T-Model Knows Better: an advice column by life coach/musician T-Model Ford (Arthur, September, 2003)

From Arthur No. 6 (September, 2003)…


T-Model Ford says a lot. He says he’s 79 years old. He says he’s “the Boss of the Blues! TheTaildragger! From Greenvillllllllle….Mississippi!“ He says he doesn’t need his cane anymore. And he says he can help us. So, every two months, Arthur’s humble editor calls T-Model and asks him some pressing questions. T-Model gives his answers over the phone, then we at Arthur HQ transcribe the conversation, with some help from Bruce Watson at Fat Possum Records, T-Model’s record label. And bip-bap-boom, there it is. If you have any questions for T-Model, and we suspect that you do, email them to editorial@arthurmag.com

Dear T-Model: I’m a father. We’ve got a four-year-old and we’re having discipline problems. My wife wants to get a paddle, to spank the child with, but I’ve always been against that. Lately though this little tyke has been cruisin’ for a bruisin’ is how I see it. What should we do? — A Paddle With Her Name On It, Fontana, CA.

Well, if you trying to raise it right, get you a little cane switch. Don’t spank him. Don’t slap him. Get you a little cane switch and hit him on his little booty back there. Sting him. Don’t get the blood out of him, don’t whip him, just STING him enough til he’s started to crying then tell him that hurts. ‘You hurt?’ Then you pet him and talk to him. Try to teach him, Don’t do that no more, it’s wrong. And you can make a good child out of him. Cuz if you don’t, if he get too far then he gon’ wanna talk back, wanna slap you in the face. You ain’t gonna go for that! So start while you got him young, and let…Get a little cane switch and sting him on his little booty til he starts to cryin’. Talk to him. DON’T slap him or spank him! The doctor will tell you that! Don’t spank him, and don’t slap him. I don’t like it! I don’t like seeing anybody spanking a little child, or slap a little child. Cuz it injures them some kind of way. When you get your little cane switch, if you’re gon’ do anything, sting him on his little booty. It’ll come to him, when he’s doin’ it… You don’t have to do it regularly. But when you do it, let him know you mean business. He’ll come to be a fine little baby boy, or girl, every one. I got Stud here, I raised Stud from the time his mama brought him here, and he’s really fine. I don’t have a bit of trouble out of him. He’s a smart little boy. But the little girl? She’s stubborn. She won’t mind me, but she’ll mind them when they get a switch to whoop her! Like Stud, I don’t have no trouble. I tell him don’t do something, he don’t do it. With the little girl, I tell her, she’s getting mad and poutin’ and keep doin’ it. I’m trying to get me a switch for her. But I don’t whoop neither one of ‘em, but I try to teach ‘em the right way. And that’s the way you do yours. Don’t holler at ‘em and scold at her, or ever what it is, girl or boy, just talk nice to ‘em and TEACH ‘em. 

ARTHUR: Do you think kids are disciplined enough in society today?

The drunk people, you know how they get. They gonna go the other way anyway, regardless of how you do. You got to let ‘em know that you don’t mess with drunk heads or stud pieces. You wanna live right, honest to your wife, wife live honest to you, you gonna live and you got a child, you’ve got the child, try to live together to raise the child ‘til he get up where he can sort of provide for his own self. Stayin’ together. Don’t let someone ‘he say and she say and they say and this and them,’ don’t let em come tellin’ you nothin’! If a man come try to tell you somethin’ ‘bout your wife, just say, ‘Look. How you can tell so much about my wife, and I’m watchin’, I don’t see nothin’! You must be watchin’ my wife more than I is!’ And your wife do the same thing. Woman coming to tell her, tell her ‘Why you tellin’ me so much about my husband? I be seeing him, I don’t see him doin’ it? She must be watching your husband more than the wife is!’ So, don’t let nobody come tellin’ you what your wife done, nobody tell you what your husband done! You ain’t gonna live happy. It gets in your head, and mind… You think if she walk out the door, it’s something she’s doin’ wrong. Or something HE doin’ wrong. So don’t let nobody come tellin’ you about your family. ’Fore you married ‘em, they didn’t tell you, did they? Alright, then.

What about teenagers, coming home late, taking stuff, getting into trouble at school…? 

Well it’s the causin’ of how the mama and the daddy teach them. They get out there with the wrong, lettin’ ’em run with the wrong bunch. This girl come here, and your girl a teenager, she want her to follow her, go over to somebody else’s house. They talkin’ all kind of mess to her and tellin‘ her. The same way it is about a boy. The boy gonna run away to rub up on it, you gonna have a problem out of it. Girl gonna run with them outlaw girls, you gonna have a problem out of ‘em. Ain’t one thing you do, you teach ‘em, talk to ‘em, you tell ‘em what you don’t want and you’re not gonna have it. And MEAN that. Yeah, maybe every now and then you can let her go out with them nice boy or girl, but let ’em know, “I’m still the boss.” That’s at where you live. “You gon’ stay here? You gonna dance by my rules.” Daughter or son. “I’m the one takin’ care of you. You think you can gather up, you can take for yourself, get you a room, and see how long you stay away from Daddy and Mama.” 

They’ll come running back, won’t they.

That’s right! That’s RIGHT. 

I think this is some wise advice, T-Model.

I know it is. 

Documentary filmmaker Sam Green on the saga of the Weather Underground, by Matt Luem (Arthur, 2003)

Notes From the Underground

They were ‘60s student radicals who wanted to take down The Man by “bringing the Vietnam War home.” Documentary filmmaker Sam Green on the saga of the Weather Underground.

by Matt Luem

Originally published in Arthur No. 6 (Sept. 2003)

History has a way of distinguishing acts of political courage from acts of political suicide. The Weather Underground, a new documentary by Sam Green and Bill Siegel, is a grave demonstration of the fine line between the two: it is at once a brilliant history of an American outlaw group, and a meditation on the consequences of political action.

The Weathermen, as they were commonly known, were a splinter group of the Students for Democratic Society, a politically radical student organization focused on opposing the American war in Vietnam. Weaving together the most gripping—and violent—images of the ‘60s with a series of intimate present-day testimonials from former Weathermen, The Weather Underground takes us to the doorsteps of Americans willing to trade their families, security and precious youth to take down The Man.

The following interview was conducted by email with Sam Green on the eve of the film’s theatrical roll-out.

ARTHUR: What led you to this story?

Sam Green: I read something about the group as a teenager. I’m 36 years old and I grew up in the ‘80s. The ‘80s was a pretty bleak time, especially in East Lansing, Michigan, where I grew up. The story of the Weather Underground somehow resonated with me, in part it was a kind of adolescent fascination with the violence and the outlaw mystique of the group. At the same time, there are a lot of serious issues there too. I always did feel on some level that radical change was, and is, needed in this country.

