Sunday, April 29, 2012



As you might have noticed from some of my earlier entries, I've been toying around with the new post title application that has been made available on the nifty "create a post" page that I use to peck these things out at you. You know, the ones which presents the title of said blog in a nice, professional fashion (and underlined to boot) 'stead of in large bold type like the way I have been printing 'em for the past few years. (Astute readers will notice an example of both fashions directly above at the opening of this very post!) If you must know I prefer just printing the title of the post with the enlarged bold type, but I gotta admit that this new method of presenting titles (which not only appear in orange lettering but takes you directly to a link in which the post in question pops up 'n nothing but) does have a bit of a professional look to it. And considering how un-professional this blog can get perhaps something accruing a bitta upscale styling would suit it just fine. If you wanna make your own opinions on this subject known feel free to do fact, such a dialogue on whether I should go with the new or stick with the old just might be the kultural event of the year considering how comatose this blog has been o'er the past few months!  (Frankly I'm leaning towards just doin' whatever I feel like when the urge arises or if the post would benefit from the new method...after all, this blog does reflect my own wishy-washy credo which I've been wallowing in my entire life!)

Now that we got the controversial portion of this blog outta the way here's just a little bit of what has been stimulating my stirrups this past week. Only one real "newie" in the batch (if you can call it that) passed by my ears which I gotta say is a rather depressing sign of just how stagnant the entire concept of rockism has become slowly but surely these past thirtysome years. Really, you'd think that here in the 'teens there'd be a serious attempt by independent labels or just plain ol' fans to make some of the better high energy material of the past (and even present!) available to the public at large, but as usual all of us true blue rockist fans have to rely on these days are the long-cherished items wallowing in our collections. Nothing wrong with that but sheesh, I could sure use some fresh blood injected into the standard playlist that sits comfortably by my li'l boom box on my bedroom! Until we hit the next great era of hotcha seventies reissues and exhumations its scouring the web for clues and hints regarding what will be the next great discovery, and of course revving up that ol' obsessive/compulsive disorder in each and every one of us wouldn't hurt one bit either!!!

Quiet Sun-MAINSTREAM CD + book (Expression UK)

Yeahyeahyeah I know....just how many versions of this album do you need in your collection, especially in these cash-strapped times? Well, I must say that I gotta hand it to the record companies for their uncanny abilities to sell old wine in new skins, and as you readers know that old wine sure goes down a whole lot better'n some of the new grog that's being pushed on us these days.

And as far as the new skins go, what a brilliant idea it was to re-package the infamous Quiet Sun album MAINSTREAM in a hard-covered book! And one that comes complete with a detailed group history, rare snaps, reviews from all of the major English weeklies and even a whole slew of rejection slips including a rather nasty one from Muff Winwood at Island, the label that would eventually release this platter if only because said company was now making bountiful moolah with group leader Phil Manzanara's new act Roxy Music and knew a good bandwagon to jump on when they saw it! Frankly, I would love to see some of my favorite albums repackaged this way from WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT to the entire Amon Duul I catalog if only to prove to myself that these platters were as important as I've always believed they were to the canon of rockist expression! And that maybe I wasn't such a doof to think that these and many other platters were the ultimate in teenage throb thrills while everyone else was more concerned with Starcastle and other affronts against the wild and woolly world of rock 'n roll!

Bill MacCormick striking a particularly John Cale-ish pose.
This once perennial import bin stuffer is done well by this edition which not only digs a bit into the group's early days as Pooh and the Ostrich Feather (a teenage combo that deserves to get their own release more sooner 'n later) but Quiet Sun's early-seventies existence before various members found employment in the ranks of Roxy, Matching Mole, This Heat and Gong (!). Boffo layout, packaging and quality make a good compliment to the group's rather encompassing sound which I gotta say is something that'll appeal to everybody from the Canterbury freaks to the new fusion jazz buffs to krautrock nutz (especially Can fans) and even a few punks ("Bargain Classics"). If Tin Huey had made their album in 1976 'stead of '79 it would have sounded a whole lot like MAINSTREAM.

Could go on about the actual album and how it captures the entire import album spectrum of the time without the proggy excess or classical epiphanies (though one set of untrained ears heard the strains of YES in the grooves!), but I won't. Since I've already written this album up in the last issue of my own fateful fanzine I won't bother to repeat myself too much. However, I will add that the entire production is enhanced by the addition of some bonus tracks, some which have appeared on the Phil Manzanara solo album that came out on his Expression label a good decade or so back but you don't have to wade through the duffoid modern numbuhs to get to 'em. These early Quiet Sun demos tend to lean closer to the early-seventies modern English jazz sound (think Nucleus, Soft Machine and Caravan), and just might sound a little too primitive without the synthesizers and Eno's various "treatments". Still, it is an educational experience listening to the early versions of some of the well known MAINSTREAM trackage and studying their development o'er the passage of time which can be just as exhilarating to you as noting the development of various trackage from the Rocket From The Tombs to the Pere Ubu and Dead Boys days!

A def. must pick up even if you're one of those analesque types who still owns your original elpee with the "Jem" import sticker proudly emblazoned on the front. And considering how I as well as you still have that enthrallment regarding rock as a high energy force 'stead of background music to get laid to (considering how none of us would ever go for such unhealthy, perverted extracurricular activities) this new edition would be a most welcome addition to your collection. If this doesn't make its way to the top of the list for "Best reissue of 2012" then my mind is an even bigger sieve'n I originally gave it credit for being!

Here's an oldie courtesy Bob Forward that, through every fault of my own, got plunked right smack dab into the back of the box where I usually keep all of thos spins which, er, don't really excite the hell outta me one bit or perhap even downright reek! Good thing I found it because I'm really gettin' hard up for some new 'n invigorating music to spin this week, and although I have enough moolah to buy out the local FYE it ain't like there's anything there that I'd care to buy out! So it's the oldies from now on, and you must admit that all of these Eno tracks are mighty old you Methuseleh you!

Since most of this is from the latter-Eno-days back when even DOWN BEAT began recognizing him as a fellow traveler, I must admit that I find a good portion of AMBIVALENT COLLECTION about as exciting as talking to Marcel Marceau. Strangely enough I hadn't been "offended" by this enough to wanna rip the disque from the player mid-synthesizer blurb, but still if I didn't say that this was one of the least raucous, toe-tapping platters to grace my player in ages I'd be lying to ya worse'n if I said I liked Anastasia Pantsios.

At least the compilers had the good sense to tack on single sides "Seven Deadly Finns" (classic Eno!) and "Wimoweh" (the beginning of the snooze) on the ass end at a time when they weren't exactly easy to snatch up digitally. Naturally that doesn't mean that the other fifty minutes have anything extreme goin' for 'em! As a writer for BACK DOOR MAN once said (and it's always good to fall back on their 35-year-old musings!), "If being boring was a sin, Eno would go to hell. Genius my left nut!"

I am surprised that I let this 'un go for so long. I thought I reviewed this back during the early years of this blog but a thorough search came up nada so I guess I was (and I shudder to say it) wrong. Judging from the handwriting this probably isn't a Forward burn (I'm guessing Jon Behar?) but it's a fine dub of a platter whose original visage has somehow escaped me. And really, given how my Cleveland rock obsession was goin' on full tilt for years on end I am one person who could use the entire debut WMMS-FM "Coffeebreak Concert" from 1972 starring none other than Peter Laughner and his short-lived jellyroll music group the Original Wolverines!

Mind you, this was recorded in '72 around that time that Laughner was seriously considering foregoing the rock 'n roll route and sticking to his folk and blues repertoire if only because the r/r field seemed so decayed at the time. As Charlotte Pressler said, if it hadn't been for a copy of CREEM that chanced into his paws we might never have heard him in Rocket From The Tombs or Pere Ubu, and one could easily have seen the guy playing the Cleveland folk circuit a la Alex Bevan for years on end had fate twisted itself ever-so-slightly. But whatever Laughner did (at least musically) he did pretty snat-like, and this set is no exception.

Nice, relaxed atmosphere with Laughner chatting it up with some hippie chick hostess and rolling through a set of  oldies and newies, even doing Little Feat's "Willin'" w/o comin' off like a singer/songwriter in the worst ROLLING STONE meaning of the term. Gotta hand it to the guy for being able to crank out music along these lines and still being able to get me to sit through an entire hour of it. That's pure talent, and it ain't because the guy was so universal in his tastes that he could listen to and enjoy the Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen and Laura Nyro as well as the Stooges, Lou Reed and Roxy Music!

Personal highlights just hafta include that longtime weeper "Out on the Town"* which makes me feel as lonely as the schlep that Laughner is singing about meaning HE DOES A PRETTY GOOD JOB OF MAKING YOU WANNA SLIT YOUR THROAT! And while yer at it, the cover of "The Story of My Life" sounds a whole lot better'n anything Brad Kohler would lend ear to while downing a few at some strange bar on open mic night. And how could I forget "Fat City Jive" which was written by former Backdoor Man Terry Hartman, who's now romping across the plain in the Deadbeat Poets along with ex-Blue Ash/Dead Boys member Frank Secich and Infidel John Koury, a guy who I actually used to "hang out with" when I was a younger and even more mentally stunted idiot than I am now (and boy, what he can tell you about that!). Haven't heard a note of their music but hey, I know they have the bop in 'em! With a lineup like that they MUST!

