But for being an "experimental" punk rock album (perhaps even "avant punk" in the best Velvets/Imperial Dogs sense) THE SCREAM ranks up there with Wire, the Pop Group, the Slits and the rest of those English art rockers mentioned in that Talking Heads/electronic possibilities piece the adorned the cover of the final issue of BOMP. True the entire format seemed like way too much English Weekly fodder once 1982 rolled in, but at least when the idea of taking various sixties epiphanies and deconstructing them to the point where rank amateurs could do with nth the musical abilities (but with all of the acumen) what the Velvets did with their inborn genius groups like Siouxsie/Banshees were able to pull it off with much elan. Great spidery sound here gives this the same starkness of that last dream you had when you flashed back to mid-teen loneliness and angst and lived it all over again in your modern day hulk of a remnant post-man...uncertain past meets stark present.
A latch onto the Peel sessions is a definite possibility, though what I would like to know is, is the 100 Club set featuring the original free splat variation with Marco Pirroni and the one called Sid available anywhere (and in better fidelity than the horrid mess that's been flying around for some time)? I coulda sworn there not only was a bootleg featuring this set floating around, but that somebody (one of my adoring fans, no doubt!) had sent me a cassette of this show and it sure sounded better'n the mass of wallow that had been made available to tape to traders everywhere for years on end!
A reference to the "early" Velvets will get me more than champing at the bit to search through three decades of flotsam for a certain tape that will reveal said act's abilities to decipher the Reed/Cale period in rock history when the Velvets were such an alien force that only the fringiest of the fringe (or the nerdiest of the suburban fanboys) could comprehend the addled might. A '73 VILLAGE VOICE piece on Patti Smith which compared the Lenny Kaye/DNV Sohl backup to a cross between the early-Velvets and Kurt Weill had me giving the Max's portion of THE POETRY PROJECT bootleg a good three nights worth of pre-beddy bye spins, while a recent writeup of the Smith boot PATHS THAT CROSS which described "Farewell Road"'s early VU lilt had me spinnin' that with the repeat button goin' on ad infinitum (even though the piece was written well after the allure of Velvets-unto-rock decadence had long worn off thanks to the news filtering down to where just about every amerindie dork could take the magic and ruin it. But somehow the idea and mood was just right and...). I know that Mick Farren's writeup of Dylan's HARD RAIN live set with the early-Velvet Underground refs (though with good ol down on Maggie's Farm fresh air and sunshine replacing the gutter homo drug visions) had me scurrying to latch up a copy if only because Farren's such a deep into the soul writer, while even dorkoid Robert Christgau comparing the Fugs of FUGS FOUR ROUNDERS SCORE to the '66 vintage VU in some '75 "Consumer's Guide" was enough to...well you know the entire schpiel anal retentive exactness of it all.
Gotta admit that even though I do consider myself an up 'n front Velvets fan I rarely play their legit albums anymore, or even a lot of their bootlegs for that matter. This is mainly because I don't want to become overly familiar with 'em even afte a good 30+ years of knowing these platters by heart, and besides the call hasn't been overcoming me as much as it did when I was a mere 18 and for some strange reason rock 'n' roll seemed to have a deeper, more invigorating meaning in my life than it even does now. When I do spin the VU it's (once again) the early stuff...or shall I say the real early surviving and downright experimental entries from their ESP "Noise" track of pure undistilled beauty or the CHELSEA GIRLS soundtrack where shards of neo-Asian tuning are performed to Ondine's maddening monologue. And not-so-surprisingly this particular platter, the first disque in the '95 Velvet Underground box set which gets way too much play as of late which isn't at all that strange. But as far as the early-EARLY Velvets go, these embryonic versions of the big hits of '66 affect me as much if not more than the original takes, showing a Angus Maclise-less act as they probably sounded back when they were still the Falling Spikes and Electrah Lobel was doing the guitar parts that Sterling Morrison would eventually make his mark with. Sparse, driving and downright intense, these acoustic demos only go to prove that Lou Reed and company didn't need electricity to make highly-charged sounds though when they did it sure helped!
