Latin nerds and metal heads may clash in the schoolyard, but damn, they rock in combo.
With metal gaining acceptance in the Eurovision Song Contest–Azerbaijan’s debut ESC 2008 entry is legendary, and Latin having been the reigning language back in ye olde olden days, well, it was only a matter of time before some metal band made a Eurovision-centric entry in Latin. Though part of the goal of Eurovision seems to be to not win because the winning country has to host the following year, some countries still take ESC pretty seriously.
The German Swiss entry, Arxplendida, with their song “Mercurii Diei” takes on the absurdity of Eurovision: Dorky national costume jackets and matching neckties; super square haircuts; soaring metal vocals set against tragic green screen stock footage of farms, forests, and abandoned buildings; and a Eurovision nod in the lyrics. In Latin that looks and sounds super metal, and reflects in translation to German (and then into English) a contemporary slacker ennui. The band sees themselves as underdogs, commenting in the lyrics that they didn’t do so well on Swiss Idol and were told they had no chance at Eurovision. However fans disagreed, and Arxplendida was voted into ESC.
Hebdomada miserrima fuit, nihil bene evenit.
Primum adamata me dimisit.
Tum locator me domo eiecit.
canis crus vicini mordicus paene abstulit.
Nunc est vesper Mercurii diei et nihil animum sollicitat,
Cum ad mensam nostram sedens cum amicis cervesiam poto.
Si mane corpus ad officia explenda non est paratum,
nihil interest. Talis enim est vesper operae pretium.
The week was a scream, it worked absolutely nothing,
At first I was thoroughly polished off [by]my girlfriend.
The landlord has kicked me out on it out of the apartment
And the neighbor’s dog has almost bitten off my left leg.
But today is Wednesday night and I whistle it,
If I on the trunk with my friends a beer sauf.
And if the body in the morning the service denied
That does not matter, such an evening is worth it.
Is punk rock dead because Johnny Rotten sold his four bedroom, three bathroom Malibu home with beach rights at around the asking price just under $2 million? It was listed as
Needs TLC, sold as-is
which sounds pretty punk rock. Judging from the photos of the interior, Rotten–who has gone by his birth name John Lydon for decades–and his wife, German heiress Nora Forster, may want to hire an interior designer for the next home. Seriously disappointing style. If meant to be hipster ironic, it missed the mark. The house itself, minus the fixer caveat, sounds pretty nice:
It comes with a pool, beach rights, a big deck, pool with waterfall and spa, pool bar, cabana/gym, fruit trees, and two-car garage plus parking for four more.
I actually like it when punk rockers do well. It’s not selling out, it’s making the most of what you do, and it’s better than starving. Lydon has created great music and has had some fun with image as well, like in this butter commercial, which helped reunite PIL and get a new album out. But again, John, please consider some decorating help!
I thought from the GoldieBlox online commercial that the Beastie Boys were involved with the company which creates these toys for future inventors, or at least endorsed it somehow, since their name was attached to the video and their song “Girls” was used. I guess a lot of people thought that, and the Beastie Boys’ name and the song helped boost the video into viral status. It’s now a finalist in a contest sponsored by Intuit to air a commercial during the 2014 Super Bowl.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.
Rolling Stone reports that the phrase
any music or any artistic property
was written in Yauch’s own hand. He died of cancer in May, 2012. The Beastie Boys wrote the music together, so “Girls” falls under his will. So basically, GoldieBlox has defied and disrespected a dying man’s wishes for their own purposes.
a copyright infringement, is not a fair use, and that GoldieBlox’s unauthorized use of the Beastie Boys intellectual property is a “big problem” that has a “very significant impact.”
So GoldieBlox filed a preemptive suit. (And I hope they don’t shift strategies, calling the whaaa-mublance and starting to bawl about how they are being picked on by the big mean rock stars and their big mean record companies; that would be conduct unbecoming. But they should fire whoever told them it was a totally cool, no problem thing to just blithely parody a major hit and use the band’s name to promote their product.)
