Squirt the Faygo!
The September issue of Blender magazine elected Insane Clown Posse as the most talentless musical act of all time, ever, ever, ever. The “50 Worst Artists in Music History” list even trumpets ICP as inferior to the tepid Goo Goo Dolls! Gosh! Shoddier than Celine Dion! Heaven forefend! Worse than Bible-thumpers Creed, Bowie’s pedestrian Tin Machine, the loathsome Mike + the Mechanics, and the band whose name is both racist and sexist, Whitesnake! Even claims ICP more repugnant than the proverbial fish-in-a-barrel Vanilla Ice! Sheeesh.
The glossy niggled that the jester-garbed duo “sound even stupider than they look,” and ripped on ‘em for rapping about “40-ouncers and venereal disease.” Well, we here at HS are rather fond of 40-ouncers, particularly King Cobra, and we certainly understand the ins-and-outs of VD, so we furrowed our brows at that one.
Steve Furay, PR flack at the band’s own Psychopathic Records, was, uh, a little bit bemused about the dubious honor. “It was a surprise,” he told us. “We know the history of what pop media is ... so we found it a little hard to believe. I guess it really wasn’t a surprise.” OK.
Anyway, the pick couldn’t have been more ching-ching timely considering Psychopathic just shipped gold ICP’s new live DVD Bootlegged in LA, which hits stores Tuesday. And Violent J’s debut solo disc Wizard Of The Hood and accompanying book Behind The Paint, both hit shelves last month.
Soon after the news hit of Blender’s bestowment, ICP fan Howard Stern rang up the twosome. Hence Violent J’s scuttlebutt-quelling appearance on Stern’s show this Thursday.
Blender editor Andy Pemberton told the New York Post that, “If I were any of these groups, I would be angry about making the list. But they should be better. It’s their fault they’re on it.”
And all this came just as we were about to write Blender off as little more than a shameless Q Magazine knock-off, ripe for the short attention span theater. Still, we had to wonder why the hell Pablo Cruise was nowhere to be found. Pablo Cruise — you know — the worst band of all time.
Raw no power
The Iggy and the Stooges show is a go for Monday, Aug. 25 at the ironically titled DTE Energy Music Theatre. Sonic Youth and the Von Bondies will support. The latter band saw fit to nix a few Euro activities to make the historic show. Tickets for the Aerosmith/Kiss/Terrible Ted show will be on honored on its Sept. 7 rescheduling at Comerica Park.
Speaking of power outage, the Go’s bassist John Krautner found himself in darkness more duskish than the world behind his ever-present Foster Grants. Apparently, while slapping up posters in downtown Royal Oak for the Go’s scheduled Aug. 15 CD release party at the Magic Stick, the Great Power Outage of 2003 commenced. “Store owners stopped letting me in because they had to lock up,” said Krautner of his trounced attempt at band pimping. The powers-that-beat at the Stick (otherwise known as the king of the obscure-o reference, and Majestic complex promotions manager Greg Baise) have managed to salvage the event by ensuring a return of one of the scheduled and highly anticipated (ahem ...) NYC pop bands, the Witnesses, for direct support. Game is now on, Saturday, Aug. 30.
But the little kids understand
The tat, hat and bolo outfitted Orbitsuns made a slew of new pals last week at their Detroit Zoo gig. Seems there was a clot of young’uns at the front of the stage, and one of ’em (he looked to be about 4) asked if the band knew “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Croaker Vinnie Dombrowski then stuck the mic stand out over the heads of the tykes and led an impromptu sing-along of the adored country tune. Dombrowski thanked the toddlers for being a much more appealing audience than the drunks he was accustomed to playing for, then launched into “Haul Grass,” a subtly retitled version of an Orbitsuns fave deemed a bit too risqué for the pre-kindergarten set.
RIP Louie Bluie
Everything about him was “colorful,” the artist Maurice Greenia reminisced in a short e-mail to HS following the recent death of Howard Armstrong, also known as Louie Bluie. He didn’t seem to own a dull shirt. He signed his name with decorative swirls and curlicues. Even the simple entry into a fast food chicken outlet would be explained, Greenia said, as “Well, excuse me while I partake of this greasy spoon.”
He was a multimedia artist; since he was in his mid-90s, he predated that term. He drew, painted, sculpted, whittled, told tall tales and, most important, he was a living link to the pre-World War II era of black string bands that played everything from rags to jigs to blues. After the life of an itinerant musician during the Depression, he moved to Detroit in the ‘40s, spent more than 25 years on the Chrysler assembly line. He retired in time for a career revival that included several records and countless performances with bandmates old and new. He sang and mainly played fiddle and mandolin though, as Greenia pointed out, “he played a lot of instruments.” (Among his three sons is the prominent jazz bassist Ralphe Armstrong.)
He was even the subject of two movies. There was Louie Bluie in 1985, made by Terry Zwigoff, who’d go on to fame with Crumb and Ghost World. Last year PBS stations aired Sweet Old Song, a documentary about his late-life romance and marriage to artist Barbara Ward, who lured him away from Detroit to settle in Boston in the ’90s.
Another Detroit artist, Leno Art Jaxon, who considered Armstrong family, called us to share his memories, extolling Armstrong-the-entertainer. Having Armstrong over to dinner “was like having your own private court jester.” And getting to see him on a stage, we’ll add, was like being invited to a court where you never felt like a commoner.Send bitch slaps, quips and rants to [email protected]