Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Hey Boy!"

Often it seems I escape the horrors of today by escaping into the horrors of yesterday.  And not the personal yesterday, but the imagined one of days beyond my natal year.  As a youngster, imagination propelled me into a future yet to come.  But as a frightened oldster, it is sometimes easier to get one's bearing in the future arrived, by measuring it to an historic and romanticized past.  And being a transplanted Westerner, that can often encompass a Wild, Wild West.
I was never overawed by the Western genre.  Its domain always seemed too primitive, lowbrow, violent and counter productive.  Westerns were the province of land barons and macho men.  It was not surprising to find Western actors were mostly Republicans.  War wagons and dead injuns.  Texas 1863 didn't change much a hundred years later.  Brains gunned down in the street.  A Nightmare on Elm Street.
So as a child, science fiction, fantasy, gothic horror, comedy and girls predominated.  War and Westerns came in last, though they did make an appearance now and then.  As mentioned somewhere here, I read the DC war comics as a kid.  OUR ARMY AT WAR.  G.I. COMBAT.  STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES and those types.  The RAT-A-TAT visuals probably caught my attention.  I remember trying to draw those kind of pictures in elementary school.  Bullets flying everywhere, with no understanding of the consequences.  Black and white obedience.  Naïve and obedient.  Like John McCain or Ben Carson.
I can't remember any real overwhelming enthusiasm for Westerns as a kid.  I know I owned a Hopalong Cassidy red metal radio.  Why?  I'm not sure.  Somewhere I enjoyed HAVE GUN - WILL TRAVEL.  I think I had a Paladin gun holster set.  I remember cap guns.  One set had these plastic bullet tips that actually fired off with the caps blasting on the ends of the casings.  I'm surprised more eyes were not taken out with those.
THE LONE RANGER didn't do much for me.  In fact, I hated that reruns of the show dominated Saturday morning TV.  Time that could have been spent running SPACE PATROL or other sci-fi films.  SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE came on frequently, but I often found that the opening of spinning laboratory equipment was more exciting than the shows themselves.  Give me RODAN blowing away a papier-mâché Tokyo any day.  That caught the parents attention.
ZORRO pulled me in, I think.  I remember playing a 45 record of the theme more than the actual shows.  My turntable speed was off, but I played it to death.  Still, over the years, I find the world of Don Diego de la Vega haunts me in subtle ways.  It could do a lot with the mythos of living in California.  Especially my 28 years being in Santa Barbara.  For that entire time, my home was walking distance from the Mission.  Red tile roofs, tiled floors, wrought iron railings and adobe.  This was the land of Zorro.

Yet while living there, these trappings were maybe too close, too familiar and easy targets for my cynical wit.  One has to get out of town to appreciate the view.  It is easier now to finish reading a book like Isabel Allende's take on ZORRO.  "Go West, young man!"  Not so young, but more comfortable to escape into that mythic Spanish California, that untamed West, the Spirit of '49, a railroad built by the Chinese.  "Wire Paladin, San Francisco."

So Westerns are like a certain food, Mexican more often than not.  Tasty when you have it.  Those taste buds may cause a Summer's viewing of all 34 episodes of YANCY DERRINGER, a HAVE GUN - WILL TRAVEL imitation, set primarily in New Orleans.  Or buying sets of ZORRO comics from different periods.  Or watching a random episode of CIMMARON STRIP with my old tie cutting buddy, Stuart Whitman.  Or watching B-movie westerns on Hugh Tube.  If you look beyond the sepia tones, you can compare the villains of old with those today.  DEADWOOD is more modern than you know.
Recently come into my possession has been a collection of autographed photos from Western actors of the '40s and '50s.  Dick Foran (who made thrillers and horror movies as well) to Roy Rogers. 

I still have a fondness for Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH, except for the fact that he was stark raving mad and had no respect for living creatures.  John Wayne was not my cowboy hero.  Obviously, he was an uber conservative, who ironically contracted cancer from nuclear tests in Utah.  I wish him no ill will.  The symbol of what he was supposed to be and what he really was has not escaped me.  When he was sick and paid his respect to incoming liberal President Jimmy Carter, I thought that had dignity.  Jimmy Stewart was also a Reagan Republican and buddy, but I liked more of his films.  His radio program, THE SIX SHOOTER, was one of the best Westerns on the wireless.  So was John Dehner in the airwave version of HAVE GUN - WILL TRAVEL and a show called FRONTIER GENTLEMAN.  I also spent many a late night listening to SGT. PRESTON OF THE YUKON.
Probably my most treasured radio premium is a compass and magnifying glass from TOM MIX.  Gold, with the Ralston Purina logo branded on the back, it belonged to my Mother in the '30s.
If we are talking radio, can we mention SPACE PIRATE RADIO and its love for the Western genre?  A ZORRO parody (lovingly, of course) was a regular feature on the show, late '80s, early '90s.  And an original character I was very fond of was RIP RAW, ROUGH RIDER.  This cantankerous hero of the desert, with his faithful Indian companion Thunderbuns and wacky Hispanic girlfriend Lupe.  Those campfire adventures bring a smile to my knees.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Tune in tonight."

Here is another photo of Thomas Dolby visiting SPACE PIRATE RADIO in 1984.  As T-shirts are de rigueur on these pages, I am wearing the SPR 10th Anniversary edition of the Ruski Revolution Hammer & Tone Arm model.  Dolby was in Santa Barbara for a concert at the Arlington Theatre and we had a marvelous time on the air.  His innovative music, as well as working with SPACE PIRATE RADIO faves such as Lene Lovich, Akiko Yanno and Ryuichi Sakamoto, made for the basis of a lively interview.

