Saturday, June 17, 2006


Dunno exactly why I bought this set...perhaps my viewing of Kenneth Anger's SCORPIO RISING on YouTube had something to do with it (or at least I think I was eyeballing SCORPIO might have been a film of Dave Lang's birthday party for all I know!) but anyway the last "segment" of that 'un with the quick-cut editing of bikes coming and going and images of skulls smoking cigarettes labeled "youth" as the classic surf instrumental "Wipe Out" plays on certainly got this addled rock fan into pure surf instrumental gear and heading straight for ebay where a 2-CD of classic Surfaris sides was purchased post-haste in a serious bid to slake my 1963 lust.

Naturally I shoulda realized that the take of "Wipe Out" here (and maybe "Surfer Joe") ain't the well-known original versions since Dot records still owns 'em (which is why they released that bogus Surfaris album with the three or so Surfaris tracks they do own along with a buncha imposter material in order to milk the unaware bumpuses even MORE), and I also shoulda realized that the re-do of their biggest hit wouldn't sound anything like the well-known punk precursor that still stands as a testament to pre-Beatles thud. However, that's no reason to ignore this classic slab which covers the best and not-so moments of the group's Decca-period booty, ranging from the follow up pseudo-hits like "Point Panic" to a whole slab of Beach Boy imitations not forgetting the Surfaris' final days as a folk-rock band where they really musta felt outta place doing their Byrds imitations with a moniker straight outta the short-hair and matching suits era which only ended a few years prior!

Perhaps the biggest reason I latched onto this collection was to hear the Surfaris' take of what I like to call the "National Anthem" of 1966, mainly "Hey Joe". For years (at least since I saw it on an old Bomp auction list) I've been curious as to how the Surfaris woulda tackled this classic garage-band raver and y'know what, they do it with sheer aplomb almost as good as the Leaves, Byrds and Swamp Rats but better than Jimi Hendrix, Fever Tree and Creation. The Surfaris added a nice touch to the song with the entire group shouting "HEY---JOE!" before the lead singer would continue "...where you goin' with that gun in your hand" and why this one missed being included on one of the original PEBBLES volumes back in 1979/80 when we sure coulda used it is way beyond me.

WHITE STUFF (fanzine collected on a shiny disque, originally edited by Sandy Robertson during the years 1977/1978)

It's not like I've had the opportunity to read every last word of this magnificent fanzine, but I'm sure glad that I've finally gotten around to reading these WORTHWHILE scribings for once in my bloated life. For along with the ROCK ON's also recently received (and nearest and dearest to my frequent commode-visiting heart) you could say that I've been having the bestest fanzine-immersing time of my life at least since the early-nineties when eager-beaver fans were running off their old hard-to-get issues of BACK DOOR MAN, DENIM DELINQUENT and THE NEXT BIG THING for yours truly just because I was a big fanzine editurd who deserved this much-needed and still-craved reading material solely because I am ME!!! You should try it sometime.

Yeah, WHITE STUFF is a Patti Smith fanzine and I'm sure that you, I and the bedpost have had our various "qualms" about Patti and the things she has said and done o'er the past thirtysome years or so. And hey, even you (like I) might just have a big steaming MAD ON about her and her current state of socio-political bravado no matter who or what it may entail (for me, it's her anti-capitalist neo-Marxism that seems more or less like some last great grasp at reviving the sixties/seventies radical ultra-lib bent that still tinkles on here and there) but no matter whatcha think, I gotta say that her earlier endeavors still hold up even with her usual asides to various chic hipster pose not to mention a whole array of seventies relevant/kitsch causes. (Such as her, along with a good portion of the avant youth gulcher of the day's, deification of Wilhelm Reich, a guy who seems more or less like an "interesting figure" the same way that I might read on about Bobby Beausoliel or Mel Lyman, but raising him to the status of a persecuted prophet who...if only he were set free...would have changed the universe for the better is nothing more than a pipe dream an unlimited stay in an orgone box couldn't diminish in a millyun years!)