Dunno if this is still available anywhere 'cept via download (if you search hard enuff!). But whatever, this un's a fine hour of the Laughner of late-night bedroom recordings and solo acoustic gigs, and like the guy himself this could bridge both the nostalgic hipsters and punkoids extant. Without any rousing choruses of "Kumbaya" either 'n that's gotta count for somethin'!
Doctors of Madness-INTO THE STRANGE CD (Captain Trip, Japan)

Considerin' how Doctors of Madness Cee-Dees seem to be rather unobtainable at this time this weirditie (again, from the back of the stack) did come in rather handy. Handy for what I don't know since I consider this act as some sorta missing link between the English art/prog/glam scene of Roxy Music and the fartzier moments of the late-seventies new wave, but I gotta say that I was enticed. Sure Richard Strange can get on my nerves after awhile and the absence of Urban Blitz's violin strips down the sound mightily, but at least the final strains of import bin excitement can be experienced w/relative ease and it ain't like I wanna rip this one from the laser launch pad in abject disgust. Good enough seventies ambience here that should bolster the illusions I maintain about the seventies being the last great age in rockism and don't believe anything else!!!

MYSTERY SOLVED (kinda sorta) DEPARTMENT: you all know 'bout my interest in finding out and somehow documenting a good portion of the more "obscure" groups to have fluttered to the En Why See clubs in the seventies and beyond even to the point where I might actually "reduce myself" by attempting to locate information on various acts whose modus operandi fall way outside the at-times limited scope that this blog roams about in. I do it not only to satisfy my own curiosity but for self-important HISTORICAL purposes...after all, if you want to know what underground rock was like in 1975 you have to look to 1970 for a li'l background, and you ain't gonna know where you're going if you haven't known where you've been already, or something like that. Besides, I might somehow be finding a new hook to sink my psyche into, although for the most part I don't think I'd ever find it in an act who draws their energies more from the likes of Emerson Lake and Palmer than they do Iggy and the Stooges.

Yeah, I know that my search usually ends up with recordings by the likes of the Movies who really don't fill the bill, but I get the feeling that the odds are with me that the next few "finds" just might have some sorta zest and zing to 'em that'll make 'em top turntable/tape/Cee-Dee-Are spins for quite some time. And surprisingly enough, the latest in my search for recorded rarities has come not from a rare cassette or obscure album, but from youtube itself which only makes me wonder what OTHER strange under-the-radar recordings might be lurking on that site, probably featuring nothing but the same shot of the obscure band starin' away at'cha as their sole studio effort careens outta the speakers and into your psyche...

It's not that I had great hopes for today's group in question who roamed about using the moniker Jatra...after all, their name conjures up memories of seventies Inner Karmic Eastern Mysticism that the underground funnies used to endlessly poke fun at, and the Fred Kirby review of a gig at the old Cafe Wha? mentioned a strong Mahavishnu Orchestra influence which didn't exactly have me exuding pangs o' lust the way a good Stooges ref would. But hey, considering how a whole buncha people from Ken Highland to some guy writing in an old ish of OP mentioned how strong a Mahavishnu influence the original MX-80 Sound exuded (and I LOVE those surviving tracks that popped up not only on the BLOOMINGTON I sampler but the instrumental collection DAS LOVE BOAT) plus the fact that a NEW YORK ROCKER scribe described personal En Why faves Manster as having drawn their energies equally from McLaughlin and company along with ol' Frank Z, maybe there was something in those esoteric fusionists' music that I was missing. Maybe not, but at least there were at least a couple of groups who could take the spiritual slosh of Mahavishnu and actually do something underground and interesting with it, and since I'm grasping at straws to get some electric voltage into my system at this time I'm gonna grasp at any straws that may be out there I'll tell ya!

Anyway the hook that Jatra stuck into me was due to the group's two night gig (12/27-28) at the 1975 CBGB Christmas Festival playing on a bill with the Kane Brothers Blues Band (featuring future Swans drummer Jonathan Kane...check out the Bros' "reunion" CD which is good hard urban white blues that doesn't sound hippified in the least), glamsters Somebody Good and Orchestra Luna. And since former Shirts lead vocalist Annie Golden said that there were a whole load of Mahavishnu-influenced groups playing CBGB during the '76/'77 season I guess that Jatra were but one of 'em, which kinda makes me wanna know who the others just happened to be outta curiosity if anything. Well, they sure looked the part what with their well-groomed John McLaughlin-styled short hair and white clothing which gives 'em the same look your average AV Club member attending a Save the Whales meeting might've had at the time, but I know you're asking...did Jatra transcend their pious planes and deliver on the jams being kicked out? Were Jatra yet another MX-80 Sound or Manster, only with a clean living slate? Am I really THAT desperate that I'd even bother fishing about for information on some fusion act that would probably only rate "* 1/2" in DOWN BEAT had an album actually been released way back in them bad ol' days? Whatta buncha stoopid questions!

Before I go on any further I must clarify things...the four Jatra tracks found on youtube (the first which can be espied above...said viewing will lead you to the other three) were actually recorded in '78 which makes me wonder what these guys were doing in the three years since their perhaps only CBGB appearance. And while I'm at it, I'm also wondering what happened to Jatra founder Omar Mesa, the Cuban guy who had left funksters Mandrill to form this group but is nowhere to be found on these recordings, not to mention one of the other members I recall reading about (a femme cellist) from the aforementioned VARIETY writeup! Seems that by the time these live numbers were recorded the act had been reduced to a quintet with two guitars, bassist, drummer and a soprano saxophonist, and as you all know I really loathe soprano saxophones so that didn't bode well for my chances of liking these guys. I mean geekoid spirituality might be one thing, but SOPRANO SAXOPHONE??? ech!

And frankly, I gotta say that any group who would perform a song whose melody was "created" by Sri Chinmoy is probably still upset that the Comet Kahoutek didn't usher in a thousand years of lotus petal peace 'n love! But to be totally upfront and honest about it (which is the last thing you would have ever expected from me), I actually though that Jatra had their moments of power and might even with those Indian-esque scales and karmik gooshiness just busting out all over. At least I found these numbers palatable once I got the images of seventies Whole Earth Catalog relevancy outta my mind and thought of it as driving enough jazz rock that, with a li'l testosterone pumped into it, coulda been MX-80 Sound or maybe even Von Lmo! Anyway I've posted the above for you to try, and if you think they're too spiritual for your jaded self (like I tend to do even during their more fiery moments) then so be it. If anything, Jatra prove that there was at least one group a Mahavishnu freak could go see if their karmic whooziz needed a li'l spiritual realignment and John McLaughlin just happened to be out of town. They also prove that Debbie Harry was certainly right when she surmised in the pages of NME that only about 40% or so of the groups that played CBGB were indeed punk rock 'n the rest, stuff like this!

(And as you probably expected, this li'l writeup also served as a come on for people who might have info, tapes, snaps and whatnot of various En Why See rarities of the past that I wouldn't mind knowing about. So like, if you were in one of the many short-lived groups that wooshed by on the mid-seventies [and beyond] New York underground scene [and other scenes to be honest about it] and would like your act to be remembered by more'n yourself and the drummer's crotchety next door neighbor howzbout sending some info, recordings, and maybe even snaps my way? And if you do happen to be one of these people willing to impart some bonafeed rock history my way, please don't do that ol' cocktease act on me! I'm tiring of you so-called "supporters" who write in with emails and phone numbers willing to tell me all about the various obscuros you had contact with physically/socially/sexually for all I know, then leave me colder'n a buck-toothed bride at the other words,  IF YOU AIN'T SERIOUS, DON'T WASTE YOUR [OR MY] TIME!!!! So be it, and for all of you TRUE BLUE fans willing to donate to the cause, what's keeping you??? [Other'n my personal address etc. which you can obtain from a linkup to a post for BLACK TO COMM back issues...see above...or by leaving your pertinent info as a comment which I will not publish for safety's sake 'n all that...])
*w/o the reference to the "Harbor Inn," that hangout where Laughner took the kid down to but the cops they wouldn't let him in... and the place where the Electric Eels would act fey in order to start up a good fight with some unsuspecting blue collar type!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


"When I wasn't working on the road, coaching Richie's baseball team or fishing for wild brown trout in one of the small limestone streams that flowed nearby, I'd take long walks through the woods and fields behind my house..."

Mike Hudson was the Anti-Clark. Kent, that is.

