Thursday, December 17, 2009

CHAPPY CHANUKAH!

A good holiday card bears repeating! (But I'll post this one anyways.)

(2001)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

HAPPY FANGS-GIVING!

Better late than never. Okay, maybe in this case never would be better.

No turkeys were harmed in the making of this movie.

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LSD-LICIOUS!

GOBBLE-GOBBLE-HEY!

Blood Freak (1972) is available on DVD from Something Weird Video.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

FLASHBACKS: 5 QUESTIONS WITH ART HANSL

One thing that's really great about selling obscure movies here at Trash Palace is that every now and then I get contacted by someone that's actually been involved with one of them who is trying to track down a particular film. Recently I got a phone call from Art Hansl who a lot of people reading this blog may have seen as the lead in Mansion of Madness (1973) from Mexican director Juan López Moctezuma. While not as overtly horrific as Moctezuma's modern horror classic Alucarda (1978), Mansion of Madness (released to US theaters under the slightly more exploitative title Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon) is an original and offbeat telling of Edgar Allan Poe's story "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether". In 1975 Art also went on to appear in another Moctezuma film Mary, Mary Bloody Mary. Art's adventures while working with Moctezuma on these 2 movies are just a small part of his new biography book "FLASHBACKS" out now from Robertson Publishing.

Art, seated on the right, shooting a scene from the bizarre Mansion of Madness.

"FLASHBACKS" is a very entertaining book and I admire Art's cards-on-the-table approach to writing. Tracing his life from a young lad in boarding school, to his adventures in the army and his antics in the entertainment industry, Art's writing pulls no punches. Of course the latter part of the book dealing with his film career was the most fascinating to me; after Art moved to Italy in the mid-sixties and began acting with small parts in extravagant toothpaste ads which lead to him landing the starring role in a low-budget (and seemingly lost) Italian spy film Missione apocalisse (1966) to working with Mexican directors René Cardona, Jr. and Juan López Moctezuma. Art's tales of low-budget film making (not to mention his womanizing shenanigans) make for one entertaining read. And I will admit that while I might not always agree with his political views it is refreshing to at least be able to appreciate someone who says it straight from the heart and doesn't dance around things politely -- and that's an understatement (and a compliment)! I will always admire someone who has the balls to discuss past foibles unashamedly, be it drunken frolics on the set of some movie or trying to hookup with some actress behind the scenes. And Art's self-decpricating approach to his acting career is often laugh-out-loud funny.

Art has also written several well received thriller novels all about murder and corruption centered around places he knows quite well like Mexico and Hollywood.

I asked Art these 5 questions:

1. Horrorwitz: We were talking on the phone about how Juan Lopez Moctezuma's Mansion of Madness has quite a big cult following and I noticed in your book you likened it's popularity to that of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Knowing that there's quite a few people that consider it a "good" movie and genuinely enjoy it as an Arthouse type of horror film, did it seem any different or better to you when you watched it again recently on DVD?

Art: I've got to be truthful here. I ran across some positive reviews on the Internet and thought maybe I was wrong in my pessimistic assessment of about forty years ago (all that laughter I endured after the picture came out!). So I sent for the DVD and damned if I didn't think it was worse than I did before. That doesn't mean I'm not grateful that some people liked it; I'm delighted to think I could be wrong. Juan was a good friend, as I've told you -- an intelligent, erudite guy -- and he seriously thought he'd made masterpiece, comparable to Fellini's work. I hope he's right and I'm wrong, but I'd really have to reach to buy that.

2. Horrorwitz: A lot of people reading this blog would find it fascinating that in the '60s you ended up in Italy, dating a model who acted in Fellini and Mario Bava movies, and you ended up starring in an Italian spy film and so on. Being in Italy at that particular time and doing all the things you did seems like such a special era. When all this was happening did it seem that way to you?

Art: The sixties were indeed still "Dolce Vita" days in Rome. Mary Arden's Mario Bava film Blood and Black Lace (1964), which she had just finished when I met her, was the first real "slasher" movie made and it remains a cult favorite. Rome was full of American actors making Sword and Sandal epics, Spaghetti westerns etc. They were all veterans of American films; I lucked in as a novice and learned on the job. My first starring part was in Mission Apocalypse (1966) a James Bond rip-off. We went to Switzerland, Yugoslavia, North Africa. I got mobbed in Zagreb, saw slaves trains near Marrakesh and we always had a large ration of lovelies working with and around us. So, yeah, it was an exciting time, a special era. I did a picture with Ursula Andress, Kirk Douglas and quite a few Italian stars. Sadly, we get jaded and tend to take things for granted. We all played hard, assuming it would never end. As I see it, I had Rome's best days -- and she had mine.

