Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The four JUNGLE JIM films I watched these past two Sunday afternoons sure brought back memories. Not of me watching them but of my uncles gathered in my grandmother's living room glomming an aging Johnny Weismuller during some family get-together while the ladies were gabbing in the kitchen and us kids were running around causing trouble. I was about ten at the time, and although films such as these weren't exactly tickling my fancy my uncles were all for 'em...after all, they probably were front and center for JUNGLE JIM back when these mooms were running at the low-rent theatres that were splattered across the area (although I do recall one of 'em remarking that he thought the film stock quality was good considering they were "made back in the thirties"!) and I know that they were more prone to go see BOWERY BOYS films rather'n some mushy love story because they always used to joke around 'n call each other "Slip" and "Satch" 'n stuff like that. No "Scruno"'s in sight, but then again I wouldn't've figured on that!

Of all the uncles in question only one survives, and although he ain't as active at 92 as he was a good forty/fiftysome years ago I guess he knows where his entertainment values lie. And it ain't in Lifetime dramas for women 'r Freddie Mercury specials on Logo either! Every time I stop over at his place it seems as if he has some episode of WALKER, TEXAS RANGER blarin' away. Sometimes I think that he has the only television set in the world that runs that show and nothin' but. I'll bet he still fervently remembers watching those JUNGLE JIM films on Sunday afternoon tee-vee but somehow I don't think he really misses those days. In many ways those times are the same one that he's living in now, only the troublemaking kids back then are now the troublemaking adults of today and really, if JUNGLE JIM ain't gonna be his escapism into something a little more cohesive for him then I guess WALKER will do just fine.

But hey, if my uncle ain't gonna carry on the fandom flame for JUNGLE JIM then it's up to a schlub like me! And one like you too if you just happen to go for funtime jungle adventure with a low budget yet a whole lotta packed thrills and stock footage that pads the films out just fine. I guess Weismuller was too old 'n chunky to play Tarzan by the late-forties, but at least he gets to stay in the jungle and pal around with an obviously young pseudo-Cheeta-ish chimpanzee named Tamba. And while he's at it, Jim does his part wailing the living daylights outta everything and everyone from rogue spies and shifty traders to a giant man who looks like a prototype for EEGAH!, and he does it with his trusty fists and knife with nada blood spilling all over his broad-chested shirt after garroting a black panther (of the feline variety!).

Never knew there was so much subterfuge goin' on in the jungles of Africa, but I guess if Weismuller hadda put up with nazis while Tarzan a good decade or so earlier he was bound to find communists there as well. And the way he punches it out with 'em I kinda wonder how we won the Cold War without him, though I do get the feeling that with him and the tribespeople actually witnessing an atomic bomb blast in SAVAGE MUTINY the whole pack of 'em weren't gonna be long for the world anyway!

Weismuller plays it monotone enough, especially when you consider that he now has to memorize complete sentences 'stead of mere words. And Tamba steals the show most of the time undoubtedly in a successful attempt to pad these churn outs to at least an hour's length...after all, for a good comedic reaction shot you can always count on an acrobatic, playful chimp that hasn't yet reached the age of slinging his own shit at passerbys!

'n yeah, I just know that your "kultured" friends are gonna pull out alla stops and nitpick about EVERYTHING in these movies from the scene where a bear rassles with a lion and naturally the rather caucazoid  natives who look more South Sea Islanders'n African...y'know, stuff I got over a good quarter-century back after my tastes for backlot b-mooms "matured". Hokay, have 'em have their laff riot...YOU go on enjoying these action-packed, plot-twisting JUNGLE JIM flicks while the rest rub themselves off while reminiscing about their ideas of "quality television programming" of the past which usually doesn't go back any further than NORTHERN EXPOSURE and I'LL FLY AWAY. Let 'em go around feeling superior while watching programs that might fit in with their own concepts of reality but are so phonus balonus that a true favorite like GILLIGAN'S ISLAND comes off as fact-based television in comparison. And if I have to dispense with my sense of reality when I see these films so be it. After all, I have to do the exact same thing whenever I tune in the nightly news so why should JUNGLE JIM be any different?

Sunday, August 26, 2012


And although I dig the Holy Modal Rounders to the utmost I gotta say that this particular back-to-the-woods number never did settle well with me. Maybe because right now I am living off the land, or at least living off the fat of my thirty-five-plus year collection of music that's been gathering dust in the abode. I'm doing this if only because there really ain't anything new and alive comin' at me this week and as you know there's really nothing wrong with re-living past glories mind you, especially when the trough is kinda runnin' on empty. No lyin',  I can use a nice shot of some high-energy, no holds barred music in my mainline right about now given the high stress surroundings I have been suddenly thrust fact, I could use just about anything from rare folkies to singer-songwriter intensity to hard-edged mumblings that'll stimulate my back brain at this time, but until the tide of releases comes out I guess I'll just have to stick with the following tried and trues and sweat it out until the NEXT big revolution in high energy music takes place, with my luck the first nanosecond after I breathe my last gulp of stench-laden air!

Will try to keep these short, sweet, and perhaps even pithy enough for anyone who will venture forth can surmise, I have been reading a whole lotta CREEM "rock-a-rama"s lately.

Pink Floyd-THE EMBRYO CD (Swingin' Pig bootleg)

This one's undoubtably been "surpassed" by a whole slew of complete and annotated recordings, but these early Gilmour-period Floyd BBC trax're good enough any way you can get 'em. With the spirit of Syd still tingling about and the specter of post-psychedelic noodling still a good year or two off, these BBC sessions actually come off  more potent than the official releases. The flat if clear sound also gives it a raw AM radio feeling you just can't get outta slick commercial recordings. Dunno why "Baby Blue Shuffle in D Major " (also known as "The Narrow Way Part One") from these same sessions was left off, but it ain't like these bootleggers ever had any sense of moral decency!

Faust-RIEN CD (Table of the Elements)

Gotta say that I ain't exactly as much of a follower of the latterday version of Faust as many people think I should be, perhaps because I never thought the "reformed" group was as exciting or as rockin' as the original. For me the new Faust came off too "industrial" for my own personal tastes. Anyhow it's still good giving these mid-nineties releases a spin once in awhile, and RIEN at least has some interesting rockist moments that would please the casual listener for at least a few seconds. A variety of musique concrete and post-rock stylings borrowed from the likes of Cage, Stockhausen, Velvets, Floyd and even themselves with a strange detachment that can bring out some of the more deeply held feelings in your very psyche. Nice 'un...see you in another fifteen years!

Les Rallizes Denudes-WILD PARTY 1975 CD-R

Got this during the big Rallizes craze of the mid-noughties back when many a CD-R burn and box set of dubious legality was being auctioned off on ebay in order to fill the ever-rising demand. This October '75 show is typical of the group during their mid/late-seventies period, complete with the soft ballads being harshly interrupted by Takashi Mizutani's guitar leads spewing atonal feedback-drenched blare that you continue hearing for hours after. And it's all topped off with yet another version of "The Last One" which sounds like the soundtrack to one of my four-year-old death-related nightmares that were undoubtedly induced by visiting the graves of my ancestors. Dunno if this has been "upgraded" to legal status yet, but if not I guess you can get a "black"-area copy somewhere.

The Beach Boys-SURF'S UP (heard it via youtube) (Brother/Reprise)

Gotta say that this '71 Beach Boys album is a bonafeed winner that shoulda done a whole lot better'n it did! Sure there might have a propensity for too many slow and perhaps maudlin tunes on this obvious attempt to "update", but the Boys had EVERY RIGHT TO sing 'em considering how their entire reason for existing by this time was just a faded memory. Don't kid yourself, if you were stuck in 1971 and sure missed '62 you'd be singing the same songs too! True you do have to put up with throwaways like "Get a Load Off Your Feet" and the one having to do with trees, but the somber tone sure comes off better'n all of those way-too-depressing singer/songwriters who were raking in the bucks at the time. Kinda life-reaffirming in spots even. And although the "Cell Block #9" swipe "Student Demonstration Time" (a popular FM spin in these parts) was a potent play for the radical crowd I don't mind this in-your-face attitude at all!

