Tag Archives: Iggy Pop

A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: SUDDEN DOGS

Hello All,

And the A Mouthful Of Pennies Consortium’s Summer Blow-Out Wholesale Bootleg MixTape Distribution continues! Everything Must Go!

The last MixTape—THE MYTH OF A ROOM—might have been a little too high-falutin’ for some; so, today I present a good ol’ fashion slap-dash quick one for sitting under the afternoon sun with friends and perhaps breaking into a sing-along or two. Sloppy at points and reminding me of a MixTape I might’ve made 10-15 years back (like on an actual tapedeck), this one should be a breeze to roll along to and comes with its own custom-built comedown! …(and another bootleg, grandma with a computer cover art.)

Oh, and don’t forget to checkout some other dope MixTapes posted up in these pages: Longevity Has its Place ; El Ambiente Bien Babes Y Bean de Uruguay: Volume 1Broken Tail-Feathers; The Two Cent Spit; Babylon Bye Bye; and the Nas birthday tribute, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones is Like…

#thisiswhatpopradioshouldsoundlike!

—Enjoy yourself!

Sudden Dogs

————————(CLICK TO LISTEN & DOWNLOAD)—

A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS:

SUDDEN DOGS

by A Mouthful Of Pennies (Bobby Calero)

(another bootleg, grandma with a computer) album cover by A Mouthful Of Pennies (Bobby Calero, w/ the participation of Moose (L.) & Patti (R.))

Loco MosquitoIggy Pop (’80)

You Keep Me Hanging On [snippet] – Vanilla Fudge (’67)

Hateful The Clash (’79)

Rock & Roll/SympathyJane’s Addiction (live at the Roxy Theatre 1/26/’87)

Once Was A Time I Thought The Mamas & the Papas (’66)

LaydownPrince (’10)

The World Has Turned and Left Me HereWeezer (’94)

Police & ThievesThe Clash (’77)

You’re Crazy (Lies version) – Guns N’ Roses (’89)

Mother Mary (Daytrotter Session version) – Far (’10)

Don’t Push (acoustic) – Bradley Nowell (’92)

Don’t Push/54-46 That’s My Number/Ball And ChainSublime (’92)

Still FameDavid Bowie, James Brown, Dr. Dre, & Snoop Dogg (Pastamasta mash)

It Ain’t Hard To Tell Tom’s DinerSuzanne Vega & Nas (Danger Mouse remix) (’03)

Gunz On My Side/2 Glocks2Pac, Busta Rhymes, Bounty Killa, & Wayne Marshall (DJ Vlad/Dirty Harry/DJ Green Lantern remix) (’03)

The Story of Fela (Open & Close)Fela Kuti (J.Period remix) (’09)

I’ve Been to the MountaintopDr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (4/3/’68)

Tears Of A Samurai/I Shall Be ReleasedThe RZA/Elvis Presley (’07/’71)

—————(BOBBY CALERO)—————

FALL WITH ME (PART II): AND WHEN YOU’RE TUMBLING DOWN, YOU JUST LOOK BETTER

“Les Alyscamps: Falling Autumn Leaves, 2” by Vincent van Gogh, November 1888

Today’s post comes as an addendum to the last, as I have not been able to get this song out of my head lately. This past weekend I was fortunate to travel upstate for an afternoon fishing trip, as the leaves had just begun to turn colors, dressing up the scenery quite nicely. While my wife and buddy cast their lines out into the rushing current and his wife fed their newborn baby girl, I sat on the smooth stone banks reading Peter Guralnick’s engaging article about Howlin’ Wolf from this past winter’s Oxford American, their “Thirteenth Annual Southern Music Issue.”

I’ve often thought that there may be one common denominator

for all great music, and that is its capacity to bring a smile to your

lips. It’s not the subject matter. And it doesn’t really have much to

do with mood. It’s the commitment to the moment. It’s what Sam

Phillips called throwing yourself into the music with abandon

(Guralnick, 2012).