You read that right: GoldieBlox is suing the Beastie Boys. And their record labels and publishing companies. GoldieBlox is hoping for
declaratory judgment and injunctive relief
with the hope that their unauthorized use of the song will be declared Fair Use parody. They want to protect their version of the song, it’s integral to the GoldieBlox promo video that’s received almost 9 million views on YouTube. (Using the Beastie Boys’ name to promote the video isn’t gonna help the case at all, that was a very foolish move). Here are the standards for considering Fair Use:
1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Well, the song was clearly parodied for commercial purposes. One could argue that Weird Al Yankovic also parodies for commercial purposes, but he secures permission and royalties are paid. And he is not selling a separate product, simply the song itself. The tune and phrasing of the original is used, along the with distinctive chorus. Weird Al changes the words completely, along with the overall meaning. Again, he pays royalties. But is this just about money? The Beasties say no, it’s about their principles: They don’t allow their music to be used in commercials, period. And they don’t allow the band’s name to be used in commercials. And the GoldieBlox video is an ad. It may be on YouTube, but it’s an ad. And it could be shown on the Super Bowl.
Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial ‘GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,’ we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad.
We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.
As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song Girls had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.
In their court papers, GoldieBlox makes the point:
Set to the tune of ‘Girls’ but with a new recording of the music and new lyrics, girls are heard singing an anthem celebrating their broad set of capabilities — exactly the opposite of the message of the original. They are also shown engaging in activities far beyond what the Beastie Boys song would permit. GoldieBlox created its parody video specifically to comment on the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company’s goal to break down gender stereotypes.
Actually the band’s original song was pretty much a parody of macho attitudes.
I wonder though, maybe GoldieBlox anticipated the Beasties’ reaction and figured that (along with making the world better for girls with their cool toys), they would get additional PR, and also pry open the door for greater Fair Use. This could end up being very expensive battle, and the odds of it being resolved before the Super Bowl are slim.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially since Felix Salmon at Reuters points out this isn’t the first time GoldieBlox has used a song without permission for their online videos. The Silicon Valley startup’s first video “GoldieBlox Breaks into Toys R Us” used Queen’s “We Are the Champions” and there was no parody of lyrics at all. I am starting to like this company less and less.
La Stevie has downplayed rumors of her interest in the occult in recent years, but in the 1980s my friends in the antiquarian book business (great sources for insider info; what people collect reveals so much about them) told me that Nicks bought lots of old, old books on witchcraft, magic and alchemy, and had amassed quite a collection.
The witch world and blogosphere are bubbling like a cauldron at Yule with news of Nick’s appearance. I met Nicks once, in the early 1990s when I was working at Atlantic Records; she came in for a meeting with my boss, wearing a very sedate black and white fitted silk dress, she was tiny, nice, and very pretty–my boss, knowing my occult interests insisted that I come in and meet her (as well as taking the coffee and Perrier orders, lol!). She had a certain vibe about her, one of woman who is capable of achieving her goals.
Misty Dawn, the AHS:C witch who worships Nicks, has the magical power of resurrection, so it’s appropriate that the next phase of Stevie Nick’s career emanates from her hands, and how wonderful that Stevie has embraced her legend, inspiring a whole new generation of witch-lettes like she did in the 1970s and ’80s when a friend of mine named her daughter, born in the mid-’80s, Rhiannon (and Riri lives up to it, too; she’s quite good at the mantic arts!).
Shades of Lady Gaga nearly two and half decades before Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta donned platform shoes and a meat dress. Watch Paul Lynde thanking his
at the close of his surreal 1976 Halloween special; it shows a throughline of queer consciousness.
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is a mash-up of 1976′s culture clashes. Lynde makes jokes about the upcoming election while KISS, Betty White, Donnie and Marie (in an uncredited appearance), Margaret Hamilton, and other surprise guests perform sketches with the Crown Prince of Camp, Paul Lynde.
For many years, Paul Lynde and Liberace [Lee] were the two most visible gay men on television, and Lynde was always cooler than Lee, appealing to a younger generation. He played sarcastic, practical joking Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and was also the center square on the game show Hollywood Squares, where his snarky double entendres (and center spot on the game board) made him a favorite. Many jokes on the Hollywood Squares centered around thinly veiled references to Lynde’s sexuality, and I still wonder if my grandmother and her generation got them…
Q: You’re the world’s most popular fruit. What are you?
Q: What unusual thing do you do, if you have something called ‘the gift of tongues’?
Lynde: I wouldn’t tell the grand jury; why should I tell you?
This 1976 television special is over-the-top crazed, with Lynde being granting three wishes by the witches (Hamilton and Billy Hayes from HR Pufnstuf). One wish is to be the Rhinestone Trucker with a big rig (trucking was huge deal in the mid-70s, popularized in songs and movies and on TV). In another wish skit Lynde becomes a sheikh in the desert, a great lover who tries to seduce Florence Henderson (high points are the jokes about a cockatoo and milking a cobra). The third wish transports Lynde and the witches to a haunted disco where Florence Henderson sings “That Old Black Magic” and KISS performs their hit “Beth.”
KISS, Florence Henderson and Paul Lynde together makes for one of the freakiest TV experiences ever, stranger even than David Bowie and Iggy Pop with Rosemary Clooney on Dinah Shore’s afternoon talk show. And the Halloween special gets even more surreal when Lynde starts to sing “Disco Lady” with Roz “Pinky Tuscadero” Kelly. There’s more strangeness throughout the show, but I don’t want to spoil it for you–it has to be seen to be believed. All I can think is that there must have been booze involved, along with a desire to appear relevant to all ages in the concept and execution of what is now a bizarre slice of Americana.
Huge bear hug to Suzanne at PoliCybear.com who posted about Paul Lynde’s Halloween Special–ahead of me by 24 hours. Great minds think alike!
N.W.A., the revolutionary rap group which famously sang “Fuck tha Police,” has been nominated for a second time to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. N.W.A.’s album Straight Outta Compton had the distinction of being one of the early adopters of the Parental Advisory label
WARNING: Moderate impact coarse language and/or themes.
N.W.A., their record label, Ruthless, and distributor Priority also received a letter from the FBI, raising Congressional and free speech advocates’ eyebrows. N.W.A’s lyrics, which laid out life in Compton, including sex, drugs and violence, enraged ninny-brained sandy-pantied busybodies Focus on the Family. In 1989, the uber-uptight conservative group pressured FBI assistant director of the FBI office of public affairs, Milt Ahlerich, into sending a letter advising the rappers that
advocating violence and assault is wrong and we in the law enforcement community take exception to such action…I wanted you to be aware of the FBI’s position relative to this song and its message. I believe my views reflect the opinion of the entire law enforcement community.
When informed of the letter from Ahlerich, Rep. Don Edwards (D-CA, San Jose), chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on civil and constitutional rights, charged with monitoring FBI actions regarding U.S. citizens, responded:
The FBI should stay out of the business of censorship…We’re going to try to find out more about this letter.
According to Rolling Stone “Fuck tha Police”
became subject of an intense fax campaign among local police departments, with the lyrics transmitted to cops in cities where NWA toured. The number was deliberately excluded from the tour’s regular set list.
In some cities, police refused to provide security at venues hosting the group, affecting N.W.A.’s ability to tour. But the controversy only helped N.W.A. which went on score platinum success with Straight Outta Compton. Their influence, lyrically and musically, has influenced music over the past three decades.
KISS, one of the world’s best selling rock bands, and also up for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, saw controversy in the late 1970s and 80s. Some parents freaked out that the band’s name was an acronym for “Knights in Satan’s Service,” KISS, who performed in full face makeup and leather and sang phallocentric songs about “love gun” and the notorious “Plaster Caster” groupies, probably did freak out a few folks when they added a vial of band members’ blood to the ink used to print the first edition of their comic book. But seriously, how scary is a band who recorded “Beth“ and whose faces are on lunch boxes? On Hello Kitty lunchboxes, to boot! In Germany, where the lightning bolt double S is banned because it evokes Nazism, KISS uses a double Z. Like N.W.A., KISS has been nominated before.
A band is eligible for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the commercial release of their first single. Credited with popularizing grunge music and the slacker lifestyle (now known as “hipster” and practiced by many who were not even in elementary school let alone born during the band’s formative years), Nirvana released “Love Buzz” on Seattle’s SubPop Records in 1988. Nirvana’s success on Geffen Records, coupled Cobain’s turbulent life with wife Courtney Love and subsequent suicide have made him a rock and roll an-hero.
Other nominees include The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, LL Cool J, The Meters, The Replacements, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Link Wray, Yes, and The Zombies.
