Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Four years gone, Scott Walker (born Noel Scott Engel; January 9, 1943 – March 22, 2019). You play the hand you're dealt...
Thursday, March 2, 2023
Here is another thing I do when I find something I want to remember, but am afraid the original link & post will one day disappear into the internet no-man's-land graveyard where things online go when they go ptooof! That is I copy it & put it here on my blog. This has come in handy a couple of times when the original post really did disappear & my blogpost of it is the only documentation left. So here I go again. Kevin Ayers is one of my obsessions for better or for worse. His work has been both, & sometimes both at the same time. I will let the following explain itself...
Produced by Pepón Coromina
Written by Pepón Coromina
Music by Kevin Ayers
With: Kevin Ayers (The hero), José Manuel Cervino (The neighbour), Antonio Gamero (The bar owner), Marta Molins (The girl from the agency), Miriam De Maeztu (The hero’s wife), Mercedes Sampietro (The girl in the bar), Enrique San Francisco (The salesman), Amparo Climent (The saleswoman), Ricardo Franco (The cocky little guy).
Percusión starts with the image of the nameless character played by Ayers (who also composed the music score), bleeding in his bathtub in the midst of his suicide bid, as he muses on his past, which leads to the flashback that is the script’s main body. Ayers’s character is a comic book artist, amateur drummer and regular consumer of drugs and whores, who has just, perhaps understandably, been left by his wife (Miriam de Maeztu) for a runtish little man (the late Ricardo Franco, Jess Franco’s nephew). The scruffy Ayers character (simply identified as the “hero” in the final credits roll) leads a carelessly easy-going life, seen walking the streets of Madrid and insulting or playing pranks on whoever comes his way. At one point, he (rather effortlessly and convincingly) passes for a beggar and starts to ask for money from real destitutes. In another, earlier scene, he visits a pompous painter friend and causes the man to cry after he ridicules his artistic efforts.
SPOILERS. The man’s run-down existence experiences a turn when he starts feeling that someone is following him, apparently the establishment’s punishment for his lifestyle. As the film draws to its close, what seemed to be mere persecution mania seemingly turns out to be real. Gun in hand, a mysterious man enters the “hero’s” premises. An encounter follows and the hero outwits and kills the stranger. He may have been the pursuer of his obsessions or perhaps a mere common thief. In the belief that more pursuers will follow in future, the “hero” opts for a sweet suicide in his bathtub: “@#@# you, you shitty murderers! You didn’t count on me dying a happy, peaceful death. You wanted to screw me with your violence, but in a way, I’m the one screwing you guys”. SPOILERS END.
The pursuer was apparently some kind of emissary of society, out to punish the “hero” for his transgressions (“I was guilty of my life, of violating their principles, upsetting their assumptions. They had to destroy me”). Lots of fine talk but all we have seen the “hero” do is antagonise acquaintances, neighbours and passersby, and loaf around in his dark glasses. He comes off as no different from numerous people one may have encountered in a bar or as a flatmate. The script gives the “hero” a self-employed job, but he looks more like the prototype of the unattached unemployed male who smokes too much dope, lying somewhere between the Jeff Bridges character from the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski (but far more aggressive) and Abel Ferrara’s driller killer (but without the murders).
This complacency extends to the director’s style, forever indulging the antisocial “hero” in long scenes, sometimes sequence-shots: Kevin Ayers pissing into the toilet seat; Kevin Ayers making out with a girl by the bathtub; Kevin Ayers playing the drum; Kevin Ayers ridiculing his publisher; Kevin Ayers doing drugs; Kevin Ayers on the phone, ordering a prostitute from an agency and trying to convince the operator herself to come; Kevin Ayers goofing away… The film’s first half brings it dangerously close to “poor excuse for a movie” territory, and the bad acting from some non-actor supports does not help. Ayers is inevitably dubbed (by Javier Dotú, if I’m not mistaken); the rest of the film is mostly in direct sound, except for two minor players, who sport familiar voices. One shudders to think what they must have sounded like given the tolerance shown for Ricardo Franco’s feeble line-readings. Things, however, improve in the second half, when the “hero” goes some way towards breaking his onanistic shell and granting some access into his world to a variety of characters (well played by the likes of Marta Molins, Mercedes Sampietro or José Manuel Cervino), who he presumably considers worthy of his respect.
Alternatively tedious and interesting, Percusión does inspire a certain obscene fascination in its apparent refusal to critically distance itself from its obnoxious “hero” and his pretentiously dopey statements. At a party, he tells a friends that “years ago we might have changed all this but we didn’t know how to” and his voice-over narration includes such gems as “pursuers need people like me to exist, but I don’t need them”. Amidst all the cheap philosophising, what emerges is a highly credible portrayal of a bohemian /marginal/ festive milieu in early eighties Madrid.
