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THIS WEEK WE BRING YOU C.J.STONE, THOM THE WORLD POET, HUGH HOPPER, HAPPY THE MAN, ROSIE CURTIS, THE NEW OZ MOVIE, IRON MAIDEN, PETER BANKS, KRAMER, YES, STEVE HOWE, JON ANDERSON, RICK WAKEMAN, SKY, THE SHANGRI-LAS, SHADOW MORTON, THE BEACH BOYS, CHARLES MANSON, ED SANDERS, IAIN GREMO, ERIC BURDON, CLIVE BURR, DAVID BOWIE, HAWKWIND, KEVIN PEEK
This is the nearest that you are ever going to get to a posh weekend colour supplement from the Gonzo Daily team. Each week we shall go through the best bits of the week before, and if there aren't any we shall make some up, or simply make our excuses and leave (you can tell the editor once did contract work at the News of the World can't ya?)
ALL THE GONZO NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT
Issue Seventeen        March 16th 2013
Apologies that last week I forgot to change the box above. It still read #15
Social media stuff that I am really too old to understand, (my stepdaughter spent much of last Christmas trying to explain Twitter to me) but I am assuming that at least some of our readers are younger and hipper than I am.
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So what is this all about?

It is simple; my name is Jon and I am the editor of the Gonzo Multimedia daily online magazine. Now there is a weekly newsletter, once again edited by me and my trusty orange cat from a dilapidated ex-potato shed  in rural Devonshire. 

You subscribed to it by opting in on the website. I hope that you all stay to join in the fun, but if it is not to your liking it is just as easy to unsubscribe again. But what a long, strange trip it is gonna be...
THE WEEK THAT'S PAST
Ever since 1975 I have bought the new David Bowie album on the day of release, and ever since 1983 I have always hoped that it would be "the best one since Scary Monsters". If I am honest, even with the best of the intervening albums like Heathen' (2001) I was a teensy bit disappointed. If I had been writing his school report for the Academy of Conceptual Rock & Roll, I would have been forced to write "could do better". Now he has. The Next Day is absolutely peerless. It is certainly his best album since Scary Monsters maybe before that. It does all the things you want it to, presses all the right buttons, but unlike previous works like Hours (1999) it doesn't come over like a pastiche of former glories. It is absolutely sincere. If this turns out to be his last album it is the perfect Victor Ludorum but Gosh, I hope he carries on.

He references the past; the drum pattern from Five Years sneakily turns up just when you are not expecting it, but the effect is fresh and new. If I had to make a comparison, and in this case in particular, comparisons are odious, it would be with The Man who sold the World. It has the same anger, and elegantly keened psychosis about it. But it is a stand-alone work, and apart from one minor criticism about the sequencing (I would have ended on You feel so lonely you could die and would have put Heat (which is a crafty, and elegantly executed homage to Scott Walker's The Electrician which is one of my favourite songs) somewhere else on the album.

But I am not nit-picking.

In the last couple of issues we have been talking about that much maligned phrase 'The Counterculture', and what - if anything - it means in 2013. I have always proclaimed myself to be an Anarchist, although my particular brand of Anarchism is based on what I learned from Crass/Dial House 30 years ago rather than from Bakunin, Kropotkin and Proudhon. 

I am not an Anarchist because I believe in an absence of laws, but rather because there is no political philosophy within our decadent and corrupt society that even approaches the things that I believe. In the meantime I try to live an ethical life ruled by my own sense of moral values, and furthermore a life whereby I put in more than I take out.

