Friday, March 30, 2007

Forgotten Inspiration: T-Rex

T-Rex singer/guitarist/songwriter Marc Bolan.

Forgotten Inspiration: T-Rex

By: Jonathan Zuckerman

Posted: 3/29/07

Chances are, most of you reading this have no idea who T-Rex are. Some of you might know their only U.S. hit, "Bang a Gong (Get it On)," but you still probably didn't know who sang it. But if you were living in the United Kingdom in the 70s you weren't able to avoid them. In 1972 after the release of two extremely successful albums, Electric Warrior and The Slider, T-Rex achieved Beatle-like popularity in their home country. The phenomenon became known as "T-Rextacy." The Beatles may have minded their throne being usurped had they not been fans themselves. Ringo Starr even directed the T-Rex concert film, "Born to Boogie" (which is so bad you must see it), and released it on Apple Productions.

T-Rex was not so much a band as it was a man and his backing band. The man was Marc Bolan who sang, played guitar and wrote all the songs. Originally, the band was called Tyrannosaurus Rex and it consisted of only Bolan and a percussionist. Tyrannosaurus Rex was an acoustic act that played strange folk songs. By the time they became T-Rex, they were a full-blown, five-piece electric rock band. This band turned out to be one of the most influential of its time.

T-Rex were so important because of the time in which they came out. The Beatles had broken up, Jimi Hendrix was trying to make music that you could see, and the hippie thing was basically over. The people needed someone to admire. Forget that, they needed someone to worship. They needed someone to make them dance and feel good. Marc Bolan was more than up to the task. T-Rex's music appealed to people's most primitive senses. You didn't need your brain to listen to them, and isn't that what rock 'n' roll is all about? The riffs were simple, the beats were basic and the lyrics never seemed to say very much. All that mattered was that it was a whole lot of fun. It's amazing they never got big in the U.S. I guess Americans were all too busy listening to Styx.

While T-Rex helped transition the scene away from folk rock, they also helped pave the way for the punk rock scene that was just around the corner. Bolan was interested in stripping music to its core and just rocking hard. This was something that a lot of young people appreciated. He didn't need to add anything that was unnecessary. He kept the extra percussionist in, but that added to the heavy rhythm. When Bolan was given his own TV show in 1977, he used to feature the up-and-coming punk bands that he knew were keeping pure rock alive. The only major difference between T-Rex and the music that chronologically surrounded them was that both the hippies and the punks had some kind of social commentary. T-Rex's message was one word: Boogie.

T-Rex are perhaps most notable for starting the scene known as glam rock (the good David Bowie/New York Dolls one, not the Poison/ Motley Crue one). Bolan was a very flashy dresser and was very much about being eye-catching. The turning point, however, was when Bolan appeared on television with glitter on his face. Glam was about looking good and having a good time, and Bolan accomplished both. He reveled in his rock-star status and made it cool to be an icon again. T-Rex may not be a household name but the history of rock would be very different and much less glamorous without them.
© Copyright 2007 Knight News

Friday's Videos

The Surf Coasters - Dreams

Blondie - Kung Fu Girls (Live 1978)

Bob Marley - Zimbabwe

Roxy Music - Avalon (HQ Audio)

Iggy Pop - The Passenger


Suzi Quatro - Devil Gate Drive - The actual first version

Peter Tosh - Stepping Razor 1979 SWITZERLAND

David Bowie - Ashes to ashes

Cuddly Toys 'Madman' live at The Music Machine London

Altered Images - Dead Pop Stars (live 1980)

Marc Bolan & T.Rex - Jeepster (Live TV USA '74)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Flipper 2 songs from CBGB's 8/28/05 Live NY

The Lights, The Sound, The Rhythm, The Noise & Life

Your Name Using Hieroglyphs

My name using Egyptian Hieroglyphs!


Try your name

Script by

Skloot butt

Kobe vs flower

Moochie hunting for wild stuffed cows

Original Bad Brains Ready New Album

Original Bad Brains Ready New Album
With Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch donning the producer cap After recently releasing a live DVD and playing three sold-out shows together to commemorate the closing of CBGB, D.C. hardcore legends Bad Brains seem to be back in commission. According to, the original quartet-- which consists of vocalist H.R., guitarist Dr. Know, bassist Darryl Jenifer, and drummer Earl Hudson-- are planning the spring release of a currently untitled album, produced by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, aka MCA.

"The lawyers are finishing up the last little tidbits of it," Dr. Know told "There's a lot of dubs, and there's some old school-meets-new school Brains. Not moderate tempo, but fast tempo. Yauch said, 'Man, I want y'all to do some old school-type shit,' so we did it like that. I want to start working on the next one, because we did that one two years ago already." He also mentioned four song titles, two of which are dubs ("Article" and "Kingdom Come") and two of which are rock songs ("It's All Rock 'n' Roll" and "Let There Be Light").

Dr. Know is also eager to begin work on his first solo album. "I want to sit down this winter and start hashing her out. I've got a few little riffs working, but I want to sit down and perfect them, put some people together, and record them up. There's going to be total crazy special guests-- whoever I can get. A lot of people said they would participate: Flea, Mos [Def], the Living Colour guys, Darryl, Earl, and H.R."

Bad Brains are considering the release of additional archival video footage as well. One such show, shot by a friend of the band, features them playing with the Circle Jerks, Living Colour, and Leeway.

Punk chick pioneers

Punk chick pioneers

March 2, 2007
Back and as mad as ever - the Slits.

Back and as mad as ever - the Slits.
Photo: Chris Woo

Rock has overlooked the Slits, writes Anthony Carew.

IN THE annals of rock'n'roll, the Clash and the Slits are portrayed in vastly different ways. The Clash are musical geniuses who authored a unique hybrid of punk and reggae. The Slits - who did much the same, possibly slightly ahead of the Clash - are a bunch of crazy chicks who got their kit off for the cover of their debut album.

At best, this popular portrayal is a mild misrepresentation. At worst, it's a case of flagrant gender bias.

"It's always the boys," says Ari Up, in an accent equal parts German (reflecting her country of birth, as Arianna Foster) and Jamaican (where she has spent much of her adult life).

The 44-year-old vocalist was only 14 when the Slits started as an all-girl quintet in London as punk-rock was beginning.

"We were prepared to battle the whole world, we knew that when we walked down the street we were in danger of being beaten up," she recalls, of their beginnings.

The teenaged Slits were taken under the wing of both the Sex Pistols and the Clash, the latter the "big brothers" who took the Slits on their first tour in 1977. But, 30 years on, she's tired of being overlooked.

"The Clash, they're great, I'm not trying to diminish them or anything, but while people always call them this musical hybrid, that same thing should be said about us, and it only seems like it isn't because of gender," Up says.

"We definitely changed music forever. When we did the reggae, we really hit the reggae on the real tip, we really wiped out that connection between reggae and punk. It shouldn't be played up like we were just this gimmick, these crazy girls who couldn't really play.

"We're like the missing link in the history of music. I watched the Grammys the other day and I was thinking: 'Where are the Slits?' They should be at the Grammys because there was the Police, who used to be a warm-up band for us, and Sting was a huge fan of the Cut album, he said he loved the drums of Budgie. And of course the Hot Chili Peppers were there, winning something and playing, and they're huge fans of the Slits, and were truly inspired by us."

In the 25 years since their break-up, the music of the Slits has persisted. The bigwigs of the recent disco-punk renaissance - Out Hud, the Rapture - all cited them as an influence. And go to any dance-rock club-night populated by kids in tight trousers and striped T-shirts, and you're bound to hear the Slits' two most evergreen songs: the five-minute percussion workout In the Beginning there Was Rhythm, and their punk-reggae cover of I Heard It through the Grapevine.

In 2005, Up decided to reform the band, which included original bassist Tessa Pollitt as well as Holly Cook and Lauren Jones, daughters of the Sex Pistols' Paul Cook and the Clash's Mick Jones.

While she doesn't care what audiences make of them, Up is keen to point out "we're not nostalgia".

"You're gonna know real quick that we're not retro.

"We're like a whole new band. And we're just as mad now as we were then."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Human remains as a museum artefact

by Michel Walraven


Should human remains be part of a museum collection? That's a question the management of the Amsterdam Museum for the Tropics, the Tropenmuseum, is asking itself. The museum made an odd discovery in the basement of a medical institute: a forgotten collection - which actually belonged to the museum - of hundreds of human skulls, bones and even organs stored in formaldehyde in glass jars.

Many of them are the remains of indigenous inhabitants of Java and Papua, former colonies of the Netherlands. The collection had been loaned to the medical institute three decades ago. The institute kept it in storage and has now returned it to the Tropenmuseum, which had completely forgotten it existed at all.

The museum in AmsterdamThe bones were used by the Tropenmuseum up to the 1960s for an area of scientific reasearch and study named physical anthropology. Since this study was perceived as being related to the infamous racial studies by the Nazis during World War Two, most scientific organisations ended this sort of research after the Holocaust. However, the Tropenmuseum went on with this until the 1960s. There is, however, no evidence that the Tropenmuseum was actually engaged in racial studies. The bones - often stolen from tribal burial grounds - were sent to Netherlands between 1915 and 1965.

A good home
The remains were rediscovered six years ago. Since then the museum has categorised them and documented the collection in detail. Recently, the museum announced it wanted to find a good home for the remains, possibly returning them to where they came from.

But the question of what to with these remains is not an easy one to answer. It raises many more questions, such as: who officially owns them? The museum itself, or perhaps the Indonesian government? Or maybe the tribes themselves or relatives of the people whose remains they are? And the questions don't end there. For example,does anybody want the remains back? And if not, should they be buried somewhere or should they perhaps be cremated?

Not the same thing
All together a very sensitive issue to be sitting on a bone collection used for a disputed science and stolen from a people that were once colonised. However, museum curator David van Duuren explains that physical anthropology is not the same as the Nazi-related racial studies:

"This was in a way butterfly collecting, there were no racial theories developed in this institute, but our scientists wanted to perform a comparative study and they wanted a complete collection. Cultural anthropologists collect artefacts, physical anthropologists collected human remains." Museum Director Lejo Schenk says he knows the issue is sensitive: "We realise this is a very sensitive issue, we know that in a specific period in the Twentieth Century, physical anthropology was connected to racial studies. We are aware of that, and collecting butterflies can easily be mixed up with something really bad."Proper solution
Having the bone collection in its possession is not something the museum is entirely happy with. Mr Schenk feels a proper solution should be found. But, what to do with the remains? Should they be sent back to where the came from? Are there still people that want them? Or should they perhaps be buried or cremated?

The museum knows there are a lot of moral, ethical and political questions involved, suchh as: who can own human remains and who can claim authority? The museum wants to make sure that they deal with this sensitive issue appropriately. They have invited everyone who could possibly make any claim to talk to them. It could take many years before this issue is solved.

The relatives should decide
Now the main question would probably be, when it comes to the Papua remains, what does the community itself - wich consists of close to 300 tribes - think of all this? After all, the bones and skulls in question were once their great great grandparents. Viktor Kaisiepo is Papuan himself and also represents the Papuan community abroad. He's pleased the museum is not making any decisions on its own, but he still needs to talk to people in Papua about what to do with the remains: "I am challenged that the remains of my people are found. But we have to talk about the ownership. We need to approach this carefully because there may be a lot of emotions involved. I will need to speak to my people to see what we want to do with these remains. I will be in service to my people. I will ask them if they can and will receive them back and how that would happen."

He says that, when it comes to the matter of human remains, the indigenous people should be in charge of deciding on what to do with them.

Howell was anthropology pioneer at Berkeley

Howell was anthropology pioneer at Berkeley
Professor unearthed fossil of early human ancestor.
Article Launched: 03/14/2007 05:54:45 PM PDT

BERKELEY - F. Clark Howell, a UC Berkeley anthropologist who unearthed important fossil evidence of human evolution and was regarded as a peacemaker in an often contentious field, has died of cancer at his Berkeley home, according to university spokeswoman Shirley Wong. He was 81.

Howell led expeditions into Spain, Hungary, Turkey and Ethiopia, among other places. In a series of seven expeditions to Ethiopia between 1967 and 1973, he led a team of anthropologists to one of the most important finds of the 20th Century. The discovery of australopithecenes suggested the human lineage stretched back at least 4 million years old - about 2 million years longer than previously thought.

"Clark worked tirelessly to advance the science," said Tim D. White, a colleague of Howell's at UC Berkeley. "He shared his knowledge and wisdom with everybody, a generosity unparalleled in paleoanthropology."

He was also remembered for encouraging young Ethiopian paleontologists, many of whom earned their doctorates under him at Berkeley.

Howell was "a genuine advocate for the advancement of Africans and paleoanthropological research in Africa. We will carry on with his ideals for advancing indigenous research and development in Africa," said Giday Woldegabriel, an Ethiopian-born anthropologist who is now based at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Howell is survived by his wife, Betty Ann; a son, Brian David Howell, of Berkeley; and a daughter, Jennifer Clare Howell of McMinnville, Ore.

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo

I'm a Black Lab mix w/ a curly tail.