Following the film’s failure, Josetxo San Mateo found a means of support on TV: his resumé there includes directing some chapters of La banda de Pérez, the Civil War comedy series created by Ricardo Palacios. In the year 2000, San Mateos resumed his career as a theatrical director, returning to urban settings and rebellious attitudes rather convincingly with Báilame el agua, starring Pilar López de Ayala, of Vicente Aranda’s Mad Love. For his part, writer-producer Pepón Coromina was in the midst of a successful career, producing, among other things, Almodóvar’s first feature film and Bigas Luna’s Anguish.
Saturday, February 25, 2023
When The Swingin' Cornflake Killers recorded "Man From Mars" & "Jekyll & Hyde" in Mike Haskins' garage...
|Back cover of the Jekyll & Hyde b/w Man From Mars Honey Records 45 single.|
Photo by Clinton Bell (RIP).
|Butch Paulson, the man who wrote & first sang "Man From Mars".|
|Butch Paulson's original 1961 single of "Man From Mars" on Virgelle Records.|
|Jim Burgett who originally sang "Jekyll & Hyde".|
|The first incarnation was titled "Split Personality" on Go Records from 1961.|
Monday, February 20, 2023
|The Vagabond Loafers: Mikaleno Amundson, Pip Pyler, T. Tex Edwards|
The Vagabond Loafers (name borrowed from a Three Stooges episode) were the first combo I was involved with after moving to Hollywood. Mikaleno Amundson was my weed buddy who lived across the hall when I first moved out west & I lived with Texas Terri Laird at the Malaga Castle for a spell. Mikaleno was a guitarist & former sailor. He'd talk about life on the big boats. We had in common a love of Chris Spedding's guitar playing & smoking weed. He had been around Hollywood for awhile & done time with Christian Death & one of Sky Saxon's later bands.
|Afton Arms AKA The Happy Malaga Castle in Hollywood, California|
A bunch of the Austin expatriates hung around each other out there in Hollywood. I met lotsa former Austinites I'd never known in Texas & of course a few that I did know before. Bassist Pip Plyer was one of those I hadn't known before, but Terri knew everybody with her ongoing vivacious personality & hair cutting skills. So Mikaleno & Pip & I starting jamming around with a succession of drummers & only played a couple of gigs with our combo that Mikaleno dubbed The Vagabond Loafers. Alot of guys from my generation grew up watching the Three Stooges on television & like Mikaleno, became obsessed with them. This photo is from Raji's, at a benefit for my by-then ex, Texas Terri, who'd run up some hospital bills & needed help. I don't remember much of that night except that I, for some reason, felt compelled to do a somersault cartwheel entering the stage upon the first notes of us starting our set with my song "Move It!"
|The Vagabond Loafers at Texas Terri benefit at Raji's in Hollywood: Mikaleno Amundson, Pip Pyler, T. Tex Edwards|
|The Loafin' Hyenas (photo by Margot Reyes) with Tom Blaylock, Rob Ritter (RIP), Hermann Senac, Click Mort (RIP) & yours truly...|
Friday, February 17, 2023
"My Brand of Blues" by T. Tex Edwards & Out On Parole
Listen & Download at: https://ttexedwards.bandcamp.com/track/my-brand-of-blues
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Sunday, February 12, 2023
Todays Memories confronted me with an old youtube from Tex & the Saddletramps. "Slave Lover” is a great song written & originally sung by George Jones on his 1963 Mercury Records album ‘The Novelty Side of George Jones’. An album that I ran across & immediately loved, early in my fandom of the Possum. Once Mike Haskins & I reassembled Tex & the Saddletramps, which had started out as a rockabilly/C&W-sideband from The Nervebreakers in 1979, a couple of years later with original drummer Russell Fleming, Key Kolb on guitar, & Donny Ray Ford on bass & backing vocals, this is one of the first tunes I wanted to do. A very uptempo tune with lotsa stops & starts about a poor henpecked guy forced to cater to his lover’s every whim & command.
A short while later, five or six songs were recorded by Will Clay, a saxophonist & all round funny guy who loved to laugh & crack jokes, who Mike & I had known since he was one of the younger guys that used to come hang out at rehearsals for the pre-Nervebreakers band we were in called The Idiots, circa 1974. The other 3/5 of The Idiots went on to form a local band called The Toys. Will had set up a little recording space down in the basement of a house on a hillside on Cumberland Avenue, just down the street from the Dallas Zoo in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Coincidentally, right down the street in the other direction from Lee Harvey Oswald’s famous Beckley Avenue garage apartment. Where “the shadows pointing every whichaway” photo of Oswald holding the rifle allegedly used to kill the president was taken. A photo whose authenticity had been questioned by the first wave of conspiracy theorists for decades.