Monthly Archives: June 2012


underwater, it was

immediately strange

& familiar

                                                from Paris Journal by Jim Morrison (1971).

In the early hours of July 3rd, 1969, founding member and celebrated multi-instrumentalist of The Rolling Stones, Brian Jones was found face down at the bottom of the swimming pool at his country house at Cotchford Farm. Located in East Sussex—about an hour’s drive from London—Cotchford Farm had once been owned by A.A. Milne who was inspired by the surrounding environs to create Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their various friends’ adventures in the “Hundred Acre Wood” (and in this fact I’m sure lies the basis for a fun, psychedelic cartoon).

His body found by Janet Lawson, a 26-year-old nurse who was then dating The Rolling Stones’ tour manager Tom Keylock, and Jones’ girlfriend, Anna Wohlin, whether Brian Jones’ death was the result of murder committed by Frank Thorogood—a forty-three-year-old builder contracted to do work on the grounds but whose role had grown to a be a sort of “minder” for the unraveling Jones (Jones, 2008)—or was truly “death by misadventure” as the coroner’s official verdict stated will likely remain a rock ‘n’ roll mystery.

The last known photographs of Jones, taken by schoolgirl Helen Spittal on 23 June 1969, shortly after his departure from the Stones.

(Lewis) Brian (Hopkins) Jones was twenty-seven-years-old at the time of his death in 1969 and had only a month prior been asked to leave The Rolling Stones. On June 8, 1969, Jones was visited by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Charlie Watts, and was told that the group that he had formed and named back in 1962 would now continue on without him. Permitted to announce the news as he saw fit, Jones issued a statement the next day announcing his departure, stating, “I no longer see eye-to-eye with the others over the discs we are cutting” (Wyman, 2002).

Brian Jones’ last picture with The Rolling Stones.

Jones’ being kicked out of the group has been seen with more than a critical eye over the years, with many choosing to see this as merely the result of greed and a power grab by “The Glimmer Twins” of Jagger and Richards. However, it needs to be recognized that not only did Jones’ numerous arrests and convictions for narcotics make it impossible for him to acquire a work visa to tour with the group, but that Jones’ excess and addictions had left him often unable—and more so averse—to contributing to the band’s music. It’s all well and good that Keith Richards was a junkie too, but at least he showed up and participated at rehearsals.

Brian Jones—in part because of his flamboyant sartorial style, beautiful boyish good looks, and the mass quantities of drugs and alcohol he would ingest—had been always held up as the figurehead for the group and had come to be celebrated as a Dorian Grey type figure. This, coupled with his skilled musicianship and true love of the blues, served to bridge the gap between London’s occultist dandies and the dirty music of the American south (Hill, 2011). There are many who believe that The Stones’ claim to greatness ended with Jones’ departure, but I (as anyone who’s listened to their double LP of 1972, Exile on Main St.) strongly disagree. However, Brian Jones’ influence and contribution to this group cannot be expressed enough.

Never a songwriter but rather a true musician, Jones had an uncanny ability to pick up any instrument and add that essential and odd element that would distinguish The Stones from every other R&B bar band of the swinging scene of London in the ’60s: think of the sitar on “Paint It Black,” the marimbas on “Under My Thumb,” or the dulcimer on “I Am Waiting.”

Jones’ talent did not only lie in implementing instruments hitherto unknown in the musical lexicon of rock ‘n’ roll, but extended to the flavor he could add with more traditional instruments such as harmonica, guitar, and keyboards. Brian Jones was simply ingenious at creating the proper moods and appropriate atmospheres a song required. He was style, and he was content. For example, consider his bottle-neck guitar on 1968’s Beggars Banquet track, “No Expectations.” Other than Jagger’s pouty-mouthed vocals of lament, it is Jones’ contribution that imbues the song with its thick syrup of loneliness.

The original cover photo for Beggars Banquet (photo by Michael Joseph).

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Like it? Buy it.

However, by the time of this song’s recording in the summer of 1968 Jones’ enthusiasm for the group had waned and his contributions became less and less. Mick Jagger later stated in a 1995 interview for Rolling Stone “We were sitting around in a circle on the floor, singing and playing, recording with open mikes. That was the last time I remember Brian really being totally involved in something that was really worth doing” (Wenner). In fact, upon being dismissed from the group Jones nearly immediately contacted Mitch Mitchell (drummer for The Jimi Hendrix Experience) about the possibility of beginning a new band together. Jones had recorded with him before (along with Hendrix himself, as well as Traffic guitarist Dave Mason) in a session at Olympic Studios in London with Chas Chandler producing and Eddie Kramer engineering. Held on December 28th 1967, this session was conducted during the initial recording dates for Jimi Hendrix’s masterpiece, Electric Ladyland, before Hendrix moved production to the newly opened Record Plant Studios in New York the following spring.

The alternate cover for 1968’s Electric Ladyland (photo by David Montgomery)

Jones had grown to be quite friendly with Hendrix and his group and had in fact introduced them on stage to the audience at The Monterey Pop Festival held in June of 1967 (effectively introducing Hendrix to America itself, as he had little recognition in the states up until this point—Hendrix cemented his prominence by famously ending his performance by setting his psychedelically painted Fender Stratocaster on fire in what seemed liked some sensual, voodoo ritual).

Brian Jones introduces The Jimi Hendrix Experience to America in 1967 at The Monterey International Pop Music Festival

Despite often being characterized as “over-sensitive” (a disposition that frequently lends itself to acts of manipulation and cruelty) of all the Stones only Brian was adored by the community of musicians, artists, and general audience springing from the counterculture of the ’60s; of all the Stones only Brian was invited to record with their rivals, The Beatles: in mid-May of 1967 playing oboe on “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” and alto sax on “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number).”

London, 1968: Brian Jones, Donovan, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Cilla Black, and Paul McCartney.

Yoko Ono, Brian Jones, Julian and John Lennon,1968.

The Jones/Hendrix session would produce only two alternate takes of a single instrumental composition entitled “Little One,” which despite its impressive structure and performance remains unreleased to this day. As the two takes are incredibly similar, with one noticeable difference being Hendrix implementing a slide to his guitar on “take 2,” I have never been able to decide which I enjoy more…and so I present them both to you.

Little One (take 1)

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Little One (take 2)

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Brian Jones – Sitar and percussions

Jimi Hendrix – Guitar

Dave Mason – Bass and sitar

Mitch Mitchell – Drums

Brian Jones & Anita Pallenberg

Jones’ penchant for excess had been exacerbated by his intense romantic affair with Italian-born actress, model, sexpot bombshell, and epicurean, Anita Pallenberg. She has been described as powerful, brilliant, and absolutely mad; all often in the same breath.

Anita Pallenberg as The Black Queen/The Great Tyrant in Roger Vadim’s cult-classic sci-fi film of 1968, Barbarella.

Anita with co-star Jane Fonda in the titular role of Barbarella.

Jones and Anita together were known to over-indulge in narcotics and sex, and often their relationship would delve into dark, sadomasochism.

However, in 1967 while Keith Richards, Jones, and Pallenberg were vacationing together in Morocco, Richards and Pallenberg began an affair after Jones became ill and was checked into a hospital. Eventually Pallenberg left Jones for Richards and the two had a relationship that lasted until 1980 and which resulted in numerous children (as well as accelerated drug abuse). Perhaps as much as boredom and dependency, this betrayal led to Jones’ dissolution from The Rolling Stones. For, as much as “the hippies” advocated a free-love philosophy, it remains a philosophy that is much more difficult to put into practice than it is to place as a slogan on a placard.

Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards in 1967.

Jones’ continuing substance abuse led to a fragile state of mental health, marked by paranoia, distraction, and even violent outbursts. Yet, despite all this, as I have said, Jones remained the adored golden-haired child of the ’60’s. Upon Jones’ death numerous songs were performed in his name, Pete Townshend wrote a poem titled A Normal Day for Brian, A Man Who Died Every Day, and in Hyde Park on 5 July 1969, The Rolling Stones performed a free concert in Jones’ honor (as well as to introduce new member and brilliant guitarist, Mick Taylor). Stagehands released hundreds of white butterflies as part of the tribute (many had already suffocated in their crates and so were tossed dead onto the audience) and Jagger read excerpts from Adonais, a poem by Percy Shelley concerning the death of his friend John Keats:

I weep for Adonais -he is dead!

O, weep for Adonais! though our tears

Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head!

And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years

To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,

And teach them thine own sorrow, say: “With me

Died Adonais; till the Future dares

Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be

An echo and a light unto eternity!

The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park on 5 July 1969.

Marianne Faithfull

However, it should be noted that Watts and Wyman were the only members of The Rolling Stones who actually attended Jones’ funeral. Neither did Pallenberg attend. Concerning this absence and its effects, Marianne Faithfull has written:

             Brian’s death acted like a slow-motion bomb, It had a

devastating effect on all of us. The dead go away, but

the survivors are damned. Anita went through hell from

survivor’s guilt and guilt plain and simple. She developed

grisly compulsions…Keith’s way of reacting to Brian’s

death was to become Brian. He became the very image of

the falling down, stoned junkie hovering perpetually on the

edge of death. But Keith, being Keith, was made of different

stuff. However he mimicked Brian’s self-destruction, he

never actually disintegrated (Greenfield, 2006).

It is rumored that it was Bob Dylan who paid for Brian Jones’ extravagant casket. Perhaps it was intended as a form of apology? For as Daniel Mark Epstein writes in his highly engaging biography/memoir, “The Ballad of Bob Dylan,” from a passage concerning Dylan’s inclination towards cruel, acerbic words spat at those he viewed as pestering him while he and confidant Bobby Neuwirth held an amphetamine-fueled court (performing “mental gymnastics”) at New York clubs like Max’s Kansas City:

            Brian Jones, the gifted, exquisitely sensitive English guitarist

who founded the Rolling Stones, idolized Bob Dylan. Jones was tiny,

an inch shorter than his hero, blond-haired, blue-eyed, and

androgynous looking, sporting frilly Edwardian blouses and bright

scarves. He was notoriously volatile, needy, and drug dependent.

By and by Neuwirth led him toward the table where the maestro

was holding court.

             Neuwirth welcomed the celebrated multi-instrumentalist who

had taught Mick Jagger how to play harmonica. Dylan bared his teeth.

First of all he declared the Stones were a joke—they could not be taken

seriously. Now everyone could laugh at that, true or not, because the

comment cost nothing, drew no blood. But then he explained to Jones

that he had no talent and that the band, joke that it was, ought to replace

him with someone who could sing. This made Jones unhappy, after all

he had been so happy to see Dylan in the bar. The Englishman swept his

flowing hair out of his eyes, which were tearing up as Dylan went into

detail about Jones’ musical handicaps. Jones began to cry. Now the whole

mob could see his weakness; it was a terrible sight, the flowing locks, the

lacy sleeves, the weeping—just the wrong image for a group called

“The Rolling Stones.” Dylan concluded. He may have been right; Jones

did not seem to be long for the Rolling Stones, or this world, for that matter.

A couple of years later he was found dead at the bottom of a swimming pool.

