Friday, June 24, 2016

The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo: "Forbidden Zone"

Back in the days of Los Angeles' wild-n-whooly pre-punk "Freak Scene", The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo were filling large theaters with their outrageous performances. And if you think that name sounds familiar, yes indeed, Danny Elfman would eventually inherit the group from brother Richard and pare it down to the hugely successful band Oingo Boingo, who would then in turn serve as the springboard for Elfman's even huge-er career as a soundtrack composer. Somewhere in the world right now, the theme to "The Simpsons" is playing.

But this was Elfman's first score, and possible his best, an utterly weird, wacked-out, and wonderful assortment of short instrumentals ("Factory" wouldn't sound out of place on The Resident's "Commercial Album"), and theatrical vocal numbers from Elfman (as the Devil); star Susan Tyrrell, an actual Oscar nominee who made the admirable decision to toss away movie-star life to make films with the likes of Andy Warhol and John Waters; and - yes! - Herve Villachaize, the little fella with the thick accent who played Tattoo on Fantasy Island, who can be heard in the "Finale."

Also featured: "Yiddishe Charleston", which sounds just like its title: a Jewish boogie-woogie; the Dr. Demento swing-era standard "Pico and Sepulveda," and the amusingly flatulent nonsense vocals of performance artists The Kipper Kids (one of whom is married to Bette Midler?!) sung over some vintage jazz novelties. All of which perfectly complements big brudder Rick Elfman's hysterically surreal, non-PC classic midnight movie. The year was 1977: Richard was retiring from the group to pursue a video career, and Danny was ready to steer it from its glam-era theatrical origins into New Wave rock band territory. Nothing here really sounds like Oingo Boingo, tho. Much to this album's credit, it doesn't really sound like anything you've heard before. 

Various versions of this soundtrack have been released over the years. This is the most complete.

The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo: "Forbidden Zone" soundtrack

Friday, June 17, 2016


27 tracks of lightning-fast audio edits whizzing by in 24 minutes? It can only mean another release from I Cut People and their ever-improving m.o. of wicked social satire thru a dense collage of countless samples. The album is called "I Quit" but let's hope he isn't. With Negativland members dropping dead left and right, and The Tape Beatles seemingly out of action, ICP would appear to be our best chance for reversing the usual one-way stream of corporate/religious info-tainment, creatively recycling this waste, and spitting it back. The inanity of the mass media, politics and consumerism, and the anxiety it produces in the brainwashed populace has never been more funny! And entertaining! NOW how much would you pay?! 

I Cut People "I Quit"

Picks to click: "Try It," "All You Need Is More Things," and "All About Crap." And if Beavis and Butthead were sound collagists, they would have proudly produced "Dick Bible."

Friday, June 10, 2016


The self-titled 1971 album "The Roots Of Madness" is a truly historic avant/outsider artifact. Incredibly, the recordings of this, well, madness date back as far as 1969. That beats The Residents, and the LA Free Music Society were a couple years away from forming. And needless to say, The Great Punk DIY Explosion was far off on the horizon when this bag of nutters from the wholly unremarkable Northern California town of San Jose made this home-brew concoction. 

Ingredients: tinkly music boxes, short wave radios, free-jazz, blues guitar, beat poetry, smutty poetry, a Dada sensibility, a smart-ass sense of humor, sound effects, even an actual song or two. All common strategies now, but must have been fairly incomprehensible at the time. And yes, they did do gigs in laundromats. It's not like there were too many actual music venues in town to play.

Free listen/download:

"The Roots Of Madness"

One of the members, Don Campau, went on to a still-extant experimental music and public radio career.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016


I've set up an Amazon store for all the stuff I do NOT post here, because it's in print. The favorites, the standards, the must-haves. Not just random stuff, but carefully curated for YOU, the discerning Maniac. If you buy something from our "aStore" (as they call them), you can rest assured that it is by one of the greats in our field, or at least this particular album has passed the test. Theoretically, you should be able to buy blindly, and know you're getting some good weirdness. The obvious stuff is largely covered: Beefheart, The Residents, The Shaggs...Bonzos, Spike Jones, Dr Demento...Sun Ra, Ornette, Cage, Negativland, People Like Us...Cab Calloway, Screamin' Jay Hawkins...Devo, Wall of Voodoo, Butthole Surfers...Carl Stalling, Raymond Scott, Mel Blanc...theremins, circus music, yodeling...George Formby, Ivor Cutler, music performed by children, and even by elephants: something to annoy everyone! New to strange music, and need to get caught up? Have holes in your collection that you've been meaning to fix? Now's never been a better time to buy! Now with 2 categories: one for CDs and DVDs, and one for mp3 downloads.
Now back up by request: "New Wave Covers For Oldies Lovers vol.3",  the crazy xylophone of Michael Eingorn, "The Wisdom of Solomon."
Dig this new outsider music show: "Derailroaded." The first episode features children musicians. (Which reminds me: Stinky Picnic have some new releases.)

