What Went Wrong?

I posted this as a sidebar but here it is again. If you want to pinpoint the moment that caused the collapse of the house of cards that was our banking system (March 28, 2004) check out this video footage courtesy of the New York Times.  That’s Paulson himself, now head of the SEC (then running Goldman-Sachs) calling for the deregulation that led to these idiots taking on thirty times the debt they’d previously be able to take on legally.

All based on a rigged computer model of risk assessment. 

Why is he still in charge? Why hasn’t he been strung up? “If anything goes wrong it’s going to be an awfully big mess”, no shit.  Notice the nervous laughter in the background. Now we’re supposed to pay for it.  A tax revolt seems like a good idea about right now…..

I’m back to Canada for Canadian Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting when I get back.


With Lou Reed at the Bottom Line, ’84 one of his last shows w/Lou

Checking out the box of 45’s, Hangover Hop, ’92, Brownies.

Me, Jeremy Tepper and Quine, Hangover Hop, ’92. (photos by Michael Macioce)
It’s very hard to write about Robert Quine. Quine, (nobody, not even his wife or mother called him by his first name) was the best and most original guitar player of his generation, and the best player in New York City since Mickey Baker (one of his heroes).
Quine was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1942, and discovered rock’n’roll in the mid-50’s, catching the Caps’ (of Red Headed Flea) fame at the Fair Lawn Bowling Lanes in 1956. He saw Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly in ’57. He bought the Johnny Burnette Trio LP when it came out in ’58 (I have his copy now, one of my most treasured possessions). He soon got a guitar and learned to play listening to I’m Jimmy Reed, Rockin’ With Reed, and lots of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley records. He joined a band called the Counterpoints (with the sax player from the Caps) in which he played bass. A tape exists but Quine refused to ever play it for me because the sax player didn’t show that night. He refused to do the dance steps, or modulate the key during the cover of Duane Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser”– a man of principles even then. His family was rather wealthy and owned a factory that manufactured some sort of industrial parts. I forgot what they were exactly. His uncle was the philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine.

