Wednesday, June 29, 2011


After gettin' 'round to thinkin' just how much the Monkees' preferred stock had gone down in value by the time this special aired, it's no wonder NOBODY that I know has ever claimed to have seen this particular piece of  prime time mainstream-psychedelia. Heck, even I can't remember even hearing about 33 1/3 REVOLUTIONS PER MONKEE when it aired back April '69 way, though at that time let's just say that I was paying more attention to NANCY and  DICK TRACY than I was to anything even remotely pop-radio related! Pretty much the situation that describes my very existence TODAY, which only goes to show you that either I'm a mentally-stunted individual still dallying in childhood concerns or perhaps an advanced 20th Century Amerigan culture aficionado who's intent on studying comic strip styles and trends while others are busy with more trendy endeavors that never did stand the test of time  (take your pick).

After finally eyeballing this special which had circulated via audio tape recordings straight from the boob tube and clandestine bootleg VCR's for years,  all I can say is that I'm really glad I didn't tune it in because if I had the folks would have surely banished me to my room under the guise of some occult infraction while they clicked on something a li'l tamer on the other channel! But hey, fortysome years after the fact I finally get to see this, the first and only of three planned Monkees specials for NBC, and although the general kultur has changed quite a bit since those days and even freakier examples of entertainment have graced our screens in the interim all I gotta say is,  it sure was one fun wigout!

Given its use of the right mix of amateur surrealism, mainstream avant garde and teenybopper smarm (all tossed into a rather complicated demi-plot that I'm sure few but producer Jack Good could fully comprehend),  I can see how 33 1/3 REVOLUTIONS PER MONKEE coulda been that group' answer to MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR as more'n a few pundits out there have mused. In many ways it was far better than the Beatles' own attempts at a pop art spectacle, at least as far as watching rock stars being placed through the motions in a show that was a pretty keen commentary on the machinations behind being the world's first readymade rock group goes (whew!), but for being something that could appeal to the heads who undoubtedly passed on HEAD and a romp for the iron-haired girls who pressed leaves inside of ancient books...

Well, I gotta admit that Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll and the Trinity were fantastic in Geofrey Crozier garb doing their soulful jazz rock moves, acting appropriately sinister (and as perhaps the true stars of this hour-long "experiment in television") while the Monkees  were naturally up-to-par playing themselves with a snide sneer telling us on the sly that (as we of course already knew) everything about them was all fake with a wink wink nudge nudge that perhaps points to them as being the REAL innovators of late-sixties rock avant-theatrics. Still, as far as fakes go the group performs fine whether together or during their solo spots, with Mickey doing a great and soulful version of "I'm a Believer" in duet with Driscoll, Peter singing this mid-eastern tinged folk number bedecked in beads, Mike doing a country rock duo with himself (the kind he based his seventies solo career on) while Davey goes for the all-out production number in little boy garb. 

And it gets even  freakier with enough visual hoo-hah to have gotten more'n a few members of the older generation to do some tee-vee flickin' in totally righteous angst ("Ya mean they postponed  DANIEL BOONE for this????"). True the squiggly evolution  number with dancers in superhero-esque skin-tight costumes doing these spermy moves would have been just as good an excuse to head for your head as the commercials, though such interludes as the scene where Auger is standing with his electric piano atop a piano holding Little Richard, who's on a piano atop Jerry Lee Lewis, who himself is atop Fats Domino's piano and they all start cranking out this classic fifties staccato beat is something that still has me thinkin' THANK GOODNESS FOR THE PERSUASIVE POWERS OF JACK GOOD! Naturally the fifties revival scene featuring all three of these survivors along with the Monkees in Bryan Ferry pompadours and matching suits was the highlight for me, a total eye and ear explo culminating with the Clara Ward Singers tearin' the set down with a rousin' "Them Bones". Gotta say that I thought Mickey's singing during this segment did show signs of strain, but at least this early celebration of mid-fifties rock et roll exuberance sure makes those seventies variety shows where the same talent would be dragged out over and over again to less-than-stellar effect look pretty lame indeed!

Maybe I could go on, from the musical number with the Monkees in actual monkey suits to a production featuring a pretty astute assessment of the "mechanics" behind their entire existence (why Devo didn't cop this like they did Manson I'll never know), but I don't wanna get too long in the wind! The closing freakout (some say a visual retort to "A Day in the Life" but I disagree) needs to be mentioned, a strange melange in a prop-scattered studio that turns into a massive audio/visual mess complete with the appearance of just about the entire cast as well as...Buddy Miles? Well, I gotta say that even I felt a tad uncomfortable viewing this post-Zappa globule just as much in the here and now as I prob'ly would have had I glommed it as an especially unwary single-digit channel peruser, and maybe that does say something more about 33 1/3 than it does my own emotional immaturity!

But then again, I remember when HEAD popped up on the CBS late movie one Christmas Vacation 1973 or so and I wanted to take it in much to my father's chagrin, he being a staunch Johnny Carson man. Well, dad did relent sorta angrily, but  HEAD turned out to be such a visual art project without the zany sitcom antics I certainly was hoping for that I pretty much tuned out during the scene where the hippie-ish girl kisses the group and they awaken reverse-Sleeping Beauty style. Y'know, even this far down the evolutionary line I'm sure glad that there are some things that just don't change, even if the fact that neither the CBS late movie nor Johnny Carson are still around to give us that old seventies sense of comfort!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Apologies apologies apologies. Or should I say screwups, screwups, screwups! Here I go placing an order in to Forced Exposure for a number of freshly-minted goodies to grace my hungerin' ears and soothe my glaucoma'd orbs, and what should I do but forget to click the special li'l box sayin' that if  a certain item was not in stock to just send what was available post haste like! Thusly, the recordings that were supposed to brighten my weekend did not arrive and I will probably have to wait until I hear back from 'em (of course I writ FE as soon as I discovered my faux pus about two minutes after sending in the order and haven't heard a thing since!) before I can get everything like straightened out and dissertate about something current, fresh and exciting for once! Not to mention the latest edition of UGLY THINGS (see left for a link to their new blog, and boy is it a wowzer!) which is pretty old by now but since I didn't get my EXPECTED FREE ISSUE for being a devoted contributor I have to dish out hard-begged moolah to obtain my very own copy, which is something I don't exactly relish in these cash-strapped times!

But don't worry your pretty little head off, for I was able to scrape together a buncha reviews by doin' a li'l pickin' and proddin' in the collection and finding some items of worth after all.. As you can see I've finally gotten around to tackling the new Fadensonnen platter as well as the batch that Bill Shute gave me, plus there were a few offerings that I either won via ebay or fell between the cracks (as opposed to fell into the "crack"...singular) that you probably wouldn't mind knowing about, so let's not go 'round thinking this particular weekend ain't gonna be as bang-up as they usually tend to be! Oh well, if this post in fact does not live up to anybody's expectations then how does this sound to ya..."just wait until NEXT time!!!!"
Mick Farren-TO THE MASTERLOCK CD (Captain Trip, Japan)

Dunno how this 'un slipped by, but it did for a good five year and boy and I ashamed about it! This particular 'un courtesy the usually in-gear Captain Trip label's got our favorite Deviant live in Japan back in 2004 grunting out old familiar tuneage along with some new-to-mine-ears wonders, and not only that but Mr. Farren's actually backed here by the infamous latterpsychaday band Marble Sheep (or at least a good chunk of 'em) along with some guy called Nabeh from an act called Slunky Side whom I gotta admit I've never heard of before. Waddeva, MASTERLOCK is a solid live set showing Farren at his growliest (didn't know that weed could affect your voice like that...mebbee they shoulda mentioned this in those anti-pot PSA's I used to see when I was a kid!) while the Sheep/Slunky Side backing's more than in-tune with Farren's overall hard-attack ideals even if their backing vocals aren't.