Monday, June 06, 2016

CASSIUS CLAY: "I Am The Greatest"

When great men die, of course, we should remember them by their weird novelty records.

To note the passing of the former Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali, let's listen to The Lip From Louisville's early '60s album of his clever, funny poems, delivered with gusto. Damn near proto-rapping, I'd say. Some lame comedy sketches that he most certainly did not (entirely) write are in there too, but look on the bright side: bonus tracks that set his poems to groovy music. And then there's his singing... a karaoke-esque cover of "Stand By Me," and a ridiculous sing-along called "The Gang's All Here."

CASSIUS CLAY: "I Am The Greatest"

And don't forget his all-star kids albums:
"Ali and His Gang Vs. Mr. Tooth Decay" - From 1976, with Frank Sinatra! And Howard Cosell.

"The Dope King's Last Stand" - From 1977, with an even more all-starry cast. How's this for a line-up: President Jimmy Carter, Lily Tomlin, Pat Boone, Senator Hubert Humphrey, Billie Jean King, and Sinatra again.

As a Los Angeles native, I'm used to seeing celebrities here, as well as in Las Vegas, and New York. If you've spent much time in those cities you know that it's not a big deal, maybe someone will recognize a celeb, chat briefly, then leave them alone. But when I saw Ali strolling thru Caesar's Palace in Vegas, there was a veritable mob surrounding him. A peaceful, respectful mob, but still, I have never seen one individual create such a commotion. I think I saw the Pope, the President, and the cast of "Friends" waving and saying, "Hey, over here! What about us?!"

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


I had not planned on compiling another selection of odd ethnic covers of Western hits, thinking that I had exhausted that particular well, but our pals over at the Growing Bored For A Living blog hit us with a treasure trove of exotic, unlikely reworkings of famous songs that you thought you were sick of, and it just demanded another volume. Which reminded me of some comments left in previous "Cover The Earth" posts offering suggestions, which I then tracked down. And I did have a few new discoveries me own self (I take full blame for the bagpipes). As with the previous volumes, some extreme liberties have been taken with the material, sometimes rendering them almost unrecognizable. Just the way we like it.

So thanks to Growing Bored (check the mammoth Bob Dylan cover project), and the nice Maniacs who suggested some suggestions. 

 "Cover The Earth Vol 6"

01 2Cellos - Welcome to the Jungle (Croatia/classical)
02 Red Hot Chili Pipers [that's PIPERS! Not "Peppers"] - We Will Rock You/Eye Of The Tiger/The Clumsy Lover (Scottish bagpipes)
03 Pastel Vespa - L'Anarchie dans l'U.K. (The Sex Pistols go French yeh-yeh, tho Ms. Vespa is Brazilian)
04 20th Century Steel Band - Loves Theme (Barry White goes Carib steel drum)
05 Don Sornrabeab - Mao (Drunk) (Play That Funky Music, Thai boy)
06 Alyssa ZezZA - Purple Rain (Italian singer, but a Brazilian bossa style here)
07 Ray Barretto - James Bond Theme (Latin jazz)
08 Red Hot Chili Pipers - Smoke on the Water/Thunderstruck/Upside down at Eden's Court
09 The Maytals - Give Peace A Chance (John goes Jamaican)
10 Finger 5 - I Want You Back (Jacksons go J-pop)
11 Isaya Mwinamo & His Merry Men - Bamba Ya Afrika ("La Bamba" in Kenya)
12 Joya Landis - Kansas City ('50s rock-n-roll inna ska stylee)
13 20th Century Steel Band - Theme From Shaft
14 Pastel Vespa - Blue Monday (a bit of Joy Division also cleverly cuts into this Brazilian bossa nova cover)
15 Los Tropicanos - Light My Fire (think these guys are also Brazilian, but I wouldn't call this bossa nova; 'Latin psych,' maybe?)
16 Ukulele Clan Band - Money for Nothing (Spanish folkies getting kinda bluegrass-y; hey, they kept the original un-PC lyrics)
17 Faye Wong - Dream Person (Chinese Canto-pop cover of The Cranberries' "Dreams")
18 Red Hot Chili Pipers - Hey Jude/The Mason's Apron