Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Gaggle of Gig-gles

--yeah I know I'm late, I'm late (check out Stan Getz's amazing track 'o the same name from his fantastic 1960 "Focus" album for yet another take on the White Rabbit mythos, courtesy genius jazz arranger Eddie Sauter) but there has been such an overspill of work lately plus the messy busyness of living/reality principle impinging that I haven't had a chance to be here Now for y'all lately...

But first things first and yes we have a winner from the last pop quiz, 'twas graphic artiste extraordinaire Nulsh a/k/a Neil Hood up in the far-flung Scottish highlands, first to fling the bling and correctly identify the magnificent Bo Diddley (a/k/a Ellis McDaniels) as the guitarist on Little Walter's "Roller Coaster"--so Nulsh will be sent per his request a copy of my disc "The Universe of Absence" featuring enchanting me and Dutch lute meister Jozef Van Wissem exploring the land writer/editor emeritus pal Ed Ward was a close second, his entry coming all the way from byoootiful Berlin where he resides now and writes a fascinating blog called "Berlin Bites", check him out at

Speaking of Diddleydiddleydiddleydiddley Daddy, seek out The Animals' seminal track "The Story of Bo Diddley" for a gentle and funny pisstake on the Newcastle blues scene circa '64, courtesy of the fabulous Eric Burdon, blessed with one of the most iconic burrs in rock who seemingly dropped down the rabbit hole after producing an extraordinary body of work--hey what about his blinding "Love Is" double elpee of 1969, sporting an electric rave-up on "River Deep Mountain High" to rival you know who's, his crack New Animals band including great underrated UK keyboard monarch Zoot Money, the twin lead guitar attack of John Weider and Danny McCullough--check out their left-right psych-blues binary demolition of "As the Years Go Passing By"--and original Animals drummer Barry Jenkins bringing it all back home...not to mention Eric B midwifing the birth of Pachuco jazz/blues funkers War into the world a few years later with their incomparable "Spill the Wine" single).

Two nights ago played quite the satisfying set at the Gershwin Hotel on E. 27th St. with my friend guitarist Scott Goldman just in from LA, acoustic solos and duo improvs, Scott sounded brilliant with his effects laden custom 12 string tuned way way down low and me on my National steel, my old friend James Truman who I hadn't seen in quite some time was in the house looking great with a lovely female companion, plus a lot of other faces old and new (my man Mike Edison for one) were seen digging the scene in the oak-paneled back room of the Gershwin, which is heavy on the old Algonquin Club vibe...Nina Hagen did a brilliant set there awhile ago in the format of a talk-show hostess interviewing a languid, supine, be-dreadlocked Ari-Up from The Slits, lots of good non-mainstream artists walking the walk pass through these portals week after week on Tuesday nights at 8pm, courtesy of hip curators Neke Carson and Michael Weiner, you should really go have a looksee...

Had quite the gaggle of gigs over the last week, lessee, started with our BAM Cafe show on Friday with Gods and Monsters--we were at the Brooklyn Academy of Music to salute the 25th anniversary of the Next Wave Festival, under whose auspices my live soundtrack project for "The Golem" was commissioned back in 1989, a project which I've subsequently taken on the road all over the world (next month to Australia, to open the annual Festival of Jewish Cinema in both Melbourne and Sydney)...Jerry Harrison came in from the coast for this one, to join Ernie, Billy, Jason, Joey and me for a protracted and enjoyable blow at one of the best spots for cutting-edge cultural events in America--BAM/Next Wave major domo Joe Melillo was there front and center digging the proceedings, as was arts-are-trump ace bbq'er Don Palmer and his lady...

Mention should be made here of Don's culinary abilities as he served up a mean panoply of grilled saucisson in his Brooklyn brownstone backyard last July to a whole bunch of hungry folks-including Joe's Pub mover and shaker Bill Bragin, the actual one and only legendary Bunky of Bunky and Jake fame (the first, maybe the only, integrated 60's folk duo--please correct me here if I'm wrong here!), harmolodic funkateers Melvin Gibbs and David Gilmore , writin' guy/NPR'ster Mitch Myers plus jazz pundits Rafi Zabor, Lee Jeske, Howard Mandel and Bill Milkowski, radiant artsong chanteuse Nora York... Bob Marley chronicleer Vivien Goldman made a late afternoon pop-in dolled-up Pearly-Queen stylee, lots and lots of folks came out that sunny afternoon for mucho munchin', space'n, max'n and relax'n, on the corner stylee...mmm mmmm good were Brooklyn's own Best brand hotdogs (up there with Hebrew National hot diggitys taste-wise)--also on backyard griddle display were juicy Andouille spicy porkers, Italian sweet and hot fennel-flecked beauties, and chicken and apple and leek and cheese variants on yr basic some actual alligator sausage--very Johnny Horton (ex-Valentino Bobby Womack once contemplated releasing his own brand of bbq hot sauce in cahoots with r&b music biz hustler Sparky Martin under the moniker "Bobby-Q Sauce"--s'true)...

Don's Brooklyn brownstone triggers herein an appreciative segue/rave about the re-release of Hal Ashby's 1970 film "The Landlord" showing recently at Film Forum, a droll black comedy about a wealthy son of privilege (Beau Bridges) and his fumbling but well-meaning attempt to get down with the denizens of a Brooklyn ghetto brownstone as their putative landlord was in turns audacious, touching, hilarious, and shocking...special added treat: a funk-driven Al Kooper score with The Staples Singers among other guests on the soundtrack (Al is a friend and another one of the great ones who should be a lot better known by the younger generation of today)...they just don't make 'em like this anymore, kids, with satiric Terry Southern-ish "Twirling at Ole Miss"/epater les bourgeoisie esprit throughout on the touchy subjects of gentrification, miscegenation, upward/downward mobility, and race relations in general (a big hot button issue then as now)--reminiscent at times of the acid-laced tone of another underrated black humor film classic, George Axelrod's "Lord Love a Duck", also a soupcon of schtick swiped from Robert Downey Sr.'s "Putney Swope"...Lee Grant was simply incredible as the rich-bitch Westchester matronly lady who liquid-lunches/puffs the puff with the iconic Pearl Bailey, both of 'em getting thoroughly wrecked in the, rococco cameos from Robert Klein, Susan Anspach, and Lou Gossett Jr. amaze/hold yr attention throughout--definitely worth seeking out this unsung diamond in the mud at a theater near you (now when is the Criterion DVD release scheduled for?)...

Another good-un worthy of your attention is the recent reissue of Bert I. Gordon's (BIG-get it?) seminal "Village of the Giants" on a double-sided DVD with "Attack of the Puppet People" (not so good)--"Giants", in a beautiful color print, sports the laconic, mush -mouthed Beau Bridges essaying what is surely his first cinematic foray in this ultra-likable teenage acid rock sci-fi trash hokum, a weird admixture of beach party jiggle films (Toni Basil's in this one, way before someone slipped her a Mickey) and early LSD mystique exploitation fare that pre-dates Roger Corman's "The Trip" by a couple years, much more entertaining too, very very loosely based on H.G. Wells' "Food of the Gods", with a knockout cast that includes singer/actor Johnny Crawford of both "The Rifleman" and "Cindy's Birthday" fame (in a Woody Allen-ish move, guy now leads a trad jazz orchestra, was also a vocalist with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks some years ago, they played at George Bush's inaugural ball in 1989 together--true!)...also features Disney perennial/Shaggy Dogster Tommy Kirk, the aforementioned Beau, and a very very young"Ronny" Howard as Genius, the kid who mixes up the medicine that causes a weird plague of gigantism to sprout in the sleepy SoCal suburbs...

Best thing about it though is the score by Jack Nitszche, legendary Wall of Sound engineer/arranger and also producer/composer/recording artiste in his own right (his "The Lonely Surfer" was a national chart hit, inspiring Kim Fowley's UK answer record "The Rise of the Brighton Surf"), whose instrumental and arrangement touches to the Rolling Stones mid-60's LA recordings produced by Andrew Loog Oldham are peerless (for more info on Jack check out, you'll find there an audio clip of the partial backing track to "Satisfaction", where you can hear just how crucial Jack's largely invisible-to-the-naked ear contribution on the issued track served to glue the whole thing together)...(True Confession: I asked Jack to produce half of Gods and Monsters' projected first album in 1991 while I was officially signed to Columbia--'tis true--and he happily agreed...and told me my songs were "beautiful" (yes)--Chris and Tina were slated to produce the other half of the album...before a change of A&R guys forced the whole project to go south...a long story, which I'll save for another time)...anywho "Village of the Giants" sports a magnificent Nitzschean soundtrack (his first) featuring a tough Rumble-esque main title theme also known as "The Last Race" (an actual released single du jour) with a picked detuned lead guitar (or 6-string bass)--anyone out there know what instrument it is exactly, and who plays it? (Andrew thinks it was Billy Strange)...answers, please, to