About five years ago, I found a report by the US Senate on the group during the mid -‘70s. In this book there were a few pages with mug shots of all the Weather Underground people. They were very powerful photos, and everyone’s expressions were intense–very defiant and tough, yet at the same time, you could see a little trace of these middle-class white kids. I was floored by these images.

What’s more, as I was looking through the photos, I realized that I knew one of these people! It was a guy who lived in Oakland who was a friend of a friend. I called him up and asked, “Were you in the Weather Underground?” He said, “You found out about my secret past.” There’s really very little info on the group, anything that has been written portrays them as crazy lunatics who ruined the ‘60s. When I started going over to his house and talking to him about the story, the version that he told me was much different, more nuanced and morally ambiguous than the popular version.

So I hooked up with my old friend Bill Siegel, who lives in Chicago, and we started work on the film about five years ago.

Continue reading

THE SECOND ACT OF THE WYLDE RATTTZ by Don Fleming (Arthur, 2004)

Where art-rock thou Wylde Ratttz?

by Don Fleming

Art direction by W. T. Nelson

Originally published in Arthur No. 6 (Sept. 2003) as part of our Stooges “One More Cool Time” feature package

Yes three ttt’s, just like the big ROCK that JC died on. And Wylde like “I wish I was an Oscar Meyer” The saga began when I was “approached” to provide “Stooge-esque” tracks for a big Hollywood flick. Fresh off the Dark Carnival I sez, “Howse about Ron fuckin’ Asheton with an assorted bunch of alt-geezer heavy hitters to round it out?” Ratttz Patrol: Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Steve Shelley, Mark Arm, Sabir Mateen and Sean Ono Lennon. We did our Stooges tracks for the flick (many thanks to Randell Poster) “and it was good.” Then of course some genius at the “label” decides they want put out the entire session. It was thusly christened “Ratttz Ass.” And then it sat. And there it sits. Lonely and tired.

So in response to being suppressed by “the man,” I gather the Instant Mayhem production team-vibeologist Jim Dunbar and engine man Bil Emmons, aka the “American Rock Dudes,” and decide to bring the Ratttz back in for a second round. And this time we slammed originals, took a few space jams and scrambled a couple of choice Pretty Things. Now we have a real record. This one is called “Wylde Ratttz” and it’s a gas. Rip-roarin’ rock anthems penned mostly by Ron with some Niagara and Arm words. Thurst sings a couple and Watt contributes his own smokin’ pipe tune. Ron even sings one!!! Ecstatic Peace has it on the slow train to China schedule, but we’re a bunch of lazy bastards anyway so it’ll come out when it comes out. Floggin’ a few WR mp3s at the site for now. And meantime Watt and J Mascis (who was hangin’ at the Ratttz sessions) go out and play a buncho Stooges sets and then break out the Asheton bros for a few choice international “dates”, so ARD—that’s American Rock Dudes—start swingin’ that like we planned it all along and call it “Wylde Ratttz Jr”, and the next thing ya know Iggy, Ron, Rock Action, and Watt are swappin’ sweat. Ratttz Power!!




THE TWO STOOGES: RON AND SCOTT ASHETON on their past, present and future (Arthur, 2003)


RON & SCOTT ASHETON on their past, present and future.

by Jay Babcock

Photo by Peter G. Whitfield, art direction by W. T. Nelson

Originally published in Arthur No. 6 (Sept. 2003)

Following the second (and final) split of the Stooges in 1974, Ron and Scott “Rock Action” Asheton’s next joint effort was to form New Order, who released a single eponymous LP that gained little critical or commercial notice. Scott did some work with ex-MC5 Fred “Sonic” Smith’s band, Sonic Rendezvous, while Ron went on to work briefly with the second, post-Mike Kelley/Jim Shaw version of Destroy All Monsters, a sort-of Detroit supergroup, before forming The New Race with Stooges acolytes Deniz Tek and Rob Younger of the Australian power rock group Radio Birdman. The New Race released a single quasi-live album, in 1981, and then was no more. In the ‘90s, between taking roles in his beloved low-budge horror films (his filmography includes  Hellmaster [‘92], Legion of the Night [‘95], Mosquito [‘95] and, of course, Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo [‘96]), Ron recorded with a group called the Empty Set, and performed and recorded with singer/Destroy All Monsters alum Niagara in a new group called Dark Carnival. 

Ron’s participation in the Wylde Ratttz sessions in ‘98 [see sidebar] eventually led to an invitation by J Mascis & the Fog to play songs live dates with his band, then featuring ex-minuteman Mike Watt on bass. Watt, who had been playing the Stooges songs for years (see “From a minuteman to a Stooge”) was the singer on the Stooges songs the band performed each night for the numbers when the group wasn’t being joined by guest vocalists, which was often. These shows attracted enough heat for Sonic Youth, curators of the 2002 All Tomorrow’s Parties, to ask Asheton, Mascis and Watt to do an all-Stooges set at the UCLA festival, with secret guest vocalists.

At this point, Scott “Rock Action” Asheton was coaxed back into the spotlight. Working on a piece for the LAWeekly to coincide with that ATP show, I caught up with Scotty down in Florida to ask him what he‘d been up to. “I’ve been playing with various musicians and bands, did some touring, did some recording with Capt. Sensible from the Damned and Sonny Vincent,” he said. “But I’ve got a daughter now, and mostly I’m just busy being a dad.”

Although Scotty had kept in contact with Iggy, his dreams of some sort of reunion of the Stooges hadn’t come to pass. “I used to call up his management and kinda bug ‘em about if there’s a chance we could get together, him and myself and my brother and do an album. He used to tell me ‘Well he’s not opposed to the idea but he’s just really busy.’ I think the people would like it, I think it would be cool if me, my brother and Iggy do some things… You know, there’s a lot of good memories and a lot of bad memories. It’s too bad that the band had to fall apart when we did, but it was due to things that were out of our control. Me and James [Williamson, the band’s second guitarist] and Iggy were having some problems, and as a result the band fell apart. I always felt bad for my brother because he kinda got the raw end of the deal. It really wasn’t his fault that things went the way they did.”

Although he was aware that the Stooges’ records had continued to win the band fans three decades after their initial release, Scotty had obviously long lost interest in contemporary rock. As I read off the names of the people he’d soon be performing with, he said, “To tell you the truth, I don’t know anything about ‘em. I was asking other people, and they were saying Well [J Mascis] is from Dinosaur Jr. And I’m going Well, sorry again, then. Never heard of them. But if Ron likes them, they gotta be good.”

