Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UGLY THINGS #30 (it's a fanzine...Mike Stax even sez so on page one so it MUST be one!!!)

Eyes are still spinnin' 'round and jumping from one socket to another o'er the latest issue of what's gotta be the only rock read worth spending hours pouring over these days. Yes, while some fanzines (take the hint, Clint!) have gone the way of the Edsel ne'er to be seen again UGLY THINGS keeps pouncing about making the 21st century seem like not such a dull era to live in. And that's despite the presence of such abominations as Antipodean blog writers and libertine SF buttsuckers (and their lackies) who try their best to ruin things for real people like ourselves! What a wonderful world this must be!

Nice thick one again, and lo and behold it's a Kinks "special" which I guess ranks up with the ones that such UGLY THINGS inspirations as BAM BALAAM and GORILLA BEAT did during the Golden Age of Rock Fanzines even if this is a good ten sizes bigger'n the then-massive reporting that was done under the tutelage of Brian Hogg and Hans-Jurgen Klitsch respectively. Kinks lovers will definitely need to get this 'un and hey, I even loved Greg Prevost's accompanying article on various Kinks rarities that someone complained to me was too GOLDMINE collector-scum oriented but I beg to differ. Personally I thought it was groovolicious, especially the stuff that Prevost wrote about "boosting" (as they used to say) rare promo albums out of college radio stations, something I would never condone (and does make Prevost look less the upstanding citizen I thought he was) and while I'm at it, must he curse so much? And his hair, it's way too long. Just trim it a little in the back I say. But overall the Kinks material (inclluding an interview conducted by former SOUNDS writer Jon Savage) was pretty eye-opening (always wanted to know more about the famed '65 on-stage scuffle) even if it is for the little bits of information, like did you know that Ray Davies really likes the strawberry milkshakes they make at Denny's?

Of course there's more to UGLY THINGS #30 than the Kinks and milkshakes, and like a starving wild dog going in for the kill I always aim for the tender belly first. In this case it's the various review sections that get me all hot 'n bothered, and this go' 'round the going was good enough that within the first evening of reading I was lickity-split on-line checking out various sources for matter that not surprisingly was reviewed in these pages! That's a good sign that not only are there new items worthy of my (and presumably your) attention being made available, but that they are also being written about in a great matter-of-fact fan-to-fan way that makes you wanna crave the record/book/DVD releases the same way you did when you'd open up a good fanzine or issue of OP in 1980 and poured through it wishing you could order a good portion of the produce being hawked in those pages. Only now you have enough money to buy out the candy store and give it to the poor while back then you most certainly were one of the poor!

You'll be reading about some of my recent purchases in future editions of this blog, but you can most definitely find out about what will be tickling my fancy here FIRST, and from the minds of some of the best writers in the biz as well. No, I'm not talking about those phony "rock critics" who merely re-paste press releases sans any formidable knowledge of the history of their line of work outside of the Jann Wenner-sponsored style of journalistic felchdom, but the true stalwarts of musical erudition in and out of the "biz". It's always great to read Gene Sculatti's work not only because he was one of the first doing this in a serious fashion, but any guy who was in Vom obviously has garnered mucho brownie points in my book. Phil Milstein, a man who hasn't been as active as he should be as of late puts in a very top notch review of the new Tommy James autobio that I understand makes Roulette boss/James nemesis Morris Levy look even more sinister than we always thought (as if that was possible!). And although this will probably get me drummed outta the "hip tastes in under-the-gulcher music" union, I really dig Johan Kugelberg's funny essays even though I wish he wouldn't have wasted his time informing us about those garage band compilations of the eighties anyone whose been in on the UGLY THINGS game knows about like the hair on their palms. Obscure proto-punk bands and fanzines that only I know about are great fodder for the one called Kugelberg, but sure as shooting every UGLY THINGS reader is well clued in on BACK FROM THE GRAVE so why dredge up recent history?! (And speaking of contributors, dig the snap of longtime Dog Meat head/writer David Laing [note the spelling], who gives us the lowdown on his current fave raves right in the middle of page four! Sheesh, get a gander at that long hair and beard that kinds makes him look like this guy who used to roam about in my cousin's old neighborhood whom this one frowzy fifty-five-ish housewife who certainly was not in approval of long haired beardos always used to call "Jesus"...y'know, he'd be walking down the street and she'd comment in her cranky voice "Oh boy, here comes Jesus _______ again!" Once when another old lady in the 'hood was extremely ill and not all there upstairs this definitely anti-hippoid neighbor made a comment to the sick one that Jesus was walking down the street and the old coot actually thought she was dying and that thee Jesus was coming to collect her!)

Of course what kinda review of UGLY THINGS would be complete w/o mention of the usual fun frolics like the long-running Pretty Thing and Downliner Sect pages (what ever happened to Mick Farren???), not to mention the mega-book-sized articles on the likes of the Masters Apprentices (yeah, I know they hailed from Melbourne Sphinctoria but I'm positive that their bloodlines and you-know-who's do not cross), The Hysterics (of "Won't Get Far" and "Everything's There" fame) not to mention the Q65 interview and other mandatory goodies dealing with rock of a sixties and seventies nature. Especially interesting was the two-page bit on none other than ESP faves Cromagnon which fills us in on a whole lot I sure didn't know about (like their "bubblegum" roots) yet creates more questions to be answered, which I'm sure will be eventually.

Y'know, when Mike Stax croaks and is hauled before St. Peter I'm sure he's gonna hafta come up with a lotta explainin' to so like we all will, but something tells me that he might just get a "pass" because he spent a good chunk of his existence creating what's gotta be the most pertinent fanzine not only to come out of the eighties, but to continue into the new millennium (and who knows...beyond). That's gotta count for something in the long run, though I have the feeling that Stax is gonna hafta wait for quite a long while before he finally passes through those pearlies because, well St. Peter's gotta do some hardcore reading himself, eh?

1 comment:

The Hound said...

If you like RaRa in Haiti you owe it to yourself to read Madison Smart Bell's three novels about the Haitian slave revolt-- All Souls Rising, Master Of The Crossroads and The Stone The Builder Refused. Truly mind boggling reading.