BOOK REVIEW! THE STOOGES: THE AUTHORIZED AND ILLUSTRATED STORY by Robert Matheu (Abrams, 2010)
Remember when the Stooges were the cutout kings of the bargain bin? Well now they're BIG BUCK BONANZAS worth a good two million dollars which only goes to show you that if you stick to it, put your nose to the grindstone and take all the drugs in the world YOU TOO could become as big and as famous just like the Ig! Well, it did take a good forty years for him to do it, but better him than the comparatively sissyboy competition that milked the whole Iggy style for eons and still came out looking like cling peaches.
On the heels of this Stoogian resurrection (well, at least a good seven or so years afterward) comes this book which was "written" by "Stoogeologist" and onetime CREEM photographer Robert Matheu, and it's well...kinda what you'd expect some book about the Stooges to be like. Given Matheu's photographic bent this 'un's filled to the brim with choice Stooge photogs, lots of which I ain't even seen before and others that have been around the bend a few times but you still like to see that snap of Ig standing on the crowd at the Cincinnati Pop Festival anyway so why pick the nits? Nice fliers too, and nice overall picture reproduction and there's even a snap of Ig when he put that clown makeup on his face which really made his yellow teeth stand out and he kinda looks like one of the Hello People or better yet Leo Sayer with his curly locks which really cracks me up!
And yeah we (naturally) also get some snaps of the solo-period Ig and crew which thrill me about as much as an invitation to a Mazola Party at Dave Lang's while the shots of the new geriatric Stooges do tend to make me feel ancient myself, but I guess these kinda things come with the territory so why should I quibble, right?
If I do gotta do any quibbling it's gotta be about the printed word that accompanies the snaps. Not that it's bad, but it really doesn't shed any light on the whole Stoogian message extant with writeups on albums we've heard for ages that don't shed any new, revealing light on their subjects or convey the Stooges' energy quotient, in fact reading like college term papers fresh from a Kinko's typeathon rather than a 1973 fanzine rave. True getting Alice Cooper to do the foreword to this book was a stroke of genius (time you paid Iggy back for all the ideas ya swiped from 'im!), but the whole meaning behind the Stooges would have been better served had Matheu gotten some close-to-the-O-mind source like Nick Kent to put his two shillings in, or better yet if the entire Stooge odyssey as seen through the eyes of the chaps at DENIM DELINQUENT or BACK DOOR MAN 'stead of the likes of Dave DiMartino, a guy who helmed CREEM through its worst years in the hair-riddled eighties. Don't get me wrong...I love reading about the Stooges, but only when they are digested on a truly suburban UHF tee-vee ranch house level. Considering how the likes of DiMartino pretty much pissed all over the whole Bangs/Meltzer/Saunders spirit of the seventies CREEM I think the choice of having him contribute to this along with the likes of Jeffrey Morgan (who held his own then, but seems to be holding something else of his own now) and Brian Bowe (makes DiMartino look like James Wolcott) seems more than a trifle misguided.
But hey, it's a Stooges book. It's got pictures and (best of all) it's AUTHORIZED!!!! Reminds me of those tee-vee tie in coloring books I used to get when I was a kid that would sport an "authorized edition" sticker onna front. Now that's quality!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
INSERT YOUR OWN HORRID PUN HERE!
Nothing much to sneeze about this time. Still whacked out from the goings on in my life the past week or so which have added up to more frustration and overall exhaustion that a normal fellow can take (and believe-you-moi, my week of agony beats your month!). Lucky for you that I was able to crank this 'un out 'stead of rely on one of my standby posts I have ready to go in case of severe writer's block, but ya know this one ain't gonna be collectin' any blog awards any time soon.
***Iggy and the Stooges-RAW POWER (LEGACY EDITION) 2-CD set (Columbia Legacy...photographic reflection by Jillery)
Hoo boy, another reason to spend additional hard-earned $$$ on stuff you've possessed for most of your natural born dayze! I really gotta hand it to these people though, re-releasing albums that didn't do squat back when they were originally released and slapping 'em up w/all new packaging, new tracks and of course a booklet filling you in on just why the recording in question was of such importance in the first place even though the market it was aimed at was too busy gobbling up Jethro Tull albums to care.
And if Electra could do it w/the first two Stooges disques why not Columbia with that all-time classic heavy metal (in the best 1973 CREEM sense) album RAW POWER? Good job they did too even if disque one is the same David Bowie mix that originally came out way back inna eighties p'haps cleansed a bit. Only have that nineties re-do so maybe this 'un's an added gem in my collection. It certainly does have its natural charm.
Howevah, the major drawing point here's the second slab which not only has the Stooges live at Richard's in Atlanta that was originally intended for broadcast (!---I guess the radio programmers down Georgia way had no fear of the FCC if they were even going to consider broadcasting this vulgarity-strewn outing!) but two outtakes that will certainly please your punch. The live gig is pretty good, not as raw as the Max's show or the asst. of Bomp-wares that have been coming out but it does have the best quality to date and is about on-par with the rest of those FM broadcasts of the day that have bootlegged o'er the years. Can't complain esp. when we get to hear the between-song patter where Iggy acts like...well, Iggy putting down a heckler whilst strutting about his usually stunted self. The outtakes from the RAW POWER sesh are boss though, with a ne'er heard by my ears before track called "Doojiman" coming off like FUNHOUSE-period avant rock as it bends and reverberates through your beanie and "Head On" featuring that heavy electric piano courtesy Bob "Blue Gene Tyranny" Sheff adding that special oomph to all of those rehearsal tape bootlegs heard these past two decades. That one appeared on a vast array of boots ever since its late-eighties freedom from the vaults, but it's nice to see that Columbia finally "legitimized" the thing so it doesn't have to act like a bastard anymore.
Another hotcha selling point are the liner notes featuring the usual band reminisces as well as a fantab essay by former ZIGZAG mentor Kris Needs which reads as good as most of his rants have since the late-seventies. I guess they couldn't get David Fricke this time, and the switch is more'n appreciated if only because that Fricke guy seemed to have a MONOPOLY w/regards to being the official chronicler of the hotcha archival alternative set these past few eons!
***Hawkwind-ASTOUNDING SOUNDS AMAZING MUSIC cassette (The Famous Charisma Label, England)
The late-period United Artists/early-Charisma-period Hawkwind albums seem to get the collective poo-poo from a good number of their fans, or at least that would be the impression I got after reading years of reviews and other opines that have been space-cavorting around for at least thirty-five solar rotates. And given how the vast majority of the Charisma-period platters were pretty hard to snatch up here in the US of Wha? (even QUARK STRANGENESS AND CHARM which Sire picked up for national consumption) it was pretty hard to find out whether or not this was true on my very own lest I dish out the extra few smackers for an overpriced import copy. But damn the nebbishes whose Hawkwind knowledge seems to end with HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN GRILL anyway because this debut spinner for Charisma is on the same plateau as their latterday UA albums (and far beyond the rest of the Charisma stable of the day excepting maybe Peter Hammill's NADIR'S BIG CHANCE), sorta tying up the loose ends left by their previous discs and getting into a new groove on a new label without succumbing to the dross that overwrought art rock had long become.
Heck, even the space-y mellotron interlude on "Chronoglide Skyway" sounds orbit-y enough to make you wish Joe Meek had one of those monstrosities at his disposal! And the melodies, temperament and valiant attempts to cling to an ever-fading psychedelic past don't sound dated, that is if you still think of the seventies as a pinnacle of music/tee-vee/moom pitchers that never was surpassed no matter how many flacks tell you otherwise. Maybe it ain't the paen to underground-y punkisms that QUARK was supposed to be (or at least that's what Eddie Flowers said!) but I find it breathtaking enough. Two additional bonuses are the instrumental "The Aubergine That Ate Rangoon", former Deviants guitarist (now bassist) Paul Rudolph's sole composing credit for the group before he was unceremoniously kicked out, whilst "Kerb Crawler" was mixed by none other than Pink Floyd's own David Gilmour whom I only wish woulda taken a cue or two from the real life space kiddettes
***The Pink Fairies-FINLAND FREAKOUT 1971 CD (MLP England)
And really, what use would it be talking about Hawkwind whilst ignoring their brother band the Pink Fairies anyway? The Fairies ouput has been mighty slim as of late, but at least the MLP label was able to dish out this tasty little gem from the group's appearance at a '71rock festival in Finland of all places (the first ever rockfest there by the way!). The liner notes from drummer Russell Hunter (along with an excerpt from the indispensable group biography) are what'cha'd call "engrossing" (I thought the part where they get high on meth with Canned Heat was kinda high-larious!), and the music ain't that bad either in fact sounding a lot clearer'n that LP of a few years back which really had the Flintstones-level quality so akin to many an early bootleg.