They were good—it was a lineup of singers that included Watt, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, Eddie Vedder and Queens of the Stone Age’s Joshua Homme—but, in the end, none of them, of course, was Iggy. (By the same token, as good as his solo work has been, Iggy has never had a band that approached the utterly primordial, shamanic genius that was the Stooges, either.)

After several months of tantalizing rumors, in February 2003 the Ashetons reunited with Iggy Pop to record some new Stooges songs for Iggy’s new solo album. The sessions, produced by Iggy at a studio near his Miami home, yielded four songs and a tentative  interest in performing live as the Stooges again. I caught up with Ron—Scotty remained elusive—to find out how this all went down. The following Q & A is culled from two phone conversations with Ron—one took place just prior to the 2002 ATP show, and the other, less than a week before this issue of Arthur went to press in late July. — Jay Babcock

Arthur: So, how did this happen?

RON ASHETON: Well, Iggy called up and he goes, ‘Well hey, what’s happening?’ We did small talk for about 20 minutes and then he goes, ‘Well the reason I called was I was wondering if you’d be innerested in a project. You can say yes, or you can say no, and I don’t care, I understand. And if you say yes, you can call me back in two weeks and tell me to go fuck myself.’ [laughs] But I said right away, Yes, sounds cool to me.

I went down to Florida. My brother, who lives there part of the year, was already there. Jim—most people know him by Iggy but we call him Jim, usually—came to the hotel and he goes, Well I know a fun place to eat. So we went. I was a little nervous, I hadn’t seen him up close, shake-hand close, since 1980. He’s a guy that was one of my best friends, that I haven’t really talked to, or seen, in many years—and I’m there to work, to do music! Whoa. So I go, [mock melodramatic voice] ‘God, please make it good.’ So we talked and had dinner. The next day we went to his house and we visited for about an hour and a half and then we went to the studio. And it was easy. From then on, it’s like there was no time in between… It was great. I think I appreciate it and enjoy it more now. I like the things we talk about. And I’m proud of what he’s done. 

You guys weren’t just in a band—you all lived together in the old days. That stuff doesn’t really go away, does it?

We started out with our first band house, our little summer sublet, and then we moved on to a farmhouse and then another farmhouse and then out in L.A. Not to mention all the thousands of shows on the road through the years. So we’ve got a lot of time between us. 

How were the new songs written?

I had some things and I got pieces and I started workin’ on stuff. So we talked as the time was approaching to go to Miami, I had a talk with him and he goes, You know, you can bring stuff down, or you can bring pieces, or you can bring down nothing at all. So I decided to bring nothing. [laughs] But the night before I left, I’m going, Well I gotta have an icebreaker. So I came up with that thing for “Skull Ring.” And we jammed on that. That got turned into a tune. And then I said, “Well Jim, why don’t you stay at home and give me about four or five hours before you come to the studio tomorrow, and let me see what I can come up with.” Before I went to bed that night at the hotel, I’m lyin’ in bed and I got a riff stuck in my head. I started out on that the next day and it just came quickly—I wrote “Little Electric Chair” in 15 minutes. I did three things. One of ‘em didn’t make it to the record cuz we didn’t have time. So I wrote ‘em, brought my brother in, taught him the song, recorded it and then I laid a bass track on it. One hour later, I brought him back in. He goes, “Ready already? You just taught me the other one!” And I go, “Yeah well I got this other one.” And we just did that. It just was flowing out of me, cuz I was excited about doing it and I liked that studio. I felt real comfortable there. I knew that it was important, and I knew that we didn’t have a lot of time. But luckily it just worked out. The stuff just flowed right out. Then Iggy came and he goes, Yeah this is cool.  

You use the same little riff on the bridge for ‘Loser’ as there is at the beginning of ‘Dead Rock Star’…

Iggy had that basic piece, and I kinda toughened it up, played into that more. I used that descending riff on ‘Dead Rock Star’ just to show him it was good. I gave him a lot of options to choose from. And he wound up going, Well I like both of ‘em. I go, Just do it man. It’s great how they cut it up. He was a little hesitant to play ’Dead Rock Star’ for us. He goes, Well I got this idea for this song but I don’t know… I go, [mock impatience] Just play it for me! And I go, No man it’s cool. I really like that. He didn’t know what he thought about it. Then he started liking it. I go, No it fits it, I really like that, cuz you got different things on our stuff. You got Stooge voice, and…you’ve got your crooning and even on the other Stooges songs, the voices are a little different. And I get a kick out of the album—[mock DJ voice] ‘It’s Iggy playing with Green Day. It’s Iggy with Sum 41.’ On the record [as a whole] he does all kinds of stuff. It’s cool. 

On a couple of the songs you do a sort of prelude riff before the ‘proper‘ riff comes in, like you did on ‘1968’ and ‘Loose’

Yeah, we talked about this also. He goes, People are gonna expect it to be kinda like the Stooges. Cuz I’d sent him a bunch of stuff I did with the Wylde Ratttz and that was not very Stooge-y. He liked the stuff, but he was also a little worried that I might be too good. [laughs] Which, you know, in all my other songwriting with other bands they’re always going, ‘It’s a great song but you wouldn’t think that was a Stooges song.’ Well you know, I got a little better! And I’m having fun experimenting and it’s boring [to play simple stuff] as I learn more. So [getting more technically proficient] has kinda been a blessing and a curse for me. And Iggy was concerned and I also was concerned, that I needed to think primitive for this. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was, just to go back into that feeling. 

What was really amazing for me was playing at Coachella, because I was figuring, I’m a little a bit better player so maybe I’ll rip off a couple slicky riffs or something for leads, but when I started doin’ it [at rehearsal], uh oh I’m kinda stuck all of a sudden. But once I was up there onstage and doing it, it was like I switched back to primitive mode. I just started playing simpler and a lot of those old riffs came back to me. I’m going ,Well goddamn I rehearsed this, but just being up there, it made some kind of magic that brought it all back to that kind of primitive stuff.

Has it been strange, the three of you doing Stooges again and Dave Alexander not being there with you?

No… because I’d been doin’ it a bunch with others. But Dave was there with me in spirit, because…I thought about that a lot, and I talked to my brother about it. He goes, Well Dave’s right here with me now, man. That’s how we all felt, and that’s why my brother gave Mike Watt the Dave Alexander t-shirt to wear, and Watt was so into it he wore it every day at practice too. We thought about Dave. When I took breaks I would say, You know thanks to you, Dave. You were part of this, and…you should be proud. Cuz I’m so proud that you were a part of it. He was a very inneresting bass player. Watt goes ‘Man just listen to him, he was a tripped out bass player, that thing he does on TV Eye that just kinda rubber bands around your thing, that’s brilliant.’ We always miss him—I think about him every day, I always have. There isn’t a day go by that I don’t think about him a bunch. I’ve had many other bands, so I didn’t miss him in that sense. But I wish he coulda been here.

