I’ve updated the Acme Novelty Archive pretty heavily in the last couple of days. New design, new search capability, and new database-driven content. Nearly everything that’s been submitted since I started the site is now in there, the only thing left to be done is all the categorization for the (functional, but incomplete) browse by category bit. Good times.
For people who are obsessed with music and the process by which it is recorded, filesharing is the greatest thing ever, as it offers easy access to session tapes. Session tapes, for the uninitiated, are generally recordings of a band working in the studio, complete with mistakes, between song banter, conversation, and tomfoolery. After downloading many such sessions, I’ve noticed that some people choose to edit out all the ‘superfluous’ conversation, neatly isolating each take into its own track. This drives me crazy, because one of the reasons I love sessions so much is for the banter, which often reveals unseen dynamics to the inner workings of a band.
My favorite example of such an outtake consists of Mickey Dolenz hellaciously scolding Peter Tork for screwing up a take in the midst of the recording sessions for the Monkees’ ‘Headquarters’ album, but there are tons of other examples. In the outtakes from the Rolling Stones’ ‘Beggers Banquet’ album, there’s a clip of Mick Jagger expressing his impatience with the speed at which Charlie Watts was learning ‘Sympathy For the Devil.’
The banter doesn’t necessarily have to be quite so heated to be entertaining. My opinion of Ryan Adams aside, I have to give him credit for including a bit of friendly studio squabbling as the first track on his ‘Heartbreaker’ album. In it, he and fellow musician David Rawlings can be heard arguing which Morrissey album ‘Suedehead’ appears on (Anyone who has more than a few morrissey CD’s knows that tracks frequently showed up on more than one release).
In addition to the ‘scoldings’ and banter that I so deeply crave, I am also a huge fan of ‘happy accidents’ that occur and end up being released. A great example of this is the end of the Archers Of Loaf song ‘Bathroom,’ released commercially on their collection of odds and ends, ‘The Speed of Cattle.’ At the end of the take, the drums abruptly cut out and the rest of the band comes to a halt. The resultant exchange is priceless, especially if you’re a drummer. Another commercially released example is the Whiskeytown song ‘Bar Lights’ which ends with Ryan Adams explaining through laughter that he flubbed the lyric and broke a string in the same moment. Turn up your volume for the choice bit of posturing at the end.
I’m convinced that there are tons of these moments lurking about in the useless knowledge section of people’s brains. It is in the interest of expanding my library of audio joy that I solicit your favorite bits of studio exchange and happy accident-ry. Since most of these bits are pretty short, I’ll volunteer to host MP3’s of pretty much any that get suggested. My goal is to put together an entire mix CD of these moments, and give it a dopey title like ‘WHOOOPS’ or something equally lame.
MP3’s of all the moments mentioned above are included below. I’ve also posted MP3’s of several of the bits suggested in the comments. I’m working on rounding up the others. Woo.
The Monkees – Mickey Scolds Peter
From: Headquarters Sessions
The Rolling Stones – Mick Scolds Charlie
From: Beggar’s Banquet Sessions
Elvis Presley – ‘Hot Damn Tamale’
A few years ago, I read ‘Double Fold‘ by Nicholson Baker – an enraging look at libraries destroying back issue newspapers and replacing them with often defective microfiche. In the book, Baker discusses both the alarming frequency at which this is occuring, and the inaccuracy of the science cited as justification (Propigated by microfilm and other such companies). As a result of all this, Baker started a nonprofit organization, rented a warehouse, and went on a crusade to preserve what was left of history’s primary sources – daily newspapers.
I just found out via this messageboard posting that it was Baker’s collection that enabled Fantagraphics Books to assemble the strips necessary for producing their Complete Peanuts series. The first volume was released this spring, with the second (of 25 total) coming in the fall.
Despite Baker’s best preservation efforts, however, there are several strips that may well be lost to the sands of time:
“With PEANUTS 1953-1954 going to press next month, we’re setting our sights on PEANUTS 1955-1956. So far we’ve got all the strips gathered except for three very pesky missing Sundays, which we have only in truncated form (from the Nicholson Baker/Duke collection). If anyone by chance has any of these, let us know.
These are REALLY obscure. I know PEANUTS completists/experts who apparently haven’t even been able to track down a microfiche version.
The good thing is that the truncated ones we have were black and white, so they’re cleaner than color ones would be.”
Those disappointed by Baker’s last novel ‘A Box of Matches’ (Me) can look forward to ‘Checkpoint‘ which is published on August 10th. The premise: Two men discuss an attempted assassination of George W. Bush. Oh man, call O’Reilly! This is gonna be a SHITSTORM of overreaction. His publisher (Knopf) has already released the following:
“Checkpoint is a work of fiction by acclaimed author Nicholson Baker, a novella that explores the peculiar angst many Americans are feeling right now about their country and their president. The book is set up as a conversation between two old high school buddies. One of them, in despair about the direction the country is going, is convinced he must kill the president; the other tries to talk him out of it.
Baker wrote Checkpoint in response to the powerless seething fury many Americans felt when President Bush decided to take the nation to war. “How do you react to something that you think is so hideously wrong?” asks Baker. “How do you keep it from driving you nuts? What do you do with your life while this wrong is being carried out? What are the thoughts – the secret thoughts, the unpublishable thoughts, so to speak – that go through your head?”
Some people have rational responses. Others do not. Baker’s book does not suggest violence is ever an appropriate response. But in order to understand the reasons why a violent act is always a mistake, one must first look at the contemplation of such an act.
The dialogue in Checkpoint is angry, funny, pointed and absurd. All of it has relevance to our world. And it is through the conversation in this novel that Baker hopes to raise important questions about how we react to violence – both individually and as a nation.”
This hat is great for confusing people. It has an illustration of a log on the front, and the word ‘LOG’ on the back. It was part of the ‘Ren and Stimpy‘ merchandising juggernaut.
Wu Eezer T-shirt
When I was in high school, I made this T-shirt, co-opting the Wu-Tang ‘W.’ It once prompted a classmate to sternly implore that ‘Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck with’ (Repeat).
When I used to skateboard (badly), there was a company called New School Productions, who made this T-shirt. Classic.
Weirdly Prescient Alien Workshop T-shirt
Another artifact from my ill-advised skateboarding days is this ‘rebellious’ T-shirt, made by (former?) skateboard accessory powerhouse Alien Workshop. Maybe I should sell it on eBay as an election day uniform. I guess the fact that this is relevant just goes to show: the more things change, the more things stay the (HEAD EXPLODES).
Canadians before they were indie darlings, part 1: Neko Case
Coming soon to eBay! When I saw Morrissey on the ‘Oye Esteban’ tour, he had these for sale, and they were too ridiculous to not buy one. That’s right – a pillowcase that says ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me.’ I totally forgot I owned it until I dug it up in the move. Prodigiously ridiculous. He also had branded condoms for sale on that tour.
Canadians before they were indie darlings, part 2: Carl Newman
My friend Zach Curd recently unearthed this bit of trivia on one of his frequent excursions into internetland – Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was hired as a spokesman for Japanese leisure suit company Simple Life in the mid-1970’s. Four television commercials were filmed, and at least two jingles were recorded. Singing backup vocals on the jingles: Davy Jones of the Monkees and pop mastermind Harry Nilsson.
Obviously, this is the best thing ever. Mr. Curd quickly consulted the filesharing networks and managed to turn up two of the jingles, and one of the actual commercials. I present them here for posterity, and in the hopes that the other commercials, in which Ringo is said to encounter “unusual creatures while wearing his Simple Life suit and lip-synching,” will turn up.
Ringo Starr – ‘I Love My Suit’
From: ‘Simple Life’ Leisure Suits Advertisement (197?)
Ringo Starr – ‘Simple Life’
From: ‘Simple Life’ Leisure Suits Advertisement (197?)
My pick of the two jingles is the Nilssonian ‘I Love My Suit.’ As always, I have included the lyrics below for your perusal.
I love my suit
(He loves his suit)
It keeps me warm
(It keeps him warm)
It feels so good, it makes me smile, it fits my form
I love my suit
(He loves his suit)
It looks so good
(It looks so good)
If I could wear it all the time you know I would
Well I’d wear it on the beach
and I’d wear it in the shower
I’d wear it every day and every minute of every hour
I love my suit
Below is a selection of the television ads that featured the jingles, wrested from the clutches of youtube.
Related: In the first episode of the Monkees TV series, one of the Monkees (Mike?) can be seen throwing darts at a photo of the Beatles. Does anyone know of a source for this image online, or have the DVD’s from which to grab an image?
Kim Stahr, the person whose copy of Shellac’s ‘The Futurist’ LP recently sold on EBay for $810 emailed me the other day. You can read about the reasons this was percieved as significant in my previous post. Kim wrote:
“Found out on Sunday night that my Futurist LP was stolen and sold on ebay for 810.00 and afterwards found all these websites discussing the sale and “how dare she” type comments. Just thought the fact that it was taken from me and sold might add a little spice to your archives.
Vindicated! More in the Electrical Audio thread.
The best magazine cover ever:
Gamorrean Guard + Beach Ball = Awesome.
Seriously, how has no one yet made one of those spraypaint stencils out of DARTH VADER HOLDING A MASSIVE BOOMBOX?! I’ve already done the hard part. Email me if you actually want to use it / improve it and I’ll send you a high dpi file.
I moved to Ann Arbor. Also: I’m playing three shows this week, and the rest of my time will probably be spent ‘settling’ and ‘sleeping,’ so… come to the shows and check back here next week. Details:
WEDNESDAY! July 7th!
I’ll be playing drums with The Pop Project at the Magic Stick in Detroit.
Also performing: New Grenada, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Rescue.
Get there early, we play first (~9:00).
$8, 8 PM, All Ages
I’m in the process of moving this week, hence the silence. In the meantime, please enjoy this recording of
Canadian harmony group The Sands of Time The Tokens and Steve Sawyer paying tribute to the Beach Boys (by lyrically name-checking just about every hit they had). The label for the 45 reads: “Dedicated to the Beach Boys With Love.”
This seems to be the thing to do when you can’t pick just one song by an artist to cover, as
‘Tribute to the Beach Boys 1976’ is similar in both sentiment and execution to Harry Nilsson’s assemblage of bits of Beatles tunes: ‘You Can’t Do That,’ taken from his 1967 album ‘Pandemonium Shadow Show.’ I’ve included an MP3 of that song below, as well.
Tokens – ‘Tribute to the Beach Boys ’76’
From: 45 rpm single (1976)
AMG had this to say about the Sands Of Time:
“Eric Baragar, Tim Campbell, Michael Goettler and Steve Smith organized the Sands of Time in 1966 in Ontario, Canada. The band recorded only one popular single, 1970’s “I’ve Got a Feeling,” and broke up in the early ’70s, but re-formed with vocalist Don Thompson (from Noah) as Bentwood Rocker.”
UPDATE: I had originally credited “Tribute To The Beach Boys 1976” to the Sands of Time, but I have since been contacted by members of the band to let me know it wasn’t them. I’ve also heard fro Steve Sawyer, who sang lead on the recording:
my name is Steve Sawyer and I sang the lead as well as wrote the song “tribute to the beachboys 76.” The facts about the group that you have listed is incorrect, it was actually The Tokens of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” fame and myself. I did an album in the earlier 70s called “The Chespeake Jukebox Band” which is about to be reissued by Revola Records.”