Saturday, March 03, 2012

Yeah, not as much this week as I would have hoped. So what. I've been busy, and as Basil Fawlty once stated so long ago idle hands get in the way of the devil's work so you're lucky you get these li'l tidbits if anything at all. Besides real life sneaking up on me at an alarming rate, you could also chalk this zilchville post up to the lack of any real hotcha material headin' my way (heck, I'm already anticipating the next Rocket From The Tombs download 'n who knows how many years from now that'll happen!) as well as the hard-to-get-through-my-noggin FACT that rock 'n roll as that high energy all-encompassing music that we all know and love has more or less been underground since 1967 at the very latest. And as even a total dolt as George Carlin pointed out so long ago, "rock" is not the same as "rock 'n roll" which is probably the only point that a guy like he and a person such as I could agree on!

Davy Jones' death this past Wednesday did affect me as I'm sure it did a million saggy aged housewives, if only because his passing is yet one more reminder that we are all much older now than back when we were kids watching him on his own MONKEES tee-vee show not to mention his various seventies pop ups on everything from THE BRADY BUNCH to that disco-oriented series in the late-seventies that I remember reading about in the first issue of KICKS. And of course all of those Time Life "hits of the sixties" informercials where the makeup artists tried oh-so-valiantly to make this already sextagenarian former teen idol look at least slightly cute. Now I know how my parents felt back when I was a young 'un and all of their old timey favorites from Clark Gable to Rudy Vallee were dropping like flies, only my folks never would have considered the pop heroes of my youth to have been even slightly the caliber of their much adored Matinee and Singing Idols of yore. In fact, whenever they get the chance once in a blue moon they don't mind telling me so, kinda like the same way an uncle of mine actually told me that the Electric Eels were not going to stand the test of time the way the music of the forties had which I gotta admit is a statement that kinda/sorta makes me wanna do an Electric Eels vs. Kay Kyser...YOU Be The Judge article! Y'know, a piece where I can size up both acts on a wide range of issues from hair style (Dave E. vs. Ish Kabibble) to lyrics ("Spin Age Blasters" vs. "Three Little Fishies"). Really, the possibilities are endless...

However, the passing of Andrew Breitbart really didn't affect me at all, mainly because I surely do not pay attention to, let alone cozy up to what is passing for mainstream "The Thing That Used To Be Called Conservatism" (as blogger Mark Shea calls it) or anything remotely near the concept of it these days. You know my schpiel or at least think you do...but then again to many of you gathered readers who wear your radicalism oh so proudly on your berets and have the tendency to lump anybody you don't quite agree with into one big mass of ooze so why should I even bother explaining myself at all! And frankly, although he was a "conservative" 'n all (big deal!) Breitbart's views didn't quite go along with many of my own ideas regarding which direction this world of ours should be toddlin' off to at all which is probably the only reason I had been ignoring him for so long! Although we p'haps did cross paths on a few points here/there (but so do I 'n Bakunin!), that doesn't make him a friend as in the enemy of my enemy is my friend which always has been a load of hogwash! From where I stand EVERYBODY (except myself) is my enemy unless they dare to prove otherwise according to my own tastes and values!

I gotta 'fess up that I did read a rather detailed and heartfelt kinda obit which I caught on the always-worthy TAKI'S TOP DRAWER site written by Gavin McInnes, a guy whom I tend to loathe more often than not though he is a good source of stories regarding his visits to the Crass commune in Epping Forest. For the sake of Brietbart's memory, at least this piece made him out to be the sorta fellow who might have been sympatico with a few of my own pet peeves and general curmudgeoness regarding what we in grade school used to call "Current Events" but it didn't do anything to dispel my own feelings that this commentator was far too embedded into (once again, that thing that used to be called) the conservative mainstream. And like, whiy bother when there are too many people yammering from his corner of the ring who don't really seem at all that different from those who are yelling back from the other side, y'know???