The midnight sun musings to be found here include their then-current set opener "Tomorrow Never Knows", not to mention current single "The Snake" followed by their extended romp and "Sister Ray" re-do "Uncle Harry's Last Freakout" (complete with the riff from "Billy the Monster" stuck in) all ending with the refurbishing of "Walk Don't Run" which sounds every bit as good live as it did on WHAT A BUNCH OF SWEETIES. And if that doesn't get your toenails tingling I don't know WHAT will...total high energy hard rock that rivals the Detroit bands at their best, and certainly worth a play if you claim to adhere to all of that beautiful atonal blare that mongos like me have been blabbing atcha for lo these many years!
***Finally, here are bunch of them ol' Charles Rodrigues cartoons from NATIONAL LAMPOON that really brought back some guffaw-inducing memories for me and p'haps for you too! Y'know, I really gotta admit that it's the kinda humor like this (which seemed so over-the-top daring at the time) which really influenced a lotta my styling and general overview of life itself almost as much as various fan/prozine writings and other pertinant stimulations that were being made available to me during my formative years of brain mush. Besides that, who could deny that Rodrigues was one of the better sick cartoonists of the post-Chaz Addams day who excites me a lot more'n even an old hand like Gahan Wilson (whose "Nuts" in 'POON was the only effort of his I find worth reading) let alone most of today's scribblers ever could. Hope you laughed out loud as much as I did (re)reading 'em! (They should collect these cartoons as well as the other LAMPOON continuing series like "Nuts", "The Appletons", "Timberland Tales", "Trots and Bonnie" and "Dirty Duck" in their own book collections don't'cha think? Now that's something I'd really dish out the shekels for, eh?)
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 12:07 PM
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
FANZINE REVIEW! SUNSHINE #10 (edited by Dennis Metrano...release date circa. early 1972)
Here'a recent ebay find to keep you tided over until the weekend. And for those of you who (like me) are enthralled with the concept of a rock & roll fandom that could operate and function fully w/o the consent of the "mainstream" rock press these reads from the late-sixties onward have more meaning and induce more pangs of a vital and dominant rockism even in these strictly anti-rock times. Enough fluff...anyway some of you may remember my review of a later issue of Dennis Metrano's SUNSHINE in an earlier rock mag smackdown a few years back and if so (or if not) well, here's an earlier one which at least judging from the cover promises to be a real winner. I mean, Alice Cooper as MAN OF THE YEAR featured front and center on the front cover!!!!! Yeah, I know that there were probably a dozen or so fanzines out there that exuded exactly the same sentiments, but you gotta admit that this cover really proves what's in store with this particular piece of primal rockist credo, eh?
Well in the sage words of Bo Diddley you can't judge a fanzine by looking at the cover either because SUNSHINE #10's twelve pages really don't kick out any really important jams the same way early-seventies competitors TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE, CRETINOUS CRETENTIONS or even Boston buddy Fred Whitlock's SPOONFUL did. In fact, next to those three and many other seventies rock 'zineage SUNSHINE seems to rot on the vine right before your very eyes, and after even a quick gander it's not hard to see why.
Nice start on the first page tho w/Whitlock's adventurous declaration regarding the starting up his very own mag. The piece reads like a youthful-yet-on-target (re)affirmation of the rock and creative spirit on one double-spaced sheet as well telling about how it ain't just enough to be a listener and that writing about the music is such an exhilarating experience in itself. Gee, that's something I discovered on my own as well, though I don't think I've ever hit the same level of rockist satori that Whitlock did with his handfulla mags. Unfortunately it's all downhill from there as you the wanderlustful are subjected to rather light reading that certainly doesn't keep up the hard energy of what rock & roll at its best could aspire to.
A gander at page three will tip you off to Metrano's top albums of '71 and for an Alice Cooper fan you'd be surprised at the choice (he must be pulling our collective leg, eh?) with his mentions of everyone from Carole King ("kinky, kinetic, kleinish") to Seals and Crofts ("spiritual, clever")! Well, at least the Rolling Stones are "real, sexy"! Somehow I am starting to doubt the rah rahs that Greg Shaw used to give this mag in the pages of WHO PUT THE BOMP!, but maybe this was just an "off" issue since even I've had those myself and they can't all be gems. The rock gossip 'n trivia that follows doesn't rev up the rock adrenaline although it is interesting to find out that when the Beach Boys were moving to Holland they wanted to get Keith Moon in on drums! But if you told me this was just info swiped outta "Random Notes" or "Rock 'n' Roll News" I would believe you in the utmost.
And it goes on from there, with a few hokay jazz LP reviews, more gossip and a piece about rock promotion written by an actual promo man named "Major Force". The (then) infamous phony ROLLING STONE press release about the death of Ralph J. Gleason that was originally published in THE NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS but was still funny enough to warrant a reprint also appears, as do a few tie-ups regarding the production of the rag (like the announcement that there will be no more record reviews because it's so hard to be timely doing a fanzine) and a closing page filled with quotes, not about SUNSHINE but other fanzines along the lines of BOMP and NHRP! I mean, you think that Metrano would have collected up enough nice words about his own pride and joy!
But the worst thing about it is, other'n a brief mention that he likes "Brand New Key" and "American Pie" there's absolutely nothing about Alice here! And that, sir, is something that really threw me for a loop!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:03 PM
Sunday, August 22, 2010
SO WHAT ELSE IS OLD?
Don't fret. There are actually a few reviews of fresh, HOT OFF THE PRESSES stuff this time even though I could easily enough continue this blog by reviewing whatever I might find rummaging through my record, Cee-Dee, book and Dinky Toys collection if I wanted to. But hey I just got a batch of newsies in (as well as an oldsy I snatched up via ebay) and for the sake of making this blog look a li'l more professional decided to review a bit from each category in order to let the world know just where I stand on such questions as "loner" "outsider" music and mid-eighties metallic pounce. And who knows, I might throw in a little moralizing and jabs at the snob elite effetes while I'm at it, one-track minded person that I may be.
***TANK CD (Roadrunner)
It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong, and I'm the kind of guy who is about to do just that! However, waiting 24 years to 'fess up to one's mistakes ain't quite the proper way to go about it, but then again it never was like I ever was exactly prompt w/regards to fulfilling my doodies as a rock fanatic (as opposed to critic). What I'm talking about is the magnifico error that I made in the third issue of my very own fanzine, a rag that I must admit was perhaps my favorite of the early crudzines that I had been cranking out in the mid-eighties what with the SF SORROW cover concept and generally top-notch printjob for a xerox mag. However, in the course of a small piece on the then up-and-coming "speedmetal" group Metallica (long before they struck gold with a sound that borrowed as much from early-seventies Genesis as it did from Motorhead) I mentioned that the group's leader was none other than ex-Damned bassist Algy Ward (!) if you can fathom that obvious fox pass. Obviously somewhere down the line I had mistaken this particular person (who during his tenure with the Damned wanted them to switch directions into a more M-head style before unceremoniously being kicked out) as being the ringleader of Metallica instead of his proper aggregate TANK, a gaffe which all these years later continues to stymie me to no end! Of course it's not as bad as me mistaking Sister Ray warbler Sam D'Angelo as being named Zan Hoffman, a guy who was working a totally different field than the Ray-sters, but I just chalked it up to another "oops!" and left it at that. I mean, ten-thousand years from now I know that the truth will bear out, that is unless the only recorded history of mankind extant is the entire back-issue run of BLACK TO COMM!
