Archive for the ‘Pop Cult’ Category

Gil Scott-Heron – Me and the Devil (2010)

I recall the first time I ever encountered the work of Gil Scott-Heron, I was in my mid teens and I had just borrowed a load of records, among them his 1971 release, Pieces of a Man from the public library on a whim (I had never heard of him before). I did that a lot back then – borrow whole batches of vinyl records during the summer vacation and listen to albums all week long. When I got home and slipped Pieces of a Man onto the turntable for the first time, Gil Scott-Heron blew my mind, especially with spoken word and vocal jazz tracks like “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” and “Lady Day & John Coltrane” (all video clips below) to name just a few.
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Heavy Metal Britannia

Any metalheads in the audience? Oh there you are. Check out this wonderful BBC4 documentary on the rise (and fall?) of British Heavy Metal music, which aired on March 5th, 2010. Part One:

Continued: 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Now pardon me as I’m off to run to the hills in a slightly paranoid fashion, you sweet child in time you.

Some Nostalgia For The Old Folks…

As a long time fan of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the names of particular musicians have threaded through much of the music I have listened to and collected throughout the years. Names such as Andy Cahan, Lawrence ‘Stash’ Wagner, and Tom Leavey. Together and separately, through compositions and through associations (sometimes as members and as contributors) they formed links with such bands as Frank Zappa & The Mothers, Lowell George & The Factory, Little Feat, and Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, and Geronimo Black.
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Who IS The REAL Frank Zappa, Anyway?

Sometimes I am quite delighted to discover a fan-made Frank Zappa video like the one posted above. It reinforces my belief that the future of FZ’s public image is in the right hands: creative, open-minded, technology embracing hands. This is how I always envisioned Zappa’s legacy being spread.
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Defending Zappa?

In my youth, I felt like I had an easier time introducing my friends to Zappa. I used to simply play “Bobby Brown Goes Down,” because when you’re 14 or 15 years old, it’s the funniest thing you could possibly hear. It had swear words in it, he was making fun of the jocks we all collectively hated, and it was catchy as Hell! Similar cases could be made for other tunes like “Stick It Out,” “Catholic Girls,” and “Jewish Princess.”
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Asphalt Orchestra – Bang On A Can

Created by Bang On A Can, New York City’s Asphalt Orchestra is Bang On A Can’s street band. A 12 piece ensemble of brass and percussion, Asphalt Orchestra brings together “odd meters, virtuosic playing, and general tech-dorkery under the vibrant, visceral auspices of totally fun street performance” re-imagining the marching band, drawing their repertoire from rock, jazz and classical. Their self-titled debut (out this month via Cantaloupe) attempts covers of Frank Zappa, Björk, frenetic Balkan jazzer Goran Bregovic, tech-metal kings Meshuggah, and NYC’s own Tyondai Braxton of Battles.
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Frank Zappa – Sleeping In A Jar (Animated)

This piece of early animation set to “Sleeping In A Jar” excerpted from the Swedish TV program ‘Spotlight: Stockholm, Sweden‘ originally broadcast on December 4, 1971, begins and ends with Frank Zappa’s commentary on the possibility of the merging of music and animation mediums in advertising. Given the date, era and technology, it is truly amazing how much of a witting futurist Zappa was with MTV and music videos another ten years away, and the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web another ten years after that.

Bongo Fury – Shock Theatre, 1978

In the three short years since Zappa’s 1975 release of his mostly live album with Captain Beefheart and the Mothers at Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas on May 20th through 21st, 1975, it’s affect upon popular culture is astounding…

…Beware, Bongo Fury! Mwwwahhhhhahahaha!

RIP Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper has died at the age of 74 following a long battle with prostate cancer. Enter Frank Booth, stage left:

Tunes, Treats & Torrents – The Grandmothers

The first version of The Grandmothers came into being in 1980, formed by original Mothers of Invention and Soul Giants alumni Don Preston, Jimmy Carl Black and Bunk Gardner. From almost the start, the group was a thorn in Zappa‘s side (who’d probably thought he’d seen the last of his former bandmates when he forced them into the cold when he disbanded the original Mothers in 1970) when Zappa himself became the target of the new band’s on-stage satire and was apparently particularly upset over a dummy of himself that was being used in various provocative ways. Thus began a pattern of the Zappa family and its legal minions fighting with various members of the Grandmothers over the right to perform and record original Mothers of Invention compositions. At one point in the early ’90s, the Zappa estate quashed a new recording deal for the Grandmothers with a major label that was unfortunately not interested in working with the band unless it was allowed to use the name of the Mothers of Invention.
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