I think listeners and the audience have always thought of Iggy as being fearless and spontaneous, but you’re talking about him being uncertain about songs…

Well, for me, I like that edge for playing. I like to know that everyone knows the song, and there is a format: you got your basic song. But I enjoy what might happen within the tune. With Jim what’s amazing is he is—and we talked about this—he’s really worked hard on his stage show. He’s perfected it. He’s a better showman. He doesn’t beat the hell out of himself like he used to. If something came into his head, bam, he’d do it. But now he paces himself better. I mean, if you coulda seen some of the shows way back when, it was like, man, the guy just went out and played a whole game of football in an hour. He’d always be battered up. He always hurt himself, almost all the time. Mostly at the beginning by accident: hitting the mike stand, take a tumble, do a swan dive off the stage and people got hip to it, here he comes, they thought it was funny, the parting of the crowd sea, and I’d go, Uh oh shit, they all moved! To see him just swan dive into a bunch of folding chairs and a fuckin’ floor. 

At the time, did that recklessness seem stupid to you? As in, if he hurts himself, how are we gonna do the show tomorrow?

I knew he would never really hurt himself. I’m surprised he didn’t break any bones. But he got cuts and bruises and stitches. I would have so much fun watching him—even at Coachella I was going, Oh shit, I gotta get my head back in the ball game, I’m watching Iggy. I got this smile on my face and I’m just watching him. [laughs] I never smiled in the Stooges! That’s part of my THING. I’m just supposed to stand there, no smile on my face. Which I always did, it was kind of a natural thing for me back then. That was my schtick, kind of: I was holding down the fort. But it was fun just to have enough muscle memory with the tunes at Coachella where I could kinda step out of myself for a couple seconds and see what’s goin’ on. I had a good time. [laughs] I was going, Man he’s sure knocking himself around. I’m going, Uh oh he’s not gonna really go into the crowd. And there he goes. I go, Goddamn dude. For all the things, the battering he’s taken onstage, and all the abuse he’s done to himself, he’s fared very well. 

It was an extraordinary performance. A lot of us were losing it—I don’t think anyone really ever expected to get to see the Stooges again. Could you tell from onstage how astounded the audience was?

You know what, I never thought it would happen either. I’d thought Jim was pretty happy with his solo career. He’s very proud of it, and he should be. He likes being…Iggy Pop. But, this will help him also. And yeah, I could tell, I could see the faces. You know [people are in shock] when mouths are open and eyes are wide and they’re really just trying to drink it all in. It was very cool. At first I was nervous, until we started the first song and then I was fine. 

And what a trip to have Steve Mackey there for “Funhouse” and “L.A. Blues”!

Yeah! He goes, ‘It’s my same horn.’ I go, ‘No way, you didn’t throw it in the San Francsico Bay or something by now‘?!? Talk about somebody who hasn’t changed! He’s the same gregarious talkative guy. It was so much fun to see him. I had played with him with J Mascis in San Francisco. That was fun. 

How did you got together with all those guys?

The Wylde Ratttz thing. Don Fleming invited Mascis along for the second set of Velvet Goldmine sessions. We were sitting around, Steve Shelley, Thurston Moore, Mike Watt and Mark Arm and Don Fleming the producer goes, Well let’s just jam every Stooges song that we know. And I’m going, Oh god, I don’t want to teach those songs to those guys. But they’re going, Oh no man, we know em all! So we just jammed. I didn’t have to teach them anything. Watt and J Mascis, they know the songs inside and out. Thurston and Watt said that’s how they learned to play guitar: playing along to Stooges songs. They’re really good songs to learn guitar on, because you can tell that you’re making progress. Watt’s such an eccentric perfectionist. [In mock outrage] What! You don’t even know your own song?! And I’d go, Mike I haven’t played in 10 years. It was ‘1970.’ I knew all the other ones. And then one time we were doing ‘Loose’ and then J just didn’t play, and he stood there with this look on his face, and he goes, You forgot the whole beginning. You haven’t been playing that beginning part! And I went, Oh that’s right, I completely forgot about that E chord intro. And so I go, Well you do it! So he played it, and I knew what time to do the riff, I just came in. So those guys remember stuff… It was fun playing with J because I was always telling everyone, [mock pretentious voice] Well yes, you know the Stooges songs, they lend themselves to sorta like free-form jazz. And J goes okay and he would just take it wherever he thought was fun to take it. That was very cool. But Watt was always saying, Gee you know I love J but it’d sure be neat just to play the songs with you sometime too. So it wound up that Mike got his wish.

If anyone in the Stooges story has anything to be bitter about, it would have to be you. I mean, those guys sold your guitar for drugs!

Yeah, that was in New York. I told this roadie, I’ll take the guitars. And this roadie was like, No I’ll grab that guitar, I’ll take it back to the hotel. I knew something was up. I found out later that what happened is it went right to Harlem, right into the hands of a black guy that was gonna get em heroin. And the black guy said I’ll be right back, lemme take the guitar and he went right up the stairs and right out the back door. No heroin—and no guitar. They didn’t even score! [laughs] They got ripped! And I didn’t find out til later. They did the same old bullshit, my brother wouldn’t even fess up. The roadie goes, Oh yeah, I put it down at the gig, man, and turned my back, and it’s gone, I looked everywhere. Even though I didn’t know that’s what had happened, I was going, This is bullshit, this has never happened before. But I did right, I fired him right then and there. 

I didn’t go along with the heroin bullshit. It was really hard to see the guys you hung out with, and try to build a dream with, just going down the tubes, man. To wake up everyday and see possessions missing. Wait a minute, where’s the electric piano? 6-7-800-dollar electric piano went to get 40 dollars’ worth of heroin. Bullshit like that. 

How did you stay straight amidst all that stuff?

It wasn’t easy. Probably what really helped me, when they really got badly into heroin, for a good period I had my first live-in girlfriend. And pretty much, they didn’t like that. ‘Hey you’re not one of the dudes anymore, man!’ We had an apartment in the Stooge house. It was a big house that the original owners had turned into separate apartments, and we had our own apartment. And those guys, we didn’t even see them. I just hung out with her. Then Bill Cheatham [who played piano and bass with the Stooges at different point], he got into doing some heroin for a while, but he realized it was bullshit. So he really did just cold turkey. He locked himself in his room for a week, and I would take him orange juice or whatever he wanted—chocolate milk!—and he did, he just kicked. So I had him to hang with now too. Even he stayed away because it was so bad.

