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 20, 2015

I Killed Vaudeville.

In a commercial sense, perhaps, it could be said that diversity has been my enemy.  Careers in the past were constructed for the specialist.  Expert in your field, as such.  I foolishly yearned to visit many fields.  Life is too short.  And not being six foot, so was I.  Curiosity killed the cat.  Well, this cat was curious.  Curious Yellow.  Curious Blue.  Sometimes, Curious Slightly Beige, definitely Curious Grey.  And it feels I've used up my nine lives, but what the Heck?  Variety is the Spice of Life.  And I am a Spice Trader.  "Spice Parrot!  I like that!"

"Right."

Being of the Bi-polar persuasion...*COUGH! COUGH!*  I mean... having a multi-faceted disposition (or multi-fauceted, which helps not getting tapped out), one choose many paths rather then a single road.  Again, financially this is courting danger.  But to experience Life's Rich Tapestry.  Essential.

In High School, I could have been content to be an English Literature teacher, or Drama instructor.  But no.  Forces of conformity in the Administration soon battered that peaceful option out of me.  In radio, if I only focused on introducing new music, rather than experimenting with sound, comedy and philosophy, I could have been content to be an American John Peel.  But even John Peel wrote Doctor Who stories.

I am slightly amazed, in this hyped world of Marvel Comics movie mentality and as I watch Mark Ruffalo promote his role as the Hulk, that in the recesses of memory, I was once offered to write scripts for The Incredible Hulk TV series.  And I TURNED IT DOWN.  Why?  Simply because...I hated The Incredible Hulk and Marvel Comics.  I thought they were crap!

Do I regret this?  No.  And I sincerely mean No.  If I had been a driven, wannabe script writer, eager to hone and master my craft, taking servile jobs to learn the form, ultimately becoming a yeoman of the craft....perhaps.  But I sincerely disliked the content, and believing in an honesty and integrity, felt, that the writer of such material should truly love the material.  Or else it would ring false.  Labour of love, rather than being a hack.  Silly man.

Now if it would have been for Rod Serling...Or Hammer Films...Or Mad Magazine.

I actually got hired on a comedy pilot that was connected to Mad Magazine by certain artists.  After auditioning at the Comedy Store with what I thought was a far less than stellar collection of conceptual bits, I found myself working in a Melrose Studio with a company so disorganized, I was baffled.  Come to find out, it was a pilot film meant to fail.  A tax write-off by a pair of well-known entertainers against their more lucrative production company and television affiliates.  I walked out, dumfounded.  Never paid.  More reasons to become hermetic.

This hasn't spoiled my love for Mad Magazine humour, however.  Other events have tried. 

An article on SPACE PIRATE RADIO, particularly on my album from the show, got me a wonderful write up in the Los Angeles Times Sunday Calendar section.  I mentioned my comedy influences.  Ernie Kovacs, Steve Allen, Sid Caesar, Mad Magazine, among others.  Mentioning those names got both Steve Allen and Carl Reiner's office to contact me.  I was on air.
 
But I will save that story for another time.  I see this bit is going off on a course of obstacles to the Guden Experience in Hollywood and I'm not in the mood for Angst.  Remind me later.  Just mention my comedic encounters with Steve Martin and Robin Williams and Steve Allen's office and maybe I'll dish dirt, or grime petit in a tapas style. 
 
Before this went Ayn Rant, or ATLAS BUGGED, I was thinking of all the various subjects and areas of interest that get the proverbial juices flowing.  I've been recapturing my early love for satire and Mad Magazine with the new Harvey Kurtzman biography.  Also reading the collected reprints of Kurtzman's Humbug Magazine.  How I love the art and comedy of Will Elder.  And Wally Wood.  And Frank Kelley Freas.
 
I never considered myself a cartoonist or had talents good enough in that field.  More a writer/editor, which is why I enjoyed the talents of my artistic friends and collaborators.  David Fontana, Mike Merenbach and Autumn Turkel, for instance.  Fontana, the most talented of the trio, is still my friend 40 years later.  This is probably because we are on similar wavelengths.  Like myself, he's not satisfied with doing just one thing in life.  Or placing his entire bet on Success Black.  Life is too exciting for that.  The search for, and appreciation of, the Cosmic Giggle.  The Exhaled OOOHHH!!!
 
I've been going back to my days working on Horror Host TV show Jeepers' Creepers, thanks to a letter from Jim Fetters, author of the book Creatures of the Night That We Loved So Well.  Jim's the leading authority on the subject and he found my previous entry here about the show.
 
Passions rise.  Tastes vary.  And mood swings.  I know it only too well.  Musically, the map is all over the place.  I've been going back to old psychedelic music of California from the '60s and '70s, obscure folk and psych-folk from Britain, opera, classical, Italian soundtracks, brand new shoegaze, electronica, crime jazz, jazz fusion and Buffy Saint-Marie.  A typical week.
 
Films included a relook at Wim Wenders stuff, Nastassja Kinski films, early '50s sci-fi, classic Doctor Who, '70s American cinema, marathons of T.H.E. Cat, The Baron, and Peter Gunn, the Welsh National Opera doing Debussy, Cronenberg, Surrealist films of the '20s and '30s, English thingees, and stuff with Anton Differing.  Nothing out of the normal here.  Next week it may be Westerns, more Charlie Chan, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Columbo and Lupe Valez.  Or Jacques Tati, Josephine Baker, '60s spy movies, Italian giallos, Pussycat Theatre flashbacks or dystopian anime.
 
So many influences.  And there's work to be done too.  :)

Stay tuned.  And cheers!

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 slip...in...to...un...con...cious ness...Iiiiiiii'd...like...to...have...a lit...tle...kiss.")  
 
*giggles*  :)X.