Sunday, August 1, 2021

"Bebopped" Video!


For a song based on a dream, I wanted to use some dreamlike images, so this is a strange video.  There are cat buddies, Miles Davis albums, Lego projectors, barber poles, crickets, a Philip Larkin essay, and more oddities.  I almost got a shot of a coyote, but he or she was camerashy and slipped off into the woods before I could get any good footage.  The weird bug is a stink bug.  Very cute, but apparently a pain for a garden, so I had to deport him to the woods and away from the mulberry tree.  

On another note, it looks like Google ended their Google Reader feed.  I can still get to individual blogs, but it no longer displays the latest posts in one handy feed.  Some of the blogs I follow haven't posted in years, so it's no great loss, but I did enjoy keeping up with the more consistent blogs I followed.  I will try to stop by once in a while.  Please do the same if you got hit by the same bit of "progress".  Google's free, so I can't much complain, but the Internet seems to be getting a little crappier with all the censorship and spying lately and the progress which isn't progress (for example, I gave up selling on Amazon because it wasn't worth the hassle when I could just sell on eBay and elsewhere without having to constantly contact customer service and go around with them for days just to list a book for sale--and the only reason I used Amazon was that I could list the books quickly in the past.  It seemed as if they were trying to shake out the smaller sellers by design, though they claimed they were just trying to improve the selling experience--I guess giving both buyers and sellers fewer choices is an improvement when one wears monopoly glasses).  At this rate, I may just end up going offline and doing zines again (assuming the post office still exists by then).  Ha!  With luck, the Internet will spin itself a better Web again because it used to be really great before it got all Big Brother creepy. 

For more fun, read Edna's Employment Agency!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

New Recording!: "Bebopped"

I guess I wrote this while Yeast? was still a band, but I always associate it with the GoGoBots because I don't think Yeast? ever played it.  If I remember correctly, I had a dream that I was playing in Miles Davis's band, which you can probably guess doesn't go real well.  I must have read an article about Davis that evening or something where, later in his career, he got mad if players played in the bebop style.  For the weird instrument, I used the horn setting on the keyboard and "blew" some notes somewhat randomly through the song. Without a real bass, I had the guitar play the bassline in a surf guitar way, and used the bass on the keyboard to emphasize certain notes.  The drumming sounds a bit mad.  I do like that blasted out drum sound (The Flaming Lips seem to also at times, so I am not alone in that).  For the break, I channel a Pussy Galore take on "Love Supreme" by John Coltrane.  I had fun rerecording this.  It's not a song that I play often, but it's enjoyable when I do.

And I do like that bebop shit!

To hear more music, get the Dick Bennett ep.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

"Penny Dreadful" Video!

The broken camcorder finally proved too temperamental to work with, so I shot the footage on the good old digital camera.  The results are probably better overall, but the zoom action is not quite so smooth.  It fit the rhythm here of the song, so it works here.  Since the song is about a kid who likes to read science fiction, I shot footage of my kiddo, comics books, and a Stephen King novel (the sci-fi purists, now grunting that I used the term "sci-fi" will have to forgive me for not shooting stacks of Isaac Asimov novels instead, but I didn't have any on hand).  For the other footage, nature seemed to volunteer this time between the rainbow and the lightning bugs.  As always, making the video was fun.  Hope you enjoy it as well!

For more fun, read Edna's Employment Agency!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

New Recording!: "Penny Dreadful"

