Monday, August 30, 2021

Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Star Fruit"

On this week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM I gave some tiny little glimpses into the history of some of the bands you heard, however, there are plenty of people that have written more concise articles that I'd like to share. 

Firstly, I played a song by The Collectors titled Make It Easy which has been on a bunch of compilations over the years and for good reason, it's a banger! Someone by the name of Haydn Jones has created a website with all the info you'd like to know about the group and I wish more band websites were like this. Everything is laid out where you'd expect it and there is a ton of flyers, press releases, and general information of the band's evolution over the years.

Next, you heard Finch play their song Let It Be and I mentioned that I couldn't find much information besides that the band was from Milwaukee, WI. The band appears to have been named after the two brothers in the group Tom and Scott Finch and, as of a few months ago, Scott is still making music in some capacity. Most information on the band comes through Scott's website and a brief mention on his All Music biography. Of course, for people of my generation, you might remember another band named Finch. But let's not dwell on that too much...

Finally, we'll just quickly go over some of the other bands I played. You heard The Next Exit's single Break Away but the band also played under several different names including: Pretty, Kansas City, and The Fabulous Four. Once again, Garage Hangover has a great write-up on the band(s) but, unlike most other websites, the comment section is also worth checking out. 

After that you heard English band The Birds, not to be confused with the American band known as The Byrds. What's most notable about the band is that it featured the early work of Ronnie Wood, who later went on to work with The Creation and a lesser-known band The Rolling Stones. If you listen to the show often you've definitely heard The Creation on the episodes named Potato, Mango, Eggplant, Nectarine, and Zucchini

That's about it for this post but be sure to check back for more weekly content and don't forget to tune in Sundays at midnight on KUCR 88.3FM in Riverside!


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Trippin' Out With Another State of Mind - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Cranberry"

Did you tune into this week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM or did this week's episode tune into you? On this episode you heard a lot more psych stuff than usual but it felt like a nice change of pace, ya know? 

At the beginning of the show, you heard Vacuum Cleaner by Tintern Abbey, a band which has appeared on a bunch of compilations over the years despite having released only one single. Because of the single's rarity, original copies have been known to fetch prices up to a grand. If that doesn't quite fit in your budget, you can always check out the recently released compilation Beeside which features the band's complete recordings, including demos and unreleased masters. The compilation was put out by Cherry Red Record's Grapefruit imprint and you can tell there was a lot of love put into the release which comes on two discs and features a biographical insert. You can also see some photos from the band and their releases on a blog named Sir Henry at Horringer Court.

Later in the show you heard Talking To You, a song from another short-lived band, The Savage Resurrection. The band's only full length album has had a few re-releases over the years but not all copies are equal. If you want to hear some bonus rehearsal tracks you'll have to check out Mod Lang's release, though in my opinion, the bonus tracks aren't worth spending any extra dough if you can find another cheaper option. As of right now, you can listen to both Beeside and Mod Lang's version of The Savage Resurrection on Spotify.

On the last episode, I wrote about Lynn, Massachusetts and during my research I found out that Mike Ness was born there. Reading about Mike Ness reminded me of how some years back, I had seen an old worn out VHS copy of Another State of Mind, a documentary about the 1982 tour Social Distortion (Mike Ness' band) and Youth Brigade had throughout the US and Canada. The film was obviously a low budget affair, with poor audio and limited lighting, however, for the most part its production setbacks actually add to the ambience of the film. The movie's look and feel reflects the same principals the bands were trying to achieve; make something meaningful with what you have for the type of people that can appreciate it. 

Youth Brigade practices their song Fight To Unite

 

Throughout the film, Youth Brigade's Shawn Stern serves as a sort of anchor for the tour's DIY ethics and, although you can tell he knows the tour is likely to fail, you can't help but appreciate his ability to help organize two bands, setup shows in a pre-internet age, and deal with the logistics of a crappy bus while trying his best to keep everyone fed. Even when the tour is falling apart Stern displays a sort of punk wisdom as seen towards the middle of the film after the bands have played another show where the promoters refused to pay the bands what they were owed. The bands are obviously frustrated and are beginning to question whether or not they should continue with the tour and the interviewer asks Stern if the bands can find some sort of unity. Stern soberly replies with:

"What about unity? If you're hungry, nobody's unified. Yo know? Ha. If you got nothing to eat there's nothing to be unified about. You- you can't be fed on unity"

Dealing with another bus breakdown

 

There are a few moments of filler in the film, such as a bizarre instructional scene about dancing in mosh pits, some kids practicing stage dives at a local pool, and a quick aside at a punk themed Christian church but I wouldn't say they detract from the film overall. In fact, I'd say part of what makes the film really shine is how it presents the goofiness of punk scenes and how its participants can both be antagonistic towards society while also searching for communities of their own. The movie doesn't shy away from showing the silliness of dying your hair or putting on makeup or being a chucklehead with your friends on a bus. These people were young and had a lot of heart but through their interviews you can see they struggled to find their voices and at times had difficulty expressing why they felt punk music was the appropriate outlet for their angst. A reoccurring theme throughout each interview is that the kids were looking for something that was fun, somethings to do, and a way to release their aggression. You know, fairly basic teenage stuff. 

Similar to another film which I've covered before, Style Wars, Another State of Mind doesn't appear judgmental, nor does it try to present the participants as hard-asses that are bringing down the system through loud and fast rock and roll, riots, and spray paint. For the most part I avoid documentaries or biographical works that focus on punk subcultures because they tend to glorify punk's destructive nature or they build up musicians as if they were mythical, overdose resilient, sexual monsters when in reality, the vast majority of people in the scenes were low to lower middle class suburban kids that were trying to find somewhere to fit in. 

I guess it's kind of funny giving a punk documentary recommendation during a psychedelic episode but that's just the way it goes sometimes! Catch you guys next week!


Make sure your head is right and peep this episode's playlist below:


 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Superman Vs Lynn, Massachusetts!!! - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Rhubarb"

During this week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM I played Richie's Renegades' song Don't Cry and, while there is little known about the band, we do know they come from Lynn, Massachusetts. Lynn has several sites to check out if you are ever in the area including: The Grand Army of the Republic Hall and Museum which has an overwhelming 1243 photographs of GAR members, as well as various Civil War artifacts, and also the Lynn Auditorium in which acts such as Peter, Paul, and Mary, Little Anthony & The Imperials, and Raphael have performed. 

K-Mart Parking lot scene from Joy (2015) and the location on Google Street View
 

Probably due to its proximity to Boston, Lynn has been used as a backdrop for a ton of films including: Joy (2015), Black Mass (2015), Surrogates (2009), and That's My Boy (2012). There's a classic look to the city which lends itself to period pieces while also having a contemporary Anytown, USA vibe.

Capitol Diner on Google Street View and a classy urination scene from That's My Boy (2012) 

Later on, during the show I waxed poetic about the 1940's Fleischer Superman cartoons and how Paramount provided the Fleischer's with an extremely large budget and ad campaign which was completely unheard of at the time. 

A great example of animators struggling to animate something unrealistic in a realistic setting
 

Fleischer's animators had struggled with animating realistic scenes in the past and Superman would prove exceptionally difficult due to the fact that they had to depict unrealistic scenes, such as robots capturing Lois Lane, in ways that looked natural. Despite these difficulties, the animators were able to create an animation which was so well received that it was nominated for an Academy Award in Best Short Subjects: Cartoons. 

 


There was a heavy reliance on rotoscoping throughout the series along with cinematic framing and composition which separated Superman from the Fleischer's other more traditional works. Due to their larger than average budget the team was able to plan out scenes more effectively and employ techniques such as airbrushing and double exposure which contributed to the series' unique look and feel. 


 

Although the series contributed to the downfall of Fleischer Studios it stands as a highlight of early animation's trajectory towards mainstream acceptance and success. Luckily the shorts are in the public domain so you can enjoy them freely without worrying about them being arbitrarily locked away in a hidden "vault" or subjected to bland recoloring. If you are interested in reading more about Fleischer Studios and their work on Superman, check out their chapter in Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic, which features a ton of info on various animation studios from the silent era and beyond.


Sunday, August 8, 2021

Recreating The Little Caesars Spaghetti Bucket

 

Back in 1992 Little Caesars was falling slightly behind the other major pizza chain titans Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza. According to Nation's Restaurant News' 1992 reports, Pizza Hut reigned supreme with a 27.8% share of the market, trailed by Domino's 14.8%, and Little Caesars' 13.5%. At the time, Caesars was targeting customers by creating larger budget friendly pizzas and side dish options forcing the other chains to compete by releasing their own oversized pizzas and by ramping up delivery speeds. During this greasy wild west like time, Little Caesars differentiated themselves by adding an unusual option to their menu: spaghetti in a bucket. The buckets came in three differently sized options including the largest one which was named "Big! Big! Bucket," a name that was reminiscent of their extra-large "Big! Big! Pizza." The spaghetti sauce was packaged separately and according to the Little Caesars' spokeswoman at the time, Sue Sherbow, the sauce was different from the sauce that was used for their pizza. 

Some low-res ads featuring spaghetti buckets

As of late there's been some hoopla over Little Caesar's sauce due to a series of viral videos "exposing" how it's made in the store. Back in 1993, customers were also sensitive towards the industrialized way food is made which is why it was important for Little Caesars to let customers know that they weren't just dumping old pizza sauce into their spaghetti. Realistically, customers should understand that fast-food and similar casual dining restaurants keep costs down by lowering waste, simplifying their menu, and streamlining preparation time. If you analyze any fast-food menu, you'll see that a lot of items share the same ingredients with only slight tweaks to make each item unique. In fact, I remember some years ago there was a Wendy's training video that went viral and most commenters focused on how the meat in Wendy's chili was made from burger patties that fell apart while cooking. The lines in particular that caught people's attention were:

"Never serve a burger that's looking ratty but if something goes wrong and your burger’s not right, there’s no need to get uptight. If the dry burg is broken or incomplete, that baby turns into chili meat."

Then again, maybe referring to ground beef as "ratty" or a "baby" had something to do with the repulsion.

Mmmm. Ratty baby chili.
 

Anyhow, when I sought to recreate the long-discontinued spaghetti (although I'm sure there is at least one franchised location holding out) I decided that I was going to ignore the fact that the sauce was "different" from the sauce used on the pizza. Of course, that's me assuming that the sauce used on the pizza is the same as the "Crazy Sauce" which you use as a dip for "Crazy Bread." 

Crazy Sauce
 

For my little experiment I ordered a "Crazy Combo" (one sauce and one order of "Crazy bread") with an additional six orders of "Crazy Sauce." Perhaps I could have ordered the sauce alone but with my endless social awkwardness I decided it made more sense to order the sauce with the bread because, who doesn't use a whole container of marinara sauce per bread stick? 

Always choose generic
 

As for the noodles I used Private Selection Italian Bucatini which is just a generic pasta from my local grocery store. The noodles plump up quite a bit during the cooking process which made them extremely filling. Was it accurate to the noodles used in Little Caesars's buckets? Doubtful, but in the end none of this really makes sense.

The sauce ponders its destiny

I boiled the noodles as you'd normal cook them, however, I decided not to add salt to the water because I assumed that the sauce would be salty enough on its own, which ultimately ended up being true. The noodles were left boiling for about ten minutes and were removed while they were still slightly al dente. I'm not sure how the noodles were made at Little Caesars but I'm assuming they were made in batches that were then placed inside a sort of electric chafing dish, much like you'd find at a buffet.

