Friday, June 29, 2012

Rodney On The ROQ vol. 4

It's the weekend!  It's summer!  It's almost July 4th!  Man, I just want some fun music right now. So let's set our wayback machine to the early '80s: we're gonna cruise around, turn on KROQ-FM, eat Oki Dogs, go to that liquor store where they never card the under-aged, drink, puke, and crank up Rodney. 

You don't need me to tell you about the legendary freeform radio dj Rodney Bingenheimer. He's often been called John Peel of America, but after seeing his bio-doc film "The Mayor of The Sunset Strip", he reminded me more of Andy Warhol - quiet, shy, surrounded by superstars but kind of in his own world.  A genuinely strange person, but, as much as anyone, helped drag American culture out of it's "malaise" (as Jimmy Carter called it). He not only played the Ramones before New York radio, he played (and interviewed over the phone) the Sex Pistols when UK radio couldn't (they were banned), and countless other alterna-stars and obscurities when the rest of commerical radio was still mired in The Eagles, Led Zep, Debby Boone and disco.  He now has a star on Hollywood Blvd.

Which is all well and good, but why this all matters to me is the fact that discovering Rodney's show (and, to a lesser extant, KROQ in general) made me a music fan.  Yep, it was (almost) as simple as that.  I liked my hippie big sister's Beatles records, the novelty music Dr Demento played, and my mom's Johnny Cash records.  But, generally, I thought modern music was mostly stupid Van Halen and Kiss nonsense. Post-Rodney, I became an avid radio listener, started buying records, talked music with my friends, reading reviews, etc... It was a thrilling time that you can't really understand unless you have ever lived in a time or place where there was little alternative culture, and suddenly, there was.  So, thanks Rodney!

Is this a nostalgia trip, where I sigh and say wistfully about how "innocent" it all was?  Hell, no. Listening to these songs again, sometimes for the first time in years, I'm struck by how decadent and depraved so much of it was. And to think that I would listen to stuff like Kim Fowley's evil-sounding "Invasion of The Polaroid People," or songs with titles like "I Want To Be A Prostitute," and it didn't faze me at all. This was my youth? When was I ever innocent? L.A. (America?  The world?) was a dirtier, smoggier, more crime-ridden,  immoral, and politically corrupt place then it is now. We thought Ronnie was gonna start World War III. And it's all in these grooves. 

In the early '80s, Rodney compiled three albums for Posh Boy records that have been featured all over the internets (Look! This nice person posted all of 'em).  They spread the gospel of the enormous SoCal scene far beyond KROQ's signal, and, thus became vastly influential to zillions of kids who maybe knew about, say, Patti Smith or the B52s but had no idea how widespread, diverse, and hardcore the rock underground had become. Here then is a theoretical hypothetical fourth volume.

What you won't find here: the famous groups, songs from the previous Rodney comps, or much hardcore punk, since that's been amply covered elsewhere (I'm pretty sure you all know what Black Flag sounds like.)  This is more like a typical Rodney show, where he'd throw in unfashionable oldies (e.g.: early '60s surf), novelties and avant-weirdness amidst the power-pop and punk. From local private-pressings to foreign imports. So much stuff that, in those pre-internet days, you simply couldn't hear anywhere else. It was difficult to find some of these records in the shops. Keep in mind, KROQ wasn't some little college station, but a commercial outlet with a strong signal and high ratings, reaching millions of people. One of those interesting moments in culture when the radical was actually kinda cool and trendy for a while.
[UPDATE 8/27/14: new download link:]
Rodney On The ROQ vol. 4

