THE HANUMAN ENSEMBLE AT THE CB's 313 GALLERY 2/26/06
Guess what happened??? I took some Ny-Quil gels to help get me through the night without succumbing to the sinus headaches that have been plaguing me my whole life, and I was so zoned out by them that I couldn't stay awake for the James Finn Quartet who were playing at the infamous CB's 313 GALLERY last night. However I did get to catch the last part of some avant garde big band jazz group who played as ferociously as the original late-sixties noiseilblazers did even though it was kinda silly watching this bunch crammed onto the Gallery stage like a canfulla sardines. The Hanuman Ensemble followed and played as free-form abstract as ever, guided by the electric harp of Mia Theodoratus and the lap steel of whateverhisnameis which pick and pluck and go up and down the scales with amphetamine frenzy more'n just about any act you could think of these days. Each show, each song is different just like the Velvet Underground originally envisioned, and I gotta 'fess up to the fact that these guys sounded even better under the influence of Ny-Quil'n the Stooges! Hope that the free jazzbo idiom doesn't remain alien to the stages of the various CBGB outlets, at least until the inevitable collapse of it all...
Monday, February 27, 2006
THE HANUMAN ENSEMBLE AT THE CB's 313 GALLERY 2/26/06
Sunday, February 26, 2006
VICARIOUSNESS PT. 3
Still no big impetus for me to do any "major", epic-length writing for you right now (mainly due to a combination of a plain ol' lack of initiative and pure laziness, or maybe Lang's and Hinman's psychic voodoo is finally starting to have its effect on me after all these months!) though I will throw a few tidbits your way in order to prove what a deeply caring individual I truly am. Yawn!
BLUE OYSTER CULT CD (Columbia/Legacy)
Here's one that I haven't heard in quite some time, in fact in over twenty years ever since I borrowed a cassette of it offa John Stanton to spin during the morning work drudgery back when we were both working this sleazoid job I prefer not to get into too much detail about. Sure glad I got a copy for my own enjoyment even two decades later, not only because of the actual album itself (which most rock critics made out to be the next logical evolutionary step back when this monster was unleashed on a dying heavy metal populace during the early days of 1972), but because of the 1969-vintage bonus tracks which more or less reflect the umlauted ones' true apex during their Stalk-Forrest Group incarnation (y'know, when R. Meltzer was blabbing up and down the pages of CIRCUS about West Coast Phil Lesh-isms meet Moby Grape this and East Coast Velvet Underground pounce that---it's all reprinted in DENIM DELINQUENT #6 in case you can't find the original, and believe-you-me I wanted to reprint the thing w/pic in the latest BLACK TO COMM SOOOOO BAD only CIRCUS never returned my email and I didn't think I should just run it w/o their own personal consent, moralistic midgie that I am!). While not as fulfilling as the Elektra product, these previously uncirculated tracks show Buck, Eric, Allen and the rest long before they decided to hop on the heavy metal bandwagon and were firmly entrenched in psych territory, proud darlings of the Stonybrook set which methinks accounted for more than a few hosannas at the hands of Perlman and Meltzer which seem to ring on even this far down the line. As for the album proper, I find it a pleasant-enough mid-energy metallic clanger despite the group in name and even style unconsciously reminding me of way too many classic rock wonks I hadda battle in the early-eighties who spent their bong-laden time raising these guys to the same lofty plateau of musical perversion as Styx, Journey and REO Speedwagon (three examples that could be used to prove that all that talk about markets and consumer capabilities maybe just might just be WRONG as all those early-eighties radio reformers said they were!). It's not easy to get those terminal losers outta my mind so's I can enjoy this disque for what it is, but then again why do I keep thinking of Steely Dan when I play this? Who knows...maybe their kinky-enough debut CAN'T BUY A THRILL is as East Coast dark smarm as various critics made it (and the Cult) out to be? I'll have to ask Commissioner Ellison about that one one of these days...
UK Subs-THE SINGLES 1978-1982 CD (Progressive Records, Canada)
Some "commentator" once made a point about me 'n my writing "oeuvre" along the lines that "yeah, that Chris has championed a lotta good things over the years, but he's also championed a lotta bad things as well!" An interesting point, only I'm not exactly too sure as to what this long-forgotten blogdropper means by "good" and "bad"...I mean, some people thought the Seeds were the most horrendous thing to come out of late-sixties El Lay given not only their "bobbysoxer" image but their general slightly-advanced "bubblegummy" sounds (and even Greg Shaw admitted that he thought the Seeds were "for girls" back when they were making records!). I naturally feel differently about 'em, so am I championing "bad music" when I cheerlead for the Seeds? Or the 1910 Fruitgum Company for that matter???
But then again I can like things just because I find that they are bad, that is if their "badness" has some element to it to make it entertaining or at least engaging to your ears on a level perhaps different than what the perpetrators in question originally had in mind. Of course, couple that with a good mood and maybe a few drinks in me and who knows what kinda drek out there would sound pleasing to my ears! And I'm sure that I'm not the only aficionado out there who feels this way...after all, listening to progressive rock group Pentwater live at CBGB on their CD and the positive crowd reaction to their Gentle Giant/Genesis-inspired musings would lead me (or even you) to believe that a rock audience more attuned to the up-n-comin' "avant garde" would be conduit to progressive rock...though given the amount of pre-show tokes and ingestion of fermented beverages said audience imbibed in throughout the evening, who knows?
So where does that put the UK Subs? Considering just how this group evokes more polarized response than Mr. A I thought I'd give 'em another try especially in order to hear their take on the Velvets "chestnut" "Waiting For The Man"...eh, it's all late-seventies punk rock for what good or bad that might imply to you but other'n for an introduction I must say that the whole think just zoomed by me. Of course if I caught 'em live I'd have a jolly good time of it, but it's not that I'd tred too much on their "badness" when others can be just as "bad" though redeemingly "good" or at least "bad" using Chuck Eddy musical feelers yet "good" using mine. Understand? Good, then maybe somebody could explain it to ME!
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band-TOMORROW BELONGS TO ME (Vertigo England, burned for me by Michael Snider)
Here's another one that has me flashing all the way back to the Golden Age of Import Bins when just about every store'd have at least one English Rolling Stones "Greatest Hits 'n B-sides" collection (like ROCK 'N' ROLLING STONES) stuck somewhere inna cracks and I was more'n anxious to grab copies of UK import covers and compare 'em with their Amerigan Cousins because, well, I am anal retentive! And as far as imports and their domestic counterparts go, there was no group more import-y than the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. A lotta people forget just how humongous this guy coulda been had the mode of the music not changed and Alex got swept up in the punk storm so to speak...after all, most of his wares were available here inna U. S. of Whoa and even in those department store bins which always seemed to be lacking, and the guy even appeared on DON KIRSHNER'S ROCK CONCERT back when you hadda endure that nurk's nasal intros (and what seemed like a dozen disco and singer-songwriter acts) in order to get to the interesting gunk! Yeah, Harvey was hot stuff for awhile though it's too bad he hadda fizzle out both here (first with Vertigo US dropping him and then Atco [who picked up the pieces] doing the same after the live album) and then overseas when the punkdom he helped pave the way for suddenly made him obsolete.
Anyway, TOMORROW BELONGS TO ME, even upon first listen (passed on it back then because, frankly, money was is high demand for a snot-filled mid-teen just getting the hang of it all!) proves itself to be a high-contender as far as the mid-seventies import rock sweepstakes went. Having little (if any) of the progressive whiz kid brainiacness that permeated a good portion of the Euro scene at the time, Harvey and band instead borrow from the best of both the AM and FM of the day not only with their tasty take on pre-disco hard funk ("Ribs and Balls") and punky straight-ahead rock ("Action Strasse" which was later covered by La Peste) but with the extended romp (which is supposed to appeal to a prog crowd but is too skewered even for them) of "The Tale of the Giant Stone Eater" where the miasma moves from rock to classical to metal to Hollywood theme music to C&W in this mad tale of LOST WORLD mutanto bop that's so aptly displayed on the brilliant front cover. Snider says Zappa and while that might fit in, I gotta say that Harvey even surpasses what the ol' smelly one was doing at the same time because, in no way did this fellow oldster have any fusion inclinations whatsoever...
