One year after it first debuted at SXSW 2015, director Wes Orshoski’s long-awaited documentary on British Punk Rock legends The Damned is finally coming out on DVD May 20th, 2016, and all I can say is it’s about fucking time. I can’t wait to own it, and I will be writing a full review for you once it is in my hot little hands! In the meantime, please enjoy my amazing and hilarious interview with Captain Sensible from August 2001 at This Link, and watch the trailer below!
Hey, do you love The Ramones? I sure do; so much so, that I even made the trek, by subway train and foot, all the way out to Flushing Meadows, Corona Park (a long, long ass way) to visit the Queens Museum, where there is a newly-opened exhibit that is all about Forest Hills, Queens favorite sons, the legendary Ramones. Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk, as you can imagine by the title, is pretty sweet.
On the exhibit’s opening day (April 10th) I journeyed out to Queens with an aggregate group of enthusiastic Ramones Fans, and when we arrived at the museum there was one line to buy tickets to get into the museum, and then another line just to get into the galleries that are showcasing the Ramones exhibit. Holy Mother of god, do I hate waiting on line(s). Fortunately, I know the right people, and one of those people is my friend Anne, who is good pals with Vera Ramone King (Dee Dee Ramone’s first wife, who is a lovely lady) and so we were able to get some Hot VIP Action and skip at least 90 minutes in “The Line Ride,” as I will call it. Mad props to Anne and Vera!
Here I am with Vera, and musician/songwriter Jana Peri!
In this expansive exhibit, the four original Ramones — Joey, Johnny, Tommy and Dee Dee — are most widely represented, along with Tommy’s replacement, drummer Marky Ramone (who had the longest tenure with the band outside of the original four founders), and to a lesser extent members who came along later in the band’s career, CJ and Richie, who show up in a few places. Not unexpectedly, the exhibit’s opening day was a complete madhouse and total party scene. You will learn so much about The Ramones as a group, and about each of them as people, when you visit this exhibit, but I’m going to skip all of that, because I know that everyone really only wants to see the photos. Enjoy!
One of the first things you will see when you enter the first of four galleries is this fun, specially commissioned cartoon map by Punk Magazine co-founder John Holmstrom, tracing the band’s path from Forest Hills to the downtown nightclub CBGB.
The first gallery is dedicated to the band’s songs and records, as well as memorabilia, swag, props, photos and magazines documenting the very first articles ever written on the band. The exhibit also celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the release of the first Ramones album!
Sire Records‘ promotional Ramones swag included T Shirts, actual size and miniature baseball bats, and a letter opener!
There are so many fantastic black and white photos to wax nostalgic over: from way Back in The Day, when The Ramones were just starting out, playing at the late great CBGB, and influencing every punk band, including now-legends of the British First Wave! Even Joe Strummer (RIP) was not shy about admitting how much The Clash ripped off The Ramones unique sound, in case you cannot hear it for yourself.
Joey Ramone Outside CBGB. David Johansen is on the Far Left. Danny Fields and Arturo Vega (Who Created The Ramones Famous Logo), are Also Pictured.
How great is this movie? I saw it in the theater right here in NYC when it was fist released in 1979. Oldness!
World famous pop artist and our good friend, Mark Kostabi poses with his original artwork for the cover of the final Ramones album, Adios Amigos. Mark told me that while the band loved being depicted as Dinosaurs, they did not want them to be wearing Dunce Caps, so Sombreros were substituted in the final album cover, shown below. Trivia!
The second gallery is dedicated to The Ramones On Tour. Here you will find posters, laminates, instruments and stage gear, tour riders and other paraphernalia that goes along with being a hard-touring band, which The Ramones were!
Because of the size of the crowd, I had to beak up this one wall into three shots, left to right.
Poster from The Ramones, The Damned and Talking Heads Gig in Paris, April 29, 1977.
The third exhibit gallery pays homage to The Ramones as individuals, and includes video kiosks and a wonderful collection of fan art/memorabilia that you’ve surely not seen before and will not see anywhere else.
Dee Dee Ramone was a prolific artist and cartoonist whose work has been shown posthumously in galleries such as La Luz De Jesus in Los Angeles.
I really enjoyed discovering some cool, Ramones-tribute artworks and cartoons that I had no idea existed.
Joey seemed to me to be the heart of The Ramones, and he is much-loved and revered, in NYC especially, to this day.
Don’t Worry About Me…
Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara is a huge Ramones fan. To anyone familiar with is work, his style is immediately recognizable.
Ramones at CBGB Diorama
Gabba Gabba Hey!
Ramones Collectible Plate
Ramones By Japanese Artist Naoshi
The Ramones as Animated for The Simpsons
The final gallery is a screening room where you can sit, take a load off, and watch videos of the band in concert. Very nice.