Monday, August 31, 2015

egg y nudu. "The Great Yeast (Infection)."

"I read that some people think Barbara Bush is the daughter of Aleister Crowley."

"The mind boggles."

"That means a President of the United States was the grandson of the infamous Black Magician."

"But George W. Bush owned a baseball team.  Those that follow the path of magick, only like basketball.  It's in their motto."

"What do you mean?"

" 'Do what thou Wilt (Chamberlain).' "

Friday, August 14, 2015

"Let me read your palm."

"I'm on an island" part 2.

Oh, those Summer Mood Swings.  The heat and humidity plays with my antenna reception.  Just like last year.  The temperature brings visions of palm leaves and a hypnotism of relief.  My classic satirical mood recedes back as the weather changes.  So my comic obsession evolved into a Bill Griffith phase, with the reading of Lost and Found and the Zippy collection The Dingburg Diaries.  But as the Trade Winds gathered, watching the 1937 pirate classic Doctor Syn or low trash like the Zombies of Mora Tau popped into the program.

And when the palm trees wave, Hawaiian Eye slips back into harbour.  Is that a copy of the one and only comic book from the television series?  With Troy Donahue on the cover, it can only mean it was from the fourth and final season of the show.  And perhaps somewhere out of frame is the one and only Dell paperback from the program (original price 40 cents), not with Troy, but original stars Anthony Eisley, Robert Conrad, Connie Stevens, Poncie Ponce and second season addition Grant Williams (the original Incredible Shrinking Man).

I remember just prior to the original run of the series (late 1959), my older sister and her chums were following the fad of wearing little carved wooden tikis as necklaces.  It was essential that I be like the cooler 'older' kids (by four years), so I got one too.  Tiki necklaces appear online regularly, but I have not seen one of the dark brown wooden variety with thin leather strap from the vintage late '50s.  Perhaps an at that time 'beatnik' accessory, if I found one, it would an essential to the viewing experience.

So, yes, I admit I am enjoying dubious prints of Hawaiian Eye Season One.  And I tried to bring up my collection of Les Baxter's complete tropical albums of the mid to late '50s while composing this piece, but my media player only gives me one task or the other.  Fearful of losing the text, the audio soundtrack is abandoned.  A bit of appropriate mood is sacrificed.

Les Baxter is essential for these sessions.  His Caribbean Moonlight album (1956) was a major soundtrack to my imaginative childhood, an example of my mother's sometimes offbeat, esoteric taste.  SPACE PIRATE RADIO listeners will know the themes as backgrounds for the Golden Morning Movie and hosts Oscar B. Chow or Tony Anthony-Tony.  One song on the LP, entitled Out Of This World, was the theme (though a different version) of the old KHJ-TV channel 9 Saturday movie showcase, Strange Tales of Science Fiction.

And of course, this Pacific Navigation leads me East to further Celestial Obsessions.  I finished Santa Barbara author Yunte Huang's book on Charlie Chan and the original Hawaiian Police Detective who was his inspiration.  Now I head further East and turn the pages of Yellow Peril!  Will this pursuit lead to more additions in the Fu Manchu collection?  We shall see.

I have two different CD collections of the Hawaiian Eye soundtrack, but not the LP.  I did have it once.  There was a forgotten copy in the old KTMS radio collection.  Not a fan of the show at the time (1985 or so), it got packed up with discarded discs when hit radio Y-97 took over and was added to a stack heading for trade value at Moby Disc on Ventura Blvd.  Along with countless versions of Moon River and The Windmills Of Your Mind, it was traded in for an import copy of Tangerine Dream's latest.
I understand there was an Hawaiian Eye board game.  If anyone sees a decent copy, drop me a line.  :)X. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Jump down, turn around."

Today is my Four Year Anniversary of Being a Vegetarian.  208 weeks.  Followed the wife's example after 18 years of marriage and 23 years being together.  She has more discipline than myself.  Although neither of us are pure Vegan (it's the CHEESE, Man!), she avoids eggs, while I still do mayonnaise.  But I have stopped my beloved tomato and cheese omelets.  Beef was pretty easy to quit.  Chicken was tougher.  And fish possibly the most missed.  Still, like quitting tobacco in 1974, once the decision is made, the resolution is solid.  It's like Morrissey in drag as Angela Lansbury:  "Meat is Murder, She Wrote."
"Won't eat meat, Cat eat meat..."
An early photo of friend of felines.  We have many cats now.  Indoor and outdoor.  All but one have been summoned to the Garden of Saint Francis.  How appropriate.  I may have mentioned earlier, that our bird bath statue of Santos di Frankie seems to be a beacon to the wayward animals.  Besides the cats, one bunny and three exotic birds who have become household members, the back yard is home to families of raccoons, possum, desert turtles, doves and a variety of other winged creatures.  It is all quite Noah like at times.  It certainly beats apartment living.
The most recent cat is an orange sherbet and vanilla boy named Ian.  Named after actors Ian McKellan and possibly Ian Richardson, he could have been called Seven.  The last new tenant is a little girl named Six, her number of addition.  She is girl kitty number 2 in a house of males.  The other lady, the Grand Dame Emma, has been seen here before.  As has Orson.  And the bunny Eco, as well as Oshii, the magnificent Yellow Peril bird.
All creatures great and small, sharing the Watchtowre.  Sadly, no dogs or fish.  I sometimes think I should get a monkey, a horse and a llama.  Then again...
Well, I think I should celebrate 4 years of not enjoying the comedy of Abattoir and Costello.  Perhaps a taste of fiendish Tofu Munchu.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

egg y nudu. "Good Neighbour SHAZAM!"