After Dave Alexander was fired—Iggy had fired him, I knew there was no point in arguing—James came in and played [second] guitar. James and Iggy somehow hit it off, they formed that junkie relationship. Even though things were already really in bad shape, once James came aboard, it was the total swan song. I mean, it was some of the worst times of my life, just to see everything you had done fall apart, only because of drugs. It was fun when we were smoking marijuana and hash, and we had our little acid phase, for me that was about as far as it went, then…BA-BA-BA-BOOM… Our road manager, who had been clean for those couple of years, he got back into it, and he drug those guys in, and that was like… Oh man, it was a terrible ending. ‘Cause it didn’t have to end, but the drugs killed it. 

Later, for Raw Power, Iggy asked you and Scott back. Only now you were the bassist and James Williamson was the guitarist. And Iggy and James were writing the songs on their own…

Iggy said he couldn’t find a bass player or a drummer—‘we’ve auditioned a hundred people, we can’t find anybody’—and how would we like to play. I said, Well you know, cool. I had a good time playing bass then because I started out playing bass in my high school rock band, so it was fun at least to go in and do it. I enjoyed it playing it myself, just [in pretentious voice] to show the world that I can play some bass guitar. 

But you won’t play these songs now.

I enjoy some of those songs, but I never played ‘em on guitar. I don’t want to learn to play ‘em. What little input I did have, you know, writing little pieces or helping a song develop, they didn’t even give me credit. I came up with just little things here and there—nothing major—but still, my feeling is, I’m not gonna play something that I didn’t write or wasn’t given any credit for. But my problem with those times was that it wasn’t a band. Iggy was signed with MainMan, it was his record deal, his management deal, and basically, in reality, we were just signed as backup people. We didn’t even see him that much a lot of times when we weren’t working. He’d already had established his whole little group of friends and cronies that were into his kind of shit. The three of us—Williamson, my brother, myself—did tend to stay together a bit more. 

MainMan finally wound up dumping Iggy, and we got new management and a booking agent, but they had it so we were constantly playing! Every day, just about, on the road. And when we did come back, it was just for a week or two before we’d go back out on the road for months again. It was like some bizarre Twilight Zone: you can never get out of being in the band, your stage clothes are so dirty you don’t really have time to wash them that often, and just living out of a suitcase, it was maddening. It was like Goddamn, this isn’t fun at all, this is like some sort of weird hell—a bad dream I can’t wake up from. 

Do you ever talk with James Williamson? What’s he up to now?

He works with Sony, something to do with computers. He travels a lot, he goes to Europe and Japan all the time. He’s visited a couple times, to see me and my brother and our sister. It was cool. We had such great times when the Stooges were doing well and the only drugs anyone took was smoking marijuana, basically. There was LOTS of good times.

What happens with the Stooges after you do those September shows in Europe?

We probably won’t play again cuz Jim is interested in not going out too much now… Going with the material we have now would be fun but Jim’s gotta promote his record, he’s got a whole agenda of stuff he’s gotta do, and he’s excited about doing a Stooges record.  I’ve gotta come up with a lot of stuff. One of my quirks, which I’ve done well with, is when I get a deadline is when I really start cranking. But that’s just too nerve-wracking to have to come up with a whole lot… I can come up with like 10 or 12 things, but not 30. You need that much cuz you’re gonna throw half of it away. So, basically for me, after September I’ll just be writing tunes. I’ll have enough time to do it so I don’t get all jammed up. I’m hoping next year we’ll go and do some stuff. 

Now, what does all this mean for your horror film career?

My buddy Gary Jones who did The Mosquito picture, eh’s partnered up with Gunnar Hanson, who was Leatherface. They’ve written a screenplay, he’s got his little company together, Gary, and we’re gonna do an independent film called The Last Horror Picture Show. It’ll be starring Gunnar Hansen, Robert Englund, who was Freddy Krueger, and Kane Hodder who was Jason. They’re gonna play evil guys, but not those particular characters. So it’s kind of an inneresting premise, it’s a horror picture WITHIN a horror picture. I’m excited about it, it’s a good story. So we’re trying to raise dough now. The producers of the film asked if the Stooges might do the theme song, and also I will do other bits of music in the film, so besides my small acting part I’ll be doing some music.

What would your character be?

I would once again be what I always play: a goofy, wacky something-or-other. It’s a small principal part, because pretty much the focus of the movie is on the three main bad guys, and then the younger people that all get offed. [laughs] In this one, I’m the loser musician…who [in mock sentimental voice] turns out to be a hero in the end. 

BRIDE OF THE MOTOR CITY MADMAN: James Parker reviews Shemane Nugent’s memoir (Arthur, 2003)


by James Parker

Originally published in Arthur No. 6 (Sept. 2003)


Married To A Rock Star

by Shemane Nugent

197 pages

The Lyons Press

$19.95/$32.95 Canada

As something of a haunted carnivore myself, hearing the groan of the abattoir every time I bite into a burger, I’ve always respected Ted Nugent for killing his own meat. No flinching from reality there, no insulation from the dripping fact; every day he eyeballs his naked lunch. Then there’s his music, his killer dinosaur rock, with the big bones and the tiny gem-like brain, ancestor of nothing, an influence on nobody, awesomely stranded in time. And then—for which I most esteem him—there’s his MOUTH, his stupendous verbal barrage. Between songs, the freaky preacher-babble; on air and on the page, comic rant-power. Here he is in 1977, telling High Times why he doesn’t use effects pedals: ‘When the fuzztone first came out, I fucked around with that. When the wah-wah came out, I fucked around with that. I fucked around with flangers and phasers. But my ears are the man in charge, and I just like a powerful guitar sound through an amp.’ Undeniable—the champing rhythm, the build, the final resolving chord. Heavy metal speech!

The Nuge has always hunted, always barked about guns and freedom: this strain of Amerimania has always been part of him, like the militaristic guitar-drum tattoo–POM-POM-POM-POMMM!–that suddenly rears up, tumescent with martial pride, from the psycho-murk of ‘Stranglehold.’ In his middle age the arteries have hardened and instinct, as it tends to, has become ideology: he’s officially gone Republican. His seat on the board of the NRA, his campaigning with the Ted Nugent United Sportsmen of America—banging out articles for Razor and The Wall Street Journal, gnawing at the mike in his radio studio—the Nuge-ian agenda advances in step with this country’s ruling party. But he’s still the NUGE, punk. Metal fans have always ‘got’ him better than anyone else: his sly bombast is part of the metal vocabulary, and ears sophisticatedly attuned to monstrous overstatement will have no problem with Nuge-isms like ‘whack’em and stack’em’, ‘rape o’the hills,’ ‘I am the most intense human being who ever lived’ etc. Voters, on the other hand—and one day soon it will come down to voters—are, like the innocent fawns of the forest, easily startled. Act too loud and they’ll prance away in terror, never to return. So the Nuge, now going mainstream, coming in from the grizzly Right with his message of clean living, fresh meat, family values and guns for all, has been toning it down. Hence, we must believe, the publication of Married To A Rock Star, this book by Mrs Shemane Nugent, his ‘veteran rock wife’ of 14 years. Graciously blurbed by all the Right people—Charlton Heston reaffirms that ‘Ted is one of the good guys,’ Sean Hannity of media duo Hannity and Colmes promises the reader ‘a renewed sense of the morality and faith that underlie the important institution of marriage—Married… is soft-focus, vaseline-on-the-lens Nuge: something for the lady electorate.

It’s not a great book. It is, unforgivably, a boring book.

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Interview With an Old Stooge: Kristine McKenna talks with IGGY POP about everything (Arthur, 2003)

Originally published in Arthur No. 6 (Sept. 2003), with photography by Peter G. Whitfield, on the occasion of the Stooges’ reunion as a live force.

If you’ve never read Iggy Pop’s 1982 autobiography, I Need More, do yourself a favor and go out and buy it. It’s a totally inspiring book. Talk about triumph of the will! There he was, Jim Osterberg, a slightly built, asthmatic only child growing up in a shabby mobile home in a sleepy Midwestern town during the ‘50s. The chances of his metamorphosing into a rock avatar who would channel the id of an entire generation were not good. But Jim came in with an extra hit of the life force, and that’s exactly what he did.

Perhaps I should backtrack for a moment and recap the story so far. James Newell Osterberg was born on April 21, 1947, in Muskegon, Michigan. His father, Newell Sr., was an English teacher, and his family lived in a trailer park in Ypsilanti Michigan. When he was 15 he formed his first band, the Iguanas, which is how he wound up with the stage name Iggy. He was playing drums at the time, and after three years of practice and local gigs, the Iguanas recorded a single; the year was 1965, and the song was Mona, backed with I Don’t Know Why. A short time later he joined the Prime Movers Blues Band, an experience that prompted him to head for Chicago to serve some kind of apprenticeship with real blues guys. Eight months later he’d come to the conclusion he was barking up the wrong tree, so he returned to Ann Arbor and formed the Psychedelic Stooges with Ron and Scott Asheton. They played their first gig on Halloween in 1967. 

It was then that Iggy began redefining the parameters of rock’n’ roll with a show unlike anything that had been seen before. Synthesizing elements of shamanic ritual, blues, Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty, psychedelia, and  performance art, Iggy invented a frightening and transformational form of musical theater that soared into the stratosphere. A crucial ingredient in his show was his extraordinary body — a perfectly constructed skeleton with an overlay of muscle in a wrapping of taut skin — which he deployed to maximum effect. He was also hilarious. All of Iggy’s work has been inflected with a bracing current of self-deprecating humor that makes him very easy to love. Describing himself in the early days of his career in I Need More, he says ‘got gotta’ understand that I was still like Topcat, the cartoon character. I was very lazy and happiest dozing in a garbage can.’ Who can’t relate to that?

The Stooges were extreme and definitely weren’t for everyone, but incredibly enough, they were signed to Elektra Records just a year after they debuted. The next five years were a tornado of wild gigs, drugs and escalating conflict, and at the end of 1973 Iggy quit the band. His downward spiral gathered momentum, and in 1975 he suffered a breakdown that resulted in several weeks of hospitalization. His longtime fan David Bowie helped him relocate to Berlin, got him back on his feet, and produced his first two solos albums, The Idiot, and Lust for Life.

It was shortly after that, in 1979, that I interviewed Iggy for the first time. We met in his tiny room at the now defunct Tropicana Motel, and to tell the truth, I was afraid of him — his reputation at that point was rather formidable. He surprised me, though. He came across as a somewhat reserved, well-spoken man who’d clearly thought long and hard about the world and his place in it. 

At the end of our meeting, he said ‘if I have any goal it’s to be an unchanging beacon in this world full of health foods and good vibes. I wish not to change.’ Twenty-four years later it seems safe to say he’s achieved that goal, and with his recent reunion with the Stooges he comes full circle. His new album, Skull Ring, includes four new songs written and recorded with his childhood pals from Michigan, along with six new songs by Iggy and his band of the past twelve years, the Trolls. Green Day, Peaches, and Sum 41 also turn up on the album, which was recorded in Miami where Iggy’s lived since 1999. (He moved there from New York following his divorce from his companion of 16 years, Suchi Asano Osterberg.) Miami seems to suit him; he seemed strong, focused and in excellent spirits when we spoke in late July. — Kristine McKenna

What is the source of your strength?

Whatever strength I have is probably the result of the fact that I made some good emotional investments at an early age. I went for a certain kind of music and maintained the naïve belief that I could do something wonderful in music, and that that would help me move towards what is wonderful in life. I looked like I was nuts at the time, and those beliefs caused me a lot of grief for a while, but it paid off for me big time. 

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Comics by SOUTHER SALAZAR (Arthur, 2003)

Originally published in Arthur No. 6 (Sept. 2003)

Click image to really enlarge. It’s still not gonna be completely legible—for that, you’ll have to see the actual magazine (available at the Arthur Store for cheep)—but it’s pretty good.

Souther Salazar: southersalazar.net

Arthur’s Comics Editors in this era were Jordan Crane & Sammy Harkham.

“This Is the Way the World Ends (Or, Don’t Say I Didn’t Try Dystopia)” by Paul Cullum (Arthur, 2003)

Originally published in Arthur No. 6 (Sept. 2003)

This Is the Way the World Ends (Or, Don’t Say I Didn’t Try Dystopia)
A “Camera Obscura” column by Paul Cullum

CAMERA OBSCURA is a regular column examining the world and its lesser trafficked tributaries, recesses and psychic fallout through the filters of film, video and DVD.

DVDs/videos discussed in this column:
o The Dead Zone (1983)—directed by David Cronenberg, written by Jeffrey Boam; based on the novel by Stephen King (Paramount Home Video)
o Starship Troopers (1997)—directed by Paul Verhoeven, written by Ed Neumeier; based on the novel by Robert Heinlein (Columbia/TriStar Home Video, Special Edition)
o The Handmaid’s Tale (1990)—directed by Volker Schlondorff, written by Harold Pinter; based on the novel by Margaret Atwood (MGM/UA Home Video)
o Death and the Maiden (1994)—directed by Roman Polanski, written by Rafael Yglesias; based on the play by Ariel Dorfman (New Line Home Video)
o The Designated Mourner (1997)—directed by David Hare, written by Wallace Shawn; based on his play (Image Entertainment)
o The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2002)—directed by Kim Bartley & Donnacha O’Briain (Power Pictures; VHS available for $29.99, please specify NTSC or PAL)
o Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death (2003)—directed by Jamie Doran (Atlantic Celtic Films; VHS available for £19.99/approx. $32.00 from http://www.acftv.net, please specify NTSC or PAL)

* * *

“I only want to say this once: If America insists on flirting with a fascist future, I shall give them one.” —Paul Verhoeven (director of Starship Troopers)

“By the time they came for me because of my liberal views, it was too late—there was no one left to speak up.”

That’s Pastor Neimoller, German Christian cleric, famously lamenting the blind eye he turned toward Communists, Jews and union leaders during their respective Nazi roundups. Words like “Nazi” and “fascist” are loaded ones these days—packed with C-4 and strung with tripwires, to dissuade the hapless malcontent from trampling across them too casually. But a mere 36 months in the life of the republic has turned us into a nation of screenwriters, imagining more and more implausible reversals of expectations in our long march to the third-act twist: stage-managed coronations, Wall Street intifadas, Zionist cabals, prophylactic invasions, the treason of superpatriots. The one thing it teaches you, living here in the heart of Hollywood (as if such a thing exists), is speculative reality: All things are true until they’re not. Best to follow these branches out to their logical ends, lest we be caught unawares.

And so, in curious times such as these, I do what I’ve always done: Turn to the movies. Here are five moments from five films—bleak dystopian visions of an American future, courtesy of a Canadian, a Dutchman, a German, a Pole and a Brit—which these days I find playing over and over in my head. Plus two new documentaries which might explain why. We often find our convictions in popular film, and probably the courage to live by them. If the artists of the age see fit to issue such auguries—field jeremiads from the antennae of the race—then we ignore them at our peril.

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BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore from Arthur No. 6 (Sept 2003)

Exploring the Voids of All Known Undergrounds
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

first published in Arthur No. 6 (September 2003)

For the main event this time we were hoping to write of our adventures on the “More Hair Less Bush” tour, which took a group of musicians and poets, ranging in age from 18 to 65, to a few select spots on the East Coast to unload bursts of freedom in the direction of the White House. But there just wasn’t enough time to get our notes in order. Consequently, the closest thing to big news has to be the imminent release of Jandek on Corwood, a documentary film that should blow more than a few minds.
Director Chad Friedrichs and producer/interviewer Paul Fehler, trotted across the world, trying to figure out what the hell is up with JANDEK, the mysterious, Texas-based author of 30-plus albums, whose hermeticism is as legendary as his sonics. Using just music, images copped from albums, a picture of the record label’s P.O. box, and talking head interviews, Jandek on Corwood creates a lovely portrait of mysterious activity. Although I would argue that the interview shots (especially that done with our own, Byron Coley) make the subjects looks far more hideous than they do in real life, the film still holds together beautifully. And it is sure to make viewers curious about the music, so next time we’ll try to present some thumbnail encapsulations of the Jandek oeuvre. In the meantime, this film is scheduled to start hitting the festival circuit in September and should be available for home viewing pretty soon. Calvin Johnson comes off really well, by the way. So I suggest that all potential film interviewees take a good look at his performance, and try to internalize the knowledge he so obviously possesses.

While no one seemed to be looking, Sub Pop Records released some of the best albums of the last coupla years. If you didn’t notice, shame on you. Anyway, one of last year’s best was The Creek Drank the Cradle by IRON AND WINE. It was a CD-only issue in its original form, but now it has been reissued in a spanking new LP format with a bonus 7” containing two great new tracks. Iron and Wine is primarily a solo vehicle for Floridian Sam Beam, and the album is one of the most lovely recent jewels of homemade loner folk karma. Using formal models that are not at odds with commercial stuff (Simon & Garfuck, CSN & Doug, whatever), Beam manages to create exquisite interior vistas of beauty and desolation with simple acoustic plucking and homegrown overdubbed vocals. His work is some of the best stuff in this vein we’ve heard in a golldarn coon’s age, and the two new tracks are absolutely bitchen too.

One of the most genuinely sweet spots in the American underground has lately been Load Records of Providence. Best known for Lightning Bolt, they manage to package up all kinds of other hideous noise as well, and two of their latest albums are very hideous indeed. Smarmy Mob by Milwaukee’s NEON HUNK is another in the seemingly endless line of electronic-destructo duos, costumed like super heroes, intent on obliterating the historical divide between no wave and the BEF scene. As compelling as watching one of those Faces of Death vids if were entirely composed of accidents befalling guys in clown outfits. Wow. Bring me the head of Don Fleming. Even more disturbing (almost), and in the same horrible genre (or close, anyway), is the new MLP by PINK AND BROWN. Shame Fantasy II (Load) is a bit less discoid, a bit more sampler-and-rock in its mungy trajectory, but it is still a flitty bale of masked terror tag with a kind of hip-swinging form-bloat that is a real prostate teaser. There is obviously something harsh in the water down there in Providence, so if you go there, bring your own bottled.

Any talk of Canadian industrial noise will surely get people thinking about GX Jupitter-Larsen and his seminal outfit, THE HATERS. Well, everyone should now that this leather-clad nice guy is still around, and his latest thing is a MLP croak-splice with someone who calls himself Mr. California. Eponymous, this record (Peer Pressure Zombie) is a classic sheet of whacko assemblage. Lots of RRR-style harsh electronics blended with musique concrete joke-tropes and sinister, rapidly expanding rhythms. It’s almost like hopping into a bathtub with Ron Lessard! What an old school joy!

Great sophomore effort from New England’s USAISAMONSTER. The Masonic Chronic 12” (Infrasound) goes from grunge to acid folk to pseudo-Zep boogie faster than a puritan could wiggle his penis into a cider doughnut. This lacks the electro-debauchery of some of the Providence groups, and takes the two man dynamic in a different direction then Lightning Bolt, but it’s in the same genre-slapping, barrel-down-the-fucking-hill direction. Shouting for peace and love in a world run ragged by bagmen for Bush, USAISAMONSTER slither with beauty ad weirdness, in a way that gets close to being jokey at time, without actually pushing over the threshold. It’s a good trick, and they do it like champs. And the silkscreened cover’s made out of hemp, too. So that means you can use it for a rope! Alright!

Italy’s MY CAT IS AN ALIEN is the finest two-brother band from Italy since the end of the Great War. Their sounds move though the air the way that a tub of fine Roman butter moves through a circus ape, and their new LP, Il Segno (Starlight Furniture Company), is another stab into the brilliance of the dark. None of their albums really sounds that much like any of their other ones, but all of ‘em sound pretty great and this ‘un’s no exception. The overall textural cohesion is provided by a simmering wall of electric guitar that gets studded with a whole assortment of things: string plonks, toy instruments, mopey voices, starling urine, pierced nipples, etc. And hey, there’s a third guy on this one, too. But he is not a brother. Still, he helps to widen the palette here, making the creepy stuff creepier, the tinny stuff tinnier, and the blazing curtains of puh blazier. So, maybe he is a “brother,” y’know? Either way, the soundscapes here will tap at so many of yr inner windows that you’ll be flipping your head back an forth like a tuna. And that’s a nice feeling this time of year. Ask Charlie.

