Posts Tagged ‘In The Red Records’

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“40 years. Lord, have mercy,” is Kid Congo Powers’ wry response to the length of his career. The genial former member of the Gun Club, the Cramps, Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds and a collaborator with just about anyone else cool, Kid Congo Powers has not slowed down since his move to Arizona. His current projects include recordings with Wolfmanhattan Project and Pink Monkey Birds, who’ve just released “Swing from the Sean Delear”, inspired by a dream about Jeffrey Lee Pierce.

The EP’s titular subject, Sean DeLear, and how Sean inspired you:

Kid Congo Powers: Sean was a great character, and a diehard culture fanatic. A rock ‘n’ roller through and through, he was the singer in a band called Glue. Lived in L.A. Always on the scene, always backstage, or I would spot him in the wings at a concert from the audience. A real Zelig. He would pop up at our shows in L.A., NYC, and last time I saw him, he showed up backstage at a Pink Monkey Birds show in London. A non-binary African American punker – part Diana Ross, part Captain Sensible, part Rodney Bingenheimer. A bright spot in the murky underground. Hard to resist. When he passed away, I thought I must capture his essence in song somehow, because I was afraid to lose it. We must hail our fallen.

If live music stages are currently gathering dust, Kid Congo Powers isn’t. A veteran of the trash rock trail going back to his first band, the Gun Club, Powers ended 2019 with the excellent Wolfmanhattan Project debut album (a trio including Mick Collins and Bob Bert), With some follow-up gigs before the whole virus mess, and now he’s back with his ongoing Pink Monkey Birds concern, dishing up a growly and gratifying four-song cycle, “Swing from the Sean Delear” (In the Red). It’s entire second side is a 14-minute long beat-jazzy meander (“He Walked In”) that was inspired by a dream Powers had where he saw his old Gun Club cohort, Jeffrey Lee Pierce. About halfway through, it snaps into a heftier groove that might get you dancing despite the smoky, spooky mood. Implorations to shake it, and doing so in a suave manner, are two of the tricks Powers has long brought to a garage scene often lacking in both traits.

Powers has refined his rousta-bouting as a member of some of the most idiosyncratic and important r’n’r bands of the turn of the century. He’s spent time in and out of the Cramps, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, the Divine Horsemen, and more. His own co-creations over the last 25 years — Congo Norvell, Knoxville Girls, Wolfmanhattan Project, and the Pink Monkey Birds – have continued to be a template refresher for young swamp-garage acts looking to gain access to the glamorously greasy backroom of the garage rock party.

Powers has been in bands since 1979. His first was The Creeping Ritual, which mutated into The Gun Club. His latest and his main gig is Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds. They are out on tour this month. The Wolfmanhattan Project, one of Powers’ other sidelines, have their first album out now. Though he and his husband moved out to Tuscon, AZ, a couple years ago, Swing from the Sean Delear doesn’t exactly sound like Kid Congo Powers is retiring. The rest of the record – two tunes of the Monkey Birds’ patented shifty beats, loose riffs, and Powers’ snarly talk-sing, and a frizzy, Stooge-ly instrumental – all make for a fine return after a five-year wait.

Kid Congo Powers has also been in The Cramps, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Congo Norvell, Knoxville Girls, Kid & Khan and The Fur Bible. He has also guested with an array of musicians: among them, Barry Adamson, Mark Eitzel, Die Haut and The Make-Up.

Powers turned 60 this year. “It’s great to be the Big 6-0,” he says. “Maybe at a young age it was a romantic notion to be dead at 30, but luckily I didn’t realise that romance. I threw that lover away.”

Powers has been spending a lot time reflecting: he has recently written his autobiography. “The working title was just going to be called ‘Kid’ because it was actually going to be a coming-of-age story, but then I realised I needed to get older and write about things people might actually be interested in.” “In The Red Records is going to put it out. It’s their first publishing effort. I’m excited because I’ve been putting out records with them for over 10 years.”

The 12 records Powers has chosen for each of his four decades as a musician. They indicate the enormous variety of his output. His picks span garage rock and minimalist Techno. “Sometimes it’s popular and in favour and has a spotlight on it,” he says of his work. “A lot of the time it goes into a dark cave. You need to try different things and accept that it’s not all going to be ‘right’ or rewarded.”

“Somehow, that doesn’t deter me. I think I’m still that very tenacious teenager I was. “Playing music is my sole source of engagement. It’s my food. I’ve been through plenty of disappointments, but I just keep working.” Of all the records he’s made, Powers says, “It’s like having children; you love them all. Some are a problem and some are good. I hope “These are all the good ones.”

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The Gun Club: The Birth, The Death and The Ghost (released 1989)

“We put that out as an artefact for archaeological reasons. This is an early version of the Gun Club, the pre-“Fire of Love” band, as low-fi as possible, just live bootleg cassette recordings. It was from a time of us discovering what we could be. This album was more of an idea than it was meant to be a great record.

“The version before the Gun Club – The Creeping Ritual – was all over the place, really skronky and messy and had reggae influences. It was super-arty and noisy, but it was the germ nucleus. It had all the influences and we were just trying to grasp at them. When Rob (Ritter) and Terry (Graham) joined, everything came into complete focus and it became a stronger band. It astonished me and Jeffrey (Lee Pierce), just as much as anyone who had seen us before.