But seriously folks, it's sure great listening to live versions of such Deviant standards as "I'm Coming Home", "Rambling  Black Transit Blues" and "Slum Lord" done radically different-like even if they may be as downright burning as the originals, plus the covers of "Waiting For My Man" and "Trouble Comin' Every Day" seem directly aimed for the heart of your inner being or whatever hippoid jargon might just happen to suit'cha here in the post-everthing teens. The all-new material is engaging even if it ain't as potent as the familiar rant, plus there's a hidden track which I know you, if not Michael Weldon (hint!), would want to know all about!!! Anyway, you can find worse ways to spend your twenny dollars, cantcha?
Fadensonnen-BLACK EP CD (see blog link on right for ordering information)

The third and last in the Fadensonnen trilogy keeps up the high-powered amped up electronic rock of the first two delivering more of that total eruption free music that I kinda thought went out of business around the time REM began replacing Chrome as a template for youthful rockist exuberance. Echoing a variety of hot eighties underground flashpoints I remember (the MX-80 O-Type and Half Life spinoffs come to mind) and don't (well...maybe Mark Hanley's Sister Ray side project Room 101), Fadensonnen really know how to take the basement recording situations so prevalent in the days of cassette kultur and update the entire shebang for the present, not quite an easy task considering just how vague the notion of "the present" is. This ain't "industrial" or any real variation thereof, but some mighty engrossing underground rock and roll that takes the best moments of the past fiftysome years of sound exploration and runs wild over the hills with 'em! Only hope that this ain't the LAST we're going to hear from  Fadensonnen!

If you haven't been able to get these very limited (100!) edition Cee-Dees and would like to hear what you're missing, go to Fadennonsen's blog (see link up on left) where not only have the entire contents of the last three releases been posted, but videos along with them making for a particularly stimulating audio/visual excursion if you ask me. Actually, don't ask, because I haven't even had the opportunity to see them yet! Who knows, maybe they consist of nothing but the same cover graphic staring you in the face without any change in the picture or variation whatsoever just like every other upload which might be good for the ears but boring for the eyes. If I were you and I wanted to hear this amazing screech I'd head for this blog right now!
Richard Youngs-INCEPTOR CD-R burn

Faddensonnen send me a copy of this 'un, presuming that I would like this prolific musician's guitar excursions which are supposed to be of the freeform feedback-drenched variety. Or something like that. Or nothing even, but after doing some research on this Britisher and discovering that he had a rather prolific "career", an extensive discography and played a number of instruments with varying degrees of  proficiently one would think I figured why not spend the next thirty minutes of my life at least giving this 'un a listen. Which is exactly what I dood, as Red Skelton might have once said.

Turns out this Youngs fellow does pretty well turning the standard electric guitar into a total scronk-slinging weapon, kinda reminding me of Loren Connors at times even though the two of 'em are pretty far apart with regards to approaching their particular musical visions (smart, hunh?). Nice atonal spree here that fits boldly within the realm of recent "outsider" "loner" offerings of a similar nature, especially when Youngs starts singing along in this whining garbled moan. I am reminded of a number of early-nineties releases that I totally rejected worse than a fetus out of Yoko Ono's womb until I suddenly recall that...this really is a lot better than any preconceived notions I might have had (which at times were conceived after givin' 'em a listen!) regarding the new experimental music! Make a truce with your subconscious and give this 'un a try if you so desire!
Sean Gadoury-ARC LIGHT; Andreas Brandal-MINUS teeny weeny CD's (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Sorry Bill, these are the only two Cee-Dee's of yours that I've been able to get at what with real life and the lack of spare time to contend with. But what a great batch of Cee-Dees they are, mostly consisting of "sound sculptures" (at least that's what I think they used to call 'em back in the seventies) created by a couple of interesting new upstarts on the avant garde scene who make music that at some points reminds me of the eerie Mellotron dirges on "Sisyphus Part Three" (UMMAGUMMA) or perhaps some of the noisier aspects of eighties "cassette culture"  when the creators of such musicality weren't exactly letting their youthful exuberance get the best of 'em. Varied to say the least, and if they last long enough a great buy at five dollars postage paid. Guaranteed to "offend" the less expressive members of the BLOG TO COMM community, but then again in this day and age I'm sure getting offended by everything in life left and right, and maybe it's about time you did a little bit of shudderin' yourself!
Destroy All Monsters-LIVE IN TOKYO + OSAKA CD (Compound)

Considerin' how I never play the "original" DAM's other live reunion disque and kinda think that any DAM release w/o Niagara ain't really a DAM disque at all, I did have my reservations about purchasing this particular platter. But even though this "reunion" of the original group sans the presence of their chanteuse and de-facto leader/frontwoman (recorded in Japan, which knows a good scrunch when it hears it!) might seem like Coke and aspirin without the aspirin I found myself enjoying the swirling sounds of homemade electronics and classic tributes to rock both classic (Yes?!?!?!) and not (Seeds) as much as you would. Great Smegma-ish vibe here too mixing the artistic (Futurism) and the vulgar (cheap knotty-pine basement rock) with wonderful ease. May be hard to take in one sitting, though if you're particularly nerve-frayed I will admit this could be the soundtrack to your life!
IN OTHER KULTURAL NEWZ: Stuff seen but not heard (because it's silent!), Dovzhenko's EARTH (1930), one of those Soviet avant garde films which brainy film historians continue to praise to the rafters consistently voting it "Best Film of All Time" (or at least amongst 'em!) which only goes to show you that most film historians never saw BOWERY TO BAGHDAD. If you're wondering why I actually viewed this particular piece of Stalinist dribble (and it sure was, considering how this 'un paved the way for the extermination of thousands of "kulaks" who were getting in the way of Stalin's collectivization of the Ukrainian farms)...well, it was on the same (borrowed) DVD-R which also houses 33 1/3 REVOLUTIONS PER  MONKEE, a tee-vee special from the post-series years of Monkeedom which will probably be the subject of a future edition of this blog but anyway, if you like Soviet avant garde films from the days when the communists actually put on a good face pretending that high class art was the way to win over the lumpen proles well then, go for it! As for me,  I must admit that the camera work was rather spectacular with those waves of grain blowing about and the puffy clouds, but other'n this being just another excuse to justify the liquidation of the kulak class and celebrate tractors there really ain't much to it at all. The print seen here does feature some surprisingly explicit female nudity complete with mad and lust-filled self-tit-squeezing passion which caught me by surprise (I think the events leading up to the reason why there was nudity in this flick in the first place were cut out because---for the life of me I don't know why they included those shots in the first place!) but frankly, would you REALLY want to look at a nude RUSSIAN woman? I mean she coulda tried out for the shot put team if it weren't for that suspicious bulge. Russian woman---sheesh!

Getting some chairside airplay this evening's the Kosmic Daydream's PSYCHOSOMATIC PLAYGROUND CD, which as you can tell I reviewed a few years back and still holds up as far as under-the-cover En Why See rock and roll groups went, or perhaps go. Oddly enough it has a great 1974 feeling only done a good three-plus decades after which only goes to show you that the spirit of seventies rock lived on for quite a longer time than any of us would have thought. If this came out in '74 it would have made for a great 1976 cutout I'll tell ya!

I guess that pretty much sums it all up...who knows, maybe by next week at this time there will be enough new gunch to fill out at least a halfway-decent post. Personally I doubt it given the lack of true stimulation that is available these days, but I think I've been wrong once before and I just might be again! Whatever,  I'll see what I can stir up for you blab-wise next weekend that just might be as life-reaffirming as I can get at my best, but until then tune in for the usual mid-week tittilator.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW: MR. MIKE'S MONDO VIDEO (dunno who actually put it out, 1979)

This un's a lender from Brad Kohler, a human being of a man who was pretty sick 'n durn tired of hearing about me writing reviews of  long-stashed away booty and, DEMANDED that I devote some precious blog space to something other'n old cassettes fished out of torn shoeboxes and discarded apple crates. And fresh this 'un is in my mind even though I am ancient enough to remember the mini-brouhaha over this proposed SNL weekend filler (for the one week in the month when the show wasn't being aired...usually filled with the lucrative youth market news magazine show WEEKEND hosted by the terminally hip Lloyd Dobyns) and how NBC thought it was too hot for tee-vee! That's why it went straight to theaters where many an irate customer demanded his $1 back after seeing the sleeziness unfold on the screen, as if these guys didn't know what they were getting into with a production masterminded by former NATIONAL LAMPOON writer Michael O'Donoghue  I also remember that this one didn't run anywhere in the tri-state area which is why I'm getting to finally see this mondo moom spoof 32 years after the fact (the fact being that humor like this sure took a nosedive once 1980 clocked in and those Not Ready For Prime Time Players and old 'POON hands just weren't cutting it like they used to, but maybe you remember that just as much as I unfortunately do).

