Friday, April 28, 2023


Depression-era waged suburban slobs such as I weren't always privy to the vast amt. of knowledge that even a single issue of SLASH could dispense to just the kinda kid who needed dispensing to. In fact I remember that December day at the Record Revolution in Cle Hts. contemplating whether to snatch up the final ish of this famed publication proudly on display or use my ill-gotten to purchase two (or maybe even more) 12-inchers available in the used record section found in the basement. Naturally the used recs won out, and although at the time I thought I made the correct choice with regards to being a fool parting with his money, all these years later there's this nagging little voice way way inside that continues to tell me "Chris, you missed out on a chance of a lifetime!"

Maybe not a chance of a lifetime, but missing out on SLASH also meant missing out on the contributions of Chris Desjardins aka Chris D. aka Half Cocked or Bob "Yo Yo Youth" Clone or Mr. OK, not to mention other nom de's that the man was utilizing during his three-year stay at the famed El Lay publication. His group the Flesheaters' big "breakthrough" A MINUTE TO PRAY, A SECOND TO DIE was months in the future and at this time (Dec. '80 to be exact) I wouldn't be able to tell Mr. Desjardins from any of his aliases in a police lineup. As the band's standing in the underground grew to quite admirable proportions so did the knowledge of Desjardins' tenure as a rock writer (as opposed to "critic" which is a term I would use to describe Anastasia Pantsios but not him!) for SLASH and well, as time crept on I eventually began to encounter Desjardins the scribe as well as Desjardins the overpowering vocalist leading one of the strongest bands coming outta Southern California at the time. As they say, the rest is history.

The history being this collection of most (not all since his interview with Mary Woronov, and maybe others, were left out) of Desjardin's contributions to SLASH. It's a magnificent read that (at least for me) sure dredged up them GOOD feelings of rock writing past, a time when the underbelly side of what used to be called "rock 'n roll" was teeming with taut talent aimed directly at the o-mind of a special breed of youth, and the people documenting these performers in the pages of fanzines and those few promags with a conscience were just as big as the acts they hosanna'd, right?

As evidenced by the assortment of reviews and whatnot found within these pages, it's more'n just obvious that Desjardins clearly is an intellectual punk, one on the same plateau of naked honesty and perhaps even under-the-skin irritation (if you happen to disagree) with the likes of HYPE's Mark Jenkins or even Wayne McGuire, a man who was once (jokingly I hope) described as "the Earl Wilson of Nazism". Desjardin's (I shall use his preferred "D." from hereon in) writings had a particularly sharp, curt and subdued wittiness to them that sure makes a refreshing respite from the usual rockscreed banality seen not only then but today (and that unfortunately includes my own feeble efforts as you can tell by merely reading this). In fact, after giving this collection more than just the "once over" I'd surmise that had the guy focused his sights on rock writing as an (a)vocation he might have been as noticed and as namechecked in the annals of under-the-underground gonz as all of those guys in the original early/mid-seventies CREEM who, thank goodness, proved that there was an alternative to the once-prevalent West Coast whole wheat approach to understanding music. That is, not the breed of "gonz" as once perpetrated by the likes of ROLLING STONE and their sickening ilk --- more like the free splat as journalism slice of post-Kerouacian reality found in the efforts of the Bangs/Meltzer school not forgetting Gene Sculatti and of course the rest of the Kickboy-helmed SLASH cadre. True visionaries who were up 'n above those who defined eighties/nineties rock writing as literary analingus. The free weekly types we all had to suffer through, and would continue to had we not cut contact with all professional efforts these last thirtysome years.

Early writings show somewhat of a feel 'round with D looking for that "just right" journalism hook. Reviews of early Pere Ubu and Iggy's KILL CITY have the same critical and perhaps even jaded look as what one would have found in a good portion of fanzines at the time, and his takes on the budding Britsters thankfully avoid the nauseating fawn overs that even affected a good portion of my output (I should be embarrassed but am not figuring that rock writing is kinda like bowel movements --- some just come out a little smoother than others but the roughies shake you up). I appreciate D.'s caustic approach which he'll even apply to a positive writeup, proving that maybe a sour outlook on not only music but life in general might be, at the conclusion of it all, a whole lot more beneficial than prima facie analyzers would lead you to believe.

If I hadda put it to you like one of those many compact reviews the guy did for SLASH I'd say something like "Great slab of pre-cut 'n paste brass tacks writing from a guy better known for his counter-countercultural musical escapades which proves that, with the right wordage and Hi-Q approach, you can say much more in one paragraph that lesser minds could in ten!" Don't tell me I didn't learn anything from this book (as if I'll retain any of it)!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

It should be more'n obvious to you, given the recent "rash" of posts that have been pumped out as of late, that I've been getting a li'l more 'n usual free time to engage in frivolities such as this blog. That will change probably 'round late summer or so, but anyway be thankful that I have been thinking about all of you starved for something different readers just anxious for some potent and vital reading regarding various sonic structures. Out of the kindness of my heart (and kindness of my heart only), I decided to give you a break with some real-deal rock 'n roll writing 'stead of the usual offal slopped out as if you were pigs at the trough waiting for the next 'round of cut 'n paste rock criticism! Who sez I was put on this earth for no reason whatsoever other than to piss off a plethora of enemies, that is! 

So welcome back 'n all and even if only one of you appreciates what my hard work and efforts have produced well --- boy will I have failed!

Given the somewhat dearth of fresh listening material to grace my ears this year it's kinda surprising in some ways that recently I've been getting a few really interesting items to refresh the ol' braincell. I guess spring brought out the worst in me (spend-thriftiness-wise) and I've been dishing out some of the ol' hard-begged for a few items I thought I'd wanna hear before I clock outta here for good. I've also been receiving a few special donations from people with such exquisite names as Paul McGarry, Jakob Boysen and Bob Forward which does help out a little with the ol' pocketbook. Naturally given my usual cheapskateiness I wouldn't even dream of buying about 99% of the items either of 'em send my way, but the thought that someone would go this far for a fanabla like me does make me feel somewhat sorta nice 'n tingly inside.