Maybe that's why it took me so long to finally latch onto one of Tank's recordings even though I had been quite tempted to ever since those not-so-halcyon days which I'm sure we all would agree came off total douse in light of the underground rock flare/flair of the seventies. I mean, from what I heard Tank were yet another one of those totally atonal (and amoral for that matter) heavy metal groups that seemed to be holding their own in the battle against the comparatively fluffy "hard rock" sounds that permeated that decade. The concept behind them (post-Motorhead shredded sound) certainly appealed to me in the face of some of the weaker "amerindie" musings of the mid-eighties, and really when it came down to the music scene and where it should have been instead of was at, I sure thought (w/o having heard a single note of their music) that what we sure coulda used was a lot more Tank and a lot less Autograph!
Tank did accrue a whole lotta notoriety during those days (and even sans any major rockpress coverage on their part) and from what I could tell had quite a following in the En Why See area. In fact they were garnering gigs not only at the heavy metal hangout supremo L'Amour's but at CBGB on repeated occasions, something that might have had my mind tipped off in a direction that these guys might have been more speedmetal than lite. In fact given this and Ward's Damned credentials might just have made Tank a heavy metal cum punk "gryphon" as Michael Koenig might have said in the pages of TAKE IT!, but in reality they were closer to the British New Wave Of Heavy Metal than to the metallic flange of acts ranging from MX-80 Sound to Von Lmo. So all of you punkoids might wanna look elsewhere for your hard-throb thrills because Tank really ain't gonna be filling any of your bills anytime soon!
But where does that leave the rest of us on the lookout for hardcore jollies? Well, Tank ain't that bad, and in fact these ozobs obviosly outshine most of their brethren in the imitation Johnny Thunder hair brigades. Even through the slick production Tank can offer up some mad crunch that does help break up the constipation clogging up one's mind, but still once you get down to it this ain't the hard-crunch-gunch mad spurt that made up HM's most stellar moments in the eighties. In fact this is so gauged to the 198X mindset that amidst the standard clarity that made up metal at the time there's an ode to AIDS sufferers where Ward begs science to hurry up and find a cure (sheesh, I wish they'd find a cure fast for something that plagues most BLOG TO COMM readers like Painful Rectal Itch!) as well as a tune about the Challenger disaster ending with none other than former Prez Ronald Reagan's memorial speech! I guess if you are nostalgic for the eighties (and many people surprisingly are!) this would surely help out, but frankly I woulda preferred something that surged against the squeaky-clean well-scrubbed pallor of the day. Good for introverted, confused moments.
***Los Saicos-DEMOLICION! CD (Munster,Spain)
Some people think this is so wild that the Sonics pale in comparison. Actually the Sonics coulda wiped 'em off the stage within a good minute or so but that's no reason to pee on these Lima Beans. Like most Third World garage acts Los Saicos had quite a go of it mimicking foreign influences and translating it into the local vernacular, and like most of these groups the results are quite engrossing in the same way all of those bands on the early PEBBLES volumes sure came off like clean water after being polluted by early-eighties AM/FM pseudo-rock flatulence. But as far as being so good to make the Sonics seem like pee-wee's well, frankly I beg to differ even at the expense of making me look like a dissenting nabob in the face of hotcha rock screed supremacy!
***STONEWALL CD (Kismet)
Naw this ain't the homo bar nor the Confederate General nor that thing I keep ramming my head against in life but that infamous album that originally appeared on Roulette Records head Morris Levy's tax write-off label Tiger Lily. You might have heard the story about how Stonewall laid down an album's worth of demos in the late-sixties which ta-DAAH! got released w/o the band's notification or personal OK, but that's how Tiger Lily worked. Press up a few hundred albums, lose 'em somewhere and have your accountant tell the IRS some tall tale about the zillions that never did get sold or something like that. I'm no tax expert, and for that matter I'm not serving time for trying to be one!
But rather than dig up some cruddoid 1969 hippie pop recordings that I'm sure were flying around in the Roulette tape vaults at least Tiger Lily did swell with this 'un, a good hard rocker of an album that at least pumps on half of the cylinders giving a straight ahead performance that points towards future hard rock messterpieces along the lines of Dust. Nothing earth-shattering, but I find it slightly invigorating late-six-oh crunch that woulda been instant cut-out, but you know it woulda gotten a positive review in FLASH had it only gotten around. Good, but when it comes to Tiger Lily obscurities the one I really wanna hear is the album by the group Airborne, an act led by some ex-Teenage Lust guy that briefly appeared on the early/mid-1976 En Why See Club scene (y'know, CBGB/Max's Kansas City) before dissipating only to leave this brief reminder which word has it was actually sanctioned by the band who must've had their own personal connections with the label! Sounds like a real winner from its description (guitar-rock, perhaps similar in vein to Television?) so maybe the people at Kismet would be wise to snatch this one up for a future release, and hopefully soon t'boot?
***RARA IN HAITI CD (Soul Jazz)
Is this what caused that big earthquake awhile back??? Haiti has been known as the land of zombies and other nefarious occult dealings so what else could one expect from the land than a music such as this which sounds like a big Mardi Gras parade with weird horns playing three-note cantatas while chanting in a foreign to anyone tongue is bandied to and fro! The enclosed booklet found in this DVD-styled case tells you a whole lot more, and while some might still consider this stuff just more "field recording" ha-ha there's something BIG going on here that's a whole lot more'n what the eye sees and ear hears...this could be pretty cabalistic in its own frightening way. Who knows what strange magick this disque could weave...I mean, play it for Dave Lang and maybe he's learn to act human!
***Fraction-MOON BLOOD CD (Phoenix)
If you ask me the whole Jesus Rock thing just does not work out religiously, artistically or (especially) aesthetically. I mean, scratch just about any Christian rock performer ever-so-lightly and you're gonna get a Pat Boone lurking underneath the surface. If you have any doubt about this just latch onto the Circus album on Metromedia...I mean, if there was any promising "power pop" group outta Cleveland who coulda made it as big as the Raspberries it woulda been these guys, and here they louse up their sole longplayer with some pretty droning and humorless songs about Christ. And frankly you may hate Led Zep to Parma and back, but they never stooped so low with their magickal musical moments as Stryper or King's X!
Well, unlike all of the rest of those Christian rockers who might as well BE some cheap flea market church choir at least Fraction, on their own self-released 1971 platter, exuded quality, fine chops and a Christian bent that doesn't make you wanna puke. It probably won't convert anybody either but at least these guys had a good solid hard rock/SoCal outlook that sure holds up even if you can't take the overt Doors influence. Better'n a lotta the self-produced hard rock albums of the day that I've heard, and with a good enough post-garage band attack and appeal that should work well enough with old time Stooges fans and people who remember what the better moments of early-free form-era FM radio used to represent. New CD issue comes in miniaturized copy of the original with the boffo slide-out sleeve and lyrics, and it just might be a solid enough buy for you. But hurry, only 1000 made!
***Various Artists-CHERRY STONES HIDDEN CHARMS CD-R burn
And finally to the Serena WilliamS Burroughs pile for this strangie. No track listings here so I am in the dark, but what I've heard here ranges from interesting late-sixties pseudo-funk that sounds mostly performed by white garage band rejects to some straight-ahead soul schmoozers, one song with I even recognize with the crackling of my brain synapses eking out deeply-buried memories (the song is called "Peanut" in case yer interested). Educational and pleasing true, but would I actually run out 'n buy a copy? In this economy? Are you kidding???
***One more thing before I depart, be on the lookout for the recent re-re-release of the Doug Snyder/Bob Thompson DAILY DANCE album, this time on Cee-Dee (again) in a mini-LP sleeve and an outtake if you can believe that!!! I know you already have a dozen or so variations of this in your collection (like I do), but five or so more won't hurt now, will they?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 7:15 PM
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
UGLY THINGS #30 (it's a fanzine...Mike Stax even sez so on page one so it MUST be one!!!)