Nucleus-ELASTIC ROCK CD (Repertoire Germany)

Yeah, I've stated MANY A TIME that the "New English Jazz" didn't quite gel with me for reason that might seem to obvious (mainly the fact that it was English inna first place), but I can absorb enough of the pseudo-Soft Machineish jazz-cum-rock attitude when I feel up to it.. Ian Carr and Karl Jenkins seem to be the principal players here, but it's Chris Spedding's guitar which saves this from being yet another import snoozer with his hotter'n average playing. If you spent your last shekel buying up THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS you'd probably wanna pass it up, but MELODY MAKER followers will undoubtedly gobble the thing just fine!

Die Engel Des Herrn-LIVE AS HIPPIE PUNKS CD (Captain Trip, Japan)

I remember way too many Neu! fanatics "dissing" the rash of Klaus Dinger platters that were coming out throughout the early-nineties, but, going against the grain of conventional wisdom as usual I found some of them rather entertaining. In fact, I thought they at least captured the "motorik" fun of the Neu! and La Dusseldorf originals and at a time when I guess all but a few Sonic Youth fans who read Thurston Moore mention 'em in some interview coulda cared less. And yeah, these platters were really too little too late, but next to the goopy pop that was being churned out throughout the eighties and nineties recordings like this were the closest thing any of us were gonna get to "Sister Ray" and don't believe one word otherwise!


If yer expectin' nothin' but sonic wailings I'm afraid you will be disappointed, but as far as being a "history" goes at least you could say this was one as focused through the microphones of the infamous Jerden label. They were the same guys who gave us those mid-sixties reissues of early Raiders albums and of course the Kingsmen (at least on a local level) and as far as representing the swing and sway of the early-sixties went they did pull their own. Mostly instrumental, this does have a rare vocal (including the gloppy "I Love An Angel" by Little Bill & the Bluenotes), and for being a small portion of what was goin' on in the area twixt 1958 and 1964 or so I can't complain. Highlights include Dave Lewis' various r&b organ instrumentals whose influences could be heard for some time, as well as the Beachcombers' "Purple Peanuts" which reminds me of "Pushin' Too Hard" makin' me wonder which chicken or egg came first (liners are sketchy).

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band-THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM cassette (Vertigo)

Here's an oldie that must have been like my third, fourth or fifth musicassette puchase! And true, Harvey's career had been a hit or miss affair but I will admit preferring THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM's pun-filled pastiche to predecessor NEXT, the album that started it all for Alex inna US but came off rather third rate next to the face-smashing effect of a classic like FRAMED. It's great hearing Harvey rampaging through his act doing clever imitations of everything from toothless pirates to New Jersey wopadagos, and his band can keep up with him at a clever enough pace to the point where I wonder why they weren't getting as much notice for their prowess as many other mights of the day. Yeah this can get a li'l overblown at times but the satire can sting and the music comes off as good as if not better'n many of the mid-seventies heavies. So whattaya waitin' for, an engraved invitation from Charles Shaar Murray?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Perhaps demerits are in order for totally forgetting (until it was too late) that this past June 22nd marked the 35th anniversary of the passing of noted musician, writer and Cleveland prime mover (Cinderella Backstreet/Rocket From The Tombs/you know the score) Peter Laughner. Maybe I can redeem myself, at least in part, by reminding you that today would have been Laughner's sixtieth birthday had he only survived that fateful early morning slip into the forever way back '77 way. Y'know, it may seem odd to you but I can envision a sixty-ish Laughner in the here and now, he having had to struggle through the dark days of the eighties with the rest of us whilst experiencing a rebirth of sorts during the same nineties which saw his beloved punk rock* finally get accepted by the new if way more self-pitying breed of teenage miscreant who certainly gave that term a new if rather lacklustre meaning. Hair white w/grey flex and kinda wrinkled, but still the same guy as if his entire belief system was still stuck in the 1972-6 underground rock/CREEM credo that still comes off so enlightening lo these many years later. 

Who knows, perhaps he'd even be stimulant-free, though fortunately not one of those chaps who'd bore us endlessly about it like a guy who's been on a diet the past six months! As for how Laughner would otherwise be behaving himself here in the teens a good fortysome years after the guy began dabbling in the realms of rockscreeding, folk scene introspection and proto-punk involvement well, your guess is as good as mine but doesn't it get your mind in gear just thinkin' up the possibilities (or looking to see what his fellow "first wave" survivors are up to in the here and now and following suit)?

Gotta admit that one of the things that got me thinkin' to do a Laughner at sixty piece was the discovery of a file folder in the basement which, surprisingly enough, just happened to have a number of letters, photocopies and whatnot related to the guy. Most of 'em are of a particularly early-seventies bent (in particular various clippings taken from the Crocus Behemoth/Mark Kmetzko "Croc O' Bush" column in SCENE not to mention a few rather entertaining reviews and articles from Laughner's tenure at ZEPPELIN), all of which were given to me by friends and acquaintances to use or abuse in the pages of my very own crudzine. Of course back in the loathsome eighties I was more'n anxious to present these Laughner-related rarities in my mag (a choice which actually got the thing tagged as a "reprint 'zine" in a number of poorly-written reviews) during a time when the universe in general couldn't give a rat's ass that the guy had been dead for ten years and perhaps deserved a memorial or sorts. Nowadays I tend to feel the same way about Laughner and his legacy given the rebirth of not only Rocket From The Tombs but a general interest in a variety of punkitude past which, even here in the age of internet, is not being disseminated as quickly or as thoroughly as it should be.

The presence of some letters sent by that eternal gadfly Clinton Heylin would suggest that this file was put together to assist him in his controversial underground rock history FROM THE VELVETS TO THE VOIDOIDS, an effort which earned me a personally autographed copy of the book and lost me a number of rare photos (second biggest swindle by a rock scribe after Reinhard Holstein's pilfering of some Mirrors/Eels-related material back '83 way), but over the years I've gotten used to all of that anyway. Then again, most of the clippings were sent me by none other than Peter's long-suffering mother Pat, a woman who used to call me up and talk about Peter, at times breaking into tears before regaining her composure when certain memories hit her hard. I ain't gonna tell you about the ones she hated for the way they treated him or anything of that sort, but it was sure nice of Pat to correspond and call me the way she did, and at a very cross-roady/mixed up time in my own existence. I understand Pat's now gone, and I can only hope that she is now at peace and all of that stuff I know you hard-as-rocks "realists" think is corny but I don't since at least I believe in showing a little emotion when it is warranted.

Looking through the clippings and reading Laughner's opines on everything from a live New York Dolls/Left End show** to his reviews of Van Morrison's TB SHEETS and Dylan's PLANET WAVES, it's not hard to see that even at this early stage in the rock writing game Laughner had the potential and ability to have become every bit as popular and as published a writer as his major influence and pal Lester Bangs. If you pardon my own perhaps skewered speculations, perhaps Laughner could have become the American Nick Kent! This is especially true when you consider just how both Laughner and Kent had musical tastes that could be considered in many ways universal***, and both of wrote about the subject at hand in a deep, personalist fashion that spoke to you as if it were a down-to-earth man-to-man talk rather'n the latest outcropping of flack posing as criticism that has become oh-so-common since the passing of the rockscribing baton to a generation of doofs. None of that standard one-dimensional hyperbole and overanxious lapdog fanboy attitude that tells you more about the asshole behind the typewriter than the music emanating from the speakers. Maybe that's the real reason I began to loathe Chuck Eddy other'n his incessant belittling of me via letter and phone****; at least Laughner, Kent and the seventies breed of scribe could explain to you their opines in the best straightforward ways possible (with a load of autobiographical backbone that didn't seem self-serving and mere padding)...all Eddy did was climb up on his high horse and berate us li'l ol' peons for not appreciating the fine qualities of dredge like Lou Gramm and Lisa Lisa whilst I clung to my punk philosophy as if it were still 1966 and Sky Saxon and the Seeds really were better than the Rolling Stones!

Here's the cream of the xeroxed material that I found. For the sake of privacy I left out the personal letters Peter wrote to a certain fan fixture we all know and love (though I included Richard Hell's note to Laughner with the "Blank Generation" lyrics and chords!), as well as a mention of him in an article on Bruce Springsteen's "mystique" that was written by one Anastasia Pantsios, a "person" who ironically used to set Laughner's articles for ZEPPELIN to type in the same fashion Kent's scribbles hadda be transcribed before meeting the deadline! Oddly enough, Peter's mother told me that Laughner thought a whole lot of Pantsios as opposed to PLAIN DEALER standby Jane Scott, a woman whom Laughner also liked dearly, if only because Pantsios was a "rock critic" who made her opinions known to the unfortunate reader at hand 'stead of a reporter like Scott who never really let many of her personal opinions regarding group "X" get into print. Well, all I gotta say is, those are some pretty pathetic opines that Pantsios dared spew out throughout her entire rock criticing "career" now, weren't they! And I guess Pantsios' feelings regarding Laughner weren't mutual considering the badmouthing she eventually gave him long after he was placed in the grave!

