I had a dream last night that was fairly incredible. Well the first half was typical, scary yet kind of boring brain vomit, but the second half involved visiting Henry Miller's watery grave/tribute. (Truth-Henry Miller is not buried in a woodsy lake in the Pacific Northwest.) Said site had an attached gift shop/convenience store that had a separate area for arts and crafts (!) As the tour guide was showing me this section and picking up some of the stone work that a lot of people used to make jewelry, I look up and making this incredible plexiglass/amber piece was Joey Ramone (awesome). Joey pointed out that he was decidedly not making any jewelery but just enjoyed creating little bits of art for the texture. After creating some watercolor paintings on my own, I went into their stock room for something and ran into Bruce Springsteen. Upon meeting the man, the first thing out of my mouth was, “Oh my god, you once met Lester Bangs? What was he like?” After that, I woke up but the chances of me actually saying that to “the boss” in real life are fairly good. (Unlike the odds of me actually meeting Springsteen.)
Originally found on Cretin Family.
Speaking of Lester, I've been thinking of the man a lot lately. Granted, that is not entirely unusual since I have been a huge fan for years. Bangs is the type of writer that constantly makes me evaluate my own work. He was able to bring both a hyper-real intelligence, no bullshit quality to his work and yet, never losing any of his warmth or verve. The latter is something a lot of folks don't seem to touch upon with Lester but for someone to write the way he did, they have to truly care. The world of critical writing can be littered with some A-1 wankery, which usually stems from some white-bread type who is stroking his/her own ego. We all have ego but when it comes to creating anything, the work itself should always and eternally be number one and I think with Lester, it was always was. It's a huge crime that he is no longer in this realm. And a total aside, while Lester is by and large known as a music writer, his write-up of Ray Dennis Steckler's "Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies" is hilarious and worth looking up.)
In a music frame of mind, I would be remiss not to mention the passing of Alan Myers, one of the pioneers who got scalped and drummer for Devo for over ten years. Part of the “classic era,” Myers was unlike any other drummer. He provided the spine for some of Devo's greatest songs. This year has already been rough, after losing Harry Reems, Andy Copp (miss you), Nagisa Oshima, Jess Franco, Ebert, Annette Funicello, Richard Matheson and too many to mention. I hate doing these things to be honest. It always feels like too many people have gone and trying to write the perfect thing to honor a whole lifetime of work feels impossible. It kind of is impossible but to quote a friend of mine, these things are always harder for the living. The best thing anyone can do is to kick extra ass for those who can't.
This past Thursday, I was interviewed once again on my friend Frank Cotolo's internet radio show, The Cotolo Chronicles, discussing zombies. It's funny, since I have been feeling burned out on the subject for quite awhile. But when Frank invited me, I took it as a challenge and ended up getting some different perspectives on the whole thing during my research. There's more to it than just brain eating Romero-styled revenants and Haitian voodoo. Anyways, it was fun and available to listen for anyone who missed the live show.
Last but certainly not least, please check out my latest for Dangerous Minds. Riding the lost-sexploitation film train from “Sexcula,” this time I explore Vinegar Syndrome's superb release, “The Lost Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis.” Their work on restoring and releasing this trio of films, including “The Ecstasies of Women,” “Linda & Abilene” and “Black Love,” is nothing short of stunning. As a huge H.G. Lewis fan and a film preservationist at heart, it feels great to have these previously lost films not only available, but also released with a lot of love and attention.