"So you're leaving us to see your doctor?"

"I'm heading south for my annual physical."

"Someone said you were going out of town to get cosmetic surgery."

"Totally absurd."

[One week later...]

"Glad you're back and things went well.  However, a few people still think you went and had body work."

"That's ridiculous."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"...than Heinz has pickles."

"I have more ideas..."
One tries to keep the Regrets In Life Department well swept out, for any changes in the past would null and void being in the here and now.  Still, my list of mad ideas and possible schemes seems endless and in a parallel world that continued from fixed points, I wonder "what if?"
In the theatre world, the productions that were contemplated seemed to keep the cosmic giggle going.  After NOTHING IS SACRED in 1973, a follow-up was considered entitled ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.  The main set piece of the thing was a full blown satire of the Clint Eastwood film Magnum Force, called Magnum Forks.  This was because San Francisco cop Glint Eastwest was also a world class pastry chef, known as Desserty Harry.  The oversize magnum pistol of the original movie poster was replaced by an oversize wooden outdoor garden fork, purchased for the photo from the Akron.  The story as it was, dealt with a homicidal food poisoner, who of course kills Harry's disposable partner.  The play concluded with a filmed chase involving shopping carts: first filmed a la Bullitt style in the supermarket, then concluding in the actual streets.  I believed it was possible but then abandoned it because I thought the satire would get too dated.  Big mistake.  Years later, after seeing the sequel after sequels The Dead Pool, I realized the satire had become the satirized.

Ideas I had from NOTHING IS SACRED but didn't use, I wanted to carry over.  These included using the Snack Bar and Coming Attraction trailers from the local cinema chain for the Intermission.  I also wanted to wire up Drive-In speakers to the end of each theatre aisle.  Madness.  And unusable.

Another theatrical project was my parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, here named A CHRISTMAS MAGGIE.  "I don't remember Carol, but I DO remember Maggie."  Maggie was the wife of Bob Crotchitch or Bob Crotchairs as the character's name alternated.  This was a fully developed play after CASANOVA's LIPS and was a recurring pipedream year after seasonal year.  My image of Ebeneezer Scrooge in full Victorian garb, but wearing lapel buttons that said 'Nixon's the One' and 'Bomb Hanoi' still bring a smile to my knees.  Although a stage version with extra surrealism never saw the limelight of night, a number of audio versions surfaced on SPACE PIRATE RADIO.
More often than not, concepts or snippets for the stage unused would wind up on SPACE PIRATE RADIO.  But some cross pollination between the two would occur.  Oscar B. Chow, a regular from the radio show, wound up at the end of CASANOVA'S LIPS in 1976.  Doctor Einstein in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE in 1979 was definitely a voice and being from the wireless.  Crazy Germans and lunatic Viennese are a favourite.  A play called SCHIZ (rhymes with 'shits,' a danger for the critic's revue) was written.  "A One Man, Two Person Show" featuring the Weiner psychiatrist Doctor Emil Hunger.  In the files.  As is a very involved comedy about the Third Reich.  Titles withheld.  A million bittersweet laughs, I guarantee.  And one that gets more relevant each passing decade. 
There are always serious undertones in a satire, but in my earliest days I considered doing some pure dramas.  Wisely, I outgrew the temptation.  Part of the Rock Star meets Shakespeare phase.  A Brian Jones as Hamlet was once kicked about.  Later it was Brian Jones as DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY.

Age and Reason have tempered these pursuits.  And parking the car called Ego, or the "Look at me!  Look at ME!" of the child performing in his room for a captive audience.  As I've said before, I stopped being a Narcissist when I got out of the pool.
But the ideas haven't stopped.  And when I think of the simplicity of a Spalding Gray type performance... well, maaayyybeee.

Friday, June 12, 2015

"I'm thinking outside the envelope. I'm pushing the box."

Two blog entries here on the subject of ideas, although this initial entry will probably boil down into randomness.  Ayn Randomness, more likely.  If I'm at Liberty to say.  Atlas Shagged.  The Fountainhead Rush.  Labour of love?  Or can you tell I'm not a fan?

For the present, I've been digging into and Digging into the past.  My Wayback Machine, the Re-Tardis, time-wise is always all over the map.  But lately it's been focusing on about 1956 to 1962 with jumps to the early '70s or the '40s.  As always, my obsessions are variable.  But the focus has been considerable on satire and art from the Cold War Era.  This is an outgrowth of my reading the Harvey Kurtzman biography.  I'd already acquired the 2 volume boxed collection of the complete HUMBUG, which I'm still savouring.  I added the hardbound Art Of Harvey Kurtzman since, reliving my collecting days of MAD Magazine and HELP!  Finishing that, I now begin the hardbound reprint of Kurtzman's JUNGLE BOOK.  Adding to the time frame and comedy connection has been the acquisition of The Ernie Kovacs Collection Volume 2.

B to Z movie sci-fi always adds to the flavour.  Red Scare or Radiation mutated cinema from the '50s.  Any film with ATOMIC or COSMIC in the title.  Or SHE as an adjective.  As in She Creature or She Demons.  Throw in a German character actor portraying a mad Nazi scientist, a Chinese actor who once played Charlie Chan's Number 2 Son as a hero's sidekick, AND
SHEENA, the Jungle Woman...Well, you have a recipe for delicious brain cell loss.  On a more reputable note, I did watch sixteen episodes of the Ray Bradbury Theater over two weeks.  And I took the little lady to the cinema to see TOMORROWLAND.

Comic art delights me.  Especially since it is a field I take no claim of talent in.  My art is confined to collage experiments, which still attract.  As well as the Triple Entendre photo thingees, that pop up here with my wife's collaboration.  And then there are the new style fumetti displayed.  Egg Y Nudo.  An experiment in comic strip that combines static HELP! Magazine fumetti, with Underground weeklies and Peter Blegvad LEVIATHAN style surrealism and alchemical philosophical humour.
Robert Crumb is popping back as well.  Psychedelic art of the '60s in the form of poster art is obvious in recent entries.  Wilson, Mouse & Griffin entice.  It hasn't been that long since I finished the HIPGNOSIS Portraits hardbound as well.  Never far from the Art.  And let me identify this diary's illustration.  A recently excavated work from my friend David Fontana.  A Dada portrait done on the sly, either in my apartment or his ocean near pad in Santa Barbara, mid-'70s.
Humour in an Archie and Jugheadular Vein.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Sex Pimples.

"If music be the food of love, let's eat out," Oscar Wilde once said to Lilly Langtry, slipping under the table after consuming a brandy drenched tapioca pudding.  Using that maxim as a rule of thumb, foot and knee, can we assume then, that a book on music can be made a meal of?  Is the government ever to be trusted?  How many angels can you get on the head of a pin?  The answers to the questions are, respectfully, yes, no, and thirty if thin and lightly dressed.

"Scusi, Mio digresso," as some Italian men would say, rushing into the bathroom after a long Laura Antonelli movie.  Where was I?  Oh yes, making a meal out of music books.  Two of the aforementioned culinary tomes have recently come to my attention, although they might not suit all tastes.  They do fit, however, under the heading of music sociology and should be noted as thus.

The first, Eat My Shoes: The History of the Sex Pimples is a vivid document of this pivotal band in the 'punk' movement.  The second is Babylon's Forgotten Ashtrays, a focus on several of the breakthrough artists of the reggae genre.  Straightforward stuff here.  Not like that book The Liszt of Adrian Messenger, a cheap attempt to mix classical music with Agatha Christie. 

Eat My Shoes is an important look into the brief, frantic, manic and destructive flurry known as the Sex Pimples.  The Messiahs of the punk movement, the Pimples were destined to burn bright, quick and out.  Four of them, lead singer Ricky Barf, his Siamese twin brother (connected at the mouth) and drummer Mickey Barf, lead guitarist Mal-Content, and bass player Clive Noxious.

Where bagels go, trouble follows.  And troubles certainly followed the Sex Pimples.  Their single, "Young Fascists" was banned by the BBC.  So was the album, "Anarchy in the Ukraine."  Violence followed their concerts.  In Texas, a girl rushed on the stage and struck bass player Clive Noxious with a refrigerator.  Noxious was doomed for tragedy.  In London at the Flaming Groins Club, he covered his mom with linoleum, shag carpeting and new drapes, while singing "September of My Years."  Finally, Clive took his life by stapling his wrists together.  For his fans, it was the only way to go.  No one ever thought that Clive would be an old age pensioner.  As this song, "Young Fascists" says:

                    "...I can't stand my Mother
                    And I hate my Dad.
                    Sometimes I want to snuff  'em
                    Stuff  'em in a Glad Bag.
                    I got a white pale face
                    With the blotchy red specks.
                    I don't think nuthin'
                    But violence and sex.
                    Young Fascists!  That's we are.
                    Young Fascists!  I'm a living scar.
                    Young Fascists! I hate this song I just wrote.
                    But if you don't buy this record
                    Gonna cut your throat.
                    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."

If that's not enough for you, sink your teeth into Babylon's Forgotten Ashtrays.  The book does not pretend to be a serious text book of reggae music, but more of a pictorial document.  The famous and the not-so-famous share equal pages.  Included are Jah Kitsch, Truck Drivers of Rhodesia and Oy U-Hoo, along with giants Barb Wirey and the Maulers and Poops and the Midols.  In fact, the book contains photos from the Barb Wirey concert held locally in 1976.

How I remember that show.  Held at the Santa Barbara Country Beach Men's Room, it was standing room only.  Poops ad the Midols had opened the show, featuring music from their album "Culture Dreaded Gnats."  I wasn't familiar with all the songs.  My comrade was convinced that they were playing the same song twelve times.  A man next to me said that they were alternating between two songs, six times apiece.  It didn't matter.  We were waiting for the headliner.

The crowd was in a lather (thanks to a handy soap dispenser) when Barb Wirey and his Maulers took the stage.  Barb is incredible!  What charisma!  Standing, proud, dramatic, defiant, and somewhat dazed.  His head was framed in a mess of "breadlocks" (pieces of Roman Meal braided into every strand).  Smoking a two and a half foot reed weed filled reefer, and then putting out the butt on a security guard's coatsleeve.  What audacity!  Fifteen minutes later he decide to play, nearly all of his album "Gastaman Vibrator," including the hit "I Shocked My Lawyer."  The crowd wanted an encore, but Barb doesn't give them.  With the last chord still hanging on the sink, Barb lit another reefer, flipped a thankful ash to the audience, used the facilities, and split.  It was the end of an experience.  So is the book.

[First published November 4, 1980.]

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Pop Muzik."

Over the years of SPACE PIRATE RADIO, listeners of the shows have often asked me what songs I played.  Each decade, be it the '70s, '80s, '90s, or double 0's, has offered a nearly infinite variety of new and unusual music, as well as stockpiling the catalog of sounds that came before.  I collected the playlists over the years, especially making a routine of show listings from the Eighties on.  Making these available to listeners who wanted to identify and add certain music to their collection.  The lists were especially necessary, as hour sets were free flowing and un-interrupted.  No commercials and no back announcements.  The mix or segue was all important to the show, even though I knew this could be frustrating to listeners wishing to know the artist and title.

Here's a playlist from 15 years ago.  Just randomly chosen, rounding it off for its time worthiness, this Merry Month of May.
Guy Guden's Space Pirate Radio.  May 29, 2000. SPR 27-17 (Year 27, Show #17)
first hour:  (First selection is introduction bed music)
Cosmic Jokers "Galactic Joke"
Sounds From The Ground "Mineral"
Open Canvas "Rajastan"
King Crimson "Larks' Tongues in Aspic- Part IV"
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities "Fin De Siecle (Live)"
XTC "Playground"
Pink Floyd "Bike"
Jonn Serrie & Gary Stroutsos "Earth Sky"
Jon O'Bergh "The Appian Way"
second hour (began with a Guden comedy bit called "A Flockhart Siegal")
A Flock Of Seagulls/Die Krupps "I Ran"
Mouse On Mars/The High Llamas "Twift"
Turn On "Glangorous"
Stereolab "Pack Yr Romantic Mind"
Pizzicato Five "Week-End"
Komputer "Singapore"
Kraftwerk "Expo2000 (Kling Klang Mix 2000)"
Troika "Other World"
Sounds From The Ground "Rye"
Schwarzwald "Piano-Pewter"
Open Canvas "Ojopati"

third hour (began with Guden comedy bit called "Ayotollah Cola")
Shafgat Ali Khan "Dust To Dust"
Loop Guru "Epic Song"
King Crimson "The ConstruKction Of Light"
Peter Gabriel "Keine Selbstkontrolle"
Steve Hillage "The Glorious Om Riff"
Tangerine Dream "21st Century Common Man"
Vas "Lila"
Wojciech Kilar "Missing Book/Stalking Corso"
Terry Oldfield "Majesty"
fourth hour (included a phase sfx and Guden comedy bit called "Shiver Me Timbers")
Porcupine Tree "Burning Sky"
Can "Mother Sky"
Bryan Ferry "The 39 Steps"
Baby Mammoth "Blessing The Meek"
The Orb "Rose Tinted (Dal Vivo A Roma)"
Goddess Trance "Sugar Path"
fifth hour (g3 sfx)
David Parsons "Jalan Jalan"
Ryuichi Sakamoto "We Love You (Remix)"
Ennio Morricone "Bluebeard"
David Sylvian "Krishna Blue"

(I would love to provide an audio link for the music of all the shows, but right now I wish you could hear my bit "Jon Anderson Sings The Doors"  It's "Crystal Ship" and I rather like the impression.  "Be...fore I ness...Iiiiiiii' lit...tle...kiss.")  
*giggles*  :)X.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

After the Vox.

Voices in your head, Part Two.

I'm starting this off with little or no humility.  My humble declaration: I have a Good Ear (my Right, I believe; the Left having been damaged by Hawkwind in concert).  An Ear for Musick.  And an Ear for Voices.  I think I missed making a small fortune doing voice work.  Ah, the failings of a less ambitious man. :)

So, my frustrations at not receiving regular royalty checks from The Simpsons or Star Wars Playstation games, relieves itself in spontaneous manifestations of third party individuals and upon my long suffering wife.  The poor darling has to tolerate waking up with any number of character actors, known or obscure.  One benefit of getting aged and infirm is a deep, whiskey soaked, sinus infested ability to do a wide variety of old geezers:

Jim Carter from DOWNTON ABBEY is a regular morning arrival, or late night tuck-in.  He has replaced John Huston with his exhortations of working with "Ore-sahn Welles."  Older Guden Repertoire Members seem on hiatus, like Sir Alec Guinness, Basil Rathbone, Turhan Bey, Boris Karloff, Jeremy Irons doing Boris Karloff, or Jeremy Irons saying "Sforza" from THE BORGIAS.

And it's not just throaty old men I subject my significant other to.  I do a pitch perfect Charlotte Gainsbourg, halting and breathy, sounding convincingly traumatized by Lars Von Trier.  I think I should use it for the phone answering machine.  I also do Jessica Lange as the wacko German proprietor in AMERICAN HORROR STORY- FREAK SHOW.  Complete with tobacco on tongue gestures, but that added effect is lost on the wireless.  One morning in the kitchen I was spirit possessed with a cabaret rendition of Bjork singing "I Miss You," complete with cracked octaves and kittenish pauses and phrasing.

Maybe I should use my Werner Herzog, explaining the fine line between dinner and death:  "Deese leefs are from de forests of Costa Rica.  Cook dem for 30 seconds and dey are a delicacy.  Cook dem for 40 seconds and dey are a lethal poison."