I also decided to 86 a Laughner ZEPPELIN live review of Springsteen and Wishbone Ash since we all know that even out favorites' tastes tended to veer off into orbit at least once in awhile!

But still I thought you would get a kick outta it all, even with the old ads, the "Croc O' Bush" with a Laughner mention and photo situated next to a mention of a Great Bow Wah Death Band performance, the letter from the Musician's Union of which Laughner was a member and even Charlotte Pressler's attempt at the Lisa Robinson game with "Pzzaz" featuring a nice mention of hubby Laughner chewing out the folks at WMMS-FM for their obviously shallow tastes. And if Laughner coulda shamed 'MMS into spinning the Stooges then you know he had some mojo really workin' for 'im!


Hope you celebrated Laughner's big sixtieth in fine fashion here, although it would have been nice if that box set featuring everything from bedroom musings to the infamous CREEM tapes with Lester Bangs was at our fingertips for us to enjoy while pouring through this treasure trove? Oh well, at least we have more'n enough legit Laughner available (some of us more than others) to help soothe our scorched souls, and although waiting for the next Peter to head our ways would be rather futile at least these pieces (as well as his music)  still has enough power and punch to help get us through the current crisis in rock, and the next dozen or some of 'em to crop up as well!

*which to him was "a term coined stillborn," an idea that seemed to be part and parcel to the whole Cleveland underground considering how former bandmate Crocus Behemoth said in a BACK DOOR MAN interview that he pretty much thought the whole punk idea came to total fruition with the Stooges and RAW POWER, or something to that effect (pull out your own mag, man!).

**the same show which had Left End terrorizing the Dolls and throwing their road manager down a flight of stairs, an action which had Crocus Behemoth praising the Youngstown Ohio act for "defending Cleveland's honor" against a buncha New Yorkers who were badmouthing the city in which they were making a whole lotta money offa the new generation of  lower-middle class kids who suddenly had enough money in their pants to spend.

***and hey, for years I must admit that I never could fathom how such smart and definitely punk scribes as Laughner, Kent, Murray, Farren etc. could find something of substance and worth in the likes of everything from the San Francisco mire of the Dead and Janis to various sixties survivors who never did make it outta that decade extant like Jeff Beck. But after reading more and more and attempting to broaden my scope if only to listen between the notes more/less I figured hey, maybe these folk weren't the "schmorgasbord schmucks" that I originally took 'em to be but could appreciate loads of sounds no matter how mainstream and mundane they could get! Sheesh, it's even come to the point where I pretty much wish that """""I""""" could have approached and enjoyed these same acts the same way Laughner and company had, though in reality you know I will always be the "horse-blindered" one-beat guy that I've been for nigh on thirtysome years. And hey, maybe I shouldn't be ashamed of it one bit!

****yeah yeah yeah I know, getting too personal again. Well, it's my effin' blog and I can bitch and moan all I want because in the REAL WORLD I just couldn't get away with this tripe! And you KNOW that Eddy deserves every bit of bile that I dare fling at him even if it was all a good quarter century ago, just like any other asshole or cheat who dared cross my path for a much longer time than I can care to imagine!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


OK, now that I got that outta the way what else can I do to offend the casual blog strollers out there? You know, the ones who just might be hittin' this blog thinking they're gonna be wallowing in even more self-righteous feelygood buffers and other bits to assuage their feelings of superiority o'er the average workaday scrambler (such an EVIL beast!). Howzbout a li'l bitta polly-tix, and that of the (hoo-hah!) confrontational variety at that? That always gets the blood boiling, the fever pitching, the self-righteous wretching...

I (along with you and every political pudendum on the internet for starters) see that republican candidate Mitt Romney has picked none other than congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, an act which has got a few people all happyhappy and others doin' the big groan. Forgive me if I remain straight-faced this time...actually Ryan, despite his support of the TARP bailout and war without end (amongst many other major faux pissoffs), comes off better'n some of the nimnuls that coulda gotten this thankless job, though in the here and now is that really saying much? I mean, at least he gives lip service to free markets this and Ayn Rand (yawn!) that so you can tell he does at least have a modicum of brains as opposed to the usual politicians who seem to get their talking points from whatever talk radio or tee-vee pundit the decide to tune in.. (I do hope you are doin' a li'l "reading between the lines" here....seems I have to tell you when and when not to these days!) And next to some of the turdbombs that current veep Joe Biden has been dropping maybe Ryan would a marked improvement! Still, when it all comes down to bare knuckles I'll have to say that my favorite homo Justin Raimondo has it right once again...this choice is a snoozer. (Of course, if you want to read another view that's at least has a sense of humor that the left has been lacking for the past thirty or so years click here.)

Funny that the Ryan pick has brought up/back the whole Ayn Rand "question" to the point where I've seen many a commentator mention this bitch in ways that make her out to be the most vile, evil and loathsome creature to roam the face of the earth. Well I dunno about that and given the likes of Josef Stalin and Fidel Castro amongst many others she does look positively angelic. I've made my thoughts on her known many a time before so I'm not gonna rehash 'em here, but frankly I will say that Congressman Ryan's paens to her economic ideas really don't ring as strongly with my set of values as they should. Now, if he were gung ho on some real rabblerousers for freedom such as Murray RothbardKarl Hess and maybe even a whacked out nut albeit a whole lot more meaningful'n her counterparts Emma Goldman I would be jumping on the bandwagon like potrzebie, but at this point in!

But sheesh, as far as some of you people out there who are deriding Rand like that're kinda making me wanna love the self-sufficient bitch  (and Paul Ryan) in some weird twisted way! I mean, while combing through some comment section somewhere or other (I think it was a youtube thingie on Ron Paul) some gadfly actually had the nerve to say that people who believed in self-reliance and individualism were sociopaths! Gee, I'm glad that there are people like that around who just happen to know more about others and are duty bound to let them know the error of their psychological makeup---sure need more of 'em to set us on the straight and narrow! And surprisingly enough, on Facebook former Mirrors drummer Mike Weldon had presented a selection of Rand's opines (I believe taken from her interview with Mike Wallace in the late-fifties) via some youtube upload in an attempt to point out her universal danger which I will admit stymies me considering how I understand it that Mirrors were formed with a Randian damn the flow, go against the tide credo to 'em! Dunno what to make outta all this, only that if these people can get apoplectic over some long-gone Russian neo-libertarian who thought she was hot stuff what would they make outta a real hero standing against the tide of pseudo-conformity and lockstep governmental crackdowns initiated by the same generation who loathed government a good forty years back (as Cyril Jordan said, hippie is a word that's short for hypocrite) (as if I had to say it) ME!!!! No matter who wins the sweepstakes this November, I better keep an eye out for the pitchforks and torches that will eventually be comin' after me like a scene out of FRANKENSTEIN!

So yeah, maybe Rand is a godsend (heeeee!) next to all of those altruistic goody-two-shoe world savers that  have been giving us the Pollyanna bit ever since the sixties turned into THE SIXTIES, but sheesh, about 90% of you Rand haters out there actually make me want to read ATLAS SHRUGGED dirty scenes and all!  At least the other ten percent who are critical of her on a more solid basis (Objectivism as a philosophy "built on sand" on one hand, her dismissal of mysticism and her rampant uber-ego on the other) make points I can really osmose to. The rest of ya are how-shall-I-say nothing but leftover Weathermen looking for a new ROTC building to bomb in the name of love. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole lot of ya still cried yourself to sleep after reading CRAIG AND JOAN, TWO LIVES FOR PEACE while contemplating doing the suicide game to protest the war in...oh yeah, war ain't that bad now that Obama's running things, eh?