MONDO VIDEO actually is good enough in a typically late-seventies  snide humor way which only goes to show you how far  O'Donoghue went from writing those Charles Atlas subscription page spoofs for EVERGREEN REVIEW to coast-to-coast tee-vee within a good ten or so years. Smarmy as hell yet a whole lot more back-brain stimulating than the chic spawn of this humor which comes off more like a fart at a funeral than anything even remotely enlightening.

Now,  I could see NBC's concern over the occasional usage of thirties peep show gals in the "Uncle Sy and the Sirens" clip, though frankly most of this coulda passed the censors sans much editing (well, other'n maybe the part about looking up Cheryl Tiegs' dress which ain't that titty-lating to begin with). The collection of perfectly-slimy vignettes from the Church of Jack Lord to the Cafe No American are up there in the pantheon of prime SNL fodder which I know would have lit my pitted butt fire at the time, and although all of this (and more) pretty much began to look like a relic once 1983 rolled around and the once-radicals of the SNL camp revealed themselves to be Hubert Humphreyites after all it's sure nice to go back to them days when offensive bad taste wasn't just limited to people outside the realms of Modern Amerigan Enlightened Kultur, and I do mean it!

Favorite spoofs include the one where a guy teaches cats to swim by tossing 'em in the aqua pura (boffo for cat haters even if none of 'em drown like you kinda thought they would), "Laserbra" and especially the show closer dealing with this Cargo Cult that lives on long-gone American fads. Lotsa good one-line zingers that go by so fast you almost miss 'em too, like that riddle about Scotsmen, women and sheep which still has me chortling to no end! And although there ain't anything as hotcha as O'Donoghue doing his Mike Douglas with knitting needles jammed into his eyes impression you couldn't say it was anything I wouldn't have at least caught a peek at, in between the old movies and stodgy English comedies that were running on the other channels!

Well, I know at least """""I""""" woulda gotten a kick outta it had I given it an eyeballing on late-night tee-vee back then. Of course luck would have it that a parental supervisor would come strolling in thus doing the instant tee-vee flick off routine (once done while watching the SNL with Michael Sarrazin hosting, not forgetting MONTY PYTHON during the animated "Full Frontal Nudity" segment as well as THE IMPOSSIBLE YEARS during the part where David Niven asks the biker to tell him all he knows about sex!) thus making me have to wait until a more clandestine time to do some serious viewing. Or at least a time when nobody would be home like I shoulda thunk of in the first place! But hey, them wuz the perils of seventies tee-vee watching back when an uncut R-rated movie was the closest we could come to the days when the boys would grab a sneak peek at Miss Murgatroid when she forgot to put the shade down some hot Summer evening. Who sez we're better of in these overtly libertine times anyway???

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Well, still haven't dished out the big bucks for the latest Forced Exposure order yet, though I plan on placing a nice hefty big online order this Monday if only to break up the stultifying boredom around here. But until then it's back to the shoe boxes filled with about 35-plus years of cassettes that I've more/less neglected to spin...unravel??? for quite awhile which I guess I better attend to before they ALL decay into nothingness. Surprisingly some of these cassettes have held up well while other have...well, I don't want to depress myself over the fact that my $5.99 factorycassette investment back in 1975 has gone ka-plooey, but  let me just console myself over the fact that I never did get into the 8-track frameset like many a classmate whose collections had gone instant obsolete within the span of a good two or so years. I mean, imagine how some of THOSE plastic-encased monstrosities have fared what with those rubber wheels gummed up as well as their penchant to jam worse than a Mellotron at the end of a King Crimson tour!

Might as well start off with some old privately/secretly-recorded onto blank cassette finds, all of which contain music that for all I know has remained hidden from general public view in a variety of cassette collections being stashed away in a few lucky collectors' attics and dresser drawers for years on end. And really, a lotta these recordings are something that I would've thought'd've made it into a whole lot more collections of fans and true believers this far down the rockism evolutionary line than they (obviously) have. Unfortunately most of these obscure wonders are privvy to only a few bona-fide fans world-wide, especially this particular item which I  received from a certain chap named Jim Clinefelter some time in the late-eighties which was about ten years after it woulda done me good but better late than never.

What really intrigues me about this particular cassette's the rarity as well as the social significance of the music at hand, the "a" side being an obscure live recording by notorious non-wave band Bernie and the Invisibles recorded live in Cleveland during the avant-garage year of 1978 while the flip's an equally rare 'un featuring the first Cleveland appearance of the Cramps from the exact same year which I thought would have gone down in history as some classic era for underground rockist tendencies but never really did (to most, it's all '77!). Yes, these recordings (and those like them) are harder to find than sanitary napkins in Tehran, and the fact that both of these items haven't made it out into the public square like you think they shoulda is pretty criminal in itself because THE PEOPLE  really need to hear this music, man, and the sooner these sounds make it out to the vast unwashed for their own personal pleasure the BETTER I say! (And no, I'm not going to dub my copy off for anybody! Don't have the means to do so and besides I really can't see myself being the Rubber Dubber for the 21st Century!)

Bernie Joelson is definitely a Cleveland rock treasure, a guy who was taken by Peter Laughner's "Go out there and do it yourself!" credo and more or less became Bernie and the Invisibles. And really, if anybody could have made the claim to have combined the better moments and ideologies of Wild Man Fisher (rip), Syd Barrett, Tuli Kupferberg,  (perhaps) David Roter and the Velvet Underground (using pure seventies rockspeak) it might have been Joelson. Well, at least it might have been evident by this show where this downright "street poet" in the best Lou Reed sense rocks out on his electric guitar making an overall racket that seems to combine the best of late-seventies punkitude with a sheer swivel that approximates those just-pre WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT demos that have been bootlegged for ages on end. All of this (of course) coupled with a true poetic sense and enough technohow to get around having but a rudimentary understanding of your musical instrument.

Numbers like "I Don't Know Where I Am" and "I Feel So Much Worse Than Dead" are vast enough to appeal to the dud-thunk and high-thought edges of  punk attitude, and beneath the fuzz blare and way-off guitar wangs lies the heart of an unsoiled genius. Perhaps the best punk-intellectual to be found on tape, and one in the fine tradition of Russell Desmond or Tim Ellison even.

Later on the Invisibles became not only visible but auditory and maybe something "was" lost in the transition/translation, but if you want to hear something outta the original Cleveland non-wave and waiting for someone to uncover the Harlan and the Whips tapes is getting to be too nerve-wracking then Bernie and the Invisibles are the ones for thee.

As for the Cramps, I believe was recorded at the Drome during one of that record emporium's infamous in-store shows (which at times also featured the B-52s and Pagans!), but whatever, this is the group's first flesh and blood gig in their more or less home town kinda/sorta doing a superb-o job wranglin' rockabilly reverb outta p-rock attitude. I'm sure you already know what to expect, and if you're a fan of the group's early self-produced singles then you'll be more'n apt to fall for this tape which features enough Link Wray reverb to make you turn bluer than Ghoulardi! Gotta admit that I really wasn't following the Cramps' career in the eighties and beyond unlike many of you reg'lar readers, but I'll continue to hold these early recordings very near and dear to my heart until...something somewhere turns me off to the Cramps for whatever reason until I once again fall under their spell, but I do get that way sometimes.
Hmmm, another cassette rarity featuring material that was flying about on tape trader lists that I got hold of via the back page ads in whatever then-current issue of TROUSER PRESS just happened to be lying around. Forget which list I got this 'un offa (I think it was Dennis Metrano's), but if you ask me this particular Mumps show just hadda've been taken from the infamous Charles Ackers collection from which many of these live tapes have emanated o'er the years. Recorded live at CBGB, Lance and the guys can once again be found doing a really good job getting those ROCK SCENE British pop/New York underground influences all kicked out, kinda sounding like a three-way split twixt the Kinks, Sparks and Blondie with a little Fast thrown in for good measure. It is a shame that these guys never did get a chance to release an entire album of their goodies back when they were still alive and throbbing...remember that "Whatever Happened To" blurb in NEWSWEEK that not only detailed the then-current whereabouts of the Loud Family but pictured Lance and band in punk shock attire whilst hyping their album that was being recorded at Bearsville Studio with Earl Mankey producing??? That piece obviously is still sticking in my cranium a good 35 + years later, and frankly why wouldn't it!

