Friday, December 31, 2010

captain beefheart extrapilating the piano while the recording engineer sleeps

probably recorded during the sessions for trout mask replica late in 1968 or early in 1969 (sounds like new years mourning) this is the captain speaking whilst disregarding a late laid piano and nobody cares either. neither. the dust blows forward and the dust blows back and the wind blows black through the sky the beefheart beats no more slobbery fields forever!

can you believears can you? i found these recordings in the ohmxgodatabase of sugarmegs where app 40.000 weird bootleaks are waiting to be unearthed and hearthed. for this particular sonic evidence they are hiding a lot of accompanying information.

and now spend and spoil ten minutes of your mmh-life:

01-untitled piano song (1:33)
02-untitled piano instrumental #1 (1:53)
03-a lot of money for you, a lot of money for me-untitled piano instrumental #2 (1:19)
04-short whistling (0:10)
06-why can't we be free? (0:50)
untitled piano instrumental #4 (0:58)
untitled piano instrumental #5 (0:31)
09-untitledtitled (0:46)

the beefheart piano tape
(mp3 /24 mb)

posted by

Captain Beefheart–“The Spotlight Kid” (1972 Coleman Andrews Review)

Amplify’d from

December 31, 2010 at 5:42 pm
(Captain Beefheart, Music, Reviews & Articles)

Another tribute to the recently deceased Captain. This time from March 1972, in the pages of Phonograph Record Magazine and written by Colman Andrews…

Who’s the greatest white blues singer in America today? Shame on you if you said John Hammond or Dave Van Ronk or maybe Kate Taylor. If you said Van Morrison, you get half credit ’cause he used to be (or maybe quarter credit since he’s only an honorary American). Half credit for Ry Cooder too, cause he’s working on it. If you said David Clayton-Thomas, bite your tongue. Hard. If you got really weird and came up with somebody like Bernie Pearl, kindly stop reading this publication at once. And no, it’s not Sammy Davis, Jr., and if somebody out there is clinging to the hope that it might be Mark Farner, please mail us your name and address so we can send out The Archies to stomp your ass.

The correct answer, of course, is Don Van Vliet, who, despite his name, is not the forgotten man of the Flemish Renaissance, but who is in fact stout-hearted, trout-hearted old Captain Beefheart himself, the Madman of Musical Melancholy, the Sultan of Street Sorrow, the Robber Baron of the Blues. I mean, I love Mose Allison and Dr. John and all those other fine people, but only Captain B. has really been able to take all the essential elements of the black blues idiom and synthesise them into a musical style that has absolutely nothing to do with its sources (except in the most obvious, simplistic way) and that, now that I stop to think about it, has absolutely nothing to do, with anything else at all. A Dialectic of the Dirty Boogie. Or of the Dirty Booglarize, since, of course, “Vital Willy tol’ Weepin’ Milly / I’m gonna booglarize you baby”. And since the Captain, My Captain, has one of the dirtiest voices in the entire history of verbalisation. I mean, he could get arrested for reciting The Lord’s Prayer in public. And when, far from that, he goes around singing “I’m gonna grow fins / ‘N go back in the water again..… I’m gonna take up with ah mermaid / ‘N leave you land-lubbin’ women alone”; when he soulfully informs us that: “Down in hominy’s grotto there’s ah soul diein’ ‘n leavin’ / Every second on the evenin’ stage”; you know that he’s not just whistling Dixie.

Which brings up the matter of the fact that, in addition to the lovely, smutty surrealism, the street-corner pseudo-reference that studs his lyric style like pecans in a Georgia praline, in addition to all that, there’s the music. His own harmonica (which sounds like Clifton Chenier’s accordion on “White Jam”), Zoot Horn Rollo’s “glass finger and steel appendage guitar”; which is more wry than Ry, Ed Marimba’s marimba, piano, and harpsichord, Rockette Morton’s “bassus ophelius”, Winged Eel Fingerling’s guitar, and drums by Drumbo, Ted Cactus, Ed Marimba, and Rhys Clark (how did that weird name get in there?). A nice, nasty band which is certainly a tasty adjunct to the greatest white blues singing in America that is going on simultaneously. The orchestration, the veritable chorus of percussion at the start of “When It Blows Its Stacks”, then the Ornette-goes-to-carnival-type break in the middle of the song. The neo-bop riff under the raunchy blues riff on “The Spotlight Kid”. The whiz-bang choo-choo sounds on “Click Clack” (certainly a classic blues theme if ever there was one – it even has two trains on two railroad tracks and a woman who’s “always threatenin’ t’ go down t’ N’ Orleans”). And the grand fragmentations of line on “Blabber ‘n Smoke”, which is thoroughly extraordinary throughout. Zowie. And Captain Beefheart singing like he looks and looking like the kind of guy who “…takes um out / Out on an iceberg / Hand ‘em ah Ronson ‘n says I’ll see you around.”

Colman Andrews


Shanty Tramp (1967)

Born broke, she found a way to make money.. She'd love them all!



Shanty tramp meets the preacher for the first time. Sparks fly as they both have one thing on their minds. 
Lee Holland only starred in this film according to IMDB. Which is a great shame, I think she has enough talent to have done more.
I will upload more quality moments from this film, it is a true dirty, grind, trashy classic.
Amen preacher.



Posted via email from up against the flooring

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Canterbury Scene - BBC South

via percy_the_ratcatcher

One of the Canterbury Scene's main men, Daevid Allen talks about how his travels brought him to Canterbury and being part of the Scene.

Australian born Daevid Allen is one of the Canterbury Scene's leading men. He came to England in the very early sixties, arriving in Canterbury via London. He's best known as the leader of the Canterbury band Gong.

In this interview he talks about how his travels brought him to Canterbury and whether or not he thinks there was ever a 'Canterbury Scene'.

Guitarist and singer Steve Hillage came to Canterbury in 1969 to attend university. Within weeks he'd found his way into the Canterbury Scene.

Steve was studying History and Philosophy but spent a good deal of time jamming with other musicians active on the scene in those years. He was particularly friendly with the members of Caravan, and through them he was able to get a record deal.

Steve Hillage talks about his early days in Canterbury.

More about these interviews:

Although for many years Robert Wyatt denied the existence of The Canterbury Scene he is certainly inextricably linked to Kents own special sound and the bands that developed it into something lasting.
Moving with his parents to Lydden near Dover, before he was a teenager, Wyatt was exposed to all sorts of musical influences from the lodgers who rented rooms in the 14 room house. It was here he met jazz drummer George Neidorf and Australian hippie Daevid Allen.
Robert Wyatt talks about the early day's of his musical education.

Originally from Leicestershire, Peter Geoffrey Richardsons playing has graced many a Canterbury Scene track. 
He joined Caravan in 1972 as the viola player but also counts guitar, mandolin and cello amongst the many instruments he can play.
Richardsons arrival in Caravan coincided with the departure of the Richard Sinclair and his cousin David. Some fans objected to his viola replacing Davids keyboards but he became an integral part of the bands developing sound.
He describes how one Caravan track Memory Laine, Hugh was dreamed up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Move - Color Me Pop

via Al Milman
 The Move on UK television - Carl Wayne, Roy Wood, Trevor Burton & Bev Bevan...

December 29, 1980: The Cash-Landrum Case

C2C Today in Strangeness:

Three Texans suffered severe burns when they encountered a fire blasting diamond-shaped UFO on this day in 1980. One of the victims in the Cash-Landrum Incident had injuries so severe, a doctor described it as comparable to being "3 to 5 miles from the epicenter of Hiroshima."
Amplify’d from


The Cash-Landrum Case

December 29, 1980

Huffman, Texas, United States

A terrifying encounter with a flame belching UFO on a lonely road near Huffman, Texas, resulted in appalling injuries for the three innocent victims. According to Bob Pratt, "the case remains one of the most important in the history of ufology. It has never been resolved. Someone in the U.S. knows exactly what happened to Betty and Vickie and Colby but they have remained silent despite all the suffering - and ridicule - those three endured."
Artist's impression of the close encounter.
Left to right: Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Colby Landrum.