Don't judge me
 

Finally, I strained the noodles and added the sauce which, for me at least, wasn't quite enough. I have no reference for how much sauce would have been provided in a typical spaghetti bucket but, if for whatever reason you chose to recreate this dish, a 16 oz package of pasta might need more than 6-7 "Crazy" sauce containers. I'm not sure if the Little Caesars spaghetti buckets contained meat or not but it's possible that some sort of "meatballs" could've also rounded out the taste. 

Overall, the taste wasn't bad at all. It was a little sweeter than the average can or jar of marinara sauce that you'd get at a grocery store but I wouldn't say that it was vastly different. If I had used another container or two of "Crazy Sauce" I may have enjoyed it more but then again, I doubt Little Caesars would've provided the gallon of spaghetti sauce which I normally prefer. I do have to say, I think the quality of the noodles helped out more than anything. I liked the pasta's larger size, which although most likely not accurate to the original spaghetti bucket, helped make a hearty meal which I believe was the bucket's intended goal. 

Har. Har. Monkey likes da spetti.
 

Ultimately, it was an okay meal. Not great in any sense but it wasn't disgusting either which I assume was the average response towards the original "Big! Big! Spaghetti Bucket." When you think of budget pizza places, your mind can only go so far with the side dishes, and perhaps since spaghetti is more of a main dish and the cooking process involves boiling water, customers were immediately turned off. There are many ways to mess up spaghetti and it's not hard to imagine your order coming with under or overcooked noodles served with lukewarm pizza sauce in packaging that's akin to a mop bucket. 

I don't really suggest trying this out on your own but there are recipes out there that claim to come close to the taste of "Crazy Sauce" if you don't feel comfortable ordering a ton of sauce during your next trip to Little Caesars. If you do try it out let me know what you think and I'd also love to hear from people that tried the spaghetti buckets from Little Caesars when they were still available. Stay saucy!


Saturday, August 7, 2021

April March and A 35ft Tall Statue of Liberty - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Asparagus"

If you tuned into this week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM you heard the song Karate by The Emperors as I talked about their hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Harrisburg is the state capital of Pennsylvania and there are plenty of places to visit including: the Broad Street Market which is a farmers market that was first established in 1860, the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum with exhibits featuring firefighting equipment from early America, as well as, one of the largest parade hat displays, and along the Susquehanna River you can spot the city's wacky 25 foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty

Later in the show I played France Gall's Laisse Tomber Les Filles which many know from a cover version by April March that's featured on the Death Proof and But I'm a Cheerleader soundtracks. April March is somewhat of a Francophile and has covered many Yé-yé songs in both English and French but she is also known for her work in animation, writing, and more recently, illustration

Photo from Rocktober #43. Illustration by John K. from the back cover of Voo Doo Doll / Kooky.
 

Going back to her early work in music, March performed in The Pussywillows, a New York band that played music inspired by girl groups of the '60s. The band's only EP release, 1988's Spring Fever!, has a cover of The Coupon's Turn Her Down which you may have heard on the Hippie Love Turbo episode named Cabbage. In 2003 the band also performed backing vocals on Ronnie Spector's album Something's Gonna Happen

Although March obviously has a soft spot for '60s rock and roll, she's also performed with more punk leaning bands such as The Bassholes, The Haves, The Makers, and The Shitbirds. The Shitbirds had a few singles and EPs but most, if not all, of their output was released on the compilation album Famous Recording Artists with the best track being their cover of the classic Hard-Ons song There Was A Time. April March is still making music to this day and has recently released an EP with Olivia Jean named Palladium. Finally, if you can't get enough of April March check out her appearances on WMFU (at about the hour mark) and the Third Man Podcast where she talks a little bit about her career and her latest releases.

The Everly Brothers Flirt With Psych and The Cars Cover The Nightcrawlers - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Mizuna"

This episode of Hippie Love Turbo , on KUCR 88.3 FM was light with the dialogue but heavy in the tunes. Most of the songs were moodier than...