Don't blame me...whoever it was that dubbed this 'un for me stuck the Delta 5 on without my prior knowledge in order to fill up the blank space! Well, gotta say that for a guy like myself who pretty much ditched that entire Rough Trade "post-punk" sound about as fast as it came up (well, maybe using 1983 as a fairly good cut off point) I find myself starting to become interested in these overtly conscious and perhaps too giving-of-themselves to be allowed to LIVE acts once again. Really, for quite a few years I've felt embarrassed in the fact that I do own a more than inordinate amount of Rough Trade seven-inchers, but here I am lending lobes to the Raincoats with a startling frequency these days! Heck, I'm even starting to nurture an interest in Au Pairs of all acts not only because Lester Bangs gave 'em his own imprimatur in som now-ancient VILLAGE VOICE (which seems to mean all the more thirty years after his own deep sixing than it did when the goof was still alive) but because any under-the-radar trash rock act who would dare perform "Smoke on the Water" complete with what is reported to have been the lamest drum solo heard since the inaugural Umela Hmota gig really must have had something going for it!

But this snippet of fellow Rough Trade demi-femis Delta 5 live in Boston really is something that sounds a whole lot more refreshing and perhaps in-tune with the 70s/80s cusp than many of the fashion plate wave and general DIY lethargy that was beginning to infest the underground music scene around this time. Hot, driving and thankfully not that filled with that Rough Trade socialist/feminist drivel (unless you think "Mind Your Own Business" to be a powerful political rant straight from the bowels of the Working Class)...this one actually had me tapping toe and nodding in time to the jerky rhythms extant. Could Delta 5 have been the best double-bass guitar group in England since DISPOSABLE-era Deviants? I most certainly think.....perhaps!
Judging from the cover you might be led to think this was yet another home-made offering that some nobodies going under the name "Refrigerator" had sent me (or had sent one of the many magazines I had been contributing to back in the bleak early-nineties) in the hopes that a mention would get their tootsies through the door and into the Big Time faster than you can say ALTERNATIVE PRESS. Well, if you did believe that how could I blame you, but in reality this particular Refrigerator was laid down by none other than VON LMO's Refrigerator and certainly not some hip flavor of the week trying to be as 90s obtuse as possible! Yes, this group's but another one of the many one-off acts that Lmo had led or had appeared in between honing his own brand of what one commentator so aptly called "heavy metal electroshock" back '79/'80 way, and although we may never get to hear "The Shortwave Band" or "Von Lmo and the New School" at least this particular gig survives for us future (language) generations to enjoy! To which I certainly raise and hearty and hefty "HUZZAH!" as would you if you had the opportunity to osmose this definitely En Why See underground no wave sesh!

Laid down live at Max's Kansas City 5/28/80, here Lmo returns to the more straight-ahead no wave stylings of Red Transistor with the aid of then-galpal Iolsa Hatt (Communists/Kongress warbler plus an ex-Amish in case you didn't know from the previous ten mentions!) and fellow Lmo-ite Juno Saturn along with some other worthies creating an atonal stew (heavy on the cheap organ!) that not only recalls the frightening atonal fury of the original generation of NO NEW YORK acts but surpasses much of the gnu wave flackery that had replaced the underground rock innovation of the previous few years. Pretty overreaching anxiousness to be heard on behalf of Lmo and band, complete with an audience which teeters between appreciation and downright hostility! Two tracks ("Smudge Head" and the Red Transistor "chestnut" "Disco Zombie")  eventually ended up on the FUTURE LANGUAGE/TRANCEFORMER double-set a good decade back, though the entire show should be released for those of us who still think that the New York no wave was extremely under-documented and maybe should get a little bit more due tossed its way even after two books and way more compilations that usually seem to omit the really desirable gunch!.
Gee, I hope the authorities that be don't catch me listening to this anarchist hippie punk dribble! Well, if they do can they still throw me in jail for listening to proppy-ganda that's about three decades stale by now? Not the music, but the message it delivers about nuclear war and of course disarmament which just doesn't have the same ring-a-ding to it that it had in 1980 when way too many people thought that we actually were on the brink of nuclear destruction with Reagan and Breshnev just itching to turn Great Britain into one big smoking ashtray. Well, in some ways I do wish they turned old Blighty, Scotland and of course that vacationer's paradise Northern Ireland into a total barren wasteland but hey, the locals are doing a pretty good job of it themselves so what's a good three decades anyway?

Getting that snide bitta  har-har outta the let me just say that it's sure good listening to this collection of various anarcho-punk types not only gathered all in one place but fittingly enough recorded about as cheaply as possible. Most of the groups that appear on this "benefit" tape are of the obscure variety but that doesn't mean they're exactly fact if the Instant Automatons, Nice People or Murphy Federation didn't get any recordings other'n this out I would be surprised given how they fit into the better aspects of early-eighties art rock complete with the proper amt. of early-seventies proto-punk smudge to keep fogies like me interested.

Of course the "big" names like the Astronauts and Zounds are why I'm sure the majority of anarcho-punks bought this in the first place, and although both of 'em perform uppa snuff (with an outlook owing as much to the Pink Fairies as Crass) the obscuros also deserve a big hand. Good enough that even lazy me might do a little research to see if there's any concrete information on the quick flashes that were lucky enough to make it onto this tape!
Finally for today soiree's another one of those limited edition tapes that the former Sick Dick/DAILY DANCE guitar mauler Doug Snyder released on his New Frontier label back in the early-nineties. Stashed away and forgotten for almost as long, his TOUCAN SMILES features Miller along with  fellow Volkswagen-mate Brian Doherty (also of Borbetomagus fame), and although I recall (perhaps erroneously) this 'un not quite flibbening the jib back when I originally gave it a try nowadays I'm finding these tracks to be pretty snat in their electronic throbbing fashion. Most of it sounds like it could have been birthed from the original Harmonia with its heavy Teutonic pulse and a slightly punk-y demeanor and, like the best of the seventies krautsters, this has the perfect mix of primitive drone and sophisticated purity making for a recording that really would fit in swell with your German Expressionism listening sessions. Of course it ain't as brash nor as atonally beautiful as DAILY DANCE was in its Sharrockian glory, but then again how many of those, if any, do we come across anymore?
And next weekend,  maybe some flesh and bloody reviews of recently received rehash or maybe more tapes. We'll see how the winds of finance make out until then and, in the sage words of Governor Jerry Brown, just "go with the flow!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hypocrite in a Hippie Crypt-TWEAKER IN THE PARK CD (Gulcher)

Really sorry Mr. Fadensonnen, but those Cee-Dees that you sent me are going to have to wait for just a little while. Ditto for thee Mr. Shute (and sorry if I lost the smattering of chapbooks you gave me...they're bound turn up around here eventually!). Yeah I know I've been starving for material to spout off about in the pages of this blog but right now I've been letting the REAL WORLD get the best of me...y'know, spending more time than I should cutting the yard, hauling wood and coal into the cellar and chasing queers outta my neighborhood with less of it to spend on some of the finer things in life. It's like a fellow can't hardly settle down to watch an episode of IT PAYS TO BE IGNORANT like he oughta without the rigors of life overcoming him like neighborhood kids on the sno cone man! But hey Mr. Bear, I did manage to give your latest release a play (figured that since it came in the mail just yesterday and the package was more or less staring me in the face why not???) and after all's said and done and the laser light flashes off all I gotta say is...

Oh, dash it all with these cliffhanger paragraphs 'n let me tell you that this Hypocrite in a Hippy Crypt guy/group? is yet another bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed discovery of the erstwhile Gulcher label head that really throws me for a loop with these outta-nowhere demo-like folk/pop excursions. Mr. Crypt's entire oeuvre is based somewhere in the acoustic neo/post-folk genre, and he just might be in the forefront of said movement with his sound, swerve and style that reminds me of a cross between solo John Lennon and Syd Barrett with a few other sixties refs (Beach Boys during their late-sixties reaching maturity period) thrown in for good measure. Maybe even some of the eighties anti-folk types can be used as hotcha reference points, but overall Crypt (who according to the press sheet is still in high school!)  has nada of that decadent smarm to his approach sounding like he's got a really healthy appreciation of mid-sized city/suburban living complete with a two-car garage and Tee-Vee antenna smack dab on the top of the roof! Naturally that may seem more than a bore to this troubadour stuck inside of Carmel Indiana with the Bloomington blues, but perhaps this is the best atmosphere in which a talent like Crypt could grow free of the stifling confines which make up modern day BIG CITY SHMUCKERY.

The songs are simple, perhaps even fragile at times acoustic pop rockers, the kind that probably would have given Greg Shaw reason for even more organ transplants had he given these a listen to way back in the mid-seventies. Yet they're tuff enuff in their own sorta Hackamore Brick-ish ways (well, at least regarding Brick's more Chick Newman-ish acoustic numbers!) as they evoke the past and mix it with the present hopefully making for a fine future in whatever's left of this thing called the International Youth Language. And for a high-schooler this Crypt kid's pretty astute in the lyrics department (sheet shoulda been required) plus his music is far more advanced than the usual pop churn outs that seem to be handled by people who would be put to  a more suitable use stuffing sausages into casings. It's too bad someone like this "Hippie Crypt" kid  will probably end up existing in obscurity while less-interesting talents are gonna be gettin' the fame and notoriety that the really bigguns always seem to miss out on.

Heck, even caught a tad bit of HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED-period Dylan (with some hot '66 El Lay folkrockisms a la the Rockets) on "William J. Harris" which might be an even better mid-Amerigan ribbing than anything Bobby D. came up with long before Weberman decided to give him the ol' hell from womb to tomb treatment. Hmmmm, something tells me there might just be a bright future in store for Crypt and his pure pop for folkrock people which sounds filtered enough that even Brian Sands would get a kick outta it. Anyway, if you really wanna go tell him how much you love him, do so by going to his website here.

Monday, June 13, 2011


...and I'm still laughing my pitted butt off over it!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

IMANTS KRUMINS (1952-2011)

Naw, I don't want to talk about music right now. Considering today's sad state of affairs I certainly don't feel like it. I'd rather talk about Imants Krumins. Now, the name might not mean much if anything to you, but to me it means more than the whole world and a few orders from Forced Exposure combined. And really, I would think that everybody on the face of this earth would know all about Imants Krumins, the record collector, fanzine writer (PIG PAPER, the other TEENAGE NEWS...), raconteur, pub hopper, "scenemaker", "football" (of the sissy overseas variety) and wrestling fan, radio personality (on McMaster University's radio station whose call letters escape me at the moment), hard/grindcore aficionado, and BLACK TO COMM contributor/compact disc cover star. Right now I can hear you saying "Oh, that Imants Krumins." (Not that it wouldn't have been entirely impossible to get him confused with a number of other Imants Krumins including a Toronto photographer and some crooked crony in the Latvian government...none of which are he.)

Anyway, Imants Krumins has just lost his battle with brain cancer this past Thursday. And yes, I am extremely depressed. Not because he was some mighty name/bigtime collector/fan that I could worship from afar, but because I have been in touch with the guy via mail, telephone and computer for almost three decades exchanging letters, cassettes, pertinent rockism information and many times snide asides. And if you can believe it, throughout that time the man had treated me with the utmost respect and all 'round niceness 'stead of  dabbled in petty oneupmanship and general underground snobbishness like way too many "people" I've had the misfortune to come in contact with during those years of bitter struggle. Maybe I will spare you the "It should have been _________" rant and maybe I won't (we'll see what kind of a mood I end up in as the post progresses), but deep down you know that still applies.

I first heard of Mr. Krumins via the pages of BOMP magazine if you can believe that, this being way back in the very-early eighties. And with a name like that (second coolest in the BTC sphere, the first being Oleh Hodowanec) who could forget a fellow like Imants in the first place? In the realm of the BOMP! world Imants could usually be found commenting on something written in a previous issue, something that usually regarded some English rock obscurities or not-so's  making comments about everybody from the Nashville Teens to stating that Meghan Davies from the Applejacks was the sister of a pair of kinky Davies who were very near and dear to Imants' heart. When Kim Fowley wrote in to say that Krumins was in fact wrong about this I don't think the man ever lived it down, because I know I couldn't!  I guess that was one thing that I felt best not to bring up in his presence, and now it looks like we'll never know his reaction which is something that just might bug picayune and petty me 'til the ends of MY days.

Anyway, not too soon after reading these purloined way after the fact magazines, perhaps in the month of December of '81 or so (because I remember reading this issue in a vehicle while taking home a once-live Christmas tree), I chanced upon a huge want list of Imants' in the pages of GOLDMINE which mentioned an extreme variety of wares that I sure would have wanted to own as well. I forget exactly what was on this particular list  (and wouldn't mind re-perusing that particular one for historical purposes), but a Can bootleg he was on the prowl for entitled SUNDAY JAM continues to intrigue me especially since I couldn't find any mention of it outside of his list! To this day I have the lingering hope that perhaps the item does exist albeit in extremely limited quantities and if so I sure wouldn't mind getting my chubby little paws on a copy for my own personal enjoyment, but considering how the age of internet hasn't even dredged this particular platter up who knows if it was for real or just another one of those silly bootleg rumors we've all been hearing (i.e. Thirteenth Floor Elevators on the Rubber Dubber label)  for years on end!

Well, throwing caution to the wind with typical youthful exuberance I wrote to the man, got a letter back, and all of that started a good twenny-nine years of happy correspondence not to mention cassette dubbing and best of all loads of all-important information regarding music and of course the old personal tales straight from the life of Mr. Krumins. Turns out that not only was he extremely knowledgeable about various acts and critics and the like (he was the first one to tell me that Borneo Jimmy was in fact R. Meltzer which I am ashamed to say never dawned on me!) but a pretty with-it fellow himself, a professional in the banking business (who listed "watching TV" as one of his hobbies on his job application) who loved everything from Abba to Flipper and reggae to rap (big Mantronix guy he!) as well as avant classical/jazz and of course most if not all of the music we here at BLOG TO COMM hold near and dear to our hearts. Not your run-of-the-mill fanboy I'll tell ya!

And for being a member of the running dog capitalist system of exploitation 'n all that Imants was a pretty un-stuffy guy as well, listening to and championing acts you would think, given their rather pinko outlooks, would have turned him off faster than a gift subscription to THE DAILY WORKER. He was also an extremely generous guy too, of course making copies of his various tapes and later on burning Cee-Dees for me and (get this!) sometimes asking for nada in return! Many times he'd even surprise me with like, say, the sixth issue of DENIM DELINQUENT which was rotting away in his expansive collection because he didn't like the thing and knew I wanted to read it BAD...Lord knows how much that ish is now going for on the black market but Krumins actually gave me the issue totally gratis! Frankly I feel that I got the better end of the deal (especially since I sent him nothing but a hearty thank you in exchange!) but he did seem more than happy to get this particular fanzine off of his own hands. Sheesh, the less materialist/dosh-grubbing people I've also been in contact with have been way more demanding of what they got in trade for various items as have I, but given that Imants would have been considered the typical capitalist banker type by most of the communists he was undoubtedly in contact with he sure knew how to SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND!

And, unlike your typical p-rock fan who as the years rolled on seemed to be decaying along with the music he most certainly took to heart, Imants was a man of class in a rock fandom filled with some of the most barbaric specimens passing for multi-celled life that I've had the displeasure of coming in contact with. Let's face it, I've run up against more than my share of cheaters, liars, false promisers and throat-cutters who were more than willing to do complete 180's on me when the time was most opportune. Not Imants. He was totally cool, friendly and copasetic with me, and what's more he might have just been a life-saver the time he called me during one of my extreme lows (post ish #22, late-spring 1997) when I was just on the verge of doing a little psychic wrist-slitting myself. Perhaps I did do a lot more psychic mutilation on myself than should have been warranted, but boy was I feeling horrible with the pressures of work, life and an all-consuming fanzine which ended up looking like total shit enveloping my every sense of being. But hey, what should happen (other'n a whole slew of congratulatory calls from people who were so turned off by my depressed nature that I never heard from them again) was a call outta the blue from none other than Imants, and the bloke really seemed cheerful and uplifting telling me that this total disasto magazine was really great in what seemed like a valiant attempt to keep me away from the cutlery drawer! Dunno if Bruce Mowat's the one who tipped him off that I was about that close to a self-imposed exile away from the harshness and realities of life (and music) but if he did well, I guess his blabbermouthing did me quite a bit of good because Krumin's call was something that helped get me outta the hole and maybe back on the oft-derailed train ride of life with me forever searching for the next station down the ways. So friends, if there was anybody out there who made sure that I did not give up on writing, or listening, or LIVING for that matter it was Imants! Blame him, not me!!!

