With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“We’ll build a glass asylum, with just a hint of mayhem” January 8, 2018


Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big David Bowie fan. This began in July 1972 when I witnessed that now iconic performance of “Starman” on BBC’s Top Of The Pops. I was lucky enough to see him play live ten times from 1976 to 2004 and I still buy every release, and to be fair there have been many since his death nearly two years ago. I recently received the latest in the seven inch vinyl picture disc series, the 40th anniversary release of the “Beauty And The Beast” single. It has a terrific version of “Blackout” on the B Side. Today would have been the Dame’s 71st birthday, I know to many of you that probably sounds old, but it is only 12 years older than me! Obviously like many fans I was saddened by his passing, but I am still somewhat freaked out by the amount of on-line Bowie fans that still speak of their despair at his loss, how they still wake up crying.

But enough of that morbidity, I do still celebrate the birthday of the late David Robert Jones. On a work day that means that I wear my David Bowie cuff links as I did today. I also received a few more David Bowie related books at Christmas, I think I now own around 70 in total. One of those Christmas presents was ‘David Bowie – A Life’ by Dylan Jones. Jones met and interviewed Bowie on many occasions and he uses that material along with old and new interviews with many people who were a part of the world of David Bowie. This includes the Spiders From Mars, Dana Gillespie, Bob Harris, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Carlos Alomar, Peter Frampton, Nina Simone, Mick Rock, Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Bebe Buell and Coco Schwab to name just a few. The book is organised chronologically and is incredibly well put together. In my opinion it is beyond doubt the best Bowie biography for many years and easily the best to be published since his demise. It is tasteful and manages to unearth a few things that personally I had never read before; How he had tried to reform the Spiders From Mars in 1978 and how in the US in the early 1970s someone turned up at his hotel sweet and offered him a still warm, dead body to have sex with. In respect of the latter he was apparently visibly shocked and upset and turned the offer down. When he lived in Mustique at a property he used to own there he often referred to one drink from the cocktail menu in Basil’s Bar as a Penis Colada.

This evening I have also dug out the magnificent Alan Yentob documentary ‘Cracked Actor’ from the mid 70s. It is a fascinating portrait of a talented man in a spiral of cocaine addiction and ensuing paranoia. In many ways it is a magnificent insider view of the transition from the Halloween Jack character of the post apocalyptic tales on ‘Diamond Dogs’ into the white soul boy of ‘Young Americans’. If you have never seen it, whether you are a fan or not you should check it out. From just the social history perspective it is truly fascinating. This is a bit of a Bowie ramble I know, but I haven’t done a Bowie post for a while, well apart from the specific one about the song “Andy Warhol” back in December. I don’t really need an excuse to play some Bowie tunes, but a 71st birthday and the impending second anniversary of his death works for me. Let’s celebrate the Dame’s wonderful recordings together, what is your favourite David Bowie song? My top three favourites are currently; “Quicksand”, “Young Americans” and “Lady Grinning Soul“.

As a footnote the eagle eyed readers and bat eared listeners may have sussed out where I took the title of my blog from, go on take a guess!

 

12 Days To Christmas – Day 10 – Andy Warhol December 22, 2017


Andy-Warhol-SPAM--45671

This is the 12 days to Christmas countdown with a series of twelve posts that I confess are not particularly Christmas related. More an opportunity to fill a stocking with plenty of songs about famous people from history. Today is day 10, so only two more to go after this. Day 10 is the turn of Andy Warhol to be represented in song. His real name was Andrew Warhola and he was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 6th August 1928. He died in February 1987, wow where did that 30 years go? In the 1950s Warhol worked as a shoe designer and became a very early adopted of the silk screen process for printmaking. Many of his subjects were American icons, either people or things; Campbell’s Soup Can, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and the mushroom cloud, which technically is a kind of icon of America right? Andy Warhol was gay but in a 1980 interview he suggested that he was still a virgin. A 52 year old virgin? Wow! Many of you who read this blog may well have some Warhol art in your homes. Do you have a copy of the first Velvet Underground album, or the Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’? well he designed both of those.

