|January 31, 2013 | Found Images
* For 40 years, this Russian family was cut off from all human contact, unaware of World War II.
* ” Q: Do you feel that the world is, on balance, improved by technology? “
A: ” Well, if you ask that question from the point of view of almost anything in this world that’s not a human being like you and me, the answer’s almost certainly No. “ Bruce Sterling, as he does every so often, comments on the future-now.
* Schoolboys’ hundred-year old paper planes that pre-date manned flight are found in the eaves of a chapel.
* ” I won Greta Garbo’s rock and pop records in an auction. I play them and talk about them. “
* If I was in the market for a bass guitar, I would probably get the Cliff Burton Signature Model.
* North Korea is a real country with real people.
* ‘ The doctor said, ” You’ve got cancer “. I was absolutely calm. And then later I began to feel almost euphoric. ‘ Wilko. Also, raw and live in ’75 : pure attitude, and you’ll notice that he doesn’t play with a pick.
* What is Texas? Is Texas Texas anymore?
April 29, 1983 : 16 years old, opening for Minor Threat. A. posted this a couple of weeks ago and blew my mind, because I didn’t know there were any photos from this show, let alone one with me in it. Well, that’s not quite true. A kid from my high school took pictures ( I have one 8X10 print, a blurry shot of Ian Mackaye, who you can barely see because there are so many people on stage ), but said kid died later, and nobody I know knows anything more about it. MCI shot this one.
Things I can tell you about this picture / the gig:
1. I still know quite a few people who were there, and they tend to get misty when the subject comes up. I can’t remember a show that was more highly anticipated, or exciting, or fun. Actually, by just a hair, the most fun I’ve ever had was at a show which was also at The Hall ( Centro-American Social Club ), by a band from Texas called the Big Boys. But that’s another story.
2. In the photo, standing in front of me in the white shirt, is my old friend Chris. Chris has shown up here a few times before, in Guitars 1,2, & 3 / The Story Of The WZ Guitar / Chris’ Room and also in Trenchmouth.
3. I’m wearing a Negative Approach jacket, painted by Ken ( someone else who was there, who I still know ). I loved that band to death, and later, when I had recently joined White Zombie and was literally starving, I sold my copy of their 1982 EP. I’ve regretted it ever since.
4. I’m playing my white SG, the first ‘real’ guitar I ever had. In 1989, right after I joined WZ, I sold it to a guy in New Jersey so I could get the money together to buy a Marshall head. I don’t know what happened to the guy or where the guitar is now. I still have the Marshall head, the stock JCM800 I used all the way from my first show with WZ to the recording of La Sexorcisto to the shows leading up to the release of the album.
Click for large.
5. The flyer says End Result Vs. The Audience, and that’s exactly how it went down. My friends and I were solid pals with End Result ( I am solid pals with Steve S. to this very day ), but there were other kids there who didn’t know / understand. For more on that, take a look at You Weren’t There. I don’t remember AOF’s set at all, but they were always great, and the atmosphere was electric, so I’m sure they were fantastic ( I asked A. if he remembered anything, and he said, ” there was also the Nerf football game during AOF’s set. I have a vivid memory of Ian’s face as he turned and gave it a toss “. MDC were great. Someone from MDC did some graffiti in the bathroom, and they got yelled at by everyone. Also, Ron from MDC let me use his input-jumped Marshall full-stack for our set, and I think the look on my face is sheer awe at how good my guitar sounded.
Another thing about MDC : this was the first time I ever met and interacted with straight-up ( radical, militant ) gay people who were around my age. Several of my fellow Chicago teen hardcore punk scenester friends would eventually figure out where they were at as far as all that, but at this point, no.
6. Minor Threat : this was the five-piece Out Of Step lineup. I don’t remember talking to Lyle or Steve – the only thing I remember about Steve is that there was something wrong with his bass and he had to borrow Franco from MDC’s Jazz Bass, which was a little funny because it had a spiky punk wristband wrapped around the headstock, which was very much not what Minor Threat was about. I don’t remember anything about Jeff, except that he sat in a corner reading a paperback during all the opening bands.
7. I talked to Brian Baker extensively. He was very friendly and answered all my questions about the DC scene, guitars, etc. I remember specifically that he told me that I really should save up and get a Marshall, because then I wouldn’t need a distortion box ( it would be another six years before I finally owned one, see #4 ). I remember that he was delighted when I told him that Teenager In A Box by Government Issue ( he played guitar on the recording ) was one of my favorite DC hardcore songs. I remember questioning him extensively about the Faith/Void split, which was a record we were all very into. He told me that he had no idea how Void were able to make such a cohesive recording, since their sound in concert was generally chaotic to the point of sheer confusion. He also told me that, on the other hand, Faith were the best live band in DC, but that they couldn’t seem to make a recording which reflected that.
8. Ian stood right in the middle of the crowd and watched our whole set, smiling. He sold A. and I copies of the Double-O EP, ( which I actually still have, and which I transferred and posted and discussed here ), and possibly other records. I have the entire early Dischord discography, and it’s hard to remember which ones came from where.
A big part of the Robert Johnson legend is the fact that only two photos of him are known to exist. Now, a third one, showing Johnson standing next to singer Johnny Shines, has been discovered. The picture had to be heavily restored, as you can see here. Also, if you’re not familiar with the recent Robert Johnson speed controversy, here’s an argument for it, and here’s an argument against.
Penang, Malaysia. Over the past few months, all across SE Asia, I’ve been sticking to the promise I made to myself to not buy any records. Collecting things is not what I’m out here to do, I have no way of carrying them safely without a lot of hassle, and it’d defeat the whole pack lightly ethos I’ve been successfully living by. But today, I walked down a different street, and I saw, through the dusty window of a junk shop, stacks of 1960s Singapore-Chinese rock n’ roll 45s with brightly-colored picture sleeves, and my resolve went to hell. Besides, I haven’t bought one thing in Malaysia. I sent some postcards, ( well, I got some new socks, because Myanmar did some pretty terrible things to my footwear, but let’s not dwell on that ) but that’s about it.
Besides, they’re 45s. They’re little. If I can get them home in one piece, and if any of them are any good, I’ll transfer and post them for you,. I know I could connect-the-dots pretty quick on the internets and see what these tunes sound like, but where’s the fucking fun in that? Nowhere. I was excited to find an EP by Rita Chao, who I posted about during my Asia-immersive lead-up to this trip. She is go-go dancing on the cover, exactly as she should be.
Penang, Malaysia. “ Thaipusam ( Tamil: தைப்பூசம் ) is a Hindu festival celebrated by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai ( January / February). It is not only observed in countries where the Tamil community constitutes a majority, but also in countries where Tamil communities are smaller, such as Malaysia. “
” The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam. This particular star is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel ( spear or javelin ) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. “
” On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi ( burdens ). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with “ vel “ skewers is also common. “
” The simplest kavadi is a semicircular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod that is carried on the shoulders, to the temple. In addition, some have a small spear through their tongue, or a spear through the cheeks. The spear pierced through the tongue or cheeks reminds the devotee constantly of Lord Murugan. It also prevents him from speaking and gives great power of endurance. Other types of kavadi involve hooks stuck into the back and either pulled by another walking behind or being hung from a decorated bullock cart or more recently a tractor, with the point of incisions of the hooks varying the level of pain. “
” In Malaysia, the temple at Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur, often attracts over one million devotees. The procession to the caves starts at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur and proceeds for 15 kilometers to the caves, an 8-hour journey culminating in a flight of 272 steps to the top. Thaipusam is also celebrated at Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple along Jalan Waterfall in Penang. “
If you follow here, there are some things you’ve probably figured out about me : I am detail-oriented, and I like old stuff. These are British tiles ( the similar-looking ones you can still see in the French Quarter in New Orleans are Spanish, I think – correct me if I’m wrong ), some as old as the 1880s, in Chinatown, in Penang, Malaysia. I walked on all of them.
Luc Sante stopped updating his site a couple of years ago, but every now and then, I go back and have a look, and it’s always worth doing.