Some current activities that are keeping me out of the bathroom for any extended period of time ifyaknowaddamean are...catching up on my reading and sitting down in front of the boob tube now that there are some good' n old shows being rerun for my dancing and dining pleasure (current fave --- LARAMIE). And since my eyeballs seem to be perking up a bit I can now read (without straining myself) some of those comic books in what used to pass as my bedroom that have been piling up as of late. Wade Oberlin of THE RICHARD MELTZER FANCLUB threw a few my way and so far I managed to work my way through a by now ancient issue of SPOOKY as well as an equally old and rotting PINK PANTHER, both which date from the late-sixties and were probably bought by kids who shoulda spent their probably swiped twelve-cents on THE JUSTICE LEAGUE or ARCHIE. The former, with a cover featuring a spiffy and naturally skewered establishment take on the younger generation worthy of framing, is an absolute single-digit hoot and brings back them sorta-fond memories of reading Harveys at the barbershop days when my dad would get his hair cut (he cut mine to save $$$ --- why I didn't cut his hair to save even more I'll never know). As for the PINK PANTHER 'un --- well it didn't quite flibben my jib even if I used to like the Saturday AM Panther show whenever I had the chance to plop in front of the boob tube when the parents weren't looking. Maybe I'm not used to that character talkin' like he does here and that's one thing that really ruined the old HENRY comic book for me I'll tell ya. I'm not going to read the Spire Christian Comics edition of THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE which was written and drawn by noted cartoon hack Al Hartley (who Stan Lee foolishly got to do the honors on THE MIGHTY THOR when Jack Kirby was otherwise occupied, and boy was he nauseating!) --- y'see I saw the movie version on tee-vee a long time ago and well, I like stories with happy endings! 

Speaking of Mr. Oberlin I think it'd be a nicey-nice thing to mention (or maybe not--- no second guessing some of you readers that's for sure!) that a whole load of Richard Meltzer HEPCATS FROM HELL radio shows from the late-seventies/v. early-eighties are up and about on the web, and for freefreeFREE at that! I'll be giving a listen to the Claude Bessy one (and a whole lot more) --- as soon as I find a computer with a pair of speakers that are working since mine have been defunct for quite a while now! Now if I can only rely on someone to burn the shows for me so I can not only give 'em a good listenin' to but perhaps even review 'em for the blog...any nice people out there interested in performing a corporal work of mercy for me? How about a sergeant or even five-star general one? Heck, I'll even take a buck private one that's how desperate I am!

(LAST MINUTE ADDITION!!!! No sooner than I had posted this very entry into the annals of blogdom did a parcel containing SEVEN editions of HEPCATS FROM HELL arrive on disque courtesy of none other than Mr. Robert Forward himself!!! Wow, I guess I do have friends in high places if I am to be awarded such a gift as this, and although there are some important shows missing from the batch like the aforementioned Bessy one plus the one where Chris Burden brings some semi-autosomething weapon to the studio and fires it out the window I find these spinners something that I await to listen to, and with baited breath at that! Thanks be to Mr. Forward, even if I do suspect that he's the one who snitched to Jay Hinman on me when I wrote all that nasty stuff about the hemorrhaging one.)


Here's a little something I recently caught via Youtube, more Iron Curtain-era Czech rock 'n roll filmage which, in this instance, captures a bit of a performance by none other than noted proto-punks Umela Hmota II! Now I know that almost all of you readers are not as whacked out about this particular underground (in the truest sense) scene as I am, but frankly all I gotta say is that I never thought I'd live to see the day when rare archival footage this obscure and so important to the canon of punk in a non-US/English form of expression way would ever be presented to lumpen proles such as myself!:



And so, as Ethel Merman once said, "on with the show!" (not "getcher paws outta my pants Ernest!!!!!"):

Shizuka-HEAVENLY PERSONA 2-LP set (Black Editions Records)

Given that o'er the past decade or so I've pretty much ignored a lotta that Japanese new psychedelia that I was rah-rahing to excess 'round the turn of the century, I decided to give this reissue of a somewhat obscurity from songstress/doll maker/mystical type Shizuka what'cha might call the ol' college of hard knocks try.

Beautiful packaging here, with a heavy duty foldout sleeve, a full color enclosed booklet, embossed lettering on the reverse and the fourth side of thus double duty featuring a bee-youtiful engraving 'stead of grooves! A marvel to just hold in your hands and look through as the moody, at-time violent and mostly dark 'n introspective music that Shizuka and band put forth careens through the air (ooh!).

Shizuka's husband Maki was in one of the later editions of Les Rallizes Denudes and you can sure hear it when the guy lets loose and shows us that perhaps Denudes leader Mizutani was definitely not responsible for all of those heavy duty caterwauls that the group was best known for. Shizuka herself sings slow and haunting in her girlish voice, the results sounding quite like some of the trackage that appeared on the essential NIGHT GALLERY compilation which was a platter which had me doing a few second thoughts about dismissing the music of the early 21st century offhand as I tended to do during some of my more lucid moments.

Going from atonal screech to introspective dreamscapes, HEAVENLY PERSONA will conjure up more'n a few memories we've had towards the new Japanese psych scene with all of the familiar ref. pts. (early Velvets, seventies femme singer/songwriter done right...) while maybe even adding a few new ones to the Japanese underground canon. It might not cater to some of you more rough and tumble readers (other'n the occasional loud howls of guitar feedback that is!), but I can enjoy it the same way I enjoy a Ny Quil dream, the kind that you remember even years after the fact.

More about the packaging. The booklet that is woven right into the cover is a nice little twist on had the people at Black Editions recs just slipped it into the package loose-like, and said booklet contains nothing but a piece Shizuka had written for a Chinese publication, an article dealing with not only the history of the group but her personal and seemingly lonely/gloomy existence and the equally ethereal dolls she created (which are pictured not only in the booklet but on the innersleeves and side four etching). There are also some asides about Shizuka's eventual demise which she seems to be taking matter of fact-ly, as if it were a mere change of scenery without much fanfare or concern for that matter. I sure wish I had her bravery, and given the lady's talents both musically and with regards to her dolls I'd salute her if I only knew the proper way how! Maybe this review is sufficient enough, but I kinda doubt it.

Believe it or leave it, but HEAVENLY PERSONA's an extraordinary 'un that'll absorb you into its universe and should be well worth the additional moolah you'll have to part with to get this aural and visual work of ART ('n I mean it!).


