Sunday, October 29, 2017

HALLOWEEN MARY - P.F. Sloan - a Holiday Put-Down


About the only good thing you can say about how "adults" have taken over Halloween, is that it's good for the economy. Landlords can do a quick one-month rental on empty storefronts, with costume companies quickly setting up shop with masks, make-up, and every type of "fantasy" outfit imaginable. (P.F. Sloan masks aren't too popular, I must admit. But bootleggers on eBay actually sell paper masks of most every celebrity they can get away with.)

Some people, accustomed to Internet piracy, hate the idea of buying anything. One guy in Croatia asked, "What's the cheapest costume I can find?" The answer: "Dress up as a Dutchman." So the guy cut off one of his ears. Which did nothing for his tinnitis, and only got him derision. "Van Gogh was NOT cheap." "Oh no? He could've gotten that prostitute something expensive, but instead she only got an ear." And the ear was second-hand.

All seriousness aside, the reason for this post is that I noticed a newspaper article with the catchy title, "Millennials Have Ruined Halloween." Since you can't run out and buy it (newspapers, if you remember, only sell for one day), I'll quote a few key lines from the author, Kyle Smith:
"This year, 48 percent of American adults plan to wear a Halloween costume...Sixteen percent — that’s 50 million people — plan to put a costume on their pet. In other words, we’re just a year or two away from a majority of our nation’s adults playing kiddie dress-up. Halloween is blowing up because childhood is leaking further and further into adult life, and millennials in particular aren’t fully sold on the idea that they’re grown-ups."
Smith quotes author Kurt Andersen, who has a new book called "Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire." Andersen notes that once upon a time, “American adults never dressed up in costumes, certainly not as an annual ritual." Indeed, Halloween was for kids, and a reluctant sign of growing up was turning 12 or 13, and staying home. Andersen traces the adult dress-up phenomenon to the 80's and "...the Halloween parades invented by freshly out gay people in San Francisco and New York. Dressing up on Halloween became a thing straight adults did in every corner of the country.”
Halloween, with its parties, cards, candy, costumes and all, will generate NINE BILLION dollars in spending. This is a boon to retailers, who look to a new source of compulsive buying besides Christmas. Perhaps some singers, songwriters, authors and others now unable to make a living due to piracy, are bagging candy corn and a "I'm dressing as a woman for a PARTY," outfit for some guy at the cash register at a Halloween store. And getting minimum wage.

But Halloween is just part of the Peter Pan syndrome that not only affects America, but has spread all over the world. Kyle Smth concludes: "Video games — sales of which hit an all-time high of $30.6 billion last year — as well as the increasing popularity of cosplay (dressing up in costumes the other 364 days of the year), comic-book conventions, superhero movies and fantasy sports are all symptoms of what Andersen dubs “Kids ‘R’ Us Syndrome”: We’re losing our collective sense of when it’s time to put away childish things."
Ah, yes, childish things. In the Blogworld, this includes the line "don't ruin our FUN," when some adult who owns copyright or trademark actually hires a company to help out. "My link got taken down," huffs the childish blogger, "I'll put it back up! I'm an EQUAL to every star, and they should email me personally, ask politely, and convince me that it's really them, and THEN I might take the link down. But not if some hired company does it. Besides, lookie lookie,
 I'm SHARING. Isn't that NICE of me?"
Yeah. Some Peter Pan who never grew up, has no talent, and decides to be a star by giving shit away, is ready to "share." He's using a word his Mommy said was a sign of being a grown-up, but which he never did for real friends in the real world. His toys were HIS. But now, for total strangers, he'll copy off somebody else's property and declare proudly that he's SHARING. It's always entire albums and discographies in FLAC and using a dozen storage sites to keep those links alive. Pretty bratty for an ADULT. But not for a dolt. 
Too bad fans of Halloween actually have to BUY the candy, costumes and cards, and can't just download them like they do movies, music, porn, books, photos and apps from lovable Kim Dotcom's MEGA or Zippy the Pinhead's Zippyshare or Putin's yadda-yadda Yadi Yandex. One person's dream is another person's nightmare, but you have to be an ADULT to understand it and ACT RESPONSIBLY. And what fun is that? 
And here's P.F. Sloan doing his snarling Dylan bit, putting down HALLOWEEN MARY. Funny, the guy put out some albums, but is best remembered via a cover version of his "Eve of Destruction." This song comes from his early ABC Dunhill era, but he did try for a comeback now and then, and was sometimes coaxed into playing a set in front of a small circle of friends. Why, the last time I saw P.F. Sloan, he was summer burned. He was winter blown. And that's not really the best way to be blown. (I can say that...we're all ADULTS here, aren't we?)

Weak and Meek: TELSTAR with LYRICS - Bobby Rydell


Back in July of 1962, the lonely metal ball called TELSTAR hurtled into space, promising a new era of communication. 

Surely, with a satellite bouncing TELevision and TELephone and TELegraph signals all over the world, TELSTAR would help bring more understanding and brotherhood to the world. In August of 1962, The Tornados offered a musical salute to the new technology via Joe Meek's moody yet futuristic and optimistic instrumental, "TELSTAR."

In October of 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly brought us World War 3. 

Maybe the problem was that "TELSTAR"  had no lyrics? All you need is love, folks. Add some love lyrics to "TELSTAR" and maybe the Capitalists and Communists would get along. So, what were the lyrics added a few months later to TELSTAR?

"Magic star above, send a message to my love! Tell her that I'll wait patiently. Sad and so lonely, dreaming of her only. Swift as graceful as a dove up above, Magic Star up high, dancing through the sky, tell her that my heart cries for joy! Please say that one day I'll hear her voice say I'm her one and only boy!" 

What did Joe Meek say when he heard this? "It doesn't scan!" may have come to mind, but not before "What the fuck?" 

Meek, fascinated as he was with pure sound, could not or would not put words to "TELSTAR," his ode to a communications satellite. He also could or nor would not put into words the reason why he later chose to blast his landlady to heaven, and then turn the gun on himself. 

Rydell is still with us. He had a scare at age 70, needing transplant surgery in 2012, but it proved successful. 



TELSTAR may have been eclipsed by other forms of technology, but hasn't been forgotten. First off, there's the catchy Joe Meek song. People who have no idea TELSTAR exists, have heard and loved the song. It's even inspired a few more. In 1991, Susanna Hoffs recorded "Wishing on Telstar," by Robin Lane and Jimmy Cipolla. It has slightly, only slightly better lyrics: 

"I had a lover, but haven't we all
. He had to leave so sometimes I'd call…
Satellites are blinking all through the night
. Wishes like this don't seem right...


Higher and higher, burns the fire. 
Love's lost on the telephone wire. 
Too high to reach, too hot to hold
. Wishing on Telstar, should've been told..."


Did you know the there was not only TELSTAR, but TELSTAR 2? The original was launched on July 10, 1962, and a second one on May 7, 1963. 1963 was the year Kennedy was killed. Few things around in 1963 are still around and functioning as good as they once did. The TELSTAR satellites no longer work.

Both satellites are still circling the Earth. They are mutely looking down on a planet that is circling the drain.

 TELSTAR WITH LYRICS - BOBBY RYDELL (Download or listen online)




MIGHTY GEORGE YOUNG - The Easybeats & the Offbeat FLASH & THE PAN

  


  
Sad to say, the death of George Young was not exactly big news. There wasn't much "awww," or awe except on websites ending with AU…Australia. Even then, as you see from NEWS.COM.AU above, George’s legacy is considered The Easybeats. Second, the trivia of George being a brother to that troll-git Angus who spent most of his life dressing up in a schoolboy outfit to play headbanger shit. A distant third in most obits was George's songwriting (with Harry Vanda) and production for a variety of acts this blog will never cover, including AC/DC, Stevie Wright, John Paul Young.

