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This past summer (2019), someone showed one of those online deals through a site called Goldstar. He thought I would be interested in a concert featuring ’80s New Wave bands. He wasn’t wrong. When it comes to music, my tastes are a bit frozen in time. While I listen to all genres, my favorite style of music is anything from the 80’s Post-Punk era. That’s right, I’m the queen of knowing who all these obscure musicians are. So he’s showing me the concert ticket deal, where tickets prices were slashed to ten dollars. The event was called The Lost ’80s. Once I saw that Annabella Lwin, former vocalist from Bow Wow Wow was on the bill, it was a done deal.

The rest of the bill didn’t seem bad. Most were acts from my adolescence; The Motels and Flock of Seagulls stood out the most. The venue was located in Coney Island, Brooklyn, at the Ford Amphitheater. That way if the show tanked, Ben and I could always head over to the boardwalk instead.

Annabella Lwin was the performer I was most excited to see live. I had a few Bow Wow Wow releases in my teen music collection. Everyone now associates the band with their biggest hit, a cover of I Want Candy. Before they first arrived on the U.S. airwaves, they were already causing a bit of a ruckus. Bow Wow Wow was a product of Malcolm McLaren, the former manager of The Sex Pistols. Not one to rest on his volatile laurels, he moved on to the next British youth movement. This time, it was the New Romantics. McLaren collaborated with his then girlfriend, designer Vivienne Westwood to create the band’s look. The majority of Bow Wow Wow was the band McLaren swiped from Adam Ant. Annabella was the last piece of the puzzle. Word had it that Lwin was only 13 years old when she was initially discovered.  A talent scout stumbled upon her singing along to the radio at the laundromat she worked at after school.

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McLaren was never afraid of controversy. This could explain why Annabella was seen posing nearly naked next to her fully clothed band mates on the infamous album cover for See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gand Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy! It was a recreation of the painting Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass) by Édouard Manet. Lwin was only 14 years old when that photograph was taken. By today’s standards (2019), being 14 and posing nude would not be acceptable. That same photograph would be used for the U.S. release of the E.P. The Last of the Mohicans

I remember the cover very clearly, thanks to my mother’s reaction. During my preteens, my mother used to go shopping at the department store Alexander’s. It was a quick ride on the subway from Astoria, Queens to Manhattan, 59th Street and 3rd Avenue. My favorite section of Alexander’s was their small record department. One day while my mother and I were shopping, I pull out a copy of Last of the Mohicans. My mother was horrified because she could clearly see how young Lwin was. She ordered me to put the record back. Which I did, but it should be noted that I eventually brought a used vinyl copy of that EP a few years later. My mother had no knowledge about that purchase. (My mother was also repulsed by a record cover by Nina Hagen – Nunmonsexrock. Later brought that one too.)  As a middle aged adult, now I can see my mother’s POV. After all, a fourteen old teen should not pose nude.

In another post I’ll discuss Annabella and Bow Wow Wow some more. Back to the Lost ’80s concert. Because I wanted to see Annabella, we showed up early to the concert like two nerds. Most of the people on the bill would be categorized as ‘one hit wonders.’ We’re talking about acts like Real Life, When In Rome UK, etc. The audience trickling in was lackluster. I’m not sure if they were there for the music, or was it something to do on a Friday night. The venue itself wasn’t much to write about either. Seating was bare minimum. The white ceiling was looked like heavy camping material. The sound itself was sub-par. It wasn’t impressive. Forest Hills Stadium was a much better venue than this. It’s only saving grace was the scent of the beach trailing in from the boardwalk.

Annabella Lwin was on the very beginning of the bill, in which she only performed three songs: “I Want Candy”, “Go Wild In The Country” and “Do You Want To Hold Me.” Afterwards, she was off stage in a flash. That’s how the Lost ’80s concert went for most of the night, until The Vapors came on stage.

The best band of the night, in my opinion was The Motels. Like Annabella, Martha Davis and her crew only performed three songs. Yet Martha’s voice was on point. It was a pleasant surprise, leaving me wanting a bit more than what Boys Don’t Cry had to offer. I thought The Motels had gotten the shaft on this bill. They performed “Only The Lonely”, “Suddenly Last Summer” and my favorite, “Take The L”. Just like Annabella, The Motels were gone in a flash.

What we didn’t know was in-between sets, you had a chance to take photos with various artists. I found out too late than Annabella was doing a signing after her set. So we jump on line, but time was limited. I was the next person up when security came down and told Annabella she had to stop. That was rather disappointing. As they whisked her away, I gave the middle finger behind security’s back, which wouldn’t helped my case anyway. There were other bands offering to do signings and photos, but I lost interest.

