Archive for the ‘Iggy Pop’ Category


Monday, October 17th, 2011

Listen: Temple Of Dreams / Messiah

Not to be confused with Switzerland’s death metal band, this Messiah formed in ’88 during London’s acid house craze by college friends Ali Ghani and Mark Davies. When the pair met at an Iggy Pop concert, they decided to purchase some electronic equipment and make music for fun. According to the band’s bio, it was then that their musical chemistry became evident, coinciding with the English rave scene. The duo’s brand of techno encompasses the aggression and volume of punk as well, the diva vocals of house music. So there you have it.

By the early 90′s, several of those acid house anthems began to surface into the mainstream, and even found their way onto the occasional US major label. Such was the case with ‘Temple Of Dreams’ in ’92. Rick Rubin’s American Records, then distributed by Warner Brothers and just down the hall from Duane and I at Medicine, picked up Messiah for the US, and issued ‘Temple Of Dreams’ as an initial single on his techno offshoot, WHTE LBLS.

Everyone loved this on the floor. I don’t think any of us could get enough of it, or the various mixes that seemed to be commissioned weekly.

But the back story was as intriguing as the single. In ’83, This Mortal Coil released a cover of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’, a track from his STARSAILOR album (’70), as a UK single. Peaking at #66 in the Pop Charts, the record went on to spend a total 101 weeks in the UK Indie Chart, a run that ranked 4th during the entire 1980′s, after three classic long-selling records: ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ / Bauhaus (131 weeks), ‘Blue Monday’ / New Order (186 weeks) and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ / Joy Division (195 weeks).

Messiah actually sampled This Mortal Coils version heavily, adding their own blips and bleeps plus a bunch of new shouty vocal vamps.

Despite having played this white at the time, I hadn’t heard it for years until tonight while doing some therapy filing. It’s on about the tenth repeat play at this point.

Big Brother & The Holding Company / Janis Joplin

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Down On Me / Big Brother & The Holding Company

Listen: Down On Me / Big Brother & The Holding Company
Down On Me / Big Brother & The Holding Company

There are two things about Janis Joplin that annoy me. Neither are her fault.

Firstly, there is so little footage that really captures her power and that the media uses. The clips on a short lived US pop music show, MUSIC SCENE, are the best ones. That was with her Kozmic Blues Band lineup. Then to be fair, the Ed Sullivan and Dick Cavett shows were great as well. But the media always use that shit footage from the Monterey Pop Festival, when she hadn’t yet exploded vocally or visually. By the time she left the Bay area and was playing nationally, her voice was rasp and tortured; and she was visually a ball of color and fire. So heads up: seek out some of the aforementioned performances.

The second is Clive Davis. Why people line up to credit him with her success sickens me. Yes, he signed Big Brother & The Holding Company. And yes, he’s done a lot of things. His resume looks way better than mine. For instance, he let Ray Davies make two awesome Kinks albums, SLEEPWALKER and MISFITS, when most felt he and the band were washed up, signed The Patti Smith Group and let her make two great ones initially as well, plus gave both Lou Reed and Iggy Pop shots on Arista.

But masterminding the break up of Big Brother & The Holding Company with Albert Grossman is not a creative stroke of genius and is definitely unforgivable. How fucking dumb can you be? Their CHEAP THRILLS album soared to #1 in the Billboard charts being a blisteringly perfect document of her and the band’s magnetism.

Big Brother & The Holding Company were the ultimate acid rock group, probably of all time. They were raw and ragged but had swing, a lethally positive combination. Listen to James Gurley’s solo on the version of ‘Down On Me’ I’ve posted. By the time this was released, after her death, Columbia didn’t even have the courtesy to credit the band on the label. I assume the plan was to polish her for mainstream acceptance. Please. The whole point was her wild abandon.

Big Brother & The Holding Company live were an experience I’ll never forget. Friday October 11, 1968. Syracuse University presented the band at The War Memorial, but you had to be a student to get in. I wasn’t an SU student, in fact I was a little boy; no way could I even pass for a college kid. My friend Denny and I begged a security guy to let us in, bless him cause he did! Changed my life.

Big Brother & The Holding Company / Syracuse War Memorial / October 11, 1968

Above and below: Big Brother & The Holding Company / Syracuse War Memorial / October 11, 1968

Janis, October 11, 1968

These two pictures are from that night, snapped with my crap camera. I wish I had the negatives as the prints are fading. Check out how little equipment is up on stage. Still it was loud and out of control. Fantastic. Luckily, Janis played my area many times. I got to see all her line ups through the years. She was amazing. It’s not because I was young and impressionable. Janis Joplin was truly a living legend. And the lasting effect she has over everyone, not just me, proves it.

Iggy Pop

Monday, February 16th, 2009

I'm Bored / Iggy Pop

Listen: I’m Bored / Iggy Pop

Iggy’s been on more labels than Sparks, and has had more career comebacks than Cher. And just like those two examples, he’s one of the greats. What can I tell you about Iggy Pop except for: if you’ve never seen him live, it is not too late. He’s the real deal, and still can wipe the floor with 99% of the competition. The other 1% he equals.

This single had an important moment. When Ric Ocasek hosted The Midnight Special in the early 80′s, his guests were Suicide and Iggy Pop. Both were way too much for bad rock radio controlled America, but The Cars were huge and Ric had the clout to bring real art to late night viewers. It was one of the songs he performed, and has yet to make it on to you tube.

I never much cared about The Stooges. I’m sorry, forgive me. My initial experience with Iggy Pop was at LA’s Whisky A Go Go, in May ’73. I flew out, all on my own, to see The Pretty Things first ever US show. How crazy is that? I did have a friend to stay with at least. Iggy turned up in a blue mini skirt and white fur jacket – dressed identical to his girlfriend, both sporting bleached yellow hair. It was cool.