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Kim Gordon Sounds Off

This is almost certainly the first and last time I’ve ever linked to ELLE magazine, but it’s a great piece about an intense, iconic and extremely interesting woman.

I recall a surreal moment in which she and I got within two or three feet of each other; way back in 1988, Mudhoney crashed on my college rental house floor, and Mark Arm left his sweatshirt at our house.

That’s OK, the next night Mudhoney opened for Sonic Youth in Los Angeles at The Roxy, so I brought the shirt to the show, and the bouncers or whatever let me backstage.

I bounded up the stairs, turned the corner into a tiny room, and totally made a sitting-on-the-floor-indian-style conversation between Kim, Thurston, Lee Renaldo and Mark Arm crash to a halt, with me nearly stepping all over Kim with my clumsy, unbalanced entrance. Her eyes just locked in with mine, and it was clear that her expression was caught between “that’s so nice of you to return his shirt” and “who the hell are you?”.

I mumbled a hello, thanks, really glad you’re playing here in LA, OK, thanks, gotta go – and tripped back down the stairs, back with the common people, where I belonged. Great night – and that show was captured on a widely circulated bootleg as well. Anyway – totally love Kim (I can call her Kim, you see), and this article’s well worth a read.

Kim Gordon Sounds Off

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As you can see, my copy got a little waterlogged and/or damaged over the years, but this is a lost early 1983 hardcore punk fanzine from Seattle called ATTACK, #8. It was published by Jo Smitty, aka Jeff Smith, then of the band Mr. Epp & The Calculations, and later the man behind Feminist Baseball fanzine, a record label and even a pizza place. 

His teenage bandmate Mark Arm contributes many of the reviews in this one, some of which I’ll be posting in the weeks to come.

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Just received one of those newfangled cassette-transfer contraptions in the mail recently, one of those things that lets you take ancient cassette tape recordings and transfer them into new, improved digital versions. Even figured out how to use it. Just in the nick of time, too – I mean, I have a garage full of 1980s mix tapes, live show recordings, and radio shows I once did in college moldering and decaying. Another year or two and they’d be sawdust. This post is the first of several rescue/reclamation projects.

On June 14th, 1989, a 21-year-old version of me did his final “White Trash” radio show on KCSB-FM in Santa Barbara, CA, as he graduated from college that very week. It was taped, and after festering in aforementioned garage for 24 years, was transferred this evening and uploaded for what interested parties there might be to then download and listen to. Having listened to the tape for the first time in at least 20 years before digitizing it tonight, it naturally brings forth much embarrassment – so please humor me and let me add a few careful disclaimers in case you wanna listen to it (and you should – the music is smokin’). 

After doing a radio show at KCSB for four years, and having had access to all the records in their library (and being a rabid music hound/record collector of the most obsessive order), I got to be fairly knowledgeable in the limited punk rock/heavy underground rock genres I’d permitted myself to like. My dismissive, albeit very studied, insecure cockiness is on display in this show. I’m not sure I’d actually like this DJ right now as a human being if I was hearing him on the radio for the first time. Though I love every song I played in this, “My Top 40 favorite songs of all time” show, I can’t believe how dudely it all is. For the 1989 version of me, it was all dudes, all punk, all raw and all aggressive. The only chicks allowed were those rare cool ones from The Bags, The Avengers and Sonic Youth. That’s it. The Fall sucked already, and The Lazy Cowgirls were the best live band in the world.

It’s also preposterous that someone with such a limited musical life experience and frame of reference could even deign to determine a 40-greatest-songs-of-all-time list. As you might expect, approximately 37 of mine came from the 1980s. One of the highlights/lowlights of this show is the recording that starts the show, a nervous, mealy-mouthed 16-year-old me doing a “guest DJ” slot on KFJC (on the “Ransome Youth Show”) in 1983. Then the 21-year-old me mocks him mercilessly, with all the wisdom and experience that 5 years of perspective and deep life experience brings. 

Now that I’m doing a fake radio show podcast here in 2012/2013 – Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio  – I was startled to see some identical on-air back-announce mannerisms crop up from ‘89 that mirror the blather I’m doing today. Hopefully you’ll enjoy forty dudely 70s/80s songs from the likes of The Pagans, Mudhoney, Black Flag, Scratch Acid, Die Kruezen, Electric Eels and more. I have even worse shows sitting in the garage ready to be rescued and maybe even posted at a later date. 

Download “WHITE TRASH” Radio, June 14th 1989, KCSB-FM

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I watched the MUDHONEY “I’m Now” documentary last night via online streaming – and you can do the same for $5.99 right here. A DVD’s about to ship as well.

My kudos and proverbial hat off to the guys who made this one. They did an excellent job avoiding a lot of documentary cliches, except for the one that says you have to use “found footage” from the 1950s to cheekily illustrate your points and concepts. They were kind enough to interview me for my commentary on a band I saw play many, many times & whom I know pretty well, and they left the dumbest things I said on the cutting room floor. I was positive they’d use this thing I said (as a complement) comparing Mark Arm to Bryan Ferry as examples of two guys who transcended their limited vocal abilities or something like that, and hack the statement to make it look like a major dis. They did not.

There’s a ton of great footage from 1988 to the present, and a chronological walk through the band’s many eras. The best stuff is definitely the “major label years” and why they jumped to a major in the first place after a particularly gross meeting with a guy from indie label Caroline. There are lots on interviewees, from Thurston & Kim to Keith Morris to the Claw Hammer guys to Soundgarden & Pearl Jam and so on. 

Someone needs to explain to me what happened to Sub Pop founder Jonathan Poneman.  This once-hyperactive sales machine is nearly narcotized during his interviews. Then again, there are loads of veterans of the scene wars in this one, and most have served their cause admirably. Check it out if you’ve got 100 minutes to spare soon.