Now, I gotta admit that Brietbart's major bowel movement on the grave of Teddy Kennedy right after that guy croaked was a welcome relief considering how too many people out there believe that we should say nada bad about the recently departed. That would be a nice gesture and shows compassion 'n all, though sometimes I relish the idea of doin' a li'l "corpse-kicking" when the time arrives! Perhaps this is because there are more'n a few people out there who certainly deserve such a rough and tumble send off, and if they didn't get it in life they most certainly do deserve it in death even if they're not gonna experience the humiliation face-to-face! In fact I am doing my darndest to stay healthy and happy long enough so I can engage in some MYSELF when the time is right, so if you're on the bad side of me and you're planning on doing the big exit any time soon be sure to keep your name outta the obit pages.

But yeah, I think ol' Teddy K. got some well-deserved beyond-the-grave noogies from Brietbart which as I said was a welcome relief from the solemn tone that surrounded his much anticipated demise. Just as (as we speak!) Brietbart's getting the heavy duty jeers on a variety of websites whose readers actually enjoy writing screeds about the mere thought of the guy getting sodomized by Adolf H. himself in the afterlife! Gotta admit that these sentiments are somewhat "typical" of the type of people who are popping outta the youth kultur these sorry times, though in many ways I find it strange that such opines would be spouted in the first place because those who are damning Brietbart to the place down there probably don't even believe in an afterlife to begin with*! Ah such sweet discourse, but given how the ever-encroaching even Newer Left than that New Left we hadda put up with back inna seventies is screeching and yammering even louder than ever I guess that rage of hate** that they spew is something that'll be with us for a long time t' come so we all better get used to it!

As for Brietbart, well even though I hardly knew ye, maybe you did have your worthiness about you somewhere. You were a hard-knuckled guy who could have been a big bastard if you wanted (as the McInnes article seemed to say twixt the lines), but having the likes of Michelle Bachman and John McCain eulogize you isn't exactly the way to endear yourself to someone as loathing of the entire idea of the modern post-Taft/Goldwater political deal as myself. Well, at least your passing made the media outlets...when personal fave (for all his faults, which weren't nearly as bad as some of the faults most leftist writers exude with a soul-searing passion!) Sam Francis died a good five or so years back NOBODY (not even the sole paper who ran his column but was forced to drop it because of that fag at Media Matters) dared breathe a word about it which is a fate that I could only pray happens to me when it's my turn to jump that great turnstile in the sky! But I doubt that will truly iconoclastic kamikazes wailing against the elitist snoot powers that be will either be vilified or, if extremely caustic, ignored and hopefully my own memory will undoubtedly fall into the latter category! Talk about sour luck on all counts, though I kinda get the feeling that after I pass on it ain't gonna be bothering me nohow!

I've been spending the week, twixt the drudgery and abject slavery of work that is, taking it easy-like watching THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN during my post-meal digestion hours (a luxury that I can afford at least until Daylight Savings Time kicks in and I'm more or less forced to do outside toil!). And although you probably already know but are too post-modern to admit it, SUPERMAN sure continues to work wonders with its smooth and spiritual ambiance that most definitely makes for some great settle-down-and-enjoy-yourself viewing that I just can't get outta BECKER reruns (which usually blast forth from the tee-vee room during the early evening hrs., not that I ever care to sit in with the fambly and watch it!). But REALLY, can you get any more "meaningful" than SUPERMAN, a series which drives a spike right into my very soul (and presumably yours, that is if you HAVE a soul [sometimes I doubt it!]) long after the last episode was cranked out during a time when most of us, or even most of our parents, were just a gleam in some eyes during a boring Friday night when there was nothing else to do?

Now that I own the entire series thanks to the current recession making Dee-Vee-Dee's a rather afforable affair, I can mix 'n match 'em and watch whatever episode I feel like just like when I was catching this series back inna mid/late-seventies when channel 33 would do the exact same thing for reasons only known to them. And man, do these episodes bring back the hidden memories in my cranium, not only of when this was airing weekends at noon back inna seventies but when I was a mere first grader'n 33 slapped 'em on weekday afternoons at five! And, to stretch my memory banks even further, I can barely recall when channel 21 was runnin' these during the early Saturday afternoon hours and since I was but a mere THREE at the time you can tell that my brain matter's definitely filled with idle flotsam such as this 'stead of the basic skills that are needed to survive in such a stress-filled, fast-paced world as the one we all live in!

