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Jonathan Lethem discusses his tribute to Talking Heads' Fear of Music

Jonathan Lethem's latest is a book in the 33 1/3 series, Talking Heads' Fear of Music, a tribute to Talking Heads brilliant, seminal album, one of the greatest records of all time. In Wired, Geeta Dayal interviews Lethem about his book and the approach he took, and leaves me drooling for the chance to read it myself:

Lethem chose not to take a journalistic approach with Fear of Music; there are no interviews with the band members, Eno or anyone else involved in the album’s creation. “I didn’t want this to be a kind of post-mortem reconstruction,” Lethem said. “I wanted the entire record to spring from my encounter with it — the tangle of ideas that continued to stick from that experience.”

The core characters in Lethem’s book are the band’s four members. “What I was arguing for was the sanctity of the foursome,” Lethem said. “The collaborative unit of more or less equal parts.”

Fear of Music, Lethem said, turned out to be “really slippery” as a subject. The album seemed to raise more questions than it answered.

“Is it the band? Is it Eno? Is it David Byrne? Is it 1979? Is it punk?” Lethem said. “I’m still really interested in unearthing, excavating in that book the feeling of that band, and what they signified. Even the dress and the haircuts and the weird clarity of the song titles, and the arty minimalism of their album designs — all of this seemed to be saying something.”

Lethem’s passion for the group comes through forcefully in his writing. “Talking Heads were the definitive New York rock band,” Lethem declares in the book. “Manhattan band, if you want to give the outer boroughs to the Ramones.” Later, he writes, “The violence of my identification with Fear of Music remains durably interesting to me even after I debunk it by shifting into this bland generational perspective, even after I admit it really isn’t violence, except in a there’s a war in my mind kind of way.”

Jonathan Lethem Riffs on Talking Heads in Fear of Music

Remembering Adam Yauch: Polly Wog Stew

Earlier this morning, Pesco posted the awful news that Adam "MCA" Yauch died this morning at age 47. Words here can't express how sad I am, reading that news. Hits home in part because I'm fighting the same disease, and in part because the Beasties were such a formative part of my subcultural education as I grew into my teen years.

The first time I heard them, and Adam Yauch, was when a friend from middle school handed me a home-copied dupe of this cassette tape EP [YouTube, and you can still buy copies on Amazon]. I played it over and over until that little black ribbon wore right out. Some of you may not know that the Beasties were a hardcore band before they became a hiphop band. Now you do.

I've embedded some Beastie videos from that era below. Fuck you, cancer.

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Perhaps Contraption, an art-punk marching band

On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of watching Perhaps Contraption ("a twisted brass, art punk marching band") at Saturday night's White Mischief steampunk night in London. They've got a shitload of horns onstage, rhythm for days, and some badass vocals. Perhaps you will enjoy them, as well.

Perhaps Contraption | Perhaps Contraption is an astonishing, twisted brass, art punk marching band.

OFF! - "King Kong Brigade" (MP3 download)

Sound it Out # 23: OFF! - "King Kong Brigade"

OFF! is a band full of Southern California punk rock royalty: Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) and Mario Rubalcaba (Hot Snakes/Earthless/Rocket From The Crypt). Their new, self-titled  album comes out on May 8. It has sixteen songs and is sixteen minutes long. So at 1:36, "King Kong Brigade" is relatively epic.

The OFF! record also boasts excellent cover art by Raymond Pettibon

Download "King Kong Brigade" and rock the fuck out.


Friends With Boys: graphic novel about fitting in at high school, seeing ghosts

Faith Erin Hicks’s new graphic novel Friends With Boys launches today. It’s the story of Maggie, who is about to follow her three older brothers to the town high-school after a lifetime of home-schooling.

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Video: Punk/hiphop photog Glen E. Friedman interviewed by Paradigm Magazine

Snip from a wonderful interview by Paradigm Magazine with one of my favorite photographers (and people), Glen E. Friedman:

Don’t care about what other people think about what you’re doing, if you’re inspired to do something, if you want to do something, if you have some kind of feeling that you should do something...then you should just do it; don’t let what other people’s preconceived ideas of good behavior, or whatever it is, limit you to thinking what you should and shouldn’t do.

(via Dangerous Minds)

Did a UK fashion marketer rip off logo for iconic punk band CRASS?

At left, the CRASS logo, first seen in the mid-1970s. Center and right, a recent design for the UK garment retailer "Hardware," which appears to have repurposed the CRASS logo after 35 years of prior use, and crassly so. Punk News says the band and their label are aware of it. More at, and Cult Punk. As an aside: I used to own the vinyl 45 for the Crass release shown above. Almost got a tattoo for it. (via Doctor Popular)

Madonna's cautionary AIDS comic, handed out at a 1987 concert

From Ethan Persoff's ongoing chronicles of vintage weird ephemera: COMICS WITH PROBLEMS #7 - MADONNA ON AIDS. This public health pamphlet was handed out at one of her concerts, one night only, in 1987. Her image appears on the cover, and inside, a handwritten note urging for greater awareness of AIDS and an end to prejudice against those who contract it (or who are HIV-positive).

Disney princesses with a Hot Topic filter

On Buzzfeed, a gallery of "punk" (more generic goth/emo/punk/industrial subculture) Disney princesses, ganked from an unspecified Tumblr (anyone know which?).

Update: It's from Princesses Gone Wild -- thanks Veronica Beaty!

Punk Disney Princesses (via Geekologie)

If you change the box to make it more appealing, what's inside the box will change too

Quote of note from Futurismic's Paul Raven, writing on Makers and Breakers: "If there’s any lesson to be taken from punk, grunge, rave and any other subcultural scene that went mainstream, it’s this: the aesthetic is not just a veneer. If you start changing the box to make it more appealing to more people, then what’s inside the box will start to change as well, because otherwise you’ll start getting a lot of returns; simple market forces."

"Reality 86'd," David Markey's film on the final tour of Black Flag

Twitter newbie Henry Rollins says, "In 1986, Dave Markey made a documentary of Black Flag's final tour. He just posted it for free viewing. Brutal!"

UK street artist D*Face talks advertising, skating, and punk rock


Liz Ohanesian of the LA Weekly, who is a former Boing Boing guestblogger, shares with us an interview she just did with D*Face, in which the British street artist talks about advertising, punk rock, anonymity and more. LA Weekly photog Shannon Cottrell did a slideshow as well, documenting his latest mural, which went up on the side of Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, where his solo show opens this weekend.

Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: CA '70s/'80s punk/hardcore photography + art

Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys with his home made anti-Reagan t-shirt, circa 1980, shot at the backstage toilet at The Whiskey-A-Go-Go, Hollywood, California, by Glen E. Friedman.

Opening tonight at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects gallery in Echo Park, Los Angeles, "Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die," a retrospective of punk/hardcore photography and related art, featuring Edward Colver, Shepard Fairey, Glen E. Friedman, Jenny Lens, Dave Markey, Raymond Pettibon, Jordan Schwartz, and Winston Smith.

[A] selection of photography, art and ephemera from the California Punk & Hardcore scene with an emphasis on the explosive period of the late 70's and early 80's. This exhibition features both photographers and artists who were present for the detonation of the Southern California scene and whose imagery helped capture and craft it's angles, attitudes, music, fashion and sub-culture. Reflections of other punk scenes throughout California are included as well as contemporary collaborations inspired by one of the most potent and important periods of free expression in the California story.
Opens tonight, Friday, February 25th, 2011 7-11PM, with a musical performance by OFF! and The Nichemakers at 9PM.

The exhibition continues through March 26th, 2011, and is curated by Katherine B. Cone and Jon Cournoyer. Press release (PDF)


iggymoticon.jpg From the Can-You-Tell-It's-Friday Dept.: Maureen O'Connor at Gawker noticed that Iggy Pop's torso kinda looks like a face. I happen to agree, and to prove it, I headswapped it onto Sarah Palin, Sad Don Draper, and Iggy himself. Other LOLiggy possibilities included Joe Lieberman and Admiral Ackbar, both of whom have a striking resemblance to his torso. As a connoisseur of torsos that look like faces, I can say with absolute certainty that no torso-face lookalike has ever topped this NSFW Homer Simpson ladytorso lookalike.

Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler's custom bass guitar stolen

163031_10150369920610137_789110136_16747558_1651436_a.jpgThe Studio City, CA home of legendary bassist Kira Roessler (Black Flag, Dos) was broken into yesterday. Among the belongings reported stolen: her custom bass guitar. While losing any of one's possessions to theft is a huge bummer, this is *really* sad. According to The Groove Music Life:
The bass is a three-quarter-scale instrument custom-made by California-based luthier Mark Garza with a Rickenbacker-style body and Telecaster-style headstock with the name "Garz" on it; according to Kira there is also a small nick in the headstock. It is the only model of its kind in existence; it has been Roessler's main instrument for the past several years.