However its not very good for my Anarchist credibility but this week I was told of a quote from Prince Charles that basically sums up my philosophy: "It's so important I think to work in harmony with nature rather than thinking somehow we can ignore, dominate, separate ourselves from nature. Unless we take trouble and nurture, pay our respect and reverence to nature, she's a great deal more powerful than we are."  Right on Your Highness!
FEEDBACK: The continuing search for that Shangri-Las song
And so the saga continues. Alan Dearling, a Gonzo Weekly contributor, a publisher and all round good egg wrote to me:
Did a bit of internet surfin' to try and find some possible for you re. Walkin':
 
*   In 1965, the song was also covered by the New Zealand band Ray Columbus And The Invaders and released on the Australian Zodiac label. As they didn't have access to sound effects of seagulls like the original, the guitar player improvised and scraped his guitar pick across the strings to make the sound of seagulls crying.

*   In 1979, Louise Goffin issued a remake of the song and included it on her debut album, Kid Blue. That version also became popular, charting in the top 50 of the Hot 100. Skeeter Davis also recorded a version.

*    Aerosmith released a more rock version featuring uncredited backing by Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las as a single in 1980 and can found on both their Greatest Hits album and on their Night in the Ruts album. This charted on the Hot 100 at 67.

*    Other artists to release versions include The Adult Net as a b-side to their 1986 single Waking Up In The SunMouth & MacNeal on the 1972 album How Do You Do?, The Nylons, and The Beach Boys on the 1992 album Summer in ParadiseThe Go-Go's performed the song in their early days and a live version from 1981 is included on their 1994 album Return to the Valley of The Go-Go's.

*    Little Jackie has covered the song in her live shows. Amy Winehouse would occasionally interpolate the chorus of the song into the bridge of her own song "Back to Black" during live performances.

*    Guitarist John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed this song live with the band as a solo cover in 2004. Jens Lekman sampled this song on his song "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill". The Eden House covered it on the CD of their 2010 DVD-CD set The Looking Glass. Jeff Beck and Imelda May covered the song on the PBS special "Jeff Beck Honors Les Paul".

*   Hollie Cook covered the song on her self-titled debut album released in 2011. Club Dogo italian rappers used the song in their song "Voi non siete come noi" from album "Che bello essere noi" 2010.


Louise Goffin is, of course, Carole King's daughter, and Hollie Cook is the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul

But there is still a challenge: why is a version of (Remember) Walking in the Sand which has a spoken intro that goes:

"Once there was a land where the flowers always grew, even in September.. do you remember?"

Now, my memory is not what it was, and I haven't heard this song for well over thirty years, and the month in the intro might have been November or December I can't remember. If anyone knows anything, please let me know. This has been bugging me for decades. 
Remember, if you want more than your weekly fix of this newsletter you can check out the Gonzo Daily, which - as its name implies - does much the same as this newsletter but every day. It also features a daily poem from Thom the World Poet, and the occasional non-Gonzo rock music rambling from yours truly, plus book and gig reviews from our highly trained staff of social malcontents. And its FREE! You cannae say fairer than that!
Each week, some of you seem to recognise me. Yes, I am indeed that weird bloke off the telly who chases mythological animals. I have a day job as Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and also the editor of the CFZ Blog Network, and publisher of a plethora of books about mystery animals.
THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Peter Banks (1947-2013)
Peter Banks (15 July 1947 – 8 March 2013) was an English guitarist. He was the original guitarist of the progressive rock band Yes. The BBC's Danny Baker and Big George often called Banks "The Architect of Progressive Music"

THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Peter Banks (1947-2013)
A TRIBUTE TO PETER BANKS
PETER BANKS WITH ANT BEE
ROLLING STONE REMEMBERS PETER BANKS
Peter Banks RIP: Jon Anderson pays tribute
THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Clive Burr (1957-2013)
We say goodbye to the one-time Iron Maiden drummer
EDITOR'S NOTE: I was going to post something completely different this week, but I read one of Chris' stories about a friend of his who had died of a heroin overdose, and I was shocked. I was shocked, because I had read various stories about the dead man - Kodan - in his other writings, and it came as a shock to me to read about Kodan's decline and fall. I got talking to Chris about friends of mine who have died of substance abuse, and mentioned in passing that I have lost more friends to alohol than I have to scag. He them sent me three stories about his friend Ian Gremo. I am posting the third, but you can read the other two HERE.

