PIGSHIT: “A” is for Apple, “B” is Bizarre

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As hard as it may seem today to fathom, there was a time, in the not too distant analog past, when starting up a record company required more – much more – than just a domain name and the nearest GarageBand™ software. Yes, there was a time when starting up a record company required actual brick and mortar (or at least some office space), telephones, pens, pencils, typewriters and reams of 20 lb stationery (plus desks to put them all on and, ideally, a staff of people to use them) not to mention, in the case of at least one of the two record companies mentioned below, a full Cordon Bleu kitchen staff equipped with a Continue reading

PIGSHIT: High School Madness or How Can You Drive To Two Places At Once (in fond remembrance of Peter Bergman)

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I can now hereby unequivocally state I was actually one of the proud, the brave, and yes, the subsequently unemployable by-products of the Toronto Board of Education’s early-Seventies flirtation with that dastardly “open curriculum.” “Open” as in “Let the kids … Continue reading

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Every Sixties recording artist seemed to have ‘em:  There were the Beach Boys’ Hite Morgan tapes, the Stones’ IBC demos, the Byrds’ notorious Jet Set sessions, and even the Velvet Underground’s attempts at becoming East Coast studio stringers for Gary Lewis and the Playboys (…just kidding about that last one) (I think ). As a brand new collection called The Beatles with Tony Sheridan: First Recordings, 50th Anniversary Edition more than proves, even the almighty Fab Four were not immune to this pre-fame plague of skeletons-in-the-audio-closet. For you see, when not binging on Chuck Berry, Preludins and Schnaps in Hamburg’s red-light district throughout their, um, formative years, our heroes also served as in-studio back-up band to one of Britain’s then very biggest rock stars.  Caveat emptor, however:  The “studio” was in fact an orchestra hall situated within Harburg’s Friedrich Ebert School for Boys and Girls, and John, George, Pete and Paul on his brand new Hofner violin “guitar bass,” although they got to perform two songs themselves, were hired only to provide instrumental and vocal accompaniment behind Polydor Records’ first real rock ‘n’ roll signing, Tony Sheridan. Continue reading

PIGSHIT: High Tide and Fazed Cookies

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The jury – to say nothing of the legal teams – appear to still be out on precisely how much of a bigger bang the Rolling Stones are planning next year to mark their fiftieth (!) year together as a band. Will they in fact, even for a concert or two, be able to regain the best bass player they ever had? Can even long-lost Mick Taylor again be convinced to try to fill Brian’s musical shoes for maybe a solo or two? Continue reading

PIGSHIT: They Ain’t Heavy…

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Never as naughty as the Rolling Stones, nor as pin-up perfect as Herman’s Hermits; seldom as musically adventurous as the Yardbirds, nitty-gritty as the Animals, or full-on bombastic as The Who. Of course, as truly no-one was, they just weren’t as precociously talented as those Beatles either. In fact, throughout the entire artistic marathon which was 1960′s pop, perhaps their only true competition – in the vocal department at least – would be the all-American Beach Boys Continue reading

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As the opening credits of this grand new MVD Visual DVD state, (and I quote), “On September 3, 2010, Iggy and the Stooges performed Raw Power live in Monticello, New York. Six fans filmed the concert and interviewed Iggy and the Stooges after the show.” Really then! A concept so crystalline in both its simplicity and beauty – much like Iggy himself, one such as myself could argue Continue reading

PIGSHIT: Ten Reasons to Now Revisit Hendrix at Winterland and In the West

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1. These original live recordings – totaling 47 tracks over five hours plus – have previously been semi-available only on long-out-of-print releases (not counting quite inferior-sounding bootlegs), and in the case of the Winterland performances now features three (!) full discs of additional material.  2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, celebrating both its second anniversary together and the release of their landmark new Electric Ladyland , filled San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom for three nights running in October of 1968. Continue reading

PIGSHIT: Deep-Catalog Purple

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“Just what the world needs:  Another record company.” And with those typically snide words, on the Seventh day of February, 1968, Bizarre Productions was duly incorporated, and two hundred shares of no par value common stock issued in the State of New York, thereby creating the first of several record companies Frank Zappa would oversee during his most colorful life and career. At this very same point in time, 3500 miles and one ocean to the east, the world’s biggest pop group launched their very own Apple company, whose singles and albums were manufactured and distributed in North America by that granddaddy of all (once-) indie labels, Capitol Records. Continue reading

PIGSHIT: Went to a dance, lookin’ for Imants

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It was at a staff meeting for The Pig Paper , upstairs at Toronto’s Beverley Tavern sometime in very late 1975, that I first had the pleasure of bumming a ride home from the one, the only Imants Krumins. You see, he was the only denizen of our nascent Blank Canuck Generation way back then who not only had an (operable) car, but a job as well. Continue reading

PIGSHIT: Opening Neil Young’s Music Box

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Although it’s already spent a good two years here in the ol’ sty, I’m hardly surprised to find I’m still discovering, hearing, and even seeing fresh goodies galore buried within that great big Neil Young Archives box of mine. But, seeing as yet another O Canada Day is now upon us, I sought to find another way to commemorate the greatest living Canucklehead this side of Dr. Continue reading

PIGSHIT: Herman’s Hermits Made Movies, Two!

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In the utterly go-go, trans-media flurry which was mid-sixties pop(ular culture), every television star worth their Nielsens was expected to not only chase spies and rope steers, but compete with those rock ‘n’ rollers of the moment upon the Top Forty to boot. To cite but two examples, Lorne Bonanza Greene and his 1964 chart-topping “Ringo,” not to mention Captain James T. Continue reading

PIGSHIT: Polycarbonate Beatles For Sale

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While the very concept of the “Tribute” album has over the years become quite a scary one, the Beatle Tribute can strike downright terror into the hearts of any who still value their sensibilities, let alone that hitherto-durable 214-song catalog. Yes, as far back as William Shatner’s 1968 stab at “Lucy In The Sky,” John, Paul, George and even Ringo have had their melodic legacies sliced, diced, half-baked, botched and certainly butchered by those both well-meaning and, well, just plain mean. Continue reading

PIGSHIT: Bob Revealed

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A mere twenty-eight seconds into Joel Gilbert’s extensive new Bob Dylan Revealed documentary, the subject matter himself warns us “There’s many sides to the coin, y’know, and you haveta really, uh, the longer you go on, the more sides you show that are, that are, that are there to be, uh, unraveled.” So in between sessions with Daniel Mark Epstein’s 496-page The Ballad of Bob Dylan , and the actual man’s actual Original Mono Recordings box, I spent the month of Robert Allen Zimmerman’s 70th (!) birthday pondering that… 1.  Although the subject is dwelled upon for less than a minute during Bob Dylan Revealed (we are later treated to some great Super 8 footage of him gallivanting ’round Europe with his young bard however), Albert Grossman and that more-than-complex relationship with Bob Dylan is delved into, and possibly even explained, in a way Martin Scorsese failed to during all two-hundred-and-eight minutes of his own No Direction Home. 2.  “1966 Electric World Tour” drummist Mickey Jones also offers personal home movies of Dont Look Back (and almost Eat the Document ) director D.A Continue reading

PIGSHIT: Eight Questions for our ANT-BEE

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I know of only one man in the entire world who can gather members of Yes, Focus, Gong, Utopia, the (original) Mothers of Invention, the (original!) Alice Cooper group, and even the late, extremely great captain’s Magic Band all together upon the same compact disc – often on the same song even – and somehow not only make it sound right, but make it sound great. That man is the one, the only Billy James who, doing business since 1987 as ANT-BEE, has concocted some of the most delightfully challenging ear honey since, well, Robert Fripp lost his sense of humor for starters. Yes, “prog” is no longer a four-letter word in Billy’s hands, and Electronic Church Muzik , the first ANT-BEE album in too-many years, is finally here. Continue reading

PIGSHIT: 16-Year-Old Soul, Forty-Five Years Later

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Most of us first met this latest in a long line of Fifth Beatles on or soon after April 11, 1969 with the release of a self-described little “song to roller-coast by” called “Get Back.” Never before, you see, had the Fab Four shared sacred label credit with anyone other than themselves. But there it was, printed right atop that bright green revolving Granny Smith: “The Beatles… with Billy Preston .” However, much prior to his musical roller-coasting, William Everett Preston already enjoyed a proud and prodigious career, launched from his mother’s lap where, at age three, he began playing the family piano. Soon he was performing with James Cleveland, Andraé Crouch and Mahalia Jackson, and in 1958 portrayed W.C. Continue reading