Some say that Dylan paid for Jones’ lavish coffin (2011).

Brian Jones and Bob Dylan attend a release party for the Young Rascals at the Phone Booth nightclub in New York City in November, 1965. (photo by Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)]

Nearly immediately after Jones’ death (possibly even the day it was reported) lead singer for The Doors, Jim Morrison composed the poem: Ode to L.A. While Thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased:

I’m a resident of a city

They’ve just picked me to play

The Prince of Denmark

Poor Ophelia

All those ghosts he never saw

Floating to doom

On an iron candle

Come back, brave warrior

Do the dive

On another channel

Hot buttered pool

Where’s Marrakech

Under the falls

the wild storm

where savages fell out

in late afternoon

monsters of rhythm

You’ve left your


to complete w/


I hope you went out Smiling

Like a child

Into the cool remnant

of a dream

The angel man

w/ Serpents competing

for his palms

& fingers

Finally claimed

This benevolent



Leaves, sodden

in silk



mad stifled


The diving board, the plunge

The pool

You were the bleached


for TV afternoon


maverick of a yellow spot

Look now to where it’s got


in meat heaven

w/ the cannibals

& Jews

The gardener


The body, rampant, Floating

Lucky Stiff

What is this green pale stuff

You’re made of

Poke holes in the goddess


Will he Stink

Carried heavenward

Thru the halls of music

No chance.

Requiem for a heavy

That smile

That porky satyr’s


has leaped upward

into the loam


Jim Morrison in the Summer of 1969.

One Jim Morrison’s final notebook from his time in Paris, 1971.

Despite its obvious merits to any literate that would take the time to read it, the poetry of Jim Morrison has always been too casually dismissed. This dismissal mostly comes as a flippant reaction to the audience who have come to embrace Jim Morrison: generally comprised of awkward adolescents and teenagers who believe they are obsessed with death—when in actuality it is sex and a sense of discovery that has strangled their brains. Often, for this group of admirers it’s not even the man Morrison they cling to but the dark image of him, the risk and pleasure he represents. Yet, developing and hormone-addled youth shouldn’t be judged here, nor their easy acceptance of projected iconography that has certainly been marketed towards them; but the adult academics and intellectuals who continue to not only disregard the man’s work, but actually let out a little chuckle of disdain at his mention do deserve a harsh word or two.

To my mind and tastes Jim Morrison was a truly gifted American poet with a distinctive American voice and cadence that should be appreciated and celebrated, as Whitman’s is, as Robert Frost’s is, as Hart Crane’s is.

Again, he is dismissed because he was a rock star, but who could argue that if Rimbaud had come of age during the 1950s and 1960s in the United States that he wouldn’t have pursued the decadence of rock ‘n’ roll as a form of artistic expression before abandoning it all for the world of commerce?

Another factor for the lack of recognition (if not contempt) for Morrison’s writing is the confounding of his lyrics with his poetry. Although the two are not always mutually exclusive, for the most part they remain two different animals. Whereas Morrison might have crooned into your ear that there were “weird scenes inside the goldmine,” within his poems he could go on to meditate on these scenes, and although odd, it’s also all so very familiar:

I have a vision of America

Seen from the air

28,000 ft. and going fast

A one armed man in a Texas

parking labyrinth

A burnt tree like a giant primeval bird

in an empty lot in Fresno

Miles and miles of hotel corridors

& elevators, filled with citizens

                        (circa 1969)

There are certain conventions and limitations placed upon a lyricist that might work splendidly while sung along with the buzz and hum of an electric guitar or the roll of a drum but that nevertheless fall flat or seem simply self-indulgent when read upon the page. With the verse, notes, and fragments of dialogue that he constantly scrawled into the notebooks he always carried, Morrison could drop any “Lizard King” posturing of his rock ‘n’ roll persona and indulge in what he always saw as his true work: poetry.

Freeways are a drama, a new

art form. Signs. Houses.

Faces. Loud gabble of Blacks

at a bus stop.

With lines like these from the ending stanza of his poem The Guided Tour, or others such as “The bus gives you a hard-on/with books in your lap” Morrison was attempting honest artistic communication of a facet of the American experience, and more so the human condition. There are certainly lines of both Morrison’s lyrics and his poetry that come off as silly, but it should be remembered that he was still only a young man in his twenties and searching for his “voice.” This search itself is actually one of the aspects of his work that I find makes it so enjoyable. Additionally, despite the calculated images of a serious young Adonis with a svelte naked torso writhing in tight leather pants across many a teenager’s t-shirt, it should be noted that Morrison could be an incredibly goofy guy. For a more humanistic view of the man than the mystic hedonist that is traditionally depicted, I highly recommend you watch Tom DiCillo’s 2009 documentary When You’re Strange, narrated by Johnny Depp.

The dichotomy presented by the easy access to excess and fun afforded by being a rockstar butting up against a desire to pursue his literary ambitions with a serious, sensitive intelligence had begun to wear on Morrison fairly early into The Doors career. This discord—coupled with his highly addictive personality—led Morrison to begin drinking heavily, wander off, and participate less in the band’s creative/recording sessions; particularly for their third and fourth LPs, 1968’s Waiting for the Sun, and The Soft Parade, released in 1969.

Morrison in the closet of his room at LA’s Chateau Marmont hotel, May 1968, as The Doors were finishing recording sessions for Waiting For The Sun. (photo by Art Kane).

By 1969 Morrison often seemed dissatisfied if not outright bored with The Doors and their music, but had been dissuaded from quitting by the other members. He would go on to state in an interview with CBC Radio, “I’m hung up on the art game, you know? My great joy is to give form to reality. Music is a great release, a great enjoyment to me. Eventually I’d like to write something of great importance. That’s my ambition—to write something worthwhile” (Nester, 2011). His growing lack of interest in the music is occasionally evident in the band’s creative output of the time. This statement is in no way meant to disparage the music of The Doors, as I still believe to this day that together, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger had one of the most singular sounds ever created by a rock band. I’m not even certain they qualify to be labeled as “rock.”

Cinematic in scope and theatrical in presentation, The Doors fluidly merged jazz associated time signatures with Latin rhythms, the primitive stomp and lustful swagger of the blues, and the sinister yet jaunty gait of a vaudevillian circus—the whole sound given flight by extended flourishes of flamenco, surf-rock riffs, and sharp apoplectic convulsions of psychedelia. Inexplicably, this sound could still urge the listener to tap his foot and sing along. Play any album by The Doors and tell me what other group (even those that are attempting to emulate) sounds like this? I suppose the only appropriate genre label for this group would be “weird.” Yes, they were a band of weirdos.

Take for example their performance of “Universal Mind” on the night of July 21st, 1969, where a showtune lament suddenly cascades to take on Mongo Santamaría’s “Afro Blue” (in an arrangement made famous by John Coltrane in 1963):

“Universal Mind” July 21st, 1969

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When at their best, what distinguishes this group’s sound from the majority of their contemporaries is that they not only sound extraordinarily alive and on a journey, but filled with dread at the awesome wonder of being so; the sound of there being “something not quite right.” It is that underlying but persistent sense of creation confronting dread that has bestowed their music with longevity despite (or perhaps as a side-effect of?) our desperate-for-the-next-hit culture. However, by the time The Doors were completing The Soft Parade, it seems Jim Morrison had grown fed up with the band and what the audiences expected of them, frustrated with his literary ambitions, and more so disgusted with both himself and the state of American affairs.

Being drunk is a good disguise.

I drink so I

can talk to assholes.

This includes me.

                        (from As I Look Back).

Could any hell be more

horrible than now

 and real?

                        (from Lament For The Death Of My Cock, 1969)

Do you know we are being led to

slaughters by placid admirals

& that fat slow generals are getting

obscene on young blood

Do you know we are ruled by T.V.

                                                (from An American Prayer, circa 1970)

            On March 1st, 1969 The Doors were scheduled to kick-off of their biggest tour ever by playing the Dinner Key Auditorium in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami. Morrison had spent the week prior regularly attending performances by The Living Theater in California. These performances were meant to challenge conventional notions on love, decency, morality, and freedom of expression, and featured scantily dressed and nude actors both on stage and interacting directly with the audience. Inspired, Morrison has all this in mind when he steps on stage. However, after fighting with his girlfriend Pamela Courson, he has also spent the entire day drinking and missing connecting flights to Miami. Arriving late, he is extremely intoxicated.

A converted seaplane hanger, the Dinner Key Auditorium is filled well beyond capacity (the promoters had taken out the chairs in order to sell more tickets) and the air is stifling from the Florida heat. The performance that evening will be considered a disaster and would end abruptly when the stage collapses under the weight of the audience that had rushed up there at Morrison’s insistence. Morrison himself would be tossed into the crowd by an overwhelmed security guard. Afterwards, the Dade County Sheriff’s office issued a warrant for Morrison’s arrest claiming that he had deliberately exposed his penis while on stage, shouted obscenities to the crowd, simulated oral sex on guitarist Robby Krieger and was drunk at the time of his performance, he would be accused as well by the press of attempting to incite a riot. Although the man certainly was inebriated and did use “obscene” language, and the concert itself was perhaps not the best example of professional musicians, what occurred was a man’s impassioned plea for a spirit of brotherly love to permeate our cold, war-profiteering culture, and for the people to “wake up” from their lulled stupor, submissive to every sadistic and avaricious whim of a ruling elite; an elite that today is popularly called the “one percent.”

“You’re all a bunch of fuckin’ idiots! Lettin’ people tell you

what you’re gonna do! Lettin’ people push you around! How long do

you think it’s gonna last? How long are you gonna let it go on? How

long are you gonna let em push you around? How long? Maybe you

like it. Maybe you like being pushed around! Maybe you love it! Maybe

you love getting’ your face stuck in the shit! Come on! You love it,

don’t ya! You love it! You’re all a bunch of slaves. Letting everybody

push you around. What are you gonna do about it! What are you gonna

do about it!”

With these fervent words, and his repeated assertions of, “I aint talkin’ about no revolution, and I’m not talking about no demonstration, I’m talkin’ about having a good time; I’m talkin’ ‘bout love,” as well as his commands that the audience “love your neighbor ‘till it hurts,” Morrison might have been drunk but his message was still as poignant and passionate as those by any other concerned citizen, such as those by my favorite comedian (and philosopher) Bill Hicks, who twenty-four years later told his American audiences:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, ‘Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?’ And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, ‘Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.’ And we … kill those people. ‘Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.’ It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love.

“The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

For the most part, Morrison’s rants that evening made it impossible for the band to play through any of their hits as he insisted on repeatedly directly communicating with the audience, and his inebriated state seemed to rattle their typically intuitive musical communication. Essentially, it was not a great show. However, there are moments that are great examples of raw, blistering, “rock-out-with-your-cock-out” (pun intended) music. Morrison’s voice itself here exemplifies what he once wrote in one of his notebooks under the title of As I Look Back:

                        Elvis had sex-wise

                        Mature voice at 19

Mine still retains the

nasal whine of a

repressed adolescent

            minor squeaks & furies

An interesting singer

at best—a scream

or a sick croon. Nothing


The following track has been slightly edited by myself to focus upon the more poignant and entertaining moments, in terms of this discussion:

The Doors, March 1st, 1969

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The Doors live at the Dinner Key Auditorium, Miami (March 1st, 1969):

Are you Ready/Back Door Man/I Want Some Love/Five To One/Talkin’ Bout Some Love/Touch Me/I Was Born Here/Light My Fire/I Wanna See Some Action.