Naturally it's been a real joy watching all of these episodes that I haven't seen in over thirtysome years (or perhaps sooner than that when I'd "invite myself" over to my cousins' place because they could pick up the distant independent stations on their sets whereas I couldn't). Of course re-watching various favorites really did send that tingle through my psychic whatziz that really jetted me back to my youth, or at least the good aspects of those days when I wasn't being bugged by my elders and could just vegetate in front of the boob tube with a dish of not-so-stale doritos and glass of kool-ade. Maybe it's because we're so jaded and ideas such as virtue have been reduced to cutesy-gootch Sunday School bromides that this show is resonating with me the way it is...after all, it's sure great seeing protagonists who come off likable 'stead of so squeaky clean you'd hope that the badskis'd off 'em before Superman could arrive, as well as a superhero who ain't a bundle of neuroses and nerves who acts like such a kvetch that you kinda hope that Doctor Octopus or Sphinc-Tor would get the best of 'im because at least those villains seem like thoroughly developed, reasoning beings!

After watching these SUPERMANs and digesting 'em all with all of those years of hindsight fully in place, my obviously matured mind must admit that my all-time favorite of the batch remains season four's "The Wedding of Superman"! I mean it, if not only because this one was a change of pace from the usual slam-bam episodes but because I really can empathize with the pangs of unrequited love that Noel Neill (who I gotta say remains my favorite Lois tee-vee or otherwise if only because Phyllis Coates was just too scary) has for our hero! I've often wondered why Superman never really gave Lois the time of day, and don't give me that jive about him being married to crimefighting either! The guy's either too cheap, or maybe (and I've thought this for years) he's afraid to conjugate with Lois because maybe there's something else about him that's faster than a speeding bullet! Ka-PWEENG!!!! That closing scene where Lois rejects the mystery box of flowers really gets to me here (thump chest at breadbasket for full effect), and while you're at it don't miss none other'n Ed Wood galpal Delores Fuller as Lois' beautician who gets all googly eyed when Lois introduces her to that superpowered fiancee who's been stringing her along all these years!

Hokay, enough of this chatter (or is it prattle, can't' decide which is the right world to use in this sitchy-ashin) za reviews!
The Blackwood Apology-HOUSE OF LEATHER CD-R burn (originally released on Fontana)

When inspiration (and a particular platter to peruse) fails, there's always some bottom of the stack Bill Shute burn handy to break the monotony. And as far as monotony breakers go this 'un was a real surprise. If you think alla them mid-sixties NUGGETS bands either hung up their guitars and entered the real world or tuned  in, turned on and dropped acid until their brains were so fried they saw God in every shuckster hype to come down the line you are wrong, because as this particular burn proves the garage revolution of the middle portion of that controversial decade didn't exactly die out but manifested itself in new, different, and some might say even gnarlier forms that probably had about as much to do with the love generation as the Huffington Post has to do with the ways and traditions of ethnic suburban blue collar workers.

You heard it (of course!) in the music of the MC5, Stooges and the late-sixties Detroit hard rock scene which was obviously birthed from mid-sixties experimentation, not to mention the likes of Black Pearl who were fortunate enough to have two ex-Barbarians in their white blues scuzz ranks. And you certainly can hear it in this 1969 "concept album" about the Civil War which was performed by a group that actually features half of the all-important Castaways in their ranks, and that's not even counting the "special guest" who was also a former member of that class act! Y'know who I'm talking about, those one and onlys whose 1965 hit "Liar Liar" proved that ONLY IN AMERIGA can a buncha fifteen-year-old losers make good on the national record charts with their simple, primitive and totally uncouth music that would eventually shock the same sophisticado rock snobs who were initially drawn to these sounds back when they "didn't know better." Nowadays these same kids have no other choice than to blast the heads off their tormentors with a shotgun, which only goes to show you just how much we've devolved since those rather halcyon times that too many "above it all" wags out there hate because back then people were "nasty" to gays.