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So on to the Song about this iconic and talented artist and it is actually performed by someone many also see as a talented and iconic artist, David Bowie. Come on you didn’t think I would miss the opportunity for some Bowie did you? The song is “Andy Warhol” from Bowie’s 1971 album ‘Hunky Dory’. Bowie met Warhol a few times, apparently the first time was a strange encounter with not much being said other than Warhol remarking on Bowie’s bright yellow shoes. Later, in 1996 David Bowie played Warhol in the film ‘Basquiat’ using some of the artists clothes and wigs. ‘Hunky Dory’ peaked at number three in the UK album chart in 1972. “Andy Warhol” was never released as a single, only “Changes” and “Life On Mars” were issued a singles from that album. Although the track in question did make it to the B- Side of the 1972 single release of “Changes”. Bowie originally wrote the song for his friend, lover and protege Dana Gillespie. But her version didn’t see the light of day until 1973. Interestingly Mick Ronson played guitar on both versions. There are four versions of the song for you to feast your ears on below.

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Bowie as Warhol

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Warhol with a fir tree, now this is a Christmas post……. right?

 

Black Lagoons, Broken Skulls, Mall Rats & Blind Eye – The Crescent, York – Friday 22nd January 2016 January 23, 2016


I once again had the pleasure of attending a gig set up by the fabulous Northern Radar a.k.a Simon Pattinson. It was at the Crescent in York a new community venue that I have not been to before. As usual with Simon’s shows the quality was top-notch. I have been to many gigs arranged by Simon and so far there has not been a bad one. No pressure for next time then Simon! Tonight’s bill featured two bands that I have seen before and two that were new to me. Incidentally it was great to catch up with Jordan Bell off of Avalanche Party, Mike Harrison, Joe Alexander and obviously Mr Pattinson himself.

blindeye

The proceedings were kicked off by the majestic power trio known as Blind Eye who I have seen before, the boys were fresh from recording their EP at a studio in Manchester. They gave us a couple of new songs that in a few years I am sure will be seen as Blind Eye classics; “Stained Glass Windows” and “Vultures”. Along with some of their older songs they also performed one of their customary covers, this time it was a thunderous run through of the Beatles classic “Come Together”. They even managed to incorporate a few lines of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” into the song. This band is truly fucking awesome, their EP I am sure will be off the scale good.

mallrats

OK now I want you to imagine a band that is a cross between the Velvet Underground with all of Andy Warhol’s arty-farty stuff removed and then crossed with Nirvana. Can you picture that? Good now think of that band’s drummer being a reincarnated John Bonham (not because they look the same but that they share the same pounding power. Do you have the picture in your mind? Can you imagine the sound that such a band would make? Excellent because that band Ladies and Gentlemen is the Mall Rats. A brilliant band whose closing song “Plunge Pool” was one of the most moshtastic of the whole evening.

broken skulls

The third act on tonight was another York band that I have seen before, the truly stupendous Broken Skulls. These two brothers come across like the Kings Of Leon genetically spliced with Royal Blood and then injected with a massive testosterone booster. How can two people make such a loud but beautiful noise? I really don’t know but they do. Maybe we need to ask them how they do it. Anyway it would be fair to say that they really owned the stage during their set.

blacklagoons

I have not had the pleasure of witnessing a show by the Black Lagoons before tonight so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Even more so when I cast my eyes on the band for the first time. The majority of them have probably never seen a razor. Not because they are hirsute with resplendent facial hair but because I don’t believe that some of them have started shaving yet. But don’t let that put you off, for whatever age they are, and frankly I don’t care, they are a stunning live act. What do they sound like? That is a difficult question to answer, but it is almost as though they have invented a new genre of music which I will call Prog Punk (or possibly Punk Prog). These lads can only get better in my opinion and they are very damned good already. I tried to imagine the Queens Of The Stone Age as a school band and that captured a degree of what the Black Lagoons are. On top of that they have a reborn Keith Moon on drums and the coolest, most serious faced bass player since John Entwistle. I recommend that you check out all of tonight’s bands. No wait I don’t recommend that you do it, I order you to do it!