Interesting point...don't wanna show my ignorance of Gee-Bee musical history but the title track is the same song that Skrewdriver later rocked up during the early eighties. Don't want (or care) to know the social significance of it all (I have the feeling it has something to do with British imperialism and mowing down Irish orphans or something like that...well, if Skrewdriver did it...) but it serves the same purpose as "Anthem" did on THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM as some sorta cohesive capper of seriousness on the rather satiric contents therein. In all, I find it a marked improvement over NEXT and almost as brain-thud as FRAMED! What I wanna know is...when's the Alex Harvey revival gonna start?
THE HOLLYWOOD BRATS CD (Cherry Red UK, also burned for me by Mike Snider in exchange for The Standells' TRY IT and Chrome's HALF MACHINE LIP MOVES)
Having never heard these Hollywood Brats (who I keep getting confused with some similar-named bunch...perhaps the Berlin Brats outta Hollywood who once had Shaun Cassidy in their ranks much to the chagrin of mom Shirley Jones!) I gotta say that I was pleasantly pleased as punch. Proto-punk, like the punk term itself, can take on a lotta twists and turns from the Modern Lovers' teen-angst through Can's virtuoso garageisms and Umela Hmota, but for the most part it was probably hard-edged pseudo-metallic flash like the Hollywood (and just about any other) Brats that made up the vast majority of punk wannabes across the globe long before the British spikers decided to give bores like Caroline Coon a run for their gravy train money back at the cusp of late-seventies mind-numbed bliss. I also keep thinking about that other group of Brats from New York just called "the" Brats who made a pretty good hard-rock coulda-been-commercial blast around the same time before meeting up with Arthur Kane and punking into the Corpsegrinders, and who knows, maybe all the "Brat" groups inna seventies coulda gotten together and formed a club or something!
Whaddeva, this album's a pretty good slab of hard rockism with enough Dolls style to keep your attention at least half the time. Nothing to brag about, but still fun enough as far as Dollsclones go. Better'n the Frenchies, and even when they do their "obligatory" switch-hit track (a cover of "Then He Kissed Me") they don't come off faggy just like Handsome Dick and Adny didn't when they decided to slap "I Got You Babe" onto THE DICTATORS GO GIRL CRAZY. And its so real in a fake way that I still woulda sworn these guys were from Hollywood itself...I mean the whole polished crassness of the thing just radiates Rodney's English Disco, y'know?
T. Rex-BOOGIE ON CD (Abraxas Italy); Marc Bolan and T. Rex-I DANCED MYSELF OUT OF THE WOMB 2-CD set (Abraxas Italy)
You can bet that there's a big T. Rex revival going on over here at the BLOG TO COMM office, and why not??? I mean, not only was Marc Bolan one of the hippest movers and shakers of early-seventies rock & roll, but like I said in the latest issue of my own sainted magazine it was none other'n Marc and his Rexies who got my own inner juices flowing (and probably helped edge me onto menarche or whatever they call it for boys) with regards to rock music as being something more than that stuff the big kids played on the car radio to and from school. But enough about my vastly interesting life...what I've got here're two items that've been floating around for more'n a few years but certainly fulfill all the T. Rex mania a fluttering around in my brain as we speak. BOOGIE ON's got that acoustic set that Marc recorded for various radio station visits across the US (rather'n just pull out the guitar and start strummin' himself) which has been circulating amongst the tape traders for quite some time but at least this sounds complete, while the live tracks from the heights of T. Rextacy (Clifton Park, Rotherham England 8/28/71) are pretty hard metallic clangy in their own decidedly non-teenybop way! Great, but you can get the entire kadoodle enclosed on here and much more if you can only get ahold of I DANCED MYSELF OUT OF THE WOMB, a two-disc set that not only features the cream of ELECTRIC WARRIOR done live but such soo-prizes as a thirteen-minute-plus "Elemental Child" and some early Tyrannosaurus Rex-period acoustic-era tracks done...well, acoustic! Forget BOOGIE ON and save your rubles for this twofer which immedately makes the other one obsolete! (Editor's note: I bought both of these packages from the folks at Forced Exposure who should've tipped me off that I was buying an additional disque which had everything the other one offered, and yeah they mighta thought I was getting it as a gift for someone else or the like but they shoulda warned me about the potentiality of me wasting my hard-begged dough! To which I say...feh!)
IN OTHER NEWS: It would be a lie on my part if I told you that the death of Don Knotts last Friday didn't affect me in the least, and although I usually don't like to bring up such sordid topics as death on this blog unless its the wished deaths of people I don't particularly like I feel that in Knotts' case I must make an exception. At least for me, Knotts represented a good part of what made early-mid-sixties television so hot and downright obsessive not only back then (when the television energies were certainly cooking not only on a national, but local level) but in retrospect well over forty years later. Like most early-sixties fare, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW had a well-crafted, engaging appeal to it that transcends time, and especially given the high-energy era from whence it came it's no surprise that this show has been part and parcel to the Stigliano abode not only on Monday nights when it originally aired, but weeknights in the seventies when it was being rerun daily and later on in the early-nineties when I'd tape morning broadcasts to be viewed en-masse as a sweet antidote to a lotta the crap that was being dumped on mid-Ameriga even that early in the game. Let's face it, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW was class even after Knotts left, but its those early-sixties black and white ones which still entertain and move you more'n Ex-Lax almost a half-century later!
If any particular episode featuring Knotts enters into my mind at this time, it surprisingly isn't one of the better-known and oft-talked about ones. The one that keeps sticking in my beanie is a notoriously overlooked one yet in my opinion one of the best...the one where a couple of redneck farmers (one played by Alan Melvin, perennial ANDY GRIFFITH badguy later to give Sgt. Carter so much trouble on GOMER PYLE USMC) give Deputy Fife a hassle when Fife warns them they can't sell any of their produce within a half-mile or so of the city limits. Naturally Sheriff Taylor fixes things for Fife by telling these guys that Fife can become a regular terror once he does these strange, er, mannerisms such as a certain nervous tick and the like (I forget all that he's supposed to do, but it includes the way he'd go for his revolver etc.) which gets the farmers all nervous and packing when Fife does come back and gets his face ticking and shaking! After the farmers discover that Fife ain't anything Taylor made him out to be (while stopping at Wally's filling station and hearing the locals razz on about Fife) they go back to where they were and set up all over again, which then leads to that great monologue Fife gives about how he's the law and has earned his respect which he should get, even from pushy redneck farmers...people talk about that one speech Fife makes when Andy is under investigation for dereliction of duty, but the one he gives to those farmers in many ways seems to top even that one.
Y'know, I kinda get the feeling now that a lotta oldtimey film fans had when I was a kid and the silent-era stars were starting to die off. Boy, it takes things like Don Knotts' own passing to really put this whole universe and where I'm stuck inna middle of it in its proper perspective!
Onto something happier...I think! With the emminent demise of the old CBGB just months away, I've been scouring the schedules of their various stages to see if there are any acts worthy of tuning into before that club vamooses for newer pastures (unless owner Hilly Kristel has yet another trick up his sleeve!). A lotta the stuff that had been playing there seemed to be of the standard fare that would interest me about as much as watching Batman and Robin on their perfect dream date, but as of late there have been a few things I felt were worth glomming via cybercast for and although I'm still having the typical technical troubles that have plagued many a show over the past six years at least there are some gigs coming up that are worth tuning in even in long-buffered doses. Now I'll admit that I was interested in Pale Horse not only because I thought they'd be in a seventies heavy metal vein having opened for the Shirts and all, but I found their sound to be less Motorhead and more typical modern thrash-rock that came out of the inevitable merger of the hardcore and metal styles. Nothing for me to stick around for, but believe it or not I kinda liked The Swingset Mamas, a rock & roll band for the toddler set that played the CB's 313 Gallery this very afternoon! The Mamas (a buncha young moms who want to spread the good news of toddlerdom and buckling up to a snappy rock beat!) are but the first in a series of kiddle rock bands who will be playing the aforementioned Gallery on Sunday afternoons, an I gotta say that what I've heard from the Mamas was good enough not only for the widdle kids but the folks who brought 'em...kinda like Jonathan Richman only for the pre-school set and without any hints of adolescent sex mania. I especially liked the opening number which was one mama's love song to her own kinder (yes, even a hard-nosed tough guy like me can have his soft spot, his own special brand of tenderness and compassion...) as well as the blues-y song incorporating "knock knock" jokes, and it was really funny seeing all these little ones front and center for the show sitting on the floor while the Mamas performed and not one of 'em threw up or pelted the stage with pablum! I mean, after all this was CBGB.
Tonight I'm gonna try to tune in the Hanuman Sextet and the James Finn Quartet (avant jazz returns to Sunday nights!), a trend which I hope will continue even if Dee Pop is still running (?) his Freestyle Series at Jimmy's Tavern, and on Tuesday the John Fahey Birthday Celebration at the Gallery will certainly be my own personal Mardi Gras!
Anyway, I sure blabbed on a lot longer'n I expected (I guess the impetus was there after all...tough luck Dave!). Frankly I think my writing style's dullsville and awkward beyond belief this time but who knows, maybe some insignificant little blubberbutt of a blogcrawler might get a little enjoyment and knowledge outta it all. Anyway, I'll try to fill you in on what I saw on the cybercasts and all the acts I neglected to mention this time next go 'round, whenever that may be...(it may be sooner'n you think, so keep tuned!).
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 2:17 PM
Sunday, February 19, 2006
VICARIOUSNESS PT. 2
Things have been about as slow around the BLOG TO COMM offices as a peanut butter lover's bowel movements (its that kinda descriptive and to-the-heart-of-the-matter writing that's earned my a "C" in Creative Writing class), but at least there's been enough gulcheral ginchiness a'happenin' around here to warrant yet another important posting on my part. So all I gotta say is, please be thankful for such small favors as having me around to tell all yez what is hot and what is not, or else you'd hafta be stuck reading the same Lexicon Devildog post over and over for the next month or two in order to get your jamz jollies in gear, and we know that ain't right!
And speaking of which (and related), have you been following that recent brouhaha over those Mohammed cartoons that have gotten a good hunka the Muslim world all rambunctious? First there were the cartoons featuring images of the famed prophet and none to complimentary as well, then there was the Arab reaction (complete with the entire Middle East boycotting Danish products, although I dunno how many Iranians like to gulp down Havarati in the first place), and now some Iranian newspaper, in a self-righteous fit of rage only I thought I could muster up, is holding a contest to see who can come up with the best Holocaust cartoons as sort of a sicker than usual "tit for tat" thumb-nose aimed at the decadent West so to speak. I dunno what to think about the whole thing...I mean, everytime (OK, an exaggeration!) one turns on the Tee Vee one sees a load of bile flung at basically nice, everyday hokey people, but you don't see them rampaging all over the place. And as far as Holocaust cartoons go, I guess the Iranian who thought that one up never read any late-sixties issues of MAD magazine. Remember when they were going for the shock value (although with a "purpose", just like HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN and Goofus and Gallant and that crowd) with their death camp humor that certainly got a lotta heads turned, at first with their HOGAN'S HEROES spoof, and later on that closing panel from "Balmy and Clod" telling of a new movie featuring another old time fun-loving couple entitled "Eva and Dolph" ("THEY'RE YOUNG, THEY'RE IN LOVE, THEY MURDER MILLIONS" complete with Estelle Parsons as Ilsa Koch holding a lamp with a shade consisting of pieces of skin sewn together with little numbers on them...). Or how about the Dow Oven Cleaner spoof, and that "Wit and Wisdom of Adolf Hitler" book excerpt??? Maybe whoever's editing MAD these days can submit all this old twaddle and really rake in the bucks!
Anyway, this cartoon controversy has given me an idea, and that's to hold my own contest/competition for you Englishers out there. What I want to do is...publish the twelve best Dave Lang and Jay Hinman cartoons that you dear readers can muster up! That's right, a copy of the back issue of your very choice (provided it's still in stock) will go to you if your very own cartoon featuring one of these erstwhile bloggers appears on this very website! So if you're a budding comic bopper or even a well-seasoned pro and know what these people look like (or can guess), and can even delineate your own cartoon featuring them in whatever situation you find best in your own humble way, you will get your very own soon-to-be-rare back issue and boy will you be the better for it. So get your pens cranking and send me your 'toons as soon as you can! Remember, the address to send them to is 714 Shady Ave., Sharon PA 16146-3149 USA, and the uglier the better I always say!
Back to the meat at hand so to speak. Without further ado, here are just a few of the things that have been making my existence all the more worthwhile these past few days and who knows, maybe if you mimic my more'n worthy alternative-to-the-alternative lifestyle more closely, YOU TOO can latch onto the eternal glory that is part and parcel of the BLOG TO COMM way o' being. Well, it sure comes off a lot better'n the tried and untrue pretentious ultra-chicdom so prevalent in the reams of politically pristine and more-radical-than-thou blogdom out there, dontcha think?
THIS HEAT CD (These, 387 Wandsworth Rd., London SW8 2JL England)
Here's the Cee-Dee version of a longtime vinyl on/off fave that I believe I reviewed in one of the very first issues of my own hallowed hagiozine, and twennysome years down the line I must admit that THIS HEAT and its electronic post-Rock In Opposition industrial clang sure holds up a lot better than a lotta the stuff that was making the rounds in alternativeland back in those maybe not-so-hallowed days (but then again I'm only smarting because my dear publication was the ONLY ONE back then NOT to get any advertising dollars from SST!). Clangy enough distorto rock that sounds (at least to me) like a more punk rock version of the 1973 Virgin Records roster (Faust, Henry Cow...) and although I still gotta say that I prefer the collection of John Peel sessions that have previously appeared on Cee-Dee (and much more prefer the tape of these same sessions taken straight off the air with Peel's typically reserved commentaries that Imants Krumins dubbed for me ages back), I find THIS HEAT nervewrackingly engaging enough to make me regret giving CAMBERWELL NOW the toss-off back inna eighties. If you happen to be cruising ebay and see someone bidding on their wares, you'll positively know who he may be!
THE BEST OF THE UNCLE FLOYD SHOW DVD (Shanachie)
One of the highlights of 1982 besides buying up xeroxed back issues of BOMP and waking up at five weekend mornings to go flea marketing with my uncle was going over to Little Vic's house and watching THE UNCLE FLOYD SHOW back when WKYC channel 3 in Cleveland was running it weeknights at seven. This was perhaps at the tail end of what I would call the "real" Golden Age of Creative Local Television, or at least a time when the indie and UHF stations still had a lotta classic 50s/60s aesthetics to its approach and even the Big City VHF's would be smart enough to stick on long-forgotten wowzers such as UNCLE FLOYD, INSIGHT and TOM AND JERRY during their pre-Prime Time hours, at least before the eighties homogenized everything into one big messy goop of local magazine programming. Anyway, watching UNCLE FLOYD was about as big a tee-vee thrill for me as getting an eyefulla any classic (and locally-suppressed) early-sixties series as THE TWILIGHT ZONE or ANDY GRIFFITH, and even a bigger thrill than staying up late on "questionable weather" nights drawing in distant UHF signals as far away as channel 16 in South Bend Indiana and this weird-o channel 17 in Michigan somewhere that was spending its pre-sign off hours broadcasting some interesting instructional program that looked as if it were made in 1963! Oh yeah, I know that you have your own decadent and purposefully low-grade lifestyles you just love to wallow in and that's your business, but frankly you haven't lived low-grade and just wreaked with self-loathing if you didn't stay up late in the seventies/eighties watching UHF stations flickering off the air filled to the brim with this indescribable sense of disgust for just about everything and everyone. Ah, the good old days...
