Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Claude Bessy Sings the Beatles

As a follow-up to the recent post on Claude Bessy, some additional pieces for Bessyologists are floating around the web.

The first Bessy clip is a sort of stop gap from the time window post-Masque and prior to Jimmie "Original Tap Dancing Kid" Spheeris little sister's "Decline of Western Civilization." From a 1980 Showtime program entitled “What’s Up America,” you get Claude briefly in his sartotial splendor. Not only that, but you also get a brief soundbite from R. Meltzer. Also on board are the Angry Samoans, Phranc, the Chiefs, Suburban Lawns and the Dickies among others. More non-Decline footage from Blackies as well as the OC's "Nu-Beams" (looking like the cover of the first Tin Huey 45).

Joe Carducci, author of arguably the best post-Meltzer book on rock music in the past 25 years, the essential "Rock and the Pop Narcotic" (Redoubt, 1st ed.; 2.13.61, 2nd ed.) (also known as the Bible in this household - ed.), has pointed out on the New Vulgate site that you can see the Claude Bessy/Paul Williams Hardy Boys appearances on youtube. For your ease, watch part of it below. Worth following all the parts with Paul Williams and Claude - the first clip has Claude as part of the band "Circus" singing "White Album" Beatles acapella in the back of a VW microbus (at around 3:30 and following):

Now, while someone has uploaded portions of the lifestyle show that captured the Weirdos live at the Masque in early 1978, what they haven’t uploaded is the portion where the leisure suited host interviews Claude off camera and where Claude rightly predicts - and is resigned to the fact that - the magic of the spectacle being flimed (incl. Bobby Pyn, Carla Maddog, Terry Graham and Wiedlin acting like swooning teenagers before the Denney's), i.e., the whole Hollywood, post-glam, somewhat older Masque scene would be over in six months. It took slightly longer for the jocks to glom on to Black Flag, but Claude was a pretty fucking astute observer and it was over soon enough. We cant hold it against the entire old-Hollywood guard for the the SST-booking ban in Hollywood can we? If someone puts that up, I can get those posted here. I may also periodically start posting some of Claude’s features and reviews from Slash for scholarship purposes and to start a dialogue on his work. Does anyone have any copies of Claude's 1973 reggae zine "Angeleno Dread" so that we can read that?

Now this one is pretty unpalatable given the various music that Claude himself championed just years earlier. That said, would Claude have gone to the epic SST "The Tour" that hit UCLA in the summer of '84? I am not so sure of that either. As Spira and Long's lyrics detailed, "Reagan's In," and by that time Claude bailed LA.

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