Wednesday, December 19, 2007
But like the piano exploding at the end of the video, my mind, or should I say my very idea of what rock n' roll could or should be, is shattered into a million pieces. I had just heard Faith No More's "Epic" and I was hooked. It was rap, but it was metal too. It was SO different than the Aerosmith/Run DMC fusion of styles. I couldn't really understand it, but I knew I loved it.
I ended up watching MTV all summer, just to get a listen to that song (plus to figure out which member of En Vogue I thought was hotter). I don't even remember how I managed to scrape together $16 for the CD, since I already had a job - watching MTV and psychically beaming my need for that song to some how lodge itself into the hearts of a nation so I could see more of this strange sound that was twisting my sensibilities.
Today, "Epic" is probably thought of as a one hit wonder song for FNM, but those of us who continued to listen knnow that ir really peaked with the "Angel Dust" album. They still managed to put out a few good albums, but no song has ever grabbed a hold of me like that.
Originally published on Mog
We used to drive around Downingtown bumping Bizarre Ride II. When I say bumping, I don't mean it by any "it's what the kids are saying" way. We were literally bumping around in one of our shitty cars, me with my hot Rockford Fosgate base box jury rigged into the fuse box of my Chevy Nova, connected on the other end to some shitty tape deck.
I had been introduced to this album by a graffiti kid in my school, and just the fact that it was different than the eras "gangsta's and ho's" mentality made it seem that much more refreshing. Plus. I'm a suburban white boy who wasn't about to represent for the city of Compton.
We loved this album. It was great. It didn't have any of the posturing that, well, just about every hip hop song of the era had. It was self deprecating, funny, and lewd. I mean how many rappers could top Fat Lips confession of picking up a transvestite by mistake (see "Oh Shit!").
Anyway, I felt great unease when we would listen to the song "Soul Flower" being that it had a derivation of a song sung by Judy Jetson's favorite rock star JJ Jetscreamer "Eep Ock Ork Uh Huh (that means I love you)". It puzzled me so (though in hind sight, I guess I should have felt liberated that others remembered this infectious diddy). In those days, I didn't quite understand the significance of reference to hip hop, I just knew I knew what song they were "copying", and it disturbed me slightly. I was 17 and much to reserved to admit my knowledge of a Jetson's episode.
So we continued bumping around the country side listening to the tape over and over, getting stoned and making runs on convenience stores - never imagining that some day I could sit at a computer and relay this moment of discord to others like myself.
Originally posted on Mog 4/11/2007
re-released in 2000 on mute records w/ eponymous L.P.
I originally published this on Julian Cope's Head Heritage site
A record of proof of an innovative band’s struggle with an unreceptive audience.
“23 Minutes over Brussels” was recorded in Brussels, Belgium on June 16th, 1978. Friend of the band, Howard Thompson recorded it on cassette tape and it was later released on as a flexi-disc insert for a music magazine. Fortunately the good people at Mute records re-released Suicides catalog in 2000. They have been digitally re-mastered so you wont have to scrounge the record bins to try to find these rare treasures. Both the album and the extra disc sound great (even 23 minutes sounds pretty good considering how it was recorded). It stands as a legendary performance, fortunate enough to be recorded. This is not your happy go lucky good time Rock n’ Roll concert, this is the dangerous riot inciting kind.
Perhaps if they weren't so far ahead of their time, the Suicide bootleg "23 minutes over Brussels" could have been the "Royal Albert Hall" bootleg for a new generation. Alan Vega and Martin Rev's second show in Europe ended in a primal scream of "Fuck you! It's about Frankie!" stands comparison to Bob Dylan's angry start of "Like a Rolling Stone" where he can be heard saying "Play fucking loud!" to the Hawks - as possible one of the greatest spontaneous Rock n' Roll moments of all time. In “23 minutes” Alan Vega is heard shouting, “Shut the fuck up, this is about Frankie!” Whistles cheers and boo's swell, the audience renders the sonic assault of Rev and Vega silent by stealing the microphone.
“23 minutes” goes a step further than the myth and lore of the infamous Dylan recording. Dylan’s heresy stood with his decision to “plug in.” This at the time was considered a step toward all that was marketable, because rock n’ roll was electric and was sold to the masses by evil corporations. Folk purists seemed to think of Dylan as a sellout for making what appeared as mainstream credibility. Suicide on the other hand, had no credibility. Rather than “plugging in” or “unplugging” they pared down to bare bones rock aggression.