Well, we're finally through the Dick Bennett ep, and we're about done with Yeast? in general.  I was surprised this song, "Penny Dreadful", was written earlier than I remembered it.  I don't know if Yeast? ever played it.  There was a whole slew of songs at the end of Yeast? that never got anywhere.  I'd bring them in, and Dave would dislike them and put country beats on them, and we'd just give up and play "Generic Smokes" or some Big Black covers instead.  Most of those songs ended up not being so great, so Dave was probably on to something, but if this was among them, then we definitely missed out on something here.  Instead, The GoGoBots picked it up.  In fact, I think it's the first track on the Noise Prescription cd.  It's about a kid growing up and liking to read science fiction.  A penny dreadful is more associated with a lurid true crime story (they cost a penny at one point), but the term spread a bit to encompass all of pulp fiction, including science-fiction.  Speaking of which, I recently went to a pulp fiction convention to hang out with my pal Mark Justice.  I had never been to one before, but it was interesting.  It reminded me a lot of a comic book convention before cosplay became such a large part of it.  It was mainly dealers with copies of Conan paperbacks and other pulp stuff, including some of the original pulp magazines.  Prices weren't bad, though of course the rarer items were expensive.  I bought a collection of fiction inspired by the work of cartoonist Fletcher Hanks.  The stacks of Stephen King and James Bond novels, among other objects there, reminded me of my adolescence, and did make me want to pick up my Stephen King bibliography from where I left off in 1988 or so (I have periodically checked in on his work with the odd novel or two over the years, but he's so prolific, he probably has two dozen novels that I have never read).  Anyway, genre fiction of the pulp type fits in well with this song.  Musically, I just used some pennies for odd sound effects while in the background my son had fun with a toy microphone.  Other than that, it's the usual guitar, vox, keyboard as bass, and percussion.  It looks like the next few songs are those of The GoGoBots, though Yeast? did at least one of them before breaking up.  

To hear more music, get the Dick Bennett ep

Thursday, June 24, 2021

"Warm Fuzz" Video!


I had some leftover footage from the "Big Daddy Pane" video, so I saved it for this final song/video from The Dick Bennett ep.  I also added footage of warm fuzzy things like my guitar amp, my cat, and a blanket.  My work buddy Mariah is an actress, so she was gracious enough to appear in the video and also shoot the footage of me with the blanket on my head.  As usual, the video was fun to make!  Not bad for still getting by with a broken camcorder!

For more fun, read Edna's Employment Agency!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

New Recording!: "Warm Fuzz"

Since I recorded the other three songs from the Dick Bennett ep by Yeast?, I figured I might as well do them all.  I like "Warm Fuzz", but it is not a song I play often.  If I remember correctly, it ended up on that first Yeast? 7" because Damon, our bass player, championed it and it was short so it would round out the ep nicely for the remaining space available.  For this recording, I used the pipe organ keyboard, which I am becoming more and more fond of it, and some Malcolm McLarenesque whispery spoken background vocals (like the wacky stuff he did on The Great Rock And Roll Swindle soundtrack by The Sex Pistols).  I was happy enough with the results that I think I am going to record a couple of more tracks and then make a little album out of these rerecordings of the early songs.  The tracks do sound nice together.  You can get a feel for this by listening to them in order on my Soundcloud page, though I doubt that will be the final arrangement of the tracks, as some songs benefit from being next to other songs.  As for "Warm Fuzz", it is a simple song about wanting to get to sleep, though one can also interpret it sexually as well.  The "Say hello to never" line in the song is a reference to The Velvet Underground  as they use that line in "After Hours".  Ben And Jerry's ice cream was not as well-known back in the early 1990s, but it, like a warm blanket, can be very soothing (and, no, sadly they have never paid me for giving them a shoutout, not even a free ice cream cone, but on the upside, they also never complained about their ice cream being linked with a scruffy punk band).  And, speaking of punk, I was listening to the Peter Laughner box set recently and started thinking about the top ten punk scenes of the 1970s (clearly, there are times when I need better things to do).  I concluded the following:

1) Detroit/Ann Arbor, Michigan USA:  It seemed like Iggy Pop was ultimately dang near responsible for everything, but the MC5 and others also lit the flame with protopunk.

2) NYC, USA:  CBGB is well-known for birthing such classic punk rock as The Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Blondie, Patti Smith, and more, but the city also spawned a lot of proto-punk from The Velvets to The New York Dolls.  Most people would probably choose this as #1, but Iggy And The Stooges's influence, even here, made me go with Detroit (and rankings like this are just silly fun anyway).

3) London, England, U.K.:  Iggy hung out here (Raw Power), and there was also the link between The New York Dolls and Malcolm McLaren that proved important in birthing The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, and all the rest of what seemed to be the biggest punk scene in the 1970s.

