Monday, June 27, 2005
I've pretty much completed my little book on In The Aeroplane Over The Sea for Continuum's 33 1/3 series, pending a few facts being checked by Robert Schneider and Bill Doss, and I'm really happy with how it's turned out. This is the longest piece of reporting I've ever done, and it was wild to see how the story revealed itself in pieces, with each person I spoke with polishing up a new facet on the gem, until it was so perfectly clear what form the book had to take.
The book includes recollections from Lance Bangs, Jeremy Barnes, Ross Beach, Chris Bilheimer, Laura Carter, Ben Crum, John Fernandes, Geoff George, Jamey Huggins, Julian Koster, Martyn Leaper, Bryan Poole, Robert Schneider, Scott Spillane, Jason Norvein Wachtelhausen and Briana Whyte. It was midwifed by my assistant Craig Ceravolo and by Mike Turner, Eric Hernandez and Leslie Dallion-Superstar, who put us up in Athens and helped us secure a few key interviews. Julian Koster and Robert Schneider especially were generous with their time and their memories.
A few trusted friends have read it and responded well, and it almost made David Smay cry, so I think it's really a book. The release date is supposed to be around Xmas, though Amazon still says September. Stay tuned for an official date.
My editor David Barker (who has a nice blog) is letting me include a dozen photos, and with the help of Laura Carter, Robert Schneider and Brian Dewan, I've pulled together a great batch of never-before-seen ones, including pics of the major locations in NMH lore, an unused Dewan illustration commissioned for Aeroplane, performance photos, tour snapshots, a horn chart from the album and a couple of posed band photos that I don't think were ever used.
The story of Neutral Milk Hotel revealed itself to be one of faith and love and trust, of a bunch of talented kids who believed in each other and made magical things happen. It's an inspiring tale, and I think one that has a lot to offer young people who want to be artists, but are unsure of how to go about it or how much to rely on their friends and collaborators. They could do much worse than to follow the Elephant 6 model.
The book is organized chronologically, geographically and thematically, with sections on Ruston, Louisiana (where the players first came together), Athens, Denver, the On Avery Island recording sessions, Queens (where the Jeff-Jeremy-Julian-Scott band manifested), the In The Aeroplane Over The Sea recording sessions, an analysis of each of the songs on Aeroplane, an account of the designing of Aeroplane's sleeve art, life on the road dealing with the band's increasingly popularity, and concluding with the aftermath of the 1998 world tour, how the band ceased to be, and Neutral Milk Hotel's continued influence.
For those reading this who've never heard this extraordinary album, I emphatically recommend that you pick it up, whether you intend to read my book or not. If you think you might want to read the book, all the more reason to get the songs in your bones before you do.
It's funny... In The Aeroplane Over The Sea was a ringer on the wish-list I sent to Continuum, one of a few semi-contemporary albums chosen intentionally to modernize a list that was otherwise shamelessly retro. I'm so glad David Barker commissioned me to do it. I can't imagine I could have found such rich, untapped material had he said yes to Astral Weeks or Happy Sad or Liege & Lief or Big Star Third or Horses or The Who Sell Out or Grievous Angel or Funhouse or Live at the Old Quarter Houston or the Anthology of American Folk Music or Odessey & Oracle or Scott 4 or Lolita Nation or Promenade. (Notorious Byrd Brothers... maybe. We'll see when Ric Menck's book comes out.)
I've also never written anything that is so eagerly anticipated. Usually Scram stories reach a small audience and I hear nice things face to face. It will be interesting to see how unknown people who adore the band react to reading their story.
Jackson Del Rey, late of Savage Republic and 17 Pygmies, and a contributor to Lost in the Grooves under his "slave name," has just released his first recordings in more than fifteen years.
"I Am The Light" is a hypnotic intersection of Sufi trance music, surf guitar, Italian instro soundtracks and Jackson's unique post-punk vision. The album is available in the traditional CD format, or as a special edition (just 100 made) of ritual objects the listener can arrange into their own personal shrine.
"I Am The Light" is available exclusively from Jackson Del Rey at his page on the Scram Magazine website. Or visit The Sun Kings on myspace to hear the new music.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
title: The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight
personnel: S. Arbright, Claudia Summers, Kenneth Lockie
tracklisting: the dominatrix sleeps tonight, chants, the dominatrix sleeps tonight (dominant mix), beat me
based out of New York, Stuart Arbright and an assortment of collaborators that included ex-cotw reviewee Ken Lockie (Cowboys International), notched up a club classic with their only release as ‘Dominatrix’.
far from being the sinewy slice of electro-funk you might expect, ‘Sleeps Tonight’ is actually a rather innocuous and sweet tune whose crisp rhythm programs and staccato sequencers are quietly reminiscent of Junk Culture-era OMD. more intriguing than the title track, however, is ‘Chants’. the simple exercise of laying out all of the song’s vocal hooks a cappella (and carefully inserting periods of silence between them), acts either as a defiant gesture to Warners, or as a carefully orchestrated piece of marketing. ‘Chants’ is nothing more than an open invitation for musicians to go ahead and use Dominatrix samples in their own work, both legally and illegally. no surprise then that parts of it popped up in other guises and on other dance floors for years to come.
clever, cunning and, most of all, culturally significant.
Erik - www.cultwithnoname.com
Thursday, June 23, 2005
What was it like dancing with The Byrds on tour? I always thought that Michael Clake the drummer of The Byrds was really good looking in his prime-- what was he like in person? What was it like going to Veto's studio and all those crazy parties you used to go to? What was the Sunset Strip like back in the sixties? I bet it has really changed now, hey? What are you doing now? You ought to write a book on your past experiences.
In 1965 we were asked by the "Byrds" Management, to go with the band for a thirty day tour in the USA Midwest, starting in the mile high city of Denver. There we were all treated like Royalty by the producers and the people that came to see the show. The band's music and the way we danced, and the crowd's approval blew all our minds and this was our first performance together, we were not on any drugs. That's why Jim McGuinn wrote the song “8 Miles High.”
Now. Jim or Roger did not want the dancers on the tour because he thought we would upstage his band. But after leaving Colorado, when we were in Wyo. or Kan. we stopped for a break on the tour bus, and he asked me what I thought of his song “8 Miles High?” I thought then he was giving into the idea of us dancers, performing with the Byrds. But we never did dance on the stage with them and got none or no credit for being there dancers. Our fame was because we first started dancing with the Birds at a teen dance that Vito put together at a hall on Melrose Ave. It was a 300 people Success. By the way it was a STOP THE WAR in Vietnam Dance. with placards and posters saying, STOP THE KILLING!!!!!!! STOP THE WAR NOW!!!!!! DON"T GO TO VIETNAM TO KILL PEOPLE!!!!! this was a teen dance and it's 1965 in Hollywood, California.
The very next night at Ciro's on the SUNSET STRIP we danced and then any other place the Byrds would have a gig. We became inseparable and that started a dance movement never seen before. But later on, at the Midwest Tour we were not a happy group. because the dancers were never given any acknowledgment. And today as I watch TV Roger McGuinn now shows the dancing and the dancers of that time, but not the tour dancers that made him famous and rich.
Michael Clarke was a Beatnik, a congo drummer a beach dude, he hung aloof from the Byrd's and didn't perform on the Records they made, A sweet guy who loved women, a poet that didn't belong to a group of guys that had to do 78 takes in a recording session, and couldn't get it right. And the blood did roll. ask the manager, Jim, he got bloodied too.
And VITO, our teacher, loved Hollywood, I met him as a business man looking to buy a painting from one of his students. a young woman painter. Within a short time I became one of his proteges . So I was at all the parties and happenings and events. Hollywood was so turned on because we wore clothes like in the Movies and right out in the street U saw people wearing garments from all the costume stores that the studios were selling, also Vito's wife Sue was making and selling her Sculptured Garments. At any party it was all the people and actors and actresses from the studios hanging out and being involved with one another, love and kisses everywhere, like the movie “King of Hearts” and we seemed to be free of all tyranny until, we had to stop, because Acid was being dropped in all the punch bowels and Timothy Leary's curse screwed up everyone’s mind. And of course the police wanted to get rid of anything we proposed to do.