Yeah, perhaps there's a bit too much of a Dylan influence where there shoulda been more Reed, and instead of hearing all of those takes I woulda preferred whoever compiled this to choose the best versions of each song and add more early rehearsal tuneage if only for historical reference, but for what it is what else can I say but I sure love it because it packs just as much of that oft-needed resensifying force into my still-teenage beenie as Smith or Hackamore Brick or all of those acts that tried so grandly to be the Velvets of the seventies while everyone else was looking for the new Beatles. Sends me way back to when I was a young teenage goof trying to latch onto something interesting for once in my life, and that progressive rock and disco sham just wasn't cutting it. Now that I'm an OLD baldoid goof well...I gotta admit that I sometimes get the original feeling which does help connect me, at least spiritually, to a time and place when I thought that music like this was being created for me only because who else did I know of who would even go near the stuff!
LABORS OF LOVE was a fanzine-styled history of comic fandome written by former SENSE OF WONDER editor Bill Schelly, who later extrapolated on the idea with a large softcover book that filled in a lotta the missing details and general historical background that clued more'n a few newcomers about such crucial comic fanzines as ALTER EGO, XERO and STAR STUDDED COMICS. A nice and breezy li'l read that'll take you at least two pre-beddy bye sittings to complete, LABORS gives the basic backgrounds and general impressions regarding the birth and grown of comic book fandom courtesy Schelly, a guy who has a takent to really show ya just how much of an importance comic fandom was in the sixties, enough that he can actually zone you back to that early/mid-sixties teenage gulcher fun and games attitude that permeated itself into everything from comic books to tee-vee, rock 'n' roll, slot car racing and even the kind of new pleasure foods were being pumped at us from cathodes nationwide. Makes me feel sorry for kids today who have nothing but computer gadgetry and their genitals to rely on!
Even future FANTASTIC FOUR artist (who got the job because he could do Jack Kirby better'n anybody else) Rick Buckler pops up with a Captain Liberty story that shows that the only limitations of ditto were in the mind of the creator. A great find if you can latch onto a copy, and if you consider youself any sorta fan and follower of the fans and followers then I'm sure you're more'n intereted in these long gone tomes'n I'm giving you credit for! Try ebay, or maybe even publishers Hamster Press (PO Box 27471, Seattle WA 98125) have a few left. Well, you could spend your ever dwindling lucre on something a whole lot worse, which I have the sneaking suspicion you undoubtedly will...
***AND YOU THOUGHT THAT DREAM I HAD LAST WEEK WAS WEIRD! Well, here's an even weirder one that I can't make any real heads or tails outta. The whole night was filled with strange occurances in dreamland, but the part where I came home after a hard day at the nerve gas factory and found out that none other than well-published pipsqueak CHUCK EDDY was there to visit me was something that was really taking the cake! I naturally was irritated that this mental munchkin had invaded the sanctity of my abode especially after being run through the wringer, so while my parents "entertained" Mr. Eddy as if he were some visiting royal dignitary (y'know, like ask him what he does for a living and how many kids he has) I spent my time hiding in my bedroom and the bathroom where I did things like pluck a big long hair on my scalp resembled a black leek. After awhile who should bust into my vary toilet area but Mr. Eddy himself, looking a lot like the schlong I've seen in pictures o'er the years only smaller as if he were a mere ten-year-old loudmouth deserving of a big walloping!
Well, after putting up with his insults (like "nice bangs" in reference to my current Yul Brynner 'do) I actually piledrive the kiddo a few times which doesn't do much for him, given his spine seemed to be made of a slinky. I did this with no effort, as if I was play-acting studio wrestling with a three-year-old only with a ton of anger in my heart! The rapier-like witticisms kept on a'comin' (I remember him shouting "Keep your cholesterol-laden hands off me!" as I tried yet another debilitating wrestling move) though soon the social intercourse (no, not that!) was broken up by none other than mother, who chastized me for treating company in such a way even if that company was an annoying rock critic bigmouth who was more'n responsible for helping destroy the Generation of Bangs and Meltzer and turning it into one big Voice of Whoredom!
Too add even more turds to the toilet, I noted that yet another former BTC touter now on my condemned list had come to visit as well, but we got along fine, even to the point where I complimented him on the Leo Gorcey impression he did! The strange thing about this is, that I did not take any pain or allergy aids that night and those are the things that usually give me sharp, vivid dreams! Well, all I gotta say is that it wasn't one of those dreams that give me the creeps so much (like the ones where I observe gross mass genocide or various wartime atrocities first hand-like) that I don't wanna go back to sleep for another century or so. With this one make it at least a good month, because once you get down to it Chuck Eddy is Chuck Eddy and there's no way gettin' 'round that disturbing fact!!