For the best critique (and a cunning one at that) regarding Rand, why not view the following video presentation of MOZART WAS A RED, Rothbard's own one-act play (loosely based on his own experiences with Rand that culminated in their big falling out) which probably says more about Rand than you or I ever could! Personally I find this not only informative (even if the facts are tweaked for artistic purposes) but pretty funny, something that a SNL or SCTV woulda done had they been a little hipper'n decided to go after Rand the way they did other visible icons of the mid/late-twentieth century. In fact I can see it all now...Eugene Levy as Rothbard, Andrea Martin as Rand, Dave Thomas as the cuckold husband...

If you need more evidence, Thomas Fleming's latest 
column in THE DAILY MAIL which I am uploading here in order to back my already etapoint views says reams more about Rand and the cult than I ever could. Give it a go and educate yourself for once,  OK?

And as far as any (hopefully) last words of the subject of Rand and Ryan go, when you boil it all down to the bare bones all I can say that's good about the latter (which is a whole lot less than that Paul Ryan can) is that she at least influenced those fantastic Steve Ditko MR. A, KILLJOY, THE QUESTION and many other hard-edged, nervy and downright offensive to bleedheart types comics that continue to give me a huge thrill after a good twenty years of constant reading! Those remain off-the-wall and refreshing, and given their hard uncompromising tone they sure come off grand next to some of the mooshier comic book examples seen for well over four decades by now. Other'n that I'll stick with the other paleocons and libertarian types at CHRONICLES and TAKI'S TOP DRAWER who, although not influential enough to inspire any comic books that I know of, also offer definitely non-jackboot anti-Hobbesian opines and tend to offend the same kinda people who've been deriding me for ages because I'm acting like a one-percenter for brushing my teeth and wiping my butt! After all the abuse I've taken maybe it is time for a little "get back", eh?
The spate of JACK BENNY PROGRAMs that have been popping up on the CLASSIC TELEVISION PROGRAMS blog via youtube have been keeping my busy as of late, and for a guy who really would have liked to have watched these now-rarities for years on end (and was kinda hopin' that the local PBS station, which was milking YOU BET YOUR LIFE and BURNS AND ALLEN reruns throughout the mid-eighties, woulda taken a chance running 'em on a nightly basis) these certainly are a godsend. Sure a whole lotta the oft-shown (via Golden Age of Television collections and the like) ones such as the classic Humphrey Bogart cop show spoof are here, but it was sure splendid getting to see some fresh to mine eyes episodes like the one where Jack took the Beverly Hills Beavers to the same amusement park where Beaver (as in Cleaver) was afraid to ride the Big Dipper roller coaster (!), and Jack's Maxwell getting stolen resulting in him heading for the local Bev. Hills PD where he has to put up with a cop played by Lyle Talbot! Of course the one where Art Linkletter spoofs his own kiddie interviews complete with Rochester in Davy Crockett gear had me hitting the ceiling like nothing since the time I was picking something off the floor in the nude and my cold-nosed dog Sam just happened to sneak into the room behind me! These high-larious programs really stand the test of time and unlike most things passing for "funny" these days actually had me sporting a big smile of pure joy on my face! If you wanna really do me in just have shows like this banned for all eternity and watch me wither away into nothing! (Of course considering my size that might take some time, but I guarantee you I will wither away!)
Bad week for deaths...first onetime Sweathog Ron Palillo joins ex-classmate Robert Hedges in the big detention hall in the sky, and now word comes out that not only has former O REXTACY/QUATRO QULT editor and musician in his own right Solomon Gruberger passed away, but he did so two whole months ago and nobody managed to tell any of us! Definitely a huge part of seventies fandom, Gruberger is probably best known for his various musical endeavors from O. Rex to the Afrika Corps, records which helped define the late-seventies Amerigan underground musical landscape just about as much as alla those other home made platters that have adorned our collections for quite a long time. And if that wasn't good enough he was quite the prolific writer who not only wrote for his own rag but his brother Jay's RAUNCH 'N ROLL as well as some of the bigger and better names in fandom such as HYPE. And rilly, if you think my writing could seep out around the sausage casings of "taste" into realms of political/social un-piousness you should get an eyefulla of some of the stuff Gruberger not only wrote, but fanzine editors felt worthwhile enough to PRINT. In an age where modern uplifters feel it oh-so-important to bowdlerize everything to the point where we are supposed to feel queasy even saying things like "f-word" and "n-word" and "c-word" Gruberger's writings slammed you in the face with the actual anglo saxon term no expletives deleted! I guess someone will find him a brave and free-thinking soul a good five-hundred years from now but face it, now he's just an uncouth schlub just like the rest of us. A dead schlub at that, and boy does that make me feel sad.

Here are a few more cassettes I just happened to get along with the Siouxsie wonders that I wrote up last week. Eddie and the Hot Rods' PRE ISLAND DEMOS 1976/PARIS THEATRE LONDON 1977 is a good 'un with great sound and hot enough performances from thee group that was getting the primo punk tag just before the Sex Pistols stepped up to the bat and began givin' 'em a run for the money. The demo side also features Lew Lewis on harmonica adding a particularly bloozey effect that got lost on subsequent releases, and I gotta admit that if most rock music listeners of the era were "confused" by the presence of a relatively short-haired musical act covering songs like "Woolly Bully" and "Gloria" right inna middle of alla that pretense and progressive rock musicianship then so be it! Hey, I might have loved the mid-seventies in their own esoteric ways that presented for me the better moments of the present with the past seventy years of culture still easily at my fingertips, but if I hadda live in a time loop of 1958-1966 with alla its energy and tee-vee epiphanies boy would I be one happy camper! Anyone who would want it any other way deserves to be shown repeated airings of THE ROCK MUSIC AWARDS hosted by the Captain and Tennille until they cry for Don Kirschner!

Wasn't expecting to get the UK Subs tape...I received it by mistake though the guy who sent it said I could keep it so here's a writeup! The UK Subs, like the Exploited and more of those SOUNDS bands for wont of a better term, were part of that era of English punk rock that most of you sophisticados don't quite care for. Never heard any good reason as to why, but in some circles bands like these are strictly nov  schmoz ka pop! However, I gotta say that I certainly found way more meaning in the entire pack of 'em than all of those Julie Birchills out there who were only using their lofty big city rockcrit statuses to leap forward to bigger things, and as we all know in Julie's case those "things", along with the rest of her, got pretty big as time crept on. (As if I should talk given my own losing battles with the bulge and ravenous appetite very much akin to Yogi Bear and his lust for "frozen pizza pies!")

But really, I can't find much if any fault with this '82 recording which shows Charlie Harper and the boys (whoever they were that week) presenting a straight-ahead set of punk rock as it pertained to during a time when it seemed to have been "written off" by big business moguls then came back with a hard cold vengeance. Hard and angry musings here that I guess went hand-in-hand with the entire gestalt or whatever they called it that was going on in England during the early-eighties, a time when we could have only hoped that it, along with its British neighbors Scotland and Northern Ireland, would have been somehow decimated, but as luck would have had it the entire place remains relatively intact. Feh!
Not that much new in the line of music this week. Just these few shards which, if anything, reflect the slow going music scene which we here at BLOG TO COMM have had to put up with for nigh on thirtysome years. Yeah, the days of wanting to go to the local record shop and buying it out are long gone, so at this point in time its pretty much get what you can and live off the fat of your record collection, advice that I'm sure more than a few people have been following these past umpteen years.

But hey, I did manage to get a few new notes circulated into my system, and (using classic DRAGNET-speak) the results of that trial can be read directly below...

Another Bill burn of yet more of those "set your poetry to music" scams that used to get advertised all over the back of national magazines for a longer time than I can remember. Rodd Keith's back, and overall the selection's good enough with a nice variety of easygoing, early rock 'n roll and country to keep this moving and hey, even the disco and (get this!) rap stuff is good enough in its own downhome addled way that you don't mind hearing it in the company of some of the most awkward poetry ever set to pen. Believe-you-me, some of these lyrics are so klutzy and stilted that even """""I""""" coulda written 'em!

Amongst the winners here are Trendy's "Facts About Crack" (perhaps one of the latest entries here considering its tres eighties subject matter), John Muir's Apollo 11 tribute "The Moon Men", Buddy Raye's "No More Liberty" (kinda sounds like something Archie Bunker woulda sent in to MSR 'stead of the poem Edith wrote!), and Bonnie Graham's "He's My Chocolate Baby", one of two odes regarding miscegenation here which make me wonder... But then again, how can I leave out Bobby Blake's "Betsy and Her Goat", sort of an updated "Mary Had a Little Lamb"???. That one just touches my heart with its simple tale of devotion like a nice case of acid reflex.

