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!