Type of Case/Report: MajorCase

Hynek Classification: CE2

Number of Witnesses: Multiple
Special Features/Characteristics: Physiological Effects, Injury
More Articles on this Case:

A terrifying encounter with a flame belching UFO on a lonely road near Huffman, Texas, resulted in appalling injuries for the three innocent victims. According to Bob Pratt, "the case remains one of the most important in the history of ufology. It has never been resolved. Someone in the U.S. knows exactly what happened to Betty and Vickie and Colby but they have remained silent despite all the suffering - and ridicule - those three endured."

Artist's impression of the close encounter.

Left to right: Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Colby Landrum.

Type of Case/Report: MajorCase

Hynek Classification: CE2

Number of Witnesses: Multiple
Special Features/Characteristics: Physiological Effects, Injury

Articles on this Case

Articles on this Case

Bergstrom AFB Interview of Betty Cash, Vick & Colby Landrum - PART 1 of 2

Betty Cash and Vicki Landrum were interviewed in 1981 at Bergstrom Air Force Base. Here is the transcription of that interview.

Bergstrom AFB Interview of Betty Cash, Vick & Colby Landrum - PART 2 of 2

Betty Cash and Vicki Landrum were interviewed in 1981 at Bergstrom Air Force Base. Here is the transcript from that interview.

The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident (Book)

John F. Schuessler, MUFON

This book documents the extent of the witnesses' medical injuries and chronicles the rigorous investigation that ensued. The investigation uncovered numerous witnesses to the extensive helicopter activity, as well as sightings of the object as it traveled west across Texas from the Louisiana border. The book also details the interactions with government officials and the legal actions taken by the victims. Even after eigthteen years, the investigation is still ongoing, making this one of the most thoroughly investigated cases ever.
Full Report /

Source: NICAP

Original Source

HUFFMAN, TEXAS - On the evening of December the 29th 1980, Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Colby Landrum had visited several small towns in the Piney Woods area of east Texas looking for a bingo game, but discovered that all games had been canceled while the clubs made preparations for the Christmas and new year celebrations. Instead they settled for a meal in a road side restaurant in New Caney.

Betty Cash was then a 51 year old business woman who owned a restaurant and a grocery store. Vickie Landrum, then 57, worked for Betty in the restaurant and also occasionally as a school meals assistant. Colby Landrum, Vickie's grandson, was then 7.

After leaving the restaurant some time between 8.20 and 8.30 pm, Betty drove them along Highway FM 1485, a road usually used only by people who live in the area because it is so isolated. Although only about 50km from Houston the area is sparsely populated and is covered by oak and pine trees, and dotted with swamps and lakes.

It was about 30 minutes later when the three noticed a bright UFO above the tree tops some distance away. Colby was the first to spot it and pointed it out to the others. As they drove on it appeared to get larger and larger. As they realized that the object was approaching the road only a short distance ahead they began to get worried but hoped to get by it in time and leave it behind. But before they could do so the object had straddled the road blocking their way.

Vickie screamed "Stop the car or we shall be burned alive!" The object, many times larger than the car remained hovering at tree top level and sending down an occasional large cone of fire like a rocked blast. In between these blasts it would settle downwards some 7.5 meters or so only to rise up again on the next cone of fire. Vickie described it as being "like a diamond of fire".

When Betty eventually brought the car to a stand still the UFO was only 60 meters away. It looked as if it was made from dull aluminum and glowed so bright that it lit up the surrounding forest like daylight. The four points of the diamond were blunt rather than sharp and blue spots or lights ringed its centerline. Had the UFO not come to rest over the road the cone of fire from its lowest point would have set the forest on fire. The object also emitted an intermittent bleeping sound.

The three of them got out of the car to take a better look at the object. Vickie stood by the open door on the right hand side of the car with her left hand resting on the car roof. Vickie is a committed Christian who does not believe in UFOs or extraterrestrial life and when she saw the bright object she thought it was the coming of the end of the world. Because she expected to see Jesus come out of the light she starred at it intently.

Colby begged his grandmother to get back in the car and hold him and after about three minutes she did so and told him not to be afraid because "when that big man comes out of the burning cloud it will be Jesus." As Vickie held Colby she screamed at Betty to get back in the car with them. But Betty was so fascinated by the UFO that she had walked round to the front of the car and stood there gazing at it. Bathed in the bright light she stood there even though the heat was burning her skin. Eventually as the object began to move up and away she moved back to the car door. When she touched the door it was so painfully hot that she had to use her leather jacket to protect her hands as she got back in the car.

As the three of them watched the departing UFO, a large number of helicopters appeared overhead. As Betty said, "They seemed to rush in from all seemed like they were trying to encircle the thing." Within a few seconds the UFO had disappeared behind the trees lining the road. It was then that they realized how hot the interior of the car had become. They switched off the heater and put on the air conditioner instead.

When the effects of the bright light had worn off, Betty started the engine and they drove off down the darkened highway. After a mile or so of twisting road they were able to join a larger highway and turn in the direction of the departing UFO. This was about 8km and five minutes later. The object was clearly visible some distance ahead and looked like a bright cylinder of light. It was still lighting up the surrounding area and illuminating the helicopters.

By this time the helicopters were spread out over an 8km distance. One main group was near the UFO but moving in an erratic flight path. As they watched from their new vantage point they counted 23 helicopters. Many of them were identified as the large double rotor CH-47 Chinooks, the others were very fast single rotor types and appeared to be of the Bell-Huey type but were not properly identified. A lot of air crew members must have seen the UFO that night.

As soon as the UFO and helicopters were a safe distance ahead Betty drove on. When she reached an intersection she turned away from the flight path of the UFO and towards Dayton where the three of them lived. She dropped Vickie and Colby off at their home at about 9.50 and went home by herself. A friend and her children were there waiting for Betty but by this time she was feeling to ill to tell them about what had happened. Over the next few hours Betty's skin turned red as if badly sun burned. Her neck swelled and blisters erupted and broke on her face, scalp and eyelids. She started to vomit and continued to do so through out the night. My morning she was almost in a coma.

Some time between midnight and 2am Vickie and Colby began to suffer similar symptoms, although less severe. At first they suffered the sunburn like condition and then diarrhea and vomiting. It was a miserable night for all three victims.

The following morning Betty was moved to Vickie's house and all three were cared for there. Betty's condition continued to deteriorate and three days later she was taken to hospital. The burns and swelling altered Betty's appearance so radically that friend who came to visit her in hospital did not recognize her. Her hair began to fall out and her eyes became so swollen that she was unable to see for a week.

The appearance of helicopters at UFO sightings is becoming a common event, and the large number of helicopters at this incident is just another link in the chain. One thing is for certain, it is virtually impossible to be mistaken about the presence of CH-47 helicopters when you are directly beneath these large and noisy machines. The evidence of all the witnesses was consistent. They were interrogated separately about both the UFO and the helicopters and all gave consistent descriptions and sketches that indicated they had seen a large number of CH-47s.

Finding out where the helicopters had come from was a more difficult task than identifying them. according to a official at Houston Airport abound 350 to 400 helicopters operate commercially in the Houston area but they are all of the single rotor type, there are no CH-47s. The official also said that because helicopters fly on visual flight rules they do not have to contact the tower. Other information provided by Houston was that outside a 24km radius from the airport helicopters must stay below an altitude of 550 metres, and that due to a technical limitation the Houston control radar is restricted to a minimum altitude of 600 metres around the Huffman area.

The US army's Fort Hood press officer, Major Tony Geishauser, told the Corpus Christi Caller that no Fort Hood aircraft were in the Houston area that night. "I don't know any other place around here that would have that number of helicopters," he said. "I don't know what it could be..... unless there's a super secret thing going on and I wouldn't necessarily know about it."

All other bases in Texas and Louisiana denied they were responsible for the helicopters seen at the incident.