He went to college, and then law school in St. Louis, where he led a mixed race group called the Garbage Vendors, playing guitar and rack harp like Jimmy Reed. He also had a blues radio show on the college station, his theme song was John Lee Hooker’s “Hoogie Oogie”. While at school the CIA attempted to recruit him into “the company”.
After law school (he took a law degree, passed the bar in California and New York but never practiced law) Quine moved to San Francisco where he attempted to join or form a band, however his short hair and straight appearance worked against him. He did see and tape the Velvet Underground in both St. Louis and Frisco and the best parts of those tapes where issued in 2003 by Polydor as a three cd box called The Quine Tapes. He first met Lou Reed in Frisco at the Matrix Club, bonding over their mutual admiration of Roger McGuin’s guitar playing.
Quine moved to Brooklyn in 1973 and friends attempted to get him a job playing with Art Garfunkel who punched Quine in the snout when Quine exclaimed “I thought Simon & Garfunkel were for people too dumb for Bob Dylan”. He moved to Manhattan, and settled in a tiny apartment on St. Marks Place, downstairs from former Modern Lovers drummer and Viet Nam vet Bob Turner. He worked writing articles for a law journal and briefly at the bookstore Cinemabelia where he first met Richard Meyers nee’ Hell. I think those were the only two real jobs he ever had.
It was Hell who had been an original member of Television and the Heartbreakers who gave Quine his first national exposure, building his band The Voidoids around Quine. Here’s a live version of “You Gotta Lose” (Hell was a better speller than the rest of the Heartbreakers who issued their first single “Born To Lose” as “Born Too Loose”). Notice Quine’s solo quotes the solo on Jack Scott’s “Baby She’s Gone”. Here’s their version of CCR’s “Walk On The Water“. He stayed with the Voidoids for two albums (although the recent re-issue of Destiny Street has Quine’s guitar parts erased and re-recorded by Marc Ribot and Bill Frissell) and a non-LP 45 (this is the b-side) and two European tours and when the band dissolved he was hired by Lou Reed on the recommendation of Reed’s then wife and manager Sylvia. Quine gives a hilarious recalling of Reed checking out his playing at CBGB in Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil’s Please Kill Me (Grove, 1996), Reed threatened to punch him in the face.
Quine played with Reed on his best solo albums The Blue Mask and Live In Italy (where they played while being teargassed), most of his guitar parts on Legendary Hearts where mixed so low as to be inaudible. After Reed fired him he did session work with Marianne Faithful, Lydia Lunch (Queen Of Siam, her best) Tom Waits (Swordfish Trombone where Keith Richards’ overdubbed parts play off of Quine’s basic tracks), Mathew Sweet, John Zorn and many others. He produced Teenage Jesus & the Jerks first recordings. Quine recorded two duet albums, the first and best Escape with Jody Harris (of the Contortions and Raybeats) takes all its song titles from Three Stooges movies. The second, with Fred Maher- Basic is a collection of basic rhythm tracks with no solos. Quine loved weird chords and odd voicings, and this record is better for practicing guitar to than listening.
I first met Quine the day I moved to New York City, May 1977. I was staying in a loft in a basement on Warren St. (pre-Tribeca) called The Home For Teenage Dirt. It’s inhabitants were Lydia Lunch, Miriam Linna, the utterly crazed Bradley Field, Phast Phreddie Paterson (visiting from L .A.) and Todd Abramson (owner of Maxwells, he had arrived about an hour before me). It was also the Cramps rehearsal space. Jody Harris was the only other resident on the block and the Contortions, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, the Erasers, and other bands practiced at his place.
I went outside to have a cigarette and Quine came walking down the street with Lester Bangs and Richard Hell, both whom I already knew a bit via phone. It took about four years of bumping into each other over the oldies and rockabilly bins at record stores but eventually (I think around ’83) we exchanged cassette tapes from our 45 collections and soon we were fast friends, we talked on the phone nearly every day and made a ritual of Saturday dinner in Chinatown which lasted for decades (except when he was mad at me, he could freak out over the slightest thing, although he’d always eventually apologize and give me some treasure from his record collection as penance). He was one of the funniest motherfuckers I’ve ever met. He loved to use the word “little” as a term of condensation i.e. “I saw your little friend at the guitar store today….”