01 Let's Go to the Beach - The Gears
02 The Cramps - Do The Clam [Rodney played the entirety of a Cramps live album when he heard that Lux Interior had died.  He hadn't. Oops. But I taped the album off the radio, and discovered this great Elvis cover.]
03 The Monkey's Uncle - Annette & The Beach Boys [Rodney played '60s beach party movie queen Annette Funicello so much on his show that Red Cross/Redd Kross were inspired to write their classic "Annette's Got The Hits"]
04 Summer Fun - The Barracudas
05 Are There Any Girls Here? - Rodney Bingenheimer
06 Riboflavin-flavored, Non-carbinated, Polyunsaturated Blood - 45 Grave [This number, featuring The Germs' Don Bolles (see track 14) would get played every Halloween. Boy, was I surprised when I walked into a thrift store one day in the '90s and saw this album - I had assumed that this song was a 45 Grave original]
07 Romeo's Distress - Christian Death ["death-rock" we used to call this kinda thing, before "goth" became a popular term]
08 Velvet Goldmine - David Bowie [a "Ziggy"-era UK-only b-side; were it not for Rodney I would have had no idea that this record existed]
09 Invasion of The Polaroid People - Kim Fowley [cool music backing by Rich La Bonté]
10 The Human Chicken - The Dancing Did [I always heard Rodney calling these guys "The Dancing Dead," and thought that that was such a good band name; only when doing research for this post did I discover this band's true name!]
11 I'm in Love With a German Filmstar - The Passions [when Rodney would play this, he would say: "I AM in love with a German filmstar - Nastassja Kinski!";  a bandmate of a pre-Clash Joe Strummer in The 101ers was in this group.]
12 Robot (7" Mix) - The Plastics [This catchy bit of Japanese techno-pop is the first song I remember hearing on Rodney's show, a true wtf? moment]
13 I Want To Be A Prostitute- Alisa
14 My Tunnel - The Germs [an unreleased demo that I remember taping off the radio back in the day; this killer song didn't get an official release until the '90s.]
15 Mohawk Man - Mr. Epp And The Calculations [funny how the hardcore scene had already become fodder for parody by the time this came out in '82; features future Mudhoney members]
16 Oki Dogs - Youth Gone Mad [Ah, Oki Dogs...two weiners, pastrami, wrapped in a chili-filled tortilla; I had one for the first time in 20 years at Cine-Family's Post-Punk Junk film fest last year. SO good.]
17 Kinky Boots - Patrick Macnee & Honor Blackman [Celebrities singing badly! From the great '60s tv show "The Avengers]"
18 Are There Any Girls Here? - Rodney Bingenheimer
19 Foolish Girl - The Mo-dettes [Rodney sure loved the ladies - no shortage of female performers featured on his show]
20 Richard Hung Himself - D.I. [a few more death-rockers]
21 Death On The Elevator - Super Heroines
22 Skeletons - Inflatable Boy Clams
23 Randy Scouse Git - The Monkees [I seem to recall one night Rodney played every song the Monkees alphabetical order]
24 American Society - Eddie and the Subtitles
25 Satan's Stomp - The Flesh Eaters
26 Lets Make the Scene -  Rodney Bingenheimer [I think a pre-hair metal Lita Ford, still a Runaway, did the music, but can't find confirmation]

I saw Rodney mc a Blondie show 5 years ago or so.  He pretty much looked the same. I might do a vol. 5, but does anyone have The Ventures version of "Surfin and Spying"?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pascal Ayerbe's Musical Toys Collection

Well, this is a good way to start the day: I opened my email this morning and there was a video from "toy-pop" composer Pascal Ayerbe.  As with so much of this instrumental toy/everyday objects music being made lately, this tune is inventive, melodic and charming - sweet without being corny. But this revealing video shows us how the man actually goes about constructing this music, toy by toy. This song is from a forthcoming album, to be released this November.

France seems to be a hotbed for toypop and toy composers, e.g.: apart from Mr. Ayerbe, they've also produced Klimperei, and Pascal Comelade; the whimiscal constructions of Pierre Bastiens, and the "infantile naivety" of Thiaz Itch may not use toys, but share a similiar child-like aesthetic. (And La Rainbow Toy Orchestra are from nearby Spain.) I wonder if any of them have kids? "Daddy, I wanna play with my toy piano!"  "No, can't you see I'm working, get outta here!"  "WAAAAHHH!"

