Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dirt City Chronicles- The Year in Review 2012

Sleaze Rock     July 4th   2012

I neglected to post Sleaze Rock last month, so those of you who thought the feature was discontinued... rejoice!  Sleaze Rock will never die, there's too many crappy videos out there for that to happen. Stand by to have your sensibilities assaulted....

This sleaze rock special "Moonlight" is brought to us by that old witchy girl Stevie Nicks. A blatant attempt to reach out to  Twihards. Stevie looks a little long in the tooth and her voice is nothing more than a thin warble. That she's crazy as fuck is beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Phantom Blue's Time to Run, it features Gigi Hangach, who is the best female rock vocalist you've never heard of. Michelle Meldrum (r.i.p.) and Karen Kreutzer blast out blowtorch guitar riffs just like the guys. Top YouTube Comment: "This band has more balls than Poison and Mötley Crüe put together" toodrunktomakelove

Saraya and "Back to the Bullet", executives at Polygram envisioned Sandi Saraya as a sex symbol, the "Next Bon Jovi". Problem was, Bon Jovi was prettier.  The producers pulled out every cheesy 80's hair band trick in the book for this one.  Top YouTube Comment: "Brotha please, you're opinion is waaaaaaaaaaaaay off base" gornhorror

This sleaze rock special is the double entendre ditty  "Hard on Me" by Bonfire. Lead singer, Clauss Lessman coined the term "does this make me look gay?" Originally known as Cacumen, they were the heavy metal equivalent of those black & white generic products popular in the 8o's. Top YouTube Comments:  "i miss my hair and snake skin boots" johnnysilverheels

(Radio is) A Sound Salvation  July 10th  2012

At heart Pete Myers was a beatnik, he was hipper than Alan Freed could ever hope to be. Myers was younger and had the lingo down pat. His amazing ability to spontaneously create rhymes through an entire four and a half hour show. (including commercials) set him apart from the average joe. Remember this was in the days before pre-recorded jingles, commercials or sound effect carts (cartridges similar to 8-track tapes) were in common use. It was inspiration born of desperation, with the "Big Break" within reach Myers went for broke, his credo became "A fella'd have to be mad, mad, mad... to do what I do!"

He was the Wizard of Oobladi (Ohio) and his fans were Oobladoodians. ( a term he lifted from "In the Land of Oo-bla-dee," a bebop fairy tale spun by Dizzy Gillespie) "once upon a time in the land of Oobladi"    He would open the show with a countdown: fiver, four, three, two, one...  followed by his theme song "Night Train" and immediately his listeners were emerged in a world of kooky jargon, annoying echo, madcap laughter and off the cuff rhymes. "Welcome little stinkers to the land of winky blinkers, we've boiled up wavy gravy and it's ready to flow, so hang loose Mother Goose, here comes the show."

Death By Misadventure: Sam Cooke     July 16th   2012

Conspiracy buffs always ignore the most obvious evidence or facts in front of them. Sam Cooke's death being a perfect example. Cooke's demise in the wee hours of Dec. 11th. 1964 (at the hands of terrified motel manager, Bertha Franklin, who was armed with a .22 handgun and a broom stick) has sparked the imagination of conspiracy theorists. However, once you strip away all the wild eyed accusations of LAPD cover-up or West Coast mafia hitmen,  what it boils down to is that Sam Cooke was a victim of his own drunken stupidity and unbridled libido.

Those that refuse to accept the stated facts in the case of Sam Cooke, are apologists driven to propagate a false image of who he really was. That he was killed after being scammed by a prostitute just didn’t make sense to many people. His sister, Agnes Cooke-Hoskins, still discounts all the pertinent facts, 'My brother was first class all the way. He would not check into a $3 a night motel; that wasn’t his style", and yet there he was at a $3 a night motel with a prostitute at 3am and he signed in using his own name. Cooke, had no problem looking at himself in the mirror and knowing who and what he was. Though it appears, that to this day his family still can't do the same.

Mariachi Rawk       July 18th   2012

Mash-ups are popular right now, this trendy style of mixing is accomplished by weaving or working two separate songs into one. It's only natural that this would only lead to more experimentation on the part of producers and musicians. For instance, what would happen if you took the dog eared pop ballads of The Fab Four and mashed 'em up with Mexican Mariachi music?.....  put your imagination to rest,  for there's a musical group in Albuquerque that is doing just that. 

Is America ready for mariachi rock? Joe "Fucking" Arpaio be damned!  I think we are. Although it's in vogue to hate Mexicans at the moment, you know that we're as much a part of the USA as the Irish. As Chingo Bling would say, "you can't deport us all, culeros!"  So what if we speak Spanish with an English accent, get over it. Just sit back, put some hot sauce on that burrito, slap some Trini Lopez on the turntable and tune in the telly to Jose Jimenez, welcome to America...  the home of mariachi. 

The Death Chronicles  July 26th  2012

The death defying resurrection of Death, is quite possibly one of the biggest stories in the annals of rock music. Death's post mortal rise from the ashes of obscurity and into the bosoms of music critics and fans of obscure music is unprecedented. By comparison, both The Shags and The Monks were as familiar as daybreak when the culture vultures pulled them out of history's dustbin. Whether they were the proto-punk originals that everyone makes them out to be or just opportunistic musicians attempting to glam on to a happening scene is surely up for debate. 

Guitarist, David Hackney's choice of Death as the band's name, was meant to be thought provoking. He had a contrary view of death, "his concept was spinning death from the negative to the positive" said Bobby Hackney in 2010, while adding "It was a hard sell" After originally calling themselves the Rock Fire Funk Express (sounds like one of those pizza parlor animatronic robot bands) David convinced his brothers to change the name of the band to Death. (he dramatically pronounced it  Deeeth!)  Just as well, Rock Fire Funk Express didn't go with the band's new style of music.

Sleaze Rock     July 29th 2012

Instead of lamenting the deafening dullness of contemporary pop/rock  music, I'll give it the Sleaze Rock treatment.... these guys (and gals) make it way too easy.  Here's a stingy slice of the sleazy pie, for your listening and reading pleasure.

Fit For Rivals - "Damage" those old rock music war horses: padded rooms, straightjackets, prescription pills and suicide  are dragged out and flogged to death.  Renee Phoenix sings with her eyeballs, which is not as easy as it sounds.  

Blood On The Dance Floor's "Believe" hits a new low for excruciating power ballads. Jayy (because one Y just won't do) is an emo dead ringer for Ashton Kutchner. Dahvie sounds just like Chris Lilley's schoolgirl (in drag) Ja'mie King.... yeah you see where this is going. 

 "Never Look Back" by The Nearly Deads comes with a warning: "This is what happens when rock and roll mix with the living dead" The Nearly Deads do sound like they have one foot in the grave.

"Knives and Pens"  from Black Veil Brides, reminding us that foppish emo kids get picked on in school. Spoiler alert: the drummer is a girl and not some freakish dwarf.  The anti-bullying thing sorta takes the piss out of my comments

Death By Misadventure: Tommy Bolin   August  13th  2012

Tommy Bolin was the precursor to all those speed riff players who honed their skills studying under various accomplished instructors (ala Randy Rhoads) Bolin however, was a natural, self taught, versatile and driven by a restless compulsion to learn. He was a brilliant jazz fusion guitarist, influenced by American jazz & popular composers (his composition "Owed to G" recorded with Deep Purple, was a tribute to George Gershwin) Bolin was also a silky rock guitarist with an acumen for experimentation, frequently stretching out beyond simple hard rock riffing.

If you were to judge him by his best known solo composition "Post Toastee" you would think he was nothing more than a hedonistic rock & roller hell bound on self destruction. Sadly, there is an element of truth in all assumptions concerning Bolin. "Post Toastee"  is actually meant to be a cautionary tale. Tommy was starting to realize that the only one holding him back was himself. Advice is one thing, following it is another. Ultimately it was his haphazard "catch me when I fall" circle of friends that failed him the most. 


For a Song: Morning Dew    Agust 16th  2012

The well run socialist machine that is Australia hands out suicide pills and injections to all its citizens to spare them the horrors of dying from radiation poisoning. The American sub, attempts to reach American waters so that the crew may have their final wish granted, to die at home. Those left behind take their own lives, each in his own way and at their own leisure. "On the Beach" doesn't have a happy ending, it is after all an apocalyptic drama set in the months after World War III.

That was the national mood in 1960 when Canadian folksinger Bonnie Dobson, fresh off a singing engagement in Los Angeles decided to take in a screening of "On the Beach" The film made a tremendous impression on her, which she explained in an interview, "Particularly at that time because everybody was very worried about the bomb and whether we were going to get through the next 10 years. It was a very immediate problem"

She sat up all night talking with friends about the film and it's impact, once everyone went to bed she started writing the first song she had ever written.  "I'd never written songs and this song just came out and really it was a kind of re-enactment of that film in a way where at the end there is nobody left and it was a conversation between these two people trying to explain what's happening. It was really apocalypse, that was what it was about"

Duck Rock     August 21st. 2012

The folks in Hillsboro did the right thing when they pulled the plug on their annual Apple Festival. How could they do that? everyone asked, the event was extremely popular, drawing a few thousand folks from Southwestern New Mexico and El Paso. It seems that the legions of  drunken bikers loitering around the crowded main street, brawling and pissing in public, clashed with Hillsboro's quaint historical status. Ultimately, the Apple Festival became a nuisance. The time and expense of cleaning up after the sloppy drunk masses outweighed the money being pulled in. 

The Deming Duck races like so many money grubbing festivals held around New Mexico, was once a loosey goosey gathering with an ambiance that was both genial and inviting. A good time was advertised and more often than not, that was the case. Sadly, just like the Balloon Fiesta, the State Fair, The Whole Enchilada and the Hatch Chile Festival it's been taken over by professional vendors. Every last one of them feels that the consumer should foot the bill for their travel expenses and this is reflected in yearly price hikes.


Sleaze Rock   August   26th   2012

This edition of Sleaze rock will focus on contradictions and contrasts. First we have El duce educating women on their poor choices in trying to find "Mr.Right".  Underneath his violent, alcoholic, sociopathic demeanor and fun loving personality,GG Allin was certifiably insane. The bullshit Nelson and DC Talk were trying to sell us was no better than those two, and in some ways it was much worse.  You were warned!

This sleaze rock special is the king daddy of sleazy shit. El Duce sings.... like a donkey brays, "Bad Taste in Men" Apparently this video was filmed by D. W. Griffith and the audio recorded by Thomas Edison. Shitty production is befitting of shitty music, Top YouTube Comment: "so utterly devoid of any manner of artistic quality or effort, tis almost genius. I'm MAXIN'!"  emwprop

GG Allin - Die When You Die, GG Allin was a despicable, homophobic, deranged, perverted, racist asshole. I bet his problems stemmed from the fact that he was hung like a chipmunk. Top YouTube Comment: "If you don't want to see spelling errors never fucking open anything with GG in the title. Now fuck off"   stupidgenious1

Nelson - After the Rain, I must agree with the drunken step dad, that kid is fucking worthless, "sits in that room listens  to the tapes" Nelson's whiteness subsists in as a global cognitive dysfunction that upholds the Manichean divide.

DC Talk - Colored People, These hubris swilling asshats had all the appeal of a Hitler Youth Rally.  Smug trivialities and hackneyed bromides devoid of existential authenticity.  Top You Tube Comment: satan (I give him the grammatical middle finger by not capitalizing his name) jollyroger330

Jon Little's Greatest Hits    Sept. 7th 2012

Meow or Roarrr?, I'm a mellow fellow... I choose meow. There's currently a resurgence of Jon Forrest Little's music or maybe a revival would be a better way to describe it. No matter, this is a turn of events that makes me very happy. If you're not familiar with Jon's music, here's your chance. Jon Forrest Little's greatest hits.... as it stands.

Clampett Report- Big Hits      Sept. 16th  2012

I reposted this playlist (Clampett Report is Carl Petersen) and its companion piece, Jon Little's Greatest Hits as a tribute to John Eric Johnson, as his friends gathered in Albuquerque for a celebration of his life.  Carl Petersen is a brilliant musician and songwriter, but you can find out for yourself... just press play.

For a Song: It Ain't Easy     Sept 17th 2012

"Then you jump back down to the rooftops and look out over the town, think about all the strange things circulating round" Ziggy Stardust was a composite of leather clad rocker, Vince Taylor (who was born in England, raised in California and rose to fame in France) and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy (Norm Odam) a bizarre musician from Lubbock,Tx. who released a novelty single called "Paralyzed" (he was accompanied by T-Bone Burnett on drums) Norm Odam is considered the originator of hellbilly music, he had his brief heyday between 1968 & 1970. 

"Satisfaction, satisfaction, keep me satisfied.." Bowie's version of "It ain't Easy" replicates the original, which Ron  Davies recorded in 1970. It was included on his excellent debut album "Silent Song Through The Land" (vinyl copies now go for $120 and higher) Davies presents the song in a spiritual deep blues style, complete with some very effective "old timey" vocals. (somewhat similar to Dave Edmund's vocal on I Hear You Knocking) It's a chameleon of a song and no matter who records it and when, the song just seems to mold itself to the artist.

"It Ain't Easy" strikes at the heart of our most basic and primal urges... to feel that our lives have  purpose and fulfillment. Standing on a rooftop, Ziggy looks down on the streets, rock & roll has fallen out of favor because there's no electricity with which to play it anymore. Yet he needs a way to convey his message, Ziggy Stardust resurrects rock & roll as his medium of communication. All the young dudes carry the news, but the news was all bad and in the end Ziggy is ripped apart in order for the formless aliens who have arrived on earth to achieve human form.