Friday, January 30, 2009

LaWanda Page's Pipe Layin' Dan
She was known in party record circles as the "Queen of Comedy," and she took the raw smut of contemporaries like Redd Foxx and Rudy Ray Moore to shocking new shades of blue. This no-holds-barred replication of LaWanda Page's nightclub act is guaranteed to startle anyone who knows her only as the Bible-thumping Aunt Esther from Sanford and Son. The cover boasts "A Big Bad Black Bedful Of Fun For Adults Only," and that's putting it mildly. LaWanda spares no details in her beyond-ribald routines, twisting children's rhymes and favorite hymns into discussions of unbridled perversion. Some of LaWanda's material is closer to pornography than comedy; "Suck it dry, honey," are the first words out of her mouth, leading to an extremely graphic bit of doggerel that follows an act of fellatio from beginning to end. Indeed, many of her stories aren't even proper jokes, but just dirty little anecdotes that are punctuated with obscenities rather than punchlines. A hot soul band provides funky accompaniment on a number of LaWanda's more rhythmic routines. The best of these is the title track, an extended "toast" that tells the mythical tale of Pipe Layin' Dan (who's so good he can make a dead woman feel it) and Big Fat Funky Suzy Ann, who loses 300 pounds after a year-long session in bed. LaWanda comes through with a few stark gags about lynchings and other barbed comments on the state of race relations, but mostly it's all preachers and whores, impotent husbands and sex, sex, sex. The well-oiled audience is clearly enjoying themselves (even LaWanda sounds a little bit looped), shouting boisterous encouragement and howling lustily at every off-color remark. Pipe Layin' Dan, like all of LaWanda's equally outrageous albums, is sure to break the ice wide open at parties and clear out the prudes so that everyone else can "feel all loose like a bucket of juice!" FRED BELDIN

And now, enjoy Side Two of the aforementioned recd ...

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I know there's a few of you out there who aren't afraid of Tacoma ... The End Times will be at the Java Jive this Friday night, my mother's birthday, so if you feel like celebrating her life with me, get there. We'll be playing the back room of a Seattle pizza restaurant on Saturday, but it's not quite as chintzy as that sounds ... Piecora's has been hosting acoustic music in The Back Room (that's what they call it) for a while now, and it isn't a bad little venue at that, so if you can stay up til 10:00pm on a Saturday (yeah, right, what are we, teenagers?) then make that scene. Looks like we're going on first, which will be good, since we're usually pretty loaded by that point of the evening and fingers start slipping and lyrics start wandering if we have to play any later. The End Times are for the early people, and that's most of us.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Experience a sexual renaissance with Elton and Betty White, America's greatest interracial May-December outsider folk artists. Utterly delightful, if you take the chance you won't regret anything ever again.

Elton and Betty on MySpace

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Summer took some nice snaps of us in Olympia on Saturday night, so at least there's that.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A recent (February 2007) interview with Doc Dart in Vice Magazine ... all I can say is thank god he's still alive.
I wrote about how my wife Lori and I have three wedding anniversaries last year at this time, so I won't repeat myself about such biz, but I will report a very romantic evening between two consenting adults ... we shared a Chocolate Manhattan at a Wallingford fancy-pants joint (some guy walked in on me in the restroom, but the scallops were very good) and then took in a showing of the new romantic comedy Titanic 2: Revolutionary Road. As a rule I can't take Leonardo Di Caprio seriously in anything and rarely give myself a reason to try, and I will probably stick with that (same goes for post-Splash Tom Hanks, but I digress). Still, Lori and I love Richard Yates enough that we feel we should encourage his standing in mainstream American media, no matter the cost ... Revolutionary Road is a devastating novel (even if I have a greater fondness for The Easter Parade) and if it takes that kid from Critters 3 and ol' whatsername from all those movies I'm not interested in, then so be it, the end justifies the means. Go see it. No, read the book and then maybe rent the DVD. Or get it from the library. You could probably get both from the library.

Happy anniversary, baby. I'll be coming to bed as soon as I'm done writing this.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Would you take beauty advice from a girl who claims to have never looked perfect a day in her life? I myself have been gifted with fabulous genes ... I am effortlessly beautiful and catch every eye in every room I enter, and I only get more handsome with each passing year. But everyone else (you know who you are) might wanna check out Missadventures, which examines "the finer points of budget beauty." Turns out posture, exercise and comfortable shoes are the key, as well as putting food on your face. Good advice, but my wife makes her own deodorant, so we're already off the grid cosmetically ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nice Metro Times article about Scarlet Oaks, the Detroit band for which my old pal and eternal muse Noelle drums and sings, much like Karen Carpenter except without the eating disorder.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

