Saturday, May 30, 2015

Over Easy

I am pretty sure that Charlotte Caffey first tipped me off to the excellence of Mimi Pond's illustrated memoir of 1970's California, Over Easy (Drawn and Quarterly, 2014), which includes her stint at art school and subsequent work at an Oakland cafe. Over Easy straddles the post-hippie era into fully fledged new wave-dom. A nice way to spend several hours transported back in late 70's Northern California. File it alongside Michael Ritchie's unsung film Smile from 1975 which captures another slice of California life. What did startle me though (in a good way) was the actual cameo of Ted Falconi from Flipper. Great stuff and apparently there is a part two on the way.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tomata du Plenty and David Lee Roth

As you would expect in David Lee Roth’s Crazy From the Heat (1997 ed.), there are not many references to punk, though in an amusing conflation he oddly and belatedly hands the year 1978 over to Van Halen, the Sex Pistols and the Bee Gees. All three get a passing nod. There is also a passing reference to Henry Rollins and to LA scenester Tequila Mockingbird. I know that Pleasant has thought that David Lee Roth was an investor in the Zero Zero gallery as you can read here. There are also references to the club in the excellent Peter Ivers bio In Heaven Everything is Fine. In Crazy From the Heat, Roth confirms that he was in fact a partner, and was where he had his initial meeting with Steve Vai “actually after a police raid at the local Zero One Gallery, an after hours spot where I was a partner. We got busted every three months: there is supposedly no after-hours in L.A.” Arguably the better anecdote and one that has only somewhat recently been brought to my attention is that DLR and Tomata du Plenty knew each other and that the Zero Zero was the common denominator.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Interphase 1/100% Impure Punk/A Warholian Freak Show/A Mutant's Eye View of Black Oak Arkansas [from Jan. 2011]

I must have tracked this one down in the late 1980’s based on the $2.99 price. From Wilmette and Chicago/DeKalb Illinois comes Interphase 1, edited by Cary S. Baker, Jeff Silberman and Harlan Hollander. What interests us most about this 'zine is the unbelievable who’s who slice of pre-punk Americana straight out of 1975. This includes the writing crew that would coalesce into Gulcher the magazine, and the brilliant uber-teenage Gizmos, prior to their March 1976 recording debut. During the 1990’s, when there were a slew of must read magazines and zines, including Forced Exposure, Jewish Beatle, Black to Comm, Modern Rock Mag (later Rock Mag), Superdope, 200lb Underground, Wipeout, Feminist Baseball, Popwatch, Bob Bert’s BB Gun, Opprobrium and others, one of the best and hardest to obtain, i.e., least distributed, was Eddie Flowers’ digest size Slippy Town Times. Slippy Town Times was really the only one that could link you directly to the primordial days of original, early 70's high energy rock criticism which still included righteous coverage of current stuff such as the latest avalanche of Sun City Girls releases. You may know Eddie from his time fronting one of the best and unheralded free form rock bands of the past (what is it 25 years now and running?), Crawlspace. But Ed had a previous incarnation as one of the more astute music writers among the generation after Bangs, Meltzer and Tosches et al. Slippytown went online with a mailorder side as well sometime in the 2000's I think.

Included in Interphase is a great tag team interview of Black Oak Arkansas’ Jim Dandy by Ken Highland, Bob Richert and Eddie entitled “Jim Dandy to the Recluse” aka “Talking With Jim Dandy: A Mutant’s Eye View of Black Oak Arkansas in Middle America.” Sounds like a title to swipe for my cultural studies dissertation, no? Richert’s “Beyond Our Control” gets some repeated mention so it does pre-date Gulcher.

Also of note are write-ups on both the Dictators and Crème Soda PRE “Go Girl Crazy” and “Tricky Zingers.” Eddie wrote the piece reproduced here with the only available release at the time being “I’m Chewin’ Gum.” Eddie has put this on the Slippytown site though not in its original incarnation.

The “Innerfazing” list is a hoot. Claire Panke of “Prehensile Tongue” fame is described as “Chicago’s most curvaceous Anglophile, and believes that Alex Harvey is God,” David Newberger who gives the you are there account of the Dictators is described as “a rock enthusiast, a friend of Blue Oyster Cult’s and quite a nice dude.” Of course, “Eddie Flowers is to Southern rock what Ken Kesey is to acid” and Ken Highland is “a very enterprising rock and roll punk.” Amen. While special thanks go out to Lester Bangs, Adny Shernoff and Murray Krugman, who is Tim Love, described as “DeKalb’s top roadie, a Jim Dandy/Iggy nut and an expert on Mississippi River Rat Rock.”

Art Schaak of “Roller Reader” is the zines LA correspondent, but I have to say provides some very low energy rock and roll wattage given the total lack of Zolar X coverage and inclusion of Tull’s “War Child.” I will give a thumbs-up breakdown on the first JT lp at some point in 2011. Probably more I could scan but this should do. There are some sweet live shots of Steven Tyler by Claire Panke and a short MC5 write-up which I think I will post at some point: “the MC5 are deified Motor City rockers. Their three out-of-print albums go for anywhere from $1.99 in the bargain bins or $10 on the black market.”