The Sunset Strip was a battle ground for free speech with Lenny Bruce as one of our guides and walking every night on Sunset Blvd. to protest no fancy Stores and High Rise apartments and not being busted for wearing different clothes. The change is, U can't breath the air and more cars to pollute and all people want is more money. Otherwise I wish I could live there.
I’m making Movies about the Local Indian Tribes, this is my 4th and two others about Artists I know. I still dance whenever I can. I can still do about an hour if the band can play that long.
I’m Hungry Freaks Daddy,
carl o. franzoni
Benefit for: Jen Hitchcock and Amy Hanreddy
10437 Burbank Blvd, North Hollywood,CA
When: Sunday, June 26, 5:00pm
BABY BENEFIT!!! JEN AND AMY NEED YOUR HELP.
Jen and Amy are about to embark on the process of having a kid. Sperm ain't cheap, and it costs them over 500 bucks each time they try, so they are calling on their extended family to help out a bit.
MOONSHADOWS, a San Fernando Valley lesbian bar like no other, has kindly allowed them to use their space to put together a benefit to raise money to help them have a kid! What better place to throw a benefit for sperm than a lesbian bar!!! YEAH!!!!!
Bring coins to win cheesy carnival prizes at the coin toss!
Bands start around 6pm.
Tadpole should be on around 7 or 8pm.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
SATURDAY, JULY 23
ZOLAR X, RUINS ALONE feat. YOSHIDA of RUINS with GENGHIS TRON, PRAY TO ROBOTS
In what may be strangest slice of the rock this year, long lost glitter space aliens Zolar X are headlining over a bill of avant rockers. Planet Earth will never be the same. Zolar X opened for the NY Dolls and Iggy, wore matching spacesuits (with antennae), and despite a knack for impossibly catchy glitter rock, could not get a record deal during their ‘70s heyday. Jello Biafra heard their lost sides and considered them the missing link between Chrome and the Stooges. Alternative Tentacles reissued their ‘70s brilliance on the recent “Timeless” collection, which literally has to be heard to be fully absorbed. Ruins Alone features Yoshida Tatsuya, who is one of the most innovative drummer/composer/improvisers in the Japanese avant-garde music scene. Yoshida emerged with his drum and bass duo Ruins in 1985, winning over fans like John Zorn, Sonic Youth, Mike Patton, Glenn Branca, and Bill Laswell (even forming the band Painkiller with Zorn and Laswell in the ‘90s). Fans of the Boredoms, Wives, or any of the above mentioned artists take note.
More on Zolar X here.
Monday, June 20, 2005
You can always drop back to this blog's sidebar or to the Scram site to find the iTunes links, which are split up into five alphabetical sections of about 250 tracks each. There are some real surprises in there, like Muddy Waters' Electric Mud, Rhino Handmade's Judee Sill reissues, Michael Nesmith's Nevada Fighter, the Nourallah Brothers solo and in tandem, Wizzard and Yer' Blues by the James Gang. Enjoy...
Lolita Nation is a featured album in Lost in the Grooves, and I can personally attest that the band was wild when Donnette was with 'em. Hope it finds a happy home.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
title: Music from Hell
label: Subterranean Records
personnel: erm, lots!
tracklisting: monsters, nothing to hide, cardinal newman, fat cow, alien point of view, people like you, regress for you, christian lovers, exorcism, bathroom sluts, pie on a ledge, push push push, alice’s $ong
hardly a regular ‘rock band’, Nervous Gender was a gay music collective that confronted Californian audiences throughout the early eighties. legends of the synthpunk genre, their ever rotating personnel (which included an eight year old drummer!) only ever managed half an album’s worth of studio recordings, split here with another West Coast synth outfit.
but what an album! faithfully irreverent, NG hurry through a set of classics, all characterized by shrill, percolating synth textures, cymbal-happy drums and angst-ridden vocals. highlights include the atonal buzz of ‘Fat Cow’, insidious riffs of ‘People Like You’ and the whirring ‘Regress for You’. the mysterious Beelzebub Youth should also not be underestimated. much moodier than their Californian cousins, the predominantly percussion-free second side drifts along, with analogue pulses punctuated by spurious electronic noises, deadpan chants, groans and screams.
trashy, perhaps. but oh so essential.
erik - www.cultwithnoname.com
Saturday, June 18, 2005
screening Kier-La's film in your town.