Jeffrey would regularly bait the audience. That’s left off the album but that was Jeffrey’s thing. His whole persona from the beginning was to be really provocative and to get a reaction out of people, whatever that might be, usually their ire. It was audience participation.

“Later in the Gun Club, around the time of The Las Vegas Story, Billy Idol asked us to play at the height of his American White Wedding’/’Rebel Yell fame, when his whole audience was a lot of teenyboppers and secretaries – the MTV Generation Mk1. This was at the Long Beach Arena. The audience hated us. The more they booed, the more amazing Jeffrey was.”

“We were at the height of our powers, so we were like, ‘If you are going to boo us, we’re going to really give you something to boo about’. So we started Death Party which is like this non-stop feedback and screaming. People were pelting us with so much ephemera – plastic bottles and trash – until finally the stage-hands threw us off the stage.

The Gun Club, originally Creeping Ritual, was the first band I played in. I was only playing guitar for one year when I joined the Cramps… I never played music until Jeffrey and myself started The Gun Club. Except once in ‘77/’78, Lydia Lunch wanted to play drums in her practice space on Delancey Street, and she told me to play “Rock and Roll All Night” by Kiss on the guitar. I said I don’t know how to play guitar, and she just shouted, “Just make it up!” Best advice ever.

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The Gun Club. Walking with the Beast, (1984)

When The Gun Club was recording the Las Vegas Story LP at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, the producer, Jeff Eyrich, got us time during the graveyard shift (11pm to 6am in the morning). In the adjacent studio during these hours was Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac). Ry Cooder was in our studio daytimes, I believe recording the Soundtrack to the Wim Wenders’ film ‘Paris Texas’. One day I walk into the recording room and saw Jeffrey Lee Pierce pick up a blue plastic tube from the Cooder pile of junk in a corner, I think percussion instruments. He started swinging it above his head, creating a sound like high-pitched wind. Our friend Phast Phreddie walked in and picked up a green tube then me and Terry Graham picked up the yellow and pink tubes, whirling the whirleys around our heads creating quite the ominous wind storm. It looked like one of those hills with the solar power propellers spinning on them, creating psychedelic sustainable energy. Luckily Jeff Eyrich was in the control room and flipped the switch on the tape recorder. When we recorded the rest of the song Walking With The Beast Jeff said: “Play as loud as you want” so we turned the amps up to 11. Happy accidents reign supreme.

Recording with The Cramps was my first recording experience ever! The recording was for the Psychedelic Jungle album at A&M Studios in Hollywood, home of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. Although there were many moments to remember, like borrowing Karen Carpenter’s crash symbol for the song ‘Don’t Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk,’ it’s the cover of wild man Hasil Adkins song, She Said which is seared into my brain.

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The Cramps: The Crusher (12” single, 1981)

“The sound on this is incredible. This is The Cramps’ record I feel like I made the most contribution to. I first heard The Crusher [by Minneapolis garage band The Novas] on The Dr. Demento Show on the radio in LA. I found it on a compilation record in London and Lux (Interior) was like, ‘Let’s play that song – tonight.’ We didn’t do a rehearsal or anything. The second time we ever played it was when we recorded it, the next month or so.

“New Kind of Kick on the B-side has one of my favourite guitar solos I’ve made. How I got that sound is pretty amazing: I was doing it and Ivy was manipulating the speed on the tremolo. On Save It, I was trying my best to do the opposite of what you might expect for a wild rockabilly solo. I was trying to make it sound like it was slowed down and backwards. It sounds like beautiful music to me – like a dying whale.”

“New Kind of Kick on the B-side has one of my favourite guitar solos I’ve made. How I got that sound is pretty amazing: I was doing it and Ivy was manipulating the speed on the tremolo. On Save It, I was trying my best to do the opposite of what you might expect for a wild rockabilly solo. I was trying to make it sound like it was slowed down and backwards. It sounds like beautiful music to me – like a dying whale.” Powers: I met the Cramps when I saw them in 1978 at CBGB. I was visiting from L.A., and immediately in love. Then when they came to play in L.A. I never missed a show and became friendly. When they moved to L.A. I was already in the Gun Club, and at the urging of Bradly Field and Kristian Hoffman of the Mumps, they checked me out and, apparently, they liked my style. They were good at freak spotting.

The Cramps were fully formed long before I joined them. I saw them in 1978 in New York. I’d taken a Greyhound bus from LA and the first thing people said was, ‘You have to go see The Cramps. That is the band.’ My jaw dropped on the floor. It was the perfect rock band for me. The vision was all there. You immediately understood what it was, as baffling as it was. It was such a collision of different things you love but would never think of together: rockabilly music, Horror, B culture and this nihilistic attitude just coming out of the eyes. To see it all together, all these things just blew up the room; rooms erupted. CBGBs was full of screaming people.  A passionate bunch with a good critical mouth. Lux was like a magician often. I remember one time a new wave girl in a cheerleader skirt jumped onstage to dance with Lux, and I swear I looked just for a second at the neck of my guitar to make sure I was hitting the chord, and when I looked up the girl was still dancing the same, but just in her leotard and Lux had her cheerleader skirt on and was imitating her shimmy. How that happened so fast I will never know!.

Lux was incredibly provocative, baiting the audience, but with more finesse than Jeffrey did. The Cramps influenced the Gun Club theatrically, as well as musically. They were one of those bands like the Ramones, which created an entire world immediately upon first look or the first song you heard. You were immediately drawn into this world.