Betty, Vickie and Colby were not the only witnesses to the strange happenings at Huffman. An off duty Dayton policeman and his wife were driving home from Cleveland through the Huffman area the same night and also observed a large number of CH-47s. A man living in Crosby, directly under the flight path, reported seeing a large number of heavy military helicopters flying overhead. Oilfield laborer Jerry McDonald was in his back garden in Dayton when he saw a huge UFO flying directly over head. At first he thought it was the Goodyear airship, but quickly realized it was something else. "It was kind of diamond shaped and had two twin torches that were shooting brilliant blue flames out the back", he said. As it passed about 45 meters above him he saw that it had two bright lights on it and a red light in the center.

Since their encounter Vickie and Colby have been plagued with periodic outbreaks of skin troubles, as if they were more susceptible to infection than before. But the most far reaching injury has been the damage to their eyes. Their eyelids became infected very rapidly and have never fully recovered. Since the incident Vickie has had to have three new pairs of spectacles with successively stronger prescriptions to match the deterioration of her eyesight. Her eyesight continues to deteriorate and she still suffers from periodic infections. She fears she may eventually go blind. Colby has suffered similar problems but has needed only one new pair of glasses. Within a few weeks of the encounter, Vickie had lost about 30 per cent of her hair, and had large bald patches on her head. When it grew back it was of a different texture. Colby lost only a small patch of hair on the crown of his head, this too grew back in time.

Betty's injuries seemed even worse. She experienced a severe sun burn like condition and developed large water blisters, some as large as golf balls, over her face head and neck. One of these covered her right eyelid and extended across her right temple. She also developed a long term aversion to warm water, sunshine or other heat sources. In the year following the encounter she has spent five periods in hospital, two of those in intensive care. She lost over half of the hair on her head and has also had skin eruptions, many as big as a large coin, which leave permanent scars.

Doctors are baffled by these symptoms but speculate that they could be caused by some kind of radiation.

One day in April 1981 a CH-47 flew into Dayton. As Colby watched he became very upset. Vickie decided to take him to the spot where the helicopter had landed in the hope that it would seem less frightening on the ground. When they reached the landing zone they found a lot of people there already and had to wait some time before they were allowed to go inside the helicopter and talk to the pilot. Vickie and another visitor both claim that the pilot said he had been in the area before for the purpose of checking on a UFO in trouble near Huffman. When Vickie told the pilot how glad she was to see him, because she had been one of the people burned by the UFO, he refused to talk to them any more and hustled them out of the aircraft.

The UFO organization VISIT later located the pilot and questioned him. He admitted to knowing about Vickie and Betty's encounter with the UFO but maintained that he had not been in the area in December and had nothing to do with any UFO. Unless another pilot decides to come forward it seems that the source of the helicopters will remain a mystery.

Case ID: 86

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( Go to the original link to see photos & drawing)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

‘Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune’ - Documentary at IFC

Amplify’d from
New York Times

Tracing the Arc of a Tragic Folk Singer


Published: December 22, 2010

IF Kenneth Bowser, a New York documentary filmmaker, succeeds in his crusade to rehabilitate the 1960s protest singer Phil Ochs, he’ll have his daughter to thank.

“Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune” is a documentary examining that 1960s folk singer, who committed suicide in 1976.

Zev Greenfield/Milk & Honey Productions.

Kenneth Bowser, director of the Ochs documentary.

Phil Ochs in 1967.

Mr. Bowser was a teenager during the Vietnam War when he discovered Mr. Ochs, a brilliant, quirky and erratic artist who, plagued by mental illness and alcoholism, committed suicide in 1976 at the age of 35.

Mr. Bowser, who has made PBS documentaries about the directors John Ford and Preston Sturges, began thinking about making a film about Mr. Ochs some 20 years ago. In his vision, the documentary would show how Mr. Ochs had been wrongfully “written out of the history books,” unfair treatment for a man whom Mr. Bowser considers the best protest singer who ever lived — and the most relevant recording artist of the 1960s. A mention of Bob Dylan, whose protest songs disappeared early in his career as he turned his gifts to the surrealistically personal, is an easy way to inflame Mr. Bowser. While Mr. Dylan was recording “Maggie’s Farm,” Mr. Ochs was recording a war-resistance anthem called “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore.”:

Oh I marched to the battle of New Orleans

At the end of the early British War.

Young land started growing

The young blood started flowing

But I ain’t marchin’ anymore

Mr. Bowser and other voices — Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary), Joan Baez and Tom Hayden — pepper the film with praise for Mr. Ochs’s history-driven, pamphlet-style songs: forceful, angry and cleverly absurd lessons about society’s evil and unfair circumstances; Tom Paine with a guitar.

Whether Mr. Bowser can breed another generation of Phil Ochs fanatics will rest on critical and word-of-mouth reaction to “Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune,” a title from an Ochs song people are more likely to associate with Ms. Baez’s cover version. The documentary opens on Jan. 5 in New York at the IFC Center and in nine other American cities through March.

A lack of money for music rights blew out every budget Mr. Bowser drew up during the ’90s, and the project languished. Then, 10 years ago, his daughter Samantha, 4 at the time, heard him playing a tribute to Mr. Ochs by the leftist British singer Billy Bragg.

“I told her about Phil, and she said, ‘Daddy, why don’t you make a film about him?’ ” Mr. Bowser said. “When a little girl asks that question, you take it seriously.”

Mr. Bowser had just finished directing several “Saturday Night Live” greatest-hits episodes for NBC, so money was now less of a hurdle. And he had done business with Mr. Ochs’s younger brother, Michael Ochs, Phil’s sometimes-manager and a photograph broker who was willing to produce.

Telling the beginning was easy. Mr. Ochs’s evolution as a leftist hero started on a patriotic note: his parents sent him to military school, where he showed talent on the clarinet. Later, at Ohio State University, he fancied his roommate’s guitar and won it by betting that John F. Kennedy would beat Richard Nixon in the 1960 election. Two years later he followed the roommate to Greenwich Village, where folk singers tried to shed their anonymity. Mr. Ochs filtered a litany of heroes and villains through his songs, with an insistent style determined that every word be heard. Even a tribute to America, “The Power and the Glory,” from his first album, “All the News That’s Fit to Sing,” cautioned:

“Yet she’s only as rich as the poorest of her poor/Only as free as the padlocked prison door.”

From 1965 to mid-1968, when violence swept America’s political landscape, Mr. Ochs was at his peak, writing songs like “Draft Dodger Rag” and “The War Is Over.” “It’s wrong to expect a reward for your struggles,” he told an interviewer. “The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win.”

Mr. Ochs’s bipolar disorder created a heightened sensitivity to events around him, friends say in the film. Mr. Ochs demanded that he and his brother, who suffers from a different form of the same condition, take a pledge never to incarcerate the other in a mental home.

Phil Ochs’s fragility would weigh heavily on him. He was convinced that the idea of America had died at the violent 1968 Democratic National Convention. The cover of his 1969 album, “Rehearsals for Retirement,” had a picture of his grave with the partial inscription: “Died in Chicago, Illinois, 1968.”

Mr. Bowser captures how Mr. Ochs’s style began to reflect a bit less certainty and more vulnerability. Now the hero was not so sure in his righteousness. He sounded paranoid. The songs were a sort of protest/baroque, including one of essay length, “Crucifixion,” about how heroes like Jesus and John F. Kennedy are ritually destroyed by their overworshipful fans. The immortality he craved eluded him; most music fans either loved him or had never heard of him.

He held a 1970 concert at Carnegie Hall, where the audience backlash prompted demands for the “real” Phil Ochs as he played covers of rock and pop songs while wearing a gold lamé suit. In 1973, while touring Africa, he was mugged, suffering irreparable damage to his vocal cords. And then three disappointing years later, he was gone and history closed an eye.

One reason for that, Mr. Bowser said, was that Mr. Ochs reminded many people of their failures. “A lot of us thought we had life by the hair and it got away from us,” he said. “Phil’s story becomes the struggle with the failure of those times.”

Michael Ochs said that another obstacle Mr. Bowser faced was society’s cynicism about mental illness. “People get M.S., people get cancer, but people are manic-depressive,” he said, adding that “it turns people off, it makes us real standoffish.”

Whether a documentary can even out history’s verdict is problematic, said Todd Boyd, who holds a chair in race and culture at the University of Southern California’s film school. Cinema is a subjective medium, he said, because every director walks in with a point of view.

“There’s no way to objectively measure a musician’s influence,” he said, and quoted a line from John Sayles’s “Lone Star”: “You may call it history, but I call it propaganda.”

A version of this article appeared in print on December 26, 2010, on page AR10 of the New York edition.

Roky Erickson Bootlegs

Texas Psychedelic Rock
Roky Erickson Bootlegs
roky erickson bootlegs
Roky Erickson Bootlegs!
Here's the first, rough, listing of what the Roky CD Club got from this latest haul. It's all coming out! Look at Tape "D" Billy! It's you and Roky! It's coming out! Guess who's writing the Liner Notes!
Everything was ripped like so:
Sony TC-KA1ESA Tape Deck (Dolby Off) > Adcom SLC-505 Straight Line Controller > Prodigy HD2 Soundcard > Cool Edit Pro > Wav > Trader's Little Helper > FLAC 6

A) 1981-02-28, Sony HF Normal Bias Cassette CTF 12505, 17:45
Can't Be Brought Down
Wind & More
Bloody Hammer

B) 1979-06-25, Scotch Master 45' Cassette, 3:01
Don't Shake Me Lucifer

C) 1979-07-10, Scotch Master I 60' Cassette, 2:58
Don't Shake Me Lucifer with Bill Miller

D) 1974 Unreleased with Bill Miller, Memorex DB 90, 45:12 + 46:45
Be And Bring Me Home
The Hardest Working Man Around
@2 Gone And Number [Under Control (You Are Now)]
Moody Tunes
Love Hieroglyphics
I'm Satisfied
Alien I Creator
Hasn't Anyone Told You
Bird's 'D Crash
Smother Me
Goodbye Sweet Dreams
How Can We Ask For More
And Now We Fly
Ain't Blues Too Sad
Join The Marching
Never Say Goodbye
I'm Hungry For Your Love
Red Temple Prayer (Two Headed Dog)
Starry Eyes
Starry Eyes
Red Temple Prayer (Two Headed Dog) Extended Version
Starry Eyes
Red Temple Prayer (Two Headed Dog)
The Interpreter
Goodbye Sweet Dreams
Don't Slander Me
Sweet Honey Pie
Bird's 'D Crash
Love Hieroglyphics
I'm Satisfied
Oh My Soul (Little Richard)
Goodbye Sweet Dreams

E) Roky Unreleased 1974, Maxell XLII-S 100, 49:54 + 46:20
Probably the same as recording D above.

F) Tape was blank!, Maxell UD-XII C60, fwiw, here's the cassette shell text:
Roky Erickson & The Aliens 1981-07-11
If You Have Ghosts Take 3
Click Your Fingers Take 2
Bloody Hammer + Tail

G) Roky Rough 2A, Studio Instrumentals, AKBH8162 C60 Cassette, 59:26
Fire Demon Take 1
The Damned Thing Takes 1-8?
Cold Night For Alligators Takes 1-4
Night Of The Vampire x2
Don't Shake Me Lucifer Takes 1-3

H) 5/14, Studio, White Cassette, 29:11
Starry Eyes x5
The Haunt x2
White Faces/
The Haunt x2

I) '2000', TDK SA-C60, 33:11
Cold Night For Alligators (Fast Version)
Can't Be Brought Down
Bloody Hammer
Wind & More
If You Have Ghosts
White Faces

J) Studio 1976, '1st 45', TDK SD C60, 15:35
Click Your Fingers
Mine Mine Mind
Two Headed Dog

K) Roky Ruffs 15 Songs 5/3/79, Scotch Master I 60' Cassette, 25:46 + 31:17
White Faces x2
Bloody Hammer
The Wind & More
Mine Mine Mind
I Walked With A Zombie
Creature With The Atom Brain
Don't Shake Me
Stand For The Fire Demon
Click Your Fingers
Two Headed Dog
If You Have Ghosts
Cold Night For Alligators
Night Of The Vampire
I Think Of Demons
White Faces

L) Reel #2, Scotch Master I 60' Cassette, 16:28 + 5:42
Click Your Fingers x4
Don't Shake Me Lucifer x2
Click Your Fingers x2

M) 1979-05-17, TDK D-C60, 23:04
Creature With The Atom Brain
Two Headed Dog
White Faces x3
Creature With The Atom Brain
White Faces

N) 1979-05-11, Scotch Master I 60' Cassette, 13:03 + 12:17
I Walked With A Zombie x4: Fast, Faster, Fastest, Normal
White Faces
I Think Of Demons
I Walked With A Zombie x2

O) 1979-5-11, Scotch Master I 60' Cassette, 16:20 + 12:15
White Faces
Bloody Hammer
Cold / Night
Can't / Be Brought Down
White Faces
I Think Of Demons
I Walked With A Zombie x2

P) Roky & The Aliens, 3 Song Demo, Wally Heider Studio, Scotch Master I 60' Cassette, 11:11
Mine Mine Mind
Wind & More
If You Have Ghosts

Q) TDK MA-C 60' Metal Cassette, 12:43
TEAC Mixes:
The Haunt 5/14/82
The Haunt 5/17/82
Starry Eyes 6/5/82 Mix 31 Take 1
You Drive Me Crazy 6/10/82 Mix 49 Take 2

R) Vocal Takes Reel #1, Scotch Master I 60' Cassette, 31:06 + 31:18
Cold Night For Alligators 1-5
If You Have Ghosts/ 1-4
/If You Have Ghosts
If You Have Ghosts x2
Wind & More x2
White Faces x4
Click Your Fingers/

S) Roky - Aliens Studio, TDK AD-C45, 13:49
Two Headed Dog
Don't Shake Me Lucifer
I Think Of Demons
Night Of The Vampire

T) Roky - Aliens Studio, Generic Beige Cassette, 15:33
Click Your Fingers
Mine Mine Mind
Two Headed Dog

U) Wally Heider Mixes, Scotch Master I 60' Cassette, 13:32
Two Headed Dog
Don't Shake Me Lucifer
Night Of The Vampire
I Think Of Demons

V) Ruffs 1979-04-13, Scotch Master I 60' Cassette, 27:02
Cold Night For Alligators
Night Of The Vampire
Shake Me
Stand For The Fire Demon
Click Your Fingers
Mine Mine Mind
If You Have Ghosts

Teac 2300S 1/4" Reel To Reel Player > Prodigy HD2 Soundcard > Cool Edit Pro > Wav > Trader's Little Helper > FLAC 6

W) 1/4" Reel 7 1/2 IPS, 15:40
Click Your Fingers
Mine Mine Mind
Two Headed Dog

X) 1980-02-19, Roughs, 1/4" Reel 7 1/2 IPS, 29:30 + 20:01
Two Headed Dog
Stand For The Fire Demon
The Wind & More
Cold Night For Alligators
Don't Shake Me Lucifer
Mine Mine Mind
I Think Of Demons
Night Of The Vampire
Creature With The Atom Brain
White Faces
I Walked With A Zombie
Can't Be Brought Down

Y) 1/4" Reel 7 1/2 IPS 44:22 + 48:15
-1974-08-22: Hungry For Your Love x3 10:08
-1971-02-28 Rusk State Hospital: 34:14
/Looking Glass
Giving Receiving
I Pledge Allegiance To The Flag
I Love You
When You Get Delighted
-God Is Everywhere (birdsong more prominent in background; different date? location? Evelyn's House?)
jesus met moses x2
I've Never Known This Til Now
jesus met moses
instrumental (2 guitarists)

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins…rock n roll’s real deal…interview by Ian Johnston

Amplify’d from
Louder Than War

27 / 12 / 10 : Screamin’ Jay Hawkins…rock n roll’s real deal…interview by Ian Johnston

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins is one of the classic pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll…mainly remembered for ‘I Put A Spell On You’ there is so much more of story as Ian Johnston points out in the following full length interview…

“Everybody started getting weird after there was a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins 07/07/1989

On 7th July 1989, I had the good fortune to meet and interview one of the genuine, to borrow Nick Tosches’ book title, Unsung Heroes Of Rock ‘N’ Roll, the late, great Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (1929 – 2000). Hawkins was indisputably the real deal. A few days before his sixtieth birthday, the tall, imperious Hawkins looked remarkably fit and in robust health, with only a large pair of highly powerful Michael Caine style glasses giving any real indication of the passing of the years.