For a period during the Mach II (or III, possibly IV?) era of Cleveland's mighty Pagans, he toured and worked as a reporter at a small Western PA newspaper. But instead of being a champion of good a la Clark Kent, Hudson (whose body may not have been impregnable to bullets but was impervious to seemingly any combination of pills, dope or kryptonite margaritas) spread more noisy mischief than a dozen Mr. Mxyzptlks while making merry rock 'n roll anarchy on the road.

Hudson would then return to his typewriter at a newspaper office on virtually no sleep and still, with enough residual chemicals in him to bring down a charging rhino, proceed to tap out an op-ed piece on the local lady's auxiliary.

DIARY OF A PUNK (subtitled LIFE AND DEATH OF THE PAGANS) is a swel read. Sure, you get your share of distant-purple-majesty Cleveland scene history/gossip, first hand recollections of punk rock surfacing like a Plesiasaur from the brackish waters of the Cuyahoga, even the stats on all the releases for those of you scoring at home.
This guy...he wrote it!

But what I keep coming back to, what I can barely wrap my brain around, is Hudson's latter day schizophrenic existence as punk rock frontman and taxpaying citizen. Sure, Iggy put away his share of substances (and your share too) but he didn't have to bang out an above-the-fold story on deadline, or come up with a bunt sign for his kid's little league team. This requires a bit more effort than sprawling in a couch and discharging the blood from your syringe at the ceiling tiles.

Oh yeah. On that walk in the woods behind his house, Hudson dispatched a dangerous feral dog with the firearm he always carried with him. After reading this memoir, I'd have given him odds-on chances of offing the beast with his bare hands.

They don't make punks like these Cleveland punks anymore, and you know the Lois Lanes of the world go for the Anti-Clark every time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Boy wotta quandary! What do you do when you come up against something that all of the critics 'n snobs praise to the sky...y'know, the record albums, the moom pitchers or the musicals or whatever there is out there that martooni and olive types of people eat up to the point of vomitorium time, and you just happen to like the same snot as well? Well, you could feel embarrassed about it and act apologetic whilst in front of your pals who like the """really""" """""hip""""" stuff yer supposed to like, or you can just shaddup and keep your rather sick feelings to yourself. Or you can suck it up and just not be intimidated by what others think about your own tastes and artistic values just like you hold it in while the usual breed of manure minds make derogatory comments about your "lifestyle". Like Brad Kohler once said, "you don't have to hate the Marx Brothers just because Dick Cavett likes them!" But as for me well, I've always been needlessly self-conscious ever since I entered grade school (a traumatic experience I understand some children are lucky enough not to endure), so what would I do in this case...put down a certain item in order to present my more caustic side to the world or wax positively about it in order to prove that I can be just as shallow and trendoid as the usual inner circle of "right" opinions and "right" tastes nebbishes that we've been inundated with ever since the invention of the chattering classes oh so long ago?

Well, in the case of this long-lost legend at least I have Greg Prevost to fall back on, since he did an entire series rundown of JOHNNY STACCATO in the final ish of his long-gone and lamented OUTASITE fanzine and who can argue with that being a watermark of hotcha tastes! So hey, I can forget if that short lived series was a "critic's choice" as they used to say, because I don't have associate my tastes one iota with theirs in order to boost my own weak-kneed and flabby credo one bit! I can fall back on Prevost's stature and reputation instead, and if I'm gonna be a class "A" cop-out stick my finger to the wind to see which way it blows go with the flow kinda guy it better be Prevost's flow 'stead of some faceless En Why See snoot who don't believe anything unless he read it in THE VILLAGE VOICE or one of those new alternative weeklies that've been taking away that paper's steam for night on twenty years.

All funnin' aside, I gotta say that STACCATO was a series that got me hooked back when the Trio network was runnin' this one-season wonder a good decade back, and now that the entire series is within my pinkies (thanks to a Christmas present sent courtesy of who else but Kohler!) I can spin an episode or two whenever the pre-hippie boss jones hits me hard. And given the sick sack shape of television programming on all fronts these days the feeling hits me more often 'n not, so all I gotta say is why bother with THE SHIELD when I got a real wowzer of a tough guy program like this to eyeball?

You already know that John Cassavetes plays it nice'n ethnically greasy in these episodes as the piano playing private eye who jazzes it up at Waldo's (owned by Eduardo Cianelli, whom my father recognized whilst not knowing who Cassavetes was one iota!) while taking on cases or just getting the stuffing beat outta him whether he's on a case or not. Guess that comes with the profession, but despite being dragged through situations that would kill just about any normal human being Staccato comes out on top with that cool swagger and style that typifies what masculinity used to mean before all of those girly men types like Alan Alda began cluttering up the set. Adventure seekers and even sicko's'd do smart by picking this up in order to see the series of sordid capers and clear glass mazes Staccato finds himself in on a weekly basis, and (get this!), although the programmers hadda endure those "evil" and "censorial" "Standards and Practices" which were most certainly evident of a closed minded, racist culture, these episodes could get more creepier and sordid'n most of the cop/PI stuff seen on anything goes cable these days if you can believe it! Goes to show you that if you know how to work around a situation, you can have all the power in the world you so desire!

Nice ambiance and really boffo stories that work well even when they get into that social consciousness bag. Something which doesn't reek as much as it did in the seventies because in the late-fifties people were too naive to actually BELIEVE any of it. So when you see the episode about the Puerto Rican boxer the sentiments remain strictly pre-White Guilt Overload, and the one saga with Juano Hernandez as an old jazzbo caught up in a murder ain't gonna be bleedin' any white guilt outta ya like it woulda by the late-sixties. There's even a psychological thriller in the guise of "Solomon" where a flippoid Elisha Cook Jr. plays a lawyer out to defend an equally nutzo Cloris Leachman on a murder rap dragging Staccato right into the middle of it by asking him to do a li'l perjuring. Not only that, but you'll catch a whole load of stars both going up, down and stuck in neutral givin' it their all, like Michael Landon being able to make it through an entire production without whining, or Dean Stockwell as a slasher who's about to end it all early in the morn but gets talked out of it much to your dismay. Even Mary Tyler Moore pops up and boy does she come off like the bitch she reportedly is in real life...they even make her look so terrifying in that final scene where they give her the upward light shot like they did Rondo Hatton to the point where you wonder why you ever bothered having those dirty thoughts about her like you did back inna seventies!

Maybe the show only ran 27 episodes because Staccato became too punch drunk from all of those knockouts his noggin endured throughout the show's run. But at least these are up and runnin' for us boffo fans of Eisenhower/Kennedy-era programming that never seemed dated to me, mainly because I still believe that 1957-1966 was the prime era for everything on all fronts! And if you don't believe me like...ya deserve to exist (I won't say "live") in 2012. And man do I feel sorry for ya!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

As you might have expected, news of the passing of Dick Clark last Wednesday did bring out at least a little of the sad 'n gloomy feelings in me, if only because his death goes to show us all the ravages of time passing right before our already blodshot weary eyes and just how old most of us readers have become even if...deep in our minds...we still see ourselves as toddlers rompin' around the house with Tootsietoy in hand. Fifties television pioneer, sixties innovator and seventies/eighties fixture, Clark was a guy who certainly had a whole load of thumbs stuck in various pies from his long-running AMERICAN BANDSTAND to that mid-sixties after-school classic WHERE THE ACTION IS, and I'm sure avid early-sixties television fans remember his Saturday night DICK CLARK SHOW as well as the short-lived DICK CLARK'S WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT with some sorta ennui-like nostalgic fondness. (I even recall a fun Saturday afternoon when I was around twelve watching Clark doin' a bitta acting as a high school teacher in BECAUSE THEY'RE YOUNG, a flick which really satisfied me on a whole slew of early-sixties levels that seemed so enticing right in the middle of hippie relevance!)

Of course the guy was plastered all over television in the boffo seventies and not-so eighties not only as the host of THE $10/20,000 PYRAMID but on a variety of nostalgia specials and even a movie of the week or two. In fact you couldn't escape Clark's perennial grin from those blooper shows he did with Ed McMahon (yet another refugee from the early-sixties ABC afternoon schedule) and other projects that seemed to pop up here and there.  Maybe you too recall that obscure game show he hosted that I remember channel 21 in Youngstown airing just-pre sign off at two inna morning during the late-eighties! And yeah, I know that Clark had more of his share of detractors and that a lotta the criticism he endured was perhaps earned (I'm sure you remember the story about the time Screamin' Jay Hawkins needed a favor from Clark to promote his latest single and Clark replied "Screamin' Jay Hawkins? Never heard of him!" before slamming down the receiver), but sheesh, I just can't stop thinkin' of the boss sixties and afternoon tee-vee and rock 'n roll being marketed for the same audience that was eating up THREE STOOGES and junk food when I think about Dick Clark. It's like they were all inseparable in their own consumerist yet fun cheezy way. 

