Happy birthday, Glenn Branca

Watching Glenn Branca conduct this performance of Symphony 5 is like watching Nic Cage in a full body seizure; dramatic to say the least.

Similarly, this solo guitar performance from 1978 is a violent catharsis.

Live 1980 footage, augmented by Lee Ranaldo, Ned Sublette and David Rosenboom.

And a few from his No Wave bands…

This past year, I got to see some of the original Robert Longo drawings from the series that produced the cover for The Ascension, in an art museum in Florida. Impressive in person, I imagine much like a Branca performance.


Check out the Proto-Metal madness of Geoff Krozier’s Indian Medicine Magik Show (and, yep, it’s a magic(k) show), from 1970!

Awesome heavy sounds from Australian magikal madman, Geoff Krozier and band. Imagine Arthur Brown (not only flaming head, but fire eating, as well) performing Heavy Metal Magik, while a band bash away in full on Sabbath freakout mode (complete with Gibson SG and a fucking digeridoo, coz Australia, motherfuckers!). Fire, a live chicken, smoke machines, face paint, shit this show sets the stage for a generation of acts to follow, not the least of which would be the theatrics of Alice Cooper, Kiss, Motley Crue and WASP, and this is on an Australian national television performance! I can barely express how glad I am to have discovered this.

Krozier would later perform with Von Lmo’s groundbreaking No Wave act, Kongress, and record a series of synthesizer based music, some of which is to be released on Finders Keepers Records, as Krozier & The Generator.

And here’s some footage of Krozier with Kongress…

And a couple of solo Magik Art performance clips, in the first of which, he greatly resembles Lo Pan from Big Trouble In Little China, which would not be released until five years after his death. Maybe John Carpenter saw a Krozier gig ( I can dream, at least).

Happy birthday, Rhys Chatham

Maybe eight years ago, I was working for a club with a 900 person capacity. Frequently they would ask me about some of the weirder things that they were considering booking and one time, that weird thing was Rhys Chatham. I, having first learned of Chatham’s guitar armies in 87ish, with the release of the Die Donnergotter LP, was pretty excited about the idea of getting to see Chatham live, and immediately launched into some effusive tirade about his work, convincing them of his reputation and merit, as a composer. During that tour there was some Sunn O))) connection and I figured between that and the coterie of musical oddballs, both local and regional (there were no other shows scheduled anywhere near us), we could amass the staggering sum of maybe 200 people. Now, when you’re a venue of 900+, your booking agent isn’t so psyched on 200, but they’ve still got a schedule to fill, so with this in mind, the date was set. Long story short, on the day of the show we’ve sold maybe 40 tickets, end up giving away as many as possible, and my legacy as the guy whose interest in a show was inversely proportional to ticket sales was cemented (around the same time, I also went to bat for LCD Soundsystem, who had maybe 200 people at their show, making it one of the club’s biggest losses, and 2 years later they would have sold out a week’s residency.) . Anyway, for those interested in Chatham, it was a great show of his heavy, repeating, slowly evolving minimalism, and I’ve still got a stack of tickets as a momento.

Here’s a rare clip of Chatham at Max’s Kansas City in 1979, blasting away his particular brand of  No Wave Minimalism.

Guitar Trio was Chatham’s first composition in the mold for which he became famous, and through the years he has been assisted by Glenn Branca (his most prominent rival for the title of King of The Guitar Army), Nina Canal of UT, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo, Alan Licht, Robert Longo, Tony Conrad and original Circus Mort / Swans drummer and member of La Monte Young’s Forever Bad Blues Band, Jonathan Kane.

A Crimson Grail, performed by 100 guitarists and 8 bassists, in the Liverpool Cathedral.

Song of The Day: Invisible Things – F

A guitar/drum duo formed from Experimental/Noise Rock bands, US Maple and Parts & Labor, Invisible Things exemplify the most exciting aspects of that genre, on which I had all but given up. “F” is a raging motherfucker that has me thinking that this band would absolutely nail you to a wall live. It’s got a Free Jazz ferocity and brazenness, mixed with a balls out No Wave blast, and the heft of a LOUD Rock band.


Happy birthday, Pat Metheny

Best known for his numerous Jazz Fusion recordings, guitarist Pat Metheny broke from the genre with 1994’s dissonant and clangorous, Zero Tolerance For Silence. The album was entirely solo Metheny, just layers of overdubbed guitars, with few discernible attempts at melody and structure. Needless to say, the resultant outcry among Metheny’s fan base was akin to Lou Reed’s when he released his experimental Metal Machine Music 2LP, some combination of disgust, confusion, and horror. To this day, fans still want Metheny to disown the record. Granted, the album does sound more like a No Wave or Keiji Haino record than one from a man whose name was synonymous with Fusion, thereby guaranteeing extreme reactions. The flipside of that coin was that, all of a sudden, Metheny gained relevance in circles which had largely ignored his more palatable material. Thurston Moore, himself no stranger to criticism for his unconventional guitar technique, had this to say about ZTFS, ““…THE most radical recording of this decade…a new milestone in electric guitar music…searing, soaring, twisted shards of action guitar/thought process. An incendiary work by an unpredictable master, a challenge to the challengers…” . High praise, indeed.

Von Lmo at Max’s Kansas City 1979!

The earliest footage that I’ve seen of the No Wave legend, Von Lmo. Many thanks to Paul Tschinkel for posting this and other rare live clips from The Cramps, The Heartbreakers, Pulsallama, Rhys Chatham, The Contortions, Eight Eyed Spy, Jayne County and more, all originally broadcast on his cable access show, Paul Schinkel’s Inner Tube. I highly recommend a visit to his youtube page.

Happy birthday, Kim Gordon

When Sonic Youth were firing on all cylinders live, there were few bands that could hold a candle to them. And now for some of my favorite Kim moments

Happy Birthday, Jim Jarmusch

Check out Jim, circa early 80’s, on the keyboards in the Del-Byzanteens

Or howzabout Fishing With John Lurie?

Or just watch the trailer for one of my favorite movies. I saw Down By Law when it was released in 1986, and was in awe of it’s atmosphere and cool. Decades later, I still am.