Amoeblog

The Kingsmen

Posted by Whitmore, August 8, 2008 10:00pm | Post a Comment


45 years ago today, on August 8, 1963, a band from Portland, Oregon, The Kingsmen, initially released their classic version of "Louie Louie" on Jerden Records. Written by Richard Berry in 1955, it has since been recorded by hundreds of artists, becoming a rock standard, especially for garage bands cranking their amps to 10 in beer soaked clubs and basements everywhere. Richard Berry recorded his version in 1957, and it was released on the Los Angeles based label Flip Records. The original version is sung in a more of a bluesy-calypso style and tells the story of a Jamaican sailor bragging to his pal Louie about his "fine little girl" back on his island home.

The best-known version is of course by The Kingsmen and has always been thought of as being outrageously obscene, describing lascivious acts of extreme perversion in such detail as to warrant an investigation by the FBI-- an investigation that ended without prosecution. Here are the legendary lyrics:

Louie Louie, oh no
Me gotta go
Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said
Louie Louie, oh baby
Me gotta go

Fine little girl waits for me
Catch a ship across the sea
Sail that ship about, all alone
Never know if I make it home

Three nights and days I sail the sea
Think of girl, constantly
On that ship, I dream she's there
I smell the rose in her hair.

Okay, let's give it to 'em, right now!
 
See Jamaica, the moon above
It won't be long, me see me love
Take her in my arms again
Tell her I'll never leave again

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Vexing: Female Voices from East LA Punk

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 20, 2008 01:50am | Post a Comment

The Exhibit Vexing: Female Voices from East LA Punk at Claremont Museum Of Art was much smaller than I expected. Still, it packed the history of not only the women involved in the scene surrounding East L.A.’s Vex, but the history of early L.A. Punk scene in general as well. The Opening Reception was packed with mostly Angelinos making the trek to Claremont rather than people from the city itself. Still, for a museum around a little more than a year, it was a bold and righteous move to get The Vexing exhibit way before any of the Los Angeles museums. It's a shame that the L.A. museums continue to ignore their own homegrown artists while the rest of the world celebrates us.

Most of the images shown were the same as a show that I was fortunate to catch at the original Tia Chucha’s Café about a year and a half ago. There were also many interesting new displays that caught my eye. One was a piece that took an entire wall that was a blown up Thomas Guide map of Los Angeles from West L.A. to East L.A. On the map were key points of interests from that era, such as the rehearsal space where the East Los punk bands used to practice, and the location of the backyard party where the members of the band X first saw all the East L.A. bands. It showed all the punk rock hangouts and all the clubs from that era that are now long gone. I also enjoyed looking at the original Fatima Records promotional and gig posters. The other day at Amoeba I saw someone about to buy The Plugz Better Luck for $3.99!  What a steal! Coincidently, you can still buy the original Fatima Records issue of The Brat E.P. Attitudes from the band whenever they play a show, which has been more frequent over the last couple of years.

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Vexing

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 16, 2008 01:04am | Post a Comment

Reading about East L.A. punk while in high school was inspiration. I had known about Los Lobos and knew about the 60’s Chicano bands like El Chicano and Tierra. However, these punk bands were Chicanos and around my age, playing music that I was into. It made me feel less like a freak to know there were others just like me somewhere in the barrios of East Los Angeles. Hippies wanted to move to San Francisco, rockers to the Sunset Strip and I wanted to move to East L.A.

On Saturday, The Claremont Museum of Art will present Vexing: Female Voices from East LA Punk, which will run from May 18 to August 31, 2008. There will be live performances by Vexing artists Teresa Covarrubias (Lead Singer from The Brat) Angela Vogel, Lysa Flores and Alice Bag. I have been looking forward to this exhibit since I heard about it a few months back. The women that are featured in this exhibit were the pioneers of a thriving women's art movement that is happening now in East L.A.

2008 has been turning out to be the year for Retro-Chicano art. LACMA’s Phantom Sightings: Art After The Chicano Movement is currently showing and starting June 15th, LACMA will also feature Los Angelenos/Chicano Painters of L.A.: Selections from the Cheech Marin Collection.

I found some great articles on East L.A. Punk, Vex era and Beyond. The first one is written by Josh Kun and is the story of the Vex. The second one comes from Jimmy Alvarado, who wrote about the history of all the EAST L.A. punk bands that not many have heard about. In this article originally written for Razorcake Magazine. Jimmy covers the minions of pre and post Vex bands as well as all the backyard party giants that were huge in the East Los backyard scene.

Appreciating Crass

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 14, 2008 08:10am | Post a Comment
Crass, the seminal English punk band that formed in 1977, is most known as the first band to cohesively promote anarchism as a political ideology. While other punks might have been singing about "AN-AR-CHY" for shock and fashion, anarchism was a way of life for Crass.
 
They made their records available to the public as close to cost as possible and even printed a "Pay No More Than..." price on their record sleeves to avoid the product from falling victim to unscrupulous transactions!
 
Their lyrics, albeit snarled, warned against consumerism, corporatism, racism, and globalization. They formed a rock and roll resistance movement against the excesses of culture, using an aggressive sound and image to gain creditability for a pacifistic ideology. Complex, man.
 
So where have the members of Crass been since the band dissolved in 1984? Everywhere! Especially drummer Penny Rimbaud, who has gone on as a performer and writer. Gee Vaucher, the main artist and some-time musician for Crass, has become a well-revered illustrator and painter.
 
This month, on Saturday, January 19th, Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher will appear at San Francisco's Hypnodrome theater (regularly home to the Thrillpeddlers, the only theater group in America I know of that specializes in Grand Guignol). Rimbaud will give a spoken word performance, followed by an interview with Rimbaud and Vaucher by legendary Bay Area punk-documentarian V. Vale of RE/Search
 
Here's the specifics:
RE/Search & Hypnodrome present CRASS!!!
ONE NIGHT ONLY!!!
TWO SHOWS!!!
Saturday, January 19th
7:30 & 10PM
General Admission: $10
6 Shock Boxes (2 person capacity each; includes signed poster): $40/box
 
The Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth Street /Bryant St., San Francisco
For Advance Tickets, call RE/Search 415-362-1465 http://www.researchpubs.com/

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Dave Day in Memoriam

Posted by Whitmore, January 13, 2008 12:43pm | Post a Comment


The winds came first … the neighbors tree falling came next, and when the haunted harmonica sounds of the wind blowing through my office door, (sounding like a Ennio Morricone soundtrack), started imitating an Armenian duduk, (the most beautiful sounding instrument on the face of the Earth), I knew I was going to find something sadder than usual in my morning New York Times.

Dave Havlicek, aka Dave Day, guitarist and banjo player for one of the most original, legendary  and enigmatic bands ever to grace a stage, The Monks, died last Thursday, January 10th. Day, who was born and lived in Renton just outside Seattle, Washington, suffered a stroke or a heart attack on the previous Sunday morning which left him on life support for a short time before he passed.

Many years ago, way too many to actually acknowledge, I used to work at the original Onyx Café when it was next door to the Vista Theater in East Hollywood. One evening a customer gave me a home made cassette tape of a band I had only vaguely ever heard of named The Monks, the record Black Monk Time.

I put on the tape. What I remember most are two distinctive reactions: mine of total amazement and awe, how the hell did I miss this band (I’m a record geek for chrissakes!), and the reaction of another customer saying almost the same thing. But his “what the hell is this?”  was followed by something like  “do you have to play this crap now!” 
 
The Monks were five American GIs stationed in Germany who billed themselves as the “Anti-Beatles”. They played it heavy, weren’t afraid of feedback or dissonance and Dave Day added to the mayhem and the whole crunching rhythmic sound by playing the hell out of the electric banjo. They shaved their heads into monks' tonsures, dressed in black monasterial robes, sometimes wearing nooses as neckties, mocked and rocked harder than any of their sixties counterparts while basically inventing what would become kraut rock, industrial, and punk music.  Am I overstating their importance in rock music history? No! Their nihilistic deconstruction of Rock and Roll, owing in part to the Dada Movement of the ‘20s, predated Punk’s similar efforts by a good ten years or more. The Monks were easily 30 years ahead of mainstream rock’s time.

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