After the “Miami Incident” The Doors had found that the majority of their tour had been cancelled by the venues, as they were no longer willing to host them. Later that month Jim Morrison uses the forced lull in touring as an opportunity to record some of his poetry without the presence of the other members of The Doors. One of the finest of these recordings features Morrison’s memories of attending high-school dances as an army brat (his father was Rear Admiral George Stephen Morrison and happened to be in command of the Carrier Division during the controversial Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964—how’s that for a generation gap?). This piece is titled, Can We Resolve The Past?:

Jim Morrison in 1964 (photo by Alain Ronay).

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On Monday, April 28th, after further cancellations and the possibility of a three-year sentence in a Florida prison hanging over Morrison’s head, The Doors entered PBS Studios in New York to record for the show “PBS Critique.” Along with several other songs they performed their blues vamp “Build Me A Woman,” as well as the psychedelic epic (and title track) that closes The Soft Parade, which was due to be released on July 18th. A rarity for them performance wise, “The Soft Parade” is another fine example of my earlier statements regarding the total idiosyncratic nature of The Doors’ sound.

With their entire American tour cancelled, the group accepted an offer to perform at The Forum in Mexico City for four dates at the end of June.

The Doors in Mexico, June 1969

It would have been returning from this brief engagement in Mexico that Morrison would have first learned of Brian Jones’ death and subsequently compose his poem, Ode to L.A. While Thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased. Shortly after, with The Doors securing the two nights of July 21 and 22 at the Aquarius Theatre on Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, Morrison would self-publish this work and distribute it freely to those in attendance. To his irritation, the majority of The Doors’ audience, who only seemed to come to shows in anticipation of a spectacle, left these chapbooks to litter the floor—unread.

The Doors at the Aquarius Theatre.

On the evening of the 22nd, Morrison would tell the audience: “Hey, I’m tired of being a freaky musician; I want to be Napoleon! Let’s have some more wars around here. What a stinking, shitty little war we have runnin’ over there. Let’s get a big one! A real big one! With alotta…killings, and bombs, and blood!”  A little over two weeks later, a man and three women, “hippies” by all accounts and members of a cult, would enter a luxurious home in the Benedict Canyon area of Los Angeles and butcher five people, including actress Sharon Tate who was eight-months-pregnant at the time. They were directed by one man: Charles Manson. The “Manson Family” would later be arrested in Death Valley where they had been living while searching for a hole in the earth that would lead them to a fabled underground city. Four months after this concert the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam (in which roughly 500 unarmed Vietnamese men, women, the elderly, as well as children and babies were murdered by the U.S. military) becomes public knowledge after being suppressed for some twenty months by the government.

At this show The Doors also debut some preliminary compositions for the album they would record at the end of the year, Morrison Hotel, subsequently released in February of 1970. Of this material, one highlight is the live rendition of “Maggie M’Gill

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December 1969, Los Angeles, CA – Jim Morrison stands amidst a group of men outside the original Hard Rock Cafe in the skid row area of downtown L.A. – Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis]

December 1969, Los Angeles, California, USA — The Doors dine in a Mexican restaurant. From right to left: Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robbie Krieger. — Henry Diltz

At the time of recording Morrison Hotel, it seems that Morrison’s lyrics and poetry begin to achieve a certain new level of maturity, as well as gaining a synthesis of vision between the two. As a poet, as a lyricist, as an “old bluesman,” Morrison comprehended the pure expression—the psychic communication—that can be achieved through symbolism. I believe the music itself on this album (and the next and last, L.A. Woman) reflects this. Many claim that these albums were “a return-to-form” but in reality The Doors had never sounded quite like this. Although by no means did Morrison cease his self-abuse, it does seem that he and his long-time girlfriend (wife, for all intents and purposes) did reach a level of stability, and that Morrison, at her urging, dedicated himself towards his writing more fully.

(photo by Raeanne Rubenstein)

Jim & Pam (edmund teske 1969)

While touring to promote this album, on April 7th Morrison had two poetic works bound together and published in one volume: The Lords and The New Creatures. The first half—The Lords—with its subtitle “Notes on Vision,” contains numerous thoughtful essay-like meditations on the human-condition in relation to his ability to experience reality, particularly in light of modern advancements in his ability to create the pictorial through the cinema. This work also explores both the liberation to be found in being an artist as well as the sinister element of subjugation that can occur through all this.

“There are no longer ‘dancers,’ the possessed.

The cleavage of men into actor and spectators

is the central fact of our time. We are obsessed

with heroes who live for us and whom we punish.

If all the radios and televisions were deprived

of their sources of power, all books and paintings

burned tomorrow, all shows and cinemas closed,

all the arts of vicarious existence…

“We are content in the ‘given’ in sensation’s

quest. We have been metamorphosised from a mad

body dancing on hillsides to a pair of eyes

staring in the dark (p. 29)

“More or less, we’re all afflicted with the psychology

of the voyeur. Not in a strictly clinical or

criminal sense, but in our whole physical and


stance before the world. Whenever we seek to break

this spell of passivity, our actions are cruel and

awkward and generally obscene, like an invalid who

has forgotten to walk (p. 39).

“The Lords appease us with images. They give us

books, concerts, galleries, shows, cinemas.

Especially the cinemas. Through art they confuse

us and blind us to our enslavement. Art adorns

our prison walls, keeps us silent and diverted

and indifferent” (p. 89).

Beginning the “Roadhouse Blues Tour” on January 17th 1970 at the more intimate Felt Forum within Madison Square Garden in New York, those born after a certain era have always been given the impression through marketing that The Doors had past their prime once Morrison had put on pounds, grown a beard, and abandoned the leather pants for jeans and a t-shirt. However, I believe the band has never sounded as dynamic and fully engaged with the music as they did on this tour. In fact the majority of live recordings you’ve most likely heard from this group, despite the “young lion” images of Morrison emblazoned on the LP covers, come from this era. It seems that at the band’s beginnings Morrison had calculated a figure so powerful and alluring that there was nothing he could do to destroy it.

As a demonstration of the band’s prowess at this time, check out what perhaps might be their finest live performance ever put on tape: from Saturday, May 2nd at The Pittsburgh Civic Arena, here’s “Roadhouse Blues.”

——————————————-(CLICK TO LISTEN)

Like it? Buy it.

Concerning the song and this performance, cultural historian and critic Greil Marcus (who, to those familiar with my blog by now must realize is one of my favorite go-to-guys for critical insight) had this to say:

“In Pittsburgh, on May 2, 1970, for the fourth number of the set, the band hammers into the song. It will take them seven minutes to tease, demand, threaten the song to force it to give up every secret it was made to reveal, and the drama unfolds when Morrison, his voice already desperate, preternaturally full, expanding with each line, descends into the bubbling swamp of the tune, the place without words. He disappears into the maw of the music and keeps going, you gotta cronk cronk cronk sh bomp bomp cronk cronk eh hey cron cronk cronk ado ah hey che doo bop dag a chee be cronk cronk well rah hey hey tay cronk cronk see lay, hey—he sustains it all for a solid minute. It’s harder than it looks. With each measure of vocal sounds the pressure is increased, the pleasure is deeper, the abandon more complete, the freedom from words, meaning, song, band, hits, audience, police, prison, and self more real, precious, and sure to disappear around the next turn if you don’t keep your eyes on the road. In that long minute, Morrison sings the whole song in another language, one only he could speak, but that anyone could understand. There is no document he left behind where he sounds more fulfilled as an artist, as someone who threw down the gauntlet and said to himself, to you, to whoever was listening, to whoever wasn’t, follow that” (2011).

Another fine example is their performance of “Love Me Two Times,” from August 21st at the Bakersfield Civic Auditorium in California. Here they effortlessly let the song drift where Morrison takes it, incorporating elements of the blues standard “Baby Please Don’t Go” (first recorded by Big Joe Williams in 1935), and “St. James Infirmary Blues,” that anonymous American ode to love lost through iniquity, made famous by Louis Armstrong in 1928 and covered countless times since.

(photo by Michael Parrish)


Having turned down an offer to perform at the Woodstock Festival, The Doors now agreed to play what was intended as the European version, located at the East Afton Farm on an area on the western side of the Isle of Wight.

Morrison would spend the following two months on trial for obscenity, but what was truly on trial was not only an artists’ right to express himself, but any American citizens’ right to do so. After a state-sponsored “Rally for Decency,” the Miami jury (the youngest member was 42 years old) convicted Morrison on misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and open profanity while acquitting him of two felonies and two other misdemeanors. His bail was raised to fifty thousand dollars and he now faced a certain prison sentence (Melnick, 2010).

Following his conviction, Morrison filed an appeal and he and the band would spend the uncertain winter of ’70-’71 recording their sixth and final album together, L.A. Woman.

Just prior to the full commencement of the L.A. Woman sessions, On Tuesday December 8th, Jim Morrison would spend his 27th (and final) birthday at another recording session held exclusively for his poetry. Although the majority of these recording remains unreleased, on this day he would recite a devotional poem titled, Science Of Night.

December 8, 1970.

————————————————(CLICK TO LISTEN)

Four days later at “The Warehouse” in New Orleans, The Doors would play their final live concert together. Halfway through this show Morrison seemed at first distracted and then just completely spent. After slumping down on to the floor, Morrison grabs the mic stand and continually slams it into the stage eventually splintering the wood. Then throwing the stand aside he leaves the stage. Ray Manzarek later states that he witnessed at this show all of Morrison’s “psychic energy” abandon his body.

Jim Morrison at The Doors last performance, December 12, 1970 at The Warehouse in New Orleans, LA.

L.A. Woman sessions (photo by Frank Lisciandro)

In preparation for a new album, over the next few weeks that followed their final performance The Doors would convert their office and rehearsal space—The Workshop, located at 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles—into a recording studio. Despite numerous detriments at the time, L.A. Woman would be an artistic triumph. Recorded and mixed in only two weeks, and although these sessions were for the most-part a relaxed affair, it would feature some sublime and manic moments as on the title track, as well as marvelously rough recorded booze-soaked blues as on “Cars Hiss by My Window.”

——————————————-(CLICK TO LISTEN)

Like it? Buy it?

This album would also feature some of Morrison’s most direct and plaintive lyrics:

I need a brand new friend who doesn’t bother me.

I need a brand new friend who doesn’t trouble me.

I need someone who doesn’t need me.

                                                (“Hyacinth House”).

Here is that song recorded as a demo at guitarist Robby Krieger’s home studio:


Like it? Buy it.

Jim Morrison would be dead within six months of these recordings.

L.A. Woman sessions (photo by Edmund Teske).