    Here at the blog of less renown, the headline involves his 80's group that made a lot of obscure albums including one called "Headlines." It's FLASH AND THE PAN. Your download sample below, from that album, is "Where Were You." I think this song neatly captures all aspects of the band's (strangely limited) appeal. Foremost, there's the distorted Dylanesque talk-singing and often acidic wordplay. A close second, and a legacy from all those years of easy beats, is the melodic chorus with its sing-along hook. Straddling the worlds of new wave and synth, there's also the added whistle (Ian Dury was fond of that game) and an uneasy beat that might suggest (as some of Ian's songs did) that it could be danced to. 

    I was in my first tenure as a mere rock mag staff writer when a peculiar album arrived, simply titled FLASH AND THE PAN. I always gravitated toward odd new releases, while everyone else in the office fought each other for anything by a star. Most wanted the ego boost of writing about a star's new album. I was more interested in giving whatever paragraph space I could, to new artists that could use the break of a quotable review.


    The odd cover art on the first album was not that different from the odd cover art on dozens of other progrock albums of the time. An irony was that if anyone knew one of their songs, it was via a cover version: "Walking in the Rain" from Grace Jones. Intended as a one-off, the album got enough attention ("Hey St. Peter," and the peculiarly un-PC "African Shuffle") to warrant several more. Some seemed to only get an Oz release and were hard to find. An irony is that I completed my collection by finding "Nights in France" in a Paris record shop.

    FLASH did make some bizarre rock videos which didn't seem to get that much play on MTV, and with few interviews and limited touring, stayed a mystery and enigma. They did, ironically enough, put out more albums than The Easybeats did, and lasted maybe a little bit longer. The Easybeats, a mix of guys born in the UK, Australia and Holland, formed in 1964.  Their big hit, "Friday On My Mind," was #1 in Australia, but only made the Top 10 in England and Top 20 in America, and without a follow-up hit, in the UK or USA, the band split in 1969.

    Starting the 70's George Young and Harry Vanda struggled along with offbeat projects like Grapefruit, Haffy’s Whisky Sour and Marcus Hook Roll Band, the latter, released circa 1973, included Angus and Malcolm Young. As producers/songwriters they did better behind the scenes, giving hit songs to Stevie Wright, Rose Tattoo, and others (there's a 2 CD set of their popular songs that made the Aussie charts from a variety of singers). They began the 80's with the experimental FLASH AND THE PAN, which I suppose remains more of a "critics choice" than a rival to AC/DC. The article above declares Young “...stands peerless in his contributions to this country’s most essential era of songwriting and production, and leaves an untouchable legacy behind in the form of AD/DC, The Easybeats, and the countless Australian classics he ushered to the top of the charts.” 

    Very well, let FLASH AND THE PAN remain an obscure pleasure for a small circle of friends. You're invited to join the circle. Unlike Dylan, there doesn't seem to be a FLASH cult that dissects every lyric, in-joke or reference ("Norwegian Wood" turns up in "Where Were You") but maybe that's just as well. Fan groups tend to degenerate quickly into one-upmanship and bickering, and besides, even George Young had better things to do. As the above article mentions, George in his last two decades turned down most interviews, “preferring travel to music.” Hopefully his enjoyment of travel, to quote two more FLASH songs, didn't involve "Waiting for a Train" or "Psychos On the Street."


 FLASH AND THE PAN - WHERE WERE YOU (Download or listen online)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Black Jew-Jews : Little Anthony & The Imperials sing EXODUS


Admit it, you haven’t read The Bible in a while. Even more egregious, you haven’t read The Koran, which everybody is talking about. And even bombing about. Helpful advice: Get a bit of religion into your life before a religious fanatic ends it.
 

Many of us have a religious devotion to pop stars. We even go to memorabilia shows and pay $20 for a selfie. See, the fan goes over to Little Anthony's table, and says, "You don't remember me. But I remember you..."

Some fans want his autograph on a scratchy 45 rpm of “Tears on My Pillow.” More obscure (thus, here) is his recording of the "Exodus" movie theme song. It wasn't a hit. Maybe only an obvious Jew could sing such a song. Wasn't Sammy Davis Jr. available?

 If your knowledge of The Old Testicles is a bit hairy, here’s a quick refresher on the "Exodus." Moses took a knee in front of Pharoah. When this didn't get any results, Moses stood up and articulated his position: "My people are being used as slaves. Let's stop this before it drags on for another 2,000 years!"

 Moses was going to say "Jewish Lives Matter," but consulted with his writers (all of them Jewish). They came up with something really catchy: “Let My People GO.” To which Pharoah replied, “We have plenty of Port-a-Potties out there. Your Jewish Braceros can lay some turds after they’ve laid some bricks. Stop the kvetching and get back to working on my Pyramid scheme. Next up, I might build a wall...”

 This is when Moses brought out true royalty: LITTLE ANTHONY AND THE IMPERIALS. They sang “THE THEME FROM EXODUS.” This was a pretty good trick, as movies hadn’t even been invented yet. The Lord works in mysterious ways!

 After the rendition, Pharoah declared,  “Who wants JEWS and BLACKS? Get out of my country, the lot of you!” This included Lot. Lot's wife stayed behind, because Pharoah was fond of hummus with a lot of salt on it.

 And thus, Moses and Little Anthony and the Imperials made their way out of Egypt. Moses said, “Little Anthony, you go that way, and call your new land ETHIOPIA. Soon, all the black Jews will prosper and multiply!” And Little Anthony said unto Moses, “That’s a neat trick, considering The Imperials are all guys!” 

 Moses said, "I’m leading the Jews across this desert to The Promised Land. I will call it ISRAEL!”

 Of course, the joke was on Moses. He and the Jews found the only part of the Middle East that had NO OIL on it. Jesus! But that’s another story....


LITTLE ANTHONY & THE IMPERIALS - THEME FROM THE MOVIE "EXODUS"

JEANNE HAYES - BIEBER’S DANDRUFF ON MY MARILYN MANSON SHIRT



    This post is ripped (off) from today’s headlines!  

    A few days ago, the media was raving about The Feud of the Androgynes...Miley Cyrus-faced flat-chested Justin Bieber vs aging doll-crotched zombie mannequin Marilyn Manson. What caused it? Well, Manson has a new album and needs to generate publicity. Having a giant gun fall on him on stage wasn’t enough.

    Marilyn figured Justin Bieber wearing his face on a shirt was exploitive. Sort of the way combining the names Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson are exploitive. Only HERE, Bieber was trading in on the fame of somebody not dead or in jail, but very capable of walking into a bank and expecting to find royalties.

    Bieber wasn't just wearing Manson's face. He was SELLING the shirt with his own slogan on the back, "Bigger than Satan." When Manson complained, Bieber smirked, “I made you relevant again!” 

    Manson recalled it was a “bad mistake to say to me. He was a real piece of shit in the way he had the arrogance to say that.” Especially since Bieber had no legal right to use Manson’s image. Sure, in the BLOG WORLD, this would seem like “Freedom of Speech.” In truth, “copyright” means that you don’t have the RIGHT to COPY without permission, and “intellectual property” means you can't expect dumbass morality to save you in court. Why didn’t Bieber understand this? “I don’t know,” said Manson, “because I don’t (understand) the mind of a squirrel.”

    Bieber’s dandruff was on Manson’s shirt. And NO MONEY. Millennials have a LOT of money. Maybe it’s because they steal all the music, movies, tv shows and books via download, and only spend cash on CLOTHING. Bieber’s t-shirt: $195. For a t-shirt. Even Trump couldn't afford the sneakers or the "Smell like a Sweaty Bieber" cologne.

    Manson was angry. Angry enough to punch The Bieb on the beezer? “I don’t like to fight with girls,” said Marilyn, “so I don’t wanna fight Justin Bieber.” He added that Bieber is a little guy: “...dick height on me, ok? Alright? So stand down, son.”

    The happy ending: Manson says he “took all the proceeds from those shirts.” Which is doubtful, considering creative accounting, and how much MORE money has been spent on knock-offs sold on eBay and through Facebook "suggested post" ads. 



    Oh what a lovely top. And below, JEANNE HAYES and THE DELLWOODs singing about a King of Scurf….and lover baby's shirt with dandruff on it, which originally appeared on the “Mad Twists Rock ’n’ Roll” album circa 1962.  


JEANNE HAYES - SOMEBODY ELSE'S DANDRUFF ON HIS SHIRT 


Monday, October 09, 2017

THE FAITHFUL HUSSAR WAS A BIT OF A PINK PANTHER


 The old German song, "Der treue Husar" aka “The Faithful Hussar,” became a favorite via Vera Lynn. The translated lyrics are about a soldier who sent his girlfriend a love letter every day (maybe even sealed with a kiss):

A soldier boy, so brave and gay
With head held high, he marched away
His sweetheart wept, but every night
He'd think of her and he would write:
Don't cry, my love, while I am gone
Don't sigh, my love, just carry on...

     "Carry on" was a big catch-phrase during the war. So was "Stay calm." But "Carry On" not only anticipated that better things were ahead, it predicted the popularity of a risque movie series that always had a riotous moment when a gay guy stares at a woman's breasts. Not Vera Lynn's, though. That would be unseemly. 


      Vera's upbeat song didn't leave things in limbo, like "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when." In this fable, re-named "Don't Cry My Love," the soldier and his girl are reunited. Too sappy? You'd prefer a version without singing at all?
      
      Below, is the Ted Heath 1956 instrumental. It swings a lot more than the oom-pah of the German originals, or some other big band copies. In fact, it has a particular loping type of syncopation that you'll instantly recognize as a grand-cat to "The Pink Panther." The stalking bass Henry Mancini used for the movie theme (and subsequent animated shorts) was probably familiar to him as a tool used in many a gentle boogie, but it's very prominent in this Heath item. In fact, the only thing that makes this stupid, redundant melody interesting is the beat.

    What do we learn from this, students? We accept that there are some shades to “plagiarism.” One of them involves taking a familiar concept and doing something unique with it. The story in the lyric ain't new. There have been dozens of books, poems and songs involving a guy corresponding when he can't be fornicating. As for the music, most songs rely on a familiar beat, whether it's a cha-cha, twist, waltz or oom-pah march. Only a few songs have the magic to transcend a cliche story concept or a familiar beat, and become a hit. Posthumous kudos to Henry Mancini. And a "nice try" to...ah ah, Mr. Heath! 


The Faithful Hussar    Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart egomaniac passwords, and no malware or spyware anywhere.

AN EXPENSIVE BOGUS OBSCURITY - ANN BOGUS

    Every month, DISCOGS lists the highest prices paid for vinyl in the “Discog Marketplace.” A few months ago, there was a Bogus listing. It was Ann Bogus, who made the Top 20 for...are you kiddin...somebody paying $1319.00 to get her Statue Records single.

    This leads to several questions that really can’t be answered with any kind of logic. One of them is…who the FUCK would be spending over a THOUSAND dollars to get a 45 rpm? Somebody who thinks he’s immortal? Somebody who doesn’t know that the song (like most songs) is available in perfect listening condition on YouTube? That a quick shout to a forum or blog could get a happy sharer to post it? What ulterior motive had somebody spend such a high price for THAT single? Maybe somebody who wanted to stick his scrawny dick in the spindle hole and pretend to be fucking Ann Bogus? Maybe a sadistic collector who HAS to HAVE everything to boast to some masochistic friend with the same affliction but not enough money?

    Mostly, as every record dealer knows, the vinyl market sucks. The perfect storm isn't just Internet piracy; fewer and fewer people want or even like turntables. They hate shelves warping under the weight of vinyl. They don’t like having to buy new needles or cartridges periodically. They deplore how easily vinyl can be scratched just by taking it out of the fucking sleeve. And they’d much rather have the convenience of a computer jukebox and all songs at their fingertips. And they’re cheap. CHEAP has always been the underlying grumble. Groucho Marx, in the preface to one of his books, groused that people don't think they're getting their money's worth on a book. They'd pay the same for a lunch that's in the toilet a day later. The undeniable fact is that most people don’t spend $5 or $10, much less over a THOUSAND to actually own a 45 rpm. Not when a digital version is available.

    Another question: WHO is ANN BOGUS? All that seems to be known about her is that she was once part of an obscure group called The Fabulous Dominoes. The billing on her debut solo single, “Don’t Ask Me To Love Again,” is: “Ann Bogus of the Fabulous Dominoes." The label also tells us that the single was produced by John Mihelic, who owned Statue Records in Tupelo, Mississippi. Mihelic had been in the group The Nite-Liters. His Statue label, active in the late 60’s and early 70’s, released tracks by Sonny Holley and James Gilreath. Gilreath’s “Little Band of Gold” became a semi-hit when Mihelic sold the rights to the slightly bigger Joy Records label in New York City.

    As for Ann Bogus, following Statue #256 (“Don’t Ask Me To Love Again” b/w “You Got it Wrong”), nobody would hear from her for another four years. In 1974, she got a deal with 20th Century. With producer/drummer Joseph Wilson and his “Faux Noir” band, and now calling herself Annie Blue, she cut “Bottle Of Wine” b/w “Lay Me Down,” and then in 1975, “Do You Wanna Do A Thing” b/w “Loving Kind of Woman.” 



Don't Ask Me To Love Again    Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, malware or spyware anywhere.

Jerry YESTER-DAY WHEN I WAS YOUNG…OR THEY WERE YOUNG…OR…

    If Jerry Yester was wondering how his obit was going to read, he sure found out. He made headlines for getting arrested. The newspapers picked up on the story only because he was once in The Lovin’ Spoonful, that seminal  (judging only by the group’s name) rock group from 50 years ago. Granted, he wasn’t a member very long, but that’s his fame. His arrest proves it. (And you thought you couldn't get arrested if all you can say is you were once in The Lovin' Spoonful!) When he dies, the obit will be two paragraphs instead of one: one for being in The Lovin' Spoonful and the other, for his pedophilia arrest.  

    The above mugshot? I instantly flashed on a line in "Mad Dog Killer," a song by Jerry's ex-wife Judy Henske (music by her longtime husband Craig Doerge). Being arrested"seemed just like show business to me. First they interview you, then they take your picture free." 

    Take a look below at one of the brief news items on Jerry's arrest. Does it mention "Farewell Aldebaran," an album that actually has his name on it? No. Does it mention "Rosebud," the group he formed with then-wife Judy Henske? No. It was almost all about him being a SPOONFUL, and that the band is well known:





    Jerry's on the end, as you'd expect for a replacement. He's in the "hey, don't forget me, I'm in the band, too," position. The most important member is John Sapface. Always was, always will be. Ah, the crooked grin. The glasses. Should we consider "Summer in the City" as just a toke of bad weed? It shouldn't ruin the vibe the band has of being the ultimate hippie dippies.

    In the familiar rush to judgment, sleaze-media havens like creepy little Harvey Levin’s TMZ didn’t bother to explain much about the charges against Yester. All we know is he was in Arkansas (!) and caught by a bunch who never got the drop on Bill Clinton. We don’t know whether Jerry was arrested for having pictures AND/or video on his computer or if this involved girls, boys, or some Anthony Weiner-type Lolita bitch who was “only 16” and looking for trouble. The line is: “facing 30 counts of distributing, possessing, or viewing explicit pornographic material involving children.” Nothing about whether he shared this stuff with Pete Townshend, whether there were pix of McKenzie Phillips or Miley Cyrus, or if his contacts email includes Rolf Harris. 

    Some say possession of child porn isn’t quite so terrible as participating in it, and it might be true that having child porn could prevent some idiots from having the act out their impulses, but still, this involves children. And kids should not be photographed that way. In fact, nobody’s sexual images should be on the Internet without a signed model release of age and CONSENT. But, heh heh, TMZ knows about celeb porn websites, porn blogs and EBAY. Right, Harvey? Damn right, Harvey. Oh my my. Oh hell yes. 

    Since Yester really isn’t famous at all, and these cases tend to drag out, or a plea is quietly copped, it’s possible that we won’t know much about this case for months or years or ever. Just that there’s now a mugshot on him. Oh…and that nobody knows good music, because all they could talk about was the Spoonful’s sappy “Do You Believe In Magic,” and not, for example, the “Henske-Yester” album of legendary folk-psych. 

    Below, no, not any of the awful hippie-dippie crap that sunshiners love so much. And not somebody singing “Yesterday.” Or the Aznavour “Yesterday When I Was Young/“ Instead, sung in that odd, reedy voice of his, the oddly titled “One More Time.” It’s  from his album with Judy Henske (who supplied the lyrics). The album has finally been issued legally, with album notes and a few oddball bonus tracks. Judy even talks about some of the songs. This one is about death coming for Mrs. Connor. Fortunately for her, the cops didn’t get to her first, and find the illegal files she got from somebody in Badehoevedorp. 

    An arrest is not a conviction. Hopefully the material involved isn’t truly heinous, and instead of jail, the guy will be back wandering around Arkansas, which may be the different between Hell and Limbo.. 


HENSKE YESTER
One More Time    Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, links for bogus out-of-date Flash downloads, malware or spyware anywhere.

Dragon Retreat - Death of a Surf Punk, DENNIS DRAGON




    And so it goes…guys who were once romping on beach sand are going six feet under. Dennis Dragon, who died on September 25th, was with the 80’s band The Surf Punks. If you don’t know them too well, maybe this is a simile. What the Beach Boys were to the Four Seasons, the Surf Punks were to The Ramones. Meaning, you just replacement a certain amount of urban attitude with dazzling sunlight. Which isn’t to say that sunlight can’t expose cracks, be it in the bikinis of beach bunnies, or in life itself and its ultimate reward.  

    Dennis Dragon of The Surf Punks had musical parents and siblings. His father was Carmen Dragon, an early, West Coast version of Arthur Fiedler. Dragon was a pops conductor and offered up the best light classics at the Hollywood Bowl and other venues. Dennis’s mother Eloise Marion Dragon was a popular soprano on many radio shows, and together, Carmen and Eloise produced “The Standard School Hour.”  The five little Dragons? Dennis, Doug and Daryl (the latter the “Captain” who sang with Tennille), as well as harpist Carmen and music publisher Kathy. 

    A drummer since the age of five, Dennis played with The Byrds, Rick Springfield and Neil Young. In the early 70’s, all three Dragon brothers worked with Brian Wilson and helped keep the fractured Beach Boys together in some form or other. It was not a great time for Wilson, and eventually the brothers moved on. Dennis ended up punking beach music with The Surf Punks, who got signed to Epic in 1980. He pretty much led the band, doing a lot of the writing and singing. 




Dennis was as interested in the studio aspect of music as being in front of the microphone, and owned his own studio in Malibu. He produced and engineered many hits for Lou Adler Ode acts include Carole King and Cheech & Chong (you remember their “Born In East L.A.).  He worked on the first Captain & Tenille album as well. He owned a Grammy for his work on “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which was “Record of the Year” in 1975. 
   
    “The Surf Punks” were spawned, naturally enough, during the original punk era, circa 1976, even if they were a little late in getting to vinyl and video. Into the 80’s and 90’s he worked on a variety of projects from movie soundtracks to “Locals Only,” a West Coast TV show featuring new talent and “Skate TV” for Nickelodeon. Fans love the BFI album by The Dragons, which at the time as given a pass by all the major labels. In 2011 he worked again with his brother Doug on “The Propheteer,”  which was a long-distance collaboration. Doug sang and played keyboards, and emailed his tracks to Dennis, who added drums, and brought in more players to fill out the sound.  
   
    No, not many people heard “The Propheteer,” and brother Daryl would soon have worse problems. Parkinson’s disease led “The Captain” to abandon touring. And so there’s a bittersweet nostalgia in acknowledging what’s happened to the Dragons who were so hot in the 70’s and 80’s with everything from pop to California punk. Reality; disease and death. ("Dragon Retreat," for those under 40, refers to the vacation residence of Ollie, a third of "Kukla Fran and Ollie. Anyone who remembers that kiddie show doesn't have long to live). Below, an example of The Surf Punks in action. As Murray the K used to say, "the sound is now," and when you listen to some of their stuff, the fun never stops. Or, you don't think it will.  



LOCALS ONLY    Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, malware or spyware anywhere.