Alan Vega, a New York City trash artist, formed Suicide with avant-garde jazz keyboardist Martin Rev in 1971. Vega’s idea was to strike Rock n’ Roll down to the bare minimum. Through the use of thrift store electric keyboards and a drum machine, Suicide set out to recreate rock n’ roll from the ground up. Dylan like Rev and Vega had a desire to find his own sound, only Suicide didn’t have a fan base that would come along for the ride.
The mid 70's New York scene was dictated by a common knee jerk reaction to the over indulgence and excess that music had become. Suicide stood on a different plane of aural deconstruction. Vega and Rev's interpretation of "basic" rock n' roll was to minimalize it to the nth degree. Although they started as a somewhat large free jazz ensemble, they soon were reduced to just a guitar, keyboard, and drum machine. A short time after that, they lost the guitar all together. Suicide in its Keyboard, Drum Machine, Vocal line up stands as the epitome of the defiance that Rock n' Roll was built on. Unfortunately, for most artists, the audience usually comes around to their way of thinking, a little too late.
Suicide stands as one of the most aptly named bands ever in rock n' roll. The bands name is described as a "great rock n' roll action word" by Rev in the liner notes of Mute records 2000 release of the self-titled debut album. “23 minutes” inevitably became their scarlet letter as far as performance was concerned. They rarely played live, and usually did to disastrous results. The short set of music showcased in "23 minutes" clearly demonstrates two individuals flying in the face of convention, screaming their guts out to be heard, and failing to make a poignant imprint on the listening audience.
Perhaps it was the back to basics mentality of the "Punk" world that was wrong. Suicide as a group, predate the earliest of the CBGB's scene by at least 3 years. With so much retro revisionism in contemporary music, one is hard pressed to find anything from that period that sounds as though it would be made in today's musical climate. Suicide does though. Most likely you would find them on a package tour with the likes of Stereo Lab or Mouse on Mars, and some how wouldn't sound quite as profound.
Legends and Myths can abound in Rock n' Roll. Many a writer is swept up in the nostalgia aspect of these mythologies and rumors. As we have become inundated with Rock n’ Roll tragedies we are left to ponder why Suicide didn’t become superstars? Possibly it's the fact that their music fell on many deaf ears, their performances and reputations preceded them. What in the 20+ years since the group's demise has sounded (or looked) as raw and heartfelt as that "Suicide Sound."
Suicide was the marriage of performance art with the attitude and pomp of rock n' roll. Only now, with hindsight, can one look at the postmodern implications of the performing side of Suicide. The records stand are the Rock n’ roll side of the band – a good reproduction of what Suicide sounded like live, with a few studio embellishments. The performance was the art. Like most performance art, their shows were temporal, intense and of the moment.
When Suicide unplugged from the popular conventions of Rock they were looked at as hooligans. No one wanted to book them, and audiences usually stayed about 10 feet from the stage, where a chain wielding Vega would swing wildly. One can look at the failure of the New York scene, or any scene for that matter, to accept Suicide as a legitimate act. We have only photographs to offer us a fraction of the story. Find a copy of this recording, sit back, open your ears, and grab a hold of the mental picture.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Pugilists in Song - The Felice Brothers "Ballad of Lou the Welterweight" vs. Simon and Garfunkels "The Boxer"
Film loves boxing - it's all tight close ups of extreme action. Blood and teeth, slow motion expressions of pain. Bodies in exquisite form inflicting pain upon one another in the confines of the square ring. This does wonders for the lack of set and costumes needed. Two half naked men swinging on each other in the most primal of manors. Even if your not a boxing fan, it seems to always appeal to our most basic sensibilities of the survival of the fittest. Boxing is so glorified because it exists as a sport and a metaphor of ones existence in society.
So what happens when songs, which seem to exist as the melodic metaphors for our existence, deal with the very same symbolically rich sport as film? Well we get an even more textured look into the struggle. The sweet science offers as much to the poetry of lyrics as it does in the poetry of brutality each opponent inflicts on the other withing the confines of the ring. The confines of the melody we get to look at the big picture boxer, more than the "the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him til he cried out..." that film likes to focus on.
