Cruisin’ on the Dream Machine: an interview with Matthew Melton

dream_machine_the_illusionAs I sit in Starbucks, sucking the bandwidth off their free wifi signal while not actually buying anything (yeah, screw the man!), listening to the hypnotic, psychedelic fuzz rock of The Illusion, the debut LP from Dream Machine, I ask myself, “isn’t it strange how nearly half a century ago, the first Coven album, Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, was deleted by the record label that put it out only a month after they released it because they were worried about the shock and outrage it would have generated among Christian conservatives in America?” My mind continues to wander, and similarly I think, “isn’t it crazy how the same year that the first Coven album came out, the MC5 got in a WHOLE heap of shit just for shouting ‘kick out the jams, motherfuckers!’ at the beginning of the title track on their first album?” Times sure have changed since Kick Out the Jams had to be hidden behind the counters at records shops; because of ONE word, kids had to show that they were at least 18 years old if they wanted to buy it!

And ain’t it a hoot how, when I was talking to someone who worked at a record shop in Grand Rapids, he told me that all the parents were freaked out that their kids were listening to these new fandangled bands with names like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, who apparently worshiped the devil, sacrificed animals onstage… or possibly even PEOPLE!!!

And I think, “what would piss off, shock and outrage the kids and adults of the current year?” Self mutilation? Done. Onstage defecation? Done. Throwing bloody tampons at the crowd? Done. Inverted crosses and pentagrams? Done. Putting a dildo up Jesus’ anus? Done, done and done again! Defecating on a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad while burning the Koran and wearing Indian feathers and a yarmulke? Okay, that one hasn’t been done yet. But Dream Machine might as well have done it considering the quagmire they put themselves in when guitarist/singer Matthew Melton, formerly of the power-pop band Warm Soda, and keyboardist/singer and Melton’s wife Doris openly bashed the United States’ liberal immigration policies, political correctness and feminism.

They soon found themselves getting booted from their record label, Castle Face records, and forced to fend for themselves in a sea of politically correct hipster hostility, which is one of the reasons they left their hometown of Austin, TX to Amsterdam. Their story became something of a cause celebre for people on the right or just anyone fed up with stifling political correctness, and it appears that many people have come to their defense; albeit privately for fear that they too will get a mob of anorexic, glasses and skinny jean wearing nerds or bearded fatsos on their asses.

The music on The Illusion is catchy as heck; the male Melton plays heavy, fuzzed to hell guitar riffs; the female Melton waxes speedy and melodic on what sounds like a Farfisa; the two alternate on lead vocals; the songs are all short; and the whole thing will send you on a 1968 time warp to some dimly lit, underground catacomb, where a bunch of stoned out hippies gyrate to flashing strobe lights; ya know, like the Alice Cooper scene in Diary of a Mad Housewife. Oh and Doris kinda resembles Michelle Phillips from the Mamas & the Papas.

I interviewed Matthew Melton via email, and he gave me well thought out, lucid answers that are remarkably bold considering how sensitive the dweebs in the music scene really are; fer Chrissakes, I got booted from a Melvins group for dissing on ambient noise music and professing my love for the Nuge. Sorry for setting the emperor’s clothes on fire, dudez. If it were 1975, and he were Eric Clapton, then maybe Melton’s views would not be so bold. But that was then, and this is now. In a culture where every form of degeneracy is permitted and celebrated, there seems to be a bit of an insurrection going on….

Savage Hippie: Let’s get the juicy stuff out of the way. You were recently kicked off of Castle Face records for making some “ugly” remarks. In one of your interviews, your keyboardist and singer Doris is quoted as saying, “The choice to move to Europe was guided by a lot of factors. American musicians (hopefully not Europe too) are getting increasingly politically correct and it started getting on our nerves.” And then you say, “So excited to be moving to Europe, but I will always consider myself a red-blooded American. And just like the waves of refugees pouring into Europe I will also not be learning any new languages or culturally assimilating.” And later still, Doris says, “I agree with Matthew on that. ICE is just doing their job, and I’m glad they’re finally starting to work on deporting criminal illegal aliens too. It took ages for me to get my green card here legally and because there’s so many illegals coming in they make it hard for the people who do want to become part of American society the right way. They’re handing out free money to people who come here illegally, but when you want to work hard to become an American citizen to start a family they make it so hard on you, and expensive!” You HAD to have known what kind of response you would get from an overly sensitive music scene, so why the loose tongue?

Dream Machine: Whether or not we knew it at the time, our interview ended up being a modern day political correctness test for society which a lot of people failed miserably. Even when we look at it now, all we really expressed was that we want to live in a place governed by law and order where people haven’t gone completely insane with political correctness. The people who freaked out so much did so mostly because of accumulated political frustration and peer pressure. The reason that we know that it was a fake outrage and nothing more than mere social media virtue signaling, is because we didn’t receive a single email from an upset person asking for any clarification, discussion, explanation, or condemnation for any part of our interview. Not even one! If people were genuinely concerned with things we said, someone would have reached out to say: “Hey man, what’s up with that?” or “We hate you guys” or SOMETHING! We feel completely vindicated because the backlash completely proved our point about how Facebook has become an echo chamber vortex that breeds reactionary weaklings. Most of the people who were freaking out so much are the same ones that adamantly defend modern technology to the death, unable to see the damage it is causing to our general well being and independent thought. We saw a couple the other day at a bus stop and the lady was holding up an iPad to her husband open to another couples profile shouting: “Why aren’t we happy like they are!” I think it’s actually a very serious problem, I could go on and on about it. 

Savage Hippie: Similarly, those remarks might have gained you some new fans from the political right. Are you happy to embrace any fans of your music even if their views might not be completely kosher? Clearly Dream Machine isn’t a political band, but do you guys stand for any parties, politicians or views, or do you basically keep that stuff to yourselves?

Dream Machine: At the end of the day, we consider ourselves musicians, not politicians and we don’t affiliate with any political or ideological party but we’d most likely fit in best as libertarians. People on the right will like us because we reject the poisonous group think of the alt-left which has become nothing less than a cult of unthinking zombies. That’s why we decided to oppose Facebook from the beginning, because it is the arena that the regressive left uses to radicalize their unsuspecting subjects while at the same time rendering their lives disharmonic and subservient. You don’t need a political affiliation to know that you need to avoid that! It’s common sense. 

Savage Hippie: According to another interview, you released The Illusion on Castle Face records, referring to the owners as your “homies.” Do you still consider them your homies? Did you phone ’em and say, “what the fuck guys? Thought you had our backs?”

Dream Machine: I did at one point, I mean they released 6 albums of my music over a period of several years. But it’s clear that they reacted out of fear and now I honestly feel bad for them now because so many people noticed the integrity they lost by kicking me to the curb in an attempt to appear virtuous to their customer base. It may have worked partially how they had hoped but it mostly backfired in their face. It worked out for us in the end because we gained such an overwhelming outreach from thousands of new fans, record labels, booking agents, etc and we’ve already ended up getting more exposure than we would have staying with Castle Face. Another weird factor in all this is that so many hundreds of people including other artists on their label and people in the music scene reached out to us expressing how they felt what they did was a pathetic move and they completely support us and saw nothing wrong with common sense opinions we gave, but also said that they could not speak publicly about it for fear of facing scrutiny from the angry mob. At least we were able to create a discussion so people can see for themselves which side of history they want to be on. 

Savage Hippie: Running through your music is a sort of, how do I say it, anti-degeneracy message? Once again, quoting Doris, she says, “The people I see here in Austin sleep with a different person every week. It just doesn’t make sense to me. When you sleep with that many people it can’t mean anything, it has to be meaningless. Everything is meaningless nowadays.” Seems like there’s almost a Christian message running through your music, or maybe not? Do you worry people will say you guys are a buncha squares, or do you fundamentally advocate monogamy over the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that other bands in the “scene” seem to be all about?

Dream Machine: We are on the cusp of a polar shift in thinking. We looked around only to observe that the way people are living today is not bringing them happiness but misery and emptiness. The group think mentality of social media is largely to blame; You stare into the screens long enough and you begin to lose perspective and your reality becomes warped. We aren’t classically religious, but if you pause and consider where we are going as a civilization, what the future might look like going down the neo-liberal path, it doesn’t look very good to us. It’s what I would envision the roman empire to have been like right before they got destroyed. Everyone becomes so glutinous and decadent and they are too busy guzzling wine and having orgies to care or notice that their civilization is crumbling all around them. We are reaching a point where radical neo-leftism has become the mainstream, and conservatism becomes the new counter-culture. Now it literally feels rebellious to be starting a family with my wife. We’ve come full circle. 

Savage Hippie: All right, ENOUGH with political questions; let’s get down to the music. Why did you leave Warm Soda, and do you have plans on going back to them? I take it Dream Machine is a full time band and not a side project.

Dream Machine: Warm Soda had fully run it’s course. I mean once you make 4 albums that sounds almost exactly the same you know it’s time to try something different or you end up making wallpaper music. Dream Machine is our full time operation now and it’s already off to an interesting start! 