Hotcha cover by former underground cartoonist Justin Green makes for a nice top off for this collection that'll please just about everyone. The rural set'll love it for the simplicity and snappy tunes while alla you big city sophisticados' get your jollies laughing at alla them rubes. Of course level-headed people like myself will like this for what it is...yet another long held mystery about those back page ads fleshed out and pretty entertaining at that!
Frijid Pink-EARTH OMEN CD (Repertoire Germany)

I'm like one of those extraterrestrial space disasters you used to see on the old STAR TREK tee-vee show. Y'know, the big massive amorphous blob or cone that looks like a BUGLE corn snack enlarged 100 million times that sucks up everything in its sight to keep on existing. Only instead of  sustaining myself by draining the energy banks from a starship I live on high energy rock 'n roll music, or at least something that remotely approximates it. And with such a thing being in extremely limited supply these days you can bet that I will seek out such over-the-top no-holds barred music wherever and whenever I can find it. Thus, I've been taking a whole lotta chances with my hard-begged moolah trying to find my next fix of stoneage primal rockist frenzy and usually failing to get my fill of what I've been on the lookout for lo these many years!

This is the one I've been tellin' you about last week in the course of my '72 CREEM mag appreciations which I decided to snap up if only because of one measly track. Namely, elpee closer "Mr. Blood", a track which was described in a way that would lend the reader to believe it had at least a halfway decent Stooges appreciation to it. Yeah, I know that many of these Stooges comparisons really do reek esp. when it's Metal Mike Saunders (a man I truly admire and respect) comparing side one of Ten Years After's WATT to the early Stooges or Chuck Eddy (a "man" whom I most dearly loathe) telling us that Van Halen's "DOA"'s the closest anybody's come to the Stooges ever (sheesh, what about Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam?), but given how I've been grasping at straws trying to latch onto some new energy source it's like I'm not exactly gonna be letting a good chance at hearing a neet Stooge swipe go right past me, eh?

So no, I'm not gonna buy any Van Halen but I did Frijid Pink if only because these 1972 Stooge references seem to mean a whole lot more'n the quap numbnut xerox fanzine jerkoffs like myself were writin' 'bout 'em in the eighties. And given the wall of loathing and hatred Ig and company hadda endure for years these namedrops and asides do matter esp. when uttered during the lifetime of the group's original tenure! And yeah, I know that Frijid Pink were of the latterday Detroit era which means they were drawing more energy from the likes of Ted Nugent and Grand Funk Railroad* 'stead of the MC5 and our dear Stooges, but a Stooge mention is a Stooge mention and when doody calls you know I'm honor bound to dive right into it!

Anyway, on this third Pink album (by which time the group only retained one original member, the drummer, just like the Choir by the time they recorded their '68 album!) the creepy forces of '72 youth gulcher have sunk their claws deep into the band's entire reason-for-being. TRANSLATION: this rot has a whole lot more to do with the sanctified touchy-feelyisms of Funk than it does of the Five, Stooges, Up and all of the hard-edged acts that got even the most cosmo writers from TIME and NEWSWEEK interested in Detroit rock. Yeah, '71-'72 were bad years for teendom what with the Vietnam War and all of those pitter patter paens for peace, but the music, lyrics and approach on EARTH OMEN ain't exactly anything to remedy the sick sad state of suburban hippydom and ecological doomngloom right outta Paul Ehrlich's worst dreams. No wonder NUGGETS was the best rock album of the year, and that was recorded a good six to seven years earlier!

But I guess Frijid Pink were staying on the youth miasma course with this one, which is why this album sounds like the worst of Grand Funk (and they did have their trashier moments I can enjoy) with all of that crank out hack melodramatic music that really hit a chord with more'n a few kids who probably gobbled this one up expecting the newest tangent in rock music. But really it's a downer, with standard guitar cliche #24 meeting up with angst-filled vocals straight outta Eric Burdon after runnin' outta eggs (or black chicks) and a general dinge that I never could wash outta my system. I guess if you like BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN you can appreciate this, but when that gunk was permeating my adolescent air the only thing I wanted to do was rush home and watch an old JD film or spin a Four Seasons record if only to resensify myself!

Even the supposed Stooge swipe was nothing but a semi-hard rock number that didn't conjure up any memories of the Grande Ballroom days as much as it did of the more tiresome aspects of what was passing for FM rock at the time. After hearing this, I can understand why the guys who wrote these "Rock-a-rama" reviews in CREEM didn't sign their names!

Bizarrely enough, the only interesting track on this platter was one of the bonus cuts, a re-do of the old Moody Blues "chestnut" "Go Now" which was faithful enough to the original and coulda made it on the AM dial what with the Blues still a potent chart force (and hey, if you gotta ride on some tails I guess a buncha leftover British Invasion limeys'll do as good as anything). Other'n that, it's like zilchville for Frijid Pink who, amongst all of the other Pink groups in existence from Pink Floyd to the Pink Fairies really dropped the ol' turd when it comes to making records. Makes me glad that early-seventies introspection and post-acid rock was quickly being taken over by early/mid-seventies decadence and glam within the wink of an eye because frankly, if this stuff had continued any further I'm afraid the only thing we'd be listening to nowadays is tired nerdy whiny mellow metallic rock performed by youth with chips on their shoulders and trust funds to carry them all through, and you wouldn't want to put up with that now, would you?

*After reading more 'n more I gotta say that Mark Farner just hadda've been the biggest wuss to hit early-seventies rock even if he could produce some good thud when he wanted. Peter Crowley told me about the time he saw Funk at Shea whilst seated amongst carloads of suburban teens who were driven to the show by their mommies and how funny he thought it was when Farner uttered the famed four-letter bomb and the kids yelled in approval much to their guardians' dismay! Well, hotcha for him for doing what I'm sure John Lennon woulda loved to have done at the same venue a good half-decade earlier, but what can you say about a guy who claims that he had a dream where none other than Jesus Christ appeared and told him that the greatest threat facing humanity at the time was not war or rampant loathing enacted via force, but overpopulation??? Sounds kinda strange though I don't doubt it happened. But how much stock can you really put into your dreams? I mean, if I told you I had a dream where Jesus told me to go out and chop up the bunnies that are permeating my yard with a lawnmower you'd just think it was another nutzo subconsciousness scramble akin to the ones I occasionally tell you about on this blog. I mean dreams are dreams and I dunno if anyone could take theirs seriously, but gee...when Farner talks about Jesus and overpopulation and how we will all be falling off the edge of the earth by the time 1999 hits  it just seems about as altruistic and as phony (same thing!) as that part of the GRAND FUNK LIVE album where he tells the audience not to take the acid 'r whatever that the guy next to you is passing your way, and the stupid dolts CHEER him...sheesh what a pansy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Another Shute-out, this time of a cheapo Italian-cum-Egyptian feature from the mid-sixties that has something to do with smuggling a huge gold shipment (out of Egypt and over to the Good Ol' U. S. of Wha?) which just happens to be hidden in a crate of archaeological gear. And if you still remember those ennui-filled hours being a bored youth watching "furrin films" on Sunday afternoon television boy will this one bring back the memories! Only problem is there ain't any LITTLE RASCALS shorts fillin' out the hour before the switch over to network sports, that's for sure!

Like many of these dubbed in zilch-fi features I gotta admit that my mind was wanderin' a bit, just like it was back in the seventies when I'd get so bored watchin' stuff like this to the point where I'd stare out the window thinkin' about what I would be doin' if it were only 1962 and thus gulcher would be more conduit to my existence. However, despite the bizarre introspection on my part I certainly got my entertainment value outta this quickie starring Amerigan expat Tony Russel as an agent on the hunt for the missing gold and Maria Perschy as the woman intent on getting the gold stashed into the crates and outta the country as soon as possible.

From there it's a good up and down boring to exciting escapade featuring the usual flubs, goofs and of course a good fight scene or two. Interesting characters also abound, best of all this femme member of the excavation team named Marta, a gal who at first looks like a typical bookworm with the norn rimmed glasses and pith helmet, but later on turns out to be really sexy once she lets her hair down and slips into a swimsuit. She was played by actress Eva Karan of whom I could find nada about anywhere online, so if you have any idea what happened to her please let me know. The only other big stars in the film just happen to be the early-sixties vintage Fiats (which are referred to as being "Swedish" vehicles!) that Russel et. al. drive, a rather snazzy design at that which looks surprisingly* like a specific Italian bodybuilder's idea for a Studebaker called the "Italia" that got nixed by the soon to deep-six auto maker for some strange reason or another! They seem to get just about as much screen time as some of the minor actors in this film making me wonder if there was a li'l plugola goin' on.

In all, a pleasant enuff run through that ain't earth shattering 'r anything like that, but if you have insomnia and this happens to be running three AM on your local UHF station well, it certainly is a lot better'n shopNBC or Rachel Maddow reruns!

*after another look, maybe not!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


You tell me...maybe this walking turd just found out that he's finally gonna be getting that proboscis job he's been waiting for his entire life, or maybe he just flashed back to 1976 and is doing a bad Jimmy Carter impression. Being a fan of early/mid-sixties tee-vee perhaps he's re-enacting the infamous "Look Ma, No Cavities" commercial! Of course with those dimples maybe he's even fancying himself as the new Shirley Temple to the point where he's gonna head for the nearest steps and do a li'l dancin' up and down 'em. More realistically, maybe some prankster told him some really exciting if far-fetched news, like perhaps Chuck Eddy and Anastasia Pantsios (amongst other fan favorites) have just been offed in the most excruciating way possible!!!

Actually it's none of the above...this chap is smiling because he had the pleasure of not only listening to a whole load of great music this week but reading some pretty hotcha energy-packed rockscreeding, and as a result is just bursting at the seams like a well-cooked wiener to tell you lumpen (and lumpy) proles all about it in his typically fannish if condescending way!

Well, one reason the fanabla's been flashin' the pearlies as of late is due to the acquisition of two old issues ('72 vintage even!) of CREEM, also known as AMERICA'S ONLY ROCK 'N' ROLL MAGAZINE as the cover proudly states and boy you better believe it! Hokay, there were "other" rock 'n' roll mags floating around in Ameriga at the time that were every bit as rock 'n' roll as the venerable Detroit-based rag, but they were fanzines 'n all and really, although it woulda been a grand idea, just how easy was it to trek down to your local newsstand and latch onto a copy of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE anyway? YOU know why I love readin' these old CREEMs other'n because they gave unaware teenage nowhere types the top tips on what to snatch up at the store. I dig 'em for Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer, "Rock-a-Rama", gratuitous mentions of the Velvet Underground and Stooges, the snooty finger-flipping that was being aimed at the hippoids and all of that peace 'n love hucksterism! Not to mention more usages of the term "punk rock" than anybody else (other'n maybe Mark Shipper) was tossing about during the early-seventies and in a usage close to what it meant a good five or so years later too! I once wrote about being astounded at Nick Kent when he mentioned to Bryan Ferry that punk rock was "last year" ("this year" happening to be 1974) and how I unfortunately missed out on the entire shebang...well, if you can trust CREEM punk was 1971-2 and just why it flew right past us then is still a mystery. Hell, I sure coulda used some punk rock in my life '72 way, and I know that you coulda too!

Hot moments from these two issues (October and November if you're interested enough) include the bevy of reviews that are already having me comb the internet for more info (the third Frijid Pink album on Lion records entitled EARTH OMEN being a definite seek-out if only for the [again] punk rock ref  regarding "Mr. Blood", a numbuh which is described as having a Stooges cum Faces style accompanying '67 West Coast psych vocalizing). Also hotcha is the weirdo Firesign Theatre two-part "interview" that's noteworthy if only because it was "edited" by former BOMP cartoonist and future English rockscribe Jonh Ingham, while Lester Bangs tries to convince us that White Witch are (again, to use that common descriptive term) "punk" the same way Hot Scott Fischer said that Budgie were! And really, who could forget Richard Meltzer's "Dust My Pumice" which not only sports a fab photo of an unwashed "R" lyin' about in the gutter but keeps the young 'uns informed that for high-powered fun it just ain't Sopors and other chemical stimulants...Old Crow would also do just fine in expanding their horizons as airplane glue! Well, it's sure grand knowing that at least kids back then knew what was good for 'em and what wasn't, unlike today's youth who wouldn't know a binky from a bonghose and certainly never let the use of illicit drugs influence their listening habits!

And I didn't even mention the Bangs/Meltzer movie reviews, or the writeup of the "new" Stooges gig in London which some audience member compared to none other than Van Morrison's Them! After osmosing Nick Kent's description of the group playing primal metallic shards that sounded identical song after song I'm not sure WHAT to believe about that fateful gig at least until some live tape eventually turns up!

(Of special historical value is an ad appearing in the November ish...amidst the array of underground magazine ads that seem to proliferate is one for a pub entitled ALL YOU CAN EAT,  a youth journal that was "published monthly by a working collective of non-sectarian revolutionaries" which just naturally hadda've included future MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL founder Tim Yohannon!)

Good scribin' and great snide attitude make these CREEM all the more desirable, and it sure makes me feel all heart-warming cocklie readin' about rock 'n' roll the way it should be written a component to dunce mid-Amerigan ranch house living as important to your entire growing up as junk food and UHF TV! It's too bad that when it comes to "rock" today all the peepholes want to read are antiseptic articles about equally squeaky-clean bands because frankly, this is what rock writing and the presentation of the music as an "International Youth Language" should aspire to 'stead of the dorkoid bland goody two shoe miasma that's been all the rage at least since that fateful day Lester Bangs deep sixed in a pile of porno mags trying to cure a simple case of the sniffles with Darvon of all things!
Also making me a rather happy camper's the arrival of a postcard from none other than the oft-mentioned Bill Shute, a man who certainly knows how to pick his friends if his choice of me as one is any indication. Seems as if Mr. B had been spending his free time this year in Florida doing what else but betting on the dog races! And believe it or not, but the guy is actually having a whole lotta fun down there..."Nothing like nightly greyhound racing & mosquitoes all day everyday." Gee, this guy must be the first person I ever knew of who likes to be bitten by those pesky little insects!
Another thing that's been "occupying my time" as of late has been the acquisition of a variety of early Siouxsie and the Banshees recordings that have been filling me in on all of the fun that I've been missing out on after poo-pooing their output for so long. Funny, for a guy who even a year ago couldn't give two figs about Ms. Siouxsie and her twin pitcher's mounds I'm all up and going for a whole slew of pre- and LP-era recordings that I have recently acquired. I have Nick Kent to thank for that naturally (when some people toss in words like "Velvet Underground" and "Can" into their prosody my inner turmoil does grind to a halt) as well as my own budding curiosity which I gotta say is probably about as potent as it was during my days of intense obsessive compulsion in the seventies. And believe it or not but cassettes are making a comeback and as proof I got a whole slew of Siouxsie material on a buncha C-60s outta England which I gotta admit remind me of the old days! They seem authentic enough and look a lot like the cassettes one could find at any English flea market a good thirty years back which gives 'em a humongous A+ in whatever book I will be writing and which you undoubtedly won't be reading any time soon. Not that you particularly would care...

THE EARLY TAPES is perhaps the boffo-est of the batch with one side consisting of a March '77 show in which Siouxie and the boys prove (along with Wire) that the best punk rock that was coming out of the UK at the time was more or less the perfect fan-oriented melding of Velvet Underground art rock with early-seventies krautrock precision and English "people's rock" remnants 'stead of the more common and perhaps at-times misconceptions that were being promulgated by nimnul rock critics who were still getting high on life. Of course (like with Wire) it was all presented with a hefty amateur hour drive which, along with the bare-wired intensity, has all of the primal drive of a MONSTER MOVIE coupled with the wettest dreams of the entire Velvet Underground and Stooges fan clubs that were extant at this time. And, like the best of the Amerigan underground rock acts of the day such as the Electric Eels and Mong, Siouxsie had the smarts to pay homage to the best of sixties television by covering the CAPTAIN SCARLET theme which might not have been quite as out-there as Dave E. singing "Meet the Flintstones" or Mong also paying homage to Supermarionation via the closing theme to FIREBALL XL-5, but it still means more'n all of those righteous punks you used to see in the eighties who couldn't play a note of rock 'n roll because they were too busy SAVING THE WORLD, and I don't mean saving it from having to listen to their tiresome yelps either!