Caravan-IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN I'D DO IT ALL OVER YOU CD-r burn (originally on Polygram Records, England)

A lotta this Canterbury jazz rock (as well as a few decidedly non-Canterbury bands with a hefty influence) really doesn't cut it with me especially when compared to local big daddies Soft Machine, so I did approach this with a teeny weeny bit of hesitation. Well, for once my premonitions were kablooey for this '70 sophomoric effort from the infamous jazz rocksters Caravan equals anything that the likes of Wyatt et. al. were cranking out at exactly the same nanosecond. Sure some track might be a little hippydippy pop in spots but most of IF I COULD ONLY DO IT AGAIN snuggles in well with the rest of the early-seventies import bin groups that were popping up in more than just a few record collections worldwide. 

Joseph Jarman-SONG FOR CD (Delmark Records)

As you are probably aware of especially if you've tuned into the past four or so months of posts, I've been listening to a whole crapload of AACM-related soundscapading as of late. Some of the items I've been spinning are old faves, some have not heard by mine ears in years, and some are ven totally new to my living experience which is good since I can always use a fresh resensitizing once in a while.

This particular 'un's the debut effort from future Art Ensemble of Chicago multitasker Joseph Jarman, and although I have heard the title track the entire album was totally new to me. So this was like a nice li'l dip into one of the many O-mind musical efforts that I had been planning to listen to before I leave this mortal bedspring, and given all of the necessary spinners I need to hear I better do so and fast because, for the life of me, I don't think I'm gonna get a chance to cram everything I wanna hear into the few years I have left! 

'n for a debut effort Jarman really does everyone well without the usual clunks and rough edges that some of you'd think would be part of such an effort. Jarman had a pretty copasetic bunch playin' 'long (including future Braxton collab. Steve McCall) 'n from what I can gather each 'n every one of 'em were deeply affected by the new thing jazz that was rufflin' more'n a few spiritual Leonard Feathers out there. Y'know, the kind who still think that all these free players were doin' was just jackin' 'round on their horns when we all knew better.

Of special interest is the appearance of one Christopher Gaddy, a guy whose legend springs from the fact that he died about a year or so after this very session  (under circumstances nobody ever seems to mention) and only appeared on three albums during his short stay.  As you'd surmise "Song For Christopher" on Jarman's follow-up AS IF IT WERE THE SEASONS is in reference to Gaddy (and in fact based on some noteage the guy failed to complete due to his swift exit), and judging from his neo-Taylorian piano and marimba work on SONG FOR I'd guess that if the man had stuck around he would've been one of the AACM's major players involved in even more platters that will clear the room of people who are just less fortunate than ourselves.

Heh, a more'n just "decent" splash from Jarman, a guy who'd go on to tweek even more musical preconceptions are the years rolled on. Its too bad that his name isn't bandied about in the same sainted way that those such as Miles Davis or even Guy Lombardo's are for that matter.


From what I can make out there's a new radio show on Cleveland  college radio station WCSB which plays by-now ancient live tracks laid down by a whole slew of acts we woulda killed to have gone seen back then but either money problems or transportation kept us from goin' anywhere. Well, at least that was my case but still it is sure grand knowing that some forethinking fiend out there felt it was a good idea to record these shows for future enjoyment!

The Cool Marriage Counselors set really showcases the talents of ex-Electric Eel Dave E, what with his between-song stand up comedy routine patter as well as his new musical direction which, while not as full force intense as any of his previous endeavors, sure sounds great in the light of what good was happening around the time punk rock was turning into punque.

These Counselors (not to be confused with the SECOND 'uns which had not only ex-Eel Brian McMahon in the group but his brother Kevin of Lucky Pierre/Prick fame --- they usedta do a cha-cha version of "Society's Child"!) are the ones that eventually became, without Dave E, the Modern Art Studio. Yes, the same ones who ended up on the CLE flexidisc way back 1981 way with their song "Please Don't Call The Police" that accompanied an article that was probably the only thing ever written about these guys! The Counselors also appeared on that spinner doing the tres retardo/genius effort "Searching Through Sears" and that shows up on this program, as do a number of tracks both new to my ears and downright familiar. A few covers are done up Dave E style including none other than the Sam the Sham great "Little Red Riding Hood" which comes off particularly swell when the man wraps his tonsils around it!

But one thing's for certain, and that lending ear to this recording make me angry just thinkin' that at the time people were ignoring the Counselors while lapping up the dregs of the local bar/cover band rock "scene", the kind that Anastasia Pantsios was hyping to her FM-numbed lovelies who wouldn't know how to insert a buttplug unless she told 'em how to. 

Oh yeah, Dave E's comedy routines are pretty snazzy, in tune with the then-new breed of lurch beyond the usual bounds of normality gagsters who'd been springing up at the time. Although I think he was still a long way off from being asked to host SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE I will say that the guy sure had a load of belly-shaking potential in him 'n who knows, with a little more practice he coulda been another Emo Phillips!

The Tormenters who close out this broadcast feature some guy who was associated with the Rubber City Rebels/Hammer Damage Band/Teachers Pet clique of tough and rumble Akron punk acts, and sure as shit smells it shows on this '81 recording. Heavy doody rock is what's in store here, a rock 'n roll as far as far can be from the cut and paste giddy gnu wave that was beginning to prevail at the time. And if you're not mad that the Tormenters didn't get the respect they deserved well then, you must be either Mahatma Ghandi or Karen Quinlan, take your pick.


The End-INTROSPECTION CD-r burn (originally on Progressive Line Records)

Late-sixties English psychedelic band who probably wouldn't be remembered had none other than Bill Wyman not taken an interest in promoting their career. I gotta say thank goodness for small favors because if the Quiet Stone hadn't stuck his high cheekbones into the End's affairs I doubt anyone would remember them --- they're kinda staid when compared to many of the other psychedelic practitioners in England who really had an aerie faerie grasp on the music at hand. 

Don't let that deter you none --- the End do somewhat well with their typically English sounding late-sixties English pop-psych which deliver on much of the pop promise of the day without sounding either too twee or overbearing. The revisioning of the Stones' "She Said Yeah" as a slow schmoozer with harmony vocals and jazzy sax was the highlight at least for this not-so-humble reviewer. 

If I told you that I didn't find this collection to be spirited and somewhat mind-expanding I'd be a bigger liar than those people who have been dissin' me as someone who is not the true visionary that I most certainly am for years on end awlready! And take it from this true visionary --- INTROSPECTION just might be something you'd wanna snatch up during one of your more adventurous moments --- at least when you got a lotta money just begging to be spent that is.