Savage Hippie: Since the obvious reference points to a lot of people are going to be Iron Butterfly, Blue Cheer, the Doors and maybe Jefferson Airplane… would that cover it, or was there anything else specifically you were influenced by? I mean, I’d die if you said you were influenced by Power of Zeus or Black Widow.

Dream Machine: Our influences include Power of Zeus, Birth Control, Curved Air, Lucifer’s Friend, Eloy and Gun! (editors note: I had never before heard of the German progressive rock band Birth Control. Their album Operation is awesome! Thanks Matthew!)

Savage Hippie: Also I looked all over the site, but I couldn’t find out who the bassist and drummer are in the “I Walked in the Fire” video. Is that info somewhere, or are you keeping them anonymous?

Dream Machine: We had already let our band mates go before any of this controversy came up because we are moving to Europe and we found a new European rhythm section. Our bass player in the USA couldn’t commit to the European tour because of his job so we figured it made the most sense to start a new group over there.

Savage Hippie: In your interview you say, “The debut Dream Machine album is like a warm up compared to the 2nd album we are arranging now which is completely piano based.” What like, there aren’t going to be any geetarz on it? Don’t tell me you’re going to turn into Emerson, Lake and Palmer or the first Atomic Rooster LP!

Dream Machine: It’s got guitars, we just meant that we were writing the album mostly on the piano, not recording it that way. We are in the middle of it right now and there are some heavy rocking songs on there. Think if Atomic Rooster had one Hell’s Angel in the band on guitar. We just recorded the drums and bass for the whole thing, now starting to add in guitars, piano, organ, synth, vocals, etc. I think people will be happy with our new album, It definitely blows the first one away.

Can’t wait to hear it! \m/

Get their stuff from Fuzz City records.

Listen to The Illusion on their Bandcamp page.

Watch their video:

But DON’T look for ’em on Facebook because you ain’t gonna find ’em there!

Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes

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special introductory paragraph
The Amboy Dukes
Journey to the Center of the Mind
Migration
Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom
Survival of the Fittest Live
Call of the Wild
Tooth, Fang & Claw

Before he made his career swinging around on ropes, wearing nothing but a loin cloth like he’s Tarzan, firing flaming arrows at his guitar, adopting a hot, 17-year-old Guatemalan babe so he can sleep with her while continuing to sleep with other girls of non-voting age and still promoting a clean living, drug-free lifestyle, Theodore Anthony “Deadly Tedly” Nugent tore it up for more than a decade with the Amboy Dukes, a criminally underrated band that demonstrated just how wide-ranging the Nuge’s abilities were before he became a solo artist.

Don’t get me wrong; I love me some Ted Nugent. That first album with “Stranglehold” is killer, but I think his earlier work is somewhat overshadowed by his rather boisterous “Motor City Madman” personality. And this is coming from someone who fundamentally agrees with many of his political views. Just that when your persona is one of a loudmouth yahoo, who sings songs like “Wang Dang, Sweet Poontang”, you tend to undercut some of the diversity and nuance in your work.

DIVERSITY AND NUANCE?! YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT TED NUGENT, RIGHT?! Exactly.

Read on, young grasshopper. Ted Nugent released four official LPs with the Amboy Dukes, two as Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes – one live and one studio – and then one more as Ted Nugent’s Amboy Dukes before dropping the Amboy Dukes altogether and going full on Ted Nugent. Most of the Amboy Dukes albums have some great material on them; and when they don’t, they’re at least interesting, as I shall soon tell ya…

The Amboy Dukes – Mainstream – 1967

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If you’ve bought the propaganda about how great the Deeeetroit rock ‘n’ roll scene was during the mid/late 60s, that it was some sort of loud, fist-pumping alternative to the trends of hippiedom that had taken over the nation in 1967 (and subsequently would be beaten back by the Altamont fiasco at the end of 1969), then those propagandists are only telling you part of the story if they don’t at least give a passing mention to Ted Nugent’s early band, the Amboy Dukes.

In fact, for those acolytes of the Stooges, MC5, Alice Cooper and hell even Grand Funk Railroad, to not KNOW of this here Amboy Dukes band shows a dearth in one’s knowledge of loud, over-driven rock ‘n’ roll that was pumped through stacks of amplifiers in front of kids who looked like hippies, but I guess weren’t actually hippies.

The opening cut on the Dukes’ first LP is a proto-metal cover of the Big Joe Williams blues standard “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (also done by Gary Glitter, Budgie and AC/DC), kicking the album off on a speedy (well, speedy for the 60s) and distortion filled note, challenging the loud guitar supremacy of your Hendrix, Clapton or Page. The Nuge pays a few bars of homage to Hendrix’s “3rd Stone from the Sun” just fo fun as well.

After that the group does a faithful cover of “I Feel Free” by Cream —

I know what you’re thinking, and no, The Amboy Dukes isn’t just a covers album. Of the remaining nine tracks, only two others are covers; “Let’s Go Get Stoned” by the Coasters and “It’s Not True” by the Who. And they DO a great job on both, but come on; they’re covers, ya know? You don’t care how well they do OTHER people’s material; you want to know about their ORIGINAL songs.

The other seven tracks include the catchy blues rock number “Young Love”, the Sitar filled hippie-dippie-trippy psychedelic “Psalms of Aftermath”, the total acid blues freak-out “Colors” – complete with an awesome, quivering two note “hook” during which singer John Drake taunts you with the word “colors” – the wicked “shoulda been a Nugget” garage tune “Down the Philips Escalator”, a cute British sounding piece of psychedelic pop called “The Lovely Lady”, a groovy butt-shakin’ garage number called “Night Time” and a SCORCHIN’ hard rock closing cut called “Gimme Love.”

Bonus points to the CD version for including an awesome surfy number called “J.B. Special” – complete with hand claps! – and the uptempo garage rave up “Sobbin’ in My Mug of Beer”, which sounds JUST LIKE a track that would appear on a Back from the Grave compilation.

As a final note, Ted Nugent LOVES to solo, playing wicked bluesy leads ALL OVER nearly every track; pianist Rick Lober fills out the sound with his background plinking and plunking; John Drake has a melodic and powerful bluesy voice, which he can alter to fit the covers of “I Feel Free” and “It’s Not True” or use to mimic the fruity, British singing style on “The Lovely Lady”; and why not give a hand to the other three members – rhythm guitarist Steve Farmer, bassist Bill White and drummer Dave Palmer – good job keeping the rhythm, guys!

Journey to the Center of the Mind – Mainstream – 1968

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In Steven Miller’s book, Detroit Rock City, several musicians lament the fact that the biggest success stories to come out of the late 60s/early 70s Detroit rock ‘n’ roll scene were Ted Nugent, Bob Seger and Grand Funk Railroad; not the Stooges or the MC5. In other words, the bands who burned out really quickly from their degenerate lifestyles were the “cool” ones, while the bands and musicians who lived somewhat healthier, straight laced lives are considered lame and boring. WHAT A CROCK!!!

First of all, what’s with the musical partisanship? I love the Stooges, MC5, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk Railroad, Ted Nugent AND Bob Seger. Why do I have to pick sides here?

But even more importantly, how are Ted Nugent and his Amboy Dukes NOT considered part of this canon of loud, overdrive rock ‘n’ roll when they delivered upon the Earth “Journey to the Center of the Mind”, a rip-roaring proto-metal number that mistakenly gets lumped in with garage rock “nuggets” like “Psychotic Reaction”, “96 Tears” and “I Had too Much to Dream Last Night”? The track is a scorcher, propelled by the aggressive Keith Moon-like drumming of Dave Palmer, the galloping metal riffs of rhythm guitarist Steve Farmer and Ted Nugent’s leads, which accentuate the riffs, before ripping into a guitar solo and the fuzzed out climax. Okay, John Drake’s acid dropping lyrics are cheesy and outdated, but it’s not as if “Iron Man” or “War Pigs” are known for their lyrical genius either.

There have also been some member changes for the second album! New bassist Greg Arama, who, according to Wiki, was in some band called the Gang, is pretty inconsequential as far as the album’s sound goes. But new keyboardist Andy Solomon definitely takes a more prominent role than his predecessor, Rick Lober; especially in the guitar/keyboard interplay in the AWESEOME “Surrender to Your Kings”, which I will describe in further detail two paragraphs from this one.

Unfortunately Journey to the Center of the Mind is not all high energy, acid fuzz, proto-metal hijinks… not by a long shot. The album kicks off with a Nugent and Farmer penned slow blues jam called “Mississippi Murderer”, which though good, sounds NOTHING like the rest of the album. The rest of the 13 track LP appears to be some sort of song cycle or concept story album, in which Ted Nugent wrote the heavy numbers, while Steve Farmer wrote what sound like typical late 60s, not at all heavy, psychedelic songs, one of which is called “Ivory Castles” and another is “Why Is a Carrot More Orange than an Orange”, and concludes with a track called “Conclusion”, which is just a reprise of “Journey to the Center of the Mind”; ironically it seem as though Farmer was the one who took a journey to the center of his mind.