“When I joined, I already worshipped The Cramps. I was a friend of Bryan Gregory’s. Those were some pretty tall heels to slide yourself into, but I was young and tenacious. They were a sexy band and I was really into the androgynous look; Bryan’s look and personality and character were incredibly testosterone, terrifyingly male, but also very feminine at the same time. I took this to heart. That was an adjustment I had to make.

“To assimilate into The Cramps, I also had to learn to use a fuzz pedal. I don’t think I used any kind of pedal in the Gun Club, not even a distortion pedal. I just turned my amp louder. And I had to learn to play in front of more than 10 people. At that time, the Gun Club’s audience was friends and other bands and that was it.”

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Die Haut: Headless Body In Topless Bar (1988)

“Playing with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds got me to Berlin. One of the first things that happened was to be in the Wim Wenders’ film Wings Of Desire with The Bad Seeds. Berlin was exciting.

“There was less pop culture pressure than in London. In London, you were hyper-aware of the latest flavour that was going on. I’m a very gullible person. I paid really too much attention to it and it would seep in. It somehow bothered me. Berlin seemed more artistically centred. It seemed that a lot more of the arts met more closely, like film and music, or dance and film, or performance art and rock’n’roll, because West Berlin was smaller and more isolated. It seemed very happening and artistically fertile. There were great experimental things going on. I also think I wanted to go somewhere, where I didn’t know the language.”

“I was also fleeing the Goth wave that was taking over the UK. The Batcave got me – just for a moment. It was not the intention to be in a Goth band. I thought The Fur Bible was more Swans or The Scientists or Foetus. The look got a little out of hand: the black hair and white make-up and Patricia (Morrison) – who pre-dated Goth – having her Vampira-influenced look. I think I was feeling the pressure to present some kind of image, which is unlike me. I don’t know where this insecurity came from.”. “Die Haut were interested in someone to sing who wasn’t a singer. This was when I think I started to find my voice. In The Fur Bible, I felt I didn’t find my voice. Those songs with Die Haut (You Seen Angel Jésus and My Gift To You) were very satisfying and I loved working with this band a lot. I was very nervous, but luckily they were a band that liked to rehearse a lot. I had 100% carte blanche. They gave me a track and said, ‘We had someone else singing on this and they sang it like it was Satisfaction.’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t think I can sing it like Satisfaction. The music is so exciting, what you need more is a narrator.’ They were very much into that. They let me write whatever lyrics I wanted. It was good for me to exercise my lyric writing.

“One thing I take with me from my time in Berlin is that you don’t have to stick to one genre. It’s worth taking all these chances of playing all these different kinds of music. It’s all part of your cultivation. It was a very inspirational time: it was ideas on top of ideas.”

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Barry Adamson: Moss Side Story

“I’m in the “Freedom Choir” (along with Mick Harvey and Anita Lane) on two tracks, Suck On The Honey Of Love and Free at Last. Any piece of any record is part of the whole. That album is incredible. That was Barry’s first attempt at a soundtrack-style album and what an amazing success it is. I’ve very proud that he asked me to be on it. “I was a fan of Magazine and I’d known Barry for a while. Actually, I joined The Bad Seeds because Barry had left the band and Mick Harvey was going to move over to bass guitar and they needed a second guitarist. I was basically filling in when Barry’s slot was vacated. I got shoo-ed in for the Her Funeral My Trial tour.

Barry and I remained friendly, so when Barry asked us to come down to the studio, of course we wanted to do it. I also appear in two Barry Adamson videos. In The Man With The Golden Arm, I’m playing cards in a nightclub; and in Busted off The Negro Inside Me, I play a very sleazy character carrying a briefcase.”

Barry was part of that London community I was part of. Anni Hogan, Marc Almond, Dave Ball, Jim Thirlwell, Nick Cave – that was our party and it’s been an enduring party.”

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Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. From Her To Eternity for Wings Of Desire Soundtrack. Late ‘80s.

For me, this was a particularly charged session on many levels. Not only was it one of my first duties as a Bad Seed, it was my first time in the legendary Hansa Tonstudio, snuggled up against the Berlin Wall. Iggy Pop recorded ‘The Idiot’ and ‘Lust For Life’ there. David Bowie recorded ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes’ there. Boney M recorded there! It was a palace full of special magic in my eyes and ears. To top it off, we were to appear, as ourselves, in the Wim Wenders film, ‘Der Himmel über Berlin’ (Wings Of Desire) in the coming days. We were laying down the playback. I love being part of movie magic. Although the song ‘From Her To Eternity’ had been previously recorded, the live version had become a beast of its own. The band at the time was Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Thomas Wydler, Blixa Bargeld with new members, Roland Wolf and myself.

As was par for the course in 1980s Berlin underground, the studio was overflowing with artists, eccentrics, and other musicians having existential speed talks that made your brain want to explode. In this atmosphere we got the track down in no time at all; or was it all night? Anyways, it sounds great in the film. I’m proud to be a part of it all.

Nick Cave: ‘Helpless’ (From The Bridge: A Tribute to Neil Young, 1989)

“I really wanted to get this track in. It’s a beauty, a real beauty. It’s not well known and I’m very proud of it. Helpless is a beautiful Neil Young song that needed to be treated in a respectful and tender way and resist the impulse to trash it.

“It was me, Nick and Mick Harvey and Bronwyn Adams from Crime & the City Solution playing viola. Is Thomas (Wydler) from The Bad Seeds playing drums on it? I can’t remember. The slide guitar is me.”

