1) PUNK MAGAZINE #19 (winter 2007)
I dunno if this new and improved ish of PUNK is necessarily the highlight of the year, but considering the way 2006 has turned out (having to suffer through the post-post-POSTMODERN state of gulcheral lack-of-awareness all us aging obsessives are imbued with), perhaps it is!!! All funnin' aside, as I've said before it's sure nice to see the resurrected PUNK mag available in the here and now, and this new 'un, while not quite the engrosser that past issues of this or most other fanzines of the GOLDEN AGE (read: 1972-1977) are, still kept me totally enrapted for a good two hours which is more than I can say about just about any MODERN DAY pub out there with the possible exception of BLACK TO COMM which I don't think counts in this case.
Now before I go on any further I gotta 'fess up to you the fact that, even with a new issue of PUNK plunked into my sweaty palms, maybe I'm just not that keen on the concept of punk rock as punk rock as I usedta be back when just about anyone with brains or a wee bit of foresight was jumpin' on the bandwagon. Oh yeah, I really like the concept of punk rock, but I'm more in tune with punk in that universal sorta scrunch-up terminology where not only the likes of such aggregates as the Stooge/Dolls/Ramones can wallow around in the Big Tent of punk three-ring circuses but the Seeds, Sonics and other class six-oh primate-putsch along with a whole lotta other nasties (some metal, some avant garde jazz) ranging within a whole lotta modes and attempts at this musical beast. A listen to the Clash or Generation X, or even many of the post-seventies bigtime aggregates that certain bloggers continue to praise to high hallelujah will merely emit a yawn from me these days, but as I tell you I get that way sometimes. So keeping all this in mind lemme tell you that this new PUNK mag really kept my attention twisted even though a lotta what """""makes""""" the mag isn't supposed to light any fire under my pitted prune butt. But it did somehow and for that editor John Holmstrom and company should be congratulated for being able to pull a PUNK mag off in 2006 and get away with it as well!!!
Cover slot's dedicated to the Bullys, that band who had in their ranks one Johnny Heffernan a.k.a. Johnny Heff, a punk who worked as a fireman in his spare time and for his efforts got crushed as the World Trade Center came tumblin' down. It's a nice touching story about a guy whose music I'm probably not that anxious to hear (although he certainly was of the right political persuasion if he did write a numbah called "Pop is for Fags"!), but the fact that it took so long for anyone to let the world know the man existed makes me wonder why I haven't seen any special reports on the punk rock firefighter who died a hero in all these years? Not that I was particularly looking, but if the lamebrain kissykiss media has the wherewithal to devote stories too every hero who lived or died on that fateful day (and flag these stories for their "human interest" potential), why not a "news segment" on one who also decided to KICK OUT THE JAMS in his spare time and doesn't fit the formula of the fireman as some sorta clean-cut wholesome Dudley Dooright type???
Also inna new one's a touching saga on the downfall of CBGB crammed with a whole lotta TRUE LIFE FACTS that most of the obituaries felt "prudent" to leave out, plus bits and pieces on a whole lotta bands who were playing the club (and the also deep-sixed Continental) o'er the past few years like Turbo A.C.'s and Peelander-Z, one-a them new all-Japanese yet all-Amerigan punk bands who look more'n pretty entertaining if all those Youtube videos are any indication. These guys (and miss!) sound like they could be the next giant leap for mankind, or at least punk rock, and you can bet that I'll be keeping more of an eye on them and their website, if only to enter the "Win a Date With Peelander-Pink Contest" as soon as it hits the boards!
There's plenty more, including a load of record and Cee-Dee revs (and J. D. King oughta get plenny pee-yoed for the negative reaction to his classic Coachmen disque which I hope proves to you who your REAL friend is, eh Jay-Dee???) plus a great "Family Tree of Punk Rock" which traces the roots of the form and the offspring a whole lot better'n had Little Steven or some other well-draped arbiter of "garage" tastes had done it. In a NEW YORK ROCKER and BACK DOOR MAN-deprived age, PUNK is the tops in magazine reading, and osmosing every precious page reminds me of how I would spend all my waking moments back when this "scene" was still in its adolescence trying to soak in all of the underground history, past/present and hopefully future (and believe-you-me, I had big hopes for the eighties as an extension of all that seventies promise which shows you just how WRONG a feller can be!) back when I should have been studying to be the gynecologist I had always dreamed of being. Well, at least my newfound infatuation gave the world another bright rock writer and not some pap-studying prober who merely shrugs his shoulders at the sight of a curvateous prospective customer!
(Oh yeah, and I should mention to all you leftovers out there that the comics are fuh-NEE as usual...there ain't enough Holmstrom here like there should be, but the contributors both old and new certainly know how to fit into the punkgroove more or less and that should be fine with even an oldtimey stick-inna-mud like you. I especially laughed hard at the cartoon-review of the Al Goldstein DVD which was just as SICK as something PUNK would have printed back in the day, going to show you that the more things stay the same, the more they need a changing, or something like that.)
2) FUTURE #4 (November, 1978)
Yeah, I already had this one, but I just needed another copy. And ya wanna know why???? When I purchased my original FUTURE #4 I got it straight from the HQ of editor Greg Prevost during his Fairway Drive days, but for some occult reason when I opened the package and took the meaty morsel out of its sleeve I discovered that the pic of Greg onna inside (page three) was BLACKED OUT with a magic marker, a "sorry!" scribbled next to what obviously was Prevost's own handiwork! I gotta admit that at the time Prevost's actions really got me puzzled more than I was age five watching living bra commercials, but the guy for what you will soon find out were obvious reasons did not want me to know what he looked like back when this issue of FUTURE came out, and for years bephuddled I just wondered why Prevost would deface his own fanzine in order to keep me in the dark, dense fonebone that I am!