Having been a long time fervent aficionado of Hawkins’ wild, innovatory and eclectic music, the chance to even just see the legendary blues singer and pianist at close quarters in the Grafton Hotel on Tottenham Court Road, before he played a gig (a rescheduled booking of a cancelled gig from the previous year) at the Town and Country Club in Kentish Town, London, was a real thrill. The interview (for the long defunct music paper Sounds’ media page, of which only a small fraction was ever used) was to promote the forthcoming Jim Jarmusch classic movie Mystery Train, in which Hawkins unforgettably appeared as an actor, rather than as a performer, for the first time. Of course, Jarmusch had extensively used Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ signature tune, the OKEH 1956 single ‘I Put A Spell On You’, a brilliantly unhinged best seller which was recorded with singer and band in an advanced state of inebriation and was subsequently banned by many radio stations because it was deemed to sound “cannibalistic”, in his 1984 film Stranger Than Paradise. Down through the decades Hawkins’ decadent waltz time dance of the damned ‘I Put A Spell On You’ has been covered by just about everyone, from Nina Simone down to Marilyn Manson.

I was more than a little nervous; perhaps finally proving that I had some common sense, as Jalacy J. Hawkins’ notorious reputation preceded him. Hawkins was born on 18th July 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio. Placed in an orphanage by his mother, from where he was taken and subsequently raised by a tribe of Blackfoot Indians, Hawkins enlisted in the US Army in 1944, before entering the Army Air Force. It was here his career as an entertainer began, playing tenor sax to GIs. This was not his only talent. By the age of sixteen Hawkins had become a Goldern Gloves boxing champion. Two years later he won the middleweight championship of Alaska by beating Billy McCann. The stubbornness of this last 1949 fight, and the injuries he sustained, discouraged Jay Hawkins from pursuing a vocation as a pugilist, so he turned all his attention to creating his own singular music. This happened first in 1952 with jazz guitarist Tiny Grimes and His Rockin’ Highlanders (the band all wore Scottish kilts on stage), followed by Johnny Sparrow and His Sparrows, supporting the incendiary R&B legend Wynonie Harris as his anointed protégé, before developing his ghoulish and shocking vocal delivery on the 1955 Mercury single, ‘(She Put the) Wammee (On Me)’.

Jay Hawkins’ outlandish dress sense and stage performances would only become more eccentric as he incessantly toured America. He either dressed up as an African chieftain or sported a green turban, shades, a pink tuxedo, a zebra cape and white shoes while jumping out of coffins, to the accompaniment of thunderous fireworks and flash boxes. In the process Hawkins inspired countless Rock ‘N’ Roll performers from Little Richard to Alice Cooper. Snakes, a cigarette-smoking skull on a stick called Henry, model severed hands, tarantulas and shrunken heads heightened the drama, and the subsequent outrage voiced by various concerned citizens committees and the National Casket Company.

Nevertheless the singer’s stage act certainly proved popular with the female section of his audience. Hawkins had three children with his first wife, but was certain that he fathered at least another fifty children with an endless succession of girlfriends and groupies. Two years before his death, Hawkins married his ninth wife, a 29-year-old from Cameroon.

They where so many questions I wanted to ask, so many answers that needed to be addressed, but I did not really get a chance to utter many of them. Jay Hawkins initially was not in the best of humours, for reasons that will become immediately evident in the interview, but he definitely had much to say and I just prayed that the tape recorder (20th century technology) was running properly. Despite the ‘interview’ becoming a Hawkins monologue, I felt at the time it was going well. At first I would glance down at my notes while Hawkins was talking, to see where I wanted the interview to head, but I discovered that the singer would only except locked eye contact at all times when he was conversing, otherwise you just were not paying attention. That was not acceptable. Hawkins’ baritone speaking voice was naturally loud but it definitely got even louder when he wanted to punctuate a point, which he did on numerous occasions.

If you are not familiar with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ work seek out immediately the following compilation LP’s, Screamin’ The Blues (1979) and Frenzy (1982), and the studio albums At Home With Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the singer’s celebrated 1958 wacked out loungecore/Rock ‘N’ Roll debut LP, and What That Is (1969). The 1995 Edsel CD compilation, Portrait of a Man, also serves as a good introduction to Hawkins. Satisfaction is definitely guaranteed and you will inevitably want to hear every note the man ever recorded.


PAT (Hawkins’ road manager): ‘I’m going to take care of some business, your coffee will be delivered for you.”

JAY HAWKINS: “Err… who ever ‘s delivering it… give them a tip and write out a receipt cos I don’t have any English money. I gave some guy 50 francs cos I don’t have no English money. I tipped the guy 50 francs and I know I gave him too much money but err….”

PAT: “I gave him American as well.” (She leaves)

JAY HAWKINS: “Got to catch a plane tomorrow to go to Barcelona…

Is that where you’re playing next?

JAY HAWKINS: “Tomorrow night we’re in Barcelona, the following we’re in Madrid, the following night we’re in Cannes, the following night we’re in Amsterdam, the following night we’re in Nice and the following night we’re going back to the States to work Las Vegas then going to Atlantic City, from there I will go to five of the big plush hotels in Miami beach. From there I will catch a plane… (Hawkins proceeds in this fashion for a few minutes more, listing about every city in the world)…. Catch a plane to go to Japan, and work Japan for a couple of weeks, New Zealand for three months, including Australia, and I don’t know what happens after that! And that’s my itinerary up to at least March or April of next year.”

I think you’ll need a long rest after that.

JAY HAWKINS: “I am considering retiring… I’ve had it. I will turn 60 this month, July. I’ve been living out of a suitcase since I was 14 and I’m going on 60. I’m tired. (Pauses)

I can understand that….

JAY HAWKINS: “I love the people, God bless’um, they still love me, they still want to see me and I think that’s because of people like Jim Jarmusch and the motion pictures I’ve been making. Two Moon junction, Joey, a picture about Alan Freed’s life American Hot Wax, First Twenty Five Years of Rock ‘N’ Roll, The Dick Clark Story and the picture I just finished with Jim Jarmusch last September called Mystery Train, which will be out this November. I do an acting role; no singing, no piano, no band. I wear a blood read suit, blood red shoes, blood red tie, black shirt and I sit behind a desk… (Lowering his voice) and check rooms out. We have three different stories, which cover a span of 24 hours. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong in this hotel and I have to straighten it out. I even get shot, I don’t get killed, I get shot in the shoulder. They say that the picture may win an award.”

How did you get involved with Jarmusch, had you seen Stranger Than Paradise?

JAY HAWKINS: “Yeah, Jarmusch took me to see that. (Telephone rings and Hawkins answers it) I don’t want that, I want a doggy bag, I want to polish my shoes, I have to shave, I’ve got to get out my weirdest uniform…. I’ve got too much to do. After the show I’m not going nowhere with nobody, I’m coming back to this hotel. I don’t hang out after I work. If the band want to go out they can leg it. I want to sleep on that plane all the way to Barcelona and I can’t sleep because we’re going over the Swiss Alps and they don’t fly over them, they fly around them and through ‘um. Make sure the dressing room have a lock and make sure you have the key and get onto Gwyn about my money. All right, thank you.” (Puts the phone down).

What do you think Jarmusch wanted you to bring to the role, did he talk to you about…

JAY HAWKINS: “Jarmusch took a liking to me because Stranger Than Paradise won some sort of award. He said, ‘Jay, if it wasn’t for ‘Spell’ I wouldn’t have won the award. I made money hand over fist. What I’m going to do, I’m going to feature you in my next movie called Mystery Train and you’re going to be an actor.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to be an actor.’ And he said, ‘You are going to be an actor whether you like it or not.’ “I can’t remember some the lyrics of my own songs, how do you expect me to remember the script?’ He says, ’Jay you WILL read the script and you will remember AND YOU WILL BE AN ACTOR!’ The money he paid. My God, the man made an offer I couldn’t refuse. He’s done for me in 1988 what Alan Freed done for me in 1952 and Alan Freed helped make my act. This man changed my life.”

