British rock music history and the New Musical Express


This video from Britain says about itself:

The Original Johnny Kidd and the Pirates – Shakin All Over with RARE photos

Definitive British Rock and Roll track with photographs of the original 1959 line up of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates.

All photos courtesy Brian Gregg, the original Pirates Bass player. Thanks Brian.

Dedicated to Johnny’s lasting memory and immortal legacy.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Know Your NME

Wednesday 19th August 2015

Rock ‘n’ roll history is bound up with one iconic magazine now facing obscurity, writes PETER FROST

THE NME, once the Accordion Times and Musical Express, then the New Musical Express, is changing. The weekly publication, which currently sells about 15,000 copies, will be distributed free at train stations, shops and student unions around the country. Its content will expand to cover film, fashion, TV, politics and gaming.

Few believe that that it will last long, even if it outlived its rivals Sounds and Melody Maker. The title, once full of critical reviews and good writing, is likely to become another freesheet repository for slick self-serving PR handouts.

It is just one more indication that the world of popular music, always a battle between those who want to make music and those who just want to make money, has suffered another setback.

Today, when bands so often seem to be created by a team of smooth marketing people or cynically put together to win the latest TV talent show, it’s hard to believe just how many bands and groups there were in the late 1950s and ’60s scrabbling to make music and, if truth be told, to make it big in what would become the world of rock ’n’ roll.

Back in July ’57 a skiffle group called The Quarry Men entertained at St Peter’s church fete, Woolton, Liverpool. They went on stage after the election of the rose queen and a police dog display.

The Quarry Men, with Ivan Vaughan on tea-chest bass and Ron Davis on banjo, had been formed just a few months before and their repertoire included such Lonnie Donegan standards as Railroad Bill, Cumberland Gap and Maggie Mae as well as Be Bop A Lula. Lead guitar and vocals was a 15-year-old named John Lennon.

Another young musician had ridden his bike the couple of miles from Allerton to the fete. With drainpipe trousers and a quiff, Paul McCartney looked like a real musician — far more sophisticated than the check-shirted teenager fronting the Quarry Men.

Bassist Ivan introduced Paul to John across his tea chest and the world of music changed forever.

I grew up in Harlesden, north London, where Freddie Heath’s skiffle group became Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. In 1960 their Shakin All Over reached number one.

Barney Davis, who would become national secretary of the Young Communist League (YCL), drove the Pirates to gigs.

Barney himself won a place in the final of a contest for singers at the State Kilburn. Sadly the final clashed with a YCL committee meeting. Barney chose the final but was pipped for first prize by Dave Sutch, who would later become Screaming Lord Sutch.

Other young communist friends in north London were deeply involved in the ’60s R&B scene. I was secretary of Willesden YCL and just up the road the Wembley YCL Branch opened its own R&B club at the Railway Hotel in Wealdstone.

At Christmas time 1963 Wembley YCL organised a dance at the Railway with local band the Bo Street Runners. The event was such a success that the band were approached by two YCLers, Gus Brain and Paul McCloughlan, with the idea of setting up a weekly R&B club at the Railway. Door takings would be split equally, half for the band and half to fund the revolution.

The club was up and running by February 1964 and the venture was an instant success. YCLers and Mods from all over north London danced to the music.

For legal reasons it was run as a membership club. Membership was just sixpence (2.5p) and admission 3/6 (17.5p). Within a month the numbers turning up had reached the 200 mark, creating an incredible atmosphere. Vespas and Lambrettas filled the pub car park.

The YCL monthly magazine Challenge told its readers: “Soon the group announces its arrival with a vigorous tuning-up session, with amplifiers booming, humming and screeching and the electric organ erupting with cascades of chords that vibrate around one’s head.

“A hypnotised crowd fills the floor in an incredibly short time; Skip-dance, floog and good old fashioned shake are demonstrated to the full.”

Sorry: even Frosty doesn’t know what the floog was.

Willesden YCL member Barney Barnes, who became Dick Barnes and finally rock journalist Richard Barnes, opened his own weeknight club at the Railway, following on from pioneer British blues musician Cyril Davies’s own club here.

Barnes booked people like Long John Baldry and a band called The High Numbers, who had also been known as the Detours. One of their members was himself a YCL member.

There was a certain swapping of acts between the two clubs and at one stage the YCL Sunday club considered changing their resident band to The High Numbers. George Bridges remembers the High Numbers wanted £13 for the gig, the Bo Street Runners £2 more.

In the end the YCL club decided to stick with the Bo Street Runners as they had just won TV’s Ready Steady Win competition.

YCL member Pete Townsend and Dick Barnes renamed The High Numbers The Who and the rest is history.

The very history you could once read in the pages of NME, but alas no more.

German army propaganda at heavy metal concert


This music video is the nazi German propaganda song Bomben auf Engeland (Bombs on England). The video features war criminal Field Marshal Hermann Goering, commander of the Luftwaffe, Adolf Hitler’s air force. The Luftwaffe bombing of England killed mainly civilians; as it did in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and elsewhere. Like in Poland: originally, the song, then called Bomben auf Polenland, glorified Goering’s bombing of Poland in 1939.

