Friday, December 31, 2010

Sex Bomb.

Free from Christmas duties, my elves have been diligently working away on the Sex Bomb blog.  Combining my love for the handmade, Flipper, record collecting, and fish this was a natural archive project to take on.  The blog exists to display variations of the one of a kind sleeves that housed the first press (red vinyl) copies of Flipper's "Sex Bomb" 45 on Subterranean Records and gets updated periodically throughout the year when enough gather up.  You can expedite the process by sending a scan or photo of you copy of "Sex Bomb" to the Sex Bomb team.  A new round of posts have been ongoing and will last through next week.  Enjoy.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kill This Myth

G'day.  Assuming 'good person' status, y'all should have woken to bundles of gifts this morning.  I know I did.  But it is important to remember that today is not about getting the good stuff, it's about...preaching.  And no one preaches better than Miss Velma. We were introduced to this gem at a Light Industry screening a couple of years ago and it has become as important as Black Christmas, hot cocoa, and Candy Cane Joe-Joe's to our yuletide ritual. Enjoy!

:Absolutely one of the finest institutions going in New York, Light Industry never fails to deliver, screening the finest in odd, obscure, and otherwise unseen cinema.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frat Cars.

I am an obsessive list maker and keep, at all times, a legal pad full of too-small-to-read items that I need to get done. Some are short-term and only last a few hours but others hang around for years as I hope to find the time, motivation or resources to tackle. Or to motivate others to tackle.

After reviewing the massive archive of Big Boys fliers being held at a compound in Texas, my pal Ryan and I decided that in terms of historical and artistic value, not to mention sheer volume, the collection should not be limited to those invited to view the private holdings of the Break My Face Institute of the Arts. We hatched a plan to spread the word, dividing the labor so that I got the shitwork tasks of scanning fliers, deciphering dates and venues, and organizing chronologically. All Ryan had to do was register a domain and get them up, an easy feat considering his vast, vast experience at such endeavors. I finished my part in the spring of 2006, one of my last important tasks to do in Austin before splitting town and moving back to New York. Every six months or so I'd drop a line to my accomplice to see how the other side was progressing just to let him know that I hadn't forgotten. I got a phone call the other day to let me know he hadn't either, and that in a fit of inspiration he'd been up all night pounding out lines of code. So that's the story. I urge you to spend a couple of hours with as it is a truly amazing collection that spans the life of the band and provides a glimpse into their scene and how it evolved.  Some brilliant artists are featured, including band members Tim Kerr and Biscuit, but also Dixon Edge, Control Rat X, David Yow and more. I'm glad to have finally crossed the longest outstanding item off of my to-do list.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Circle One.

Photo taken at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, CA, on November 26.
was introduced to Darby fifteen years after his death. A CD copy of the then-recently released M.I.A. anthology was nicked from the mall and cassette dubs passed among friends. My copy—a second generation dupe—was housed in a facsimile sleeve that I fashioned out of a manila file folder sloppily cut with safety scissors and folded into approximate J-card shape. Armed with scented magic markers I unsteadily drew a blue circle and colored the background black; it was a licorice and blueberry smelling masterpiece. The cassette was one of a few that passed between my walkman, book bag, and stereo without ever being more than a few feet out of reach††. Every song was a masterpiece which deserved and received hours of study. Each phase of the band's life melted into one another on that tape and I made no differentiation between the provisional sounds of "Forming" and the consummate G.I. It was a single, unparalleled entity. The aesthetic arc seemed like it had to be.

Around this time, having recognized a whole new world of music that needed to be explored and devoured, I got my first job at the neighborhood grocery store. Paychecks were used almost exclusively to fund this enterprise, split between the local store Trash American Style and mail-ordering via MRR ads. I picked up Germicide at one of my first trips to Trash, not having any clue as to what it contained. It was the Germs and I hadn't heard it, so that was all I needed to know.

The album was a mess, and even I, without recognizing a difference between eras of the band, could see that this was an entirely different animal. I don't remember now if I liked the album at the time, but it didn't leave my turntable for weeks. It was mesmerizing. In this performance, allegedly their second†††, they do not even pretend that they know what they are doing. Out of time with one another, the band plods along while Darby taunts them and the audience. In the recording, he became to me a three-dimensional figure. Sarcastic, funny, charismatic in a way only seen briefly on other recordings††††. We cannot see Darby empty bags of sugar on the crowd but it is obvious that something is going on in addition to the music the band is playing.

The record invaded my psyche and helped formulate a viewpoint that has not wavered. This was not merely a performance, but a battle; not only were there no boundaries between audience and band, but here was one abusing the other. This has become a hallmark for memorable shows in my opinion. Germicide facilitated my coming to shake the rock'n'roll paradigm in which a band is something special, an untouchable entity living on a pedestal. Here were not only kids like us, but clearly, clearly, we could do this, too†††††.

Tonight is the thirtieth anniversary of Darby's death, which I've observed by listening to all of the records, singing along, and reflecting on their importance in the lives of my friends and I.  Studying them, still, after all this time.
:"Then-recently" being a relative term which, pre-internet and in upstate New York, could mean quite a few years.
††:There were some other tapes in the same rotation—a few mixes made by older punks, but the true artifact was Give Me Convenience or Give me Death, complete with my rendition of Winston Smith's cover art, reproduced cassette sized and in orange, licorice, and cherry colored marker.  I dream that those cassettes will resurface a la the archive of Mingering Mike.
†††:I have seen this referred to as their debut, but the chronology in Lexicon Devil notes this as their third outing after a gig at the Orpheum and a showing at the movie shoot for Up In Smoke (at which the single version of Sex Boy was recorded).
††††:The end of "Forming", of course, being the best example, but more often than not, it seems Darby chose to be a studied, thoughtful person on record.
†††††:We did do it, actually.  Some friends and I conned our way onto the school's battle of the bands.  No songs, instruments, or clue, we took to the stage with no goals other than to antagonize and make noise.  Fifteen minutes later we were kicked off; it was a beautiful thing.