Roll ’em Pete * 1938

|October 11, 2010 | Found Sounds, Philosophy

Although I listen to a fair bit of old timey music, I don’t fuck with the actual, original 78s too often. People have been collecting these records since way before I was born and I feel like the odds of digging through stacks of corny foxtrots and waltzes and finding something I like are not good. Still, I have gotten hold of a couple of cool discs : here’s Joe Turner and Pete Johnson, from the Columbia Boogie Woogie set — check it out : this song is regarded as one of the most important precursors to rock n’ roll.


Joe Turner & Pete Johnson : Roll ’em PeteThinnerWhen I was a kid, I was taught that the first rock n’ roll song would have been something like Bill Haley & The Comets’ Rock Around The Clock. This is, of course, ridiculous, and racist to boot – there are recordings of boogie woogie proto-rock going all the way back to the 1920s ( interested? Check Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie by Pine Top Smith [ 1928 ], or Hastings Street by Charlie Spand and Blind Blake [ 1929 ] ).


Roll 'Em Pete


Where would I rather be this afternoon? Tapping my brown shoe foot on a 1938 sawdust-covered floor, watching these guys do this live. Miles-away dreams like that are a few inches closer in New Orleans, which is one of the reasons I live here.

My Kind Of Rock Star

|August 3, 2010 | Philosophy

Here is an interview with Queen guitarist Brian May.ThinnerQUEEN!

.. of course, some people think that he’s is the personification of evil !

New Polaroid Film From The Impossible Project

|July 27, 2010 | Philosophy, Photos By J.Yuenger, Travels

For the most part, I’ve given in to the practical, digital, globalized world. I don’t drive a cool old car made out of heavy American metal anymore, nor do I trawl eBay for the wonderful hand-stitched-in-the-U.S.A. Vans skateboard shoes of my youth. I believe that there’s something to be said for desire ( and the modern American’s lack of it, which I suspect is a factor in many things not seeming as exciting as they used to ), as in the anticipation of picking up contact sheets to see if you took any good pictures — but, really, doing most things the way we had to 10, 20 years ago would seem utterly time-consuming and difficult. My clunky collection of old SLR cameras and lenses will remain in a box, underneath some other shit. My Polaroid camera, however, is a little closer to my heart.

Polaroid 600

I bought my Polaroid Impulse at the giant Woolworth’s on 34th Street in New York City in 1990, and it was certainly ( drum roll ) an impulse buy. We in White Zombie had gotten a small ( exceedingly small, compared to other bands from the downtown metal scene ) check upon signing to Geffen Records and my share amounted to a new wah wah, a Boss Octave pedal ( the OC-2, which I had seen Ricky from Circus Of Power use to great effect ), a couple of guitar cords, and two weeks rent in advance. And eating, which was very nice. And the camera pictured above, which I could scarcely afford film for, but which seemed perfect for documenting my haphazard life. I carried the thing around for a couple of years as my only camera, and I continued to use it occasionally ( for fun, and because I love that no-depth-of-field, crazy-color look ) until Polaroid discontinued 600 film in 2007.

skinny-blackNow, throwing practicality to the wind, a company called The Impossible Project has started manufacturing instant film. It’s quite expensive ( the film comes in 8-packs, and works out to something like $2.75 a shot ), and it is totally unstable. The pics I took with the old Polaroid film, including those from the early 90s, look just as they did back then — and, since the Impulse doesn’t really work without flash, they all look pretty similar with regard to depth, focus, light etc. … the Impossible shots ( I used a film called Silver Shade, which is at their store ) are all different, and keep changing from day to day. Granted, they tell you up front that the prints will be sepia-toned and that heat and bright light will shift them tonally towards red, as well as having other, unpredictable effects – and I live in the deep south, and it is summer, so most of these were taken in 90º+ heat .. I guess the next time I’m in Winnipeg in January ( it could happen, right? ), I’ll take some more and see what develops.


Stark House

The W.H.Stark house * Orange, TX.



Lil’ Doogie eating Vietnamese food * Harvey, LA.


Shriner P1

Statue of a shriner holding a little girl with polio * Marzuq Shrine, Tallahassee, FL.



Minor Strachan * New Orleans, LA.


Rob Schwager * Weeki Wachee, FL. In addition to the comics, posters and hot rod art he cranks out, Rob does this really cool thing where he rivets together sheets of aircraft aluminum to create a piece of fuselage and paints WWII bomber nose art on it, either reproductions of original designs or totally new ones. If you want, he’ll even add bullet holes.


Bones - Laredo

Skulls * Laredo, TX.



Drew Vonderhaar * New Orleans, LA.


Fireworks 2

Watching fireworks on the roof with a rowdy bunch of New Orleans chefs * July 4th, 2010.



Chopper Stepe, with Nikki * Orlando, FL.

you could download THE WTUL NEW WAVE HOUR * 1978

|July 22, 2010 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music, Philosophy, You Could Download


*Hi, this link was active for a number of years, I took it down recently, sorry.skinny-black

I recently managed to get my hands on a tape of an old college radio show – 72 minutes of music and DJ banter – from WTUL, which is the station at Tulane University in New Orleans. I edited and smoothed things out a little bit, but what you have here is pretty much what went out over the airwaves on November 29th, 1978.




There’s a lot of music that you’ll be familiar with if you’re a fan of early punk and postpunk, but there are also some obscure treats – The Normals are widely considered, along with the Red Rockers ( who came along in 1979 ), to be the most happening early New Orleans punk band, and you can listen here to Almost Ready, the ultra-rare, ultra-great 45 that was their only release.


It’s easy to forget what an exciting time this was, with fresh records arriving weekly from the UK and underground American bands starting to pop up all over the place. When the DJ ( Jay Hollingsworth wrote in to identify him as John Guarnieri, who went on to work at IRS Records ) says, casually, that Captain Beefheart is playing at Tipitina’s that night, I think, God, I’d give my right arm to be able to travel through time and see that show. Anyway, you can download the whole thing here.



01. DJ : Elvis Costello – ” Emotional Fascism “

02. Elvis Costello : Tiny Steps

03. The Jam : I Need You

04. Sid Vicious : My Way

05. WTUL Kraftwerk promo : ” Your FM alternative .. in stereo “

06. The Stranglers : No More Heroes

07. The Normals : Almost Ready

08. The Damned : New Rose

09. The Adverts : Gary Gilmore’s Eyes

10. DJ : playlist – station ID – import album hour – Johnny Thunders

11. New York Dolls : Who Are The Mystery Girls?

12. DEVO : Social Fools

13. The New Hearts : Plain Jane

14. The Radiators : Million Dollar Hero

15. Chelsea : High Rise Living

16. Blunt Instrument : No Excuse

17. DJ : playlist – station ID – import album hour – ” riding streetcars at strange hours ”

18. Jilted John : Jilted John

19. Split Enz : Crosswords

20. Ultravox : The Quiet Man

21. Brian Eno : Alternative 3

22. Brian Eno : Strange Light – DJ : station ID – import album hour – playlist – Captain Beefheart at Tipitina’s – The Shirts

23. The Shirts – Lonely Android

24. The Clash : Tommy Gun

25.The Boomtown Rats : Like Clockwork

26. Peter Hammill : Pushing 30

27. DJ : playlist – station ID – import album hour – musical entertainment at The Contemporary Arts Center

T-Bone Talks

|January 30, 2010 | Philosophy

T-Bone Burnett is an enigmatic, eccentric, hugely successful producer and musician who doesn’t give a lot of interviews, but when he does ( there’s a good one in Howard Massey’s excellent Behind The Glass Vol.2, which is a must-read for anyone who wants to make records ), he has me shaking my head and going ” this fucking guy, gee whiz ” .. here’s his recent NPR interview.


Part 1 : T-Bone Burnett Fresh Air Interview 1.13.10

Part 1 : T-Bone Burnett Fresh Air Interview 1.13.10

Part 2 : T-Bone Burnett Fresh Air Interview 1.13.10

Part 2 : T-Bone Burnett Fresh Air Interview 1.13.10

Part 3 : T-Bone Burnett Fresh Air Interview 1.13.10

Part 3 : T-Bone Burnett Fresh Air Interview 1.13.10

Part 4 : T-Bone Burnett Fresh Air Interview 1.13.10

Part 4 : T-Bone Burnett Fresh Air Interview 1.13.10



The Wisdom Of ENO

|January 18, 2010 | Philosophy


Brian Eno is one of my great heroes, not only for the records he makes but because he’s always saying something interesting, always looking forward, always thinking about the nature of art, and by extension, life. A great interview came out yesterday, which is here.

RZA : ” I’m A Geek “

|October 21, 2009 | Philosophy, Video

Picayune, The New Orleans Cigarette

|October 18, 2009 | Philosophy

This story is by Luc Sante, and is taken from his blog.

I quit smoking ten years ago, but before that I smoked for thirty years, starting at age 13. Like junkies and alcoholics, I’m a lifer. I quit because I was afraid of dying, but that’s about the only thing that could have made me quit, and I continue to have a deep and convoluted relationship with nicotine and the forms and guises under which it travels.

I first heard Picayunes mentioned in Frank O’Hara’s 1964 poem “The Day Lady Died.” It’s July 1959 and he’s preparing to go to Easthampton for the weekend, back when the Hamptons contained more poets and painters than rich people. He’s buying supplies and hostess gifts here and there in midtown Manhattan–recording everything in his seemingly casual diaristic way that’s really as meticulously arranged as a collage by Braque, down to the all-caps names that are after a fashion glued in–and then he sees the NEW YORK POST with her face on it. The pleasantly hectic course of the day, ticking away like a taxi meter for 25 lines, is abruptly flicked off and he’s thrown into memory. Billie Holiday has died.

He buys the Post from the tobacconist at the Ziegfeld Theater along with a carton of Gauloises and a carton of Picayunes. For years I had no idea what Picayunes were. By the time I was a teenage poet reading that poem again and again, wishing I could write like that and for that matter live like that, the New York of the poem seemed like a vision of glamour from the deep past, even though it was little more than a decade gone. I did smoke Gauloises when I could afford them, but there was no more tobacconist at the Ziegfeld and nobody I knew had ever heard of Picayunes.

Then, years later, I met George Montgomery, who had been O’Hara’s roommate at Harvard. I learned many things from him–he was a fount of every kind of lore and custom and means of appreciation. One of them was that the perfect way to end a meal was with a cup of black coffee, a piece or two of crystallized ginger, and a Picayune. He bought his at Village Cigars, at the head of Christopher Street. They were made in New Orleans, where they shared a name with the local newspaper, and they were the only American cigarette still at that time made, like Gauloises and Gitanes, from black caporal tobacco.

I didn’t visit New Orleans until many years after that, and even though I had by then quit smoking, I went off in search of Picayunes, but they were no longer manufactured. Their absence was conspicuous, because they went along with the city and its Afro-Franco-Hispano-Italo- Caribbean style, with the chicory coffee and the lagniappes and all the rest of it. It made sense that the most culturally distinct city in the lower 48 would boast a distinct local cigarette. Picayunes in their day were another symbol of the elegant separateness that would eventually provide the federal government with its excuse for sacrificing New Orleans. Anyway, nowadays local pride is reserved for team sports.

” A Bar On North Avenue ” by Roger Ebert

|October 18, 2009 | Philosophy

Related to my last post. Click on the photo to go to the story.

The Wisdom Of RZA

|October 17, 2009 | Philosophy

Ah, The RZA. The fantastic genius of the recording studio. My hero. He was on NPR yesterday talking about his new book, the economy, and a bunch of other stuff. Here it is.

The RZA : NPR Marketplace Interview 10.16.09

The RZA : NPR Marketplace Interview 10.16.09

Wu-Tang Clan : ” Method Man ( Home Grown Version ) “

Wu-Tang Clan : ” Method Man ( Home Grown Version ) “

The Undead * 1982

|October 13, 2009 | Found Sounds, Philosophy

Nine Toes Later

Stiff Records TEES 7-14. Here are 4 songs from my old vinyl copy of the ” Nine Toes Later ” EP. The Undead was the band that guitarist Bobby Steele formed after leaving The Misfits in 1980, and the tunes are very much in the same vein as those from The Misfits’ ” Beware ” period ( note the big, driving Rickenbacker bass sound, very Misfits-y ). There are some catchy, good songs here, and Steele, a ripping rock n’ roll guitar player, had a serviceable punk voice, edgy /snotty yet melodic — but you have to wonder how much greater these tracks would have been with Glenn Danzig singing.

01. The Undead : A Life Of Our Own

01. The Undead : A Life Of Our Own

02. The Undead : My Kinda Town

02. The Undead : My Kinda Town

03. The Undead : When The Evening Comes

03. The Undead : When The Evening Comes

04. The Undead : I Want You Dead

04. The Undead : I Want You Dead

Say what you will about Danzig’s post-1980s career choices, but in terms of the very long legs their recordings have, The Misfits are becoming Generation X’s Beatles. There will be books, there will be films, there will be exhibits in museums, and if they ever do reunite, they will play stadiums. On paper, The Misfits’ aesthetic was odd — on one hand, Bronx-Italian crooning, 1950s pop melodies and classic early rock n’ roll song structures, and on the other, noisy, aggressive post-1977 punk rock, and, due to the lack of a competent drummer ( until the addition of Black Flag’s Robo in 1982 ), an absence of any kind of groove other than a straight-ahead minimal beat that was ultimately an afterthought — yet it all works SO WELL. Whenever I hear one of the classic Misfits tracks, ” Astro Zombies “, say, or ” We Are 138 “, or ” Hybrid Moments ” ( I could go on and on and on ), I get the same feeling, the same electric charge I got hearing them for the first time at age 15. These songs still make me want to watch horror movies on a black and white TV. ” Halloween ” makes me want to put on skull makeup and go egging.

Here’s a little more about the enduring music of The Misfits:

It’s been a long time since the wacky jazz-lounge ironic cover version held any appeal for me – for a while, during the early 90s, it seemed like cocktail-ized interpretations of current rock songs were everywhere and the trend played itself out quickly. In general, tongue-in-cheek covers are tricky because they can backfire by highlighting deficiencies in the performers’ original songs, and anyway, cynicism isn’t usually the basis for good music. Having said all that, though, there’s something kind of great about the Misfits Meet The Nutley Brass : Fiend Club Lounge CD. When I was helping run a bar a couple of years ago we put it on the jukebox and I saw the same thing night after night : the jazzy-lite no-vocals version of ” Where Eagles Dare ” would come on and someone would look up from their beer and yell, ” Wait ! Is this The MISFITS?!? “. Those are some strong melodies, some of the strongest.

Speaking of covers and the grunge era, here’s a little something extra for you.

The Lemonheads : ” Skulls “

The Lemonheads : ” Skulls ”

Captain Beefheart’s 10 Commandments For Guitarists

|September 16, 2009 | Philosophy

1. LISTEN TO THE BIRDS : That’s where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren’t going anywhere.
2. YOUR GUITAR IS NOT REALLY A GUITAR : Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you’re good, you’ll land a big one.
3. PRACTICE IN FRONT OF A BUSH : Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread.
4. WALK WITH THE DEVIL : Old delta blues players referred to amplifiers as
the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts demons and devils. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper, a mandolin attracts Wendy, but an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.
5. IF YOU’RE GUILTY OF THINKING, YOU’RE OUT : If your brain is part of the
process, you’re missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.
6. NEVER POINT YOUR GUITAR AT ANYONE : Your instrument has more power than lightning. Just hit a big chord, then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.
7. ALWAYS CARRY YOUR CHURCH KEY : You must carry your key and use it when called upon. That’s your part of the bargain. Like One String Sam. He was a Detroit street musician in the fifties who played a homemade instrument. His song “I Need A Hundred Dollars” is warm pie. Another church key holder is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty making you want to look up her dress to see how he’s doing
8. DON’T WIPE THE SWEAT OFF YOUR INSTRUMENT : You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.
9. KEEP YOUR GUITAR IN A DARK PLACE : When you’re not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don’t play your guitar for more than a day, be sure to put a saucer of water in with it.
10. YOU GOTTA HAVE A HOOD FOR YOUR ENGINE : Wear a hat when you play and keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house the hot air can’t escape. Even a lima bean has to have a wet paper towel around it to make it grow.

” How Could I Feel It ” * 1981

|March 10, 2009 | Found Sounds, Philosophy

Taken from Society Dog’s ” Off The Leash ” EP, Subterranean Records Sub 13. Wow. I am officially designating this song to be ” punk as fuck ” . How do you even get a guitar to sound like that? Another tune from a record I bought with paper route money in distant years past.

This is probably a homemade recording on 4-or 8-track. Given the limited number of channels they had back then, adding anything to the basic instruments and lead vocals involved laborious bouncing and combining of tracks ( and much loss of fidelity with every bounce ) – so you’ve got to give it up for the super-loud backup vocals and handclaps the band deemed more important than the drums, which sound like they were recorded with one microphone to begin with. Screw it, I love the way it sounds.

I continue to be fascinated by the pop element that can almost always be found in early punk and hardcore recordings. Although what these people were playing at the time was the most agressive, alienated, and even flat-out ugly music around, they grew up listening to hit songs in the pre-punk era — and were completely bound by the rules of that era: there must be a vocal hook, there must be a guitar hook, and there must be a catchy chorus. Indeed, many underground recordings by teenagers from the early 1980s exhibit a harmonic sensibility more fully-formed than that of rock music on the radio today.

Society Dog : ” How Could I Feel It “

Society Dog : ” How Could I Feel It “

Nadsat Rebel Demo 1983

|January 23, 2009 | Found Sounds, Philosophy

“ Getting ready to cause much strife “ – yes indeed. 4 UK spikypunk– obsessed kids ( I was right there with ‘em ) from Evanston, IL on a fat Radio Shack Concertape with a hand-lettered cover. If you’re of a certain age and from Chicago, you may remember the synchronized “ Nadsat jump “. Some interesting things about this cassette – it was recorded by Steve Albini, who went on to become a producer of great repute — and has the band playing through Albini’s then-band Big Black’s gear, which accounts for the very unusual sound here. The guitarist, Matt Diehl, went on to write for Rolling Stone as well as several books.

When I listen to these old tapes on modern equipment, I’m amazed at how noisy they are – I probably could have trimmed some of the tape hiss off, but I think it’s part of the charm …. makes the music sound like a hazy transmission from another planet, which, in a sense, it is.

01. ” Nosferatu “

01. ” Nosferatu ”

Nadsat Rebel : 02. ” Slipping Fast “

02. ” Slipping Fast ”

Nadsat Rebel : 03. ” Getting Ready “

03. ” Getting Ready ”

Nadsat Rebel : 04. ” I Am The Wall “

04. ” I Am The Wall ”

Nadsat Rebel : 05. ” Bounty “

05. ” Bounty ”

Holy Terror Demo 1984

|December 11, 2008 | Found Sounds, Philosophy

I was looking through a box of old, old stuff the other day and I found this tape, which has somehow stuck to me since the days of hardcore punk, skateboarding, my first band, and getting into whatever busted-ass car we could scrounge to go play in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan with other kids like us – that was 24 years ago. Yow.

These guys were from Grand Rapids, Michigan .. I don’t remember where we met, but I know we played with them a couple of times, in Muskegon, maybe in Grand Rapids, maybe Kalamazoo. You can’t skate in the snow, so we probably just goofed, drank cokes, experimented with smoking ( I remember that they smoked merits, it’s really odd what details your brain keeps ). A little later, when we were all starting to grow our hair out and perhaps listening to more Prince and MC5 than hardcore, some of them would come down to Chicago to hang out.

The kid in the photo at the top with his checkerboard Vans Hightop sticking out was Chris Ide. He was the guitar player. He was a little ahead of the game, the first person I ever personally saw drink an espresso ( we gave him a hard time for that one, a dollar seemed like a lot of money for a thimbleful of coffee at the time ). He later became a gifted poet, a protege of Allen Ginsberg, and died of a heroin overdose in 1994.

That was when I was riding the White Zombie juggernaut, rocketing toward … you know, you hearing ” More Human Than Human ” on the radio every 4 minutes for a year or three, and I didn’t know about any of this until many years later. It makes me feel old and sad.

These kids ( they were 16 or 17, I think ) made a basement 4-track cassette tape — and props to them, my own teen hardcore band was never able to achieve anything usable that way — and they bounced the results down to another cassette. Then, probably, after driving around for hours playing the tape over and over on a totally magnetized car tape player that hadn’t ever been cleaned and was full of Merit ash, set about making copies. A dual dubbing deck was still something of a fancy item then, so I’m imagining they hooked together 2 tape decks, or boomboxes, or maybe even Walkmans ( I used to do it all the time ) . Listen to this : sure, it’s a primitive sound, but ultimately it’s amazing that it’s a sound at all, given the journey of this music to you – from the master cassette to this tape which I played the shit out of ( remember, kids, there wasn’t anything else to do back then, salvation came in the form of a 7″ record, or a letter written on the back of a punk flyer, or getting your first ” real ” guitar ) that then sat in a succession of wet basements and hot attics for 24 years. And you can actually hear all the instruments.

I’ll tell you what else – after transferring this, I woke up the next day with ” Prodigal Son ” stuck in my head, and it wouldn’t get out of there. Seems like back before you could just press the ” start ” button, teenagers wrote ……. real songs. And here they are.

Holy Terror : 01. ” Prodigal Son “

1. ” Prodigal Son ”

Holy Terror : 02. ” Self Reliance “

2. ” Self Reliance ”

Holy Terror : 03. ” Close Call “

3. ” Close Call ”

Holy Terror : 04. ” Love Or Lust “

4. ” Love Or Lust ”

Holy Terror : 05. ” Olé “

5. ” Olé ”

Holy Terror : 06. ” Hiding Place “

6. ” Hiding Place ”

Holy Terror : 07. ” Ways Of The World “

7. ” Ways Of The World ”

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