There were more books on the occult than you might expect at the Mary Crapo Elementary School library in Swartz Creek, and naturally, I read them all. I was a firm believer in both God and witchcraft at the time, although I hadn't yet developed an opinion on how far one should test their boundaries. Anyhow, that's how I learned about numerology ... of course, being eleven years old and gleaning my info from the kind of literature found in the public school system of a small Michigan town didn't ensure that I got the true facts, whatever they may be. So my understanding of numerology was, and is, pretty vague. However, from the book in question, I learned to calculate my own personal "lucky number" by adding the individual numerals in my birthdate together -- I won't keep you in suspense, mine is two, and that means that any multi-digit number that can be reduced to two in the same fashion is also apparently lucky ... eleven (1+1=2), twenty (2+0=2) or three hundred and fifty three (3+5+3=11, and 1+1=2). I've held on to this particular superstition ever since, and still turn to it any time I am forced to pick a number at random. I've always held a special affinity for eleven, for the purity and symmetry of its physical form ... a pair of ones side by side, standing proudly together yet still maintaining their individuality.

Well, anyhow today is the 20th, so in theory everything should be coming up Millhouse, but I'm nursing a sore throat, lacking for sleep and just endured an uncomfortable bus ride to work. Apparently today is the presidential inauguration, and there are people waiting in line at bars around the city for assorted inaugural parties. I don't trust crowds, and I don't care whether its a football game, a gay rights parade or the inauguration of America's first president of color, I'm gonna be pretty mad if this affects my afternoon commute.

Congratulations on the new job. Just keep us safe and well-fed without stomping on every toe on the globe, okay? If you can manage that for two terms, I'll buy a t-shirt with your face on it like everyone else.

PS. You'll be thrilled to know that I made it home without significant delay, so perhaps ol' Bama is okay after all ... then again, I am definitely coming down with a cold of some kind, and I have no reason not to believe that it's his fault.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Mars Bar Friday night went perfectly fine, no disasters, and these days that's all I ask for. At left is a candid snap of Abi/Tyson mid-gig (thanks Anya), and after shaming a boisterous happy hour crowd into silence with thirty minutes of heavy vibing, we stole a music stand we found backstage and drove off into the night, drunk on victory. Next stop is Olympia, where we do it all again.

We're getting some more airplay, this time from 103.7 The Mountain for this week's "King of the Mountain" local music spot (thanks, Oliver), alongside Arthur & Yu and Star Anna, who I have totally already heard of. So listen to the radio, if you still have one, Thursday at 9:20pm. Or just take my word for it for a change.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Monday, January 12, 2009


Mark R. Deming on Ray Dennis Steckler and Ron Asheton.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In the past week:

A prostitute solicited me downtown on 3rd and Bell. I was parking my car on a Thursday afternoon, in the act of slipping my credit card into the meter, when I heard a brash voice call out ... worrying that it was meant for me, I ignored it, when suddenly the source sidled up to my side and croaked, "Hey, you wanna go kick it?" I declined and then apologized, for some reason. She actually was relatively attractive, or might have been under different circumstances, a white lady with long dark hair in a vaguely hippie/homeless outfit. She was probably about my age but looked far older ... underneath the years was something once fetching. Anyhow, there's any number of reasons not to have sex with a prostitute in a downtown Seattle alleyway in broad daylight, but the one I'm using this time is that I was late for a doctor's appointment.

I learned that The End Times' first demo has been catalogued in the University of Washington library system. This means that 100 years from now, when graduate students are writing theses on Tyson (Rev. Dr. Tyson Lynn: Peacemaker or Tyrant?) they'll be able to access the brief, amusing period of his life before he entered world politics and changed everything.

I added a few more shows to The End Times' roster, viewable here. Three cities over the next six weeks, including a Valentine's Day performance in Tacoma with our sisters in Pillow Army.

I mourned the passing of Ron Asheton and noted the death of another very psychotronic personality, Z-movie creator Ray Dennis Steckler. I've been fascinated by Steckler for years, well before I ever saw his films, simply for titles like The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies and The Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary (which is actually the same film with a different ad campaign). Steckler was an independent man in every sense of the word, doggedly refusing to play ball with the studios or his audiences ... sometimes his films were wildly unpredictable oddities that one couldn't look away from, others were little more than slightly-padded home movies that turned boredom into a weapon. Aside from his own films, Steckler had a hand in other unique features like The World's Greatest Sinner and The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio, plus he even dipped his toe into the porno cesspool of the late 70s (Teenage Dessert, Sexorcist Devil) using the pseudonym "Cindy Lou Sutters." Steckler was 70 years old. Here's links to reviews of a few titles:

Rat Pfink A Boo Boo

The Thrill Killers (aka The Maniacs Are Loose!)

The Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skid Row Slasher

Sinthia: The Devil's Doll

It just struck me that the last three posts here commemorated the deaths of men who inspired particularly good pieces by Lester Bangs ... the aforementioned "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung" about the Count Five, "Of Pop and Pies and Fun," which lays down the case for Funhouse better than I'd be able, and "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies, or The Day The Airwaves Erupted," in which a late-night TV viewing of the Steckler classic leads Bangs to dream of an airwave takeover by an army of cultural terrorists who decide to play every film ever made by anyone, starting with The Great Train Robbery and moving forward into infinity.

So to Byrne, Asheton, Steckler, even Bangs (and let's throw Stooges bassist Dave Alexander in there too, since he died in the 70s and I wasn't able to toast him then), I salute all of you fine dead men. Rest on.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

RIP Ron Asheton.

It's probably not news to you, but Deming just filled me in a few moments ago ... Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton was found dead in his Ann Arbor, MI home at age 60. I usually don't feel much when a celebrity dies (other than morbid interest), but this one really hurts. I can't overstate my devotion to the Stooges, not Iggy, but the Stooges. Every note of those first two LPs is carved deep inside me, particularly Funhouse, an amazing, sprawling album, the purest example of "rock" music ever recorded.

It’s not as well known as his tenure with the Stooges, but Asheton was also a lifelong horror film fanatic who appeared in a number of outrageous low budget splatter features. I’ve seen almost all of them (Mosquito is the best). And I just realized that I’m wearing a Stooges t-shirt today … I gotta take a minute, I’ll be back later.

LATER: To continue ...

I only saw Asheton perform once. It was shortly after Fred Sonic Smith died ... Patti Smith did a gig in Ann Arbor that ended up a revolving door of guest appearances from Michigan rock confidantes like Scott Morgan, Gary Rasmussen and Hiawatha. I have great respect for these guys and their lifetime batting averages, but I was there to see Patti Smith, and had "And Friends" been included on the ticket then I might actually have thought twice. It was like being at a wake for someone I didn't really know, had never actually met, and I even felt a little guilty. Anyhow, at one point some corndog in a white suit got on stage with an acoustic guitar and did a song with Patti which I politely endured -- it wasn't until she introduced him afterward that I realized that weird old guy was Ron Asheton, whose records I listened to on a nearly-daily basis at that point in time. Patti Smith burst into tears on and off throughout the show -- either she just wasn't ready to deal with her grief publicly yet, or this was the only way she could do it -- so it was a strange evening over all.

I hope we can expect deluxe DVD reissues of Asheton's filmography now that he's gone. Like I suggested earlier, Mosquito is the greatest of Ron Asheton films, and certainly his best performance. He's a simple-minded park ranger who bands together with other survivors in an all-out war against giant mutated mosquitos -- fast moving, decent special effects, a very Michigan mise en scene and also features Mike Hard as a survivalist and Margaret Doll Rod as an anonymous topless victim.

Don't be afraid of Legion of the Night, either ... it's mostly an action film with some sci-fi zombie edges and looks as cheap as it is, but Asheton is lots of fun to watch as a bitter lab assistant who helps a murdered scientist's son get revenge on the mob with a makeshift army of undead assassins. He spends most of his time onscreen nervously sucking on cigarettes, as if that was the only "motivation" the director had given him.

So fuck it, Ron Asheton is dead.

ONE MORE THING ... I just started digging into this last weekend (Jesus, is it my fault?) -- the Complete Funhouse Sessions boxset, and if there's ever a day it's appropriate to listen to 28 versions of "Loose," today's the day. There's no one take of any song that betters what they ended up with on the official release, but each track features one more blazing lighter fluid fuzz solo from our fallen hero, and like snowflakes, no two are ever exactly alike.

Monday, January 05, 2009

I suppose he's no longer a celebrity in the truest sense of the word, so it isn't surprising that it took me three weeks to learn this, but the man who wrote the Count Five's classic hit "Psychotic Reaction" is dead.

John Byrne Dead at 61.

It's a shameless rewrite of the Yardbirds' version of "I'm A Man," but "Psychotic Reaction" has been one of my favorite songs since childhood. An absolutely timeless, tuneless rave up ... plus the Count Five provided grist for one of Lester Bangs' greatest pieces, the title essay in his Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung collection, in which he fantasizes the long, culturally significant career the band may have had if they didn't break up after their big hit to go to college.

Friday, January 02, 2009


It's 2009. Can't you afford a fuckin' haircut?
Made some minor alterations to You are now officially up to date.