|July 31, 2010 | Found Sounds
01. Roosevelt Franklin : ” Roosevelt Franklin Counts ”
02. Roosevelt Franklin : ” Mobity Mosely’s Months “
01. Roosevelt Franklin : ” Roosevelt Franklin Counts ”
02. Roosevelt Franklin : ” Mobity Mosely’s Months “
Band Of Susans : ” All The Wrong Reasons “
Shit, how about that. See how to do it here.
.. and it was recorded in 1967 on borrowed studio time in Los Angeles by a crew of eccentric, heroin-addicted, paranoid New Orleanians led by Malcolm John ‘Mac’ Rebennack, Jr., who was on the run from the cops, sleeping on floors, and, for the first time, playing the character of mystic /shaman /voodoo priest Dr.John.
Gris-Gris is one of the most psychedelic records I’ve ever heard, but not in a rock n’ roll fuzz-wah-wah-acid sort of way. Dr.John conjures up a timeless, dark, magic place – literally, this sounds like it could have been recorded in a swamp to an audience of frogs, blinking in the moonlight. You can download the tracks here, which are taken from my original vinyl copy. Note : if you’re a windows user and are having problems opening files from this site, try 7-Zip.
Here’s more, from Rebennack’s excellent autobiography Dr.John : Under A Hoodoo Moon :
” In 1967, after a couple of years of studio and other kinds of sidetripping in L.A., me and my New Orleans partners-in-exile finally fell into a situation where we could cut an LP on an idea I’d had since before I left New Orleans. I had always thought we could work up an interesting New Orleans-based concept behind the persona of the legendary conjureman Dr.John. This would not only allow for a dash of gris-gris in the lyrics but would also let us musicians get into a stretched-out New Orleans groove. With the help of Harold Battiste, we recorded at Gold Star Studios between sessions Sonny & Cher were doing there for Atlantic Records. The album we created, Gris-Gris, was heavy on rhythm, percussion, and guitar, and light on keyboards. I did play some organ, as on songs Mama Roux and Danse Kalinda, but stuck mostly to guitar. Steve Mann and Ernest McLean also played guitar on the session. On some songs we used two basses ( Harold Battiste and Bob West ), and our percussionist, Didimus, also doubled up on a bunch more instruments with the rest of the cats.
We were looking for an unusual, textured sound, and the cats nailed it. Naturally, we wanted the album to sell, but we weren’t into bending our music to fit somebody’s idea of what the market was about. First and foremost, we were into it for the music. This attitude isn’t often appreciated by record companies. To give you a for instance, at one point later on, I was doing a session for Bobby Darin when Ahmet Ertegun walked into the studio looking for me. ‘ Why did you give me this shit? How can we market this boogaloo crap? ‘ He was stuck with a record that was done on the sly, and he was acting as if he wouldn’t release it.
But we was of the mind that a hip record might sell if it was pitched the right way. The way we was looking at music was that it was circular in its groove, with no corners. That was what the old-time hipsters had meant by hip — something that hadn’t been squared off to fit into some kind of computerized, market-ized nightmare. In any event, Ahmet must have sensed something happening. We made five more albums for Atlantic before the deal fell through. Our theme song of that time, the first cut on the album, was Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya. It framed a mental picture of an imaginary New Orleans, and put our main character, Dr.John, out front and center. “
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.
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.
Now, 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.
The W.H.Stark house * Orange, TX.
Lil’ Doogie eating Vietnamese food * Harvey, LA.
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.
Skulls * Laredo, TX.
Drew Vonderhaar * New Orleans, LA.
Watching fireworks on the roof with a rowdy bunch of New Orleans chefs * July 4th, 2010.
Chopper Stepe, with Nikki * Orlando, FL.
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.
THE WTUL NEW WAVE HOUR * 1978
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
Independence Day in my neighborhood. Happy 4th, good night.
So, sometimes, if there’s no work, I get restless, I get in the car, and I go. Road trips aren’t for everyone, and I don’t know if I would have gravitated to it had it not been for all the touring I did in my 20s, when we hit all 50 states relentlessly, some more than others – Alaska once, Detroit, I don’t know, 20 times? MiamiAlbuquerqueDesMoinesTacoma. Houston was White Zombie central, the first city that really got the band ( Really. We were like the fucking Beatles there. ) – and if you’re going to play Houston, which we did, again and again, why not play Dallas and Austin and San Antonio and Lubbock and El Paso and, good God, Corpus Christi?
Touring in a van is a grind, and you would imagine that trading up to a nice tour bus and hotel rooms would make things easy, but it’s not true. You’re still tired and disoriented all the time, you’re still always getting sick, but now you’re totally isolated, except for when you get caught — and what I mean by that is, you know what it’s like to wake up in the dark and stumble into the bathroom to brush your teeth, right? Now imagine waking up in the dark, which is humid and diesel-scented, and having to find out where your bathroom is ( this is before cell phones, by the way ) ,opening a door to a blazing hot parking lot, and encountering 20 people who are fascinated by you. You appreciate these people, you really do, and when you’re in a good mood you’re downright fond of them, but you really, really want to brush your teeth. You know from your own experiences of meeting bands you loved – who turned out to be gigantic assholes – that if you don’t sign everything that’s put in front of you and listen to every story about where they were when they first heard your music, you’re going to ruin the show for these kids, and their week, and they will waste no time telling everybody they know, ” That dude’s a DICK! “