Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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

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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kustomized Al Kooper

From a thrift store, beater copy find of "Grape Jam" earlier this week. Kooper's "Backstage Passes" has always made me quite fond of the guy, and the first edition that book is well worth seeking out if only for the great photos.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Marc on Marc/John's Children "Desdemona"

On the heels of the last post of Joseph Fleury raving about the Sweet as a great singles band, here is another related post. At a benefit for Joseph back in 1990, Danny Benair dedicated a cover of John's Children's "Desdemona" to him as something they bought as kids. So, I dug this clipping out of the archive. Ah, the humility of Marc Bolan! According to Marc, it only took him 25 seconds to write "Desdemona"! I believe him. And I kinda like the idea of artists reviewing their own work when their egos are as large as Marc's! What would M.E. Smith make of it all? As Marc states that the lyrics are "all rather complicated and difficult to explain" ("Lift up your skirt and fly"), I feel you need to read it as prose to truly enjoy Marc's lightening fast process. Also enjoy the Marsha Hunt cover of "Desdemona" which is a great story in and of itself according to Tony Visconti.

Desdemona just because you're the daughter of a man
He may be rich, he's in a ditch, he does not understand
Just how to move or rock and roll
To the conventions of the young

Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona - Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Lift up your skirt and fly

Just because my friend and I got a juke joint by the Seine
Does not mean I'm past fourteen and cannot play the game
Oh, I'm glad I split and got a pad
On Boulevard Rue Fourteen

Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona - Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Lift up your skirt and fly

Just because Toulouse Lautrec painted some chick in the rude
Don't give you the right to steal my night
And leave me naked in the nude
For just because the touch of your hand
Can turn me on just like a stick

Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona - Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona - Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Desdemona - De-De-De-Desdemona
Lift up your skirt and speak 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

"If you dropped the name of the Sweet in the course of rock chat"

So Claw Hammer is playing here next month, and I am not sure if I saw a band more often in the late 1980's to the mid-1990's than those guys in both the Rick Sortwell and Bob Lee era. I was thinking of all the covers the band played at one time or another, and in the deep, deep fog of my memory, I seem to recall Claw Hammer covering this nugget by the Sweet. Is that even right? That plus inspiration from the late, great Joesph Fleury's OVER THE TOP intro to his "Will Success Spoil the Sweet?" story from 1973. :

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On the Shelf

Alan Licht channels James Lipton on Inside the Actor's Studio and we get one of the best music/film books for some time. Great concept and execution, with some real insight by Will on an otherwise inscrutable process. Had me searching for records that have not been played in some time, as do all good music books. And that is when we don't get some real dish on his contemporaries and elders. A "you are there" conversation, and definitely will be a reference guide for future bios. A real left field add to the cannon, and as unexpected as Will's subtle play in "Old Joy." Score one for Faber and Faber and file next to "Lennon Remembers: The Rolling Stones Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sparks, the Stones and Elton

Being back in Los Angeles has one thinking of all things Sparks of course. Case in point was the first find of the trip: a 1975, Penthouse Publications cash-in on Eltonmania in the form of an eight page mini magazine/fold-out poster devoted to EJ. What is intriguing is that the editor decided to place Sparks alongside the Stones and EJ as the band/performer of the moment. Which had me thinking that in a 1975, pre-“Rumours” moment, somebody out there believed that the Mael Brothers could be the next megastars of the 70's to come out of Los Angeles. We don’t count the success of carpetbagging country rockers or do we? Reverse carpetbagging of the sort that the Mael Brothers engaged in is a-ok though. Of course, history has shown that the true quintessential, homegrown superstar Los Angeles band of the 1970’s are the brothers from Pasadena, no? Any other suggestions? Enjoy the back page Pioneer ad at the bottom.