Monday, May 9, 2022

The Many Boots That Are Made For Walkin' - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Soursop"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM we started the show off with a Spanish cover of These Boots Are Made for Walkin' which was written by Lee Hazlewood and first recorded by Nancy Sinatra. There have been many covers of the song over the years with the most popular versions performed by Jessica Simpson for the soundtrack of the 2005 film adaptation of The Dukes of Hazzard and Billy Ray Cyrus' rendition on his debut album Some Gave All (1992). A somewhat unexpected version of the song was featured on Megadeth's 1985 album Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! featuring altered lyrics which didn't sit well with Lee Hazlewood. Eventually Hazelwood asked the band to remove the song from future releases of their album which they complied with, for the most part, as some copies of the album contain censored recordings of song with the offending lyrics intact in the liner notes. In 2018 the band released another special edition of Killing Is My Business which featured a version of the song with newly recorded lyrics that matched Hazlewood's original. 

The Boot as seen on The Simpsons
 

The cover you heard on this episode (Gloria Benavides' Esta Botas Son Para Caminar) is one of the few versions in Spanish but other bands from Latin America have also covered the song, mostly sung in English or performed as instrumentals. The Mexican instrumental group Los Aragón released a fun version in 1966, The Hang Tens (Peru) featured the song as a B-side on their sole single release, and the only other Spanish version I found was performed by Mexican pop singer Pyly Gaos.

And for all those folks out there that like punk covers, there are quite a few of them as well by bands like 7 Seconds, Operation Ivy, The Oppressed, Genocide Superstars, and Pure Hell.

The song has been covered to death but if there are any other covers of the song that y'all like, especially non-English versions, I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

Thanks for checking out the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight, or on Mondays at 10pm PST. You can also listen through KUCR.org, Radio Garden, or Tune-In. You can find this episode's playlist below.


Saturday, April 30, 2022

"Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind" Review and Another Garage Rock Playlist - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Sugar-Apple"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM I really didn't speak too much beyond announcing the tracks I played so instead I'd like to focus on this week's movie suggestion. 

Earlier this week I watched the 2020 documentary on the actress Natalie Wood titled What Remains Behind which admirably focuses more on her career and life as a mother rather than her mysterious demise which, unfortunately, has overshadowed her accomplishments as a woman in a male dominated industry. Although the film clearly states that Wood's death is not the film's sole subject, as a viewer you can't help but feel like you are watching a movie in which you already know the ending, and in a sense, you cannot help but watch without a sense of dread or macabre curiosity. 

 

However, Wood's life is such an interesting subject that you soon begin to feel as though the film would have been better suited as a miniseries. You rush through decades of film history with passing glances of Wood's troubled upbringing and all but slight mentions of important moments in the young actress' career such as when she was suspended by Warner Brothers over what they claimed was financial disputes but was later found to be problems surrounding the roles Wood was given and, more importantly, her input over the roles in which she was cast. Of course, Wood's love life and other more salacious tabloid-esque topics are covered in the film as well but, as with most things in the documentary, everything happens so quickly that you don't have a chance to unwrap what's being presented to you. Again, you can write much of that off due to the film's runtime, but one glaring issue with the film is how it seems that the narrative was closely guided, and perhaps completely steered by Wood's family, especially her eldest daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner who serves as the film's host.

Home movie footage of Wood and Wagner
 

Whenever you get glimpses of the more controversial parts of Wood's life the film quickly pivots or minimizes the events as if they felt the need to address the issues without exploring them more in depth. One example that stood out to me most was a suicide attempt by Wood in which she purposefully took a large amount of sleeping pills but in a moment of clarity she sought the help of her friend Mart Crowley, who was able to get Wood the medical assistance which ultimately saved her life. While discussing the event, Gregson Wagner explains how she views the moment as a "cry for help" and how she doesn't view the event as a legitimate suicide attempt because, in Gregson Wagner's words: "After she swallowed the pills, she banged on Mart’s door so obviously, she wanted to live." After that, we are briefly shown how Wood sought out therapy which helped her find mental clarity.