3. Horrorwitz: It seems that, over the years, you've met a few con-men, gangsters and mysterious sorts of fellows, and several of your novels have been about these types of men. Did any of these experiences have an effect on how you approached your first starring role playing a spy?

Art: I hung with some pretty heavy types in Mexico and occasionally in Italy, it's true. I'd have to say their influence showed more when I aged out of heroic parts and got to play heavies which, by the way, is a lot more fun. I was the main heavy in Taste of the Savage (1971), with Cameron Mitchell and Isela Vega, among other films. Maybe a sneer becomes me more than a smile. And yes, those guys and gals found their places in my novels. I've always been influenced by the James Cain school of writing. Most of my lead characters are less than noble, to put it mildly. Understandable? Hopefully. Clean-cut heroes? Never!

4. Horrorwitz: In 1975 you made another movie with director Juan López Moctezuma, Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary, where you got to work with the legendary John Carradine of whom you said some nice things about in your book. Have there been any other actors you've worked with who have also left a lasting impression on you?

Art: Well, Ursula Andress, who was a beauty, left an impression. On the first night of the shoot (on Anyone Can Play, 1968 --Brian H.), Brett Halsey and I were having dinner with her. However, her current guy, Jean Pierre Belmondo, flew in and arrived in time for dessert, putting an end to any relationship along the line I had in mind. Charlie Bronson was cool and professional, not a guy you got that close to, but he had enormous presence even under-playing. I played the heavy in Taste of the Savage with Cameron Mitchell, who tried to re-write the script, making him a pain in the butt. I changed my dialogue back because he was putting in language no one used in the nineteenth century West, so we didn't get along that well. Cristina Ferrare was starring in her first picture -- Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary -- directed by Juan, with myself and John Carradine in the cast. She photographed like a dream but really blew up and nearly quit when the honey wagon didn't show up on location and she had to go behind a bush. Guess she forgot she was in Mexico. These, of course, are just a few among many of the characters I worked with.

5. Horrorwitz: Are there any new projects you have coming out in the future?

Art: I finished a book called "LUCIFER'S SHADOW", a dark mystery in my favorite genre. Now comes the hard part, which is to sell it. However, my memoir "FLASHBACKS" is out in hard cover, as well as an edgy little thriller called "ALL FOR THE MONEY' (Both books just released and available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon). Or they can be ordered from most book stores even if they aren't on the shelves yet. They may give "SHADOW" a boost. "FLASHBACKS" has had a lot of coast to coast radio time and some T.V. exposure, so we'll see.

~~~

As of this blog posting Art is just now undergoing some knee surgery so I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery!!

LINKS:


Art Hansl's filmography is at the Internet Movie Database at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0360616/

CHECK OUT THE ORIGINAL US THEATRICAL TRAILER FOR
MANSION OF MADNESS
COURTESY OF MONDO MACABRO DVD:

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

HALLOWEEN GIG TOMB-ORROW

If you happen to be in the Maryland or DC area (or like to travel) we urge you to proceed with caution if attending this event:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

THE 30 WACKIEST LOOKING MOVIE MONSTERS EVER! part 2 (1960 - 1967)

As threatened, er... promised, here is part 2 of the 30 wackiest, craziest, nuttiest... ah, you get the idea.


The giant rat-bat-spider from "Angry Red Planet" (1960, seen here in promotional tv release artwork)

Giant orifice eyeball tentacle thingy from "Battle Beyond The Sun" (1960)

Tall insect... erm... carrot creature also from "Battle Beyond The Sun" (1960)

Bonus photo: The 2 creatures do battle from "Battle Beyond The Sun" (1960)

Martians from "The Three Stooges In Orbit" (1962)

Bat-man monster from the Mexican movie "Aventura al centro de la tierra" ("Adventure in the Center of the Earth", 1965)

Radioactive zombie monster from "The Horror of Party Beach" (1965)

Martian leader from "The Wizard of Mars" (1965)

The same creature above was used again in the movie "Space Probe Taurus" (aka "Space Monster", 1965)

Oddbod and Oddbod, Jr. from "Carry On Screaming!" (1966)

King Kong from the Japanese movie "King Kong Escapes" ("Kingu Kongu no gyakushû", 1967)

STAY TUNED FOR (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?) PART 3!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

THE 30 WACKIEST LOOKING MOVIE MONSTERS EVER! part 1 (1910 - 1960)

As promised, here they be! I've racked my brain to bring you the kookiest, nuttiest Things, Its and Blobs you've ever seen! Presented in chronological order (more or less), here is part 1 of the 30 most insane looking creatures ever to grace the silver screen. This is not to say there aren't many more, but these are the ones I thought to be the most bizarre (or at least the ones that popped into my noggin first). I've tried my best to refrain from making any extraneous comments about these guys and let YOU be the judge! (In most cases you can enlarge the photo by clicking on the picture.)


Frankenstein's monster from Thomas Edison's production of "Frankenstein" (1910)

Martian leader of "Invaders From Mars" (1953)

Metaluna Mutant from "This Island Earth" (1955)

Beulah the Venusian from "It Conquered the World" (1956)

"The Giant Claw" (1957)

Saucer Men from "Invasion of the Saucer Men" (1957)

Tagual, the smart but evil brainhead creature from "La Nave de los Monstruos" ("The Ship of Monsters", 1960)

Uk, the dumb but evil cyclops also from "La Nave de los Monstruos" ("The Ship of Monsters", 1960). Both he and his above friend would make a return of sorts (or at least their costumes would) in 1970's "Santo and Blue Demon vs. the Monsters".

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2!

Friday, October 23, 2009

TUNE OF THE MOMENT: "DISCO DUCK" EN FRANÇAIS


Some of you may remember, or have at least heard of, "Disco Duck", that annoying hit record from the 1970s that combined the worst of both worlds: Disco music and an intelligible cartoon duck voice. Well now, for my French friends (all 3 of them), I am proud to present this "lost" (???) novelty single by Paul Vincent. A French language cover version of "Disco Duck". Bonne courage!

Certains d'entre vous souvenez mai, ou avoir au moins entendu parler de "Disco Duck", ce dossier a frappé ennuyeux des années 1970 qui combine le pire des deux mondes: la musique disco et une voix intelligible cartoon canard. Eh bien maintenant, pour mes amis français (tous les 3 d'entre eux), je suis fier de présenter ce "perdu" (???) seule nouveauté par Paul Vincent. Une langue françaises couvrent version de "Disco Duck". Bonne courage!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

COMING SOON IN THIS SPOT

Trying to get my Blog Mojo (Blojo?) back in the groove: A new series entitled "5 Questions" begins with actor Art Hansl, author and star of several interesting '60s and '70s flicks including Juan López Moctezuma's "Mansion of Madness"; Also forthcoming is a feature on "The 48 Hour Technicolor Dream" documentaries, movies my parents took me to see that they probably shouldn't have, and, for Halloween, the world's most insane looking movie monsters! Muaaa-ha-haaa! In the meantime here is an interesting posed photo of Klaus Kinski I came across of him kissing his wife's derriere entitled "Embrassant sa femme" ("Kissing His Wife").

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

THE HORROR, THE HORROR... REALM, THAT IS!

This weekend, from Friday September 18th to Sunday September 20th, Trash Palace will be at the Horror Realm convention in Pittsburgh South, Pennsylvania! Horror Realm is presented by the same freaky folks that brought you Zombiefest in 2007 and 2008, the cast and crew of "The It's Alive Show". I'll have a table there all weekend selling lotsa' rare movies on DVD and other ghoulish goodies! Also coming along with me is the Trash Palace pooch Bella Buttons with her Box Of Bargains! WOW! Convention guests include Ken Foree from "Dawn of the Dead" (1979), "The Candyman" himself Tony Todd, and David Naughton, star of "American Werewolf in London"! Also appearing is Jeff Lieberman director of "Squirm" and "Blue Sunshine", several zombie actors from the original 1979 "Dawn of the Dead" and many more actors, authors and artists! There will be several cool contests, guest panels, film screenings and a poolside party on Saturday night featuring a live performance by the terror-ific sounds of The Devilz In The Detailz!

Check out the Horror Realm website for the full guest list and other details at http://www.horrorrealmcon.com/ .

If you're in the Pittsburgh area this weekend come on by and say HELL-OH! to Horrorwitz!

Bella Buttons bravely halts the terrifying attack of a bloodthirsty Fulci-esque zombie at Zombiefest in 2007!

Friday, August 28, 2009

MONTEREY POP: THE THINKING HIPPIE'S WOODSTOCK

With all the hubbub over the 40 year anniversary of Woodstock and this weekend's release of Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock" movie, I thought I'd throw up a little blurb about a sometimes ignored concert event that, to me, was just as important and MUCH more entertaining; The Monterey International Pop Festival held June 16th to 18th, 1968. The 3 day festival, the first of it's kind, laid the blueprints for the vastly inferior (in my opinion) Woodstock festival. The diverse lineup exposed many "new" talents who would go on to great success. The event was shot and released as a feature film, directed by the talented D. A. Pennebaker. Although not every act that performed made it into the final cut, the ones that did were pretty amazing and, in some cases, at their peak performance-wise: Big Brother featuring "recent discovery" Janis Joplin, a "pre-Tommy" The Who still in their snotty Mod mode, Otis Redding backed up by Booker T and the MGs (it don't get better than that, baby!), Jimi Hendrix, Hugh Masekela, Ravi Shanker introducing the west to sitar music, and others. Around 1976, when I was a little 11 year old snot-nose, I had the good fortune of taking a music class in middle school who's teacher, although a bit of a hot-head, was fairly hip. He'd often show us movies like this one that would have a resounding effect on me later in life. The thing that stuck with me the most about the Monterey Pop movie was the performance by The Who which ends in total destruction of their amplifiers, drums, guitars, etc.. I had never seen anything quite like it! For a 1968 "Love festival" type of event this was pretty eye opening to say the least!

"This is where it all ends."

Nico and Brian Jones digging the grooves.

Otis Redding seemed to steal the show and the star-studded audience was simply blown away! A few years later when I viewed the Woodstock movie I was pretty let down. To me it seemed overly long, self-indulgent and just plain boring a lot of the time. The Who's performance at Woodstock for instance, which they've acknowledged was not among their best, seemed bland and a bit pretentious by comparison, like they'd become "important" rock mega-stars all of the sudden. I suppose this is all just a matter of opinion. But if you have any interest in music and pop culture, you should really check out the Criterion label's 3 disc DVD box set with book that came out a couple of years back. It presents the original feature plus the full sets by Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding and unused band footage, unseen until this DVD release, which includes several of the groups that didn't make it into the feature film.

Check out the original theatrical trailer below! (Look for The Monkees' Mickey Dolenz in the audience.):

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TUNE OF THE MOMENT: "NEEDLE CHILL" by SEXY SADIE


In 1996 Date Bait, one of the 2 bands I was in at the time, performed at the Chiller Theatre convention in New Jersey. 2 of the guests that weekend were director Jess Franco and his actress wife Lina Romay. I was already a big fan of theirs but this was the time that I first actually got to meet them. Also performing that weekend were the bands Killer Barbies and Sexy Sadie. Not long after that, as I started getting involved with Jess Franco via the Brooklyn based One Shot Productions, I was sent some different CDs by various Spanish bands whom at that time were on the Spanish indie label Subterfuge Records. Subterfuge had released the soundtrack for Franco's "Killer Barbies" movie on CD and LP and eventually would go on to release the "Tender Flesh" soundtrack on CD. "Killer Barbies", Franco's horror-punk film starring the female-lead Ramones-esque band of the same name, also included music by Sexy Sadie. At the time, I hadn't paid much attention to Sexy Sadie's 2 tracks on the "Killer Barbies" soundtrack, I just sort of wrote them off as an okay Nirvana clone. In fact the night we had performed with them I was doubling over from the flu and didn't really know what was going on so pretty much I didn't remember what they sounded like. But later, the more I listened to the 2 full length CDs they had out at the time, the more they grew on me and I could tell they really had their own special thing going on and were not a copycat band at all. By their second CD the band was finding it's own sound even more than it's debut. But it was their third full-lengther, the 1998 release "It's Beautiful, it's Love", that really knocked me out. Overall they had adopted a more pop sound although with some very heavy bursts of distorted guitar mixed in. The general tone of the songs is what I would term "bitter-sweet", quite beautiful indeed but with a strong sad undercurrent.

Those couple of years, late 1996 to early 2000, was a great time for me as I was just getting more and more involved with One Shot Productions and Franco and everything just kind of melded together wonderfully. Discovering the old Jess Franco movies as they'd start to turn up more and more on VHS, the '60s and '70s soundtracks being released on CD, these groups and the other new bands from Spain I had never heard before, getting to travel to Spain to start working with Jess... the music, the movies... everything just really came together in a kind of groovy synchronicity. And this particular Sexy Sadie CD is one of the releases that really brings all that back for me.

Sexy Sadie released several other CDs later on, some singles, a live DVD and several hits / rarities collections. It seems they became rather quite popular in Spain before eventually breaking up in 2006. But outside of Spain, and certainly in the USA, it seems as though not many people have heard of them. Apparently at some point between their second CD and this one a member of the group reportedly suffered a heroin overdose and, from what I heard, pretty much had to learn to speak again. The band continued on without him and so I have always imagined that the song "Needle Chill", from this CD, was possibly written about the unfortunate guy although I could be totally wrong about that. Sexy Sadie, like a lot of the Spanish bands on Subterfuge, sing in a kind of broken English that is quite endearing. (Certainly their English is a LOT better than my Spanish though!) This track is one of the faster tunes on the CD, which is not to suggest that the other tracks are any less intense. In fact "It's Beautiful..." is such an overall solid release, there is not 1 weak song on it. So give a listen and discover a new old group that the US seems to have criminally ignored.


LINKS:
Sexy Sadie's MySpace Page is at http://www.myspace.com/translatesexysadie
Subterfuge Records website is at http://www.subterfuge.com/

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

TUNE OF THE MOMENT: "WITCH-A-MA-JIG SONG" by SMILIN' ED MCCONNELL AND HIS BUSTER BROWN GANG


Back in the 1940s Capitol records released an entertaining series of 10-inch 78 rpm records for kids. Some were singles with one song or skit on each side while others were released in booked sets of 3 records. When I was a kid I inherited a few of these from my parents including a nifty 3 record set featuring Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig (in Africa!) and their pals. They were all expertly voiced by Mel Blanc with an amazing orchestrated score and sound effects. They really put a lot of work into these "kids" records and I was lucky my parents gave this to me along with a few others. One Capitol kids' 78 I did not receive was "The Witch-A-Ma-Jig Song" recorded by Smilin' Ed McConnell and his Buster Brown Gang. If they had given me this record I probably would've had nightmares for weeks. Smilin' Ed was a radio personality who, amongst other things, had a kids program that reportedly ran from 1944 to 1953 that was sponsored by Buster Brown Shoes. One of his characters was Froggy the Gremlin whom you may have heard of. There's something truly demonic sounding about Froggy's grumbly throat-cancer-esque voice that gives me the willies! In any case, Ed, Froggy and the whole gang eventually ended up with a television series that was later run by Andy Devine. Somewhere along the way the catch phrase "Pluck my magic twanger" was born. As for the record, it speaks for itself.

You can also play the record on your Media Player by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TUNE OF THE MOMENT: "DOUBLE BUBBLE BATH" by THE JOE RENÉ COMPLEX


Our first tune is a poppy little instrumental ditty, presumably from 1969 or 1970, the full title of which reads "Double Bubble Bath (Music To Read Page 311 By)". It's taken from a way-cool LP called "Music To Read The Pretenders By" by The Joe René Complex on the Philips label. The entire album is a thoroughly good listen if you are into groovy pop music. Another standout track, a funky number called "Rank Out", has shown up on a few other blogs, so I present to you this bouncy more easy-going but just as cool number. Laden with rich horn harmonies, there is a slightly complex middle part that reminds me of some of Frank Zappa's jazzier instrumental works. I dunno what (or who) was going down on page 311, but someone was having a swingin' time! Overall "Music..." is an interesting concept LP, a sort of fake soundtrack for the racy novel that was rather popular at the time. I myself have never read "The Pretenders" but after seeing some of the other song titles on this LP ("Menage A Tois", "Mirror On A Mexican Ceiling") I may have to track it down!

Joe René
According to the liner notes Joe René was born in Holland in 1924 and was a trumpet player and band arranger but was forced to go into hiding as his career was "interrupted by Mr. A. Hitler"! After the war he became a musical director for the US Army. In 1948 he came to the US and went into arranging and producing big bands for radio, tv and recording. If soundtrack-esque pop music circa the late '60s is your thang, track down a copy of this swinging LP and snag it! Mr. René, you cool cat you, I hereby give you and this record the official Trash Palace 'Groovy Factor' seal of approval! Alright.... now click it and dig it!


If the player above doesn't show in your browser you can also play the track on your Windows Media Player by clicking here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