Mystery Train is probably going to bring you to a wider audience.

JAY HAWKINS: “I’m tired, I want to retire and sit down, relax and have peace and comfort. God bless those people out there in the world who want me to work forever but the body can’t take it no more. I’m getting on in age. I don’t care if I don’t look like it. I’m getting ON IN AGE! And I need to relax. Have you ever seen the film, The Picture of Dorian Grey? You remember the portrait changed while he stayed young?”

(Brian Smith, a photographer and friend of Jay’s, interjects – “He’s got a picture of James Brown in his attic!”)

JAY HAWKINS: (Laughs uproariously) “JAMES BROWN! Oh I can’t stand James Brown. I hate that man. I’m sorry he’s doing time in jail but it couldn’t happen to a better man. It couldn’t because he’s a no good scoundrel. He deserved exactly what he got. If I did to women and to my band and to people what James Brown has done to the people who’ve helped make his career, I’d deserve to go to jail. That’s right! He should’ve gone to a maximum-security prison where they could make a woman out of him. Where he could holler loud I’m a female and I’m black and I’m proud!”

So is acting the next logical step because that won’t involve such a tiring schedule like you’re working on now?

JAY HAWKINS – “Well that depends on the directors and producer, suppose they want to go overseas and shoot? But that doesn’t matter; at least I’d be out of nightclubs. I WOULD LIKE TO BE OUT OF NIGHTCLUBS. I prefer working places like Vegas. I prefer travelling to Europe as opposed to working the clubs in the United States. I do not wish to work any more nightclubs. I have, thank God, knock on wood, now become financially independent enough where I can say NO! There was a time I dare not say no. Now I say NO to everybody. If I feel up to it, I’ll do it. If the public says do it and the call is that great, Jay Hawkins will answer it. Right now, Jay Hawkins has decided to start thinking about Jay Hawkins. I’ve given 50 years to those wonderful people out there who’ve bought my records. They deserve the best that I’ve got to offer. I think now I should worry about Jay Hawkins. After 50 years I think I have that right.”

At one time weren’t you were really into opera?

JAY HAWKINS – “Well, that’s something I never think I’ll get…. I don’t think anybody’s ever going to give me the chance to sing opera so what I do when I make appearances, I throw in an opera song on stage – that’s my only way of doing it. Sure they come to see me act crazy and they’ll see that but I throw in the opera. What I do is I put it in the one song they don’t expect…. ’SPELL’! I take ‘Spell’ and I make it longer than the actual record. I’ve added a new part to it now and it’s pure opera. And it’s changing key, coming down the scale, I do nothing but opera all the way down. I do it on two songs, ‘Itty Bitty Pretty One’ and ‘I Put A Spell On You’, so I give the people what they want but I give them just a little bit more and I get a chance to do my opera at the same time and that’s my only out.”

You’ve got this incredible ability to move between some many different musical styles, from Rhythm & Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll, blues, funk, right through to ballads.

JAY HAWKINS – “I have to! I must have, what you call it, variety is the spice of life. I must show these people that I am not just a screamer, I’m not just a clown, I’m not just an idiot but I can also be serious. I can sing ballads and I can sing opera. Now besides that I’m a musician. Beside that I also perform. And besides that I entertain. So I’m giving them five, six times their money’s worth. I won’t come ff in an hour. I won’t come off in an hour and a half. I do a two-hour show and that’s not in the contract. I deliberately give the people 100% more than they really expect in such a way that they won’t even bother me with encores. I just won’t stop! I’ve had problems with promoters who’ve said, ‘Hey, cut the time.’ Now tonight I’m only supposed to do one show but it’s going to be the longest show ever done in that club and I resent that club because they actually had the audacity to get mad because I got sick last year. I had to go home. I was sick on the 1st June all the way up to the 23rd. They had five doctors check me, each one says give him three days off. Oh no! The people I was booked over here for got greedy, they saw money! We only get him once a year; let’s keep him as long as we can. When I finished working the Hotel Meridian, a doctor in Frankfurt said, ’He’s got to have ten days off.’ Now that scared ‘em! You kept saying you wanted blood, well, I’ve come very close to giving you my life but now we stop. Now it’s not just me complaining, this comes under what is known in the contract as an Act of god. I had the biggest cyst behind this knee that busted and went down to the inside of my ankle. My ankle swelled up. I couldn’t wear shoes. I brought some shoes in Holland and I had to do my show in Dutch shoes. I put on these weird coloured socks because I had on weird coloured suits and it worked out fine. Nobody knew it except the people that booked me and my band and the doctors.

I read some article that someone sent to me that said, ’Anyone would have to be out of their minds to book Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in the UK.’ They also showed a letter in the same article that said, ‘I must have 14 days off.’

The guy who runs The Town and Country Club called me, and I got angry because I said, ‘This is an unlisted number, how did you get it?’ ‘We got it from the people in France.’ ‘Why don’t you ask the people in France why I’m not here?’ I said, ’This is still the 4th July, how dare you call me in June and raise hell with me? Let me put it this way, if it comes to my life, opposed to working in your club, you take your club and stick it up your ass! I don’t like your attitude. Sooner or later I’ll be in England and I will come to you, so gather your guns, your knifes and your bodyguards and I will still come. Now, two things are going to happen – I’m either gonna kick your ass or you’re gonna kick mine.’

I’m here! Now when I go in there tonight to work, I’m going in there for war! I pray there’ll be no war. Pray that they accept what has happened. I’m back; they decided they wanted to book me again, that’s fine. I will give them the best show they ever had but as far as I’m concerned the club can go to hell! And I will say that to them and I will stand on the stage and say it!”

Well, it’s good to have you back in England….

JAY HAWKINS – “I’m glad to be back! It’s wonderful to be here! The last time that I was here, when I stayed two years, I lived over there near Regent’s Park Zoo, where Goldie used to get away – the bird – and I lived at a little place called The White House. I enjoyed living there, I even learned the difference between shillings and guineas – MAN, I WAS GETTING INTO IT YOU KNOW! Catching the cabs and riding the streetcars and stuff, I was having a BALL in England! I wanted to be a black Englishman, you know, and I don’t mean like the ones out there in Brixton. Them fools are crazy out there!”

You must feel very bitter at having been ripped off over the years?

JAY HAWKINS – “Well, let’s put it this way, the rip off that I had was not so much financially. The rip off that I got from this world and the people and the record companies and the agents and the promoters is that they didn’t want to admit that they had an artist out here was a teeny bit different from other artists, crazy and weird. My act started people like Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Manfred Mann, Alan Price, The Who, The Trackers, Alice Cooper. Everybody started getting weird after there was a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Even a guy in France named Hector Lang was doing me… some guy in the United States won Starsearch cos he came on in a cape carrying a skull and he sang all my records and it won him a couple of hundred thousand dollars.”

(Brian Smith: “Don’t forget Screamin’ Lord Sutch.”)

JAY HAWKINS – “Oh, yeah, how can we leave out Screamin’ Lord Sutch! He even ran for politics, isn’t that wonderful? You know, I’m grateful for it. But I resent the fact that they said I was rebellious. They said that I was a rebel and that I didn’t like the system…. Well, WHO IN HELL DOES LIKE THE SYSTEM! NOBODY LIKES THE SYSTEM, when they want you to be an Uncle Tom or kiss ass or you got to suck somebody’s kneecap to get into a certain club. Like Vegas told me, ‘ You would have been here long ago if you had just obeyed.’ I said, ‘Obey what? OBEY WHO? WHAT FOR? WHY?’

B.B. King will go on the Johnny Carson Show to sing but Johnny Carson won’t let him sit there and talk to him. But somebody else whose written a book on astrology can come right on in and sit down and talk. Why can’t B.B. King talk; he’s an intelligent man. We’re not all John Lee Hookers….. YES!

