Sunday, August 29, 2010

Biblioscopes: Forecast for September for all signs

Willie Dixon
Biblioscopes are the union of bibliomancy, divination through opening books to random pages and pondering the meaning of the phrases, and horoscopes, in that each sign does share certain commonalities, including planetary transits. Once a month I ask the Universe to lead my hands in opening the book to the right page for a month’s worth of good advice for each sun sign. My comments are in italics.

For September I am using The Willie Dixon Song Book (music composed by Willie Dixon). If one man could be considered the backbone of rock n roll, it would be Willie Dixon (1915-1992). His songs have been covered by all the greats, including Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Foghat, The Doors and Megadeth.

Aries (Mar. 22- April 21)
Let Me Love You Baby

Let me love you baby

Let me love you darlin' 'til your good love drives me crazy 

You may go way too far in pursuing a goal if you don't stop and think. But I have bet you've done that before.  If you are up to it, you may want to try something different this time.

As performed by Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Taurus (April 22-May 21)
You can't judge one by looking at the other
You can't judge a book by looking at the cover
Oh can't you see, oh you misjudge me
I look like a farmer, but I'm a lover
You can't judge a book by looking at the cover

Don't you hate it when people judge you before getting to know you?  It's so hurtful. But haven't you been just as guilty of that as anyone else? Take it easy and wait for the right moment to prove yourself.

Here it is by "The Syndicats" but I think everyone's played this tune.

Gemini (May 22- June 21)
We-ell, I can't quit you baby, but I got to put you down a little while 
We-ell, I can't quit you baby, but I got to put you down a little while 
We-ell you done made me mess up my happy home, made me mistreat my only child 

There will be a welcome hiatus from something that's been deeply affecting you. Perhaps you can use this time for some perspective.

Yes, I know Led Zep did this song. But this is probably the version they listened to when they decided to cover it:

Cancer (June 22-July 21)
Too many cooks are gonna spoil the stew
Ain't nobody cookin' but me and you

You gota  real good oven
You got a hot flame too
But let me butter your buns 
While you stir this stew

You will have to collaborate with someone closely. Decide together what the end result is before you start, and perhaps delegate.

I wish Barbecue Bob and the Spareribs would do that one. I think they would make it dirtier.

Leo (July 22-August 21)
I have an axe and pistol, my graveyard train
Shoot tombstone bullets wearing balls and chain
I'm drinking TNT, smoking dynamite
I hope some screwball start a fight

'Cause I'm ready, yeah, ready as anybody can me
Hey babe, listen
I'm ready for you, I hope you're ready for me

I'm glad you are ready for anything, Leo. Don't forget to be ready for people to be nice to you too. 

Virgo (August 22-Sept 21)
I am, a back door man
I am, a back door man
Well the, men don't know, but the little girls understand
When everybody's tryin' to sleep
I'm somewhere making my, midnight creep
Yes in the morning, when the rooster crow
Something tell me, I got to go
I am, a back door man

Sneaky Virgo. Your timing should be pretty good though. I don't think you'll get caught. But remember before you start how terribly guilty you'll feel when it's all over.

Here's Willie Dixon:
The Doors covered this song. I thought the organ counteracted the sex in the song, so I went with Willie.

Libra (Sept. 22-Oct 21)
I ain't superstitious,
but a black cat crossed my trail.
Bad luck ain't got me so far,
and I won't let it stop me now.
The dogs begin to bark,
all over my neighborhood.
And that ain't all.
Dogs begin to bark,
all over my neighborhood.
This is a mean old world to live in,
And I can't face it all by myself, at all.

You'll be using your hope and inner strength to deal with the tough world out there. People will notice and find you attractive.

It's most famous by Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, but for fun here it is by Megadeth:

Scorpio (Oct 22-Nov. 21)
You jump jump jump here,
You jump jump jump there
You jump jump jump everywhere
You mellow down easy when you really wanna blow your top.

For real mind-blowing fun, take a break from running around doing the things you're supposed to be doing, even the "fun" everyone thinks you should be out having.

From Little Walter

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
 Aint gonna study, study war no more, aint gonna think, think of war no more
Aint gonna fight, fight the war no more, were giving it up, were gonna let it go
Were giving it up, were gonna let it go, were giving it up, were gonna let it go

It's time for you to stand up for peace in the situation. To do that, you may have to let go of a lot of wants and shoulds and suspicions.

No video on this except the best blues band in Romania. I think they do a pretty good job with it:

Capicorn (Dec. 22- Jan 21)
Could be a spoonsful of coffee, could be a spoonsful of tea, just a little spoonful of your precious love, is that enough for me?