A 39 CLOCKS PERFORMANCE,,,THE AUDIENCE LEFT EARLY CD-r burn (originally on Tapeite Records)

The audience left early??? Sheesh, there were only two guys clappin' away to begin with and by the time this was over even they skedaddled! But eh, it wasn't like the 39 Clocks were known to draw that large of an audience now, warn't it? Decent low-fidelity recording of the famed duo of G.H. and J.G 39 playing their warpo neo-garage rock clank not unlike the music that ended up on all those other 39 Clocks efforts that I'm sure some of you people actually still have in your collections. Acts like Big Black took the main ideas that the Clocks spewed and ran rampant with 'em, so don't forget where it all came from now, eh (other'n Metal Urbain o'course!).

Poobah-LET ME IN CD-r burn (originally on Ripple Records)

These guys made a big splash 'round these parts back inna seventies but I never paid 'em no mind. I mean, with a name like Poobah I wasn't expecting much if anything other'n a buncha hippies doin' the front porch bluegrass thang (emphasis on the "grass" ifyaknowaddamean) trying to do that old backwoods downhome music hoedown with the cozmik touch of course. 

Now that I've finally heart these guys (who had a number of albums that even ended up in the local bins) all I can say is that they were much better'n I thought they would be. Sure they are derivative of the hard 'n heavies of the day (well, at least to a certain extent) but it's a good derivative which doesn't come off carbon copycat cover band robotic. 

Coulda used more of an early-seventies punky Iggy/Alice approach to the procedures, but otherwise I'd much prefer to have been at a Poobah show than one by the raging reams of local snoozathons who were rakin' in the big bux for an audience that was probably more interesting in a quick pickup than the sounds at hand.


Wire-NOT ABOUT TO DIE - STUDIO DEMOS 1977-1978 CD-r burn (originally on Pinkflag Records, England)

As you may already know I'm not quite as fanatical about these guys as many of you readers are. However I don't mind an occasional spin of Wire's wares in order to appreciate what it was that was appealing to me without getting overdosed to the point of nausea. These early "demos" work as they remind me of that subtle art rock with a punky tinge that Wire were best known for, at least in some cobwebby corner of my mind. Not bad at all, but as you would guess it's something that I gotta be in one of those special moods in order to appreciate to the max.

The Alley Cats-ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH CD-r burn (originally on MCA Records)

The fact that I IN NO WAY remember this 1982 effort from one of El Lay's trailblazing punk rock groups proves that I do have a sieve-like mind! An' although this release mighta come out a good five years after it shoulda I gotta admit how the infamous Dangerhouse denizens kept to their under-the-underground roots and put out an effort that was strikingly rockist and at a time when a good portion of the music listening populace coulda cared less. Even more surprising is that this came out on MCA who earlier axed Black Flag from their roster for being "anti parent", as if this particular platter could be specifically considered pro-parent!

Not so surprisingly enough I do find ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH way more straight ahead rock 'n roll (even if you want to use a stringent definition of the term akin to the mores and standards worthy of a Greg Prevost or even Miriam Linna) than just about anything else that MCA or most of the majors of the era coulda mustered up at the time. For a guy who was wallowing in Flamin' Groovies cutouts and BOULDERS compilations man, this woulda made for some GREAT music listening had I only been aware of the thing when it did come out, and had enough lucre to pay for a copy as well.

ADDED BONUS TIME!: the burn I got not only includes the infamous Dangerhouse "Nothing Means Nothing Anymore" single but some outtakes that, from the sound of it, shoulda been included on the original release! So there's yet another reason for you money-packed gotta have everything types to dish out more filthy lucre to get something that you've probably had in your collections for four lousy decades awlready!


I'm sure that, now Easter's long gone and you've bought up all of those chocolate eggs at way marked down prices, you have a lot more money jingling in your pockets than you would have had if you bought your candy at full price! Howzbout parting with some (if not all) of that moolah for some back issues of BLACK TO COMM which won't be marked down but you shoulda known better to have gotten 'em when they were first up and about! Anyway what are you waiting for --- all that money yer gonna save on Fourth of July fireworks once the fifth rolls around???

Tuesday, April 11, 2023


Reading old rock magazines, especially old rock fanzines written in the classic neo-Bangs/Meltzer "tradition", really makes me happier'n a twelve-year-old boy locked all night in an adult book shop. Not all of the following fanzines live up to the extremely high standards I use to judge a rock read of quality but hey, they are somewhat if not totally better'n most all of the music related dishout hackdom you've been reading since the early-eighties at least! Well, at least none of them had Parke Puterbaugh contributin' to 'em so you can read on with some sort of ease in mind.
Let's start this 'un off with the return of some old favorites, the first of 'em bein' the tenth issue of that infamous "standby" O. REXTASY. This ish sees Solomon Gruberger and company headin' into that fandom-promoted punk underclass that alla these guys were dreamin' about way back inna early seventies and whilst making a pretty good whoop about it inna process. Thanks be to Meltzer that the like of Solomon Gruberger and company were still stickin' to their seventies pop and hard rock roots inna process, and once again thanks to the one called "R" that none of the writers involved come off like those types who are all up on the latest hip trends and coolness that usually abound in these rags. Believe you me, O. REXTASY comes off like the kinda mag I sure wish there were more of these days, though frankly given the state of the kinda music we gotta endure why bother?

Lotsa fun on lotsa pages that are maybe a li'l too faded to read with some entertaining hype regarding heavy metal, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, a dubious talk by Iggy Stooge himself, the Ramones, Nigel Olsson (!) and of course a sneaky plug regarding the then-recent O. Rex single. Another important entry into the annals of what the real "rock press" of the day was all about, an' I don't mean Yawn Wenner's outmoded concept of youth revolutionaries settling into radicalism for fun and money either!
The other new faverave guaranteed to keep your mind off your usual toilet unpleasantries is the March 23, 1978 issue of Nancy Foster's NEW AGE. This issue is in the standard xerox fashion which might seem like a huge comedown from the earlier slick 'n offset one, but otherwise the same sorta power and stamina that pulsated through not only the other issues on hand but Foster's later-on GROOVE ASSOCIATES effort shines through.