Public Service announcement all the pictures were taken by me and the videos are courtesy of YouTube. However I couldn’t find a Mall Rats video, so if you can send me the link to one then feel free to do so 🙂

 

 

“Sweet Cousin Cocaine, lay your cool cool hand on my head” July 7, 2015


RSSF71

We are all familiar with the Andy Warhol designed cover for the Rolling Stones 1971 album ‘Sticky Fingers‘ I presume? If you bought the album in Spain when it originally came out then you might not be too familiar with the good old zipper cover. The original cover was censored by the Franco regime, presumably as it depicted the groin area. The track listing was also deemed inappropriate on the Spanish release of the album on which “Sister Morphine” was replaced by a live version of Chuck Berry’s “Let It Rock”. That was originally available on the B-Side of the classic Stones single “Brown Sugar“.

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The zipper cover for which Andy Warhol was allegedly paid £15,000 was replaced in Spain by the one above which shows some sticky fingers rising from a tin of Fowlers West India Treacle. Is it just me or is that likely to just as offensive to anyone offended by the original album cover?

 

“Little Joe never once gave it away” March 7, 2014


the_smiths_-_1984_the_smiths_joe_dallesandroDid you know that there was a link between the Smiths self titled first album from 1984 and ‘Sticky Fingers‘ the Rolling Stones 1971 classic? Well there is and it’s down to the cover star Joe Dallesandro. It’s his bowed head and bare chest that adorns the cover of ‘The Smiths’ and it is his rather well packaged family jewels that stand proud on the cover of the Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’. Was he hung like ‘”Wild Horses“? The Stones album cover was famously designed by Andy Warhol using a picture he had taken earlier. Dallesandro was a Warhol superstar and appeared in many Warhol films. The picture on the Smiths album is a still from the Warhol movie ‘Flesh‘. Dallessandro’s nickname was ‘Little Joe’ and he is the ‘Little Joe’ that gets mentioned in Lou Reed‘s “Walk On the Wild Side

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“And the prison priests are decent, my attorney seems sincere” December 23, 2013


poster-montreux-jazz-festival-1995As well as being something of a Rock God David Bowie is also a bit of an artist. He has painted, sculpted, designed clothes, designed stage sets and designed wallpaper. But did you know that he also designed the poster for the 29th Montreux Jazz Festival? His design also included a nod to the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bomb that helped to bring World War II to a close. Other posters for the event have been designed by Andy Warhol and Phil Collins.

Dave trumpets his artistic talents

Dave trumpets his artistic talents

 

“Did it rain or did sunshine attend out first meeting?” – Advent day 14 December 14, 2013


advent_14I hope you all got through Friday 13th without any disasters, especially the superstitious among you. Anyway it’s now December 14th which means you are about to get your next helping of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent calendar number themed posts. You will have guessed by now that todays songs include the number fourteen in their titles.

Billy-BraggThe Bard of Barking brings the first song for today with “The Fourteenth Of February”. The track is taken from Billy’s 1996 album ‘William Bloke’ which made it to number 16 in the UK album charts. In 2008 at the NME Awards show Billy duetted with another great English singer songwriter and activist, Kate Nash. They played Kate’s “Foundations” and Billy’s “A New England”. I saw Billy Bragg play live in the 80s and I saw Kate play live in York and at the Reading Festival this year. In York she unleashed her storming support band, the fabulous Tuts!

beck01lgTodays second song is from Beck Hansen and is taken from his fourth studio album ‘One Foot In The Grave’ released in 1994. (Is Beck a Victor Meldrew fan by any chance?). The song is called “Fourteen Rivers, Fourteen Floods”. The album never charted because it preceded his big breakthrough. Beck’s mother Bibbe Hansen was part of Andy Warhol’s circle and she appeared in a few Warhol films. When Beck dropped out of school he took a number of menial jobs which included; Truck Loader and Leaf Blower Operator.

 

 
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