Friday, March 28, 2014

ridiculous tone

what it is: ridiculous tone
where i found it: birmingham england

Easy to ignore the cross between no stage moves and dumb stage moves when you have ridiculous guitar tone/playing like this:

Bonus material: HERE's a different bunch of Brits getting remarkably dark in a sort of different way than their above country mates. Two days after Brian Jones dies. Mick Turner's first turn at bat. Everyone on a lot of god-knows-what.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

and you thought cronos was good

what it is: paul stanley stage banter
where i found it: a friend bent on destroying me

HERE we have seventy wonderful tracks of Paul Stanley's stage banter. This actually achieves the impossible: toppling Venom's Cronos for the championship of absurb utterances whilst performing.


you really just can't beat flannery o'connor

You really just can't beat Flannery O'Connor.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

from black sabbath to white keach

what it is: from black sabbath to white keach
where i found it: beginning with tony iommi's guitar tone

I've been listening pretty relentlessly for the past few weeks to the first six Black Sabbath albums. This has lead to three recurring thoughts:

1) This is excellent music to blare into your brain when hungover.

2) How can this band make so few questionable choices over the course of six albums? Even the hilarious backing vocals half way through Electric Funeral and Ozzy ending Fairies Wear Boots * recounting that the doctor's diagnosis is "smoking and tripping is all that you do, yeahhhhhhh!" seem like master strokes.

3) The Butler/Ward rhtyhm section is one of the greatest things to ever happen in rock and roll. When I was younger mostly focused on the foreground riffs and lyrics, but these days I can't help noticing how much the drums and bass kill it at every turn.

4) How the fuck does Tony Iommi get his guitar to sound so great?

For the answer to the last question I turned to a friend who has an unhealthily in-depth knowledge of electronic guitar circuitry. Other than a wah pedal, Iommi relied almost entirely on something called a treble booster (the original model was an amp top box called a Dallas Rangemaster). I am no fan of Eric Clapton, but he apparently popularized these in England with the release of the Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton LP. Here he can be seen on the front of that LP reading a Beano comic.

So while Clapton has been paid so many dollars to water down the blues all these years, at least we have him to thank for giving Iommi the tools to pummel us so mercilessly at such length.

Back to the boxes: obviously these gadgets now go for sums that only the dude form ZZ Top can afford. In fact, here's a picture of him with his Dallas Rangemaster:

Since the 60s, a number of clones of these boxes have popped up. One is the greatly named Klon Centaur. Another is called the Beano Boost. It's not a big leap to go from something called the Beano Boost to a scene from the Western The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean in which an albino villain played by Stacie Keach stands in the street yelling "Beano! Beano!" This must be one of the most unusual scenes in all of cinema. And that's how I got from Black Sabbath to White Keach.

* footnote: there is some debate as to whether Fairies Wear Boots discusses being jumped by skinheads or some hallucinations that poor Ozzy was made to experience. Each listener has to make his own decision.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


what it is: shaman
where i found it: please kill me

The event of both Ashton brothers having now left Earth inspired me to stay up late into the night last night rereading the first half of the incomparable Please Kill Me, a book packed with Stooges (and VU and NY Dolls and Richard Hell and etc.) stories. Incredibly, much of the book can be read HERE FOR FREE, including one of my favorite pages, #31, in which we hear varying opinions on the heroism of Jim Morrison. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

goodnight rock action

RIP Scott "Rock Action" Ashton, one of the most solid drummers there ever was. He gets kind of overshadowed by Iggy and all that hot guitar work, but his steady pounding ought never to be overlooked. Check out THIS ALTERNATE VERSION OF DIRT, quaaludes slowly kicking in as the song progresses.

lounging in tank top

You actually should just listen to THE FULL FUNHOUSE ALBUM right now.

Bonus material: Here's a strange COVER OF DIRT by some Nordic free jazz dudes and Don Cherry's daughter.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

bye bye robert

RIP Robert Ashley, one of the 20th Century's most interesting - and hard to fathom - composers. Here are two good examples of his work, which i encourage you to sit back and enjoy full screen. It begs you to try to make sense of it all, but that's probably the wrong road to take.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

on the ands, the early days

what it is: on the ands, the early days
where i found it: oxford american

This month commeth the annual Oxord American southern music issue, this time focused on Tennessee. There are a number of decent articles within, but the most interesting is a really well written number by John Jeremiah Sullivan on the early roots of ska. I've never been a big ska fan, I associate it too much with skinheads (never got why they were so into bouncy, happy music made by black folk). However, Sullivan recommends some nice examples of proto-ska, when it's r'n'b' roots were still clear (hence inclusion in the Tennesee issue). Enjoy:

It's easy to see that you could fall into a hole here and just listen to youtubed Jamaican 45s all day. Like THIS ONE, the excellently titled Valley of Jeosophat, including the original track and the dubbed up B side, Jeosophat Rock. Or THIS ONE, in which Dr. Alimentado's neighbor is selling Poison Flour. I'm not sure if THIS ONE is Jamaican or not, but it sure does got the offbeat stress going and it's called Thunder Chicken.


Monday, March 3, 2014

your debt to scotty moore

what it is: your debt to scotty moore
where i found it: everywhere

Any semi-close listening to early Elvis Presley will probably bear the verdict that we all owe a big debt to Scotty Moore for incinerating the modern rock guitar into existence. If, for whatever poor reason, you've never paid much attention to this dude, now is your chance. Sure he has his own debts to pay to Merle Travis, Chet Atkins and a whole heap of black folk, but he's got his own way and his own energy, fully in action in the examples below. It's sounds kind of fluid and easy, but I dare you to try to reproduce same. I'm not making any comment on Elvis' ridiculous and unbelievably great vocals, maybe on a different day.