Hopefully, the uniqueness of this instrument will aid in identifying it if it turns up somewhere, and the odds of its return to Roessler are greater. If any Boing Boing readers happen to see it or have any leads, they're welcome in the comments.

Partnership for a Drug Free America Straight Edge TV Spots

Here are two long-lost Partnership for a Drug Free America produced video spots about Straight Edge. I'm not sure when these were made, but judging by the band logos in some of the shots, I'm going to guess mid to late 90's. This is noteworthy because until 1997, most of PDFA's funding came from Alcohol and Tobacco companies. After '97, they distanced themselves from those companies, but continue to receive much funding from pharmaceutical companies.

While anything spreading the word about Straight Edge is good, this is amusing because the legal and socially acceptable drugs SxE is most associated with being outspoken against (alcohol and tobacco) are the same drugs PFDA spent so many years ignoring while trying to make the public think of "drugs" as only the illegal stuff. Of course, once the major cash from those companies got cut off, so did the PFDAs public profile. When was the last time you saw one of those "this is your brain on drugs" ads?

[ Video Link #1 | Video Link #2 ]

UPDATE: My friend Guav was apparently involved with this and I didn't even notice. Some friend I am. Anyway, he writes...

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Glen E. Friedman photography show in SF thru Dec. 31

[Video Link]

If you find yourself traveling to San Francisco between now and New Year's Eve (or perhaps stranded there, as a result of the thousands of Snowpocalypse flight cancellations), do check out photographer Glen E.Friedman's FUCK YOU ALL show at Nine Four One Geary. Friedman is best known for his work from the '70s and '80s forward, documenting the roots of skate, punk, and hiphop subcultures (and the places where all three intersect).

Above, a short video clip by Colin M. Day, in which Friedman and his sometimes-collaborator Shepard Fairey are interviewed before the opening of the show.

Glen was smashed in the face for Christmas at the Venice skate park, first time ever after 35 years of shooting skaters. I caught up with him a few hours later, and he had a pretty righteous gash on his forehead. Read all about it here. But like a true pro, he kept shooting, before and during. One of the shots is below.


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Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson: a remembrance from Chris and Cosey

5207001745_7fa147d4d4_b.jpg (Photo: X-TG 2010, photographed on 05-11-2010, "Our last official photo together," says Chris Carter. Photo by Paul Smith)

Early this morning came sad news that one of the great pioneers in electronic music has died: Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson.

Longtime friend and collaborator Chris Carter now shares this remembrance.

Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson
27th February 1955 - 24th November 2010

Peter Christopherson, affectionately known as Sleazy, died peacefully in his sleep on the 24th of November at his home in Bangkok, Thailand.

The music and art world has lost a great talent whose unique approach ignored the conventions of the day and often challenged the status quo.

Sleazy's playful and inspiring creativity saw him pushing boundaries as a musician, video director and designer throughout his life. He had recently returned to Thailand from Europe, where he had played a short but spectacular series of live shows as a member of Throbbing Gristle and in the newly formed trio X-TG with Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter.

Sleazy's visual art career included work as a member of the influential British design agency Hipgnosis, creating iconic record sleeve artwork in the 1970s for Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and, later, Factory Records. He took the first promo photographs of the Sex Pistols, created a highly controversial window display for Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's clothing shop, SEX, and went on to design the logo of the hugely popular fashion company, BOY. In 1976 Sleazy met Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge and together they formed electronic music provocateurs Throbbing Gristle and Industrial Records, creating one of the first independent record labels of the era and laying the foundation for a new genre of music. The band was infamously described in the Daily Mail by Tory MP Nicholas Fairbairn as "the wreckers of civilisation".

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Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Coil: 1955-2010




Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson, musician, designer, and member of the pioneering "industrial music" band Throbbing Gristle, of Coil, and related projects, has died.

A message on the TG website reads:

"We are saddened to announce the death of Peter Christopherson.
Sleazy passed away peacefully in his sleep on the 24th November 2010 at his home in Bangkok."

Our respect and condolences to his friends and creative partners.

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Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film special event in LA

This weekend at Cinefamily in LA, a cinematic celebration of the amazing and massive new book Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film.  

201011181551 From teenage ragers to mohawked post-apocalyptic gutteroids to actual, bona fide punks, this two-day multi-event mega movie showcase of pure power is a brick in the face of every film snob and/or high school principal!

The book's editors, Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly, will be on hand to casually guide you through the garbage-strewn annals of punk celluloid history. Kicking off the weekend’s schedule is a fantastic clip show featuring '80s sitcoms and news broadcasts' bungling appropriation of punk’s legacy -- climaxing in the riotous ABC Afterschool Special “The Day My Kid Went Punk!”  

The weekend’s hijinx also include Dave Markey’s Super-8 love letters to the L.A. underground scene The Slog Movie and Desperate Teenage Lovedolls, an ultra-rare midnight screening of the 1980 doc D.O.A. (featuring footage of the Sex Pistols’ ill-fated ‘78 U.S. tour,), the urban menace exploitation classic Class of 1984, and the anthemic girl-power new wave flick Times Square!  

As well, Zack and Bryan will have books on-hand for purchase/signing -- so c’mon down, pick up a copy, and pogo ‘til you puke!

"DESTROY ALL MOVIES!!!: The Complete Guide To Punks On Film" 2-Day Book Tour Meltdown 11/20 & 11/21

To do in LA today (Nov. 14): punk photog Ann Summa at Skylight Books

Iggy Pop
Iggy Pop

People of Boing, I'm very last-minute with this one, and I apologize. But photographer Ann Summa, whose works were featured a recent Track 16 gallery show in this Boing Boing special feature, "The Beautiful and the Damned," will be giving a talk and booksigning at Skylight Books on Vermont Ave. in Los Feliz today, Nov. 14th at 5 p.m.

Editor Kristine McKenna will be joining— she was the book's editor for "The Beautiful and the Damned" and made all the selections (she covered the punk scene, then the art scene, still writes and is also a curator).

More info on the talk and book signing here.

Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film

 Dam!!! Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide To Punks On Film Files Shapeimage 7 I wasn't expecting to be blown away by Destroy All Movies!!! It's a 566-page A-Z reference of over 1,100 movies with punks in them. It's exhaustive, covering excellent movies with punks as main characters, awful movies where pseudo-punks have minor roles as buffoonish thugs ("No '80s party comedy was complete without some pierced, rainbow-colored man-turd doing a human cannonball through a plate glass window"), straight-to-video drek, 16mm documentary gems, and "movies that barely exist." I was sure I would get tired of reading it after a few pages. The opposite happened -- I got hooked and couldn't stop.

Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly, the editors of this mind-bending reference of cinematic trash culture, are obsessives to be sure (read Carlson's blog post titled WHY?), but not the kind who exhaust you with eye-glazing otaku trivia that doesn't matter to anyone but other obsessives. Instead, their reviews (written by Carlson, Connolly and their cohorts) are accessible, insightful, entertaining, and funny in a way that doesn't ruin their usefulness.

Notable punk movies -- such as Liquid Sky, Suburbia, Repo Man, Desperately Seeking Susan, Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains, and Rock 'N' Roll High School -- are given special consideration, with much longer reviews, essays, and interviews with their directors and stars. I especially enjoyed reading the interviews with Rock 'N' Roll High School's P.J. Soles ("[The Ramones] were like wallpaper. They were shy and quiet and out of their element. They had to be pulled by their arms to the catering truck at lunch and convinced it was OK to eat with us"), and Mary Woronov (who played Principal Togar in Rock 'N' Roll High School): ("The last scene of any kind in LA was the punk scene, and since then it's been totally dead.") Other good interviews include: Richard Hell, John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Alex Cox, and Ian MacKaye.  Dam!!! Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide To Punks On Film Files Shapeimage 9

The reviews of the minor movies are worth reading too, either for the humor value or the solid advice (eg., The Clash's Rude Boy: "For fans of the group, it's a satisfying barrage of material from an era when they were still strong. For anyone else, it's British people stumbling around and frowning.")

As usual, Fantagraphics' in-house designer Jacob Covey produced a drop dead gorgeous book that enhances the experience. With a cool flexibound cover and a tub of Jamie-Reid-pink and Photoshop's halftone filter, his treatment feels appropriately retro and timeless at the same time.

As Richard Hell says in his introduction, "This is one of those gems of immaculate editorial conception, perfectly executed, that will probably not stay in print for long ... if you don't buy it now you will regret it when it's more expensive."

Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film

I am governor Jerry Brown / My aura smiles and never frowns

The suede denim secret police are coming for your uncool niece.

California Über Alles, performed by the Dead Kennedys at the Mabuhay Gardens in 1979. The song was written during Governor Jerry Brown's last session as governor of California, when he was the youngest Californian elected to the post.

Exit polls tonight show that he will now return, and become the oldest Californian ever elected as governor. In so doing, he defeats GOP candidate Meg Whitman.

As an aside, why do people always identify Whitman as former eBay chief, and totally overlook her past position as the head of Mr. Potato Head?

Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77

BADDASSBLOODYBEETROOT©GEF.jpeg "Seriously, WTF!" That was the reply I sent back to Glen E. Friedman the other morning when he sent me the photo above. I'd just woken up and could barely see without my glasses and was squinting at a tiny image on my iPhone— but a new image like this by him, for a band I'd never heard of was one of the last things I was expecting to see at that hour. I pulled myself together and read the rest of his e-mail: the band is The Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77 [MySpace | Twitter] - an electronica/dance group hailing from Bassano del Grappa, Vicenza, Italy who have recently added what can only be described as punk rock guitars and vocals to their songs—two very un-electronica elements. With exciting results.

Glen wrote a bit on his blog about meeting the band and his decision to shoot them the other night, and alludes to even more shots we may see soon.

Any band with a manifesto instantly grabs my attention, but the fact that they also cover a Refused song suggests this experiment could be very interesting to watch.

If you still unconvinced, check out this self-directed video for their song "Domino."

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Glen E. Friedman x Shepard Fairey in SF, Nov. 6-Dec. 31

Jay Adams, shot by Glen E. Friedman in 1976.

Photographer Glen E. Friedman, whose work we featured in a four-part Boing Boing TV series back in 2009, is best known for documenting early Dogtown skateboard culture in the late 1970s and the hip-hop and punk scenes of the '80s and '90s.

His subjects have included the likes of Jay Adams and Tony Alva; Run-DMC, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys; Minor Threat and Black Flag, and many others. A show of his work titled "Fuck You All" will open at San Francisco's 941 Geary Galley on November 6th 2010 (reception from 6-9pm), and continue through December 31, 2010. This exhibition will be the first time that Friedman's collaborations with Shepard Fairey will be presented along with the original photographs on which the collaborations are based. Not to be missed.

Related: Friedman and Fairey's latest collaboration is a print of Dr. Cornel West. Limited quantities still available! View below...

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Snapshot: Die Antwoord trufans, Los Angeles, Oct. 17, 2010

Jen and Bruce, Die Antwoord trufans, at last night's show in Los Angeles at The Music Box. The show was fierce, and so were the fans. I didn't get any good snaps of all the people wearing fake animals on their heads, in homemade ode to Yo-Landi's Evil Boy video "coat of rats," but holy cats: so many furries! Thanks to all the Boing Boing readers who said hi, too—what a super fun night that was. And if you're the guy I inadvertently gave a black eye to while moshing: ewps, yo.

New album's here. Tour date list is here. Seriously, if you're in any of these cities, you have to go see this band live. Such a phenomenal live show. Also: They'll be performing on Jimmy Kimmel this Wednesday, Oct. 20.

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The Beautiful and The Damned: Punk Photography by Ann Summa

Iggy Pop

More than 60 images of L.A.’s early punk scene shot by photographer Ann Summa between 1978 and 1984 make up “The Beautiful and the Damned“, a show on display at
Track 16 Gallery at the Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica.

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Die Antwoord's $O$ album drops Oct. 12, the Amazon description is somethin' else

So, Die Antwoord's $O$ album comes out Tuesday October 12. The item description over at Amazon is hilarious. You have to read this. I'm guessing Ninja typed this in himself, and is having the time of life fokkin with everyone, in what's become a spectacularly epic media hack of grand scale. (thanks Sean, fok!)

Rare video of Iggy Pop inventing stage-diving and smearing peanut butter on his chest

"As far as I am aware, the sole "live" footage that exists of the Stooges comes from the Cincinnati Summer Pop Festival of 1970 (AKA Midsummer Rock Festival). Appearing on a bill with Grand Funk Railroad, Alice Cooper, Mountain and Traffic, the group performs "T.V. Eye" and "1970" as Iggy leaps into the crowd--probably inventing crowd-surfing in the process--smearing peanut butter all over his chest. It's one of the most primal and primitive rock and roll moments of all time..."—Richard Metzger, on Dangerous Minds. Watch the video here.

Former Ramones drummer Marky coming out with line of pasta sauce

"I've got this pasta sauce coming out called 'Marky Ramone's Brooklyn's Own Pasta Sauce. You see, I made it with my grandpa; he was a chef at 21 Club. I watched him as a little boy, and then when I got older, I lived alone at 18, and so pasta sauce and spaghetti was the cheapest thing around. I got really good at making it, and so I am excited I get to share my recipe with others. And I got to do the artwork on bottle, and it's really cool looking. Soon it will be sold in stores..."—Marky Ramone, legendary punk drummer, formerly of the Ramones. (Submitterated by Jwallace242)