Nick’s desire to adapt it was a step in the direction, I think, towards The Good Son. Kicking Against The Pricks had already hinted at where Nick’s musical taste lies. That’s one of the great things about Nick and Mick Harvey: they loved many different kinds of music and what people would call schmaltzy or kitsch, I don’t think Nick and Mick ever saw it that way.

“There’s something about Helpless that resonates with me. I listen to it and think, ‘Well done!’ I hardly ever think that. In this case, I’ll make an exception and pat myself on the back.”

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Congo Norvell: Abnormals Anonymous (1997)

Congo Norvell started in Los Angeles after I had left The Bad Seeds after The Good Son. I was at loose ends and a friend of mine said, ‘Oh, you need to meet this woman. Her name is Sally Norvell. She’s an amazing singer and you have something in common, she was in a Wim Wenders movie too.’ When Nastassja Kinski is working in a peep-show in that film and Harry Dean Stanton goes into the wrong room to find her, there’s this naughty nurse. The naughty nurse is Sally Norvell.”

“I went to see Sally singing jazz standards. She sang a version of Every Time We Say Goodbye that was completely devastating. So we started Congo Norvell. The AIDS crisis was in full swing and the second wave in the early 90s was hitting the artistic community; it wasn’t just restricted to the gay community. We got very involved in activism. There was the LA chapter of ACT UP. So we contributed through music, by playing benefits. So the band was born out of that. “We had some success and got signed to Priority Records, NWA’s label. They wanted to have an alternative branch. They gave us a big budget and we made an incredible album, which we put every ounce into. The promo copies got amazing reviews and suddenly the record label said, ‘We’re not putting this out.’ We had signed such a terrible deal. ‘Can’t we buy it off you?’ ‘No, no, no, no, no.’ What a bunch of LA Hollywood asshole lawyer bullshit, music business fuck-up that was. So Sally and I said, ‘That’s it, we’re leaving. We’ll move to New York and make another record.’ And that’s what we did. And that record was Abnormals Anonymous. So there’s a lot of energy behind it.”

Mark Eitzel was living in New York for a while then too. We were slightly dating. It was one of those things like, ‘We’re friends. We’re both gay men. We’re both musicians. We should be together.’ But we were much better as friends. But he came down to sing on one song but sang on several.

Abnormals Anonymous is noir-ish rock, I guess. David Lynch: there’s some tracks for you here, waiting. First and foremost, Sally is a torch singer with a very powerful voice. We were very into melodrama. Our references were films more than music. It is a record that has flown under the radar. I’m going to use my book to try to generate some kind of interest, so I can have a reason to play it out live.”

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Knoxville Girls: Knoxville Girls (1999)

Knoxville Girls was already something quite formed before I got into it. It was supposed to be [the Honeymoon Killers’] Jerry Teel’s country rock band. He had Bob Bert [Sonic Youth] and Jack Martin [Honeymoon Killers, Bottleneck Drag] in. Knoxville Girls came out of a very specific scene because Jerry ran The Funhouse recording studio on East 4th St in the East Village. Jon Spencer recorded there, early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, even Patti Smith did a song there.

“After I moved to New York, I ended up living with Jerry who had a 6th floor walk-up above the studio. So they asked me, ‘Do you want to come downstairs and play on a track on this record?’ I played some crazy rhythm guitar and I ended up playing on the whole record.

“Especially with garage-y, noisy tracks, there’s work that goes into them but it’s really alchemy, chemistry, a lot of spontaneity. I loved the sound of Knoxville Girls– crazily tinny. It’s a strange-sounding record; it’s rock’n’roll but off-kilter, very New York.”

“There was a lot going on in New York before The Strokes and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I don’t think there was ever a lull. I think that’s a construct of an industry, rather than a reality. There were a lot of bands, a lot of music going on, every night of the week. Speedball Baby. Jon Spencer. Railroad Jerk. Pavement. Swans were still around. Lydia Lunch was still a force. At that time Chan Marshall was going on in Max Fish and around and there was a young band Jonathan Fire*Eater.

“The East Village then was on the turn, becoming gentrified. I first went there in the late ‘70s and that was scary. The Bowery was actually less scary, that was mostly drunks, but New York was a dangerous place then. By the late ‘90s, not so much, but it was still pretty crappy and scummy, but we were poor.

“I still think New York is scummy now, just expensive. I go to the East Village: ‘Are people really paying these prices and there are still all these potholes and there are still rats running around? What is wrong with you?’”  a new Knoxville Girls record previously unreleased stuff is due soon.

Kid and Khan: Bad English (2004)

Kid and Khan is East Village music as much as Knoxville Girls, just taking a different form. Khan is part-German, part-Turkish, part-Finnish and he was living in New York. He had a minimal Techno record store called Temple Records NYC. On Avenue C, I believe. These minimal Techno records were the garage rock of Techno.

“He was making a record and came to see an early version of The Pink Monkey Birds or some solo thing I did. He asked me to sing a song on his record, which was called No Comprendo, which had a series of singers, including me and Andre Williams, Julee Cruise and Hanin Elias from Atari Teenage Riot and Françoise Cactus from Stereo Total. I ended up going on tour with him and Julee and we even did some of the Twin Peaks songs, which was incredible for me because I was a huge fan.”

Khan was great. At a time when Techno was quite straight-faced and the minimalism was going very cold, he was doing crazy performances. He stripped down to his underwear, crawling around – he was like the Lux Interior of Techno. He was engaging, hilarious and refreshing and it made Techno have soul and art. He put a face to it and a personality.

“He was a big fan of The Cramps and we were thinking, ‘What if the Cramps were a Techno band? What would it be?’ That was our concept for making Kid and Khan. We really liked to be provocative because bringing a guitar into a Techno club was like bringing Satan. We loved the idea that people would be so upset that he was playing music with an electric guitar player. So we had this show and we made this album.”

Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds: Philosophy and Underwear (2005)

“The first Pink Monkey Birds record we made in a week. It was certainly a culmination of all those things on this list. For example, we had an electronics person – Jorge Velez – who became a really well known Italo-Disco artist called Professor Genius. I gave him his first job. He was our Eno in our Roxy Music.

“I already knew Jack Martin, the skronky guitar player from Knoxville Girls. On this album he sounds like Robert Quine in The Voidoids, which is a good thing but maybe we overdid it – our hero worship went a little overboard. Philosophy and Underwear is definitely a New York skronky statement.

“The intention was to take a lot of influence from Lou Reed’s solo records. The lyric about a ‘rent controlled apartment off Tompkins Square’ in Even Though Your Leather Is Cliché is a reference to Sally Can’t Dance: ‘She lives on St Mark’s place in a rent controlled apartment – $80 a month/She had a lots of fun.’ That kind of stuff and Coney Island Baby was what I was listening to as a teenager and always loved. Moving from LA to New York was a teenage fantasy that became a reality.”

“There’s a lot of humour and absurdity on this record: ‘What rhymes with ‘cuisine’? What rhymes with ‘cuisne’? Hmm, I know: ‘Ben Vereen!’ But it’s a really nice image, making it into a magazine article: ‘Your eyes turn over like scenes/ The pages in a magazine/ ‘Faces of Ben Vereen’/ ‘The History of French Cuisine’.

That song was used as the theme song for a French television show called Kaboul Kitchen. It’s a dark, absurd comedy about a French soldier who starts a nightclub restaurant in war-torn Kabul.”

“The Ghost on the stairs. The Vampire’s bite. Better beware there’s a full moon tonight” cackles horror show host Kid Congo Powers as he recites a ghoulish tome in Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds new video,“Spider Baby” now out on In The Red Records . Hatched in their rock n roll cauldron for the best holiday of all time, HALLOWEEN, the stunning Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds pay homage to their favorite 1967 horror cult film “Spider Baby” or “The Maddest Story Ever Told” depending on which monster you ask ! The rollicking song was used in the opening credits of the movie and sung by Lon Chaney Jr., whom (like in the lyrics) has played “Frankenstein , Dracula , and even The Mummy”. In the video Kid doubles as narrator and a mischievous pyromaniac beatnik whom crawls on all fours, sneaks in the dark and delights in fire laden hijinks. Shot and directed by artist Ryan Hill, whom also design’s the band’s album covers, he splatters blood red hues and “boos” in this psychedelic horror house! We leave you, dear reader, with some scary sage advice : “Sit around the fire with a cup of brew. A Fiend and a Werewolf on each side of you. This Cannibal orgy is strange to behold, and the maddest story ever told!”

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Pinkcourtesyphone & Kid Congo Powers: Move To Trash EP (2015)

“When I lived in Washington DC I befriended this great contemporary artist named Richard Chartier. He did a performance in DC at the Hirschhorn museum, the contemporary art museum. In the Smithsonian archive he had found a collection of tuning forks throughout he ages and he recorded all of them and then he made music out of them, a quite incredible bath of sound.

“He has an alter ego of pinkcourtesyphone which is his ‘pop’ music endeavour. I love what he does – a sort of ambient music. He’s in a very specific line of work but with a very big audience. He has his own label called LINE Records. He puts out other artists like Cosi Fanni Tutti.”

“We bonded over being fans of Amanda Lear. So we made a version of the Amanda Lear song,I Am A Photograph. I think all the music I make and all the reasons I do things is because of the person or the people – that’s how I end up making music because we like each other and because of a certain aesthetic. I’m not thinking about reputation or genre.”

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Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds: La Araña Es La Vida (2016)

“We were doing a tour for Philosophy and Underwear and that band imploded and I just started on a whole new track. Someone put me in touch with Kiki (Solis) and Ron (Miller). After five minutes playing together, we made a song up out of nowhere. Amazing. “The alchemy of people’s styles has continued. They are very in tune with my desires and they made me aware of their desires and I think that culminates with the last album, La Araña Es La Vida. I’m so pleased how well it hangs together, even though it came from very different sources.

“We couldn’t not live further away from each other: I live in Tucson, Arizona; Mark (Cisneros) lives in Washington DC; Kiki lives in St Louis, Missouri, and Ron lives in Lawrence, Kansas. We’re not in each other’s day-to-day lives, but we are so connected when we do get together to play music. We do send iPhone memos. There are ghostly ideas floating around and beats and directions.”

“Sometimes when things start to feel pigeonhole-y I want us to run in the opposite direction and they rein me in: ‘This Chicano rock thing you’re mining, it’s so great blah, blah, blah.’ Everyone brought something to La Araña Es La Vida, it’s like our Beatles record, our White Album.

“I brought in the idea of doing The Psychedelic Furs cover. I love the lyrics to We Love You. I sing with conviction. It’s another great song in the rock n roll canon about rock n roll. It was amazing that Mark was able to approximate the saxophone solo on guitar.”

The Wolfmanhattan Project: Blue Gene Stew (2019)

“I met Mick Collins some years ago at SXSW. I admired his work with The Gories and The Dirtbombs. Again, we liked each other and each other’s work, so we thought, ‘Let’s do something.’ We got Bob Bert in on it, who’s a mutual friend of ours. Larry Hardy (owner of In The Red Records) really wanted it to happen. He was a catalyst as well.

“We did several sessions. We had some songs that we thought Larry would like us to do. So we said, ‘Let’s do some songs that just we want to do.’ Mick Collins is not one to pander – nor are any of us. We recorded a ton of stuff and threw out a lot – some of it went a little too far into jamland. ‘No jamming! Improvisation – yes. But no jamming. No Blues jam!'”

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Blue Gene Stew was enjoyable. It turned out great – a weird record. Our concept was two baritone guitars, but none of us owned one. There was one in the studio. It’s a deeper guitar with a longer neck. I have no idea how to work one, so just made it all up. We figured out you could play it both ways: on some of the songs like ‘Now Now Now’ I play it like a bass and on some of the songs I play it like a regular guitar with chords. There did end up being actual guitar on the record too.

Lydia Lunch is on the album also. Mick, Bob and me are great lovers of postpunk New YorkESG, Liquid Liquid. There were No Wave ideas flying around. We were letting our freak flag fly. My favourite song is the lead track (‘Delay Is The Deadliest’) that Bob sings. Bob is a great singer I don’t know why he doesn’t do it more often. I saw him sing at a Cramps tribute – he sang Shadazz by Suicide. So good.” There is a Wolfmanhattan Project album in the can and coming out on In The Red Records, called “Summer Forever and Ever”.

Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds are on tour. Dates can be found on his website. The Wolfmanhattan Project album Blue Gene Stewis available from In The Red Records. Kid Congo Powers’ forthcoming autobiography will be published by via In The Red Records.

thanks to Louder for the words.

Kid Congo, who’s played in Gun Club, The Cramps, The Bad Seeds and more, releases a new EP that’s a tribute to the late non-binary, African American singer and Los Angeles legend Sean De Lear.  It’s been a while. He’s got a new EP of groovin’ garage goodness with some songs about life, death and the slippery world of memory and dreams. Here he comes strutting on out of the desert in a pale pink linen suit just as cool as an evening breeze. Kid Congo might be dressed sharp and have things weighing on his mind but he’s not to cool to bust a move or throw some shapes. His band The Pink Monkey Birds know all about shaking their tail feathers and so “Swing From The Sean DeLear” is an infectiously funky set that’ll have you toe tappin’, head noddin’ and finger snappin’ before you even know it. 

Kicking off with the title track, ‘Sean DeLear’ is a rough and excitable stomp with some old school Iggy Pop swagger about it. The song is a remembrance and a celebration of a Los Angeles underground star. Sean DeLear was a non-binary, African American singer and scene fixture, by all accounts a force of nature and embodiment of the sort of subcultural vitality we’re all sadly missing these days, sat at home watching our screens. The band kick out the jams to keep the flame burning. Eventually ‘Sean DeLear’ wanders off into the night in search of further adventure and the tune unravels. ‘(Are You) Ready, Freddy?’ brings the full tilt rock ‘n’ roll freak out ending that it might have got. Apparently a staple of their live set it’s an overheated guitar riot, with occasional yells of the title, anchored by the pulse of its tight, elastic bassline and hectic, driving drums.

“We’re at the end of the end of privilege.” Now here’s something, Kid hasn’t gone in much on politics in the past but these have been some severely trying times for us all, ‘(I Can’t Afford) Your Shitty Dreamhouse’ is a righteous middle finger to the man. A traditional rock ‘n’ roll “fuck you” to an ugly establishment consensus of “racist, conservative… disgusting bullshit.” More than the increasingly impossible dream of a secure, affordable, home the dream house here is a particular vision of America. That sickly nostalgia for a better day that never was. I puzzled over the line “get your hair, out of my hair” but I’m now pretty sure it refers to the mysterious coiffure of the last President, whose time in office Kid seems to have sat out as a recording artist. All that fun and the tune is infectiously, unstoppably, funky into the bargain, clap your hands and chant along brothers and sisters.

The final track is an hallucinatory wonder. A loose Chicano groove that takes your hand and leads you into the dream space. There’s atmospheric flute breezing by through a kind of tough cocktail jazz. Kid pops up with an occasional spoken interlude. These concern a dream in which his friend and former Gun Club bandmate, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, wanders into his kitchen to pay a visit. Pierce has been dead 25 years but there’s no great revelation passed on or anything particularly eventful that occurs, just Kid’s warm sense of happiness in seeing his friend again that fills the whole track. About midway through the tempo picks up and the playing becomes a touch more dramatic but the magic of it is that it just kind of hangs there, a full 14 minutes worth of percolating sound without a big lyrical narrative or even really much in the way of musical development and yet it rolls by without ever dragging its feet.

It’s a joy and a surprise, which seems to be how Kid Congo felt about the dream itself. This whole EP is solid greatness, really a spirit lifting tonic. It’s good to welcome them back, the band sounding sharp and limitless. Hopefully it means a new album is out there on the not too far horizon. In the meantime this will do just fine.

“Swing From The Sean DeLear” by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey BirdsIn The Red Records

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Ty Segall’s proto-metal-style power trio Fuzz were supposed to be on tour right now supporting their third album, including two February shows in NYC. Those dates, which had already been postponed from the summer, have been postponed again, but to tide you over they’ve taped a short live set at Gold Diggers Studio 1 in Los Angeles and have shared it with the world.

The band, which feature Ty Segall on Drums/vox, Charles Moothart on guitar/vox and Chad Ubovich on bass/vox, plow through four songs — “Nothing People,” “Mirror,” “Close Your Eyes,” and “Loose Sutures.” Says label In the Red, “This performance will be available on our youtube page for a limited time only. From the Wolf Moon to the Snow Moon, to be exact (1/28/21 – 2/27/21).”

Surprise!! In The Red Records is proud to present to you a brand new live set from Fuzz, recorded here in Los Angeles at Gold Diggers Studio 1. Why? Simply for your enjoyment. This performance will be available on our youtube page for a limited time only. From the Wolf Moon to the Snow Moon, to be exact (1/28/21 – 2/27/21). Enjoy! Set list: Nothing People Mirror Close Your Eyes Loose Sutures

Fuzz have now rescheduled the dates for April, which also doesn’t seem very likely to happen, but who knows?

Punk legend Alice Bag has announced a new album and shared the lead single, which features Allison Wolfe (of Bratmobile and much more). Alicia Armendariz (aka Alice Bag) is a Los Angeles punk legend, not just for her ground breaking first band the Bags (featured in Penelope Spheeris’s Decline of Western Civilization), but for her outspokenness, activism, writings, and embodying the D.I.Y. ethic instilled in her by her mother.
When L.A. punk legend Alice Bag and I recently talked on the phone, she began the conversation by telling me her dog, Cinnamon, had died three weeks earlier. She said thinking about the Rainbow Bridge—a poem that has been adopted by the pet-loss grief community—has really helped her. Her voice is light and calm, and sounds like many flowers opening, undulating. It is melodic and sweet, like an extract of something very powerful, and philosophical. But when she sings, that extract explodes.

Since the mid-1970s, her voice has exploded on stage and on record with the Bags, which she co-founded as part of the first wave of L.A.’s punk bands. She described her tough childhood in East Los Angeles and her coming of age into the punk music scene in her powerful 2011 memoir .

Alice told me that “Punk rock is my therapy,” and singing has always just come naturally to her. The first money she ever earned was from singing. Miss Yonkers, her fifth-grade teacher in Los Angeles, asked her to sing on an educational bilingual cartoon, and Bag earned $100—more than the monthly rent her parents paid. Said Bag, “I thought, ‘maybe I could be a singer when I grow up’”. She is still singing at 62, having released a solo album, Alice Bag in 2016, Blueprint in 2018, and Sister Dynamite in 2020.

But she didn’t tell her dad about her dream of becoming a singer because he would tell her she should strive to own the record company instead. “I think he treated me the way some men of his generation would’ve treated their firstborn son,” she said. “That’s why he filled my head with dreams.”

In The Red, Bob Baker Marionette Theater and Pancake Mountain present: Breadcrumbs! The first single from the forthcoming record SISTER DYNAMITE out April 24th 2020 on In The Red Records.

Musicians: Alice Bag, David Jones, Rikki Watson, Sharif Dumani Special guest vocalists: Allison Wolfe and Lysa Flores

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Fuzz, the psych-rock project of Ty Segall, guitarist Charles Moothart, and bassist Chad Ubovich, have announced their first album in five years. Entitled suprisingly III, the eight-track affair is due out 23rd October through In The Red records.

“III” both active and reactive. Charles Moothart, Ty Segall and Chad Ubovich are Fuzz. Fuzz is three. and III has returned. songs for all, and music for one. III was recorded and mixed at united recording under the sonic lordship of Steve Albini. Keeping the focus on the live sounds of the band, the use of overdubs and studio tricks were kept to a minimum. Albini’s mastery in capturing sound gave the trio the ability to focus entirely on the playing while knowing the natural sounds would land. it takes the essential ingredients of “guitar-based music” and “rock and roll power trio” and puts them right out on the chopping block. it was a much more honest approach for the band. Three humans getting primitive, staying primitive. the goal was never to reinvent the wheel. sometimes it’s just about seeing how long one can hold on before getting thrown off. three points reflected in three mirrors; a pyramid of sonic destruction and psychic creation. Nothing people feed the roots while the freaks fly free in the treetops—blind to vines, eyes closed, stuck in spit, triumphing the returning of beginnings and ends returning while beginning to see the time collapse. Love is the only way to annihilate hate, and sketchy freaks live to bleed. all shades of colour, truth and lies,III is the pillar of unity and singularity. all is nothing, and only nothing can generate everything. log out, drop thought, turn up.

Speaking on Returning in a statement, Fuzz described the song as “an auditory meditation on the power of one and the different perspectives of one”, relating the song to the band’s long-awaited return.

“Whether it is the singular person looking inward, or a group of people coming together as a single unit. As the opening track of the record, it serves as a sort of mission statement or mantra for the album. Not only is it an echo of the return of Fuzz, but also a broader return to form – raw and empowered through vulnerability. In order to maintain a focus on the Fuzz’s live sound, Albini encouraged a minimum in overdubs and studio trickery.