Biggest surprise tho is the flip, which features the infamous 1976 100 Club punkfest recording of "The Lord's Prayer" with Siouxsie and longtime sidekick Steve Severin aided by future Ant Marco Pirroni and Sid Vicious himself on the traps doing his best to keep time despite his obviously addled state. I really dunno if I could call this obv. Velvets-fueled set early punk or punk as it would be known for the next few years but it sure is a throbbing mass of guitar distortion and haze that does come close to the "Sister Ray" drive that these four precocious souls were striving for. Best thing of all is that the sound is pretty hotcha...a whole lot better'n the previous version I heard which came off as if the recorder was placed in the empty echo-y reaches of Sid's own mind. In fact this variation is extremely listenable even if it does make all of those hi-fi nightmares like METALLIC KO sound like half-mastered Steely Dan albums in comparison. A must-get for any true follower of the long line of intensity.

The 2.12.1978 Greyhound Pub gig in Croydon also enthralls even if the sound is typical late-seventies audience cassette muffled. Only adds to the overall excitement if I do say so myself and it ain't anything that ruins the more pleasurable aspects unless you're a boring hi-fi nut who still remembers thumbing through mid/late-seventies issues of STEREO REVIEW with nostalgic glee. (I better watch it since """""I""""" was that kinda kiddo in many ways, but only because the stereo equipment at my disposal was this late-fifties vintage system that sucked big time not forgetting a small cassette deck that never did work right because it was some off-brand dago concoction which was cheap enough for my folks to big name Panasonic/Sharp/Hitachi gear 'round these parts, mister!) But back to the item at hand (you can see that I'm only trying to pad this review out so that it's actually longer than the cassette cover I reprinted on the left and I don't come up short shafted) yeah, it does represent Siouxsie and band right when they were just about to break through into the living rooms of definitely non-punkoid English teenagers with a sound that in many ways wasn't that much different than some of the more art rock-y things that have transpired on said kids' own home entertainment systems for a good seven or so years. In fact, if you squint your ears a bit maybe you can hear the entire Spiders From Mars thingie being done right for a change, and how long have many of you been waiting for that? It sounded like a fun night, right down to the owner of the dive admonishing the audience for their behavior and tossing non-behaving miscreants out on their probably deafened ears.

Don't let the goofoid cover fool you, LIVE AND RARE 1977-1978 is a pretty hot cassette culture effort. True, yet ANOTHER
audience recorded live set with the same songs as the previously-mentioned tape (and pretty much the same sound quality) might seem like a humongous waste of money on my part, but the studio sides which sandwich 'em have their own special appeal. Listening to the Polydor demos with their beautifully flat sound reminds me of those early pre-Dolls Actress recordings not to mention the various Neon Boys/Television rehearsals and Eno/Lanier-produced demos which also stand as a harbinger of seventies things to come. Nothing that I really would care to avoid mind you even if the live show doesn't have anything in it to differentiate it from the other Siouxsie recordings extant. But as far as being yet another relic of an energetic past that seems to have slipped from the collective consciousnesses of just about everybody a tape like this does help out quite a bit. Just don't spin it until you happen to give the above two at least a good two dozen or so listens each beforehand.

Last but most certainly least as Bullwinkle might say comes not a Siouxsie cassette, but this Cee-Dee version of the John Peel Sesh 12-incher that drove more than a few people wild back in the eighties! You remember, back when Strange Fruit began releasing the first in what we thought was gonna be an infinite series of old BBC recordings that were gonna sound better'n the nth generation tapes we hadda rely on. Sure wish I had the smarts to pick up that pre-Polydor bootleg which not only had this material but a whole load of other rarities that appear in part on the above tapes, but at least this four-song release does exist.

For what reason I'd like to know since there are more'n a few Siouxsie BBC recordings floating around and paying big bux for four numbers ain't exactly a bargain! Still, this late '77 release stands as a testament to just what rock 'n roll at its most Apollonian could aspire to when left alone to its own devices and sheesh, like you know this drill by heart now so why don't you just go and seek these recordings out (I'm sure there are loads of downloads out there in computerland) and find out for yourself (or relive) rock 'n roll at the crossroads from a time when it seems as if everybody hated this stuff, but even a good fifteen years later they loathed it which only makes it all more meaningful in my mind. After all, what higher form of glory is there in life to piss off a white-haired beardo who still believes in the rustbucket rattlings of the Michael Stanley Band?
Wasn't planning on doing any "formal" reviews this weekn'd, but a few items passed my fancy and well, rather'n wait until next week...
Malachi-HOLY MUSIC CD-R burn (Verve)

Here's a longtime favorite of Bill's that he sent my way even though I already have an old and (shall I say) "hoary" copy of this festering away in my collection. San Francisco certainly popped out their share of weirdos in the sixties but this 'un at least had some talent we could all agree on. Malachi plays his guitar high up on the bridge giving his instrument a rather brittle, tension-packed sound, and the resultant music certainly ain't the same kinda peace and love prattle that Joanie Baez used to sing at the black radicals from "across the bay" as that old NATIONAL LAMPOON song used to go. Mystical as all heck but in no way would I call this "hippie" in the 1968 ROLLING STONE sense. Kinda like Robbie Basho on an even more spiritual trip up Sandy Bull's horn. Aided and abetted by the Jew's Harp playing of Red Crayolan Steve Cunningham.

Another Bill burn that sure brings back midwestern memories for him which is undoubtedly why he sent this one my way. Former Texas Playboy McAuliffe shines on this kraut package of Columbia-era sides of Texas Swing that (if anything) remind me of my father telling me his war stories 'bout being stationed way down yonder and listening to music like this onna radio alla time. This also reminds me of the Sunday afternoon radio of my youth even if the only country being played on it at the time was of the decidedly pre-New Nashville variety. But the music gets at you and does make for fine cool down therapy more vibrant than anything some new age musician coulda come up with. Prove to yourself that you're not one of those stuck up Northeastern effetes who hate Southerners and other decidedly non high set types and give this one a try.
James Chance and the Contortions-FEBRUARY 4, 1978 @ CBGB's (NYC)/DNA-MAY 27, 1979 LIVE @ CBGB'S (NYC) CD (Music Mine, Japan)

Wonder why this particular no wave document has been hiding from the reams of fans for so long? After all, this '09 release is that desirable amongst fans and collectors alike to the point where you woulda thought it'd get a li'l more press than it has. Heck, not even Weasel Walter has notified me of its existence, but maybe that's because he's perhaps doin' a li'l "behind the scenes" wheelin' and dealin' to secure the Amerigan rights to it and doesn't wanna blow his cover. Maybe not, but all of you late-seventies fans of pure unadulterated noise will be interested in this obscuro, and if Chuck Eddy or Parke Puterbaugh ain't gonna tell you about it then sure as shootin' """""I""""" will!

On this hour-long disque we get two stellar performances from half of the NO NEW YORK bands and (to be cute and coy about it) "what performances they are!" I know that there ain't that many Contortions tapes flyin' around (the only one I have in my possession's from a live in Toronto show where Chance's audience bating seems rather unconvincing...guess the jetlag musta gotten to him), but this 'un presents the group at their earliest back before the classic line up was fully in gear. Maybe Chance and company were looking for a nice big hook to ram into the backs of the chi-chi New York City clientele that was bar hopping across the underground at the time.

But anyway, future no wave filmmaker James Nares is handling the guitar on this one and the drums are being pounded by ex-3/3 member Chiko Hige, both of whom were to soon exit from the act only to be replaced by ex-Screws Jody Harris and Don Christiansen. Those two were at least honed pros which Nares and Hige most certainly weren't, and that's a good reason why this particular show sounds a whole lot more no wave in structure and approach than the albums. In fact this recording has the same lack of cohesiveness and utter primal approach as the Red Transistor live tape I have in my possession which is worthy of a release after heavy eq-ing and splicing no doubt!

Familiar tracks in their embryonic state just go to show you how much the Contortions evolved into the act that appeared on NO NEW YORK a good half-year later. "Dish It Out" and "Jaded" from that epic slice come off just as skewered if not quite of the same strain while the pre-disco take of "Contort Yourself" is also an great study in how already primal punk classics began life as something even more feral. And frankly I can't find any fault with this performance which must've heralded a whole new era in punkitude back in those over-amphed (no sic) days, yet only a choice few were around to notice or appreciate it. (And really, by the time it trickled down to us suburban peasants it was all over and done with, and don't let anybody tell you different!)