4) Los Angeles, California, USA:  I was always puzzled why L.A. developed such a great punk scene, and then I remembered that Iggy was there for a couple of years in the early 1970s.  I read a book about this scene and was amazed that it was even more vibrant then I suspected from X to The Dickies to Black Flag.

5) San Francisco, California, USA:  This was the puzzler.  There is no direct link to Iggy here.  The best I can figure is that The Dils moved up to San Fran from L.A. and S.F. has always been weird anyway, so it didn't take much to fuel a great scene with bands such as The Dead Kennedys and Flipper.

6) Cleveland/Akron/Kent, Ohio USA:  Somewhat forgotten, but this was a great scene from Devo to The Dead Boys to Pere Ubu to The Cramps, and many more.  Even the lesser known bands like The Pagans were pretty great.  A lot of them eventually split town (Chrissie Hynde went to London, Devo to L.A., and The Dead Boys to NYC, for example).  The proximity to Detroit no doubt helped, but NYC bands often played their earliest out of town gigs in Cleveland (for example, Television), helping to develop this scene.

7) Manchester, England, U.K.:  The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Fall, and many more great bands came from here.  This seemed to be the first city the London bands played outside London (for example, The Sex Pistols), so they no doubt spread the music there.  Once inspired, Manchester took it from there (and, beyond the 1970s, to The Smiths to The Happy Mondays to Oasis, and so on).

8) Sydney, Australia:  The furthest flung of the great early punk scenes, this outpost in the Southern Hemisphere produced some great music.  It seemed to somewhat stem from a guy moving from Detroit who was a big Stooges fan, Deniz Tek, who formed Radio Birdman.  He found fertile soil apparently resulting in bands such as The Saints (originally from Brisbane but they moved to Sydney), Midnight Oil, and even INXS (heck, you could make an argument for AC/DC being somewhat punk if you wanted to as The Sydney scene seemed to have a diversity of sonic approaches akin to the CBGB bands in NYC, though arguably the best Australian punk band, The Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party, was from Melbourne).  You could also argue that Tek just poured gasoline on the fire, but whatever happened, it made for some notable music.

9) Washington, DC USA:  Bad Brains is probably the only band really cooking in the 1970s (Minor Threat would emerge in the early 1980s, though their predecessor The Teen Idles were active in 1979), but the seeds for the whole Dischord scene that would prove to be very influential on subsequent punk were already sown then (would Black Flag be as remembered as fondly if they had never stopped by D.C. and picked up Henry Rollins for their singer?).  

and 10) Anyplace, Anywhere:  Yeah, yeah, you can make arguments for Minneapolis, Paris, Belfast/Londonderry, Austin, Chicago, Boston, and so on to rank on this list instead of one of the scenes listed, but they're all here because punk rock was an idea in the 1970s (now it's kind of a cliche and dumb, but then it was a refreshing response to the excesses of the 1960s politically and culturally as well as a semi-sane response to growing up in a post-Vietnam War, post-Watergate, stagflation, fifteen minutes away from a nuclear apocalypse, etc. world) that took root whenever even one person in a small town decided to do it yourself, and the best local punk scene in the 1970s, like any scene, was always the local one that one was involved in directly.

Anyway, Peter Laughner's dead and it's time to bed, hoping that some more great music is just around the corner because it sure feels like 1975 again lately.  

To hear the original version of "Warm Fuzz", get the Dick Bennett ep

Sunday, June 6, 2021

"Big Daddy Pane" Video!


Since the camcorder is on the fritz, this video was a bit more challenging to make, but I still had a good time making it; I hope that you have fun watching it also!  Like the last two videos, this song is from the Dick Bennett 7", so the record makes an appearance.  I don't normally play "Warm Fuzz", the remaining song from the 7", but since I have rerecorded the other three, I might as well go for a full sweep and rerecord it next.  The many birds in this video was accidental, but it does relate to jailbirds and wanting to fly free out of a cage, I suppose.  If you want to make a Spotify playlist out of Yeast?, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Big Daddy Kane after watching this video, then please invite me to your next dance party as you sound like fun!  

For more fun, read Edna's Employment Agency!