Chris Herrington already caught up with Jay Reatard earlier this week — so I thought I'd do a run-down of Reatard's most recent album and promotional artwork, just in time for tonight's show with British punk legend T.V. Smith. Rather than analyze his colorful, yet stark (and occasionally gruesome) photographic choices myself, I decided to go directly to the source — Reatard, who spent a half-hour of his sojourn in Nashville on Thursday on his cell phone, happily dissecting his public persona.
2006's Blood Visions, released on In the Red Records:
Matthew Melton, a Memphis kid, took that. We took it at MCA. He came very unprepared. It was large format, and because he was broke, he only brought two pieces of film. He didn’t need more than that, because we didn’t have access to a shower after we used the stolen raspberry syrup from Young Ave Deli, where I worked at the time. We cut the top off, and I had to get a girl to dump the whole thing over me.
We used the first photograph — the second one is just too gory, although I think Matt's gonna have it up in an art show in San Francisco next week. Afterwards, I needed to shower, and he told me there was some sort of mop sink that I could get to. I was walking around in bloody underwear, and I got lost. I bumped into a very large gay guy who squealed like a pig when he saw me. He got really scared — "What are you doing?" He thought it was blood. Yeah, that was a fun picture to take...
Some Memphians may have been disappointed in the national impact Craig Brewer's made-for-MTV series $5 Cover: Memphis had, but apparently MTV was satisfied.
The network's new media division is going ahead with plans to turn Brewer's $5 Cover concept — semi-fictional short films set in real places and starring real musicians — into a new franchise, with $5 Cover: Seattle set to begin shooting sometime this summer.
W&H: What are you working on next?
LS: I'm shooting "$5 Cover Seattle", a music-based web series being produced by MTV. It was the brainchild of another independent filmmaker, Craig Brewer, whose original version, "$5 Cover Memphis", can be seen on MTV.com right now. I'm very excited about the project because it's a great fit for my creative style, plus I get to work intimately a bunch of sexy rockstars..pretty much a dream come true.
I'm not sad to say I missed the spectacle of the Michael Jackson memorial event yesterday. But I am happy that I came across reporter Bob Greene's New York Times column elegantly drawing the obvious parallels between the two pop deaths — the collective public grief and the post-death career boost. Greene was at Graceland the day of Elvis' public viewing. He concludes:
Seven steps into the foyer, there was Presley, at peace, or some semblance of it. The sounds of sobbing filled the little room as each fresh wave of fans caught sight of him. He seemed defenseless: not in the traditional sense, for no one could hurt him now, but defenseless against all that was to come.
The trailer to Daylight Fades, the ambitious new vampire flick from director Brad Ellis and local film production crew Old School Pictures, is out:
For more on the film, see the official site.
For more than a year now, I've doing a bit on The Chris Vernon Show ever-so-creatively dubbed "Movies" where I give five rental recommendations based on a topic presumably connected to one of the new releases in theaters. (Though more and more the lists are connected to some other topical idea I can muster — there are only so many superhero or robot movie lists one can come up with.)
I've been asked a lot to post the lists online somewhere, so I'm going to start trying to do so here each week after they've debuted on the show. Yesterday I did Gangster Movies based on Public Enemies. The list:
1. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938): To my mind the best of the many good James Cagney gangster flicks, in which Cagney and Pat O'Brien play old neighborhood pals who grow up in separate directions — one a gangster, the other a priest — and end up battling over the hearts, minds, and futures of a new generation of neighborhood kids. A young(ish) Humphrey Bogart is here in a small role. He and director Michael Curtiz would collaborate a few years later on a little thing called Casablanca.
The historical detail is sharp. The lead performance is captivating. The story is interesting. It's certainly one of the better films in theaters right now. But there's something missing with Public Enemies, director Michael Mann's eagerly anticipated take on the Depression-era gangster flick.
Public Enemies is a polished, precise period crime drama, but it lacks the emotional heft or even (despite its 140-minute length and multitude of locations) epic sweep of Heat, Mann's previous cops-and-robbers classic. Those expecting a period repeat of Mann's earlier masterwork are likely to leave disappointed.
Despite a Cagney-esque supporting turn from Stephen Graham as the volatile Baby Face Nelson, Public Enemies doesn't have the crackle of the best classic Hollywood gangster movies. Rather than an updated genre flick, Public Enemies is an attempt at an accessible art-movie version of the familiar story — self-aware, psychological, dreamy in parts.
Over the past year or so, local roots-rockers John Paul Keith & the One Four Fives seemingly have spent more time on the Hi-Tone Café stage than anyone. But when Keith and his ace band plug in at the Midtown club for a Fourth of July show, it won't be just another night.
The show will be recorded for a possible live album, Keith says, at the behest of the band's label, the Mississippi-based Big Legal Mess, which gave the One Four Fives' debut album Spills & Thrills a national release earlier this year.
Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer has found some 10-year-old rehearsal footage he shot for the Memphis Confidential Burlesque Show at the Hi-Tone Cafe, and has posted on his BrewTube channel:
Remember how, when you were a kid in the summertime, you'd find that perfect album that became your own personal soundtrack? Maybe it was Van Halen's Diver Down, or the Violent Femmes' Hallowed Ground. You heard it once, and committed each song to your sonic memory so that years later, the opening chords reminded you of pool chlorine and suntan lotion, illicit beers and an extended curfew.
Lately, I've been listening to a lot of bands that reminds me of those summer soundtracks. Songs so good that they sound like you've heard the music before. The Gris Gris' For the Season, for instance, or the Black Lips' "Oh Katrina" or King Khan and BBQ's "Waddling Around." A foundation of old-school rock-and-roll inspiration, ranging from Doug Sahm to Little Richard, with plenty of punk-fueled noise layered atop it to create something new.
Tonight, the 21-year old Segall hits Memphis, performing at the Hi-Tone Cafe along with So-Cal group Charlie and the Moonhearts. He'll be premiering tracks from his upcoming sophomore release, Lemons, due on Goner on July 14.
A mere three years after purchasing the 16-year old Vibe magazine from founder Quincy Jones, the Wicks Group pulled the plug this week, dumping the hip-hop publication on the top of a dust heap already laden with genre-specific music magazines such as No Depression, Harp, and Blender that ceased publishing in recent months. Daily Finance broke the news, followed by this update from The New York Times:
The closure of Vibe leaves just two large-circulation music magazines, XXL and The Source, focusing on hip-hop and R&B. The Source has had its own troubles, going through a bankruptcy and emerging under new ownership last year.
In a memo to staff members announcing the closure, Steve Aaron, chief of the Vibe Media Group, wrote that for months, the company tried in vain to either find new investors or “to restructure the huge debt on our small company.”
“The print advertising collapse hit Vibe hard, especially as key ad categories like automotive and fashion, which represented the bulk of our top 10 advertisers, have stopped advertising or gone out of business,” he wrote.
The news might not be all bad.
Jones apparently told EbonyJet.com that he's trying to buy back Vibe from the Wicks Group. Said Jones: “They just messed my magazine all up, but I’m gonna get it back. You better believe it, I’m’a take it online because print and all that stuff is over.”
Meanwhile, the carnage continues: According to this Gawker tip, a beleaguered Spin magazine — an occasional employer of mine — laid off 20 percent of its entire staff yesterday and dropped all freelancers.
Coincidentally, I just received the new issue of Paste Magazine in the mail, with Belle and Sebastian's pasty frontman Stuart Murdoch sporting a tartan jacket on the cover. Will Murdoch's snooze-worthy cover shot really help sell copies?
I just got an email from a friend directing me to Lisa Marie Presley's blog post about Michael Jackson's death, which she posted on her MySpace page earlier this week.
The post, titled "He Knew," is sad, sad, sad.
In it, Lisa Marie divulges that her one-time husband told her he knew he was gonna end up like her father, and the "gutted" feeling she's left with as she tries to process his death. Factor in the mythologies of the various players — the King of Rock and Roll and the King of Pop — and it's loaded with all the elements of a Greek tragedy:
As I sit here overwhelmed with sadness, reflection and confusion at what was my biggest failure to date, watching on the news almost play by play The exact Scenario I saw happen on August 16th, 1977 happening again right now with Michael (A sight I never wanted to see again) just as he predicted, I am truly, truly gutted.
Follow this link for the rest of Lisa Marie's post, which details her efforts to save MJ from "the inevitable," and how she nearly lost herself in the process.