Poster for "Sounds of the Surreal" and "Monsters from the Id" at Pop Montreal

Poster by Seripop | Click to enlarge

Reason I'm citing this now is, I use the trailer clip from this particular film (like I said, a good one, with cameo appearances from The Beau Brummels--also the great Freddie "Boom Boom" Cannon) in my "Monsters of the Id" project which made its Canadian debut up at Pop Montreal on Sunday night--and which received a rave review from Juan Rodriguez in the Montreal Gazette, check my homepage... Spirit 'o Nitzsche definitely in the air that night (Jack claimed to be a descendant of Wagner--certainly, there is a Wagnerian grandiosity about much of his music and titanic productions)--and quite anarcho-anachro-synchronistically (s'guy's a landfill spectre), Quentin Tarantino appropriates Nitzsche's "Last Race" theme as the main title music for his recent "Grindhouse" auto de fe "Death Proof"...Music Too Tough to Die! (Ace has a fantastic new compilation out now, volume two of Jack Nitzsche rarities, entitled "Hard Workin' Man", title song sung by Don Van Vliet a/k/a Captain Beefheart, taken from the soundtrack of Paul Schrader's great "Blue Collar" film...written and produced by Jack)...

Gary plays his original score to Rene Clair's "Entr'acte" (1924) as part of his "Sounds of the Surreal" project, the Portugeuse Assocation (an old synagogue), Montreal, Canada, 10/7/07

Gary improvises to Bert I. Gordon's "Village of the Giants" (1965) as part of his "Monsters from the Id" project at Pop Montreal

photos by Pierre Richardson | Click to enlarge

Gary improvises to Fernand Leger's "Ballet Mecanique" (1924) as part of his "Sounds of the Surreal" project at Pop Montreal

Gary plays to Ladislaw Starewicz's 1912 animated film "The Cameraman's Revenge" as part of his "Sounds of the Surreal" project at Pop Montreal

photos by Valerie | Click to enlarge

Out on the town a couple weeks ago Caroline and I partook of the big-hearted post-modern smorgasbord "The Other Here" served up hot by our friends the great choreographer Annie-B Parson, her partner actor/director Paul Lazar, and their Big Dance Theater company, which was on display for a couple weeks at Dance Theater Workshop over on W. 19th Street. A convergence of Okinawan pop music, modern dance, Japanese texts, quirky songs, actual pep-talks taken from tapes of a US sales convention, beautiful imagistic sets and shimmering imagery, cutting edge lighting and special effects, it was an absolutely brilliant and engaging entertainment and thought-provoking philosophical treatise/assemblage that in the best of all possible worlds should be running eternally on Broadway right now (at least as long as "The Fantasticks")...Molly Hickock and company were superb throughout, Annie and Paul gave everyone there both a splendid good time and a good poke in both the eyes and ears, special mention should be made of a fabulous portable wooden box/aquarium with (apparently) a flat screen tv inside projecting/ illuminating a fish swimming round and round that grew and grew, a la "The Host" (great Korean horror flick from last year that Paul actually starred in)--or the Loch Ness Monster from the fabulous George Pal's 60's fantasy classic "The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao", which began as a goldfish and then doubled its size every few seconds to the sound of skirling Scottish bagpipes (hoot mon, Bozo!)...

Pop Montreal was fun fun fun! Got hooked up on arrival with a superb smoked meat sandwich on rye, a Dr. Brown's black cherry soda, and fries from Schwartz's courtesy Dan the Man Seligman and Aaron and Josh and Andre from the Pop Montreal staff right before my midnight show at the Portuguese Association (appropriately enough, an old synagogue)--yeah! Deli par excellence, on a par with Katz's or Cantor's, maybe they're related :-)

In a mystic feverish fog, one part delirium no-sleepum (pace Robin Williamson), 2 parts in-the-moment inspiration, I played my heart out to a very very vocally supportive crowd, which included lovely Chloe and her partner Yannick from Seriepop, the Montreal design team who created a gorgeous silk-screen poster for my show which you can see on my website gigs calendar in a link on the October 7th entry, and she gifted me with a few extras which I am going to use as prizes for my next pop quiz, so stay tuned--hung with Prof. Sandy Pearlman and the radiant Rose sisters Vanya and Carina over the best bagels and cream cheese in the known universe next morning (from Le Bagel du Hebraique Heroique... or something like that) at the Social Club in Mile's End the morning after, did an interview with Vanya's roommate that afternoon, then celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with a fantastic meal at my pal Candace's house, joining Haji, Dan, jammed with soulful singer/songwriter Jesse Jackson and a fantastic Portuguese acoustic guitarist Norberto Lobo. before I toddled back to the hotel, flying back to NYC to play the gig with Scott in NYC the next night...great festival, I heard Patti Smith tore the house down for her show...and my pal the legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles ("Gimme Shelter", "Grey Gardens" and a host of other groundbreaking documentaries) was feted and given a Master Class the night before I arrived at the same joint, I last saw Al up in his Harlem offices a couple weeks ago where we kibitzed about some of his current work (films for both Rufus Wainwright and Sean Lennon) and about "Lalee's Kin", the documentary he'd shot for HBO and received a Sundance award for, and which I'd scored...special thanks to Patrica Boushel from the National Film Board of Canada who gifted me with a complete box set of the works of pioneering Canadian animator Norman McLaren on DVD...I love Montreal!

Between the BAM Cafe gig on Friday and Pop Montreal Sunday night I managed to sandwich in an epic road trip up to Woodstock, Bearsville precisely, where my man Fred Perry, cultural catalyzer/energizer (the guy who psychedelicized the Greater New York era in 1967 by bringing copies of the--at the time--English import only versions of "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" and "Are You Experienced?" up to WNEW's Scott Muni, who played them extensively) had organized a Gods and Monsters gala at the Bearsville Theater, right across the road from Bearsville Studios where I produced Peter Gordon's "Innocent" album (the occasion of my first meeting the late great genius Arthur Russell. who drove down from Maine for the mix of "That Hat" and made the very astute observation that his music sounded slower when apprehended in the hall outside the closed door of the control room...also a long-haired gone to grey Albert Grossman sporting a purple tie-dyed t-shirt, who strode into Studio A one day during our session in 1985 and remarked that this was the first time he had ever heard a 12-tone row played in his studio)...after a radio interview and acoustic performance on WDST who'd been plugging the show for weeks, and an excellent set from our Mighty Quinn label mates Hello Dali (super nice guys, very helpful and generous, plus they played like demons) we had a terrific gig with the full crew of Jerry, Ernie, Billy, Jason and Joey before a nicely full house boasting luminaries Michael Lang, the cherubic curly-haired imp/resario responsible for the original Woodstock Festival; Steven Saporta from the Invasion Group and his lovely wife; world music maven and Roswell Rudd's main squeeze Verna Gillis; percussionist extraordinaire Jerry Marotta who I'd last seen playing with Peter Gabriel and Tony Levin; legendary luthiers Joe Viellette and s Harvey Citron, plus Harvey's galpal my old friend Janet Perr, who was looking great--Janet is a brilliant award-winning graphic designer and illustrator with a new book out soon, "Yiddish for Dogs" on Hyperion (don't be a shmendrick, buy a copy!--the perfect gift for Hanukkah); Peter Feldman, ace BBD&O producer with immaculate musical taste buds; the great Levon Helm's manager Barbara O'Brian; stellar recording artists John Berenzy and Traci Bonham--legendary Led Zep drummer Bonzo's daughter--and her hubby, who writes for Rolling Stone; Mighty Quinn mainman Jerry Roche looking splendiferous in full Woodstock regalia, and many other local excellent gig, the guys sounded fantastic, we got a wonderful audience buzz back, and I'm still getting email from new fans raving about our show...

Next up, an appearance with my guys at Symphony Space this Sunday for my pal Yale Strom's "A Great Day on Eldridge Street" project/festival which brings to gather many many international klezmer and Jewish music stars (including Theodore Bikel and Zalman Mlotek) for a photo shoot based on Art Kane's famous "A Great Day in Harlem" photo of the cream of NYC-based jazz musicians circa 1958) (Art Kane's son Jonathan Kane was my mainstay drummer in Gods and Monsters for many years, bless him...and also a series of concerts around the city, edning at Symphony Space...and then we're performing at the CMJ Festival this Thursday night at the Knitting Factory around 1am--I do hope to see you there!

Lastly, as an alternative holiday gift option, you could do no better (well, maybe) than giving bottles of Zappa-flavored beer sporting Frank Zappa's magnificent mug-ly uggh (fat Frank on a hard roll--gag me with a spoonerism!) from the sleeve of his "Absolutely Free" album, emblazoned with the epithet "Kill Ugly Radio" (hear hear!)--a beer recently issued by a California microbrewery to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of said seminal album; they've already done a "Freak Out!" anniversary edition, and coming soon, a 40th anniversary salute to the Mothers' classic "We're Only In It For the Money" album (you're the Other people too!)--details here (I've already purchased several as gifts for discerning friends) (could be You...)




Blogger c.deluxx said...

hey gary , it's chloe.
it was great , great , great to meet you! the set on sunday was inspiring , i hope to see you in new york next week . andre tells me you wanna come to our show.


10/12/2007 11:39 AM  
Blogger pierre richardson said...

Glad you made use of the photos!


11/07/2007 10:44 PM  

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