            Just as I read these lines I paused to glance into the clear, blue sky and watch a Turkey Vulture glide in concentric circles on the thermal currents up above. My eyes then spied the only other object moving overhead: a solitary yellow leaf spinning in the distance and lilting on a gentle breeze. Certainly long enough to notice, it seemingly danced in place. I watched for a moment more only to witness this little, yellow leaf abruptly plummet directly down into my glass of beer.

—When you’re tumbling down, you just look better—

[Note: In order to focus upon just the one featured song, this is a condensed version of what will be a larger post concerned with this stage of Iggy Pop’s career.]

Today’s feature comes from Iggy Pop’s phenomenal album of 1977, Lust For Life. The second LP that he would release that year, this album also marked his second collaboration with David Bowie (excluding Bowie’s mixing work for The Stooges’ final album, 1973’s appropriately titled, Raw Power). Although these two artists entered into a working relationship when both had been reduced into fairly unhealthy neurotics from years of excessive substance abuse (and in Bowie’s case, I’m sure the manic rate at which he not only produced music but continually re-conceptualized his entire approach to his craft contributed greatly to this as well), their joint relocation to Berlin would prove to be the onset of one of the most fecund periods in either man’s career.

David Bowie and Iggy Pop, Copenhagen Railway Station, 1976

In April of ’77, nearly immediately after coming off a tour that promoted their first collaboration, The Idiot, Iggy and Bowie entered Hansa By The Wall Studios in Berlin to record a follow-up. For “The Idiot World Tour” Bowie had momentarily slowed the pace of his own career by relegating himself with little fanfare to a supporting role as the organ player for Iggy’s live band and occasionally singing backing vocals.

The sessions for Lust For Life would be completed in a mere eight days and the album itself finished in under three weeks—impressive, as they entered the studio with very few (if any) true arrangements for any of the compositions. Iggy must have enjoyed being the main attraction while on tour, as he made a concerted effort to take the more dominant role for these sessions, sleeping little and often tailoring or outright disregarding Bowie’s input to meet his own vision for the album. “See, Bowie’s a hell of a fast guy,” Iggy later commented, “I realized I had to be quicker than him, otherwise whose album was it gonna be? (Pegg, 2000), and “The band and David would leave the studio to go to sleep, but not me (Griffin, 2012). He must have sensed that his faculty for whirlwind creativity and spontaneous songwriting had been somewhat taken advantage of the first go-around; a lab-rat/mad-scientist dynamic being something to which Bowie admitted years later:

Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted

to do with sound. I didn’t have the material at the time, and I

didn’t feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back

and getting behind someone else’s work, so that album was

opportune, creatively (Loder, 1989).

However, ultimately this was a mutually beneficial relationship, as Pop’s shambled career had been revitalized and thrust into the mainstream, while Bowie had been significantly inspired enough to end the decade on a high-note with his ingenious “Berlin Trilogy.”

Yet, Lust For Life truly does come across as a wholly different animal than its predecessor. The Idiot is a sonically ambitious album, primarily concerned with atmosphere.

It is a projection of harsh neon upon the slate-grey façade of an industrial-park-nightclub, featuring twitch-&-glitch guitars and synths pulsing and scouring through viscous funk and robotic cabaret; all while Pop’s strung-out baritone—sounding like the ghoul of some forgotten ’50s crooner who refuses to quit the scene, despite being dead of TB near on a decade now—permeates each tune to its capacity. Whereas The Idiot is the inevitable conclusion for Glam Rock, music for those with bloody noses and barely enough strength left to climb the walls, Lust For Life (as its title suggests) is an album full of vigor, featuring last night’s survivor now willing-and-able to run down any street and dance on any floor. This flavor is perfectly captured by the child-like imp grinning mischievously on the cover photo taken by Andy Kent.

Although the creation of this album generally followed the same formula used when assembling The Idiot—with Bowie suggesting a riff or melody while Iggy would mold these through his (often spur-of-the-moment) lyrical composition as the band expanded upon these components—Lust For Life is much more rooted in the traditional R&B and Rock & Roll of the ’50s and early ’60s, particularly Bo Diddley’s pioneering use of rhythm as melody. However, the predominant distinction between this album and the one prior, despite any particular song’s subject matter or form, is its overwhelming sense of alacrity. With Lust For Life there’s room for Iggy Pop to laugh.

Towards the end of these sessions, someone suggested that the musicians swap instruments. Guitarist Ricky Gardiner manned the drums, while drummer Hunt Sales took the bass from his brother Tony Sales (both being the son of comedian Soupy Sales). Tony switched over to play guitar alongside Carlos Alomar, and soon they found themselves jamming along on a groove created by shuffling around a descending melody that Bowie hit upon on the organ. Presumably inspired by his then girlfriend (and daughter of an American diplomat) Esther Friedmann, Iggy Pop entered the vocal booth and began to spontaneously recite some of his finest imagist lyrics—his true poetic talent for this being typically and grossly overlooked by reviewers who tend to focus on the abrasive, yet admittedly, wholly captivating physicality of his performances. With succinct lines like “A bottle of white wine/ White wine and you,” “A table made of wood,” and “Standing in the snow/You’re younger than you look” Pop perfectly conveys both scene and mood to the listener. Edited down, this vamp would come to be sequenced as the album’s hip-swinging closing track, “Fall in Love with Me.” Although generally considered a minor song by Pop, I believe this track is a perfect example of how his vocals should be recorded: with a bit of vinyl grit, as if he were attempting to sweet-talk you through a megaphone.

I recall watching an interview with Pop shortly after this stage of his career where the interviewer asked what it was that he learned from working with David Bowie. Iggy answered something to the effect of “compromise.” Although he did not elaborate, I’ve always taken that statement to mean that through these collaborations Iggy learned that he did not need to remain an unappreciated, loony-bin proto-punk rocker who bludgeoned his audience with acts of self-mutilation and the relentless, frustrated stomp of his previous musical incarnation; Iggy Pop could retain his artistic integrity and yet still create music that the rest of us, not so maniacally inclined, could dance to too.

Iggy Pop & Esther Friedmann in Berlin, 1977.

———————(CLICK TO LISTEN

Like it? Buy it.

Fall in Love with Me.

You look so good to me

Here in this old saloon

Way back in west berlin

A bottle of white wine

White wine and you

A table made of wood

And how I wish you would

Fall in love with me

You look so good to me

Standing out in the street

With your cheap fur on

Or maybe your plastic raincoat

And your plastic shoes

They look good too

Standing in the snow

You’re younger than you look

Fall in love with me

Fall in love with me

How I wish you would

A table made of wood

And a bottle of white wine

And you-and a bottle of

White wine and you

And when you’re standing

In the street and it’s cold

And it snows on you

And you look younger

Than you really are

I wish you would

Fall in love with me

I wish you would

Fall in love with me

I wish you would

Fall in love with me

I wish you would

Fall in love with me

Yeah

The way your eyes are black

The way your hair is black

The way your heart is young

There’s just a few like you

Just the kind I need

To fall in love with me

Oh and you look so good

Yes you look so good

A bottle of white wine

A cigarette and you

Here in this saloon

White wine and you

I wish you’d fall in love with me

I wish you’d fall in love with me

’cause there’s

Just a few like you

So young and real

There’s just a few like you

So young and real

Fall in love with me

Fall in love with me

Fall in love with me

Fall in love with me

I wish you would

You look so good

When you’re young at heart

There’s just a few like you

You’re young at heart

Won’t you

Come to this old saloon

Come to my waiting arms

A table made of wood

And I will look at you

’cause you’re so young and pure

And you’re young at heart

You’re young at heart

A bottle of white wine

And when you’re tumbling down

You just look better

When you’re tumbling down

You just look finer

——————————————–Bobby Calero

Ref:

Griffin, R. (n.d.). Bowiegoldenyears: 1977. Retrieved October 5, 2012 from http://www.bowiegoldenyears.com/index.html

Guralnick, P. (2012). Howlin’ Wolf: The Soul of Man. Oxford American.

Loder, K. (1989). Sound and Vision. [CD liner notes].

Pegg, N. (2000). The Complete David Bowie. Reynolds & Hearn: California.

Pop, I., Bowie, D., Sales, T., & Sales, H. (1977). Fall In Love With Me [recorded by Iggy Pop] On Lust For Life. RCA (1977).

A SLAVE TO YOUR PERVERSITY: JOBRIATH

With David Bowie’s artistic brilliance seemingly compelling him to habitually shed certain personas and their accompanying musical affectations for another incarnation throughout his long career, there are times I am left wanting more; sometimes saying to myself, “Man, I’d really just like a bit more of that Diamond Dogs sound.” Now, as rude and trivializing as it may seem to use this concept to introduce another artist, it was through this very want that I discovered little remembered but quite talented songwriter/performer Jobriath. However, over the years I have grown to truly respect and take pleasure in this man’s brief artistic output on its own merits and without the context of being primarily filler for my desire for another’s sound.

—What follows is a tragic, yet classically American tale of talent, reinvention, hype, and neglect—

Being born Bruce Wayne Campbell (quite a name, no?) on December 14, 1946 in Philadelphia, Jobriath was classically trained on the piano as a child and was considered somewhat of a prodigy. However, he began his pop musical career at the tail end of the 1960s in Los Angeles’ original Aquarius Theatre production of the “The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” Hair.

Jobriath (on the left) in 1969 with Connie Gripp, the “strong willed, independent, tough-as-nails dope fiend woman, who turns tricks for the fun of it sometimes, just ’cause she’s so willful” (Nelson, 1996) who would become the romantic partner of Dee Dee Ramone, and performance artist Marlowe B West, who was credited as one of the “Three Muses” for Jobriath’s second solo album.

At the age of 22 in mid-1968, Jobriath left this production to form the obscure group Pidgeon, for which he was credited under the name of Jobriath Salisbury as one of the principal singers (along with Cheri Gage), co-songwriter (along with poet Richard T. Marshall), as well as contributing keyboards and guitars. Signed to the record label Decca, under the auspices of session-singer Stan Farber who agreed to produce them, Pidgeon were soon set up in a house for six months to rehearse the material that would comprise their sole LP.

Jobriath, circa late-’60s

Recorded in December of ’68 and released in 1969, their debut album was intended to bear the title First Flight From the Forest, but for whatever reason was released only with the group’s name on the cover. A bit plodding at times and certainly not the most impressive thing to come out that year, however, their debut did exhibit an interestingly frantic approach to the Californian sunshine soaked and harmonic psychedelia pioneered by the The Mamas & the Papas and the perturbed baroque folk-rock pioneered by Arthur Lee‘s Love. Perhaps two of the most stand-out tracks from this album are the harpsichord driven harmonic ramble of “The Mainline” and the lithe rocker, “The Dancer,” which you can check out below:

The Mainline——————–(CLICK TO LISTEN)

The Dancer ——————–(CLICK TO LISTEN)

This album had little impact, as unfortunately did their follow-up single “Rubber Bricks,” recorded April of 1969. The group soon dissolved and by this time Jobriath had fully embraced the decadence of drugs and alcohol, occasional funding this lifestyle through prostitution. At this time as well, he began to demonstrate psychiatric disturbances, which would plague him later in life. But more importantly, he began developing the songs and style that would burgeon into his next musical incarnation: Jobriath Boone.

Soon after, in 1972 a demo tape of Jobriath’s music would be heard by impresario Jerry Brandt, who had made his fame by discovering Carly Simon, booking The Rolling Stones’ first tour of America, and who had up until recently been running the Electric Circus nightclub on St. Marks Place in the East Village section of Manhattan. Searching for a new project, Brandt sat in the office of Columbia Records President Clive Davis as the two listened to demo audition tapes. Where as Davis only heard in Jobriath’s demo something that was “mad, unstructured and destructive to melody” (Cochrane, 1998), Brandt heard the promise of something with marketability on par with Elvis and The Beatles; more so, Brandt believed he had discovered an American answer to the glam-rock explosion that was David Bowie.

Locating Jobriath in an unfurnished apartment in California, where, as the singer later said of himself, he was “floating down in the gutter” (Cochrane, 1998), with the entrance of Brandt into his life, from this moment on Jobriath’s career would be more concerned with hype than music. In January of 1974, Brandt would tell the music journal Melody Maker, “If hype means projecting your artist, I’m going to produce the biggest hype ever” (Barton, 2010). Through this hype, Brandt secured Jobriath a $500,000 contract with the head of Elektra Records, Jac Holzman. Looking back at his time running Elektra, Holzman later wrote,  “I made two errors of judgment, and signing Jobriath was one of them” (Sullivan, 2008).

Jobriath and Jerry Brandt

Although Jobriath’s self-titled solo debut of ’73 can in fact be considered a financial failure, it remains as an interesting, idiosyncratic work that melds quirky Weimar cabaret* with erotic funk** and loose, somber piano ballads*** (ballads that, to my ears, are very akin to those found on Bruce Springsteen’s first two albums, released that same year).

*Movie Queen——————–(CLICK TO LISTEN)

**Take Me I’m Yours——————–(CLICK TO LISTEN)

***Inside——————–(CLICK TO LISTEN)

Jobriath’s self-titled debut was dropped on the marketplace accompanied by an aggressive advertising campaign, in which thousands were spent. His image was plastered on the front of nearly every bus in London and New York City, and a 50-foot billboard was erected in Times Square bearing the album’s cover image, which featured Jobriath’s nude torso, crawling while dragging shattered legs.

The cover of Jobriath’s first album was later appropriated by Todd Haynes for his meticulous ode to glam rock, Velvet Goldmine. Released in 1998, the film explores a generation’s sexual discovery through a dramatic take on the lives of David Bowie and Iggy Pop, all filtered through the framework of Orson Welles’ cinematic masterpiece of 1941, Citizen Kane, and through George Orwell’s prophetic novel of 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Highly recommended!

Beyond the hype generated by Brandt concerning Jobriath’s apparent musical ability, much of this hype pertained to the fact that Jobriath was, in fact, the world’s first openly gay pop star. “I’m a true fairy!” Jobriath Boone boldly told the press (Metzger, 2009).

Now, I’m sure Jobriath’s ostentatious use of his sexual preference (whereas others typically flirted with androgyny) did create much of the scorn aimed his way upon the release of his album; however, I believe that most simply have a natural aversion to an onslaught of hype. It robs the inquisitive of any sense of discovery. It is that very same reaction that has caused me to know very little about the endless succession of British bands touted by the likes of NME as the greatest musical act ever to happen in the six months since the last greatest musical act ever to happen. Besides this, it is easy to picture your average meat-and-potatoes American dismissing Jobriath as just “another space-age faggot.” With song titles such as “Space Clown,” and “Earthling,” Jobriath certainly utilized the same queer-human-as-artistic-extraterrestrial-motif employed by Bowie through his Ziggy Stardust persona.

Jobriath performing on The Midnight Special.

Regardless, I find Jobriath’s music to be quite remarkable. Although, recently playing his albums for a friend who knew nothing of what he was listening to, not the artist’s story, nor his sexuality, not even his name—his response was a critique that was incredibly similar to the previously mentioned statements made by Clive Davis. So, it could certainly be not as universally “good” as I believe it to be. Jobriath’s first album was primarily recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York and co-produced by Eddie Kramer, who made his fame through his production work for Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Kramer later recalled of the songs’ orchestration (recorded in Olympic Studios in London): “[Jobriath was] a romantic soul, really. He wanted orchestrations like old film music, though he knew nothing about scoring. So he bought a book on orchestration and within a week he’d come up with scores of a haunting quality. These were recorded in Olympic Studios in London with a nine-foot grand piano and a 55-piece orchestra” (Cochrane, 1998). This haunting quality is best expressed by the album’s closing track, “Blow Away.”

————————————–(CLICK TO LISTEN)

Despite some positive reviews (Rolling Stone: “talent to burn;” Record World: “brilliantly incisive.”) the album failed to hit the charts and Elektra began to recoil from the artist. Jobriath’s first tour was intended to be held within all the major opera houses in Europe, and according to him would feature, “King Kong being projected upwards on a mini Empire State Building. This will turn into a giant spurting penis and I will have transformed into Marlene Dietrich” (Cochrane, 1998). Whether this was merely an alcohol and cocaine fueled fantasy or actually in the works, Elektra cancelled the entire tour, citing financial reasons. Jobriath’s debut public performance would come by the way of television, appearing on “The Midnight Special.” On stage in costumes of his own design, the performances of his songs “I’MAMAN” and “Rock of Ages” only hint at the stage show that might’ve been.

Within six months of his flop, a second LP titled “Creatures Of The Street” was released. Darker in tone, this album would be released with no promotion whatsoever and its dismal sales effectively ended the would-be superstar. Despite its rushed release and its total neglect by his label, the album was an ambitious project that explored the urban grandeur of pop songwriting.

Creatures Of The Street. Lady Gaga might indeed steal her music from Madonna, but much of her look is pilfered from Jobriath.

Heart Beat——————–(CLICK TO LISTEN)

Street Corner Love——————–(CLICK TO LISTEN)

Gone Tomorrow/Ooh La La (Reprise and Exit Music)———(CLICK TO LISTEN)

A relatively modest tour followed—a blur of debauchery and derision. Brandt abandoned the group halfway through the tour and went on to make his money by convincing America to purchase over-priced and imported designer jeans and later opened the music venues The Ritz and Palladium. Abandoned by his manager, by his label, and fully embodying his stated belief that, “schizophrenia isn’t all that bad. It may be the lifestyle of the ’70s” (Cochrane, 1998), Jobriath soon announced his retirement from the music business, and hardly anyone noticed. After a failed audition for the part of Al Pacino’s boyfriend in Sidney Lumet’s gripping true-crime film of 1975, Dog Day Afternoon, the man who was everywhere for a moment, Jobriath, was gone.

Living within the pyramid room atop New York’s Chelsea Hotel, Jobriath dissipated, replaced by yet another incarnation, Manhattan nightclub cabaret act, Cole Berlin.

Still creating, still an artist, in a 1981 BBC program about the Chelsea Hotel and its eccentric inhabitants, Cole Berlin was filmed within his odd apartment, performing on his white piano a composition of his own, “Sunday Brunch.”

By August 3, 1983, aged 36 years, Cole Berlin, Jobriath Boone, Jobriath Salisbury, and Bruce Wayne Campbell would all be dead from a new disease called AIDS. After four days, complaints by his neighbors concerning a smell would lead to the discovery of his body.

[post-script]:

This year, Jobriath A.D., a documentary by Kieran Turner is set to be released and concerns this intriguing life. I for one intend to catch it.

Ref:

Cochrane, R. (1998, November). Jobriath: The Mojo Article. Mojo Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.crapfromthepast.com/jobriath/mojo.htm

Metzger, R. (2009, March 30). Jobriath Boone: Rock’s Fairy Godmother. BoingBoing. Retrieved from http://boingboing.net/2009/03/30/jobriath-boone-rocks.html

Nelson, C. (1996, Nov. 8). Former MC5 guitarist to score punk film? Addicted To Noise Washington. Retrieved from http://kauhajokinyt.fi/~jplaitio/pleasekil.html

Sullivan, J. (2008, Feb. 29). Twisted Tales: Glam Rocker Jobriath – The Man Who Would Have Been Queen. Spinner. Retrieved from http://www.spinner.com/2008/02/29/twisted-tales-glam-rocker-jobriath-the-man-who-would-have-bee/