As far as concept albums go at least the Blackwood Apology did a pretty snat one that doesn't sound like a collection of pretentious Beatle swipes no matter how good  the swipes may be. Naw, these tracks sound like non-pretentious Beatle swipes with a few good SF and midwestern references tossed in for good measure. Psychedelic rock that doesn't dive too hard into the more tiresome aspects of the quest filtered through the entire late-sixties punk attitude resulting in a platter that coulda been sold for $40 on Shadocks but can be found easily enough by just doing a little computer dialing. And even if the concept theme is not as clear to you as it should be (let's just say don't use it as a source for any history term papers you might be doin') hearing these ex-Castaways singing about the South to the strains of "Dixie" sure is a lot more digestible'n most of the other concept platters that had been coming out in the wake of Sarge Pepper. Another one to add to your sixties garage files which continue to expand and surprise even a good fortysome years after it all came tumbling down!
The Meat Puppets-HUEVOS CD (MVD audio)

Yeah, I know, this '87 Meat Puppets platter was the one that got all of their old fans madder'n Sammy Davis Jr. at a View Master demonstration, but for me it just shows ya what kinda of an expanding, all-enveloping kind of act that the Puppets were back when more'n a few groups were trying to "break out" of their hardcore beginnings. And while many other acts tried so hard to run away from their "punk" pasts as they could usually evolving into heavy metal acts just as tiresome as the entire idiom seemed in 1975 or (worse yet) art rock groups that proved that the only thing that the artist as he stands in society needed was a good scrubbing and perhaps delousing, the Pups showed us all that even with their late-sixties Grateful Dead licks and definitely non-trendo musings they were perhaps even more punk rock'n all of those precocious young souls and their overtly-sensitive worldsaving attitudes ever pretended to be! There's a definite late-sixties lilt to this that does hearken back to the early punk musings of a variety of acts, and the overtly psych elements don't make you wanna go 'n run for the safety of the nearest VFW either! As it was with the Deviants and Pink Fairies, the punkitide does make for a fantastic balance to fight off the Grateful Dead influence, or better yet both of 'em work in a nice yin/yang fashion keeping whatever excesses the other portion has in check! One of SST's last gasps of greatness during their long and sad decline before whimpering out with those jazz platters that I gotta say were neat enough nails on a coffin that perhaps shoulda been buried well before such snoozeroonies as the Alter Natives or that one Violent Femme solo album ever saw the light of day!
Stardrive-INTERGALACTIC TROT CD; STARDRIVE CD (both available via Wounded Bird)

With the classic sixties/seventies archival digs gettin' even harder to find as the years roll on it's like well, a fella's just gotta take some chances. And yeah, at times I can gamble along with the rest even if the odds are stacked WAY against me, like when I'm on the prowl for some long-forgotten seventies sounds that just might somehow satiate my hunger for something new and exciting but more often than not tend to let me down lower'n when Kate Smith would take off her Maidenform bra.

Naturally there are many a hook regarding the worthiness of an act that might insert its sharp end into the flabby flesh of my mind. Maybe it's how said sounds tend to rate on the ever-popular underground rock scale if they rate at all, or whether or not there was some hotcha hubbub regarding said act that would make me want to give 'em a rather inexpensive try. Or perhaps if the recording star(s) in question played at Max's Kansas City or later on CBGB which many times can amount to a hill of beans given that not everyone who performed on those sacred stages was necessarily worthy of yours or my attention. But then again there's that slight possibility that said group/solo star woulda fills some sorta decadent quotient by merely setting foot within these places, so ya gotta take whatever aspects there might be regarding whatever hot lead you might discover via an old article or heresay and go on from there. Take yer chances as they say at the carny. And boy, have I been taking enough gambles on records to make Brad Kohler look like a piker!

This particular act called Stardrive seemed like a good 'un to try in my never-ending attempt to find some long-forgotten seventies jamz. Really, I thought this 'un'd suit me fine given the adventurous prospects of this group's two synthesizer-laden albums (performed on an early polyphonic synth created by group leader Robert Mason) as well as the fact that they appeared at the aforementioned Max's which like I said can mean nada here in 2012 but hard up me ain't gonna go to my grave w/o finding out first! I can't affort to pass up a possibly grimy underbelly rockism excursion along these lines no matter how lame or irrelevant said act will most undoubtedly be! I mean, I really was hoping that Stardrive coulda been a second Silver Apples just waiting to be (re)discovered, and if anybody was gonna be doin' any hefty rediscoverin' these days you know that the man would just hafta be none other'n memeME!!!!