Of course I'm remembering the Dick Clark of an early-sixties variety, a species that probably wasn't that rockist to begin with considering how AB was always a program that rolled with the trends (translation: it was as good as the music it was promoting). However, although a lotta condemnation towards Clark and his geekier aspects is due...after all he was plugging that late-fifties Philly sound where wopadago teen idols overtook the more rabid aspects of what had been rock 'n roll...ya gotta admit that at least he was out here promoting Link Wray when hardly anyone else in the biz'd give the great guitarist the time o' day. And who else was making sure those hotcha Epic and Swan Wray sides were being heard on a national level 'stead of being promoted market by market! Clark was also there for the mid-sixties garage band scene always coming off like the typical grownup while interviewing some rough 'n tumble upstarts, and yeah I know he was about as much a part of the problem as the music itself throughout the seventies and eighties (I remember reading that his favorite recording artists of that era were Ambrosia!) I gotta admit that it was fun watching the guy interviewing everybody from Steely Dan (mentioning that their name came from a "device" in the William Burroughs novel NAKED LUNCH) to the Fleshtones and whatever new group was out there trying to break into that big Hollywood showbiz circus that eats 'em up and spits 'em out.

Unfortunately I missed the infamous Public Image Ltd. appearance as well as most of the very rare highlights of the show's seventies/eighties days, but that's because the local ABC station opted out of running AB since the mid-seventies, preferring to air CREATURE FEATURE in its place. Snowy viewings via channel 23 in Akron were in order when there was something that did seem to capture my fancy, though after I finally got it sorted out in my ape-like brain that the sixties weren't coming back I must admit that those moments were few and far between. Either way, I'm sure I'd be in store for a lotta horror no matter which channel I watched, albeit of a vastly differing variety.

But here's to you Dick, since you along with Mike Wallace were but two of the few remaining remnants of my earliest memories who just happened to deep six within a few weeks of each other. Yeah, you were always a geek and presided over the growth and death of the once-vibrant Top 40 scene, but at least you were there on those snowy winter days when I needed to take a break from my typically adolescent comic book obsessions. Gotta admit that being a doofus kid who'd actually sit through appearances by El Chicano and Redbone because there was nothing else to do might've been a sign of a latent mental deficiency on my part, but somehow in my own suburban consumerist, junk food ranch house upbringing way I gotta say that moments like those just hadda've been some of the happiest ones in my life. Gotta thank you for that, and that's something I thought I'd never do.
This weekend's platters come (once again) courtesy of Bill Shute, a guy who along with Paul McGarry has been keeping me in Cee-Dee-Are burn heaven for a good portion of the past few months. Given the overall lack of filthy lucre heading my way as well as the dearth of hotcha sounds and releases that I most certainly would look forward to if only somebody out there'd release 'em, let's just say these "Care Packages" satisfy me just as much as it did those starving kids in Africa you used to see on teevee commercials spooning up that white lumpy stuff with those big wooden spoons*. Once again a big humongous thanks to you guy who I gotta admit really have kept this blog afloat for a much longer time'n had I hadda rely on my own resources, or ancient platters wasting away in my record collection for that matter!

Ornette Coleman-CHAPPAQUA SUITE 2-CD-R BURN (originally on CBS Japan)

Although I am really grateful to Mr. Shute for his selection of fine wares for me to lend ear to, sometimes I wonder if he really thinks that I am the doof who wouldn't already own some of the platters he deems to burn for me in the first place! Take this 'un f' I've had this rarity from the annals of Ornette Coleman's vast discography in my collection ever since I felt it wise to dig up the extra yen for a then-recent Japanese copy, but Bill has to go 'n INSULT me by sending this my way as if I were too stoopid to latch onto it inna first place! Well, now I have two of 'em to keep my warm 'n toasty on those cold winter nights, but sheesh ya's think that Bill'd shoot me something that I really could use, like Rebecca and her Sunnybrook Farmers or even Lester Roadhog Moran...something for me to really sink my gums into if only to prove what an open-minded and all encompassing snootish rock crit type I can be just like the rest of those azzoles who write for THE VILLAGE VOICE!

But hey, it's always great to give CHAPPAQUA another listen and I gotta thank Bill for at least nudging it into my psyche since my "real" copy is probably buried in one of those Cee-Dee boxes stored in the closet where I should be keeping my shoozies! Recorded for the phony underground movie of the same name**, this was rejected by director Conrad Rooks because he believe it would overpower the action taking place on the screen. And although one might beg to differ I can see his point. Classic mid-sixties Coleman here with his trio (Izenzon and Moffett) along with Pharoah Sanders helping out as well as an orchestra that adds just the right amt. of tension to Coleman's brilliant free play whether it's needed or not. Plenty of soundscaping here, going from Coleman's typical "skippy" playing to all out crisis and it all settles down pretty snat if you're a fan and follower of these obscure Coleman albums that always seemed to pop up and disappear w/o warning. If you go for such other Coleman double-disc rarities such as WHO'S CRAZY and LIVE IN LONDON this does snuggle in between 'em somewhat cozily.
Various Artists-BARRY 7's CONNECTORS 2 CD-R 

This who ever knew it existed in the first place burn features material from the same sound libraries that were used to pow'rful extent by the Italian Film Industry way back in the low-budget sixties. And if you think this is all gonna be accordion pastafazoola yut-ta-da-da music you're gonna be wrong as usual...some of this is sneaky spy trackage while others sound potently Romanesque. Still others have a sort of decadent classiness to 'em to the point where they sound like instrumental outtakes from Roxy Music's COUNTRY LIFE album. You can just see the scenes that this music would undoubtedly be used for appearing right in your bean...Hercules saving the day, the sexy spy latching onto the microfilm, the wild brawl over some winsome lass and (best of all) THE BOUNCING TITS!!! Yes, have a dirty movie party in your obviously sick mind by spinning this and thumbing through whatever old issue of CLUB you'll be able to dig outta a good fifty years of pornography collecting!
The Jesus and Mary Chain-THE SOUND OF SPEED (Japanese version w/diff. tracks)

Here's an act that really got shoved to the back of my record collection worse than Rosa Parks, and for the life of me I never thought I'd ever give the Jesus and Mary Chain another listen to as long as I lived. Too eighties y'know, and although these guys were perhaps the last gasps of a sixties/seventies aesthetics that I continue to hold near and dear to my heart I gotta admit that the dinge of alterna-hype ginchiness was enough to have me smelling more'n a li'l foulness floating about. I get that way sometimes, though we should all know that sometimes it is hard to seeks out what is good 'n high energy and what is typical nth-generation washout. Using your own instincts to figure out what's what on your own can get to be a rather embarrassing, if costly endeavor which is why """""I""""" was put on the face of this earth! Y'know, to sort it all out for people like you who just can't be trusted to make your own decisions let you end up with hundreds of Antony and the Johnsons discs on your hands!

'n so here's this burnt surprise which has re-introduced me to the Chain after all these years and hey, I gotta admit that listening to this was a most pleasant experience. Don't have the non-Japanese version to compare this to, but for the most part THE SOUND OF SPEED is good enough straight-ahead late-sixties pop experimentalism that for once is untainted by the grossness of eighties squeaky-clean production or patented post-punk ideals.

Gotta say that the acoustic version of "Teenage Lust" (do I hafta tell ya it ain't the MC5 "chestnut"?) was perhaps too much in the false angst mode that has affected too many of these eighties post-whatever acts, but the general drive and force to be found here is (gosh I hate to admit it!) quite admirable. It's great listening to something in a rock mode recorded within the past thirty years that doesn't sound as if it's being pushed on those pseudo-radicals who made up your local high school phony intellectual society, eh?
Archie Shepp-THE NEW YORK CONTEMPORARY FIVE (originally on Storyville)

I'd see this 'un plugged in a whole number of jazz catalogs over the year but never gave the time of day to picking it up. And it ain't no surprise that this '63 side's a must hear which kinda makes me wish that Bill would have sent it to me back in the eighties so's I coulda spent a larger portion of my life listening to it!. More early free jazz (or avant garde if you prefer) laid down right around the time folks like Shepp were taking it all into even more stellar realms than the originators of the style were doing way back inna early fifties.

Shepp is in top notch form here playing pretty angular alongside such equally innovative wowzers as Don Cherry, John Tchicai and J. C. Moses (anyone out there got a bio on bassist Don Moore?) and with only a little stretch of the ears can you hear the angry, sad and soul-wrenching music that he would be shaking the jazz world with within the span of a few years. Oh yeah, you can still hear the anger, but right now it's just developing into the total scronk abandon that used to get people writing in to DOWN BEAT complaining that it was just a buncha guys farting through their horns and that only immature rock 'n roll freaks could enjoy it even to the barest minimum! Well, those readers really had it on the ball even then, dontcha think?

