where he could pick up a few of the low-budget UHF stations that I used to love the dickens outta (mainly channels 17 and 23 before they went religious) and copped a whole buncha hours of class tee-vee viewing while at his abode. The Don Adams reference perhaps relates to the era when I was spending time at my uncle's, the mid-seventies (when moustaches and longish hair were widely seen amongst even the staider of souls amongst us) while the "storm warning" is a reference to my uncle's extremely strong fear of storms, he seemingly being an over-cautious person when it came to such warnings usually heading for the cellar long before the rest of us would. (Though when a tornado DID hit our area back in '85 he thought I was pulling a bad joke on him after I heard about it on the news!) I'm still trying to figure out the TWILIGHT ZONE bit...perhaps Percy Dovetonsils (a flaming sissy) being the total opposite of Serling's cool fifties/sixties aloofness was an example of my brain was pulling perhaps a little ol' satire on yours truly?
And for the Turtles...hey, I like rock & roll and I like the Turtles (esp. during their folk rock period) and hearing "Let Me Be" (a song whose sentiments I definitely adhere to!) while the group romps about in classic mid/late-sixties anarchic style shows a freedom that I certainly would like to enjoy but can only watch vicariously through the antics of the Turtles, Monkees and other groups whose attire and attitude signified a thawing in rigid cultural conditions, if only for a short time.
The Arlo Guthrie/Cary Grant dream, now I'm tempted to think there's something "gay" going on here given what we know about Grant now (and can say out loud unlike when he was still around, as Chevy Chase can attest to) and Guthrie (who ain't gay, but then again I wonder how "popular" he would've been in a communal prison shower during the days of ALICE'S RESTAURANT) but I don't think so. The part where I look into a mirror and think I see Arlo grinning back at me is pure hetero...y'know how all the gals in school liked the "cute" boys and wanted to cuddle up with them? Manly boys were big too while ugly buglies like me just stayed home and popped the pimples, but cute boys with long hair really made it big with the girlies, and perhaps I was fantasizing that I was just that kinda kid (after all, I hear Arlo did a lotta bed hoppin' in that film of his!). The part about the activities going on at my uncle's place was perhaps more nostalgia, egged on by the aforementioned Ny-Quil I had taken for my cold. Either that, or I miss those family parties we used to have at the drop of a hat. Readers, for wild, crazy and non-nightmareish fun dreams, you can't beat Ny-Quil, plus you'll get a good night's sleep as well!
I KNOW that some of my enemies out there are going to jump to conclusions about my final dream and say it's living proof of some sorta postmodern racism on my part, but I wouldn't buy into any of that tripe. Remember, there were some kids in the group I was in who were black and were being intimidated as well, so maybe that washes away all of that immature dream interpretation away in one fell swoop (after all, this is a mature dream interpretation article!). What this dream signifies is my penchant for heroics...true, at first I am intimidated and cower in fear when the badskis threaten to murder us, but then again I'm the one who sneaks the metal rod down my sleeve in anticipation of crushing a few heads wide open. The fact that the dream ends peacefully may be because of my show of force which makes the evildoers do a little shuddering themselves. Good thing I wasn't watching STRAW DOGS or this could've been one of the bloodiest dreams I've ever had!
So, what's the final outcome of all this highschool psychology class ruminating about dreams and what they mean and how we can learn from them...what else but that I watch too much tee-vee! I listen to too much music, and I don't have a "life" (as in what every goshdarnit parent wants for his kid...lotsa music lessons and homework and extra activities and wholesomeness, and oh, have fun while you're at it or we'll clobber you!). So, as you can see, my mental health is top notch and I'm probably gonna stay saner a lot longer than YOU so get offa your high horse for once, willya?
Whew, wasn't that a load! Anyway, in order to keep some of you readers from totally terminating your relationship with my blog lemme just run down some of the new items I'm listening to so's you too can feel BIG by actually reading my opinions on a whole slew of items I'll betcha wish ya had in your robotic clams, right? So, lez go...FAIRPORT CONVENTION CD (Polydor) is an old fave even though I've been known to pull this album out for a spin only once every three/four years. I still like this debut the best, which sounds like a better British take on early Jefferson Airplane than one could imagine, and I'll take Judy Dyble and band (including the teenaged Richard Thompson) over Grace Sick and company anyday! THE NECKS-MUSIC FROM THE FEATURE FILM THE BOYS CD (ReR)-Although I should be boycotting Australian product for obvious reasons, I figure out the entire country can't be like just one person over there. The Necks ain't quite jazz yet they ain't rock, but they do something akin to both with a hefty helping of alternative rock smarm thrown in. Still pretty good ambient kaka for when you're pouring through your back issues of THE WIRE. PHILIP GLASS-NORTH STAR CD (Virgin) is another old fave, at least before Philip Glass went big time and began hanging out with Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama and became too gnu agey for my tastes. Thus, Glass' first, easily-found major label offering might have been his last good one, still showing his repeato-riff music to sound like an old Toyota commercial at one minute and Suicide the next. Smart yet trashy enough, the halfway point between Glass's hanging out at Max's days and bigtime chi-chi. As for the JAMES CHANCE AND THE CONTORTIONS-PARIS 1980 CD (Ze), you may remember this one when it came out as LIVE AUX BAINS DOUCHES way back when. I do and didn't get it for whatever reason (mainly monetary concerns!) but I have it now and think it pales next to the ROIR live tape (later CD). It still has not only a bitta creepiness, but ex-Mahogany Brain bassist/guitarist Patrick Geoffris is on hand which is nice at least for people categorizing these things. And finally, THE SLITS-THE PEEL SESSIONS CD (Strange Fruit UK) is a great sampling of Slits (including their oft-ignored straight-ahead punk days) which you could only find through these radio tapes at the time, and though I should be boycotting the BBC for their unwavering adherence to a New World Order/tyranny of the snootiest newsrooms extant I gotta admit that this CD is a pretty exciting excapsulation of a lotta the energy one could find coming outta the punk idiom which seemed to say just about everything good in any way possible, and people just plain out ignored the entire mess! Heck, even the drawn out experimental tracks held my attention even though I think it to be the silliest stuff in this collection! Anyway, all of these CDs can be purchased via Wayside Music, except for the Contortions which I got through Forced Exposure.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:47 PM