Buy his albums

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

J-Rocc: The Deffest MC With Cerebral Palsy

"Heart Of Stone," a 6-song free download ep by 19-year-old Australian rapper Justin Lampson aka J-Rocc, is one of the most amazing things I've heard lately. Anyone with the slightest interest in outsider music will want to take an immediate listen.  After all, you don't hear someone with cerebral palsy rapping too often.

J-Rocc (not to be confused with the similiarly-named Beat Junkies dj) speaks and raps slowly, and with great difficulty. I didn't even understand much of what he said at first. Not until the second song was I able to pick up on his lyrics.  But he genuinly does have more flow then some rappers I've heard.  And he has something to say, kickin' straight positivity, even as he faces some harsh realities.  No bitches 'n' bling here. The Syndey hip-hop scene really came thru - the beats are fresh, and the guest emcees who join him on a few songs don't make a big deal about his condition.  With a refeshing lack of well-meaning, but ultimately condescending cheerleading/pitying, they simply treat him like he's one of the gang. 

That's Tjupurru posing with J in the pic.  We wrote about his odd excursions into avant-funk didgeridoo music a while back.

J-Rocc "Heart Of Stone"

Thanks to Lee Ashcroft, the man who introduced Bernie Sizzey to the world. (Bernie's got a new album out, too, by the way.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Music Recorded In A Cave on "The Great Stalacpipe Organ"

Here's some real "underground music," har har!  Put on your lantern helmet and repel with me down into Luray Caverns, Virginia, where an engineer named Leland Sprinkle noticed that striking the cave's rock formations produced musical tones. So, in 1954, he conceived of an organ with little hammers that strike a hollow rock when the organ's keys are depressed. It's quite musical, though with a limited sonic palette. Rather then the usual pipe organ bombast, the Stalacpipe Organ ("The World's Largest Musical Instrument!") is quiet, ghostly. The reverberating splashes of dripping water in the background sounds like sporadic electronic percussion, adding to the ambient feel.

In 2001, United States Naval Academy chapel organist Monte Maxwell recorded a cd full of popular, classical, gospel, and American patriotic standards played on the Organ. Four-and-a-half years ago, when the album was still in print, I posted one song from it, but as it has apparently fallen into a deep cave, here's the whole dang deal:

Midnight In The Caverns: Music From The Great Stalacpipe Organ

Older recordings can be heard here (the original 365 Project), and Week 15 of Tape Findings.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Last year I posted 10 albums, one a week, by the late, great Los Angeles loony Zoogz Rift and his Amazing Shitheads.  Our best-est new pal in the world myxsoma has sent us eight, count 'em, EIGHT more albums from the mad genius, including some tracks from his hopelessly rare (and awesome) first album.

Tho he's usually considered to be a disciple of Zappa and Beefheart, Rift himself has said that it's more complicated then that: throw in The Bonzo Dog Band, punk, free jazz, retarded novelty records, avant-classical, etc., etc. The hilarious, crazed, uninhibited nature of His Zoogzness can't readily be compared to anyone else.

WARNING: some tracks are missing from the earlier albums. These are not all complete, at least not the first two or three albums.  And it's all 128kbps. But I'm not complaining at all - it's still a whopping 6 hours of music, and it all rules. Some of these were cassette-only releases that Zoogz didn't want to re-issue when he went big time (by indie standards) signing to SST Records.  I have no idea why.  It's all really, really good, with every album flying off into myriad, highly original directions - from blues played on xylophones, to crazed rants, to atmospheric instrumentals. Some individual songs, however, were rescued from these tapes for his more high-profile album releases, so there are a few (but not a lot of) duplicates if you downloaded all those other albums.

Zoogz2: from WITH NO APPARENT REASON (1976),


Zoogz4: BOHEMIAN BUDDHA (2000)

Zoogz5: BORN IN THE WRONG UNIVERSE (2003) + a 45 minute long track from "school of the criminally insane" that I couldn't fit onto 'Zoogz3.'

Much thanks to myxsoma - go check out his lovely music, videos for his music, his nutty YouTube channel, and dig the video (right) he posted of Zoogz' song "Bowl of Gregmar" featuring a photo autographed by the man himself.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Got some exciting Bob Vido news: a cache of paintings and other personal items of this legendary Los Angeles outsider musican/artist/writer/ philospher has been discovered in a storage facility, and YOU can be the proud owner of one of his paintings.  Who wouldn't want a painting of a sofa by the composer of "Girls Delight"? But I'll let Ric tell the story:

Provenance: I had never heard of Bob Vido. This was found art. Of interest to fans of Vido’s music, there also was a bound notebook entitled "Bob Vido Songbook" "All songs Old and Original" dated August 04, 1977, with the names of 15 of songs on the front: Felicia, No Squeeze Banana, Josephina, El PWA, Great Caballero, Oh Babe, etc etc. but unfortunately the pages inside had been removed. I also found a hand-made sign advertising a Bob Vido show, admission price one dollar, “Vidofilm, with music, Lecture-Discussion, Vidology, Rhizology, Astrology, Technology & Ecology!" And while it is apparently the subject of debate as to whether he ever performed his music to a live audience, it would appear that he intended to put on a show with music, though it is unknown to me if the show ever took place.

I have enjoyed learning something of the history of the man and his art and music. The art is currently for sale on eBay. I hope that there is some interest in these items. thanks, Ric

Unfortunately, the songs listed above appear to have been lost - their are no songs by those names on his album. And the painting of a girl with a third eye in her forehead entitled "Venusian Girl" (!?!) has been sold. Also, sadly, the excellent website appears to have bitten the dust.

Ric sent me pictures of his haul, and I saw the flyer for his performance mentioned above.  Zooming in on it I see that the address where this stupendous event was to have taken place was 924 1/2 N. Serrano here in L.A., which I'm guessing was the small Hollywood bungalow where Vido lived for most of his life. If he did in fact perform, it must have been for a very small crowd.  If there's ever a MusicForManiacs roadtrip one day, that'll certainly be on the itinerary...

UPDATE 6/19/12: Jonathan Ward, Vido's discoverer and the man behind the now-dormant site, tells us that "I have Vido paintings of both of the two women shown in the paintings that this fellow's auctioning. I would imagine that he was copying them from photos, or using them as examples of his talent" and that he knows of only two copies of Vido's album: "...mine, and one overseas. And a guy in Florida found a 1-sided version of the LP with a similar (but slightly different) cover, indicating that Bob did multiple pressings of his masterwork." He also hopes to put up a new 'n' improved Vido website one of these days.

I don't know what happened to my downloaded copy of the Vido album (on some old hard drive somewhere, I hope) but here's a couple mp3s of his classics, courtesy of WFMU's old Incorrect Music show, and Otis Fodder's 365 Project:


High Speed 

And you can listen/download the medley I originally posted of "Las Vegas Jubillee" and "Girls Delight" HERE.

Thanks, Ric!  (Ah, now I'm gonna have "Girls Delight" in my head all day...)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Wild and Dirty World Of Mel Henke

"The Mad Musical World Of Mel Henke" reads the cover of this classic bit of Space Age Bachelor Pad Music. 'Mad' is putting it politely - the blaring jazz, leering lyrics, rude sound effects, and general 'Playboy' Party Jokes feel to the whole thing makes it as far out as you could get for 1962 without crossing over into Lenny Bruce territory.

Needless to say, it's a wildly entertaining album, with futuristic hi-fi sounds bouncing all over your stereo system. Henke knew how to get your attention - he made his name in advertising, composing snappy jingles like "See The USA In Your Chevrolet." You may now be saying, "Yo Fab, if this album's so great, why haven't other blogs posted it?"  They have, my cyber-chums, they have!  But not with the bonus tracks from the Scamp Records 1997 re-issue. See, that's why I rule and they drool I felt that it was okay to post my copy here.