Mighty good fire music you got there Shepp...kinda makes me wish you weren't the rabid communist type just so's I could enjoy it a whole lot more knowing you're not a mouthpiece for the bloodiest thing to hit the twentieth century and beyond!
IN CLOSING, I thought I'd do you all well by linking up this particular piece from the always interesting TAKI'S TOP DRAWER site. I did it if only to remind alla you "ex" punks out there that maybe that radical left youth of yours which only turned you into yet another New Deal Liberal type wasn't exactly the proper way for you to evolve no matter how much Tim Yohannon told you different. Yeah, you all know that I personally can't stand its author Gavin McInnes especially when he gets into his smug, Scots-Irish "If there was a God I'd be a member of his chosen people" credo, but considering how a lotta the punks that I remember in the past have since developed into such a carbon copy of the old fifties/sixties type of liberal to the point where most of 'em might as well have been Dave Berg (with bald spots where their mohawks used to be) I gotta admit that this particular piece of his was whatcha'd call downright exhilarating. And frankly, I must say that a lotta the points that McInnes made could very well have appeared in just about any self-righteous fanzine of the past with perhaps a few tweeks here 'n there, though I have the strange feeling that the crew at MAXIMUM ROCK 'N  ROLL and FLIPSIDE mighta passed on it in favor of some hotcha Scene Report from Nairobi or even a piece on sugarcane harvesting time in Cuba! Gotta keep them priorities straight, y'know...
* Always wondered what that goop tasted like...I used to think that maybe on one week it came in cheddar cheese and the next in peanut butter or something equally weirdo to the mind of your atypical eight-year-old, and all of those African youth were just as curious as I was as to what the new flavor was gonna be just like kids my age used to get all excited about free toy surprises in boxes of cereal!.Hey, when you're a kid that's how your mind works, and frankly some of us still got noggins that operate in that fashion which come to think of it's gotta be an attribute in these Attention Deficit Disorder/Asperger's Syndrome-laden days!

**At least "phony" according to Parker Tyler via his infamous UNDERGROUND FILMS book, and given some of the critera he uses for "good" underground vs. "bad" perhaps he does have a point. You may beg to differ and I might too, 'cept that the only scene I've caught from this was the ones with the Fugs playin' and I'm in no position to state whether or not Mr. Tyler was right or wrong in his critique. Wishy-washiness was always one of my better attributes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I guess since the editor of this fanzine, one John Bialas if you must know, is an actual fan and follower of this very blog it would be appropriate to begin this "Fanzine Fanabla" with a review of one of his wares. And as far as wares go BOOGIE #7 is one pretty Vesuvian endeavor in the realm of seventies fanzines, encapsulating everything that you liked about the early-seventies personalist reads from SPOONFUL to NIX ON PIX along with the crazoid fanzine mafia mentality that went with it. Considering what a primoid (if action-packed) fanzine this was when it first entered into the world of rock fandom a few years earlier this seventh issue is what I would call a fanzine at it's peak even if it wasn't professionally printed like BACK DOOR MAN or DENIM DELINQUENT (the two standards as to what a seventies rock fanzine shoulda been!) or filled with loads of discographies and collectors notes and musings as to the difference in pic sleeves across the globe. It was just one of those hotcha under-the-counter reads that, perhaps due to its Southern origins, had a nice "what the hey" pace to it the kind you got plenty outta from CAN'T BUY A THRILL as well as a few other south of the Mason Dixon Line pubs whose titles escape me at this moment.

You can tell that it's a real seventies fanzine if the then-omnipresent Carl Biancucci did a few illustrations for it. And he not only did one for the innards but the subscription page which really does attest to BOOGIE's overall value! Not only that, but there's loads of other fanzine dingdongisms loaded in here to prove the vitality and run-off-at-the-typewriter mania that was part of the cause of seventies rock fandom...Gene Sculatti contributed a hotcha piece on bubblegum music (heavy on the Archies!), while Eddie Flowers discusses some of his first rock 'n roll record buys which I'm sure molded him into the fine and upstanding citizen that he most truly is today!

The father of it all Lester Bangs also clocks in with TWO offerings, one a double review of the infamous SAVAGE YOUNG WINOS platter by Mogen David and his... (a longplayer that I just might dig up and re-review for the digital age) and the legendary if impossible to find EXPLOSIVES collection of Etiquette-era Sonics trackage that Mark Shipper bragged about releasing on this very blog just this past Monday! Gotta say that I was surprised regarding Lester's affirmation of the latter because, as a caption to a snap of the Sonics in Lester's punk rock history article in NEW WAVE MAGAZINE said, he thought they "blew". Lester's other contribution is of historical significance as the exchange between him and Canned Heat manager Jim Taylor just might've been the kick that got the guy fired from ROLLING STONE after years of Jann Wenner having to hide from the wrath of Buddy Miles thanks to more'n a few unkind words from the likes of Mr. B. Taylor's note is unintentionally hilarious in its self-conscious smugness, while Bangs' reply is syrupy in the extreme, bend-over-backwards condescending probably without Taylor even realizing that he's being given the ol' hand jerk. (I've come across the same responses to some of my own screeding, though I always played it cool if ignorant!) No wonder Bangs got the ol' heave ho even if they let the guy in to review Lydia Lunch's QUEEN OF SIAM right at the dawn of the new decade.

Other niceties include a Scott Duhamel piece which is legendary only if because the original draft lyrics of the future Gizmos hit "Mean Screen" are presented for the first time (Eddie Flowers added at least one more verse) as well as CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS editor Crescenzo Capece Jr. writing about the time he went to a videotaping of DON KIRSCHNER'S ROCK CONCERT starring the Raspberries amongst other seventies hits and way-off misses. Of course the typical book 'n record reviews are here and are so plentiful as well, and I gotta say that editor Bialas does his own fair share of keeping the seventies Golden Age of Rock Scribbling a goin' with his own contributions including a good 'un regarding where one could get some good pizza in the deep South Mississippi/Louisiana area. Some real fanzoid observations were to be made regarding the subject at hand, including this prize offering I thought I'd share with you:
Short Order-More on that fine Jackson, Miss. institution, the Mayflower. According to informed sources, this upstanding eating house of the culinary arts is run by an identical pair of Greek peabrain nitwits talkin' in bilingual abba babba ubangi conversation. Bad enough they in cahoots with the nigrah native brothers mini-bamboos. They also ain't got no learnin'. They still got 3 bathrooms: WHITE MENS, WHITE WOMENS, AND COLORDS (without the E).
And if you'd expect any publication pro or fan to even attempt to publish anything as primal as this in the here and now, I'm afraid you're probably still waiting for the next issue of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE to make it's way to your door!
I have a few issues of the Floridian fanzine USELESS INFORMATION here in the abode though for some odd reason I never did write about 'em. I forget if this is because I just didn't think that much of 'em, or because the day I got 'em I had a horrible time at the salt mines only to come home to even more degradation and I just filed whatever ish I had (I believe the one with Marc Bolan on the cover) into the storage bin because I associated it with that horrible time in my life that I certainly did not want to remember! That has happened with a number of fanzines and recordings as well, and when the things do get dug up during one of my frequent excavations you can bet that all of the sad and depressing feelings just rush right back to me like flash! But this third ish of USELESS INFORMATION is such a surprise that I'm definitely gonna hafta find whatever other ishes I have if only to give 'em a clear-headed dissection, old-timey feelings be damned. I always go for these nice, low budget fanzines even if the information to be found therein was scooped from something someone's brother read in some big name mag 'n the editor just happened to hear about it third-hand. Just as long as there's that hot fanzine feeling that sorta mirrored the same sense of wonderment I had romping through record bins and magazines trying to discover that hot flash that was gonna make me a better man with their high energy music. And since I still get that way sometimes you can say that fanzines like this 'un sure do come in handy!

This third ish features a tribute to the recently-departed Elvis Presley on the cover. Even though it's one of those typical if predictable obituaries that comes off like it was written after whoever did the thing copped the live coverage of his death on ABC and took notes during the panel discussion I gotta say I liked it probably because whoever wrote it coulda slammed Elvis in typical seventies sarcastic SNL/NATIONAL LAMPOON fashion like I mighta been wont to do at the time. But they did Elvis good even if the Clash did say there was no Elvis in '77, and y'know they were right! The MC5 piece was another hot one even if it reads like most every other MC5 piece done in these punkoid fanzines. At least the piece that appeared in the first issue of DENIM DELINQUENT was written when the group was still around and the rock populace had pretty much written 'em off...I mean, at the time the MC5 sure needed the career boost and you know they weren't gettin' it from most of the rock press of the day which was more concerned with James Taylor's upcoming adenoid operation!