Listen, there are many people out there whose passings I certainly will not note in these pages, and many people whose departures from this world might just cause me to do cartwheels up and down the street. I'm not "supposed" to have these feelings I know, but sheesh, it ain't like I can always help it! Maybe I should be sorry, and in some ways I am for harboring such opinions towards these people, but in the sage words of Eddie Haskell you'd think differently if you were pushed around as much as I've been. Maybe that's why Mr. Krumins' departure hits me in the spiritual 'nads all the harder. Really, I am extremely sorry to see  a gent such as him go, and in such an agonizing way so undeserving of him as well. We may have gabbed on the phone a whole lotta times and exchanged tapes, and you made me aware of more than a few worthy acts like Simply Saucer and all of those English anarchists, but for which I will be eternally grateful. Loved those tales you spun about how you went to school with Edgar Broughton (you being 12 and freshly enrolled, he being 16 and getting kicked out for long hair, smoking and bad attitudes!) and the time you were on holiday in London and you were staying next door to Skrewdriver and thought they were really nice guys 'n all! And how about that really long letter you wrote me about hanging out with Edgar Breau and the rest of the old Simply Saucer guys and getting into all of this esoteric stuff about your hero Paul Morrissey and how he thought jazz was for junkies, something that I gotta say made me feel kinda distorted when I read the thing even with all of the references to Lyman and the Process Church. You later denied saying that Morrissey was your hero but I still have the letter which I really wanted to print during the height of my Saucer fact finding excursions and you certainly emitted a huge "ulp!" because of it!!! Of course those PIG PAPER contributions were always top-notch. In fact I'm still cracking up over the SURFING WITH THE VILETONES one, or was that REQUIEM FOR R. BULB which had such stunning Kruminisms abounding in it such as the mythical song titles "R. Bulb Washes Socks" and of course "Sleeping Beauty's Fish Tank"??? And hey, everytime I listen to the Kinks, T. Rex, the Afflicted Man, the Apostles, METAL MACHINE MUSIC, Leslie Gore, the Association, the Jesus and Marychain, Rose Tattoo, Suicide, Tall Dwarfs, the Only Ones...  you know I'm gonna be thinking of you. Of course whenever I pour through a box of old fanzines still in their original mailing envelopes or letters and come across one with your return address  I will  be shedding a tear or two just like I always seem to do these days of bleak futures and the rampage towards the new barbarism coming to a city new you. Let's just say, without me getting TOO lump-throated, you were a real pal and definitely one of the good ones, and considering how the world becomes more and more of a cesspool as the days roll on that certainly is an honor! As you used to say at the end of every letter, "cheers".

Thursday, June 09, 2011

SHANE WILLIAMS (1955-2011)

Not that I was exactly a bosom buddy of the man, nor was I a devout reader of his various writings for FLIPSIDE amongst other fanzines that shall remain nameless (excepting one which shall remain hopeless!). Shucks, I wasn't even an accomplice or a cell mate of his for that matter! But the very recent passing of noted rock scribe (he was too classy to be a critic) and Los Angeles scenester Shane Williams is something that should be noted in these pages, perhaps with sorrow or perhaps with scorn, but whatever the situation may be his demise (via some sphincter who ran a red light) is something that I should address. And really, who knows if the man left this world with more than a shred of loathing for me like way too many people who may have been in "touch" via my writings or my own fanzine o'er the past thirty years, but after all's said and done all I gotta utter is a hearty "who cares????".

Now, Williams wasn't exactly the first fanzine bankrobber in rockscribe history---Bryce Tuller who wrote for the early issues of HYPERION actually earns that particular honor, and he was also involved in a murder and hijacking to Cuba in the process which anyone would admit got Williams' own antics beat all hollow. But as far as notoriety and plain ol' how shall I say GENERAL EAGER-BEAVERNESS for the cause of punk fandom went Williams was up there with the rest of the eighties big guns on the u-ground spread-it-on-thick crowd, and given the time he was in stir I mean, what else could he do?

I first became aware of Williams during his early eighties permeation into the lettercols and other sundry pages of a vast array of reads that had been popping up on the El Lay underground at the time,.The earliest recollection I have of Williams would have to be via this little kerfuffle in the pages of the ever-popular tabloid paper OP regarding the alleged racism to be found within not only the pages of the then-influential TOUCH AND GO fanzine but with its editor, Tesco Vee, in general. Since I sold all of my OPs way back when I can't exactly snatch up the particular issues in question in order to refresh myself with what this blabbering was all about (I suspect it was the early outcropping of the stifling "correctness" in politics/socio-economic matters which has of course snowballed to archepelago levels), but I hazily recall this printed shouting match having to do with Williams pretty much loathing the entire concept of black culture (and black people) whilst some woman (who seemed to be of the enlightened social-racial bent that seemed to come to floweration during the early days of the Reagan administration---blame it on the sixties I most certainly do!) taking the opposite road praising black music and life in a way that seemed akin to a female who has read Kate Millett and swallowed it hook line and angst. It  all came off like an Earth-Two "Point/Counterpoint" being acted out by two sides that I couldn't see anybody really choosing from lest they be as polarized as the individuals who were engaging in this printed donnybrook. And although it might look silly here from a three-decade vantage point I'm sure this entire brouhaha meant all the more back when it was happening way back in the flipped-out eighties.

It wasn't too long after I cranked up my crudzine that Williams got in touch with me, and although you couldn't exactlly say that we were exactly two peas in a pod I was one to look forward to his extended screeds given the way I like to be the center of the universe with everybody paying homage to me considering what a hotshot talent I had considered myself to be in this world of underground pubbing blah blah you know the score... Of course Williams being the tough con who seemed to have an undying hatred of blacks (which I guess was beat into him while in stir) didn't quite mesh well with my own personal opines, but still getting a note from Williams was one of the many "perks" one might say of having your own fanzine and writing for other rags of notoriety. Even if the job didn't pay its weight in promo records at least I could keep myself occupied reading these often clipping-filled letters from a guy with more than half-a-braincell like Williams who was more'n apt to spill out a whole load of  his often behind-the-scenes rock 'n' roll knowledge to addled wannabes like myself.

Yes, the man was a sicko as his tastes in porn...the kraut stuff...would imply. (The naughtiest thing I ever sent him was an ad for an old Plasmatics show with Wendy O. Williams showing a little beneath belly button flesh, which he told me he improved on.) But the guy was well read and astute enough to even compare my own views to that of Christopher Lasch which in retrospect might just be the most accurate assessment of my own late-eighties opines more than the reams of naysayers would care to remark. And although I didn't especially care for many of the guy's opinions, or even some of his musical tastes, it was a gas reading Williams whether he was ranting on about prison life or whatever musical program the the local Pacifica station was blasting during the night hours (which seemed oh-so-esoteric given that no radio like this could be found around these here parts!).

Oddly enough I hadn't even heard from Mr. Williams for a good many years in the oh-ohs, at least until the guy left a snide li'l comment on this very blog "thanking" me for remaining incognito for the previous one-and-a-half years out of prison despite a number of rabid letter writing sessions on his part, or so he said. Funny, as I retorted I never even received any of these missives, erroneously believing that it was he who decided to cut off the correspondence for whatever reasons there may have been on his part which was totally within his rights. Some swift thinking had me guessing that the notes from him to me were intercepted by a particular third party, but without any concrete proof or evidence as to what exactly happened to the mail it ain't like I could exactlly ring up to local post office and instigate an investigation. If memory serves I did invite Shane to continue getting in touch via the brand spanking new computer age but he obviously declined. Heh, I'll bet the big fanabla was spending a rather inordinate amount of his time badmouthing me behind my back! Well, if he was I would say that was par for the course!

But badmouthing me or not (somehow I assume it was the former!) here's to you Shane. A lotta people may have liked you and perhaps just as many right now are doing leaps of joy at the news of your passing, but whatever you did you sure knew how to do it all the way even if it did mean attempted murder. And heck, even if a nascent hippie (but in a nice, HEALTHY way!) kinda guy like Eddie Flowers could like you even after the famed shooting up incident then why can't I put any backbrain creepiness on my part aside and say rocked more than I ever will (but then again who wouldn't???).

Sunday, June 05, 2011


As I'm sure with many of you reg'lar readers, I definitely miss the Golden Age of Rock Fanzines. Now, I'm not talking about the alleged GA of the nineties which spawned quite a few self-produced publications, some of which I might or might not have exactly cozied up to (thought that's probably due to jealousy considering that my own fanzine "career" pretty much hit the skids and paled next to some of the classier offerings that were popping up during them dayze), but as you might have guessed I'm more'n gung ho on the original GA of the seventies that gave us quite a few top notch reads like (amongst many others) BACK DOOR MAN and DENIM DELINQUENT! Y'know, fanzines which  continue to hold up to pre-beddy bye time reading a whole lot more'n many of you would dare admit, snobbish elitist trash that you most certainly are. Sad to say the days of high energy punky garageadelic fanzines like these and many others are long gone, and even though we can all read our favorite seventies/eighties fanzine fave writers like Eddie Flowers and Jim Marshall immediate-like on the web it sure is a lot different getting facebook links of youtube rarites  from Flowers  or twice-a-month posts from Marshall 'stead of reading their writings smack-dab plain in front of you on plain paper just like in the old days! And besides, like I've said many-a-time,  just TRY and haul your computer into the bathroom for that essential potty-time reading! Chances are you'll have downloaded long before the computer does.

Not too many new oldies, or is that old newies, to hit the BLOG TO COMM mailbox as of late but there have been a few fanzines of "interest" that perhaps warrant your mealy attention. Naturally the ones that I would really love to read remain in long-forgotten collections or more or less the publishers' attics, but until the reams of old issues of NEW AGE and CHUCKLEHEAD'S GAZETTE (amongst a few hundred others) find their way into my hairy little paws I'll have to make do with these wonders. And after reading my blab-on you're going to wonder just as well!

I dunno if you could classify RAUNCHY ROCK as either a "fanzine" or as (yet another) bi-monthly amateur rag aiming for the pocket change left over after the mythical 197X 18-34 age group dumped bigger bucks on albums and real rock magazines. Kinda hard I know, but for the sake of somethingorother I guess it would be best to classify it as an actual rock fanzine because of its overall cut and paste looks, dimensions and best of all cheapo typed layout. And true, editor Bob Iuliucci might not have exactly been the new Jann Wenner with a rag like this, but he was about ten or so miles ahead of that overambitious bi with this Staten Island publication that I guess was created to fill in some of the blanks that the usual alternative weaklies were somehow letting slip through their nubbins.

And yeah, maybe putting Don McLean on a cover of your mag ain't exactly as hotcha an idea as slapping Iggy Pop onto it, but it probably moved a few more boxes which I'm sure helped pad Iuliucci's wallet out more'n me sticking the Dolls on the latest issue of my own monstrosity. But it's what's inside that counts, and I really do enjoy RAUNCHY ROCK's sense of seventies snide and energy not to mention that Richard Meltzer himself even had his own tee-vee column entitled "TV TUBS" (complete with a snap of Cleveland Amory lifted from a real TV GUIDE) where The Master once again gets to tell you all you needed to know before turning on the idjit box and tuning into your favorite pastime. Take this little bit of cathode esoterica: "You know what you can do with BRIDGET LOVES BERNIE? Stick it up your mommy's rumphole." I mean, who else could have summed up the worst aspects of the post-MTM prime time television like that? Or how about this bit regarding a bonafeed television classic..."Andy Griffith's on a little too much if not a lot. It's on twice a day and that's a lot. Whenever Aunt Bee is on it's no good a-tall. Ditto for Opie. Ditto for Gomer. Only good'uns on the whole show are Barney and whatever that drunk's name is who always gets locked up. Andy is BAD and so is Betty from FATHER KNOWS BEST who's on there every once in a while as his broad. The whole show is goddam hopeless and the episode they show ever Xmas eve is pathetic (the latter day Scrooge story--pee-yew!) Floyd the barber's okay tho." And sure that mere example's bound to get me criticism from all sortsa angles for liking this "illiterate" knownothing scoundrel type, but hey, it is much to be preferred over John Rich.

Sticking Joe Franklin on the front was a much smarter business move that Don McLean, if only for Franklin's down-home earthness and old-timey approach to the Golden Greats that have been poo-pooed by the hippie remnants for being "irrelevant". Franklin's a good schmoe, and the issue I got with his likeness on the front cover's really snazzy as well, complete with a listing of the best rock et roll groups in the New York area (including snaps of the Fast, the Leather Secrets on what I believe is the original CBGB stage before Lou Rone burned it down, and would you believe Wayne County giving birth?!?!?!). Even the token book review (JANIS: BURIED ALIVE) is good enough that you don't mind the amateur poetry scattered all over the place or the tons of ads for clothing stores which obviously kept this magazine going for as long as it did. Naturally something like RAUNCHY ROCK was bound to get buried under the weight of the other New York reads such as THE VILLAGE VOICE and of course THE CHRISTOPHER STREET STINKY SLINKY TUNNEL RIDE but for being what it was and getting out to the public the way it did we gotta give the thang more'n a few dues, and who knows, maybe someday someone'll collect all of the Meltzer contributions in one nice little book, just so's we can all appreciate the finer points of seventies television as filtered through the mind of an addled genius!
It's sure been a long time between issues of O. REXTASY, Solomon "Afrika Korps" Gruberger's manic/intense fanzine that seemed to woosh over the collective heads of rock fandom back in the good ol' you-know-whats. Coming across old copies this far down the virtual hershey highway's not exactly a lighthearted task, but fortunately enough I've managed to get hold of issue #3 with none other than Gruberger dreamboat Suzi Quatro on the cover! Naturally there's a nice piece (no pun intended) on her inside (again, no pun...) as well as loads of long-forgotten goodies from the rest of the mid-seventies fanzine maggia (to use Marvel Comicspeak)...Mark HYPE Jenkins reviewing Grand Funk RR's WE'RE AN AMERICAN BAND, Krazee Kenne Highland writing up the Osmonds and David Cassidy, Cary Baker on Brownsville Station, Eddie Flowers on Johnny Winter and Carl Biancucci not only with a whole slew of funny comics but a review of Robin Trower!!! For the sake of daring to be DIFFERENT some gal named Mary La Marca reviewed a Yes circa TALES FROM THE TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS live show (???), but before you think this ish is going to the flutterers Kenne and Sol resensify you with a good two page write-up on a New York mystery band who sent 'em a demo which evoked everybody from the Stooges and Dolls to West, Bruce and Laing! (Could this be the infamous Pandora, a group of whom a ton of information has come out since their infamous Cee-Dee release back in the nineties?) That's what I like about these 197X ' matter how much you had 'em pegged as being totally punkified there was always some little surprise tossed in to make you mutter....wha?
I've written about VIBRATIONS many times before and although I'm sure a good portion of you readers would probably not consider it to be a fanzine in the classic run-it-off-and-staple-the-thing-up fashion they were brave enough to actually identify themselves as one even to the point where they even advertised themselves as one in the pages of the ultimate gathering point for the underground collector, none other than Alan Betrock's ROCK MARKETPLACE. With credentials like that I guess they were a fanzine in truest sense of the form even if there was none of the bite or verve of a...say, BACK DOOR MAN to be found in the pages that I've seen. In fact from what I have read, VIBRATIONS looked more or less (at least with the early issues) like a smart CRAWDADDY knockoff which like Paul Williams' creation fortunately ignored the more crass aspects of late-sixties youth culture and wrote about a wide variety of rock groups with that cool, detached style that was so pleasing (especially next to the New Vulgarianisms of the day) that even writers like Wayne McGuire and VIBRATIONS staffer Jonathan Richman were more than apt to commit to print in this perhaps not-so-peculiar style.

Of course the early issues having that CRAWDADDY sense of science-fiction fandom look and feel (coupled with the yearly high school poesy anthology aura) didn't hurt any, and even if VIBRATIONS seemed to be treading the same sociopolitical waters as every other serious youthmag of the late-sixties at least they had a smart Boston sense of snide to 'em. Not to mention the ever-popular Richman, who was probably the magazine's saving grace even though editor John Kreidl  never would have dared admit it at least in front of the stockholders. In many ways VIBRATIONS echoed the same sentiments as fellow Bostonian publication FUSION with its mix of rock, politics and human interest done sans the standard youth emote that seemed to permeate the likes of STONE, or at least what that mag exuded until the early-seventies when even phony altruism became too obvious for the pampered sons of the ruling class. Only a few knew that their six-oh utopian dreams were gonna come to a screeching halt back in those airhead times, but at least the folks at VIBRATIONS knew enough to keep their youthful exuberance under control, at least until it became too hard...

Anyway so's I get a whole buncha these VIBRATIONS, all of 'em from their tabloid days (post-early 8 1/2-by-11 early issues and pre-final gasp return to same) which are hard to read and crumbly as well but do have a good enough late-sixties feel to 'em to the point where you coulda seen Mark Frechette eyeballing a copy at The Fort in between bank holdups. They all have the same sorta anti-vulgarian feeling (while still holding onto the socio/feminist/political banners of the time) style and swerve to 'em...really late-sixties airs with the latest news on the hipster underground acts of the day along with the usual bedroom anarchist interest angles just custom-made for the smarter breed of young pseudo-sophistacado. What's best about these VIBRATIONS is that even with the ever-increasing New Left trappings none of the sophomoric ideals that plagued  the vast UPS network of highschool rebel reads of the day ("Power to the People"/ "Death to the Military-Industrial Complex" division) are floating out and about to wreak havoc on your stomach.That always was a refreshing indication that maybe the entire hoard of sixties rabble rousers weren't as schlocky as many of us would have gandered

Although Richman's on the masthead on most if not all of these issues (with his official standing with the VIBRATIONS powers that be ever-changing), his presence seems to be rather scarce other than as the conductor of a certain interview which sure seemed a bit obscure even by Jonathan Richman standards. But I still find it hard not to like these VIBRATIONS even if they weren't exactly treading any new hip underground waters like I'm sure you wish they would've. (Plus really, how truly hip was it to slap a pic of Great White Hope George McGovern on the front of a fanzine no matter how politico it might have been?)

And frankly I find the entire batch of issues that I do own out of a run of (I'd gander) about seventysome  to have been of a good quality with smart enough writing (even if it is of the New Journalism which in many ways was Old Hat), straightforward execution, high-class outlooks that I never would have expected from the usual New Left rabblerousers who had taken over the youth banned at this point in history
and in all were so good that even easily-unamused aficionados of the form like myself could derive more than a little bit of worth and might outta 'em a good four decades after the final issue belched its last. But really, I sure could have used a whole lot more Richman in the ones I've procured. The guy really was a good writer who could have made it just as easily in the hotcha rock scribing world as he did in music, if the shards of what I have read of his (the infamous Velvet Underground piece Richman has tried to suppress to this very day and a high-larious account of a Rolling Stones press party I caught in some old Stones fanzine) are any indication. And did I mention that Greg Shaw even contributed a piece on the Who? How could I neglect to omit something as all-important and crucial as that???
I've spilled more than my fair share of ink o'er the past decade or two regarding EUROCK, Not that this rag really fits into my definition of a top-notch all-out seventies-styled rock fanzine read the way that such mags as CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS (to name drop a fresh 'un this time) have, but I gotta admit that I really enjoy the style, layout and most of all editor Archie Patterson's devotion to covering a wide range of continental/Asian acts that you just didn't read about in the "hip" rock press of the day. EUROCK wasn't exactly punky, though when Hot Scott Fisher was writin' for 'em in the early days his pieces were more than apt to draw comparisons between kraut group "x" and some facet of Amerigan undergroundiness. An article on German rabble rousers Ton Steine Scherben in the fifth issue was a nice aside from the usual symphonic synth groups of the day even if their later-on albums aren't exactly the things that high energy rock dreams are made of, but for the most part these EUROCKs were more attuned to the cosmic side of continental rock, and to be frank about it that's not exactly something that would get me all hot and excited the way the mere mention of the Velvet Underground in some by-then-weathered 1972 issue of CREEM had me hitching a ride to the record shop in order to trek down this particular group's wares which would have been a rather difficult task considering how said band had probably been defunct for a good five years by the time I discovered they had even existed!

But I really enjoy reading their old EUROCKs in their original form even if I do have 'em all on CD-rom (a medium which I find rather annoying because, like I stated earlier, I can't read it on the toilet). The softcover collection is nice to have on hand but is too thick to read comfortable-like especially when you're lying in bed and the heavy book resting on your chest makes me think of Lydia Garthwaithe from THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW after eating too many pretzels. Therefore these originals come in mighty handy, and although I don't have the entire run of 'em I got a good portion which really come in handy when I get into one of my krautrock jags and I wanna remember why Can were as important to the growth and development of OUR MUSIC (to be pretentious about it) as the Detroit bands and various other groups who probably didn't think their music was going to stand the test of six months, let alone decades (or was that my uncle who said that?).

There is much in EUROCK that would satisfy even the more curmudgeonly amongst us (and in the words of Moe Howard "Who you lookin' at?"). After all, where else would you get to read a interview with onetime Guru Guru/Faust/Neu! bass guitarist Uli Trepte who says that the Velvet Underground were a major Guru Guru influence (and if I had only known that at the beginning of my hefty Velvets obsession I would have been doing what I told you I would have done a few paragraphs earlier!). To be totally honest about it, a good portion of these EUROCKs really aren't gonna light a fire under any of our behinds unless you would like to know more about acts like Le Orme, but even with the heavy prog rock bent I still find EUROCK a funtime reading experience and hey, it's so good that I actually caught myself reading a piece on none other than those Englishmen transplanted to Germany before making New York City their home, none other than Nektar! Now don't go blabbin' that li'l fact around even if I've just about as much chance of buying one of their albums as my head has of sporting an Art Garfunkel 'fro!
ANOTHER PAGE IN THE BOOK OF LIFE TURNS DEPARTMENT: the recent passing of James Arness naturally does tend to affect me, perhaps not in an outright mournful way but enough to make me once again realize that the sands o' time are forever dribblin' down that li'l hole and that more sooner 'n later that great era of POST-WAR/PRE-HIPPIE AMERIGAN KULTUR is going to seem about as alien to the mass of tee-vee/moom pitcher supporters as the Civil War seems to people like us! And to be frank about it, that's a fact that's pretty hard to cram down my throat (but don't worry, you sure will!) for it was that era of hard-hitting, high energy tee-vee from whence Arness' classic series GUNSMOKE sprung forth that I pretty much grew up with either via first run or incessant rebroadcasts, and really, seeing the stars of yore head on into the big casting room in the sky is just about as traumatic for me as I'm sure it was for the folks of my parent's generation seeing their faves pass on back in the fifties and sixties making them feel plenty old in the process!

Gotta admit that I never was that big of a GUNSMOKE fan back when it was being produced...for me, it seemed more like an "older people" show that my uncles would watch religiously along with all of the other westerns and adventure programs  at a time when I was more enthralled with THE LUCY SHOW, but the older half-hour programs later packaged under the title MARSHAL DILLON really did impress me when I'd occasionally catch 'em running on Akron's channel 23 some Sunday afternoon (the one with Cloris Leachman remains a wowzer and why wouldn't it being directed by Sam Peckinpaugh!). A '62 hour-long which I caught when The Western Channel was offering a free week of programming was also fantastic in that class early-sixties way, especially in that this one seemed to echo various TWILIGHT ZONE ideas and surrealistic effects to surprisingly stunning results. Sheesh, it may have seemed creepy at the time but next to the way eighties/nineties television tried being avant garde and experimental programs like this only came off all the more better, perhaps because they were made for people to enjoy 'stead of under the delusion of "educating" (read: insulting) them! True the later GUNSMOKEs that are currently being run incessantly on TV LAND really don't cut it and in fact come off like a 1955 automobile classic now rusted beyond belief about to be pounded into steel for a brand-spanking new 1976 sportscar, but at least this series held up (latter-day slide into seventies mulch and all) a whole lot longer'n most instantly disposable wares that are seen these days, programs which I certainly would not want to spend one second watching let alone an entire hour of the drivel and emote that passes for drama long after that well of creativity has run bone dry.

Sure Arness was one of those stoic fifties-kinda guys who eventually grew his hair long in the late-seventies and looked kinda silly for it in the HOW THE WEST WAS WON mini-series for ABC, but at least he was one of the last surviving examples of hard-edged tee-vee manhood that petered out in the age of the sensitive cop dramas and brat pack westerns that were to follow. Reading about the death of Mr. Arness will only make me more appreciative of the surviving tee-vee actors and actresses of the fifties who I think might be just as dumbfounded about what's happened to their old professions as I and a few million other old timey tee-vee fans undoubtedly are!