In the hopes of some respite from the threat of imprisonment, as well as a desire to escape his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle for some time and concentrate on his writing once more, Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson relocated to Paris on March 11th 1971. At the time, he told The Doors’ manager Bill Siddons, “I don’t know who I am, and I don’t know what I’m doing at the moment. I even don’t know what I really want, I just wanna go away” (Moddemann, 1999).

Wandering Paris

Moving to No. 17 Rue Beautreillis, Morrison placed a desk near the window in order to write at. Spending the majority of his time wandering the streets, Morrison carried his notebooks in a bag at his side at all times.

So much forgotten already

            So much forgotten

            So much to forget

            Once the idea of purity

            born, all was lost



            And I remember

            Stars in the shotgun


            eating pussy

            til the mind runs



            A monster arrived

            in the mirror

            To mock the room

            & its fool


            Give me songs

to sing

& emerald dreams

to dream

& I’ll give you love



Naked we come

& bruised we go

nude pastry

for the slow soft worms


This is my poem

for you

Great flowing funky flower’d beast

Great perfumed wreck of hell

Great good disease

& summer plague

Great god-damned shit-ass

Mother-fucking freak

You lie, you cheat,

you steal, you kill

you drink the Southern

Madness swill

of greed

you die utterly & alone

Mud up to your braces

Someone new in your


& who would that be?

You know

You know more

than you let on

Much more than you betray

Great slimy angel-whore

you’ve been good to me

You really have

been swell to me

Tell them you came & saw

& look’d into my eyes

& saw the shadow

of the guard receding

Thoughts in time

& out of season

The Hitchhiker stood

by the side of the road

& leveled his thumb

in the calm calculus

of reason.

(excerpts from Paris Journal by Jim Morrison)

Wandering Paris on June 17th, 1971, Morrison came across two young American street musicians who were playing guitar in front of the Café de Flore. The three, getting drunk throughout the day, would rent an hour from a little local recording studio and attempt to “jam.” Morrison would tell the engineer it was his own band called Jomo And The Smoothies. “I get twenty-five percent of everything that happens, right?” he asked the other two musicians (Moddemann, 1999). However, these two new acquaintances failed to take any of it remotely seriously, despite Morrison’s repeated attempts to get them to settle down into any song. Eventually he would suggest one of his own more recent compositions and would begin to drunkenly, yet passionately bellow and croon his way through his ode to Pamela, “Orange County Suite”:

June, 1971 photo by Alain Ronay

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[Note: this track has been edited by me to remove much of the incessant and amateurish noodling of the other two musicians and focus upon what would be Jim Morrison’s final recorded performance]

For those who have been wondering why a discussion of Brian Jones has somehow transformed into a lengthy discussion of Jim Morrison and his work: two weeks after the above recording was made, and exactly two years later to the day of Brian Jones’ death, On July 3rd 1971 Jim Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of his Parisian apartment by his girlfriend Pamela. He was also only twenty-seven years old. They had spent the evening of the 2nd at the cinema watching a western starring Robert Mitchum, titled Pursued. Returning to their apartment at about 1.00 a.m. on July 3rd, Morrison sat down at his desk and attempted to write but could not concentrate. Instead they watched some Super 8 films of a recent Moroccan vacation and listened to old Doors albums. Afterwards the couple went to bed.

Plagued by coughing fits for weeks now, Morrison woke up and vomited. There were traces of blood within it. Not wanting to call a doctor, Morrison sent Pamela back to bed, and filled up the tub for a hot bath. The last thing she remembered hearing him say was, “Are you there, Pam? Pam, are you there?” Later that morning she found him submerged in the water with a smile on his face. At first she thought he was playing a joke. No autopsy was performed and the official cause of death was listed as “heart failure.”


Exactly forty-two years after Brian Jones’ death, and exactly forty years after Jim Morrison’s death—on a rainy afternoon in the town of Big Indian, located in upstate New York, My wife and I were married. Everyone made it through to the other side of that wet day just fine.

———————-Bobby Calero——————————–

Epstein, D. M. (2011). The Ballad of Bob Dylan. New York: Harper Collins.

Greenfield, R. (2006). Exile On Main St.: A Season In Hell With The Rolling Stones. Philadelphia: Da Capo

Hill, C. (2011). The Lost Boy. The Bluegrass Special. Retrieved from

Jones, S. (2008, Nov. 29). Has the riddle of Rolling Stone Brian Jones’s death been solved at last? The Daily Mail. Retrieved from

Marcus, G. (2011). The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening To Five Mean Years. New York: Public Affairs.

Melnick, J. (2010, Sept. 20). Back in the Day: Jim Morrison Convicted of Indecent Exposure. Beached Miami. Retrieved from

Moddemann, R. (1999). Jim Morrison’s Quiet Days In Paris. The Doors Quarterly Online. Retrieved from

Morrison, J. (1969). The Lords and The New Creatures. New York: Touchstone.

Morrison, J. (1990). The American Night. New York: Vintage Books.

Morrison, J. (1988). Wilderness. New York: Vintage Books.

Wenner, J. (1995). Jagger Remembers. Rolling Stone.

Wyman, B. (2002). Rolling With the Stones. England: Dorling Kindersley.


Odalisque by Henri Matisse (1923).

From time to time, in search of a relatively obscure psychedelic relic, I visit the superb blog site, Dr. Schluss’ Garage Of Psychedelic Obscurities. Other than having excellent taste in curating this site, the man behind the blog also creates his own music under various monikers. Over the years I have grown to be quite a fan of the electronica-tinged instrumentals and restrained psychedelia he creates under the sobriquet of Damaged Tape.

One such work that I love is the soundtracks he created for the pair of delirious Andrew Shearer films, The Erotic Couch, and Cannibal Sisters; Shearer being a writer, director, producer, and member of the Athens, GA based, DIY microcinema collective Gonzoriffic.

Working independently from the traditional movie industry, Gonzoriffic’s films tend to lean towards the “B” side of things (albeit delightfully on purpose), and seem to celebrate the same ethos and aesthetics that are examined in Elijah Drenner’s entertaining and insightful documentary, American Grindhouse; films, which at their best are just as much about empowerment as they are “exploitation.”

Packaged as a double-album, I tend to prefer the A-sides’ The Erotic Couch soundtrack, with its slinky, tweaked Latin and dub rhythms and lithe guitar work uncoiling through a constant digital crackly that approximates the lush sounds of vinyl. There are elements of this album that strongly remind me of the incredibly intuitive and fluid music the surviving members of The Doors created for 1978’s An American Prayer, backing tracks of poetry and spoken word that Jim Morrison had recorded in 1969 and 1970.

To my mind, this soundtrack could have just as easily served to add ambiance to artist, collector, and “rephotographer” Richard Prince’s 2011 exhibit at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, which was likewise titled, “American Prayer.”

by Richard Prince.

One of my favorites off the “Erotic Couch” side is the sinuous “The Sexy Sofa,” which you can check out below:

———————————–(CLICK TO LISTEN) 

And check out a trailer for the film itself:

Although I may favor the A-side of things, Damaged Tape’s work for Cannibal Sisters features some adventurous use of tribal-like drum programming bumping and grinding up against caustic electronics and simmering digital blips, all put over with captivating, bent guitar strings that seem to be searching for a circuitous route into your head—take the whacked-out funk of “Cannibal Festival” for example:

CANNIBAL SISTERS. Starring Monica Puller, Melisa Cardona, Mitsu Bitchi, Natalie Cardona (and victim).

—————————————-(CLICK TO LISTEN)

And here’s the trailer:

Reminiscent of the fascinating sounds composed by prog-rock band Goblin for Dario Argento’s mid-seventies Italian horror films, as well as John Carpenter’s stunning work created to score his own films, such as 1976’s startling (and must-see) Assault on Precinct 13, but with a much more prominent sense of lust emerging from the nervous synths; you can pick up these soundtracks and so much more of Dr. Schluss’ stuff for free over here at his site.

So go on and check it out!

————–Bobby Calero——————————–


Drenner, E. (2010) (Creator). Diabolik6 (2010, Apr 1). American Grindhouse Theatrical Trailer [Video] retrieved from

Gonzoriffic. (2009) (Creator). Gonzoriffic (2009, Feb 21) (Poster). Go Gonzoriffic [Video] retrieved from

Schluss, Dr. (2009). The Sexy Sofa [recorded by Damaged Tape] On The Erotic Couch Soundtrack. [CD].

Schluss, Dr. (2006). Cannibal Festival [recorded by Damaged Tape] On Cannibal Sisters Soundtrack. [CD].

Shearer, A. (2006) (Creator). Gonzoriffic (2006, Jul 25) (Poster). Cannibal Sisters Trailer [Video] retrieved from

Shearer, A. (2009) (Creator). Gonzoriffic (Jul 18, 2009) (Poster). Erotic Couch Trailer [Video] retrieved from


In the spirit of spitting and spinning a song out into the ether in the hopes that it has an effect; here’s a song for a friend…I hope that it ends.

——————————————–(CLICK TO LISTEN) 

like it? Buy it.

Vicious Circle

Lou Reed – vocals, guitar

Michael Fonfara – organ

Bruce Yaw – bass

Michael Suchorsky – drums

———————————-Bobby Calero——————


Reed, L. (1976) Vicious Circle [recorded by Lou Reed] On Rock And Roll Heart. [CD] Arista (1976)


by William Blake (1794)

With the sun rolling towards its apogee in the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice is fast approaching and with it the first official day of summer! (although the temperature itself had as of late seemed to be insisting upon this season’s arrival for some time now).

In the 2010 documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child by Tamra Davis, the artist and filmmaker, Julian Schnabel says something regarding how summer in New York City is an incredibly lonely season, something about them being “a motherfucker.” Although the film itself is great and certainly recommended-viewing, I couldn’t disagree with Mr. Schnabel’s statement more.

BIG SUN by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1984).

Summer always seems to me to be received as the highlight of the year, when most appear to be attempting to cram in as many experiences as they can (even when these experiences sometimes entail lying prostrate in the heat, or strolling without purpose); all before we return to hunched shoulders, clenched fists in coat pockets, marching through the frost to arrive at Point B directly from Point A. Additionally, I’ve always found that the dichotomy created by both the overwhelming desire for one to take it easy and enjoy themselves, coupled by the urge to get-it-while-you-can, serves to heighten our sense of appreciation and elevate our summer days and nights into the territory of “fun times.”

Therefore, in celebratory anticipation, I present two tracks today that serve as small samples from either end of summer’s broad spectrum:


Prominent in my mind during this season is the easy joy to be found in all the summertime cookouts and backyard BBQs. Friends gathered—laughing and enjoying each other’s company—all awaiting for a bite of the undisputed main attraction on the grill at these events: The Hamburger.

…Yes they are, and so, from 1966, here’s Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces with “The Hamburger Song.”

———————————————————-(CLICK TO LISTEN)

like it? Buy it.

Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces

This amusing little song (which appropriates the rhymes of children’s hand-clap games, another feature of the summer as you often see little girls in pairs pass the time running through the complicated sequence of gestures that accompany each line) appeared on Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces sole album, Searching For My Love. It was released on the Chess label’s imprint, Checker. New Orleans native Bobby Moore (tenor saxophone) had joined the US Army in his teens and formed the initial line-up of the Rhythm Aces with members of the Fort Benning marching band. However, moving to Montgomery, Alabama in the early ’60s he put together a new group under the same name, featuring his brother, Larry Moore (alto saxophone), Chico Jenkins (vocals, guitar), Marion Sledge (guitar), Joe Frank (bass), Clifford Laws (keyboards), and John Baldwin, Jr. (drums). In 1965, recording what would become the title track of their debut at the renowned Florence Alabama Music Enterprises (FAME) Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama—on the strength of that song alone the group was picked up by Leonard and Marshall Chess. The group would continue to release various singles for the label throughout the decade, and although there are some fine slices of southern soul and R&B, none of them have quite the same sense of delight as “The Hamburger Song.”


On the other side of the gold coin of summer there’s the heat; the sultry nights of grooving, sweating, and exposed skin: in the words of Sandy D. and Danny Zuko, “Summer lovin’ had me a blast.” In the spirit of being a gentleman (and perhaps a bit of the attitude of “if you have to ask, you’ll never know”), I’ll jump straight into our second song: “Touch Me Again” by Bernard “Pretty” Purdie.

—————————————————–(CLICK TO LISTEN)

like it? Buy it.

Considered one of the finest drummers of all time, Bernard Purdie made his career as a go-to session drummer, hired to add some physical presence and precision timing to tracks by such artists as James Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Steely Dan, Isaac Hayes, and Hall & Oates (and rumored overdubs for early albums by The Beatles). In addition, Purdie served as musical director for Aretha Franklin throughout the early-to-mid seventies, particularly during her Young, Gifted and Black era.

However, “Touch Me Again” comes not from any of his numerous (300+) session works, but from an album that he wrote, produced, and performed himself—the soundtrack to the first major black porn movie (often described as the “black Deep Throat”): Lialeh.

Released in 1973 (while the soundtrack itself would be released the following year), Purdie agreed to score this skin-flick, as it would be the first time he’d be credited as a “writer/composer.” And what an amazing soundtrack did he put together; assembling some top-notch session players such as wind instrumentalists Seldon Powell, Garnett Brown, Arthur Clarke, and Jimmy Owens, bassist Wilbur Bascomb, Ernest Hayes on organ, Horace Ott on Fender Rhodes as well as overseeing the arrangements, and Sandi Hewitt handling the sassy vocals for the lyrics provided by director, Baron Bercovichy.

“Pretty” Purdie today [photo by Fabrice Bourgelle Pyres]

Track for track this soundtrack lays down a complex but sensuous groove, whether it be on the funky floor burner “Hap’nin’,” or the bawdy ’60s swing of “All Pink On The Inside.” In 2003 the phenomenal reissue label Light In The Attic Records re-released this soundtrack and I highly recommend you pick up a copy. Oh, and “Pretty” Purdie and crew make a cameo as the film opens with them jamming the title-track at a music-club/sex-show. Highly skilled funk and topless gyrations, what more does a music video need?

Well, here’s to a marvelously full summer! Hope it feels good.

————Bobby Calero———————————-


Bercovichy, B., & Purdie, B. (1973) (Creator) baaadmutha75 (Poster) (2011, Apr 25) Bernard Purdie – Opening scene from Lialeh (1973) [Video] retrieved from

Purdie, B. (1973) Touch Me Again [recorded by Bernard Purdie] On Lialeh [Vinyl] Bryan Records (1974). [CD]             Light In The Attic (2003)

Moore, B. (1966) The Hamburger Song [recorded by Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces] On Searching For My Love [Vinyl] Checker (1966)

Sharonmnich (2009) (Creator). sharonmnich (Poster) (2009, Oct. 2) Eenie Meanie Sassaleeny Clapping Songs [Video] retrieved from

I’VE BEEN COMING TO WHERE I AM FROM THE GET GO: Part II: The 3-Pack Bonanza, or: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in The Land of LA & Dust —SIDE A: THE INITIAL SPIN

ADAM YAUCH, MCA: AUGUST 5, 1964 – MAY 4, 2012; R.I.P.

[Before we begin I’d like to note that this past month state senator for the 25th district of the New York State Senate, Daniel Squadron, wrote up J4637-2011, which was a resolution that officially called for a pause of deliberations on the legislative floor to honor AdamMCAYauch. Text and video below:

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to honor and pay tribute to those individuals whose commitment and creative talents have contributed to the entertainment and cultural enrichment of their community and the entire State of New York; and

WHEREAS, Adam Yauch, also known as MCA, the rapper, musician, activist, film director and founder of the pioneering New York hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, died on Friday, May 4, 2012, in Manhattan at age 47;and

WHEREAS, Adam Nathaniel Yauch was born on August 5, 1964, and raised in Brooklyn Heights; he was the son of Frances Yauch, a social worker, and Noel Yauch, an architect and painter, and attended Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood; and

WHEREAS, Adam Yauch taught himself the bass guitar while growing up and joined the Beastie Boys, originally a hardcore punk outfit, playing his first show with the group when he was just 17 years old in 1981; and

WHEREAS, The Beastie Boys became well-known in the innovative music scene in Manhattan’s East Village and Lower East Side with a sound and a style all their own; and

WHEREAS, The album “Licensed to Ill” was the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard chart; and

WHEREAS, The music and message of the Beastie Boys evolved over the years, but they can’t, they don’t, they won’t stop changing the face of hip-hop, of music, and of our culture; and

WHEREAS, The Beastie Boys exemplified New York through a period in which grassroots creativity and a community of iconoclastic artists helped redefine and rejuvenate a city on the ropes, with iconic imagery from Brooklyn to Ludlow Street; and

WHEREAS, Having consistently produced multi-million selling albums and receiving Grammy awards, in April 2012 the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Adam Yauch was unable to attend due to deteriorating health; and

WHEREAS, In addition to his contributions to music, Adam Yauch was an activist and founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness about abuses in Tibet and against Tibetans, and later in life became a successful filmmaker, founding Oscilloscope Laboratories, an independent film distribution company; and

WHEREAS, A man of colossal talent and charisma, Adam Yauch is survived by his wife, Dechen Wengdu, and their daughter, Losel; he will be missed by his family, his fans and all who knew him; his dedication to his music, his activism, and his heritage leaves an indelible legacy of inspiration for all other artists; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to mourn the death of famed rapper and activist Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch; and be it further

    RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to the family of Adam Yauch.”



[It must be noted that this post would have been impossible to write without the invaluable resources of Dan Leroy’s Paul’s Boutique for Bloomsbury Academic’s 33⅓ series, and Soopageek’s website,]

July 25, 1989: George H. W. Bush has just recently become president, Tim Burton’s Batman has just been released, the airwaves are being dominated by New Kids on the Block’s “Hangin’ Tough” as well as by a slew of songs off of Madonna’s Like a Prayer LP, and it’s been nearly three years since those NYC assholes and party animals the Beastie Boys released an album—and you’ve just acquired their follow-up to the #1 selling Licensed To Ill:

                                    Paul’s Boutique

The panoramic cover photograph of Ludlow Street by Jeremy Shatan

Insert Photo by Ricky Powell

You press the horizontal triangle on the play button (or drop the needle into the groove) and wait for the opening track “To All the Girls” to begin. And you wait, and wait, and wait…finally you hear faint drums and electric piano fading in on a slow, open, buoyant groove—it’s the moody intro to jazz drummer Idris Muhammad’s “Loran’s Dance” off of his ’74 LP Power Of Soul (keyboards supplied by Bob James[1]*) but most likely you don’t know that. You were maybe expecting a guitar riff supplied by Kerry King[2]* of Slayer, or something of that sort.

Loran’s Dance

——————————————–(Click To Listen)

Like it? Buy it.

[1]* Bob James is perhaps best known for the 1978 instrumental “Angela,” which was used as the theme music for the sitcom Taxi. He’s also the man behind ’74 track “Nautilus,” which has been sampled numerous times, most prominently in “Daytona 500” from Ghostface Killah’s 1996 solo debut Ironman.

[2]* Kerry King supplied guitar for the sixth single off Licensed to Ill: “No Sleep till Brooklyn.”

As the music grows louder you can begin to make out what the mumbling voice has been saying; it’s MCA doing a Barry White-like spoken paean to the ladies. This makes sense as, with his George Michael combo of stubble and black leather jacket, he’d been known as the ladies’ man of the Beastie Boys. Although, the latest magazines have shown that his stubble had now grown out to “a beard like a billy-goat.”


To all the Brooklyn girls

To all the French girls

To all the Oriental girls



To all the Swiss girls

To the Italian women

To the upper east side nubiles

To all the Jamaican girls

And to the top-less dancers


And Brazilian

To the southern belles

To the Puerto Rican girls

To the stewardesses flying around the world…

“Shake Your Rump,” released as the B-side on the Love American Style EP[3]*

———————————–(Click To Listen)
Then BAM! With “Shake Your Rump” the mood is abruptly shattered by the rapid, successive outburst of a tom-tom fill. The music that follows sounds like the B-side on some vintage vinyl, its the only record ever released by the greatest band that never made it/the music that follows sounds like four full-tilt funk bands all scheduled to play the same disco-themed house party, and they simply cannot wait their turn: you don’t know what it sounds like, but somehow it’s all right on time. The music twists and turns just out of reach, determined to keep you on your toes and your ass on the dance floor.

And then there are the vocals. You hear those three familiar voices: the two adenoidal whines of Ad-Rock and Mike D (although each inhabiting either end of that spectrum, with Ad-Rock pushing a hard sneer, Mike D’s voice richer) contrasted against MCA’s hoarse baritone. Yet, they’re different—looser. They no longer seem so rude, but happy. Line after sinuous line darts out every which way over the music, and the three play hot-potato with the rhymes—beginning and ending each others sentences, sometimes all three ganging up on one word. They seem so exuberant while hollering out these hilarious lyrics that are just flat-out ridiculous. A procession of images fly by: something about having a lava lamp inside their brain hotel[4]* and schlepping around a disco bag; driving around bare foot Like Fred Flintstone. If you are paying attention it will leave you “staring at the radio, staying up all night.” All together, it’s the sound of frantic precision. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before, and you only wanted a Beastie Boys record.

The dense, lush vinyl sounds of “Shake Your Rump” were meticulously assembled, as with the rest of Paul’s Boutique, one layer and loop at a time, and culled from the massive record collections of seven audiophiles. An arduous labor of love, “[…] the team behind Paul’s Boutique was testing the absolute limits of still-embryonic technologies like computer recording and automation” (Leroy, 2006).  Co-producer (and one half of Grammy Award winning[5]* producers the Dust Brothers) “E.Z. MikeSimpson later recalled:

“Basically, we would find a groove, and we would loop it, and then

we would print that to tape, and we would go for five minutes on

one track of the tape. And then we would find another loop, and we

would spend hours getting that second loop to sync up with the first

loop, and then once we had it in sync, we would print that for five

minutes on another track. And we would just load up the tape like that.