. He would make a noise from the back of his throat like a chipmunk being stepped on that always drew strange looks from women. He was heavily into handwriting analysis and could spot a nut, liar, or thief via their penmanship. I always showed him handwriting samples from whatever girl I was dating, and he was always dead on even if he had never met them. The few times I ignored his warnings I would live to regret it. We turned each other onto a lot of great music, the one he kept coming back to was Robert Wilson & the Groovers’ “Cranberry Blues” because it reminded him of Thanksgiving 1957 when all cranberries were recalled for some reason. I didn’t know much about jazz and he turned me onto Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, Lester Young, and Miles Davis among others. He made me a 120 minute cassette of electric Miles circa 1972-4 (Get Up With It, Pangea, Agartha, the rare 45 “Molester”) that I played for exclusively for two winters running. I remember the day that the U.K. Ace label released the six CD Little Richard: The Specialty Sessions box set. I’d just put in seven hours on the street as a bike messenger and just wanted to take a bath and pass out, but Quine showed up at my door with a copy of the box for me and a bottle of Jim Beam Green Label. We listened to the whole box and drank the whole bottle. Later we went out to cop and ended up with fentanyl (remember Tango & Cash anybody?) instead of what we really wanted and both almost died. My super found him on the sidewalk on East 11th St. and put him in a cab, his downstairs neighbor found him in the door way and dragged him upstairs and got him into his apartment. New York used to be more fun. I introduced him to Billy Miller at Norton Records and he got to play on Andre Williams’ Bait & Switch LP, as a Fortune Records nut it was one of his proudest moments. Billy told me when Quine took a mandolin like solo Andre yelled “Go Italian”!
He also appeared as a hustler in the 1992 film White Trash and can be seen in several live Lou Reed video releases, as well as playing himself in a 1980 film called Blank Generation starring Hell.
I don’t remember the exact date but it was August of 2003 around 6:15 PM when I got a call from Quine. “Alice is dead”. I packed enough drugs to sedate a herd of camels and headed to his loft in Soho (where he’d moved a decade earlier, he still hadn’t unpacked his records). His beloved wife Alice Sherman was dead on the floor, laid out in front of the bathroom door, she’d died in the shower, her heart gave out from a combination of overwork, anti-depressants and xanax. Quine was in shock. We were told we needed to find a doctor to sign the death certificate and it being a Friday in New York City in August every doctor was in the Hamptons so we had to wait six hours for the city Medical Examiner to officially declare her deceased, then another ten hours for the meat wagon to take her body to the morgue. As the sun rose I took him to where me and my wife were living in the West Village, an open space with a sleeping loft and no walls. Quine was shattered, although since he asked if he could raid my wife’s vitamins I assumed he wouldn’t kill himself, at least not then. He stayed five or six days and despite the trauma had my wife in stitches when he wasn’t crying his eyes out.
Quine’s last ten months saw him sink into a black depression. Without Alice he could not fend for himself. He didn’t know how to use a computer, pay his mortgage, health insurance, electric bills. His benders got worse and the come downs unbearable. Man, he was a mess. We had a Thanksgiving dinner that year at my house for twenty people and he passed out in his food twice. In early 2004 one of his neighbors hired him to record a soundtrack to a film (which I’ve never seen and don’t even know the title of), these were his last recordings and reflect his tortured state of mind. Here are four excerpts:
film music 1
film music 6
film music 7
film music 9
In May of 2004 he took his own life. I believe it was an assisted suicide. There was at least one person who stood to benefit from Quine’s death and my guess is that is who administered the hot shot (thus canceling out a $20,000 debt; moral: no kindness goes unpunished). For those who knew Quine my suspicions are directed at the one he always referred to as “pizza face”. He never learned to use a syringe and was way too much of a wimp to shoot himself up. There were fifty empty glassine dope bags and a note in his handwriting that said “Robert Quine: 1942-2004”. His recently amended will was missing. Also fifty bags won’t fit in one shot, it probably took two or three, he definitely had help. Had there been no one around to shoot him up, he would still be alive today. I truly believe that. The week before he died he had been on a coke bender and the come down from that made his depression even worse, the person who helped him knew this, but he also knew Quine wanted his $20,000 back and there was no way he was going to pay it.
Quine didn’t live to see the release of the un-issued Link Wray Cadence LP, the alternate takes of the Buddy Holly Decca sessions, the Miles Davis’ On The Corner box set, and the alternate takes from the first Velvet Underground LP, things that would have made him very happy.
I’ve never really talked about Quine since his death, at the memorial I tried to be as vague as possible. Now I’ve said my piece on the subject I’ll try and hold my tongue (and typing fingers) for good.

A Modest Proposal….

Given that both American political parties, and perhaps capitalism itself is utterly discredited, perhaps it is time to move towards a new type of political thinking, or in this case reviving and fine tuning one from the past that went a bit off the rails. The SPK (Socialist Patients Collective or sozialistschen Patienten kollektiven in it’s native German language) is the only political party that ever made sense to me.

The SPK members were mental patients recruited from the Psychiatric Neurological Clinic of Heidelberg University by Dr. Wolfgang Huber who politicized them and sent them out to fight the good fight. They soon joined forces with the Red Army Faction (better known as the BaaderMeinhof Group) and became known as the nut wing of that movement.
A bit of background for the unfamiliar, the BaaderMeinhof group were a hardcore
left wing political action group with a fairly incomprehensible philosophy (big deal,
isn’t all political thought incomprehensible to a reasonable human?) formed in West Germany in 1970 by Andreas Baader (pictured above with his brains splattered across the floor of his prison cell), Gudren Ensslin, Thorwald Proll, Holger Meins (who would die after a long hunger strike in prison), Jan-Carl Raspe, and would soon include a respected German journalist Ulrike Meinhof among it’s dozens of members. They took to the streets, targeting ex-Nazis and representatives of American imperialism in an orgy of arson, murder and kidnapping. They would make world headlines by hijacking a jet (in collaboration with PLO), bombing American military bases in Germany and the murder and kidnapping of many West German industrialists who had been Nazis in WWII. More on the BaaderMeinhof group can be found here.
Dr. Huber’s theory was that the pressures and hypocrisy inherent in capitalist society is enough to make a sane person nuts. How’d you think I got this way? I was the smartest kid in my school until sixth grade when I was proclaimed a delinquent by teachers and school administration, and I’ve had to live on the borders of society ever since. Huber was onto something, something we need to look into and fine tune into a real workable political theory.
The SPK itself didn’t work out too good. On April 24, 1975 SPK members seized the German embassy in Stockholm, Sweden and demanded the release of RAF/SPK members imprisoned in Germany. They made a mess of the action, one members blew his own leg off mishandling a bomb and the police were soon in control of the ground floor of the embassy. A blood bath ensued. The SPK might not have accomplished anything but you gotta love their moxie.
It’s not just mental patients who need an organized political action group like the SPK but anyone with medical problems (meaning all of us as some time in their lives).
As one who carries an incurable and life threatening liver disease (hepatitis c) I can attest to the corruption and incompetence of the medical establishment. Dealing with doctors who refuse to diagnose, hospitals staffed by morons and insurance companies run by thieves and liars is enough to send anyone into a blind rage. After eighteen months of mis-diagnoses and apathy I’ve been told there’s little that can be done for my condition. But I should come back every six weeks for more testing so they can keep billing me and my insurance company (which tries to deny every claim). Had I never gone to a doctor at all, nothing in my life would have been any different. Except I’d have many thousands of dollars lying around that now lines their pockets. I’m left to sit and wait for my liver to rot, and ponder my revenge…..

The Hound Saves Capitalism!

As the House Of Non-Representatives leans towards passing the 700 billion dollar Wall Street bail out, now swollen to nearly 900 with all the extra pork that had to go into buying off the Reagan ideologues and the Democrats who understandably don’t trust the bankers, we ask ourselves, what kind of idiot would trust these greedy pigs with all that money? They are obviously going to take a huge chunk of that cheese and line their own pockets. These are the same creeps that got us in this mess.

There is another way, it took me five minutes of thinking to come up with it. Here’s my economic bail out plan. Take the 700 billion and whack it up between all 250 million American citizens, that gives each person roughly $4,100. Each person must sign a promissory note to keep the money in a savings account for at least six months.
That gives the banks a huge influx of cash and some time to get themselves solvent.
That will be followed by most people taking the money and buying shit with it, money that will be directly injected into the economy, like a good fix of smack. Because as Americans that’s what we are programed from birth to do– buy shit. This will provide cash for retailers, jobs, etc. Western capitalism is saved. You’re welcome.
The above photo is of Mr. Samuels Tire Re-Capping place on St. Claude Ave in New Orleans (pre-Katrina), also where we shot Andre Williams’ Bait & Switch (Norton)
album cover.
As a soundtrack to the above rant may I suggest this little nugget from Jerry Lee Lewis & the Nashville Teens captured live (and on a thousand prellies) at Hamburg’s Star Club circa 1963: Money.
Also, pertaining to yesterday’s Jerry Lewis post, here’s the x-rated out take of the radio spot for The Caddy courtesy of the ever indispensable Brian Redman. Haven’t you always wanted to hear both Jerry Lewis and  Dean Martin say cocksucker?  

The King Of Comedy

Jerry Lewis is an amazing guy. Anyone who has seen the original version of the Nutty Professor can attest to that. I won’t make any French jokes here, I’ve always been treated well in France.  Check out this phone conversation taped by Mr. Lewis himself (here). Some asshole politician is trying to get Lewis to recognize one of his campaign

contributors from the stage that night, he thinks he has Lewis’ assistant on the phone but it’s obviously Jerry himself.  A more hateful and hysterical six minutes would be hard to find.
There’s also the x-rated reading of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin’s radio spot for the Caddy, I can’t pinpoint it on any old aircheck but it’s somewhere on either of these pages (these are radio shows I did w/Nitro Nick Tosches as special guest, I think the first one is more likely to have the Caddy on it, unfortunately it’s bleeped for airplay, try here or  here).  I love the way he pronounces grease ball.
My favorite story about Jerry Lewis concerns a film that was never finished called The Day The Clown That Cried.  Lewis (who also wrote and was set to direct) was to play a clown who led the little children in a Nazi concentration camp happily to their deaths in the gas chambers. After several days of filming the financing fell through and the set was shut down. Lewis tried for years to finish the film and had the negative of the existing footage in a steamer trunk that he never let out of his sight. I once saw him at a book signing to promote Jerry Lewis In Person and a flunky was struggling with the trunk following Lewis and his entourage. I’d like to have a go at  making that film today with Michael Jackson in the clown role. Somebody get Scott Rudin on the phone.
ADDENDUM: A good bio of the historical John Joel Glanton, scalp  hunter and prairie rouge, can be found here. William Goetzman has an entire website devoted to
Samuel Chamberlain’s My Confession including audio and some of Chamberlain’s artwork (this all relates to the post concerning Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian posted in September).

