Friday, October 31, 2008

This is a good idea. Caffeinated Lip Balm.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gerard Damiano died.

Few would argue that Damiano was one of cinema's great artisans ... the film that made his name, Deep Throat, is listless as erotica and depressing as comedy, but The Devil In Miss Jones stands as the gold standard in existential pornography and he also made the first puppet-themed XXX film (Let My Puppets Come), so let's hail him for his successes, shall we?

While we're on the subject, my soul sister Noelle recently started a food-related blog called Simmer Down! to document the recipes and restaurants that make up her life. As everyone who knows me knows, I don't care for food, I find it a nuisance and subscribe to the Richard Hell theory of eating being an addiction no better or worse than heroin or cigarettes ... if I could get my nourishment from liquids and pills I would be perfectly happy just eating a handful of marshmallows every few hours or so. But check it out if you're not like me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Got fuckin' lit last night at Tyson's birthday party and left my flask behind, the leather & chrome bottle I got from Mike R. years ago in Chicago. The old lady and I stayed later than usual and weren't even Detroit sober, so we left the car and enjoyed a crisp, brisk walk home at the end of it all. This morning I made the walk of shame to pick up the car, although in the haze of my hangover I probably still wasn't in prime driving condition. It was an exceptional party in that I actually knew at least 40% of the people in the room at any given moment, so it was a very comfortable place to drink Rebel Yell and tell lies. I had a good enough time that the hangover is the best of all possible hangovers, productive in the way that a cough can be, the emotionally purging type that makes you feel like you actually accomplished something by getting so loaded. I believe I did.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Deming on Dolemite

From the All Media Guide blog. He quotes me at the end, because he just can't help hisself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just uncovered a treasure trove of early-80s Lansing/Michigan hardcore punk videos on YouTube. Crucifucks, Meatmen, Necros, Negative Approach, Violent Apathy, even Army of God! Sorry, no Fix.

I posted a few of my favorites on Frenzy of the Visible, but they appear to all come from this guy in Texas who attended MSU "back in the day" and monitored the basement scene with a Public Access TV show called SYNTAX. Anybody remember this guy? I didn't move to Lansing til 1986, so I missed the city's hell-raising hardcore heyday. Anyhow, he's selling DVDs of this stuff, and I'm weakening.
Lori made a similar announcement on her blog, but in case you aren't hip, our home phone number (the one what ends with 4583) will be shut off on October 27th. So don't use it. My cell phone number will suffice from now on ... shoot us an email if you don't have it, want it, think you need it, etc.
The Baseball Furies - GREATER THAN EVER
The Baseball Furies might actually be dangerous, but they're more likely to hurt themselves than anyone else, and Greater Than Ever sounds like a shopping cart full of broken bottles hurtling down a steep hill, hilarious and terrifying at the same time. The Furies' brand of blithering hate-boogie is an uneasy compromise between the proudly amateurish pop of first-wave '77 punk and the hedonistic swagger of coked-out cock rock, played at a bristling speed of pharmaceutical origin. Unlike most neo-garage ne'er-do-wells, the Furies aren't just bragging about their debauchery in song, they're digging into the compulsions that fuel these excesses and exposing the steaming, stinking innards for the straight world to see. Abstract rants about proudly squalid lives and paranoid revenge fantasies are slobbered forth while spastic, slashing riffs struggle to escape the rock-solid backbone that keeps the whole mess intact. "I Hate Your Secret Club" is a white funk temper tantrum that gives the finger to the world's elite, "Archenemy" slows the tempo but not the intensity for some righteous New York Dolls riffing and "Antenna Attempt" declares the band's philosophy through broken couplets like "I want the world and it's mine to take it/If not so then I'll violate it" and "End of mission is death if I fail/I gotta de-program radio." It's not easy to capture psychosis live on tape, but the Baseball Furies truly sound like they've been kept awake for days in a locked room and let loose in a crowded bar for a binge of frightening proportions. FRED BELDIN

Monday, October 20, 2008


Rudy Ray Moore died early this morning at the age of 81. I had the good fortune to interview the man himself for The Stranger last year, a dream come true for me, but once I got Moore on the phone it was clear that this was no longer the brash, loudmouthed comedian known to me from classics like Dolemite, Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son In Law and Avenging Disco Godfather ... he sounded as old as he was, a tired 80-year old man who didn't seem overly excited by the prospect of his upcoming tour ("If they book me, I will go out"), so my article instead focused on his status as a living link to the ancient African oral tradition he borrowed (ahem) his best-loved routines from, performances which inspired a host of modern hip-hop artists.

I recommend Moore's masterpiece Dolemite to one and all, regardless of age ... it's a clumsy, profane ego-trip of a film that sweats funk from every pore and is guaranteed to lift any sagging spirit. These days his films are relatively easy to find in your average video store (check the cult or action sections), but his behind-the-counter XXX comedy records are more rare ... luckily, WFMU posted MP3 versions of two Moore LPs, The Cockpit and Sweet Peter Jeeter, so if you haven't yet experienced the surreal, aggressive comic stylings of this African-American cultural treasure, put your weight on it already.

UPDATE: Turns out that has a number of R.R. Moore LPs streaming for free ... the adventurous listener should start with The Rudy Ray Moore Zodiac Album, featuring an utterly pornographic appearance by Lady Reed (you may just learn something).
This weekend was fine. I ate an entire box of Crunch Berries over a 24-hour period and watched several Starsky & Hutch reruns, proving that I am finally living the lifestyle I dreamed of at age ten. Lori and I shopped for amplifiers Saturday morning -- I was seriously interested in a few models at a particular Shoreline store but got spooked once the employees started blasting The Blues Brothers soundtrack. Sunday brought a satisfying End Times practice with our latest girl singer Abigail, who now resides safely in Seattle (fresh out of Evergreen/Olympia) and is ready to forge ahead with Tyson and I into a stark tomorrow. We also closed a deal on a new practice space for some of our louder ideas, so percussionists of all disciplines are encouraged to contact us. The rest of the weekend was spent listening to Slayer’s “Disciple” on repeat at top volume.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I've invested a great deal of time lately to the careful study of the 20-volume strong Metal Museum compilations currently available thanks to the largesse of this guy what calls himself MenegoSoft. Each represents a different HM sub-genre and taken as a whole the set serves as a comprehensive introduction to the extreme metal world. For the past week it's been the soundtrack of my life, apart from attending a Pillow Army show a few days back (who sounded downright twee in comparison, believe it or not) ... my hours have been spent examining the often subtle but always certain differences between the various styles of metal, differentiating between Black and Pagan, Viking and Folk, Death and Brutal Death.

As heavy as I may be, most of this material flew beneath my radar ... as a rule, metal musically concerns itself with instrumental dexterity and compositional virtuosity, while I tend to seek out crude simplicity and improvisational inspiration. I'm moved more by the repetition of the groove, and metal has progressed so far beyond the building blocks of Sabbath and Motorhead that it's essentially bluesless, owing more to European classical traditions despite the brutal sensuality of its approach and the Afro-American origins of its basic instrumentation.

I also appreciate that metal is one of the rare popular musics that routinely addresses religion as a theme. Perhaps most would imagine HM to be a godless world, but a denial of god is still a religious argument, and embracing an alternative belief system like Satanism is still a search for meaning through a higher power. Most fascinating to me is how a trio of stooges like Venom, with their ludicrous Z-grade horror histrionics and amateur riffsmithery, can inspire a generation of new bands to turn fanciful devil-worship fantasies into actual church burnings, and then take the rejection of Christianity further into a celebration of ancient pagan values and their pre-Christian heritage. From drunken Limeys snarling in spandex to Norwegian teenagers studying history books ... a long, strange trip indeed.

Some of the bands you'll enjoy if you explore this vast K-Tel of Metal ...

VIKING METAL: Thiasos Dionysos, Mnegarm, Folkearth, Borknagar and Moonsorrow

BLACK METAL: Burzum, Behemoth, Immortal, Gorgoroth and Lord Belial

CHRISTIAN METAL: Stryper, Jeruselam, Bloodgood, Barren Cross and Die Happy

PAGAN METAL: Rhymes of Destruction, Natural Spirit, Hel, User Ne and Butterfly Temple

DEATH METAL: Torture Killer, Decapitated, Nunslaughter, Pungent Stench and Blood Freak

BRUTAL DEATH METAL: Born Headless, Prostitute Disfigurement, Necrotorture, Goregasm and Amputated Genitals

Plus NWOBHM, Doom, Speed, Thrash, Glam, Avant Garde, Progessive and Folk Metal ... even Industrial and "NuMetal" if that's yer bag. They ain't mine -- I skipped those two and didn't have the energy for Symphonic Metal either, so let me know if I'm really missing anything.

Friday, October 17, 2008

NSFW. More Carey Burtt films screening at Frenzy of the Visible, right now! I know, I'd never heard of him either. This tutorial on mind control is the best one, and not as dirty as what I just made you sit through.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Your new favorite band ... DEATH SS.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here's another find that helped me cope today: THE ESKIMO'S, a fab gear/grotty beat group from Greenland circa 1966. Great guitar solo, inscrutable vocals and authentic teenage rhythms, check it out.
You robbed me of my sleep again, and I'm paying the high price of having known you. But there will come a day when I get drunk on your blood. Cross the street if you see me coming.

Aside than that, things are looking up. The End Times start rolling again next week, other promising projects beckon beyond the horizon and I just got word that I'll be receiving a birthday visit from the drummer of Scarlet Oaks. Stimulant consumption is down as a rule, although today, with my eyes heavy and only defiance to propel me, all bets are off.

