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.
"Where do you think Blondie will be ten years from now?"
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:
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"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.
"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
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.
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
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
My friend Sean Bonner just pointed me to a wonderful music history project, put together by Brian Stefans: at lapostpunk.blogspot.com, an MP3 compilation of post-punk and experimental pop music in the Los Angeles area from the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties.
I kind of think of this as a portrait of the city at the time more than a collection of tracks that will change the world (though more than a handful I think are unfairly neglected). I’m wondering if someone like Rhino Records would want to do a Nuggets-type collection from the period? They already have one of Los Angeles from 1965-1968 called Where The Action Is.