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Posts Tagged ‘rock music’

Feeling a bit nostalgic lately. Probably due to avoiding the current news.

Not the world’s biggest KISS fan, but during their heyday, they had their moments.

During 1993 or 94, my Halloween costume was of Gene Simmons as a ’90s Raver. This was way before ‘mash-ups’ were popular.

mekiss

Halloween costume from either 1993 or ’94. Gene Simmons from KISS dressed as a ’90’s Raver. Before the concept of ‘mash-ups’ were popular. 

Introducing the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Psycho Bunny meets KISS.

psychobunnykiss

Psycho Bunny meets KISS. Particularly Gene Simmons. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Feb. 2017

Okay, here comes the usual plugs. There’s two Facebook pages, one for Psycho Bunny, the other for WitchesBrewPress (illustration work). Please like one or both pages. Gracias.  You can always buy a comic off the WitchesBrewPress website. Every week they’ll be a new Psycho Bunny sketch, so keep tuning back in.

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Continuing where I left off yesterday, (Yesterday’s blog post) now I’m going into music pins, buttons and badges of the 1980s.

My button collection started during my preteen years. It was around sometime during the early ’80’s, and I had just discovered rock music. The closest supplier of these badges was a local head shop called Yogi Lala, located in Astoria, Queens. For a small shop it was jammed packed full of juvenile delinquent merchandise. All sorts of hippie accouterments, silver biker jewelry, patches, drug paraphernalia, and hard rock band tee shirts. If you wanted the back of your jean jacket painted with a rendition of a particular Black Sabbath album cover, this was the place. For good measure, Yogi Lala mixed the sex, drugs and rock n roll wares with some 14k gold trinkets.

There was certainly a variety of genres covered within the rock music merch this place sold. Not only did they have your average classic rock groups like The Who, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, etc., but they also had the burn out Hard Rock stuff, Heavy Metal, and the newer New Wave and some Punk rock stuff. Mostly the more famous, or should I stay infamous bands like The Sex Pistols.

If you couldn’t find what you were looking for in Yogi’s, you could always walk further down Steinway Street, which to this day is one of Astoria’s main shopping areas, and check out Jolly Joint. The Jolly Joint’s store was a bit more spread out. It was a head shop as well, with a tiny more emphasis on the music. Jolly Joint was pretty successful in its day, with a second shop on Main Street, located in Flushing, Queens.

Jolly Joint is no more. Yogi Lala is still around, but they mostly sell gold jewelry now.

Anyway, I would start to buy these small music pins from these kind of stores. The pins would be proudly arranged with style and care on my jacket before heading off to my crappy junior high. The other kids would make fun of me listening to rock music, but I paid them no mind. I loved The Go-Go’s, Joan Jett, Soft Cell, Human League and David Bowie.

Metal David Bowie pin from the 1980s. Let’s Dance era. Most likely brought at Yogi Lala during 1983. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

I was very fascinated with the whole New Wave and Punk subculture, even back in junior high, although my tastes at the time were more mainstream. Guess this is when I started observing different types of counter cultures.

Assortment of Culture Club pins from the 1980s. Check out the “Boy George for President” button. Maybe since it’s election year in 2012, should I start wearing this again? Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Then came Culture Club. I loved Boy George so much, I even tried to dress like him. If you look in the photo, you can see a button that says “Boy George For President.” As I type this, it’s election year of 2012. Perhaps I should start wearing this one again?

Anyway, my attempts of emulating the Boy just resulted in more verbal abuse from my classmates. The comments got more ignorant too. My favorite one? “Are you a fag lover?”

Since I hated my junior high so much, I swore I would never continue getting my education alongside these ignorant f-heads. So I applied for a whole bunch of the NYC ‘magnet’ schools. To both my surprise and relief, I got immediately accepted into the High School of Art and Design. From there I met more like-minded peers. One of these kids would take me to my first ‘underground’ club, despite the underage factor. It was the original Danceteria, and I loved every second of it. Another girl took me to my first excursion into Greenwich Village. It was up and down 8th street to be exact. Eighth street at the time was the main shopping strip of the village area, full of record stores, imported shoe shops, clothing stores, etc. Located towards more going 6th avenue was The Postermat. That was my new found base for my button fix.

During my freshman year, my tastes in music was leaning towards mainstream rock, top-40, new wave and imported UK pop bands. I was still big into Culture Club then. For a brief time though, I was listening to the newer metal bands like Motley Crue and Twisted Sister.

Dee Snider, lead singer of Twisted Sister. 1980s pin. Possibly gotten from a button trade. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Sometimes us A&D students would trade with one another. I traded something for the U2 band shot, as seen in the middle of the pic below. I think a friend gave me the Cyndi Lauper and Prince pins. A loner guy mysteriously gave me the Billy Idol one. I forgot where the Frankie Goes To Hollywood button came from. Check out the photo below. I’m surprised I still even have these.

Various 1980s music buttons. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Needless to say this phase didn’t last long. I discovered Siouxsie and The Banshees. Right there everything changed. Went to Astor Place for a major haircut, dying my hair much to my father’s chagrin. My wardrobe completely changed. I discovered Bleecker Bob’s, purchasing a second hand pair of combat boots. Boy, did those boots piss my mom off.

Most importantly, my music tastes had changed. I embraced the classic 80s Goth and Post-Punk bands. I liked much of the seminal ’77 Punk stuff, like The Ramones, for example. Although I never got into the Hardcore or crossover genres that much. As you can guess, my button collection reflected this. Instead of Culture Club and U2, I had bands such as The Damned, Bauhaus, and Sisters of Mercy. Most of the classic 80s Goth bands found a spot on my schoolbag. Only I wasn’t going to school as much. I had also discovered playing hooky. That particular discovery is something I still regret to this very day. I’m making up for lost time now, but there’s still a ping of regret somewhere.

Unfortunately, most of my button collection from that particular time is gone. Don’t know where they went. Perhaps they’re in a draw somewhere at my parents’ house, but at this point I’m not going to bother looking. It’s the past after all.

I did find this, however. An X-Ray Specs pin, which I think I might’ve gotten from the original Manic Panic shop in St. Mark’s Place. Was it that, or was it the pin that said “Oh bondage up yours!” I think it was the latter. That particular pin was stolen by none other than this kid Mike Waste. He stole from almost everyone. Not only did he steal that pin, he also stole my Cure shirt and something else. A total creep who told tall tales. He had ratty hair extensions that clung for dear life from the brim of his cap. Yet I heard about the early Industrial bands through him. I always knew he lifted from me. I suppose twenty years later I’m kinda sorta getting my revenge by calling him out on a public blog.

Here’s the X-Ray Specs pin that escaped Mike Waste’s grimey paws:

X-Ray Specs badge. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Now that I’ve blogged about these pins, perhaps its time to finally get rid of them. After all, they served their purpose. Maybe sell them on eBay or something. Besides, I’ve got my memories. You can never take that away.

However, if all else fails, you can tell people this:

Where’s the beef? Button from mid-1980s television commercial ad. The slogan was part of the Wendy’s burger campaign during 1983-84. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

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So earlier this week I went to visit a long-time friend. I had originally met him sometime during the late 80s through a mutual friend, but hung out with him more during the mid-late 90s. Sometimes we used to go to Coney Island High together. Other times, we would just go bar hopping along the Lower East Side. This was way before NYC got bleached with gentrification. Back then, I did not give a toss about the next day; nevermind what would happen in the near future.

Of course, the good times don’t last forever. Nothing in life lasts forever. All you can do is to move on into the present. Anyway…I hopped onto a bus at NYC’s Port Authority to Reading, PA. Not that it was an exotic vacation by any means. In fact, downtown Reading is pretty much a dump. It wasn’t until I checked on my iPhone to discover Reading’s ranking as the 5th crime-ridden small town in America. Yeck.

Still, I had a good time. Went down a much needed walk down a nature trail. Along the way, me and the friend started talking about various music we grew up listening to. I’d be the first to admit, I much prefer to listen to music made 10-50 years ago as opposed to what’s being made now. Still, these conversations kinda sorta had me re-discovering stuff from long ago days. Like The Smiths for example. I was a big Smiths fan during my teen years. By the time 1993 rolled around however, I was so, so, so sick of them, and other such groups like The Cure. I’m still tired of The Cure. Unless its the very early stuff or Robert Smith’s side project The Glove, I never want to hear songs by The Cure ever again.

Rediscovering The Smiths proved worthy. Just listening to a few of Morrissey and Johnny Marr’s handiwork…they kinda like a Lennon/McCarthy of the 1980s. While everyone else was listening to garbage like Micheal Jackson, The Smiths hit a raw nerve to the disfranchised, the lonely, the confused, the heartbroken, the loners, the daydreamers.

When night came, we switched to early David Bowie. Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Young Americans, and a bit of the Heroes era.

There’s music made for for temporary mass consumption, and then there’s music for the long-term influential. Musical acts like The Smiths and early David Bowie fall into the long-term influential. The long-term influential isn’t just for other musicians. The tunes of the long-term influential also affects artists, writers, actors, directors, designers, travelers, mystics, and so on. Music and art go hand in hand, for imagination is the magician’s most crucial asset.

On the way home back to NYC, I started to think about all the great bands from the 1980s and the ’90s. Today, I discovered this online article from the Flavorwire website: 10 Glaring Omissions from Rolling Stone’s Top Albums of the ’80s.

I remember buying that particular Rolling Stone issue, either in 1989 or 1990. While it did mention Culture Club, Duran Duran, and Human League, I was disappointed with some of the other choices. Okay, The Clash was an important band way back when, but their album “London Calling” is in no way the best album of the 80s. No way.

This is all subject to personal opinion. I say tomateoo, you say tomatoe. Personally, I like some of the albums that Flavorwire listed. Totally remembered purchasing “Psychocandy” by The Jesus and Mary Chain. I played that vinyl until all the grooves were scratched up.

Here’s the complete list of omissions as determined by Flavorwire. I had many of these selections, either on vinyl, cassette or CD:

Pixies – Surfer Rosa
Dinosaur Jr – You’re Living All Over Me / Bug
Nirvana – Bleach
Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff
INXS – Kick
Throwing Muses – Throwing Muses
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Tender Prey
Big Black – Songs About Fucking
David Byrne and Brian Eno – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
The Cure – Disintegration / Pornography
Devo – Freedom of Choice
Black Flag – Damaged
Sonic Youth – Sister
Minor Threat – Out of Step
Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
Simple Minds – New Gold Dream
Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
Galaxie 500 – On Fire
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
Spacemen 3 – The Perfect Prescription
Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Sessions
Killing Joke – Brighter than 1000 Suns
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy
Echo & The Bunnymen – Ocean Rain / Crocodiles
The Triffids – Born Sandy Devotional
David Bowie – Scary Monsters and Super Creeps
Mötörhead – Ace of Spades
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
Metallica – Master of Puppets
NWA – Straight Outta Compton
Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses
Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
Soft Cell – Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
The Gun Club – Fire of Love
Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man
Grace Jones – Nightclubbing
Cocteau Twins – Treasure
EPMD – Strictly Business
This Mortal Coil – This Mortal Coil

I would also add these…
Psychic TV – Allegory and Self/Towards Thee Infinite Beat (This definitely subject to personal opinion. While some people still love PTV, others loathe Genesis P-Orridge. Depends who you speak with.)
Siouxsie and The Banshees – Juju/Kaleidoscope/Kiss In The Dreamhouse/Tinderbox
Skinny Puppy – Remission/Bites

I would also replace the Killing Joke album “Brighter than 1000 Suns” with “Nighttime.” Ditto for Sonic Youth. Replace “Sister” with “Evol.”

Enough of this opinionated musical memory lane. Time to head back to the present.

http://flavorwire.com/173341/10-glaring-omissions-from-rolling-stones-top-albums-of-the-80s

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Here’s a flyer I had designed last night. The artwork is mine, having done the illo this past summer.

The flyer is for an Astoria Music and Arts night, to take place on April 3, 2010.

Flyer for the Astoria Music & Arts Show, April 3rd, 2010.

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