And once we had filled up the tape with loops, we would go in, and

Mario [C.] had this early, early, mixing board that had this very primitive

form of automation. It was pretty complex, but if you knew which tracks

you wanted playing at any given time, you typed the track numbers into

this little commodore computer hooked up to the mixing board. And each

time you wanted a new track to come in, you’d have to type it in manually.

It was just painful. It took so long. And there was so much trial and error…

there was no visual interface to show you what was going on”

(Leroy, 2006).

[3]* In June of ’89, just prior to the album’s official entrance into the marketplace “Shake Your Rump” was released as the b-side to Paul’s Boutique’s first single “Hey Ladies.” The two tracks along with the remixes “33% God,” and “Dis Yourself In ’89 (Just Do It)” were released as a 12” EP entitled Love, American Style. The title was a throwback to the Garry Marshall produced ABC show from which Happy Days was a spin-off, and the cover art (credited to one Nathanial Hörnblowér) is a photo of the kitchen in Ad-Rock’s Los Angeles apartment. If you look close you’ll find three hidden women.

[4]* This image closely echoes those of “Epistle to Dippy,” the 1967 single by Scotland’s psychedelic-troubadour Donovan, with its line: “Elevator in the brain hotel.” At the time of Paul’s Boutique’s recording, Donovan’s daughter, Ione Skye was in the midst of leaving Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis for Adam Horovitz, who she would go on to marry.

[5]* Oddly, despite the overwhelming merits of their other work they would win this award for their contribution to Santana’s 1999 album, Supernatural. Their contribution being a song featuring Eagle-Eye Cherry entitled “Wishing It Was.”

It all begins with that rapid roll on the tom-toms: snipped from the opening seconds of drummer Alphonze Mouzon’s “Funky Snakefoot” off his 1974 album of the same name for Blue Note. Mouzon had been the drummer for McCoy Tyner before joining the initial ’71 lineup (alongside Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Miroslav Vitous, and Airto Moreira) of jazz-fusion pioneers Weather Report.

Alphonze Mouzon’s “Funky Snakefoot”

———————(Click To Listen)

Drums – Alphonze Mouzon

Clavinet – Harry Whitaker

Piano – Leon Pendarvis[6]*

Saxophone – Andy Gadsden

Trombone – Barry Rogers

Trumpet – Randy Brecker

Like it? Buy it.

Then, as Ad-Rock informs you that he can “[…] rock a house party at the drop of a hat” the sample that will serve as the backbone beat for the majority of the song kicks in: 1979’s “Dancing Room Only” by soul vocalist, songwriter, and arranger Harvey Scales[7]*. Raised in Milwaukee, Scales spent the early ’70s recording singles for Stax and the Cadet Concept division of Chess Records before signing with Los Angeles based Casablanca Records. Taken from his second LP for that label, the disco-funky Hot Foot: A Funque Dizco Opera, the track’s drums supplied by Jeffrey Williamson serve to propel “Shake Your Rump” right on through to the other side of its dozen-plus samples, just as they urge the listener to comply with Scales’ command to “shake your you-know-what.”

[6]* Leon Pendarvis has been a member of the Saturday Night Live Band since 1980 and now works as Co-Musical Director as well.

[7]* Scales is noted as the first songwriter to have a single certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the ’76 hit by Johnnie TaylorDisco Lady,” which featured Parliament-Funkadelic members bassist Bootsy Collins, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and guitarist Glen Goins (RIAA, 2012).

Dancing Room Only by Harvey Scales

———————(Click To Listen)

Produced, Arranged, and Written By – Harvey Scales, Melvin Griffin

Vocals – Harvey Scales

Bass – Robin Gregory

Conductor [Strings & Horns] – Melvin Griffin

Drums – Jeffrey Williamson

Guitar – Cedrick Rupert

Keyboards, Saxophone [Alto] – Melvin Griffin

Percussion – Shondu Akiem

Piano – William Scott Harralson

Saxophone [Baritone] – Ben Petry

Saxophone [Tenor] – Kenny Walker

Synthesizer – John Eidsvoog

Trombone – Kevin Lockett

Backing Vocals – L. C. Coney, Thomas Causey

– Harvey Scales, Melvin Griffin

With MCA’s emphasis on the word pimp in the line he shares with Mike D—“so like a pimp I’m pimpin’/I got a boat to eat shrimp in”—enters the cleverly sped-up and looped layer of Roland Bautista’s[8]* funk-scratch rhythm guitar from saxophonist Ronnie Laws’ 1975 instrumental rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Tell Me Something Good[9]*” Released by Blue Note, the album from which this track originates—Pressure Sensitive—would be Laws solo debut.

“Tell Me Something Good” by Ronnie Laws

———————————(Click To Listen)

Producer – Wayne Henderson

Saxophone – Ronnie Laws

Guitar – Roland Bautista

Clavinet – Joe Sample, Mike Cavanaugh

Electric Piano – Mike Cavanaugh

Synthesizer – Jerry Peters

Bass Guitar – Clint Mosley

Synthesizer – Jerry Peters

Tambourine – Joe Clayton

Like it? Buy it.

[8]* Bautista was also a featured member on Last Days and Time, the 3rd studio album by American R&B group Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as playing on Tom WaitsBlue Valentine and Heartattack and Vine.

[9]* A year earlier, “Tell Me Something Good” had been a hit for the Chaka Khan incarnation of Rufus.

A clatter of cymbals and descending drum rolls spill into the frame as Ad-Rock and Mike D divvy up a single line, each taking only a few chunks out of the syllables before spitting it back and forth:

“Routines I bust and the rhymes that I write”

They then alley-oop the vocals over to MCA who steps up and rasps:

“And I’ll be busting routines and rhymes all night”

“Supermellow” by Paul Humphrey

“Super Mellow” by Paul Humphrey, Louis Bellson, Willie Bobo, and Shelly Manne

——————————————————–(Click To Listen)

The break-beat clatter that bestows the Beastie Boys’ rap with buoyancy has been clipped from the opening section to “Supermellow.” Composed and originally performed by Paul Humphrey as the title track for his ’73 solo debut released on Blue Thumb Records, the version utilized here however comes from 1975 when he rerecorded the song for The Drum Session LP, which featured a line-up partly comprised by three other all-star percussionists: drummer for Duke Ellington’s big-band, Louis Bellson; Spanish Harlem’s greatest conga player, Willie Bobo[10]*; and the man who has played with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie to Tom Waits, Shelly Manne. Humphrey himself was a renowned studio musician who played with preeminent jazz artists like Wes Montgomery and Charles Mingus, as well as on Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats LP of ’69 and on the seduction masterpiece that is Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On. The Drum Session also features Chuck Domanico on bass, Mike Wofford on keys, Jerome Richardson on sax and flute, and the incredible trumpet player Bobby Bryant whose cover of “Happiness is a Warm Gun” I discussed here.

“[…] rhymes all night”

MCA has hardly finished his sentence when Ad-Rock returns to the mic to rapidly deliver:

“Like eating burgers or chicken or you’ll be picking your nose

I’m on time, homey, that’s how it goes”

MCA and Mike D jump on the next line in unison:

“You heard my style I think you missed the point”

Then (extracted from Diana Ross & the Supremes’ ’69 single “No Matter What Sign You Are”) there’s the crude thap-thap-thap-thap-thap of a drum announcing The Bronx’s own Funky 4 + 1[11]*, their marathon nine-minute party jam here boiled down to the three essential words needed to conclude this verse: IT’S THE JOINT!

—————————–(Click To Listen)

[10]* WilliamBobo” Correa’s son, Eric, would end up joining the Beastie Boys’ touring line-up, as well as contributing percussion to their albums beginning with 1994’s Ill Communication.

[11]* Funky 4 + 1 are noted not only for having a female MC, (Sha Rock) way back in ’76, but also for being the first hip hop group to appear on a national television show: a Valentine’s day episode of Saturday Night Live in 1981, hosted by Deborah Harry.

“6 O’Clock DJ (Let’s Rock)” by Rose Royce

———————(Click To Listen)

Like it? Buy it.

Suddenly the whole song is swallowed up by one of the thickest (and certainly the most tweaked out) bass notes you’ve ever heard. It rolls its sinuous weight across the steady backbeat, writhing its attenuated tail end until it twitches directly into another roll of the drums, which transports the Beastie Boys right back to front-and-center. Fattened and warped, this bass note is the brief but ominous Moog intro to Rose Royce’s 1:14 long instrumental “6 O’Clock DJ (Let’s Rock)” on their debut double album, the soundtrack to the 1976 comedy Car Wash, which guest starred both Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Creatively helmed by legendary Motown producer Norman Whitfield[12]*, Rose Royce were in the process of recording their 1st album when Whitfield was hired to supply the score for director Michael Schultz’s follow-up feature to his “urban” high school comedy, Cooley High. Whitfield convinced the group to abandon their work-in-progress and allow him to compose new music for them that was closely tied to the film. They obliged and the world was rewarded with two discs of Rose Royce’s classy brand of funk.

[12]* Whitfield is the producer and co-writer behind what Bob Dylan once characterized on his radio show Theme Time Radio Hour as “a jumbo jet of a song”: The Temptations’ #1 epic soul/head-trip, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” A former coworker of mine, Ms. Walker, once turned to me half-speaking, half-singing the chorus “Papa was a rolling stone/Wherever he laid his hat was his home/and when he died, all he left us was alone,” before stating, “that’s some sad, fucked-up shit right there.” Really, who couldn’t help but agree.

As Mike D declares that he’s “back from the dead,” Rose Royce return with LequeintDukeJobe’s roundabout bass lick from another track on the Car Wash soundtrack: “Yo Yo.”

“Yo Yo” by Rose Royce

———————(Click To Listen)

Like it? Buy it.

The guitar groove of “Tell Me Something Good” reemerges as a series of parabolic frames for the clipped, rising and descending cadence of MCA’s insolent declarations of psychedelic independence despite the edicts of perception imposed by both the dollars behind him and the audience in front. Full to capacity with internal rhymes, the lines are all defiance with a smile:

A puppet on a string I’m paid to sing or rhyme

Or do my thing, I’m in a lava lamp inside the brain hotel

I might be freakin’ or peakin’ but I rock well

As the three recite a brief list of dance-steps the break-beat clatter alerts you that that monstrous Moog spawned bass is about to arrive, but first, to close MCA’s announcement that he’s “got the peg leg at the end of my stump,” comes the sample from which the songs takes its title: Afrika Bambaataa’s command that you “Shake your rump!”

In 1984, Afrika Bambaataa and James Brown released their six-part drum-machine-funk duet “Unity” for which the above video was made by Tom Pomposello, Marcy Brafman, and Peter Caesar by utilizing footage of the duo recording the song in Studio A at Unique Recording Studios, NYC.  However, the video is for “Unity (Part 1: The Third Coming)” while the “Shake your rump” sample is actually snipped from “Unity (Part 2: Because It’s Coming).”

When the trio returns it’s to shout out the song’s original title of “Full Clout,” when it existed only as a Dust Brothers’ audio experiment, never imagining anyone would ever attempt to place vocals atop this insane, dense mosaic of disco funk. The sound of a bong-hit supplied by co-producer Matt Dike then introduces the third contribution by Rose Royce, again from the Car Wash soundtrack: “Born to Love You.”

“Born To Love You” by Rose Royce

——————–(Click To Listen)

Like it? Buy it.

As Mike D states that he’s “running from the law, the press, and the parents,” a security guard at the Record Plant is brought in to ask, “is your name Michael Diamond?” to which he snidely replies, “No mine’s Clarence.” After the three share a hometown shout out of “downtown, Manhattan, the village,” the track is overwhelmed by the hoots and hollers of an entourage crowded vocal booth. Suddenly, save for the backbone drumbeat and the washtub-rub sounds of Afrika Bambaataa and the Jazzy Five’s “Jazzy Sensation” from 1981, the song becomes relatively quiet.

“Jazzy Sensation” by Afrika Bambaataa and the Jazzy Five

—————————————————————(Click To Listen)

Like it? Buy it.

Then, descending into the wind tunnel of “One of These Days” (the opening instrumental rave-up from Pink Floyd’s ’71 album Meddle), “Shake Your Rump” is just gone—. Dumped onto the folky strip-show swamp of David Bromberg’s “Sharon,” which serves as the primary musical element for Mike D’s tale of a washed-up rockabilly star now turned Manhattan vagrant by the name of “Johnny Ryall,” you’re still reeling from what you’ve just heard. You’ve just been gleefully bumped this way and that along the seamless series of dovetail joints that construct “Shake Your Rump” and now for you the art of music has been changed forever. “Changed into what?” You are not quite certain of the answer but you’re sure that something momentous had just occurred. Yet, the entire thing only lasted three minutes and eighteen seconds.

[I must note that after the completion of the writing of the above section, I came across this video in which Long Island’s DJ Funktual performs a similar vivisection, albeit a much more entertaining one:


As the album goes on until its full run-time of just seven minutes shy of an hour, your brain is delighted through a mosaic array of cultural references, associations, and intimations; both real and fictitious:

The “3-pack Bonanza” with its mysterious contents of three older pornographic magazines shrink-wrapped together and usually found in cheap bodegas and liquor stores.

the 7-Eleven chain convenience stores

Town drunk Otis Campbell (portrayed by Hal Smith) on The Andy Griffith Show.

The great Muhammad Ali

Adidas classic “Shell Toe” design.

Stanley Kubrick’s ’71 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novel of sociopathic-social-commentary: A Clockwork Orange.

Australian rock band, AC/DC

Brooklyn’s annual street festival, The Atlantic Antic.

World champion racecar driver, Mario Andretti.

Sam the butcher and Alice from The Brady Bunch.

Travis Bickle, played by Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s superb 1976 film Taxi Driver.

Ballantine Ale brand of beer.

The Band’s 1969 single, “Up on Cripple Creek.”


David Bowie, his addiction of choice, and the mirrors used to facilitate that addiction.

The Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

The Bible,

Particularly the tale of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from Chapters 1–3 of the book of Daniel: The three young men who were tossed into a furnace by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, because they refused worship the golden image. They would burn as they were protected by an angel of God.

Chicago Bears’ legendary linebacker (1965-1973) Dick Butkus .

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) [Napoleon Crossing The Alps by Jacques Louis David]

Actor Raymond Burr’s portrayal of a wheelchair bound detective on the 70s NBC television series Ironside. [1974 TV Guide Magazine cover by Robert Peak]

Cadbury Easter Eggs

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ [The Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali, 1951]

Vaughn Bodé’s underground comic strip character, and self-proclaimed “Cartoon Messiah,” Cheech Wizard, which, beginning in 1967, was often featured in National Lampoon magazine until Bodé’s death in ’75.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1968 ode to a riverboat, “Proud Mary.”

Tom Cushman, Long-time friend and member of MCA’s ’87-’88 side-project Brooklyn, which also featured Daryl Jenifer of Bad Brains, and Murphy’s Law drummer, Doug E. Beans.

Fonzie’s cousin, the Scott Baio portrayed Chachi on the television series Happy Days, who the received his own ’82-’83 spin-off, Joanie Loves Chachi

Charles Turner a.k.a. Chuck Chillout, influential DJ at New York’s 98.7 KISS-FM, who later In 1992 became a VJ for “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels’ Video Music Box.

Colonel Sanders and his Kentucky Fried Chicken (comedian Jerry Lewis is also mentioned).

Coney Island

Johnny Cash [Hugh Morton’s famous image of Johnny Cash holding aloft a tattered American flag. –NC, 1974]

Fastnacht, 1888, by French Post-Impressionist, Paul Cézanne (1839–1906).

French, All-inclusive Club Méditerranée.

Cadillac’s Coupe De Ville model (1959 through 1993).

Rudy Ray Moore and his most famous performance as Dolemite, in the 1975 film of the same name.

John Hough’s 1974 Dodge Charger featuring chase-film Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.

Clint Eastwood, and his “Dirty Harry” series of films, initially released in 1971.

Dragnet, the radio, television, and film crime drama about L.A. detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, starring, created, and produced by Jack Webb. The series will always be remembered for its famous opening narration: “Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.”

El Diario, (literally “The Daily”) particularly El Diario la Prensa, with its offices at 1 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn, it is the largest and oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper in NYC, and the oldest Spanish-language daily in the United States.

“I’m just chillin’ like Bob Dylan.”

Bruce Willis and his reluctant-hero series of Die Hard films. The franchise, so far lasting over 20 years (with a new one to be released in 2013), all began in 1988 with Reginald VelJohnson’s (most famous for his portrayal as Carl Winslow on the sitcom Family Matters) shouts of “Shots fired at Nakatomi Plaza!”

Scottish psychedelic-troubadour and scenester Donovan

Victorian author and social critic Charles Dickens.

International doughnut and coffee retailer, Dunkin’ Donuts (with time-pressed mascot, Fred the Baker pictured).

George Drakoulias, A&R man at Def Jam who was involved in the signing of both L.L. Cool J and the Beastie Boys. He later went on to produce Shake your Money Maker, the debut album by The Black Crowes, and Dust, final album by Screaming Trees. Perhaps the most interesting trivia surrounding Drakoulias (other than the Beastie Boys claiming that they bought a hot-dog off him in “Stop That Train”) is that he was an inspiration for Billy Bob Thornton’s character “Big George Drakoulias” in the Johnny Depp starring, Jim Jarmusch directed “Psychedelic Western,” Dead Man.

[Stepping a little off-track here, this really is one of the finest films by all involved and is a must-see if you haven’t already.]

Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.

Production team E.Z. Mike (Michael Simpson) and King Gizmo (John King), aka The Dust Brothers.

Cartoon series, The Flintstones (pictured here in a 1960s commercial for Winston Cigarettes).

Benjamin Franklin depicted harnessing the power of electricity in Benjamin West’s 1816 oil paniting, Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky.

Footwear company Fila, which the Beasties claim they “never rock,” as they are in favor of Adidas.

Fundamentalist televangelist and co-founder of the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell (pictured here with President Reagan). Upon Falwell’s death in 2007, friend (and courtroom opponent) Hustler Magazine founder Larry Flynt had this to say about the man: “My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person, when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about them that you like. Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years after the trial, Jerry Falwell and I became good friends. He would visit me in California and we would debate together on college campuses. I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling.”

Fruit Striped Gum.

Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher Galileo Galilei (pictured here in Galileo facing the Roman Inquistion by Cristiano Banti, 1857).

The state of Arizona’s geological wonder, the Grand Canyon.

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

Bernhard Goetz, the controversial “Subway Vigilante” who on December 22, 1984, while riding the 2 Train, shot 4 teenage muggers. This incident occurred at a time when NYC had a reported crime rate over 70% higher than the rest of the U.S. In 1984, there were 2 homicides, 18 violent crimes, and 65 property thefts reported per 10,000 people.

The Beatles 1968 blister-inducing, proto-heavy-metal “Helter Skelter.”

Humpty Dumpty (ill. Here by John Tenniel), character from the famous nursery rhyme: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall/Humpty Dumpty had a great fall/All the king’s horses and all the king’s men/Couldn’t put Humpty together again. However, more appropriately when discussing the general vibe of Paul’s Boutique, I present an excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There:
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course
you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice
knock-down argument for you!’”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,”
Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a
scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither
more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words
mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master
—that’s all.”
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute
Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them
—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do
anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

Escape-artist and magician (and Queens resident), Harry Houdini (1874-1926).

American motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson.

Guitar savant, Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) [photo by Gered Mankowitz, 1967]

The CBS produced Hawaii Five-O, which ran from 1968 to 1980.

Dr. Hfuhruhurr, portrayed by Steve Martin in Carl Reiner’s 1983 comedy The Man with Two Brains. Although, the reference is actually to a supposed brand of ale that bears his name.

The apparently multipurpose gelatin dessert, Jell-O.

NBC coming-of-age drama during the 1977-1978 season, James at 15.

“America’s most familiar law firm,” Jacoby & Meyers

Jamaica, Queens; where the Central Library of the Queens Borough Public Library and numerous stores like Young World and V.I.M are located.

Popular NYC mayor, Ed Koch, who held this office from1978 to 1989.

Kool menthol cigarettes.

the chain of discount stores, K-Mart

Literary figure, pioneer of the Beat Generation, and iconoclast inspiration for nearly every artist to develop after him, Jack Kerouac.

Commander of the USS Enterprise and intergalactic lover, Captain James T. Kirk (as played by William Shatner in the original Star Trek franchise).

Miss Crabtree (as played by June Marlowe) and the Little Rascals from the Our Gang shorts, which ran from 1922-1944.

Chuck Woolery, who hosted Love Connection from 1983 to 1994.

Psychologist, philosopher, and psychedelic advocate, Dr. Timothy Leary (photo by Pat York).

Lee Press-On Nails.

Rock‘n’roll spitfire, Jerry Lee Lewis.

Lee blue jeans and their famous patch.

World famous reggae and dancehall artist, Barrington Levy.

Mardi Gras parade floats (Photo by Grant L. Robertson).

1973 blaxploitation film, The Mack, starring Max Julien as “Goldie” and Richard Pryor as “Slim.”

North American chain of budget hotels, The Motel 6.

Fast-food empire, McDonald’s.

1960s British beat band, Manfred Mann, perhaps most famous for their 1964 #1 hit song “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.”

Hanna-Barberra cartoon character, Magilla Gorilla.

the New Orleans native of Creole ancestry who helped invent jazz music throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Jelly Roll Morton (1885-1941).

The world’s most famous reggae artist, Bob Marley (1945-1981).

The west coast’s Nix Check Cashing.

‘] `Zzw33x3xxEnglish physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and alchemist, Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) (Illustration by Jean-Leon Huens, for National Geographic).

Naguals, the spiritual/scientific leaders and protectors of Mesoamerican cultures like the Toltecs.

Anglican clergyman and author the abolition hymn “Amazing Grace,” John Newton (1725-1807).

Mad magazine poster-boy and pictorial depository for cultural criticism, Alfred E. Newman. He’s pictured above physically relating his motto of “What, me worry?” on the June 1975 cover of Mad Magazine #175.

A favorite in 40oz., O.E.

OTBs, now banned within NYC.

Sadaharu Oh, who holds the world career home run record of 868, as well as holding Japan’s single-season home run record of 55, set in 1964.

The coast-to-coast chain of fruit drink beverage stores, Orange Julius, which has been in operation since the late 1920s.

The ABC sitcom that ran a total of 104 episodes from 1963 until 1966, The Patty Duke Show. Child star Patty Duke (born in Elmhurst, Queens) went on to shock audiences with her portrayal of the drug-addicted singer “Neely O’Hara” in Mark Robson’s 1967 film Valley of the Dolls:

The Puma brand of footwear.

Elvis Presley and his 1956 single for RCA, “Blue Suede Shoes.”

MCA is seen here during the Licensed to Ill Tour, hanging from the marquee of legendary Manhattan nightclub, Palladium. Located on the south side of East 14th Street between Irving Place and Third Avenue, it is now a dormitory for NYU students. (photo by Sunny Bak).

Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon (1474–1521), often associated with the legend of the Fountain of Youth, reputed to be in Florida. [Illustration by F. R. Harper].

George Clinton’s Parliament and their 1975 LP Mothership Connection.

One of the greatest films of all time, Robert Downey, Sr.’s Putney Swope from 1969.

Extraordinary NYC photographer Ricky Powell (pictured here with Andy Warhol). Often referred as the “fourth Beastie Boy,” his reputation was further cemented with their lines: “Homeboy throw in the towel/Your girl got dicked by Ricky Powell.”

Forest Hills’ own punk rock legends, The Ramones, seen here performing at CBGB’s March 31, 1977 in a photo by Ebet Roberts.

The hip hop trendsetters from Hollis, Queens, Run DMC; seen here in Paris during the “Together Forever Tour.” (Photo by Ricky Powell, 1987).

Robotron: 2084, the popular arcade game released in 1982.

Drake’s Cakes’ Ring Dings.

The celebration of American muscle and bullets that is the Sylvester Stallone featuring “Rambo” film franchise. Above is the poster for 1988’s Rambo III, wherein Rambo aids Afghan rebels, the Mujahideen, to fight the Soviet invaders.

The Brothers Grimm fairy tale of Rapunzel.

The November 3, 1988 episode of Geraldo Rivera’s talk show that involved a full-out brawl between white supremacists, anti-racist skinheads, black activists, and Jewish activists.

New York Yankees Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto, and his TV ads for The Money Store.

Rolo, the chocolate candy with a caramel center.

The chain of seafood restaurants, Red Lobster.

Outlaw hero of English folklore, Robin Hood, who would steal from the rich to give to the poor.

Children’s book author and illustrator, Dr. Seuss (1904-1991); depicted here alongside his most famous creation at The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in his birthplace of Springfield, MA—which I had the good fortune to visit once. These statues were created by sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, who also happens to be Dr. Seuss’s step-daughter.

Looney Tunes’s iconic half-pint hot-head with the itchy trigger-fingers, Yosemite Sam.

Shea Stadium, baseball park for the New York Mets from 1964 to 2008.

The Starkist tuna company

Dave Scilken (the one with the Mohawk) who was a childhood friend of Adam Horovitz and member of Ad-Rock’s original group The Young and The Useless. Dying of a drug-overdose in 1991, the Beastie Boys 1992 album Check Your Head is dedicated to him.

David Berkowitz, better known as the serial killer Son of Sam. Between July of 1976 and until his arrest in August 1977, Berkowitz prowled New York City, killing six people and wounding several others in the course of eight shootings with a .44 Caliber handgun. Upon his arrest he claimed that he was commanded to kill by a demon that had possessed his neighbor’s dog.

St. Anthony’s Feast

Kew Gardens songwriter, Paul “Rhymin’”Simon.

80’s straight edge hardcore band, S.S. Decontrol.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), writer of Gulliver’s Travels, and A Modest Proposal, a satirical essay that suggests that impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies.

American author, J.D. Salinger (1919-2010) best known for the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, and my favorite, Franny and Zooey.

Pentecostal evangelist (and cousin to Jerry Lee Lewis), Jimmy Swaggart.

1973 film, Shamus, starring Burt Reynolds as the hard-nosed private detective Shamus McCoy.

Russell Simmons, co-founder of pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam, founder of the Phat Farm clothing company, and also owner of Rush Artist Management—referenced in the song “Car Thief” with the lines: “…I had to deal with a money hungry mieser had a ‘caine filled Kool with my man Russ Rush.”

tie dye t-shirts

American business magnate, and somehow celebrity, Donald Trump (pictured here on the night of June 27, 1988 for the Tyson Vs. Spinks Fight).

Gonzo journalist and author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005).

Landlord Ralph Furley, as portrayed by Don Knotts on sitcom Three’s Company, which ran from 1977 to 1984.

English folklore character (and the first fairy tale printed in English) Tom Thumb. The name was appropriated by Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838-1883), who, as General Tom Thumb, achieved great fame under circus pioneer P.T. Barnum.

33rd President of the United States (1945–1953) Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). As it turns out, The “S” did not stand for anything, but was chosen as his middle initial to please both his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young.

1887 self portrait by Dutch post-Impressionist painter, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), who was completely disregarded during his lifetime but is now hailed as a true visionary of the art.

Raymond White, aka Runny Ray of Run DMC’s crew

Whippets: the recreational drug used by inhaling a steel cylinder or cartridge filled with nitrous oxide (N2O)—a popular recreation for the crew behind Paul’s Boutique.

A 1986 ad for French fashion house founded in 1854 by its namesake, Louis Vuitton.

ABC sitcom Welcome Back Kotter, which ran from 1975 to 1979 and launched the career of John Travolta.

All-star Hawthorne Wingo, who played for the New York Knicks from 1973-1976.

The Bronx based Major League Baseball team the New York Yankees.

Farmer, Max Yasgur, best known as the owner of the dairy farm in Bethel, New York at which the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held between August 15 and August 18, 1969.

Houston, Texas rock group, ZZ Top, comprised of the phenomenal musicians, Billy Gibbons (guitar and vocals), Dusty Hill (bass and vocals), and Frank Beard (percussion).

And these are only some of the references made through the lyrics; the music itself floods your mind with a concurrent ribbon of references and associations. For a culturally inquisitive kid growing up in NYC, the album presented a map for certain chambers and corridors of your mind–and it presented signposts suggesting where to look next. Although steeped in nostalgia, the album utilizes this nostalgia as a platform with which to leap forward; and it compels you to laugh as you leap. It is in fact this sort of informational mosaic that is alluded to in the faux-erudition of this blog’s tagline: the product of an upright hominid with a palimpsest encephalon.

Furthermore, for the same snotty kids behind Licensed to Ill, the album is noticeably devoid of insults. Exuberant, the Beastie Boys are “cool,” but with none of the exclusivity that typically is associated with that label. They are still fighting for their right to party, but it is a party that they truly want you to attend with them.

“Every now and then a clear harmonic cry gave new suggestions of a tune that would someday be the only tune in the world and would raise men’s souls to joy.”

——————— from On The Road by Jack Kerouac.

Art has many purposes, innumerable reasons for being, and The Beastie Boys here fulfilled a function like that of Louis Armstrong, or Charlie Chaplin—in the words of a master of this art, Mark Twain—they: “[…] excite the laughter of God’s creatures.”

Paul’s Boutique is a masterpiece of modern music, with a modern sense of acceptance and inclusion of both the high- and low-brow, both the stars and the intestines; and its poor reception would nearly end the Beastie Boys’ career.


Stay tuned for Side B of I’VE BEEN COMING TO WHERE I AM FROM THE GET GO: Part II! Where we will further explore the creation of Paul’s Boutique and the architects behind the Sounds of Science!


————————-BOBBY CALERO————-

[1]* Bob James is perhaps best known for the 1978 instrumental “Angela,” which was used as the theme music for the sitcom Taxi. He’s also the man behind ’74 track “Nautilus,” which has been sampled numerous times, most prominently in “Daytona 500” from Ghostface Killah’s 1996 solo debut Ironman.

[2]* Kerry King supplied guitar for the sixth single off Licensed to Ill: “No Sleep till Brooklyn.”

[3]* In June of ’89, just prior to the album’s official entrance into the marketplace “Shake Your Rump” was released as the b-side to Paul’s Boutique’s first single “Hey Ladies.” The two tracks along with the remixes “33% God,” and “Dis Yourself In ’89 (Just Do It)” were released as a 12” EP entitled Love, American Style. The title was a throwback to the Garry Marshall produced ABC show from which Happy Days was a spin-off, and the cover art (credited to one Nathanial Hörnblowér) is a photo of the kitchen in Ad-Rock’s Los Angeles apartment. If you look close you’ll find three hidden women.

[4]* This image closely echoes those of “Epistle to Dippy,” the 1967 single by Scotland’s psychedelic-troubadour Donovan, with its line: “Elevator in the brain hotel.” At the time of Paul’s Boutique’s recording, Donovan’s daughter, Ione Skye was in the midst of leaving Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis for Adam Horovitz, who she would go on to marry.

[5]* Oddly, despite the overwhelming merits of their other work they would win this award for their contribution to Santana’s 1999 album, Supernatural. Their contribution being a song featuring Eagle-Eye Cherry entitled “Wishing It Was.”

[6]* Leon Pendarvis has been a member of the Saturday Night Live Band since 1980 and now works as Co-Musical Director as well.

[7]* Scales is noted as the first songwriter to have a single certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the ’76 hit by Johnnie TaylorDisco Lady,” which featured Parliament-Funkadelic members bassist Bootsy Collins, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and guitarist Glen Goins (RIAA, 2012).

[8]* Bautista was also a featured member on Last Days and Time, the 3rd studio album by American R&B group Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as playing on Tom WaitsBlue Valentine and Heartattack and Vine.

[9]* A year earlier, “Tell Me Something Good” had been a hit for the Chaka Khan incarnation of Rufus.

[10]* WilliamBobo” Correa’s son, Eric, would end up joining the Beastie Boys’ touring line-up, as well as contributing percussion to their albums beginning with 1994’s Ill Communication.

[11]* Funky 4 + 1 are noted not only for having a female MC, (Sha Rock) way back in ’76, but also for being the first hip hop group to appear on a national television show: a Valentine’s day episode of Saturday Night Live in 1981, hosted by Deborah Harry.

[12]* Whitfield is the producer and co-writer behind what Bob Dylan once characterized on his radio show Theme Time Radio Hour as “a jumbo jet of a song”: The Temptations’ #1 epic soul/head-trip, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” A former coworker of mine, Ms. Walker, once turned to me half-speaking, half-singing the chorus “Papa was a rolling stone/Wherever he laid his hat was his home/and when he died, all he left us was alone,” before stating, “that’s some sad, fucked-up shit right there.” Really, who couldn’t help but agree.


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