I am a drinker. At times I am even a heavy drinker. But I don't drink every day, or even (always) every week and I certainly don't define my life by when I can have my next drink. I don't consider that I am an alcoholic, but I will admit to being what is vulgarly called a 'piss artist'. But by some people's standards I probably have a problem. Which is why this story was particularly poignant to me.

That, and the fact that Ian Gremo does sound like Richard Thompson.
In Memory of Iain Gremo.

 

This is the third time I have written about Iain Gremo, the homeless man who was found dead on Whitstable beach on Saturday April 14th last year.

We’ll call him Gremo, as this was the name he was generally known by.

There are a number of pictures of him on the internet. One of them is a mugshot issued by the police just after he went missing on January the 31st 2012. Unfortunately I can’t show that picture here as it seems to be locked in some way. However, if you follow the link you will find it on the Whitstable People website here.

He’d been living at a guest house in Canterbury Road just before the picture was released, having been made homeless the previous year. The picture has him scowling and frowning. He looks like a tramp.

It’s no wonder he’s unhappy. His life had taken a catastrophic turn for the worst in the last few months. Prior to that he’d had a house of his own, which he shared with a couple of flatmates. He was secure and safe. However, his self-destructive impulses were already to the fore. He was drinking at least a bottle of vodka a day, sometimes more, along with drinks down the pub and cans at home.

There may have been other substances too, but there’s no doubt that it was the drink which was the cause of his final exit from this world

It was alcohol that killed him. Nothing else. The cold might have got to his bones. He was already in a fragile state by the time he went to live on the beach. The winter was damp and cold. No doubt there was a degree of exposure. But it was the alcohol which had taken him to that beach. It was the alcohol which had made him homeless. It was the alcohol which had separated him from his friends and his family. It was the alcohol which had lowered his resistance. It was the alcohol which had plucked the last threads of ambition from his life and which had cast him into this perilous state, homeless, cold, alone, living on a beach.

I don’t know when that photograph was taken or by whom. Possibly by the police, who must already have been alerted that he was in a vulnerable state; possibly by Porchlight, the homeless charity who had tried to re-house him after he’d first lost his house.

He had a choice. The guesthouse they provided him with would at least have been warm and dry. But no doubt there were rules about drinking. Probably Gremo had flouted those rules. Maybe he’d been asked not to drink. Probably he had argued. And then he had walked out of there, preferring life on the outside with the compensation of the bottle, to life on the inside without.

Because in the end, drink had become his only life.

Possibly that’s why he is looking so upset in the picture. He’s just been told he can’t have a drink.

But, you see, there was another Gremo behind all of this. A different Gremo. A very talented and accomplished Gremo. A Gremo who could have made something of his life.

When I wrote the first story about him, I didn’t know about this. I only knew him as a drinker I used to meet down the Labour Club and the East Kent. But actually he was a very good musician. He was a rock guitarist with an interesting and unique take on the standard rock and blues riff. He’d developed a certain contrapuntal style which is usually more associated with traditional folk music than with rock. So he’s playing this driving, powerful rock music, with more than an edge of punk aggression, when suddenly he breaks into a melodic line which might almost be from a jig or a reel. It’s a dancing tune. It has a certain skip in its step. It could be played on a fiddle or an accordion. It’s the sort of tune you might do Morris dancing to, if you can imagine that. Electric Morris. Pogo dancing with clogs on.

The only other person I’ve ever heard play the electric guitar quite like this is Richard Thompson, and he’s a certified genius.

Not that we are calling Gremo a genius, but he clearly had great potential.

He was in a band called Bad Apples, which had made a three track CD, with songs composed by the band. The songs are credited to all the members, but are mainly joint compositions between Dave Thomas, the singer, and Gremo, who wrote the music. The reason I know this is that the drummer in the band, Dom Sullivan contacted me. He sent me links to all of the songs.

