Thursday, November 23, 2017

Be Stiff/Tony Basil, "Rerun Fred Berry" and Devo (Not in that order)

From dancing/choreography on films with Elvis and Sinatra (as well as low budget beach blanket films) to working with Bruce Conner on a film set to her own 1966 soul classic "Breakaway" (written by Ed Cobb of Dirty Water/Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White and Tainted Love!), hanging out with Wallace Berman, Conner, Hopper and Stockwell. Easy Rider AND the era of Spazz Attack and Devo. The album with Mickey includes THREE Devo covers. Oh yeah, then there is all the 1970's choreography with the Lockers (SNL, Soul Train and everywhere else) with Fred "ReRun" Berry who I hold responsible for sending me to the Doobie Brothers at the Forum in LA circa 1980 to see what all the fuss was about after What's Happening!!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Norma Jackson's Winning Photo of the Byrds 1968, Tacoma, Washington (repost November 2013)

So looking through my October 1968 copy of Flip Teen Magazine (Monkees, Raiders, Sajid, Star Trek, Bee Gees cover), I came across this new to me amatuer photo of the Byrds with Gram at the front of the muy serio McGuinn, Hillman and Kelley. Roger (Jim) thinking about how to wipe Gram's vocals off more of the nascent "Sweetheart" tracks before they get back to LA?

I can't seem to find any actual tour date in any of my Byrdmaniax sources though this guy was there (and he seems to think it was after the lp release of SOTR though there was a lot of touring outside the US after the release so who knows):
I saw [Gram] with the Byrds sometime in '68 at the University Of Puget Sound fieldhouse (gym) in Tacoma. Don't remember the exact date, but I believe Sweetheart had been released. They did several songs off that album plus some Byrds hits. I remember them doing You Ain't Goin' Nowhere twice - once in the first set and then again in the set after the break. Opening act was local band Merilee Rush and the Turnabouts fresh off their hit Angel Of The Morning. Went with a few guys from high school (I graduated in '68) that had an band (The Obsolete Lampshade) and we all stood right in front of the stage for the whole show. Good times! This is probably the show I wish I could go back in time and see again the most.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Dream Syndicate - Live at Tower Records, El Toro CA July 1982

Among the favorite shows from my teenage years, seeing this very line-up within a few months of this performance up through the release of The Days of Wine and Roses still stands out. A true timewarp seeing this and really great that this exists (as do four other songs). Even better is the record store setting for some Tower deja vu. Only downside is not enough Karl footage here but that said, he seemed to spend part of one his performances at the Country Club wrapped in a stage curtain behind sunglasses. Also listen to what purports to be from the live debut of the Dream Syndicate from January 1982. Kendra in great form with Karl just loping his SF ballroom/Sterling Morrison leads around "Too Little, Too Late." Timeless.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Hairdresser's Battle Royale: The (Berlin) Brats v. The Quick/Radio Free Hollywood No.1 April 1977 [repost 2013]

I have written here before of my fondness for both the Berlin Brats and The Quick. From the first issue of Radio Free Hollywood, April 1977.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Little Bob Story live 1978 Festival de Fourviere/Little Bob and Phil Lynott playing soccer 1985

I have always liked the Little Bob Story records in their pub rock/MC5/Flamin' Groovies/pure meat n' potatoes everyman Joe action. Here they are live in 1978 and guess what, it's like seeing the Lazy Cowgirls at their mid to late 1980's peak. In other words, take no prisoners. Oh yeah, some nice footage of Little Bob sports goofin' with Phil Lynott in some field behind a festival in France, 1985.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Dennis Wilson and Rodney Bingenheimer/Pacific Ocean Blue record signing at Licorice Pizza, Sunset Blvd October 1977 [repost June 2012]

Not quite sure whether Rodney was actually playing anything off of Pacific Ocean Blue in between Blondie, the Ramones, Iggy, Annette Funicello and the Sex Pistols during October 1977. I do know that ten years later that you could pick up the lp for a buck in Santa Cruz as I did. I am thinking about a whole week of only Dennis Wilson photos. How sweet would that be. Here is numero uno.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Marc Bolan and Hawkwind/"For the group that should have written Star Wars and didn't"/Ruminations on Devo, Neu! and Hippies [Repost May 2013]