I managed to see Ben smile two sets: during Real Life when doing “Send Me An Angel” and When In Rome’s set as they performed “I Promise.”

Don’t ask me how Boys Don’t Cry was. I went to the bathroom during their short set.

As the night wore on, the amount of songs during sets increased. The Vapors, who were the textbook definition of a New Wave one hit wonder managed to get four songs instead of three. Of course they did “Turning Japanese.”

Then to my annoyance, Dramarama got a full set! They weren’t bad, but in my eyes, they were more of a late ’80s/early ’90s ‘Alternative’ band. Around this time, people that were originally sitting near us had moved up to the front. The venue wasn’t being strict on seating. Ben and I decided to stay where we were at because we were too comfortable to move. From there we could do our reenactment of Standler and Waldorf. Hey, those are my childhood heroes. As Dramarama was performing a tune called “Last Cigarette”, Ben goes “Last Cigarette? They’re smoking the whole pack! Why do they get a whole set!?!”

Later on I found out the venue itself were desperately trying to fill up the seats. At the last minute, they were letting people in for free.

Last band of the night was Flock of Seagulls. This was the third act I was waiting for, after Lwin and The Motels. Flock of Seagulls got a full set, but they were beset feedback issues. The sound mix at the Ford Amphitheater was pretty poor. It wasn’t a total lost. Flock of Seagulls did all my favorite songs, like “Photograph” and their biggest hit “I Ran.”

Hey. Not going to complain over a ten dollar ticket. After all, the New Wave style continues to have some kind of influence over me. Ford Amphitheater itself was poorly run. In the NYC summer months, Forest Hill Stadium is the much better choice. We still managed to have fun. After the show we walked along the boardwalk, before heading back to Queens. It’s nice to visit the past, but one can’t stay there.

On that note, here’s my quick sketch of Annabella Lwin. Pen and ink. I did not want to draw her as barely clothed New Wave Lolita. Instead, my choice was her dressed in classic 1981 Westwood pirate gear. As an adult, I would still love to own a Vivienne Westwood “squiggly line” shirt. A bit of nostalgia while trying to live in the present.

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Quick illustration of Annabella Lwin, best known as the vocalist for the early ’80s New Romantic/New Wave band Bow Wow Wow. Drawn by Michele Witchipo, pen and ink. Done Jan. 2020.

 

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Back on November 1st, 2019, I finally had the chance to see Marc Almond live.

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Through the years, Marc Almond has always been one of my favorite performers. Like many others, I was introduced to him through Soft Cell. I was in my adolescence when Soft Cell’s version of Tainted Love hit the charts. In my late teens, someone passed on their copy of Non-Stop Caberet to my vinyl collection. That’s when I discovered the true essence of Soft Cell.

While Tainted Love was Soft Cell’s biggest hit, the band was so much more than a Northern Soul cover. The tune Tainted Love has it’s own history separate from Soft Cell. The original version was written by Ed Cobb, and sung by Gloria Jones back in 1965. Jones later re-recorded the song in 1976.  She became romantically involved with Marc Bolan from the ’70s Glam rock band T. Rex. Her and Bolan had a child together, Rolan Bolan, born in 1975. From 1981 onward, Tainted Love is best known as part of the Soft Cell collection. The single has continued to be covered. The most notable covers since Soft Cell were from Coil in 1985, and in 2001 by Marilyn Manson.

Perhaps when I have time, I’ll do a blog post focusing just on Tainted Love itself.

Back to Soft Cell. Soon after listening to Non-Stop Caberet and the following E.P. Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing, I acquired the band’s other albums: The Art of Falling Apart and This Last Night in Sodom.  Soft Cell broke up in 1984. Marc and his band mate David Ball didn’t get back together until 2002, releasing their final album Cruelty Without Beauty. In 2018, Soft Cell got together one final time. They did a sold out concert at London’s O2 venue. With that, I figured that was that. Marc Almond mostly plays in Europe. I had Marc himself back in 1988. He was doing a signing at a local NYC record shop called *Vinylmania. It was promotion for his solo album Stars We Are, a brilliant album that still holds up to this day.  However, I was under the impression that to see Marc live, I would eventually travel to Europe. Which wouldn’t be a bad idea. It’s just not within my current budget. From time to time, I would curse myself for not catching any of his other past U.S. live appearances. Then during the late summer of 2019, a bit of news bleeped on my social media radar. Learned through Instagram that Marc Almond was doing a brief U.S. tour in junction with Lethal Amounts, a fashion, art and club collective from Los Angeles, California. As I was riding a local bus in Queens with cell in hand, I noticed the link for pre-sale tickets.