The one featured here is called Ants. This is Gremo at his best. He’s clearly enjoying himself, whipping up a musical storm. The first cutaway from the band sees Gremo sitting there in the back room of the East Kent, with that characteristic grin plastered all over his face. He is clearly in his element. Later, when you see him playing the guitar, he has glasses on. I never saw Gremo with glasses. Possibly the only time he wore them was to play his instrument. He was way too vain otherwise.

The band also played one landmark gig, in the Barfly in Camden Town. Dom organised a coach and the usual suspects - the Whitstable ne’er do wells and musos - came up to see them. It was the most important gig they ever played. Half of Whitstable was there.

The band had gone up earlier, in a van, with all their equipment. They were smoking spliffs and drinking all day. It was strictly cider in those days: the hard liquor came later. Dom remembers the journey up, being tossed about in the back of the van, with all the equipment falling on them. He remembers the camaraderie, that feeling of belonging which is unique to a bunch of young guys in a band. He remembers the anticipation of the occasion: a mixture of excitement and fear. It was an important gig, in front of a brand new audience, up there in the Big Smoke. Nervous excitement permeated the atmosphere: nervous excitement mixed with nervous fear, rocket fuel for rock’n’roll.

They were a bit worried about Gremo, as he was drinking very heavily. But they needn’t have. His performance was flawless, not one bum note in the whole gig. Dom remembers one moment particularly. He was the drummer, so he only ever saw the backs of the other musicians. And at one point he was crashing away, putting his whole body into the work, giving it all he’d got, while at the same time willing himself to remember this moment, to not forget this night, when Gremo turned around and winked at him. It was as if he was answering his thoughts.

Gremo used to have a catch phrase. When he liked something he’d say it was “tip-top old man.”

That’s what Gremo’s wink said to Dom the drummer that night, as he was playing his heart out at the back of the stage, willing himself to remember every moment. “Tip-top old man,” it said. “We’ll never forget.”

So that’s what this story is about. It’s not about remembering Gremo in his last days, a dismal ghost wandering the shoreline between life and death: it’s about remembering Gremo the man, when he was very much alive. Gremo the musician, the rock guitarist with an original take on that old blues riff, who partied too hard and who took the consequences, but who lived his life in his own way, always with that sly grin on his face, as if nothing was ever too serious, even death.

ERIC BURDON: he still has the mojo (whatever that mojo may be)

Back in the autumn of 1977 I was unemployed and eighteen years old. The BBC showed Tony Palmer's All My Loving which is now available on Gonzo Multimedia, and as I mentioned some weeks ago it changed my life. Amongst the amazing artists that I heard for the first time that night was a bloke called Eric Burdon.

Well, no, actually I didn't hear him for the first time that night. 


I had been aware of his magnificent rendition of 'House of the Rising Sun' whilst the lead singer of Newcastle R&B merchants The Animals and as a wannabe guitar hero I had ploddingly learned the chords myself. But it wasn't until seeing Tony Palmer's film that I first heard Eric Burdon the bonkers solo artist. And I fell head over heels in love.

There are few artists whose voice, and sheer zeitgeist (if that is the right word) move you instantaneously: Scott Walker is one, and Eric Burdon is another.

It depends who you believe. Some folk have written that Burdon discovered the dreaded heaven and hell drug, and became imbued with the San Francisco peace and love ethos. Others say he had a breakdown, others an epiphany, but whatever the cause, in the mid 1960s this Geordie bruiser changed and started producing some of the most gloriously insane music I have ever heard.

After his sojourn as the lead singer of black funk band War he basically went solo (notwithstanding various reunions of different Animals and New Animals lineups) and he released a long string of albums over the next thirty years. Some of them were great, others less so.