Well, with the arrival of a new, non-messed up FUTURE #4 I can tell you why Greg had so long tried to deceive me...it's because in this pic Greg was wearing what could best be called a faux ducktail! Y'see, during the early-eighties (when I happened to get hold of this ish), Greg was trying to maintain an image of himself as a roaring sixties-bred punk complete with that Chocolate Watchband praying mantis look, and a pic of him with a fifties style haircut circulating, especially when Greg was leading his multi-pageboy'd Chesterfield Kings to underground stardom just wouldn't do his (then-current) 'do justice! Unfortunately for Greg his plan fell through when KICKS ran the EXACT SAME PHOTO in one of their mid-eighties issues, but that didn't stop him from telling me that this particular snap was taken in '74 when he was fronting some garage band aggregate called "The Creatures From the Black Lagoon," an act who along with the Droogs, Electric Eels and precious few others were actually performing Sonics songs, and at poolside parties to boot long before sixties garageisms became the hip thing to groove on! Heck, with all this bull flyin' around can I trust anything else the man has told me all these years????? Probably not!
Still. #4 remains a winning issue...highlights being the interviews with Willie Alexander and the Real Kids (yay!!!), the elpee and single reviews, and of course Dad.
3) Henry Flynt-RAGA ELECTRIC CD (Locust)
I always seem to do my most impulsive internet bidding and buying late at night when my defenses are low, which is why I have a bedroom filled to the brim with everything from toys I wanted when I was four but never got, unassembled model kits and back issues of HUMBUG cluttered about. I guess I finally got that 1963 adolescent-overrun suburban ranch house I've always dreamed about, albeit thirty years too late! Anyway, it was on one of those half-delirious blurry-eyed internet romps during the wee hours of the morn that I ordered a package of Henry Flynt wares from Locust, mostly for the limited edition Nova Billy single that they're sellin' but also for a number of disques I'll be able to spin on my computer while waiting for Santa to drop off that turntable and stereo system I'm in need of next month...are you listening, ya old hippie you?!?!?!?!
The BACK PORCH HILLBILLY BLUES disques which show off Flynt's rural avant leanings way better'n today's subject does will have to wait until I properly digest 'em for blog consumption, but for now I'll prattle off about his RAGA ELECTRIC Cee-Dee mainly because I've listened to that twice as opposed to BACK PORCH's once. Starting off with a partic. warped rendition of the Marine Hymn from '71 that sounds like some Neu! epiglottal spew to a variety of tres-Fluxus vocal improvs from '63 and a '66 electric guitar raga-rock thing that sounds like an outgrowth of Flynt's Insurrectionists all ending in a sax improv that would give Roscoe Mitchell nightmares, RAGA ELECTRIC does a pretty good job showing off Flynt's strangely askew anti-art post-Cage FLUXUS sensibilities without coming off "cute" like Yoko Ono could do even then nor artistic-pervo like Nam June Paik. It doesn't even SOUND like what people expected avant garde music to sound like in the sixties, and in all RAGA ELECTRIC's pretty solid avant garde music that does have a better grate to it than I'm sure anyone would have expected then, or even now for that matter.
And for a person who was so under-documented these many years its nice to see something by a big name like Flynt out and available to the public at large. And it's good stuff too w/o the frilly philosophical proto-hippie spew that ruined things by Angus Maclise and others for me and my suburban punk-bred attitude. And you really wouldn't want any more, especially from a guy who subbed for John Cale in the Velvet Underground and almost got the boot from Lou Reed for being too rural, and on-stage too!
4) SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS DVD
I always come back to the classics...and forty-two years later SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS drills itself into you way as a love saga or just plain slab of avant garde camp than all of the drek it inspired. A feel-good movie if there ever was one.
5) Various Artists-THE EAST VILLAGE OTHER CD (Abraxas/ESP)
Mid-sixties snot-nosed idea (various En Why See hipsters perform to broadcast of Luci Johnson's wedding) holds up more than the early-seventies youth drek this stuff eventually inspired, w/Steve Weber (Holy Modal Rounders), the Velvet Underground and others adding their own bitta nutso flavor to the social commentary. Highlights (besides Weber and Velvets) are Gerard Malanga and Ingrid Superstar gabbing about their hots for Steve Reeves, Marion Brown cooking hot acid, Ishmael Reed reading from THE FREE LANCE PALL BEARERS and Tuli Kuipferberg and Viki Pollon singing a medieval folk song with lyrics pertinent to the heart of the matter. Low-point's Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky doing their ramarama pull down your pants boys schtick for the billionth time in recorded memory. The reprint of the LP back cover lets us in on the fact that this originally was released as a one-sided album (which would account for its 24-minute time-length) and that the other side was engraved "with a lot of saxophones" sorta like the mysterious side two of Albert Ayler's BELLS where you could hear weird mumbled voices and loads of gravel as the tone arm swayed to and fro. (Others mention hearing chirping birds on their copies!) Too bad they didn't have the inspiration to release THAT in order to fill this disque out to a proper recorded length!
6) MX-80-DAS LOVE BOAT (Quadruped); I'VE SEEN ENOUGH (Atavistic); O-Type-BALKANA (Family Vineyard)
Just warming myself up for when I receive my package from Slippytown which, amongst other things, contains MX-80's latest entitled WE'RE AN AMERICAN BAND. Hopefully thee event of the entire bloomin' year, and maybe the next two for all I know!
Sunday, November 12, 2006