1987

LiveIn 1987, I was 8. Also in 1987, Revolting Cocks released their heart-stopping live album, the double-trouble LP, You Goddamned Son of a Bitch. This album was recorded some 170 miles south of the rural, tumbleweed-rolling town I rode my GT Vertigo BMX around. Now, some 29 years later, this video documentation holds court within our humble library . Historical brilliance needs preserving, and this release was done up right.

(Let’s Talk) Physical

Physical CoverThe obnoxiously soothing b-side to the Olivia Newton John cover of (Let’s Get) Physical by the Revolting Cocks is a marathon listen. Clocking in at 10:08, this monster of a patience builder is little more than an irate, mechanical loop set off to offend everyone, up to and including the most devoted RevCo fans… at a seemingly endless coil of 10, nauseating, industrial minutes…

Physical BackI’m in love with this song. It offers somewhat of a calming experience, not unlike the way Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach provides its monotonous, brilliant beauty. I’ve included the track for you (to struggle through) to enjoy, so you can get a sense of what Chicago’s industrial scene was like in 1989.

Not unlike drinking straight vinegar, or putting hot sauce on your morning toast, (Let’s Talk) Physical, and the Revolting Cocks as a whole, are certainly acquired tastes. This isn’t a song I’d spin as often as let’s say, The Kinks’ Animal Farm, but its function of knocking me out of any given dry, laborious day, at 10-minute intervals, is a rare and welcoming treat.

 

Introducing Simply Samples

Simply SamplesIn my continuous efforts to keep from boring myself to death by scouring the internet for new and lavish ways to describe awesome, or amazing, or simply, I really dig this album, man, and I like, think you would too, I’ve decided to start a new category tentatively titled, Simply Samples. Simply Samples will NOT satisfy your mid-afternoon appetite while on your weekend trip to the local Piggly Wiggly (or Trader Joe’s if you live in LA… they’re grocery stores), instead, it will act as a strong, bold line connecting two seemingly unrelated dots. For example (and I should really think about starting a new paragraph soon), my SO (significant other) and I were watching Silence of the Lambs last night when a very familiar phrase flew out of our living room stereo. It was spoken by Senator Ruth Martin, the mother of Buffalo Bill’s current victim in the film, while pleading for her daughter’s life at a television news conference. The words, you have the power struck my head like a blow from Sugar Ray Robinson (RIP Richard Pryor), and I had to pause the movie (my SO LOVES it when I do that) to figure out where I’d heard that exact phrase a thousand times before (is a THOUSAND enough?). Surprise, surprise, the Revolting Cocks sampled that phrase on their 1993 album, Linger Ficken’ Good in their opening track Gila Copter. Sporting a playful smile, I took a moment to quickly scan over all the samples from songs I’d ever heard whose sources I actually knew, and Simply Samples was born.

This new dot-connecting category may not be of interest to the lot of you, but those of you who are into programmed beats and / or concept albums with samples to obscure films or television shows, Simply Samples may be that white, yippy dog in the bottom of the well you’ve been looking for. That’s a Silence of the Lambs reference… have a nice day.

Here is the track. The sample comes in at 1:16 if you’re interested.

It’s a RevCo World

RevCo CoverThere is a distinct level of sophistication found throughout the three tracks on Revolting Cocks’ debut 12” No Devotion that is only hinted at on Ministry releases from the same label (Wax Trax! Records) in the same year (1985). There is something much more nefarious and menacing here than say, Everyday (Is Halloween), or even Over the Shoulder (both Ministry releases, and both released in 1985). The Nature of Love (again, Ministry… you can see where my head has been lately) comes close, but is lacking that fiendish push into classic industrial / EBM territory. Perhaps No Devotion, with its three tracks clocking in at 22 minutes, benefits largely due to the fact that RevCo, at this time, was a bit of a Wax Trax! Records supergroup. Consisting of Front 242 head, Richard 23 and Luc Van Acker (surprisingly, Alain Jourgensen is isolated as Producer and not an official Cock), this preliminary incarnation of the ever-evolving band would only release one other record as a three piece, their first full length, 1986’s Big Sexy Land. After that, Richard 23 left, and Ministry mainstays Bill Rieflin, Paul Barker and Chris Connelly became official Cocks. The band would change again in 1993, then yet again in 2006, but that’s a topic for another time.