A few months ago I discovered an album that I had never heard before. There were two different versions of it; one a little patchy but the other was fantastic. It was called No More War and it enthused me massively.

And now there is a fantastic new album. It is called Til your river runs dry and it is fantastic. It is - of course - a blues album, but although Burdon still shouts as magnificently brutally as ever, the whole album has a deftness and lightness of touch that can only be admired.

What a band! Bloody hell they are good. The trouble with the blues is that they have been part of British culture for half a century now, and in many ways they have been done to death. When the class of 1963 (young white men) discovered the music made decades earlier by working class and often poverty-stricken black men from the deep south, it was a socio-cultural breath of fresh air. But there have been blues bands playing in pubs all around the country on Saturday nights ever since, and half a century of earnest young (and not so young) men getting their mojo working has in many ways devalued the blues and turned them into a pub rock cultural cliche which is far more fun to play than listen to.

But along comes Eric Burdon. Aged 72; a time when most men put their feet up and take the dog for a walk around closing time. He has just produced what is possibly the best blues album of his career. And it ain't no cliche.

By taking elements of funk, blues, gospel and the Bo Diddley beat, and mixing them altogether in his venerable cranium he has produced a masterwork which is as fresh and as innovative as one wouldn't have even dared to hope.

He has rediscovered his political anger, and - believe it or not - at the age of 72 he is at the top of his game. I wasn't expecting anything like this, and I have a sneaking suspicion that neither was Eric. But he has done it, and I - for one - cannot wait to see what happens next.

Boogie on!

ERIC BURDON AT GONZO UK
ERIC BURDON AT GONZO USA

A WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE


Regular readers will be aware of my old pal Davey Curtis, a strange fellow from Co. Durham who plays a mean guitar and writes peculiar songs, as well as writing gig reviews for the Gonzo Daily, and doing other things of interest. Well, now it is time to introduce you to his daughter Rosie. I have known her since she was a toddler, and have greatly enjoyed my Uncle Jon role. Now I am proud to introduce her to the Gonzo Weekly readership as our new roving reporter...

Hi,

This is my review on Oz the Great and Powerful. I went to see this film with my friend Tara, on the  9th March. We were very excited and couldn't wait to go because when my friend looked to see what was on at the cinema there was not much, and Oz the Great and Powerful looked interesting.

We decided to see the film in 3D. I hadn't really watched many 3D films; sometimes the effects can be good to watch, other times they cannot look very effective and not have much 3D shown in them, and only the rest of the film would look normal, So I thought I would give the 3D another try. Also I think because of the title of the film made us want to watch it in 3D because it sounded like a good film to watch and the title made it look good.

We got the seats right at the back of the cinema. It was great because even though there were a lot of people in the cinema there was a good view of the film. The film mostly explains about the Wizard before he got to Oz, and about the witches as well so it is a prequel to Wizard Of Oz and I think if you watch these films together it makes sense, and you know what is happening in the film so it doesn't confuse people if they are watching for the first time. And I think that is how it should be.

The opening started with the credits it was like a old-fashioned theatre; the animation and effects was really good in 3D and everything started in black and white like the Wizard Of Oz and then moves on to colour later in the film. I think it is good because it is just like the old film would have looked like, and they have kept it the same.

The actors are good and there are new characters like China Girl and Finley; they join both in the adventures of the Wizard and some old characters like the munchkins and the flying monkeys.

Oz the Great and Powerful is a very good film in 3D; the effects are amazing and it explains about what happened before Oz and it is clever the way Disney have made it.

Love
Rosie
THE YES CIRCULAR - TRAWLING THE TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS
The Court Circular tells interested readers about the comings and goings of members of The Royal Family. However, readers of this periodical seem interested in the comings and goings of Yes and of various alumni of this magnificent and long-standing band. Give the people what they want, I say
Bart Lancia (bless him once again) wrote to me following last week's issue:  "Hey mate.. Thanks for including me once again... Even though I sent you that negative-sounding review of YES,I must say I continue to be a huge fan of 'the Royal family'.. No one would like to see Mr.Anderson back 'in front' than me.. I've seen Jon on his solo tours a lot,and while I truly enjoy him.. You can tell he yearns to be back with YES.. Interesting and somewhat puzzling dynamic to the whole mess.. Talk soon.. Respectfully, Bart"

It was Bart who first wrote to me tipping me off that Peter Banks had died (see the obituaries this issue), and - sadly - that has been the most important slice of Yes-related news this week.
We also posted a review of the LA show, which unlike the Rolling Stone one that we posted last week, was far more impressed by the band. It also includes an interesting interview with Jon Davison in which he reveals that his position as Yes' new vocalist was recommended by childhood friend Taylor Hawkins. 

We also posted exciting news about Jon Anderson's forthcoming Australian Tour and an interview with Anderson in which he reveals that the concept of the latest Yes tour, during which they are playing three classic albums in their entirety was something he had suggested some years ago.

We posted an interesting interview with Steve Howe and a piece of intriguing music by Trevor Rabin. And finally, a disturbing update about Rick Wakeman's forthcoming Gloucester shows.

As I wrote last week it remains to be seen whether the new line-up will convince the fanbase that they are the bona fide wearers of the Yes crown, or whether the fact that neither Rick Wakeman or Jon Anderson is involved, is just too big a blow. I don't know about you, but I am finding this all immensely fascinating, and cannot wait to see what happens next.

Watch this space!

MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (UK)
MORE DETAILS OF YES AT GONZO (USA)
ARMS ABOLITION
We were talking about arms abolition - how hand guns need hands
and if they were amputated, fewer massacres would occur.
Went on to arms - without them, it is hard to hold a gun
so cutting off limbs and arms budgets might work well
We thought about other limbs and how their abolition
might make more room for the living - empty heads decapitated
(a French solution - adopted by Mexican drug lords and some Islamists)
Already they cut off the hands of thieves and even the Bible says -
"if thy eye offends thee-pluck it out!" - blind justice agrees
with her blindfold and declining judges. And then we have lynch mobs -
hanging around history to stretch a point to absurdity. Tree limbs used
to hang miscreants and murderers - or chopped to burn alleged witches
Soon drunks will be legless, lawyers will not have a leg to stand upon'
and handymen will have to hire new hands. Cut this idea down to size!
In Victorian times every well-bred Gentleman had a 'Cabinet of Curiosities'; a collection of peculiar odds and sods, usually housed in a finely made cabinet with a glass door. These could include anything from Natural History specimens to historical artefacts. There has always been something of the Victorian amateur naturalist about me, and I have a houseful of arcane objects; some completely worthless, others decidedly not, but all precious to me for the memories they hold..

I used to be a collector of rock and roll memorabilia, but most of my collection went into my solicitor's pocket during my divorce from my first wife, and I never had the stomach to build the collection up again. However, people send me pictures of interesting things such as this which came from our old mate Graham Inglis.

Barter tokens or 'Local Money' can be found in many towns across the world. Most operate on a system of alternative dollars or pounds, or represent a hour of work. Few, one imagines, would operate on a system of shillings ('bobs' in old-fashioned English) and even fewer would see fit to issue a trading note for the strange denomination of nine bob.

Someone, presumably a Hawkwind fan, did just that, many years ago.

 

 

The note was produced in a B.P. age - Before Photoshop - and it's difficult to imagine the note having ever gained any level of fiscal trust among traders anywhere. No matter how stoned they might be!

Read on...

KEVIN PEEK:  Reach for the sky
Australian guitarist, Kevin Peek, has played on many recordings over the years in his capacity as a session guitarist. Kevin has recorded with the likes of Cliff Richard, Leo Sayer, Mary Hopkin, Manfred Mann, Kiki Dee and Shirley Bassey.

More famously, Kevin formed the classical/rock fusion band Sky, alongside John Williams and Herbie Flowers.  The band experienced massive worldwide commercial success but Kevin also enjoyed a solo career.  To date he has recorded a number of solo studio albums and still maintains his career as a much in demand session guitarist.
KEVIN PEEK AT GONZO (UK)
KEVIN PEEK AT GONZO (USA)
HUGH HOPPER AND KRAMER

Hugh Hooper, who died of Leukaemia in 2009, started his musical career in 1963 as the bass player with the Daevid Allen Trio alongside drummer Robert Wyatt.  There can be few other free jazz bands of the era with such a stellar line-up. Unlike other legendary ensembles such as The Crucial Three (a Liverpool band from 1977 which featured three musicians who were to go on to enormous success) the Daevid Allen Trio actually played gigs and made recordings.
 
All three members ended up in Soft Machine, which together with Pink Floyd was the ‘house band’ of the burgeoning ‘Underground’ movement which tried so hard to turn British cultural mores upside down for a few years in the latter half of the 1960s.  (Hopper and Wyatt had also been in another legendary Canterbury band called The Wilde Flowers).  Hopper stayed with Soft Machine (for whom he was initially the group’s road manager) until 1973 playing at least one session with Syd Barrett along the way.
 
During his tenure the band developed from a psychedelic pop group to an instrumental jazz rock fusion band, all the time driven by the lyrical bass playing of Hugh Hopper.
 
Hugh’s solo career meandered through the next few decades entering uncharted waters and producing some of the most sublime and peculiar records that you could possibly imagine. In the mid 1990s he teamed up with another maverick talent for a couple of albums.
 
His partner on these legendary recordings is Mark Kramer (known usually by his surname), who is almost equally as legendary as Daevid but in a completely different genre. He was a member of New York Gong and a band called Bongwater and toured with many famous acts (usually playing bass guitar) including The Fugs and The Butthole Surfers.
 
In the late 1980s he was sound co-ordinator on Penn and Teller’s Broadway shows, and later formed a band with Penn Jilette. He started his own Shimmy Disc records, and in 1992 Kramer sold his Noise New York recording studio and moved just across the Hudson River, where he'd found a house going into foreclosure with a state-of-the-art 24-track recording studio built in. He dubbed the studio Noise New Jersey, and continued to produce recordings.
 
The music that these two extraordinary talents made together is a glorious synergy of the most eclectic influences ranging from jazz to world music, all filtered through the hard edged post punk sensibility that Kramer had developed over the years. The music is completely insane, and has very few reference points away from itself. I have been listening to nothing much else since I discovered it.
 
It is not only massively cerebral but joyous and massively entertaining; the sound of two unique talents having fun and making music like no-one would ever make again. Yes, its THAT good!
CHECK IT OUT AT AT GONZO USA
CHECK IT OUT AT GONZO UK
THE BEACH BOYS AND THE SATAN

I have been a fan of The Beach Boys for many years. They are collectively responsible for some of the most glorious music ever to have been produced within the canon of rock and roll music. Furthermore this glorious music was made by people so screwed up that they would even give the Elvis described by Albert Goldman a run for his money.

When the original members got together last year to make a reunion album I was overjoyed. I would have gone to see them on their 50th anniversary tour but I was not in funds at the time (I very seldom am) and the tickets were insanely expensive so I gave it a miss. This was probably a good thing because the whole thing unfolded with a rapidity which makes even the psychotic soap opera which has been The Beach Boys' career at times seem restrained.

We covered these events at the time:

BEACH BOYS SPLIT AGAIN
THE BEACH BOYS: Watching a car crash
THE BEACH BOYS: Not having that much Fun Fun Fun

The Beach Boys story has indeed been a particularly strange one over the years, and their most notorious liaison was with a certain Charlie Manson. Now, I have to admit to having had a dreadful fascination with Manson over the years, and  - indeed - he has even turned up in these hallowed pages on occasion.

MYTHBUSTING: California Prison Blues
NEIL YOUNG - A WEIRD OLD BUGGER

Here, by the way, I would like to stress that our interest in Manson is because of his pop culture influences, not for any more prurient reason. One of the best books about Manson is The Family by Ed Sanders (late of The Fugs) which gives a really interesting overview of the darker side of 60s California culture. But there is also a DVD available from Gonzo which fills in a lot of the gaps.

The Beach Boys and Satan is a documentary film made as part of the Pop Odyssee series and directed by music documentary specialist Christoph Dreher.

This documentary in addition to placing The Beach Boys rise to success into context with rarely seen footage of the band exposes California's darker side and investigates the connections between some of the most controversial characters of that period (Anton La Vey, Kenneth Anger, and Brian Wilson) and their connection to the Manson Family. The film includes interviews with Kim Fowley, Don Was and the creative force behind the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson. There are also archive clips surrounding the trial of Charles Manson and various members of The Family.

The film which was originally released in 1997 has been unavailable for some time and this release on DVD will be highly anticipated.

CHECK IT OUT AT GONZO USA
CHECK IT OUT AT GONZO UK
FRIENDS AND RELATIONS:
Happy the Man

Regular readers, even those who have read this particular issue will have heard of my mate Davey Curtis; a total lunatic from Seaham on Sea in Co. Durham.  He has been pivotal in my various activities for the past fifteen years ever since we first met at a UFO Conference in Lytham St Annes many years ago. If you did click on that link, I would, by the way, take what Andy had to say cum grano salis because I behave much better these days, and so I have adopted the doctrine of what I believe is called plausible deniability.

However, Davey and I have been friends ever since, and have collaborated on various projects (some of them musical) over the years. Since sometime in the 1980s Davey has been the frontman of a peculiar band called Happy the Man who have a world view somewhere between that of Monty Python and that of the late Marcel Duchamp. A typical song is Christ on a Bike about which Davey writes:

Taken from our 2002 album..... Discopunk. Christ On A Bike is a modern day hymn celebrating the time Yeshua ben Yosef popped up out of nowhere to fix my car on the road to Goathland North Yorkshire. You'll love it, coz it is about God and Jesus and that.

Yes, it is the story of how the protagonist of the song breaks down on a dark night in the middle of nowhere, and up comes our Lord and Saviour on a motorbike, and fixes his car.

What is there not to like?


THE BEST LAID PLANS...
And so another week, and another newsletter comes to a close. I have spent much of this week struggling with my mental health. As I have mentioned before, I am bi-polar, and this last week has not been a very nice one for me (and, one suspects, for those who have to live with me). I would like to thank everyone who looked after me (David, Matthew both Jessicas) and particularly Corinna. Being married to a nutjob cannot be that much fun. But, I feel much better today, and not only am not hurting, but am functional. I don't write about this stuff because I want anyone to feel sorry for me. I would hate to be accused of constantly bellyaching about my ailments, but as my health problems do effect my relationships with other people, and - to quite a large extent - the work I do throughout the blogosphere and other publications, both online and in more traditional media, I feel that I owe an explanation for my sometimes apparently erratic behaviour to those who are kind enough to read, and appreciate what I do.

Things are going rather well at the moment. As soon as I have managed to sort out the problems inherent in switching from 32bit Windows XP to 64bit Windows 8, I will be pushing the multimedia aspect of what we do here with podcasts and audio interviews.

There is also likely to be a monthly magazine in both digital and hard copy formats at some point, as soon as I have managed to attract around me more like-minded souls who want to contribute.

We are living in disturbing and strange times, but ultimately they are very interesting ones, and continuing to chronicle the Gonzoverse is an immensely rewarding thing to do. Thank you for reading.

Until next week,
Slainte

Jon Downes
(Editor)

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