So yeah, I plunk down some spare change for these relative recent reissues courtesy Wounded Bird Records and like well, settled back for what I hoped would've been an extreme experience in the realm of electronic rock 'n roll. Unfortunately both disques do disappoint quite a tad. Not that they're lousyville'r fact there are moments of pure addled electronic brilliance here that reminded me of what I'm sure some under-the-counter local En Why See group on the '75/'76 scene coulda whipped up, but if anything these platters just can't help but bring back memories of mid-seventies PBS programs such as AVIATION WEATHER and incidental music for roll-a-sage reclining chair commercials! Nothing I'd really wanna hear a steady diet of, but then again I gotta give these ozobs credit for flashing me back to my youthful dayze of discovery. Now all I need is a jar of Vasoline and an old ish of NEWSWEEK back when they'd sneek some bare juggined snaps of Brigette Bardot in their pages and of course a working lock on the bathroom door and the effect would be complete!

INTERGALACTIC TROT's got Michael Brecker on saxophones and session mainstay Steve Gadd on drums which sure ain't pointing at any startling epiphanies that I might have expected. The self-titled second 'un just features the standard synth/gtr/bs/drms getup and at least benefits from the lack of seventies careening sax lines that seemed to edge their way into just about everything during those late-Nixon times. And yeah, these recordings really do stimulate a seventies unconsciousness in me to the point where I'm sure they'll enhance my 1973 reading list just as well as when my sister's AM radio would blast Top 40 all over the place which sorta mingled with my own reading pleasures of the time. Tell ya what...I'm gonna get a stack of everything that was turning my beanie at the time extant and read it all while these two spinners do their thing, then I'll let you know their ultimate worth or not. Now lessee, where are all of those WEEKLY READERs I had stashed away anyhow...
*I dunno if you agree with me or not, but don't you think that the comboxes of today where anybody from distraught housewives to far left activists to general trolls with a strong totalitarian bent are nothing but li'l soapboxes where even the most far-fetched and ridiculous comments can be made for all the world to read (and wretch at?). And, while we're at it, for all the world to take seriously as if the comments of a hit-and-sashay miscreant is supposed to hold any verifiable water in the first place. Given the tons of half-truths, distortions, outright lies and "personal" outlooks that one finds in most of the general comment sections, I get the strong feeling that these "sound off" segments have become the modern day equivalent of back when Phil Donahue would comb his audiences and some old bag, who usually had little if any information regarding whatever subject at hand was being discussed (or at the least had read a neato article the day before in some chi-chi uppercrust publication proudly adorning her coffee table) could make a statement that was to have been taken with just as much weight and as much credibility as some wizened college professor of military expert who's spent his entire life studying the field in which his expertise lies. Only now these proud proles don't have to wait for that microphone to be shoved in their faces for they can, with the mere peck of a keypad, make their ideas (and abject hatred) known to the entire world as if their ideas are to be given as much weight and credibility as those of people who know what they're talking about. A few of these comboxes do make for some excellent reading (you should see the replies Jim Goad gets on his various TAKI'S TOP DRAWER articles, some of which even make it past the censors!) but most of the time I feel as if I'm just osmosing the top of the head ire of some purely emotional and stunted heartbleed regarding whatever patented subjects might be up for discussion! Or worse yet, some Old Maid nut who still thinks that gramma was right when she said that alcohol was a truth serum (as one crotchety soul wrote a few years back!) which just made me wonder why the cops don't just get their suspects soused in order to accrue much needed information! If such an idea as this is the ultimate endgame in the farce of democracy, then we should have filled up the prisons (and built more!) long ago if only so we could all be free of these walking unwiped butts who seem to be cluttering up the world and "Occupy" camp outs these sorry times.

**Not that there's anything wrong with the concept of hate per se, but it sure seems strange to hear all of this off-the-handle vile venom (not that there's anything wrong with that as well!) being spewed from people whose claims to be so all-encompassing, inclusive, loving and so altruistic that they make Shirley Temple look like Spiro Agnew. Oh, but theirs is a highly conditional, selective love I guess which is why they may piss and moan about various groups who might get the raw end of history's cruel sword, but remain quiet or even support the brutal deeds and various assorted atrocities of the folk who are on their side of that Great Political Divide! Well, at least they're consistent in their own warped way!  

No comments: