Me And Him –For The Sake Of The Show

Me And Him –For The Sake Of The Show/The Loving Arc –Dawn DNS 1108 (1975 UK)

Me And Him try their damn hardest to be The Beatles here, but end up sounding more like The Rutles on this fine vaudevillian Baroque Pop number. The orchestration and repetitive leitmotiv render the tune instantly hummable and the overall effect is a pure charm offensive. I don’t know who these guys were, but they released at least one further single Waiting Here on Dawn (DNS 1121) in1975.

Click on title for a soundclip of For The Sake Of The Show


You folks who’ve sent us 45s the past couple months – this is your time. Thanks for your patience and for sending us stuff in the first place. Here are abbreviated reviews of several singles that the mailman brought Detailed Twang recently, along with two I purchased last month:

CHEAP TIME – “Spoiled Bratâ€Â 7â€ÂEP

Simple, snotty, RED CROSS-inspired rasp punk. Similar in style & spirit to early 90s Texas doofus-punks THE INHALANTS. Album coming soon on In The Red.

THE LAMPS – “Fred Astaireâ€Â 7â€ÂEP

Hands down best thing I’ve heard from LA distorto-garage kingpins THE LAMPS, debut LP included. Mud-caked primitive shit rock with bleary-eyed depresso vibe to spare.

GEISHA GIRLS – “In The Monotone / Last Touchâ€Â 45

Panicky angular 80s rock in the MISSION OF BURMA style, with a dose of Middle Class-ish barked vocals as well. In fact “Last Touchâ€Â was lifted straight off of the second Middle Class single, showing some serious class and taste. Not half bad!

CHEVEU – “My Answer Is Yes! / Lola Langustaâ€Â 45

(45 is the one pictured above) I remember the A-side from CHEVEU’s wild but star-crossed show last month here in San Francisco, when they essentially fried a P.A. with overloaded analog synth & static-chop guitar. They were outstanding, even though they kept profusely apologizing for almost destroying an entire club’s equipment. No problem! B-side’s the real winner here, a strange slide-guitar country skiffle with electro-drumbeat. Perhaps recorded in the South of France circa ’71 with Mick, Keith, Gram Parsons, and Gary Numan?

TYVEK / CYGNUS split 45

TYVEK are a big recent favorite around this house (you gotta hear “Fast Metabolismâ€Â!); I bought this one off the band the same night as the Cheveu show. Their untitled side is a spookhouse dirge, a ’79-style UK-influenced echo-laden weirdo. Cool. CYGNUS are like that, but a comparatively formless, tuneless, dark and impenetrable charnel house of horrors. Decent single, I can think of better ones even in this list.

JUNIOR MAKHNO – “The Theater Of The Macabreâ€Â 7â€ÂEP

Strange and pleasingly ill-fitting mash of distorted horror rap, electronic tweedling, screams, monster sounds, and manipulations of all sorts. Mostly instrumental, and heavy in every sense of the word. Kindred spirits of the aforementioned CHEVEU for sure.

THE TOUCHED – “Funeral Dressâ€Â 7â€ÂEP

Loads of chaos, feedback and lo-fidelity cheap punk thrills. Fans of THE LEWD and other alcoholiday-taking, trackmarks-up-the-arms gutter-punk bands will find the spirit dutifully kept here.

TOUCH-ME-NOTS – “Cool Enough For Californiaâ€Â / GRAVE BLANKETS “Forewardâ€Â split 45

The TOUCH-ME-NOTS jog outside of their comfort zone for a relative ballad, a hooky pop song delivered in their southern fried rockabilly tear-it-up style. GRAVE BLANKETS present a live, loud, distorted blues. Very middling.


“Life Of Crimeâ€Â (no, not that one) is easily in the Touch-Me-Nots’ top five so far, a bouncy, one-take scorcher with a swaggering NY DOLLS feel to it. “This Kind of Musicâ€Â is nearly as hot, with vocals multi-tracked and echoing off of every surface. RED ROCKETS are standard-issue, government cheese bar punk.

Promo: Jeff Jensen performing in Chicago Monday Night

The Hideout 

Monday June 25th at 8:00, 7:30 doors

1354 w wabansia chicago il 60622

Drag City presents “The People Under The Staresâ€Â an evening of stand-up comedy featuring

Graham Elwood
Jeff Jensen & Elizabeth Mann
Brian Babylon
Becky Garcia
with your host
Rian Murphy
and live musical accompaniment from
Azita & her Ass Shivers

A monthly comedy showcase at The Hideout in Chicago brought to you by the unusual gang of idiots at Drag City.

Earles says: I don’t know much about these other ding dongs but my co-conspirator Jeff Jensen’s performance is sure to whelm with wonder and amusement. You’ll leave offended, confused, and horny. This show is not to be confused with bad underground hip-hop (that’s stairs) or bad horror movies that feature Ving Rhames spending the entire affair referring to a kid lead as “fool!â€Â


House of World Stereotypes

Note to self: Stop trying to accomplish anything here, stop trying to do good things for people here, save your energy and use it to get the hell out of here.

Details: Last year a couple of filmmakers in the States made a wonderful, if harrowing, film called Bound to Lose about the folk duo the Holy Modal Rounders, who changed my life in 1964 with their first album. They consisted of Peter Stampfel (fiddle, banjo, vocals) and Steve Weber (guitar, vocals), and were so far out there that they used the word “psychedelic” in one of their songs — recorded in 1963! (I thought the word was “psycho-belly,” but jeez, I was 15.)

The world of documentaries isn’t an easy one, so if you want your film to get seen you have to enter a lot of festivals and do a lot of screenings. Thus, they’re participating in the Rotterdam Film Festival in mid-September and bringing Peter along to perform, and, upon hearing this, I wondered if they were thinking of doing a screening in Berlin. Then it hit me: this was when PopKomm, the huge music conference, hits town, and, of course, so do the guys who run SXSW in Austin. Now, SXSW has a film conference, too, so I thought that a screening followed by a Stampfel show under the aegis of SXSW would be good for all concerned: SXSW gets to promote SXSW Film, the filmmakers get to promote their film, and Peter gets to introduce himself to a new audience.

So along with a friend, I started working on this after getting SXSW’s blessing. Wow, an actual fun event during PopKomm! Never mind that not too many people would come: it would have a lot of competition. The theater we were thinking of for the film only holds about 100 people, and the bar across the way from it where we were going to do the show only holds about 40. But we’d be handing out flyers at the SXSW stand at PopKomm, and publicity is publicity.

Then Peter said that he was going to play a folk festival here and the promoters had forbidden him to perform so close to that event. Further investigation turned up the fact that it was part of a concert series in the House of World Cultures’ New York program, which opens in August and runs through November. The HKW (Haus der Kulturen der Welt) is a mighty institution in Berlin, funded by the federal government to expose Germans to foreign cultures, and very often their exhibitions and concert series are superb: I’ve enjoyed many of them in my years here.

Peter passed along the name of the woman at the HKW he was dealing with, and I recognized her as someone I’d dealt with myself when working for the Wall Street Journal in the past. Peter was due to perform several weeks later, and it really didn’t seem to me that our tiny show would hurt theirs. So I wrote her a letter (names have been changed to spare the guilty):

Dear Ms. X:

My name is Ed Ward, and I’m a freelance journalist here in Berlin. I think we’ve run into each other over the years, possibly through WOMEX or when I was the cultural correspondent for the Wall St. Journal here.

I’m writing you because in another capacity, as a representative of the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. I’m setting up a screening of a film about the Holy Modal Rounders as part of SXSW’s presence at PopKomm this year. The screening will be held in a small cinema in Berlin-Mitte, and we were hoping to have a short performance by Peter afterwards.

Peter has informed us that you have asked him not to perform at this show because of a perceived conflict with an event at the HKW in October. He will be coming to Europe anyway at this time for a screening/performance in Rotterdam, and this is why we decided to set this up.

I’m asking if you could reconsider this prohibition. Peter is not very well known here, and this event could only build the audience for your event. Furthermore, he would be mentioning your event during his show, which could only help publicize it. The filmmakers are planning to go through with the screening in any event, but we feel that because the venue we’ve selected for the show is very small — with a capacity of only around 40 people — and because Peter will be in Europe anyway, it would be a shame not to take advantage of his presence and put on a short show which, as I said, could only enhance the visibility of your own, much higher-profile and better-publicized event.

If Peter were a superstar, or even a major cult figure, in Germany, I could certainly understand your position, as Peter has explained it. But we anticipate the largest part of our audience to be the Fachpublikum [*] who will be attending PopKomm, many of whom are not from Berlin (although the screening and the show will be open to the general public), and for many of these people it will be the only chance they get to see the film and Peter.

I’m hoping you can think about this and perhaps we can work out a solution that will be advantageous for both our small show and your (I hope!) bigger one.

With Friendly Regards,

Ed Ward

[* The word Fachpublikum doesn’t translate into English easily, but it indicates a specialty or professional audience.]

And so, except for the fact that the mail bounced back because Peter had spelled her name wrong, and one of the filmmakers finally found her on the HKW website (I still can’t find her there!), the thing went off as you see it above. “Your letter seems incredibly reasonable,” one of the filmmakers said. Yeah, well.

Yesterday in the late afternoon I got the answer:

Dear Ed,

thank you very much for your mail to Ms. X. We appreciate your initiative to show the film about Peter Stampfel during Popkomm very much. Unfortunately we must insist on our conditions that he should not perform before his show at House of World Cultures in Berlin. Even if the cinema is small. As you also underline, Peter Stampfel ist not so well-known in Berlin, so his audience is also small. A show during popkomm would be less then 3 weeks before our concert. And we really want to be the fist ones who bring him here these days.
As for popkomm visitors: we are not sure how many will come to the cinema, don’t expect too much of them.

Of course we would be very grateful if you mentioned the coming concert at House of World Cultures at the end of your film screening. We can also mention your screening at our website for instance.

Thank you very much for your cooperation.

Best regards,

Ms. X’s Boss
cc: Grand Poobah, HKW

In other words, we have rules which are not bound by logic. Rules are rules and Ordnung muss sein. We said no, and thus we cannot be flexible. As for PopKomm, you know nothing about it (despite my having participated in just about every one of them since it started in Cologne). You don’t know what you’re doing, and we do, so stop.

Oh: please give us publicity.

Well, to hell with that. As of this moment, SXSW has pulled out, the filmmakers are going to Glasgow instead (I think), and a situation from which every one of the participants could benefit has been nullified. And, once again, official Germany has shown itself to be rigid, inflexible, uncreative, and self-defeating.

No, not everyone here is like that. Just the people who run things. No wonder the country has a brain drain.

And I have to remind myself: stop trying to accomplish anything here. You’re just a stupid foreigner and your efforts are not appreciated or wanted. Use your energy to get out and start again somewhere else.


In retrospect it’s hard for me to get overly excited about TEENGENERATE, a mid-90s Japanese garage punk band who were a hit with the kidz at the time. They did everything right and yet almost never strayed from an unerring template of fast, buzzsaw-raw, distorted ’77-meets-’81 splatter-punk, with harshly barked vocals and way, way too many covers. Sort of like a whiplash version of early RADIO BIRDMAN or first-LP RAMONES. In the end they won a few hearts, taught a few youngsters how to pogo, and then splintered up into a couple new, similarly laser-focused bands. There is one 45 of theirs that lords mightily over the rest of their catalog, as well as over their likewise unimaginative peers. It’s a 1-sided, two song 45 that came out in 1995 on Rip Off records called “Out of Sight/Pushin’ Me Aroundâ€Â. An absolutely note-perfect, louder-than-loud blast of punk rock blur, with both songs clocking in well under two minutes. A perfect candidate for the “tonearm repeatâ€Â feature on your 1970s-era turntable. Or in the digital age, downloading ‘em right here.

Play or Download TEENGENERATE – “Out of Sightâ€Â
Play or Download TEENGENERATE – “Pushin’ Me Aroundâ€Â

Had to delete some posts…

….due to a formating issue. It was making my site ALL CRAZY. It was the Dan Deacon post, specifically. Sorry if you missed that highly controversial nugget. Do-de-do….here are some albums that have been doing it for me:

1. The new Liars album. For real. I feel as though it may sour as listens go on and on, but there was an immediately positive feeling.

2. I’m on another massive Fleetwood Mac kick.

3. I’m putting together the ultimate Church compilation CD – all pre-Starfish. Seriously, are you unaware of how wonderful this band was? Go away. Go away unfed.

Bubbles –This Is Where The Hurdie Gurdie Heebie Geebie Greenie Meenie Man Came In

Bubbles –This Is Where The Hurdie Gurdie Heebie Geebie Greenie Meenie Man Came In/Zap N’ Cat –Decca Y-10832 (1975 Aussie issue)

Finally got my mitts on this great 2-sider. David has already reviewed this on his 784533 site ( and I can only second his opinion. Some may find the A side too quirky, but for me this is the essence of pure Bubbleglam and every bit as wonderful as its title. From the Chicory Tip gurglings to the near sea shanty vocals, this is a real gem to be cherished and sung along to! Zap N’ Cat is an out and out Punker with a great cutting guitar sound, it also features a great lead and drum break. ENJOY!

Click on title for edits of HGHGGMM and Zap N’ Cat

In The Good Old Crumb-er Time

You can tell it’s summer in Berlin because when it rains you feel disappointed instead of resigned. The wet seems to be related to a distraction of the Gulf Stream which is related to climate change, but more technical than that I can’t get.

Still, you have to wonder how the rain affects Sandsation, the latest tourist attraction by the Hauptbahnhof, where a visiting Texan dragged me the other day. Massive sand sculptures by actual artists (some of whom appear to be professional carvers of ice, snow, and sand) are being made out of 2000 tons of the stuff dumped on the site, piled high, and carefully scraped into images. None of them are going to give Richard Serra sleepless nights, but it’s an amusing thing to walk around.

There are sculptors from all over, including a guy from India who heads a sand-sculpting school there and is recreating the Taj Mahal in ridiculously authentic detail. The theme is “Welcome to Paradise,” and sure enough, one of the Germans has sculpted an anti-paradise of miserable heads of boat people crammed into a tiny boat. Never enough misery, eh?

Most of the sculptors seemed to be spritzing their creations with some sort of stuff from an applicator that looked like the ones exterminators use. Maybe that’s rain-protection, or maybe they’re just resigned to re-doing their work from now until July 29, when the thing closes.

And inside the Hauptbahnhof, the Diplodocus skeleton has vanished, replaced by an information stand about the various (costly) wireless services German train stations are now offering.

* * *

On the rest of our walk, the Texan and I walked down Reinhardtstr., better known as Little Bonn, where I like to show people the Nazi air-raid bunker that continues to stand there because the price of demolishing it exceeds the value of the plot on which it stands. For some months, a luxury apartment has been under construction on the top of it, making me wonder who in the hell would want to live atop an ugly concrete hunk which is cold and damp inside. I got my answer last week in an article in the International Herald Tribune, informing me that an art collector named Christian Boros is moving into the apartment and housing his collection, which will be open to the public, in the bunker. I’ve been in this bunker, not when it was a gabba club, but afterwards when the irrepressible Hannes from the DNA gallery mounted a show in it a couple of years back. All I can say is, I hope Boros has some interesting stuff there, because this is one depressing interior.

Hope, however, springs eternal, etc: Best Western has just opened a hotel next door. That means guests have their choice of a view of the bunker or the Ukranian Embassy next door.

* * *

While we Berlin expats are seeking hamburgers now that Hazelwood seems to have gone the way of all good restaurants here, New Yorkers are warming to Currywurst. Really: a friend who works at the New York Times has declared it good, and just look at the rest of the menu:

The prices are even right. Not that I think I’ll be visiting New York any time soon, and if I do that I’ll be seeking out Currywurst, but I give these folks an A for effort.

* * *

Living alongside a straightaway on which speeding idiots race day and night, and given that Berlin drivers are hands down the worst I’ve ever come across (and yes, I’ve driven in Italy), I’m amused by the current anti-speeding campaign someone’s mounted. I looked for images on the Web, but there don’t seem to be any. At any rate, this features gorgeous women with their finger and thumb indicating a distance of about an inch, and the caption “Speeders are about this big.” I know, Sigmund Freud was Austrian, but someone here has hit upon something I’ve suspected for a long time.

* * *

I can tell the way this week’s going: today I took my last €40 out of the bank, hoping that one of the several firms I’ve worked for recently will be paying me soon, and went down to the market at Hackescher Markt. Standing waiting to cross at Rosenthaler Platz, a driver changed lanes so he could drive through a puddle and douse me head to foot. Undaunted, I pressed on, bought some Parmesan from the pasta ladies, bought some olives from a “Greek” stand, and headed home, at which point I realized that my wet hand had apparently stuck on a €10 note, and a quarter of my bounty was gone.

That’s okay. It’s going to rain all weekend anyway.


On a somber note, condolences are in order for David and Wendy Dunlap. Last night they lost Suki, their dog of 14 years. I’m not a dog person, but always liked Suki because she acted like a cat. A gentle, quiet Greyhound mix rescued from an abuse shelter, she sadly passed in the night from an unknown, but mercifully quick illness. R.I.P. Suki.