But I'll read just about anything regarding the Five that these seventies 'zines'd print if only because there seems to be an aw shucks fannish attitude about 'em that I still can't get enough of. Add a few record reviews (LUST FOR LIFE), writeups of the current fanzine crop and of course a report on local new wave act the Snails, and for 75 pennies you really woulda been doing a good job at spending your money wisely back inna late-seventies when that much money could get you a whole lot further'n it can now. This read, which despite only running 12 pages, has enough of the late-seventies spirit in it to send you straight to your local record shop to scour through the latest stack of yellow vinyl Stiff singles that were up for sale. And not only that, but among the contributors is one Richard Barone, who as this issue states was planning on moving to the NYC area and well, I think you know the rest of the story by now!
Here's a fanzine that really made me happy! I mean it, like happy in the way you were when you were fifteen or sixteen and got one of those Warner Brothers "loss leader" albums in the mail, perhaps ZAPPED or that one with side four filled with various Mothers and Fugs-related gooch that you really wanted to hear, only by the time you got interested in 'em all of the Fugs material was hopelessly out of print. Or better yet happy in that way when it's November and you got a day off from work which you spent cleaning the gutters, raking the leaves and giving the yard a final mowing for the season and you're dog tired and it's gettin' kinda chilly and windy out, but you don't care because you're finished with all of this yardwork for a good five or so months! Then you go inside and slip on a hot side and read some old fanzines just brimming fulla that seventies snide punk attitude you just can't get no more and in some deeply inside mooshy way it still feels like maybe them days were still lingerin' about! Yeah, I know that you smarter 'n the rest of us cosmo readers don't do yardwork or sully up your hands like I do, but perhaps the feeling of some sorta seasonal accomplishment coupled with the expectation of an evening of rockist stimulation means a whole lot more to me than it does to you! Or let me put it into language you can know that feeling you get after a day at the office and you just can't wait to get home to your martinis and back issues of THE NATION. Yeah, THAT feeling!

Columbus Ohio's  TEENAGE RAMPAGE's yet another one of those seventies fanzines that I can get all excited and jump up and down about just like I did back when I was beginning to collection these self-cranked rags in earnest. Really good stuff here! Imagine a lower-budget BACK DOOR MAN or DENIM DELINQUENT shrunk down to eight pages w/o any pix and at-times faded printing that's hard to read, but with a whole lotta that seventies energy that only came from a deep obsession with old Velvet Underground records and a spirit inspired by too many remaindered issues of CREEM. And of course a buncha writers led by a Ricochet who really seem to go for the hard-edged, high energy and fun rock and roll sounds that seemed to be more than a soundtrack for a midwestern suburban lifestyle that' seems to have wafted off into some outer reaches ne'er to return.

This ish's numbered #13, yet I don't think it actually was considering how there are only three back issues (0, -1 and 1) available at the time. Who knows, maybe they still are available and maybe there were actually fourteen previous issues these guys put out, but if they're as fun as this 'un then I know there's still a whole lot of good reading left for me to discover. And although this 'un MIGHT look like just another quickie crudzine crankout just like the kinds that usedta clutter up thei eighties fanzine sphere, I can tell ya first hand that it sure ain't the reeker one could expect!

#13 starts off on a sad note: "The Castaway Kid, co-founder and spark of T.R., is gone. Gone fer good. Too many cars that were unsafe at any speed for the way Castaway drove." The obituary goes on..."I didn't know Castaway for very long. He was the only person around who cared about the Stooges, the MC-5, about finding a new record that made it possible to get through another week. The only person around who stil cared about the stupid majesty of those electric guitars. But the hell with it. Castaway didn't look back and we ain't either. Alien, one of Castaway's friends who's never written a thing in his life 'cause he didn't think he had to has joined up and is ready to kick out the jams. Bye bye Castaway. Rock it out." Sheesh, I didn't even know the guy existed until now and I miss him!

But the total abandon of TEENAGE RAMPAGE rolls on, complete with a note about Ricochet forming his own rock group the Strokes (perhaps the third group to use that name since I spotted a NYC-area one handling that moniker around 1980) which featured Ricochet on rhythm guitar and vocals as well as "Bad" Brad T. on bass guitar and vocals, lead guitar and drummer desperately needed. "Combining the two lead singers whose two favorite bands are the Dictators and the Beach Boys should be interesting (and violent). No heavy metal dunces or country rockers need apply. An idea of who Elliot Murphy is would be healthy."

Naturally each of TEENAGE RAMPAGE's eight pages throbs with intense goodities...a short story dealing with Alien's hogging of the turntable playing the Dictators and Gizmos at a party where another guy's so anxious to spin the latest Pink Floyd's a real howler! To add controversy to the fire a negative review of Iggy Pop's debut shows up where Ricochet mentions seeing the Stooges at the infamous '70 Cincinnati Pop Fest and how the raw o-mind of this group was nowhere to be found on Iggy's solo venture. And speaking of the Gizmos, there's a page devoted to "local scenes" and the records that were comin' out at the time. The Bizarros' first one gets a good review as does the Gizmos, only pasted over this writeup's a caveat warning that Ricochet and his friend Mason just got back from seein' 'em live and thought they were terrible, so don't get the record because it would only encourage 'em! Sheesh, I thought everybody liked the Gizmos, other'n those two guys who wrote 'em that obscene hate note that you can still find on Eddie Flowers' website!

As far as other writeups go Piper and Starz (!) get the much-needed coverage, plus there's a page or so of film reviews (THE TOWN THE DREADED SUNDOWN, FREAKY FRIDAY...) that add the usual fanzine dimension that I've always enjoyed. A total winner of an ish that, as you'd expect, makes me want to read the entire run! Ricochet, whatever happened to ya???
Like the above fanzine CHATTERBOX was one of those local isolated deals that unfortunately never did get the international recognition it should have. Not because it was a lousy sure wasn't, but I personally don't think that the editors made that big of a banging noise to let the rock fandom populace know that they even existed the way the folk at BACK DOOR MAN and DENIM DELINQUENT sure did. Too bad for them (and us), because CHATTERBOX certainly was one of those nice outta nowhere reads that seemed to be patterned after CREEM and delivered on a more hotcha style of rock 'n' roll as the defining style in your life.  I mean it, back then every other snit with a pen was patterning his journalistic style on the standard drek that was being spewed forth by ROLLING STONE complete with the "classic rock" attitude that certainly did not attract me to anything other than a nice bottle of Ipecac, and you gotta admit that the stench being emitted from the rock press of the day only made these fanzines all the more exciting.

This third issue that I've procured dates from February of 1976, a time right after the glam splurge of the '73/'74 season and the advent of what would eventually be known as new unto gnu wave. In many ways this CHATTERBOX does reflect the strange netherworld between waiting for the next humongous happenings to come up and grab alla us teenagers by the beans as the rest of the rock pubs of the day. A nice Ray Davies interview (which I thought woulda grabbed the front cover come-on hype up 'stead of ol' Lou) fills out a good portion of this mag...the strange thing about this 'un is that the interviewer represents himself as being from TROUSER PRESS making me wonder if this was perhaps lifted verbatum from that notorious publication but maybe I missed something somewhere!  Also in this ish is a piece on the Zombies which is good enough if rehash, an early piece on New York punk rockers the Fast long before anybody outside of the New York press scene really gave a hoot,  a li'l hype on local group the Telepaths (who might have made it into the pre-new wave unto gnu wave hall of fame at least with the name alone) and of course the record reviews *****STARRING***** Lou Reed hence the cover spot. The guy actually gets his latest effort CONEY ISLAND BABY reviewed twice, first by local new wave (not until gnu...) legend Jim Basnight in a good CREEM-inspired writeup and secondly by editor Lee Lumsden, who handles the subject matter with about as much taste as he possibly can and maybe it ain't enough!

The rest of the reviews don't exactly hit the target from a write up on the new Tony Williams Lifetime done by an obvious jazzbo who reads like he's auditioning for the next pompous inverse hipster spot at DOWN BEAT as well as a Neil Hubbard who does a good dissection of Sweet's GIVE US A WINK before trying the obtuse storytelling method of critique with Eno's ANOTHER GREEN WORLD.  And of course, for the innerlektuals amongst us there's even the once-obligatory try at poetry, and if you've ever wanted to read something along time lines of "Dehydrated Urine" by Jimmy Jet well, here's your chance!

In all, a great effort from a 'zine that actually lasted a lot longer than many of these mid-seventies upstarts did. More information on the whys and wherefores of CHATTERBOX'd be greatly appreciated, because once you get down to it these reads were the thing that made the seventies underground move and mutate, not Dave Marsh pontificating on the code of the street as seen from his obviously safe basement window vantage point.
If it weren't for Lester Bangs' contributions to the Austin Texas fanzine CONTEMPO CULTURE I wonder if anybody out there would even remember what the thing was. Even I can remember when Bangs had made his brief sojourn to the Texan capital of freakdom back when his every move seemed to have been covered in gross detail by THE VILLAGE VOICE, and that includes his contributing to what seemed more or less like your typical Amerigan punk rock 'zine (oh yeah, they're too COOL to be "fanzines" like all of those boring science fiction and comic book creeps out there in materialismland!).  But hey, back then I'd read just about anything that Bangs was tossing out at us even thought this period in time was not exactly one where he was bustin' out all over the place with bright insightful musings.