Canadian poet VALERIE WEBBER, teams up with staunch Clevelander, MATT WASCOVICH, for a hot duck of collaboration called Figure Order (Slow Toe). Webber’s new poems are even better than the ones in the book of hers we issued (Dimly Lit Wildlife, Glass Eye, hint, hint), and Wasco’s stuff is a new high point for him as well. But it’s the collabs that shred the hardest. It’s hard to tell where one voice trails off and the other picks up, and the images and words dance like bacon puppets in a hot fucking griddle. Really great stuff, and Wasco has a ton of other things in the pipeline, so drop him some money. Pronto!

Totally choogle-riffic new LP from Boston’s SUNBURNED HAND OF THE MAN. Entitled The Trickle-Down Theory of Lord Knows What (Eclipse) it is a more experimental, less-jam-ass document than some of their other material. This is not to say that the music here is not largely built around unending, ceaselessly-circulating rhythms and voices that rise out of the aether like croaks from minor characters in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s early epics. Not hardly. But there is a mysterious carnality and abandon to much of the playing here that some of their more dissolute stuff lacks. Too bad they didn’t make Ed Hardy issue Trickle Down in a gatefold cover. Then it’d be tops for cleaning & rolling. But some people are above that shit, I guess. Still, this is the album thus far most indicative of what many view as the best parts of the huge, fluxating collective that is Sunburned Hand of the Man. While everything lurches in a single direction (more or less), there’s still plenty of room for personal wiggling and expansion. It’s hard to be absolutely sure which of their special weapons they hauled out for the session (Corsano or Capistran), so if anyone asks, just throw yr hands up in the air and giggle a lot. They’ll leave you alone.

The sound of Young Norway is not a topic that gets a whole lotta attention at the breakfast table, usually, but then NOXAGT is not yr average cultural ambassador, I guess. Led/not-led/whatever by Norwegian string-buster, Kjetil J. Brandsdal, this power trio combines Brandsdal’s organ-grinding bass with some solid thud-work by some hapless tourists who were trapped by a clothes rack back in the Reagan Era. It’s all thuggily instrumental (or close enough), so that you don’t have to lose yrself in the event’s rude text. Which is not to say you couldn’t. Indeed, I am just about ready to sink the hell into it. Another fine Norwegian unit is THE DIPSOMANIACS, and their new album, The Tremelo of Her Mind/The Strings of Her Soul has just had a limited vinyl issue courtesy of Apartment Records. The Dipsos are a brilliant and bustling guitar psych band with some instrumental nods to prime-era Bay Area ballroom bands. But they overlay this whole thing with a love of gentler noise textures, insidious Terry Riley keyboard nods, and a kind of rolling explosion of drugged finesse. (The CD issue is on Free City Media.) More fine Norwegian beauty comes from DEL and their new LP, Der Lehnstuhl Sagt Alles (OHM). Using guitars, electronics, drums and croaks, DEL raise a sweet post-core racket with shades of noise-rock, industrialism, and even tangential psych-aktion. They thrub along as though it must be very cold in Norway in the winter. And indeed, we hear that is true.

The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College recently curated an incredibly great FLUXUS exhibit, based on the works that Geoffrey Hendricks had hosted while he worked at Rutgers. It was one of the best shows of Fluxus material we’ve seen, and the catalogue, Critical Mass (Rutgers University Press) is probably the best overall Flux document around. The flow of the essays and illustrations is unparalleled, and anyone who is interested in getting a grasp of the most dynamic art movement of the 20th Century should really dig it. It has tons of pics that have not been around much and the essays really contextualizes the stuff inside the larger framework of Happenings, Pop Art and the general flow of the ‘60s avant garde. The show will be at Rutgers’ Mason Gross Galleries for a month this Fall as well. If you have a chance, catch it.

In live performance, TART are one of the most static combos extant. Scott Foust, Karla Borecky (both of Idea Fire Company), and Graham Lambkin (late of the Shadow Ring), move small knobs with small gestures, and small sounds congregate above their heads. This is not always engaging when we see them, but the new Tart album, Bring in the Admiral (Swill Radio), makes a whole lot more sense as a document. The grinding is gentle, the plunging through space is subtle, but the whole things sways with itself in a way that lets us know that a kind of freedom is just around some corners. Mr. Foust, the goddamn leader here no matter what he says, has been creating this kind of racket since the early says of the cassette revolution. It’s great that he is still working on perfecting the platonic version of bedroom electronic improvisation. He may actually burst through to the fourth dimension yet!

ARTHUR DOYLE is one of the great masters of raw saxophone improvisation. His career has been fraught with perils and pitfalls, but he has seemed to be on something of a roll lately. And that feeling is borne out by the release of a new two-LP set, Live in Japan 1997 (Qbico), recorded in trio with Takashi Mizutani and Sabu Toyozumi. Mizutani is/was the guitarist for the legendary Japanese free-rock ensemble, Les Rallizes Nudes. And Toyozumi was the drummer on many of Takayanagi’s early free-jazz sessions. So this is a really high-level meeting and it sounds totally boss. Doyle displays none of the health trouble that sometimes makes his presence less than it could be. He is in full force on tenor, flute and vocals. Mizuztani is great, too, sending bursts of shredded guitar spew sideways into the huge huffs of Doyle-smoke. And Toyozumi’s brilliant restless crashing holds everything together. Who on earth conceived of this ensemble one can only guess, but it worked impossibly well, and this documentation is just fantastic.

Anyway, keeps that vinyl and print and video action flowing. If you want to offer something for our licking pleasure, please send two copies to: Bull Tongue, POB 627 Northampton MA 01061 USA. Thanks.

Apartment: http://www.apartmentrecords.ocm
Eclipse: http://www.eclipse-records.com
Glass Eye: http://www.yod.com
Infrasound: http://www.infrasound.org
Jandek On Corwood: http://www.jandekoncorwood.com
Load: http://www.loadrecords.com
OHM: http://www.ohmrecords.no
Peer Pressure Zombie: Ross Scott, 285 Chestnut Ave. #2, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Qbico: qbic.web.planet.it
Rutgers University Press: rutgerspress.rutgers.edu
Slow Toe: slowtoe.com
Starlight Furniture: c/o http://www.midheaven.com
Sub Pop: http://www.subpop.com
Swill Radio: http://www.anti-naturals.org