Simon and Garfunkel offer up what is an admirable and noble sounding character in their song "The Boxer". He is ambitious, but wary of his years. His ambition is still drives him. Simon and Garfunkels offer a modest peek into the character of the boxer:
"Asking only work mans wages, I come looking for a job, but I get no offers
Just a come on from the whores on 7th avenue
I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there"
The Felice Brothers boxer, Lou, on the other hand could very well be Scorsese's Jake LaMotta. But he's doomed, whether he knows it or not. He's a boxer in his last moments, perhaps the same type of punch drunk brute, who would pry the jewels out of his championship belt to make bail. There is no denial of what boxing has made of him. He has a woman, who loves him despite the brutality of his profession. She is an angel to him in his last moments, that he's happy to get his gloves on.
"Powder your nose
take off your panty hose
let me love you from behind, my darling
Powder your nose, pull on your panty hose
We're going down to my bout, my darling"
His narrative may lack an the eloquence of proper romance, but it is the prose of a man in the moment before he steps into the ring for the fight of his life. Lou's love for his par amoré, may be good for one round, but like a true fighter, he's got his eyes on the prize. Lou's fate is sealed by the bookies though, who set him up a supposed ringer - Joey who "was a no one. Just some big dumb kid from Flushing." His fate is sealed, Lou is hit low and it's thebeginning of the end for our hero.
Paul Simon's narrative is a broader portrait of a boxer, on who knows his time in the ring is waning, he has been pummeled and beaten, and dreams leaving, but he will always be a fighter, no matter what.
Simon's boxer exists almost as an early version of Brando's Terry Malloy in ??On The Waterfront?? (without the former prizefighter status). A character who is conflicted, but noble at in his heart.
It could be argued that Boxing was America's first national sport. It's first huge stars were immigrants and minorities that bested the competition. The sports start stood as pinnacles and examples to their race of what was possible in this country. That with a little determination and some gravel in your gut, you could transcend your lot in this life. Regardless of what a persons moral character consists of, in certain positions, people will always hang a certain amount of symbolic responsibility given to a person. Boxing may be the sport in which more hopes, dreams, expectations, and disappointments are saddled by an individual, than any other. But like Paul Simon says "No it isn't strange, after changes upon changes, we are more or less the same." Belt or no belt, there is a certain understanding of both boxers as to their own character, both as individuals and as fighters.
[Close up shot pulls back from the respective boxers in their final moments. In silence a slow fade to black as the credits scroll.]
The Boxer (©1968 by Paul Simon for the album ??Bridge Over Troubled Waters??. Lyric source lyricsfreak.com with revisions by the author)
I am just a poor boy and my story's seldom told
Ive squandered my resistance for a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises
All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest, hmmmm
When I left my home and my family, I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station, runnin scared
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters, where the ragged people go
Looking for the places only they would know
Lie la lie...
Asking only work mans wages, I come looking for a job, but I get no offers
Just a come on from the whores on 7th avenue
I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there
Now the years are rolling by me, they are rocking even me
I am older than I once was, and younger than Ill be, that's not unusual
No it isn't strange, after changes upon changes, we are more or less the same
After changes we are more or less the same
Li la lie...
And I'm laying out my winter clothes, wishing I was gone, going home
Where the New York city winters aren't bleeding me, leading me to go home
In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him
til he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains
Yes he still remains
Li la lie...
The Ballad of Lou The Welterweight (by The Felice Brothers Lyrics transcribed by the author, to the best of his abilities, author unknown at the time of this post.)
Powder your nose, take off your pantyhose
Let me love you from behind, my darling
powder your nose, pull on your pantyhose
Were going down to my bout, my darling
Before the bell would ring
he had a way like Errol Flynn
As he sauntered to the ring
with a sheet on
But the [laygrounds] scared the girl
Heaven knows she thought the world of Lou
It was hard to see him sway in the neon
Joey was a no one
Just some big dumb kid from flushing
he had a face like an ugly bull
He hit Louie kind of low
And he fumbled on the ropes
As the bookies blocked the rows, shouting
Powder Your Nose..
The blows were hard and loud
He could hardly hear the crowd
In the bleachers where they howled
they were cheering
I remember in the eighth, it was clear that Lou was fading
And something caught his eye by the ceiling
He saw her as she spoke in the shifty yellow smoke
She said, "Louie you look bad, like your dying"
But Louie could not answer, his eyes cast up towards the rafters
And then they slowly sealed in the silence
Powder your nose...