As the film continues there are moments that serve as a sort of love letter from a family still mourning the sudden loss of a mother. After the film's halfway point, we are presented with home recordings and archival footage of Wood with her friends and family boating, talking at social events, and simply enjoying life. You see a young mother that seeks to live a normal, albeit more grandiose life, surrounded by those she cares about most and, if you take the viewpoint of her children, you understand why the film chooses to focus on Wood's motherhood. Although Wood was an extremely famous actress, to her children, she was simply a mother and, much like our own mothers, she should not be defined solely by her occupation. 

Robert Wagner interviewed by his step-daughter Natasha

Unfortunately, the family's influence on the documentary becomes ever apparent once you reach the film's climax. When exploring Wood's death, we are presented with one of the film's lengthier interviews which is between Natasha Gregson Wagner and her step-father Robert Wagner, who Gregson Wagner affectionately calls "Daddy Wagner." The sole purpose of the interview is to establish Wagner's innocence surrounding Wood's mysterious demise and place blame on the media for continued exposure on what Wood's family believes is an open and shut case of an accidental death. During this section of the film, we are presented with the disgusting way in which the media hounded the Wood family and disregarded their privacy by photographing them in vulnerable moments including Wood's burial. Soon, Wood's sister Lana Wood, as well as the captain of Wood's yacht, Dennis Davern, are presented as cash hungry and exploitative due to their continued calls to re-open the investigation into the night of Wood's death. Davern famously wrote his own explanation of Wood's passing and later stated that he was pressured by Robert Wagner to stay silent about what really happened to Wood. To me, the press, as well as, Davern and Lana Wood's portrayals are obviously skewed by the family's emphasis on Robert Wagner's innocence.

Ultimately, we'll most likely never know what happened that night near Santa Catalina Island but the film's tone towards the event doesn't help bring us any closer towards clarity regardless of the family's wishes for the world to move on. Despite all the flaws I listed above, I still think the film is worth checking out for its intimate glimpses into Wood's life and for its ability to humanize a former star whose life was lost just as she was hitting another stride in her career. Although there are hints of an agenda set by Wood's family, it is touching seeing their point of view with regards to how their time was spent with their mother. You get a stronger sense of loss by hearing Wood's family and friends talk about her than you would by reading all the accounts surrounding her death. With the film's short runtime you can't expect to dive too deeply into the totality of Natalie Wood's life but, for what it's worth, this film is one of the most detailed documentaries based on the actress' life beyond the mystery surrounding her death.

And that's it for this week's post! It may have been more of a review than most of the other posts but I appreciate you sticking through to find this week's playlist below. Be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight, or on Mondays at 10pm PST. You can also listen through KUCR.org, Radio Garden, or Tune-In.


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Paul Martin and Skinnie Minnie! Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Silverbeet"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM you heard a fuzzy and somewhat moody banger by an unusual artist that went by the name Paul Martin. During the 1960s Martin released two singles, one through the Philadelphia based Impex Records and the other via his own label Rodin Records. In the 90s the singles were combined with a series of unreleased demos to make up a self-titled album released by Distortions Records and in 2016, the recordings were remastered and compiled again, this time adding an additional unreleased track, The Children. These versions were released on an album titled It Happened by Out-Sider Records. 

Paul Martin singing The Last Remains of Our Love
 

If you are interested in buying either the Distortions or Out-Sider releases I'd say there isn't much of a difference between the two but, Out-Sider's definitely has the better liner notes and is more accessible nowadays. To me, the most interesting tracks on either release are the more garage rock type songs but there aren't many. Most of Martin's songs are less appealing jangley affairs that, while worthy of a listen, probably won't stand out too much to most people. I found myself skipping a few tracks that include horn sections, but maybe that's just me. Horn sections are by far my least favorite thing about 60s rock and are the reason I often find myself ignoring a lot of music that's categorized as Sunshine Pop. Curiously, each release omits the B-side to Martin's first release I Can't Stay Here Anymore which I haven't been able to find anywhere online. If I were to guess why the track has seemingly disappeared, I'd probably say the track was left out for royalty reasons.

And now I'll quickly sum up some of the other topics I covered during this episode. 

Towards the middle of the show, you heard The Zettlers' Skinnie Minnie, which is a cover Bill Haley and The Comets' Skinny Minnie. On The Zettler's initial release, the song was incorrectly attributed to the writers of Teresa Brewer's Skinnie Minnie, which is a novelty song about a fisherman that fishes too much as he searches for a mermaid. There have been a ton of covers of Skinny Minnie over the years but some of my personal favorites are by The Sonics, The Mummies, and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

After that, you heard a song by The Wrench titled The Day Is Hard which reminded me of a video by the YouTuber Hand Tool Rescue in which he recreates an unusual wrench that was made for tightening down cone shaped fasteners. Hand Tool Rescue's process of recreating the tool is as interesting as the tool itself which, according to the video's creator, was most-likely was never made to begin with. If you like DIY or hobby machining you'll probably dig this video.

 

And finally, you heard The Four of Us perform their song Baby Blue which I mentioned was the title of a song by another group named The Warlocks. If you like early 2000s neo-psych than you probably already know The Warlocks but if you don't I'd highly suggest you start with their 2003 release Phoenix which features some of their best work including: Hurricane Heart Attack and The Dope Feels Good. Back in 2010 they played here in Riverside at The Barn and they put on quite the show.

And that's it for this episode! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight, or on Mondays at 10pm PST. You can also listen through KUCR.org, Radio Garden, or Tune-In.


Saturday, April 9, 2022

Freediving Back From The Grave - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Coriander"

This episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM left my head spinning with all the psyched-out guitars, wild basslines, and beastly garage rock drums. Besides the music, let's check out some of the topics I covered.

First, you head a song by The Henchman titled Livin' which I found on Back From The Grave Volume 5. As you probably know by now, I really dig the Pebbles and Nuggets compilations, however, the genres float around quite a bit over each release whereas the Back From The Grave series is laser focused on garage rock. Back From The Grave differentiates itself with its gritty, almost punk sounds, but what stands out most is how the series features a ton of obscure bands that were often overlooked on earlier and more popular comps. I won't pretend that every song on each volume of Back From The Grave is perfect, but there are a lot more hits than misses which, unfortunately, can't be said about most compilations. 

Guillaume Néryas seen in this National Geographic short
 

Later in the show you heard a song by Ronnie Fuller named Do The Dive and, as is tradition, the title of the song led me to ramble on about another semi-related topic. This time it was freediving, which is a type of diving which requires a minimal amount of equipment with a heavy focus on breath holding techniques and physical endurance. If you haven't seen it before, beware, because just watching people freedive can be enough to make your pulse race. Fun stuff.

And quickly I'll mention the last two things I touched on, such as the wide assortment of wheelie world records, and Disney's recycled animations, as seen in 1973's Robin Hood. Exciting stuff.

Anywho, that's it for this episode! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight, or on Mondays at 10pm PST. You can also listen through KUCR.org, Radio Garden, or Tune-In.


Monday, March 28, 2022

Night of The Living Dead's Unidentified Music Box Melody and The Fun Sons - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Chayote"

We started this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM with a song by The Fun Sons titled: Don't Hold It Against Me which is the B-side on their Hang Ten single. If the name Fun Sons sounds familiar, you may recognize them from the soundtrack of the 2016 action video game Mafia III. Of course, The Fun Sons wasn't really a band but rather one of Question Mark and The Mysterians' aliases. According to the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame (whew!) Question Mark and The Mysterians were pressured to quickly put out more singles in order to bank on their recent success with 96 Tears. During this time the band's label, Cameo-Parkway, released another single by the group, this time a novelty surf record under the band name The Semi-Colons. Did Cameo succeed in squeezing out a couple more hits from The Mysterians? Maybe, but it wasn't enough to keep the label from folding and being sold in 1967. 

As the show went on you heard The Rebels perform their cover of The Zombies' song It's Alright With Me which I found, along with another artist you heard on this episode Moha Jamin, on a compilation titled: Pebbles Vol. 10, Iran Pt. 1, Originals Artifacts from the Psychedelic Era. There are two volumes floating around the web but I couldn't really find a lot of information about most of the artists.

 


Anywho, because I mentioned The Zombies I went on a little tangent about the music box that appears in 1968's Night of the Living Dead. If you haven't seen the film, there's a scene around 20 minutes in where one of the main characters finds an unusual and creepy sounding music box which, along with her recent trauma, leaves her in a momentary stupor. The automaton music box features lovely moving doors which open and close, however, according to Joe Kane's 2010 book Night of The Living Dead: Behind The Scenes of The Most Terrifying Zombie Movie Ever the melody that plays during the scene actually came from another music box which belonged to Karl Hardman, who co-produced the film and played one of the more hostile characters, Harry Cooper. The origin of the haunting melody appears to be lost to time as many people have failed to properly identify the song but maybe someone out there can let us all know what it is.

Well, that's it for this episode's summary! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight, or on Mondays at 10pm. You can also listen through KUCR.org, Radio Garden, or Tune-In.


Check out this episode's playlist below:


 

The Grodes - Cry A Little Longer

Sunday, March 20, 2022

From Rockabilly to Psych and then to Polka? Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Garlic"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM we kicked things off with a song by Tony Church and The Crusade named Can You Picture Yourself. The A-side to the groups' only single, a song named Love Trip, is a moody track with some wild tape delay and a vocal styling reminiscent of Eric Burdon. I'm sure it'll work its way into a future episode but if you are interested in hearing more work by Tony you can check out another single that he released with his brother Rocky Chirchiglia's band featuring the songs A Car and Oh! By The Way. Unlike Love Trip or Can You Picture Yourself Tony's other single can be classified as rockabilly and follows the normal conventions of the genre, almost to a fault. At the time Rocky Chirchiglia was known for his work in the rockabilly genre but over time he became more popular through his Italian and polka music. A lot of Rocky's work is somewhat scattered and difficult to find online but if you are interested in hearing some of his live performances there is an older YouTube account that's posted some of his work at various events in the Youngstown, Ohio area.

Rocky Chirchiglia via  RockyChirchigliaBand
 

After Tony Church and The Crusade, you heard Dirty Shame, a song performed by a group from the Bronx named The Age of Reason. Although The Age of Reason featured Larry Russell on drums he's better known as the bassist that played with Billy Joel during his first tour including the famous Sigma Sound Studios performance for WMMR on April 15, 1972. For many years, the set was shared unofficially through bootlegs until it was featured on an enhanced version of Joel's Piano Man that was released by Sony in 2011. If you are interested in learning more about The Age of Reason and Larry Russell there is a small article on Garage Hangover, as well as, a short video where Larry discusses The Age of Reason and how he first became involved with Billy Joel.

Later on, you heard the band Wimple Winch and I spoke about how their work was compiled into two releases, The Wimple Winch Story: 1963-1968 and The Wimple Winch Story Volume 2: 1966-1968 The Psychedelic Years. The two compilations are somewhat confusing because volume one appears to have all the same tracks that appear on Volume 2 whereas Volume 2 simply omits the band's earlier tracks from when they were known as Four Just Men. To add to the confusion there was another compilation released in 2020 named Just Four Men 1964-1968 which has some live performances and alternative takes. If you only have time to check out one release (of if you are more interested in pop psych music) I'd suggest you stick to Volume 2 because it features the band's best output. You can read more about the group on Manchester Beat.

That's it for now, folks. Thanks for tuning in and for reading the blog! Don't forget that you can listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight or through KUCR.org. If you'd like, you can also listen to KUCR through Radio Garden or Tune-In.


You can listen to this episode's playlist below:


 

The Age of Reason - Dirty Shame
The Nightwatch - Too Long
The Last Knights - Twenty-Four Hours A Day

Friday, February 25, 2022

Neon Plastic Army Men and Unknown Garage Rock - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Rambutan"

This episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM was full of fuzz and grit. Sort of like your bellybutton except with a better backbeat. However, there were a few non-fuzzed out tracks throughout this show including a jangling song by a mysterious unnamed band.

The track Look For Me Babe has been attributed to a band named The Unknown but according to Teenbeat Mayhem!, the most informational book on regional rock from the 60s, the song was recorded by a long forgotten group. The confusion appears to come from a bootleg released by Moxie, a label from L.A.that specialized in releasing extremely rare and lost rock music. Back in 1977 Moxie released a single with two songs attributed to The Unknown; Look For Me Babe and Bluejean Man. If you listen to the two songs back-to-back it becomes apparent that the songs were performed by different artists. Look For Me Babe has an almost country sounding groove with singing that's practically spoken versus Bluejean Man which has the typical youthful strained vocal sound and semi-tuned guitars found in many countless garage rock songs. According to a list of every known Moxie release, the initial version of the single also features 2 songs by Frank Zappa as a B-side. I'd argue that the first release shows how Moxie was a bit fast and loose with how they compiled their releases further cementing that the band is most likely an unknown group rather than a band named The Unknown. Either way it's a fun little tune and the mystery behind it adds to its charm. 

Plastic army men as seen in Our Favorite Toys (1997)

As the show continued, I went on a little rant about the history of little green plastic army men and how the Vietnam War briefly changed how the toys were marketed. According to David Bergman, the CEO of Processed Plastics, a now defunct company that made a giant share of the green army men after acquiring another toy manufacturer Tim Mee Toys in 1965, there was a small downturn in sales due to anti-war sentiments in the US towards the end of the war. During an interview on the Discovery Channel documentary Our Favorite Toys (1997) Bergman stated that:

"During the end of Vietnam War, basically to take care of the decline in the sales of the figures, we decided to go to a neon type blues, bright oranges, reds to help keep our figure sales up."

Whether or not the new colors helped sales doesn't appear to be known to the public, however, I find it interesting that more hasn't been written on the subject. Although I clearly remember bright blue and red cowboys and headdress adorned Native Americans, I've never seen neon toy soldiers as described in the documentary. If you are interested in reading more about the little plastic guys I suggest you check out Plastic Today's brief historical write up, Toy Solider HQ's reviews of various army men and similar toys, as well as, a content rich blog titled World War II Plastic Toy Soldiers.

That's it for this episode's summary! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight or through KUCR.org. If you'd like, you can also listen to KUCR through Radio Garden or Tune-In.


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Alki Point, Seattle and The Ventures-esque Stylings of Takeshi Terauchi and The Blue Jeans - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Endive"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM you heard a fun, mostly instrumental, song by The Jesters named after the Seattle neighborhood Alki Point. While talking about the song I mispronounced Alki Point as Al-key rather than Al-kai (pronounced like the ki in kite) and, ironically, towards the end of the show you heard a song by Marc Bolan (lead singer/songwriter for T.Rex) and I mentioned that there is a scene in the 2017 film Baby Driver where the lead character is embarrassed by his love interest, Debora, when she corrects his mispronunciation of T.Rex as Trex. Oh well. Wouldn't be the first time I didn't say something correctly and certainly won't be the last!

Trex?

Anywho, Alki Point is a lovely peninsula in Seattle that is known for its coastal views that include both downtown Seattle and the Olympic Mountains. When most people think of Alki Point they are thinking about Alki Beach where tourists like to gather during the warmest months, which there aren't many. The beach has served as a backdrop for small to mid-sized concerts over the years such as Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Party in 2018. 

Photo by Asahel Curtis Photo Company (1914)
 

Continuing along the coast of Alki Point are the expected eateries, a handful of small parks, as well as, a few landmarks including: the Alki Point Lighthouse and 8 and a half foot-high copy of the Statue of Liberty which was donated to the neighborhood as part of the Boy Scouts 1950 campaign themed Strengthen The Arm of Liberty. Although 200 replicas were distributed to various cities across the US, many have been removed or replaced over the years. In fact, the statue that sits in Alki Point is a copy of the original which had to be replaced due to damage caused by the natural aging process and vandalism. Appropriately, Alki Point was settled and partially founded by a New Yorker named Lee Terry and who had originally named the settlement "New York Alki."

Towards the middle of the show, you heard another instrumental song, this time by Takeshi Terauchi and The Blue Jeans. Takeshi, aka Terry, was in several groups over the years with his Ventures style guitar work being the main focus. If you dig The Ventures you'll like Terauchi's early work with The Blue Jeans, especially the 3 volumes of Beat! Beat! Beat! which includes a couple far out covers such as: The House of The Rising Sun and Please Mr. Postman. If you aren't a fan of overly polished studio work from the 80's I'd say you should avoid their 25th anniversary album although, as I discussed in a previous episode, that kind of sound can have its own charming aesthetics.

Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight or through KUCR.org! If you'd like, you can also listen to KUCR through Radio Garden or Tune-In.


You can listen to this episode's playlist below:


 

4 Score - Mini-Skirt
Mustache Wax - I'm Gonna Get You
The Squiremen Four - Bitter End

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Iggy Pop, The Stooges Doc, and Obscure Garage Rock (The Pubs and The Prodigal) Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Mangosteen"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM we dipped our toes in some obscure garage rock water when we listened to two mysterious groups: The Pubs and The Prodigal. As you dive deeper into regional rock music from the 50s and 60s you sometimes find yourself hitting information roadblocks. A lot of these smaller groups never experienced major national success and without direct involvement from the band, managers, or fans, there is little hope that any historical content will find its way onto the internet. Of course, it also doesn't help when a million bands share the same name or when the group used a fairly generic title that throws search algorithms into a dizzy spell but, as I've stated before, it's best to keep in mind that these groups were formed in a pre-internet, and even pre-independent band listing era, so they weren't worried about "search engine optimization" because such a thing didn't exist!

So, what do we know about these bands? Well, according to Mike Markesich's book TeenBeat Mayhem! (which, is definitely worth checking out!), The Pubs were from Pasadena, CA and put out 2 singles: Never Again / Pretty Please (1966) and The Lost Soul / Baby Cry (1967). The Pubs' Discogs page lists that Never Again was released through the private press company Custom Fidelity, meaning the band released it independently, while The Lost Soul was released through a vanity label known as "Velvet Tone Record Corp" which was run by a quirky singer/producer that went by the stage name Jimmy Velvet. A random archived eBay listing for The Lost Soul states that: "Only 500 copies were released of this recording, most of them are not in circulation." but I haven't been able to verify that claim and I'm not sure where that info came from. Both releases credit John Butzke as a songwriter but, despite the unique last name, I haven't been able to find out more about him. 

The Prodigal (Image found here)

As for The Prodigal, we know that they were from Tulare, CA, and they had one single, Reality / You've Got Me that was released on Mercury in June of 1967. Gary Hall is credited as the songwriter, Bruce B. Morgan was the producer and David Gomes, Richard Dorado, and Iggy Perez are listed as band members. There was a glimmer of hope in my search as I came upon a webpage that had an interview with Gary Hall conducted by Dick Lee, who is also a garage rock DJ and member of the band The Brymers, however, the audio file appears to be lost in the foggy mists of the internet. 

If I find some more info, I'll be sure to provide an update and, as always, be sure to let me know if you have any obscure media or contacts related to garage rock. I'd like to make sure this stuff doesn't disappear and typically it helps to have it archived online.

Iggy Pop playing drums on a giant riser (As seen in Gimme Danger)

And now for something that's the opposite of obscure I'd like to talk a little about this episode's film suggestion: Jim Jarmusch's 2016 documentary on The Stooges, Gimme Danger. Like a lot of people that are into late 60s and early 70s rock, especially the grittier side, I've enjoyed The Stooges for years, however, beyond a few random Iggy Pop interviews, I've never delved too deeply into the band's history. It seems that Gimme Danger was made for an audience with a similar approach to the band. You know The Stooges, you love their music, but you might not know a lot of the backstory. 

The film mostly assumes that you're familiar with The Stooges' work but there's enough foundational information that if you know nothing about them, you won't feel lost. Additionally, Jarmusch's stylistic directing, which splices archival footage, animation, and interviews with Pop, Scott Asheton, James Williamson, Mike Watt and more, keeps the film fresh during its nearly 2-hour runtime. Unlike many other rock orientated documentaries I never felt bogged down by information dumps or long drawn out salacious stories. There's no doubt that drugs and violence are explored in the documentary but thankfully they aren't the centerpiece. Instead, Jarmusch focuses on the band's humble yet freaked out origins and their ties to various art and social movements. 

It could be argued that the documentary glosses over some of the more controversial issues related to the band such as Pop's self-harm, Ron Asheton's sporting of Nazi regalia, and Pop's relationship with the famous underage groupie, Sable Starr. Perhaps Jarmusch felt that those topics had been explored well enough in other venues or maybe he sought to avoid controversy but either way it did feel like some aspects of the band were downplayed during the film. Although I don't think it overly detracted from the work as a whole, I would have liked to have heard more about these aspects of the group from Pop's own perspective.

Overall, the film is a solid glimpse into a band that was not only ahead of their time, but also went on to influence many other great bands despite finding little success during their early career. I highly recommend it.

That's about it for this week. Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight or through KUCR.org! If you'd like, you can also listen to KUCR through Radio Garden or Tune-In.


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Rocket to Stardom, Bob Yeakel, and Johnny Burnette's Success Through Stalking! Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Cherimoya"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM I kicked the show off with a fun instrumental by The Teen Rockers, a group that was comprised of some middle-school and high school aged kiddos from South Gate, CA. I won't delve too much into the history of the band but if you are interested in learning more about them check out this post, on a blog that goes by the name Doo-Wop, which was one of the few biographical sources I could find. 

During their brief existence, The Teen Rockers gained local popularity by performing at high school dances and by winning the televised competition show, Rocket to Stardom. For those of you who may not know, Rocket to Stardom was a talent show that ran on both KHJ-TV and KTTV-TV in Los Angeles and was similar to American Idol or America's Got Talent except with longer episodes more akin to international variety shows such as Sábado Gigante, or Wowowee

Background Image from Betty Yeakel's Matinee.
  

Rocket to Stardom was hosted by an Oldsmobile dealership owner, Bob Yeakel who was known for his outgoing personality and keen interest in entertainment and, from what I can gather from various comments, forums, and social media posts, was somewhat of an unusual cultural figure to the Los Angeles area and beyond. Unfortunately, in November of 1960, Yeakel died while piloting an aircraft, during a rainstorm, to his home in Indian Wells. According to a report in the Desert Sun, Yeakel's small passenger plane collided with power lines before eventually crashing into the San Bernardino freeway during evening rush hour traffic. Three passengers onboard the flight, including two of Yeakel's adopted children, and a motorist were also killed during the incident.

It seems that the show had a fairly weak or non-existent vetting process as critics and audiences alike were both entertained and sometimes bored by the shows contestants which ranged from decent to completely awful. In a Los Angeles Times article by Walter Ames, Ames stated that:

 "When Bob Yeakel first started his Rocket to Stardom marathon show some months back it was considered a freak show. In fact, Bob had to hustle to find talent to fill the all-night show."

Despite this, (or perhaps because of this) the show was extremely popular at the time and attracted a fair amount of artists and pranksters including: Duane Eddy, Phil Spector, and Lenny Bruce. For more information on the show check out this fun article by Steve Harvey for the LA Times that also talks about a similar program named Hollywood Opportunity and a few outrageous incidents which occurred during both shows' live broadcasts. If anyone out there has any copies of Yeakel's television shows I'd love to see them or work out some sort of digitization because the only surviving video I could find was some sort of a Christmas holiday special which doesn't seem to capture the same charm as Rocket to Stardom.

After The Teen Rockers you heard a tune by Johnny Burnette and The Rock N Roll Trio and I briefly mentioned that Burnette began working with Ricky Nelson after traveling to California in a last-ditch effort to find continued success in the music industry. In the June, 1961 issue of TV Radio Mirror, Burnette recalls how he came to California and bought a map of celebrity homes that included Ozzie and Harriet's house where he waited to for over an hour for the chance to speak with Ricky Nelson about a possible collaboration. According to Burnette, Ricky Nelson had heard Burnette's group before and the meeting eventually turned into an impromptu jam session in front on the Nelson home. Afterwards a deal was struck between the two artists which led to Nelson performing songs written by Burnette including: Just a Little Too Much and It's Late, the later of which has a subject matter that reminds me of George W. Bush's favorite song by the Everly Brothers Wake Up Little Susie. It's difficult to imagine a similar incident occurring today but in this case Burnette's stalking endeavor led him to success. 

Burnette as he appears in the TV Radio Mirror Article 

 

Funnily enough, in the same article by Helen Bolstad, she explains how Burnette received one of his first recording contracts due to his appearances on a televised talent show named The Original Amateur Hour which was hosted by Ted Mack. Coincidentally, Los Locos Del Ritmo, who recorded the last song on this week's episode, had also gained popularity from performing on the same show. It's strange how sometimes unintentional patterns form when putting these shows together. Ah yes, serendipity.

That's about it for now folks! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight or through KUCR.org! If you'd like, you can also listen to KUCR through Radio Garden or Tune-In.


You can listen to this episode's playlist below:


 

The Tigers - The Broken Earth
The Spiders - The Sad Sunset

Monday, January 10, 2022

Cover Albums, Cool Theaters, and a Happy New Year! Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Muskmelon"

Hello internet people! Did you have a good New Years? In case you hadn't noticed, there's been a slight change to the website. There was a little break for the holidays and I used that time to draw up a new little logo and switch some colors around. It's nothing major but it's fun to mix things up every once in a while. The new year has me filled with excitement for what's to come so I've been racking my brain to come up with some new content for y'all. 

For example, I've been trying out some ideas for possible Twitch DJ streams in the future but so far, I haven't hammered out all the details. I've spent days goofing around with the awesome open-source broadcasting program OBS and I amazed by how powerful it is. You can really do some neat experimental stuff with it and, even if you aren't interested in doing any sort of streaming, it's still a ton of fun and worth checking out. It sort of reminds me of making videos back in AV or Video Production classes when you were still in school, except with less VHS tapes and more creative freedom. Anywho, let's get into what you heard on this week's episode!

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM I spoke a little bit about a band named Black and Blues and how they're from Anderson, Indiana, a city that was formally known for their many Chrysler and General Motors plants. To many communities around the US, Anderson serves as an example of what other cities can do to survive the closure of major manufacturing hubs that leave behind vacant and outdated buildings while also taking away employment from most of the working class. Besides that, Anderson is also known for its university, many historical sites, thriving artistic community, and of course, The Paramount Theatre Center and Ballroom. The Paramount was one of many theaters designed by John Eberson, a prolific architect that was known for incorporating traditional design with highly operatic skylines featuring clouds projected on the ceilings via magic lanterns and stars created by high wattage lights. Eberson essentially created an architectural style of theaters which became known as atmospheric theaters. Although Eberson oversaw the construction of over a hundred theaters in the U.S. only around 50 are still open with even less still showing movies. The Paramount itself was almost demolished in the late eighties after it was left in disarray for around 4 years. Eventually a restoration project began after a local lawyer became interested in the theater after watching a television special hosted by Gene Kelly named The Movie Palaces. If you are interested in Eberson and atmospheric theaters in America I suggest you read David Naylor's American Picture Palaces : The Architecture of Fantasy

Have you ever been this customer?

Later in the show I played Sunny Cellophane Skies by the English rock band Status Quo and I mentioned how Teenage Fanclub's song The Concept opens with the lines: "She wears denim wherever she goes. Says she's gonna get some records by the status quo." I've always wondered if Teenage Fanclub was referencing the band or the general idea of a status quo and while I was researching the song I discovered that Death Cab for Cuties frontman, Benjamin Gibbard, had actually released an album that consisted entirely of covers of Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque. Covering an entire album may sound bizarre but it's actually a concept (hee hee) that I really dig and would like to see more of. The Flaming Lips had done something similar in 2013 with The Time Has Come to Shoot You Down... What a Sound which covers The Stone Roses self-titled album and in 2014 with an entire cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band titled With a Little Help from My Fwends. If you are into early '90s indie rock and you haven't checked out Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque you are really missing out on a classic. As I mentioned on the show, the album gives me feelings of nostalgia for a music scene which I never took part in. Be sure to at least check out their music video for The Concept which reminds me of the record store scenes in the '96 film Bandwagon which I talked about on the episode named Lychee. It's crazy seeing how independent record stores, to this day, still have similar aesthetics and I hope the trend continues for as long as possible (RIP The Mad Platter).

That's it for now! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight or through KUCR.org! If you'd like, you can also listen to KUCR through Radio Garden or Tune-In.


The Many Boots That Are Made For Walkin' - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Soursop"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo , on KUCR 88.3 FM we started the show off with a Spanish cover of These Boots Are Made for Walkin'...