April 3rd, 2012

sub cultcha

one used to really have to hunt for one's music. with no internets, without personal computer use there was no national or international small band or sub-culture self promotion. no downloading. no ebay. no amazon. no ipods. no cds. most of the music i liked as a teenager was coming out of europe. very few stores- certainly not the chains like musicland- carried imports especially not those distributed on smaller, localized labels.

one used to have to work for one's music- digging it stubbornly out of the hidden corners of the radio often having to resort to mailorder to obtain any of it.

when newbury comics-synonymous with what was then not yet referred to as 'alternative" culture/music- started circa 1978 it was just that- a comic book store. as an after thought they started bringing in a small amount of punk and new wave records. the original store was NOT where the 'flagship store', at the top of newbury, is today. it was tiny and further down the street a block or two before deluca's market across from the original location of 'the closet'.

in high school, for my best friend and i the weekend meant taking the bus to boston. first up was seeing some arty usually foreign film at the orson welles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orson_Welles_Cinema)

(ha ha ha-videosmith! next to videosmith was a mexican restaurant called 'chi-chi's' which is where the fire that burnt down the orson welles started.)(ADDENDUM: some sources say the cause was the wiring of a "popcorn popper" one supposes inside the theatre?)

or the harvard square cinema (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CambridgeMALowesCinema24June07.jpg).

next we brought our lists of desperately desired music to every store (including newbury comics) we could think of in the hopes of caging some of it. then it was on to the book stores. there used to be so many used book stores especially in harvard square. all gone.

today it really is an embarrassment of untold riches- save for losing all the fucking bookstores. one hopes it's appreciated on the one hand and mourned on the other. i hate fucking kindle-it may be convenient but it's buggy and frustrates me when it's not pissing me off. i still prefer going through and playing a stack of vinyl records.

besides reading books made of paper and playing the punk rock on our victrolas, we also used to color our hair (and leather items) with magic markers. very primitive times. consider that the punk rock version of the old foggy rant about having to walk 5 miles to school through the blinding snow. Manic Panic has set you free; you're lathered in an over abundance of trendy mod cons.

each time i visit home , my mother has taken to giving me a random assortment of some of my old things from our old house( torn down as a fire in the 90's rendered it unsafe.). i never ask for any of this stuff specifically- she just opts to pick and choose whatever to box up and thrust at me as i am leaving. recently this compulsion of hers unearthed my hand written lists of songs i had heard and liked when in school.

i didn't have much privacy as a teenage. i was forever listening to college radio (WERS from emerson college- 'the nightclub',which aired right before 'the black experience', and metrowave. WTBS/WMBR-Oedipus's shows and the late risers' club.)all night with big clunky headphones on (again, no stereo teensy ear buds in the paleo-gothic age) hiding under the covers , endlessly making notes with the aid of a small flashlight. sometimes i just scribbled away in the dark and tried to make sense of it all the next morning.

by 1980, what some wee baby toddlers nowadays insist on calling Electrance-ic Booty Muzak began bubbling up from under. long before depeche mode were crowned queens of the then long non-existant underground in the early 1990's (blame "Violator" or maybe "music for the hot messes"), the originators of what we called at the time industrial music began to seep into college radio. when i first heard fad gadget's "ricky's hand" in the dark at 1 AM on a school night-well, that was it for me. the music of my generation that most effected me had finally crashed its way into the collective sub-culture consciousness. fad gadget had preceded and left a mark on depeche mode-especially the darker more minimal, less fluffy depeche mode that emerged around "construction time again".the dark and clanky and hence outrageously popular depeche mode that filled the late 80s dance floors always made me think of fad gadget, who is as roundly ignored by the church of latter day EBM tots as he was by the goths that championed deepish commode's rise to the top-pushing the counter right out of counter-culture. and ten years after throbbing gristle terminated the mission.

ricky's hand-1980

frank tovey aka as fad gadget died on this day in 2002, having suffered lifelong from a heart condition. he left behind a wife and two children.

having no real talent on any traditional instrument, tovey used a tape recorder and found objects to create his sound. he was discovered by the founder of mute records, daniel miller, who had, as the normal, released 'warm leatherette'(contains the best sample ever of a drill).mute records was profoundly influential to industrial and assorted genres of electronics based dance music.fad gadget was the first performer signed to mute. their first album release was Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft's "Die Kleinen und Die Bösen" and DAF are the minimalist grandpappys of techno/alternative dance music. mute gave us yazoo (with depeche mode founding member vince clark. the eric of 'upstairs at eric's' appears on most of the fad gadget output),laibach, and even goldfrapp. mute put diamanda galas on vinyl.

depeche mode were a boopy sounding bubble gummy pop new wave boy band. fad gadget raided the trash, smashed a lot of metal things with metal, and preformed in an often confrontational manner, nude covered in shaving cream or tar and feathers. depeche mode took 10 years to acquire the sound of fad gadget and make it acceptable to the spoon fed sheeples. curiously, tovey turned away from industrial/electronic music and preformed acoustic socialist/labor protest songs. he then disappeared from music only to re-emerge , reclaiming the fad gadget name and sound shortly before his passing.

every poseur probably bitches about depeche mode and i do rather like some of their songs ('stripped','never let me down'). but i will always find this infinitely more interesting: a tarred and feathered creature smearing muck all over other musicians, crawling about in a trash heap, rather than an arena rocker striking that jesus christ pose after each song to better suck in the adulation of stadiums full of middle america.

collapsing new people/1984 w/einstürzende neubauten

lady shave/1981

shave it! shave it!