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'...