Anyway, THE UNCLE FLOYD SHOW sure brings back those good ol' memories. For a guy who sure longed for the original age of local (loco?) tee-vee productions that fizzled out in the mid-seventies with only a few stragglers remaining here and there, UNCLE FLOYD was like a grande return to Kennedy-era programming with a big twist natch! Sure there was the host with his dummy (or more or less puppet---Oogie) and the opening routine straight out of some Johnson/Smith gag book, but instead of the YOGI BEAR and DEPUDY DAWG cartoons one had come to expect with the package (not to mention the kids from a nearby grade school ready to blurt some dirty joke and get the host all mad) you just got a whole lotta weird-o skits and strange comedy monologues delivered by either Floyd in one of his characters (mafioso Don Goomba, Grouch, Eddie Slobbo...) or with the supporting players like Loony Skip Rooney and that fat guy who was going bald that they used to make fun of because he was trying to hide it by combing his remaining strands over like I did before it became too ridiculous looking for even me to stand. In all, the acting, humor and overall performances by Floyd and his crew reminded me not so much of the local downhome kid shows of the past but the late-night humor/horror host programming that not only had its roots in the early-sixties post-MAD college humor of Ghoulardi and later on Houlihan and Big Chuck, but their spiritual spawn from the Ghoul and even Superhost who was to remain on the air until the Forces of Staid became too strong in the early-nineties. Little Vic thought it was groaningly stupid but I could understand, perhaps because I was born and bred on cheap local television like THE BARNEY BEAN SHOW and other lowbrow productions that looked so recreation room dingy to the point you woulda thunk they were being broadcast from the garage down the street! And maybe its because this sorta refined programming was being aired at a time when all I hadda worry about was purring up a hissyfit inna store so mom'd buy me a toy and the walloping I'd get if she didn't that I have such an affinity for it, but lemme tell ya...after watching THE UNCLE FLOYD SHOW while trying to cram alla the classic tee-vee that I could into my system, I just flashed back to my pubescent days to the point where I started having nightmares about skeletons grabbing me and drowning in an ocean just like I did when I was a kid! Fortunately no bedsy wetsying occurred unlike in my kiddie days, but gimme a few more viewings and who knows what watersports may occur...
TECHNICAL GLITCH NOTE: my DVD, perhaps because of the cheap assemblage of such, plays only when it feels like it which may be OK for it but not for me! You'd figure that there would be a certain point where technology is so up-to-date that in no way could it go wrong, but Shanachie has managed to make a disque that will foul up just as much as a typically burnt DVD offering which doesn't suit me too well either. Looks like my Uncle Floyd viewing will have to be limited to whenever the ol' computer feels like playing it, though if I dig out my old videotapes wherever they may be...
Vic Godard & the Subway Sect-TWENTY ODD YEARS, THE STORY OF... 2-CD set (Motion England)
I dunno why I still give a rat's (or a blogger's) well-traveled ass over a lotta this punk rock stuff but I most certainly do. Now, I'm not talking about "punk" in a BLOG TO COMM sense of wordtwist where everything from the Fendermen and Link Wray on up through Mike Heron, Can and Yoko Ono is considered punk rock but punk rock as pUnK or even "punque" as in 1977 spiky hair and lotsa rage and all that stuff that had psych/sociologists from here to Patagonia making all of the most outrageous and offbase accusations and theorizing since the days when Fredric Wertham dared tell the local Women's Club that there was more to that guy's shoulder than meets the eye. Let's face it, back when punk was making England all upchucking nauseous over having dared question its staid and patented gentlemanly pattern of utter hatred, I may have been having fun watching the fireworks but it wasn't like I was exactly buying into the game. Well, not exactly 100%...while I was finding fun in the occasional X-Ray Spex single which was making me buy less Frank Zappa, Henry Cow and King Crimson albums as time went by, it was more or less the likes of Patti Smith, Television and Pere Ubu that were turning my ears in the right direction. I'm sure my story was not that dissimilar to a thousand other rockmag-reading wahoos out there in blogland, but sheesh, I gotta admit that I thought the moderne atmosphere of New York Rock and Cleveland avant garageness was sure a lot more entertaining and engrossing than listening to the English mixing their music and their Marx while condemning the United States for its racism (and soo-prize soo-prize acting all "oh gosh" once their own kids began to give the Nazi salute en masse...)
I even prepared myself for this Subway Sect 2-CD history by playing my Drones CD in preparation. I figured that one lower-caste punk band would easily prepare me for another...that is, if the Subway Sect in fact were "lower-caste" punks to begin with but really, I gotta say that even though I hardly ever played my '86 Subway Sect hits collection and kinda written these guys off as yet another case of the too-post-for-ME punk syndrome (along with Dexy' Midnight Runners and Culture Club) their love of Dean Martin and the Velvet Underground was just as appealing as Roxy Music's similar digging of the Velvets along with Ethel Merman, and sometimes things like that get me RIGHT HERE if yaknowwaddamean...
So I gotta admit that I even like Vic Godard's early-sixties teenage pop groovings along with his more Velvets-induced punkisms (not to mention the typically '77 trashing of "Sister Ray" closing out disque one) because maybe he does seem so aw shucks about it like nobody has since. In their early state they're so pure that their only rival on the British punque front just hadda've been Wire (whose approach was very similar yet more intellectual 'n its no accident that both bands were on the tres chic Rough Trade label in different times in their careers), while later on they had evolved into such a tight and out-of-time pop act that I'm sure Joe Meek coulda produced 'em. (Or maybe it was that organ...) Whatever, I'll take these guys in small enough doses over most of their countrymen...it may be the sorta screech that would make anyone breastfed on Iggydoms gag, but it has its own personal drive to it, and at least I can play this knowing that its singer didn't have to weep out that bad unlike most of his compatrirats on the English fashion plate scene.
Various Artists-TETES LOURDES: FRANCAIS METAL DE PROTO: LE SUPER ROCK SERIE 1970 CD-R (Deidr France)
A little birdie (or a big Lou Rone) was tellin' me that I wasn't getting enough heavy metal into my bloodstream so I decided to pick up a few disques in order to rectify things. One item purchased was the reissue of the first Blue Oyster Cult album on CD with additional tracks, and while that one's gonna hafta soak a little in the briny waters of my picklejuiced psyche long enough for me to digest the whole thing, I think I can more than aptly tell y'all about TETES LOURDES a new sampling of heavy metal to have come out of the sainted nation of France during the early part of the decade we now call the seventies. I always thought that France was an apt enough rock & roll country, or at least I did back when I'd see all these Patti Smith singles culled from RADIO ETHIOPIA in the import section of many a booty-filled record store and figured that those French cats must be hip-de-la-cool, and given that France has had its share of high energy metallic wonders over the past few decades (Shakin' Street come to mind) the fact that there were tons of loud and raucous bands coming from their shores in the past doesn't shock me one bit.
And there were many, enough to fill out this neat-o disque with what someone out there considers the cream of the crop concerning Gallic Metallics. OK, a good hunka this ain't exactly wowsville (with hard and heavy horns turning the proceedings into yet another early-seventies Chicago/BS&T fake jazz smarm contest or standarized ripoffs of the biggies that may sound good, but only on a ripoff level) but a good portion is what I would call "exempliphique!", especially L'Assemblee's "Le Chien" with that Ubu-esque musette weaving in and out of the melody and Variations before they became "Les" Variations and got a bitta US of A "hey" for their MOROCCAN ROLL album (NEWSWEEK hated 'em calling the bunch "Les Derivations" while Kenne Highland flipped in the pages of GULCHER #0...guess which bastion of opinions I'M gonna pay attention to!).