At least that's what the pundits seem to think even though I found his last gasp VOICE scribings to have been some of the best, most delving treatises on the inner workings and energies that were making up the entire p-rock/underground structural stability of the day. Maybe it goes to show you the unique benefits of heavy opiate use, but I sure recall thinking those Bangs' VOICE scribblings from his final days were up there with his best and vastly superior to some of his infrequent mid-seventies duds! And frankly, just thinking about how the guy hadda make the big exit right when we coulda used something along the lines of his musings to make it through the eighties (even though for the most part Bangs would've been totally out of place throughout those years the same way the music he represented seemed so alien next to the likes of Prince and Lisa Lisa) is still enough to get me all angry inside, and really how can anyone deny that justice is but a farce when bright and creative minds like Lester Bangs' are silenced while comparative hacks like Anastasia Pantsios are allowed to live?

Heck, there ain't even any Bangs in this ish (#3) but it's still a highly recommended chew up and swallow endeavor. No, this is nothing near the fanzine punktude of a TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE let alone a NIX ON PIX, but it's still a grande example of what nobodies outta nowheresville could do in order to bide their time until the next big kultural blowout. Grande conceptual artistic endeavors here, and interviews with local legends Joe "King" Carrasco and Standing Waves there, plus a weirdoid report of a visit to San Fran where not only does the author get to meet up with then then-budding Dead Kennedys but discover an interesting usage for metal champagne bottle stoppers in a men's room! If you like clip art of a disturbing nature, boy will you love this 'un!
Finally on today's itinerary's this English import from the early-eighties entitled FUTURE DAYS. Nice print job and layout make for eye-pleasing funtime reading, and unlike some of the competition floating around in post-Sex Pistols England I can't argue that much with their tastes. Well, gotta admit that I haven't played Pigbag in over thirty years even if I remember them to have been rather frozen in their approach, so I guess there are some exceptions. Overall FUTURE DAYS does make for good enough fanzine reading and I should know because I read the entire thing cover-to-cover and I didn't feel uncomfortable or offended by the thing like I did in the latter portion of the eighties after being bombarded with fanzines of similar intent yet abysmal approach and editorial judgement.

Good 'nuff writing style too, and the choice of subject matter from reviews of the then-recent ROIR Contortions/Eight-Eyed Spy cassettes to a piece on the Scientific Americans just goes to remind this old fanabla of the top notch excitement I would get awaiting the newest sounds to come out of the underground as if it was some strange missive addressed to me and me only! The Velvet Underground piece is unlike anything else that has been written about 'em since, a mixture of graphic clip art and highly intellectual musings that I'm sure would even get Wayne McGuire all hot and bothered. True, you also have to contend with pieces on Shoes For Industry and Mystery Guest which don't quite flibben my jib (were those groups any good? I forget) but ya gotta hand it to 'em for putting out a fanzine, in England, in the year of 1981 that did not have a photo collage of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan biting off the heads of babies while fornicating on a pile of cow dung! Some things age like wine, others like that bag of garbage you forgot to put in the dumpster last October and here it is April!
Hope to get another of these "Fanzine Fanablas" out more sooner  'n later, though with the seventies fanzine sources drying up it looks as it doing another one would most definitely be a more later 'n sooner proposition. If you got any fanzines you'd like to donate to the cause, or if you're one of those Greedy Kapitalist Pig types who wants moolah for your wares and you think I would be interested in whatever you have for sale well, well you know what to do...mainly contact me via this blog with a list of your goodies and the price, and if you throw your girlfriend into the bargain maybe we can dicker! There are still a load of seventies rarities that I'm just rarin' to read, and frankly I'm not going anywhere until I read each and every pertinent word of high energy rockist writing both pro and fan! And you don't want me to live forever now, do you???


(WARNING! After reading and re-reading this entry pre-publication, I thought it rather obvious that there was just TOO MUCH autobiographical goo and meaningless musings weaved into this review which, frankly, I gotta admit even made me wanna do a little puking myself. Oh, it ain't like this post will end up as one of the worst pieces of scribbling to emanate from my keypad this or any year, but the fact that this writeup is so leaden and perhaps even masturbatory certainly detracts from the overall delivery of what might come off to you as rather mixed emotions [heavy on the pro] regarding this book. You may be curious enough to read on, but if you are put off by writers like myself who endlessly bring up facts about their growing up days that have meaning only to themselves and love to yammer on about every past childhood indiscretion, shortcoming and  slight, please don't bother reading any further. After I get this posted you know I most certainly won't [and I wrote the thing!], but I worked so hard on it and it ain't like I have the time or stamina to start from scratch. Besides, I gotta admit that for all of it's rather nauseating faults I kinda like the li'l bastard...)

Bought this one for purely nostalgic reasons. Well, at least I ended up with a copy if only to satiate one of my many failed childhood attempts to live life to the fullest and reach out and grab a big juicy hunk of that thing called suburban slob living. Yeah, you can bet that I remember way back in the days when this and its SUPERMAN companion edition were piled up on bookshop tables county-wide, and I also remember my folks not getting the hint that I wanted both of 'em real bad-like for Christmas that year. That did kinda get to me if only a li'l bit. (Since they did get me THE GREAT COMIC BOOK HEROES as well as a slew of DC and Marvel superhero titles I can't say that the season was a total loss, but these were like...really wanna have 'em bad kinda items!)  Surprisingly enough both books were available at the local library albeit sporadically, though while I was lucky enough to take out the SUPERMAN edition for one rough and tumble weekend the obviously more popular BATMAN collection never seemed to be available. And when I finally was able to espy the book it had been mutilated beyond repair as was wont these various comic anthologies that always seemed to make their way into the hands of the more destructive elements in our society! For a kid who held such things as comic book anthologies to heart you could bet the sight made me feel rather gnarly-like!

When I actually purchased a pretty good quality copy of the SUPERMAN variant at the July 4th 1992 Mesopotamia Ohio flea market you could bet that I was happier than Al Sharpton at a Holocaust Memorial! Now that I have the long-lusted after BATMAN collection all I can say Well, if this 'un made its way into my paws at age twelve it woulda been the highlight of the year, but nowadays all I can do is osmose the kinda throb thrills I woulda gotten had this 'un infected my comic lust-filled soul as a kid 'stead of the jaded and hate-filled volunteered slave which I have become forty years later. At least back then there were hundreds of things within my grasps from boss tee-vee to dozens of comic book titles to a rebounding top 40 that I could look forward to, but once all of that fizzled out into an alien life form that has no discernible connections to what it had once been like, feh! But as I once said, maybe you can't go home again, but perhaps you can move in next door which might revive alla 'em old-time kiddo thrills that kept you goin' throughout life and all of its travails.

BATMAN, FROM THE THIRTIES TO THE SEVENTIES does live up to its promise cover the saga of Batman from his very first appearances while pretty much ending right around the late-silver/early bronze age back when comics were gettin' the good ol' nickel to dime price hike. (Remember that cage-y price war battle twixt DC and Marvel?) This does suits me fine, especially considering just how comics would start gettin' this gaudy tinge by the middle of the decade and I kinda felt slimy 'stead of stimulated readin' 'em!

And even though it's not exactly like I can revert to age twelve like I sure wish I could, at least this book has the right balance of hard-edged action coupled with typical post-Comics Code Authority absurdity, a rather enticing mix that does cover a v. good portion of my post-double digits comic interests! The story selection really woulda made my pre-pube free time all the more absorbing as it woulda been for any overweight pudge of a pulsating pimple farm like myself. Or at least it would have for someone who was somehow under the impression that he was living in the ultimate culmination of the best of 20th century fun and games, an era which just hadda've begun with the creation of THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS a good seventysome years earlier!

Coulda been slightly better with more of the early, frothing, avenging sagas which woulda given Dr. Wertham fodder for years to come, but I won't complain that much. (Still wanna read the one where Batman, sitting in the cockpit of a biplane, fires a machine gun into a crowd while muttering "Although I hate to take human life, in this case I believe that it is a necessity!"...straight outta FEARLESS FOSDICK I tell ya!) Of course some of the all time classics from the first appearance of The Joker as well as Robin's origin are here, and I guess the best thing about it all's that compiler E. Nelson Bridwell had the grand gall to mix the wild with the mundane meaning that although we do get a few early, avenging vigilante Batman sagas here there are those Comics Code-era schlocky fun sagas with Batwoman, Batgirl and Bat-Mite (not forgetting Bat-Dog) to contend with. Given how much I seemed to prefer those reprinted sagas to the new material back when the 25-cent "Bigger and Better" issues would slip one of those classics into the back of an ish I gotta say that these stories were most certainly welcome here at BLOG TO COMM central if only because my daily dosage of fifties schlock most certainly could use an upgrading.

Gotta admit that it was a sheer stroke of brilliance ignoring most of the Batcraze-era sagas which seemed to mimic the television series 'stead of the other way around, and a concentration on the "newer" sagas post-Robin* which seemed to be an update on Batman's original avenging intent was yet another smart 'un. As a kiddo I really liked the Neal Adams style (not to mention his obvious emulators) and reading these roughly '70/'71-era comics for the first time did jar a few nerve-ending tingles of pre-adolescent fun and games. Some stories that I did have high hopes for, such as the Man-Bat saga, didn't quite solidify in my mind though I thought "The Demon of Gothos Mansion" had a good amt. of that revised code spookiness that seemed to have been making a comeback around that time. Who knows, if they decided to edit the Caped Crusader outta it the thing coulda ended up in THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY!

