Saturday, June 19, 2021

Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Papaya"

On this week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM I kept the blabbing to a minimum and let the music do the talking. 

In the past I've mentioned how I've got this fun compilation record that was put out by Rhino Records which features a bunch of covers of Louie, Louie, which was made most famous by The Kingsmen. A few years later Rhino released a second edition on CD but I admit I haven't checked it out and I don't really plan on it. You can only listen to one song so many times, right?

I've always liked the older Rhino Records logo by William Stout

Well, the reason I bring this up is because I played Los Sprinter's cover of the Rolling Stones' Paint It Black and I've floated the idea of doing an entire show dedicated to different contemporaneous versions of the song. There are definitely enough versions to fill an hour program but I'm not too sure if that'd get boring fairly quickly. Who knows, maybe I'll just make a playlist that people can peck away at during their own time. 

Speaking of covers, you heard Paul Revere and The Raiders play a cover of Donovan's Catch The Wind, which is another song that's been performed by many artists over the years. While quite a few renditions of the song are strange, my favorite is a toss-up between Eartha Kitt's or Buck Owens'. If you feel like you are in a more sentimental mood you can check out Sammy Hagar's dramatic take on the song or perhaps Glen Campbell's more subdued version. 

Finally, before we get to the playlist I want to quickly circle back to Louie, Louie and show you this "citizen complaint" over The Kingsmen's version which asses that the lyrics are "obscene" and "filthy." In case you didn't know, the FBI actually had an investigation into whether or not the song contained lyrics which could be considered lewd and/or pornographic and someone had to read and compile multiple interpretations of the lyrics including some which were distributed at Sarasota Junior High School in Florida. It seems so silly and quaint nowadays but I can't help but love how the square that wrote the complaint ended it on such a poetic note.

How can we stamp out this menace?

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Mark Romanek's disowned film Static (1986) Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Spinach"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM you heard a typical selection of garage rock bangers and far-out psych songs but on this post I'm going to focus on this week's obscure film recommendation, Static (1986).

The protagonist's collection of malformed crucifixes

I think what attracts me to this film is how its surreal nature leads you to believe that anything is possible, however, in a sort of strange way, the film is still somewhat grounded in reality. There are no floating spirits, time traveling, or demonic possessions and although the characters are bizarre and quirky, they don’t have any qualities which could be interpreted as being supernatural. I’ve seen others compare Static to a David Lynch’s work (such as Blue Velvet and TwinPeaks) due to its small-town America setting, melodramatic acting and general strangeness but absent is Lynch’s sinister overtones, sexual deviancy, or otherworldly events. 

Static's take on a small town cafe
 

Without spoiling too much of the plot, the film centers around an invention the protagonist (Ernie Blick) creates which he believes will dramatically change how people view religion and the afterlife. The audience isn’t made aware of what Ernie’s invention is at first so as he hypes it up to his fellow townies you are drawn into the excitement as well. Because Ernie seems a little off you can’t help but question whether or not he’s invented a cure for cancer or the next hot selling infomercial product.

A small group awaits the unveiling of Ernie's invention
  

Finding a decent copy of Static is fairly difficult. The first time I heard of the movie was when it was aired on Comet TV and I started watching when the film was already at the halfway point. Instead of watching the film with limited context, I looked it up on IMDB and told myself I’d find it streaming somewhere at a later date. From what I can tell the only way you can watch Static online are from old VHS/Laserdisc rips which are uploaded to various video sharing sites. The best quality version floating out in the universe in this present day appears to be the version which was broadcasted on television back in 2017 and with all the ads and possible edits/censorship it’s certainly not the most complete or preferred viewing experience. When I tried to find out why there is no Blueray or proper DVD release (the only official DVD release is supposedly of horrible quality), I found out that the director, Mark Romanek, isn’t too fond of his directorial debut and has said on The Reel World Matters that: 

 “For me it seemed premature. Like I had an opportunity to make a film before I felt I had much to say or knew what I was really doing as a filmmaker, so I just find it this sort of embarrassing bit of juvenilia.” 

Of course, it's just speculation but I assume that Romanek himself has no desire to approve of an official HD release and it's more than likely that there isn't really much of a demand for it anyhow. Romanek considers 2002’s One Hour Photo to be his first real film but his most well-known directorial works are probably his music videos which include: Nine Inch Nails' Closer, Michael and Janet Jackson's Scream, and Fiona Apple's Criminal

The movie is a quick watch and if you can handle watching a lo-fi copy of the film, I believe it's worth seeking out, especially if you are a fan of unusual low budget storytelling.

And if you are just here for the music, you can check out this week's playlist below:


 


Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Shadow Knows - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Arugula"

On this week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo on KUCR 88.3 FM you heard a deep cut from Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, The Shadow Knows. The Mindbenders are best known in the U.S. for their hit songs Game of Love and a version of A Groovy Kind Of Love which you may also know from the Phil Collins' version which appeared on the soundtrack of his 1988 film Buster. Unlike The Mindenders' hit songs, The Shadow Knows is brooding and slow with odd howling and shrieking in the background. The song was originally performed by The Coasters, a group that gained fame from their novelty songs Charlie Brown and Yakety Yak. The Coasters' version is a bit cheerier than The Mindbenders' version which leans more towards the macabre.

The Shadow Knows is based on the radio drama The Shadow which famously used the line; "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows." and due to the popularity of the radio drama, the line; "The Shadow knows" became a sort of catch phrase which people would repeat in their daily lives. 

Did you brush your teeth today? The Shadow knows.

Tearing your face off? The Shadow knows.
 

Although there were many pulp magazines, comic books, and serialized dramas based on The Shadow my first and only real exposure to the character was through the 1994 film starring Alec Baldwin. If you watch the film within the context of 1994, you can understand why the film received underwhelming reviews and box office sales to match. The film is fairly stylized and has exciting visual effects but at the time many people were quick to associate The Shadow with other film noir/pulp/golden age comic inspired movies such as Batman Returns (1992) and, perhaps in a more damning way, Dick Tracy (1990). It's one of those films that you really want to like but ultimately it leans too hard on aesthetics and ignores the importance of good dialogue and character building.

If you want to listen to some of the old episodes of The Shadow radio drama, check out the collection on Old Radio World. Tracking down issues of the pulp magazine aren't as easy but I've found a few archived websites which has text versions of The Shadow Magazine, as well as, a couple scanned issues on archive.org.

Have you listened to this week's playlist? The Shadow knows.

 

Val McKenna - Now That You've Made Up Your Mind
Village - Man In The Moon

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'...