Stay tuned for further announcements.
The Friday Night Music Appreciation Society’s ‘Lost in the Grooves’ book launch with
The Orgone Box – special acoustic set from indie legend + Cult With No Name, Helen Fisher
When: FRIDAY 29TH JULY 2005, Doors: 7.00pm
Where: The Red Rose, 129 Seven Sisters Road, London N7 7QG (Finsbury Park Tube)
Cost: Tickets: £3 on the door
This very special event sees the UK launch of the book ‘Lost in the Grooves’ with a special acoustic set from psychedelic indie legend The Orgone Box (Rick Corcoran), plus Cult With No Name and Helen Fisher. As well as live music, the evening will see talks from contributors to the book, fanzine editors and record collectors, with a smattering of exclusive merchandise stalls.
About Lost in the Grooves:
‘Lost in the Grooves - Scram’s capricious guide to the music you missed’ Kim Cooper and David Smay (Ed.), Routledge, 2005 For the past 12 years, the L.A.-based magazine Scram has championed the work of musicians who might otherwise fly beneath the mainstream critical radar. Here, Scram editrix Cooper and longtime contributor Smay display the sense of fun that distinguished their previous collection 'Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth,' in an immensely entertaining, informative and sometimes exasperating encyclopaedia, in which more than 75 contributors offer over 250 entries (a series of "miniature love letters") about their favourite artists and albums. With praise offered for works by Captain Beefheart alongside the Cowsills, no single genre or artist is considered outside the sphere of the book’s interests.
About The Orgone Box:
Upon a solid framework of Beatles inspired melodic inventiveness, The Orgone Box A.K.A Rick Corcoran, adds layers of pulsing psychedelia, new wave dynamism and a dazzling overlay of classic blazing-guitar rock. Most renowned for the classic 1994 EP Judy Over the Rainbow (Chrysalis), the recent release of no less than three Orgone Box collections have helped to finally secure the OB’s rightful place in the definitive history of British guitar pop. Performing all new melancholic material alongside radically different versions of Orgone Box classics, this rare live appearance from Rick and friends will be a truly special event to behold.
“…a gorgeous wall of bittersweet harmonies and phased guitars.”. Lost in the Grooves
“…blows your mind and stimulates the bits beneath”. The Evening Standard
“…a giant in his field”. The Sunday Times
“…lives way larger than the myth”. Q
“…dripping with melody and inventiveness”. Goldmine
Event Information: Erik Stein email@example.com - 07790 381 773
Book Information: Kim Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor of the Sunset Strip
Buy this Poster at AllPosters.com
News just in from Bingenheimer pal Go-Go Giddle Partridge that the extortionate $15,000 (remember when it was $3,000 and that seemed absurd?) the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce demands to lay a new star has been raised, so Rodney will soon be getting his pentangle on the walk of fame. Here's Giddle's email with all the details:
GOOD NEWS!! THIS MORNING ON 106.7KROQ "THE KEVIN AND BEAN" MORNING SHOW, HELD A TWO HOUR "RODNEY-ON-THE-WALK-ATHON"!
A FEW MONTHS AGO SAM NELSON (RICKY NELSON'S OTHER SON, NOT A TWIN), STARTED A CAMPAIGN TO GET 'RODNEY ON THE ROQ' HIS VERY OWN STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME! SAM STARTED A WEBSITE, WWW.RODNEYONTHEWALK.COM, IN ORDER FOR FANS AND FRIENDS ALIKE TO DONATE THE MUCH NEEDED $15,000, WHICH IS THE COST FOR THE CEREMONY. THE HOLLYWOOD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HAS RECEIVED THE APPLICATION FOR RODNEY'S STAR ALONG WITH LETTERS FROM STARS RANGING FROM CHER TO BECK TO GWEN STEFANI, DEVO, DAVID BOWIE AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON.
SO WHEN I PASSED ON THE NEWS OF THIS EXCITING HAPPENING EARLY THIS YEAR ALOT OF YOU SENT IN WHAT YOU COULD AND THANK YOU!!! BUT THE NEED FOR CASH IS NOW OVER THANKS TO THE WALK A THON! ALL 15 GRAND WAS RAISED TODAY! SOME OF RODNEY'S FAMOUS FRIENDS WHO HE HELPED LAUNCH THEIR CAREERS CALLED IN TO THE SHOW AND HELPED WITH RAISING DONATIONS: JOAN JETT, DEBBIE HARRY, JOHN DOE OF X, KATHY VALENTINE, ADRIAN OF NO DOUBT, MEMBERS OF BLUR AND BAD RELIGION ETC...
SO NOW WE WAIT UNTIL RODNEY BINGENHEIMER GET'S HIS GLITTER ROCK STAR ON THE WALK OF FAME!
EARLIER THIS WEEK HE WAS HONORED WITH A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FROM THE L.A. WEEKLY! FINALLY HE IS STARTING TO GET THE RESPECT HE DESERVES!!!
LONG LIVE THE MAYOR OF THE SUNSET STRIP!!
CHECK OUT HIS SITE: WWW.RODNEY-B.COM AND LISTEN TO 'RODNEY ON THE ROQ' EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT FROM MIDNIGHT TO THREE A.M FOR THE GROOVIEST AND MOST CUTTING EDGE MUSIC ON RADIO!
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
The Weekly's Kate Sullivan introduced Jeff wth effusive (and much deserved) praise, listing singular musical accomplishments, and for the longest time it looked like she wasn't going to mention the Archies, but she was just building up to it. Somehow Ellie Greenwich got left out of the intro, though Phil Spector got a nod. Jeff accepted graciously, and pointed out that whatever it was he'd been doing, it beat working.
Later Flea spoke warmly about how kind X was to him when he wiggled in the back window of the Roxy as an underaged fan, and insisted that for kids growing up in the 70s and 80s, X was THE L.A. band, not the Doors, because they were hippies. I had to laugh. I was 13 when Los Angeles came out, and I dug it a lot, but they were so obviously arty Venice hippies, just a few years removed from the Doors and Tim Buckley and that crowd, pissier and grubbier, but arty hippies all the same.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
title: Hotel for Women
label: Jimboco Records
personnel: Marc Campbell (vocals, guitar), David Kaufman (keyboards, guitar, vocals), Douglas Guthrie (saxophone), George Kaufman (bass, guitar, trombone, vocals), Tommy Cotogna (drums), Connie Garcia (vocals)
tracklisting: Hotel for Women, Cutting Edge, 88 Lines about 44 Women
a deceptive debut from this mid-west combo, whose later records sound little like their first EP. and the unmistakable bondage photo montage that adorns the cover of ‘Hotel for Women’, makes it clear just what kind of hotel we’re talking about here.
both the title track and ‘Cutting Edge’ offer darker takes on ska. the creative use of horns, synths/ sequencers and backing vocals, all subjected to an array of studio (dub) effects, makes them particularly appealing. most memorable however, is the unique ’88 Lines about 44 Women’, a big radio hit for the band in both it’s original and later re-recorded form. more a description than a title, Marc Campbell recites a list of unforgettable females he’s encountered, each with her own particular set of neuroses, over dinky electronics and a cute, familiar melody.
whether a genuine attempt at an autobiography, or simply a work of pure fiction, ’88 Lines’ still remains a true post-punk classic.
erik - www.cultwithnoname.com
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Arch Hall Jr. might have had the lowest forehead in Hollywood, but he also had a namesake dad who wanted to make teen exploitation pix, so they strapped a guitar on the kid and made a series of truly insane low budget features, including Wild Guitar, The Sadist and Eegah, starring Richard Kiel as a caveman.
Arch Jr. was already a music and car fiend with a combo that played at pool parties, so it wasn’t such a huge stretch for him to star in their hot rod epic The Choppers (1959), with its soundtrack featuring one especially bat-shit track, the rockabilly/exotica fusion “Konga Joe.” The rest of the recorded music is entertaining, lo-fi teen rock, with a few fun touches like the moaning in the “Eegah” theme—there’s also an amusing 1962 live set recorded at a Florida drive-in while promoting Wild Guitar.
With well-chosen dialogue clips, radio trailers and Miriam Linna’s terrific notes packed with Arch Jr.’s frank recollections, Kim Fowley quotes and plenty of background on Arch Sr.’s early Hollywood hustles (pre-fab houses, an inept hauling biz, selling futuristic three-wheeled cars), this is an impressive package, and an inspiring portrait of an extended family who really made things happen DIY-style. Not many labels would put so much love into something so lowbrow… and what’s more lowbrow than Arch Hall Jr.?
Friday, June 10, 2005
Thursday, June 09, 2005
What you were doing was so new: The sound was new, the lyrics, the thematic values, the whole concept of a girl group and what that meant —
[Nonsense lyrics] are the hook — the stuff that gets attention and you remember. But I was also conscious of putting in real stuff.
Somebody once said to me, you write all this bubblegummy garbage, and I said, “Yeah, you’re right. I read a Rod McKuen poem the other day that said something about “the loveliness of loving you . . .” And he said: See, now that’s what you should be writing. And I said, fuck you — that’s a lyric from “Sugar, Sugar” that I wrote for 3-year-olds.
“I just can’t believe the loveliness of loving you” is not a 3-year-old’s sentiment. And it was record of the year. And I went, wow, that’s interesting. To become record of the year, it’s more than 3- and 4-year-olds asking Mommy to buy it.
And the fact it’s still on the radio every day.
Isn’t that cool?
From “Doo Wah Diddy Diddy” to “Skooby — Doo,” your nonsense lyrics have a real childlike emotional power — there’s something heroic about them.
Heroic? Ah, jeez. I love you! I’m a hero! I’d love to be a hero. I’d love to be a friggin’ hero.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Saturday, June 04, 2005
title: Cha Cha Cha with Mr Flouride
label: Alternative Tentacles
personnel: Klaus Flouride (all music), Ricky Sludge (piano), D.H. Peligro (drums)
tracklisting: fear most, so it goes, dead prairie dogs, my linda, ghost riders, gruesome stains, mochra
last week we saw an example of how albums from solo members often offer more than the bands they represent. another example this week with Klaus Flouride, whose debut album sounds considerably different from what he had churned out as part of US punk legends The Dead Kennedys.
playing almost everything himself, this short album is a tasteful medley of twangy guitars, rhythm boxes, studio effects and synths, with the riotous boogie-woogie band workout ‘My Linda’ standing as an exception. sometimes the music is reflective (the processed guitars of ‘So it Goes’ and ‘Mochra’, described as a ‘tribute to the Tito Puente/ Gary Numan school of cha-cha’!), but largely it’s humorous (a tongue-in-cheek reading of ‘Ghost Riders’ and the plunderphonics of ‘Gruesome Stains’, which sounds remarkably like a Negativland outtake). it’s true, ‘Cha Cha Cha with Mr Flouride’ is, well, kind of cool. just don’t try and dance to it though.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Watch Stiv make a fashion statement with bologna... hear the band crash through ten great tunes... "enjoy" a bonus clip from the Steel Tips featuring art world madman Joe Coleman.
If you want this very limited premium, you must specify it with your subscription/renewal, and you are advised to write ahead to reserve a copy. Orders received after the Dead Boys DVDs are gone will receive the Denny Eichhorn comic anthology.
Scram subscription info is at http://www.scrammagazine.com/backissues.html, email email@example.com