John Lee Hooker could never hold a decent conversation and I know that. Neither could Champion Jack Dupre. But in their own right they’re stars. You’ve got to give credit where credit belongs. So, if Johnny Carson don’t want me to sit down I said, ‘Then tell Johnny Carson to go to hell!’

I started Dick Clark on American Bandstand when they busted Bob Horn in 1954 for messin’ with young girls. Dick Clark tell me, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry, ‘If you ever need a favour, cal on me.’ I called him in 1964. Dick Clark said, ’Who’s Screamin’ Jay Hawkins?’ I said fine…. The day will come when we’ll meet and we’ll meet on TV and I will expose him for what he is. He wants to be an all-American Pat Boone on American Bandstand when he’s nothing but a damn liar. He would not let blacks come in there to dance with the white girls. But Alan Freed did it! Way before we EVER HEARD OF DICK CLARK. So what did they do? They crucified Alan Freed until he finally went to his grave. They got him on the payola scandal. Now there’s a white man who something for black people that you’ve got to respect. The Martin Luther King’s of this world get killed because they open their mouths too much and fight the system. I don’t march, I don’t give a damn about the system, I just do what I have to do. I’m more interested in what my audience thinks about my performance than I am about the system.

I’ve had black people in the United States tell me, ‘You’re making fun of the dead by coming out of the coffin and we want you to stop.’ Hey! A white man told me to do it. That man said that this will keep you working longer than a hit record when you’ve got nothing in the charts. He had to be right! And he done that in 1952. People are still buying me because of the coffin. I give that white man all the credit in the world. There have been two white people who have helped me, three all told, with my manager of 36 years, Alan Freed who started out first and now Jim Jarmusch. I judge a man by what he does, not by his colour. I want to be judged by what I do. Judge me by my stage performance. I either work like hell or I’m no good and I don’t know how to be no good. All I know how to do is get up there and work. WORK! And that’s what I’m all about.

You know I dig England; I’ve missed you people. I’ve made some of the best friends in my life here and this is one of them standing right there…. Brian Smith. I’ve even met Screamin’ Lord Sutch. He come up to me in 1964 and said, ‘I am to England what you are to America!’ I said, ‘Can you scream?’ ‘YES!’ You know, I’ve watched one of his shows and I’ve never heard him scream. I’ve seen him run after women with knives, kick at people and get his butt kicked like a fool! I’ve seen him running for Parliament. I wouldn’t run for office in the United States. You know what happened to Reverend Martin Luther King…. I want to live!”
Are there any contemporary bands that you like at the moment? Did you like Nick Cave’s cover of ‘I Put A Spell On You’?

JAY HAWKINS – “I can’t stand Nick Cave! I worked with Nick Cave in Australia in 1985. They had the AUDACITY to tell ME I was going to be the opening band for Nick Cave. I said, ’Just a minute… back up… my records sold here before Nick Cave was born. Before he was a twinkle in his daddy’s eye. Before his daddy knew how to get an erection! ‘ But I said, ‘I tell you what, just for one night, I’ll open the show for Nick Cave, but you’ll be sorry I did it.’ And I used every trick in the bag. Nick Cave could not get on the stage. So the promoters got wise and they separated us. I said, ‘You should have done that in the beginning.’

Nobody can get on the stage after me. You know who paid e that compliment? It was Nat King Cole who told me that when I was still a youngster learning the business. He said, ‘You’ve got too much energy, if I was on a show with you I would want to go on before you. I would never follow you.’ Now I shook his hand you know, it almost brought tears to my eyes, for Nat King Cole, one of the greatest singers in the world, to give me a compliment like that…… OHHH! I stuck my chest out and I felt GOOD! Stan Kenton said to me, ‘I play unusual music, but YOU are one of the most unusual big mouthed black man I have ever seen in my LIFE!’ Well, when you get compliments like that from the masters, from people that heavy, that deep…. You’ve got to be on the right track, it’s just a matter of time.

The guys then who were running show business, they’re nearly all dead, I’ve outlived them! Now you get the young kids taking over, they want more Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and I (he reaches out and grabs my hand)…. Thank God for ‘um! Cos it’s given me a new lease of life. However, I’m getting older. I have reached the point where I’m tired but nobody will know it tonight….. You’ll know it, the audience will know it when they read whatever you write, but when you’re watching me on stage you won’t see it.”

I can believe that.

JAY HAWKINS – “You won’t see it! When I go on that stage I’ll be there until they close that club. They’re going to have to drag me off. I told the band. I don’t want to hear no shit cos I pay you good money and I’ll work the hell out of you. I’ll work you to death.”

Do you have any plans to make any new records?

JAY HAWKINS – “I will always make records! But I will concentrate more on movies. Every two or three years I may do a personal appearance. But my goal is to OWN a nightclub, connected to a motel and an all-night restaurant where I can cook, cos I love to cook! I’ve learnt the Far Eastern cuisine, the European cuisine, the Caribbean cuisine, American cuisine I love to cook. So I’m going to be behind the stove. If I want to sing, in my own club, I can go up there and belt out an hour’s worth of music. Then I can come down and walk behind the bar, go to the cash register and pay myself. Then I can turn round and serve some drinks or go around and be a bouncer. I’m going to have music playing, only 50’s and 40’s, and I mean the original artists. That kind of music… there’ll be no juke box in there but there’ll be one hell of a record player in my office. There’ll be speakers all over the place. Even in the motel into the restaurant, as well as the nightclub. There’ll be continuous music 24 hours around the clock. Music that people can relate to whether they’re old, like me, or the younger generation. I’m going to pick that kind of music.”

That music is so popular because it’s so timeless. The feeling and emotion, particularly in your own records, just can’t be…..

JAY HAWKINS – “ The best part of it is the blues. It’s the beginning. And that’s what I play. And when you hear what this band and I do, you will know that I did not lie to you at this moment in this room. See the show tonight and tell me I was wrong. (Puts his large hand on my shoulder) I don’t think you will, no sir, I don’t think you will.”

How did your stage act develop? I know about the Alan Freed connection, but did it all come together at the same time? The skull, called Henry and…

JAY HAWKINS – “No, no, no, no, no, Freed only had the idea for the coffin. There was a guy called Bob Hall, a black electrician, who put the fuse box into my act. But Henry was my idea. I found a stick in a grocery store and I had the skull. What I have done is take the skull off the stick and found me a palm tree branch and run the sucker right through his head. I’ve painted him over the years; now he’s so gruesome looking it’s horrible. He’s aged just like me, you know. You wouldn’t recognize him now, but it’s the same skull. HE’S WERID LOOKING NOW! In my act I look more like a witch doctor than ever. I’ve gone back to the old primitive ways and wear a bone through my nose and stuff. I’ve got a hand crawling across the piano, fire coming from my fingertips and I blow the place up. Then me and my sax player get together and walk among the people….. We do EVERYTHING most bands don’t do! We do all kinds of music but we stick to the roots. When I do ‘I Love Paris’ I leave out the strings and the voices, but they just want to hear me anyhow and that’s what I’m doin’ and what I don’t leave out I have my band singing in background. So you’re really going to think you’re looking at a group up there. A vocal background group cos that’s the way I train ‘um.”

Did you ever find that the ‘voodoo’ persona was getting to be a problem, having to maintain that image all the time?

JAY HAWKINS – “No, no, now it works even better! I don’t know how this happened but as I sit here and speak to you, it’s the truth. August 1988, Jim Jarmusch and I were out on location filming Mystery Train, they’d already checked the weather bureau and they’d said that it was going to rain five times that day. The crew would wait for the rain to stop. They’d then have 20 brooms sweeping the streets, everybody sweeping the water towards the sewer. Than a sanitary blower would come along and blow the street dry. They’d set up the scene and start shooting and then it would rain and they’d have to stop. After the fourth time it rained Jarmusch said, ‘Jay, roll your bones.’ These are my bones…. (Jay Hawkins produces an old leather pouch from his bag and pours the contents onto the bed. His bones are a bizarre collection of small plastic skeletons, toy skulls and skeletal hands, gums, teeth and pebbles). I was raised by Blackfoot Indians and I do believe in the occult, metaphysics and stuff like that…. And I rolled these bones and IT DID NOT RAIN THE FIFTH TIME. I don’t know how it happened, it just happened. Jarmusch said, ‘I don’t give a damn, when I make a picture I want you there to control the weather.’

But that was September 1988, now I take you to May of 1989. Some of the people who worked on the film (Mystery Train) was now working on another motion picture called Mother Load, in Montana. They called me in California. They said, ’Jay, I know you may think this is a bunch of jive, but would you do us a favour?’ I said, ‘If I can.’ ‘Would you get your bones?’ I says, ‘ hold it, you’re going to ask me about the rain cos I’m looking at the TV and I can see it’s raining in that part of the country.’ They said, ‘Jay, we’re filming, we want you to roll the bones.’ I said, ‘It wouldn’t work. It worked in Memphis last year and I don’t know how. I’m not a witch doctor, a voodoo maker, I act it like a fool on stage. People love it, it sells, I make money. You’re asking me to do the impossible.’ ‘Roll the bones!’ So I rolled the bones (Jay proceeds to recreate the moment by casting the assorted trinkets across the bed). And that hand was pointing downwards twice out of three throws (the plastic skeletal hand has a small skull in its palm and looks remarkably like something you might find on the end of a key ring in a Christmas cracker). When that hand is up, twice out of three rolls, that’s bad luck. When the hand is down twice out of three rolls, everything is beautiful…. There’s something missing, now where is it, gums and teeth, these are supposed to represent demons and goblins…. These are pebbles on the grave of Dracula, supposedly…. There’s a tooth missing, a tooth that was pulled out of my mouth, big wisdom tooth, damn, it’s gone. It was important to me. Anyhow, to end a long story, it stopped raining in Montana. The crew called me and told me they were ready to wrap, they had managed to film the scene. They sent me money, T-shirts, gifts, cigarette lighters and stuff. Everybody pitched in and I got a letter of thanks and I put that in a frame. I still don’t believe that I had the power, but they said I did. Now, I’m not going to argue with them. If I’ve got a power that I don’t know about, I’m going to develop it!

I was talking to the daughter of the woman who raised me, she’s a Blackfoot Indian, and I told her what I’d done. She said, ‘There are powers between heaven and earth that most people do not understand.’ She said, ‘ Mama put powers on you and you don’t know anything about it. You have power, and you don’t know how to use it. ‘ I said, ‘What about this rain stuff?’ She said, ‘That’s part of it. You don’t have to believe it. We don’t care if you don’t believe it, but you have it.’ I said, ‘How come these powers didn’t save my last three marriages?’ She said, ‘That’s the dog in you. You blew your own marriages. You have powers but if you do wrong, it’s gonna come back to you, so you’d better do good.’ I’ve never done nothing bad.” (Jay promptly has a coughing fit).

How long have you had that bag with you?

JAY HAWKINS – “ Fifty –two, fifty-three years… that and Henry have been with me the longest I’ve had anything in my life.” (Coughing continues).

They must have seen you through thick and thin?

JAY HAWKINS – “They’ve been around the scene…”

Why do you think you’ve survived when many of your contemporaries haven’t?

JAY HAWKINS – “Because I kept adding. I kept trying to improve my act. If I look like some weird witch doctor that walked out of Africa… fine! The people who banned me from using a coffin…. I went out and bought a coffin. The people who said I was making fun of the dead, they are dead. And for some reason I’m still alive and I don’t even look my age. I don’t know what forces I’ve been tampering with. I don’t know if God’s going to punish me and I’m afraid, but right now it enables me to go to the bank and that’s all I worry about.”

Have you ever seen a ghost?

JAY HAWKINS – “ Well, I’m not afraid of the dead, the dead can’t hurt you. It’s the living that you’ve got to worry about. But I do believe, and I’m sincere about this, that before this hotel was put up… there was dead people here. There had to be. There were wars, people died on this ground. I believe there are people in this room but they are in another dimension, so they’re invisible. Somebody is always watching, even if we had the curtain closed and the door locked, there is always an eye. Even if it’s only God.”

Was it the Blackfoot Indians who instilled this belief in you?

JAY HAWKINS – “Well listen…. They rushed it down my throat. They took me out of the orphanage when I was 18 months old. All I can remember is them telling me what to do, how to think. Take charge of yourself, have control, remember with patience you can do anything. It may take 10 years but keep your mind on that one goal and work towards it. So my goal is music. When I go on stage I tell myself I’m an amateur so I’ll give the audience everything I’ve got. I can invent while I’m on stage. I’m so unorthodox that… if I was to fart, they’d think it was part of the act. That’s when I do ‘Constipation Blues’. Who else can sing a song like ‘Bite It’ and make it clean? Now I’m trying to come up with a song about throwing up…. BLAH! And I’ve got to come up with a title – ‘You Make Me Sick’ BLAA! Now I’ve just got to put it to music. Cos I want a record better than ‘I Put A Spell On You’. I’m sick of living in the image of ‘Spell’. I’ve got more records out than ‘I Put A Spell On You’, BUT THEY KEEP GOING BACK TO THAT ONE RECORD! People keep using it in motion pictures… Jim Jarmusch broke that habit and made me an actor.”

You’ve got an incredible back catalogue which ….

JAY HAWKINS: “ I’ve been in so many different styles. I’ve done Country and Western! It shook a lot of people up in Honolulu cos I used a steel guitar! They said, ‘Is that the same Jay Hawkins that came out of the coffin?’ They say I’m crazy but I’ll be back in the bank tomorrow morning. (Suddenly Jay Hawkins’ conversation changes track and he takes great delight in telling me about his new fuse box which he uses to create fire during his act). … Since last year they have stepped up security at the airport so they think I’m carrying a bomb when they see that fuse box. THEY GO CRAZY! ‘What’s that?’ Well I don’t help matters any cos I say, ‘It’s Moses and he’s still alive.’ ‘Get security, we’ve got a live one!’

People think I’m weird, there’s nothing wrong with me…. It goes back to the film Mr. Rock ‘N’ Roll which they banned because the NAACP said I was making fun of black people. I said, ‘You didn’t say that when they put out them Tarzan pictures, King Solomon’s Mines and King Kong steppin’ on ‘em and biting the babies in half. Why are you picking on me? I’m a blues singer.’ I chose to out as a black African blues singer and be different like Boy George and Little Richard would be different. I didn’t steal from nobody; this came out of my stupid head. If I’m smart enough to make it pay off, what are you bitching about? They then said, ’Why are you making fun of the death?’ And so they got onto the National Casket Association. ‘Don’t rent him no more coffins.’ Cos every city I went to I would rent a coffin, sometimes they’d take the body out and throw it under a curtain and rent the coffin to me. I’d use it and bring it back. So, when they said, ‘No, we cannot rent you a coffin’, I said,’ well now you think you’re stopping me?’ The next morning I went out and bought a coffin. Went out and bought a hearse. Painted it zebra striped. Instead of white walled tyres, I painted them zebra striped. After I got enough tickets I got rid of the hearse but I kept the coffin. Now I’ve got two hearses in my garage. Beautiful, one pure white and one pure black and either on Hallowe’en or New Year’s I bring them out and drive around.”

Nice. You seem to have the philosophy of the blues singer Leadbelly; “Act like crazy and take the white folk’s money.” Would you agree?

JAY HAWKINS: “Mmmm. Well, I don’t refer to them as white folks, people are people to me. I have no colour distinction. WHAT RILES ME IS PEOPLE WHO WILL CRITICIZE AND RIDICULE ME BECAUSE OF MY IDEAS AND WHAT I DO ON THE STAGE! I’m not stealing another person’s act. I had Black Sabbath saying I was rippin’ off Creedence Clearwater Revival by singing ‘I Put A Spell On You’ (uproarious laughter). And I told Black Sabbath tell you what you do, I took out 100 dollars and said you match this and any record you find of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ that hasn’t got my name underneath as writer than I will give you another 100 and kiss your ass! They came back and apologised. ‘We didn’t know.’ I said, ‘How could you know? YOU’RE YOUNG, DUMB AND STUPID. I was doing this shit before your daddy knew anything about sexual intercourse!’”
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