Archive for October, 2016

pete-burns-%22sex%22

This past Sunday (10/23) the weird world of entertainment lost Pete Burns. Just 57 years old, the androgynous pioneer suffered from a massive cardiac arrest as confirmed by his manager Monday morning. 2016 hasn’t exactly been a banner year as far as deaths go (and hell, a large number of other things too, let’s face it).

A perpetual diva and an entity all unto himself Burns rose to commercial stardom in 1985 when his group Dead Or Alive released the album Youthquake dead-or-alive-%22youthquake%22-covercontaining the mega hit “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”, which, up until his dying day would continue to remain a meal ticket for the singer as well as a nail in a coffin of a very tumultuous career. When I first discovered Dead Or Alive I was much too young to really understand the endless concept and art that went behind Pete and DOA. As I got older and of course began to really understand Music and Art and obsess over it more and more, Dead Or Alive really did stick out to me. It wasn’t even so much the kitschy music as it was so obviously Pete Burns at the helm of this often bizarre and confusing outfit which I wound up loving. His outlandish behavior and looks over the vast many years made people love or hate him. Not knowing him personally I’d imagine there really was absolutely no in-between. I even missed a chance to see Dead Or Alive play at a beach club once because I was too young to get in. I did indeed try to sneak in after being turned away but got caught. I didn’t want to risk catching any heat from the large security men, me being a young boy with weird hair, eye make-up and a bright polkadot shirt on.

Clearly addicted to plastic surgery, even after his very first botched nose job. Burns continued to have extensive work done, “Getting a new face is like buying a sofa”. His lips were destroyed and rebuilt, he had several rhinoplasties and beyond…way beyond. Apparently no part of his body except the soles of his feet went untouched by needle or knife and his entire earnings were spent on destroying and rebuilding his looks, even selling off the rights of his songs to do so. pete-burnsSelf esteem issues were obviously present in a man who was indeed once beautiful and possessed a voice so powerful it would rumble your floorboards. What can really be said about Pete Burns that he already hadn’t said or done anyway? Not much. There were few as blunt and daring and fucking Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know as one Pete Burns. He showed us all what it meant to truly let your freak flag fly. His outlandish behavior, outfits and commentary on the UK’s version of reality television show Big Brother brought him back into the mainstream. Train wreck or not, you couldn’t take your eyes off him. Bending genre and gender to the point of utter shatter he was truly a force of nature. Whether he was burning American flags in Texas or bridges with record labels, he did it with such a grandiose flair that was uncompromised and next to few if not none.

Icon? Yes. Lunatic? Probably. One of a kind? Absolutely. It’s a shame that another colorful character had to be taken away from us in this very confusing year. Pete may have been impossible but he shared with us the fact that you can do YOU no matter what…but again, at what cost? Money, relationships…your face? I’d dare say that few will ever be as brazen. So, thank you Pete, whether is was brave or just plain crazy I’m hoping you’re shit kicking the afterlife on glitter platforms…”I just keep a hearing, you runnin’ on up my stairs but you’re not there”…R.I.P.

“People always want to know – am I gay, bi, trans or what? I say, forget all that. There’s got to be a completely different terminology and I’m not aware if it’s been invented yet. I’m just Pete.”

This past Saturday night (10/15/16) Teenage Fanclub returned to NYC’s Bowery Ballroom to a very ecstatic and eager crowd. Just a few weeks prior The Fannies dropped their latest record simply titled Here, (Charting at No. 10 in the UK). The almost bare bones approach the band has been taking for the last 10 plus years has shown that when a band matures a number of things may indeed change, including the sound and songwriting, but in the case of Teenage Fanclub they remain a very sharp force to be reckoned with as far as that is concerned. Their album covers and artwork may be very subtle since 2005’s Man-Made but the content that awaits the listener is, and has always been a blissful experience, even since their noisier days there’s always been…the bliss.

Arriving on stage just after 10pm on a Saturday night in New York City, the band was greeted by an excited sold out audience. Opening with lead track “Start Again” off of their classic record, Songs From Northern Britain, we were all immediately immersed in what Teenage Fanclub was about to offer us this evening (that offering would be 20 songs long). The band would proceed with a mixed variety of tunes spanning their near 30 year run as a group.

teenage-fanclub-live-bowery-ballroom-ny-101516

Teenage Fanclub Live @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC 10/15/16 (Photo: Soda)

The in between song banter was playful and humorous from Norman Blake. Although Teenage Fanclub doesn’t necessarily have an elected frontman, Norman seems to fill those shoes, and sweetly. As the crowd shouted out song title after song title the men on stage smiled from ear to ear, clearly content with the turn out and enthusiasm. There was never a contest to see who played better or sang louder, the band was just one well oiled machine. Vocal harmonies and instrumental chops still perfection, evident on such songs as “I Don’t Want Control Of You”, “Don’t Look Back” and the infamous, “The Concept” it makes you wonder why this band was never a massive success story.

teenage-fanclub-live-bowery-ballroom-nyc-101516

Teenage Fanclub Live @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC 10/15/16 (Photo: Soda)

As the night pressed on Mr. Blake spoke to and joked with the crowd. At one point he was asked by an audience member to tell whomever it was that was farting the whole night to please control yourself. Over an hour had passed and the announcement from Norman came that the end of the show was evident. Concluding with their biggest American hit, “The Concept”, The Fannies jangled through an amazing rendition, leaving all in attendance hungry for more. And, we would get just that, in the form of a powerful encore including fan favorite, the very upbeat “Radio” off of their ’93 record, Thirteen (this would be the only selection performed from the much maligned album) and concluding the night with “Everything Flows” from their 1990 album, A Catholic Education.

A beautiful and charming performance. Thank you Teenage Fanclub! Come visit again soon.

teenage-fanclub-setlist-101516-bowery-ballroom-nyc-photo-courtesy-of-gabby-lemons

Teenage Fanclub setlist 10/15/16 Bowery Ballroom, NYC (Photo courtesy of Gabby Lemons)

http://www.teenagefanclub.com

This Saturday, October 15th 2016 marks two years ago since this Blog/Idea went live. I had talked about it for some time before finally jumping in and throwing up my first post. I wasn’t sure if it was going to continue or even end right there. So many ideas…ya know. But here, 2 years later and growing slowly over time my MUSIC-SURVIVAL-GUIDE is very strong and a cool source for music geeks all over the world. It allows me to squeeze two of my passions up into one ball and throw it all to an infinite sky. This project alone has put me on the phone with one of my idols for a huge three part interview, has gotten me tickets to rad shows to review, some free swag…all because people respect the quality and content that goes into my work. I treat it like everything else. It’s a joy for me to see anyone sharing these write-ups and enjoying them right along with me. Anyways, let me not get all whimsical here, there’s plenty of other stuff to write about. Soon enough I’ll get an official domain up for M-S-G as it grows here and slowly on other networks.

So, if you read one or many posts here, I thank you. If you’ve shared an interview, I thank you…and so on and so on. Here’s to many more years!