You are just going to have to pull yourself together, and politely ask for more.

Cream jamming on Spoonful live. In a red room.

Aquarius (Jan. 22-Feb. 21)
And when the cat is gone you know the mice gon' play. 
That's good advice, good advice
Keep on goin' when you're sure you're right.

I have never known an Aquarius who didn't have a high horse, and they keep it handy when they're sure they're right. But if you keep going on that high horse, some may be having fun behind your back.

Koko Taylor on vocals:

Pisces (Feb.22-Mar 21)
I can look in the skies and predict the rain
I can tell when a woman's got another man
And I'm the one, yes, I'm the one, well I'm the one
The one they call the Seventh Son

Pisces, I have the feeling September will be more magical for you than usual. Your 6th sense will come in handy. Don't be afraid to use it and give people some good advice. 

Covered by Johnny Rivers:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Max's Kansas City--Sex, Drugs, Rockn'Roll and Steak

"Max's Kansas City: Art, Glamour, and Rock n'Roll," by Steven Kasher a book of images  with contributions of a variety of artists, writers and musicians who made the great hangout what it was, will be coming out on Sept. 15. It will cover the entire story of Max's, which was really two bars, one opened by Mickey Ruskin in 1965 as a hangout for his artist and poet friends which including Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Joel Oppenheimer and Andy Warhol--the other when Tony Dean Mills bought the place and reopened it in 1975  as a punk venue with booking agent Peter Crowley.

Max's had three floors--ground floor restaurant, 2nd floor bar/stage, and third floor dressing room. I saw a great interview with Debbie Harry about Max's. She was a waitress there, in its first incarnation before she made it big with "Blondie." In it she says she worked the back room, where the famous people hung out...and they never tipped her. For more early Max's stories from Ms. Harry, here is the rest of the video:

Some of the famous acts that played the early Max's were The Velvet Underground, John Lennon, and Bruce Springsteen. Moving right along, because if I hear anymore about these superstars I am going to scream... (Rolling Stone is having a special issue this month on Beatles songs. I am starting to think rock n' roll is dead. Or maybe Rolling Stone is dead.) But here is Springsteen at Max's. He's still around.

The first incarnation of Max's closed in 1974 because the art/poet crowd was starting to disperse.

The 2nd Max's opened in 1975. Here is some found film of the ground floor restaurant.

It was the kind of place where the steak was $2 and juicy; the nearly famous in the third floor dressing room didn't have waitress service;  people had sex in the bathrooms, office and phone booths; and many of the acts, including Devo, The Heartbreakers,  The Misfits, Blondie would soon make it big. Sounds like a great hangout to me. Here is some film of the Senders with Johnny Thunders of the Heartbreakers:

Max's closed due to a slow decline. The drinking age was raised, and mass transit in and out of Manhattan became sporadic after midnight.

Over the past few months, I've been racking my brain as to why I've met so many people who played in its later incarnation. Some people say it's because I like older guys. (I do.) But mainly it's because I was hanging out at the Continental in 1993-5. I think Noel, who booked bands at the Continental, was still nostalgic for Max's. And also thought he could make money on others' nostalgia for the place. The bands who had played Max's were definitely the best on the Continental's bill including: "The Waldos" (Walter Lure from the Heartbreakers, Joey Pinter from The Knots) Simon and the Bar Sinisters (Simon Chardiet from Joey Miserable and the Worms) and The Senders, who had a weekly Monday night show.

Max's Now
Max's Kansas City has reinvented itself as an online brand,, with a blog, photos, and classic t-shirt sales. The dot-com claims to have curators that keep up with the best in art, fashion and music like the nightclub, but it seems to me that reviews of new art and culture was not what Max's was about. Being surrounded by music, art, fashionable people, and people waiting and working to be discovered was the real reason to be there.

I have known fine artists my whole life, plus any number of working musicians and writers. And none of them talk about the hottest new anything, and if they do, they make fun of it. Most creative types try to outdo each other on the coolest thing no one's heard of, the technical side of their job and each other. Sorry maxs-dot-com. In my book that's a fail.

Can the Max's Phenomenon Be Recreated?
According to Billy Thompson of the Senders, people tried to replace Max's after it closed, but no one could agree on whether to hangout at Trammps or the Danceteria.  I don't think you could get more than five really creative people to agree to be regulars at the same place since.
the danceteria

 There has been some success in making nightclubs popular with the very rich and famous--just by charging a lot of money at the door and hiring the right doormen.