The Hawklords Riddle (Melody Maker, November 13th, 1978.  Robert Calvert: " "I want to do a piece of music that reflects schizophrenic mania, rather like the Velvet Underground's 'Murder Mystery'."!!Mike Davies talks to Bob Calvert and Michael Moorcock
Q: Are we not hippies? A: We are not Devo, either
This article was not originally conceived as an apology for Hawkwind (or the Hawklords, as they're now styled). However, David Blake's review of their Hammersmith show, carried in Melody Maker a couple of weeks back, forced a modification of approach, because it seemed to crystallise many of the prejudices and misconceptions that the media have about the band.
Although not a long-standing admirer of their music, especially in the days of the ear-blasting Sci-Fi rock, I have always felt that their concepts and ideals are more than worthy of support, especially since the release of "Quark, Strangeness and Charm" last year. I point this out merely to show that this isn't a devoted fan mouthing off about their total cosmic awareness, but somebody who is infuriated by blind put-downs of a very original and deeply thought-out concept.
Let's examine the two main slagging-off points of the review. First, the tired old cliche of 'faded hippies' was thrown, not only at the band, but also at the audience - which was depicted as a bunch of drug-smashed, drunken unwashed louts. That was compounded by the accusation of ripping off Devo's use of industrial themes and dramatic movements. What the reviewer failed to notice was the fact that the audience went absolutely bananas, and gave the band the kind of reception that hasn't been seen at Hammersmith for many a gig.
When I spoke to Bob Calvert and Dave Brock I was able to raise the points made in the review and take a more objective view. I was also able to talk to author Michael Moorcock who has had a close association with the band since its' inception. The Devo connection is not a totally irrelevant point to make in view of Calvert's involvement with the industrial concepts that loom so large in the present stage set, but even on a basic level that could be discounted by parallels of thought: it is not impossible for two people to have the same ideas independently.
More telling is the fact that Hawkwind have been involved with industrialisation and technology for far longer than Devo have been wearing surgical masks, etc.. Without wishing to answer Blake on his own level, it should still be pointed out that, back in 1973-74 one of Hawkwind's biggest strongholds in America was was the area around Akron, and the band played there six or seven times. Chicken or egg? The "metaphysical factory" theme of the current album, and the stage settings, are merely an extension of the early space celebrations that Hawkwind were involved in during their middle period, a joyful awareness of the machine age glorified in their classic "Silver Machine" single, and which is self-evident in their use of industrial overtones on numbers like "Forge of Vulcan" on the "Quark" album. To ease out a few more comparisons, there is an overtly Germanic tone to the Hawkwind/Hawklords history, moving from an almost Wagnerian approach in the "Space Ritual" to a Metropolis scenario for the current show.
That German connection could also be applied to the cold starkness of Devo, yet it's more than likely that the sources differ. Calvert points out that "a lot of German bands like Neu and Kraftwerk have been influenced by early Hawkwind lyrics. Dave Brock, in fact, wrote the sleeve notes for Neu's first album." It's interesting to see that Buzzcock's Pete Shelley continues a tradition by adding his observations to the recent Can double re-issue. Actually the coldness of the industrial/factory approach owes far more to Bertold Brecht than it does to the Akronites.
Bob Calvert: "I was inspired by Brecht's 'sprechtesang' -speech song- which gives a very Germanic feel to our machine-gun lyrics." Brecht is very much a city writer, and one can hear the influences showing through in the music, just as they acknowledged a debt to Hesse in "Steppenwolf" on the "Amazing Sounds" (sic) album: "A lot of people who live in cities are influenced by what goes on within them, but we're influenced by the cities themselves".
Next, there's the point about the use of movement. Calvert again is bitter about that. "Last year one of the papers, I think it may have been Melody Maker, said that if one got bored with the music 'you can always watch Bob Calvert's inimitable movements'." Now it seems that those same movements are being interpreted with a curious use of hindsight. Certainly there are influences in the use of movement and dance, one of the most important in both Calvert's own movements and the choreography of the dancers being that of the Japanese Noh theatre which Calvert readily admits. "I go to fringe theatre quite a lot, more than to rock concerts. I don't listen to albums, much either; I try to keep my musical influences pure, both consciously and sub-consciously."
The venomous backlash against the whole concept of 'hippiedom' and the ideals it embraced is hard to understand. As Brinsley Schwarz sang, "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding"? Surely certain ideals are not outmoded, even if the exterior fashions may be. In many ways, the punk explosion owes a lot to the same awareness that prompted the initial hippie movement, and if Sham 69's "If The Kids Are United" isn't a '78 version of "Woodstock", what is it? Nor does the audience composition bear out the image of 30 year-old long-locked drug fiends; a vast proportion of the crowd at the Hawklords' Birmingham gig were in the 14-19 bracket, and they have as much to do with Scott McKenzie and Donovan as do Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Michael Moorcock has been involved with the band since he was dragged along to see a very early gig. He has written for them and has worked with them onstage. His own books have always tended to pre-date the times, especially the Jerry Cornelius sequence, and they deal with technology and the city in the same fashion as Hawkwind. He is firmly convinced of the conitnuing relevance of the band. "One reason why Hawkwind are still going strong these days is because the current scene has caught up with them. One of the reasons I conceived the Cornelius books was to try and make technology ordinary - that's what I liked about watching DikMik and Del Dettmar in the early days. That's why I liked Hawkwind, because they weren't anti-technology, they celebrated it - unlike a lot of science-fiction writers and performers. "When I first saw them they seemed like barbarians who'd got hold of a load of electrical gear; instead of being self-conscious and pseudo-intellectual, they were actually *of* the electronic age. They weren't impressed by their own gear.
"This was at the height of the swinging Sixties, and popular culture was attaining a level of excellence it had only ever hinted at before, it was becoming concerned with real things. It gave the lie to the Richard Hoggett thesis, in Uses and Literacy, that you can't be good *and* popular. "You had a sudden sense of renaissance in genuine popular art, and you could actually make a living at it, and you were working in areas where people weren't looking over your shoulder all the time. "I think that's what's gone wrong with rock'n'roll now; there's far too much attention being paid to it, too much criticism. It explains the whole punk movment, shifting away from areas where standards were being applied, as a reaction. It celebrates the city too, as does Hawkwind. I think nearly all their best stuff has been connected with the city and technology."
Bob Calvert warms to the suggestion that the band are completely of their time, yet is reluctant to see them as prophets. I suggested that in a lot of respects they were a teleprint band. "Yes, it is like that, I think we're probably more influenced by the news than anything else. At one time we were actually talking about having a point in the set where we could perform a spontaneous item directly influenced by a major news event. "In '25 Years', which is about the small man, the average person's plight, there's a point where I read what's in the Daily Mirror on the day we're doing it. That's teleprint music, and what's very interesting is that we often pre-date events. 'Urban Guerilla' was released just before the concerted IRA attacks on London and it's still relevant today. One does wonder about how much psychic influence is at work." "Henry Miller used to think of the artist as an antenna. It's the same with 'Psi-Power' - these things are emerging now as more than just hippie mystic concerns. It's fact, I'm not saying that we're prophets or anything. "I felt that the early band was expressing what was going on, with the whole space programme, and the concern with communication and industry. That's what people living now should be concerned about. It's no good coming on with a show about a revolutionary in the Peruvian mountains.
"In spite of the New Wave, people are still singing about problems with their girlfriends. That's not enough. William Burroughs was right when he said that if man is going to become a space age creature, he has to drop a lot of ties. The punk thing didn't do enough. Literature and other forms of art have abandoned those restricting and limited fields of vision. "I want to do a piece of music that reflects schizophrenic mania, rather like the Velvet Underground's 'Murder Mystery'. Modern writers use their materials in a far more adventurous way than modern musicians do. I think what we're trying to do is a form of modern art, rather than providing a cosmetic effect. We're trying to make music that actually reflects the way we feel about the world." The material in the current set, drawn from early works as well as the present album, and the as-yet-unreleased 'PXR5', shows their concern with the present day rather than the uncertain future; as Moorcock says "the future is such an obscene idea". Listen to '25 Years', 'The Age of the Micro-Man' ("who sees the detail but never the plan") , 'Automation', or the haunting 'The Dead Dreams of the Cold War Kid', all from the current album, or long-established stage numbers like "Robot" and "High Rise" for proof of their commitment.
The success of their concerts clearly indicates that the Hawklords could well survive without another word being written about them - as Kid Strange said "those who know, know" - but perhaps the observations of Calvert and Moorcock have cleared away a few misconceptions and unclouded a few prejudices. The Hawklords aren't a bunch of crazed anachronisms; sure, they have influences, but let's at least recognize those influences for what they are and not place the burden of the media's current pet concept on musicians who've been developing their ideas for several years, and who have probably given more to the New Music than they've taken from it.