Weirdly enough, that's not Henke pictured on the album cover -  it's actually San Francisco radio dj Tom Donahue. According to the liner notes by Brother Cleve of Combustible Edison (hey, remember them?), it was a "bizarre marketing move...undoubtedly hoping for airplay in return."

Mel Henke - " La Dolce Henke"
After clicking the above link, scroll down for a choice of downloading options. You may have to wait a few secs.]
1. The Lively Ones
2. Walkin' My Baby Back Home
3. The Twisters
4. Let's Put Out The Lights
5. Open The Door, Richard
6. Farmer John
7. Last Night On The Back Porch
8. It's So Nice To Have A Man Around The House
9. All That Meat
10. You're Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do?)
11. Baby, It's Cold Outside
12. Woman In Space [dig the "ethereal sound of Elliot Fischer's electric violin"]
13. William Tell On The Hoof
14. Old McDonald Had A Girl
15. Exotic Adventure
16. See The USA In Your Chevrolet [instrumental version; check Dinah Shore singing in the vid below]

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's Not Just A Banjo - It's A Really BIG Banjo

Another odd bit of musical obscurity...I've been using this pic for a background for a while:

not really knowing what that large, strange stringed musical instument was.  But thanks to valuable info submitted to us by Outaspaceman, I can tell you that it's a bass banjo, and that there used to be groups like Raymond and His Famous Banjo Band, a seven-banjo (!) British combo featured in this video of a 1937 performance:

 HERE's another video of the group that, to my surprise, did not play bluegrass, but rather, some peppy marches. The banjo was a black American instrument, based on African stringed things like the kora, and was adopted by white hillbilly musicians. I had no idea that, at some point, it made it's way over to the UK and joined the music-hall scene, being utilized in ways utterly apart from American traditions.  Learn something new every day, eh, what?

(Thanks, outaspaceman!)

Friday, June 08, 2012


This 1995 album, the second by American experimental composer David Shea, is constructed entirely out of samples played live.  Yep, no computer mashups here - he would trigger the samples on a keyboard, and could actually perform these pieces in concert. The sources are mostly instrumental, and range from classical orchestras to Indonesian folk jams. And that's just the first track.

The two tracks that use classic cartoon sound effects and music, "Screwy Squirrel," and "Tex" (named for animator Tex Avery), are what really made me want to seek out this album back when I read about it, but really, I was looking for any sound collage music.  It was hard to find in that period between The Great Copyright Clampdown of the early '90s and the turn-of-the-century post-Napster free-for-all. I would tape hip-hop dj mixes off the radio, or send away for John Oswald and Tape Beatles mail order cassettes. (Ah, the lure of forbidden fruit!) I don't recognize much of these samples, tho, so maybe that's how Shea was able to get away with releasing this.

But to give you idea of what's going on here, the track "Trio III," for example, features what sounds like traditional Middle Eastern chanting being brought startlingly up-to-date by a pounding techno drum beat. Then it gets all groovy '60s organ-a-go-go on us, before a jazz band crashes in, all honking sax and walking bass, and takes us to a tropical lagoon with some Martin Denny-ish exotica. And so it goes. Pretty dense, ADD-riddled stuff.


[After clicking the above link, scroll down for a choice of downloading options. You may have to wait a few secs.]

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


A song written by an old conservative politician called "America Rocks"?  Sung by a bunch of unknowns riding on the coattails of their famous older relatives? A "rock" song as slickly produced as an advertising jingle?  How can it miss?!?  Happy Election Day, America!

Crank up "America Rocks," by The Osmonds - Second Generation, co-written by U.S. State Senator Orrin Hatch:


"It's totally cool, it's totally hot!"

Thanks (?) to windy.

Monday, June 04, 2012


Jens Peterson Berger of the great Swedish band Originalljudet has built a crazy contraption that puts a new spin on the term "drum machine" - this ain't no TR-808, folks, but a large robotic acoustic drum playing thingie (I want!), as demonstrated here:

Which is then joined by an orchestra for some lovely robo-classical musics:

Another fine example of human musicians jamming with homemade gizmos, a la Frank Pahl, and Pierre Bastien.

Friday, June 01, 2012

COVER THE EARTH 3: More Bizarro Versions of Your Favorite Oldies From Across the World Wide Weird

The first "Cover The Earth" collection we posted here a couple of weeks ago has been quite the success - twice as many downloads as usual for these parts. And since some of you nice maniacs out there have been emailing me mp3s and suggestions for other foreign/ethnic cover tunes, I was inspired to dig thru my cd archives and come up another volume. And this batch is really nuts, more out-there then Vol. 1, I'd say, sometimes veering pretty far from the originals. The versions of "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart" and "Imagine," in particular, are especially retarded.

Ingredients: a version of The Champs' "Tequila" by an out-of-control Indian wedding brass band; "Rock Around The Clock" played on a Spike Jones-like honk-horn novelty instrument (pictured right); two salsa artists (Celia Cruz, Manny Manuel) who start off fairly faithful to the originals, apart from singing in Spanish, before pushing the songs into Afro-Latin territory that has nothing to do with the original songs; a Frenchy version of "Witchy Woman" on musical saw (just about the only way I can take The Eagles); lots of Beatles, inc. a small taste of the zillions of Beatles covers recorded by Jamaican reggae artists in the Sixties; more Tuvan throat-singing; an early-'80s Dutch track (RTC) that would have fit on one of my "New Wave Covers" collections; and  "Purple Haze" on bagpipes. What more could you ask for?!


1. Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys (Japan/Afro-Cuban) - James Bond theme
2. Tobi Rix (Netherlands) - Toeteriks-boogie [Bill Haley & Comets "Rock Around The Clock"]
3. Tanh Nam Teu (Vietnam) - Bat Ghen [Theme From 'Bonanza']
4. Babu Band (India) - Tequila
5. pedro de la hoya (Spanish, tho he's French) - kiss kong five [Prince "Kiss"]
6. Celia Cruz (Cuban) - Yo Viviré [Gloria Gaynor "I Will Survive"]
7. The Presidents (Germany) - Love Bug [Supremes "Love Is Like An Itching"]
8. Bugotak (Tuva) - Kon Togethy [The Beatles - Come Together]
9. Alton Ellis (Jamaica) - And I Love Her
10. Charlotte Dada (Ghana) - Don't Let Me Down
11. RTC (Holland) - Drive My Car
12. cachicamoconcaspa y leyko el perro de la IIII dimensión (Venezuela) - Imagine
13. Keith Lynn, The S.P.M's & Byron Lee & The Dragonaires (Jamaica) - My Sweet Lord
14. Svetlyo Zhilev (Bulgaria) - Purple Haze
15. Yat-Kha (Tuva) - Love Will Tear Us Apart
16. Dan Bau Vietnam - Rider in the Sky ["Ghost Riders In The Sky"]
17. Manny Manuel (Cuba) - I Want To Hold Your Hand (Tu Mano Cogere)
18. Beau Jocque & The Zydeco Hi-Rollers (Cajun Louisiana, USA) - Hi-Rollers Theme/Low Rider [War "Low Rider")
19. Barat Dangdut-Terpopuler 95 (Indonesia) - Hotel California
20. Randall Throckmorton w/ Larmes de Colère (French, tho Mr.Throckmorton is from Minneapolis) - Femme de Sorcière [Eagles "Witchy Woman"]
21. Yat-Kha (Tuva) - Black Magic Woman 

Gracias, danke, thanks to DJ Dragan and Outtaspaceman!