Kongress-"Tough Guys Don't Dance"/"Talk Talk" 45 rpm 7-inch spinner (Starborn)
As we all know wonders never cease, and that includes the wonders of discovering various lost artyfacts from the second psychedelic era such as this obscure outta nowhere single. Heck, even an eagle eye obsessive-compulsive about this kinda stuff guy like me never even knew that Otto von Ruggins' infamous Kongress even put out a record until now, and that's after a good quarter century or so of seeking these En Why underground rarities which only makes me wonder what else out there in the vast world of self-produced singles and elpees needs to be uncovered! I think I know why this particular platter remained buried under the weight of Clash Nu-Disks all these years and if you ask me it wasn't black magic that did this 'un in (more or less it was horrible distribution and promotion, but I'll let von Ruggins answer that for us one of these days).
Documenting the final Kongress lineup with the soon-to-be star of the Mudd Club Marilyn front and center, the dark gothic Can-like stylings of the Geofrey Crozier-manned version had by this time given way to shorter, "snappier" numbuhs that were more attuned to NYC '80 than '76. This single does convey the group's "new music for the end of the world" stylings with Marilyn clearly coming from the Niagara school of talk-sing as she rich-bitches up "Tough Guys Don't Dance" in a way similar to (but not as good as) her predecessor Iolsa Hatt. Meanwhile, von Ruggins and band perform a music that continues on the legacy of the original variant's stark electronic drive heavy on the gothic portable organ. There's an electronic pulse here that's well attuned to the club hopping set of the early-eighties, but frankly I don't hold it against 'em one bit. More "new wave", but in an intense Max's Kansas City way that would appeal to fans of the Comateens and Dizzy and the Romilars (both of whom I believe shared stages with Kongress) 'stead of those who fondly cozied up to the entire Madonna/Danceteria chic that would eventually wipe this particular era of underground off the map.
Flipster shows von Ruggins going back to his roots with a cover of "Talk Talk" which has Marilyn nonchalantly rattling off the lyrics whilst von Ruggins filters the spirit of '66 through the amorality of '79 En Why See. Best version heard in awhile; not as good as the Space Negroes' but better'n Alice's (which was no slouch itself). Oddly enough the label this left-fielder appeared on was owned and operated by one Mr Brian Ross, the same guy who had a hand in the packaging and handling of the Music Machine so it's no wonder why Kongress paid homage in this fashion (or maybe they were offered a deal they couldn't refuse?).
Given how this one flew under the radar for so long it's no surprise that it somehow missed getting slapped onto one of the myriad assortment of seventies punk/wave collections that have been flying around these past twentysome years. If someone out there is thinking of compiling a disc of rare recordings that came outta the En Why See/CBGB/Max's underground this would be a good candidate for inclusion, and I'd do the job myself (have loads of unheard seventies rarities of both an official and unreleased variety lingering in my "collection" that would make a splendid MAX'S KANSAS CITY VOLUME TEN) but frankly, I'm too poor to even consider thinking about doing one. And also too chicken, which helps!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Kongress-"Tough Guys Don't Dance"/"Talk Talk" 45 rpm 7-inch spinner (Starborn)
Saturday, September 25, 2010
TURN YOUR DVD PLAYER INTO AN INDEPENDENT TEE-VEE STATION!
Now that there's a DVD player up and running here at BLOG TO COMM central my television viewing woes are pretty much gone for good! No longer do I have to limit my boob tube watching to the occasional old time movie or episode of SNOOPER AND BLABBER, for now I can see but a few of my favorite series which, thanks to some astute purchases and nifty gifts, have made their way to my very home! Yes, why should I have to suffer through boring talent searches or Rachel Maddow grimacing like she has a sideways turd stuck in her pooper when I can see all of my youthful favorites with the mere flick of a switch, and what's best about it is that I can watch what I want and when I want it, no ifs ands or it's way past your bedtimes like there were when I was six! If you want me to be hip about it, let's just call it "funtime television programming on demand!"
I never thought in my wildest dreams that I'd ever get to own the entire run of the boffo GOMER PYLE USMC series, and over a year after purchasing the thing and making my way through DVD player hissyfits I've finally got to see these top notch laugh-inducers once more. True as you all know there are a few important bits and pieces that have been edited out ever-so-slightly (and at times maybe not-so) out of these DVD's due to copyright infringements that have popped up in the years since these shows were being rerun unto dust, but still the hefty meat and potatoes of this wonderful series remain bringing back fond memories of rushing off homework just so's I could catch the afternoon airing of this classic military sitcom.
What really strikes me about PYLE is the great ensemble cast which works well and in tandem to the point where I could have seen Jim Nabors and Frank Sutton working together for years the same way that Jackie Gleason and Art Carney were being used again and again even after you thought their general natures would have worn themselves into the ground. The entire series does have that nice lilt about it as well, with a better application of mid-sixties aesthetics in a late-sixties world which fortunately transcended a lot of the pratfalls that sitcoms had fallen for by that time. (You might not remember just what a rut late-sixties television was in, and if not maybe a few BOLD ONES reruns could refresh your memory!) Frankly, I only wish that the series had continued for a few more years or at least until the big CBS purge of '71 so's we could have enjoyed a few more good seasons of GOMER 'stead of that variety show of Jim Nabors that eventually replaced this 'un way back in that suggestive year of '69!
Lessee what else have I been watching on the Dee-Vee-Dee anyway...how about the classic FERNWOOD 2-NIGHT!!!! Who but the most picklish could forget this (as the critics say) "zany" summer replacement for the then-rampaging Norman Lear soap opera MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN, with Martin Mull as the ever-slimy host of Fernwood channel 6's late night talk show who came off more like a discount sex therapist than a television entertainer. Fred Willard played the typically dull announcer/sidekick Jerry Hubbard while Frank DeVol as Happy Kyne led the studio band, and in between the usual snide asides about late-seventies local television and its lack of quality (yay!) there was plenty of that typically tasteless yet necessary humor that I know would kill those kind of people who think I am a kluxer kleagle or at least a fellow sympathizer. Really, nowadays you can take on ethnic blue collar workers, their families and their beliefs because there's nobody sticking up for them thus they're "fair game" for network hussies and lamebrain comedians, but just try poking fun at Jews, gays, refugees and people with Spinal Bifida like they do here! It sure is a refreshing change from today's totalitarian climate, and considering that "People For The American Way" founder Lear produced the whole shebang only goes to show you he really hates all those queers worse than Archie Bunker!
By the second season the show moved to California as part of the new UBS network (motto: "we put U before the BS"!!!) and called itself AMERICA 2-NIGHT. With the change came all sorts of new guest stars ranging from Jack Jones to Peter Frampton, real lifers (I guess) intermingling in with the stars of this bogus series which only made the program more out-there especially if you were watching late-night after a hard day and you had trouble telling realty from fantasy! My fave episode of this batch just happens to be the one where instead of regular programming they ran a special entitled UBS, THE FIRST FIFTY WEEKS which introduced us to some of the programs that were also being run on this fledgling network like THE WHITE SUPREMACY HOUR and FUN WITH GYNECOLOGY.
Another one-time fave I've been working my way through's been the first season of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. At a time when my obsession for various television programs was perhaps at its height, SNL entered into the fray making late-night viewing all the more appealing, or at least better than the dudsters that would run on THE CBS LATE MOVIE let alone the captioned ABC news broadcasts on PBS that my dad'd watch since he was always too busy to espy the real thing. Looking back I can see how I was suckered into the charm, and a guy who was still reading old MAD and HELP magazines certainly would be attuned to the level of humor this show was exuding probably because just about everybody who was involved in the production of this 'un were weaned on those same magazines and got their chops honed while working for NATIONAL LAMPOON in one facet or another.
However, after all these years I tend to agree with CAN'T BUY A THRILL's Russell Desmond when he called NBC'S SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE a grown up hippie show. Not that there's a definitive post-hippie air to it at times, but (as we probably all discovered at different periods in our viewing) the show was pretty much of, for, and aimed at the pseudo-revolutionary/self-backpatting denizens who would sorta waft around in the ether until settling down into whatever disgusting forms they now tend to exist as. And boy, were they uptight as Patti Smith learned when they were begging and pleading for her not to cuss up a storm when she was the musical guest on the Ron Nessen-hosted episode. Patti said that Mike Douglas gave her a lot more slack which is why the venerable talk show host reigns tops in her book and she thinks the SNL people are a buncha fleshapoids.
Still, it was nice to relive a few interesting growing up late-night moments here and recall that those very early shows were quite different than the monster SNL would rapidly evolve into. The early episodes with the always retch-inducing George Carlin, Paul Simon and Rob Reiner have this more relaxed I don't care if this show flops attitude with none of the hosts partaking in the scant comedy skits, acting more or less as distant announcers overseeing the fray being created by these gosh-it-all kids who were so excited about staying up after eleven and taking all the drugs they could imbibe. The early shows also had multiple musical guests which translates into "thank goodniz for fast forward buttons" unless you actually think that Billy Preston and Janis Ian were truly representative of that mythical 18-34 age group's musical tastes of the time. Come to think of it, the usual choice of musical acts on the show, from James Taylor to Leon and Mary Russell (whatever happened to that marriage?) does show a particular hippie mindset that proves just how devolved what was passing for a youth sound had become by that time.
Also of "interest" are the short Albert Brooks films which actually hold up lo these many years later (and was that Dabs Greer playing the redneck in the "Black Vet" segment of the new NBC season spoof?) as well as that Muppet feature with the strange future world mutations which sure didn't kick up a lotta merchandising power like Mr. Bill eventually would. Still, this first season did have many a moment and skewered old shibboleths brutally unlike in later seasons, and even if we have to put up with cheap emotional tugs at the 'strings like Louise Lasser all giddy and gosh-it-all because only a year ago she was a nobody ex-wife of Woody Allen and here she is Ameriga's Sweetheart it does bring back a lotta old feelings, at least for myself about being half-awake at one in the morning really enjoying myself for once in my life in this hazed, ennui-filled way. But I feel alright, so it must be OK.
Game shows have always been a fun part of my growing-up years and one of the funniest I remember from the seventies has been THE MATCH GAME. Anyway Bill Shute sent me a collection of MATCH GAME highlights that have been collected on DVD and it sure is another memory jogger, although whereas SNL brings back late-night memories of being a lonely kid stuck watching Tee-Vee on a Saturday evening when he shoulda been out getting stoned, MATCH GAME brings back funtime memories of not having any homework to do so's you could sit in front of the boob tube all afternoon before getting ready...for an evening of funtime viewing which wasn't so bad then like it is now. Genial and rapidly aging Gene Rayburn hosts with his "hip" long hair and great whiny voice as the panel of celebrities (Richard Dawson, Brett Sommers, Charles Nelson Reilly and a gaggle of whatever sitcom stars and outta-workers could make it) do the best to double up on the already double entendres. Ahh, the Golden Age of boobs and butt jokes, and "blank" could mean just about anything, but don't say the first thing that comes to your mind or else you'll get thrown off the air!
Next up on today's viewing schedule is HOWDY DOODY via a two-DVD set which was sent me by none other than Lou Rone last Christmas (he got the HUMBUG collection which I know he has poured through and enjoyed as much as I). Now I wasn't around when the original show was making it big but I do remember the BIG HOWDY DOODY REVIVAL of the early-seventies and even bought Jillery a Howdy necklace for her birthday which she hated because she thought Howdy was grotesque (and look at that pic of him...you tell me that visage didn't come from some old pagan fertility fetish!) Anyway the necklace got sold at a flea market ten or so years later and the best thing about it is I got to keep the money for it, but on the whole that early-seventies Doody revival was pretty alien to me since I had no idea of what the show was about and the way Buffalo Bob Smith was playing up to the hippie generation that grew up on Howdy was kinda creepy! After all these years I see it all as harmless nostalgic fun even if the program, from what I saw, seemed to lack a lotta the same warmth and hominess that one could find in a cheap morning fulla old cartoons that some program director threw in indiscriminately since what do toddlers know about aesthetics anyway?
This set features picked and chosen early episodes of the show, unfortunately none with the original Doody who kinda looked like that baby from ERASERHEAD grown up but enough kiddie hijinx are to be found. It's a good enough selection I guess, though I would have preferred some of the later hour-long Saturday AM episodes that were in color or maybe a few clips from when Don Knotts was a regular would have livened it up a bit. Maybe even some on-air malfunctions would have made me crack up, like the time the little boy peed into the lit Jack-O-Lantern! Whaddeva, this is early Tee-Vee kiddie viewing at its finest unless you count all of those local kid shows where some smartass would tell the host to "eat it!" and how much of that is lost for all time I do not know.
(One more personal aside...the whole Howdy Brouhaha reminds me of when my mother, for some odd reason, thought that I was watching Howdy front-and-center when that show was long gone from the scene by the time I knew how to twitch a knob! I mean, she would continually make remarks about how when I was a little tyke I was always watching i, really getting into the show like any good preschooler would and I'd respond by saying that it wasn't me but Jillery who was of the proper Howdy Doody age group. Anyway my mother had this strange fondness for HOWDY DOODY being such a great children's show the same way she still recalls CAPTAIN KANGAROO as being such a proper program to raise strong and upright children...that is until one day I happened to be watching that episode of HAPPY DAYS where THE HOWDY DOODY SHOW comes to Milwaukee and Richie tries to get a snap of Clarabelle the Clown without his makeup. Mom got an eyeful of the part where the kids are singing about Clarabelle and remarked that this was the stupidest thing she ever saw! So much for warm and fuzzy memories!!!)
Onto something more...I dunno, "mature"??? How about ABBOTT AND COSTELLO! Y'know, I never was a big fan of these guys when I was growing up, probably because the first time I ever heard of 'em was via a Gold Key comic book that featured the animated likenesses of the two venerable comedians! Sheesh, twelve-year-old me was so outta-the-loop that I thought A&C was a mere comic book/cartoon creation until my folks told me otherwise! Of course their feature films didn't exactly win me over (the later ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET _______ flicks never did make it to local tee-vee but the World War II-period ones were plentiful) and when I discovered that the pair had a television series whilst flipping through some prime-time tee-vee reference book at the library sometime in the seventies I merely though "hokay" and left it at that, thinking that their foray into the cathode connection was probably about as important as FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY's!
Little did I know at the time that the A&C show was perhaps the pair's main claim to fame and not quite the obscurity that I believed it to be. When the thing finally aired locally in the late-eighties I naturally was hooked, and all these years later it's sure grand not only owning the entire series on disque, but being able to watch 'em whenever the desire arises which I must say is pretty durn often!
As many have said (Billy Miller comes to mind), it's sure better watching Bud and Lou doing their oft-repeated skits and such surrounded by a copasetic set of stock players rather'n the Andrew Sisters, and no matter how many times I get to see Joe Besser as Stinky pinch Lou or Mike the Cop blow his stack these shows retain that straight-outta-the fridge freshness that I just can't get outta...say, one of the later episodes of BEWITCHED. And what's best, since the local station used to run A&C unexpectedly (read: "To Be Announced") thus screwing up the syndication queue for me now I can finally observe episodes that I missed such as the one with noted character actor Percy Helton as a bum who has Lou hiding a recently procured chicken! And hey, there are a few of these shows that just knock me offa my seat no matter how many times I watch 'em, such as the one where some bank robbers trick Bud and Lou to stand guard while they make a heist, or the time when Lou answers a quiz show question correctly while the pair had snuck into Mr. Fields' room leading to some pretty funny mixups! And who can forget the pathos-laden time when Lou serves his guests ant paste thinking it's antipasto and gets kicked out of his own birthday party! Hey, Chaplin never could convey the same level of pity and sadness Lou exudes on that one, especially in that surprisingly compassionate scene with Hillary Brooke which always seems to tear my soul in half.
Finally for today is one that I've been waiting to see for quite some time. Actually the episode that I really was waiting to see wasn't in this particular volume (season one part one) but at least I got to catch this particular program once again. Not that I would consider BURKE'S LAW to be an exemplary series to re-discover...I mean it's a blooming Aaron Spelling production fercryinoutloud, but considering the time and place this one was produced ya know it's not gonna have the simpering eighties prime-time look of shows like DYNASTY!
Of course the whole premise behind BURKE'S LAW is ridiculous; I mean how many millionaire detectives do you know of who get to handle the chic-est of cases while being driven around in a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud? I believe BURKE'S LAW was voted worst cop show by a gaggle of cops themselves (BARNEY MILLER and DRAGNET were voted the most realistic), but then again hey, this is television we're talking about where nothing has to be real. Even the news is phony if you ask me (and getting a gander of it recently I wonder just how the fantasy overtook the reality by such a wide margin) so why pick nits about a slightly campy cop show where the chief of the El Lay homicide bureau gets to romance pretty suspects upsides and down between a whole number of fistfights with thuggish goons who never seem to get the better of him!
Former Matt Bastardson himself Gene Barry got the lead with old hand Regis Toomey as the elderly wizened cop and Gary Conway the young flash novice. and they do a pretty good whacko job of it intermingling with the guest stars, some whom like the then-Mrs. Spelling Carolyn Jones pretty much absorb the entire episode (she playing a grand total of four parts as lookalike sisters) while others like Sammy Davis Jr. only make brief one-scene appearances if only to pad the show out while proving yes, they can. And of course this ain't an intellectually-stimulating brain-tease of a show but it's pretty lively and it won't make you snooze like you did through PERRY MASON which you watched only to see the long-forgotten actors making some of their last great stands.
Oh, as for the episode I wanted to see, it was this particular one from the second season called WHO KILLED THE THIRTEENTH CLOWN which I vividly remember seeing plugged on the local tee-vee station about a good five or so days before it finally aired. The promo featured this scene where all of these clowns are getting out of one of those teeny weeny automobiles and the next to the last clown turns to the final one telling him to hurry up and get out only to find said clown dead with blood trickling down his head! Believe-you-me, that really unnerved me that whole week to the point where I practically begged my mother not to let me miss that show! Naturally when it did air there was a lotta grown up talk and other things I didn't understand so I gave up on it and we switched stations. Of course this program had been tingling in the back of my brain for all these years, and before I check out I think it would be prudent to give it an eyeballing, along with doing a lotta other things I haven't quite gotten around to yet.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 5:53 PM
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
BOOK REVIEW! MONDO POPEYE BY BOBBY LONDON (St. Martin's Press, 1988)
Dunno about you, but frankly I don't remember when noted DIRTY DUCK artist Bobby London was brought in to pump some life into the ailing Popeye comic strip. By then (mid-eighties) let's just say that the last thing that I was paying attention to was the funny page...by that time I felt that that the comics, or at least the ones I grew up reading and enjoying, had morphed into something that bore little resemblance to those that suckered me in during my toddler years and seemed more attuned to a late-baby booming fun-addicted brat like myself. And hey, at least the comic page of my youth in the late-sixties and early-seventies was still running on boss 20s/30s/40s energies with old classics intermingling with new toss offs making for a kultural storm front to come a'brewin', but by the time some nimnul decided that the comics section of your local paper needed to be "updated" we were suddenly inundated with the likes of DOONESBURY, FUNKY WINKERBEAN, TANK MACNAMARA, CATHY and whatever fluff of the month was deemed "relevant". Naturally because of these foreward-looking thinkers the comics section just lost all spark and zest. You can imagine how some depression-era kid who was raised on DICK TRACY and LI'L ABNER felt having to lend eyeballs to FOR BETTER OR WORSE let alone have to see just how his old time favorites were faring in the here and now. I mean, have you seen what such long-time and ever-decaying strips such as GASOLINE ALLEY, MARY WORTH or BRINGING UP FATHER are up to lately?
So yeah, I did harbor some trepidation as to just how London would have "updated" the ol' THIMBLE THEATRE when comic strips had been shrunk to the size of a postage stamp and the specter of Ameriga going soft 'n flabby had inflicted its iron fisted dullness on the world. But whaddaya know, London did manage pull off his attempts to drag Popeye into the eighties and without any kicking or screaming, and he did it with total elan as well making the strips collected in MONDO POPEYE pretty hotcha especially considering how they were conceived in an era when Cabbage Patch Kids and Strawberry Shortcake were consider the apex of kiddie fun and thrills!
An eighties-hater like myself will really enjoy the way London skewers the entire goody-goody atmosphere of the times with all of the moderne references from punques and rock critics to Howard Stern and ultra-violent videos coming in for a guffaw-inducing ribbing. Thankfully that whole seventies snide attitude that made not only DIRTY DUCK but the entire NATLAMP comic output so appealing to me is here en force, and even more thankfully the more disgusting aspects of that mag was left out making London's POPEYE a good enough effort that will not only draw in the more scabarous amongst us but just might keep the cornball old timers rolling in the aisles as well!
London's artwork is magnif too, sorta like a combination of his familiar KRAZY KAT-inspired style and the latterday pre-London Popeyes which had many a comic snob bemoaning just how far the gouged-one's comic had fallen since the death of creator Elzie Segar. Nothing to sneeze at, especially considering how most of today's comics look like quick slapdashes created by a couple of associates sweating it out while the creator is out on the golf course.
Unfortunately London's take on POPEYE was not to last, since in an effort to be even timelier and on-the-edge London eventually introduced a story line dealing with the hotcha subject of abortion! When the syndicate caught on it was bye bye for London and a return to those same lacklustre seventies strips that London had been hired to update which I guess only goes to show you just what kind of a clime the late-eighties were, at least as far as comic strip morality went. I gotta say that I don't really blame King Features for showing London the door since introducing such subject matter to a relatively innocent strip is something that naturally would upset a purist like myself, but then again I must admit that I always wondered what Wimpy did for a living.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:33 AM
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Y'know, unless you're a total Karen Quinlan type or even a casual peruser of this blog, you should be able to notice the hefty vibes o' lust that I have for the higher energy moments espoused by various sixties/seventies rock concerns. And when it comes to the more New Yorkian aspects of this undertow they call "bared-wire" rock Max's Kansas City does figure in on a variety of levels. Yes, like many other seventies beneath-the-outkids types I used to read rock magazines at the newsstands and of course the aura surrounding Max's Kansas City was a pretty appealing thing especially for such an way-out-there nonentity like myself. To this maladjusted goon Max's seemed like heaven on earth...I mean, the place was just brimming full of even MORE impeded types (I was not alone!) only they weren't getting detention after school or ridicule from all quarters daily but THEIR PICTURES IN THE PAPER just for being wildly askewed beautiful in their own special way. It kinda made me finally realize that everybody else was marching to the wrong beat and that I was the only real normal, throbbing individual in the bunch so why should I come down so hard on myself anyway? To this butthole, Max's Kansas City seemed like thee place to be and rather I go there to catch a group or look outrageous than spend any time at the Grand Canyon that's for sure!
There have been three books written about the haunt to date that I know of; the first, MAX'S KANSAS CITY STORIES, contained nother but old Max's recollections written from the then-standpoint (early-seventies) of the passing Warhol era as the epicenter of the decadent sixties. HIGH ON REBELLION came out in the early oh-oh's, a fantastic overview of the club as a hipster hangout and music showcase with more of an emphasis on Max's proto-punk rock reputation as a back room hangout than for the music that emanated from its upstairs quarters. Now comes this hardcover addition to your rock & roll library via Abrams Image which tries to at least fill in some of the gaps left by your old NEW YORK ROCKER and ROCK SCENEs, and even though it's about thirty years too late all I can say is (in typical Aunt Jemima fashion) what took you so long?
(A brief aside/digression restating points I've made repeatedly for years on end...please be patient): when Max's closed up shop for the second and last time during the final days of '81 its passing was ignored by all but a few. Let's face it, by the time Max's finally went down for the last time the straight press, rock or otherwise, wanted nothing to do with rock & roll preferring to dull the masses with safe classic "rock" that couldn't stand the test of a two-and-a-half-minute single side let alone these three decades since. Rock of what used to pass for an underground variety was pretty much either fizzling off into Madonna-styled new wave or a soon to decay hardcore punk, the latter which seemed to be the most threatening force against the bastions of whitebread values if the opinions of many people who I thought should have known better can be taken at face value. The underground rock concerns of a more seventies variety were either becoming less intense (Pere Ubu) or were dissipating (MX-80 Sound). Whatever interesting was coming out of this stew like, say, sixties garage band revivalism was being treated as a mere aberration that would go away if all good men would only ignore it. So maybe now you can see exactly why something like the seventies mean more to me than you'll ever know, and why books such as MAX'S KANSAS CITY are very important with folk like myself who just hated to see the fun and energy slowly fade from view kinda like a strange dream you had years ago but really just can't shake.
Nice layout and good contents here, and if there are any qualms I might have it would be that many of the snaps were also in HIGH ON REBELLION and frankly I could use more free space in my household to host fresh images 'stead of all these repeats! Still this one's the charm, not only divided into three sections ("art, glamour, rock & roll") but loaded with pix that you might have seen in the rock press way back when but at least the paper this is on ain't gonna yellow within six month's time.
The art section's good if you're the kinda guy who likes sixties New York avant splat, and the pix of the artists who used to gather in Max's front room are pretty priceless as well especially if you wanna get an eyefulla what a drunken Larry Poons or Willem de Kooning look like. But hey, the art world can get to be a drag and you're probably more in gear for all of the snaps of the beautiful people who used to hang there like Paul Morrissey and Taylor Mead. There are plenty of those fine folk here acting just as decadent as you would like, with the mighty mingling with the geeks (Vince Aletti? Joan Baez???) proving that maybe in the future even that scrawny nobody you went to school with would be famous for fifteen minutes just like Max's kingbee Andy Warhol said!
Of course the scandalous nature of Max's does rear its ugly head here/there like on the pages where, on the left side you see a snap of Joe Dallesandro wearing his leather jacket with nips clamped by clothespins, while on the right none other than Rene Ricard was photographed blowing some guy (head[s] cleverly hidden in darkness) who also has his milk-milks clothespinned! Makes me wonder if this in fact is yet another shot of the erstwhile Warhol superstar who is better left uncredited due to fear of a lawsuit because, why else would the two pics be appearing next to each other the way they do! They OBVIOUSLY were juxtaposed because the publishers didn't wanna say outright that it was Joe getting the bee-jay but tried getting the message across in the safest way possible by doing all but say that Dallesandro was on the receiving end, if you know what I mean. Kinda like when Kenneth Anger used those pix of Cary Grant and Randolph Scott in his book and didn't say anything but...well, we ALL got the hint, right! Pretty scandalous stuff here if you ask me!
Frankly I didn't buy this book to see a bunch of pervos but for the musical aspects of Max's. Thankfully we get plenty of that not only via a Lenny Kaye article that's done in his great seventies-bred talking-to-you style which makes me miss his regular scribblings all the more but loads of pix which kinda make me wonder why some were used while others left out and vicey versey. (I know they only have a limited number of pages to work with but I sure would have dug seeing pix of some of the outta-the-way groupings that appeared there from Sorcerers and Junior Birdmen to Master Radio Canaries and even Sandy Bull and his tape recorder band.) Still it's great seeing a new-to-me pic of Iggy live along with an old one natch (howcum no Velvet Underground?) not to mention a shot of the old pre-fame Patti Smith group when they were more or less a ragtag avant-punk trio merging Patti's Burroughsian voodoo poetry with a wonderful proto-no wave music that deserves a legitimate issue along with Richard Robinson's Man Ray or even that one act of Kaye's with Robert Palmer (not the English geek, the critic geek!) which was doing a no wave thing long before the fact as well!
And, as always, seeing a snap of a pre-Norton-era Miriam Linna back when she was doing her best to carve out here own niche in the late-seventies New York underbelly before turning to Billy Miller and fifties/sixties rock via. KICKS is a wonderful thing to behold, as is the photo of Robert Gordon during the days when Link Wray was in his band playing his own particular brand of new wavicized rockabilly that makes me wonder where those CDs that Dave Laing was supposed to send me are this very minute. Yeah I know that Robert Gordon had about as much to do with rockabilly as Liberace had to do with heterosexuality, but given the numbered amount of days I have left on earth (which could go into the decades but hey, they're still numbered!) I need to hear new sounds in my abode and need to hear 'em now!
'n yeah a book about Max's with pix of Devo and Klaus Nomi and none of Von Lmo might be enough to get this kettle boiling but like, it's not like I'm a particular sort of fellow now, am I?
Anal retentives like myself would of course wanna pour over the occasional faults this book has (like in the rather subjective gigography where the 1976 heading mentions two acts, "Mongo" and "Santamaria" having played there which only goes to show you that maybe those people who used to go to CBGB to see "Suicide" and "Commandos" might not have been the only ones who couldn't put two words together!), but hey, it's not like maybe I have made the occasional minuscule fox pass these past twenny-nine years! If I would have any beefs about this book maybe it's the way the Silver Apples, who as Lillian Roxon said in her ROCK ENCYCLOPEDIA were playing Max's in '68 before the upstairs had a regular booking policy were once again ignored. Or howzbout the Sidewinders who were another one of the earliest (1971) repeat offenders at Max's who probably got booked there as many times as the Dolls yet don't even rate a howdy do? I guess I'll have to wait another fifteen years for this error to be corrected in the next Max's book to come down the line, eh?
***Speaking of Lillian Roxon, maybe I should run a review of this already ancient but now remaindered book considering how much of a star this Australian-bred (but I won't hold it against her!) music fan was in the back room during her New York tenure. Unfortunately LILLIAN ROXON: MOTHER OF ROCK ain't exactly the kind of biography I was hoping for though I really don't know if this is supposed to be author Robert Milliken's fault or not. Y'see, the book is written in a fair enough uniformly manner and delivers the facts and the stories with all aplomb, but maybe the entire story of Lillian just doesn't read as well as I thought it should. True I think Roxon was great and one of the few big city rock crit types who was worth her weight in salt and that just about everything she wrote from her ROCK ENCYCLOPEDIA to various newspaper and magazine ventures had that great zip and energy just like it was some awe-struck teenage girl discovering the Stooges for the first time, but it ain't like everything that happened to her growing up and starting out in the newspaper biz was stop the press material. The book does cook when intelligent minds the likes of Lenny Kaye and Danny Fields get into the act but otherwise MOTHER OF ROCK lacks the excitement and warmth of Roxon's own big sister style. Fortunately the index does contain some of the lady's better writings including a few of the better extracts from her encyclopedia; unfortunately none of the pieces by her I would have loved to have read from her assessments of the Stooges and Modern Lovers to her raves regarding Spiro Agnew's sexual magnetism are included.