All of Nugent’s heavy numbers are crammed into the album’s first half; among those include “Surrender to Your Kings” – whose spy/surf verses, distorted chords, keyboard interplay and quick, aggressive tempo make it sound like Iron Butterfly on speed – the groovy “Flight of the Byrd”, which sounds like a heavier version of “Hush” by Deep Purple, and a passable rocker called “Dr. Slingshot.” There’s also a progressive instrumental called “Scottish Tea”, which has some neat marching drums and Renaissance-era sounding melodies, and of course the album’s wicked title track.

The psychedelic numbers in the second half are actually pretty good, if a bit silly. If you know what 60s poppy psychedelia sounds like, I don’t need to describe them to you in too much detail; some sound darker and scarier, like you’re entering some sorta Alice in Wonderland type nightmare, some are more sing-songy, like some sorta “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”-coo-coo-ca-choo fruitiness and all at least have the Nuge doing his best Syd Barret/early-Floyd impression. But in spite my earlier remark about how Farmer sounds like he’s on acid, something makes me think that he’s not exactly taking his acid trips too seriously. For instance, check out the lyrics to “Death Is Life”:

Things are getting much worse
People will actually curse
Ladies are sighing and babies are dying
And happiness comes with a hearse

Whats the use? There’s no excuse
Death is life

Seems that you never will learn
The only thing is to return
Do what you care and hope your not there
When all your world start to burn

In fact “Missionary Mary” has an intro that I’m almost positive is intended as a joke; it starts off with a really quick buildup, making you think that the song is going to get fast, and then it obnoxiously just slows down. Also “I’ll Prove I’m Right” is quite a fun toe-tapping number. Unfortunately “Saint Philips Friend” is pretty dull and useless. OH WELL, they can’t ALL be winners, right?

The CD version adds on the bonus track, “You Talk Sunshine, I Breathe Fire”, another fuzzed to hell and super catchy proto-metal rocker, which is also the b-side to the original “Journey to the Center of the Mind” single. Check out that title; methinks Nugent even THEN had his “America, FUCK YEAH” viewpoint firmly intact, in spite the shaggy mane and Indian-hippie swag.

Migration – Mainstream – 1969

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Original singer John (J.B.) Drake migrates out of the Amboy Dukes, and future Cactus singer Rusty Day takes his place. How can you have the Amboy Dukes without John (J.B.) Drake?! Okay, all facetiousness aside, I do think that Drake had a better, bluesier type of baritone singing voice, whereas Day kinda just sounds like a generic 70s rock singer. But what difference does it make? He wouldn’t even make it past Migration anyway. And neither would Steve Farmer; so if you’re one of those “Farmer or bust” types of Amboy Dukes fans, sorry bud, your “journey” ends here!

Featuring nine songs, Migration sounds like the work of a band who thought they wanted to cross over from psychedelia into heavy progressive rock, but didn’t write enough new material, and ended up using leftovers from the previous album session instead.

The first song, “Migration”, is a six minute instrumental jam that has cool space noises; and the second track, “Prodigal Man”, is a multi-part, heavy prog epic that goes on for nearly nine minutes and has a really neat, fuzzed out minor chord riff, a bunch of different parts, time changes and organ and drum solos that make it seem as though the Dukes had just heard “21st Century Schizoid Man” and thought “BINGO!” In fact I’ll go on to say that “Prodigal Man” is the crowning jewel of the album and a career high; the Dukes apparently agree with me, since they would go on and play live versions of the song that would be more than twice as long as the original recording.

Then, all of a sudden, the album turns into a mid-60s, psychedelic, garage rock album, except for a pointless cover of the 1956, doo wop hit “I’m Not a Juvenile Delinquent” and a butt-shakin’, funky-soul song called “Curb Your Elephant”, which has a trombone that makes elephant noises. It’s keyboardist Andy Solomon’s sole songwriting credit; you go, Andy!

Now, I know this review is taking on a pretty negative tone, but hear me out. I LIKE several songs on the album. In fact, the third song, “For His Namesake”, and the final track, “Loaded for Bear”, are totally awesome, upper-tempo, 1966-era, garage rock; the former is pure 60s keyboard rock, and the lyrics are all melodramatic, about this kid who’s parents are tellin’ him, “little Johnny, you gotta grow up and be a man or you’ll bring shame on the family”, and the latter has this killer surfy riff and these bluesy licks.

But some of these other songs make me think, “what the hell were they thinking?” “I’m Not a Juvenile Delinquent” just seems like they used the vocal track from the original Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers version and replaced it with their own instrumental backing. I mean, who IS doing that falsetto? It can’t be Rusty Day or Ted Nugent, can it? And the soft number, “Shades of Green and Grey”, might be taking the piss out of all the “peace and love” nonsense, but it’s just so damn boring!

The other two songs, “Good Natured Emma” (was the Nuge listening to too much Zappa or something?) and “Inside the Outside”, are oookay… the latter has a fun, carnival vibe that might remind you of the Creation or something.

Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom – Polydor – 1970

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Trimming the fat – who needs six members? – singer Rusty Day and rhythm guitarist Steve Farmer have been given the boot, or they quit; who knows, ya know? I bet you THEY don’t even remember what happened since they were all taking “journeys to the center of their minds” at the time. As mentioned in the previous album review, Day would go on to ultra-mega super stardom with Cactus (what, YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF CACTUS?! Bastard! Go back and listen to One Way… or Another and Restrictions.), I believe Steve Farmer still probably hangs out somewhere in the suburbs of Detroit and Andy Solomon took over as lead vocalist, except on the track “Non-Conformist Wilderbeast Man.”

The remaining Dukes – guitarist Ted Nugent, keyboardist/saxophonist Andy Solomon, bassist Greg Arama and drummer Dave Palmer – return with an album that has a really awkward title. Wait a minute… is this the right album? Who replaced my copy of Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom with a Frank Zappa record?!

You’re trying to tell me that that’s TED NUGENT playing those complicated jazzy licks, and that the Amboy Dukes are doing all of those really tricky time signature changes and playing those funky beats? And whadaya know; the second song is called “Breast-Fed Gator”, and the final track is “The Inexhaustible Quest for the Cosmic Cabbage.” Nugent and his Dukes must have REALLY gotten into Zappa and his Mothers in 1970, because if you didn’t know who you were listening to, you might actually confuse Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom for a Zappa record like Hot RatsWeasels Ripped My Flesh, Apostrophe (‘) or Overnight Sensation.

That’s not bad, mind you. It’s just surprising how much of a left turn the band took between Migration and Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom. The fact that Ted Nugent, someone who people think of as Mr. Wango-Tango, can pull off complicated jazzy solos and well crafted fusion/funk/progressive hybrids with technically challenging parts and actually make it work, is somewhat surprising to me. Hey, don’t yell at me! MOST people who know Ted Nugent know him as the wild, hard rock guitar guy, not the precision jazz fusion, nerdy guitar guy.

Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom has eight cuts on it; it opens with a multi-part, nine minute instrumental called “Marriage” that immediately clues you into the whole Zappa fusion thing with how the song starts for a few bars and is interrupted by a piano interlude before starting again. But what a great jam, so pretty and serene at the beginning with the multi-tracked electric and acoustic guitars and keyboard all playing off each other before going into a faster jammy part. Then this Spanish bullfighting music comes in for a few bars, and the song builds up and gets all intense before calming down and getting pretty again.

The rest of the album, with the exception of the high speed, 90 second boogie rock tune,”Non-Conformist Wilderbeast Man”, consists of groove-funk-soul-fusion-prog songs. “Get Your Guns” has a WHOLE bunch of changes, included a flamenco guitar breakdown, a speedy fusion note run and an outro using Spanish scales.  “Today’s Lesson (Ladies & Gentleman)” is a James Gang style, funk rocker that’s abruptly interrupted with Eastern melodies, complicated instrumental interplay and a bunch of random guitar sounds and someone with a helium voice saying a bunch of incomprehensible stuff. “Breast-Fed Gator” and “The Inexhaustible Quest for the Cosmic Cabbage” are TOTAL Zappa rip-offs, right down to the deliberately goofy, pinch-nosed vocals. The latter is one of those funny and annoying multi-genre pieces – like “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” or the entire Mr. Bungle discography – that abruptly switches tone and musical genre every few seconds for no apparent reason and must have been a real pain in the ass for the studio engineer.

Yep, this ain’t no “Cat Scratch Fever.”

Survival of the Fittest Live – Polydor – 1971

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The second song on the fifth Amboy Dukes LP is called “Rattle My Snake.” Now THAT’S the Nuge I’ve come to know and love! By the time the Dukes had released Survival of the Fittest Live, Ted Nugent had become the only original member of the group; and given how the band now call themselves Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes and how Nugent is pictured by his lonesome dressed like on Injun on the cover, it’s clear that the Dukes have become Ted Nugent’s artistic vehicle. YOU USED THE WORDS “ARTISTIC” AND “TED NUGENT’ IN THE SAME SENTENCE? Eh, suck my dick.

Also, there have been some member changes. Original drummer Dave Palmer was replaced by some guy named K.J. Night, and bassist Greg Arama, who had been in the band since Journey to the Center of the Mind, was pushed aside by a Rob Ruzga; according to Wikipedia, Night and Ruzga had been in a band called The Day & Night Dealers Blues Band (just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?). Andy Solomon remains intact as Ted Nugent’s right hand man on keyboards, most of the singing, and a brief saxophone solo.

Recorded entirely live across two nights during the Summer of 1971 at the Michigan Theater in Detroit, Survival of the Fittest Live contains five entirely new songs and a 21 minute version of “Prodigal Man” that occupies all of side two and sounds far more at home on this here album, than on Migration. Now, I know it’s boring and lazy to describe a band by comparing them with two or three other bands, but I’m boring and lazy, so I’m going to describe the music on Survival of the Fittest Live as a cross between James Gang, Bloodrock and/or a 70s heavy rock band that switches between happy, fun and funky songs and long and scary songs with minor notes played on the Hammond organ.

THIS ALBUM ROCKS, and had it been recorded in the studio, included two or three more original songs and given a “fuller” sound, rather than being recorded live, it might have been considered a “second tier” 70s rock classic alongside Bloodrock 2, the Cactus album One Way… or Another or something by Grand Funk Railroad or Budgie. Also it’s disappointing that they made it in 1971, rather in 1969. This is the kind of music the Amboy Dukes SHOULD have been doing two years earlier, rather than the hodgepodge of 60s keyboard rock and funk on Migration or the kooky Frank Zappa music on Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom, because Ted Nugent is a phenomenal “workman” guitarist, slinging wicked blooze licks and funky hard rock riffs like he’s early Joe Walsh or sumthin.

On a specific tip, the Dukes kick off the set with a few bars of “Journey to the Center of the Mind”, then stop it short with a sustained note as if to say, “hey fuckers! THAT was 1968, and THIS is 1971! It’s THREE YEARS LATER, AND WE’RE NOT STUCK IN THE PAST!!!”,  before playing the actual first song, an instrumental called “Survival of the Fittest.” The fourth song, “Papa’s Will”, is the group’s doom metal epic, even if the main riff and some of Nuge’s solos are a little too happy to be truly “doomy.” And, in true arena rock spirit, the aforementioned extended version of “Prodigal Man” allows each member to show off on his respective instrument, during which other members introduce each member one by one to the audience; huh huh, I said “member” three times in the last sentence. Also, Andy Solomon throws in some Middle Eastern melodies for good measure and does that tension-building, organ solo thang before Jon Lord would popularize it with Deep Purple. Then the song, and subsequently, the album concludes with an extended jam, another sustained note and a crescendo.

And so ends the journey of Ted Nugent, Andy Solomon and the two other guys. In the three years between Survival of the Fittest Live and Call of the Wild, Nugent would replace his entire band, yet continue to call it Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes because, hey, why not? Thank you, good night!

Call of the Wild – DiscReet – 1974

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FIRST he wants to SOUND like Frank Zappa, then he gets SIGNED by Frank Zappa! People might find it strange that Zappa would be involved with a straight forward hard rock musician like Ted Nugent, but Zappa has openly praised Grand Funk in the past, and he even produced their 1976 LP, Good Singin’, Good Playin’.

So it REALLY shouldn’t come as a big surprise that he would sign up and distribute records by the Nuge, SHOULD IT?!

What IS surprising is that Ted Nugent continued to call his band Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes after he recruited an entirely new band! That’s right; this NEW Amboy Dukes features the singing of Andy Jezowski, the keyboard and flute playing of Gabriel Magno, the bass plucking of Rob Grange and the drumming of Vic Mastrianni. So why did he keep the name? Did Nugent think, “we GOTTA keep the name! No bar around the country will EVER book my NEW band! Who’s this Ted Nugent guy? It’s my backup band, the Amboy Dukes, that they want, and they’re gonna DEMAND that we play ‘Journey to the Center of the Mind’, or they’re going to revoke our goddamn drink tickets, even though I apparently don’t drink!”?

Call of the Wild is the first of two transitional albums that exist in a no man’s land between the Nuge’s earlier career with the old Amboy Dukes and his breakthrough success as the loincloth wearing Detroit wild man, that would begin as early as 1975 with the release of his self-titled debut solo LP.

First of all, what’s with the two instrumentals, “Rot Gut” and  “Below the Belt”? I suppose if Ted Nugent wanted to add slow, boring blues jam with piano and slow, boring, spacey, Pink Floyd music to his resume, he now can. But what was the point of including these two tracks? Did the Dukes just not have enough material to make a full length album? The sad thing is that both of these sound like the names of Ted Nugent songs! You’re expecting the Nuge to do hard rockin’ numbers about having rot gut or getting hit below the belt, and you get nothing…

But hey! That leaves six other songs, and they’re all good to really great. I just realized the funky hard rock jam “Renegade” is ALSO an instrumental. That only leaves five songs with singing. Album opener “Call of the Wild” is a major chord, boogie rock song with bluesy backing piano that’s reminiscent of Bob Seger. “Sweet Revenge” is a super catchy and melodic rock tune with acoustic guitar.  “Pony Express” and album closer “Cannon Balls” are crushing 70s metal tunes with “chunka-chunka” riffs that are closer to …In Rock era Deep Purple, than hard rockin’ Nugent; the latter even has a neat keyboard solo. And “Ain’t It the Truth” is a melodic hard rock song with multiple parts. Most of the songs are well crafted, feature killer guitar work and are strong additions to the Nugent discography even if they’re stylistically all over the place.

Tooth, Fang & Claw – DiscReet – 1974

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And that brings us to the end of our journey. Technically, on Tooth, Fang & Claw, the band is called Ted Nugent’s Amboy Dukes, and the group has been reduced to 3/5 of the band that played on the previous album. Singer Andy Jezowski and keyboardist Gabriel Magno have taken a hike, turning Nuge’s Dukes into a trio. And even though he’s using the Amboy Dukes name and still signed to Zappa’s Discreet label, you can safely say that Tooth, Fang & Claw is a prototype of Nugent’s solo career.

On Tooth, Fang & Claw, Ted Nugent is once again joined by bassist Rob Grange and drummer Vic Mastrianni, but this time he sings lead vocals on every song; well not EVERY song since “Hibernation” and “Free Flight” are instrumentals, but you get the idea. AND FINALLY, Nugent has found his sound; tough, mean and occasionally funky hard rock – not heavy metal – with multiple parts, melodic solos and an optimistic, “don’t let the man get you down” and “grab life by the balls” philosophy. In fact opening track “Lady Luck”, closing track “No Holds Barred” and somewhere in the middle track “Great White Buffalo” could easily fit on Nugent solo records like Ted Nugent, Free for All or Cat Scratch Fever. Tooth, Fang & Claw has eight songs on it; seven originals and a super speedy (punk rock?!) cover of the Chuck Berry classic “Mabelline.” The aforementioned instrumental “Hibernation” has double-tracked electric and acoustic guitars, and the song “Sasha” is a very pretty acoustic ballad, which I think was written about his daughter. Nugent also expresses his long known love for the great outdoors in “Living in the Woods” and of course “Great White Buffalo”, which has one of the BEST RIFFS EVER that, unlike many a hard rock riff, utilizes individual notes, rather than just power chords. Overall Tooth, Fang & Claw doesn’t have a single dud track and should be considered an early career classic.

And for all of the negative press Ted Nugent gets, I believe several things about the man. One, I believe that he views rock ‘n’ roll not as a vehicle for which to engage in completely wasteful and degenerate behavior, but as an uplifting, positive and inspirational form of music to put on when dealing with what life throws at you. Two, I believe his love and respect for nature and American Indian culture is completely sincere, and that along with it comes his love for hunting, which is not just the sadistic “animal slaughter” his hypocritical enemies portray it as. And three, I believe he is a legitimately talented guitarist with a strong knack for melody and a unique style that, as evidenced by the criminally underrated classic “Great White Buffalo”, differs from many of the guitar heroes of the day. I’ll leave it up to a more experienced guitar expert to decide how he rates compared to, I dunno, Michael Schenker or Eddie Van Halen. I just enjoy his playing.

After Tooth, Fang & Claw, Ted Nugent signed with Epic records, taking bassist Rob Grange with him, recruited Derek St. Holmes on rhythm guitar and lead vocals – something I’ve never understood since Ted Nugent has a perfectly good singing voice – and Cliff Davies on drums and released his classic, self-titled debut solo album in 1975; but that’s another story for another time.

Ten Things I Will Always Find Funny About Old Movies

dvdsA couple days ago, I once again enjoyed Howard Hawks’ 1959 western Rio Bravo, in which John Wayne plays sheriff John T. Chance, who is trying to keep a gang of thugs from running roughshod all over his dinky little town, while only having help from an alcoholic named Dude played by Dean Martin and a cripple named Stumpy played by Walter Brennan. There’s so much to like about the movie; the budding romance between an awkward and possibly virginal John T. Chance and the super hot gambling huckster babe Feathers (Angela Dickinson); Dean Martin’s struggle with the bottle; the comic relief from Stumpy; the gun slinging action; baby faced Ricky Nelson proving his chops to the older guys… what a GREAT movie, right?