The composer of this bloodthirsty song was nazi party member Norbert Schultze, nicknamed ‘Bomben-Schultze’. He also wrote much other nazi propaganda music. After Hitler had lost the war, Norbert Schultze got just a slap on the wrist: a 3,000 DM fine. In the new Federal Republic (West Germany) he continued to be a ‘respected’ composer; even the chairman of the composers’ league.

The aim of songs like Bomben auf Engeland was to hoodwink the German people into supporting Hitler’s war of aggression, to whitewash the horrors of war, to make bloodshed look glamorous. What an abuse of music.

By Gustav Kemper in Germany:

German army peddles propaganda at heavy metal concert

6 August 2015

Approximately 70,000 heavy metal fans who had gathered for an open air festival in Wacken last week experienced a world premiere when the Bundeswehr’s (German army) musical choir appeared on stage.

Together with the popular heavy metal band U.D.O. the Bundeswehr choir performed under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Scheibling. The German army is facing such a crisis in its recruitment campaign that it is now searching for new, out of the ordinary methods to influence young people.

The contrast between the exuberance of the heavy metal fans and their party mood, and the dull drill of the Bundeswehr could hardly have been greater. After heavy rain the festival had been turned into a mud bath. There is a major difference, however, between young people organising a friendly mud fight and crawling through the mud in army uniform carrying a backpack under the command of a junior officer.

While the heavy metal fans were more interested in their favourite bands and had little interest in the military propaganda, the media was effusive in its praise for the Bundeswehr’s musical performance in Wacken. “At the Wacken rock festival, thousands of music fans celebrated the musicians of the Siegburg soldiers,” enthused the Rhein-Sieg Rundschau a day later. “The premiere by the Bundeswehr’s choir at the world’s biggest heavy metal festival…was a success and great advertising for the Bundeswehr,” the newspaper went on.

German Admiral Michael Busse, who is also the regional commander at the armed forces commando base in Bonn, indicated that he was “extremely excited,” and hoped that the previous rehearsals involving U.D.O. and the choir in Siegburg “send an unmistakable signal from the event here in Wacken.”

In an interview on ZDF’s “Drehscheibe” TV programme Udo Dirkschneider, the U.D.O. frontman, who goes by the stage name “German Tank,” said he thought it was “very good to show that the German army is open minded.” This was “also very good for the German army.” He had no problems with working with the army and regarded the joint performance as “a good public signal.”

Dirkschneider has long-standing connections to the army and soldiers. But when he speaks about a “good signal” he is speaking for himself and not for the fans of his band. Already in the 1970s, Dirkschneider was playing concerts for American soldiers with his band at the time, Accept. Last year, his band filmed a music video on a German navy frigate and in February 2014 they played a joint concert with the German navy’s North Sea musical choir.

“I think we are presenting something to the public which the world has not yet seen,” stated the musical director and conductor of the choir, First Lieutenant [no; Lieutenant Colonel] Scheibling to ZDF. It was “an entry in the history books, in very private, personal terms, but also for music,” he continued.

With his “entry in the history books” Scheibling is drawing directly on the speech given by German President Joachim Gauck at the Bundeswehr’s leadership academy in June 2012, when he delivered the order, “Generals! Officers! Bundeswehr Soldiers! Back to the heart of our society!”

The WSWS wrote at the time that Gauck wanted to quickly and energetically overcome the opposition to the return of militarism, preparations for war and a more aggressive domestic and foreign policy.

Since then, the German army has intensified its strivings to reach the heart of society. According to Bundeswehr’s website, on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Bundeswehr, the army opened “the doors to their barracks and encouraged visitors with an attractive programme of experiences.”

The intervention in Wacken was to have been another “attractive experience.” The resounding heavy metal rock, however, with it shrill guitar riffs, steady drum beats and the staccato of rhythm guitars which emerged in the 1970s from hard rock and psychedelic rock, is an expression of rebellious youth.

If the army’s commanders believe they can exploit young people’s desire for action, in a society which offers only unemployment and the lack of any perspective, then they are seriously underestimating the political intelligence of many young people.

The crimes of the German army in the first and second world wars are well known, and the return of German militarism stands directly in this tradition. Colonel Klein who gave the order to bombard civilians in the Afghan village of Kunduz, is not seen as a hero, but a war criminal.

Despite the propaganda offensive which includes many new information centres and careers advisers, opposition to the German army among the general population is growing. This is why NATO has made the improvement of “strategic communication” the main subject of the air and space power conference, organised by the Join Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC) to be held from 23 to 25 November in Essen.

In the invitation to the conference, the capabilities of the air force are praised and the winning of public opinion is declared to be a strategic goal. According to the statement the opponents of NATO are attempting to combat the overwhelming strength of the air force by influencing public opinion. In turn, NATO is dependent on the support of the population to be able to implement its military goals.

In one discussion at the conference, experts from politics, academia, the military and media will search for solutions to make better use of a range of information for the promotion of military goals. “This panel will bring together journalists and public relations experts from NATO to explore their understanding of the relationship between the media and military, as well as identifying methods with which the media and military power can reduce the impact of ‘disinformation’ (originating from the enemy) with a stronger, joint approach.” it states on the JAPCC’s web site.

A special topic of the conference will be how Russia uses important media campaigns to undermine and discredit NATO. The goal of this agenda is to directly target any critical reporting about the machinations of the ruling elite, their intelligence agencies and military forces. The recent investigation by the federal prosecutor in to the Netzpolitik.org blog on charges of treason must be seen in this light.

Sharks like death metal music


This video says about itself:

Sharks Love Death Metal

9 July 2015

The team trades chum for music, hoping to strike a chord with nearby great whites. Luckily (or not), great whites have an ear for death metal.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Death metal music attracts sharks, documentary crew finds out

The low, rumbling frequencies of death metal mimic the sounds of struggling fish

Doug Bolton

Friday 10 July 2015

A documentary film crew hit upon a novel technique to attract great white sharks – blasting death metal through an underwater speaker.

The Discovery Channel crew, filming for the Shark Week show Bride of Jaws, were on the hunt for a large great white, wonderfully nicknamed ‘Joan of Shark’.

Desperate to feature the 16-foot, 1.6 tonne shark in their documentary, they submerged a speaker to see if the shark would react. Unfortunately they didn’t manage to attract Joan, but did catch the attention of two others, one of which was 12 feet long.

Sharks ‘hear’ by picking up vibrations from receptors on their bodies, meaning they can be attracted to the low-frequency vibrations of heavy music, which apparently sounds like struggling fish.

It’s an odd tactic, but one that’s apparently well-known by shark hunters. Matt Walller, a shark tour operator in Australia, found out that AC/DC records caused sharks to change their behaviour.

When he played the tunes from underwater speakers, the sharks swam straight up to his boat, brushing their heads against the submerged diving cage.

Other than being a boon for metal fans on shark tours, using music, instead of bait, could be more environmentally friendly.

Read more: A close call with a Great White

Surfer films his near miss with a huge shark

Great white sharks – the misunderstood giants

Filmmakers and shark-spotters usually use chum, a mix of fish parts, bones and blood, to attract sharks. By reducing the amount of chum they give to the sharks, humans will be able to reduce their impact on the shark’s natural behaviour.

And concerns that luring sharks with bait can draw them closer to human occupied shores means Pine Knoll Shores, a town on the coast of North Carolina, is currently debating whether to ban the practice, due to eight people already being bitten by sharks in the area this summer.

If the practice of attracting sharks with death metal spreads, record labels could find a lucrative new niche market.

This video says about itself:

Turning Tides: Towards a Bluer Tomorrow | WCS Gala 2015

11 June 2015

While oceans cover 70 percent of the world’s surface, only one percent is truly protected. We depend on the oceans for our food, our livelihoods, our lives. WCS has been a leader in marine scientific discovery and conservation for more than 100 years. In this short video, we lay out our vision to protect 10% of the worlds oceans by 2020. Join us as we turn the tides towards a bluer tomorrow.

Politician Donald Trump, don’t abuse my music, Neil Young says


This 1989 music video from the USA is called Neil YoungRockin’ In The Free World (lyrics).

Sometimes, United States millionaire Donald Trump is in the news for threatening a wildlife beauty spot in Scotland. Sometimes, he is in the news because his sons kill elephants, leopards, or other wildlife in Africa. He was in the news for seeking the Republican party nomination for president of the USA four years ago. But he failed.

Now, Donald Trump is one of many Republican candidates for the presidency (most of them with lots of money) again. Like many candidates, he chose a campaign song. And, like many politicians (especially Republicans, like Michelle Bachmann or John McCain) he chose a song which the musician who wrote it did not want him to use.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Neil Young: Trump should not use “Rockin’ in the Free World”

Today, 12:42

The newly minted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has launched his campaign, reinforcing it with the song Rockin’ in the Free World by Neil Young. The singer is not happy about that, writes The New York Times.

According to the team of Young, Trump had no right to use the song. His team says in a statement that the artist supports another presidential candidate. “Neil Young is a Canadian citizen and wants Bernie Sanders to become President of the United States.” Sanders is a left-wing Democrat, for whom social democracy is the example.

Musicians and politicians

Rockin’ in the Free World was released in 1989 by Neil Young. In the song, he criticized then-President George HW Bush and the Republican Party.

Other famous musicians have spoken out against politicians because they used their music. Eg, in 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney used several times the song by the Silversun Pickups, Panic Switch. That band then wrote a letter in which they dissociated themselves from Romney’s campaign.

Recently members of the punk band Dropkick Murphys on Twitter asked the governor of Wisconsin

Scott Walker, a Republican presidential candidate like Donald Trump

not to use their music any longer. “please stop using our music in any way…we literally hate you !!!” they wrote.

Donald Trump Wins Title Of Most Disliked Republican Candidate: here.

And the Trump announcement story just keeps getting better: the candidate allegedly paid actors $50 to cheer for him at his rally. See also here.