Turner Classic Movies and why I never leave the house….

Turner Classic Movies will be showing Godard’s Contempt featuring Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance and Fritz Lang (pictured above w/snazzy monacle) on Oct 5th @ 2 AM EST, set your Tivo (or as my cable company calls it DVR). They’ll also be showing a Todd Browning triple feature of Mark Of The Vampire/Freaks/Devil Doll on Halloween which is a bit of a disappointment as they’re the easiest Browning films to see. Last year they showed the silent versions of West Of Zanzibar (which William Cohn remade in 1932 as Kongo with Walter Huston in the Lon Chaney role as Phroso “Dead Legs”, perhaps the most chilling character in film history, TCM is showing Kongo Mon, Oct 20th @ 6 AM EST). and the Unholy Three (remade in 1930 as a talkie by Jack Conway, it was Lon Chaney’s only speaking role). Mr. Browning is pictured above second from the right (it’s from a snapshot the wife found). Browning started out as a carny and entered the world of film through his old Louisville pal D.W. Griffith serving as the assistant director on Intolerance. Browning directed sixty two films (found here).
He was also a writer, producer, actor, and sport. He made his last film in 1939 and was shunned by the industry until his death in ’62.
Another oddball TCM double feature coming up is Tim Carey’s The World’s Greatest Sinner followed by Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels (starring Ringo Starr as Zappa) which I haven’t seen since I saw it at Ft. Lauderdale’s seven screen Thunderbird Drive In in 1971. They’re running on Friday, Oct. 24, starting @ 2 AM EST. The Carey flick is truly unique, I lack the words to do it justice. Zappa and the Mothers recorded the theme song as Baby Ray & the Ferns and it was issued on Donna (a Del-Fi subsidiary), it’s easily his best record. You can hear it here. The flip side is called How’s Your Bird. Both tunes feature Zappa’s best Johnny Guitar Watson impersonations.
On Oct. 30 @ 1- PM EST they’re showing Freddie Francis’ Torture Garden with Jack Palance, Burgess Meredith and Peter Cushing. Hoo-boy, that’s a good one. Too bad they’re not following it with Edmund Goulding’s Nightmare Alley, although that Tyronne Power classic (produced by George Jessel, who also owned the exclusive U.S. rights to the Scopitone machine) seems to be shown weekly on the Fox Movie Channel. If you can find William Lindsey Gresham’s original novel it’s even better than the movie.
A few updates. A few days after my post concerning Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian a curious item arrived in the mail. A Reader’s Guide To Blood Meridian by Shane Schimpf. It’s basically a set of footnotes for a proposed annotated volume of Blood Meridian which of course Mr. McCarthy vetoed. It’s quite interesting and there’s a few bibliographical sources that were new to me. I’m currently on the hunt for the fall 1962 issue of The Smoke Signal which features an article called “John Joel Glanton, Lord Of The Scalp Range”. Anybody out there have a copy they can xerox for me? The only problem with A Reader’s Guide…. is that it seems Mr. Schimpf doesn’t speak Spanish, and many of McCarthy’s sources were from Spanish documents that have never been translated into English. Que lo hace incompleto. Para decir lo menos.
The bass player in the Ike Chalmers video clip is Matt Fiveash. He claims he met me and I was talking in a Bostonian accent and pretending to be from Boston. That doesn’t sound like me and I don’t remember it. Matt, there’s photos of me in the Aug. Kelly Keller postings and on Eric Ambel’s Knucklehead NYC site if you want to check.
I’m still looking for a copy of a Hound WFMU air check from May ’96 with Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain as special guests and will trade something nice it.

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