Well, yeah, except if you’re not used to watching these kinds of movies. For one thing, at two hours and twenty minutes, Rio Bravo doesn’t exactly BREEZE by. On top of that, for being a western, it’s actually pretty low on action. It’s a CHARACTER driven movie, rather than one based upon a lot of fast paced gun play. Thirdly, I can picture young people finding Ricky Nelson incredibly annoying with his “yes sir”/”no sir”/”gee wiz sir” persona. Okay he doesn’t say “gee wiz”, but he does look like an overly wholesome little boy, not a rough and tumble gunslinger. And fourth, you have to suspend your disbelief since nobody bleeds when they get shot, and John Wayne gets knocked out rather easily when he trips over some wire. I’ll talk about those below, but my point is that, unless someone regularly watches old films and is used to suspending his or her disbelief, which is what audiences had to do before better special effects were created, a movie like Rio Bravo might seem dated and downright silly.

So, the other day, I read an article from LA Weekly called “Stop Laughing At Old Movies, You $@%&ing Hipsters” in which the author complained that hipsters laugh at old movies because of the hammy acting, outdated special effects and cheap set designs. While, in principle, I agree this is a stupid thing to do, especially if you shelled out the money for the movie in the first place, I also feel that the author was using the wrong movie with which to make her point.

She had attended a screening of Mario Bavo’s 1961 fantasy epic Hercules in the Haunted World, for which the theater provided a 23-piece orchestra and nine singers to accompany the soundtrack. What the fuck for? Hercules in the Haunted World is one of hundreds of Italian peplum films that came out in the late 50s though the early 60s; sword and sandal adventure epics where shaved and greased down, half naked body builders of questionable acting ability fight atop foam rocks and coliseum backdrops either in historical reenactments or purely fantastical plots against giant puppets or stop motion monsters while attempting to save unbelievably gorgeous women, who are most likely supermodels, not professional actresses. Do you see where I’m going with this? Hercules in the Haunted World is not exactly high art. So the fact that people laughed at the melodrama, cheesy special effects or the fake looking sets is NOT necessarily because of their philistinism, but possibly because the movie was legitimately funny at times.

That doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable, but COME ON. Some things just DO NOT age well. And considering the other examples of films the author gave- 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Godfather, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining, The Exorcist – it make me wonder if she’s not talking out of her ass or just happened to be in the theater on a particularly bad day. So I decided to give the “hipsters” the benefit of the doubt and compile a list of items from old movies which will always evoke at least a smirk out of me, if not outright laughter. Lighten up guys, they’re just movies.

1.) When people get knocked out cold by a single, ineffectual hit

Either people were much weaker in the past, or people used to hit a lot harder, but it’s funny to note how easily people can just get knocked out in old movies. I’ve taken the kinds of hits and spills that have knocked out some of the characters in these old movies and not gotten knocked out; am I then to believe that I’m tougher than John Wayne? Case in point; Rio Bravo. The nogoodniks in the film stretch a string across the base of a stairway, John Wayne goes running down it, crashes to the ground and is out like a light. Now, that’s just ridiculous; I’ve actually drunkenly tumbled down concrete stairs and stood up unaffected. Scott Rosendall, my wheelchair confined buddy, went speeding down a flight of stairs, sat up and crawled into his awaiting wheelchair. Is wheelchair using Scott Rosendall then tougher than John Wayne? Another example that immediately comes to mind is when the monster in The Thing from Another World (1951) pushed the scientist over, and he was out cold. Seriously, the monster just pushed him, and he was out. If people got knocked out just from being pushed, then every single mosh pit would quickly turn into a mountain of unconscious bodies laying one atop another.

2.) When people get shot, but don’t bleed

Howard Hawks’ 1932 gangster classic Scarface, which stars Paul Muni as a prohibition era liquor peddling thug named Tony Comanti, was once considered one of the most violent movies of all time. But how violent is a movie where nobody expels any actual blood? We see lots of smoking guns and people clutching their chests and/or bellies either out of pain or to hide the fact that there is no actual bullet hole, but NOBODY BLEEDS!!! Now, in old fashion Westerns, this is somewhat excusable considering that cowboys were using pea shooters that often couldn’t even break skin, but for cryin’ out loud, these gangsters are using TOMMY GUNS to fill rival gangsters and the occasional innocent bystander full of holes. What’s even more problematic is that this wasn’t fully alleviated until WELL into the 60s. Although Hammer studios introduce blood and gore via Dracula (known as Horror of Dracula in North America) to the big screen and a surprising amount of it considering it came out in 1958, and Hitchcock’s Psycho had “blood” in the form of chocolate syrup going down a shower drain during the infamous Janet Leigh stabbing scene, and John Ford’s 1962 western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance showed a tiny bit of blood dripping from John Wayne’s arm, Sergio Leone’s 1964 western A Fistful of Dollars had a scene where some banditos disguised as Union soldiers gun down a bunch of Mexican soldiers, and NONE of the Mexican soldiers bleeds a single drop. Thank God for the invention of the squib!

3.) When monsters can do nothing but push or throw people

In real life, if you pick up a little girl and throw her into your local pond, and she drowns, you’re one sadistic son of a bitch! However, if you do the same thing in a movie, such as the 1931 classic Frankenstein, you’re pretty much stretching the boundaries for the amount of violence you’re allowed to inflict on other people on a movie screen. Wait, no, there is the part where Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant Fritz is found hanging on a noose, but in general, the movie monsters couldn’t really DO anything, and you had to REALLY use your imagination. Probably the most annoying culprit is the creature in Creature from the Black Lagoon. It screeches, it stomps around, it kidnaps the girl, it pushes people and well, it pushes more people. Hey, did you see that super crazy, violent horror movie where the monster pushes people? Okay, old horror movies did have some surprisingly grizzly scenes – the human head hunting trophies in The Most Dangerous Game, the scene where Bela Lugosi skins Boris Karloff alive in The Black Cat, the scene at the end of Island of Lost Souls where the mutants revolt and mutilate Charles Laughton with surgical tools, the scene in Freaks where we see Olga after she’s been turned into a duck woman – but none of the actual violence happens ON screen; one noteworthy exception is in the 1933 British horror film The Ghoul, where a corpse played by Boris Karloff carves an ankh into his chest with a knife, and I suppose you can count the scene in King Kong when the gorilla steps on a baby’s head, but these are the exception. Do we get to SEE the werewolf in Werewolf of London or The Wolf Man mutilate people? Did we actually SEE Count Dracula suck anyone’s blood? Of course not (at least not until Terence Fisher’s 1958 adaptation of Dracula); we have to pretend these monsters are hurting people! One point of interest is that, in 1938, when Frankenstein had a theatrical re-release (on a triple bill with Dracula and Son of Kong), censors in various cities snipped the part where the monster throws the girl into the water, cutting right as the monster leans in on her and grins, unintentionally implying something far more sinister than what actually took place in the excised footage.

4.) When people replace swear words with words that you hear in kids cartoons

Imagine you’re watching a detective or gangster picture, and a character gets really angry, and he says, “you better watch it, buster!” BUSTER? Did people actually say BUSTER back then? Not even “you bastard”, but “BUSTER”?! Somehow seeing Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe or Mike Hammer or Little Ceasar Rico or Tom Powers or whoever else say “buster” just doesn’t make them seem as bad ass as they once seemed. And everyone knows that, when people think of “bad ass”, they think of an adorable, diminutive  Jewish man named Edward G. Robinson.

5.) Any black actor prior to Sidney Poitier, Woody Strode or that one guy in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing

In the 1950s, liberal directors of the era all of a suddenly began casting blacks in relatively respectable roles. When I say blacks, I mean Sidney Poitier, Woody Strode and that one guy that was in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing; and by “respectable”, I mean you’re supposed to feel bad for that guy – okay, fine, his name is James Edwards, and he was in such noteworthy films as Robert Wise’s The Set-Up (1949) and Samuel Fuller’s The Steel Helmet (1951) – when Timothy Carey tells him, “you’re wrong, nigger.” But before that, hooo boy… You don’t want to laugh because you’ll be looked at as an asshole, but hey, back then the roles given to black actors weren’t exactly the most empowering, talking like completely illiterate, recently freed slaves with their “suh, suh, I’s dint know, suh suh.” To be fair, Clarence Muse, the coach driver in the 1932 horror film White Zombieand I guess he was in a bunch of other stuff, like the b-picture Invisible Ghost (1941) and Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street (1945) –  wasn’t too, how shall I say it… well, he shouts, “ZOMBIES!!!”, not “SUH! SUH! I SEES ZOMBIES, SUH!!!” However the same can’t be said for Mantan Moreland in King of the Zombies (1941) or Napoleon Simpson in  The Mummy’s Curse (1944). Oh, and check out the hilarious maid roles played by Butterfly McQueen in Gone with the Wind (1939), Mildred Pierce (1945) and many others. Quoth McQueen: “I didn’t mind playing a maid the first time, because I thought that was how you got into the business. But after I did the same thing over and over, I resented it. I didn’t mind being funny, but I didn’t like being stupid.”

6.) All white people pretending to be non-white people

I’m definitely going to hell for this one… from Walter Long as the freed slave Gus in Birth of a Nation to Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer to Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the “yellow menace” Fu Manchu in The Mask of Fu Manchu to Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to all of the Spaniards and Italians who played Indians in John Ford’s Cheyenne Autumn… in our modern times, it’s seen as ugly, tacky, grotesque and unpleasant the way many a white actor has portrayed blacks, Asians, Americans Indians and even Arabs – Stanley Donen’s 1965 film Arabesque f’rinstance –  but the clumsy and ham-fisted delivery of these characters causes me to giggle, and to suppress your laughter in the face of political correctness is to die a slow death.

7.) When people act overly scared by stuff that isn’t very scary

Once again, to be fair, one could say this about the majority of old horror films. However, sometimes  an actor or actress’s delivery is so melodramatic, and the fear he or she evinces is so over the top when compared to what he or she is experiencing in the movie, that it becomes comical. The funniest example off the top of my head is the woman shrieking as though she’s being raped as a puppet skeleton approaches her in William Castle’s 1959 schlock fest House on Haunted Hill.

8.) People in rubber monster costumes destroying miniature cities

Everyone who knows about Godzilla knows that each Godzilla movie got progressively sillier, as Godzilla himself went from being a symbol of atomic horror to a downright adorable, lovable dinosaur that, in spite destroying entire cities, had a buddy in the form of a ten year old boy in Godzilla’s Revenge (1969). But even in the original 1954 Gojira, the one where it’s a straight up horror movie without any of the cutesiness, he’s still just a guy in a suit throwing around toy cars and walking over miniature model cities between cuts of freaked out Tokyo citizens. And let’s face it; in a lot of these films, the buildings just look like milk cartons with squares painted on them. In the case of the 1962 Swedish monster film Reptilicus, a miniature monster destroys other miniatures and, since no rear screen projection is even used to put people on screen with the monster, the film ends up looking like a glorified puppet show.

9.) Scrolling backgrounds you see from car windows

Driving sequences in old movies just don’t look very realistic, ya know?

10.) REALLY vague allusions to sex 

The film noir pot boiler Kiss Me Deadly, adapted from the Mickey Spillane novel of the same name, directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Ralph Meeker as the sleazy private dick Mike Hammer, is a remarkably modern, unflinchingly violent and hard edged film for something that came out in 1955; the torture sequence alone is rather chilling. Yet even it suffered from the censorious confines of the era in which it was conceived. It’s remarkable how intimidating both Meeker and the underworld thugs he encounters can be in spite nary a single cuss word being uttered. But what I found rather odd was how, when Hammer spoke with his lovely secretary Velda (Maxine Cooper), he asked her, “did you date him?” This is code for, “did you seduce him and/or sleep with him in order to snag him in an extramarital affair?” Now, come on, he asks her “did you date him?” She could just as easily say, “Yep! We went to the movies last night, and it was great!” At least that’s how I would have interpreted such a question. Another example of this type of vague sexual allusion is in Fritz Lang’s 1952 drama Clash by Night, in which Jerry D’Amato(Paul Douglas) finds out that his wife Mae (Barbra Stanwyck) had been cheating on him with Robert Ryan’s character Earl Pfeiffer. The line they used to reveal this was, “we spent all afternoon together.” WE SPENT ALL AFTERNOON TOGETHER?! Doing what? Playing cards? Watching TV? Picking our bellybutton lint? We’re just supposed to KNOW that when a man and a woman spend the afternoon together – not the NIGHT, mind you – they were necessarily fucking?!

The Alt-Right, Punk Rock and Fake Boobs: An Analysis

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The worst thing about people who are full of shit is when they become fans of things that you both enjoy and are a much, much greater expert on. I think I’m in some position of authority to state that most punk rockers don’t know as much as I do about the Alternative Right or the general umbrella of the new right. And similarly I think it’s safe to say that most people on the Alternative Right have only a cursory knowledge of punk rock. So, as someone who is a damn near expert on both of these topics – not saying I was ever on the vanguard of either of these movements – I think I’m at least qualified to call bullshit on a recent article published by Playboy magazine.

But before I even analyze the recent Playboy piece “5 Punk Rockers Explain Why the Alt-Right’s ‘Punk Movement’ is Garbage“, let’s ALL put on our bullshit detectors.

Is Playboy not the magazine that 13 year old boys jerked off to for the first time? Is it not the “classy” boobie mag that was started by a pipe smoking, middle aged-cum (no pun intended)-dirty old pervert, who would feature pictorials of attractive women with their beach blonde hair and big, fake boobs? Wasn’t Hugh himself the subject of the wrath of second wave feminists?

Yeah, I know… Playboy has articles too; and there are people who actually read the articles, rather make their fathers question why all the pages in his books are stuck together. And, from my understanding, there was even an era when Playboy actually had good articles from “legit” writers like Woody Allen – who, liberal as he might be, bless his soul, never became a feminist or stopped being a pussy chasing dog – and Gore Vidal. But that was the 60s, and you had to feign intellectualism in those days.

Regardless of its praising of certain liberal causes, Playboy has long since been just a porn mag-lite (no beaver shots), known for launching the careers of airheads like Jenny McArthy and Pamela Anderson.

So why, all of a sudden, do they fancy themselves the authority on punk rock and feel that they can decide that “the Alt-Right’s ‘Punk Movement’ is Garbage”?

First of all, there IS no AltRight punk movement, because if there was, then my name would be in the article. Not only am I the guy who printed the first ever Punks for Trump t-shirts (only 50 left as of this writing; BUY BUY BUY!!!), but that’s Matt Forney, one of the definitive AltRighters, in the picture below wearing one.

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But, even if the article’s writer, Michael Tedder, was aware of this fact, he still misses the point entirely:

Members of the alt-right have of late made the argument that “conservatism is the new punk” and that gadflies like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos are the modern day truth-telling equivalents of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, pushing back against social justice warriors and political correctness culture. In their eyes, their old, retrograde ideas—which inevitably manifest as fear and outrage at attempts to curb white male privilege—have suddenly become avant-garde because of…safe spaces or something.

Neither Alex Jones nor Milo Yiannopoulos are “AltRight.” They’re libertarians. They’ve adopted some of the less extreme views of the AltRight – that cultural Marxism sucks, that SJWs of all stripes and shades are stupid and that Islam is a threat to Western civilization – but they were never considered part of the movement; to call them AltRight would be like calling the Cars a punk band. Sure the Venn diagrams overlap, but they’re not one and the same. To be honest, I’m not considered “AltRight” by some of the more radical elements either because I’m not a White Nationalist, I don’t believe that all ethnic groups need to be separated at all costs and I don’t fit the proper genetic stock. The AltRight actually has quite a bit of diversity of thought under its umbrella, but a person on the left will never take the time to investigate any of this.

But I digress. As far as the “new right” (which includes the AltRight) being considered “the new punk rock”, well… I suppose that depends on how you define “punk rock.” And that’s where we get to the meat, spikes, leather and chains of the article; unless, of course, you’re a modern day vegan-feminist-hippie-crust-punk, who dodges showers the way the hippies dodged the draft. Then you probably think the original punks were fascists for wearing and eating dead cow.

Most AltRighters don’t know that much about punk and all of the bands it produced or its various sub-genres and their spin-offs. If ANYTHING, while AltRighters might espouse the general, “offend the easily offended” attitude of the Sex Pistols, and while I think Trump is pissing off all the right people, AltRighters specifically probably have more in common with the Oi! band 4Skins, who wrote this wonderful anti-immigrant slam “One Law for Them”, in which they quote the “rivers of blood” speech by Enoch Powell, or the Canadian punk band Forgotten Rebels, who have the hilarious “Bomb the Boat and Feed the Fish”, in which they advocate a rather more, um, violent solution to the problem of mass immigration from third world countries. Hell, I’d even say they have more in common with hardcore punk bands like Agnostic Front, who have the anti-welfare screed “Public Assistance”, which got them in a heap of shit with the PC brigade, or Minor Threat, who mince no words in “Guilty of Being White”, or Black Flag, who sing about the changing ethnic demographic in Southern California in “White Minority” (oh, but they’re being ironic, cantcha tell?!).

But, instead Playboy claims they found the TRUE representatives of punk rock, and these people, who quite obviously have next to no knowledge of the AltRight, explain why someone on the AltRight can’t be punk.

First they get a quote from Victoria Ruiz from some band called the Downtown Boys. (And if you leftist fags say, “uh, what a POSER, you’ve never heard of the Downtown Boys?”, I’ll say, “go fuck yourself, you’ve never heard of Aryan Disgrace, Metal Urbain or the Mentally Ill.”)

Alice Bag, who has actually done the work of being a punk rock star, recently said via Facebook: “Punk has been portrayed as music by and for angry white males, but in its inception, it was a rebellion against all rock cliches. Gender, ethnic, sexual and class taboos were all challenged by our early punk community and that is a story which is not very often told. People of color, queer folk, women—all were present from the very beginning of Punk.”

Yeah, fine, Alice Bag and the Bags are actually really good – how can they not be? They had Geza X on guitar! – but Republican Johnny Ramone has done WAY more work of being a punk rock star. Not to mention Lee Ving of Fear, who wrote the classic “The Mouth Don’t Stop (the Trouble with Women).” And so has leftist clown Jello Biafra. So what? Okay, fine, Darby Crash, the singer of the Germs, was a fag. And their guitarist Pat Smear is black. And Ivan Julian, the rhythm guitarist for Richard Hell and the Voidoids, is also black. And the Bad Brains are all black and were known for their queer-bashing because they “be Rasta, mon, and Rasta don’ like no bloodclot faggots!” Again, so what? That changes precisely what again? The answer is coming; wait for it:

I think that this is exactly why it is nonsense when the alt-right strings together vapid words to try and incite a playground fight with those of us who put blood, sweat and tears into creating an expression that is the antithesis of everything that these alt-right meatheads represent. They are simply a distraction to the women, femmes, queers and people of color filling the columns of Spin, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, the New York Times and numerous other publications that report on culture. I don’t see actual alt-right bands headlining Coachella, I see Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar—two of the most punk in terms of crystallizing dissent about the status quo —artists taking the stage. Real punk is and will always be a total threat to the alt-right and their culture, which is based on white supremacy. Otherwise it isn’t real punk. The alt-right’s tactics are FAKE PUNK. The alt-white (I mean right) want us to sip tea, but we are drinking fresh water from a firehose.

In other words, according to this person, the AltRight DOESN’T represent the punk rock ethos because they AREN’T represented in corporate mainstream media and DON’T perform at corporately sponsored music festivals. I think even the old timey leftists at Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll would raise an eyebrow at that. But more specifically, AltRighters and anyone who espouses views that are heretical to the PC establishment need to be purged from all mainstream discourse. Also probably the main reason no “AltRight bands” have ever performed at Coachella is because THERE ARE NO ALT-RIGHT BANDS to speak of. And even if there were, they wouldn’t be invited to play these festivals. In fact corporately sponsored festivals like the Scion Rock Fest has dumped bands when they were suspected of having “nefarious” connections. But apparently Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar are totally punk as fuck, man.

Next we have Chris Freeman of Pansy Division, the only name on the list I recognize. Feel free to read his lengthy, bitchy diatribe yourself. The only thing that stuck with me was this:

Punk rock for me was about free-thinking more than free speech, and I say that not to minimize free speech but to point out how robotic life had become in the 1970s.

Uh, oookay…. moving right along then…

Well, what do we have here? Erika M. Anderson seems to be the only person of the bunch with a brain!

I think if you define punk as simply being a group of angry young men wanting to say “fuck you” to dominant societal norms and current values, then the roots of the alt-right are definitely one of the most punk things going on right now.

AGREED… but:

But that’s like narrowing your definition of punk down to the Sex Pistols—which was basically a boy band put together by a pair of London clothing designers who wanted to use shock tactics to promote their fashion line. I much prefer Crass (who were anarchists, feminists, environmentalists and better songwriters!), X-Ray Spex or even Pansy Division. But my guess is that if you are truly invested in the theory of alt-right as new punk, then facts about the diversity of the movement aren’t really going to appeal to you.

Oo, calling the Sex Pistols a boy band… them’s fightin’ words! Julian Temple’s 2000 documentary The Filth and the Fury puts that myth to rest. Plus, even if it were true, that doesn’t change the fact that “No Feelings” is one of the best songs ever. To be fair, Crass makes some pretty righteous noise even if they’re views are stupid, and X-Ray Spex tear it up with their noisy, bleating sax and Poly Styrene’s caterwauling; I don’t think I’ve ever heard Pansy Division. Regardless, I AM invested in parts of the alt-right, but as proven above, I’m aware that there were black, gay and gurl punks. Her rant concludes with this:

Indeed, it’s all keks and lulz until a con man takes office and fills his cabinet with incompetent billionaires who don’t actually care about free speech, poverty, or really anything but themselves. Turns out there is a thin line between being punk and getting punk’d.

Oo, she’s clever!

Some guy named Andy Nelson at least gets one thing right:

It is no great secret that for all its posturing and incremental progress over the years, underground punk is still, regrettably, a culture dominated by straight whites males.

I wouldn’t say “regrettably”, but:

The notion that expressing all the hateful bigotry that the entirety of American society has been reinforcing forever would resemble the anti-establishment in any form is a premise so asinine and feeble-minded it is nearly beyond comprehension. Insofar as “Alt-Right Punk” is a real thing, I remind you that we’ve seen this type of thing before, and we’ve seen how it ends: Just ask Dave Smalley and Michael Graves what kind of traffic that moronic website ConservativePunk.com is getting these days.

Hey, if you don’t like it in the United States, you’re free to live in such tolerant countries as Iran and Saudi Arabia. As for Dave Smalley and Michael Graves, I’m not sure what kind of traffic they get on their moronic website these days, and I’m too lazy to check.

And finally Patrick Stickles of some band called Titus Andronicus (isn’t Shakespeare racist or something?) begins with:

In determining if conservatism/“alt-right” is the “new punk” or “political punk rock” or whatever they are saying, we must first address the distinction between “punk,” the ideology, “punks,” who practice said ideology, and “punk rock,” the musical genre/fashion template with which we associate acts like the Sex Pistols or Ramones or Black Flag and “punk rockers,” those who adhere to those templates.

No, we mustn’t. Well,you can if ya want, but I’m going to listen to this here Dictators song and have myself a vodka/diet coke mixer.

Sounds of Marshabaloosh Episode 2 – Robert Willis: Punk Rock Drill Sergeant

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I actually have to thank Ann Sterzinger for hipping me to Robert Willis, who bills himself as “the original punk right-wing millennial” on his awesome website bloodyrubbish.com. Even though, ahem, I AM the “punks for Trump” guy, so maybe we can have a little sparring match and see who’s the REAL original punk rock millennial. And of course by “sparring match”, I just mean an autistic, “who can name more old punk bands” pissing contest.

Anyway, I contacted Willis, and it turns out he sings for Lions Write History, sang for Signs of Hope, and runs his label, Detonate records. If you’ve got more than a cursory knowledge of punk rock, then you know that, as a general tag, it’s pretty broad. Willis’ punk rock “roots” are rather different from mine, with his being part of the “Youth Crew” revival of the early 00s – listen to interview if you want to know what that is, jackass – while I’m more into the old timey, spikey haired, leather jacket wearing bands – ya know, like the Pork Dukes and Joe Cool and Killers.

I must give Robert an ENORMOUS thank you for putting up with me. We basically recorded this interview twice, but the first time Robert came in all echo-y, so we did it again; only this time I was moving onto my fourth cup of vodka, and well, I fancied myself a comedian and asked some REALLY stupid questions. Thankfully Robert had a sense of humor about all of this – I mean, after all, it’s the left that have forgotten how to laugh – and I got some good quality stuff out of the interview.

We of course discuss Signs of Hope, Lions Write History and Detonate Records, along with our political views in general and how they relate to the “scene” as a whole (what scene?), and Robert tells probably one of the creepiest tour stories EVER.

Check out Robert’s Blog www.bloodyrubbish.com for political stuff.

Check out Detonate Records to hear some brutal tunes.

Songs played on the podcast:

“No More Talk” by Lions Write History

“Better Ways” by Signs of Hope

“Anchors” by Lions Write History

“In a World of Assholes” by Heavy Hearted

“Reproduction of Rage” by Human Slaughter

Sounds of Marshabaloosh theme by John Shade Vick

Is the Clash Just Skrewdriver in Disguise?

Being on the right and being into punk rock… but those things can’t POSSIBLY go together? Or so I’ve been told by a handful of people who recently called me a poser, saying I remind them of Ian Rubbish, the singer for a made up band called the Bizzaros (not, of course, to be confused with the Bizarros from Cleveland), that was featured on a Saturday Night Live skit and whose Johnny Rotten-esque singer – played by Fred Armison – praises, rather than denounces, Margaret Thatcher.

Well, yeah, England COULD use another Margaret Thatcher no matter how many songs the Exploited wrote in which they call her a cunt. But, what’s interesting, aside from how people found it hilarious to compare me to this Ian Rubbish character, is that people said I CLEARLY missed the message of punk as espoused by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, the Lennon/McCartney figures of the Clash (well except that Mick Jones is a guitarist, but that’s besides the point).  THE CLASH?! REALLY?! Clearly YOU, Mr./Mrs. Know-Nothing-About-Punk-Rock, missed the message of punk as espoused by THESE songs:

“Well there goes a girl and a half/she’s got me going up and down” – “Peaches” by the Stranglers

“I don’t really wanna dance/Girl, I just wanna get in your pants” – “I Need Lunch” by the Dead Boys

“You’re wild, and I’m wild about you” – “Wild About You” by the Saints

“I got a new rose, I got it good/I always knew that I always would” – “New Rose” by the Damned

“Gonna smile, I’m gonna laugh/you’re gonna get a blood bath” – “Glad to See You Go” by the Ramones.

“Why don’t you get raped?” – “Get Raped” by Eater (my last ex REALLY liked Eater by the way.)

“You tried it out for once/find it all right for kicks/and now you find out that it’s a habit that sticks/you’re an orgasm addict” – “Orgasm Addict” by the Buzzcocks

So there you have it. Punk rock stands for girls and a half who make you “go up and down”, while wanting to get in a girl’s pants, who you are wild about and who might be your new rose, all while laughing before giving someone a blood bath or telling a girl to get raped; oh, and of course jerking off.

How did you people, who know so much about punk rock, miss THOSE messages?!

But what’s really ironic is that these people, who claim that I missed “what punk’s about” because I don’t follow whatever Marxist/leftist nonsense that the Clash espouses – and which Kathy Schaidle, the adorable punk rocker turned Takimag columnist who told me to check out the Forgotten Rebels, called “gay” on the Savage Hippie podcast – apparently missed what it’s about as well. At least according to the anarchist band Crass, who spits on the Clash, their phony labor-leftist pose and their being signed to CBS-fucking-records for crying out loud.

They said that we were trash,
Well the name is Crass, not Clash.
They can stuff their punk credentials
Cause it’s them that take the cash.
They won’t change nothing with their fashionable talk,
All their RAR (rock against racism) badges and their protest walk,
Thousands of white men standing in a park,
Objecting to racism’s like a candle in the dark.
Black man’s got his problems and his way to deal with it,
So don’t fool yourself you’re helping with your white liberal shit.
If you care to take a closer look at the way things really stand,
You’d see we’re all just niggers to the rulers of this land.

Oo, almost got a Jim Goad vibe going there… err, maybe not…

Of course, I think Crass and the Clash are both retarded.

But THEN, I read the lyrics to the Clash song “Safe European Home”, and I had a “what the fuck is THIS shit?” moment! I’m nearly getting a boner at telling the modern day, Clinton supporting, corporate leftists that their “anti-racist, left-wing” proletariat heroes are pretty much about as racist as Skrewdriver. Don’t believe me? Okay, let’s see…

Well, I just got back an I wish I never leave now
(Where’d ya’ go?)
Who that Martian arrival at the airport, yeah?
(Where’d ya’ go?)
How many local dollars for a local anesthetic?
(Where’d ya’ go?)
The Johnny on the corner wasn’t very sympathetic
(Where’d ya’ go?)

translation: I just arrived in Jamaica, and I REALLY feel like an outsider. None of these guys even want to sell any drugs to me!

I went to the place where every white face
Is an invitation to robbery
An’ sitting here in my safe European home
Don’t wanna go back there again

translation: I’m white, Jamaicans will rob me, this place is scary and I want to leave.

Wasn’t I lucky, wouldn’t it be lovely?
(Where’d ya’ go?)
Send us all cards and have a lay in on Sunday
(Where’d ya’ go?)
I was there for two weeks, so how come I never tell now?
(Where’d ya’ go?)
That natty dread drinks at the Sheraton Hotel, yeah?
(Where’d ya’ go?)

translation: I’ve been here for two weeks, and this place still sucks.

They got the sun and they got the palm trees
(Where’d ya’ go?)
They got the weed and they got the taxis
(Where’d ya’ go?)
Whoa, “The Harder They Come” and the home of ol’ Bluebeat
(Where’d ya’ go?)
I’d stay and be a tourist but I can’t take the gun play
(Where’d ya’?)

translation: I thought I would like this place because of the sun, palm trees, weed, taxis, The Harder They Come and bluebeat, but I’m a white guy who can’t handle all of the crime in this country.

Okay, that’s not as bad as Skrewdriver and their, “they come here to this country from the jungles and the trees”, but it’s still not the leftist, politically correct, “power to the people” crap that people typically associate with the Clash. I mean, the group is blatantly saying, “Jamaica is a shithole, and as a white person,  I probably don’t belong there.” Hey, don’t yell at me! I didn’t write it! I prefer non-racist bands who talk about banging broads and killing people.

Of course, knowing punk fans, they’ll probably rationalize it and say that I’m totally mistaken and misread the lyrics. OR, maybe I can get the leftists at Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll to denounce the Clash the way they did with the Anti-Nowhere League for THIS song:

 

Savage Hippie Episode 29 – California Uber Assholes

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Sorry it’s been a while since you’ve heard from the Savage Hippies. We did actually fly out to the land of sunshine to meet up with David Cole, but instead we ended up meeting militia leader Ronald David Cole… juuust kidding. That’s a teaser for one of David’s many hilarious anecdotes, in which a moron at one of the clickbait sites attempted to be a journalist and confused our loveable Holocaust revisionist with an imprisoned militia leader in Montana.

Anyway Ann and I flew out to Los Angeles, met up with David and plotted further world domination – which according to a prominent Alt-Righter is exactly what David is up to. In all unseriousness, if I were to put me, David and Ann Sterzinger into categories, I would call us Derbshire conservatives – skeptical of the cult of diversity, strongly against immigration at least from certain countries, pro-Western Christian values of hard work and self-sufficiency without necessarily being religious, being more metropolitan than part of flyover country – and while I WAS ready to call myself a metrocon, a term that Derb coined, I realize that I got a total boner when my Injun ex-girlfriend’s dad showed me the enormous arsenal he had stashed away in the underground compound in a dinky, quaint and primarily… ahem… Caucasian town, and I’ve got Midwestern naivety, which is why I’m always getting swindled by hooknosed street peddlers in the big city – and more concerned with fiscal, rather than social issues… anyway, where was I?

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During this episode, we completely eschew talking about black thugs who torture autistic white kids for much weightier topics like Rastafarians who rent U-Haul trucks out the back of hookah shops, the best way to get back at unrequited-lovers who screw you over and our new target group for marginalizing and “othering” – the differently abled.

On top of recording a podcast, we also recorded a video episode centered around a gift our longtime listener David McPheeters sent us. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is; you’re going to have to watch the video and look at my ugly, fat ass to find out what it is (I don’t actually show you my ass, which I’ve been told is one of my BEST, rather than worst, features).

Our sponsor is Aaron Clarey who does financial consulting at www.assholeconsulting.com and entertains with his blog and podcast at www.captaincapitalism.blogspot.com, along with writing many fine books, which you should read.

Our featured band on Sounds of Marshabaloosh is a personal favorite of mine, the sludge punk noise rock band Kilslug with their song “Zoom Zoom Zoom”, which you can listen to at https://myspace.com/kilslugofficial/music/song/zoom-zoom-zoom-91427886-101591832.

And the song at the end is “The Diet Has Failed” by the Yesticles.

SavageHippie Episode 28.75 –A Non – Episode Episode Featuring John Steele

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In about five hours, I’m going to jump on a plane headed to Los Angeles. In the meantime, I leave you this thrown together recording which hardly qualifies as an episode. In case you were wondering, like four or five months ago, John Steele interviewed me and Ann for his channel to clarify our positions on sex, romance, the libertine lifestyle and some other shit. Then he forgot about it or lost interest, and said, “eh, I have this lying around. Do you want it?” So, I of course chopped it up and put in a bunch music and sounds and made it nearly unlistenable.

Then I had Vittoria do the art of my and Ann’s head impaled on spikes because why not have heads impaled on spikes? The song at end is “The Diet Has Failed” by the Yesticles.

Sounds of Marshabaloosh Episode 1 – Manilla Road: A Metal Invasion

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First of all, Marshabaloosh is the evil deity that makes you stub your toe, step on a nail, makes your wife divorce you, starts world wars and makes it snow heavily on the day of your important job interview.  Indeed he’s quit the nogoodnik, yet we worship him.

Sounds of Marshabaloosh is the music and entertainment spin off of the Savage Hippie retardo propaganda machine, and for the first installment, I was granted the privilege of interviewing Mark “the Shark” Shelton and Bryan “Hellroadie” Patrick, guitarist/singer/songwriter and singer/roadie for legendary cult metal band Manilla Road.  If you don’t know ’em, you better wise up, sucker!  They’ve been together in some way, shape or form since 1977 and have released a large and diverse body of work that ranges from heavy, progressive space rock, melodic epic metal, thrash, doom and even 12-string acoustic folky music, whose one uniting factor is Shelton and his penchant for fantasy, science fiction, horror and the occasional philosophical lyrics.

Shelton, Patrick and I spend an hour talking about everything from Manilla Road’s music (whoda thunk we’d talk about that?!), their various albums, encounters with other bands, potential label deals, the literature of Robert E. Howard, Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft and the time Manilla Road incited a brawl between Stryper’s Christian fan base and their biker one… guess who won…

I wish I had asked Shelton to elaborate on the Riddle Master project and about the legendary Herman Hill riots, but oh well… maybe next time?

Here’s a list of all of their albums if you want to check out their stuff, which you should, asshole.

Invasion (1980)
Metal (1982)
Crystal Logic (1983)
Open the Gates (1985)
The Deluge (1986)
Mystification (1987)
Live Roadkill (1988)
Out of the Abyss (1988)
The Courts of Chaos (1990)
The Circus Maximus (1992)
Atlantis Rising (2001)
Mark of the Beast (2002) (recorded 1981)
Spiral Castle (2002)
Gates of Fire (2005)
Voyager (2008)
After Midnight Live (2010) (recorded 1979)
Playground of the Damned (2011)
Mysterium (2013)
The Blessed Curse (2015)
Dreams of Eschaton (2016) (recorded 1981, remaster of Mark of the Beast)

And Mark, if you’re reading this, I downloaded all three Heavy Load albums!  Thanks for the recommendation!