Eyes are still spinnin' 'round and jumping from one socket to another o'er the latest issue of what's gotta be the only rock read worth spending hours pouring over these days. Yes, while some fanzines (take the hint, Clint!) have gone the way of the Edsel ne'er to be seen again UGLY THINGS keeps pouncing about making the 21st century seem like not such a dull era to live in. And that's despite the presence of such abominations as Antipodean blog writers and libertine SF buttsuckers (and their lackies) who try their best to ruin things for real people like ourselves! What a wonderful world this must be!
Nice thick one again, and lo and behold it's a Kinks "special" which I guess ranks up with the ones that such UGLY THINGS inspirations as BAM BALAAM and GORILLA BEAT did during the Golden Age of Rock Fanzines even if this is a good ten sizes bigger'n the then-massive reporting that was done under the tutelage of Brian Hogg and Hans-Jurgen Klitsch respectively. Kinks lovers will definitely need to get this 'un and hey, I even loved Greg Prevost's accompanying article on various Kinks rarities that someone complained to me was too GOLDMINE collector-scum oriented but I beg to differ. Personally I thought it was groovolicious, especially the stuff that Prevost wrote about "boosting" (as they used to say) rare promo albums out of college radio stations, something I would never condone (and does make Prevost look less the upstanding citizen I thought he was) and while I'm at it, must he curse so much? And his hair, it's way too long. Just trim it a little in the back I say. But overall the Kinks material (inclluding an interview conducted by former SOUNDS writer Jon Savage) was pretty eye-opening (always wanted to know more about the famed '65 on-stage scuffle) even if it is for the little bits of information, like did you know that Ray Davies really likes the strawberry milkshakes they make at Denny's?
Of course there's more to UGLY THINGS #30 than the Kinks and milkshakes, and like a starving wild dog going in for the kill I always aim for the tender belly first. In this case it's the various review sections that get me all hot 'n bothered, and this go' 'round the going was good enough that within the first evening of reading I was lickity-split on-line checking out various sources for matter that not surprisingly was reviewed in these pages! That's a good sign that not only are there new items worthy of my (and presumably your) attention being made available, but that they are also being written about in a great matter-of-fact fan-to-fan way that makes you wanna crave the record/book/DVD releases the same way you did when you'd open up a good fanzine or issue of OP in 1980 and poured through it wishing you could order a good portion of the produce being hawked in those pages. Only now you have enough money to buy out the candy store and give it to the poor while back then you most certainly were one of the poor!
You'll be reading about some of my recent purchases in future editions of this blog, but you can most definitely find out about what will be tickling my fancy here FIRST, and from the minds of some of the best writers in the biz as well. No, I'm not talking about those phony "rock critics" who merely re-paste press releases sans any formidable knowledge of the history of their line of work outside of the Jann Wenner-sponsored style of journalistic felchdom, but the true stalwarts of musical erudition in and out of the "biz". It's always great to read Gene Sculatti's work not only because he was one of the first doing this in a serious fashion, but any guy who was in Vom obviously has garnered mucho brownie points in my book. Phil Milstein, a man who hasn't been as active as he should be as of late puts in a very top notch review of the new Tommy James autobio that I understand makes Roulette boss/James nemesis Morris Levy look even more sinister than we always thought (as if that was possible!). And although this will probably get me drummed outta the "hip tastes in under-the-gulcher music" union, I really dig Johan Kugelberg's funny essays even though I wish he wouldn't have wasted his time informing us about those garage band compilations of the eighties anyone whose been in on the UGLY THINGS game knows about like the hair on their palms. Obscure proto-punk bands and fanzines that only I know about are great fodder for the one called Kugelberg, but sure as shooting every UGLY THINGS reader is well clued in on BACK FROM THE GRAVE so why dredge up recent history?! (And speaking of contributors, dig the snap of longtime Dog Meat head/writer David Laing [note the spelling], who gives us the lowdown on his current fave raves right in the middle of page four! Sheesh, get a gander at that long hair and beard that kinds makes him look like this guy who used to roam about in my cousin's old neighborhood whom this one frowzy fifty-five-ish housewife who certainly was not in approval of long haired beardos always used to call "Jesus"...y'know, he'd be walking down the street and she'd comment in her cranky voice "Oh boy, here comes Jesus _______ again!" Once when another old lady in the 'hood was extremely ill and not all there upstairs this definitely anti-hippoid neighbor made a comment to the sick one that Jesus was walking down the street and the old coot actually thought she was dying and that thee Jesus was coming to collect her!)
Of course what kinda review of UGLY THINGS would be complete w/o mention of the usual fun frolics like the long-running Pretty Thing and Downliner Sect pages (what ever happened to Mick Farren???), not to mention the mega-book-sized articles on the likes of the Masters Apprentices (yeah, I know they hailed from Melbourne Sphinctoria but I'm positive that their bloodlines and you-know-who's do not cross), The Hysterics (of "Won't Get Far" and "Everything's There" fame) not to mention the Q65 interview and other mandatory goodies dealing with rock of a sixties and seventies nature. Especially interesting was the two-page bit on none other than ESP faves Cromagnon which fills us in on a whole lot I sure didn't know about (like their "bubblegum" roots) yet creates more questions to be answered, which I'm sure will be eventually.
Y'know, when Mike Stax croaks and is hauled before St. Peter I'm sure he's gonna hafta come up with a lotta explainin' to so like we all will, but something tells me that he might just get a "pass" because he spent a good chunk of his existence creating what's gotta be the most pertinent fanzine not only to come out of the eighties, but to continue into the new millennium (and who knows...beyond). That's gotta count for something in the long run, though I have the feeling that Stax is gonna hafta wait for quite a long while before he finally passes through those pearlies because, well St. Peter's gotta do some hardcore reading himself, eh?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:45 AM
Saturday, August 14, 2010
IF A HERO AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT A SANDWICH DOES THAT MAKE A PO' BOY NOTHIN' BUT ME???
I guess that my Little Orphan Annie routine has really worked wonders because o'er the past week I received not just one, but TWO parcels containing music in the form of Cee-Dee's (burnt offerings and otherwise) that were sent to me totally gratis, like just because I am me and thus deserving of indulging in these platters of total sonic eruption! I guess that the spiritual implications of a person of such a lofty standing as myself lending ear to the cacophonous embedding therein was just too powerful for these people to ignore. Just like Lester Bangs was sent just about every bit of underground recording and fanzine flotsam during his final days in En Why See, people feel fit to honor ME with copies of their own wares and other such musics which I guess does show all of you naysayers and BTC-haters exactly as to what my standing in this thing we call the musical universe just is! The only difference between me and Bangs is that at least I will acknowledge such gifts (if they are worthy of being acknowledged that is) and I sure smell a heckovalot better'n that stinkpot who always reeked as if he were still flinging the manure onto the pile like his dirt poor ancestors had been since the beginning of Bangsianism itself.
I mentioned Serena WmS. Burroughs last week...he's the guy who sent me this big hunking humongous package of stuff that'll take me a good month-and-a-half to rummage through including things such as late-sixties hot funk CD-R's, the next-to-last issue of CLE and some fliers/freebee newspapers which I guess have items pertaining to himself, the Cleveland music scene or both in 'em! But right now it's this little gem that I'm paying attention to, an actual Cee-Dee of Burroughs' mid-eighties band Death on a Stick, an act that were so good and exciting back in them dayze that I actually did a small article on 'em in one of those early issues of my own not-so-defunct fanzine when the thing was actually stapled from single sheets of paper and I had to do all the correlating and stapling myself in order to cut down on the costs of being a proud self-producing publisher!
Actually Death on a Stick wasn't exactly Burroughs' group because he wasn't there from the get-go, but his Clevo avant garage fingerprints are all over this strange release which, mainly because the internet address of local alternative music magnate Jimmy Clevo is not valid anymore, might not be available at your local emporium no matter how hard you look. But if you seek hard enough you might find a copy in a ten for a dollar bin at some Dubuque drug store and if you do SNATCH UP A COPY because Death on a Stick is a Cle experience you really will not want to forget to the point where you will be rattling off lyrics and melodies from this thing while wandering around in your underwear as you slowly drift from the Old Folk's Home of whatever making that your "estate handlers" stick you in.
INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH JAZZ 85' 86' 87' is a fantastico collection of this relatively short-lived group's recorded output (most if not all which appeared on the band's cassette-only release which came complete with a plastic skeleton on a popsicle stick as a promo device!) that does have the whole eighties mind-addled free splat down pat. I ain't talking about that rancide post-gnu wave stuff that cluttered up the fanzine pages (mine included!) either, for this shebang says more about what promise the eighties had than a good portion of the SST and Homestead catalogs combined! The soiree begins with a cover of the Led Zeppelin "chestnut" "Cashmere" which sounds as if it were sung through the same bullhorn the Butthole Surfers used and it's so transcendental in its approach and appeal that you don't CARE if this is supposed to be a scathing putdown or humble homage to the ones called Zep. The rest ranges from free-spat attack with whacko vocals and recitations to great crazed twist-o/change-o's and supposedly "immature" singsongy things that somehow seem to lay down perfectly the entire DIY ethos more than an entire leather-bound run of SOUND CHOICE could, and throw in a few issues of CONFLICT and maybe Patrick Amory's collection of BLUE BOY t'boot! Best crack-up material; the cover of Jan & Dean's "Popsicle" done as "Deathsicle" (the original also gets the tape-loop distortion trick at the end of the disque) and Burroughs' "Pumpkin Pie" ("I'll cover it with cream and I'll stick it in your eye"...Joni Mitchell could never come up with lyrics like that!). And of course "Jerry Lewis/It Always Rains in Downtown Cleveland" is what I would call a magnum tour-de-fartz of a le petomaine level and can you think of a better closer than this? Truly exhilarating material here from a group that I don't think ever woulda made it onto Anastasia Pantsios' list of truly relevant and safe Cleveland underground groups of a felchable nature (both ways).
***Also in the mail came this slim parcel emanating from the mystic mire also known as Grangemouth, Sterlingshire, Scotland...it looks as if none other than one LINDSAY HUTTON has decided to send me a few Cee-Dee-Ares of old En Why See material that I had pestered him about (after reading about this stuff in his old and essential THE NEXT BIG THING fanzine) nigh on over a year ago. A nice surprise natch, though the arrival of this small package of worth that has arrived does has me worried...y'see, as you all should know the Scots are what people in the civilized world would call "tightwads", "stingy" and "penny pinchers"...why do you think Queen Elizabeth is wincing on all of those pennies over there? I've heard all the jokes about 'em using the same rubber over and over again because it wasn't worn out that much, and all this makes me do is wonder exactly what does Mr. Hutton want in return from me anyway, like perhaps my first born or a pound of flesh or something that you know will result in my instant death. I guess the constant ingestion of animal innards will do strange things to you.
But all kidding aside (after all, Mr. Hutton can take a good joke about himself and his ethnicity as long as I lay off the cracks about his countrymen who transplanted themselves to the USA only to leave a legacy of broken down automobiles in front yards, bad teeth, poor hygiene and an excessive use of white sheets and burning timber) I really do appreciate the platters that the man has winged my way. And outta the batch I really really really liked the one by the Erasers, a group that I guess warranted so much attention back then that Hutton actually reviewed this very recording (live at the Village Gate!) back when it was recorded in...gawrsh, was 1977 that long ago??? A lotta hair has gone down the drain since then, but these recordings still sound as fresh and as punkified as the day they were laid down which should be a lesson to all of you new music types out there who always seemed to mix your Lou Reed with Mister Rogers.
Not having heard this group of three missies and one guy (led by guitarist/vocalist Susan Springfield) in "excess" I was wondering exactly what was gonna be in store, and quite concerned about it at that. Y'see, from what I'd gander the Erasers might just've come off as yet another 197X punque clone group aping the same hooks used by all of the precedents and to nauseating effect as well. But I sure trusted ol' Lindsay especially when he dredged up that old "early-Velvet Underground" comparison that always perked my obsessions up esp. when intoned in hallowed late-sixties/seventies whispers. And, as you already should know by heart, I really detest the bantering about of the "early-Velvets" comparisons by mealy-minded rock critics and sycophantic fanboys (myself included to a certain point) who would tag some of the most precocious bands who sound like lotus leaves floating onto delicate limpid pools as having a credo even remotely sounding like the Velvets, but in this case it's much different since we're talking back when being a Velvets fan/listener or having even the remotest interest in them was certainly a sign of inner-strength! And hey, I'll take my Velvets filtered through the likes of the Erasers or Modern Lovers or the Krautsters over some of the pallid puke pretending to be Velvet-informed that came out of the "alternative" scenes of the eighties and onwards, with a few notable exceptions of course.
The Erasers have that bountiful late-seventies Velvets-appeal and more, reminding me of everybody from Television and Richard Hell to the Heartbreakers and all of those grittier En Why bands that people like Hutton cut collective yellow teeth on for ages on end. Recording quality for this show ain't that snat, but the message gets across as Springfield and band (including one-off Red Crayola drummer Jane Fire) approach rock & roll in that high energy late-seventies way somewhere between the mid-seventies punk style and the oncoming no wave crunch. A great sense of punk history is revealed not only in the use of VU soup-base but with a song that actually borrows the riff from the Unrelated Segments' "Where You Gonna Go" and you KNOW that the Erasers probably never even heard that song before which only goes to show you how great minds run in the same direction no matter how far separated they may be!
Also recorded @ the Gate were the Helen Wheels Band, an act that I had great hope for until hearing their POSTMODERN LIVING 12-inch EP which was seriously brought down by the intentional new wave production that belied the group's whole late-sixties hard-rock attack that drew me to 'em in the first place. Thankfully the erstwhile BOC lyricist and weight lifter holds more'n her own on this set which comes off like Dictators redux as she rips and tears through some great hard rock that I'm sure had the phonus balonus fakes on the "scene" runnin' for cover with hands firmly pressed upon ears but the more real amongst us knew differently. Really, the Wheels band did have more in common with 1969 than 1977, or at least the good portion of the tail end of the sixties which is evidenced by their closing covers of the Kinks' "Til The End of the Day" not forgetting "7 & 7 Is" which some clod faded out before the big exploding climax. Let's just say that the Cultsters should have been shamed unto eternity for not getting Wheels and band a recording contract with Columbia before the energy fizzled away, but in those anti-innovative times what else could one expect? Can anyone out there tell me if the Skeleton Crew CD with Robbins is worth the effort to snatch?
And finally on the Hutton hit parade's a recording from Steeltips, a bunch that seems more notorious in death (a good quarter-century of it) than life. You may remember this bunch that actually acquired a recording contract with Electra and at a time when the major labels were pretty much fed up w/anything remotely resembling punk rock...they had an antisocial finger-biter for a lead vocalist, outsider artist Joe Coleman and the guy who eventually wrote a book on cartoonist George Herriman and draws the MUTTS comic strip in their ranks, and with an assemblage like that (and more!) you really are in for a punk treat New York style. Nothing fluffy like what you were likely to come across on the same turf in 1981 as opposed to 1977 and pretty gosh-should-I-say-it??? good ol' homey Amerigan garage band rock in its own psychotic way. In fact so En Why as in pre-Sex Pistols/Clash influx that you are positive that knowitall critics like Julie Burchill and the equally feminauseous Caroline Coon were gonna call it heavy metal and with a straight face too!
This particular set rec'd at CBGB on St. Paddy's day '78 has Steeltips sparking on all cylinders, or is that sound at the beginning really someone setting off firecrackers?!?! From there the set weaves and bounces through everything from a "Papa-Oo-Mow-Mow" re-do to this creep-crawl lurch that sounds soooo familiar that I'd swear the same riff had been used many a time and for many a year. Great psychosis music that rivals Lester Bangs' own stabs at New York punk from around the same time, all ending with a cover of "96 Tears" that just goes to show you when these punks' roots were showing. Fortunately a few groups of the latterday En Why See stratum were able to capture the energy and fun of groups like Steeltips, though I'm positive you went out of your way to ignore 'em as well.
***So once again thanks guys, and if you want anything in exchange for these goodies you'll probably have to wait until I hit the lotto, or at least sell some of my clogged up back-issue-ware that I've been trying so hard to turn into cash for hash!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 7:32 AM
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
BOOK REVIEW! MAD'S MADDEST ARTIST DON MARTIN DROPS 13 STORIES! by Don Martin (Signet)
With a good portion of my rockmag and comic book collection boxed away and stuffed all over various crawlspaces and closets in the abode, I surely don't have immediate access to alla that late-night pre-beddy bye reading like I wish I did. However, I have been able to unearth a few boxes of old paperbacks mostly consisting of old comic strip/book art that I've been collecting since the ages of eight or so and hey, amongst this bevy of comic art are more'n a few MAD paperbacks, many of which I've been enjoying since being barely into the double-digits. As of late I've been mostly on the lookout for some of the early comic book-era Harvey Kurtzmanned collections of rare material (given their popularity w/the fifties jazz/hot stuff crowd) but other than coming across copies of THE MAD READER and INSIDE MAD with the fake Peter Max covers all I'm stuck with right now is material that's mostly from the sixties and mostly reprints of goop that originally appeared in the magazine. Great but since I've been more than immersing myself in a load of recently-purchased sixties-vintage MAD's these are quite unnecessary.
Thankfully amongst these commonalities are a number of original material titles including two Dave Bergs that prove him to be one of the more clueless of En Why See Eisenhower-era progressives trying to make sense out of a Richard Nixon world. A couple are quickie dashoffs along the lines of CLODS LETTERS TO MAD and other things that I'm still puzzled as to why I bought them in the first place. Thankfully there was at least one from Don Martin, a guy who I gotta say I bond the most with pretty much because most of the time I feel like I'm living in one of his cartoons splaps, thoonts and bruga-bruga-bruga's included!
DON MARTIN DROPS 13 STORIES ain't the best of his varied titles and it certainly ain't no MAD ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN KLUTZ let alone "National Gorilla Suit Day" from DON MARTIN STEPS OUT, but it's Don Martin fanabla enough for me. True a good half of this comes off like the same kinda Martin rejects that cluttered up his latterday MAD and beyond work, but at least the first part captures that mid-60's (1965 to be exact!) height in Martin's art and storytelling which should go to remind you as to what the appeal about this guy was back in the late-fifties when MAD seemed to be the hip-de-la-suburban read for many a conformist high school/college hipster wannabe. It's all drawn and quartered out in a single story entitled "The Letter" where longtime hero Fester Bestertester (w/o aid from Karbunkle) is a private detective acting out toughguy Dashiel Hammett fantasies getting konked on the head by real-life apes and bumping brains with gorgeous blondes while attempting to get "the letter" from The Fat Man. And don't forget Frankie the Kid, who came into this city with a smile on his lips, a tear in his eye and ended up with four knives in his torso and a meat cleaver in his skull! Martin of course works all of this in with more pratfalls and stymies than one could imagine even in a classic Kurtzman-period PI burlesque. Boffo sitegags galore make this tale of treachery one you won't soon forget at least until you happen upon whatever paperback it was where Martin takes on sixties-vintage Elvis Presley movies!
And actually, it ain't like the entire rest of the book is instant turd. The trampoline gag was vintage Martin plus the one w/the necktie salesman was so good that some French copycat re-did for THE NEXT BIG THING years later and nobody even got sued for it! And if anything, this book proves that Martin could come up with some catching, affecting gags and puns...without resorting to using a steamroller, that is.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:38 AM
Monday, August 09, 2010
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Ain't done one of these in awhile, but the clock on the wall (as well as a lack of any original ideas in my bean) sez it's time for me to crank out yet another rundown of the top six kulturally-exciting things that are tingling my tootsies this very week. I know that you vicariously-living types will want to read all about my own current faves and why not, for these kinda posts are a good way to spout off about old items cluttering up the collection especially in times like these when money is short and new, exciting and brain-stimulating music, reading, art and whatnot is even shorter! So settle back and once again immerse yourself into the inner workings of a superior life form who you'll never be able to comprehend, me being so far outside the ken of normal human comprehension that I even frighten myself sometimes!
***The Velvet Underground-PRESENT THE CHIC MYSTIQUE OF NOTHING SONGS CD-R (no label)
Still not sure "exactly" why I latched onto this particular burn since the material here can be found elsewhere in my collection and easily enough at that, but nevertheless this one is programmed the way I like it with a hefty concentration on the early EPI-days when the Velvets seemed like one of the most alien concepts happening in the already whacked-out world of mid-sixties rock & roll. "The Nothing Song" from Columbus 11/66 starts things off on the right foot followed by the snatches of "Venus In Furs"/"Heroin" from that NET Warhol show, well-circulated natch but I sure remember when stuff like this was Holy Grail material. In turn that's followed by that great extended instrumental (also '66!) that Jonas Mekas used for the soundtrack of his "Diaries, Notes and Sketches" film all closed out by the drummer-less "Train 'Round The Bend"/"Oh Sweet Nuthin'" from Philadelphia '70 which does have a Cale-period essence to it especially during the latter where Reed adjusts his guitar feedback to sound like a droning electric viola (well, that's what some guy in WHAT GOES ON said and who am I to argue!). Rilly, this is a recording I would have killed you for had it only been circulating in 1979!
***OVEN-BAKED OMELET CASSEROLE! (recipe)
Although the doc told me that I have to shed a few tons and lower my cholesterol that doesn't mean that I gotta stop eatin' totally! And yeah, after awhile the broiled salmon patties and raw spinach salads w/o dressing do tend to get to you, and that's exactly why I "created" this low-cal (don't ask me how many!) dish that saved me from the doldrums of belly-emptying, comparatively tasteless eating! Since I like omelets (at least if they're light 'n fluffy...no rubbery eggs for this oeuve gobbler!) especially when they're loaded with tons of shredded cheese, vegetables, meat and salsa or hot sauce on top I decided to create this tasty meal which not only can be eaten whether breakfast, lunch or supper (dinner even!) w/o you looking like a loonybin but tastes dee-lish as well! Here's what you need:
two cartons of no-cholesterol egg substitute, garden vegetable or Southwestern flavors preferredHokay, first get the veggies and sautee 'em in a little water until they're nice and tender. Olive oil should be OK as well though I haven't tried it. Dump in the chopped celery first since it's hard and takes the longest time to soften up, then the onions and peppers, and finally the mushrooms which will give off a lotta water as they cook so don't add too much liquid to begin with unless the mess is starting to scortch. Add a lotta salt (everybody tells me that I have to worry about my sodium intake but since everything seems to taste blah anymore I like to pour it on!) and let cool when all done. Keep a lid on the pan to keep all of the natural veg flavor locked in! While the veggies are cooling off, pour the egg substitute in a nice-sized mixing bowl. then stir in the cheese. Waste not want not I always say, so rinse out the cartons with a little water and pour that into the cheese/egg substitute mix as well. Add more salt if you feel brave, or even some chili powder/mix if you wanna give it a South of the Border tang. If the veggies are cooled off dump them into the mix and stir gently (or else you're gunk up the entire kitchen), then dump in the flour and stir it so there are no lumps present. Pour into the Pammed baking dish and slap into the oven. Bake until it looks done or at least you can stick a sharp knife or toothpick into the center and it comes out clean. When done, take out of over and let cool for awhile until it's at a temperature desirable to your gullet.
one bag of shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, swiss cheese or maybe some of both, the tangier the better!
two green or red bell peppers, or one of each
one medium onion chopped up, or some leeks or scallions in you wanna be fancy
two cartons of button mushrooms, portabellos or maybe some sheepshead if desired
some celery (as much as you have/desire) chopped up; about a cup should do
a tablespoon or so of flour
salt and other creative spices thought up right inside your own head
one 12/12 baking dish with non-stick spray liberally applied
one oven preheated to 350 degrees, maybe more or less depending if you're in a hurry or not
Great grub here, and thankfully there's always some left over which means the next day when it's time to chow down you can always cut out a hunk and re-heat it which does save on the worries of knowing where your next meal is coming from. And hey, like I said you can be adventurous if you like. Those not watching the waist or cholesterol intake might wanna use real eggs, or perhaps add some white wine 'stead of water to the mix, or experiment a little with the veggies (cooked spinach or some other greens would be nice and hearts of artichokes would really up the property value quite a bit) or cheese (Roquefort or Gorgonzola'd add a nice sharpness while Edam a pleasing tang and who could forget New York Extra Sharp Cheddar or even some of those soft cheeses you still have left over from Christmas 1972). Got any leftovers like sausage, ham or roast beef? Slice that up and stir it in for a twist on the ol' Yorkshire Pudding treat! And hey, if you really want to save the $$$ why not find your own mushrooms!!! I understand that in Melbourne Victoria Australia and surrounding areas not to mention near the chic-est microbreweries of San Francisco there are TONS of 'shrooms just popping up all over the place. The redder the better, so why not create for yourself a taste-treat that you'll never forget, eh???
