Just got back from a week in Nova Scotia, a couple of days in Halifax and the rest deep in the woods. I like Canada, it’s like the white parts of the U.S. if Jimmy Carter was still president. Didn’t find too many records (a Soul Stirrers album I didn’t have, a Sister Rosetta Tharpe LP, and a copy of Jackie Wilson’s Baby Workout LP to replace the one I traded away a couple of months ago), but our rent a car soon grew a huge library of cheap used books. I returned to find NYC (and much of the world for that matter) teetering on the edge of economic collapse. I predicted this all two years ago, ask my wife. How is it a brain dead deadbeat like me knew this and the people who run everything didn’t? Not a good sign, not at all. We can safely say the worst people are running everything. It’s hard not to feel a touch of schadenfreude seeing these Wall Street morons walking around with their tails between their legs. Which brings us to my favorite Woody Guthrie song. Let’s face it, New York worked better when the Mafia ran things. As one old timer told me– “Frank Costello was the best mayor this town ever had”. I concur. I’ll try and post more tomorrow or Thursday of this week. And on a more interesting subject.
This is little Ike Chalmers, the coolest kid I’ve seen in my life. His parents are Jon Chalmers (Church Keys, Sato & Johnny) and Masayo (Plungers, Sato & Johnny). If there was ever a natural it’s this little duffer. Playing behind him are Jon Chalmers and Dave Lindsay (of Ff and Purple Wizard, not visible) on guitars, Doug Dellefemine on drums, I don’t know the bass players name.
It was shot at the Bill Pietsch memorial at Freddie’s Bar in Brooklyn, Sep. 21, 2008.
I first met Chandler several centuries ago at a place called the Club 57 on St. Marks Place. It was an impromptu nightclub and bar without a liquor license in the basement of a church that was a CIA front staffed with Ukrainian Nazi collaborators resettled by the OSS to fight communism. I was the DJ. Chandler arrived from Portland, Maine with Tim Warren, who would go on to found Crypt Records. Chandler liked good records and he liked to drink and we became friends. His first musical enterprise was a duo— Tchang & Chandler (pictured here standing on the carcass of a woolly mammoth they’d killed for food). Chandler was a natural as a frontman and songwriter and within weeks had composed some killer tunes like “Spit It On The Floor”, “A Man Needs A Woman”, “Black Jack” (recently covered by the Hives), and others I can’t quite remember. He joined a neo-garage band called the Outta Place who cut an LP for Midnight Records then formed the Raunch Hands with Tchang, George Sully, Vince Brnicevic and a guy whose name means cocksucker in Spanish (so he moved to Spain, what would Freud say about that? Here’s what the Mummies had to say). The Raunch Hands never caught on with the Indie rock crowd but they kept rockin’ through the 80’s and 90’s, made some fine records, spent most of their time in Europe and eventually dissolved.
It’s rare I hear a new record I like, it happens about once a year or less. It’s even rarer I find a new record that I play over and over again, but this one has really got it’s talons into my ears.
Now go buy it.
Today marks the fourth anniversary of Kelly Keller’s passing. I posted about her in August, check older posts on the right. Sunday was a year since Bill Pietsch bought it. You can read about him below.
I love women. Except maybe Republicans. Man, I hate that Sarah Palin. Her voice has the same intonation as every asshole teacher that ever sent me to the principal’s office. But the rest of ’em I love. Here’s three of my favorites, guess which one I married?
working on three or maybe five, book projects.
I’ve been obsessed with Cormac McCarthy’s book Blood Meridian (Ecco,1985) for a good twenty years now. The late actor Rockets Redglare turned me onto it— “James, you gotta read this one, it’s right up your alley….can you lend me $6 dollars?”. Rockets (whose film credits can be found here: IMDB.com) wanted to play the Judge in the film version (which will probably never be made which is fine with me). Lately I’ve gone back and reread all of McCarthy’s early novels (Outer Dark, The Orchard Keeper, Suttree) looking for a clue. A clue to what you ask? If there is a main theme to McCarthy’s work, as near as I can figure it is the idea of the absence of God. What I want to know, is, seeing as his work references the bible so much, does McCarthy believe in God? Well, I’m still wondering. He gives up nothing in the few interviews he’s given. In fact, the best interview out there is one where McCarthy himself interviews the Cohn Brothers soon after the filming of No Country For Old Men. He’s mainly interested in how Josh Brolin reacted to the dog which was trained to rip out a human’s jugular. You can read it here.
One thing I did turn up was historical evidence of the Judge Holden and John Glanton, Blood Meridian’s most chilling characters. The Texas State Historical Society published in 1996 a very handsome volume, profusely illustrated by it’s author and annotated by William H. Goetzman a most unusual manuscript called My Confession: Recollections Of A Rouge, the memoirs of one Samuel Chamberlain, a rounder and roustabout who claims to have ridden with scalp hunters John Glanton and the Judge Holden in the 1840s. There is much debate about the authenticity of this document, and many inconsistencies (such as the above drawing by Chamberlain showing Holden with a full head of hair while the manuscript describes him as bald as a cue ball), Goetzman addresses these subjects in detail. Let’s face it, there are few first hand accounts from the world of commercial scalp hunting (if my cirrhosis gets any worse maybe I’ll write one myself), and that makes this book a fascinating read. My Confession is still in print and is not hard to find. Cheap too, only $30 for a big coffee table job with dozens of color plates.
I also wonder if McCarthy read any of Paul I. Weilman’s books such as Spawn Of Evil (1964), Death On The Prairie (1934), Death In The Desert (1935) and A Dynasty of Western Outlaws (1961), all nonfiction, they deal with “The Evening Redness In The West” unflinchingly. This is the part of American history we weren’t taught in school.
While I’m pondering, I wonder if his Knoxville novels (The Orchard Keeper, Suttree, Child Of God) were influenced by Harry M. Caudill’s Night Comes To The Cumberlands (1963), a study of violence in the depressed area where Kentucky borders West Virginia, a place where fueds lasted generations and blood was shed over things like the placement of a fence post. Whether McCarthy is familiar with the above works of history I guess really doesn’t matter, but if you care to know about who and what we, as Americans (hell, check that, we as people period) really are, you owe it to yourself to track down these volumes. These books are not for the faint of heart or soft of head.
One last thought, a quote from Mr. McCarthy that I agree with wholeheartedly:
“There’s no such thing as life without bloodshed, I think the notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is a really dangerous idea. Those who are afflicted with this notion are the first ones to give up their souls, their freedom. Your desire that it be that way will enslave you and make your life vacuous.”
Thanks to Jeff Roth at the New York Times for turning me onto Spawn Of Evil, and that smelly bookshop in Paris for selling it to me.
The first LP I ever owned was the first Rolling Stones album, got it for Christmas in ’64, I was five years old and even then, I knew this is good shit. I still play it, the same copy. I drew a mustache on Bill Wyman on the back cover.
Sunday marks the year anniversary of Billy Peitsch’s death. I knew him for twenty years and I can safely say he was the coolest person I’ve even known. His death, coming so soon after the deaths of my close friends Bob and Alice Quine, Kelly Keller, Dee Dee Ramone, Cordell Jackson, and Hasil Adkins sent me into a state of shock that I’m just now starting to emerge from. I’m not a good enough writer to do justice to his life and achievements,but if you knew Bill you know what I mean. He was one of a kind in the best way. And one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. I never had less than a great time when Bill was around, he could take the piss out of lames like no one I’ve ever seen, he could fix your car, explain to you why the Brooklyn Bridge didn’t fall into the river, expound on why Chuck Berry was the greatest songwriter ever, and when Andre Williams would go missing in action five minutes to show time it was Bill who could find him, get his false teeth back in Andre’s mouth
Not much to say today, but I love this Scopitone clip of Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks.Yes, the big eared blond on drums is Levon Helm. Not their best tune (for that, try this one– their version of Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love from 1960 (Roullette). It was a huge hit in Canada whose radio stations blasted it into Detroit at the time, evidently it was a big influence on the Stooges’ James Wiliamson whose solo on Search & Destroy would echo it twenty two years later. Enjoy. BTW My airchecks are logged here: WWW.thehound.net if you’re lookin’ for ’em.
I remember seeing this when it first aired, I must’ve been five or six years old and I worshipped the Rolling Stones the way my older brother worshipped the Beatles.