Cover boys Fox Pass get the royal treatment what with a Jon Macey interview not to mention some additional wordson the group from Foster herself, while a gosh-all review of Lou's STREET HASSLE makes me think that maybe Lou Reed wasn't the creep Adny Shernoff made him out to be after all! 

There's also a review of Boston faves Reddy Teddy live at New York's Great Gildersleeves, a quote from Arthur Rimbaud and more of Nancy's poetry along with some snaps of her looking all goth placed next to one of The Count in his vampire gear. The mix of fun and personal sure makes me wish """""I""""" had a life, that's for sure! 
English fanzines devoted to the more psychedelic of musics amongst us have been sprouting up and about for years. Most of them seem to be patterened after the early ZIGZAGs from way back when that mag was extremely situated with the usual headshop and crash pad strain of youth kultur of the day. Some of these fanzines like COMSTOCK LODE were worth their weight in patchouli because, even though the spirit of San Fran '67 seeped through the mag's very nerves, editor John Platt and his wife were still alert enough to note the importance of late-sixties Rokyisms and then-current rock underground concerns. Others were more staid in their adherence to the more sunshine grooves of the distant past to the point where one could only wonder if these guys were still seeing pretty colors even after fifty years of not being able to find any good windowpane. 

Dunno exactly where DARK STAR fits in with regards to this English fanzine canon, but on the whole I find the thing a rather staid and boring effort which doesn't have much if any of a spark to it. In fact in no way can I see this mag setting one's mind afire with thoughts of rock as that high energy form of pounce that still resonates lo these many years later (at least with crotchety old turds such as myself). But then again I have about as much interest in the likes of David Lindley and Buckingham/Nicks as I have of lopping my head off just so I can lose ten ugly pounds!    

Only the Flamin' Groovies piece featuring a rather extended and intelligent enough interview with Cyril Jordan made my purchase one of lasting worth. Other'n that I get the feeling that the intended audience that DARK STAR was aimed at tended to be that local hippie with the head band who was still stuck in some raging radical mindset fit on bombing buildings and sticking it to the man while a tape loop of the entire Grateful Dead catalog whirled in his mind. Seems like a lot has changed since those days of rage...or have they??? 
And now for an "obscuro" that sure lives up to the good ol' tradition of a buncha kids inna barn puttin' on a show so they could get new uniforms for the high school felching team! An' yeah, it sure is great seein' a magazine named after a cool group like Count Five especially given the reams of horrid "spokesmen for a  generaiton" types like ROLLING STONE lifting their monikers from their fave acts while ruining the entire concept of teenbo sixties music in the process.

may lack a lotta the snarl and venom that made the seventies rock fanzines so noteworthy even fifty years after the fact, but it still works wonders over those other eighties turdburgers who claimed to bare all for their musical generation but, once the veneer finally peeled off. only spoke for themselves. 

The proceedings start off with a well-timed editorial summing up just why the eighties in which this fanzine existed were so mealy (a situation we obviously never did recover from) and what was hot and exciting hidden in those little nooks and crannies you never did read about even in a then-vintage CREEM. That breed of gonz wildness in a rock scene where the powers that be were so intent on preventing any more Bangs or Meltzers is what makes something like COUNT FIVE! so appealing to someone who really suffered through those years (and beyond) like myself inna first place. And of course those treks into a funtime music past that pretty much captured the spirit and energy of the baby boom yet was rejected by the same breed of "boomer" sure make this a fanzine to plop onto the keep pile. 

Imagine the finer aspects of suburban slob teenbo existence being relayed to you without the condescending hippie gloss, a world where there is no shame or guilt over being happy and just trying to exist without perverted types hassling you left and right, and you'll really be in tune with this heretofore unknown fanzine effort that ranks pretty swell in my collection! 

COUNT FIVE!, another funzine trying to make sense outta an otherwise dire situation with the best resources it had on hand.

First heard about MOE WORKS AT WAL-MART in the pages of WHAT GOES ON and left it at that thinkin' it was probably one of those new type mags that lacked a whole lotta the crude thought and execution that comes part and parcel with a good home-produced rag. Despite these misgivings I decided to snatch this particular issue up not only due to my fascination with the fanzine idiom which rivals Fred Wertham's, but because of the cover interview with none other than the star of the show herself who always was a good interview subject as the seventeenth issue of my very own crudzine will attest to. 

However, I gotta say that I don't find MOE WORKS AT WAL-MART to be the kinda product that really stirs up the fanzine lust in this particular piece of walking blood 'n guts. Oh, the publication is a good 'un alright and anyone who has taste enough to like everyone from Maureen Tucker to the Electric Eels ranks high in my book. HOWEVER, like a lotta the fanzines that I have come across these past umpteen years the "noise boys"-inspired surge is really nowhere to be found (and anyone who would style their publication on the legacy of Christgau as opposed to the aforementioned trailbusters ain't worth the effort). Not only that but the neat computer-pecked type makes this look more like some college course directory than a rock mag. Nice try, though maybe if y'all started this 'un a good fifteen or twenty years earlier it woulda been worth the time for me to pick this 'un up inna first place.
A lotta these "post-punk" (yech what a term!) fanzines really don't flibben any jibs around here but a few of 'em do come off rather hokay. Such as THE STORY SO FAR, an English read I've written up before and, if I recall, rather snattily at that. This 'un (#4) is a pretty hotcha one as well not only for the usual fodder on alla those Rough Trade catalog faves we usedta drool over, but for a piece on the ever lovin' Barracudas as well as a Joan Jett interview which is about as revealing as these things can get without her getting into those really private things about her we already know about anyway. New York Dolls lyrics compiled by Nikki Sudden also pop up, and pieces on the Raspberries (written by the then-omnipresent Jeremy Traitor or whatever his name is!) and the Trashmen fill this mag out with a spirit that recalls the classic fanzines of the mid-seventies! None of that neo-hippie anarchopunk gunk here bud!
Another fave around here is the Swedish fanzine LARM. I wrote another issue up at the time and if memory serves I believe I mentioned hos this 'un was sorta like a cross between BOMP! and ZIG ZAG with a little TROUSER PRESS thrown in. Or something like that, but anyway this particular ish has Elvis Costello on the cover (back in the days when he was still firmly entrenched in rock 'n roll territory) plus other biggies of the time like the Jam (eh!), Ian Dury (OK!), the Boomtown Rats (ew!), Tom T. Hall (?) and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (???)....aww, the thing's still good even if it's written in Swedish and it's way more difficult to decipher than those French fanzines I'm still all agog over.
I've always been a sucker for Syd Barrett fanzines and this strangeoid effort is no different. SYD BARRETT MAGAZINE is but one of 'em, although I gotta admit that the production level is quite higher'n a good portion of these homages to Syd that came out way back inna seventies and eighties. Still there ain't much new for the ol' Barrett fans amongst us to be found here considering how almost every article and interview presented was taken outta either some old British weaklie or TROUSER PRESS. If you haven't read the Nick Kent wallopalooza or Giovanni Dadomo's 1970 interview done long before the famed wopadago's entrance into the realms of gonzo rockscribing you will definitely benefit from this. I thought the NEWS OF THE WORLD update on Syd's condition back '88 way was good, especially since that paper was always known for its tendency to cater to the squarest of the squares!
Ya'd think that a fanzine titled after the first Pink Fairies album and featuring a Velvet Underground history would be the bee's knees, but NEVER NEVER LAND doesn't quite dig up alla them old fanzine frolics that really get to me deep inside my brisket. Maybe it's the concentration on obscure mid-eighties English punk rock groups who surely did need the exposure but say nothing directly to me, or the overall writing which doesn't strike a chord in me the way alla those seventies English fanzine scribes who were slobbering over the various gonzoid attackers in the Weaklies did that makes me wanna yawn if anything. I actually went for the aforementioned Velvets piece which, although the latest in a long line of "NOW IT'S MY TURN TO WRITE ABOUT 'EM!" efforts which doesn't add much to the mystique or legend, was still fun enough in a low-budget fanzine sorta way. For serious Anglofanablas only.
And finally, let me tell you about a couple of definitely non-music fanzines, both allegedly dealing with the subject of humor if you can believe it! The first title on the chopping block's this early-sixties "satire" fanzine entitled AARDVARK, which, as even a cursory look through can tell you, is just brimming with that beatnik-era hipster humor that was all the rage with college kids in those years between the World War and the hippy rabble rousing that this type of humor eventually led to. And as you'd expect AARDVARK is loaded with a whole lotta that snide (or is it snood?) attitude that these guys copped from way too many viewings of Steve Allen. An interview with Woody Allen pretty much tells it all, given that this pedo hasn't done a lick of anything worth noting in the past thirtysome years unless you're a SNOB, which you wouldn't be if you're smart enough to read this blog. 

I was sure hoping there would have been more of a Kurtzman-influence on this mag with comics and satire galore, but AARDVARK just flops about going nowhere fast. Well, if you're collecting late-fifties to mid-sixties satirical humor fanzines you might want this, if only to complete your collection that is.

Fast forward a good decade or so later and we got FANDOM FUNNIES to contend with. Again the thing's just not as funny as I would have liked despite its similarities to the fifties-era satire fanzines from which the underground comix scene sprang. Perhaps the mag's concentration on spoofing the comic fandom realm limits the audience somewhat, but overall the mag is filled with unfunny takes on such fanzine faves as the ROCKET'S BLAST/COMICOLLECTOR not to mention a horrible "spoof" of Steve Ditko's MR A which, like every other MR. A takeoff I've seen, gets way into the obvious without creating anything one could say was satirical or even funny for that matter! Really, something like Mr. A is just begging for some good playin' around with and you would think that a truly funny spoof coulda been cranked out with relative ease, but once again (remember the one that appeared in WITZEND which resulted in Ditko not sending them any more contributions?) the balls are dropped. And a good opportunity for what could have been a real belly-laughing story was most certainly wasted. I guess their idea of "funny" and mine are poles apart, though as I've said the only thing I can laugh at these days are those kids you see on those St. Jude and Shriners Hospital ads.

But that cover! Sheesh, you could never see anyone doing such cutting humor these days --- almost comes off like an A Wyatt Mann cartoon!!!

Saturday, April 01, 2023

BLOG TO COMM, the crudblog whose due date was definitely fifteen years ago if not longer! Personally I think my own mental/physical due date expired sometime in '82 but I just keep going on grinding out this puerile and poorly-written screed that's miserably "passing" as erudite rock journalism if only due to nervous action. Other'n that well, I do hope that you'll eke something out of this 'un because for the life of me I sure can't!


Surprisingly enough I'm pretty much at a loss for words as to what to write about (non music-wise --- like current events and my own inner musings, stuff like that) this go 'round. Sheesh, you can spew your brains out about things that are COMMON KNOWLEDGE only so much --- like how most of the people on the face of this earth (at least the ones I've been in contact with) just ain't worth the shit you pay to shovel them, or how funny it is reading alla these better-than-thou types in the legit press make that trans-something that shot up a school a week back come off as the "misunderstood victim" deserving all of our compassion 'stead of the kids that ended up gettin' the bloody dispatch --- things like that.  (Kinda reminds me of this Steve Ditko "Killjoy" story where a newspaper headline regarding a mass murder shows the victims' pix with the caption "...but are they really innocent?" or something to that strange effect.) And as far as the Donald Trump indictment goes well --- pass the popcorn because this is gonna be good, and probably in a way the snobbish mirror gazing socialist New York indictors weren't expecting! In fact, future proceedings just might be what Trump needs to kickstart his next major step to really tick off a whole load of people who most certainly deserve it. Or at least I hope it does!

Sheesh, the real deal world just ain't worth caring about no' mo', and if I were you I'd move to some small burgh and just hole up in a nice old ranch house watching the decay as if it were some passing parade! Good thing I'm not a studier of mathematical cycles like Potifar Breen in Robert Heinlein's THE YEAR OF THE JACKPOT was or I just might say we're all headin' for what some might call a MAJOR CATASTROPHE that undoubtedly will lead to a swift and painful end of this world. (Actually, I believe this "Aquarian Age" we're now experiencin' is gonna last the expected 2000 years it's s'posed to with things getting a whole lot worse into human degradation than we can even comprehend in the here and now, at least until we reach its conclusion and all we're gonna hear is ONE MIGHTY BIG BELLOWING CRY OF PAIN AND ANGUISH. Mark my words.)


Now for something I'd call a little bit more pleasant, a video that actually got cyster visibly shaken, upset and other not so stomach-calming things. No foolin'! I wonder if this show exists in its entirety an' as you shoulda guessed long ago I sure hope it does...

Here's a comment I got off Counter-Currents regarding the future Amiri Baraka once known as Leroi Jones and his friend...NICK TOSCHES?????:

I read that Leroi Jones actually had a white friend in the 1960s and 70s. Hilariously, that friend was the misanthropic noir/tough guy/hipster writer Nick Tosches, who has written some pretty negative things about blacks, although unlike Jones he was funny when he put them on paper. The best is from one of his later autobiographical novels, which I didn’t read, but I read a review by someone lamenting Tosches’ bigotry when Tosches wrote about having sex with his much younger white girlfriend in her apartment. The bed breaks and the Tosches character gets upset: “Who put that bed together so shittily?! It must have been ni99er-rigged!”

I used "99" in place of "gg" if only to ward off the righteous internet-cruising nitpickers who'd just LOVE to see my pitted ass nailed to the wall! But as outre as it may seem this passage is comparatively tame for Tosches who once, in the course of writing up the Ornette Coleman GOLDEN CIRCLE platter in a now-ancient issue of FUSION, made a particularly base comment about the cranial capacity of the "darkies" involved that would put the above paragraph to utter shame. Wonder how Jones and Tosches remained pals so long, unless it was one of those weird polar opposite admirations the likes of George Lincoln Rockwell and Malcolm X had for each other. Well anyway, put that one in your pipe 'n smoke it all you leftover more sacrosanct than God even Tosches defenders who think I'M the ultimate scum (not that I ain't, but I'm certainly a scum of a different color!).

And while we're on the topic of Golden Age rockscribing I gotta once again say that Wade T. Oberlin's Richard Meltzer Fanclub has been a rather exhilarating experience for me, dredging up a whole lotta those memories of just how much fun and joy I used to get reading rock mags soaking up the opinions of folk like Meltzer and his late-sixties unto early-eighties compadres whilst on the lookout for a new SCREECH! The trip back to the days of rock screed proper that this site exudes was one thing that inspired me to kick off this post so, if anything, blame it on him (either Oberlin or Meltzer --- take your pick) for this exhilarating bit of cranial stimulation!

Hey, this must be the first post in ages that doesn't boast a Paul McGarry burn! Maybe next time, but anyway thanks be to the likes of Bob Forward, P.D. Fadensonnen, Jakob Boysen and a few treks into my own archives for the platters heard this go' round. It's a pretty freedom-oriented post if I do say so myself, which wouldn't surprise me since I've been spinnin' loads of this new thing jazz even at the expense of rock 'n roll these days. Well, in many ways IT ALL IS THE SAME BRAND O' SONIC DISEMBOWLMENT as anyone who's read those old Lester Bangs articles on free jazz unto punk rock will tell ya!

As usual per this blog some of these spinners have been around for ages already and might have even been reviewed by myself elsewhere (most likely in the pages of my very own crudzine), but who said that this blog hadda be up to date and "with it" according to the rock snoots who still permeate this digital forum known as internet? Next time, news on the construction of the pyramids:

Free Kitten-INHERIT CD (Ecstatic Peace Records)

Well, whaddaya know! Bob Forward has sent me an actual flesh and blood Cee-Dee undoubtedly because he read the last few months of posts, felt that I was going off the deep end and thought this offering would somehow stave off any self-harm I might inflict on myself! No such luck Bob, but thanks for the package anyway.

And for being one of those amerindiealta sorta things that I tend to loathe this '08 release sure sounds good, what with Kim Gordon and onetime Pussy Galore member Julia Cafritz (with the help of drummer Yoshimi from the Boredoms) creating a spaced-out and sparse rock 'n roll that evokes all my faves of the past without coming off too "notice all of Chris' faves of the past being evoked" ifyaknowaddamean... 

Some interesting comparisons (and not exactly drawn from straight outta the air) can be felt, like the fact that "Surfs Up" bears an uncanny resemblance to Amon Duul I's "Snow Your Thirst and Sun Your Open Mouth" what with the keen use of wah-wah and otherwise Velvet-riffed sparseness. The influence of prime-era Patti as well as the magic of the underrated Ut should be more than obvious which would figure given the female-ness of it all. I could go on and on about the various re-treatments of various highpoints in past soundsqualling but for the sake of space and your own limited attention span I won't.

Hmmm, pretty hotcha for a buncha females who are probably stuck in the whole New York uppercrust snooty nose-in-the-air supremacism of it all.


Ornette Coleman-JAPAN '86 2-CD-r set (originally on Equinox Records)

When I wrote about my "fantasy" regarding starting my own podcast where I'd play things like Ornette Coleman bootlegs I wonder if Bob Forward had sending this double set to me in mind! I'm not sure that this release really is a boot, but JAPAN '86 very well might be given that I sure as heck never heard of Equinox Records before and besides this is done with so much loving care unseen by the majors that it's just gotta be one! Ornette with Prime Time recorded straight off of NPR (!) sounding so good and so proto-punk funk to the point where you don't care that the man got a whole load of uppercrust snoot praise once the years rolled on to the point where he even ended up recording with Jerry Garcia. 

And through it all there's one interesting bit that really has hit me like a ton of bricks and that is, have you ever noticed that one riff that recurs on "Broadway Blues" sounds incredibly as if it was taken off of the theme to HAWAII FIVE-O which was composed a good decade later???? That's almost as strange as the allusion Eddie Flowers brought up in which the main theme to "Dancing In Your Head" (also utilized in SKIES OF AMERICA) was actually lifted in part from "It's Summertime" by the Jamies! 


The Velvet Underground-LIVE @ MUSIC HALL, CLEVELAND, OH 12-1-1968 CD-r burn

Iffy audience tape but SO WHAT because the general power 'n might of the Velvet Underground roars through loud 'n clear as you would have expected being in on the "game" so long. If you're the kinda man who bought all of those bootleg and semi-legit '69 vintage Velvets albums that have been cluttering up your boudoir these past ten or so years then you'll definitely want to add this 'un to your already over-Velvetized collection. Probably available via download, and for free too!


Anthony Braxton-THE COMPLETE BRAXTON 1971 2-LP set (Arista/Freedom Records)

I yanked this one outta the archives if only to bug Alvin Bishop! All kidding aside this is a great set of early Braxton workouts recorded right after the guy's BYG days and a good three years before he got a contract with Arista Records proper thus becoming one of the new darlings of the jazz least until the eighties clocked in and nobody seemed to be paying attention to the "new thing" anymore.

 Playing a music that can go any which way (talking from jazz to "classical"), at one moment Braxton can be heard in a quartet setting doing the free splat and at another in duo with Chick Corea getting rather longhair at that. Or in solo mode tooting away on his ol' standby contrabass clarinet, an instrument that, if it ever was popularized, would have had to have been popularized by him. Don't miss the London Tuba Ensemble working their way through "3-24 (Tuba Realization) [Composition 4]" which proves you can go a long way with nothing but them oversized tooters!


Lester Bowie-NUMBERS 1 & 2 LP (Nessa Records)

A pre-Art Ensemble of Chicago Art Ensemble of Chicago album featuring, at least on side two, the original quartet (see video above) that would make all of those great albums over in France that none of 'em got paid for. The early AACM style is firmly in place on these August '67 sessions with the AEC-ers playing hard and free in between working all of those "small instruments" (and large one too!) that would be put to grand use creating a sound that was bound to drive a whole lotta boobs outta the room. But we knew better now, didn't we?


Dwight James-INNER HEAT CD-r burn (originally on Cadence Jazz Records)

Not familiar with this James guy at all. Well, I might have come across his drumming on some other free jazz effort but as a leader well... A li'l researching tells me that James has played on a few sessions including as a member of vibist Khan Jamal's Creative Art Ensemble (DRUM DANCE TO THE MOTHERLAND on Eremite Records looks like a good one to pick up --- any suggestions pro/con from you bozos out there?) and as a leader he proves to be every bit a mover and shaker behind the traps as Sunny Murray, or is this only because the great Byard Lancaster plays here as well? So does Jamal for that matter. A bit of BAG funk here, some African groove there, and although this ain't anything that'll break into those wild realms of kranial karmik whooziz I find it a rather --- driving session myself.


Manfred Schoof Quintet-VOICES CD-r burn (originally on CBS Records, Germany)

Hey, I got a letter from longtime BLOG TO COMM reader Jakob Boysen along with a buncha Cee-Dee-Ares for me to give a spin! Jakob's doin' alright and he even met up with Irmin Schmidt who even autographed a record for him! He also tells me that there is actually going to be a book on none other than Harald Inhulsen of HONEY THIS AIN'T NO ROMANCE/Europe's Only Iggy Pop Fan Club fame in which Jakob contributed some old articles! I just found out that Herr Inhulsen has been dead for over five years which is shocking, since I didn't even know he was sick! No word on what Mechthild (Iggy's #1 fan) is up to these days.

The disque selection is pretty good. Already have the Bunalim one but the rest seem pretty good including one with the 39 Clocks live and another from the late-sixties English psychedelic group the End. But the one I sprang to first was this Manfred Schoof spinner. Now, I find some of these European free jazz efforts rather chance-y with a load of 'em a little too sterile and cultured for my tastes, but this '66 sesh pumps on all gears sounding as typical mid-sixties all-out as anything that was happening with them AACM cats mentioned above. And for white Europeans who probably never set foot in the black part of Anytown USA they sure dont' sound it...Alex von Schlippenbach's piano splaying equals that of Cecil or maybe even Muhal and none other than future Can drummer Jacki (here "Jacky") Liebezeit is also on board working in those rhythms and splats that would be put to grand use in short time. Schoof's tenor is pretty contempo with some of the harder blowers of the day, and if I told you that he reminded me a tad bit of Roscoe Mitchell you'd probably think I'm nuts but what else is old?

If you want me to say anything more technical and deeply felt about this all I gotta say is what were you expectin', Gary Giddins? 

The Fungus Brains-RON PISTO'S REAL WORLD LP (Load Records, Australia)

I have been attempting to avoid Australian produce for obvious reasons, but a dig into the collection had me pulling out this forgotten fave after a good 35 or so years of neglect. The Fungus Brains, unlike a good portion of their brethren who have soaked up the fruits of 60s/70 explorations and laid them to trash, actually take all of those important highpoints of past endeavors and add their own peculiar brand of insanity to it, without looking like many of those eighties pretentious twats we all had to suffer through that is. Off the top of my head comparisons point to MIRROR MAN and (wouldja believe?) FUNHOUSE with a few horn wails straight offa STARSAILOR, all done up with their typical antipodean stupidity thrown in of course! Burn a copy offa Youtube!


Another trip into the mire had me pulling this one up, this debut spinner from the long-lived Flaming Lips! Often touted as Oklahoma's best group since Debris, the Lips shine bright on this mid-eighties 12-incher that could be considered a short (25 mins.) album, playing a psychedelic under-the-underground rock that would have probably been more likely to have existed in 1970 as opposed to a good fifteen years later! It in some ways comes off like a strange post-Thirteenth Floor Elevators breed of Southern rock with a hefty amount of psychedelics thrown in that would have probably been too much even for Roky Erickson himself! Pretty snazzy local rock if I do say so myself, though I get the idea that maybe these guys shoulda just stopped making records after this testimonial was released.

This is the compilation that Polydor put out back '76 way as part of their "Safety Film" series of budget toss outs. Of course by the time these hit the US of Whoa the price had been obviously jacked way up, but then again I remember seeing a whole load of these at the local Musicland going for a mere two or so bucks each so I guess that they eventually became budget albums over here as well. Unfortunately I already got my copy at a higher price a few months earlier, but it was nice to see that they were being made available to the penny-pinching record buying public, altruistic jerk that I am.

Mostly taken from WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY with a scant smattering of tracks from the other Verve efforts, this sampler is handy if you want to know what the censored version of MONEY sounded like (including the axing of the line about mother with her apron and pad feeding all the boys at Ed's Café --- I guess the suits thought that "pad" meant feminine napkin!). Plus the rare "Why Don't You Do Me Right"/"Big Leg Emma" single opens and closes the thing which might make it worth your while, especially since Mark Perry used to cover the former in his old Alternative TV group!


Nobody wuvs me! Because if they did they'd be buying these back issues of BLACK TO COMM faster than you can say "I Want My Maypo!" and with hearty smiles on their faces at that! Why don't YOU spread a little of that sunshine my way and pick up one (or hopefully more) of these should be legendary but wha' th' hey rags which will prove your undying affection not only towards the pride and effort that went into these crudzines, but towards me while yer at it! Gawrsh!