When you consider their staggering legacy of music and enduring contribution to pop culture, it is heartbreaking to know that none of the four original Ramones survived to old age. Mark Kostabi created the above drawing of the Ramones as Angels after Tommy’s death in 2014. RIP.
I know that there are tons of photos here, and it seems that I must have taken a photo everything (which, probably), but trust me that all of these pictured items just scratch the surface of all of the amazing Ramones stuff that curator Marc H. Miller managed to gather all in one place. It is unbelievably great. You really must see it for yourself, even if it means having to leave Manhattan.
Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk will be on Exhibit until July 31st, 2016, at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows, Corona Park. The Exhibit Moves to Los Angeles in September.
Just when you thought that the mere idea of filming a few scenes for your music video in a cemetery was just unbearably cliche, Nashville-based rawk quartet, Idle Bloom come along to show you that it can be done in a way that is still original and cool! What is even going on in this frenetically edited video? I have no idea, really. All I know is that it matches the energy and carefree sense of fun and adventure that comes through in this exciting little song that I just want to hear over and over.
Aurally, Idle Bloom embrace a simply transcendent blend of melody and discord distinctive to musical icons such as Husker Du and The Pixies — for those of you over 40 — but which folks with a more up-to-the-minute grasp of what The Kids are listening to say should appeal to fans of groups like Dilly Dally, a band that we also find to be pretty groovy!
Idle Bloom members include Olivia (vocals & guitars), Callan (vocals & guitar), Katie (bass), and Weston (drums). The band recently completed their debut EP, Some Paranoia, which is out now via hometown label Theory Eight Records, and available wherever fine music is procured. Like them on the FaceBook at This Link. Enjoy!
While it cannot be denied that this week’s featured Video Clip “The Bees,” from Detroit-based quartet Destroy This Place, is an homage to the classic Beehive hairdo — which was popular throughout the 1960s — and a show of old school punk rock force, it also serves as a supportive anthem for the Save The Bees worldwide cause! And for this, I salute them! Save The Bees!
During this frenetically edited, high energy clip, you will flash back to famous Beehives worn by the likes of Elvira, Barbra Streisand, Audrey Hepburn, Priscilla Presley and even Diana Ross, among many other icons of pop culture and fashion! The video is shot in glorious Black & White for period accuracy!
“The Bees” is the scorching lead single from Destroy This Place’s new album, Animal Rites, which was released on October 23rd, 2015 via Forge Again Records. Warning: Not hangover-friendly. Enjoy!
Hey, do you like the late ’70s Punk Rock? I sure do. Even before I read a single word about this band, Honduras, I listened to their great tune, “Mistake,” and was so cheered by the song’s seamless infusion of subtle yet tangible influences of early Red Kross (yes, I just typed that) and The Buzzcocks. Oh boy, who even does that anymore? Answer: No one. No one does it.
So, imagine my level of ecstatic delight when I read that Honduras‘ founding members, Patrick Phillips (vocals/guitar) and Tyson Moore (guitar/vocals) are actually inspired by late 70’s punk (emphasis mine), but (quoting from Press Release) “[are] mixing in aspects of garage and indie music that followed. Honduras played Brooklyn’s DIY venue scene tirelessly and garnered a reputation for amazing live performances, being compared to bands like The Sex Pistols and The Buzzcocks.” I enjoy reading stuff like that, because it just validates the fact that I know my shit. I can’t believe how much I rule.
Another thing I like about “Mistake” is how it mixes art in with the music by having brightly-colored paints poured over the lead vocalist’s head repeatedly. So simple, as yet so effective. Having two EPs under their belts, Honduras’ upcoming debut LP will be released in the spring of 2015! Like them on the FaceBook at This Link! Enjoy!
The Morrison Hotel Gallery, in conjunction with the Dream Downtown Hotel is currently presenting a collection of fine art photographs by legendary Blondie guitarist Chris Stein. A student of NYC’s School Of Visual Arts, Chris started taking photographs in 1968. In 1973, he met and began working with Debbie Harry and together they founded the band Blondie. Chris was always taking pictures in the environment that surrounded Blondie and, lucky to be on the inside, was able to mingle with many pioneers of the new wave and punk music scenes.
Stein’s photos of Deborah Harry helped establish her as an international icon. This exhibit, celebrating Blondie’s 40th year as a band, focuses exclusively on his photos of Debbie; some that will be familiar and others that we are seeing for the first time.
Last Friday, the Dream Downtown Hotel hosted a fun party to kick off the exhibit the night before its official opening on Saturday, May 10th, and what fun time it was! Here are some photos of the evening.
