Saturday, April 17, 2010
A whole frightening half century has passed since the death of Eddie Cochran on April 17th 1960. And if anyone disputes that Eddie wasn’t a primary founding father of punk, it’s pistols at dawn, pilgrim. Back in 1974 I wrote the following for the NME…
“EDDIE COCHRAN'S death on the Easter weekend, 1960, had all the hallmarks of a perfect legend. A car speeding through the night between dates on his extended British tour... in the back of the car, Gene Vincent sprawled unconscious ... in the front, Cochran, Sharon Sheeley – the shadowy earth-mother of early sixties rock who not only hung out with the stars, but also made sure that she co-wrote songs with them – and the chauffeur, sitting side by side. Just outside of Bristol, a front tire blew on the limousine and it spun into a lamppost. Vincent was jerked out of the back seat and broke his collarbone. Sharon Sheeley and the driver were unhurt – but Cochran apparently went through the windscreen. He was seemingly badly injured but alive when the ambulance came. On arrival at the hospital, however, he was dead.”
I went on…
"COCHRAN'S LYRICS alone could single him out as one of the great innovators of rock and roll – they caused one critic, whose name I forget, to dub him "The White Chuck Berry". Of all the early rockers it was really only Berry and Cochran who were able to inject some kind of coherent social realism into their lyrics – simple consumer stuff... the problems of getting laid, not getting laid, being broke or having wheels. It may not have been terribly significant but it was far in advance of much of the nursery rhyme jive that had gone before. Where Chuck Berry's song had a cultural base among urban blacks, Cochran’s were solidly small town, white and teenage. He could not get no satisfaction. He dad wouldn't let him use the car. His folks were heavy on him having a party – and when he finally got round to feeling up some little yummy in the back seat of the family Galaxie, the cops came by to shine flashlights on him. Easy for any young male suffering from acne and puberty instantly to identify with the Cochran persona. His recording technique was adventurous and unorthodox for the period. He rejected the idea of full back-up band and worked, as a rule, with just his bass player, Connie Smith. The drum sound was frequently improvised – he was particularly fond of over-amplified shoe-boxes and tambourines. With a satisfactory rhythm track down he would then push the primitive equipment for the time to its limits by overdubbing as many guitar multiples as would hold up. After that, he'd put on the vocals. To achieve this on a fifties stereo machine that makes the present-day home Revox looked like something out of NASA, was no mean feat.” (Click here for the whole thing posted on Rock’s Back Pages Yahoo Music Blog, if you can be bothered because it be complicated. When you get to RBP, hit the purple Y-Music button. Then hit “blogs.” Then hit “all blogs”, and then scroll down the list until you see mine.)
Click here for Keith Richards saying it all
Click here for Eddie
Click here for mo’ Eddie (check the guitar solo.)
Click here for Eddie’s Blues
Click here for Heinz (and Joe Meek)
(Thanks to HCB)
The secret word is Legend
Posted by Mick at 4/17/2010 04:29:00 PM
Friday, April 16, 2010
Here at Doc40 we’re big fans of anything weird coming from out of the cosmos. This should more than qualify.
“There is something strange in the cosmic neighbourhood. An unknown object in the nearby galaxy M82 has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before. "We don't know what it is," says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK. The thing appeared in May last year, while Muxlow and his colleagues were monitoring an unrelated stellar explosion in M82 using the MERLIN network of radio telescopes in the UK. A bright spot of radio emission emerged over only a few days, quite rapidly in astronomical terms. Since then it has done very little except baffle astrophysicists. It certainly does not fit the pattern of radio emissions from supernovae: they usually get brighter over a few weeks and then fade away over months, with the spectrum of the radiation changing all the while. The new source has hardly changed in brightness over the course of a year, and its spectrum is steady. Yet it does seem to be moving – and fast: its apparent sideways velocity is four times the speed of light. Such apparent "superluminal" motion has been seen before in high-speed jets of material squirted out by some black holes. The stuff in these jets is moving towards us at a slight angle and travelling at a fair fraction of the speed of light, and the effects of relativity produce a kind of optical illusion that makes the motion appear superluminal. Could the object be a black hole? It is not quite in the middle of M82, where astronomers would expect to find the kind of supermassive central black hole that most other galaxies have. Which leaves the possibility that it could be a smaller-scale "microquasar".” (Click here for more)
Click here for MC5
The secret words are Warp and Speed
Posted by Mick at 4/16/2010 04:49:00 PM
Thursday, April 15, 2010
“When it comes to the American economy, there is one fundamental lie and one fundamental truth and it is up to you which you choose to believe. The lie is that if the maximum freedom and, thus, maximum benefits are given to the super-rich elites, ultimately everyone will win because the super-rich will create companies and create jobs and buy things and that will benefit the rest of us. It’s been called various things over various times — Reaganomics, trickle down economics, free market capitalism. But mostly it’s just been called bullshit. The average five-year-old could tell you the truth — that if you want to create the most amount of opportunity and prosperity for the most amount of people, it makes much more sense to spread opportunity and prosperity from the get-go rather than give it all to the top and pray it will spread. Bullshit economists — who are mostly from elite backgrounds, educated in elite institutions, and invested in preserving the elite status quo — have been trying for decades to persuade us to believe their lie rather than the common sense truth. Their lie led our economy right into the toilet, but the bullshit economists and their Wall Street pals are still scrambling to convince us that they’re the solution, not the problem. The anti-tax agenda perpetuates the lie. In a currently uneven economy where wealth and privilege easily reproduce themselves while it’s harder and harder to climb from the bottom or the middle up the economic ladder, taxes are the primary way we as a society redistribute money to all the hardworking Americans who deserve their fair share and a fair shake. Sure, those Harvard-educated bank CEOs work hard, but do they work 300 times harder than you? Their pay is based not on hard work but on bullshit economics that favor the already-rich.” (Click here for the rest.)
Click here John Fogerty
The secret word is Redistribute
Posted by Mick at 4/15/2010 05:31:00 PM
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
At moments in the dark of night, as the Teabaggers are revealed as the creation of cynical for-profit lobbying firms, I have to ask myself who the fuck is running Sarah Palin? Idiocy of this intensity does not occur by random osmosis. Moving across the country on her zigzag Overdrive tour, the woman is on TV almost every fucking hour. She made $12 million in the last nine months, and even Tina Fey has become part of the hype. This is more than pandering to a cult of belligerence ignorance. It’s putting the cult on a sold mega-corporate foundation. Palin is the Hannah Montana of modern politics. A confluence of fact and fiction, fantasy and reality, where nothing is what it seems, but the customers are too bemused to know what’s happening. Glenn Beck may go toe to toe with the black helicopters and the Godless Bolsheviks, but Pain is making the mindset a spectacle. It takes a Disney to bring on Hannah Montana, so who’s doing the Disney for Klondike Barbie? Take a look at her $100,000 speaking contract. The document was not cooked up by some grifters out of Fairbanks.
Very soon Palin shows will have flashing lights, fireworks, and smoke. She’ll become the Mothership at appearances rapidly evolving into high-tech Nuremburg rallies, outstripping anything Mick Jagger tried, even at his most imperial. I get a whiff of mega-church and Michael Jackson madness, but quantum more baleful. Or maybe I’m insane.
No one in the media is asking close to the right questions. What is Palin? What entity is financing her seemingly random, Godzilla progress? And what does that entity want? Power? Profit? Control? Some think-tank nightmare of a psycho-civilized brainwashed oligarchy? All of the above? Keith Olbermann may call her an idiot, but never wonders why she’s really being inflicted on us.
We’re being force fed a phenomenon here, neighbours, and I’d really like to know why and to what real end? It’s not often – in fact never – that Doc40 quotes the National Journal, we make the exception when someone called Paul Starobin expends one hell of lot of words on a ploddingly devious, neocon quasi-intellectual case that Sarah Palin is…um…smarter than the average. But the average what? President? Sideshow? Popstar? What? Starobin doesn’t so much as ask. He talks in terms of the presidency but never quite nails it as the ultimate Palin goal.
“The bigger problem is that Palin, notwithstanding her deficiencies in knowledge, is not without a set of beliefs about the United States and its global mission. Convictions can come from books but also, and usually more powerfully, from life experience.”
“Harsh criticism of Palin is not necessarily "persecution," as her sympathizers maintain. Although some of the attacks are on the loony side -- the Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan has assiduously raised suspicions that Trig is her grandson, not her son, thus making Palin out to be a brazen liar and a complete phony, on top of being an ignoramus -- so it goes in American politics. Grover Cleveland, in the 1884 campaign, endured taunts that he had fathered a bastard son. Evidently, there is something about Palin that drives her critics crazy. But if they can pause for breath, they might take a lesson from history as to the wisdom of mocking a political figure for a supposed lack of intelligence. The caricature of Eisenhower as Donald Duck did not stop him from twice defeating, in Electoral College landslides, the cerebral Adlai Stevenson, the darling of the intellectual crowd. The Georgetown set's view of Reagan as "an amiable dunce" did not keep voters from giving the Gipper landslide wins over Jimmy Carter, a nuclear engineer known for his propensity to micromanage, in 1980, and Walter Mondale in 1984. And Bush won re-election over John Kerry in 2004 despite being pilloried as Cheney's puppet. Whereas Democrats tend to criticize GOP figures as dolts, Republicans tend to criticize prominent Democratic politicians, from Gore to Kerry to Obama, not as dummies but as reincarnated Stevensons -- elite, egghead types out of touch with mainstream America. As results suggest, this is not an exchange with an obvious payoff for Democrats. Palin's critics would be wise to marshal the best assault they can on the basis of her convictions -- on the substance of her vision of America and her policies for fulfilling that vision. This is unimpeachable ground for an inquest. So what if she scribbles crib notes on the palm of her hand: She's doing the scribbling, and the only really interesting question concerns what she is writing down.” Click here for the whole weird thing.
Click here for a pdf of the Palin contract
Click here for Frankie Laine
The secret word is Disconnect
Posted by Mick at 4/14/2010 08:14:00 PM
On air, but playing no music. Our pal MrMR alerted us to this fine example of where theocracy – even an outlaw pirate theocracy – gets you.
"MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least 14 radio stations here in the capital stopped broadcasting music on Tuesday, heeding an ultimatum by an Islamist insurgent group to stop playing songs or face “serious consequences.” The threat left radio stations scrambling to scrub even the briefest suggestion of music from their daily programming. “Bam! Bam! Bam!” — the sound of gunshots that Somalis in Mogadishu have grown accustomed to hearing — was played by Radio Shabelle on its news broadcast to replace the music it usually uses to introduce the segment. Similarly odd sounds — like the roar of an engine, a car horn, animal noises and the sound of water flowing — were used to introduce programs on some of the other radio stations that stopped playing music. “We have replaced the music of the early morning program with the sound of the rooster, replaced the news music with the sound of the firing bullet and the music of the night program with the sound of running horses,” said Osman Abdullahi Gure, the director of Radio Shabelle radio and television, one of the most influential stations in Mogadishu. “It was really a crush,” he said. “We haven’t had time to replace all the programs at one time; instead, we have chosen these sounds.” The insurgent group, Hizbul Islam, issued its ultimatum 10 days ago and set Tuesday as the deadline to comply, saying that music was “un-Islamic.” In other parts of the country, insurgents have taken over or shut down some radio stations. (Click here for more.)
Posted by Mick at 4/14/2010 08:04:00 PM
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Today seems to be turning a tad science fiction, but no more science fiction than The Washington Post hunting down the Parliament Funkadelic Mothership.
“It might be the most awe-inspiring stage prop in the history of American music and it belonged to funk legends Parliament-Funkadelic. Since the Mothership vanished in Prince George's County in 1982, rumors of its whereabouts have mutated into local lore: It burned in a fire. It was disassembled. It was stolen. Scrapped. Kidnapped. Thrown in the woods. Chained to a truck by a drug dealer and dragged to funk-knows-where. The band's most devoted followers say it flew off into space. This is a story about trying to find it. In concert, the Mothership was last spotted in Detroit in 1981, belching dry ice fumes and flashing kaleidoscopic light. An aluminum flying saucer, it was about 20 feet in diameter and decked out with dazzling lights. Below it stood a band of otherworldly eccentrics celebrating the hard-won freedoms of the civil rights movement in a freaky, fantastical display. Darryll Brooks remembers the last time he saw the Mothership. It wasn't in Detroit. It was in a junkyard in Seat Pleasant. Brooks last saw it there because Brooks is the guy who threw the Mothership away. It was the spring of 1982 and Parliament-Funkadelic frontman George Clinton and his bandmates were battling debt, drug addiction and each other. Brooks, who ran the group's Washington-based tour production company, says the only way he could pay the band's debts was to pawn its gear. With no place to store a spacecraft, he dumped the Mothership in a junkyard behind a Shell station on Martin Luther King Jr. Highway. But 28 years later, its final resting place remains a mystery. Here's where it isn't: In that Seat Pleasant junkyard.” (Click here for more.)
Click here for P-Funk
Click here for Beefheart
The secret word is Encounter
Posted by Mick at 4/13/2010 03:57:00 PM
Our good friend Hipspinster, who sent us this story, knows more about Doctor Who than is good for her. It also occurred to me that, in 1966, in the UK, acid was still legal, only a very few people knew about, and even fewer actually took it.
“Internal BBC memos have revealed how Doctor Who's regenerations were modelled on bad LSD trips. Documents published for the first time describe how the Doctor's occasional transformations were supposed to convey the "hell and dank horror" of the hallucinogenic drug. Regenerations were introduced in 1966 to allow programme bosses to replace the lead actor and write the new face into the show's plot. In an internal memo dating from that year, producers outlined how the original Doctor, William Hartnell, would be transformed for his successor Patrick Troughton. It also tackled the "horrifying experience" of the regeneration. "The metaphysical change ... is a horrifying experience - an experience in which he relives some of the most unendurable moments of his long life, including the galactic war. "It is as if he has had the LSD drug and instead of experiencing the kicks, he has the hell and dank horror which can be its effect," the memo says. Discussing his appearance, the document says: "His hair is wild and his clothes look rather worse for wear (this is a legacy from the metaphysical change which took place in the Tardis)." The memos are part of a batch of documents which have been published online today as part of the BBC Archive.”
Click here for Ron Grainer (not forgetting Delia Derbyshire)
Posted by Mick at 4/13/2010 03:49:00 PM
Posted by Mick at 4/13/2010 03:43:00 PM
Monday, April 12, 2010
The joke used to be that, if all the rock writers went on strike, no one would notice. In the next week or so, however, this may be put to the test.
“The following statement has been agreed by representatives of 200 freelance music journalists. Bauer music magazines Kerrang!, Mojo and Q are in a stand-off with 200 freelance writers and photographers over the company's attempt to impose a copyright-grabbing contract. This comes just eight weeks after Mojo became the UK's best-selling music magazine in ABCs which, according to Bauer UK chief executive Paul Keenan, proved that "investing in editorial content is a winning strategy". Bauer, a German-owned publisher which bought the music magazines and other consumer titles from Emap in December 2007, is seeking to impose new, draconian contracts on all contributors to Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. These contracts remove copyright and all financial, legal and moral rights from freelance writers and photographers while simultaneously requiring that the freelances provide Bauer with an unlimited lifetime financial indemnity in the event of legal action arising from their work. Among various other restrictive impositions, the contract further grants Bauer the right to sell stories or photos to whomever they wish without reference to the writers, photographers or the subjects of the work - and it even presses freelances to acquire licenses from their subjects for the company to use their image for its own profit as and when it wishes. In a covering letter delivered with the contracts, Bauer issues an ultimatum: after April 16, if the contributors do not sign, they will no longer be commissioned.” (Click here for more)
I have it easy in this matter, having not written anything substantial for Mojo in quite a while. I believe I’ve fallen from favor in those quarters and thus, without jeopardizing any near-future income, I can happily tell Bauer, “hell no, I don’t need your stinking contract. Fuck you and the Hanoverian you rode in on.” If I come up with a story their editors really want, I will negotiate my own deal and they will never ever get any of my raw research material, something else that Bauer has been contractually demanding.
But, you ask, as a true righteous Doc40 reader, how can I aid this worthy cause, even if I don’t give a damn about copyrights and residuals? I suppose, if they force the contract and the intimidated cut and run, you could stop reading the magazines. Not just as a political gesture, though. The quality will plummet. In such an atmosphere of drudgery, and corporate contempt for content, the writers who remain will not go the extra mile. No one is going to do some exhaustingly researched, months-of-work, story on (say) Syd Barrett, just to hand the whole package over to Bauer suits who don’t know what to do with it anyway. By pulling this legal larceny, Bauer revealed the basic slash-and-burn attitude of too many in the print industry. They only see their magazines as advertising platforms. In an infinity changing media world, their only strategy is to cut the cost of content. Ultimately it’s an insult to the reader. They’d print drivel by interns and press-kit photos if they thought they can get away with. The trouble is that, right now, they think they can.
Click here for Muddy
The secret word is Solidarity
Posted by Mick at 4/12/2010 03:58:00 PM
Last Thursday, under the headline “TRUST ME”, and with no illustration, Doc40 offered a link to what has become known as the Standing Cat video that was rapidly going viral and had to be seen to be believed. Boing Boing has filled us in on some background. French internet culture journalist Aude Baron has been digging into the origins of Standing Cat…
“The cat's name is Rocky. He is 2 years old and his owners are French (Daisy and Yann). Rocky used to stand up because he couldn't see the birds through the windows, and wanted to, so he stood up. Why does he raise his leg in the middle of the video? Probably because there was a bird outside, according to Daisy, or maybe a dog wandering around. Rocky hates dogs. He doesn't stand up too often any more because Daisy and Yann moved their stuff, so now Rocky can see everything without having to go bipedal. He's also able to sit on his bottom like a human (this cat is crazy).”
Click here if you don’t want to scroll back.
Posted by Mick at 4/12/2010 03:45:00 PM
Sunday, April 11, 2010
A Taiwanese airline, EVA Airways, has – or at least – had a special Hello Kitty airliner. The food looks lovely but highly insubstantial. And what is the pat of butter for? But in world of kittens without mouths, do I need to ask?
Posted by Mick at 4/11/2010 04:35:00 PM
And, although the inclination might be to lay in bed and complain, couldn’t Sunday be a day for a science project?
"Discover yet another way to make water explode with simple items from around the house. Chemistry is like cooking without ever being able to lick the bowl. Fortunately, all the chemistry needed in this case is the understanding that water is made up of two hydrogen atoms group-hugging an oxygen atom. Under the right conditions, the hydrogen atoms can be torn away, but they will leave their electrons with the oxygen, perhaps as a sentimental token of affection. Stripped of their electrons, the hydrogen atoms will be positive ions. The abandoned oxygen will be decidedly negative. Making an explosion will be all about causing this break-up, and harvesting the sweet, sweet ions that it yields. First, construct the proper container for the project. Since two different gases will be collected, two different outlets will be necessary. However, both outlets need to draw from a shared reservoir of water. It is also easily made from a couple of empty soda bottles." (Click here for more)
Click here for Zappa
Posted by Mick at 4/11/2010 04:24:00 PM
Could I image a world where everyone dressed like this? Unfortunately I could, and the thought is chilling either way you look at it. But maybe it would be better that a world where everyone is a waddling 600 pounds from a diet of corn syrup, flour, and animal fat.
Posted by Mick at 4/11/2010 04:16:00 PM