But I don't think that's what Max's was about. I think back then, New York was a lot less about money. I think this allowed creative people and others to hang out and be themselves together, all in one joint. Like so:

Clockwise: Outside Max's, Devo, Cherry Vanilla, unknown, Andy Warhol, Devo with David Bowie, Blondie, Cyrinda Fox, Center: The Senders with Johnny Thunders, Walter Lure of the Heartbreakers
 With thanks to Wild Bill Thompson, Bob Gruen, Jay Braun and Peter Crowley.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Red Snapper Keeps Hangin' Onto Vanilla Fudge.

Pro-blogger, bassplayer and songwriter Marc Campbell brought Vanilla Fudge to my attention on with this video:

(Mark Stein--Vocals, organ, Tim Boggert--bass, Vince Martell--guitar, Carmine Appice--drums)

Marc Campbell claimed this was proto-metal. I can't say that I fell in love with the song, because I'm not a big fan of metal. I was wowwed by the performance enough to talk about it with Billy Thompson and look into them a little bit more.

Vanilla Fudge's second album was high-concept. "And the Beat Goes On" was an attempt to show how music always was and always would be, throughout history in a single LP.  They were one of the first Album-Oriented Rock bands, and were fairly influential. Their big hit was was hugely popular and toured with the likes of Steve Miller and Led Zeppelin.

Their big hit was  "You Keep Me Hangin' On"

There are as many different stories about their breakup as there are people who have met the members of Vanilla Fudge. Carmine Appice said that it was mostly because supergroups were forming in the early 70s. He had heard during the Singer Bowl gig that Jeff Beck wanted to play with him and Tim Bogert--and they did later form Beck, Bogert and Appice. (more of that interview here)

That sounds nice and sane, right?  But sanity is not why I write about rock n' roll.

I also heard that their break up was caused by an incident involving the road manager, members of the band, John Bonham (who liked to fish) a red snapper and a redheaded groupie named Jackie.

If you think that stupid videorecording was invented during the internet era, you are wrong.  Mark Stein filmed the whole thing.

I am sure plenty of drugs were involved. I bet (hope) Jackie took most of them. If what I wrote wasn't graphic enough for you, click here.

I can imagine a band breaking up after an episode like this. Remember, a band is 3 or 4 people who have to work together creatively--you really can't hide your true feelings, not even red-snapper envy.

Frank Zappa immortalized the incident in a song, but somehow "red snapper" turned into "mudshark." Lyrics here.  Some members of the band claim they don't remember any of this happening. I think they are the ones with wives and good press agents.

 I strongly suggest you follow for more coolness. You can even "like" them on facebook. And you can friend me there too. You can friend met there too. I'm like Jesus. I won't turn anyone away. Except people who want to take me out for red snapper.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saucy Funk Jazz of the 60s, 70s

It's hard for me to get into jazz--there are so many performers to learn about and so much noodling to listen to before I find something rockin' enough for me.

But last night I heard the organist Brother Jack McDuff (1926-2001, major recordings 60s-70s) and I was really impressed. He could really pull the sexy--and sometimes the sleazy--out of that Hammond organ!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Where the Soviet Marching Band, The Misfits, and Elvis Came Together

Well, my bloggy friends, I am off to visit my family for the weekend with only my cell phone for technology. There is no computer or internet where I am going.

The house I grew up in, which was a lot like the funhouse without the fun, has a lot of personal rock n'roll and music history.

It's the first place I heard the Soviet Marching Band. My mom and uncle were put on the record and talked it up how great it was, at  7am on a gray Massachusetts morning in 1982. I think they were on their 3rd beer by then.

It's where I used to practice my karate while listening to "Double Fantasy" in 1981 under Christmas lights in the kitchen in the spring.

It's where I danced around to the Pagan's "Boy Do I Dance Good" and The Misfits "Little Angel Fuck" from a mixtape in 1988 after washing the supper dishes.

where I first watched Elvis and Ann Margret, read Heinlein, Niven, David Eddings, Lloyd Alexander, Eugene O'Neill, on a fake fur tiger couch in the living room,

learned to draw stick figures, then faces, then realistic noses, and finally a series of erotic posters which I sent to Def Leppard in 1987 when I was 16,

and recovered from being repeatedly beaten by a boyfriend in 1990.

While I've kept with the coolness here (mostly), I have to say going back there brings up a lot of heavy Eugene O'Neillesque crap--I don't really care to go. I would like to get to a spiritual place where I am okay with the family thing. Maybe one day...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Albert King Art Work

Albert King--one of the three kings of the blues. (Can you name the others?)
I did this painting today. It's small, 8x10. I'm gearing up for a 6'wide painting of another band.
Here is my reference for the art: