Shee-yucks, like what took so long getting the latest ish of UT to my door anyway? I feel the same way I did when I was a budding youth being the last kid on the block to get my Disneykins, and as you know I have earned the PRIVILEGE (being a longstanding front and follower of the no-holds-barred fanzine club!) of getting my copy before everybody else on the UT freebie issue gravy train! And the worst thing is...I wasn't even ON the said train and actually hadda go and dish out my own moolah to obtain a copy! What an indignation!!! I mean, how would it look if I were to get out-scooped on this issue by David Fricke anyway?
Y'know, there was a time when I used to shudder at the thought of getting the latest issue of UGLY THINGS. Well, not exactly shudder, but darn it sometimes I'd get really down-and-out depressed reading the thing because I knew that no matter how many bucks I had or advertising space (hah!) I could sell I never could come up with an issue of my own fishwrap that would be as clear, concise, snazzy and downright enjoyable as Mike Stax's sainted creation. Really, Stax is on the ball when it comes to putting out a high quality magazine that's filled with info on groups that I for one would love to read about, and given his contacts, friends, scoops, charm and talent what hope did a crudzine publisher whose coffers were mostly filled by cashing in aluminum cans really have? Thankfully I've gotten over my rather infantile bouts of jealousy, but then again I do wonder what BLACK TO COMM could have achieved if only my bank account were a little plumper and my IQ notched up at least a good twenny-five points where I could at least compete with that one out of an infinite number of chimpanzees clanking away on typewriters who came up with something akin to Anastasia Pantsios' infamous article on soul music which even a dildo like Dave Marsh thought was the most retarded thing he's ever read.
Anyway, what else superlative-wise could I say about UGLY THINGS that hasn't been said about previous issues, and by other commentators for that matter? This latest endeavor is certainly a cover-to-cover messterpiece, and although I certainly have not been able to digest this effort in its entirety I sure got enough of a dose to keep me outta rock et roll withdrawal for a least a good six months (by which time the next issue will arrive...hopefully on time!). Gotta admit that I kinda zoomed through the Them article (saving it for one of those rainy days that seem to pop up a whole lot more frequently than others) but the Norton Records "celebration" was far more'n exciting for a guy who, like most of you reg'lar readers I presume, used to wait with baited breath for fanzines such as KICKS and Bomp mailorder catalogs during those disgustingly dog days we used to call the eighties, looking for signs of life in a world that has only gotten worse in that big trek planet earth is taking towards the ultimate oblivion. Lotsa heretofore unknown facts are spewed out in this 'un, the most shocking of 'em being that none other than Mrs. Norton herself Miriam Linna, along with older sister and noted Stooges photo snapper Helen actually sat down for some tea 'n crumpets with none other than one Mr. Jones himself, otherwise known to the world as David Bowie! She even tosses in a comment about the rock 'n roll healing powers of Mr. Bowie's group the Spiders from Mars which is something I woulda sworn woulda made for good grounds in a divorce proceeding twixt her and hubby (and downright belter in his own right...vocal-wise, that is!) Billy Miller if one would ever dare proceed! Sheesh, I never woulda figured Miriam out to be a fag hag!
The Pleasure Seekers piece was a real wowzer as well even if 1) I never considered their "What a Way to Die" to be whatcha'd call a top ranking sixties garage band classic and 2) the seventies Suzi Quatro cult was one that never really attached its claws into my psychic rockist being unlike it did with a number of fellow rock fans including Solomon Gruberger. But still, I gotta give 'em props for being a late-sixties Detroit aggregation no matter how loosely they may have been connected to the whole high energy happening. Still working my way through the Hendrix and Stash de Rola pieces (the former being quite informative while the subject matter of the latter seems like a real piece himself), but the article on Stooge James Williamson's prep school band the Coba Seas as well as the one on the infamous (if only due to their luckily being billed atop the Velvet Underground) Forty Fingers were whatcha'd call moisture-inducing! Really was surprised to find out that the Fingers were in fact the first rock group to play at Max's Kansas City during their opening day celebration, which only makes me want to know more about the musical goings on there in the era before Max's began posting regular gig come-ons in the back pages of THE VILLAGE VOICE back in the early-seventies.
Of course I could go on about the other features on the likes of the Sentinels and John Berberian amongst other (the Masters Apprentices) but I'll refrain. The wide array of reviews are also helpful, and although I really am trying to hang onto as much moolah as I can here in these recessionary times I did find a few items which are on my ever evolving want list that I hope I can obtain at least before the sands o' time turn me into an even bigger babbling example of a "functioning autistic" than I already am. An order to Norton should be in the cards hopefully once I get a li'l financial security into my life, and although the Hampton Grease Band DVD which is supposed to be available through guitarist Glenn Phillips' website isn't it ain't like I'm gonna throw a hissyfit and stop looking for the thing. Who knows, mebbee some of you out there in pixelland have an idea of where a spanking brand new copy of this 'un can be obtained and at good ol' budget prices t'boot!
(Before I sign this review off I gotta ponder a whole lot about one li'l thing, and that is just how did reviewer Zak Boerger get the idea that the "Les Rallizes Denudes" moniker translates into none other than..."The Naked Larrys"! That's a really new 'un on me, especially since from all sources available the name either means [in bastardized French no less] "The Naked Roots" or "The Empty Valises" with no Larrys to be seen for miles around. Just seems too screwed to be true or perhaps an out and out prefabrication, a nice way of saying that this writer sure knows how to pull things right outta thin air! If you've any information to the contrary, please lemme know.)
Well, another top-notch issue ya got there Mike...hope they sell faster than Kaopectate in Tijuana, or at least faster'n my own monstrosity had which is why nobody's ever gonna be celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of BLACK TO COMM...hee!
***JUST ONE SMALL, RATHER INSIGNIFICANT POSTSCRIPT TO THIS MESS FOR YOU READERS TO DIGEST IN ANY WAY YOU FEEL FIT TO!: some of you who have already read and thoroughly scrutinized this particular issue of UGLY THINGS might have noticed that, although my brief praise for the Jack Starr BORN PETRIFIED album in the Norton section was duly printed the review of the Josef Vondruska/Umela Hmota 3/Dom 2-CD set that I had repeatedly told you was going to appear well...didn't make the grade. Oddly enough, I was totally under the impression that my review was accepted and was going to be published presumably without the standard proofreading that always plagues my submissions for various print and on-line endeavors but sadly this was not to be the case. I was really hoping that Mr. Stax, or at least review editor David Biasotti would have notified me if this review was rejected so's I could have published it online, but for some reason they forgot to which I will admit doesn't bug me in the least. But sheesh I thought that Mr. Vondruska, who right now is suffering through not only the loss of a wife but various mental and physical problems, could have used the li'l prop up that a review in a prestigious magazine like UGLY THINGS would have given him, but sadly enough this was not to be the case.
Now, I don't fault anybody at the mag for not printing this or even getting back to me considering how they're top guns in the rock fandom publishing world and I'm on the end of the totem pole that the dog always tinkles on. However, in order to let you readers know about this particular set, which was in fact one of my fave rave spins on the year '10, I will crank out a hopefully decent enough review for my traditional weekend post. Until then, keep in tune, and if I don't catch you reading UGLY THINGS, then I'll probably catch you reading an old issue of SWELLSVILLE and that ain't good!