Wednesday, March 18, 2009

UGLY THINGS #28 (which is still not a fanzine anymore!)

(pantpantpantpantpantpantpantpantpant PANT!)...whew whaddanother issue! As you all should know by this point in the time frame of musical concerns UGLY THINGS is definitely (not "perhaps") my favorite current day rock & roll magazine! Whenever I get hold of whatever latest issue there may be into my grubby little paws nothing short of a crowbar can get me away from the thing! Hands down, UGLY THINGS is thee bestest magazine out there in the wunnerful world of (ahem!) "music literature" today, and if you were the kinda guy who used to drool over obtaining the latest FORCED EXPOSURE or KICKS back inna eighties and remember the fun-packed times you'd have pouring over each and every issue of those in the privacy of your own suburban squat then UGLY THINGS will surely send you back to them days of old. Sheesh, the fact that UT editor Mike Stax has never been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Rockism really is enough to make my mouth go into overfroth, and it should yours too!

So, once again Stax came up with a 208-page wonder, and I'm sure...nay, positive that every one of you reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers have latched onto a copy of this by now. If you're one of the few who hasn't, here's whaz innit! For starters, there's a cover saga on such big name draws as the Dave Clark Five and the Move which I assume Stax snuck onna front in order to help move (no pun intended) some copies amongst the "classic rock" clientele or at least what's left of it. Fine stuff I guess...I didn't even get to those pieces yet because I wanted to dig into the meat and potatoes portion of the mag like mainly the bits (big hunkerin' bits!) on Roky Erickson's pre-Elevators group the Spades (dig that photo on page 115 showing Roky sandwiched between two go go gals looking like a bashful adolescent about to have his first rug tumble), Hackamore Brick (fantastic enough that even I found at least two chronological errors regarding the post-Brick bands here!) and the Daughters of Eve, an all gal group who certainly chose a better name'n the Daughters of Belitis! All of these articles are jambus packtus with heretofore unknown information and you can bet your bottom butt that one page of UGLY THINGS has more fun, knowledge and snappy pix than an entire run of ROLLING STONE! But then again one square of toilet paper (used) has more verve and charisma than STONE's whole existence could muster up so maybe I should come up with a better analogy...

One bit that really rocked my socks off was the coverage regarding the history (more or less) of rock fanzines, with mastheaded writers Jon Savage and Johan Kugelberg giving their fave rave rock fanzine rundowns a good seventeen years after I did the exact same thing in ish #19 of my own rag but better late than never. In order to be "controversial" and non-sycophantic to the entire UGLY THINGS dynasty I must admit that I thought Savage's piece, while good enough for a fairy, was more or less geared towards his own English sense of class struggle consciousness (they're all socialists over there, y'know) and with too many questionable entries (por ejemplo I would not consider KRLA BEAT a fanzine), and that interview he did with SEARCH & DESTROY's V. Vale was kinda dry... Not his fault though considering the subject matter at hand (the Claude Bessey one was better even if I have tres ambiv. feelings towards the man). Kugelberg's companion piece was much better 'n hip enough to drop the names of such wonders as DENIM DELINQUENT and even the ultra-obscure NIX ON PIX (a fanzine due for a BTC retro if editor Peter Tomlinson will only deliver with the copy of issue #1 he promised me a whole year ago!), though I would have expected him to have at least mentioned BACK DOOR MAN and TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE in his roundup! He probably thinks they've already been over-mentioned (by me!) to do such an obvious thing so kudos to him for being restrained!

The record (or Cee-Dee these days) review section is what gets me all hopped up, and although I didn't find as many must-gets this go 'round as I usually do (in fact, I found NONE other'n that JT 4 album that's on one of my waiting lists which proves that the truly hotcha exhumations have pretty much come to a grinding halt!) I always like to peruse this portion of the mag just to read the bright writeups and enjoy the brisk writing styles of everyone from Laurence Bigot to Doug Sheppard, a guy who I must admit I couldn't stand a good ten or so years back. Reading a good record writeup's almost as good as listening to the record itself, and sticking a typewriter in front of any of these guys is like sticking an electric guitar in James Gurley's hands...pure energy, and don't you let anyone else tell you different!

Oh, and in case you wondered why there are no refs in here to the reviews of a certain contributor of the femme persuasion this time, I merely bloobed over her stuff so's to not give myself any reason to mention it! Besides, I don't want to get the ire of ol "Jeff" who took offense to my criticisms to the point where he had to even berate my own writing "style" as being one big run-on sentence. Jeff, have you ever read Richard Meltzer???

And even with all of these goodies being tossed at your feet there are loads more things here that I haven't even gotten to yet, like part two of the Dandy Girls article (I liked the bit about when they were in Tehran and got in trouble for washing a dog in a sacred fountain!) and this promising looking article on rock & roll records made on "custom labels" (which is sorta the aural equivalent to those vanity press companies where you get to pay to have your own book printed up no matter how gnarly it may be!). And that's not mentioning the rest of the features and columns and all of those great bits and pieces one would find in this mag's twenty-eighth go' round. It's so all-encompassing and high energy that everything else blanches in comparison, and it's sure a good thing that people like Lindsay Hutton and myself have suspended our own publications because UGLY THINGS definitely would have the two of us at wits end tearing the hair outta our heads...wait, there's no way in heaven we can do that anymore, but I'm sure you get the drift!


Jeff said...

Yeah I read that guy. I even bought a copy of that New Wave magazine with Tom Petty on the cover back when it came out.

Yeah you write kind of like him but you add your own mix of spices to his brand of behavioral secretions, not to mention more adventurous musical tastes than the jazz he used to ween himself off coke with. Why don't you do an interview with him and post it here, that would be terrific!!!!

As for the rest of your "squeed", I need direct quotes to refresh my mentational formulation adjustments as to what I may have exactly meant, because I don't know what you're talking about.

Now go bungee flounce backwards off a sideways hamburger helper carton like the glutenous knock-kneed leech fetus rotating expectantly into the delightful nozzles.

Christopher said...

Jeff, glad to see you're back amongst the living. THe creative writing course sure has helped, hasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Just got Ugly Things and read a couple of the articles.
Always great.

Very revealing Angel Face story. Seems there needs to be English language translations of whatever books have been written about the 70's Futura scene and early French punk.

Cheers, Imants.