Naturally the reason I got hold of this one was for the appearance of three Rotomagus tracks. These guys (from the unlikely hard rock city of Rouen, which went under the name Rotomagus during the days of Caesar) had been described to me as being a buncha Stooges fanatics who sounded like a cross between Hawkwind and Les Rallizes Denudes. Obviously picking up on such ears-to-ground hubbub as I've tended to do these past twentysome years I not only bought this CD-R but the group's three singles (each on a different label...who knows, if they had continued on they might have broken Captain Beefheart's own record of label switching!) and although I don't hear any real Stooges, Hawkwind or Denudes refs in the Rotomagus sound that doesn't mean this buncha Frenchies are yer typical beret, striped shirt and mousachioed mincers muttering "ooh-la-la" while carrying loaves of French bread everywhere they go! On "Eros" the lead singer moans like he's trying out for the opera right after his vasectomy while jews harps twang and flutes plays that sweet 'n lovely melody I've heard a millyun times yet can't identify for the life of me, while "Madame Wanda"'s a slow and dreamy crawl complete with an echoplexed tambourine. Too bad CBS dropped them, because they could've had another Blue Oyster Cult on their hands had they developed this group's strange mix of progressive, metal and punk. That one's guaranteed to get 'em into the heavy metal hall of fame, but the big surprise in store's the a-side from the group's final single entitled "Fighting Cock." This one has more of a Stooge-y bent to it, but I would say it more or less resembles seventies boogie metal more'n the Stooges' special brand of burn, coming off like that strange midway meet between Van Halen's and Thundertrain's take of "Hot For Teacher." By the way, the b-side to this single was left off the compilation for the sole fact that Rotomagus utilized a Mellotron on it. Don't go around saying that people don't have a sense of values anymore!
Anyway, for a good cop of metallic wonderment this disque should help fill the bill, and given how the metal tag has been dragged through the horse trough more'n even the punk one has maybe it's a good place for more'n a few metal mongerers to start over sorta like that guy who was so mentally screwed up his psychiatrist had him literally living his own life over again (diapers and all!) just so he could grow up STRAIGHT this time!
The Real Kids-FOGGY NOTION 10-inch EP (Norton)
You know that the rock "writing" (as opposed to rock critiquing) world is in a sad shape when the only chance we have to read Eddie Flowers' opinions are on press releases and CD booklets, or Miriam Linna's when she does the same thing or worse yet writes about the death of one of her record label's faveraves who's just bit the dust so to speak. And as you'd expect, the last thing Miriam wrote that any of us were privvy to was her "obituary" for Alan Paulino of the Real Kids, better known to us as "Alpo". And you can betcha that Miriam wrote a real heart-wrencher just a few days ago, telling us about the time she went with Alpo to see Tom Petty and got bum rushed out because Alpo was hecklin' 'em and this and that (don't worry, I will post the entire thing in the "comments section" for your own personal approval). Anyway, it was a good 'un, and I only hope that Miriam doesn't have to wait until someone else dies before letting us read her latest musically-inclined pizza-resistance (to quote the ever-lovin' Beaver Cleaver).
Anyway, Miriam's Alpo paen had me dragging out the 10-inch EP that Norton had recently released consisting of a buncha Real Kids songs(the Real Kids being Alpo's old group, ya dummy!)...one side's got nothing but 1974 vintage Velvet Underground songs done the Real Kids way while the other's a cover of a very Velvets-like Modern Lovers tune entitled "Fly Into The Mystery" that "fits in" with the main gist of this entire offering, as you should already know unless you've stumbled upon this blog looking for "Precious Flower Pressings of the Mind"! You may remember that Lovers track from back in the days when Jonathan Richman "redid it" on his infamous ROCK & ROLL WITH THE MODERN LOVERS platter, but before that song went acoustic it had a pretty electric, driving beat that Richman had long since lost, and it's sure nice hearing the Kids (pre-"Real" by the way...) doing it with all of that Boston-styled urge and angst that seems to have been lost in the shuffle of Boston turning from a hot bed of Velvet Underground worship and emulation to the city of the modern-day variety filled with a buncha uptight self-hating snits best represented by none other than Michael Bloom of (whatever happened to...) BOSTON ROCK fame, a fellow whom I pray is now hopelessly unemployed but given the narcissic leftchic nature of rock criticism these days who knows what unfortunately positive fate has befallen the "man".
Naturally I can't tell you what's on the grooves since my stereo system is still up in limbo (got a line on Little Vic's old turntable and amp but have yet to hear a word back) so in typical R. Meltzer fashion I will review this one solely by looking at the cover figuring that he usually did better describing the sounds therein by just giving the artwork a gander than playing the blasted thing, so why can't I! OK, I will admit that I have previously heard the Kids' take of "Foggy Notion" which was learned from Jonathan Richman and has the same sorta rote second generation feel to it as Mirrors' take, and I'm sure that the rest fits the same just-post-Velvet Underground bill that all those great early seventies bands did long before Velvets homage turned into eighties sap (with a few notable exceptions). However, I gotta give credit to Norton for that cover. It's a beautiful rendition of the WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT sleeve adapted for the Kids, and although I gotta admit that I get sicker'n a sack of cement over seeing a lotta these newbies taking past accomplishment whether it be of the Velvets or some garage band or pioneering label and adapting it to their new current mode of stifling seriousness (like, how many times have you seen Velvets postmarks utilized to push some of the lousiest attempts at rock music extant? It's like too many alternative wonks out there don't have any fresh ideas of their own so they have to soil the sainted name of the Velvets in order to gleam a little of their aura or something!), but I certainly don't mind it when Norton does the exact same thing. At least their heads, their rockism heads that is are on straight and its not like they're "borrowing" from the Velvet Underground legend to push utter crap, dontcha think??? No, this is perhaps the purest THANK YOU anyone could give to the Velvet Underground and all the hope they held for people like me in the seventies and eighties, and it sure rings a lot truer'n when even Rhino does it nowadays.
Anyway, its stuff like teenage garage bands playing Velvet Underground(-styled) songs that used to have me salivating from here to Canberra and back because, I dunno if you remember but back in the old days Velvet Underground-inspired rockism was of such a rare status (and stature) that having even something as now-fluffed off as a copy of the ARCHETYPES budget/cheapo WL/WH reish was like having your very own MOON ROCK, and given that you thought you were the only one within a fifty-mile radius who KNEW only added to the thunder in your soul. Nowadays it's all old hash especially after reading the same ol' cliches over and over (you know..."if it weren't for the Velvet Underground we wouldn't have a quarter-century of peep rock!"), but Billy and Miriam can get away with it because they always do it RIGHT!!!, and I hope they continue to do it so for the next eighty years or so...I'll stick around if they do!
Hey, slap my back! This must've been the longest review of a disc that I haven't even heard yet!!! And now I can't wait until I do!!!
(By the way, here's ONE Boston-oriented post-Velvets offering that I HAVE heard, and although I wish I could recommend it to you I just for the life of me can't! Its the reunion album by Fox Pass, who back in the early/mid-seventies were yet another local band stoked not only on the Velvet Underground but the Modern Lovers as well getting a lotta notoriety [and eventually some boss New York gigs and fanzine coverage] in the process. I gotta admit that what I had previously heard of Fox Pass, mostly their 1976 indie-produced single, was fine enough (or it was last time I played it about seven years back), and if we had just left it there I would've told ya that Fox Pass were yet another one of those great bands in the Velvet Underground "tradition" that came outta Boston in the seventies and eighties even...no more and certainly no less. Anyway, like a lotta pushing-fifty types who want that ONE LAST CHANCE at past glories these guys got back together and even released a CD in the process [available through CD Baby], and if anything it just goes to show you that having early seventies punk aesthetics and Velvet Underground mania is fine, but filtering the whole thing through the past few decades of alternative mush certainly puts a huge damper on things! The results: a disque that I really can't tell apart from at least a hundred other similar-minded numbed offerings I've had the displeasure to hear, with little of the original drive and feeling [with brains intact] that Fox Pass were originally noted for. Oh well, another bag of fodder down the drain!)
