Trailer for new documentary about The Go-Go's

In 1981, The Go-Go's blew up with "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips Our Sealed," two tracks from their IRS records debut Beauty and the Beat that hit number one on the Billboard charts and went double platinum. What many don't realize though is that the band, who notably wrote and played all their own music, had been a mainstay in the Los Angeles punk underground since 1978, making the scene with The Germs, X, and Fear. I can't wait for this new Showtime documentary about The Go-Go's pegged on the release of their first album in two decades, titled "Club Zero."

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Join me to watch Talking Heads perform in my living room

Well, they're performing at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey in 1980, but I'm watching it in my living room right now.

This killer lineup includes the great avant-garde axman Adrien Belew of King Crimson and The Bears and the late Parliament-Funkadelic legend Bernie Worrell on keyboards!

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Why Yoko Ono once performed backup vocals for "Rock Lobster" onstage with The B-52's

In February 2002, Yoko Ono took the stage with the B-52's during a New York performance of "Rock Lobster." The story about how she got there is fascinating and I'm surprised this is the first time I'm hearing of it. It begins in June 1980 when John Lennon heard the song and was inspired to start making music again after a long creative lull. The song's unusual backing vocals reminded him of Yoko Ono's style.

John Lennon, in a 1980 Rolling Stone interview:

"I was at a dance club one night in Bermuda... Upstairs, they were playing disco, and downstairs, I suddenly heard 'Rock Lobster' by the B-52's for the first time. Do you know it? It sounds just like Yoko's music, so I said to meself, 'It's time to get out the old axe and wake the wife up!' We wrote about twenty-five songs during those three weeks, and we've recorded enough for another album."

Writer Brian Scott MacKenzie:

"Rock Lobster" lit a fuse of inspiration that flared into Lennon’s 2-LP set Double Fantasy (1980), plus a posthumous release, Milk and Honey (1984). Without the B-52's, our world might lack "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)," "Watching the Wheels," "Woman," "(Just Like) Starting Over," and "Nobody Told Me."

Atlanta Magazine (2013):

"I said, 'That’s Yoko!,'" Lennon recalled that fall in an interview with the BBC. "I thought there were two records going at once or something. Because it was so her. I mean, this person had studied her... I called her and I said, 'You won’t believe this, but I was in a disco and there was somebody doing your voice.

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Fiona Apple's cover of The Waterboys' "The Whole of the Moon"

Currently on heavy rotation at Chez Branwyn: Fiona Apple's cover of The Waterboys' brilliant "The Whole of the Moon." She covered the 1985 classic for the season finale of the Showtime series, The Affair.

Apple had written the show's theme song five years earlier and came back to close out the series. The trademark "big music" sweep of the track and Apple's intense performance are perfect for a curtain-closing ending.

And the lyrics to this song are among my all-time favorites:

I pictured a rainbow You held it in your hands I had flashes But you saw the plan I wandered out in the world for years While you just stayed in your room I saw the crescent You saw the whole of the moon The whole of the moon

Here's The Waterboys doing their original version.

Image: YouTube video on Fiona Apple Rocks Read the rest

Listen to the original "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" sung by Robert Hazard

In the 36 years since Cindy Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" was an MTV staple, I had never listened to Robert Hazard's original version from 1979 that was only recorded as a demo. It's a totally different head. Totally.

(via /ObscureMedia)

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Debbie Harry has always been a master at on-screen interviews

"Where do you think Blondie will be ten years from now?"

"San Quentin."

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Watch Depeche Mode live on TV in 1982

On November 24, 1982, Depeche Mode, touring Europe for their second album "A Broken Frame," performed on the Swedish television show Casablanca. (via r/ObscureMedia)

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The B-52s and a tour of their old Athens, GA haunts (1989)

In 1989, to promote their fifth studio album, Cosmic Thing, the B-52s took MTV viewers on a tour of the city where they formed: Athens, Georgia ((sadly, without guitarist Ricky Wilson who died of AIDS in 1985).

They began at the now-defunct Bluebird Cafe, formerly named the Eldorado, a vegetarian eatery where Fred Schneider used to wait tables.

From there, they continued their Athens excursion, first from the back of a convertible and then by walking the streets.

As the story goes, the band formed in October of 1976 after drinking many Flaming Volcanos at Hunan, one of the few Chinese restaurants in town. After drinks, they had their first of many jam sessions, according to this 1980 Rolling Stone article:

"So after the meal we went over to this friend's house," Kate [Pierson] continues. "And we just started playing these instruments."

The song they wrote that night was called "Killer Bees." "It's about a bus being chased by killer bees," Ricky [Wilson] explains. "It runs off into a river, and all the people get eaten by piranhas. And then the killer bees swarm into a theater, where these people are watching a movie, and they attack them. It's a true story."

The method of composition the band used that night — Ricky and Keith jamming on a musical idea and Fred, Kate and Cindy improvising lyrics — is the one the B-52's still employ. The jams, which often last several hours, are recorded on tape, and then Ricky arranges the material into a three- or four-minute song after studying the recorded havoc.

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20/20 TV news segment on The Clash and Talking Heads (1979)

"I would hate to be thought of that we didn't think about things, y'know?" said Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison. "But I think our music is really meant to be felt as much as anything." Read the rest

The Rezillos play Flying Saucer Attack to the deadest audience of all time

I don't know if they're all baked or just too cool, but the audience for The Rezillos' kickass 1978 performance of "Flying Saucer Attack" could not be more apathetic. It makes for a hilarious juxtaposition. Read the rest

Wonderful video of New Wave dance club in the 1980s

Much of this wonderful video could have been shot at Cincinnati's Metro/Clubhaus where I spent the late 1980s, but it's actually from Stratus in San Diego, California. This is the first in a series of vintage Stratus videos that you can watch here.

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New Order "Ceremony" live in 1981

New Order performs "Ceremony," live in 1981. This was one of the last Joy Division compositions before the 1980 suicide of singer Ian Curtis and the remaining members became New Order.

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Killer no-wave LP reissue by Lizzy Mercier Descloux

In the late 1970s, Parisian poet, artist, and singer Lizzy Mercier Descloux made the downtown New York scene with peers Patti Smith and Richard Hell. Descloux's music melded no wave, disco, and minimalism into a funky, dissonant groove. Yes, you can dance to it. Read the rest

Hot Rod artist Coop is coming to Weekend of Wonder. Join us, get an exclusive wood print!

We are thrilled to announce that our friend Coop, famous rock poster illustrator and fine artist, is joining us at our Weekend of Wonder extravaganza, September 18-20 in Riverside, California.

Cindy Wilson performs vintage B-52s song

Cindy Wilson, founding member of The B-52s, has recently been performing with Glenn Phillips and his band at small venues in the Atlanta area. In this clip, she performs the classic song Hero Worship from the B's eponymous first album from 1978, and totally rocks it out. Read the rest

Dead Kennedys perform "Holiday In Cambodia" (1982)

Dead Kennedys perform "Holiday In Cambodia" in 1982 on the pioneering Los Angeles TV program New Wave Theater. The song appears on DK's still-killer debut LP, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. (The host of New Wave Theater was Peter Ivers who also composed the lovely song "In Heaven" for the film Eraserhead. For more about Ivers' impact on underground culture and his mysterious murder, check out In Heaven Everything Is Fine: The Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the Lost History of New Wave Theatre.) Read the rest

Suburban Lawns: Long Beach post-punk

In 1978, CalArts students Sue "Su Tissue" McLane and William "Vex Billingsgate" Ranson founded the post-punk band Suburban Lawns.

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