Here’s a delightful seasonal medley of Crass’s most popular songs, from their 1981 Christmas single. I was very young when I bought this 45, and it was the first Crass record I’d ever heard, so I was a little mystified as to what it was supposed to be — and so I’m including a song from the second Crass record I got.
” I am he and she is she but you’re the only you. ”
1. Crass : ” Merry Crassmas ”
2. Crass : ” Big A Little A ”
A Treasury of vintage photographs of storefronts is here.
I was rather busy when this band was around, sorry to say, but I do love this photo, which was taken by Pat Graham.
Lovingly handcrafted by Texas genius/madman Pat West and approved by the Young America Horror Club, here’s a real, working White Zombie Astro-Creep 2000 8-track. He made me a La Sexorcisto one too, for which he found the appropriate slime-green cart.
Here’s James Greene’s account of how, in the spirit of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon apparently syncing up perfectly with The Wizard Of OZ, he spent a very long time trying to find a record that would work with Star Wars. The answer? White Zombie. The original story is here.
I think we, the global movie-watching pop culture community at large, can all agree that there is a lot going on in The Wizard of Oz. Deadly tornados, flying monkeys, talking lions, Ray Bolger, regional witches of varying virtue, glittery shoes, singing munchkins—Jesus, there are even birds in the background that look like people trying to kill themselves. It’s really a tour de force of wacky crap, a carnival of Technicolor insanity that’s kept audiences entertained for decades. Few films can match Oz’s density; even the awesome 1978 remake fell flat by comparison (and that one had Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, back when they were still both at the top of their game). Yessir, there’s just no topping some cinematic spectacles.
Of course, in this age of cable television, instant playback, and re-re-re-recordable media, it is possible to desensitize one’s self to such greatness, to make the incredible mundane, the fascinating routine, the amazing boring. Too many TBS/VHS viewings have probably rendered Oz as pedestrian to some people as your average episode of Webster. This (and a heroic amount of pot, I speculate) is probably what led an unknown party sometime in the early ’90s to view The Wizard of Oz while listening to Pink Floyd’s 1973 masterpiece Dark Side of the Moon. Why listen to Judy Garland’s warbling when you have a mute button, right? Throw on some Floyd, spark a doob, and let the colorful Land of Oz jack off your brain.
Sounds like a pretty killer way to burn off a few hours late on a Sunday afternoon. What no one in the world expected, though, was that there would be some kind of interstellar connection between these two seemingly unrelated properties. Indeed, it would turn out that, when started at the correct moment, a good majority of Dark Side of the Moon would mirror the events in Oz. Nearly 60 moments of synchronicity occur, just enough to blow the minds of every burned-out classic rocker and rabid Bert Lahr fan on the planet. Mainstream media first picked up on the “Dark Side of the Rainbow” phenomenon in 1995, thanks to a piece by Charles Savage in Indiana’s Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (those guys are always on the cutting edge).
“The result is astonishing,” wrote Savage, who tried the experiment himself. “It’s as if the movie were one long art-film music video for the album. Song lyrics and titles match the action and plot. The music swells and falls with characters’ movements.”
Savage chalked the whole thing up to the “Infinite Monkeys, Infinite Typewriters, Shakespeare” thing, igniting fierce debate over whether Roger Waters and his pals planned this elaborate, impressive joke or whether it was just the will of the cosmos. The members of Pink Floyd deny they intentionally created an alternate soundtrack for MGM’s most beloved film of all time and generally seem disgusted at the very notion they’d waste their time with such nonsense. This is the same band, though, that gave the world that Pulse CD with the stupid little blinking light in it. They also, at one point, relied on giant inflatable pigs to get their musical message across. So, you know, they could be full of it.
Like any other urban legend-obsessed member of Generation Y, I was quite intrigued by this “Dark Side of the Rainbow” business. In 2005, during a rather severe employment drought, it was on my mind constantly. How is something like this even possible? Is David Gilmour a Highlander? How does the KGB factor into this? I began to wonder about other likely film/music synchronicities. One night, as I lay in bed not making money and getting fatter by the minute, an exciting thought hit me:
Whoa, wait a minute—I bet that one White Zombie album totally synchs up with Star Wars!
White Zombie’s landmark 1992 album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 certainly seemed like the type of sample-heavy rock freak-out that would align perfectly with a wild, outer space adventure starring Mark Hamill. Also, I figured it would be pretty cool watching Darth Vader parade around to all those bad-ass metal riffs. That alone might keep me from dozing off in the middle of said experiment. The following evening, I popped Star Wars into my VCR—that’s right, I only rock the original Star Wars trilogy, sans all that goofy CGI crap Lucas added two decades after the fact; this was a year before those “original unaltered” trilogy DVDs (which were sort of lousy anyway) came out. So anyway, I popped Star Wars into my VCR, hit “PLAY” on White Zombie immediately after the second 20th Century Fox drumroll, and hoped I wouldn’t fall asleep.
Oh, I would not be drifting off during this experiment, dear reader. Strange things started happening from the get-go. The first explosion soundclip in “Welcome to Planet Motherfucker” occurred at the same exact moment the Star Wars title burst onto the screen. Wow. A short time later, Darth Vader made his first appearance as the “Get up and kill!” soundclip from Dawn of the Dead was heard in “Psychoholic Slag.” Something was happening here. C-3PO’s stiff movements through the Tatooine desert matched up with the creaking at the start of “Black Sunshine.” I heard Rob Zombie sing “Take me away!” in “Soul Crusher” as C-3PO tried to convince Uncle Owen to buy him. This was getting weird.
Here’s Devo’s Duty Now For The Future on 8-track, signed by Mark Mothersbaugh.
I found this Road To Ruin cart at a thrift store while White Zombie was on the road with the Ramones in 1995, and the band graciously signed it for me. There was much eye-rolling, especially by Johnny. Everybody hates 8-tracks.
Richard Hell: “I felt an immediate affinity with the Ramones. I dug them and didn’t have any reservations about them. They were just the way they always were. Lisa Robinson hired me to write about them in Hit Parader – the first article about them that was ever published nationally. All their songs were two minutes long, and I asked them the names of all their songs. They had maybe five or six at the time: ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Down In The Basement’, ‘I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You’, ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Learned, I Don’t Wanna Be Tamed’, and ‘I Don’t Wanna’ something else. And Dee Dee said, ‘We didn’t write a positive song until ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue’.’ They were just perfect, you know?”
Reaaly, really, really cool photos. Go here.
This is a one-off Xmas novelty 45, to be sure, but being that The Greedies were Phil Lynott, Brian Downey, and Scott Gorham from Thin Lizzy and Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols, that’s right, two of the best English rock n’ roll bands of all time, it’s pretty great. From the original vinyl.
The Greedies : ” A Merry Jingle ”
Here’s a photo I took at the corner of Philip and Annunciation streets here in New Orleans. It looks like it was set up, but the truth is that I happened to have my camera in my car, and as I was pulling up I noticed this little girl walking around in her Mardi Gras mask. Lens cap off, click, move on. I don’t think she even noticed that I took her picture. Later I gave a print to her parents, who were pretty surprised. This image really reminds me of the little magic moments that were always occurring during my pre-Katrina year in the city.
Here’s a picture I took a couple of years ago at St.Roch Cemetery in New Orleans. If she’s still there, I can’t find her.