***The Baloney Heads/The Andy Gerome Band-WMMS-FM broadcast 11/80
I forget the exact date this one aired but with the mere flick of your instant 1958-1990 adjust-the-dial calendar you can find out for yourself because this one hit the airwaves on the Sunday right after Thanksgiving in the year of '80 and at ten in the evening making it pretty much the spiritual successor to that Rocket From The Tombs broadcast which began the series of Saturday Night local talent almost six years earlier. And this particular program does have quite a connection with that Rocket broadcast considering that both of the groups featured that night had tangential connections to the "first wave" of Cleveland underground rockers, the Baloney Heads having former Electric Eels (and Styrene Money Band) drummer Danny Foland in their fold while the Andy Gerome Band featured half of the infamous group Milk, Alan Globekar on lead guitar and David Alexy on drums making them an act that should have been reckoned with at least by more serious Cleveland pop aficionados.
I remember tuning into this program on that rainy Sunday sitting in the Ford van (since I could not pick up WMMS on any houshold radio of ours) listening to the Heads through the poor reception before giving up to return to the warm confines of the house and TRAPPER JOHN MD on the boob tube. Thankfully my cousin was taping the show for me at that very same second and wonder of wonders that is the exact same source I'm using to relay to you this particular writeup! And what a show it was...in case you aren't aware the Baloney Heads were a pretty high-larious comedy rock group that were able to get some local hubbub thanks to their singer Reddy Killowat being pal-sy enough with some of the bigwigs on the scene to get his band on the radio twice (the other time on prog rock competitor M-105) as well as pictured in the local SCENE free weekly magazine, something which you never would have seen of Harlan and the Whips let alone the Styrene Money guys themselves (which is probably just one reason they skedaddled for NYC given the conspiracy of silence that plagued them in their hometown)! The Baloney Heads were also fortunate enough to have released their own single which showcased their particular brand of "funny punk" to the point where not only was their platter spun on the MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL radio show but it would cost you a pretty penny to lay hands upon a copy these three-some decades later.
On this particular program the Heads were captured in the studio cranking out a representative amount of numbers showing off their snide comedy rock skills. English punk gets the razz in the opener which even quotes the Ramones' "We're a Happy Family" while the likes of Eddie Cochran get the "treatment" with a cover of "Nervous Breakdown" amongst other fun frolics that were so freshly original that I'm surprised that such a stodgy station as 'MMS, who were banking their moolah on the worst aspects of commercial AM/FM dross and hippydippy late-sixties memories, would even consent to broadcast these guys! It all ends with this strange ode to the blue collar working guy in Cleveland (complete with sharp barbs aimed at the management, the union and the football pool as well as a censored line mooshed up kinda like when the Stones sang "Satisfaction" on SHINDIG) ending in a Devo parody about future robot technology in 1993 with android-esque workers "pushing buttons by mental telepathy"! In a "scene" where the powers that be really looked down on new innovative and high energy rock & roll and pushed "safe" new wave dross like the Adults (Anastasia Pantsios' faves!), the presence of the Baloney Heads really made for a refreshing change from the bottom feeder scrapings. Someone should release this stuff since the time for a Baloney Heads album was...like thirty years ago??? (And while I'm at it, are there any tapes of spinoff group Spike Savage and the Barking Pumpkins floating around? There was an 'MMS broadcast of some studio stuff a few months later or so, plus I believe they also released a single which has eluded my grasp for so long!)
As for the Andy Gerome Band, these guys were clearly in the Raspberries/Circus vein of Cleveland power pop which would figure since both Globekar and rhythm guitarist Mick Sabol were in Circus at one time or another, Globekar even performing on and co-writing their late-seventies single that's wallowing somewhere in the collection and begging for a re-evaluation. The Gerome Band did accrue a sort of local popularity in Cleveland, at least to the point of being able to play out rather frequently as well as releasing a single which actually got a few spins on Youngstown's rather sickly imitation 'MMS station (the original being pretty sickly to begin with) much to my surprise considering what a good recording it was. Both sides of that single were performed on this live at the Agora broadcast and are strong enough to evoke early-seventies Raspberries comparisons (especially set opener "I Just Want to Hold You" which has a "Go All The Way" set of dynamics) even if the flip "Only One More Song" is a power-pop-ized reggae number sounding like Eric Carmen in dreads (nothing wrong with that, and in fact it sounds like a neat enough kulture klash to have worked up!). Globekar's "Red Light District" which appeared on his solo album for Brian Sands' Bizart label a few years down the road also pops up (more late-seventies prostitute chic?) as does this great emotion-laden closer "Tell Me You Love Me" which ends with some fantastic lead lines courtesy the ex-Milkman that might wanna make you cry given the emotional dynamism of Globekar's might. His playing is in fact what made the Gerome Band so great...not to deter from Gerome's perfect-for-the-form vocalizing one bit but that guitar still sends shivers to the point where I better wear a sweater next time I listen to this lest I catch my death a cold!
's funny, but at the time this stuff was being broadcast I was under the impression that rock & roll as delivered by both the Heads and Gerome Band was going to be part of the wave of the eighties...that the realm of underground, punk, power pop and just good high energy music was going to overtake the entire decade to the point where groups like the Baloney Heads and Andy Gerome Band were gonna make it along with all of those Max's Kansas City bands and other innovative gunch across the globe and the likes of Pantsios and Kid Leo would be looking for work more suitable to their talents (like scrubbing toilets) in no time flat. Little did I realize that the eighties would be the era of squeaky-cleanness with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed floppy haired kids listening to Madonna, light metal bands and other paragons of putrid monotony ruling the airwaves! I've always had a bad track record with predictions which continues to bother me since nothing I wish would have happened (in art, society, life...) ever did transpire to the point where I might as well be living in some strange futuristic MADISON AVENUE RUN AMOK world that itself was being predicted in the fifties. Maybe if I only change my own predictions then things would be different (in a positive, more BTC-friendly way)...howz this; rock & roll will be totally forgotten within the year (if it hasn't been already)...the pipeline of hot proto-punk exhumations will dry up for good in a very short while...DAVE LANG AND JAY HINMAN WILL LIVE LONG, PROSPEROUS AND HAPPY LIVES!!! Hey, this getting to be fun!
***SNOOPER AND BLABBER CARTOONS! (Hanna Barbara, early-sixties)
Y'know, I had no knowledge of who Snooper and Blabber were until very recently when I began tuning into the Boomerang Cartoon Network via our roof-top satellite dish. Unfortunately by the time I was old enough to truly understand and enjoy animated cartoons and discern their composition and general make-up the early Hanna Barbaras had pretty much been banished from the local tee-vee screens, and when they did make a grand return via the Sunday morning 10-11 AM slot on channel 21 (once home to Popeye and the Warner Brothers cartoons) for some odd reason Snooper, along with Quick Draw McGraw and Augie Doggie, weren't being aired amongst the Yogis, Huckleberry Hounds, Snagglepusses and Yakkey Doodles which did bug me quite a bit. I sure would have loved to have given those a gander after all those years, and who knows, perhaps you would have too.
But hey, given that my early-sixties television cravings are getting more cravier as the years progress I have to rely more and more on cartoons like Super-Snooper and Blabbermouse to get my fill. At this point in time even I am getting tired of the same ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW reruns being tossed at me over and over again and frankly, I'll get my Kennedy-era jollies just about any way that I can even if they are via animation that were being created for toddlers who never could comprehend all of the social/cultural nuances that this entertainment was exuding. And hey, this series about a cat and mouse detective team does hold up pretty well not only as yet another HB supporting slot 'toon, but as a funny commentary on the private eye shows of the day which as usual the parents could get just as much of a chuckle outta as the kiddies!
Daws Butler voices both Snooper and Blabber and even does Ed Gardner of DUFFY'S TAVERN fame for the former and rather snattily complete with all malapropisms intact. Seeing the pair romp through some pretty wacky (and at times below-average..I ain't above telling you when anybody but myself is having an off day) PI tales does make for good enough PM time-wasting even if both characters really weren't strong enough to be headlining material the same way Yogi and Huck were. And my personal fave of the batch seen just has to be the one where the duo babysit the child of an eerie Mad Scientist and his wife voiced Peter Lorre and Talulah Bankhead-style a good five or so years before the entire MUNSTERS/ADDAMS trend had Ameriga horror/humor crazy! This must have been inspired by the original hubbub that the Universal Horror Films being syndicated into television had on the collective minds of young boys on the hunt for funtime tee-vee thrills, right?
A load of knowitall scum love to deride me because my affectation (as Snooper would say) for early-sixties fun and crunch. Tough turds is my reply. Heck, personally I'd rather live in 1962 than 2010 anyday...sure the tee-vee sets were bound to blow a few tubes once in awhile and reception wasn't always that hot unless you ran your aerial all the way up to the clouds (the antenna getting blown over more often than not), but at least you got to drive around in cool cars like Studebaker Larks and the food was a lot tastier than the chi-chi grub that's being forced down our gullets these days. And hey we didn't have to put up with all of those sickos marching around for
***Alice Cooper-PRETTIES FOR YOU/EASY ACTION CD (Retro Germany)
You know that the early Alice Cooper band had something good going for 'em because ROLLING STONE really hated their guts. Their debut platter for Frank Zappa and Herb Cohen's tax writeoff label Straight was savaged by none other than Lester Bangs, a guy who also tried to derail the MC5's chugga-chug career yet ended up loving them almost as much as he did Alice and within a few short month's timespan as well! But that didn't deter the lovey-doveys at STONE; elpee #2 EASY ACTION fared an even worse fate getting consigned to the "Condemned" portion of the review section which is usually where the lowest of the lowliest dregs were set up for ridicule, some which were so bad even I would probably hate 'em as well.
Of course all that changed once LOVE IT TO DEATH made hefty inroads into the budding metallic mindset of many a disaffected suburbanite and "Eighteen" finally introduced Stooges aesthetics to the AM dial. But before that woah!!!!, Alice Cooper was just another member of late-sixties hard rock hell along with all of those other primitive hasbeens like the Chocolate Watchband and Seeds, groups which the upper-echelon effetes at STONE never did take seriously so why should they bother with these El Lay via Arizona wannabes who were more suited for playing teen dances than ruining the sanctity of these faux Dharma Bums anyway?
Dunno how legit this two-on-one collection of pre-fame Alice is but considering how hard it is to get these albums in any format (correction: EASY ACTION has been made available on vinyl once again and can be purchased via Forced Exposure) I consider myself lucky enough to own the durn thang. PRETTIES FOR YOU (with the durty cover that got kiddoes in school yapping up and down way back when) might be too "angular" (?) for some of you but the influence of not only Zappa but Moby Grape and the better aspects of cheap West Coast psychedelia can be heard throughout. In many ways this is the equal to some of those other late-garage band-era psychedelic crank outs that also seemed to come and go (right into the record bin at the grocery store) within the blink of an eye. ACTION begins to point the way towards hit-era Alice with a stronger guitar sound that comes off Detroit in spirit even if the Cooper group was still marooned in El Lay at the time. But it's so metallic good in its own way that I don't even mind if the group tackles some definitely West Coast softies along the lines of "Shoe Salesman" and "Beautiful Flyaway" one iota! After all, the atonal blare of "Wake Up And Die, Goodbye" more than makes up for the martooni schmoozers!
This one's a boffo way to find out (along with the wide array of live Toronto '69 albums being issued on the grey market) what the Coop was up to before all of those rock crits and chic hippie mag types who loathed 'em all did a 180 and claimed they liked the group all along!
***SERENA WILLIAM BURROUGHS (person)
This guy, out of the goodness of his heart, sent me not only about a dozen CD-R burns of seventies hard funk music but a buncha fliers, a fanzine he did a few years back plus a copy of one of those later-on issues of CLE! All of which will be digested and writ about in the upcoming years if not months, weeks or even days. Sheesh, I feel so gosh-it-all HUMBLE getting these items sent my way...I only with that I could reciprocate in some way like, send the guy some back issues of my own oft-loathed fanzine???? Naw, why should I let him suffer like that?
***SPECIAL NOTE TO STEVE M. OF INDIANAPOLIS (FORMERLY OF BLOOMINGTON) INDIANA: still waiting to hear back from you...leave another message w/pertinent info via the comment box and I will respond faster than potrzebie!
***AND FINALLY; RIP Mitch Miller, the man who popularized the phrase "Sing Along With the Man Who Can't Bust Our Music!"
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 4:27 PM
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Harmonia & Eno '76-TRACKS AND TRACES REISSUE CD (Gronland UK)
No bout a doubt it that Harmonia and Roxy Music were two of the boffo-est top-notch-est punk rock bands of the early-to-mid-seventies! Naturally I'm using that hoary old term in the best early rockscribe/CREEM magazine-est way possible but you know it's true. After all, with some of the better writers of that era both pro and fan describing everyone from Can, the Dolls, the Stooges, Aerosmith, Ten Years After, Amon Duul II, Mike Heron and Ashton Gardner and Dyke as punk rock surely both Harmonia and Roxy would classify as such, eh? Therefore you'd kinda hope and wish that a collab twixt Harmonia and ex-Roxy focal point Eno would've made for a pretty exciting recording session that just oozes tribal body music from each and every one of its unclogged pores, right?
Well, yes und no for although TRACKS AND TRACES is a pleasing enough archival dig into past obscurities this ain't the high energy froth that I was pretty much hoping for. By this time ya gotta admit that the late-seventies lul had certainly taken its toll on not only the krautsters but the limeys with little if any of the raw excitement of the Harmonia albums (which ranged from electronic repeato-pulse to pseudo-Neu!/La Dusseldorf kraut-garde) or Eno's early solo Buddy Holly-meets-Velvet Underground riff rock having survived. In fact, if I had to compare what the vast majority of TRACKS AND TRACES recalls it would be the album that Eno did with 2/3rds of Harmonia a.k.a. Cluster shortly afterward that I sure wanted to hear at the time but after getting hold of it via a flea market copy years later found to be typical of the late-seventies post-prog miasma. The rest of it could have easily passed for backing tracks to one of those later-on Eno albums that I don't think stand the test of time the way the first two do. Listen to this and you too will know why Eno was heading for a bright future in ambient slosh! And as for Harmonia well, at least they're still alive and kicking which is good enough for me even if they never would recapture any great moments to be heard on DELUXE!
But on the bright side, at least TRACKS AND TRACES does have that strange ethereal seventies avant garde feeling that seems to work for me late at night especially during muggy summer months. PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES as well as certain early Philip Glass tracks also weaved the same teenage-throwback spell for me so tell you what...next time I'm up late Saturday during a particularly sticky night I'll spin this 'un again and tell you if the electronic whirls don't affect me in the same ennuistic way that watching old b&w movies during the late hours on equally agonizing nights used to. Of course the ads for roll-a-sage recliners and PSA's jolting you outta your half-sleep also helped with the overall jaded ambiance but hey, no matter how much I cry and pout I better get it into my thick skull that THOSE DAYS ARE GONE FOREVER!!! And that includes emotionally as well as structurally. Well, this is that cyborg world all of you free-thinking types that I grew up with wanted in the first place, so maybe you should be happy, 'cause I ain't.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 2:51 AM