This isn’t the first time that Segall and Albini have crossed paths, as the engineer also recorded Segall’s 2017 self-titled record. From the upcoming album “III”. Out 10/23/20 on In The Red Records. The third album the collaborative limbs of Ty Segall, Charles Moothart and Chad Ubovich as Fuzz. Strap in. To celebrate this ferocious release, we have produced a very limited, special edition on transparent green vinyl that includes a numbered A3 risograph poster, a custom petrol eggshell Fuzz sticker and guitar pick.

III by FUZZ is available for pre-order now through intheredrecords.com The trio have supplied a first taste of their latest album with the release of the single Returning .

Fuzz

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Ty Segall has shared his cover of the Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m A Man” off his forthcoming covers album Fudge Sandwich, out October. 26th through In The Red Records. The album features covers of songs from Amon Düül II, John Lennon, Sparks, War, Funkadelic, Rudimentary Peni, Grateful Dead and more.

“I’m A Man” finds Segall wearing his influences on his sleeve. One can easily trace the L.A. musician’s style back to the raucous beat-rock of Spencer Davis and his protgee Steve Winwood, and Segall seems to know that he’s treading on hallowed ground. The 1966 original is basically unchanged here, save for a fresh coat of the fuzz that Segall is famous for.

The album continues Segall’s penchant for fast-paced release cycles. Fudge Sandwich is his third release of 2018 alone, following January’s Freedom’s Goblin and July’s White Fence collaboration Joy. Fudge Sandwich’s release comes in the middle of Segall’s solo acoustic tour. Listen to “I’m A Man”

Ty Segall covers “I’m A Man” by the Spencer Davis Group. This is the lead single from his upcoming covers record: Fudge Sandwich Out October 26th, 2018 on In The Red Records

Pre Strike Sweep

In 2016, the ever-prolific Ty Segall announced the formation of a new band with FUZZ’s Charles Moothart and Chris Shaw of Ex-Cult.Calling themselves GØGGS, the gang released an agressive LP aping the ’80s hardcore on which they were raised. Now, with Michael Anderson joining them on bass, the supergroup has announced their second album offering, Pre Strike Sweep , Gøggs add a new level of primordial anxiety to their already catastrophic symphony.

Shaw handled the lyrics, while the band collaborated to create its fierce, spine-rattling arrangements. The title track, which the band has shared alongside the announcement, unfolds across four chaotic minutes, with a steady river of distortion coursing through a peripatetic storm of squeals, effects, and one killer solo.

recorded and mixed in 2017 by Gøggs guitarist and co-founder Ty Segall, the album explores the damaging affects of modern life before blowing them up one by one. singer Chris Shaw uses terms like “space rinse” and “roadside surgery” to inform the listener that this is a strange and different trip, far and away from the “glendale junkyard” he romanticized in 2016 on their self-titled album. in fact, all expectations brought on by that acclaimed debut are crushed into dust, revealing a new standard by which the Gøggs march thumps.

Pre Strike Sweep is the title track off of GØGGS second album. Out 9/28/18 on In The Red Records.

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N.Y.C. blues-punk combo Boss Hog was helmed by the husband-and-wife team of singer Cristina Martinez and singer/guitarist Jon Spencer. If you like your blues rough, devilish, dirty and burning as hell you’ll be as ecstatic
about the spectacular return of Boss Hog. After 16 years this glowing gang featuring legendary blues junkie Jon Spencer and his charismatic wife and ex-Pussy Galore tiger Cristina Martinez the band have released new album BROOD X earlier this year. The longplayer bellows viciously as if the 5-piece band is involved in a merciless, sonic fight with evil demons, with unsightly cacodemons and anything nasty in daily life on this troubled planet.

Boss Hog was formed in 1989 by Cristina Martinez and Jon Spencer. The band has released three disturbed and sexually provocative studio albums and as many EPs, along with numerous incendiary and slashing singles, on the world’s most important record labels, including Amphetamine Reptile, In The Red, and DGC/Geffen. Boss Hog is internationally-known as New York City’s most provocative and original rock’n’roll band.

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Band Members
Cristina Martinez, Jon Spencer, Hollis Queens, Jens Jurgensen, Mickey Finn,

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Chris Shaw smokes the microphone while Ty Segall and Charles Moothart trade lizardian licks and skin hits. Guest GØGGS include Cory Hanson, Mikal Cronin and Denée Petracek. Ten tracks of misanthropic noise to bring home to mom’s house on fire. Boots to your face after the high speed chase, Then! A death trip down memory lane. The lead actor dies first and the shotgun shooter flashes chipped teeth.

Created in Los Angeles in the middle of the summer of 2015: three years of planning, thirty days of writing, one week of ripping. A severed finger on the button, the player ends the game. Final notice has been served.

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From the upcoming, self-titled album.Which came out in October 14th, 2014. intheredrecords.com .L.A. rocker Chad Ubovich has done time on guitar and bass in Mikal Cronin’s band and on bass with the Ty Segall-affiliated garage rock project FUZZ. He’s now fronting his own band, the marvelously named Meatbodies, and they’re putting out a self-titled LP on In The Red Records this fall. Lead single “Tremmors” matches straight-up Zeppelin crunch with colorful psych-rock flourishes that remind me of ’90s Flaming Lips and Tripping Daisy. Fans of humongous power chords, shit-kicking drums, and wildly wailed melodies