***And to top this post off I decided to put up this pinup like snap of the Dragon Lady of the New York Scene herself, Anya Phillips, which was lifted outta the Max's book for obvious reasons! Why put it up you might ask? Well, ever since I ran that one pic of her cavorting with the Fast at CBGB in an earlier post I got the thank you's galore from many a man who has a taste for female pulchritude you just don't see in these days of LGBT nausea! And hey, in light of this sudden wave of affirmation I figure why argue with success? At least now we get to see a little more than her "cute Taiwanese knees", and anyway who ever said this blog was one for the milquetoast teetotaler types anyway? Naw, BLOG TO COMM is for men with hair on their chests and liquor on their breath and we don't go for this sissified namby-pambyisms nohow! So look on but don't touch and for all you elderly baldoid fatsos who have turned in...EAT YOUR HEART OUT GUYS!!!! (PS: I know STUPEFACTION scooped me with this particular pic even though I've had this post ready to go long before they got theirs up but really, don't you think that it was just too good for this li'l ol' blog to ignore??? Just don't call me a Johnny-Cum-Lately and for that matter, don't call me Jay Hinman either!)
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:50 AM
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
MAGAZINE REVIEW! ROCK SCENE, JULY 1975 ISSUE (still only 75 cents!)
You can tell that I'm scraping the bottom of the proverbial trashcan of seventies kultur by reviewing yet another newsstand wrap, but as Mussolini once said, eh! I mean that little bitta pertinent factoid's certainly TRUE, but once you get down to the bare facts why should anyone lose any sweat over it! Given that this is a blog that's devoted to exposing the nitty gritty of the best high energy exponents of the fifties, sixties, seventies and even beyond, why not spend some time discussing these artyfacts of past accomplishment especially since they blow away (calm down Dave!) all of the laurel-resting and general antipathy towards the rock ideal that have been going on ever since the jaded seventies gave way to the Mickey Mouse eighties.
I've blabbed on and on about the overall attitude and style of ROCK SCENE in past reviews...do a search for my previous opines since I'm to lazy to link any up myself, but for now let's talk about this particular July '75 ish which naturally displays the same sense of wonderment that was custom made for not only the ugly low-IQ remedial farting kids too cubed out to even belong to the Audio-Visual Club, but those like myself who wanted to rise above all that!
None other than Dame Elton John's on the cover which only goes to remind you not only just how long that particular buttwipe has been in the public eye, but how he was being used to push magazines to unaware teenbos who probably actually thought he was hetero back then. Here John's all dolled up as the Pinball Wizard which also goes to remind one of that big TOMMY push that was going on in '75, a year that in many ways coulda been the worst of times if you hadda rely on radio, friends and family to tell you what was "good for you", but WONDERFUL if you had developed a mind of your own and were willing to grab a piece of that big juicy glorious universe for your very own. (Hmmmm, even I'm impressed with that, and I should be since I swiped that line from Nick Tosches!)
Of course Ken Russell's film gets the royal treatment and you can always ignore that if your own personal constitution is lacking a preamble, but for me I always go for the juicy underbelly of it all first and leave the scraps for you lower menials. First place I go is Lenny Kaye aka "Doc Rock"'s column where those very same blobs of unbridled fat cells that I mentioned in the previous paragrah get to ask the Patti Smith guitarist questions about groups that I'm sure Kaye never gave the time of day to outside of his column! Naturally it's all fun, big-guy-mingles-with-the-hoi-polloi stuff, with smart questions like "Whatever happ'd to the Modern Lovers album?" being followed by groupie wannabes asking where they could write to Uriah Heap! Sure shows you what kind of a chasm existed between the good and the bad during those days of snide.
Also on my hotcha list is Wayne County's advice column which is a hoot in itself as Mr. County answers queries (no pun intended) sent in by fat suburban kids of "questionable" gender inquiring about everything from the right kind of eyeliner and rouge to use to their strange fascination with the new gym teacher. Somehow I think that no psychiatrists, clergymen, teachers or experts of any kind were consulted in the crafting of the advice given since County's remarks certainly don't jibe with the kind that Ann and Abby would dish out! But eh, once you boil down to it County sure makes a lot more sense than that Dr. Bryan guy who used to do "Into Your Head" for CIRCUS around the same nanosecond.
So what else is there besides the pictures? Marc Zakarin does a column regarding the import releases of the day telling of what new albums are not going to arrive at your local disc emporium unless you happen to live in Paris, while JAMZ/ROCK MARKETPLACE/NEW YORK ROCKER's very own Alan Betrock had his own column regarding collecting those black slabs o' disc, this time talking about such esoterica that used to really confuse the bejabbers outta me like non-LP b-sides! Donald Lyons does the moom pitcher column (not so hot this time unless you have a thing for Hollywood flotsam like THE WAY WE WERE) while none other than Lance Loud gives his impressions on...Black Oak Arkansas!
But hey, I still like ROCK SCENE for that cliched myriad assortment pix I'm always talking about, and there are plenty of 'em from the fruity (Elton hamming it up with Neil Sedaka and Monti Rock III acting beautiful because he finally got his hit record) to the hard-edged (Aerosmith trying to be the Dolls, the Dolls trying to be communists!). Keeping with the commercial aims of this magazine there are tons of snaps of the guys in Led Zep and their manager Peter Grant trying to act human and all, but even those make for passing fun while you're getting to some of the more attuned to this blog matter at hand. The page on the Television/Mumps show at CBGB was pretty good for a couple of reasons, first being that I didn't know that there was a different awning on the club before the more famous one was put up shortly after, plus I gotta give Keith Moon credit for hanging out there (with Cyrinda Fox!) long before it became the new hotcha "to-be-seen" place to be photographed not only in the pages of ROCK SCENE but elsewhere!
The "New Bands" section is always educational because you sometimes get to see a few photos of some of those under-the-cover groups who used to play CBGB and Max's but never went anywhere (other'n perhaps a member or two to a newer, more successful outfit). This time Tuff Darts, the Harlots of 42nd Street (the second go 'round for 'em and I'm not even mentioning all of the group spinoffs to come!) and Rags get the publicity amidst the usual bunch of groups already well-known (Rush) or trying to make it big even though they're from Podunk Illinois that get slapped into this section, and hey it's always fun to look at these long-haired hippie types slapping on some makeup so they could pass for glam innovators in their local burghs! Makes a great Halloween costume if you ask me.
Who could also forget all of those ads for corny iron-ons to glitter, horoscopes and miniature posters that used to appear not only here but in "sister" magazine HIT PARADER! I'll say one thing, the advertisers for this mag really had their target audience down pat if they thought clueless 14-year-olds were willing to sell greeting cards door-to-door!
