Wednesday, November 30, 2005


What's going on in the world outside?
I've been a shut-in all my life.
I sit in my room building model airplanes.
Radio drowning out my growing pains.

I don't get out too much. (I'm invisible)
I'm so out of touch. (I'm invisible)
I'm so insecure. (I'm invisible)
I am so obscure. (I'm invisible)

I never learned the latest dance.
I'm a failure at romance.
I don't know how to act in society.
I learned about life watching tee vee.

From sunrise semester to the edge of night.
Television ethics wrong or right.
Manners don't mean a thing to me.
I ain't got a bit of subtlety.

I don't get out too much. (I'm invisible)
I'm so out of touch. (I'm invisible)
I'm so insecure. (I'm invisible)
I am so obscure. (I'm invisible)

I'm a shut-in but please don't shut me out.
I'm a shut-in, please don't shut me out.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Homegrown Demons

The brothers Mann have been under acclaimed and under appreciated for the lasting impact they have had on the music scene here in the flatlands of the piedmont area we like to call the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC triangle. They are truly an institution.
Over the years The Triangle has been home to several independent record labels, some well known some nearly anonymous.

Demonbeach Records seems like the logical offshoot of, which is like a clearing house for psychobillys and the babes that inspire their art. It’s the muse of the good natured sleazeball. Boy howdy!

Clifton Lee Mann paid me one of my life’s greatest compliments. I see no reason to go into our personal conversation but suffice it to say that it meant a great deal to me. He came to my rescue on a moments notice when I needed a bass player for Sleazefest 2000. I have broken bread with him and his lovely partner. Jennifer Love took me into her home and made me feel welcome when I was too fucking drunk to deserve it. Rock Forbes opened his home to Butchwax when we were desperate for a practice space and he did not know shit about me, or my band.
Robin Mann has answered my call to arms on a number of occasions over the years. He played guitar on some recordings I did at Jag Studios way back when. More recently he has hosted my broken & outdated website without complaint or pressure. As musicians they have rocked the house and boogied on down for 30 years. These are fine people, some of the finest I know.

That said, let’s get down to the vinyl tacks. Demonbeach Records is just good ole homegrown. Integrity, hard work, dedication, creativity and a heartfelt belief in what they are doing, that is Demonbeach Records. Artists currently waving the Demonbeach flag are Bad Checks, Adult Film Makers, The Ghost of Rock, Dexter Romweber, The Spinns, The Loners, Butchwax, Dragstrip Syndicate, Transportation; did I forget anybody? These are cool guys that release great records by bands they love. What more could you ask for?

Demonbeach Records: p.o. box 6693 raleigh, NC 27628-6693;
or e-mail or

T-Rex - Born to Boogie DVD

I love T. Rex. Well, not every single Bolanish T. Rexian word, note, picture or scribble but in essence I love this band. Mickey Finn, Steve Currie, Bill Legend and Marc Bolan were a powerful rhythmic force that simply rocked. Of that there can be no argument. If there are still a few doubting Thomas’s out there in the hinder lands, this will serve to document the truth of the matter.

What we have here is both the matinee and evening performances on March 18, 1972 at Wembly Empire Pool of a great rock’n’roll band at the pinnacle of it’s influence and power plus the "movie" Born to Boogie.
Ringo Starr in his capacity as the grand poobah of Apple films thought to capture the boppin’ elf at the height of what the pulp rags like to call T. Rextasy.

Initially released to theatres in December1972, the "movie" Born to Boogie was going to bring the rabid mania of T. Rex on their home court to the rest of the world.

Let’s talk about the "surreal" sequences for a minute. First it is obvious that there was no script. These moments bring to mind the John Lennon axiom; avant garde is French for bullshit. Fellini it is not. Cow patties aside though, there is some humorous footage and it does not drag on and on so it’s ok. One such scene is the tea party starring Catweazel’s Geoffrey Bayldon as the chef/waiter in some Beatlesque nonsensical chaos of a high order. Some people like to rock, some people like to roll… Another is when a pancake faced and leather top-hatted Marc does some acoustic takes on "Slider", "Bang a Gong", "Hot Love" etc. with a string section. Picnic Boogie.

The very best of the non-concert material though is the jam on "Tutti Frutti" and "Children of the Revolution" in Apple’s basement with Ringo sitting in on the kit, one Elton John tinkling the ivories; joining T. Rex in a raucous rave up that is well worth owning this DVD for. Great stuff. Reg Dwight never sounded so good. And speaking of sound, Tony Visconti has lovingly preserved and tweaked the aural aspects of this double disc collection to a state of perfection. The result is that T. Rex’s long deserved place in the rock’n’roll legacy lives and breathes the fire of it’s gestation and birth.

In addition to the spit and polished digital resurrection of the film Born to Boogie you get Rolan Seymour Feld Bolan, Marc’s only son, interviewing the wizards and alchemist responsible for the finished product.
If you are a T. Rex fan this is a must. If you are a rock’n’roll fan this is an essential history lesson but most importantly, it’s good rockin’ tonight. Some people like to rock, some people like to roll, but a-movin’ and a-groovin’ will satisfy my soul. Yeah!.

Friday, November 25, 2005

a couple of shots of Matt Sesow
at Rebus Works November 12, 2005

digital photos by Aaron Taylor

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

the KING is dead

I cannot allow the passing of this great artist to go unnoticed.
Link Wray died November 5, 2005.
Born May 2nd, 1929 in Dunn, North Carolina, Wray's rough and ready, all out Rumble has inspired guitarists for over 40 years. He was 76. This is a great great loss.
RIP Link.

Rumble, Jack the Ripper, Raw-hide, Deuces Wild, Ace of Spades, and more....

Monday, November 21, 2005

please visit the village idiot.

Lost Colony - The Spinns
(Demonbeach DEM-016)

Let's dispense with the 60's thing. Yes, The Spinns are spinning out of the psychedelic garage of the mid-sixties. This ore was mined from some long misplaced master tape of Shadows of Knight outtakes, golden nuggets, hand forged in the bedrooms of America. They just don't make 'em like this anymore so this must've been captured on some far out 4-track around '65 - '66, in electronically reprocessed mono and is just now getting its worldwide release. But, these guys are right here, right now.
This whole ball o' melting, sputteriing, steaming, exotically scented hot wax is directed at "girl", which heaps on loads of mid-60's cars and girls credibility. Its purposely sparse, open production is a breath of fresh air that allows the genuine joy of three boys having a rave-up at the high school dance to shine through. There is no intended message, there is no specific agenda, this is just dim-witted, fuzzed out fun, rockin' the house and everybody in it.

There are times when rock 'n' roll is just too smart for its own good. Far too many good bands over think, over play, over produce and otherwise go overboard when they get into the studio. Thankfully, The Spinns play to their strength, they present themselves.That's why Lost Colony is such a deep breath of fresh clean unpolluted air. This set is so simple, it's brilliant. This is the original trim trio; Todd on guitar and vocals, Rob on bass and Josh rocks the kit. Lost Colony is a towering example of less is more.

Among its 13 plus tracks are standouts "1965" and "Lovin'". It's also nice to hear the crunching cover of the Troggs' "I Want You'.

Do yourself a favor. Serve this alongside your turkey at thanksgiving, stuff it in your Christmas stocking or go out and buy it today for no reason at all.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mother of Pearl
20 x 24 acrylic on canvas 1971

under construction

pOp and nOise

"In antiquity there was only silence. In the nineteenth century, with the invention of the machine, Noise was born. Today, Noise triumphs and reigns supreme over the sensibility of men."
Luigi Russolo 1913

I don’t know a thing about music really; the theory, the mechanics of it, the meter, the rhyme, reason nor rhythm but from a very early age, it seemed to be the only form of communication that spoke to me in some concrete but indefinable way. I actually got it, couldn’t explain it to you but I got it. I loved it. It moved me. The mighty "A" chord ruled all. The power chord. All you needed was a hook, a line and a sinker.

Pop Art was good for nose thumbing at a society that deserved every slobbering raspberry but music spoke to me in a more abstract and personal, intuitive way that generated real emotion, where words and pictures have consistently failed. Words and pictures were cool and quite necessary it was music that cut through the part that needed to be translated. Music said the things I could not say. It growled, it moaned, it cried, it was angry or in awe. It gave me the back way in. It was a language that only required you to be open to it, to distinguish it from the background. Music, when combined with the visual and the poetic, is magic.

My earliest memories of music are an old Elvis Presley 78 that my Aunt Thelma had; "I Forgot to Remember to Forget b/w Mystery Train". There was am radio, notably Reece Francis "Buzz" Clifford III’s "Baby Sittin’ Boogie" and another 10 inch shellac disc, owned by my father, of Hank Snow’s "Golden Rocket" from 1950. The mystery of why these specific tracks stand out in my mind is unknown to me, lost in the space time continuum.

My dad was a self-taught flat top flat pick guitarist and country music singer who had lost the middle finger on his left hand in a cabinet school accident. He had taught himself to play guitar a second time after band sawing that crucial digit. He used to play for the singing at the prayer meetings that rotated from home to home each week in the farm community where I began my come uppence. From these gatherings, I remember hearing "The Old Rugged Cross", "I’ll Fly Away" and other common Baptist hymns. Secular music was everywhere when I was a very small boy, country music in its most rural form; washboard rhythms and the thump thump thump of washtub bass to go along with acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolins and the occasional autoharp, jaws harp or harmonica.

I don’t write music or to be more precise, I don’t write musical notation. I don’t read music, though I took it for two years in high school. About all I learned was how to form triads on the piano; never learned to actually play the eight-eight color contrasting keys but could call the notes on the keyboard if pressed. I was there to get my easy "C" and be on my way. I had my introduction to classical music in that class and I have retained Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saens and Holst’s "The Planets". Fair enough, I got my "C". But, I do write songs.

Of course, I had been hearing classical music all my life in the form of loony tunes and merrie melodies but had no idea. In that class I met Richard, a weird mofo’ that was way into Connie Francis and Forrest J Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. He also introduced me to a book called "The Green Nerd" that I have since been unable to prove even existed. Write me at

In 1963 Dylan was telling us that the times were a-changing. The Beatles changed everything. Before them there were few pop bands that played their own instruments and wrote their own songs. There were a few, the Four Seasons, the Beach Boys, but they were the rarity in pop music. After the fabulous mop tops you basically had to write your own songs and be able to play them. Well, there were still a few manufactured exceptions. Through the Beatles and the groups that followed, the Brisish invasion, I learned about everyone from Robert Johnson to Sun Ra by tracing their influences back to the source.

I had met Jarvis Barnes, the guy who managed the record store in downtown Newport News, Virginia through the Beatles as well. In fact it was Jarvis or Jai as we knew him, who took me to the Hampton jazz festival where I saw Sun Ra, Nina Simone and Dave Brubeck the first time I ever dropped acid. Different story for a different time. I used to go down to the Record Shop every day at lunch and badger him about any new fab four releases. I was still in high school. This was shortly after the Beatles had exploded upon the world in a big way and records were coming out on Capitol, Vee Jay, Swan, Atco, MGM and Tollie, all at the same time.

I have never had much of an ear for mimicking what I heard on records so from the very first I was writing rudimentary songs in the, I’ve lost my baby and I feel so bad genre. These songs were dirt simple and limited to my ham fisted approach to the guitar.

Ba boom boom; skreeee,
ba boom boom; skrooonk,
la la la la la
ba boom boom: twaaaang
ba boom boom: plooonk
la la la la la

My dad had given me an acoustic six-string to learn on in the neighborhood of my 15th year, hell, who can remember? I learned to vice grip that ill-adjusted fret board in an ill- fated effort to coax electric sounds from its wooden, probably spruce, body. I was developing my vibrato. I was developing my percussion guitar technique. I wanted to rock. I retain that cramp inducing fingering technique to this day. My father said my meager efforts at songwriting sounded like "folk music".

Bob Dylan gave us Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited in 1965. We were on the road to something extra ordinary. The times were really changing.

1967, the year I graduated from High School and 1966 the year I should’ve pitched the mortarboard skyward, were memorable ones for music. Rock ‘n’ roll would never be quite the same after this. The Mothers of Invention had debuted with Freak Out! and in November of ‘66 Texas’ own International Artists had released The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, albums that would be pivotal to my developing an understanding of what rocked and what didn’t in my kingdom. Though recorded in April 1966, The Velvet Underground and Nico was released by Verve in March of 1967.

The impact of these recordings cannot be underestimated, in my own personal rock ‘n’ roll godhead, nor the width and breadth of the genre in general. Another piece of this evolving puzzle was Pink Floyd’s consciousness expanding The Piper at the Gates of Dawn that saw the light of day on August 5,1967.
There were other monumental releases in 66/67; the Beatles’ Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced and Axis Bold as Love, Love Love, One Nation Underground by Tom Rapp’s Pearls Before Swine, all meaningful and life changing recordings. The Seeds, the Sonics, the Music Machine, the Yardbirds, the Pretty Things, the Troggs, the Kinks and garage bands too numerous to name were appealing to an un-named need for raw power, flavor enhanced with humor and melody.