Reichian therapy and hipster bohoisms aside, I gotta say that I love the living dickens outta these WHITE STUFFs. Naturally there's lots on Patti and her Pals, but there's loads more because y'see, this fanzine came outta the cold reaches of Scotland as does editor Sandy Robertson, and as ye all know the Scots are good for giving bargains because they're all cheapskates up there! So that's why you really getcher money's worth outta mags like WHITE STUFF not to mention BAM BALAAM and that old standby THE NEXT BIG THING, because if folks like Robertson and Lindsay Hutton (who is a swell guy even if he does hate dagos) didn't give their countrymen a good magazine at a good price, you know that the entire clan would storm these fellows' huts and chop 'em up into pure haggis just like their forefather Sawney Beane did way back when! So besides the fantastic Patti coverage (complete with the bared-wire intensity that I used to associate with the lady and her music, at least when she was scraping through the heavy metal no wave of "Radio Ethiopia" while I would fret away about the next day at school!) there's loads more that in fact makes WHITE STUFF a "genzine" and not necessarily a purely Patti vehicle. Take ish #1 where one can espy amidst the intelligent Patti rah-rahs a review of the first Lou Reed album plus bits on the Ramones and those pesky Sex Pistols, not forgetting a writeup of that John Mendelsohn's Pits EP on Bomp which NOBODY seemed to like except Robertson, which is probably why he got on their promo list! (Ish #2 has a review of the Snatch single which I passed on at the time but sounds good enough judging from Robertson's tossing about of the Velvets tag which always lit my fire in those brave new wave days...I think that one might be on one of those Chuck Warner samplers I probably have in my collection somewhere...) And yeah, amidst the articles on all those old-timey arbitors of just how boho you can get such as Artaud, Harry Crosby, Rimbaud and the aforementioned Reich amongst other Smith watermarks are pieces on...KIM FOWLEY (who yeah, I know most of you reg'lar readers HATE with a passion but I personally never encountered him face-to-face or via phone and from what I've heard both musically and not he still comes off tres-seventies deca-chic enough for me...), THE RUNAWAYS (great pieces here---no pun intended!), ENO, HELEN REDDY (a writeup brought about by Fowley's then-recent production...fantastic in both writing and putting forth an unpopular view!) and even shemale Amanda Lear make the grade which should say something because even though this was the age of rock-going-in-every-direction, there still were some views out there that were too hard for certain hipsters to take and Amanda Lear was but one of them! Ain't encountered the Lear article yet (given the difficulty I sometimes have in not only reading this but calling up certain pages it's amazing that I've absorbed as much of WHITE STUFF as I have!) but if it's as good as the stuff Robertson did on Fowley and Reddy I know I'm in for an all-enveloping reading experience akin to the time I first flipped open a NEW YORK ROCKER and discovered that someone put out an ENTIRE MAGAZINE fulla the good stuff!

And Robertson's writing is snat as well...sorta comes off like the best of the hip-cool English critstars of the time like Charles Shaar Murray, Nick Kent and even Paul Morley whose OUT THERE kinda reminds me of a slick, well-produced take on what Robertson was doing here. Another one that comes very close to what WHITE STUFF was going for is Bill Shute's INNER MYSTIQUE which also housed intellecto-punk musings in a great slapdash dada layout that influenced a certain mentally-impaired rock cretin to paste together his own fanzoonie which, in perhaps a totally different, pixel'd form, lasts to this day. And especially with the stuck-up, self-important, gosh-it-all writing one sees on blogs and in "entertainment papers" these days it's sure nice to get a dose of the REAL THING in order to resensify yourself as to what all this rock & roll (as a grating, nerve-bending musical form-as-obsessive cult) used to mean in the seventies, and perhaps still continues to mean for at least a few torch-bearing true believers out there in the great void of internet and obsessive print fandom.

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