Friday, April 30, 2010

Served Us All

Leslie Buck
Rest In Peace

"It was for decades the most enduring piece of ephemera in New York City and is still among the most recognizable. Trim, blue and white, it fits neatly in the hand, sized so its contents can be downed in a New York minute. It is as vivid an emblem of the city as the Statue Of Liberty, beloved of property masters who need to evoke Gotham at a glance in films and on television." ... Story continues here: Leslie Buck, Designer Of Iconic Coffee Cup, Dies At 87 (NY Times)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Birds Again

A secret came a week ago though I already
knew it just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness.
The very alive souls of thirty-five hundred dead birds
are harbored in my body. It’s not uncomfortable.
I’m only temporary habitat for these not-quite-
weightless creatures. I offered a wordless invitation
and now they’re roosting within me, recalling
how I had watched them at night
in fall and spring passing across earth moons,
little clouds of black confetti, chattering and singing
on their way north or south. Now in my dreams
I see from the air the rumpled green and beige,
the watery face of earth as if they’re carrying
me rather than me carrying them. Next winter
I’ll release them near the estuary west of Alvarado
and south of Veracruz. I can see them perching
on undiscovered Olmec heads. We’ll say goodbye
and I’ll return my dreams to earth.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"Dreams surely are difficult, confusing, and not everything in them is brought to pass for mankind. For fleeting dreams have two gates: one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Those which pass through the one of sawn ivory are deceptive, bringing tidings which come to nought, but those which issue from the one of polished horn bring true results when a mortal sees them."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

45 Revolutions: The Chasers

"The Chasers were one of the longer-lived and harder-luck British beat bands to last through the 1960s, having been established in 1960 at the Chase Cross School in Romford by Len Tuckey (guitar), Jack Chambers (bass), and Lenny Butcher (drums). The group played local youth clubs and a music festival where they established enough of a reputation to get some fairly steady work. In 1961, Tony Wadlow succeeded Chambers on bass and also brought his saxophone and flute into the group's sound, which mostly consisted of British beat-style instrumentals. In 1963, The Chasers went through a repertory change, switching gears to r&b (and adding singers such as Roger Pincott and Bobby Rio to their lineup). The reconstituted group began getting more and better gigs, including many on the same bill as the Downliners Sect. Where acts like the Downliners Sect got recorded, however, The Chasers seemed destined to be nothing but a support act. A series of extended gigs in Germany, set up with help from their personal friend, recording artist Chris Andrews, got The Chasers' act together, and Andrews got them a contract with English Decca. The Chasers' debut single, "Hey Little Girl" b/w "That's What They Call Love" failed to chart despite being showcased on Juke Box Jury and Radio Caroline, the top pirate radio outlet in England. The group began jumping from label to label and experimenting with different sounds, looking for a commercial breakthrough, releasing "Inspiration" on Parlophone in 1966 and "The Ways of a Man" on Philips the following year. They got steady work as a support act — on the lower part of bills with acts like Shotgun Express, featuring Rod Stewart — but they never found a wider audience of their own. Following the failure of their Philips single, the group was reduced to a trio, and Len Tuckey (the husband of Suzi Quatro) soon exited to join one of the later line-ups of the Riot Squad, thus calling an end to the existence of the Chasers." -All Music Guide

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Record Store Day 2010

"[Record stores] were a library and a breeding ground for me when I was growing up — that's where I got all my influences and how I learned to play." -Booker T. Jones

"It's easier to download music, and probably cheaper. But what's playing on your favourite download store when you walk into it? Nothing, that's what. Who are you going to meet in there? Nobody. Where are the notice boards offering flatshares and vacant slots in bands destined for superstardom? Who's going to tell you to stop listening to that and start listening to this? Go ahead and save yourself a couple of quid. The saving will cost you a career, a set of cool friends, musical taste and, eventually, your soul. Record stores can't save your life. But they can give you a better one." -Nick Hornby

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

45 Revolutions: Really Red

Really Red was one of Houston's first punk bands in the late '70s, along with others like Legionaire's Disease, Plastic Idols, and The Hates. The band's roots can be traced as far back as the '60s when Ronnie and Kelly had a high school band called The Lords, who played original songs. A few years later they met up with John Paul and established themselves as shit-disturbers in the oppressive pre-punk days of the early-to-mid-'70s. As a band, they had existed for years under various names, doing mainly covers, until they were stunned by their first Legionaire's Disease gig. They evolved into Houston's most prominent punk band of that era. Their sound developed into something unique and distinctive, while never straying too far from it's loud, fast, aggressive roots.

Back in those days punk only had one rule, and that was "make your own rules." The formulas and cliches that have been plagueing punk for years now at that time had yet to taint it's original vision, and the ground was fertile for new sounds, new attitudes, and new ideas. Really Red delivered in spades on all three of those angles. As a band they built on the new sounds. They brought all kinds of influences to bear on the example from England. Just like Austin's Big Boys and The Dicks, they made something specifically Texan out of punk-rock. Their left-wing politics embraced their lone star legacy and the result was inventive, multi-faceted, and powerful. They left behind memories of countless awesome, passionate, high-energy shows, and a legacy of classic recordings.

Along with a few other groundbreaking local bands, they helped kick-start the early punk scene in Houston and spread their message further by taking to the road and playing with other such pioneering acts as D.O.A., The Dicks, Circle Jerks, 999, Articles of Faith, Negative Approach, MDC, the Bad Brains, The Effigies, The Big Boys and The Dead Kennedys among many others.

In Houston, they helped make the local scene explode and created a sense of community like no other local band has done previously or since. Along with their "paying gigs," they were always available to do benefit shows for causes as diverse as The Nuclear Freeze Campaign, The Vancouver 5 or even for a vet bill for an injured dog. They worked as hard as they played, and they thrived on the D.I.Y. ethic, starting their own C.I.A. label. As well as fronting Really Red, lead singer U-Ron, as Perry Coma, hosted the original "Funhouse" radio show on Pacifica's KPFT, cracking open many a young suburban Houston mind to punk and other new underground music. Their contributions to the early Houston and Texas underground scene cannot be overstated yet due to historical inaccuracies Really Red's contributions and influence has been often neglected and overlooked. This could be called an almost criminal ommission considering the band's impact while active.

Really Red broke up in 1985 after releasing two albums, two singles, two EPs, and tracks on various compilations (most famously Let Them Eat Jellybeans). Their classic '81 LP Teaching You The Fear was re-issued on CD via Empty Records (now out-of-print), while their original vinyl output remains as rare as hen's teeth.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


He woke up, ate, and left. He needed air. He'd needed air since the night before when he had discovered that place. That land. The undiscovered country. The flag raising kind of town, that at one point he thought had shaped him. He came to realize that was so very far from the truth. Leaving was the best thing he'd ever done. Now he was a hero. A champion.

There was a car parked outside the celebration. It was between a tree and a wall. "That's it," she said. "I will take it. I will run with it!" She then walked up to the bar and order a Manhattan. With a cherry. Because a lady always knows. It's a fact that need not be proven. He could then smell the fear, the anticipation... Damn, those cucumbers are ripe. And this time, this season will be fruitful.

© 2010 Lee Greenfeld

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"Integrity is unity of the personality; it implies being brutally honest with ourselves about our intentionality. Since intentionality is inextricably bound up with the daimonic, this is never an easy, nor always pleasant pursuit. But being willing to admit our daimonic tendencies — to know them consciously and to wisely oversee them — brings with it the invaluable blessing of freedom, vigor, inner strength, and self-acceptance."

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Last Evening

And night and the large wheels turning,
rutting the earth toward the cannon’s thunder.
He looked up from the piano to find her
across the room, her face a warning
and a prayer, mirroring, he realized, his own.
Outside, a fresh wind ruffled the trees above
the house and she grew more seductive
in his gaze as he continued with the song.
Then suddenly, both faces dulled.
And he stopped playing while she listened
to the wind and to her heart. His field cap
on the table now seemed strangely distant,
folded neatly as though it were an ancient map
holding within itself all the monstrous world.