(One final parenthetical note: my current mini-obsession with Boston-bred Velvets homage stems from an issue of Count Joseph Viglione's VARULVEN fanzine, an early 1975 ish at that before the mag went totally into rock music! In this issue amidst the horror movie info and Alfred Hitchcock pix was an article on Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, a nice albeit typically fanzine-esque piece which gives some of the Count's views on the man called Lou and his music for all that was worth [and to me it was worth PLENTY]. What striked me most about this piece was not what was said, which had pretty much been said before, but the closing remarks about the Modern Lovers and their Velvetness as well as the Kids and their cover of "Foggy Notion"[!]...not to mention some group called "The Astrals" who the Count told us were carrying on the tradition!!!!! Having never heard of the Astrals and certainly wanting to, I emailed Mr. Viglione to no avail. Even a Velvets maniac like Imants Krumins drew a blank making me toss out the question to YOU, dear blog reader. So, does anyone out there have any concrete [or even cement...hee hee, the blogmeister must have his little joke!] information on these Astrals? Any help would be appreciated!)
FANZINE REVIEWS: naturally there aren't any new fanzines around for this homebody to sink his brain into, but that's not gonna stop me because there's plenty of OLD STUFF to slop around! And as far as old goodies go, the copy of Scotland's Only Fanzine That Still Prints ARCHAIC LINGO UNKNOWN OUTSIDE THE BORDERS entitled THE NEXT BIG THING (issue #9/10) that I latched onto sure helped to fill the bill as far as satiating my usual fanzine cravings. Since THE NEXT BIG THING was one of the only fanzines in the original proto-punk tradition to survive the post-BACK DOOR MAN seventies and work its way well into the following decades without losing a beat, and since I've been a fan and follower of it since at least 1981 when I actually subscribed thinking it would actually be coming out on a regularly scheduled basis, you could say that I have a small affinity for the magazine even though editor Lindsay Hutton used to roll the mags up and mail 'em inna tube meaning I hadda IRON the things out upon arrival, but I won't let that get to me too much...
Anway, this 9/10 double ish is a patented BLOG TO COMM wowzer, a xerox-y thing with one staple in the corner making it hard to read on the toilet, but still choc-fulla fun and games both entertaining (Suicide, Zantees...) and not (Bruce Springsteen?!?!?!?!). I gotta give Hutton credit for continuing on the same hallowed path of high energy rockism that he began on, and even when he does get off the beaten path (like in his anti-Irish tirades where he tells people to stomp on the IRA but "convienently" forgets the UDL) its not hard to get back on track with the reviews of all those great indie singles that used to pack a powerful punch before the entire genre petered out, plus even the articles on Sparks (by some guy named Steven Morrissey from Manchester...sarcastic me thinks the name does sound familiar) and the Psychedelic Furs (back during their early good days before they went off the alternative edge) seem to snuggle in well next to those on the Cramps and Damned so if you've written Hutton off because of his anti-American tirades and his hatred of dagos, it's time to re-think your preconceived notions. So, if you've got any old issues of THE NEXT BIG THING lying about pull up a haggis and a warm ale and settle back for a reading experience that you just don't get that much of anymore, even though some wonks such as I try...
And last but not least lemme tell you about this (relative) UK newie that I've also obtained over the past few weeks. I was interested in reading OUT THERE considering its date (1976) and the roster of stars featured in its pages (Dylan, Patti Smith, Eno, Stranglers...) ever since I heard about it a few years back. Given the date and the fanzine's, er, tastes I kinda had OUT THERE figured as some British take on the BACK DOOR MAN/DENIM DELINQUENT school of gonzo rock writing pretty much in the style of Lindsay Hutton's creation albeit on a more sixties/trad level (remember...Dylan). Well, it turns out that maybe I was close in my assessments yet off by a mile. OUT THERE was/is a fine rockism-oriented mag true, but printed on slick paper and more or less digest-sized, and certainly not in a gonz groove unlike the aforementioned trailblazers but don't hold that against it.
But OUT THERE was spiffy enough, a product of local punk and bigtime rockcrit wannabe Paul Morley (or "Paulus" as he's known here) in his attempts to scale the walls of NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS-dom by showcasing his own writings for the powers to be to see, sorta like the way Russell Desmond did his own CAN'T BUY A THRILL in order to impress Lester Bangs into giving him a job at CREEM. Only Morley's attempt succeeded while Desmond's failed. (And I guess it was sorta like Hutton's own attempts to impress NME by sending NBT to Tony Parsons, only to have said mag returned torn to shreds complete with a hard-to-decipher note from Parsons telling of his hatred for the whole affair!) Anyway, OUT THERE was a nice read with a wide range of subject matter for wide-ranging tastes, including a piece on Ted Nugent (standard fanzine fare at the time), the Ramones (a pithy putdown) and even a brief bit on the up-and-coming Stranglers where Morley puts a Velvet Underground spin on the usual Doors-comparisons that were plaguing the band up and down the line. The writing is good...typical NME/British rock critiquing stylings that anyone weaned on Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent would be expected to do, and even with the slick paper and pro print quality extant I gotta admit that OUT THERE, from the snazzy Dylan cover pic reproed en regalia above to the millionth artistic/introspective early Patti Smith article of the day, is everything I've wanted my own efforts to be like only money, intelligence and a helping hand have kept me from my desired goal. I'm only kidding, but this one did keep me reading for hours on end!
(Before I close this one, I gotta mention the Dylan piece, which was a report on his Rolling Thunder Revue that seems typical of the times though something no self-respecting punk woulda dared print a year later, coupled with an imaginary sicko interview concocted by none other than Paul Krassner, a guy I always thought was the new Count Screwloose especially after reading his old articles from the late-fifties vintage MAD [y'know, "Aloafa Bread, Ajuga Wine..."]. He seemed to have a few redeeming bits of value at least over the past couple of years when some of the libertarians would clue us in to his new guise, but this thing kinda made me wanna forget the guy ever existed inna first place! By the way, I have a funny story Don Fellman told me about his brief association with Krassner back in 1961 or so, but I'll only tell you on request, and after I get Don's OK!)
(Another flag wave...speaking of old fanzines I'm still in the market for many of the old seventies ones [real or copied] in case you wanna work out a trade of some sorts. One rag I'm especially interested is reading is Peter Tomlinson's NIX ON PIX, so anyway here's the feeler and if you feel it, fine enough with me!)
NEXT GO 'ROUND...Blue Oyster Cult, SAHB, the Sonny Sharrock Band with Pharoah Sanders, the Hollywood Brats, and who knows what else...
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:16 AM
Sunday, February 05, 2006
TIME TO LIVE VICARIOUSLY AGAIN!
Yes, I know how hard mere existence must be for some of you down-home people out there in computerland who have no real lives to lead and thus must continually prowl the blogosphere in order to see how the better half (read: me and the rest of Blog Nation) spend our lives of leisure spinning all of the top hot platters and writing about 'em just so's you too can at least snarf up an essence of our vastly superior existences. Y'know, sorta the same way millions of lower-class/brow ethnic housewives across the U. S. of Whoa used to buy up alla those issues of TV MIRROR back in the sixties just so's they could soak in a bitta that glamorous Kennedy lifestyle without the tragedies and cars swerving into the drink? Well listen up buddy, blogs are the 2006 equivalent of all that old-timey hair-roller and chewing gum checkout counter lust for glamour, only I'M the Kennedys (w/o their curse---and believe me the one I got stuck with is WORSE!), and YOU'RE the nicotine-fit mid-aged bingo-bopper just anxious to get in on all the thrills, which only goes to show you that the more things change, the more they stay the same!
