Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rodney Bingenheimer's Bed with Debbie, Chris and Flame/Did John Cassavetes Film Bobby Pyn?

Although it may only start with John Holt's "Ali Baba," and you may take a turn to Dr. Alimantado's "I Killed the Barber," then on to the good doctor and Jah Stitch on motorbikes on "The Barber Feel It" and then Stitch's "Bury the Barber" you will return to whence it came. Dizzyingly you end up full circle back at the Paragons. Yes, back on a Saturday morning over coffee and "The Tide is High." Who knew it would end up like that. It is amazing how many times Blondie played in LA in the early years of 1976-1979. Given their time in LA it was no surprise that they had such a rabid fan base, including Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Pleasant. They were also one of the early phone guests on Rodney on the Roq on KROQ and where I first them before they became part of the regular rotation on the station. I just missed Blondie here and wished I had gone . . . Let's see the dates laid out:
  • February 9-12, 1977 at the Whiskey a Go Go (with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) - any discussion backstage that there already was band called the Heartbreakers back in NYC since 1975 and who were just on the "Anarchy in the UK" tour in December 1976?
  •  February 16-20, 1977 at the Whiskey a Go Go with the Ramones 
  • April 15, 1977 at the Santa Monica Civic opening for Iggy Pop
  •  April 20-23, 1977 at the Whiskey a Go Go with Deaf School. According to the Blondie gig guide, on the 23rd, Joan Jett joined Blondie for an encore of "Anarchy in the UK" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog" with Joan on guitar, Rodney Bingenheimer on keyboards and Tony and Hunt Sales, and also Clem on lead vocals and Debbie as "the dog."
  • September 23, 1977 at the Hollywood Palladium with Devo! 
  •  September 28, 1977 at the Golden Bear (Huntington Beach) with Ala Carte 
  • September 29, 1977- October 3, 1977 at the Whiskey a Go Go. Advertised for all shows except the awesome last one as with the Canuck band Max Webster who apparently took time off from heavy touring and jamming with Rush (!???) to play with Blondie.  As seen below, for the last show the LA Times lists "Blondie/Devo/The Germs" (at 4pm) and "Blondie and Devo" (at 9pm and 11:30pm).  Incredible.  What is also incredible about this particular stand of Blondie at the Whiskey is that John Cassavetes filmed a large portion of it.  Cassavetes, Bobby Pyn Debbie, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo and Devo all together - a classic 70's moment if there ever was one.  To think I was only a half hour away . . . 
  • April 25-26, 1978 at the Starwood
  • November 21, 1978 at the Santa Monica Civic
  •  August 15-16, 1979 at the Greek Theater with Rockpile! and
  • October 4, 1979 filming the Midnight Special in LA

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Battle of the Bands at the Santa Monica Civic, July 28, 1979/"I Shot the Sheriff"

When I see the list of bands, I have to wonder did this show actually happen? Unbelievable line-up for a battle of the bands - is this a Masque benefit? (Silver Chalice!!, the Plugz, "Jane and the Go-Go's," Wall of Voodoo, Flyboys, Fear, Simpletones, X, Controllers not to mention the no-namers who we need to hear like Highrize and Tyranny). Please write in if you were there. As my friend Miller likes to say, I need a scene report. Almost as good a line up as on Dukowski's t-shirt. From 10:00 am to midnight. Wow. The spelling is awesome!! Plugs!! All I can think of when I hear about a "battle of the bands" is Cotton Candy owning Rapid Fire in that mall on the revolving stage, and secretly hoping that the band that sounds a little like the Sylvers and the Jacksons "Enjoy Yourself" wins. If you ever see a copy of "Cotton Candy" that has original commercials and an ad for the Tom Snyder/Manson interview on the Tom Snyder Show, that is sourced from my original VHS tape and you're welcome. If only Clapton is his infinite wisdom had chosen to cover some of the Scratch produced Wailers' material instead of "I Shot the Sheriff" we may have had something more interesting from Rapid Fire, instead of watered-down Van Halen-isms. Now if only the full Scratch/Linda McCartney and Scratch/Robert Palmer sessions would see the light of day . . .

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Teens of Temple Shalom Present Mercury Recording Artists the Quick, July 10, 1976

I just finished Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83 by Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson, Ed. Steve Miller, Bazillion Points, Brooklyn 2010. Felt like I entered the confines of a fuggy teen bedroom straight into a high school detention with jocks only. To quote a Tesco fave: "I juvenile, I infantile." Kinda a dark age and an era I personally would not want to repeat, though it does boggle the mind looking at the number of great singles released and reviewed in each issue (at least as they moved closer to home and stopped the UK fixation). Would you probably pull out most of this stuff and play it today. Yeah, maybe if you are between the ages of 12-16. Beyond their worship of all things 999 (a midwest/DC thing you wouldn't understand - ask Rollins), the Misfits, baldie music and west coast punk/Slash, there lies in a single volume one of the great artifacts of the era, for better or worse. Their LA fixation was funny to me as I was writing to Negative Approach and the Necros in the opposite direction - LA was awash in UK/Vegas leather and stud save for the godhead chump rock of SST or the many garage revivalists of the day. Unapologetic, misogynist, anti-pc and arrogant, TV and Dave did mine the gold of the era and the reviews for the most part have held up. I did laugh at their top five worst ("woist") lps of all time (Issue #20, Pushead cover): They happen to be faves of mine and methinks that Tesco may actually like them as well in 2012: Von LMO's masterwork "Future Language" ("this one incorporates the worst elements of DEVO and bad Heavy Metal" - uh, such a combo sounds great to me), Milk 'n' Cookies ("if you thought Sparks or the Quick were the ultimate wimps . . .") - huh? and Budgie's 1st lp ("recorded like they liked the bass sound and forgot the other two guys") -dude, you probably don't like Dos or Jaco, do ya. Found this one in the barn the other day and figured it merited a post. Unfortunately, I have never been able to procure an original handbill like the pink one above but there is always hope (drop a note if you have one for sale). I have only had a xerox of it for all these years. Finding the flyer and then reading Tesco's diss had me thinking that "Mondo Deco" (and the Milk n' Cookies lp when I was finally able to get a copy) have had far more play in my house over the past 30 years than all of the baldie singles combined. I acquired a used promo copy for a dollar in Sherman Oaks when I was about 14. Danny Benair's drumming - his powerhouse intro on "Cantaloupe Girlfriend" that I enjoyed live too many times to count was then fresh in my head - anchors the lp and the name of the Quick (and the Falcons) always came up when the Salvation Army/3 O'Clock were interviewed. When I saw Sparks perform "Kimono My House" at UCLA a few years ago, before the show I saw Benair greet Danny Wilde in the foyer - that, my friends, is as close to a Quick reunion that I will be able to see. DB also got see the Stones at Altamont from the side of the stage. His account is here So take that wimps. I had always been curious about the story about the Quick show above. It was not until the great Avebury Records released some archival Paula Pierce material that I got the scoop. That first Pandoras' ep on Moxie is one of the best garage 45's of the entire 1980's hands down but that is the subject of another post. You can read the whole story here but this is a good start from the pre-Rage story below. Check out the Pandoras at the bottom - if I only knew at the time the Quick and Milk 'n' Cookies connection it would have all have made sense!
In April 1976, another change in Paula's musical life occurred when she wasn't even there. Don and his girlfriend, Sue Greenberg, went to go see a rock 'n' roll show at an on-campus club at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. On the bill were two bands yet to release a record—The Runaways and The Quick, both proteges of the legendary Kim Fowley. The two were already sold on The Runaways, having read about them in Phonograph Record Magazine. However, they were really taken by The Quick, a band Don described as "a cross between Sparks and The New York Dolls" in a review for his college newspaper, the Mountaineer Weekly at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. He spoke with the band afterward and they invited him to see them play at The Starwood, a Hollywood club that catered to signed bands, as there was no local scene in Los Angeles in the Spring of 1976. This introduction to local music, along with the release of the first Ramones album a couple of weeks later seriously intensified Paula, Don and Sue's interest in music. The three quickly immersed themselves in the new local band scene that summer, and that meant lots of shows including The Dogs, The Pop, Atomic Kid (later The Zippers) and, of course, The Quick. Along the way, Robin Cullen, a 14-year-old friend of Paula's started tagging along to the shows. In the summer of 1976, Sue's youth group at Temple Shalom in West Covina promoted an early evening show featuring The Quick with an admission price of 50 cents. Kim Fowley and his entourage demanded to be fed after soundcheck and Don's parents stepped up with a pool party/BBQ on minutes notice. The Quick performed Master Race at the Temple with Danny Wilde wearing a traditional Jewish skullcap, much to the dismay of a few of the Temple's more conservative members. Fortunately, a few of members of The Quick were Jewish and able to smooth things over, explaining that the song trivialized Nazis. The crowd of suburban kids weren't quite sure what to make of The Quick. One person at the show, Jeff Johnson (a classmate of Sue and Don's) yelled out, "Play some Hendrix!" Danny Wilde's reply that instantly became part of Quick fan lore: "Hendrix? He's dead!" Regardless, the crowd was generally enthusiastic and supportive. A few months later, the Ramones and The Quick unwittingly conspired to set the wheels in motion for these four friends to form a band. The Ramones made it look deceptively easy to play in a great band, even if you didn't have virtuoso skills. That really didn't mean much to Paula and the other three until The Quick dropped their favorite song, Teacher's Pet, from the set list and it wasn't going to make the upcoming Quick LP, Mondo Deco.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Now that’s the essence of Mod" - Bowie Covering the Velvet Underground Before the First VU LP Released in US/The Deviants Covering "Prominent Men" 1965-1966?

Is the music game only about one-upmanship? Who was hep to who at the earliest? Do you really care? I do. Grady has recently pointed out that Bowie covered "I'm Waiting for the Man" as early as 1967, which turns out to be before the first VU lp even came out in the US! I even had the track on the Bowie "Rare and Well Done" cd but as boots go, it had the date listed as a 1969 demo. That boot also has the track "Litle Toy Soldier" with its Small Faces-ish rewrite of "Venus in Furs" listed as 1969 as well. According to this excellent and illuminating write-up, which lays out the timeline, the who and how, it demonstrates that the proverbial race to the courthouse door does matter if you care about such things. Or is it "first in time, first in possession"? “Now that’s the essence of Mod,” Bowie boasted [about covering the VU before the lp was even out]." Turns out "Little Toy Soldier" dates from 1967 as well, again with the Riot Squad. Not so fast flash. Mick Farren had an acetate of the 1965 VU demos (stolen from Joe Boyd!) that eventually became the first disc of the "Peel Slowly and See" box set around the same time (1965-1966) so maybe he can claim the hep crown from old carrot top. We need Mick to see if he can scrape up some rehearsal tapes to back up his claim! First lets hear Bowie tackle Lou twice in 1967: What I can say with absoulte certainty is that the British were among the first to "get" the Velvet Underground in a broader cultural sense, and that the influence was seeping into the consciousness of folks like Mick Farren and David Bowie as early as 1965-1967. Makes me want to dig out my original U.S. Sire pressing of the Deviants' "Ptoof" right now. I remember reading with some astonishment Ritchie Unterberger's interview of Farren back in 1999 right here and it would behoove you to remind yourself of what their approach encompassed.
Q: What were the Deviants' inspirations when you starting coming together around late 1966?
MF: We didn't know what we were doing, for a start. The most exciting thing at the time was probably the Who. Probably what Pete Townshend was doing. But that in a way was kind of big time major hit single rock'n'roll. The two rather diverse things that we were listening to was on one hand, we were getting the first ESP records by the Fugs. And at the other extreme, I was listening to a lot of... particularly the album Mingus [did], "Oh Yeah," with Roland Kirk, with "Ecclusiastics" and "Passions of a Man" and "Eat That Chicken" and all that stuff on it. Bob Dylan of course. We were trying to like blend it all into something that made sense, without very much money. The Fugs had a certain kind of jugband appeal, which fitted our income at the time. Joe Boyd [producer of Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, and numerous other late-'60s bands] brought over some tapes of the Velvet Underground, which we stole off him, and somebody immediately stole off us. That was the most interesting thing that seemed to be a similar kind of synthesis, coming from the same sort of background. [The tapes] were pre-first album (ED: i.e. predating the Velvets' famed "Banana" LP).. I was almost beginning to think I'd dreamed them. Everybody denied all knowledge of them. We performed a song called "Prominent Men" for a while that we took off those tapes. And suddenly they resurfaced. They're the very first tapes on the Velvet Underground box set. [The tape] was ["Prominent Men"], three or four versions of "Venus In Furs," the very strange acoustic version of "Waiting For The Man," "Prominent Men," "All Tomorrow's Parties." [We were] a bunch of guys who'd really come out of the sort of British North London art school R&B band scene. Like the Pretty Things; that was really our heritage. We were trying to like push it in simultaneously a more demented and more intelligent direction. 'Cause we couldn't really be spending our time recycling old Jimmy Reed tunes. So we were looking for something to do. I think basically Lou and Cale got in there first. It was very much a sort of parallel development, London and New York. That's where we felt things were happening the most. You know, we were pretty incompetent at the start. We were pretty incompetent at the end. But more money came in. The amplifiers got bigger. We all got ourselves fierce amphetamine habits, and at that point, kind of ear-bleeding noise took over for a while. Plus we were also kind of listening to Zappa, which definitely affected the way we made the first album.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Zuma and Topanga/Alan Wilson, the Magic Band and the Screamers/"Tomorrow's Leaders" and "Future Blues"

Anyone who has read Rebecca Davis Winter's excellent Alan Wilson bio will know of the pivotal role that Bob "the Bear" Hite's house played in his life as a sanctuary to throw his sleeping bag down. You can now add that house to the West Valley trip to the Magic Band house in Woodland Hills. Just continue on the 101 to Topanga. 701 Topanga Canyon Boulevard to be exact. Right after hitting the sacred ground of the Trout Mask ground zero at 4295 Ensenada Drive in Woodland Hills. John French's huge, crazy book only makes it more than necessary to add to the itinerary. Take a good look at the photos of Hite's house here and the Trout Mask house on the links.
Looking at the remnants of Hite's house reminded me of John Divola's excellent 1977 "Zuma" series but updated in a post-2008 financial crisis way; empty homes and swimming pools and all that connotes. During the same year that Divola's work was shot, down the Pacific Coast Highway, on August 7, 1977, the Screamers gave a command performance for Iggy Pop at a private party at his home in Malibu. Iggy called them "Tomorrow's Leaders." For some reason, I always pictured them playing in one of Divola's "Zuma" rooms. Thanks to Ricky via Tim and Jed for the initial Zuma tip.
The "Future Blues":

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Last Heard/The System (repost)

All of the early Seger tracks were booted and comped in the 80's on the excellent "East Side Story" and these tracks were front and center. From a much maligned performer who did cut some GREAT 45s. Hat tip to the Boogaloo Omnibus of Brooklyn aka Phast Phreddie for the original tip at Los Angeles' Rhino Records to my teenage ears some time in the mid-80's. The drumming (coupled with the fuzz) KILLS:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

UK>West Coast/The Avengers in ZigZag April/May 1978

Despite the revisionism of the past decade, the UK during the 1970's did not really embrace punk rock from the United States other than from New York (Ramones, Suicide, Television, Blondie, PSG, Richard Hell, Heartbreakers etc). The sole West Coast exception may be the Runaways. Did the Dickies have any impact on record or live? Maybe with the latter day reassessment of the Quick, the UK punkers can finally grok how great and fun the Dickies were at their peak - "Waterslide" anyone - and how quintessentially Los Angeles a band they were just like the Weirdos - representing the San Fernando Valley and (North) Hollywood respectively. For the rest of the states, Pere Ubu were appreciated in real time as well (again revisionism has claimed Devo I think). Sure, in the era LA sent its own independent ambassadors abroad to the UK often though with their own agenda (hiya Darby and Adam Ant). The Go-Go's made it to the UK before the 1980's happened as well. Los Angeles was a great party spot with lots of young people eager to show the finer points of Tinseltown to the UK punk first wavers. Ditto SF. However, the cognescenti in the UK rock press did not take it seriously. Nick Kent hung out with Iggy but that was for the end of the glitter party. The Damned came first to LA, stayed with the Screamers, saw the Weirdos (and the Germs?), were dropped from the show with Television and hung out with a young Paula Pierce among others. But back in the UK, not so much press coverage even though the first wave of Masque-era bands and SF bands were folks who were checking out the Dolls and Stooges in the days before "punk" (and in the case of Alejandro Escovedo of the Nuns, the Velvet Underground as well at the Shrine Auditorium in LA). Credentials don't come any more solid, no? Does it even matter if Slash Magazine existed to give these bands their due. It does because until the last 15-20 years, the UK published the books that wrote the history. Even the Dylanophile that wrote "From the Velvets to the Voidoids" neglected the West Coast. Time has finally fleshed out the bookshelf (get a load of Carducci's tracking of 30 odd SST-related books now on the shelf - my work in progress will make it 31). The Screamers should have garnered tons of press even without a record, as their sound was so far ahead of its time that it took another generation of young people to truly lionize them and seal their entry into the rock canon. Their take on the Sonny & Cher classic "The Beat Goes On" from 1977 is no worse for wear than "New Rose." Ditto "Destroy All Music." Yet, any unsigned and unrecorded band who played a gig in the greater London area got a write up in the surfeit of UK weekly music rags. And we got Hilburn. Well, wait a minute. Maybe that is NOT the whole picture. Case in point is the April/May 1978 issue of ZigZag featuring PS on the cover and an article on one of SF's finest, the Avengers, hot on the heels of opening for the Sex Pistols at Winterland and from around the same time as the Rodney-approved and Steve Jones produced ep (where I first heard and taped 'em). Oddly enough, instead of us the sending the best of the West Coast to the UK, what the future had in store for us was a reverse migration and endless parade of what Boucher rightly termed "Las Vegas Punks," who came to play and headline the once great wrestling palace, the Olympic Auditorium ad naseum. Ugghhh. How much time was wasted with these leather besotted folks when the real deal was slogging around the US touring in a van.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Destroy-LA, July-August 1982

Straight out of Canoga Park, I have to say that the entire Smoke Seven catalog was pretty hot. Smoke seven of what I ask you? I bought them as they came out and heaviness abounds. "Born Innocent" alone would have made them legendary but that is only scratching the surface. RF7's 1982 debut "Weight of the World" is like an early 70's biker-metal private press that mutated into hardcore when taken out of the deep freeze. And cover art that would put a smile on Jim Shaw's face. Not too get too Roland Barthes on you, but the cover art reveals as much of the inner psyche of where Felix Alanis was at, as does the cover of "Damaged" reveal the undercurrent of inner turmoil caused by the constant police and societal repression of the extended SST family - and by implication that of the harassed fans - seeing themselves in the mirror with Henry's bloodied fist. Some pent up and heavy shit going down in SoCal.

Where the hell are today's vocalists who can hold a candle to the likes of John Brannon, H.R., Alanis (or even Chris D. for that matter). The knob is turned past 11 eleven brother.

After seeing Easy Action live years ago, clearly Brannon's vocal skill and subtlety have gotten better and better with age. Take that Bryan Ferry, whose own solo cover of "The In Crowd" Brannon and Easy Action bested with pathos that Byron Ferrari could only dream of from his limo window. Which brings me to another mode of Smoke7 heaviness altogether via the "Public Service" lp from 1981 which I got a lot of enjoyment out of and was a nice local compliment to the stuff Rodney was playing. It also made me search out stuff by all the bands on the comp. The Thompson Brothers and Damon were kind enough to scoop me out of some early 80's, late summer doldrums and bring me to some roller rink in North Hollywood to see Circle One, the Angry Samoans, Shattered Faith and some others I can't remember now. I do remember Don Bolles being the dj between bands and being suitably impressed that he subjected all the baldies to the likes of the Seeds. That and a radical set by John Macias and Circle One. The show started with John saying that he "WANTED THE FUCKING LIGHTS OFF NOW!" Whoa. My memory of the night is that he had some face paint or charcoal right out of Walter Hill's "The Warriors." I was stoked that I got the hits like "Destroy Exxon" and "F.O." Anyway, in the barn I have the complete run of the Destroy-LA fanzine from Van Nuys. If Bell hadn't cut up my copy of issue number one in junior high, maybe you wouldn't have gotten the radicalness of the cover that is issue number two right here and now. Later I will post the Sex Sick interview with Kira Roessler and and the Alley Cats, which are interesting takes on the Masque-era right in the midst of hardcore.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine/Nick Kent on Hawkwind 1972 (NME) and the Smiths 1986/Monoshock 2012

While in Melbourne a few weeks back, I managed to miss my old pal's Monoshock's warm-up gig in San Francisco. Warm up for what? You tell me. Japan, UK and continental festivals all finishing with an Australasian leg of the world tour ending here in NZ. Nice, no? That should have been what happened the first time. Instead, all we get for the gig is a 180 gram repress of one the 1990's quintessential records. Did Thirsty even listen to his free promo that we flung to him at the time? The rumble of "Cryptozoological Disaster" still defines the era for me - what is with all these self serving folks writing books about that era without including a CHAPTER on the making of this record. While missing the Monoshock gig, I did happen to find this old NME 1972 yearbook in a 1985-vintage psychotronic video shop (where the owner told my daughter not to touch the clamshell VHS cases as they were "collectible"!), and oddly not in one of Melbourne's forty plus record stores. That said, you get Nick Kent on Hawkwind. Lemmy drinking a Newcastle Brown Ale, Dik Mik in front of both the Sam Gopal lp AND "Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine." "From Bolan to Beefheart"!! It says it right there on the cover. After watching Monoshock, move yourself to some VINTAGE 1986 Nick Kent (right after John Peel) as he pontificates at 2:40 of the South Bank Show special on the Smiths. Dead on as always. Outstanding stuff. More Kent and Hawkwind in the archives here if you can be bothered to search.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rocket From The Tombs Plays Real "Cleveland Music"

About ten years ago I got to see the first Rocket From The Tombs performance in 27 years at UCLA. I thoroughly enjoyed it front and center and it was a bit surreal to see them given that in my universe (and my pals'), they loomed as large as any of their own influences. Equals. Prescient, in fact, as they synthesized all that was great about the late 60's/early 70's teenage wasteland culture, honed in on the bare essence and made a new music for young people. That they had risen to that stature is even more amazing because we only had a ninety minute bootleg cassette tape (and the bootleg album and single of portions of that tape). That is all that existed for decades. We knew where it ended up but how did it get there. Is not that first Pere Ubu 45 one of the benchmark recordings of the 20th Century and a total headscratcher to boot. Listen to it again and one wonders from which planet did it emanate. How do we get to Pere Ubu up through lp number two and that perfect first Dead Boys record (Cheetah you are too harsh on the second Dead Boys lp). You are to tell me that somehow, some guys in a rundown loft in Cleveland in 1973-1974 started that? Thanks to folks like Chris that legacy never totally fizzled out. The legacy of Peter Laughner is a whole 'nother piece to the puzzle which I have been spending decades to unravel. Do try to find Richard Hell's excellent piece on Laughner in his book of writings and drawings Hot and Cold. The scan below is from BTC #15 from 1989 which Chris will still sell you. Does anyone know which CLE publication originally published this? Guessing from early 1975. This whole memory jog was started by the best rock memoir that I have read in the past year which is Cheetah Chrome's A Dead Boy's Tale: From the Front Lines of Punk Rock. I finally read Just Kids as well which is older and just as fascinating. About this article . . . Whoa! Where to begin with this one. Who was Lucy D. Smart? I read this thing and think - damn straight! Written by RFTT's own Minister of Information. Read the quotes from these guys - Bell, Laughner and Crocus. There was too much brain power in this band for 1975 CLE for it to possibly last. I am serious. What strikes me is that it is refreshing to know that in the pre-punk dark ages, someone gave some serious ink space to an intelligent and original group of musicians who did not have a record deal or shag hairdos at the time. Where was Gene during this interview? Read his book and get some insight to his headspace at the time.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dennis Wilson and Fleetwood Mac Double Vision/"Only Over You" composed "with special thanks for inspiration to Dennis"

In my opinion, the most interesting historical point of Cynthia Gianelli and Paul Newell's essential 1977-78 documentary "Never Mind the Sex Pistols, Here's the Bollocks" is the mainstream music industry's disgraceful shutdown of KHJ AM in Los Angeles from playing and supporting the Ramones as a singles act in 1977 or thereabouts. At the time, it would have no doubt blown open the Ramones to the ears of the biggest and most influential teen market in the US. I don't have my three editions of "Rock and the Pop Narcotic" handy (to date the definitive non-apocryphyal take on the era), but does Carducci reference this? It would have made a big difference in my house to have won a copy of "Rocket to Russia" instead of Linda's "Living in the USA" from KHJ in 1978. I digress. Dennis doing the promo with Christie for KHJ and wearing a great shirt, the picture of which would make a great shirt or bag itself.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dennis Wilson and Rodney Bingenheimer/Pacific Ocean Blue record signing at Tower Sunset October 1977

Not quite sure whether Rodney was actually playing anything off of Pacific Ocean Blue in between Blondie, the Ramones, Iggy, Annette Funicello and the Sex Pistols during October 1977. I do know that ten years later that you could pick up the lp for a buck in Santa Cruz as I did. I am thinking about a whole week of only Dennis Wilson photos. How sweet would that be. Here is numero uno.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Donald Sutherland and Father Yod: The Source Family on Film Part II/Alex in Wonderland (Mazursky, 1970)

Dining on the patio of the Source, Father Yod and Ahom on your left, Donald Sutherland on your right in hippie headband. Paul Mazursky's Alex in Wonderland (1970) is a Fellini homage with Fellini himself in a cameo as well.

Not unlike Renoir's cameo in Frawley's The Christian Licorice Store (1971) though without Tim Buckley. A minor and seldom seen New Hollywood picture, unfortunately there are some painful and cringe inducing agitprop moments that have not aged well. The film does contain a faux military battle on Hollywood Blvd., where one can see that Let It Be was showing at a theater during its filming. Mazursky himself plays a studio exec in the film and Sutherland, as an aspiring first time director, takes a liking to a print on the office wall, a similar scene repeated as Vincent Chase takes a liking to a painting on Ari Gold's office wall in season two of Entourage. If the Source existed today (the restaurant that is), Vinny, Johnny, Turtle and "E" would be dining there. A crtitical examination of Sutherland's 1969-1974 films forthcoming. Below is Buckley's cameo in The Christian Licorice Store. Thanks to Steve for the print.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"The Most Self-Indulgent, Impossible, Elitist, Brilliant Recording Ever"/The Dictators in TOTP 1975

Unless you were Sparks, you didn't really have a hope in hell in being covered in what was billed as "America's Only British Rock Magazine" between say late 1972 to around 1976. Thus my surprise to see Ira's note from the April/May 1975 issue (No. 8, Bolan cover) of Trans-Oceanic Trouser Press. Fellow fanzine writer acknowledges other fanzine writer makes good, even going so far as to call Adny a lyrical "genius." Also calls 'em a cross between 10cc, the Beach Boys and heavy metal. The real parking lot heavy metal of 1975 along with KISS, the Gizmos, BOC, Thundertrain, Aerosmith, etc.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Long Goodbye and Ball Four/"Yeh I've Been Searchin'"/Marlboro Man

Is The Long Goodbye the second best Altman film of the 70's after Nashville? Filmed primarily in Los Angeles in 1973 (released in 1974), I do know that The Long Goodbye is the only one that has Jim Bouton in a compelling and understated supporting actor role. What I associate now when I watch The Long Goodbye (other than Jeremy Blake), is Bas Jan Ader's One Night in Los Angeles, the first part of his work In Search of the Miraculous (1973). In that work (image below), Ader spent a night walking from the Hollywood Hills to the Pacific Ocean. It is the same nighttime trajectory that Marlowe takes in his car to find out what happened to his friend Terry Lennox.

As I recently re-read Bouton's "Ball Four," it turns out he got a call at 3AM from Elliot Gould telling him that he "was going to be in a movie with him called The Long Goodbye, directed by Robert Altman and [he] should catch the next plane to California." Bouton's "audition" consisted of shaking hands with Altman at the airport. Obviously Gould and Altman were big baseball fans, and figured that Bouton had taken enough heat over the book to give him some paid work - check out Jim on What's My Line about 15 weeks after Ball Four was published below.

The Long Goodbye has aged well, and may be Gould's finest work. Though consciously self-referential to the history of noir both on film and in fiction, it was of its time to such an extent that if I want to project myself and feel what Los Angeles of 1973 felt like, I watch it (Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence filmed around the same time works somewhat though not as successfully for me). Name me another film that has the old Ships in Westwood as part of a chase scene of sorts.

Throw in Neil Young's On the Beach and "Rubber Legs"-era Stooges, No Other, Heart Food and the Imperial Dogs' Unchained Maladies and you just may have 1973-74 Los Angeles covered for me. Even Neil gets in a baseball reference in "For the Turnstiles" to tie it all up in my head:

All the bushleague batters
Are left to die
on the diamond.
In the stands
the home crowd scatters
For the turnstiles,
For the turnstiles,
For the turnstiles.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Otis! is Kobaïan for Love

Like myself, you too have had periods of time where nothing crossed the turntable other than Magma and its various offshoots. A universe unto itself. Where I have been wrong is the arbitrary cutoff of around 1977. Thanks to Damon, I have been introduced to Christian Vander's brilliant, very personal tribute to Otis Redding from . . . 1981. How this would have factored into my listening at the time I can't say, but I have matured enough to appreciate this on all levels over 30 years later. And while I am at it, add Vander to the list of GREAT drumming singers, enough to give Karen Carpenter a run for her money on pure emotive raw power.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sounds Single of This and Every Week/The Saints on Return of the Saint/Don Rickles and the Germs

So the Dickies were the first of the Masque-era Los Angeles punk bands to hit the UK followed by the Go-Go's the following year. I haven't had a chance to read Alice Bag's memoir (try finding a copy in NZ), but you could do a lot worse than read the first half of Belinda Carlisle's memoir Lips Unsealed for some debauched tales of the era. I digress. The Saints were among the first to show the Brits how it was done, after the Ramones of course, and shared the stage with them as well in the UK. I am reminded of Dylan in No Direction Home trying to divine where all those early songs came from. Do Chris Bailey and Ed Kuepper wonder the same thing? Dylan and the Ramones where living in one of the most culturally rich cities in the world surrounded by scenes which offered early support. The Saints incredibly created some of the 1970’s most perfect music while in Brisbane. Anyone who has not heard The Most Primitive Band in the World which dates from 1974 really needs to do some backpedaling. While Brisbane 1973-74 was not like the backwater portrayed in the seminal Australian film Wake in Fright (which each and every reader of this site needs to see), it was close enough which makes the foundling Saints’ achievement even that much more incredible. These were not kids hanging out at the Riot House, seeing Iggy crawling on the sidewalk on the Sunset Strip, or camping outside Freddie Mercury’s hotel room and then forming a band. As I have said before, one of the truly unacknowledged cultural movers and shakers of the last half century is named Lenny Kaye. It was his Nuggets comp that hit Brisbane in 1974 - two years late you may note - (along with the contempo Dolls, Stooges, MC5, various 50's greats, the Missing Links etc) that powered this earth shattering music. Proof that record nerds who are fine musicians can change the cultural world, no? Anyway, here you have the review that changed the game, and an interesting video curio. My old pal Maxwell in LA is who hipped me to the original Saint on telly. So it makes total sense that the actual Saints who by then had decamped to the UK make an appearance on the Return of the Saint show in 1978. In the same year, and it is buried back in my subconscious that I saw it at the time it was broadcast (along with Joe Namath’s short lived Waverly Wafers), the Dickies appeared on Don Rickles’ CPO Sharkey AND the Germs got their first name check on national US television. Check it all out below.

Now this is the kind of thing that I would screen if I was given an IMAX theater with a bar:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Crime, Jobriath and Ann Magnuson

I am not sure what I find more entertaining - Ann Magnuson goofin' on Jobriath and Bowie (with much affection) which I have seen in person or the actual Midnight Special performance by Jobriath (with Gladys Knight as host) backed by a band that can only considered a proto-Crime given their haberdasher and flying v. That is EXACTLY the glammy look I imagined the pre-Crime bands the Guitar Killers or the Space Invaders to have sported circa 1974 as they partied with/hosted the Dolls on their historic west coast tour in SF. Or am I reminded on a black clothed Zolar X?

Can't figure out why "Rock of Ages" is credited on the first lp to the trad. publishers when in fact Jobriath's lyrics are right of the then current 1950's revivalism school of Mott the Hoople, Wizzard, Dusty & Sweets McGee/American Graffiti and the David Essex/Ringo vehicle That'll Be the Day (which I have recently screened again). Here you go:

So what if a-wop-bop-a loo-bam boom didn't rhyme
Billy Haley and the Comets drove me to the prom in time
A Little Richard goes a long long way
More than twenty long years to this day
Rock of ages roll away, rock away, roll away

We were dancin' in the streets and shapin' our lives in school
When we were simply thirteen, God saved the Queen in Liverpool
A mop top Mersey goes a long, long way
More than ten long years to this day
Rock of ages roll away, rock away, roll away

Three plays for a quarter is ancient history now
But the Stones roll away and rock that jukebox till
Satisfaction goes a long, long way
Much more than five long years to this day
Rock of ages roll away, rock away, roll away
A Little Richard goes a long, long way
More than twenty long years to this day
Rock of ages roll away, rock away, roll away

Unfortunately, none of Ann's Jobriath performances are available online though her goof on Wilde's Salome at LACMA has enough camp to give Patti Smith a run for her money.

How did I miss this Zolar X auction:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Saturday Night Pogo 1978 KROQ Radio Ad/Radio Free Hollywood/The Berlin Brats 1976/Rhymes With Seltzer [Repost]

Is Richard Meltzer embarassed by the 1978 Saturday Night Pogo cover? As a teenager, I was embarrassed by the image. Meltzer was 33 years old when he posed for the cover. At 34, he lionized the Germs (GI) lp in a rave Los Angeles Times review which demonstrated he hadn't lost all his marbles. In fact, it is among his best reviews of albums he actually listened to. Courtesy of Dr. Riff Buttons, you get to hear the LA radio ad for the lp plus some added Rodney bumper commentary:

The Saturday Night Pogo lp would seem to be a b-team of the LA punk era, right? Well yes and no. The Radio Free Hollywood crowd never really got their due with all the revisionist history of what constitutes year zero of LA punk. I agree it is no "Tooth & Nail" or "Yes LA" but there are some shining moments. Who among the best of the old guard Hollywood punks pre-Masque have not gotten their due? Well, let's see. The Droogs are from the Valley (and worthy of their own post) and the Dogs are originally from Detroit. So I guess that would leave Saturday Night Pogo stars, the Berlin Brats. Rubin Fiberglass and I would both agree going back to our Santa Cruz days, that "Tropically Hot" off that lp and the 45 are among the great unsung Dolls/trashy songs you never heard. At Waitakere Walks, that sort of thing is our bread and butter. Both the A and B side of the 45 are among the best pre-hardcore punk 45s to emerge from Los Angeles - that is if you like the Dolls, Stones, early rock n' roll etc. A battle royale of Clap, the Berlin Brats and the Imperial Dogs could get pretty bloody (Daddy Maxfield had already split the scene). As a pre-teen, the fact that the Berlin Brats were in "Up in Smoke" did not register. The Dils later did, but I swear, so brief is the appearance of the Berlin Brats that it is missed if you so much as sneeze. Just as memorable may be the image of Rodney with his glam mullet wearing a Sex Pistols shirt at the side of the stage with Cheech Marin. I wish Fowley had made the cut. Somebody get Lou Adler on the line so we can get the full footage released!! Here is all there is:

Here is the great 45 of Tropically Hot/Psychotic:

What has been a real revelation at headquarters are the 1976 Berlin Brats demos and some live shows of the same era. Here is the demo of "Tropically Hot" slowed down with some very sweet acoustic overdubs, the great "Do I Love You Today" and a live cover of the Animals "It's My Life" from Hollywood 1976 - we need the 180 gram pressing of this stuff:

Back to Saturday Night Pogo, here is a clip of VOM at Malibu Beach (?) performing their track from the lp. Meltzer does undo some of the damage from the lp cover here and we do love Gregg Turner's vocals which he used to great effect in his next project:

Addendum: anyone know of how to get in touch with Dr. Riff Buttons?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gene Clark's Descent From the Cosmic Mount

And the LORD said unto Gene, come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. Exodus 24:12-13. Of course a paraphrase, but Gene did return with two tablets, "No Other" and "Roadmaster" (with "White Light" and various Byrds tracks in his denim hip pocket).

According to Thomas Jefferson Kaye, in 1973 Dylan and Neuwirth said their three favorite songwriters in the world were Dylan (duh!), Bobby Charles and Gene Clark. See Zigzag, June 1977. Gene below as stand-in for Rock Action. Anyone ever see those two guys together in the same room?

Saw Gene perform almost 30 years ago thanks to Danny Benair and Michael Quercio inviting the man to sing. A commanding and compelling figure on stage. On the bookshelf again for some Dillard & Clark and Gosdin Brothers research: Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of the Byrds' Gene Clark by John Einarson.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Captain Beefheart, Dr. Demento, an artificial lawn, mimes, violins and an accordian/The Captain's Wilshire Blvd. billboard November 5, 1972

Ah, the halcyon days of real record promotion the early 1970's! Money flowing through the Reprise/Warners coffers courtesy of Alice Cooper, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and god knows who else to pay for a promotion like the one described below (which I came across in the December 7, 1972 RS found in the barn). I have scanned the record ad below as well from the same issue. Other photos from the excellent Electricity page which has a meeting of the minds of the good Captain and Wolfman Jack!
I can almost safely say - or is it wishful thinking - that I drove by this billboard (with an actual painting by Don), as a young passenger as may have many of you Los Angeles readers during November 1972 as you cruised Wilshire Blvd. between Genesee and Spaulding.

I have written before of Barry Hansen's friendship with John Fahey and here he appears below Zelig-like for the Captain promoting one of the the Captain's most perfect and fully-formed creations from start to finish. If you have not heard the 5 disc set of "Clear Spot"/"Spotlight Kid" rehearsals/outtakes I pity you. I really do. Some serious levitation took place in a rehearsal studio in the San Fernando Valley in 1971-72. Derided by many as the Captain's "mersh" period before the truly awful actual mersh period that soon followed, those sessions have some pure gold. Is not the Magic Band's rhythm section as much the beat of the 70's as Tony Allen or Klaus Dinger?

A colour reproduction of the actual artwork contained in a 1990's greatest hits collection: