Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It details the volatile creation story of the 1973 masterwork which changed the direction of every single hard rock genre thereafter despite, as dryly intoned by its singer Iggy Pop on film, being demoted to the 39-cent bins at Aron's Discount Records across the street from Fairfax High School, West Hollywood, some three months after its initial release.
Never before seen live footage of the band performing circa 1973, although less than pristine in resolution nonetheless presented the Raw Power vintage Stooges in full adrenaline glory on a very active night in St. Louis MO. Its full effect was that of a very nice dream.
The dvd also elaborates on the band's eventual vindication decades after its horrendous spate of genuine bad luck (and askew lifestyle decisions borne of frustration as much as hedonism) as proffered both by its participants and its fans, rather a few of whom are inordinately famous. Their rise, fall and rise story rivals that of populist equine Seabiscuit for heart-wrenching drama of overcoming adversity, probably a factor as much as the music revolution/sea change in their eventual triumph with a now adoring public worldwide.
At the premiere, the actual guitarist of same who changed all hard rock genres thereafter James Williamson fielded hugs and declarations of wonderfulness from his aforementioned adoring public in person, while sharing a question and answer spot afterwards with the film's co-producer, Stooges' staff photographer and author Robert Matheu. Williamson recounted tales of the Stooges' final "Death March" touring, while Matheu related his geography theorem of why the three albums by the Stooges varied so.
Pictured above, left to right: Richard Meade, Dire McCain, both of literary magazine Paraphilia, James Williamson of Iggy and The Stooges, and Evita Corby, rock couture designer and, as pointed out that evening, the individual whose ass was featured on "Kill City," Iggy and James' next masterwork after "Raw Power." And below, encore:
P.S. Retrokimmer wrote a post HERE with this pic of your otherwise modest photojournalist shedding all vestigial remnants of professional aplomb therein.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
The hardest thing to do in art remains chronicling one's own self objectively if accuracy is required. The second highest hurdle of subjectivity is to write about one's friends, hence no blog heretofore about The Dogs, a legendary punk band whom I've known for two and a half decades while considering bassist Mary to be my closest female friend. I found at least a voice sputtering through in relaying instructions to their videographer for a shoot in my studio last summer, excerpted as follows.
Joel-- Thanks for fitting this in. (-technical specs followed-) What might make it fun for you as opposed to them (they live for this stuff) is your encounter here with some genuine, lifelong subversives. In no way intellectuals, as artists they are real do-ers, activists as opposed to bookish shoegazers, always creating, and they have impressed the hell out of me in my acquaintance with them for the last two of their four decades as a band. I thought about this re-reading your "what is art anyway" blog on your site (Joel definitely deserves a plug here.)
Don't be fooled by their friendliness, one of them a family man with a traveling music equipment sales job, one of them still amazing-looking with a flirty laugh alongside near technical perfection of her bass, one of them's can-do agreeability belying his complete percussion mastery.
They were once kids who opened in the '60s for the MC5 and the Stooges in their native Detroit, supported S.D.S. and all the (original) anti-war stuff, frequently were arrested for starting riots there, played for free, played festivals, refused to pay-to-play here in L.A., toured the U.K. and Northern Ireland in the 1970's (Mary told me our '94 Northridge earthquake damage reminded her of normal Belfast,) maybe kick-started punk at CBGB's wearing their street clothes of leather jackets and torn jeans onstage (with future Ramones watching,) definitely kick-started DIY punk in L.A. with their Radio Free Hollywood four-walling of live venues along with chums The Motels and The Pop, opened for Van Halen, AC-DC, Kiss, all the later punk legends, Guns N' Roses, in fact you name 'em, they probably opened for them, survived Phil Spector's gunplay, were name-checked by Henry Rollins, Spin Magazine listed their “Slash Your Face” 1978 single as one of the top 10 great punk rock songs of all time, became cult legends around the world enough to easily tour packed venues in Japan in 2007 and to astound Mr. Twister's record company in Italy during Chainsaw's reunion Euro-tour in 2004 ("You are friends with The Dogs?!?") but never really plugged in or got any payoff and yet DIDN'T QUIT.
They've survived personal fall-outs, triple-bypass heart surgeries, major addictions, not to mention the foremost enemy of rock and roll, the passing of time. Yes, they've all played in other bands in the last two decades as well and continue to do so (Mary-She Rok and Kanary amongst others; Loren still in Little Caesar, Texas Terri's band and Gilt Lily in the past; Tony played some damn gigantic Metal Festival in South America no less) but how many musicians remain authentic enough to keep their actual teenage dream alive (Mary and Loren were high school sweethearts remaining bandmates despite breakup) this late into adulthood without recompense? As full time artists no less?
Photographs herein are The Dogs from 1985 through 2010, featuring Loren Molinare, Mary Kay and Tony Matteucci. Original 1960s/70s Dogs' drummer Ron Wood (the other one) is shown in my pic of the Dogs with the late Arthur "Killer" Kane (of the New York Dolls.) At the bottom right of this post, Mary collapses giggling after her backwards somersault while still performing killer bass-lines in a video shoot of The Dogs' "Punk Rock Holiday," 2009. I actually first saw The Dogs perform in 1977 at the Whisky in L.A. on a bill with The Motels and The Pop, but was camera-lessly reviewing that night for "Performance" magazine. Of course I was knocked out by them and wrote same. 'Still am.
Friday, April 2, 2010
One of Retrokimmer's great historians of the Detroit/Ann Arbor area's regional rock legacy, Big Rich Dorris wrote of sitting out a dream bill of terrific Michigan acts (excepting the MC4) to photograph locals because "no cameras were allowed so I stayed in the lobby." This is why most of the music photographers who started out four decades ago when I did simply have stopped doing it: no artist wants a noose ever-tightening around their neck until you're strangled as a job requirement. Nowadays, if you're not the official band photog, you're not allowed to shoot a whole show: even Associated Press is subjected to a two or three song maximum.
What a world- great performances onstage and no cameras allowed at events which are hardly the rarefied sanctums of, say, theatrical plays, requiring reverent silence and non-disturbance for any enjoyment whatsoever. As for disruptive potential, no one ever even remembers me there shooting. When did commemorating raucous rock for posterity become damage control, and why did cameras become equated with machete knives and other weaponry insofar as concert-goers are searched for both upon entry?
Actually, it began in the early 1970s with British managers and minders banning onstage photography so that a) only their own hired hands' shots would exist for editing and b) to launch the artificial frenzy of restricted access that paparazzi so highlight amongst celebs. Yes, spin control works this way: Ronald Reagan's presidential handlers created the "POTUS emerging from the landing helicopter press conference" specifically so that press they deemed unfriendly would have to shout their questions and sound foolish or be unheard (ignored) altogether. This lesson in P.R. is taught in universities now.
Above is Mick Hucknall of Simply Red in the early '90s disproving claims that he's not a singer of grand exertion onstage; in fact, he's sweating up a storm which makes this back-lit silhouette photo far more interesting graphically. But this shot couldn't have been taken before the three song limit expired.
To the left is Wendy James and her band Trans-vision Vamp in the late '80s taking a break on the set of an American network broadcast television show I had been assigned/hired/authorized to shoot. They were all decked out in their "iggy and the stooges" post-punk finery, but before I could pipe up that I had photographed the originals, their minders banned me from their personal image-mongering.
To the right is Mary Kay, then of (Motley Crue's) Emi Canyn-led female metal-ers She Rok alongside Jessica Hahn, then of smokin' hot evangelical scandal, at the filming of Penelope Spheeris' film "Thunder and Mud" (the one just before her breakthrough "Wayne's World." Somehow it doesn't tend to show up on her filmographies.) This is one of the few times I conspired to set up a shot, which I deemed okay since I had given Mary the "Bad Influence" shirt from Nashville in which she claims credit for leading Jessica to a Road to Ruin. I was authorized by the band and the production to be there and shoot them but days later the P.R. company representatives harangued me about same with many an implied threat. So I had a moral choice: sell this photo for big bucks of a person who was very much in the tabloids with her purported scandal and possibly get my friend who had secured my authorization to be there in the first place fired from her band, or dump the then timely snap. Answer: this is the first time this photograph has been seen in public, almost two decades after I took it.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Jan is sitting in the middle of the above comely coven in my photo taken about a decade and a half ago of one of her many quality rock groups, Crying Blue Sky with bassist Mary Kay (of The Dogs) on the right and Tammi Peden who stills drums with Jan on the left. Her other notable bands were The Orchids with Che Zuro amongst other female musicians, Puss n' Boots and Shrieking Violet. Relocating to Chicago from L.A., she's all business now with power/blues trio Medicine Ball, well documented on their own sites: