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Category Archives: Music

Ελληνικό Punk: Μια pub διαφορετική απο τις άλλες

Η δεκαετία του ’80 είχε κάποια στέκια με ιδιαιτερότητα. Ήταν κάποια μαγαζιά που συχνάζανε πάνκηδες και new wave άτομα και ένα απο αυτά ήταν το Pub Blue Note στην οδό Ίμβρου κοντά στην Πλατεία Αμερικής.

Pub Blue Note menu

 

(Οι τιμές είναι σε δραχμές φυσικά, ενδεικτικές του κόστους της εποχής…)

Το μαγαζί ήταν ένα νεοκλασικό, μια μονοκατοικία με κάποια δωμάτια δεξιά και αριστερά της εισόδου, ένα μεγάλο σαλόνι στο οποίο υπήρχε το μπάρ στα δεξιά και άλλο ένα δωμάτιο στο βάθος το οποίο είχε τηλεόραση και έπαιζε μερικές φορές βιντεοκασέτες με ξένα συγκροτήματα.

Το σημείο στο οποίο άνοιξαν το μαγαζί ήταν λουκούμι για τις παρέες εκείνων που άραζαν στην Πλατεία Χαλεπά, καθώς και εκείνων που περνάγανε την ώρα τους στα Goody’s της Φωκίωνος Νέγρη.

Φυσικά ήταν ιδανική η θέση του και για όσους έμεναν στο κέντρο.

Εγώ με την παρέα μου πηγαίναμε στο δωμάτιο με την τηλεόραση που βρισκόταν στο βάθος για να δούμε κανα συγκρότημα και επειδή ήμασταν πάντα άφραγκοι, προσπαθούσαμε να μπερδέψουμε τον νεαρό που ερχόταν για να πάρει παραγγελία, λέγοντάς του «θα παραγγείλω σε λίγο» και με το που έφευγε πηγαίναμε και καθόμασταν σε άλλο μέρος του μαγαζιού.

Όταν μας ξανάβρισκε του λέγαμε τα ίδια και ξανα-μανά αλλάζαμε θέση.

Επειδή είχε μουστάκι, έπεφτε σύρμα πως «έρχεται ο μουστάκιας». Ποτέ δεν έτυχε να μάθω το όνομα του ανθρώπου…

Κάποια στιγμή φυσικά παίρναμε κάποιο ποτό αλλά είχαμε ήδη ροκανίσει τον χρόνο.

Κώστας Starman / Elton

Υπήρχαν άλλες φορές που πήγαινα και καθόμουν στα σκοτεινά με τον Δημητράκη και τον Κώστα από τους Αούσβιτς,

Δεν μπορείς να πεις πως το μαγαζί έπαιζε πανκ, περισσότερο post-punk, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Bauhaus και new wave έπαιζε.

Δεν ξέρω γιατί πήρα μαζί μου αυτόν τον μικρό κατάλογο. Απο εφηβική αφέλεια φαντάζομαι. Τον ποστάρισα και πριν κάμποσα χρόνια εδω στο Tribe4mian και να που έγινε η αφορμή σήμερα να ρωτήσω τον Κώστα τον Starman που πέρασε κι απο εκεί σαν DJ, να μου πει καμιά ανάμνηση του:

«Το Blue Note μετά άλλαξε όνομα σε Muswell’s» είπε ο Κώστας και πραγματικά, αυτό το θυμάμαι κι εγω. «Θυμάμαι πως σύχναζαν οι South of No North, Forward Music Quintet, Alive She Died, Last Drive, o Λωρης απ τη Di Di Music, o Δασκαλόπουλος κ.α. Εγω επαιζα μουσική από το ’84 μέχρι το ’87 περίπου…» συνέχισε.

Νομίζω πως από κάποιο σημείο και πέρα άρχισα να αραιώνω τις επισκέψεις μου γιατί ήταν μακριά απο εκεί που έμενα και άρχισα να πηγαίνω στο Ελλάς, ένα καφενείο στο Παγκράτι, λίγο πιο πάνω απο το Bright Shoe, με την παρέα των Film Noir.

Ρώτησα τον Κώστα αν έχει να μου δώσει καμιά φωτογραφία του Blue Note ή του Muswell’s απο την εποχή εκείνη.

Τι στο καλό; Εδω το άτομο έχει βγάλει φωτογραφίες τον Joe Strummer στο backstage του Rock In Athens και τους Bauhaus στο Σπόρτιγκ, δεν θα έχει απο εκείνο το Blue Note / Muswell’s;

Και να ομολογήσω πως έχω σκεφτεί, οτι επειδή έχω δεί κατα καιρούς αρκετές φωτογραφίες που έχει τραβήξει, μάλλον είχε μια έφεση σε αυτό.

Πραγματικά ξέθαψε κάποιες φωτογραφίες, αυτήν εδώ την αφίσα του Muswell’s και είχε την καλοσύνη να μου δώσει μερικές να τις χρησιμοποιήσω σε αυτό εδώ το κείμενο.

Με τούτο και με εκείνο, θυμήθηκα πως είχαν παίξει και οι South of No North κάποιο βράδυ εκεί μέσα και ο Κώστας μου είπε πως έχει ο Tax μια αφίσα εκείνης της βραδιάς.

Ρώτησα τον Tax και… voilà…

Είχε δίκιο, οπότε και ο Tax είχε την καλοσύνη να μου δώσει κι αυτός αυτήν εδώ την φωτό απο την εμφάνιση των South στο Muswell’s Pub, στις 13 Μαρτίου του 1987

Τόσες φωτογραφίες και αναμνήσεις με την ευκαιρία ενός χαζού καταλογάκου που σούφρωσα απο ενα μαγαζί πριν 30+ χρόνια..

 
 

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Η νέα κυκλοφορία των NØIR

Οι NØIR έχουν σαν βάση τους την Νέα Υόρκη και η τελευταία τους κυκλοφορία έγινε το 2017.

Αυτή την εποχή ετοιμάζονται να κυκλοφορήσουν ενα ΕΡ με έξι τραγούδια που θα τιτλοφορείται “A Pleasure“.

Ο ραφιναρισμένος σκοτεινός ηλεκτρονικός ήχος τους ολοκληρώνεται με την φωνή του τραγουδιστή Athan Maroulis (έχει υπάρξει μέλος των Spahn Ranch και Black Tape for a Blue Girl) και με την συμμετοχή στο programming του παραγωγού Erik Gustafson (απο τους Adoration Destroyed και Grendel),της Kai Irina Hahn (των The Sedona Effect) στα πλήκτρα και τα φωνητικά, καθώς και της Demetra Songs, επίσης στα πλήκτρα και τα φωνητικά.

Το “A Pleasure” συμπεριλαμβάνει το τραγούδι “A Pleasure to Burn” με ρεμιξ απο τους FIRES και το συγκρότημα Seeming καθώς και ενα νέο τραγούδι με τίτλο “Luxury” γραμμένο με τον Jean-Marc Lederman (των Weathermen) και με την Tracey Moth (των Antidote for Annie) στο τσέλο.

Αφιερωμένη στην γνωστή Αγγλίδα ηθοποιό Julie Christie, αυτή η κυκλοφορία συμπεριλαμβάνει ακόμα, μια διασκευή του τραγουδιού του Fad Gadget,Back To Nature“.

Το “A Pleasure” θα κυκλοφορήσει ψηφιακά απο την Metropolis Records στις 15 Νοεμβρίου και για να προωθήσουν την κυκλοφορία οι NØIR θα κάνουν μια σειρά εμφανίσεων.

ΛΙΓΗ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑ

Athan Maroulis

Η φωνή του Athan Maroulis θα είναι για πάντα συνδεδεμένη με το επιδραστικό τρίο απο το Λος Άντζελες, Spahn Ranch. Μέσα από πέντε άλμπουμ με κορυφαία τραγούδια όπως το “Vortex” και το “Heretic’s Fork” οι Spahn Ranch υπηρέτησαν την industrial σκηνή των ‘90s με μια τολμηρή μίξη από σοφιστικέ ηλεκτρονικούς ήχους με σκοτεινή διάθεση.

Μετά την διάλυση του συγκροτήματος ο Athan επέστρεψε στην Νέα Υόρκη όπου έκανε ένα διάλειμμα από την μουσική για σχεδόν μια δεκαετία πρίν να ενταχθεί στο δυναμικό των Black Tape for a Blue Girl για δύο άλμπουμ και εμφανίσεις από το  Austin μέχρι το Βουκουρέστι.

Κατόπιν,δημιούργησε τους NØIR σαν ένα project που θα συνδύαζε το industrial και Goth παρελθόν του Athan με το ηλεκτρονικό παρόν.

Οι NØIR πρωτοεμφανίστηκαν με το σιγκλ “My Dear” στα τέλη του 2012, για να ακολουθήσει το 2013 το επιτυχημένο άλμπουμ “Darkly Near” για το οποίο το περιοδικό Side Line έγραψε πως  “οι NØIR είναι το πιό οικείο electro σχήμα απο οσα έχει συμμετάσχει ο Athan Maroulis. Ακούγονται σαν να αποκαλύπτει τις πιό προσωπικές του σκέψεις, μεταφερμένες με ηλεκτρονική χάρη και μουσική ποίηση“.

Προσθέτοντας στην σύνθεση την Demetra Songs και την Kai Irina Hahn, και οι δύο στα δεύτερα φωνητικά και τα πλήκτρα, οι NØIR ξεκίνησαν τις ζωντανές εμφανίσεις στην Νέα Υόρκη αλλά και στις υπόλοιπες ΗΠΑ.

Το 2014 ολοκλήρωσαν το βίντεο του τραγουδιού “My Dear” και ακολούθησε το βίντεο του “Timephase” μαζί με την κυκλοφορία του RE:MIT:TENT, το οποίο περιείχε ρεμίξ απο τους Assemblage 23, Dead Voices On Air, Ludovico Technique και πολλούς άλλους.

Το 2016, οι NOIR με το “The Burning Bridge” το οποίο ήταν αφιερωμένο στον David Bowie, σύστησαν τον συνεργάτη τους Erik Gustafson (16volt, Adoration Destroyed).

Συμπεριλαμβάνοντας το τραγούδι του τίτλου και την διασκευή ενός τραγουδιού των Ministry από το 1982 που είχε τον τίτλο  “Same Old Madness” καθώς και μια διασκευή του “The Chauffeur” των Duran Duran, η κυκλοφορία ολοκληρωνόταν με την διασκευή που έκαναν οι NØIR στο “In Every Dream Home A Heartache” των Roxy Music ηχογραφημένη ζωντανά στον ραδιοφωνικό σταθμό WFMU το 2013.

Το 2017 κυκλοφόρησε ενα βίντεο για το “The Burning Bridge” και την ίδια χρονιά το συγκρότημα ηχογράφησε την διασκευή του “Back To Nature” για μια συλλογή-φόρο τιμής στον Fad Gadget με τίτλο “Under What Flag“.

Η Πέμπτη κυκλοφορία των NØIR, “Reburning” συμπεριλαμβάνει διάφορα ρεμίξ του “The Burning Bridge” απο τους The Rain Within, Decoded Feedback, Panic Lift με ενα αποκλειστικό ρεμιξ στο “Same Old Madness” απο τους Bestial Mouths.

Ακόμα, στο “Reburning” συμπεριλαμβάνεται μια ακουστική εκτέλεση του τραγουδιού “The Burning Bridge” ενορχηστρωμένη απο τον κιθαρίστα Ron Cardazone με την συμμετοχή της τσελίστριας Tracey Moth.

Μπορείτε να παραγγείλετε το “A Pleasure” απο την σελίδα των NØIR στο Bandcamp.

 
 

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Anarchistwood: Fear is the Mind Killer

Anarchistwood: Fear is the Mind Killer

I share mutual friends with anarchistwood. Friends such as illustrator Shaun Histed-Todd, who is one of the owners of Wicked Spins Radio that airs my Blackout Radio Show and also puts together the festival Alice’s Wicked Tea Party.

The other mutual friend is Steve Brunton of Jesus Hooligan and formerly of the English hardcore band Gout / Lager Louts.

When I first met Frank (aka funkcutter) and Paul, her husband, (aka Candi’s Flipped Blackwood), we were talking for many hours.

They are not your usual couple and I think they are lucky to have found each other surrounded by the “commonality” of the English system. Two very creative people who constantly want to make art – right in the heart of bustling London.

They get parts from the unseen material of our world, pieces that many of us don’t see and they make movies, edit videos, create visuals and, of course, write music with their band: anarchistwood.

(interview by Mike Pougounas)

Candi and I met in the seedy world of London nightclubs as club VJs” says Frank and continues “Both of us had been creating visual art separately since the 90s and started making short films as well once we got together. Our first production was a tale about a jilted woman called Phyllis Gash and the broken vibrator her dastardly ex-flame has left her with. It’s called ‘One Useless Prick’ and was screened at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2005 as part of a women in visual arts season.”

In 2018, Frank co-wrote the script and co-directed the short film “Fear is the Mind Killer”. I asked her how this idea came about.

“anarchistwood played the 50th birthday / wedding party for our dear friend Pink Charlotte and her new spouse Lindsey S. Lindsey works as an editor and suggested to us that she would like to make a pop video for anarchistwood. The only idea concrete she had at the time was to have the band on a bouncy castle. This sounded like a lot of fun and we said we were in. We fixed on ‘Bomb in a Luggage Rack’ as the track, a version of which had come out as a split single on Grow Your Own Records, as well as on The Nasty Album. I asked Lindsey if she had any ideas about a story. All she had in mind was a kidnapping of some sort. Once I had the theme, I wrote with gay abandon, and the story came out like shelling peas. It wanted to be out there. Lindsey changed fixed up parts of it, organized the shot lists, booked the crew. We both gathered costume, props, and actors. We were stuck for a lead actor to play ‘The Man’ until about a week before the shoot. We were most fortunate to involve a mutual friend and big fan of anarchistwood Nik Llawr to play this role. It was his first experience of acting. We thought he did a fantastic job. We also used our friend Pete Kopinski’s gorgeously dilapidated house in Surrey as the location. Pete plays several roles in the video. For the next project, which was ‘Fear’, Lindsey and I collaborated a lot more on, as we realised we worked really well together. Probably due to our similar sick sense of humour. We started trying to make a pop video for a short track – “Fear is the Mind Killer” but as things went on, we realised we had so many ideas and shots, that it would have to turn into a short film. Candi supplied music from his electronic project ‘Maelific Jester’ as well as three anarchistwood tracks.”

And you ended up with Best Music award of “Portobello Film Festival 2018” I added after a sip from my ice cold Guinness.

Frank answered “Well, we continued with our ensemble cast idea, including The Amazing Mouse, Jan Daniels (who is also our prop maker), Pete Kopinski and band members who appeared in Bomb, and added Star Wars actor Sobriety Twist, the unforgettable Sexton Ming and wife Stuckist artist Ella Guru, artist Lily Mars Morrow, Jeff Freeman (drag king personality of Jemma) and our lead psycho Dr Raef was played by none other than Jenny Runacre who is impossibly cool having played Bod and Queen Elizabeth in Derek Jarman’s punk classic, ‘Jubilee’”

“Jubillee” was released in the UK in February 1978 as the first punk rock movie. Apart from Jenny Runacre, appear some well-known musicians such as Toyah, Wayne/Jayne County and Adam Ant, the “Rocky Horror Show” actress Nell Campbell (who also appears as a groupie on Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”) and Richard O’Brien, the great Riff Raff character from “Rocky Horror Show”. Jenny Runacre appeared also next to Jack Nicholson on Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Professione: reporter”, on “The Lady Vanishes” starring Elliott Gould, Cybill Shepherd, and Angela Lansbury, “The Witches” with Anjelica Huston, “The Edge of Love” with Keira Knightley and other movies.

“Lindsey and I co directed and edited, whilst Lindsey and Nigel Camp executed the camera work and drones. Lindsey and I have now started a film production company Black Triangle Films and are currently working on a wicked story for Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something.”

The first time I watched “Fear is the Mind Killer” the message to me was crystal clear: our society is trying to get rid of people that are different. I asked her if I was right, if she believes that our world is turning into a conservative, fascist world that wants to eliminate those who think out of the box.

“Yes – I think it’s getting that way sometimes. In other matters (e.g legalisation of gay marriage, gender neutralisation!  abortion rights, racial equality – or at least admission there hasn’t been for a long long time!) life is getting better for a lot of people but there are still injustices, judgements, cultural rules people follow blindly.

I think the ‘west’ Europe, North America (ok -just the USA!) is getting more judgemental and I feel that many African and South American nations are becoming more enlightened and happier. Many people want to shut you down if they feel threatened by difference. It’s pure tribalism which is fine if you are accepting and welcome change and evolution but not if you tell them they are wrong just for looking out of the ordinary. Do what thou wilt, an it harm none.

I’m sure I’m not the only punk who has grown up feeling like an outsider, being earmarked as ‘the other’, part of the freak show. we wear it as a badge of honour, but narrow minded people still make day to day existence a fight. I’m lucky as I live in a big city, but I have always dressed up as long as I had a choice. Some people say ‘strangely’ but if different was bad, now where would we be? still cyanoabacter under the sea?”

Anarchistwood is going on stage wearing make up and colourful clothes. How much time is needed to get prepared?

It takes me a good two hours to get ready for a gig. One hour on makeup at least. Often this has been done in the car on the way to a gig, but it usually looks better if I do it before I set off. Depending on road conditions, the wonkiness can be enhanced! We have been wearing our clown make up a lot at festivals, particularly after winning the award.

When we went to see Joker recently, we were really sorry we hadn’t gone in clown makeup. We very much identified with the character and felt it was extremely close to the message ‘Fear is the Mind Killer’ portrays. Except with a multimillion dollar budget! This weekend I am looking forward to getting made up as a clown, with renewed vigor.”

Anarchistwood play live pretty often. Have you been playing out of the UK? Would you like to? Where do you play next?

We have played in Berlin, Cork in Eire and on several occasions at the Dragon Festival in Orgiva Andalucia, Espana. We’ve also played in Scotland and that might devolve out the UK if pollitricks work out in that direction. We would love to play more abroad. We also love performing out of London as audiences out of the smoke seem to let their hair down more! Particularly in Bristol and Braintree, where crowd surfing in low ceilinged venues seems to tickle the punters. Our favourite festivals have to be Griffstock and anything Convoy Cabaret are involved in.”

Convoy Cabaret is an Alternative Anarcho DIY Festival that’s been around for about 10 years. It’s a gathering of bands, DJs, dancers, acrobats, and poets.

“These humans look out for you and yours and are responsible anarchists” adds Frank “Just the way we like it.

Our next gigs are in Southend, Basingstoke, our home venue Overdrive Studios in Deptford that we love very much for our own promotion Subterfuge. In 2020 we already have gigs lined up in Bristol, Southend, London and Manchester. Getting over to Europe again before it gets too difficult to cross is high on our agendas. Countries that still use the Death Penalty and are homophobic are not places we want to play (which is very sad for the USA – stop the killing!)

Death Penalty is a subject that anarchistwood deal with in their lyrics but only there…

In the lyrics of their songs “Door Part 1” and “Door Part 2” from their 2008 album “Blessed Are The Cracked, For They Let In The Light” Frank wrote about Death Row victim John-Joe “Ash” Amador and his phone discussions with the Treatment Rooms team an hour or so prior to his state execution in Huntsville in August 26 2007.

Amador was sentenced for shooting dead 32 year old cab driver Reza Ayari in 1994.

Frank and Candi have an artistic connection to Amador.

“Artist Carrie Reichardt went to Texas to witness his execution…” explains Frank.

I did a Google search to find out about the “Treatment Rooms” and who is Carrie Reichardt. It wasn’t hard to find information of her site on which she mentions that in 2000 she was working on a cooperative mosaic when she saw an ad by the Human Writes charity calling people to become penpal friends with death row inmates. Reichardt applied and started writing to Luis Ramire. Their friendship inspired her to make a mosaic on the outside wall of her house turning it into a graphic cave and this is from where the name The Treatment Rooms came. The execution of Ramirez from the state of Texas convinced Reichardt to dedicate her creativity to raise awareness regarding the death sentence. Later Reichardt got in touch with John – Joe – Ash Amador.

Frank explained their connection:

Candi filmed the process where Nick Reynolds made a death mask for Ash a few hours later, which was exhibited in the UK by The Treatment Rooms, eventually in the V&A. Candi brought the footage home and I edited it to present an AV documentary film, #402. Ash was victim number 402 executed in the State of Texas alone since the death penalty was reintroduced in 1976. #402 won the audience award at the Portobello Film Festival 2008.

Nick Reynolds is a British sculptor who specializes in death masks.  He is also the harmonica player with the Alabama 3, a band famous for their “Woke Up This Morning” track that opens the TV series The Sopranos.

One morning I was listening to the classical “Summer Wine” by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra and it came to me that I should do a cover version of it with New Zero God. We entered the studio that same afternoon and did it our way. Two weeks later I met Frank and Candi and while farting around it came to me to ask Frank if she’d like to take the place of Nancy Sinatra and do the lyrics on our version. Soon after that, we found ourselves in the studio discussing the attitude that she had to have. The song is about a cowboy that falls into the trap of this woman that makes him drunk with her “summer wine” and steals all his money. It wouldn’t be square enough to have a song about fucking in the 60s. I never liked how un-nervous Sinatra’s singing was on this track. Too flat for my taste. She sounded like a robot who repeats an erotic song. Frank was in charge for a sexual teaser in order to launch the song to a XXX stratosphere.

So what does anarchistwood mean, how did you come up with the name and when did you form the band?

The word came from me naming the wife’s ‘morning glory’ – Candi (Paul) is an anarchist, so that became his ‘anarchist wood’. He said hey – that’s a really good name for a band. Back in the Noughties, we were heavily involved in electronic music and video mixing. We were working for Love Music Hate Racism in a pub in North London projecting the visuals and saw a few really good bands – particularly a band called Data Panic from Scotland. They were so good that Candi was inspired to start writing tunes again. He hadn’t picked up his guitar for quite a few years, since being in post punk bands in Leeds, and mostly made -at that time – electronic music, visuals and was a resident DJ in a big nightclub called Turnmills. This was around 2004 – 2005.

When we first started the band I was making visuals and playing keyboard. I was also triggering visuals from the keyboard at one point. We went through a few different members to try and get something going, including a writing and singing session with Gob$au$age, noodling with Handsum Pete and always wanted a visual element to the shows. One of our first performances was with Devillia de Dallas – Candi playing guitar and me controlling the keyboard, visuals and backing track. Devillia sang whilst doing a strip tease that ended with her fire tittie tassling to great effect. We took that show on to some fancy places – as part of the BurlyQ Revue that ran for 6 weeks at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, the first Latitude festival and also within the Big Chill as part of the Lost Vagueness crew. We all got banned at that one, which was an honour.

When they came to Athens, the couple started searching in the record stores. Candi was very happy with some rare psychedelic albums that he discovered. Which artists influenced the band?

We have very far reaching music tastes. As Duke Ellington said…  There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind

Huge influences are Zappa, Butthole Surfers, ACDC, Black Sabbath, Alice Donut, musicals such as Cabaret, Singing in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, Calamity Jane, MC 5,  Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Patti Smith, Peaches, Mel Brooks, Ella Fitzgerald, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Billie Holiday, Love, Hawkwind, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Shostakovich, Parliament, Funkadelic, Diamanda Galas, Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Gong, Fela Kuti… where do we stop? Contemporary loves include China Shop Bull, Natterers, Sanction This, Armoured Flu Unit, The Crippens … Candi has a great penchant for Scandanavian folk music, so this is blasting out in the Labiatory quite regularly.

Ex Gratia Recordings started in 2008 to release your album “Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light”. What is your connection to Ex Gratia Recordings? How important is the DIY ethos to you? Would you sign to a big label?

Ex Gratia literally from Latin means ‘from favour’ and effectively to us means ‘do it for the love’ and therefore is not about making a profit, a business, an industry. We have poured money into releasing our own material with no backing and also released actual vinyl records by other bands Rude Mechanicals, Wonk Unit, Sexton Ming and CDs and downloads of many other often obscure artists, like Handsome Pete, The Dutchess, the rising Jesus Hooligan and countless more on compilation releases.   The DIY ethos is very important to us. We hand print all our album covers and stencil the vinyl versions, so they are all unique.  I really enjoy sending merch and handwritten notes to people who purchase. We enjoy packaging and sending all over the world to the freak family we have found ourselves a part of. The only thing missing is the distribution powers and so if another label wanted us, the main reason we would go for it, is if they could distribute on other continents, so the postage prices wouldn’t be so high for our fans. Obviously we would scrutinise this label, which would have to be free of war investment, be ethical, and not politically opposed to our own ideals. Like that’s going to happen, eh?!”

After this last joke we discussed the necessity for punk rock in our days, more than ever. What exactly is “punk”? Is it the sound? The attitude? The lyrics?

“Punk is a way of life. It’s an attitude, it’s freedom, it’s bravery to be one’s self. Maybe it’s foolishness too, but I guess it’s how far you take things and what you can get away with. I don’t think there is much that we do is particularly controversial. But apparently it is – well Candi points it out to me regularly. Our first full band gig took place in Brixton Jamm at Outlaw – an event put on by Alabama 3. Punkvert were engaged to put on the visuals and book DJs, cabaret and assorted freaks for the event. Our first gig with six piece line up plus dancers and guest vocalist Devillia de Dallas started with the band arriving on stage in pink Kinky Kunt Klan outfits with anarchy symbols and badges from the Huntsville Correctional Unit AKA Texas Death Row. I didn’t think how the Klan outfits would be interpreted at the time locally. The event was a cracker.”

How about now that things in the UK are a mess? Do you think that new punk rock bands will emerge?

“Yes! Tories bring creativity. I remember people saying that years ago, but I didn’t really understand it until the rose tinted glasses of the Labour Government were smashed and trodden into the ground by the real Nasty Party.”

They liked the colaboration we had for ‘Summer Wine’ so Frank told me one day, “I made a video for the track Mr cowboy. It’s fun/ I am sending it to see it and if you like it I will upload it on YouTube.”

Yes, it’s fun and I liked the video. Gives a humoristic note to the song compared with other versions I’ve heard.

Do you have a favorite subject for your lyrics?

“Initially we realised that most lyrics were about sex, drugs, inequality and war. It’s not a favourite topic, but the horrendous situation in the Middle East has been hugely influential in my writing. Feeling for the people who suffer at the hands of their dictators particularly in Syria gave rise to ‘Wake Up Marie’. It’s about the journalist Marie Colvin dying trying to get the news out to the world about how the people in Baba Amr district of Homs were being bombed by their own government.

American journalist Marie Colvin was working for the Brittish newspaper The Sunday Times from 1985 until her death. She died while covering the siege of Homs in Syria. Marie Colvin was killed by an “improvised explosive device filled with nails on February 22 2012, alongside photojournalist Rémi Ochlik. In July 2016, lawyers representing Colvin’s family filed a civil action against the government of the Syrian Arab Republic claiming they had obtained proof that the Syrian government had directly ordered her assassination, leading to a judge finding the Syrian government guilty of her assassination in early 2019, awarding Colvin’s family $302 million in damages.

“Responsibility for our actions is another theme – ‘Bomb in a Luggage Rack’ in which I put in all pronouns to prevent the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. When people are affected by terroism by frustrated, disowned people or by the state itself, this pain is felt by globally – we are all human beings, we can all behave atrociously or we can act for the common good. Covering Minor Threat’s ‘Straight Edge’ led me to re-write the lyrics and Candi to slow down the verses and put in lots of Middle Eastern twangs to produce ‘Despot’, with the chorus still the double time assault Minor Threat fans know and love but the words are ‘I’m. No. Despot.” We are honoured to have Ian MacKaye’s blessing for this one. In huge contrast, the ‘Answer to War’ is about ‘my little pink button!’ can you guess what it is yet?

Other tunes discuss the banking crisis of 2008 – ‘Supercrash’, lack of rewards from living a so called normal life ‘Eat the Rich’, getting totally wasted ‘StaggerFactor’, my beautiful muse ‘Mouse’, an infamous triple XXX rated performer at London’s Box who is known across the world, people who can’t think for themselves and judge you on what they are told to approve of by magazines, music press, allegiances to alleged punk dynasties (the 1977 brigade) ‘what comes next’ ‘body’ politics and rights over how you present yourself and Lucifer ‘Morning Star’. I’ve also written tunes about my eldest daughter, particularly to wish her into a strong adulthood and forge her path ‘Horse’ plus rambling thoughts about living life in modern day uncaring selfish society ‘Vertigo’, ‘Rat Live on no eviL staR’… so much more I haven’t said yet. Candi wrote about the evils in Yemen ‘For the Unforseeable Future’, where people are ripped to shreds by cluster bombs projected onto their innocent villages by US special forces. The UK and US arms trade makes them complicit in continuing the suffering of people in many places by making a business out of death and destruction. My first lyrics that appear on vinyl are for ‘Snake’ – about lovers who let you down – on the compilation album ‘Specialisation is for Insects’.

One day the couple came with a present for me. The album they put out in 2016, titled, “The Nasty Album”. I asked them if they are vinyl junkies and if they have a big record collection.

“We love vinyl. We have a lot of it! Candi is most definitely a vinyl junkie, beautifully assisted by working in All Ages Records and Rock n Roll Rescue – two music shops in Camden. We also have a lot of our own Ex Gratia vinyl merchandise stored in the Labiatory, which is our home studio. The walls are closing in.”

What is the current line-up of the band?

“Line up has been from the start funkcutter and Candi. We have been through several guitarists, bassists and a tin bath full of drummers over the years. The current line up is Kris ‘T-Red’ Stazaker on guitar and vox, who is also in T-Bitch and a solo artist in her own right, David ‘the Wasp’ Kahl on violent guitar (also in Brown Glove and Old Ernie), Mitch J Flacko (Hagar the Womb) on bass and vox, Scarlett ‘half goy, pussy-magnet’ Carsen (Bug Central) on drums, vox and more cowbell, Candiflip Blackwood on guitar, vox, backing tracks, funkcutter on vox, trumpet, high kicks, Lindsey S is our videographer and is currently learning drums too. We also have a Peggy Bop Becket (P.A.I.N.) as a dancer at many festivals as well as a variety of others plus Tanzi and Luka as live Punkvert VJs on the festival circuit.

Candi writes the majority of the music and some lyrics and funkcutter has written the majority of the lyrics since 2008. We are working on a track Mitch has written at the moment, which is great, as he is taking lead vocal. It’s brilliant and makes an inspiring contrast to the rest of the current set. We have material from David the Wasp to work on too.

We have released four albums, but the first one ‘Blessed’ we do not sell. It’s a double album. After the release of ‘Situationist Normal’ home life was pretty wonky with addiction and mental health overriding normal service meaning the third album took so long to make it turned into two albums – ‘The Nasty Album’ and ‘Sine On, Mr Lovely’. Maybe that was the most difficult (mainly due to my impatience!), but we are very proud of them.”

Are you up for another movie? What are your next plans?

“Yes. A horror film. With more dialogue. I am writing the story at the moment. We hope to shoot in March in Oxfordshire, at Shaken Oak Studios, where we are recording our fifth album. Very much looking forward to getting these fresh tracks out and start on the sixth. anarchistwood only has a tenure of eight albums, so we are more than halfway done. Then it’s over. Enjoy it while you can!”

Thanks for the good times, the music, and friendship. Hope to see ya.

 

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Last Drive, The Flowers of Romance, Deus Ex Machina – Μάης του 1993 στην Θεσσαλονίκη

Πέρασαν 26 χρόνια απο τις δύο βραδιές  που εμφανιστήκαμε οι Flowers of Romance μαζί με τους Last Drive στο Κηποθέατρο της Θεσσαλονίκης.

Νομίζω πως ήταν λίγο πριν η σκηνή του Ελληνικού ροκ φτάσει στο αποκορύφωμά της πριν ορμήξουν οι πολυεθνικές και διαλύσουν τα πάντα.

Υπάρχει αυτό το βίντεο για να μου θυμίζει εκείνες τις δύο ηρωικές βραδιές του Μάη του 1993.

Μου το έστειλε η Steisy Μανδάλτση λίγες μέρες αργότερα, η οποία έβγαζε ενα fanzine που λεγόταν Stigmata, και βρισκόταν πάντα εκεί όποτε ανεβαίναμε με τους Flowers of Romance και φαντάζομαι πως γινόταν και γίνεται ακόμα και σήμερα μάρτυρας των περισσότερων εμφανίσεων Ελληνικών συγκροτημάτων στην πόλη.

Συναντιόμαστε και σήμερα όποτε ανεβαίνω με τους New Zero God.

Την πρώτη βραδιά, αυτή που υπάρχει σε αυτό το βίντεο, εμφανίστηκαν και οι Deus Ex Machina ενω την δεύτερη παίξανε στην θέση τους οι Panx Romana.

Με το συγκρότημα μέναμε σε ένα ξενοδοχείο κοντά στο κέντρο της Θεσσαλονίκης, στο Hotel Telioni στην Αγ. Δημητρίου, και πιστεύω πως καταφέραμε να κρατήσουμε ξύπνιους όλους τους ένοικους τα δύο βράδια της παραμονής μας, από τα γέλια και την φασαρία που κάναμε.

Φυσικά, μετά το τέλος κάθε εμφάνισης, μας έπαιρναν διάφοροι φίλοι και μας αποτελείωναν σε όμορφα μπαρ της πόλης.

Η πρώτη φορά που έπαιξα στην Θεσσαλονίκη ήταν το 1989 στο Στέκι της Φιλοσοφικής, σε μια εμφάνιση που είχε διοργανώσει για εμάς ο Βαγγέλης από τους Ναυτία και τούτη εδώ ήταν η δεύτερη φορά που πηγαίναμε για να παίξουμε στην πόλη ως Flowers of Romance.

Από τότε μέχρι σήμερα νομίζω πως έχω παίξει δέκα φορές ακόμα, προσθέτoντας και τις εμφανίσεις που έκανα με τους New Zero God.

Αποκάλεσα τις δύο εκείνες βραδιές «ηρωικές» γιατί ο καιρός φρόντισε να είναι βροχερός και τις δύο νύχτες χωρίς αυτό να πτοήσει τους φίλους που ήθελαν να δουν τα συγκροτήματα και σε πείσμα του καιρού, παρέμειναν στον χώρο.

Αυτό που θυμάμαι είναι πως μιας και το Κηποθέατρο δεν είχε σκέπαστρο, τα πεταλάκια και τα τροφοδοτικά κολυμπούσαν πάνω στην σκηνή με κίνδυνο ηλεκτροπληξίας.

Την βραδιά που θα δείτε στο βίντεο, η βροχή ξεκίνησε και πάλι καθώς τελειώναμε το πρόγραμμα.

Δεν θυμάμαι σε ποια από τις δύο βραδιές, κατέβηκα από το stage και όταν σκουπίστηκα απ το νερό και βγήκα στον χώρο, είδα τους Drive να παίζουν πίσω από μια κουρτίνα καταρακτώδους βροχής…

Αυτό όμως δείχνει και την αγάπη των Ελλήνων rock μουσικών για αυτό που κάνουν. Μερικές φορές είναι επικίνδυνο (στην προκειμένη περίπτωση να πάθουν ηλεκτροπληξία) αλλά σε όλες τις περιπτώσεις, καλούνται να διαθέσουν τον χρόνο τους για την μουσική,  τα λιγοστά τους χρήματα, να κάνουν υπομονή, και πότε-πότε να θυσιάσουν και φιλίες ακόμα.

Πιστεύω πως χρονική διάρκεια αυτού που κάνεις είναι που παίζει τον μεγαλύτερο ρόλο. Το για πόσο στέκεσαι δηλαδή πάνω στο σανίδι και λες στα πάντα “αντε παρατήστε με, εγω θέλω απλά να παίξω rock’n’roll”.

Στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του ’90 υπήρχε σε όλη την χώρα μεγάλη άνθηση απο fanzines. Ανεξάρτητων περιοδικών που κυκλοφορούσαν κάποιοι άνθρωποι που αγαπούσαν κι αυτοί την μουσική ως ακροατές και ήθελαν να μοιραστούν τις ανακαλύψεις τους με άλλους εραστές της ίδιας τρέλας. .

Ετσι λοιπόν, την διοργάνωση αυτού του διήμερου την ανέλαβε ενα περιοδικό της Θεσσαλονίκης, το In Rock, του Χρήστου Τερζίδη, το οποίο διανεμόταν δωρεάν σε ολα τα μουσικά στέκια της χώρας. Ίσως κάποιοι να το θυμάστε.

Ευχαριστώ και πάλι την Steisy για το βίντεο, τον Χρήστο για εκείνη την εκδήλωση και όλους όσους είχαν έρθει και εύχομαι τόσο αυτοί όσο και οι μπάντες να είναι και να περνάν καλά.

 

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NEW ZERO GOD Ζωντανή εμφάνιση στο LOST N FOUND Σάββατο 2 Νοεμβρίου 2019

Φέτος τον Μάρτιο οι New Zero God κυκλοφόρησαν το τέταρτο studio άλμπουμ τους.

Έχει τίτλο “Circus of Tortured Melodies” και το συγκρότημα συμπεριλαμβάνει στίς ζωντανές εμφανίσεις του, τραγούδια τόσο απο αυτό, οσο κι απο όλες τις προηγούμενες δουλειές του.

Είναι πλαισιωμένα απο τραγούδια των θρυλικών Flowers of Romance, του προηγούμενου συγκροτήματος που είχε ο τραγουδιστής Mike Πούγουνας.

Το Σάββατο στις 2 Νοεμβρίου, οι τέσσερις New Zero God θα ανέβουν στην σκηνή του Lost’n Found για να παίξουν σκοτεινό rock’n’roll, οπλισμένοι με δύο ακουστικές κιθάρες, ενα ταμπούρο και τα φωνητικά.

Αυτό το έντονα φορτισμένο ακουστικό σετ του συγκροτήματος, εκτός απο υλικό των New Zero God και των Flowers of Romance, θα συμπεριλαμβάνει και κάποιες διασκευές-έκπληξη.

Σάββατο 2 Νοεμβρίου 2019

Είσοδος ελέυθερη

Lost’n Found

Κεραμεικού 53

Public Transit

Μετρό Μεταξουργείο

Μετρό Κεραμεικός

ΗΣΑΠ Θησείο

 

ΑΝΑΛΥΤΙΚΟ ΒΙΟΓΡΑΦΙΚΟ ΤΩΝ NEW ZERO GOD

Οι New Zero God σχηματίστηκαν τον Μάρτιο του 2006 από τον Mike Πούγουνα και μέλη που έπαιζαν μαζί του, στα συγκροτήματα Flowers of Romance, και Nexus.
Μέχρι σήμερα το συγκρότημα έχει ανοίξει τις συναυλίες για τους Αμερικάνους Christian Death τους Αγγλους Legendary Pink Dots και τον θρυλικό Βρετανό μουσικό Andi Sex Gang (των Sex Gang Children) ενώ συχνά-πυκνά ασχολείται μαζί τους ο διεθνής μουσικός τύπος.

Το πρώτο άλμπουμ των New Zero God κυκλοφόρησε με τίτλο “Fun Is A Four Letter Word” το 2010 από την Ελληνική εταιρία Puzzlemusik Records.

pic by Takis Kyriakoylakos

Ακολούθησε μια συνέντευξη στο περιοδικό Muen από το Los Angeles, και μια ακόμα στο Βρετανικό Dominion, για να ακολουθήσει μια παρουσίαση από το διεθνές μουσικό περιοδικό Terrorizer.

Τον Μάιο του 2011, ο τραγουδιστής του συγκροτήματος, Μike Πούγουνας, δέχτηκε πρόσκληση να πάρει μέρος με μουσικούς από την Αγγλία, την Αμερική και την Νότια Αφρική στη διασκευή του τραγουδιού του David Bowie,Everyone Says Hi” για την ενίσχυση του Αγγλικού ιδρύματος κατά των εγκλημάτων μίσους, Sophie Lancaster Foundation (S.O.P.H.I.E.).

Τον Ιούνιο και τον Ιούλιο της ίδιας χρονιάς οι New Zero God βρέθηκαν στα charts του Bρετανικού περιοδικού Dominion με το τραγούδι “Kiss The Witch”.

Σε συνεργασία με μουσικούς από διάφορες χώρες, κυκλοφόρησαν τον Δεκέμβριο του 2011 το τραγούδι “Second Chance” ως New Zero God & Friends με σκοπό τα έσοδα από τις πωλήσεις να πηγαίνουν στο Αμερικάνικο ίδρυμα για κακοποιημένες γυναίκες και παιδιά, HAWC.

To τραγούδι έμεινε ολο τον Γενάρη αλλα και τον μισό Φλεβάρη του 2012 στο νούμερο 1 του Αμερικάνικου CD Baby.

Τραγούδια του συγκροτήματος έχουν συμπεριληφθεί στην συλλογή του Βρετανικού περιοδικού Devolution, στην επίσης Βρετανική συλλογή “The Blackout Crypthology”, στην Γερμανική συλλογήGothic Vision III”, στο Αμερικάνικο Lollipop Magazine αλλά και σε πολλές άλλες συλλογές από διάφορες χώρες.

Στις 4 Ιουλίου του 2012 ήρθε η σειρά τού μίνι άλμπουμ των New Zero God με τίτλοClub Bizarre” να κυκλοφορήσει από την Βρετανική εταιρία Secret Sin Records, ενώ στις 28 Σεπτεμβρίου της ίδιας χρονιάς το συγκρότημα πήρε μέρος στην ταινίαAthens Drift” του Βρετανού σκηνοθέτη Paul Druce, με τον Πούγουνα να κρατάει έναν μικρό ρόλο.

Στις 13 Ιανουαρίου του 2013 η Secret Sin Records έβγαλε στην αγορά το άλμπουμ “MMXIII” ενώ στις 25 Μαρτίου κυκλοφόρησε διαδικτυακά το τραγούδι “The Night Calls Your Name” του οποίου τα έσοδα προορίζονται για την ενίσχυση του Sophie Lancaster Foundation (S.O.P.H.I.E.).

Τον Αύγουστο του 2013 ο Μike Πούγουνας δημιούργησε το The Greek Underground Scene με σκοπό να προβάλλονται τα συγκροτήματα της Ελληνικής ανεξάρτητης σκηνής αλλά και να γίνονται φεστιβάλ αλληλεγγύης για Ελληνικούς οργανισμούς και ιδρύματα που το έχουν ανάγκη.

Ηδη εχουν διατεθεί δωρεάν δύο διαδικτυακές συλλογές Ελληνικών συγκροτημάτων και με πρωτοβουλία του The Greek Underground Scene έχει γίνει μια συναυλία από 5 Ελληνικά συγκροτήματα, τα έσοδα της οποίας διατέθηκαν για ν αγοραστούν φάρμακα για το Μητροπολιτικό Κοινωνικό Ιατρείο Ελληνικού.

Τον Δεκέμβριο του 2013 η Surgut Resort Records κυκλοφόρησε σε περιορισμένο αριθμό αντιτύπων το 7” single των New Zero God, “Destination Unknown / Forever Today”.

pic by The Art Asylum

Στις 4 Φεβρουαρίου του 2014, το “ΜΜΧΙΙΙ” επελέγει από τους αναγνώστες του Ευρωπαϊκού περιοδικού Terra Relicta ως ένα από τα 22 καλύτερα αλμπουμ για το 2013 ανάμεσα σε άλμπουμ των Black Sabbath, Nick Cave, Mission, New Model Army και άλλων, καταλαμβάνοντας την 9η θέση. Στις 5 Φεβρουαρίου 2014 η Ελληνική ανεξάρτητη εταιρία B-otherside Records κυκλοφόρησε την Ελληνική έκδοση αυτού του άλμπουμ (με ένα παραπάνω τραγούδι από την Αγγλική).

Toν Δεκέμβριο του 2014 το Forever Today συμπεριελήφθη στην συλλογή της Αγγλικής Deadfall,Dark Secrets” ενώ τον Ιανουάριο του 2015 το τραγούδιDead Inside” συγκαταλέγει στην διεθνή συλλογήFor The Bats Vol. 2” (μια συλλογή με σκοπό την οικονομική ενίσχυση του Αυστραλέζικου ιδρύματος Tolga Bat Hospital που σκοπό έχει την περίθαλψη και φροντίδα της νυχτερίδας).

Tον Φεβρουάριο, το Kiss The Witch συμπεριλήφθηκε στην Ιταλική συλλογήVoices from Mislealia Vol. 1”.

Στις 18 Απριλίου του 2015 οι New Zero God εμφανίστηκαν ζωντανά στο club Ekidna στην Ιταλική πόλη Modena. (Την συναυλία άνοιξαν οι Ιταλοί Dead Inside οι οποίοι πήραν το όνομά τους από το ομότιτλο τραγούδι των New Zero God).

Όταν το συγκρότημα επέστρεψε στην Ελλάδα, άρχισε να δουλεύει το υλικό του επόμενου άλμπουμ.

Στις 8 Ιουνίου οι New Zero God αποφάσισαν να διαθέσουν στους φιλους τους δωρεάν μεσω της σελίδας του συγκροτήματος στο Bandcamp το “Zona Pericolosa“. Ένα μίνι άλμπουμ με 5 τραγούδια ηχογραφημένα ζωντανά στο live της Ιταλίας.

Τον Οκτώβριο η μπάντα μπήκε στο στούντιο για να ξεκινήσει τις ηχογραφήσεις για το νέο άλμπουμ και τον Δεκέμβριο είχε ηδη παραχωρήσει το τραγούδι “Pen Like A Knife” για την συλλογή “Absolution” της Βρετανικής Deadfall.

Tο “Short Tales & Tall Shadows” κυκλοφόρησε στις 15 Μαρτίου 2016 σε CD ενώ ένα μηνα αργότερα κυκλοφόρησε και σε δίσκο βινυλίου (με κάποια διαφορετικά τραγούδια από εκεινα του CD).

Τον Οκτώβριο του 2016, σε συνεργασία με το Σκωτσέζικο συγκρότημα Savage Cut κυκλοφόρησε σε περιορισμένα αντίτυπα το 7” single “Redemption”.

pic by Costas Sofianides

Με το τέλος του χρόνου, οι New Zero God, ηχογραφούν μια διασκευή του τραγουδιού “Airport” τoυ Αγγλικού ‘70ς συγκροτήματος Motors, σε συνεργασία με τον Βρετανό DJ Cruel Britannia και την πρωτοχρονιά το διαθέτουν δωρεάν μεσω Bandcamp για τους φίλους τους

Τον Μάρτιο του 2017 βγήκε σε ηλεκτρονική μορφή το EΡ “Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac” και στο τέλος του χρόνου οι New Zero God ξεκίνησαν περιοδεία παίζοντας αποκλειστικά τραγούδια των Flowers of Romance ως φόρο τιμής για τα 20 χρόνια απο την διάλυση του συγκροτήματος του τραγουδιστή Μike Πούγουνα.

Τον Ιανουάριο του 2018 η Αμερικάνικη δισκογραφική εταιρία Custom Made Music επανακυκλοφόρησε το ΕΡ του group “Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac”.

Μέσα στην ίδια χρονιά και ενώ το συγκρότημα ηχογραφούσε το επόμενο άλμπουμ του, εμφανίστηκε στην ωριαία μουσική εκπομπή της ΕΡΤ 3 “Volume” και έδωσε συναυλίες σε Αθήνα, Θεσσαλονίκη, Ηράκλειο και Αγρίνιο.

Τον Σεπτέμβριο του 2018, διασκευάζουν το κλασσικό τραγούδι του Lee Hazelwood και της Nancy SinatraSummer Wine” το οποίο ηχογραφούν σε συνεργασία με το Αγγλικό Αναρχοπανκ συγκρότημα Anarchistwood και το διαθέτουν δωρεάν μεσω Bandcamp.

Τον Δεκέμβριο του 2018 οι New Zero God ξεκίνησαν να παρουσιάζουν ενα ακουστικό σετ σε μικρά μπαρ, παίζοντας με δύο ακουστικές κιθάρες, ενα τύμπανο και μια φωνή, τόσο τραγούδια τους, οσο και υλικό των Flowers of Romance αλλά και διασκευές.

Το νέο άλμπουμ, κυκλοφόρησε τον Φλεβάρη του 2019 σε LP με διαφανές βινύλιο και ένα μήνα αργότερα διαδικτυακά..

Εχει τίτλο “Circus of Tortured Melodies” και σε αυτό συμμετέχουν γνωστοί φίλοι του συγκροτήματος οπως ο Andi Sex Gang, o Νίκος Σκιαδόπουλος των Blues Cargo στην φυσαρμόνικα , ο πιανίστας/οργανίστας Γιώργος Κατσάνος, γνωστός απο την συνεργασία του με τον Θάνο Ανεστόπουλο, την Λένα Πλάτωνος , ο τραγουδιστής του Αγγλικού συγκροτήματος Dark Horizon, Michael Clayton και πολλοί άλλοι…

Τον Ιούνιο του 2019 η Αμερικάνικη ανεξάρτητη εταιρία Cleopatra Records κυκλοφόρησε την συλλογή “The Unquiet Grave 2019” στην οποία συμπεριέλαβε το τραγούδι των New Zero God “Broken Halo”.

Το συγκρότημα συνεχίζει να εμφανίζεται ζωντανά, παίζοντας τόσο το ηλεκτρικό οσο και το ακουστικό set.

NEW ZERO GOD LINE-UP  & DISCOGRAPHY

Mike Πούγουνας [φωνητικά]

Aκης Νικολαϊδης [Κιθάρες]

Γιάννης Ψιμόπουλος [τύμπανα, β φωνητικά]

Μιχάλης Σεμερτζόγλου [Μπάσσο, κιθάρα]

Μπαμπης Ευθυμίου [programming]

  • Studio albums:
  • o          Fun is a Four Letter Word (Greece 2010)
  • o          MMXIII (UK 2013 – Greece 2014)
  • o          Short Tales & Tall Shadows (LP, CD, Greece 2016)
  • o          Circus of Tortured Melodies (LP, Digital Greece 2019)
  • Mini albums:
  • o          Club Bizarre (UK 2012)
  • Singles:
  • Second Chance (digital, 2011)
  • The Night Calls Your Name (digital, 2013)
  • Destination Unknown (7” vinyl single, Digital 2013)
  • Redemption (Limited 7” split vinyl single with Savage Cut 2016)
  • (The Motors cover) Airport feat. DJ Cruel Britania (Digital Free Download 2017)
  • Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac (MC Custom Made Music USA 2018)
  • (Lee Hazelwood/Nancy Sinatra cover) Summer Wine feat. Anarchistwood (Digital Free Download 2018)
  • Live albums:
  • Zona Pericolosa – Live in Italy (digital, 2015)
  • Compilations:
  • In Your Dreams Again (Cover, Nexus) – Because God Told Me To Do It – Weapons of Magick – Thee Brad Miller Series (USA 2009)
  • Fun Is A Four Letter Word – Lollipop Magazine (USA 2009)
  • Dead Inside – Muz1ne #Δ Γκραντ Φινάλ (GR 2010)
  • Kiss The Witch – Devolution Magazine – Issue #30 (UK 2011)
  • Lap Of The Universe – Gothic Visions III (GER 2011)
  • Dead Inside – The Blackout Crypthology (UK 2012)
  • Lap Of The Universe – Sombrati Records – An Earth In Darkness (BRAZIL 2012)
  • In Dreams We Trust (Rat Mix) – A Deadfall Compilation, Volume 1 – Darkness Descends (UK 2013)
  • Intoxication – The Greek Underground Scene – 2013 Compilation (GR 2013)
  • Damaged – Xperiment XIII – Wicked Trax (AUS 2013)
  • Freakshow – A Deadfall Compilation, Volume 2 – Shadows Rise (UK 2013)
  • Until The End Of The Line – Intravenous Magazine’s Blood Pack, Vol. 1 (UK 2014)
  • Deadfall: Dark Secrets (UK 2014)
  • For the Bats Vol. 2 (USA 2015)
  • Voices from Mislealia Vol. 1 (Italy 2015)
  • Pen Like A Knife -A Deadfall Compilation, Volume 4 – : Absolution [UK 2015]
  • Broken Halo – The Unquiet Grave 2019 – Cleopatra Records [USA 2019]

 
 

Jay Gorney: Being punished for having dreams in the “free world”

From the late ’40s to the late ‘50s thousands of American citizens were accused of being Communists or prone to Communism and were the subject of investigations, interrogations, prosecutions, and put in jail. How many thousands of lives were destroyed by these investigations led by Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy? A man of German-Irish descent who became famous during the Cold War era for making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence, methods that received the international designation “McCarthyism“.

In the summer of 2019 I first discovered the song “Brother Can You Spare A Dime“, one of the major hits of the Great Depression. Since 1932 when the song was released it went through various versions by countless musicians, famous or not. Due to this occasion and thanks to luck, I got to know the story of its composer, Jay Gorney, who wrote with his friend, the lyricist, Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg.

(by Mike Pougounas and John Kastanaras – for the Greek version, follow this link to Merlin’s Music Box)

Thrilled by my discovery, I called John Kastanaras, owner of a well known Greek fanzine, Merlin’s Music Box, which was a printed edition back in the ‘90s but now is a web zine. I wanted to share with him my news and once again, it turned out that the world we live in is a much smaller place than we think.

John informed me that Jay’s son, Daniel, is his cousin, since he was married to John’s cousin, photographer Efi Vlachou-Gorney. They had settled in Greece in 1975, and when she passed away Dan left Athens. He is now living at their estate “Villa Efi”, somewhere outside of Corinth.

John made sure we got in touch with him and on a Saturday morning we took the car and went to meet Dan.

After an hour and a half drive, we found ourselves at the house of Daniel Gorney, in the company of spinach pies, his dog Nino, and under the open sky looking over the Loutra Oreas Elenis and the Saronic Gulf.

Dan greeted us with joy and after making a coffee, he leaned over the table holding a dossier full of papers, musical scores and posters. Lots of songs, thousands of notes, lyrics, names known and unknown, from a very difficult era, from another world, that existed only in my mind and through movies that I watched.

THE STORY BEGINS

Of course, before going for the meeting, I did a little research. As I was taking a look through Dan’s dossier, I asked him “Who wrote the scores? Did your father know how to write notes?

He wrote them,” Dan replied with his broken Greek. “This is what he was doing for eight hours every day. He was always going around with a pencil and a sheet.

Jay Gorney was born Abraham Jacob Gornetzsky on December 12, 1896 to a Jewish family in Bialystok of the then tsarist Russian Empire. His parents were Frieda (Perlstein) and Jacob Gornetzsky

Your father had left Russia, right? Today, of course, that region from which he left belongs to Poland.

Here’s a nice story my dad’s mom used to tell.” Dan changes his tone, mimicking his grandmother: “Sometimes this area was Russia, sometimes it was Poland. People didn’t know what country we lived in, so a committee was formed to ask people if they wanted to live on the Russian side of the border or on the Polish. They discussed it for weeks, until they came up with the decision that they preferred to be in Poland, because we all knew how heavy the Russian winters are”. The way Dan imitated his grandmother, as well as the hint about the Russian winter, made us laugh.

During the Russian Revolution of 1905, Bialystok was the HQ of the radical labor movement in the area, with strong organizations such as the Bund (the Jewish Labor Movement) and the Polish Socialist Party, and also the Black Banner (a Russian anarchist communist organization that emerged in 1903 as a federation of cadres known as Chernoe Znamia or Chornoe Znamia or  Chernoznamentsy meaning The Black Banner). The Bialystok pogrom was one of a series of violent incidents against the Jews between 1903 and 1908. There was a population of 62,000 people living in this area by the end of the 19th century, 47,000 of which were Jews.  The Bialystok progrom took place from June 14 to June 16, 1906, and 88 people were killed by the imperial Russian army.

As the bloody events were escalating, the family decided to leave their home and remain hidden for the next two weeks until they found a way to flee to the US.

They arrived on September 14, 1906.

My daughter, Tatiana, has found all the names of family members on the passengers list that disembarked on Ellis island” Dan said. “My grandfather had some relatives in Detroit so this is where they went.”

Where did your father learn to play the piano?

They rented a piano by the week ‘cause his mom wanted his older brother to learn how to play,” Dan explained. “The brother wasn’t in the mood to learn, but my father attended the lessons and learned on his own. He later played for Nickelodeon. ”

PLAYING THE PIANO AT THE NICKELODEON

From 1905 to 1915 Nickelodeon was a hype in the States.

There were a number of remodeled warehouses, formed into small rooms, where people watched short silent movies at the price of 5 cents (a nickel).

Combined with the Greek word Odion, they came up with the name Nickelodeon, considered by some today as the ancestor of movie theatres.

Jay Gorney started playing music at the Nickelodeon at the age of 14.

He was playing the piano during the projection of silent movies and the bug of music stayed with him ever since. He also went also to the university and graduated in law. He joined the band of the University of Michigan, making money that he sent to his family until he finished his studies in 1917. He saved enough money from playing music back then.

Jay went to work as a lawyer for $ 20 a week, but compared to the money he made as a musician, that was nothing so he decided to focus on music.

My father met his first wife, Edelaine Roden, when the Jewish Club of the University sent him to persuade a girl to sit properly when riding a horse. The girl was Jewish and she was riding as a man instead of sitting sideways on the saddle. The two of them fell in love and she told him “Since you are a musician why do you bother with law?” So they moved to New York where he could find work in music. She was his first wife. Edelaine was crazy but she was a good person. After convincing him, he started working at Ziegfeld Follies.

The Ziegfeld Follies were a series of plays on Broadway in New York that started in 1907 and went on until 1931. They returned in 1934 and 1936 and turned into a radio show in 1932 and 1936 as “The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air.”

John Kastanaras tried to clear the picture by asking what did Jay do with Yip in the 20’s before writing “Brother Can You Spare a Dime”.

“He wrote musical reviews for the rich people to go to see live music. Ziegfeld Follies was a big name back then. It was sketches with big bands and girls with feathers.

So in what financial state did the financial crash of the 1930s find Jay Gorney?

My father got rich. Because of ‘Brother Can You Spare A Dime’ he became a wealthy man. During the depression he was at his high. The Americans could go see a movie with a nickel. It became something like television. It was THE entertainment and he wrote music for movies.”

(1933) Jay Gorney on the piano, lyricist Yip Harburg, choreographer Bobby Connelly and dancers on the scene of “Moonlight and Pretzels”

BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME

A new person appeared in Dan’s story telling:

My father met Yip Harburg in New York and together they wrote ‘Brother Can You Spare A Dime’ which was a big hit.”

Yip Harburg was a lyricist, known for his social commentary in his lyrics and his liberal ideas. He advocated racial equality, gender equality, and trade unionism. He was also a fervent critic of religion. Apart from “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” that he co-wrote with Gorney, he is known to almost everyone for the song “Over the Rainbow“, since he wrote all the lyrics of Victor Fleming’s classic “Wizard of Oz”.

The first to record “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”, Or “Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?” was Leo Resman with his orchestra in 1932 and was followed almost immediately by Charlie Palloy in the same year. But the version that became a hit was Bing Crosby’s, who included it in his Portrait Of Bing Crosby album (1932).

Bing did it so well, that everybody imitated him… It’s a very moving song.

The lyrics are about an unemployed man who, after being squeezed by the system, working on railways and construction and sent to fight in WW1 for the USA with the promise of a dream. He is now a beggar, begging for a dime from passers-by.

The song was originally written for the third production of the musical “Americana” (1932) but Republicans saw it as anti-capitalist propaganda and took advantage of every means available to withdraw the song from the show, and also tried to ban it from radio broadcasting.“The lyrics of the song are too dangerous to be written by an American,” they said.

Dan shook his head and concluded, “I’ve kept an article that says that it was considered as one of the most anti-capitalist songs in history. That and Pete Seeger‘s ‘The Banks Are Made Of Marble’.” He then he came up with Seeger’s lyrics and sang cheerfully but with a twist: “But the banks are made of marble. With a guard at every door. And the vaults are stuffed with silver. That the farmer sweated for”.

“That, and ‘Brother Can You Spare a Dime’ were considered the most anti-capitalist songs. But the story of how Yip came up with the lyrics is also great. Jay Gorney had the melody and they loved it. But it was too strong for a song about a man who lost his woman, too strong about a woman who lost her man. It was what they were writing. Torch songs. And they walked through Central Park to come up with an idea for this tune they had. A guy with a pulled-up collar came up and said “Hey brother can you spare a dime?” Daddy always said ‘I don’t remember if he ever got his dime.’

It has been said that this song changed the way the average man looked at a guy in the street saying ‘Hey man, can you spare some change?’ Before the song he was a bum, a beggar. After the song… you know at this state this was a working man and a soldier.”

Dan grasped an old acoustic guitar in his hands.

“This one was given to me by Yip. From the cradle I’ve had this song. It’s the background song to my life.” he said and started singing:

They used to tell me I was building a dream
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow or guns to bear
I was always there right on the job

They used to tell me I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it’s done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime
Once I built a tower, now it’s done

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee doodly dum
Half a million boots went sloggin’ through hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Say, don’t you remember, they called me Al
It was Al all the time
Why don’t you remember, I’m your pal
Say buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, ah gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee doodly dum
Half a million boots went sloggin’ through hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Oh, say, don’t you remember, they called me Al
It was Al all the time
Say, don’t you remember, I’m your pal

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

A song that, as someone said contains the whole story of the Great Depression and its consequences in one sentence.

“Since ‘Brother Can You Spare a Dime’ was pessimistic, they decided to write something more upbeat in response,” Dan continues “So Jay and Yip composed ‘Dusty Shoes.’ Basically they tried to boost the morale of the average American. Here’s the lyrics sheet and the music score,” he said, and handed them over to us while he played “Dusty Shoes” on the guitar.

“The success of ‘Brother Can You Spare a Dime’ was the reason my dad was called to Hollywood in order to write music for movies because in the meantime they managed to add sound to the films. So he went to Hollywood with Edelaine, his first wife, my half-brother, and they also invited Yip to stay with them. Eventually, however, Yip took my father’s wife and ran away. I sent him a message on his 80th birthday saying “I’m thankful to you eternally. If it wasn’t for you, where would I be?”

After a few laughs, we talk a little about Yip, the song “Over the Rainbow” and the rumor about the pairing of the 1973 Pink Floyd album ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ with the visual portion of the 1939 film ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Rumor has it that if you start playing Pink Floyd’s album right after MGM’s lion roars for the third time there are moments where the Wizard of Oz and the album appear to correspond with each other.

WITCH HUNT…

Jay Gorney

Jay Gorney remarried, this time to Dan’s mother, Sondra Karyl.

“My mother was a Communist. I am not 100% sure…,” Dan said “but she probably told him that she would accept getting married to him only if he joined the party. You see, my father was 25 years older than she was… ”

We asked him if this is when Jay joined the party.

“I don’t know, he said ‘It’s my right not to answer that question. Nobody has the right to ask me that question’ he took the fifth amendment.”

After the release of “Brother Can You Spare A Dime”, Roosevelt was elected president. Did Jay Gorney have any  war experience?

“My father had already served in World War I. He said “I fought the 1st World War with a stick.”  He conducted a military band. He tried to put on a couple of shows. During the McCarthy era they had a show, a big show called ‘Meet the People.’ A few shows opened in Hollywood. He used local talent and out of work actors and actresses. It spent three years in New York, played London. It was a big show. So, in ’56 I think, after the Black List, he tried to do it again.”

Dan stood up and went to another room. He returned with a photo.

Yes, here’s Lionel Stander. Major actor and commie. He appeared before my father on the House Un-American Activities Committee.” In 1953 they called Stander before the committee. But he wasn’t cooperative, and the whole incident described in Eric Bentley‘s skit ‘Are You Now or Have You Ever Been.’ Dan laughed and explained: “A revue, they had different skits. In one skit, there was the character of a lawyer interrogating a witness and he sang ‘Are you now or have you ever been, in love? Are you now a follower or a member of that gang that love and live where they want to…’ he tried to make fun of the committee. The Committee was asking ‘are you now or have you ever been a Communist? They closed that show really quickly. I mean the manager ran off with the cash, the electric blew out and other dirty tricks. They sabotaged that show.”

But what happened when they invited his father to the committee?

He seemed to be cooperative at the beginning. But then he started telling about how his father got US citizenship. He said that he helped his father to learn English by writing a song ‘which I’d like to perform for you now’ and he tried to sing in the House Un-American Activities Committee a song called ‘The Bill of Rights’:

‘Old Thomas Jefferson he said one day, the people have got to be respected.

I won’t be here for very long so come what may their rights always have to be protected.

The Sage of Monticello was such a prophetic fellow and according to his likes, he wrote the Bill of Rights.

All of our problems have a solution in what Mr. Jefferson wrote. The first ten amendments to our constitution to which please note: quote…” and Dan sung the first amendment from the Bill of Rights to his father’s tune.

Suddenly Dan stopped singing.

He tried to sing that and they brought the gavel” Dan hits softly the table three times and continues “Mr. Gorney there’ll be no singing in this hearing. And daddy, my poor little daddy who was so shy and afraid of authority he said ‘but you had so many pigeons signing here. Trained pigeons I’d call them.’ He wouldn’t say stool pigeons ‘cause that was a dirty word and he was very polite. And they shut him up.”

So they ruined his career.

The FBI was on the phone. Was outside the door. Any time they heard of a job offer or a project they called up and said ‘do you know he is a commie? Do you know that the American Allegiance is gonna come out and picket you if you put this music on?” And they surrounded him and made it impossible for him to work. That’s the Black List. It’s not just a list. FBI agents would follow me to school and spoke to the principal of my high school. They interviewed my first grade teacher ‘did little Daniel say anything… communist?’ My first grade teacher… I mean they really surrounded the whole family. They made it impossible for him to work so my mother was forced to go work.

Did this stop at some point?

It was the height of his carreer. He must have been 55-60 when this happened. He continued to write but he couldn’t get anything produced. He worked with other black listed writers and it was quite literally a conspiracy to keep these people off the market. It’s one of the reasons I live in Greece. I left the country that prosecuted my daddy. Most of this industry is about money, and there were progressive people who built the American musical theater. Most of them, like Gershwin and others, happened to be German-Jews and Russian-Jews. Yip was friends with the Gershwin brothers in high school. Yip was poor. Gershwin was a German Jew. They had a gramophone and Yip visted them to listen to records of Gilbert and Sullivan.

We asked him if there were any Jews on the side of the accusers at the time of McCarthy that were chasing other Jews on the grounds that they were Communists.

The lawyer for McCarthy,” Dan replies, Roy M. Cohn. McCarthy’s lawyer. Senator McCarthy was an alcoholic from the Midwest. A W.A.S.P. (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). Roy M. Cohn said to McCarthy, this is right after World War II and the Holocaust. “You can’t go after this Jewish commies. You can’t do it because you’re a Mick and you’ll look just like Hitler. But me, I’m a Jewish boy. I’ll go after them. He was actually a mentor to Nixon and Trump. So he hired a nice Jewish boy.”

We spoke a little about the “duck and hide drill”.

It was the Cold War, commies were painted, they had horns and a tail. They were the evil.

Jay Gorney

SHIRLEY TEMPLE

One night in 1933, Jay Gorney was coming out of the movie theatre where he watched the short movie ‘Merrily Yours’ (also known as ‘Frolics of Youth’) starring Shirley Temple. He found her dancing outside the theatre and recognized her. He arranged an audition for her for December 7, 1933 for the movie ‘Stand Up and Cheer!’ Temple took the part and signed a contract with Fox Film Corporation for $ 150 a week. This role was decisive for her career. “The producer of the movie ‘Baby, Take a Bow’ (1934) wanted a 14-year-old girl to play in the film, but my father insisted and told him to try Shirley Temple first.

The Fox executives liked her so much that they started promoting her immediately. On the movie she sang and danced with James Dunn.

There’s a great movie where Shirley dances with the black actor, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson,” Dan says.

Shirley Temple enjoyed collaborating with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Off camera she was calling him Uncle Billy.

ROYALTIES

We wondered if ASCAP is working properly .

ASCAP is a fantastic organization,” Dan says. “It’s a big, strong, aggressive, paying organization. I get royalties for my father. The copyright stands for 75 years after the composer’s death.” This is when Dan comes with information that we didn’t know. “My old man was one of the founding members of the American Guild of Authors and Composers (AGAC).” To sum up, this organization, which protected writers and composers, had started as a Songwriters Protective Association in 1931 and changed its name to the American Guild of Authors and Composers in 1958. “There was nothing before that. In 1915 the song ‘Tea for Two’ was sold for 10 dollars. And he sold all the rights in Tin Pan Alley.”

OTHER JAY GORNEY SONGS

The discussion with Dan evolves around other songs that his father wrote and Dan points out that he probably wrote about 500 songs, but none of them repeated the success of “Brother …”

John remembered Billie Holiday singing “You’re My Thrill” which Gorney wrote in 1933 for the film “Jimmy and Sally”. I found dozens of cover versions of this song, most notably by Peggy Lee (1956), Ella Fitzgerald (1961), Nat “King” Cole (1966), Chet Baker (1988), Robert Palmer (1990), Joni Mitchell (2000) and others. Billie Holiday’s version came out in 1950.

What a beautiful song. Torch song” Dan added. “Billie nailed it and nobody dared to do it.”

THE SECRET OF LIFE

When I was 18-20 years old,” says Dan, “my father told me the secret of life. He asked me, ‘do you want to know the secret?’ I said ‘what’s the secret?’ he said ‘don’t write music at the piano. You write music on your walk down Broadway and you try to bring it back and remember it. At the piano you only play what you learned yesterday.’ I’m not a musician particularly but for him that was the most important secret of life. I think, to me, that’s one of the most endearing things that shows who my daddy was. Fantasy is the ultimate instrument but it’s not always easy to play what you hear in your head.”

Jay Gorney died on June 14, 1990 at the age of 93. Apart from Dan, he also had a daughter with Sondra Karyl. She’s Dan’s big sister, Karen Lynn Gorney, and because, as I said before, the world is too small, Dan’s sister was John Travolta‘s dancing partner in “Saturday Night Fever“. Their older half-brother, Dr. Rod Gorney, is a well-known psychiatrist in California.

Dan Gorney, after his beatnik years in Greenwich Village, went through a hippie phase, and moved to Greece in 1975 where, as he says, he found what he was looking for.

We ask him if he ever got into music professionally.

The definition of professional is you get paid,” he says. “The phrase says ‘he who pays the piper, calls the song.’ If you get paid, the guy who’s paying says ‘sing this’. If you don’t get paid you can sing whatever the fuck you want. I just play. I love playing.”

“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”, Or “Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?” is one of the best-known American songs of the era of economic depression of the 1930s. It has been covered by over 100 artists, including legends such as Al Johlson, Abbey Lincoln, Mel Torme, Tom Jones, Dean Martin, Connie Francis, The Weavers, Peter, Paul & Mary, Jesse Colin Young, Dr. John with Odetta, Judy Collins, Eartha Kitt, St Valentine’s Day Massacre (Jon Lord‘s band after Artwood and Deep Purple), Sun Ra Arkestra (with Phil Alvin on vocals), Dave Brubeck , Eugene Chadbourne, Thea Gilmore, George Michael and Tom Waits. Want more?

Thank you very much Dan Gorney for the hospitality, the time you spent with us and for your memories. And, of course, for the lunch at the beach of Loutra Oreas Elenis. And to Tatiana Gorney-Vlachou of course for the photos from her personal archive…

Take care and be safe, Dan …

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2019 in Interviews, Jazz, Music, Politics, Reflections

 

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Δώσε του Cult και πάρε του την ψυχή: Godzilla εναντίον Hedorah

Έβαλα χτες να δω την ταινία Godzilla εναντίον Hedorah. Μια παραγωγή του 1971, των Ιαπωνικών Toho Studio.

Οι ταινίες με τον Godzilla ήταν η Κυριακάτικη διασκέδαση των παιδικών μου χρόνων, όταν όλα τα παιδιά της γειτονιάς ξεκινούσαμε να πάμε στο Σινάν, τον κινηματογράφο της περιοχής για να δούμε δύο ταινίες: η μία είχε πρωταγωνιστή τον Godzilla ενώ η άλλη ήταν κάποια ταινία με τον Ταρζάν, ή Ελληνική, ή Τούρκικη ή καράτε, western κλπ.

Φυσικά μαζεύονταν πιτσιρίκια απο ολη την γύρω περιοχή, και η κινηματογράφος ήταν κατάμεστος, Κυριακή μεσημέρι, ενώ το κυλικείο ξεπουλούσε τα κορνέ και τα σάμαλι στο διάλειμμα.

O Godzilla είναι η πιο γνωστή δημιουργία των Ιαπωνικών Toho Studio  και πρόκειται για ενα kaiju, οπως ονομάζονται αυτές οι Ιαπωνικές ταινίες με τα τεράστια παράξενα τέρατα. Ο όρος kaiju μπορεί επίσης να χρησιμοποιηθεί για να περιγράψει τα ίδια αυτά τέρατα, τα οποία συνήθως επιτίθενται σε μεγάλες πόλεις και συγκρούονται με στρατιωτικές μονάδες ή με άλλα τέρατα.

Το είδος kaiju είναι ένα παρακλάδι της tokusatsu (特 撮, «ειδική κινηματογράφιση») και μπορεί να θεωρηθεί συνώνυμο με τον όρο «Ιαπωνικές ταινίες με τέρατα».

Η πρώτη αυτού του είδους θεωρείται το Godzilla του 1954 και οι χαρακτήρες των ταινιών αυτών είναι συχνά μεταφορικοί. Ο Godzilla για παράδειγμα, αντικατοπτρίζει τον φόβο της μεταπολεμικής Ιαπωνίας για τα πυρηνικά όπλα, μετά από τις επιθέσεις με ατομικές βόμβες στην Χιροσίμα και στο Ναγκασάκι, καθώς και μετά το συμβάν με το αλιευτικό Lucky Dragon 5, τα 23 μέλη του οποίου μολύνθηκαν από τα πυρηνικά απόβλητα της δοκιμής που έκαναν οι Αμερικάνοι στο Bikini την 1 Μαρτίου του 1954. Άλλοι kaiju χαρακτήρες είναι οι Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah και o Gamera.

Συνολικά μέτρησα 32 ταινίες του Godzilla απο το 1954 μέχρι και το 2018, Ιαπωνικές και Αμερικάνικες παραγωγές.

Το “Godzilla εναντίον Hedorah” που είδα χτες λοιπόν, δεν ήταν καλό. Θέλω να πω πως, μετά από τόσα χρόνια και έχοντας δει ταινίες με ειδικά εφέ που έχουν πλέον φτάσει σε πολύ υψηλό επίπεδο, ίσως να είμαι πολύ σκληρός με την κριτική μου αλλά σε αυτό το θέμα η ταινία ήταν τουλάχιστον παιδική.

Όμως, το μήνυμα της, το 1971, ήταν πάρα πολύ σύγχρονο: Ο Hedorah είναι ένα τέρας το οποίο έχει δημιουργηθεί από την μόλυνση που υπάρχει στους ωκεανούς. Από τα σκουπίδια και τα απόβλητα δηλαδή των ανθρώπων και βγαίνει στην στεριά για να τραφεί από την κάπνα και την ατμοσφαιρική ρύπανση της σύγχρονης ζωής.

Όλα αυτά, παρουσιάζονται μεταφορικά από τον σκηνοθέτη Yoshimitsu Banno ως ένας θανάσιμος κίνδυνος για τον πλανήτη, πριν 50 περίπου χρόνια.

Βέβαια, στην περίπτωση της ταινίας, αναλαμβάνει την λύση ο Godzilla.

Αυτό που κέρδισε σε εμένα τις εντυπώσεις είναι η μουσική του Riichiro Manabe ο οποίος έγραφε μουσική για ταινίες επιστημονικής φαντασίας και τρόμου.

Η ταινία ανοίγει με το “Kaese! Taiyo Wo” (Return! The Sun) το οποίο τραγουδά η 23άχρονη τότε Keiko Mari.

Η μουσική του Manabe δανείζεται πολλά στοιχεία από την jazz αλλά έχει και κάποια γκαράζ ροκ περάσματα.

Έτσι, πέρα από την αφέλεια των ειδικών εφέ, το προφητικό μήνυμα του σεναρίου, η ταινία διαθέτει ενα αρκετά καλό soundtrack που θα ακουστεί αρκετά προοδευτικό στα αυτιά μας με την εικόνα που έχουμε για την Ιαπωνία των αρχών της δεκαετίας του ’70.

Μην δείτε την ταινία, δεν θα το αντέξετε αν είστε πάνω από 10 ετών, δώστε όμως μια ευκαιρία στο soundtrack της το οποίο ποστάρω εδώ:

 

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