Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Souls Of Warriors Blow Across The Sands

"This is indigenous land. We’re not supposed to have walls here. We never did... for millennia. Before anyone else came here. We never had walls. We never had a prison. We took care of our elders. We took care of our children. We always provided and taught them right from wrong. I wish I could see that energy of that mass of young men making this country really really great." -Nathan Phillips

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Searching For A Future

Lorna Doom
Rest In Peace

The first time I heard the Germs — via The Decline Of Western Civilization documentary — I thought they were the worst thing I'd ever heard; a joke. Years later I picked up a copy of their debut album (GI), and within one listen my jaw was on the floor — I truly believe it to be one of the very best American punk-rock albums of all-time. And Lorna was a total-bad ass who left us way too young.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Freedom Is Always The Freedom Of Dissenters

"Being human means throwing your whole life on the scales of destiny when need be, all the while rejoicing in every sunny day and every beautiful cloud."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Making The Scene

A lifetime ago MaximumRockNRoll was a crucial monthly read; through its pages I was turned onto countless underground punk bands and record labels (and I even wrote a few NYC "scene reports" for the 'zine, and sold my own publication and record releases via ads I ran with them exclusively). I stopped reading MRR long ago as I lost interest in pouring through the finger-staining pages for what became diminishing returns, and I also felt that their eventual scene-policing ways, strict rules, and definitions were anathema to the true spirt of punk-rock. Criticisms aside, MaximumRockNRoll was an important publication and I am sad to hear they are ceasing publication.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Hurry, Get On, Now It's Coming

Avoiding stepping in human waste in the alley near the A-train stop, meeting other graffiti writers from all over the city, copping fireworks, liberating fat caps from Pearl Paint, buying throwing stars and nunchucks... Going to Canal Street in the early '80s was a real adventure for us Brooklyn kids.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Humans Are Garbage

Extinction is happening at 1000 times the normal speed with the Eastern Puma being declared extinct, the recently discovered "lost shark" looking like it's on it's way (due to overfishing) as well as nearly all species of lemur, the White Rhino, and English Brown Hares. The growth in toxic emissions worldwide will likely introduce a generation of sick kids (carbon emissions in this country recently hit the largest yearly increase in 20 years), the Joshua Tree National Park is closed due to trees being destroyed and people leaving behind mass amounts of trash (the government shutdown isn't helping matters), and oceans are heating up at a rate that's 40% faster than earlier estimates with rising water temperatures destroying ecosystems, not to mentioned increasing the destructive power of hurricanes.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Best Music Of 2018

1. Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt
2. Megative - Self-titled
3. Iceage – Beyondless 

1. Boss - Steel Box
2. Sheer Terror - Pall In The Family
3. Crown Court - Mad In England

Reissues/Archival Releases
1. John Coltrane - Both Directions At Once
2. Bob Dylan - More Blood, More Tracks
3. The Kids/Real Kids - November 1974 Demos / Spring 1977 Demos
4. Laughing Hyenas - Life Of Crime
5. Poison Idea - Feel The Darkness
6. Baby Grande - 1975/1977 
7. Bob Seger & The Last Heard - Heavy Music
8. Helter Skelter - I Need You 45
9. Blue Cheer - The '67 Demos
10. Kubie & The Rats - Turtle Dove 45

Live shows
1. Spiritualized at The Kings Theater
2. Roddy Radiation at Hank’s Saloon
3. The Scientists at Union Pool
4. Peter Hook & The Light at Brooklyn Steel
5. Mr. Airplane Man at Hank’s Saloon
6. The Brought Low with The Mighty High,
Moral Panic, and Green Dragon at Hank’s Saloon

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

What Has Become Of Me?

“I used to think there was no time like the present. I used to think there was no time but the present. Now I know better — or different, anyway. In the end, the past will always be there. The past is all there is: the present never sticks around for long enough, and the future is anybody’s guess. In time, you always have to hand it to the past. It always gets you in the end.”

Sunday, December 16, 2018

"I Think I Swallowed A Shot-Glass"

Watching a calm, effortlessly cool and confident Frank record this melencholy masterpiece live in the studio in front of an orchestra with the great Gordon Jenkins conducting = pure bliss.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Where The Winds Hit Heavy

You know, there's cover versions of classics and then there's making a song your own. Howard Tate owns this one, so much so that he even subtly retitles it, which I am sure Dylan took no issue with.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Bar Like A Black Hole

"Daylight bent and broken at its threshold, full of Mohawk ghosts."

The sentimental feelings are starting to overtake me as I count down the days until the closure of Hank's, where I've been booking shows since 2013 (and frequenting for many years before that). There's no way to put into words my feelings about the place, and while I am thrilled that we'll live on in a new space, nothing can compare to that glorious pockmarked corner of Atlantic and Third.

Artwork by John Tebeau
Quote from Jonathan Lethem

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Moving Away From The Pulsebeat

Pete Shelley
Rest In Peace

I can perfectly recall the day I scored The Buzzcocks' Singles Going Steady and being absolutely floored at a collection of singles better than most band's albums (I must've played "Ever Fallen In Love" a dozen times that day). I had the honor of meeting Pete Shelly a few years back at the after-party for one of their shows. We chatted for a minute and I asked him if I could buy him a drink. He smiled and purred, "a Cosmo please." I endured quite the looks ordering it in that dump of a bar, Lit Lounge. Anyway, he was a gentlemen and truly one of the greats, making music that I'll listen to for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Set You Free This Time

The top-10 greatest Byrds songs, subject to change at any moment. This is TOUGH to keep to just ten, let alone put in any kind of order.