RevCo BackEvery once in a blue moon I’ll get trapped amongst the early Wax Trax! Records releases, which usually leaves me with a raging headache and the smell of whiskey on my breath, but every time I’m more than happy to welcome the comfort of anger and disgust that inevitably comes along with some of the pinnacle releases of the industrial movement.

Post #242 (AKA My Unhealthy Obsession with Belgium’s Greatest Band)

242There was little to no doubt as to what post #242 would give prominence to. My only fear was that I wouldn’t be back from Wisconsin in time to snap the appropriate pictures to accompany this particularly numbered entry. For nearly a decade, I’ve been addicted to the self-proclaimed Godfathers of EBM or electronic body music (wikipedia calls them pioneers… I’m onboard with that)… Belgium’s Front 242.

AgressivaAs aggressive as they are danceable, and as rhythmically astounding as they are painfully lethargic, Front 242’s brand of industrial dance music is just the kind of narcissistic noise pollution that calms the unsettling nerves of my unbalanced equilibrium. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this rotating four-piece signed to Wax Trax! Records and, in the mid-80s, toured with Ministry (which resulted in the historic and monumental creation of the super group, Revolting Cocks).

GeographyAllmusic lists Front 242 as Pop/Rock. If Front 242 is Pop/Rock, then Willie Nelson should be categorized as Speed Metal. With heavy synths, combative vocals (when there are lyrics, which is rather rare considering their 32 year catalog), and the pleasure-secreting cloud of rhythmic percussion, Front 242 invokes the offensive aggression of punk, with the mind-numbing social-fukk-fest of Techno, for that perfect combination of salty-sweet ear food. It’s quite possibly the best form of music I’ve ever had the pleasure of shoving into my head.

Sometimes, you just dig what you dig, and you could care less as to the politics involved. Front 242 knocked me out some 10 years ago, and I’m still, without any moment of hesitation, completely comfortable enjoying this blissful, unconscious condition.

The Mushroom Cloud of Similarities AKA The Land of Trait and Honey

The Land of Trait and Honey1988, with all its impotence and social frustrations, was a pretty damn outstanding year for music. Today we’re going to focus on (albeit very briefly because, let’s face it, I’ve got things to do) two outstanding works of Industrial fusion helmed from the prolific production due that was once known as Luxa Pan Productions. Very quickly, for those of you who have been living in a K-Mart dressing room for the past 25 years, Luxa Pan (Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, respectively) were the monikers of Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker. Sorry to be redundant for those to whom this fact is obvious… moving on.

In 1988, Ministry (Jourgensen/Luxa, Barker/Pan & crew) released the consciously alarming The Land of Rape and Honey. Also released in 1988 was Trait by Pailhead. Luxa Pan Productions was/is known for their excessive side projects, and their teaming with Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman, Ian MacKaye to form Pailhead is one of these bountiful side gigs.

Ok, so, FINALLY getting to the meat and potatoes of this damned post. Take a look at the pic of both covers at the top. Both albums were released the same year (1988), and both featured masterminds Jourgensen and Barker. Do the covers seem a bit similar to you? Something like a mushroom cloud, right? “Yes?” You reply with a vague tone. Ok, now take a look at the pic below.

The Land of Trait and Honey_InvertedBy converting to grayscale and inverting the colors to The Land of Rape and Honey, you can clearly see the stark similarity between these two covers. I’m racking my brain on what this could mean. Did the boys just dig an ambiguous mushroom cloud image, enough to reproduce it on two different album covers by two “different” bands? Maybe. Did their excessive drug use drain them of their creative juices leaving them to repurpose an old idea? I don’t think so.

Here’s my thought. 1988 opened the door for a tsunami-sized wave of creative output by the Luxa Pan team (focusing solely on albums released between 1988 and 1993), and this mushroom cloud was a symbol for an explosion of releases that would define the career of both Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker.