This awesome DJ warmed up the room with an incredible set of classic punk and new wave that included bands like The Clash, X-Ray Spex and The Buzzcocks. As his song selections advanced through the years, at one point he played The Smiths’ “This Charming Man” followed by The Charlatans’ “The Only One I Know” and Blur’s “There’s No Other Way,” at which point my head exploded.
There was an open bar for at least part of the evening, which served a very potent Texas Cherry Limeade.
My friend Jamie and I toast to a fun evening!
The Rational Animal charity organization had a Booth where they sold raffle tickets to win a guitar, with proceeds going to help Animals. They also gave away these cute and yummy dog cookies (Clarification: Cookies shaped like Dogs, not Cookies for Dogs) which Jamie and I played with before eating. The frosting had a bit of orange zest in it – very tasty!
Here are some more pictures of Debbie.
The light wasn’t great in the space, but you work with what you have.
Chris Stein is releasing a book of photography later this year and you’ll be able to own it and have these photos (and others) of Debbie all to yourself.
I’m not sure how long Blondie 4(0) Ever will be on exhibit, so you’ll have to investigate further on your own to find out. Here is where you need to go:
The Dream Hotel Downtown is Located at 355 West 16th St, Just East of 9th Ave, New York, NY.
Have you seen American Hustle yet? It is the best movie, about a story that happened during my favorite decade: the 1970s. The Seventies were a time of amazing visual stye in everything from furniture design to fashion, but it was also the decade of the best music ever. Just think about it: the worldwide phenomena that was Disco book-ended by The Beatles and Punk Rock. Wow. Mind blowing. It all happened in The Seventies!
It stands to reason then that American Hustle’s Original Motion Picture Soundtrack would be liberally studded with some serious seventies musical gems. There is something for every musical taste on this disc, from big band action courtesy of Duke Ellington’s “Jeep’s Blues” to timeless classic rock (Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”), to an original instrumental track by veteran soundtrack composer, Danny Elfman. There may not be any Beatles’ songs on here, but Paul McCartney (the world’s first Billionaire Rock Star) makes an appearance with his post-Beatle’s band, Wings, delivering the epic spy film theme song, “Live and Let Die.”
Not unexpectedly, revisiting songs that I first heard when I was a pre-teen music snob has inspired me to have a bit of an epiphany. America’s mega-hit from 1972, “A Horse With No Name” was dismissed by me at the time of its release as a Neil Young rip off full of lyrical nonsense. But in a modern day context, the part where the narrator is “looking at a riverbed” and reflecting that, “The story it told / of a river that flowed/ made me sad to think it was dead” is positively sobering. Because remember: he’s in the desert. This song is genius.
Of course, it would not be a full-on 70s experience without some crotch grabbing disco fun, and Music Supervisor Susan Jacobs hits it out of the park by including Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” — a song that says more about the pervasive hedonism of Disco culture with just three words and a wildly hypnotic, insistent electronic beat than any other song ever has. And while I was originally bummed that the included performance of “Don’t Leave Me This Way” is by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes rather that the classic Thelma Houston version, I got over it pretty quickly.
Speaking of covers, I very much enjoy the faithful-to-the-original arrangement of Jefferson Airplane’s classic “White Rabbit” sung in Arabic by vocalist Mayssa Karaa.
But the song which has unarguably received the biggest shot in the arm for its inclusion in the film is Electric Light Orchestra’s prophetic and compelling “10538 Overture,” which has probably been downloaded a hundred times since you started reading this review. I can’t believe I have survived for forty years without having this song at my finger tipis to replay over and over and over again. Seriously, this song is just insane. ELO appear again with “Long Black Road” and vocalist Jeff Lynne also contributes “Stream Of Stars,” a previously unreleased instrumental track that just takes its own little journey to the center of your heart in under three minutes.
Tom Jones, Jack Jones and Chris Stills (son of Stephen Stills, providing the only song not actually written and previously recorded in the seventies) round out this A+ collection of songs that rank as a must own album for any music fan.
American Hustle – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Track Listing:
1. Jeep’s Blues | Duke Ellington
2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road | Elton John
3. White Rabbit | Mayssa Karaa
4. 10538 Overture | Electric Light Orchestra
5. Live And Let Die | Wings
6. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart | Bee Gees
7. I Feel Love | Donna Summer
8. Don’t Leave Me This Way | Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
9. Delilah | Tom Jones
10. I’ve Got Your Number | Jack Jones
11. Long Black Road | Electric Light Orchestra
12. A Horse With No Name | America
13. Stream Of Stars | Jeff Lynne
14. Live To Live | Chris Stills
15. Irving Montage | Danny Elfman