A group of more than 600 music industry members, including all living Hall of Fame members, other musicians, executives, journalists and critics vote. Fan votes are also included; the top five bands on the public’s vote will constitute a “fan’s ballot” that will be included in the final vote count. You can vote through December 10 here: rockhall.com/vote. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony will be in April 2014 and broadcast at a later date on HBO.
As I write this there’s actually a countdown clock on CNN and as of right this second now- there’s 13 minutes and 54 seconds left until shit basically hits the fan.
I could rant about how pathetic and stupid this all is or I could present you with some sweet tunes by some great dudes in the interest of making your shut down more musical.
I’m going to do that.
Fresh off a successful Kickstarter for their debut album, their new video finds the boys of Motive literally on fire.
The video for their song Burn Down Brooklyn – features the sort of dirty rock wrapped in a quirky video (sting rays and space!) that’s landed this indie band on MTV2′s 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfeld top ten twice.
Based in Brooklyn– the band doesn’t really want to set the town on fire. Rather the song tackles feeling suffocated to the point that you want to burn things down and start anew.
Sounds pretty damn relevant and applicable right about now…
I’ve known these guys for a long time. In addition to being super talented, they’re also awesome human beings.
Check them out and keep an eye out for their album set to release in March of 2014.
In the meantime; burn down, get down, the government’s about to shut down.
Update: The Government has shut down and CNN’s count down clock now reflects how much time has passed since the Government has shut down. As of right this second now it’s been 9 minutes and 28 seconds.
I met Kim Fowley, the man who discovered created the Runaways, when I was 16, and at the time I thought he was the scariest man on earth. Tall, skinny with huge deep-set eyes and giant teeth, he had a rapid fire series of phrases he’d rattle off as he leered. A typical sentence might sound like this
The bitch is gonna do the dog on a pussy-eating guitar godhead level or I will make her crawl like garbage while she goes waaaaagn. W-A-A-A-A-G-N waaaagn!
Yes, he spelled waaaagn letter my letter. Fowley was already legendary when I first met him; along with Runaways, he’d produced a Helen Reddy record and done the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder discussing New Wave, and a couple of us from Westlake School for Girls had the idea of starting a punk fanzine, so I bravely called the recording studio where he worked to ask for an interview–and he said yes! I credit Kim with my career as a writer, because he has this attitude of if you say it, you can be it, and since we had said we had a punk ‘zine and wanted to interview him, we had to carry through on it.
Somehow Kim ended up marrying one of my high school friends who shall remain nameless, though she is pictured on the cover his 1978 solo album in a dress she borrowed from me; I also did her makeup. The marriage was annulled and the bride never spoke to me again, but Kim and I stayed in touch sort of once I was back from college at UC Berkeley, where I had gotten really sick. He called my mom and asked if he could take me to church (!), and showed up on a Sunday in cab wearing a suit with a banana and a stack of restraining orders in his jacket pocket. He was a perfect gentleman always to me, despite rumors of all sorts of bad behavior whispered to me by others.
Kim is a weird, super bright genius and he would occasionally, before we lost touch, tell me stories about his past in his hyperbolic, adjective-filled, convoluted way. So when I saw that the first volume of his memoir, Lord of Garbage, had been published–how could I resist? Covering from his birth to age thirty, Lord of Garbage is a Dickensian tale of a California childhood besmirched by divorce and remarriages, bad medicine, polio, teen gangs, and the redemption of rock n roll.
Fowley was mentored by Alan Freed, the man who coined the phrase ‘rock and roll’ (three words that changed the world, says Fowley). He went on to write or co-write hundreds of songs, produced what are now cult records, as well as hits like “Alley Oop” and the novelty hit “They’re Coming to Take Me Away,” and written and directed over a dozen low-budget movies. Fowley also wrote a lot of poetry, some of which is included in Lord of Garbage.
Fowley says he dictated Lord of Garbage into his publisher’s voicemail while recovering from bladder cancer, whacked out on drugs and potential death. It’s glorious prose; visual vulgar, brilliant and bold, rolling off the page, rocking in the brain. I can’t wait until volumes two and three are released. Fowley does two radio shows a week on Steve Van Zandt’s Sirius XM station, and is currently recovering from additional cancer surgeries. He’ll be reading from Lord of Garbage on October 5th at La Luz de Jesus, the mega-gallery/cool stuff shop in my neighborhood. I’m going, I’d like to thank him for the influence he played in my life.
Check out his take on cancer, home health care, life, and death here:
A Change.org petition asking Selena Gomez to speak up about LGBT rights during her Russian concerts received over 12,000 signatures in one day. And now the Russian government has revoked the platinum-selling singer’s visa. The twenty-one year old Gomez, who got her start on Barney & Friends and dated Justin Bieber before he turned into a chavy douche, was scheduled to play St. Petersburg’s Ice Palace on Sep. 23 and Moscow’s Olimpiysky stadium on Sep. 25.
I’m supposed to be going to Moscow in December. I’ve got to go. And I’ve got to think about what I’m going to say very carefully. There’s two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go.
In a statement, Becker told E! Online:
This cancellation of Selena Gomez’s visa shows that the Russian government is sensitive and on the defense, and shows that the pressure from people all around the world and the backlash against these laws is strong. They’re afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights.
to those under 18. That statute is part of larger effort to crack down on LGBT Russians. In response to harsh anti-LGBT laws and rhetoric there has been a boycott on Russian vodka in bars across the United States and a call to boycott the 2014 Olympics.
“Ten thousand people went ‘Eugh!’, but how could you not?. He’s become a friend, and what he’s suffered as an artist is unbelievable. During and after the show, my tour manager was interrogated for three hours, and what he said to them was true: I bought a beautiful Ai Weiwei piece, I was grateful and we’ve become friends. I didn’t feel in any danger.
Sir Elton adds a new item to his wish list: He’d like to go back to China and talk to the government about AIDS. According to the performer:
the country’s leading AIDS activist has claimed that the government’s estimate of 650,000 HIV cases is barely a 10th of the real figure.
Elton John wanted to play in front of the Pyramids of Giza, but claims be was banned because he is gay. And his very public gayness has ruffled feathers in other locales, the Guardian reports:
So what about his proposed December concert date in Moscow?
Listen, I went to Russia in 1979 and I knew we were being watched all the time: I had an interpreter that they’d clearly set up. Actually, I ended up having sex with him on the roof of my hotel. I’m supposed to be going to Moscow in December. I’ve got to go. And I’ve got to think about what I’m going to say very carefully. There’s two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go.
Elton John certainly flies in the face of Putin’s ban on homosexual propaganda. He and longtime partner David Furnish united in a civil union ceremony in 2005, one of the first in Britain, and are planning weddings in Britain and in California now that it is legal to do so– and the couple has two children Zachary and Elijah. In 2009 the Ukrainian government block Sir Elton’s adoption of an HIV+ baby, citing his age and single status; the Ukraine does not recognize same-sex unions. Adoption officials had another point of view:
Albert Pavlov, head of the Happy Child foundation for orphaned and sick children in Zaporizhia, said he opposed adoption by gays, but called for removing age and marriage restrictions for adopters.
How will Putin and Russian government deal with Elton John, a venerable and flamboyant, visibly gay figure in pop music who refers to himself as the Queen Mother? Madonna and Lady Gaga played St Petersburg and spoke out from the stage, violating, according to the Russian government, the terms of their visas. Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to ban fans under 18 years old from Gaga’s concerts. Madonna and Gaga are post-modern hetero-normative, basically straight ladies who like teh gheys, have a platform to speak out, and do. Elton John is waaay more risky–he’s clearly queer and the very act of playing in Russia is pretty subversive/transgressive, especially given his outspokeness on stage and off.
Local party leader Mikhail Abramyan recommended that Elton don a knee-length kaftan, knee-high leather boots, and a fur hat for the July 14th gig.
He said: ‘It would be more respectable. We have suggested it to the promoters and we hope he’ll wear it.’, according to Russian news agency Ria Novosti.
Despite calls from Krasnodar clergy to ban Sir Elton’s July 14th concert because the singer represents homosexual propaganda, no ban was issued. Rather the concert was postponed, then cancelled due to the singer’s illness.
Somehow I think, and maybe I am just an optimist, that Elton John playing Moscow is his attempt at activism, and is motivated by the desire to make a positive change, rather than to line his pockets. It will be interesting to see what bombshells, like that in China, he drops from the stage–maybe playing “All the Young Girls Love Alice”? And I wonder if Edward Snowden will be backstage! Now that would be a Facebook photo op!