An overall winner...nice selection of not only stories but classic covers (the fifties/sixties ones with the whackoid come ons that DC excelled in being the best) and the overall style and swerve of this just sends me back to the good 'n bad ol' days when I'd see this 'un stacked up on book shop tables at the local mall (good) with a $6.95 price tag (bad!!!).And it's a nice representation of what BATMAN used to represent back when there was a pretty good 'n clear cut idea as to hero and villain even though back then the lines could get blurred even if a little. But at least ya did get the idea that Batman was the good guy and the Joker was evil, and the cops were usually ineffectual like they always seem to be in these superhero comics. But it ain't like today when you kinda need a libretto to tell who's who...sheesh, the situation regarding some of these characters is so confusing that it's almost as if Harvey Kurtzman had written the past thirtysome years of comic history as a sick joke..."well, the guy's a hero, but he's a bad hero. Though he has some good hero in his bad, but he's not like that bad guy who had a lot of good in him while that other good guy is really a bad guy and..." Like I say, if I told you alla this a good fifty years back you woulda carted me away!
*Who was now away at college and getting involved in a whole slew of seventies "relevant" adventures with the hippies down on the farm. Gotta admit that Robin ended up looking like a dork in that rather sissy costume next to the already dorky-looking hippies who seemed to have been born of the entire early-seventies James Taylor/Cat Stevens sensitivity movement, but considering some of the socially-conscious duds DC was tossing at us at the time I'm at least glad they didn't have the guy coming outta the closet which I'm sure a man the stature of Fredric Wertham woulda expected so late in the game!

Monday, April 16, 2012


(Editor's Note: famous and well-respected rock fan/fanzine editor/novelist [PAPERBACK WRITER] and all around good schmoe Mark Shipper sent this to me over the weekend with the hopes that I could do something with it, especially considering how he had previously flung it on down to Ken Barnes @ some Greg Shaw Tribute Site (probably BOMP!) and the bloke did nothing but sit on it. Well, I could go on about how listening to disco and boosting some of the lamest singles of the eighties can do strange things to certain rock critic types, but since I liked a lotta things Barnes had written throughout the seventies (and still do!) I will refrain with the snarkiness for now. Anyhow, here are some of Mr. Shipper's recollections regarding the now-deceased mastermind behind the incredible BOMP! empire, and if you don't think that I'm tickled pink that a man of Mr. Shipper's stature would find this blog worthy of his personal thoughts and musings then I'm afraid you don't have me pegged as the anal-retentive geekoid fanboy that I most certainly am!!!)
Well, I can’t stand it anymore. Deep in the back of my head I have this Karmic debt I owe to Greg Shaw for setting me on the path that has led to the perfect life I live now.  No, I’m not Mitt Romney, but I live at the beach, still write every day, never have to commute, and no boss stands over me telling me what to say, or editing one word of my copy.

It’s a long story, but when I was down and out in the late ‘80s (I mean flat busted broke), I had the great fortune of running into Scott Shannon when he was launching Pirate Radio here in LA. It was the time of Guns N Roses, and Poison and Warrant, all that crap, but it was starting to happen in a big way. And that's the kind of music Pirate Radio played. Scott needed a writer to do the scripts for a weekly Countdown show he was doing. Although we’d met in the past, this was the first time I ever worked for him. And he taught me how to write for radio (in other words, to write words that would be spoken, not silently read. It’s a whole different discipline. You’re not allowed to use the personal pronoun “I” (editor's note: shades of Crowley at Thelema!) Sentences have to be short, so the jock can take a breath every minute or so. All kinds of crap which, I admit, took me a while to learn. But that’s what I do now, write about these bogus 2-bit “celebrities” we’re forced to endure today. And I do it in the same excoriating way I did with my rock writing. But this is easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

However, this isn’t about me. It’s about, who set me on the path of becoming a professional writer. United Artists Records sent me a copy of “Who Put The Bomp” along with their promo releases one month. Not only did I love it, it opened up a whole new world to me. It was like “You don’t have to beg a magazine to print your stuff, fuck that, do it yourself”. And I had the added advantage of working at a minimum wage print shop, deep in the San Fernando Valley. The point is, I had all equipment at my disposal to put together my own fanzine.

I knew it wasn’t going to be my career. But it allowed me to put out a fanzine of my own, all typeset and professional-looking, which I called “Flash”. Although I no longer have a copy of either of the 2 issues we put out, the mag did its job, putting me into the fraternity of rock writers (like Ken Barnes, Gene Sculatti, Don Waller, Jaan Uhelski, Mike Saunders, all those talents, still good friends to this day).

Flash Mag hit its stride in the 2nd (and, as it turned out, last) issue. Greg sent me a letter saying “This is so good, so funny, it almost makes me want to stop doing ‘Bomp”.  After I picked myself up off the floor, I went on to write for PRM, the late great Southern California rockmag edited by the sadly now-forgotten Marty Cerf, who worked at UA Records. Marty was the whole package, super-charged energy, terrific taste. He convinced the label to finance and help distribute his mag.

By then Greg had moved down to L.A. and he was instrumental in PRM. It was Greg who gave me thumbs up to do a monthly column called “Pipeline”, which helped me get to know the rest of the heavyweights at the time (Marsh, Marcus, and certainly Lester Bangs. I don’t know about the Dave or Greil, they usually appeared in Creem. But I know Lester’s work was in many, many issues of PRM.

I still remember going over to Marty’s house and meeting Lester. He was banging out some magnum opus in Marty's garage. Such a sweet, down-to-earth guy, the total opposite of his persona. They say it’s always a mistake to meet your heroes, but Lester was the exception that proved the rule.

By now, Greg and I were so close, when he and his wife Suzy moved from Northern California down to LA, he somehow enlisted me to help them lay the carpeting in the home they had rented in Burbank.

People used to say he had no sense of humor, but that was wrong. He was just so obsessed and passionate about spreading the word about the music he loved, he almost didn’t have time to sit around and crack jokes. But I have a vivid memory of Greg, Suzy and me driving down this freeway in a pickup truck, a huge rolled up carpet in the back. Suzy asked Greg “What off-ramp do we take?”, and Greg told her “Pass” (meaning “Pass Avenue”). Somehow I felt like a Game Show host, so when he said “Pass”, I said “Okay, Suzy, the question goes back to you.

Not the most monumental joke, I guess you had to be in the front seat with us, but Greg just lost it, he was laughing so hard. I always loved to make him laugh, it wasn’t easy but you knew you’d hit a home run.

Lotta, lotta, lotta water under the bridge since then, but without Greg, and without Bomp, I honesty don’t know where I’d be today. And Suzy, damn, she couldn’t have been more of a sweetheart. She was Sunshine On A Cloudy Day, to quote the world’s greatest poet.

What I remember most about Greg is his generosity. In Bomp, he used to rave about The Sonics, who I’d never heard of. Not only did he loan me their first two (essential) albums, but, later, when I met Kent Morrill, owner of Etiquette Records, I talked him into letting me press a new album, combining the greatest songs from those two records. Once again, Greg was happy to lend them back to me (and they were very very rare at the time), to do my compilation. My reissue (called “Explosives”) just sold and sold and sold, and Kent Morrill got a nice little royalty check every month. And since the Sonics were virtually unknown outside the Northwest, my album introduced them to all the rock critics of the day, who had access to print, and wrote lavish praise about them. Today, the Sonics are finally getting their due, they reunited a few years back, and have since played all over the world. Type in “The Sonics” on Youtube, and you can see their long overdue success. But, again, everything started with Greg.

I was devastated when I heard of his early passing (same as I was about Lester).

And when I heard there was a tribute site to Greg, I wanted to contribute. But you know how writers hate to write, and the subject matter was just so unpleasant, it’s taken me til now to do it. There are 200,000 more stories I could tell you about Greg Shaw and how crucial and great he was. But I hope you get the point that he—maybe more than anyone—helped push the pretentious overblown music of the 70s off a cliff, and bring us back to real Rock 'n Roll.

My happiest memory of Greg was when we were in Memphis for some crazy “Rock Critics Convention”. Everybody was there. Lester was in his full Lester persona, drunkenly walking the halls of this hotel with a bottle of Jack or something like that. But we heard that the little-known rockabilly legend Charlie Feathers was playing some roadhouse outside of Memphis. So a bunch of us piled into a car and journeyed into the middle of nowhere. To watch Greg finally let himself go, dancing wildly with himself, overcome with joy, that is the mental picture I carry with me to this day.

I guess I just want to tell anyone who doesn’t know that Greg was The Man. He was the Greatest.