HOLY PROCRASTINATION, BATMAN!

Sorry, kiddies. I been away from de blog for an embarrassingly long time. However my Blogging Mojo doth returneth and I've been working on several new articles, features and what not that shall be appearing as soon as I finish getting my shithe together. So in the upcoming weeks look for new blogs including: a feature on "The 48 Hour Technicolor Dream" documentaries, movies my parents took me to see that they probably shouldn't have, the world's most insane looking movie monsters, and "Tune of the Moment" - a new feature bringing you some lost, obscure and / or criminally ignored songs from the Trash Palace record archives!

In the meantime, here's another obligatory chimp photo to tide you over.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"SPIN ALONG WITH MITCH" ROCKS THE INTERNET!

Brian Horrorwitz (left) and rock-n-roll record guru Gary Mitchell (right) spinning it raw and wild!
As was threatened, here is the complete 1 hour webcast from a few days ago, April 15th, 2009, of "Sing Along With Mitch"! (see previous blog entry) Yes, it was only appropriate that coming upon Zero Hour of the tax deadline was the time this 60 minutes of aural decadence was foisted upon the unsuspecting audience. Why? Because, if you listen to this entire thing, you WILL pay for it, baby! Muaaaah-ha-haaaa! Well, Gary said I could supply the oldies records and play whatever I wanted to and he weren't lyin'! We filled up the 1 hour with some choice 50s and 60s RAWk-n-roll and some wiiiild r&b! Gary grilled me on my shady past, Russ Meyer and The Cramps. The 1 hour just seemed to fly by way too fast. Maybe they'll have me back again some day! (hint-hint!) The show was a real blast for me personally and Gary was the host with the most! Thanx Gary!! And a big thanx also to studio tech wizard Lee Michael Demsey, an excellent dj in his own rite, who did a top notch job! Also wanna send a super-squeezy extra-trashy hug to everyone who listened and chimed in with their 2 cents worth on the live chatroom thingy! Was it my imagination or did the music seem to heat things up a bit in there? By the end it seemed like all hell was breaking loose! Topshelfoldies.com, YOU ROCK!

Horrorwitz stands in awe at the dazzling handiwork of wax flipper extraordinaire Lee Michael Demsey!

You can listen to the entire show here:

If you prefer to play the show from your Media Player click here.

Or you can download the program by right clicking here and saving the file to your hard drive.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

SPINNING THE TRASH WAX ON "TOP SHELF OLDIES" WITH MITCHELL AND HORRORWITZ!

This Wednesday night, April 15th, from 9pm to 10pm (East Coast time) I will be a guest on the online oldies music program "Spin Along With Mitch"! Hosted by obscure oldies wizard Gary Mitchell, "Spin..." is one of many amazing rock-n-roll music show broadcasts heard every night on the web station Top Shelf Oldies, a great place to hear some obscure rock, doowop, r&b, etc.. Gary had asked me to be a guest for 1 hour and said I could provide all the music! Nyaaa ha-haaa! I've dug deep into the Trash Palace 45 and LP archives to bring you a smattering of wicked wax that'll knock you on your keester, baby! So if you're into wild rock-n-roll and r&b please check it out. After the show is broadcast (or whatever they call these online things... "webcast"?) I will be posting the entire program here on this blog for your listening seizure. Er... pleasure! In addition to the rare rockin' records we'll be throwin' at ya Gary will also be throwing a few questions at me about bands I've played in and who knows what the hell else. One music set will be a tribute to Lux and the Cramps, plus a few surprises! And who the hell doesn't like surprises, eh? And, if you are so inclined, you can also take part in the live chat room that's happenin' during the show to voice compliments / complaints / death threats / marriage proposals / etc. Check out their website at http://www.topshelfoldies.com/ , click on one of the "Listen Here" links using your choice of program and the streamin' steamin' sounds of "Spin Along With Mitch" (and Horrorwitz) will fill the room! Or, check back at this spot at a later date and listen to the show after the webcast. Either way it'll rock your day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

VAMPYROS COMPLETOS

My close friend Dr. Penis has recently posted a blog about the 1996 "3 Films By Jess Franco" CD release, it's original 1969 source LPs and the subsequent re-releases under the "Vampyros Lesbos" title. Unfortunately the complete version of the CD featuring all of the music has been out of circulation for many years now. But if you check out the article over at his Purple Zombie DJ blog you can download it there for free! This psyche-pop music composed and released on 2 LPs in Germany circa 1969 by Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab was a surprise indie hit when re-released on LP and CD in 1996 and pretty much then jump-started the entire Euro-trash soundtrack / pop / lounge music craze! I myself remember being given a cassette of this back then by my buddy Joe Johnson (creator of the ahead-of-it's-time way-cool fanzine "3:AM"). At first listen I didn't really know how to take it. It had rock elements but wasn't really rock. There was a psychedelic / experimental side to it but then it had a pop sound as well. After 2 or 3 listenings I was hooked! It became one of my fave soundtracks ever and I never get tired of listening to it. I remember tracking down fuzzy looking VHS bootlegs of the 3 Jess Franco German movies that the music was used for ("She Killed in Ecstasy", "Vampyros Lesbos" and "The Devil Came From Akasava"). None of these movies were