And of course there are tons of photos of Alice, Brian, Rod, David and Andy, but that's not really why kids bought up issues of ROCK SCENE is it? OK maybe so, but ya gotta give Richard and Lisa Robinson as well as Lenny Kaye and Cyrinda Fox credit for warping more than a few innocent minds out there with all of that cool decadent stuff, eh?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:59 PM
Saturday, September 11, 2010
ANOTHER ODDS ZEN ENDS
Yeah, I know that I promised to do away with these post headings last week, but this particular sprinkle of an idea seemed to fit the content snattily enough to let one run for at least another week. If you must, call it an oleo of various items that have crossed my path o'er the past week, things that probably would fizzle out on their own yet somehow have a cohesiveness when all scrunched together like undigested fiber in my rectum. Some video here, reviews there and who knows what else by the time the bastid actually sees publication. I know you'll find something here to loathe as well!
***Simply Saucer-EXIT 190/209
Got this e-mail from Bruce Mowat telling...no, DEMANDING me to review the following youtube featurette:
Maybe you can review it yourself and I am interested in your opinion, but rather than shirk from my doodies I'll still letcha know what I think of this 'un. And what really can I say other'n the music is fantabulous u-ground avant punk of the best post-krautrock variety, reminding me of all of those things I loved about the late-seventies lurch into avant garde inclinations back when those punksters' German roots began showing (heck, they even look like the Can-sters did circa 1990!). Caveat, the visuals do tend to detract from the music at hand (as anyone who hadda suffer through MTV in the eighties could tell ya) but I find them pretty creepy (in a nice way) in themselves, particularly when the action is sped up so that Edgar and co. look like they've contracted St. Vitus. (As Kenneth Anger said, having music accompany visuals is fine and dandy, but not the other way around.) Still it's strange watching the weird computerized manipulations making these guys do spazz antics one minute then dabble at their electronic gadgetry the next all coming off like one of those strange middle-of-the-night dreams where you suddenly wake up and have to rush to the bathroom. An official release of the music (perhaps accompanied by similar soundscapades) would be quite welcome, dontcha think? And I think they will appear a lot sooner than any of us would expect too!
***The Senders-"The Living End"/"No More Foolin'" 7-inch single (artist's label)
"Can't O.D. on R&B." That was the Senders' motto, though from what I've heard these guys were o.d.ing on a lotta other stuff that was floating around En Why See in the late-seventies! But all kidding aside, the Senders were one of the many "should have's" who didn't quite make it as big as the "sure have's" which is a shame because this bluesabilly bunch (along with the Zantees and Fleshtones) were doing something than most of the groups who were also doing something different in a modern, seventies jaded fashion. Now I gotta admit that I have nothing against these more moderne practitioners nobow, but sheesh who but the most myopic lover of modern decadence and phony compassion would admit that in many ways perhaps 1959 was an all 'round better place to be than 1978!
You may have seen these guys mentioned all over the pages of THE NEW YORK ROCKER and other meaningful fishwraps of the day, and their first 12-incher for the Max's Kansas City label did get a writeup in a recent issue of my very own disposable asswipe t'boot. There was even a live at CBGB's album done by a reformed version of the group that the ugh-like Midnight label released in the late-eighties but let's not talk about phony Frenchies and instead concentrate on this beaut. Presumably (unless there's another slab wallowing around out there) this is their first circa '79 that sorta slipped by the collective memories of many a late-seventies single collector probably because it got lost in the (new) wave of too many self-produced records that I sure wish I coulda gotten my hands on, only it wasn't like Systematic Records could make all of this available to us!
Kinda Feelgood-esque with the better moments of all-white r&b tossed in, with a good portion of the best of the fifties which gave thrust into the maelstron of the late-seventies underground mind. Imagine what the Heartbreakers woulda sounded like in 1959 and you might get an idea, but as usual why should any of you rely on half-baked hyperbole!
***Rude Buddha-RECORDED LIVE "OFF THE BOARD" cassette (CBGB)
Brad Kohler really laid into me back when I reviewed an old Rude Buddha album a few years back especially when I trounced upon this group back when they were actually alive and kicking. He says that I gave these guys (and gal) a "good writeup" while I only found it to be "tepid" and for the life of me I can't even recall reviewing this group's material back when it came out so long ago which must only go to show you what kinda sieve-like memory I have! Maybe one of you snide and loathing readers can refresh my memory but really, I don't remember lending ear to this group until maybe the past year or so!
Maybe Kohler is right about me becoming an old softie fanabla. Frankly I don't find any of this CBGB "Off The Board" live recording to be gnu wave-y offensive at all. In fact this Charlottesville Virginia group does their eighties angular wave rock pretty artistic-like, without the cheap pratfalls into coy cliches that befell many a similar-minded band. They weren't "amerindie" either nor was there the patented lameness in their sound that typified a lotta the underground rock that seemed bred of the late-seventies art brigades. If I hadda compare Rude Buddha to anyone it would be the New York group Kilpig, one of the few groups of the mid-eighties who seemed to have a direct line from late-seventies innovation filtered through a good six years of nice try in the face of indifference.
I remember when ads for these "Off The Board" tapes were flooding the underground press back '86 way, and from a good quarter-century vantage point I only wish I bought up a whole lot more of 'em back when the gettin' was good! Hilly Kristal always had an off-kilter yet etapoint sense of which groups were worth giving the ol' promotional push even with their limited commercial potential, and his choices in promoting the talent he thought needed the additional "rah rah" were for the most part pretty intelligent even if you "serious" alternative rock-type music aficionado's'd never given 'em the time o' day. I mean, even those groups made up of ex-Shirts members like Jing and Chemical Wedding had potential (even if Jing's eventual album was an outright new-wave-meets-Billy-Joel woofer), and I only wish that I had splurged for the entire run of 'em 'stead of popped out only for the Damage and Ed Gein's Car ones like I did. Keep an eye out on this blog for reviews of other tapes in this series, some which I might even dish out upwards of $5.00 for via ebay!
***HOLD ME WHILE I'M NAKED
Since it was "taken down" awhile back I thought I'd re-post this recent upload for ya! A filmic masterpiece that I know won't be appreciated by some, but I'll take this gulcheral excursion over CITIZEN KANE and John Waters anyday!
***Sorry there's not much to rant about here. Maybe next time, but I seriously doubt it.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:01 PM
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
EVERYTHING'S STILL ARCHIE!
Did I ever tell you that I used to get ARCHIE confused with FRECKLES? Yeah, even I am flabbergasted by this because from what I can recall FRECKLES was removed from the local newspaper when I was but a mere three-years-old! Although I'm glad that I can remember that far back considering all of the great things that those days entailed, this fact's sure enough to make me feel ready for the front porch rocker brigade!
But as for FRECKLES, a gander at a slew of vintage '40's-'60's strips proved to me that it sure had a lot in common with the more popular ARCHIE. Beginning in 1922 as an adventure strip featuring a single-digit Freckles, by the forties Freckles had turned sweet sixteen and a new cast of characters helped transform it into a teenage bobbysoxer comic with comedic storylines having to do with such subjects as Freckles' pal Lard (a slightly chubby lad who kinda looked like Kent Morrill from the Wailers) becoming a crooner thanks to a secret formula (a plot that I believe was lifted for a BOWERY BOYS movie) and other more "typically teenage" adventure that was probably meant to compete with HAROLD TEEN, the original pre-adult strip. By the fifties FRECKLES had evolved into a gag-a-day not unlike ARCHIE complete with beautiful gals all over the place, a Reggie-ish sidekick and even the usual old crone teachers. I remember one comic dealing with the Reggie-alike whose name I forget selling pin ups of bikini-clad gals via his raincoat after some Miss Grundy-clone decided to stamp down on such filth hanging inside locker doors. Hmmm, I wonder why THE (then SHARON) HERALD decided to drop FRECKLES since judging from the strips I've seen it was probably at the peak of its run!
But at least ARCHIE, which I was only able to read via the Sunday papers, continued with the anarchistic teenage thrills and beautiful bods that FRECKLES first introduced. Creator Bob Montana (or whoever was ghosting for him on those later strips) sure had a great artistic style whilst handling that ol' Muenster Cheese Head's penchant for at-times outrageous comedic violence, not to mention a flair for whacked out, pithy gags. I still fondly remember such cartoons as the one where Mr. Lodge got locked out of his heated swimming pool at a ski resort and ended up mistaken for an ice sculpture, as well as the one where Archie coaxes Veronica up to his place by telling her that he has "Smell-o-Vision" where you can not only see and hear but smell the action! (Naturally Jughead is the one providing the odors by burning rubber during an auto race etc.!) True, cartoons like this might seem trite and vulgar to the usual politically/socially astute pseudo-intellectuals who at times tune into this blog, but for a nine-year-old kid whose thrills centered around the cheaper things in life these are what memories are made of. I mean, if your toastiest childhood recollections revolve around your first perusing a stodgy novel so be it...mine just happen to be a little bit earthier.
's funny, but later on when I discovered an ARCHIE comic book was being sold at the newsstand I thought hey, the strip spun itself off into its own title not realizing it was the other way around! And yeah, I eventually began getting hold of Archie Comic Group books as much as I did DC or Marvel, and must (proudly) admit that I enjoyed them immensely even if the stories didn't seem to have the same dry humor of the strip and at times were noticibly pallid even to this non-astute 12-year-old. I also happened to observe that the artwork in the various titles was (at times) extremely different than (and not quite as good as) what was appearing in the strip...at first this was quite a letdown given on how I was pretty much fed on the comic strip Archie style. (even a reading companion of mine could see just how much un-named artist "X"'s work differed from "Y"'s and that it didn't quite gel with what he had seen all his life), but I chalked that all up to the fact that Montana was probably busy enough with the daily strip to draw everything so he definitely hadda hire some ringers! However, even given my own rather adolescent excuse regarding this glaring difference I wondered why he didn't at least draw a few things for the books since I had grown up admiring his artwork and surely wanted to see a lot more!
Well, thanks to this new collection which (I hope) will reprint the entire Montana run of the strip now I can! Rumored to be in the tubes for nigh on two decades, the first volume of Archie newspaper reprints has finally made its way to our doors to which I can only say huzzah! For too long Montana has been ignored as a comic strip genius and (blah blah) I can only hope (yeah, RIGHT!) that the first in an ongoing collection of Archie dailies will prove to one and all (mainly to the slobs who read the funny pages) just what kind of a comic genius artistically and otherwise Montana was. I mean, stack Montana up against that lady who does CATHY...no contest pard, no contest!
For a guy like me who spent a good portion of ages 10-12 studying cartoon drawing evolutions in just about every strip that was within my reach looking through this book is a gem. It's really eye-opening in my own special anal-retentive way seeing how the strip evolved from Montana's original comic book style (which in fact looked almost like a riff on the superhero stable that MLJ Publications was banking their fortunes on in those pre-Archie days) to the more fleshed-out, thickly lined Archie that we all recognized for years on end. It's also interesting to note the number of weeks-long storylines featuring Archie on a vacation or as a football player that were prevalent in the early strips, certainly nothing like the nice acerbic droll four-panel pounders that make this one of my pre-adolescent favorites. And hey, if you ask me nobody really could draw Betty and Veronica with such sexuality and such pulchritude as Montana. If these drawings weren't excuses for 12-year-old boys to take extended bathroom privileges I don't know what were!
Definitely a boon, especially for a bloke like myself who used to just love pouring over old comic sections from the twenties until the sixties just marveling at the fine, detailed artwork which looked more like a craft rather than an afterthought. With the current state of slapdash and totally unfunny/irrelevant comic strips as they are in full bloom it's no wonder that they, along with the newspapers that carry them, are going the way of the Edsel given their general lethargy and reflections of a boring, pallid present day situation that (surprisingly enough) some people actually think is a fine state of kultural affairs!.
***After giving these newspaper strips a perusal you might want to check out this recently issued collection of various Dan DeCarlo-penciled Archies dating from '58 until '69 (there's also a volume featuring the Stan Goldberg Archie variant that I've yet to lay paws upon). After Bob Montana was more or less forgotten (due to bad blood?) it was DeCarlo who became the new "house style" guy, and although I find his own tackling of the Archie mystique less-enthralling/sexy than Montana's DeCarlo certainly was the most talented employee at the company Joe Simon once dubbed "the asshole of comics". Well, Henry Scarpelli as well as the aforementioned Goldberg were great enough (even when they were doing their own Archie/DeCarlo swipes with DC's Binky!), but frankly DeCarlo wins hands down over some of the "talent" that passed through the doors at Archie including Harry Lucey (who used to draw his characters in the nude...the inker hadda add the clothing on!) and Al Hartley, the guy who did those Spire Christian Comics Archie titles you used to see at flea markets throughout the seventies that I couldn't give away no matter how much I lowered the prices on the few I happened to be stuck with!
This gathering of stories dating from '58 to '69 is a nice beginning, though the selection could have been somewhat better since it's clear that DeCarlo was aping Montana on the earlier stories and the reams of fondly-remembered works from DeCarlo's peak years at Archie in the late-sixties are obviously missing. I dunno, but I thought DeCarlo handled those great generation gap/hippie sagas tremendously with loads of irony and even a few suggestive yuks w/o coming off like a crank (a humorous crank that is!) like Al Capp could at times. If you want to eyeball some examples of what I consider DeCarlo's best there are a bunch of old Bantam Books paperbacks from the late-sixties and early-seventies you might be able to latch onto, or better yet I'm sure a few cheap Archie digests can be found at the rummage sale nearest and dearest to your heart. Until then maybe this 'un'll at least bring back a few warm 'n toasties regarding the humor-enthralling days of comic book hoarding that you unfortunately never were a part of, bookwormish geek you most truly are.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 4:40 AM
Saturday, September 04, 2010
I'VE HAD IT!
With what you might ask...the current political situation, the lack of morality in this world, the horrid post-rock 'n' roll scene, or perhaps even Jay Lang and his minions? Naw, its the supposedly catchy but mostly sub-moronic titles for these posts is getting me all hot and bothered which is why (unless I think up a pretty good one which I sincerely doubt) I am doing away with these sub-pithy "hotcha" come-ons to get you to read this bile! I mean true, I may love a bad gag as much as Milton Berle but does that mean I have to subject you to any? Really, these things were getting stupider'n the ones they used to have in MAD pushing glossies of Alfred E. Neuman, and yeah, of course the breaking of this particular piece of info ain't enough to call out the tee-vee camera crews out but at least you'll know why these columns ain't sporting any special headings like they have been lo these past six-plus years. As they used to say in the (post-Bangs/exciting) CREEM, now you can go back to living.
And from there (with a heading like today's I'll betcha thought I was going to once again go into one of those two-minute hibernations like I had earlier this year which got a number of followers worried that this blog was deader than Gary in a Coleman Cooler) on with the show!
***DAVID BOWIE DELUXE EDITION 2-CD set (Deram??? Didn't know they were still around, UK)
During the v. early days of this blog I reviewed THE WORLD OF DAVID BOWIE, one of those budget samplers of pre-glam/fame Dave that the English Decca label put out in the wake of Bowiemania (or maybe even before since Bowie actually compiled the thing for his soon-to-be ex-label). Twas an album that like I said in my review used to be found with ease even in the record departments of various American department stores who would never think of stocking anything on the Ohr or Brain labels, and next to ROCK & ROLLING STONES it was perhaps the first import album I ever laid mine eyes upon. After giving that one a halfway-there tepid review you'd probably wonder why I'd even bother to pick up this double-disque set of Bowie's first album with all of the expected bonuses and additions anyway. Boredom is the answer to that 'un!
Actually since I never did hear Bowie's first album in its entirety this is at least an educational experience. Of course sitting through almost sixty tracks of the pre-Carrot Top from his early bopping gnome days ain't exactly the things that rock dreams are made of, but the various moments of Syd whimsey filtered through Beatle-pop and fey-tough do happen to sound marvy when compared to the current state of music affairs (aka r.i.p. rock & roll). And for a guy who still cherishes his copy of LITTLE TOY SOLDIER this does come in handy despite all of those negative feelings you've held towards the English version of Howdy Doody for all these years. But still, nothing here comes close to that 'un for pure late-sixties fop-plunk one bit which might be a disappointment to some of you more feral types out there!
***Smegma-I AM NOT ARTIST 6-LP set + DVD (Vinyl on Demand)
Box sets usually are a turn on for me especially if they have that specific oomph! to 'em, and naturally this one's no exception. And hey, what DON'T you already know about these West Coast noisesters anyway that hasn't been said here and elsewhere o'er the past thirtysome years! All of their major goodies (FLASHCARDS, 1941 GLAMOUR GIRL...) and more like single sides, forgotten favorites etc. pop up here in one solid box, and it's packaged complete with individual elpee sleeves making this a nice work of art in itself! And I only thought Elvis and Chicago were "important" enough to get the box set treatment!!!
Special surprise is the additional DVD featuring some classic old and even older Smegma videos that are just as freakoid as the music they're playing. Someone'll probably upload alla these to youtube sometime soon but if you wanna watch it in the privacy of your boudoir this is a must watching the loosely-knit aggregate switch within the span of a few minutes from free jazz to plain plonk to even some hot Velvets-rock from '79, right before the VU became an excuse for whining pimplecrops to express their heartfelt rejection of all that is evil and gnarly out there via Christgau-approved "indie rock". Kinda reminds you of the days when DIY/underground rock was fresh and exciting eh? Now just when was that? The way I look at it, with all of the crap that's been passed off as rock & roll o'er the past three decades it might as well have been during THE SIGNING OF THE MAGNA CARTA!!!!!
***Loren Mazzacane Connors-HELL'S KITCHEN PARK LP (Enabling Works, Holland)
I gotta admit that I was one of the few who originally poo-poo'd what little I heard from this "outsider" guitarist back in the nineties, but a few interesting pieces fortunately graced my ears enough to make me almost do a 180-degree turnaround. I say "almost" because for the life of me I find it hard to make my way through the Cee-Dee-Are burns that Bob Forwarded me a few months back which were filled with more brittle, hard-listening music that really didn't jibe with my impressions re. Connors as a player with more motion and swerve in him. But this one is different. Originally released in '93, this "concept album" has the right mix of avant and pure emote from the guitarist who can evoke everyone from Fahey and Link Wray (!) to maybe Derek Bailey if the wind's blowing the right way. Here Connor plays evocative and conjuring w/o shocking you into total atonal nerve-grate, not that I have anything against that and in fact I love it, but sometimes I'm more or less in a Sandy Bull mood, y'know? Vocals by Suzanne Langille on two tracks add an even more gut-wrenching "ethereal" feeling to the already strangely rustic mood of this platter dealing with/dedicated to the dirt-poor Irish of 19th century En Why See who still get the collective guilt trip packed onto 'em because of the 1863 draft riot. Something tells me I better pack my next Forced Exposure order with more goodies from this guy, hunh?
***Angel Face-WOLF CITY BLUES 3-CD set (Apachefilm, France)
From the France of Skydog Records, ROCK NEWS and the Mont de Marson Punk Festivals comes Angel Face, a group who SLAPS IN THE KISSER anybody who thinks that the French played lousy rock & roll. You probably read all about 'em in UGLY THINGS a few issues back plus considered dishing out that $20+ for a demo single that was repeatedly offered on ebay as well, and if so now's the time to save a li'l $$$ because all this and more has been issued on a three-Cee-Dee set which should fill in all of those questions you had about the band ever since reading Laurence Bigot's says-it-all piece not so long ago.
Rather than crib by referring to that particular article lemme tell you what I think about this straight from the mind 'stead of relying on previously-disseminated info regurgitated from old reviews and mere hearsay. Disque #1's presumably the group in their early stages and it sounds it, playing primal and probably not that different than the like-minded acts across the boards who were also puking forth various Stooges/Velvets ideas and relaying 'em onto a portable cassette player that probably jams every few inches. The use of electronics on a few tracks give these tracks a more "European" bent, almost as if these guys were mixing a bit of krautrock in with their garageisms even though the results do sound just a tad like those early Metal Urbain sides. Smart move, giving Angel Face a more "varied" approach to their style which even predates (on a certain level) the early-eighties mixing of punkisms and krautscapades along the lines of DAF and a few other groups I just happened to miss out on.
The second one's pretty snat too...I think this is from the eighties because they got this chick singer and even though she sounds like one of those "I'm My Own Bitch" types who used to proliferate the Pantsiosphere of early-eighties rockdom the band still rocks. ("Rocks" being a term similar to "Kick Out The Jams" and other outbursts that used to rile the likes of Patrick Amory.) Fortunately for all of you misogynists out there some rough-sounding guy turns up for the rest of the platter as Angel Face continue on their hard-edged growl in the face of the passive eighties, and this really does sound the hotcha-est, especially considering all of the pallid imitators that groups like Angel Face had to compete with at the time.
The last disque's a weirdie, sounding mostly as if it came from goof-off rehearsal tapes and maybe some radio broadcasts with some music here, some people speaking in French there and even some weird accordion music tossed in (platter #1 does have this bit of e-z listening on it so who knows wha' th' hey'd going on!). For awhile I didn't know if I was listening to a rock group or outtakes from 'ALLO 'ALLO. Good thing they made this disque #3 or else many of you probably wouldn't have had the stomach to make it to the other two.
If you're a fan of that mid-seventies post-Stooges/pre-Sex Pistols sound Angel Face is just the ticket for ya. And this one is a nice package with a cover sporting loads of pix of the group in and out of action, complete with a booklet that tells you nary a thing but considering this kinda blurt was supposed to be the "International Youth Language" of the seventies does it matter? A rather good triple-threat here which should do more than to prepare you for more proto-punk onslaught comin' our way in the next few months (hint!).
***AND FINALLY... I decided to post this interesting article (was tempted to say "piece" just to get you all excited) that I found while combing the 'net sort of as an answer to you "readers" who always make excuses for and defend some of the most destructive forces in this world of ours complete with a smile on your "I Know The True Meaning Of Life" faces. (I've seen your types for years from grade school on...you never change with your smug self-righteousness and open-armed acceptance...of everything you happen to agree with!) Since I'm really not that good a debater (in fact I was kicked off the debating team because I couldn't persuade Germans to follow orders) I think I'll let this particular article (which in fact is THE LAST WORD w/regards to all of your kind-hearted misconceptions) do more'n enough speaking for me and my oft loathed opines! And talk about shut downs! Have fun wallowing in your misguided enlightenment shame, y'all! (LATER ON NOTICE: I happened to whiz by this particular article yesterday and found out that you now have to pay to read the entire thing! If you wanna wait until it's up 'n free again fine by me but really, I think it's worth the moolah to dish out the dinero to give this one a gander in its entirety, it's sooo good!)
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:23 AM