This article originally published on Mog
Monday, September 24, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
I will probably elaborate on this at another time when I am not so tired and buzzing on the adrenaline that follows a child being born, but I am proud to introduce the newest member of our family, Elisabeth. She was 4 days late, but we managed to have a very stress free 5 hour delivery at home with a wonderful and skilled mid wife. We are elated that our family has grown +1. I sat down realizing that a couple of my favorite songs for baby’s are more boy oriented (“Beautiful Boy”, and “Stay Up Late”). So when I sat down and heard this beautiful version of Neil Youngs “Little Wing” by Elizabeth Mitchell, I nearly cried all over again. Feel free to post some of your other favorite songs you might play for that little special someone.
Friday, August 31, 2007
That being said, here is a perfect example of a great looking video, a good song, and rather simple idea (no matter how complex the actual execution was). I compare it to a cross between Wang Chungs video for Everybody Have Fun Tonight and The White Stripes Fell in Love with a Girl.
Friday, August 24, 2007
and combining them with parts of other words. So I propose to you a new word that I hope sweeps the Internets. Just remember you read it here first.
Gregarian Societies - From the word gregarious "living in contiguous nests but not forming a true colony". In the post MySpace era, where user blogs are the new web page, there will be all these small colonies of users with similar interests congregate but basically form clicks rather than communities.
I have Wired to thank for putting this idea in my head.
Today's chronicle of process comes from Evan Dorkin of the great comix Dork! and Milk and Cheese. Evan and his girl Sara Dyer are regular contributors to all the creative shows on TV such as Space Ghost coast to Coast, Yo Gabba Gabba, and even as I have found out Nick Magazines Fairly Odd Parents. Here's a link to his layouts for The Fairly Odd Parents comic in Nick Magazine. Click the image of Evan for a link to his Live Journal blog.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Adam Koford is one of my new heroes. He is doing something so basic and simple in his drawing of comics, but utilizing all the best things about the internet, to do what he likes to do. Quite simply, he will draw a drawing for you for $20 B&W, $50 color. But he's used the web, blogs, Flickr, and YouTube to promote himself, and it's brilliant. It helps that he is so damn talented to boot. Anyone who ever had a knack of drawing silly little pictures was surely asked at some point in school to draw a picture for someone. Perhaps you refused, feeling a bit like you were being treated like a monkey for someone's amusement (I know I did). Sometimes though, people will offer you money for your work. I may have been offered money too a couple times (and I'm sure I took it).
What Mr. Koford does with the internet really hits me deep inside as just an unbridled desire to do what you love, on the simplest terms, and make a little money doing it. In these times of "e-commerce" his approach resembles such a basic structure of economics that seems forgotten in this ad supported content world, where everything on the net is free for a price. Koford's work stands on the most basic desire any of us creative types would ideally like to live by - I draw you a picture, you give me money for it. Koford dictates the style, the characters, and even allows your input, but everything he produces, whether you own it or not, is still his by execution. I am adding a link to my side bar so that you may check out his work yourself. For Adam Koford, the internet is the lunch room, and he'll gladly sit next to you and doodle what you like, if you have $20.
Laugh-Out-Loud Cats is Adam Koford's fictitious depression era comic strip by his Great Grandfather Aloysius "Gorilla" Koford. The comic is actually consists of "found" panels that are posted everyday - simple punch lines existing without previous panels set ups, is both very post modern (in a good way) and of the moments (now and of the great depression). They slyly reference the I Can Has Cheezburger phenomenon of the LOL Cat memes, and create an alternate comics history by recycling these memes as final panel punchlines. Kofords style for these addicting little comics is very much in the vein of classic cartoonists such as George Herriman's Krazy Kat. The absurdity of it all, the grass roots growth in popularity of Laugh-Out-Loud Cats which itself references a on going internet joke, is perplexing yet has been born a new with its self reference. Check out this little Boing Boing post that shows how many levels a Laugh-Out-Loud Cats comic works.
Mike Lynch, a gag cartoonist, has a reproduction of a New York Times Magazine article on the 2th Anniversary of Mad Magazine on his blog. I've sited Mad Magazine as my first corrupting influence, and I didn't even read it in it's golden era, when Harvey Kurtzman was at the helm, and it really was innovative. Needless to say, the seed that Kurtzman planted also warped my perception of everything, and for this I can only bow to the master.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I am also a sucker for puns and playing with words and phrases (perhaps this can also be attributed to those afforementioned schmucks.). What name could possible lay it out better for my cartoon world's multinational, trans-global, all encompassing corporation than the simple word - Satyricom?
So perhaps you came across this post through google, or you miss typed the Norwegian Black Metal Band Satyricon's name, if that is the case, I'm sure you are thoroughly disappointed by all of this, and I apologize, because if there is one thing I could possibly say that my site is guaranteed to not be similar too, it is Norwegian Black Metal. But hey, too each their own. Please don't hurt me, or dig up my ancestors.
We are also not to be confused with is Italian Director Fredrico Fellini's Satyricon of which I have not seen, nor can I offer any insight into the differences between his version of Satyricom and my cast of characters that make up a completely unrelated web comic/comix that goes by the name Satyricom. <---That should bode well for a confusing search engine quote.
I'll routinely update this site with further reminders of who we are not.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
This will be premiering soon on the Satyricom Global Concern blog, once we figure out the logistics and our marketing demographics. Bandwidth issues are only a problem depending on what thickness slice you prefer. This solves one of the (at least) three problems some of us who are stuck in front of our computers have daily. I'll let you guess what the others are...
Much thanks to fistula spume!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
So this is slowly becomig a "Your Environment Friday" here at the Curmudgeon. Two news items in particular caught my interest while doing my usual troll of the internet. The first was rather depressing (perhaps I should say sobering). The second, much more inspiring.
There is a really informative article over at Salon regarding Americans somewhat ubiquitous use of the plastic bag. A lot of this is information we've known - plastic bags are wasteful. But, there is always something about numbers to kind of smack you across the face. Americans throw out the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil a year in tossed plastic bags. According to Slate, a barrel is about 42 gallons. It's amazing to me that something that has become so superfluous in our shopping experience, can just accumulate to a breaking point. We really have to do something fast to stop producing these needless things. Here's some information on a The ERF's Campaign Against the Plastic Plague.
(link via Boing Boing)
The second item of interest was on Talk of The Nation's Science Friday show (podcast). The issue was using tidal energy to produce electricity. I had heard about this vaguely in science class in high school, but have never seen it demonstrated. As someone who is interested in alternative forms of energy, this is very interesting. Here is Ocean Power Technology, one of the people interviewed for the show. They use a tethered buoy that works on the same principal that states moving a magnet on a wire creates a electrical current. My apologies for not knowing the precise name of the law I am referring to. Listen to the show, they'll explain it.
And I'll leave you with a link to artist Chris Jordan's site, whose work "looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 426,000 cell phones retired every day. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs." (quote and picture from artist's site)
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Learn more about Duchamp at this wonderful site, Understanding Duchamp, that is free of art world hyperbole
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
- private label video and image search engines
- private label video and image search portals
- private label video and image search widgets
Trulia uses Google Maps to find home listings in the area of your choice, without having to click through to bigger listing sites. I played around with it in the West Palm Beach area and couldn't believe my eyes at the price discrepancies between houses that were 1 block away from each other. I saw one house in the low 200's and another in the mid 400's. No wonder the bubble's popped.
Seeqpod is an MP3 search engine that lets you find MP3's that have been posted all over the web. It's a good way to preview tracks from artists without having to go to a lot of different sites. Has a nice embedding feature too. Here's a good track from the sleeper hit Arizona Dream starring Johnny Depp (a soundtrack I've been on the look out for for many years).
Skreemr is another audio search engine, but doesn't appear to have any embedding capabilities, but you can listen on the site or click through to the hosting site.
I started this blog in 2005, and promptly let it gather dust after one whole post. I've since changed careers, and have more plans to expand my internet presence. I mainly would like to have an outlet for my comics, but would also like to have space for the many inspirations I find on the net and room for discussions of the many wonderful (and even more un-wonderful) things out there on the net, in society and in your heads.
I have been building stories, comics and characters for my site Satyricom for a number of years, and it is currently in a sort of slow launch period as I get stuff up online, and retool the look and structure of it, which is way over due. I hope to post at least once a week once I get it up fully running.
The Youngest Curmudgeon will be my main blogging space in which I will post frequently and put updates to the new posts in the other sites
My portfolio site will remain somewhat static in design, since this will be the place I keep examples of my work for hiring purposes. I will update it externally with some Flickr and Multiply links so as to hopefully draw more people to the other sites.
I hope you'll check back or RSS feed me into your bookmarks, it's going to be a fun ride.