Click.

Fast forward to November 1st, 2019. I’d been looking forward to this show for a few months. The venue, Brooklyn Bazaar was on it’s last legs, apparent by the broken hand rail by the stairs and the worn carpets. Regardless, excitement could be felt, for the event was completely sold out. It was standing room only. Barely any room to stand, never mind walk. As I was squeezing through the crowd, I spotted artist and musician Anohni, (formerly Antony Hegarty, from Antony and The Johnsons). That shouldn’t been no surprise. Anohni always mentioned how much Marc had been influential with her own work. Over the years, her and Marc have collaborated on songs, together with David Tibet’s Current 93, and with the annual Meltdown festival back in August 2012.

After the brief opening act of Amanda LePore, (Check out the song Champagne) Marc took the stage with guitarist Neal X, formerly of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Throughout the night, Marc did all the songs I’ve always loved throughout his career. He even performed tunes from his Marc and The Mambas era – my absolute favorite. Marc and The Mambas is right at the top spot, with Soft Cell, and then his album Stars We Are following. Oh, and yes, he did that cover of the Jacques Brel ditty Jackie.

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Marc Almond performs at Brooklyn Bazaar, Nov. 1st, 2019.

That’s one of the amazing things about Marc Almond. The versatility throughout his career. How he can easily have one foot in classic pop, and another foot in the avant-garde. Not many can accomplish this feat, but Marc makes it look so easy. A mark of a true artist is how the artist can constantly reinvent. It’s genius, really.

Oh, and yes, he did all the Soft Cell classics. Marc did each and every Soft Cell song that I’ve had on constant rotation: Numbers, Heat, Sex Dwarf, Say Hello Wave Goodbye, and Torch, (the one with Cindy Ecstasy doing background vocals). To answer your question, yes he did Tainted Love. The same song that introduced me to Marc during my adolescence has now become my least favorite song in his catalog. Only because it’s been played so much over the years. Familiarly breeds contempt. It’s very similar to how everyone loves Karma Chameleon by Culture Club – but as a Boy George fan myself, I usually pass. But if you put on Marc and The Mambas, now you’re talking. That’s just me.

Afterwards, Hercules & Love Affair did a DJ set, but I didn’t stick around too long. Did a rare purchase of a concert tee – Marc Almond with the Sex Cells logo. It’s a shirt I’ll be proud to wear for years to come. Just like I used to have Marc’s autobiography until the book got damaged.

Anyway, thank you Marc for performing an awesome set that night. (Despite the crappy sound mixing from Brooklyn Bazaar.) When I eventually do visit Europe, hopefully I’ll get to see Marc live again. In the meantime, I did this quick sketch in Marc’s honor.

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Portrait of Marc Almond. Pen and ink. Michele Witchipoo. Done in Jan. 2020.

(*Editor’s note: Vinylmania had two stores on Carmine Street, West Village area in NYC. One was dedicated to House music. The other store dealt with Pop and imports. Vinylmania was where I brought one of my first ever ‘Goth’ records – a 12 inch of the Bauhaus single Bela Lugosi Is Dead. NYC record stores of yesteryear would make another good blog post.

(** Editor’s note: For all the Soft Cell fans, you can also check out my other two blog post on Cindy Ecstasy, originally posted May 2012. For those into Marc and The Mambas, you can check out this post dated April 2012.)

 

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So this just in. In addition to everything else I’ve been doing, I began a radio show. The focus is on comic book creators. Artists, writers, and other creatives. You can stream it live from WHCSradio.org. You can tune in every Friday from 1-2pm until further notice.

The show started on September 27th, with comic book artist, illustrator and musician (he has the Punk band Dead On A Friday) Dave Fox as the first guest. The second episode was aired on Oct. 4th with up and coming comic artist and illustration Squiddy Sprinkle. Today I interviewed Justin Melkmann, another comic artist and musician, who is the co-founder of the NYC Punk band WWIX, and also current member of Recreational Outrage.

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I’ll be your host, interviewing all comic book pros. The next interview scheduled on October 26th is Danielle Draik, comic book artist, zine maker, painter and sculptor. On Nov. 8th we have comic book artist and illustrator Mindy Indy, who is having a successful Kickstarter.

The list of guest will be updated as the radio program continues. Eventually these interviews will be archived and posted online. So tune in again starting Oct. 26th.

Remember: Support your local cartoonist!