But alas, being a well-respected and often-honored music fan of elevated status (not a "rock critic" as too many wonks out there tend to believe) does have its down-y downs along with the uppity ups, and this past week was no exception. I mean, I'm sure that a lotta you young 'n upstarting peons out there thing that the blogster's life is one of total fun and games jambus-packtus w/loads of records and other pre-recorded wonders arriving at your door hour upon end and people mailing you their nice-but-crude fanzine wonders just so they can say they sent it to youyouYOU, but lemme tell you that such an existence just ain't the case! Yes, sad to say but there are days, even weeks when this fanzine-editor's mailbox remains bare, perhaps because of an ebay mishap (an auction I had won for a disque by Bahamanian via NYC island rocker Exuma resulted in a no-show for the item in question, and not only that but the auctioneer pulled a fast one on me and went outta biz!), or perhaps because of a slow-to-arrive order (such as the one fer a number of recent T. Rex archival dig-ups, the new Mahogany Brain 12-incher plus the Time CD on Shadoks courtesy of Forced Exposure), but no matter what the reason for the treason this season be, I'm not gonna let this lack of kultural flow into my life get the best of me! Nosiree...y'see, at least I have a good three (maybe more!) decades of past laurels to rely on, so if I can't hear the latest hot flash of a release to get the green light out there I know there are plenty of old classics that are sure to occupy my time that I can dig outta my vast collection with little if any effort! And if I can't exactly get hold of a rare and previously-unread-by-me issue of CREEM or some long-obscure early/mid-seventies fanzine I've wanted to know about ever since reading an old review of it via some now-crud-encrusted issue of BOMP!, I can always dig some oldie out and read it while listening to some totally in-tune disque of mine! I got the idea when I was a little kid about three or four years of age...y'see, one day I wanted some new toys to play with and was pestering my mom to go out and get me some more, precocious brat I was. But what did mother, in her infinite wisdom do??? She went into the closet and pulled out a box with a whole slew of toys I had previously forgotten about! Boy was I overjoyed, because my mind at that point was so underdeveloped that I didn't realize these goodies were missing but I remembered them nonetheless and it was like I got a whole buncha new things to play with anyway! (I remember one of these once-missing wonders being my Felix the Cat Soakie bottle which still resides in a box in the basement alongsides my Popeye, Mr. Magoo and Ringo Starr [whatta team!] bubble bath decanters...and you can bet that I must've been the cleanest kid onna block!) This lesson not only goes to show you the benefits of giving some things a break in your life so's you can come back to them with a fresh attitude and mind, but it also goes to show you the lengths my mother would go to in order to save some buckskins buying soon-to-break toys for her grubby and greedy brat!
Anyway, so rather'n just moan on and on about the lack of fresh booty to make its way into my rockism-inclined cranium (although I must admit that I did receive an item or two that will be mentioned in upcoming pieces once I do a little private eye work and find out more and more about the articles in question or mention them in conjunction with items of similar intent) here's a rundown on just a few of the things that have been occupying my time and temperature during my peace-filled evening hours after a hard day at the dungheap. Of course some of the things that have been playing the soundtrack for my rather impressive life are items which have been mentioned in these, er, pages previously (the Umela Hmota 2 set and the Magic Tramps release come to mind), so rather'n bore you to death rattling off about those ad-infinitum (though I did want to add something about how I thought some of Umela Hmota's guitar-screech approach came pretty close to the late-seventies Pere Ubu avant-garage style while their "My Dva a Knez" bears a striking resemblance to the title track on Yoko Ono's RISING!) I'll just bore you to death by rattling on about some other items I know you masochist fans o' mine'll wanna know all about!
The Rolling Stones-STICKY FINGERS CD (Rolling Stone/Virgin, try your fave local music emporium)
As Ozzie Nelson used to say, "Ah, the Good Old Days!" This one had me flashing back to the times when I used to scour the record bins looking at all of those longplayers I wished I could own or at least hear but in no way could afford (at least on the depression wages I was earning for the usual house chores, though I was rich enough that I could've spared enough change to pick up JAMMING WITH EDWARD which...thankfully...I never did!). Anyhoo, I always remember seeing the original STICKY FINGERS in the bins when I was a kid barely into the double-digits, and y'know what? Most of the copies I've seen with the original zipper placed square inna middle of Joe Dallasandro's crotch were tampered with, at times with the zipper pulled all the way down! I mean, what were the vandals in question trying to do...reach in and grab a handfulla something???
Still, I was disappointed after having finally heard the thingie all those years later, and I can see the disappointment that some like Richard Meltzer expressed in the pages of THE NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS (or at least I think I do...I'll hafta crank out the magnifying glass and re-read that shrunken-to-the-size-of-a-postage stamp page with Prince Pudding's review that appeared along with the cover of Nick Tosches' ZOOT in Greg Shaw's FUSION fanzine-piece back '72 way). Sure "Brown Sugar" (which I originally took as a tale of Our Nation's shameful past of slavery and the mistreatment of the Fairer Sex by evil slaveowners who used to whip and beat their femme chattel in the middle of the night and force them to dance for massa's personal pleasure long before Abraham Lincoln dared sign "The Emancipation Proclamation") was a good, typically driving custom-made Stones hit, but the rest with the Muscle Shoals horns and the obvious Southern Gulcher skidding/slumming just comes off as a pale version of TEENAGE HEAD (which did all that the Stones attempted here, and much better) making me wonder if the Stones had their ears tuned towards the workings of Roy Loney and company like they seemed to have had with all of the garage band competition and blues singers of the past and then-present. Sheesh, maybe I should re-read that Meltzer review...he compared one song here (side one cut X) to the Velvet Underground, and stuff like that always lit a fire under my psyche...
The Stooges-FUNHOUSE 2-CD set (Rhino/Elektra)
Ahh, that's more like it. A freebee sent my way by none other than noted artist/cartoonist Brad Kohler, this item was actually rescued from a "classic rock" radio station (!) where it was headed for oblivion which I guess is their loss but my gain! However, I must admit to you that I absolutely detest the thought of thousands of music fans in the Pittsburgh area being deprived of this really classic high-energy rock pounding while having to listen to the same ten Jethro Tull songs they heard yesterday...yes, there was more than a "Bungle in the Jungle" over some program director's ill-advised move, but then again do you think that the typical FM rock listener who's been brain-damaged by continual exposure to Pat Benetar's gonna notice the lack of total eruption in his life? I should say NOT!!! 'n pass the sopors, man!
Enough's been said over and over about this platter (which had all been said anyways when the thing came out a good 36 years back!) but not enough has been about the additional CD, culled from what I guess someone considers the cream of that FUNHOUSE outtakes CD-set that came out a good half-decade back. As for me, I woulda included all the rarities for sure (like the relative newies "Slide" and "Lost in the Future") which Rhino seemed apt enough to do, but the exclusion of that elongated pushing 20-minutes take of "LA Blues" was unforgivable, so don't go throwing out your bootlegs yet...
THE LOVE DRUNKS (Alive)
OK, here's one promo I have recently received, so don't go around sayin' I'm some sorta INGRATE or somethin'! Anyway, for the past umpteen years the Bomp family of labels has been releasing a whole batch of records by what I would consider the new generation of upstart garage bands, and while all of them may look nice and some may even have a mist of intrigue about 'em, I must 'fess up to the fact that very few of these platters pick me up and grasp my inner-soul or third-eye or whatever the hippie folksters used to call it like the Velvet Underground and Shadows of Knight did immediately upon first eardrumming way back during my impressionable days of youth. Call me an old fogie or whaddeva, but in my heart of hearts I can NOT snuggle up to a lotta the new garageoid Velvet Underground-wannabes or sixties garage meets seventies punk in an eighties environment alternindie bands like I can the original impetus, or at least something closer to the core (like a band that was snatching Velvets moves and Beefheart crank in 1968 before it became the underground fashion to do so), but I guess that's my problem which doesn't have anything to do with you so why should I bother wasting your time airing my warped impulses anyway???
So I dunno where that puts the Love Drunks, but I can't really jump up and down about 'em like I might have nigh on two decades back during the Golden Age of Promo Scamming! I mean, they're a great group and all with chops and moves and a sound sorta reminiscent of those eighties-era Crypt groups (the new 'uns) who took the same sixties base and added seventies sputum to make a new generation of under-the-counterculture sounds, but it's not like I can osmose this brand of punk chicanery like I used to at one time. Now don't get me wrong, this is a great Cee-Dee and I think the Drunks play a heavier and purer rock & roll than, say, some of the new and hyped groups the majors are pushing on you, but I find it, like most offerings from their brethren these past ten or so years, a lotta too little too late. But just to be on the safe side, let me say that I do recommend it, at least for the remnants of the great six-oh creeping-from-within-the-underground movement of the mid-eighties who still cling to this sound even with the advent of more and more archival material that soothes my savage boobies more than the new stuff ever could!
TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE (fanzine published by Adny Shernoff circa 1971)
Naturally y'all read my article on this infamous-yet-totally-obscure (haven't seen an issue for sale ANYWHERE!) fanzine that originally appeared in (stand by for yet another free plug!) BLACK TO COMM #21, but (referring to the earlier paragraph re. mother hiding toys from me in order to save $$$ buying newbies for her pampered progeny) I was on the hunt for some fresh rockism-oriented reading material y-day and yanked out this envelope filled with copies of the sainted fanzine that none other'n Phil Milstein xeroxed for me back in '85 (envelope postmarked Sept. 20th) which I must admit filled the bill w/regards to the kulturally-lacking evening that I would have been in store for had I not rescued these self-published wonders from one of about thirty boxes of underground wares stored in my abode!
Anyway, I would call TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE tops as far as fanzine fare goes either then (early/mid-seventies Rock Writing/Rock Fanzine GA) or later (mid-eighties onwards pseudo fanzine GA...perhaps a Silver Age if any), the only other f-zines that could claim any equality with it being CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS (see BLACK TO COMM #25 for an article), some of the Kenne Highland/Eddie Flowers one-offs like THE MIGHTY ROCK & ROLL AVENGERS or maybe yet BREAKFAST WITHOUT MEAT, that is, if totally off-the-wall no-holds-barred fanzine intelligence masquerading as dumbspeak appeals to you on whatever level it may. As for me, I find TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE some of the best fanzine-oriented madness to ever get laid to spirit duplicator...from Shernoff's totally post-Meltzer screed masquerading as/spoofing early-seventies rockspeak (the fanzine seemed birthed entirely from Meltzer's FUSION-bred column work not forgetting his "Dust My Pumice"/"Outer Pumice"/whatever other "Pumice"-based contribs he might have creaked out) to the totally snide and prefab interviews with imaginary bands and too good to be true rock concerts/fests, TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE was perhaps "thee" fanzine to end all fanzines ironically appearing at the dawn of the proto-punk fanzine era when all there was to go by at the time was WHO PUT THE BOMP, JAMZ and THE NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS (but don't tell Shernoff that!).
Really, you gotta get hold of a copy of this totally off-the-wall and running into oblivion fanzine, and if I could I'd do a "Best of TWG" myself reprinting such classics as Lester Bangs' consumer guide to drive in burger joints ("White Light/White Bonusburgers") or Lenny Kaye on how much he hates Mexico and the truth behind how Jerry Garcia lost his middle finger (which VASTLY differs from the cartoon printed in BLACK TO COMM #22...y'see, one night when his parents were asleep, Jerry snuck into their bedroom, quietly snuggled himself between the sheets and...well, I don't wanna give it away...), but until someone DOES a compilation of that mag's best (which would be every word if you ask me!) how about if I print just a little smidgie bit from one of the issues I've read last night (vol. 1, #4) which really lays it down on the line as far as just how ENERGY-PACKED fanzine-speak could get at the time. I figure that Tim Ellison does it all the time so why can't I? Anyway, this little bit is from a piece entitled "Yup Yup" which was written by Tozz Uporta, and personally I believe it says more in one paragraph than Ann Powers says in an entire hardcover and soon-to-be-remaindered book, but trust me:
After a fabulous ten-month pregnancy complicated by influenza and sever (sic) mental disorder (which at one point required emergency hospitalization) Melanie Safka proudly gove (sic) birth to a beautiful baby boy. It was on the evening of April 25 that Melanie spread her legs wide and Sean Patrick, 8 lbs., 7 oz., finally arrived. Melanie had arrived at St. John's Hospital the evening before with her hair in curlers and her mind on birth. Because she was having such a horrifyingly grueling time of it the doctors decided to deliver the bounding brat by Cawsarian (sic) section. Fortunately for both mother and son the operation went smoothly with only minimal loss of blodd (sic). Melanie appears to be extremely happy about it having been a male that left her womb, and insiders believe this preference to be grounded in the young songstress's fear of being overtaken on the female singer front. She announced weeks before the baby's birth that she would give her child her own last name--Safka. But at this time it is not yer (sic) know (sic) what name the child has actually been given. Reportedly Melanie has told close friends that either Lee Van Cleef or Ry Cooder may be the father. But whether either one really fertilized her ovum has not officially been determined. The question is--will Lee or Ry marry Melanie? Whatever the answer we're happy to report that both men were at Melanie's side during her hospital stay-and that seemed a good omen.
I'm having a good go at it, so here's another piece (this time from another issue listed as vol. 1 #4 [!!!!!!!!]) entitled "Teevee Taffee":
THE GREATEST JOE FRANKLIN SHOW EVER, and Joe Franklin wasn't even on it....Joe Franklin has a great T.V. show. He also is the only person to have a T.V. show on at one o'clock twice. It's a trick but he manages to pull it off through the magic of videotape. He's got one show at one in the morning and the other at one in the afternoon. It's the best talk show going, one where Dickie, Johnny and Mervin could learn a few tricks. A few nights ago he had on the same show Rodney Dangerfield and the Zebra Kid. The Zebra Kid is a former wrestler who cracked so many knee-slappers, that Joe asked him back for a whole 45 minutes. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Joe also digs rock and roll. He once had the Forum Quorum on, and three times he has had R. Meltzer, famous rock critique, telling about the time he and Marty Balin drank a fifth of Jack Daniels, and the time he and Marty etc. etc.. Joe Franklin doesn't even know who Marty Balin is but he kept shaking his head like he did, that's what a great host he is.
On Jan. 4, Joe got up on the wrong side of bed or something, but he couldn't make the show. Who does he call up to take his place?? The Big R, Richard Meltzer. So the R. Meltzer T.V. special was born, with the greatest array of talent and loquacious guests ever presented on the 19 inch screen. On first and listed as co-host was Roni Hoffman. She gave the fair sex's view on abortion reform. Next, live in the stdio (sic) the Flamin' Groovies gave the east coast debut of their new lead singer. The general consensus was that they were very good but they shouldn't curse so much. I say, I don't mind rock and roll music but does it have to be played so loud? And their hair!! Does it have to be so long? Just trim it a little in the back. The next guest was Greg Shaw of the Greg Shaw T.V. Show and Polychrome Industries. He spoke about his new book Vitamen (sic) E and You. Bobby Abrams snuck out and told of his torrid love affair with Julie Newmar. To close the show Meltzer called on Stonybrook staples The Blue Oyster Cult. They did What is Quicksand?, St. Cecillia (sic), and Hot Pants. The show ended with everyone dancing, the Blue Oyster Cult playing, and Meltzer singing Society's Child. I called up Joe after to get his reaction. He said it was "zany" but he was glad to give the kids a chance. Joe can be seen on WOR-TV, channel 9.
And now you know what I'm trying to strive for when I sit in front of my keyboard and try to lay down a piece on rock/tee-vee/books and relay its inner karmic whooziz to you my prospective target! Chuck Eddy should be chained down CLOCKWORK ORANGE-style (and that goes for a whole range of unmentionables out there!) and FORCED to read TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE until he knows what rock & roll writing is all about!
Burton Greene Trio-ON TOUR CD (ZYX/ESP-disk)
The low-fidelity of this live recording actually helps in a bootleg/urgency sort-of-way. Green plays on (and in) his piano while Steve Tintweiss learns Ayler's lessons well and Shelly Rustin goes about as far with his Sunny Murray/Milford Graves-styled between-the-beat playing as any white man would dare. Greene never was one who seemingly got his jazz dues, and with his eccentricities and mental breakdowns you think he would've. I hope you caught him earlier this year when he was performing at the Freestyle Series that was going down at the CBGB Lounge (I did...gimme credit!).
I guess that's about all for now, unless you want me to ramble on about the Sweet Potato Kugel (no relation to Bernard) I made which turned into a brick or a strange dream I had where I seemed to be in some weird TWILIGHT ZONE early-sixties cum mid-seventies world watching what purported to be MY FAVORITE MARTIAN yet resembled LOST IN SPACE, but I'll save that for some other pertinent post. Next time, I hope to have some fresh stuff to send your way. and send it I will!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:43 AM