These, along with the Godz Contact High and the The Fugs First Album were forming a latticework, constructed of the sublime, the ridiculous and the bizarre, that would add color and spice to my "taste" until this very day. The permanent green light was given to freak out in the suburbs. I was into pop and noise, preferably in the same song. Landmark examples are 1965’s "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" by the Who and the Byrds "Eight Miles High" from '66.

A landscape had been created where Cyborg Alpha X-ray with his bag pipes and hurdy gurdy could go toe to toe with Mississippi blue yodeler Jimmie Rogers, while humming Matilda Mother in the key of H and playing Dixie on his kazoo. A scenario had been fashioned where Zappa points and laughs the sardonic fuck you cackle, while feeding the hungry freaks bent pop pancakes without the syrup. The stage was set for a siam cat to have a psychotic reaction and go floating downstream with kaleidoscopic radar eyes and marshmallow pies and oh me oh mys. But, when Elektra Records took a chance on The Stooges in August 1969, the cornerstones and foundation of my rock ‘n’ roll heaven were confirmed and laid. This John Cale produced masterwork would be the most important cut-out bin jewel in the rough of my life. This shit rocks! I feel all right! THIS was raw power. If the Stooges are not the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in history I would love to see your candidate.

Another significant disc from the last year before the seventies that cannot go unmentioned is the Captain Beefheart recording Trout Mask Replica. Don Van Vliet, Bill Harkleroad, Jeff Cotton, Mark Boston, John French and Victor Hayden created a milestone. The influence is still being felt right here, right now, as we speak.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

all manner of weirdness...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Matt Sesow at Rebus Works

Sesow is screaming the primal scream from the walls. Though untrained in the art of painting, Matt Sesow is not a brutarian or an outsider, he is simply an artist, a visionary. His "outsider" status is only applicable to the fact that he does not operate within the usual business of art circles. Most of his sales are made through his website;

While some of his images might be considered brutal or brutish in the same was as, say, Francis Bacon, they are only real life with the beauty secrets stripped away, the cover girl make-up stuffed back into society’s compacts. They are the skeletons, out of the closet, with the raw meat still attached.

Sesow may very well be the most important artist working today. His paintings are explosions of color. Punk rock energy paired with the symbolism of alienation dressed in the finery of a rainbow. As he says, he is trying to create something that is funny, political and chaotic. In that quest he has been successful on a grand scale.

It is Saturday afternoon. I walk into the Rebus Works gallery and I’m greeted by Shonna Greenwell. She reveals that Sesow has been at the top of her wish list since the gallery, located at 301-2 Kinsey Street, Raleigh, NC in the former Honeycutt Grocery building built in 1910, opened. I can see why. To steal a phrase from rocker Dave Edmunds, these paintings are as subtle as a flying mallet, simultaneously raging and calming.

Sesow’s biography is fairly well known. He was born September 10, 1966 in Omaha Nebraska. In 1974, while playing, he was struck by a landing plane. His left arm was severed by the propeller. The arm was reattached but doctors amputated his dominant hand. 1980 saw him travel to Newcastle, England to participate in the disabled Olympics for the US team.

Matt gained a BS degree in software engineering during the years from 1985 to 1988 and began to make drawings. In 1993, after moving to Washington DC, he began painting in oils and making short films. By 1997 Sesow was painting full time.

His show "Carrots and Sticks: bunnies and bullies" will be at the Rebus Works through November, 12 2005. Don’t miss it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fake Swedish - Get Correct
(Demonbeach DEM 014)

Fake Swedish's debut explodes out of the gate with the scorching pop of "No Exit" and continues with the atmospheric "Shame", which almost unnoticeably segues into the lumbering "Get Correct".
The pulsing "Pedigree" gets things bopping again. This is good, excellent even. Blues rocker "Homemade" churns up the big iron pot and bubbles nicely with some spicy, stinging slide guitar. It nearly boils over at the end. I like that.

Next seems to be an unlisted dinosaur rock track that really doesn't go anywhere. Maybe that's why it is unlisted, unnamed. I don't know what to make of "Beef Trigger". It is a riff rock piece that allows a bit of stretching out for the band but not too memorable.

"Pilgrim" throbs and dances across the ballroom floor with some nice melody and atonality blended into its spaghetti western theme. "Pilgrim" is not quite as successful as it's promise but all in all is the highlight of the collection. Jacques Brel's "Jacky" exposes a warped sense of humor as well as some musical diversity. "Cute cute, in a stupid ass way"; so true.

"Remember This" doesn't deliver much reason to do so. Closing out is another highlight, "Effigy". It's bare, sitting around the house jamming quality, is just beautiful.

Arrangements are kept simple to good effect but what strikes me most about Get Correct is that ambitions were set quite high. The carrot was left way out front, maybe a little too far out. The result is a diverse group of tunes that could use a bit more edge. The technical aspects took precedent over hanging the balls out, I guess in deference to getting it correct. An impressive debut with strong performances by singer guitarist Joe Romeo, drummer Dave Perry, bass player Ashley Hayes and Eric Haugen on second guitar. Get correct rounds third but doesn’t make it all the way home. I’m looking forward to the next at bat.

Monday, November 07, 2005

RIP Mana "China" Nishiura

Drummer China Mana was killed when she was thrown from the DMBQ tour van November 4, 2005 in a tragic accident on I-95. She has previously toured with Shonen Knife and was the regular drummer with Rashinban, Jesus Fever, Teem, Cel and Music Start Against Young Assault. China was admirer of Maureen Tucker and Georgia Hubley and was a rabid Hanshu Tigers baseball fan. Her passing is a great great loss.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Blue Van - The Art of Rolling
(TVT Records TV-2710-2)

The blue van is what you might see parked outside the apartment when they're coming to take you away ha, ha. Or, it could be a polished new band from northern Denmark's farm country. The Blue Van has just released their first CD in the US of A. Slashing guitarist Steffen Westmark and the boys are difficult to categorize. But, if you were around in the sixties, you will recognize a lot of familiar sounds. It isn't anything too specific but you will find a hundred reasons to say "that sounds like"; but who? I hear something different each time I spin this disc, everything from the Rascals to Zappa, to the Doors and the Kinks, so you decide.

Drummer Per Jorgensen and bassist Allan Villadsen build a storm tested foundation for the hurricane tsunami organ bath of Soren Christensen and Steffen's clean crunchy fat Telecaster riffing. The sing-a-long figures just keep coming in song after song and Westmark's vocals compliment the style perfectly and keep the hooks pin point sharp.

This CD is more like a live performance than a studio recording and that is a plus for these guys. In today's vernacular I'd bet they are "awesome" on stage.
If you have any affection for old school 60's R&B or just simply a hot tight rock 'n' roll band, this is highly recommended. The Blue Van is calling us. Answer the call.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Jandek – Glasgow Sunday (Corwood 0779)

recorded live at The Arches, Glasgow Scotland, October 17, 2004

Corwood Industries
PO Box 15375
Houston TX 77220

This CD was my introduction to the music of Jandek. I have only recently became aware of him. I stumbled upon his name in an internet search for "outsider" music on a website for Irwin Chusid’s book "Songs in the Key of Z".

Though Sterling Richard Smith has been making and releasing records since 1978, this documents his first ever, live performance. It has been one year since this earth shattering, groundbreaking, impossible to imagine concert took place. The representative from Corwood sang and played guitar, joined by Richard Youngs on bass and Alexander Neilson on drums.

Before you pop this bad boy into the CD player you have to toss your entire book of expectations. It demands that you step out of your comfortable little box and into the world of thing one and thing two. It compels you to open your mind and set aside your preconceived notions of what music is, what it should be and how it is functions. Please check your ideas on beat, chord progression, melody, harmony, structure, even known chords, at the door. There are no hummable melodies, these are electronic tone poems. This is not easy listening but somehow strangely soothing.

Jandek’s guitar playing is like wind chimes from hell. He turns the instrument’s voice into angular, jagged, shattered clusters of stark broken shards. In his hands the guitar becomes a textural generation machine. His vocal delivery is a moaning, howling yelp, passionately unconcerned, more spoken word than singing. The songs are fractured safety glass diamonds of complex emotion being mined from the cold, bleak, desolate depths.

Will you like this? Will you enjoy this? Probably not, more likely you will hate this record. This is the kind of music you will hate, not simply dislike.

But if you want to stretch your boundaries, if you want your tenuous foundation to be shaken to its rocky roots, if you want a bona fide experience, if you want to test yourself, if you want to shear the top of your head right off, get this. Do I like this music? Yes, I do.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

no title

welcome to my modern world...