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Today I left my sketchbook at home. Thought I wouldn’t have time to draw anything. Turns out I was wrong, so here’s a belated blog post instead.

Last month I saw the influential band Killing Joke live on their 40th anniversary tour. It was at Le Poisson Rouge, located in the middle of Manhattan’s West Village area. Killing Joke is still as brilliant live as when I saw them way back at CBGB’s, on August 13th, 1989.

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Opening for Killing Joke was The Pink Slips. A Pop-Punk band hailing from California. The female vocalist, Grace McKagan, is also the daughter of Guns n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan. The band itself was decent live. Grace was full of energy, but it just wasn’t my thing. It had too much of that glam California vibe for my liking. The singer did have great hair though.

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Grace McKagan vocalist of The Pink Slips, opening up for Killing Joke. May 15th, 2019. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

It wasn’t long before it was time for Killing Joke to hit the stage.

The set was songs across the board from the band’s forty years of musical chaos. Of course the ‘Gathering’ loved it. My mood was off-set however, by the distressing news of some reproduction rights in some U.S. states. Kind of prophetic, considering what Killing Joke spoke about through their lyrics over the years. Speaking of which, Jaz Coleman briefly compared events from when Killing Joke first played NYC in 1980, to the current state of world affairs in 2019.

Here’s some videos found on YouTube from that night:

Between the Jaz Coleman spoken word and the concert, I’ve rekindled my love of Killing Joke all over again. Following Le Poisson Rouge, the band played yet another gig across the river. Over at Brooklyn’s very own St. Vitus Bar. The Brooklyn venue was much smaller, making it more intimate.

Now I’ve kicking myself. Since I live closer to St. Vitus than to Le Poisson Rouge, perhaps I should’ve tried harder to get tickets.

It should be noted that the guy who was sloshed the night before at Berlin NYC had his own act together the next evening. Maybe Jaz’s chat with him during intermission during the spoken word gig had an effect. Now he was being the responsible one, taking care of the woman I had sat next during the spoken word gig. Will get to that in a minute.

After the Killing Joke show was over, I was recognized by someone from April’s Ministry/Wax Trax event. It was the older woman who befriended the younger lady with the pink hair. Small world, isn’t it? We had a friendly conversation, comparing bands we liked. As we discussed which concert we were most likely to attend in the upcoming summer, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the blond friend I had seated next to during  Jaz’s spoken word. Now the roles were reversed. She was extremely tipsy. As she was trying to talk to me, her male friend, the one who kept on interrupting Jaz Coleman during the spoken word night was duty-bound. He pardoned himself, as he seemed to be concerned about our mutual friend. The guy took her back home for her safely. As for myself, I tried to haul myself over to East 14th Street. Otto’s Shrunken Head was hosting an after concert party for Killing Joke. Killing Joke member Youth was the special guest DJ. I felt my body become more sluggish. (Youth has become a successful record producer, and has worked with Paul McCarthy) Taking a deep breath, I knew it was time to haul myself back to Queens. Yet as soon as I was waiting for the subway to arrive, a humongous rat almost crawled just inches near my feet. With that I knew I should’ve just taken a breather, and went to Otto’s. I’ve been consoling myself by listening to Killing Joke’s back catalog, and checking out Jaz’s classical music works.

(Also check out this link here.)

Set List from Killing Joke’s Le Poisson Rouge concert, May 2019.

 

 

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A few months back, my friend informed me about some documentary about Wax Trax Records. For those who don’t know, Wax Trax Records was both a record store and label based in Chicago, Illinois. Before Grunge took over the U.S. during the ’90s, there was the Post-Punk strains of Industrial music.

The Industrial music genre dates back to the ’70s, pioneered along the way by bands like Throbbing Gristle. (Which I was fortunate enough to catch their reunion tour back in 2009, over at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple.) There’s different sub-genres of Industrial Music, which branches out to Noise and Experimental. Associated acts range from Skinny Puppy, Coil, Psychic TV, Chris & Cosey, Test Department, Einstürzende Neubauten, Clock DVA, Fad Gadget, Nurse With Wound, Foetus, Swans, etc., etc., to more Avant-Garde stuff like Merzbow and Current 93. If you want sheer noise, you can always do Whitehouse. If your goal is to piss off your neighbors, there’s always ‘Christianity Is Stupid’ by Negativeland. By the mid-’90s, Industrial hit the mainstream with acts such as Nine Inch Nails.

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Prior to bands like Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein and others, there was Wax Trax. Wax Trax hit its peak during the late ’80s and early ’90s, prior to Grunge as previously noted, and before Rave culture hit the States. Wax Trax became very popular among the Alternative music set. This led to Wax Trax nights across the country. There were tours focusing on the Wax Trax label. Back when I was a teen, I remember seeing one Wax Trax event with a band called Front Line Assembly. One of my own Wax Trax favorites was Front 242.

Fast forward to 2010. By then, both the founders of Wax Trax label had passed away due to AIDS. Julia Nash, daughter of co-founder Jim Nash discovers the label’s inventory was kept in storage in an Arkansas barn. After Jim Nash’s death, his partner in both personal and business moved back to his hometown, taking the overstock with him. When Dannie Flesher passed away, Julia Nash took it upon herself to keep the Wax Trax legacy going. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, The Industrial Accident film was released in 2017, and the soundtrack in 2018.

Thus leads to my own personal events. My friend Christine had been telling me about the upcoming film showing for months. Eventually she got me hyped up to see the documentary. Nostalgia kicked in. Couldn’t help but reminisce about the days when the label “Alternative” actually meant something. Now, I owed a few favors to Christine. After all, she hooked me up with tickets to see Television and Front 242 (first time I saw then was way back in 1988 or ’89…second time was in 2017) within the past two years. She’s done other things as well. Let’s just say she’s an awesome pal. Christine was going to be in another state during Record Day. She asked me if I could pick up the exclusive Record Day release, being sold at places like Rough Trade NYC.

First things first. Lately I’ve been attending a local Queens writing workshop. It’s something I’ve fallen in love with as of late. It’s facilitated by an amazing woman. She reminded me about F. Scott Fitzgerald while introducing me to Marcel Proust. A local paper even wrote an article about the writing class. I’m in the article photo, even though I look fat. Eh. What can you do. Actually, don’t answer that.

My immediate goal was to attend the writing class, then go down to Rough Trade. It’s been a while since I’ve been in touch with vinyl culture. Within the past ten years, vinyl has been having a cult-like resurgence. I hadn’t had a turntable since 1997. Which meant I’ve been completely out of touch with record collecting culture. Access to my own huge collection of valuable vinyl was blocked, thanks to my father. Basically lost my whole entire record collection. The only vinyl I managed to rescue are my 45’s. There’s a few rarities among the 45s, like a Poison Girls single. That’s another story altogether, but I won’t dwell on that.

As I’m sitting in the writing class, I get this nagging feeling that my ass should be heading to Rough Trade ASAP. But I’m an old fart now; I’m no longer that 17 year old who once ripped down a large Skinny Puppy concert ad near NYU. The wheat paste was barely dried on the back when I tore it down a late Manhattan night. It was for the sole purpose of decorating my teenage bedroom walls back in Queens. Then there was that promise that I would get the Record Day exclusive for Christine, who’s done so much for me. As soon as I was pondering all of this, Christine texts me. Guilt kicks in. Need to learn how to be cold blooded. So I pull an ultimate douchebag move to all my writing workshop peers. Claiming it was an emergency, I pack up my junk, and walk out of class. In my haste I even left my Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee behind. Well, it was an emergency.

As luck would have it, the bus heading towards Williamsburg took like, forever. Despite that a Lyft would’ve brought me there in max, fifteen to twenty minutes depending on traffic. Finally arrive at Rough Trade, jumping at the end of the line like Mark Spitz. A few people standing on the line give me harsh eye daggers. Like they want to cut a bitch.

“Is this the end of the line?” I inquire.

Nope. A Rough Trade employee informed gently that I was not at the end of the line. In fact, the line for Record Day exclusives continued…across the street…down the block…almost at the very end of the block.

Oops.

In my embarrassed Lucille Ball moment, I excused myself. That wasn’t good enough. Slinking away, I felt the judgmental glare of the others. I knew they were silently, but yet viciously accusing me of cutting the line. When I slithered to the end of the snake trail, another employee with a megaphone approaches. He’s holding a paper. The paper contains a list of all the Record Day 2019 exclusives, now exclusively sold out. He reads the list through the megaphone.

The Wax Trax soundtrack, particularly the Record Day exclusive, was one of the first to sell out. Then came all the others. Captain Beefheart exclusive was sold out. Hmmm. I would’ve gotten Captain Beefheart. Motorhead exclusive, sold out. Would’ve brought that one as well. Madonna exclusives, sold out. Hard pass on Madonna. What else? Duran Duran exclusive sold out. Hey! I still love Duran Duran. If I was still collecting vinyl, I definitely would’ve brought that one. The sold out exclusive list was long. When it was announced that even Mutant Ninja Turtles Record Day exclusive was sold out, it was time to jump ship. Yes. Even music by fictional fighting turtles was sold out.

Even if most of the Record Day exclusives seem to be reissues, it was still discerning. On one hand, it was good to see hard copy media still selling. On the other hand, not getting the Wax Trax exclusive really meant one thing, which I have yet to explain. You see, that Wax Trax Record Day exclusive had a valuable item attached. It was a much coveted item. The Record Day Wax Trax soundtrack exclusive contained two tickets. They were VIP tickets to the Wax Trax documentary screening and the Q&A that followed.  Plus a free concert by Cold Cave and Ministry who was doing strictly a late ’80s/early ’90s set, connected to the Wax Trax era. Now who wouldn’t want that? That’s what my friend Christine really wanted. That’s what I was hyped up about. Those VIP tickets.

All hope was abandoned. The consolation prize was going home to finally catch up on some much needed sleep. It was an unusually hot Spring afternoon. Global warming wasn’t kind to me, as I stood overdressed on the gentrified pavement. As I was walking towards the L subway, I hear someone call my name. Turning around, it was my friend Michael. Michael was someone I had met two years ago at a Gary Numan concert. We followed each other on Facebook. Michael and me begin a conversation. He was on his way back to Rough Trade, to get his Bauhaus Record Day exclusive signed by David J. David J’s signing wasn’t scheduled until five p.m. It’s been a long week for me, so I suggest we should sit down somewhere to continue the conversation. Michael informs me that he also had purchased the Record Day exclusives for Duran Duran, and the Wax Trax soundtrack.

We locate an OG bar, one without the stench of pretentious hipsters. It wasn’t a dive bar per say. Instead it was a well maintained watering hole, one that had been opened for decades. Only the tap was updated, featuring some IPAs, and of course, Williamsburg’s own Brooklyn Beer. Michael asked me about my birthday, which had recently passed. There were other subjects discussed. I buy him a drink because we have one thing in common. Our all time favorite band is Siouxsie and The Banshees.

As I’m fetching our drinks from the bar counter, Michael pulls a Hail Mary.

“Happy birthday” he says, giving me one half of the VIP tickets that came with the Wax Trax Record Day exclusive.

I was in shock. Asked him if he was sure, and he was. I profusely thanked him. Michael then heads over to Rough Trade for the David J signing. In pleasant disbelief, I head over to the L train. Of course I texted Christine about what happened. My assumption was she was going to be a bit miffed. Fortunately she was completely cool about the entire situation.

Monday comes around. It’s the day of the film showing, the Q&A, and the concert. I’m more psyched than ever before. Suddenly I’m 17 all over again. There was plans to meet up with Michael before heading over to the venue, which was I head over to the venue, Music Hall of Williamsburg. Gut instinct kicks in again. So I decide to hit up Williamsburg earlier than usual. Sure enough. By the time I arrive, the lines are long. There’s two lines. One for VIP tickets, one for general admission.

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Two lines waiting to enter Music Hall of Williamsburg for the Wax Trax event, featuring the film, Q&A and concert. Two lines. One for VIP, which came with the Record Day soundtrack exclusive, and one for general admission. April 2019.

They let the VIPs enter the venue first. I was lucky enough to get a seat for the film showing, last seat on the left, first row. It was the only seat left. The rest was standing room only. A DJ was spinning classic Wax Trax era tunes as everyone waited for the documentary to begin. Others decide to go downstairs to the bar.

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VIP ticket which came with the Record Day exclusive of Industrial Accident:The Story of Wax Trax soundtrack.

The documentary itself was quite good. It was a candid, first person look into the rise and fall of Wax Trax records. During the viewing, I got caught off guard by being a bit emotional. One thing about this film, it helped bring legitimacy to a underground phenomenon. Wax Trax and relative labels like 4AD, Play It Again Sam (later to be distributed by Wax Trax), Caroline Records, along with others, was a viable part of music during that era. The film could’ve left David Grohl out, though.

Most of the Wax Trax acts were mentioned, such as Thrill Kill Kult, Laibach, Revolting Cocks, KMFDM, Pailhead, Legendary Pink Dots (who were on Play It Again Sam) and of course, Ministry. How can one forget Ministry. Al Jourgensen and his crew played a massive part in the history of Wax Trax records. Ministry also reconstructed themselves from being a dance New Wave synth band, to the endeavor of the Twitch period, to the Industrial Metal hybrid they later became more known for. ‘Uncle Al’, as Jourgensen is now affectionately known by fans, had his fingers in many pies. As a multi-instrumentalist, he spread himself around with numerous side projects. Besides Revolting Cocks, he was involved with Lard, Acid Horse, and 1000 Homo DJs.

After the film was the Q&A.

The panel, moderated by Andy Wombell, a former employee for Wax Trax records, featured Julia Nash, her mother and former wife of Jim Nash, Jean Payne, Chris Connelly from Revolting Cocks and other bands, and Frankie Nardiello, aka Groovie from Thrill Kill Kult.

Alright, you want to hear about the concert. It was Cold Cave, then the main headliners, Ministry. Strange for me, this was my third time seeing Cold Cave live. Second time seeing Cold Cave within months. First time catching Cold Cave live in 2009, opening for NON.

Back in February or March, I saw Cold Cave live over at Brooklyn Steel. Psychic TV was supposed to open for Cold Cave, but Genesis P-Orridge hasn’t been in good health lately. Psychic TV had to cancel their slot last minute.

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Cold Cave did an upbeat set. Not to be rude, but I was waiting for Ministry.

Ministry did not disappoint. Uncle Al was never,ever going to do anything before The Land of Rape and Honey era. Not anything from ‘With Sympathy’, not anything from ‘Twitch’. Probably will never touch material from those two releases for the rest of his life.

What albums he did perform: ‘The Land of Rape and Honey’, ‘Psalm 69: The Way To Succeed & The Way To Suck Eggs’, and ‘The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste’.

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Chris Connelly was brought on stage, performing No Devotion, a Revolting Cocks song.

The timing could’ve been more perfect. There’s a line in the song that goes “burn the temple…” Meanwhile, there was news about the fire at France’s famous Notre Dame cathedral. Afterwards they did a song from 1000 Homo DJs. Doing a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Supernaut’.

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Overall it was a fantastic night. Christine managed to get to the show via general admission, Michael showed up later, it all worked out. Didn’t hang with either one though. I ended up being close to the front row, sans ear plugs. Not being prepared, my ears were ringing for two days after the concert. To recover, I had to forgo listening to music on my headphones during the rest of my weekly commute. Not 17 years old anymore.

 

During the Ministry set, some 40 years olds decided to mosh for old time’s sake. Why was I not surprised. One old fart decided to stage dive. I’m thinking “dude, how old are you?” His body almost landed on top of me. As I quickly stepped back, his body slammed onto the floor. Nobody caught him. Guess crowd surfing wasn’t in the cards. Me and another woman who was around my age, yelled “asshole” at him, but he didn’t hear. The music was too loud. He got up, shook himself off,  heading back into the audience. The woman who jeered along with me started to complain about another woman. It was a younger lady, tattooed all over with pink hair, going nuts to the songs. Yet by the end of the Ministry set, both ladies ended up becoming friends. As I was leaving, the two generations of women exchanged Facebook info. If anything unites people, it’s music. There was good vibes all around that night. Such a brilliant event. Which was capped off with an acoustic version of ‘Everyday Is Halloween.’ If only everyday was like this.

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/ministry-played-an-all-80s90s-set-in-brooklyn-to-celebrate-wax-trax-pics-video-setlist/

My concert high continued all throughout the next day. Eventually it came crashing down Tuesday evening, while riding the R train back to Queens. Some crazy homeless man threatened to climb into everyone’s bedroom windows with the intent to kill. His reasoning was to avenge himself for not receiving any spare change on the subway.  Welcome back to reality, kiddo.

Additional Links:

https://cherryberry321.wordpress.com/

https://www.indymetalvault.com/2017/12/01/a-beginners-guide-to-wax-trax-records/

https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-new-documentary-industrial-accident-portrays-chicagos-wax-trax-records-as-a-romance-etched-in-vinyl/Content?oid=49381095

https://theknow.denverpost.com/2018/11/07/wax-trax-denver-history/200444/

https://kimsloans.wordpress.com/colorado-local/local-vinyl/wax-trax-records/

https://www.revolvermag.com/music/ministry-nin-10-things-we-learned-wax-trax-doc-industrial-accident#6-ministryfront-242-side-project-revolting-cocks-signature-sound-was-born-happy-accident

https://www.oregonmusicnews.com/wax-trax-reel-music36

https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-ballad-of-jim-and-dannie/Content?oid=888822

https://www.treblezine.com/industrial-accident-wax-trax-records-fearlessness-folly/

https://www.decibelmagazine.com/2019/04/25/live-film-review-industrial-accident-the-story-of-wax-trax-records/

https://consequenceofsound.net/2019/04/live-review-ministry-wax-trax-brooklyn/

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Last week I was scrolling through Facebook. A few mentions of that Netflix film “The Dirt” popped up in my feed. I wasn’t that big of a Motley Crue fan. Only like the first two albums. Afterwards, they kinda sucked. You know, same old tired rock formula. Maybe the lackluster was due to ditching the satanic imagery and makeup. During that time I switched to Post Punk, Goth and Punk. It was so uncool to be caught listening to Motley Crue. Even the metalheads I knew listened to early Metallica, Venom, Anthrax, etc. Motley Crue wasn’t even in the equation.

Anyway, might as well make use of my Netflix subscription. I checked out the film. They managed to squeeze an hour’s worth of Dirt. It had the feel of a made for TV movie, only more T&A and without Perry King. I expected the round-the-clock gratuitous groupie sex. What blew me away was Nikki Sixx’s $1000 a day heroin habit. Hey – that’s most of the rent for my apartment! Second, he lived to tell about it. While the band did kinda come across as sexist, narcissistic clowns, one gathers it was the norm. It’s probably the norm now, with rappers, even with crappy boy bands. At least Crue didn’t pull an R. Kelly.

The Dirt was still a guilty pleasure. Perhaps I’ll get the Crue bio after all. During the early 2000s, I used to walk into this local Barnes and Noble out in Long Island, read parts of the book, then purchase another title.

Without further ado, here’s the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. I picked Nikki Sixx because I can’t get the junkie price tag out of my head.

Confession: I owned a copy of Shout At The Devil on vinyl right before or during freshman year of high school. During a trip to Philadelphia, an ex gifted me the album on CD. Which I received some flak. Hey. The CD was a present.

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Psycho Bunny does Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. March/April 2019.

Too Fast For Love – Social Media Links:

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

 

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You might have heard the story about Anvil. Anvil was one of those ’80s Metal bands that should’ve made it big. Despite how popular Metal was during the ’80s, Anvil never broke that barrier. They had their signature song – ‘Metal On Metal.’ Unfortunately due to a number of factors, Anvil became one of those “what if” stories. Right up there with other influential, yet overlooked Metal bands of that decade like the much heavier (Thrash/Speed Metal) Rigor Mortis.

During the ’80s I was more into Post-Punk, Goth, ’77 style Punk, Industrial, and other styles of Underground/Alternative music. However, I remember all the Metal bands. You couldn’t help but root for them after watching the 2008 documentary  Anvil! The Story of Anvil.’ If you ever wanted a more realistic film about a band trying to live the dream despite all the missed opportunities, near misses and heartbreak, then see this film. After viewing the movie on Netflix, I wanted to see Anvil live.

Sure enough, there was an opportunity. Anvil was having their 2018 Spring U.S. tour, stopping in NYC to play the small venue Le Poisson Rouge. Personally I thought St. Vitus would’ve been a better place, but Le Poisson Rouge wasn’t bad. Ticket prices weren’t expensive either.

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Steve “Lips” Kudlow of Anvil, playing guitar in the audience at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo. May 3rd, 2018

Unfortunately the Anvil concert wasn’t sold out. The venue wasn’t even half full. Didn’t matter. After two decent but basic Metal bands opened up, Anvil came roaring on. The first song had Steve “Lips” Kudlow jumping into the crowd, playing guitar with all his heart and soul. The audience loved every second.

The audience consisted of both loyal, long time fans and a few scattered younger millennial dressed like 80s Metalheads.  Whoever or whatever, they were, they loved every second of the show. Some of the older fans were singing along to Anvil’s songs.

I’ve been to shows that were completely sold out, but the performers hardly gave anything. Here’s Anvil, who’s been grinding the dream for how many years, and yet they still give their all. Suppose the moral of the story is, no matter what the odds are, never give up. Here’s Anvil who could’ve hung it up decades ago, but refused to. Perhaps they’re not playing arenas, but they still get to do gigs around the world. Not bad if you ask me. You can’t measure success, really. You have to do what makes you happy.

Of course, Anvil finished their set with their biggest hit, “Metal On Metal.” Afterwards, someone at the merch stand was kind enough to give me an Anvil button. It was a way of thanking me for my support. Next year, Anvil’s going to have another U.S. Spring tour. This time in 2019, they’re going to be playing at St. Vitus, in Brooklyn, NY.

Here’s a Psycho Bunny sketch in honor of those early ’80s Metal days.

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Psycho Bunny as an early ’80s Metal musician. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo. Dec. 2018. 

 

 

Rock hard with these social media links!

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

 Get yourself some cool stuff on RedBubble, featuring my designs.

 

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