subtitled and despite my lack of understanding most of the German dialogue I probably watched those tapes 10 times each! A big part of the appeal was finally seeing / hearing how the music was used in each film. Franco was always pretty progressive when it came to sometimes mixing in modern music with his movie scores. Somehow using these prog-ish and at the time modern sounds worked for those movies and set a whole new flavor to the way Euro-exploitation movies sounded. Franco had already used music by Manfred Mann in his "Venus In Furs" (aka "Paroxismus", 1970) and would go on to direct "Killer Barbys" (1996), a gothic horror flick featuring music by and starring the titular Spanish garage punkers of the same name, as well as "Tender Flesh" (1997) which featured music by the heavily under rated Spanish rock band Sexy Sadie. Not to mention "Vampire Blues" which was scored by my band The Ubangis. "Vampire Blues", like "Vampyros Lesbos", was another lesbian re-telling of the Dracula story. Only Jess Franco could have come up with the idea of telling these kinds of stories using rock music as a sonic backdrop!

If you have any interest in movie soundtracks, psychedelia, strange pop music, Jess Franco or Euro-trash films then the original complete "3 Films by Jess Franco" CD is required listening folks! GO GET IT NOW while you can!

LINKS:
The Purple Zombie DJ blog is at http://purplezombiedj.blogspot.com/
The
"3 Films by Jess Franco" ("Vampyros Lesbos") article is at http://purplezombiedj.blogspot.com/2009/02/3-films-by-jess-franco-vampyros-lesbos.html

Monday, March 9, 2009

THE IMPORTANCE OF LUX INTERIOR, IVY RORSCHACH AND THE CRAMPS

ILLUSTRATION BY JENNY DAYTON

This past month I have been trying to sort things out, trying to find the words to say, trying to figure it out. Lux's sudden death threw me into a saddened daze that I haven't quite completely recovered from yet. I had just been emailing with Lux and having him gone all of the sudden was hard to grasp. I talked to friends and surfed the web looking for answers, seeing what other people had to say. And I ended up on the official Cramps website where a statement is posted about Lux's passing along with a link to Lux's favorite charity the Best Friends Animal Society. And, in the middle of the page, a link to a guestbook, "Lux's Guestbook" as it's called, where already over 4,600 people have left their messages of praise and condolence. So many people have written so many incredible, beautiful things on there. And while reading some of these I noticed something; besides the fan adulation that many of us have for The Cramps, I couldn't help but also notice the large number of people that had expressed how influential the band was in pointing them towards other older bands and artists, in changing their very lives. Here is a quote from a guy in Germany: "Back in '87...the Cramps, the Goo Goo Muck and the Human Fly unexpectedly blasted my mind and changed my view on music itself." A man in the USA wrote "You changed my life and made me realize it was okay to be different and follow your heart." And so you get the idea. And as I was reading through "Lux's Guestbook" I realized that of all the bands in contemporary music history, the Cramps are probably the single most influential group I know of when it comes to turning people on to other's music! And I believe, in looking back to my younger years, that I am one of those people that got infected by Lux & Ivy's rock-n-roll disease as well. Allow me to 'splain...

PAINTING BY GAYTHA WATLEY

I myself first heard the Cramps in 1978 whilst turning the radio dial passing through different stations at random and happen to accidentally stumble upon the song "Human Fly" on station WGTB. I didn't know quite what to make of it! I was already fairly familiar with Elvis and some other classic "oldies" artists that you'd usually hear on the radio and I could hear a kind of influence. But this... this was a new kind of beast altogether! It sounded old AND new. I mean, it had an Elvis-ish feel to it but a kind of twisted subverted freaked-out messed-up Elvis-gone-off-his-meds version of Elvis' music. Jerry Lee Lewis played at the wrong speed whilst going off his nut... something very new to my ears and yet with that sense of "oldies" familiarity as well. Then in 1980 my buddy Mike loaned me his "Songs the Lord Taught Us" LP and, for me, that was all she wrote. And as I started buying Cramps records little did I initially realize I was also listening to songs written by The Sonics, Hasil Adkins, Ronnie Dawson, Roy Orbison, The Trashmen and on and on. Listening to a Cramps album was like experiencing a kind of subliminal history lesson of cool fucked-up music even though you didn't realize it at the time. For many of us this was the first time we'd hear songs by these artists. I mean it wasn't like there were many other (if any other) bands running around performing obscure covers of tunes like "Primitive" by The Groupies, songs often only ever released on records that were way obscure and out-of-print. It wasn't like you'd hear a song such as "Strychnine" by The Sonics on any of the FM stations in between whatever bullshit top 40 crap they were spinning at the time. The Cramps, by forming their group out of their love for obscure, raw rock-n-roll music, inadvertently ended up exposing thousands of fans world wide to songs, artists, styles, groups and even movies that were Lux and Ivy's original inspiration for wanting to perform in the first place. I'll bet quite a few people had never seen "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" when The Cramps first performed and recorded the theme song live but by now probably many that heard it first from them have seen the flick. Would we know "Goo