Ministry - LPAllow me to briefly break it down: Three albums by Revolting Cocks (You Goddamned Son of a Bitch, Beers, Steers, and Queers, and Linger Fickin’ Good), three albums by LARD (LARD, The Last Temptation of Reid, and Pure Chewing Satisfaction), a release by PTP, two released by 1000 Homo DJs (Apathy, and Supernaut) three by Lead into Gold (Idiot, Age of Reason, and Chicks & Speed: Futurism), four albums by Ministry (The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, In Case You didn’t Feel Like Showing Up, and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs) and finally, two releases by Pailhead (I Will Refuse and Trait). So, if my overly simplified calculations are correct (and they probably aren’t), in the span of only six years, Luxa Pan Productions produced a total of 18 albums. The mind boggles in its feeble attempt to process this information.

Whether these covers were foreshadowing the brilliant work of two insanely talented musicians, or it was simply an overanalyzed coincidence, 1988 ignited a bonfire under Luxa Pan Productions, the flames of which are still burning strong to this day.Pailhead - LP

Wax Trax! Records Insert from 1986

Wax Trax 1986 InsertFeatured today is one of the four (possibly five) different, albeit only to the trained eye, Wax Trax! Records inserts in my collection. It emerged from the deepest, and most sobering crevasses known to man (Luc Van Acker’s Heart and Soul, aka WAX018).

Listing the catalogue at only 18 albums (only 17 that were available at the time), this insert can be carbon dated to the fruitful, yet sardonically demonizing, year of 1986. In 1986, one could rest comfortably knowing they could, at any time, order the Al Jourgensen produced (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pailhead, Acid Horse, 1000 Homo DJs, Lard, PTP, Special Affect) Blackouts 12”, Lost Soul’s Club for only $5. (Which, in today’s world would only yield you a pint of half & half or a smug retort.) Found amongst the seminal releases from the grandfathers of the label are four different Wax Trax! Records t-shirts, many with varying sizes and colors. Those are $7, or about the value of two stamps today.

Wax Trax 1986 Insert BackThis is the 2nd Wax Trax! Records insert post from The Groove, and unless there is one hidden amongst my Ferrante & Teicher albums, this insert from 1986 is my oldest.

That is all. Have a good Friday.

The 1966 Philco High-Fidelity All-Transistor Stereophonic Radio-Phonograph

Record Player Front_2

I am a sucker for antique record paraphernalia. Be it cheesy “as seen on bad 70’s TV” record cleaners, random manuals to record players I’ve never owned, or in this case my 1966 Philco High-Fidelity All-Transistor Stereophonic Radio-Phonograph.Record Player Open_2

Nearly a decade ago back in film school I was prop shopping for a 1960’s period short film I was involved with. Now, thanks to my mother I’ve always been a frugal shopper, so when digging around one of Ventura, CA’s many antique shops I immediately perused the booths near the back of the store that featured items at 50% off. While on this hunt for cheap, yet relevant 60’s era props I came across this pristine phonograph. At first glance of this beautiful cabinet record player, and without even seeing the price tag, I was instantly fixated on becoming its ultimate and inevitable owner. When I saw the price tag of $80 I nearly wet myself. $40 + tax later she was mine. I called my buddy Omar, who had a flat bed and we hauled it off to set. It didn’t have a dominant presence in the final short film, but when the shoot was over I found myself the proud owner of an amazing piece of stereophonic machinery.Record Player Inside_2

The LP on the platter is Johnny Cash’s 1957 debut Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar, which would have been just 9 years old when this High-Fidelity All-Transistor Stereophonic Radio-Phonograph was manufactured and sold.

Philco Logo_3

For nearly 10 years ol’ Philco has moved with me a total of five times. She’s always dominated every living room she’s inhabited and still sounds as good today as she did the day I brought her home. Not bad for being 47 years old.

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I enjoy imagining what the manufacturers at the Philco Corporation back in 1966 would think of the music I play on this phonograph now. I doubt they’d be as much into N.E.R.D., The Revolting Cocks or Drive Like Jehu as I am.Copyright