Pure Evil

Dimitri Shostakovich wrote this (2nd movement, Symphony #10) as a musical portrait of Stalin, who had harrassed him directly and indirectly throughout his career.  This is pure malevolence, published after Stalin was safely dead.  While Uncle Joe was alive, DS was mostly confined to putting out government approved, “socalist realist” garbage, while keeping much of his “real” work private.  Occasionally he could put one over on the Soviets and follow the letter of their requirements while mocking them.  One cool thing is that in the finale of this same symphony, he has a theme based on his initials, DSCH, vie for dominance against the Stalin theme from this movement.  DSCH wins.  Artistic revenge at its finest.  “He who laughs last, laughs longest.”

The conductor seems a little too into his hair, and I’m not sure why he appears to be grinning during this grim business.    But you’ve gotta give him credit, his musicians are playing the hell out of this.  He made his reputation whipping these young Venezuelans into a respectable unit.  He’s since gone on to greener pastures in LA.

Bring On the Alcarelle

David Nutt, psychiatrist and director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit at Imperial College London, has been working on a safe alternative to booze since he discovered an alcohol antidote as a PhD student in 1983. From an article in The Guardian, here’s the cool science-nerd part …

What Nutt now knows is that there are 15 different Gaba receptor subtypes in multiple brain regions, “and alcohol is very promiscuous. It will bind to them all.” Without giving away his trade secrets, he says he has found which Gaba and other receptors can be stimulated to induce tipsiness without adverse effects. “We know where in the brain alcohol has its ‘good’ effects and ‘bad’ effects, and what particular receptors mediate that – Gaba, glutamate and other ones, such as serotonin and dopamine. The effects of alcohol are complicated but … you can target the parts of the brain you want to target.”

Handily, you can modify the way in which a molecule binds to a receptor to produce different effects. You can design a peak effect into it, so no matter how much Alcarelle you consume, you won’t get hammered. This is well-established science; in fact Nutt says a number of medicines, such as the smoking cessation drug varenicline (marketed as Champix), use a similar shut-off effect. You can create other effects, too, while still avoiding inebriation, so you could choose between a party drink or a business-lunch beverage.

Ultimately, the aim isn’t for Alcarelle to become a drinks company, but to supply companies in the drinks industry with the active ingredient, so that they can make and market their own products. You would expect that the alcohol industry would view Alcarelle as its nemesis, but Orren says that industry players “are approaching us as potential investing collaborators”. This doesn’t surprise Jonny Forsyth, a global drinks analyst at Mintel. “The industry is increasingly investing in alcohol alternatives,” he says. “We have seen a lot of investment in cannabis … They’re looking at nonalcoholic gins and soft drinks because they know people are drinking less [alcohol], and this is a trend that is going to carry on. If the science is right, and if it’s easy to mask the taste, I think it’s got a great chance.”

Full article here.

Looking for Stiv

Goddamn, I’m a sucker for these things.

In his second punk documentary, filmmaker Danny “Looking for Johnny” Garcia takes a deep dive into the life and legacy of the Dead Boys front man. Included in STIV is some rare footage and lore about Stiv’s surprising career before and after the Dead Boys, as well as the hilarious stories and hijinks one associates with the punk legend who died at age 40 in 1990.

Interview with the director right over here.

And here’s a panel interview from the world premiere a few days ago.

The Morbid Story Behind the Red Ceiling

Fascinating and sad.

According to the Oxford American

The house in the photograph belonged to a man named Tom “T. C.” Boring, a dentist born and raised in Greenwood, whom Eggleston has described as the best friend he ever had in the world. He was the scion of a well-respected Delta family, a sharp and promising Southern archetype who glided his way through the University of Mississippi, Loyola University, and the Navy before coming home to Greenwood and gradually, ungracefully losing his mind.

Full article here. As always, enjoy or don’t.

Fuck Me, Don’t Tell A Soul Is 30

Released February 1, 1989. This makes me feel older than turning 50. To put it in perspective, this post is the equivalent of the 20-year-old me in 1989 talking about an album that came out in 1959.

Wiki-wiki-wikipedia says …

Don’t Tell a Soul marked the debut of Bob “Slim” Dunlap, who replaced founding guitarist Bob Stinson. The album was recorded at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles and produced by Matt Wallace and the band. It was mixed by Chris Lord-Alge, who decided to give the record “a three-dimensional, radio-ready sound”. However, singer and guitarist Paul Westerberg was not satisfied with the new direction, commenting: “I thought the little things I’d cut in my basement were closer to what I wanted.”

To celebrate, let’s all take a moment and watch one of my favorite rock ‘n’ roll moments.

As explained by a lesser blog

Before the show, they were told they needed to change the line, “We’re feeling good from the pills we took.” Well, fittingly, Westerberg did no such thing, and the censors were obviously ready for it, as the tape goes silent during that section of the song. What the censors at ABC didn’t anticipate was this: Near the conclusion of “Talent Show” the lyrics address the time when the band hits the stage and there’s no retreating: “It’s too late to turn back, here we go” is repeated twice on the album version, but here Westerberg has changed the line to “It’s too late to take pills, here we go”—ha! The censors missed it and they’ve pissed everyone off again! To add insult, the line is sung three times.

The Soul of Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Mistakes

Google Books has archived every issue of SPIN, which is what my original post was going to be about. Then I started digging around in an old issue from the summer after I graduated college (August, 1991), and rediscovered an excellent Paul Westerberg interview. Apparently, rock has always been on the verge of imminent collapse, to quote the man himself. We bastards were just the other day discussing rock’s back seat in pop culture, and this edition of SPIN is 27 years old! Anyhoo, I was amused by this …

SPIN: Is rock dead?

Westerberg: Well, is jazz dead? That’s the way I look at it. Rock ‘n’ roll is underground once again, but it won’t die, just like jazz won’t. It’s not the popular music of the day, but it’s not dead.

A little later, the interviewer asks if Elvis was king, which leads to this exchange …

SPIN: What about somebody like Alex Chilton? You made him a rock hero in your song.

Westerberg: No. I don’t know what Alex represents. Now I listen to his new Rhino compilation, and it’s like, I can’t make up my mind whether Alex is some brilliant chameleon or just a guy who fucking lost it real quick. I almost regret writing that song. It’s sad, because kids will come and ask me about Alex and you’ll see this look in their eyes, and they think he’s some guy in leather pants that jumps from amplifiers or something. It’s like, if they only knew.

Interview here, every issue of SPIN here.

Hey Ladies

Because I want the new Beastie Boys memoir.

Hey ladies in the place, I’m callin’ out to ya
There never was a city kid truer and bluer
There’s more to me than you’ll ever know
And I’ve got more hits than Sadaharu Oh
Tom Thumb, Tom Cushman or Tom Foolery
I date women on T.V. with the help of Chuck Woolery
Words are flowing out just like the Grand Canyon
And I’m always out looking for a female companion
I threw the lasso around the tallest one and dragged her to the crib
I took off her moccasins and put on my bib
Wheelin’ and dealin’ I make a little bit of a stealing
I’ll bring her back to the place and your dress I’m peeling
Your body’s on time and your mind is appealing
Staring at the cracks up there up on the ceiling
Such and such’ll be the bass that I’m throwing
I’m talking to the girl telling her I’m all-knowing
She’s talking to the kid (who?) to the kid, to the kid
I’m telling her every lie that you know that I never did
Hey ladies, get funky
All the ladies in the house
The ladies, the ladies
Well, me in the corner with a good looking daughter
I dropped my drawers, said welcome back Kotter
We was cutting up the rug, she started cutting up the carpet
In my apartment, I begged her, please stop it
The gift of gab is the gift that I have
And that girl ain’t nothing but a crab
Educated no, stupid yep
And when I say stupid, I mean stupid fresh
I’m not James at fifteen or Chachi in charge
I’m Adam and I’m adamant about living large
With the white Sassoons and the looks that kill
Makin’ love in the back of my Coupe De Ville
I met a little cutie she was all hopped up on zootie
I liked the little cutie but I kicked her in the bootie
‘Cause I don’t kinda go for that messin’ around
You be listening to my records’ A number one sound
Just step to the rhythm, step, step to the ride
I’ve got an open mind so why don’t you all get inside?
Tune in, turn on to my tune that’s live
Ladies flock like bees to a hive
Hey ladies, get funky
(Girls, girls)
Ain’t it funky now?
(Ain’t it funky now?) well, you know that
She got a gold tooth you know she’s hardcore
She’ll show you a good time then she’ll show you the door
Break up with your girl it ended in tears
Vincent Van Gogh go and mail that ear
Call her in the middle of the night when I’m drinking
The phone booth on the corner is damp and it’s stinking
Said come on over it was me that she missed
I threw that trash can through her window ’cause you know I got dissed
Your old lady left you and you went insane
You blew yourself up in the back of the six train
Take my advice at any price a gorilla like your mother is mighty weak
Sucking down pints until I didn’t know
Woke up in the morning with a one-ton ho
‘Cause I announce I like girls that bounce
With the weight that pays about a pound per ounce
Girls with curls and big long locks
And beatnik chicks just wearing their smocks
Walking high and mighty like she’s number one
(She thinks she’s the passionate one)
Hey ladies, get funky
Good god
(I like that polyester look)
Dance
Good god
Baby, baby, baby, baby
(Hey you know, I ‘d really love to do your hair sometime)
Ain’t it funky brother?
Hey, hey, hey, hey ladies
Hey ladies

Please Kill Me Radio Documentary

And if you haven’t read the book, we can’t be friends anymore.

Please Kill Me: Voices from the Archives
Two one-hour documentaries that explore an America that birthed the new order of today.

20 years ago journalists and music historians Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil recorded interviews with the icons of Punk for their New York Times best-selling book “Please Kill Me – The Uncensored History of Punk.” Now, these rare, candid interviews have been meticulously restored for Public Radio and compiled to create an oral history of the Punk movement in Please Kill Me – Voices From the Archives.

The stories of these bands are more than music, they’re the cultural evolution of America:
the end of the 60s
the ferment of the 70s
Watergate to the Women’s Movement.

Part One -The Pioneers of Punk
How the Warhol 60’s morphed into the Punk 70’s, marginalized inhabitants of a near-bankrupt New York City, changed 20th century culture, and influenced the World.

Part Two – The Punk Invasion
The music of the Velvet Underground, Iggy and the Stooges,The New York Dolls, and others were meeting fierce resistance in the US. With no other options open to them, during the July 4rth weekend of 1976, as America was celebrating it’s bicentennial, the Ramones went to London and launched punk rock. In England, punk would explode and become a cultural force to be reckoned with.

Features exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, the Ramones and many more.