The DNA set from a good two years later features the talents of new member and former Pere Ubu bassist Tim Wright, and although I never really cozied up to the later version of the group and have made my opinions regarding them known on occasion I find this set rather...intense. Not the pile of primitive art pose that I always thought Arto Lindsay and the rest of the no wave survivors were wallowing upon after the initial surge of fame, but good hard-edged avant garde rock 'n roll that still had the whole seventies teenage attitude rather'n eighties pretension firmly in place. Snappy in spots even! I'm not sure if I can pinpoint exactly where DNA went from a funtime punk rock group to an art project, but on this 'un they're still popping on all cylinders with Ikue Mori doing her Maureen Tucker best, Wright laying down a solid bottom and Arto's un-tuned 12-string about as enthralling as a variety of out guitarists I can think of off the top of my over-used bean,

Along with this Cee Dee comes a booklet which I guess has something to do with the infamous Byron Coley/Thurston Moore NO WAVE read that stands as the ultimate on the subject to date. Wish I could tell you a whole load more about it but the dang thin is written in Japanese, and unless I take a lesson or two from Berlitz really soon it ain't gonna be like I know what was written in the darn thing! My guess is that this is just a translation of choice bits from the actual book, but let's just say that if you can read Japanese and have a hefty interest in the New York no wave scene of the seventies then boy, will this book come in handy!!!!
HERE'S A GOOD ONE you should send all of your socially aware friends who get their jollies tagging people like myself (and maybe even you) racist if only to bolster their own masturbatory sense of self-pride. Won't say it's the last word in the debate, but I think it'll drive more'n a few members of both sides of the aisles cackling like a bunch of indignant hens, as Wayne McGuire would have said. And frankly, ain't that just what we need in today's ever-collapsing world? And while I'm on an all-out offend the pussies roll, howzbout if alla you fudgepackers, bleedhearts, new age hatemongers and shrub scouts (I know you're tuning in) read this and then go 'bout acting all high-minded and moralistic like you usually do!
BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE WEEK DEPT.: who woulda ever thunk it, but some enterprising chaps went out and did what I would have thought was the IMPOSSIBLE, mainly reissue the infamous Keggs (of BACK FROM THE GRAVE VOL. 8 I believe fame) single "To Find Out" backed with a ditty entitled "Girl" which I believe has been kept under lock 'n key until this very fateful moment! As any throbbing fan of "six-oh" rock can tell you, "To Find Out" is a wild mess of sub-garage band thud that sounds as if a buncha fifteen-year-olds decided that the best way to write a rock 'n roll song was to deconstruct "Gloria" to its basest form possible, while the flip is equally primal in its approach and utter suburban mindedness. Given that these guys hailed from the Detroit area I wonder if they ever rubbed shoulders with the MC5, Stooges or any of the other high energy groups that were making their presence known in the area at the time? Dunno where you can get it but these new rarities seem to be sprouting up on ebay all the time.
IN CLOSING, here's a li'l surprise that I happened across recently which only goes to show ya that, thanks to the internet, you can find just about anything you want to including such long-forgotten obscurities as this. Directly below is an upload of none other than a Japanese avant garde bit of animation from 1964 entitled Aos, which I only bring to your attention because the soundtrack was performed by who else but Fluxus star'n future Beatle wife herself Yoko Ono! Of course if some other artsy Tokyoite was doin' all the catarrhin' 'n catcalling on the soundtrack this "study" would still be of worth viewin', but for us Ono fans this flick is yet another lost bitta history that has been brought to our attention thanks to the efforts of some obscure soul out there who (thankfully) believed we deserved to experience this strange commentary on sexual frustration, or voyeurism, or something along those lines and decided to do something about it!!! Considering that the title of this film is identical to that of the recording Miss Ono made with the Ornette Coleman Quartet a few years later (the one which appeared on the boffo YOKO ONO PLASTIC ONO BAND platter) I was hopin' it woulda been some total free jazz freefall into the abyss of eternity but hey, if you're compilin' a Yoko Ono bootleg and needed an extra nine minutes to fill it up boy will this come in handy!


Wednesday, August 08, 2012


On the heels of last week's Sunday comic page roundup (and influenced but it!) comes this bottom-of-the-bookrack collection of ARCHIE stories that was published way back inna early eighties to cash in on that carrot-topped character's bigtime fortieth anniversary. I will admit off the bat that this 'un certainly ain't as flamboyant as the books that came out celebrating his fiftieth, sixtieth or even seventieth but still, it's a fair 'nuff romp with the obligatory "first appearances" of the main characters along with a whole bunch of then-new sagas to pad the thing out to decent book length. Maybe that only makes this more of a glorified eighty-page giant or digest which usually handles the reprint material but hey, I'll get my ARCHIEs any way I can even if I have to rip 'em outta the paws of some whiny eight-year-old girl who's probably wonderin' whether or not hers'll ever get as big as Betty 'n Veronica's (stick with Big Ethel, kid).

Like I said it's OK enough I s'pose, but on the whole this batch of comics doesn't really stack up to the ones I remember enjoying on hot summer afternoons when all I hadda worry about was how to pass the doggy doo clean up chores to my sister. The overall story selection could have been better, with more of the great fifties/sixties gulcheral cash-ins (superheroes and spies amongst 'em) and less of the heavy-handed social/moral conscious-laden ones that turn up here. Even when I was twelve (and didn't know better) I would sometimes cringe at the "meaningful" stories that were being produced to cash in on the "relevance" craze that was sweeping the nation, and believe-you-me some of them were so knock-me-over-the-head strong that I could just see the artists and writers nodding their heads in pious tones for having created such socially-significant stories where Archie doesn't let Betty win at golf and she think's he less of a pig for it! When I was an adolescent all I wanted to do was settle back and act like a teenage slob, and if I didn't have to be out there acting nice to the puerile peons I went to school with then why the hell should I be reading about doing the same thing in a comic book!

And. for what I was hoping would have been a lighthearted tour of ARCHIE through the years, this selection can get extremely heavy-handed. Not that I mind a race-relation story here and feminist emasculation there, but there's perhaps a li'l too much Archie gets serious for my stomach to handle especially when what drove me to the comic in the first place was sarcastic and snide attitude of the strips I had been reading since a li'l kid. Por ejemplo, you remember those Spire Christian Comics (which were drawn by Al Hartley, a guy who just hadda've been the worst nth-stringer for Atlas/Marvel in the fifties/sixties) that you used to see cluttering up flea market comic stacks for years on end? Well, there's even one of those saccharine-sweet ARCHIE stories stuck in here which really puts the preach in preachy and overall reminds me of just how hard it was to dump any of those comics which I might have had the misfortune of coming into my collection! Of course if I were looking for an Archie more relevant to my own frame of mind I'd prefer him spouting lines from Karl Hess rather than the King James Version but gee, why the inclusion of this particularly unfunny and stilted story along with others which only present to us mainstream seventies comics at their worst, especially while forgoing a wide selection of ARCHIE at his teenage goofoff trendy nutzo best? I mean, who edited this book, Norman Vincent Peale???

True, the "secular" can be rather profane in its own way as well, but then again were ARCHIE comics really conduit to the late-seventies (and onward) pre-teen gist as they were prior? Gotta give the whole ex-MLJ corp its dues to keeping the flag flying for so long despite the decades-long descent into who-knows-what, but even ARCHIE as a satirical soap send up ("Betty Cooper Betty Cooper") and romping through banal Jeckyll/Hyde retreads don't quite snizzle me as much as the strips or various choice stories such as the ALFRED HITCHCOCK spoof with Mr. Weatherbee as your host, or even the cold war gagger with spies who looked suspiciously like Kruschev and Castro. At least those seemed more in-tune with my adolescent fervor even if they were already ten years old by the time I read 'em, just like the GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and LUCY SHOW reruns I was watching that sure were a refreshing relief next to Marlo Thomas' cathode castrating FREE TO BE, YOU AND ME (the forerunner of everything horrid you and your kids watch that's supposed to be "educational", and don't you forget it!). 

I can say that the people who put these collections out (as well as the reams of ARCHIE in the forties/fifties/sixties... collections) learned from their mistakes, for the fiftieth anniversary sampler had a better array of stories spoofing everything from beatniks, Japanese internment camps, thalidomide and other nostalgic memories we just can't get enough of these days. Coulda used more of that here, but then again by the early eighties I guess kids weren't supposed to act like assholes anymore.