Weird that I missed this. Memphis' multiple inclusions on this list of crazy interviews is usually the sort of thing I catch for Fly on the Wall. Anyway, earlier this year Nerve.com made a list of the 20 weirdest celebrity interviews of all time and Memphis dominated with three completely bizarro chat segments. Two were in the top five, and one was produced locally and conducted by none other that iron weatherman and wrestling commentator Dave Brown. High five!
Sun Records' fuzzy-headed founder Sam Phillips owned the 19th position (could have been much higher up on the list IMO) for his wild-eyed, charmingly uncooperative 1986 turn on Late Night With David Letterman. Phillips, who'd just been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, described Letterman as “lucky” because not many people with buck teeth can make a million dollars.
Cue the Drive-By Truckers' "The Night GG Allin Came To Town."
I actually was at the Antenna Club that night in November of 1991, and got walloped with a bottle Allin lobbed off the stage. I also ran sprints to the Piggly-Wiggly parking lot and back whenever Allin, covered in his own feces, blood, and spit, jumped off the stage and chased me and a crew of punk rockers out of the club and down Madison Avenue.
Go here for a scintillating account of the concert, which notes that "Allen [sic]... beat his forehead bloody with a beer bottle and put a microphone up his rectum. The drummer performed naked. Patrons, who paid a $7 cover charge, stormed out of the club onto Madison. A witness who had been at the P&H Cafe nearby said he saw 'three burst of 15 to 20 people come out the door' around 10:30 p.m., forcing cars on Madison to brake or swerve to avoid hitting them."
That experience was enough for one lifetime, which is why I chose to sit out local label Wrecked 'Em Records' recent showcase, which brought the Murder Junkies (the late Allin's backing band, featuring Merle Allin, GG's brother, on bass) to the Hi-Tone Cafe last month.
Apparently, the notoriety of GG — a misogynist, sexual deviant, and occasional racist, who, despite his promise to commit suicide onstage, was unceremoniously felled by a heroin overdose in December 1993 — continues to live on: This week, I got an email about a 7-inch tall, poly resin "GG Allin Throbblehead" bobblehead, currently available for $14.95 at Aggronautix.com. They've been issued in a limited edition of 2000, so if you dare to order one, do it now. Needless to say, it won't be on my Christmas list!
The acrimony has moved to the courtroom for former Wilco bandmates Jay Bennett and Jeff Tweedy, seen flanking a very tall fan in happier days.
News and rumors are currently bouncing around the blogosphere. Bennett, Wilco's onetime pianist/guitarist, is suing Tweedy, the band's founder and frontman. While this news isn't exactly Memphis-centric, Wilco have plenty of local fans. They even recorded their debut album, A.M., at Memphis's own Easley-McCain Recording Studio way back in the summer of 1994.
File Under "Plan Ahead": The good folks at Goner Records announced today a preliminary lineup for Gonerfest Six, slated for September 24-26 in Memphis. Among the highlights is a reunion of the classic Memphis garage-rock band the Compulsive Gamblers, featuring Jack Yarber and Greg Cartwright, emerging cult fave No Bunny, and recent Goner signee the Box Elders.
But the real story here is the inclusion of New Zealand semi-pop legends The Clean, a great droning guitar band in the Velvet Underground tradition. Here's a vintage clip:
“Getcha little something that you can't get at home.” For me, that sampled-from-life line in "Pasties & a G-String," Tom Waits' seedy strip-show pitch, has always defined modern burlesque. Every show will include pretty girls in sparkling skimpies. That's a given. But it's best when there are surprises. Maybe something strange, esoteric, or exotic. Or antic and ludicrous. Or mystifying. Or artistic. Or educational. Or all of the above. The folks behind the Pretty Things Peepshow who'll be performing their classic girly show at Nocturnal on Thursday, May 14th, take a somewhat like-minded view of these baser arts. At least they've toured with a contortionist and a sword box.
$5 Cover was featured on the popular blog Boing Boing yesterday, including a Boing Boing-created video with fresh interview content from Craig Brewer:
Jolly ole England is abuzz today with the BBC Radio 4 broadcast of Bono's 14-minute long poem about Elvis Presley.
The poem, titled "American David," was read to and recorded by a journalist a decade and a half ago, and has now, inexplicably, been exhumed for broadcast. Some of the lines will be very familiar to U2 completists, of which I am one. Part of the poem wound up as lyrics to the Bono-penned song "Elvis Ate America," which was a highlight of the album Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1, a weird, delightfully throwaway collab between the members of U2 and Brian Eno.
The full text of the "American David" can be found here. Included are some annotations by professor. He doesn't hold back. The poem is pretty bad, but the parts that got song treatment in "Elvis Ate America" are still fun. Especially if you have that song's idiot beat in your head as you read it.
After the jump: The lyrics to "Elvis Ate America."
Two cover stories in three weeks, not counting our Beale Street Music Fest guide, has kept Listening Log dormant for a little while. Hopefully that can change for the rest of the summer, as there are lots of records to catch up on.
On deck for this third Listening Log: A Stax legend, brainy folk-rock, and a Congolese street band:
Potato Hole — Booker T. (Anti-): On this first solo album in more than 20 years, the MGs bandleader and Stax legend is assisted by the Drive-By Truckers — known more for their songs than their sound — and Neil Young, who downplays his own guitar-hero bona fides to play judicious sideman here. Young and the Truckers have made a bundle of brilliant records between them, but needless to say they aren't exactly the funkiest white guys with whom Jones has ever worked. These collaborators make for better press hooks than musical ones (the cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya" similarly feels like publicity bait). There are many lesser-knowns that would have made for presumably more interesting music. Though that familiar organ tone is the first sound you hear on Potato Hole, this is almost as much of an instrumental guitar album as an organ one, with even Jones himself joining in on the instrument. Jones is a deserving legend, but it's hard to imagine this record would have gotten much attention if tied to a different bio. It's not as compelling, for instance, as the 2009 debut from local MGs inheritors the City Champs. ("Space City," "Potato Hole")
German pop-meets-garage rock act Redondo Beat plays one more show in Memphis before flying back home — and it's a free one, today, at Shangri-La Records at 6 p.m. It's the last stateside stop for frontman Roman Aul and the rest of the group after a short tour that included stops at the Hi-Tone Cafe and clubs in Nashville, Jackson, Mississippi, and New Orleans.
Part Big Star, part Tommy Burk and the Counts — with dashes of soul and punk tossed into the mix — Redondo Beat repays its Memphis musical debt by visiting these shores whenever possible. Get a preview by checking out their MySpace page, here.
If any film franchise was due for an update, probably none was more deserving than the hoary Star Trek, which has trudged along almost 13 years since its last viable product (the movie Star Trek: First Contact) but has a titanic, four-decades-old foundation upon which to build.
So, franchise with a history, meet hot filmmaker and TV-show übermensch J.J. Abrams (Lost, Fringe, Alias, Felicity). If your first offspring, the new movie simply titled Star Trek, is any indication, may your coupling be fruitful. Seriously, please have lots and lots of babies.
As if you didn't know, Justin Timberlake hosted Saturday Night Live over the weekend, with musical guest Ciara. Here's an assortment of clips from the show.
Dick in a Box redux: Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg are a couple bad mofos.
Overheard at the South Memphis String Band concert at Otherlands, last night at around 10 p.m.:
Midtown Guy: "So what's happening after this?"
Hippie Chick: "Mojo Possum at Neil's, and somebody named Jack Oblivian at the Hi-Tone."
MG: "Jack O'Blivian? Is that an Irish band or something?"
HC: "Not sure!"
The term "supergroup" probably gets thrown around too much, but in terms of regional roots music, the recently formed South Memphis String Band certainly applies: The band — which is currently on its first tour and makes its local debut this tonight at Otherlands Coffee Bar — unites three A-list Mid-South blues/roots artists: Alvin Youngblood Hart, North Mississippi Allstar guitarist Luther Dickinson, and former Squirrel Nut Zipper Jimbo Mathus.
The band started its debut tour in Dallas last month, making its way across Texas and the Southeast before heading north en route to New York City. I caught up with Hart in D.C., where the trio was getting ready for an appearance on XM Radio.
"Luther's always up to something, brainstorming something," Hart says when asked about how the band formed. "Me and Luther and Jimbo and Charlie Musselwhite had been recording some stuff down at [Jim Dickinson's] Zebra Ranch [studio]. I don't know what we had planned to do with it, but this came out of that basically."
(Justin Timberlake is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend — the third time he has done so. In anticipation, Sing All Kinds is looking back on his memorable past SNL performances.)
Timberlake was apparently supposed to host earlier this year. Not sure what happened, but he did give a preview of what his show might have been like. He does so in a fast and furious two minutes. He even gets in some good impersonations.
From Saturday Night Live, episode 1539, season 34. Host: Paul Rudd/Music guest: Beyoncé, Air date: November 15, 2008.
California blues singer Janiva Magness won the big prize, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, last night at the 30th Annual Blues Music Awards held at Cook Convention Center.
She was joined by a couple of blues legends among the night's big winners, with Chicago blues titan Buddy Guy taking home three awards, including Album of the Year for Skin Deep, and B.B. King himself winning a couple of awards, including Best Traditional Blues Album for One Kind Favor.
Locally, Billy Gibson took home Best Harmonica Player and North Mississippi duo Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm won Best New Artist Debut for 2 Man Wrecking Crew.