1. "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better"
2. "Thoughts And Words"
3. "The World Turns All Around Her"
4. "Eight Miles High"
5. "Why"
6. "Draft Morning"
7. "Set You Free This Time"
8. "Here Without You"
9. "Just A Season"
10. "Chestnut Mare"

(Not included are massive favorites like "Goin' Back," "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," and "My Back Pages" as they weren't written by the group.)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Thousand Points Of Light

I won't celebrate his death, and in fact George H.W. Bush seemed to have aged into a decent, caring human being (and he did a few great things like sign the Americans With Disabilities Act into law). Yes, compared to who we've got now, he looks wonderful in hindsight, but how can anyone forget what an awful president he was? Some reminders: the disgusting race-baiting Willie Horton ads, the Gulf War and the utter destabilization of the Middle East, the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure in Iraq (which some would call a war crime), the escalation of the drug war, and so on. When he left office he had an overall 22% approval rating and wasn't even invited to the Republican National Convention. Oh, and lest we forget his involvement with the Iran-Contra affair when he was VP (and his pardoning of Caspar Weinberger once he was president).

Poster by John Yates

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Golden Oldies

Robert "Bleecker Bob" Plotnik
Rest In Peace

Fare thee well to the one and only Bleecker Bob. Yeah yeah, his store was generally a rip-off and he was a grump, but he was always cool to me, busting my chops in a proper True York style, and he employed a few of my friends (who always hooked me up). For years he told me he'd give me a vintage BB's shirt, but never came through. Then one day he yelled at me as I was flipping through records, "Ay, here's that damn shirt I promised you..." It was a fucking XXL! Thanks, Bob.

Friday, November 23, 2018

One Day... All This Will Be Gone

Digging: Quadrophenia (the original double-LP), the company of childhood friends, big life changes, the Megative LP, the musings of Dan Rather, and experiments in leftover turkey consumption.

Not digging: the rapid destruction of NYC at the hands of mega-corporations (in collaboration with our local government), the ugly demonization of immigrants, and as always, the MTA.

Monday, November 12, 2018

'Nuff Said!

Stan Lee
Rest In Peace

"I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people's lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you're able to entertain people, you're doing a good thing."

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Freedom To Criticize And Oppose

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Gotta Break Free

"Right here, all by myself. I ain't got no one else.
The situation is bleeding me, there's no relief for a person like me."

My entry to punk-rock, hardcore, and "underground music" was via Reagan Youth, MDC, the Misfits, and D.O.A.: A Right Of Passage documentary, but Black Flag was the real game-changer. It's hard to put into words how important the band was to me (and still is), but I know I could not have dealt with the long and depressing train-ride to high school every morning without Black Flag, along with taped copies of Kool DJ Red Alert's Kiss-FM radio show, blasting at an ear-splitting volume on my walkman.

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Visit

"We have art in order not to die of the truth."

In awe at the studio of legendary painter Larry Poons. (Poons also played guitar in '60s avant garde band The Druids along with La Monte Young, Jasper Johns, and occasionally Andy Warhol.)

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2018

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Times Like These

Todd "Youth" Schofield
Rest In Peace

From the relatively small New York Hardcore scene and the A7 club to playing on The Tonight Show with the legendary Glen Campbell, Todd Youth had quite a spectacular musical journey.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Silence = Culpability

"I remember he asked his father, 'Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be commited? How could the world remain silent?' And now the boy is turning to me. 'Tell me," he asks, 'what have you done with my future, what have you done with your life?' And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget we are guilty, we are accomplices. And then I explain to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation."

Friday, October 26, 2018

Just To Get Away

Currently not digging: baseless and ridiculous conspiracy theories, REBNY, loud-talkers (particularly Wall Street types brokering deals on their cell-phones), and as always, the MTA.

Currently digging: a nice glass of Vermentino after a long-ass day of work, the inspiring writing of Rosa Luxemburg, the genius sounds of Thelonious Monk, attempting to live healthy, and the new monumental reissue of Feel The Darkness.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Psychotic Reactions

"The first mistake of art is to assume that it's serious."

Words by Lester Bangs
Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Friday, October 5, 2018

Amazing Journey

Was there a better group dynamic from a rock band at this point in history? I doubt it. Next-level stuff right here, which is quite possibly even better than the Live At Leeds show. The second Bill Graham finishes his intro, the band come out intent on nothing but total rock-action. The version of "Heaven And Hell" is surely one of the greatest documented first songs of a rock set. Stunning!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Built For Sound

The Brooklyn Paramount (“America’s First Theater Built For Sound”) helped bring jazz to Brooklyn with artists like Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis playing the theater. In 1943 singer Leo Fuld introduced Yiddish music on the stage, and in the 1950s Alan Freed’s legendary rock‘n’roll shows kicked off with acts including Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and Buddy Holly. Others that graced the stage: Ray Charles, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Bobby Rydell, Brenda Lee, Johnny Burnett, Dion, Bo Diddley, Chubby Checker, the Drifters, Coasters, and Little Anthony & The Imperials! The final live rock'n'roll stage show was with Jackie Wilson and an all-star cast but sadly the theatre was shuttered shortly afterwards and now stands as part of Long Island University.

Photograph and text via Brooklyneeze

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks

I was in funky little ice cream parlor staffed by an old school high school basketball team (a la The White Shadow), and owned by the X-Men crew. The walls were covered in framed tags and Funkadelic was blasting on the stereo at an insane volume. I debated getting some ice-cream for a while with an unknown friend and finally settled on a small cup of coffee-mocha. As I left I realized they had given me what seemed like a gallon's worth of the stuff, and it kept changing colors. When I finally scooped out a bite, it had no flavor; utterly without taste and kind of like eating thick air. I took the tub to the beach, sat in the rain, and began planning my trip to Algeria.