But rather than indulge the urge to rage, I will seek solace and regeneration through Judee Sill:

Thanks, Judee. Sleep well.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Enjoy the antics of Sooper Hippie, the Soular System and Fruitman, all characters from the late-60s Harvey Comics series Bunny, courtesy of learning2share.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Deming hipped me to this ... Herschell Gordon Lewis' column on the direct mail advertising business, an area in which he's celebrated as an icon. Why do we care? Only because he's an exploitation film icon as well, a mere sideline for a man who spent his entire adult life in the advertising game.

For years I've been fascinated by H.G. Lewis and his film work, which includes the 1963 proto-slasher Blood Feast. The first to reduce horror cinema to its basest, most pornographic elements and make a bundle in the process, Lewis spent a decade or so pumping out cheap, violent drive-in product like The Gore Gore Girls, Two Thousand Maniacs! and The Wizard of Gore, overcoming his indifference to pacing and coherence with sickening butcher shop special effects and a peculiar flippant tone amid the savagery.

Lewis also took stabs at the biker genre (She-Devils On Wheels), juvenile delinquent dramas (Just For The Hell Of It), children's fare (Jimmy, The Boy Wonder), even rock & roll films (Blast-Off Girls). I could not in good conscience recommend any of these films to the casual viewer, but they're in a class all their own, amateurish and crass, made only to turn fast bucks thanks to outrageously overblown ad campaigns ... still, Lewis' sardonic wit and intelligence seeps through nonetheless, making his filmography as strangely personal as it is cold and calculating.

After retiring from film in the 1970s, Lewis, who owned and operated an advertising agency during his years as a director, went on to revolutionize the direct mail marketing business. What does society do about a man responsible for not only the proliferation of slasher films but junk mail besides? There has to be retribution at some point, right?

Our first cabin.

The view.

Not welcome.

Stop yelling at me!

A big slug.

Some folks have to be told.

On the ferry ... this wasn't what we thought it was.

Pics by Lori. These are my favorites, perhaps she'll post those that she prefers at some later date.

Our first cabin on Orcas Island was perfect, utterly private even though there were neighbors close by all along the beach ... of course, this was the place where I experimented with complete caffeine withdrawal, leading to a sullen, withdrawn Thursday without any appreciation for the coziness of my surroundings. Luckily it rained all weekend, so we had no choice but to sit inside and read anyhow (mostly Roger Ebert's inspiring Your Movie Sucks and Legs McNeil's oral history of the pornographic film industry The Other Hollywood). The next day brought a headache intense enough to require a run to the gas station for a medicinal Red Bull -- it worked like a charm, and I spent the rest of the weekend limiting my caffeine beverages to two a day, maybe a third of what I usually enjoy, so while I didn't clean myself out for a full four days, I did get a handle on the extent of my addiction.

Cabin number two was actually a trailer home gussied up with some cheap plywood and plopped down amongst many other rickety structures against a dramatic backdrop of steep cliffs and powerful windswept waters. I relaxed and my mood lightened ... this joint had a beautiful clothing-optional outdoor hot tub/sauna center which the old lady and I were lucky enough to occupy without anyone else horning in on our nude antics. Dusk fell as we luxuriated in steam surrounded by dense forest. But as I said, the rain persisted throughout our stay, so the rest of our time was spent driving up and down the island roads avoiding the deer or merely reading and eating in our "cabin," a bag of marshmallows at my side.

I feel refreshed, yet still in the full bloom of my sloth. Perhaps tomorrow will bring a spark for moving toward fulfillment of one ambition or another.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I know I have some friends who'll be interested in this news (and some who probably already heard about it from more direct sources), but according to the Goner Records bulletin board the Gories and the Oblivians will both reunite next summer for a pair of US gigs (Detroit and Memphis) and a European tour. My pants aren't exactly wet over this, since there are no West Coast shows planned, but for neo-garage purists this will be the show to arrange summer 2009 around. Get your sideburns trimmed, fellas.

For you youngsters who don't know, the Gories begat the Dirtbombs, and the Oblivians begat the Reigning Sound. That's the simplified, shorthand version, anyway, you can do the rest of the research on your own if you're interested.

Dear Metal Inquisition ... you enrich my life in ways that I can't even express. The photo above is a perfect example. It feels like a foot rub. Thank you.

My ex-girlfriend (and current first wife) Lori and I are retreating to Orcas Island for several days to do nothing. I'll be attempting to kick a vigorous caffeine habit, swearing off an assortment of stimulants in a quiet, undemanding location where I can sit and stare blankly at the water for as many hours as it takes. I do not expect to be completely successful ... I'm sure I'll be buzzing it up again at the first sign of stress once I return to the straight world, but my consumption is such that my system requires a reboot. Our restful rented cabin should afford a chance to detox without demands, so swearing off won't be the nightmare it might be if I still had to deal with city buses, purchase orders, ringing phones and all the fucking assholes around me that pass for "friends" ... uh oh, it's starting already, sorry about that. I'll see you all on the other side.