Recent travel experiences have birthed embarrassing (for my wife) public conversational possessions by the older Sir Michael Caine to his spouse, Shakira.  Or Robert Fripp in an endless lecture of absurd explanation to likewise partner Toyah.  The facial expressions of horror wishing an immediate cessation of my improvisational dialogue are well worth the price of the trip.
This problem has been with me for a long time.  I have never sought professional help to alleviate myself of this condition.  A curse for others, perhaps.  A blessing to yours truly.  It amuses me.

The Peter Sellers Syndrome, maybe.  Others, in earlier days, knew going to the movies with me was not a wise undertaking.  Not deliberately, but almost invariably, after exiting the film, I would be talking in the cadence of whoever had performed in the movie.  This was almost always assured if the film was British or foreign.  It could be Christopher Lee or Armin Mueller-Stahl heading back to the car with you.  Or in the restaurant, Max von Sydow or Marcello Mastroianni would order a tomato and cheese omelet.  Single words are enough to get an impression started.  Like the above mentioned Jeremy Irons, the word "torture" is enough to start my Bela Lugosi; the word "Tony" begins a Charles Boyer. 

My career in voice work was instantly derailed when I got a call from the Barbara Harris voice casting agency.  I had sent them my SPACE PIRATE RADIO album as an example of what my abilities were like.  A new Mel Blanc or Paul Frees in the making.  The secretary, sorting out resumes, asked me if I had done ADR work.  I didn't know what that term meant.  "What is that?" was my knee jerk, honest but jerkish reply.  We never heard from them again.

Being old school, I came from the Golden Age of Radio Drama or hip class of Stan Freberg voice mimicry.  Voice actor wasn't a term used.  ADR was a later, post production film term.  In the '50s and '60s, we were still calling such people dubbers: those who would dub movies.  Besides the already mentioned Frees aka Boris Badanov, the Pillsbury Doughboy and a ton of voices in the English version of RODAN, my favourite dub master was Robert Rietty.  He did more voices in movies and radio than anyone else.  Working with Orson Welles in the HARRY LIME and BLACK MUSEUM radio shows, where I first heard him as a kid, and progressing through all the early James Bond films (he redubbed Adolfo Celi's voice in THUNDERBALL), THE OMEN and just about every other film made in England or Europe with an English soundtrack during this time.  An irony is that he dubbed for classic mime Marcel Marceau in BARBARELLA.  I am saddened to find that he passed away on April 3rd this year, just before the death of Stan Freberg.

It is depressing to see that this man of a thousand voices got little recognition.  His sound is wonderful to mimic.  I love to imitate this imitator.

I am quick to point out that this madness got me my initial radio gig because I pretended to be English.  I foolishly spoke to Brits on my first flight to London, masquerading as a returning ex-pat.  They acted like they believed me, but who knows?  I may have sounded to them how bad Meryl Streep sounds to me.  Or Brits who try the "Herne-Herne" mush mouth attempt at a Mid-Western U.S. accent.

SPACE PIRATE RADIO was the perfect place for my multiple personas or silly putty reapplication of vocal quirks.  Where else could Henry Kissinger interpret Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side."  Or Rip Raw, Jake Off, Wally Wang and Doctor Wu-hu let loose a cacophony of politically incorrect stereotypes, yet be original beings too.

Today, Gollum works the Home Shopping Network.  "Scranton, Pennsylvania, good morning, Kathy."  Or Strother Martin talks about bladder control.  I do Jeremy Piven from MR. SELFRIDGE now.  Working on Mark Rylance, doing Terence Stamp from WOLF HALL.  If I sense I've lost the wife, I attempt to bring her back with both Sir Ian McKellen AND Sir Derek Jacobi in VICIOUS.  Or even more obscure British comedy like BLACK BOOKS or GARTH MERENGHI'S DARK PLACE. 

And nothing can stop a conversation dead in its tracks then an impression of Dirk Bogarde's thinly veiled contempt for women.


They say Monet was an Impressionist, but I don't think that's apt.  His Maurice Chevalier was passible, but his Jimmy Stewart was no where near the mark.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"They stare at the Zeppelin-Square."

It's time for a return to Gotham West.  On the Fritz to Blade Runner's workplace.  La Citta degli Angeli.  Or, La Cite des Anges.  We are mixing it up again.  The Old Pueblo meets Little Tokyo.  Civil servants and Middle Eastern cuisine.  A French band with Teutonic flourishes, choral versed in a language from a distant planet.  A Japanese feline that may be human, transformed into an endless variety of multi-ethnic characterizations.  SoCal.  So Cool.

Repeated visits to Los Angeles open new vistas, good and bad.  How this city has transformed in my memory and experience.  Downtown is not the Downtown of my '60s youth.  And yet it is.  The play is the same.  Only the décor changes.  The scene shifts somewhat and the hand props are different.  Costumes vary.  But the text is basically constant.  Modern dress does not conceal the classical themes.  There is a divide.  A contrast.  In current observation, one comes to the realization that the United States in cosmopolitan terms, is a Third World Nation.

But I digress...perhaps.

We are here, for the Rock Show!  (And a bit of culture, albeit of a pop nature.)  And it's Oesterreich.  Easter.

Having returned from last year's splendid pair of King Crimson shows at the Orpheum on Broadway, we are now venturing to uncharted territory in the Umberto Echo Park District for French faves Magma.

Yes, it's Magma.  A SPACE PIRATE RADIO mainstay since 1974, it is our second experience with Christian and Stella Vander and ensemble in real time since San Francisco, 1999.  A new venue for us, the well known Bohemian club, the Echoplex, basement club of the Echo, on the David Lynch side of Sunset Blvd.  I have reservations.  Both literal and figurative.  I am pleasantly surprised.

My hesitation about the club was predominated by the fact that the show was a standing room gig.  Being of the Elderly Persuasion and having been spoiled by the sit down, audio enriched atmosphere of Magma's performance at the Palace of Fine Arts, I was afraid the new environment would turn Magma into a Munchen Bier Hall Post Punk Moshen Space Party.  This was not the case, danke sehr Meine Gott im Himmel.

The nicely darkened club has side seating, a seemingly well stocked bar, food options (neither of which I felt necessary to enhance the experience, except for the seating) and a cool moderne retro beat feel.  A House of Blues without the tie-ins, more bongos and near blitz Underground lighting.  I can dig it!  :)

Magma, as always, are an experience musical unlike any other.  For the uninitiated, I will not even begin to explain.  Explore for yourself.  Seductive, challenging, mesmerizing, and sometimes a tad creepy.  If Buddy Rich and his Orchestra had been taken over by the pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or Carl Orff had taken mescaline during Carmina Burana sung in Esperanto Jazz.
Day 3 is a return to the Japanese American National Museum for Hello Kitty.  The wife has a more personal youthful connection to the feline changeling than myself, but I'm more geared for it than say, a Hockney exhibition. 
The layout is impressive, though the set up feels like a maze for human mice.  I'm glad I never started collecting in this field, 'cause one could go mad trying to be completist.  The varied items are an impressive lot, but even the wife notes items missing from her youth.  And speaking of youth, how ancient I feel when the dawn of the Nippon Gatto is 1974, the same year of SPACE PIRATE RADIO's debut.  The pitch of the display comes off a bit too sales pamphlet promotional.  Extolling the merits of the "brand."  There is the feel of a franchise convention.  Fortunately the displays of art captivate and looking at the gallery attendees, I wonder how many hipsters drop acid and visit this fantasy land.  I was only saddened not to see the Hello Hitler image.  The Hello Kitty Tarot Cards, however, were a pleasant surprise.
An added surreal moment is the fact that after facing the Afterlife with a massive Kittypatra figure (or as I call the Egyptian statue, NefferKitty), one is faced with an exit that leads to a display on Japanese Internment Camps.  Quite a segue.
Returning to the clouds, in our favourite suite, or its doppelganger ein flur below, we contemplate the city. the day, Gamorrah by night.  Off World vehicles above.
The morning is greeted by the sounds of African American mantras of anger to the THX 1138 LAPD.  A Day of Continued Adventure Awaits...Sending a message from Western Union Station.  The Trendy Train Set will be boarding.  Exit North.
"The city is sinking
But music remains
Beware Metropolis."  :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

"There was a hush in the Passion Play."

"Don't crucify me!" Tom said crossly.
"It's sad what Darth did to Luke," Tom said offhandedly.
"It's Jazz and Modern Art," Tom said abstractly.
"You know you are in Paris when you see the Arc," Tom said triumphantly.
"What does Doctor Who have, that I don't?"  Tom asked half heartedly.
Literary Rock:  The Steve, Henry and Arthur Miller Band.
Literary Rock:  Doctor John Steinbeck.
Literary Rock:  Arthur C. Dave Clark Five.
Literary Rock:  Stephen King Crimson.
Literary Rock:  Umberto Eco and the Bunnymen.
Literary Rock:  Huey Sinclair Lewis and the News.
Literary Rock:  Jean-Paul, George and Ringo Sartre.
Literary Rock:  Anais Nin Inch Nails.
Literary Rock:  Boris Vian der Graaf Generator.
Literary Rock:  The L. Frank Baumtown Rats.
Ingmar Bergman for Sit 'n Sleep:  "The Virgin Spring Mattress."
Hipster Fast Food:  Taco Bell and Sebastian.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

egg y nudu. "Foxtrotsky."

"I've heard you have Russian ancestry."


"Tsarist or Bolshevik?"

"Proletariat, of course.  Why do you ask?"

"You look White Russian."


Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Poor Cow."

Bollywoodland:  Hummus Films presents "The Curries of Frankenstein."

David Byrne and Robert Smith do a musical based on Sigmund Freud:  The Talking Cure.
Acid Jeopardy:  Muslims make this meal in five minutes.  "What is Minaret Rice?"
Fashion For The Future:  Robotony 500.
Acid Jeopardy:  Catholic Inquisitors use this dressing for wounds.  "What is Miracle Whip?"
Sci-Fi Game Shows:  "What's My Heinlein?"
When I get cranky in a Japanese restaurant, I often throw a tempura tantrum.
Favourite Pasta on Middle Earth:  Fettuccini Al Frodo.
A festive holiday drink that will keep you loyal:  eggmonogamy.
Weather Report Romance:  Coastal Eddy meeting Offshore Flo.
Barbarella in Star Wars:  Matmos Eisley.
As an impressionist, Claude Monet could do a pitch perfect Charles Boyer.

If Gene Pitney had only sung with the Electric Prunes.
Burt Lancaster and Sidney Poitier:  "Apache Blue."

Ingmar Bergman in New Jersey:  "The Virgin Springsteen."
Hermann Hesse's Unpublished Existential Minstrel Show:  Stepinfetchitwolf.
Having collected so many Chinese artifacts, I have become jaded.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

egg y nudu. "The Linda Blair Witch Project."

"I have voices in my head."


"They tell me to commit unspeakable acts."

"We will have to call in Max von Sydow."


"It looks like you're Deviled."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Welcome home, Mr. Kane."

Possibly the biggest "star" in the musical world to visit SPACE PIRATE RADIO was Bryan Ferry.  It was during the final Roxy Music tour of 1983.  I had contacted Warner Brothers Records to see if Bryan wished to visit the show at KTYD studios during their visit to the Santa Barbara County Bowl show of May 6th.
The Warners' people told me Ferry wasn't doing press on this tour.  He had turned down Los Angeles radio and newspaper folks for the Universal Amphitheatre shows that would happen before Santa Barbara and nixed a Rolling Stone interview to coincide with the Berkeley show that would follow.  But then things changed...We were contacted by the record label saying that Bryan wished to visit the studio.  Zounds!
The story goes like this...Years earlier, so it was told, Bryan had stayed in Santa Barbara in the '70s and heard this crazy little station playing imports of Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay albums.  Albums that the "big" LA stations wouldn't touch.  The DJ playing these unknown quantities was yours truly and the show was SPACE PIRATE RADIO.  Big Grin.  A memory served.  And a little reward for being "out there."
Day of the concert, I pick up Bryan at the El Encanto Hotel where he is staying in one of the apartment suites.  He is dressed very casual in shorts and sport shirt.  We hit it off immediately and chat like old friends.  His ride to the studio is as my passenger in my ultra-sophisticated 1976 Datsun B-210 Honey Bee.  He doesn't seem the slightest remorse that I passed on the Rolls, Bentley or Lotus Elan.  Bryan's rather thin, exposed legs are near the stick shift and I can't help but feel that I might shift his kneecap into fourth gear.  Otherwise, we talk art.
He is very fascinated with the Spanish architecture.  I ask him if he's been to Hearst Castle.  He says he doesn't know it.  "Really?"  I'm surprised, so I fill him in on brief historical details and tie in the connection to CITIZEN KANE.  He lights up with enthusiasm about the subject and says he has to plan an excursion to San Simeon to see more.

Now Bryan is here for SPACE PIRATE RADIO, but the program director has asked to interview him briefly for his daily show.  Being the program director, slash, music director lets him get his way, as the record company, indebted for those all important Tuesday record adds, allows it.  Bryan is uninspired by this. 
Now this program director is one of those types I've been forced to deal with through the years.  The type you can get along with reasonably well, but has the ability to be a weathervane, turning to whatever direction the wind blows, often with their back to you, doing what is ever necessary to stay in the business and the music is ALL GOOD.  A type of individual who doesn't recognize what's new and exciting in music until it's been validated by others.  I remember telling him about the Pet Shop Boys, unknown to the mainstream, and describing in detail their debut work.  Weeks later, I pass by the music director office and hear him on the phone to an EMI record rep, word for word how I described them.  I was offended.  I'm sure he got nice concert tickets, backstage, a tour jacket and unlimited promos for his "brilliant observation, musical taste and review."
Program Director knows little about Roxy Music and/or Bryan Ferry.  "What questions should I ask him?" he amazingly asks me, his supposedly Machiavelli behind the Borgia throne.  Knowing Bryan's hatred for the new '80s bands that imitate Roxy, I say, "Ask him how he feels about bands like ABC."  *giggle*

He does, and Bryan turns away, looking out the Eighth floor window of the Granada Building, a mumbled dismissal, eye contact gone and a temperature drop immediate.  Interview over.
The record people suggest a photo and Bryan passes by the PD and says, "I want to get a couple with my mate, Guy."  A Teletubbie moment.  "Big Hug!"  :)

In the studio with me, Bryan is terrific.  At the end, I ask him if he might do an I.D. for SPACE PIRATE RADIO.  Up until this time, most artists would do a simple, "Hi!  This is 'such and such' on SPACE PIRATE RADIO."  But Bryan changed the pattern.  He took his time and kindly brought me into the I.D.  "Hello...This is Bryan Ferry...And I'm here with Guy...on...SPACE...PIRATE...RADIO..."  I was gobsmacked.
And though he and I might differ on some political areas.  And foxhunting.  I still find my time well spent with this man of  Taste, Style and Distinction.
And there is that song, SAN SIMEON.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

egg y nudu. "Eggstatic Interference."

"I think I should be on the radio."


"You know, be on the radio.  A disc jockey.  Play cool music.  Say clever things."

"They wouldn't let you do it.  No one would hear you."


"Your broadcasts would be scrambled."

Monday, January 5, 2015

"Wolf City."

The Grand Inquisitor's Favourite Automobile:  Torque Mazda.
When you have Nuclear Stock Piles:  PREPERATION H-BOMB.
Gumby in the OSS:  Clokey and Dagger.
Louis Pesto Pasta Primavera and Keely Smith.
Sarah Palindrome:  Backwards.  And Forwards...An incomplete sentence.
Compton Hilton:  The Poor Relation.
Rage Against The Mache (Paper).
Relax.  The Revolution is...another Classic Rock Weekend on Clear Channel.
Relax.  The Revolution is...a new series on FX.
Relax.  The Revolution is..."Summer '68, the Greatest Hits Box Set" from Time-Life.
Relax.  The Revolution is...Live Nation with $100 seats and service charge.
Relax.  The Revolution is...only after dinner conversation over coffee and dessert.
It's Kabul with an Olive Garden.
Now Casting:  "Kissinger-The Musical."
French Kissing at Ma Maison is known as having a Wolfgang Pucker.
Quite often it's just a Nietzsche Jerk Reaction.
Nazi Love Songs:  "The Night Cole Porter."