Goo Muck" by Ronnie Cook & Gaylads, "Love Me" by The Phantom or "She Said" by Hasil Adkins if it weren't for them? (Adkins who, ironically, would have his career resurrected via ex-Cramps drummer Miriam Linna's record label Norton, co-owned and managed with her husband Billy Miller, both founders of the amazing band The A-Bones.) Quite probably we would not know those slabs of wax were not it for The Cramps covers. And who can say how many people went and formed new bands after being exposed to The Cramps' music? Yes, the Cramps tied it all together... the obscure rockabilly, the rare garage, the blues, the b-movie themes... the trashy horror, the sexual innuendos... tied it all together in one big garbage bag, swallowed it whole, and barfed it back in our faces! I don't know if they were consciously trying to hip people to this stuff necessarily, but hipped they did and, as far as I can tell, they have done so more than any other band ever. Besides creating their own new sound and lyric style, besides releasing classic records and the many wild live shows they've performed, the Cramps have also given us their "disease"; they've passed along their love for the raw, early rock-n-roll sounds that, like The Cramps own music, continue to inspire today. Their love for the raw, the primitive,... that shit's the real deal motherfuckers! "Human Fly" and all the other great Cramps records ever since sound as fresh to me as the first day I heard them. To me their music will never get old and those sounds will keep Lux, Ivy and all of the other Cramps alive forever!

In closing I wanna say a few final things without getting too mushy. I am as big a Cramps fan as anybody. We all know Lux the wildman as we've seen onstage. The stripping, slithering, stage-humping amp climber,... the groaning, gurgling mic fellator... But I want to tell you about another side. Folks, this is not just some bullshit "we love you because you're dead" spiel. I've known Lux & Ivy for many years, but never really knew him well until these past several. I am not trying to name drop nor am I trying to sweeten things up as far as what I feel about him because he has passed away. I am telling you, straight up, Lux was a very sweet, smart, encouraging, caring and humble person with a truly savage wit. The fact that his favorite charity is what it is (Best Friends Animal Society) should give you a clue about the kind of person he was. Without getting overly sentimental I will leave it at that. Beyond the wildness of The Cramps which was also a very real side of Lux, he was too, as I knew him these final years, just a really decent guy who left us way too fucking soon. Lux was a one of a kind. I'll miss you buddy.

R.I.P. LUX INTERIOR!
KEEP ON ROCKING IVY!
LONG LIVE THE CRAMPS!

video

Thanx to Jenny Dayton and Gaytha Watley for allowing me to post their artwork.

LINKS: The
Official Cramps Website is at http://www.thecramps.com/
Lux's Guestbook is at http://www.ultraguest.com/sign/1233878285
Best Friends Animal Society is at http://www.bestfriends.org/
Listen to Lux's Purple Knif Radio Show at http://purplezombiedj.blogspot.com/2009/02/knif-of-living-dead.html
Bryan Gregory remembered by Ivy in LA Weekly at http://www.laweekly.com/2001-01-25/music/the-way-he-walked
Artist
Jenny Dayton's website is at http://www.dandygelatine.com
Artist Gaytha Watley's website is at http://gaytha-gaytha.blogspot.com/
The Norton Records website is at http://www.nortonrecords.com/

Saturday, February 7, 2009

KNIF OF THE LIVING DEAD: DIG LUX'S RADIO SHOW AND LIFT YOUR SPIRITS!


Roll on, rock on, yeah now bop, yeah rock on
Well, there's still a lot of rhythm in these rockin' bones

I wanna leave a happy memory when I go
I wanna leave something to let the whole world know
That the rock 'n' roll daddy has done past on
But his bones keep rockin' long after I'm gone

Roll on, rock on, yeah now bop, yeah rock on
Well, there's still a lot of rhythm in these rockin' bones

Well when I die, buried six foot deep
With a rock 'n' roll record at my feet
A phonograph needle in my hand
I'm gonna rock my way right out of this land

Roll on, rock on, yeah now bop, yeah rock on
Well, there's still a lot of rhythm in these rockin' bones

Well, when I die don't bury me at all
Just a-hang my bones up on the wall
Beneath these bones let these words be seen:
"The running gears of a boppin' machine"

Roll on, rock on, yeah now bop, yeah rock on
Well, there's still a lot of rhythm in these rockin' bones
Still a lot of rhythm in these rockin' bones
Still a lot of rhythm in these rockin' bones
Still a lot of rhythm in these rockin' bones
~Ronnie Dawson, 1959

I couldn't have said it better than Ronnie Dawson has. But from me more needs to be said. And much more WILL be said soon enuff! But in the meantime I'll say this: The sudden death of Lux Interior has his friends and fans in shock. I am still in a stunned disbelief (writing this on little sleep so pardon the grammer). Truth be told, I haven't felt this sad in years. This is a tough one, folks. But Lux and The Cramps, despite their groundbreakingly ghoulish tunes and horror-filled lyrics, were really all about life; Livin' it up and tearin' it up! I knew Lux and I can tell you he wouldn't want people sitting around crying over him like many of us have been doing all this week. Nope, he'd want you rockin'-out in his memory! So if you are feeling as depressed and numb as I have been, fear not! A little feelgood medicine has just arrived: My mysterious friend Dr. Penis aka The Purple Zombie DJ has posted the entire "Purple Knif Radio Show" presented by Lux Interior (aka The Purple Knif) circa July of 1984. So turn that frown upside-down, my chillun! Check out the link below for Dr. P's blog, download the show and dig it!
LINKS: