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POLJUNK: Don’t Be A Fucking Idiot

POLJUNK, the National Affairs desk of Glorious Noise

Welp, the stage is set for the 2024 presidential election and it’s the rematch we all knew was coming. With Nikki Haley “suspending” (a misnomer for quitting) her campaign this week after getting trounced in a primary that was a race in name only, Donald J. Trump is once again the Republican nominee for president. Yes…we’re doing this again.

With a shift to the general election comes a shift in messaging, usually. The most worn general election message is one that asks, “Are you better of today than you were four years ago?” It’s a simple question and one that gets trotted out every four years like clockwork. It’s one that House GOP Conference chair and all-around goofball Elise Stefanik had the gall to ask this week. Let’s see, what was going on in March of 2020…?

Answer to Elise Stafanik asking if you're better off today than four years ago.

Oh right…that.

And lest ye forget, COVID was just the latest in a four-year shitfest of chaos and madness that defined the Trump years. Here’s a quick reminder of the damage he left behind:

  • America’s global image was in shambles and he nearly broke NATO
  • Family separations and the deaths of migrant children at the border. You know…the one he was going to build a wall on and have Mexico pay for it. That didn’t happen either
  • Unilateral withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, created chaos throughout the Middle East we’re still dealing with
  • His decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria in October 2019, abandoning the Kurds
  • Replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Oh wait, that didn’t happen because the ACA provides coverage and requirements for coverage for millions of Americans and the big, beautiful replacement that was forever “two weeks” from delivery never materialized
  • The economy faltered, even though President Obama delivered years of growth. As Business Insider said, “As Trump left office, the US national debt was at the highest levels since World War II. And US economic growth was set to average just above 0% for Trump’s first term because of the pandemic recession, according to The Washington Post.”
  • The dipshit was impeached TWICE and let off by a compliant Republican Senate who seem to have forgotten they represent an equal branch of government and are supposed to stand as a check against just this kind of bullshit
  • The end of Roe v. Wade (which he sometimes brags about and sometimes pretends is someone else’s fault, depending on the audience) means our sister, daughters, nieces and friends have fewer rights to body autonomy than anyone in America in 50 years

I could seriously go on with this list for pages and pages, but you get it. He was awful. Not just on policy either. He was a terrible executive manager and an even worse human being. He’s garbage.

Just imagine what a second Trump administration would be like, especially if the Supreme Court actually endorses his insane idea of absolute Presidential immunity. He’s told us what he would do with that. They told us to “take him seriously, but not literally” and then January 6 happened. And he’s said he’ll be a dictator on Day One, so…

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Worlds Collide: Liam Gallagher and John Squire Team Up

If you‘ve watched any documentaries on the nascent punk scene in England in the 70s you have heard the story of how it seems every band that mattered had its start at one event: Sex Pistols’ appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England, on June 4, 1976. Accounts vary, of course because that’s how legends are, but it’s generally agreed that around 40 people were at this event. And despite a relatively small showing, the number of bands formed from this one event is astonishing. They include Joy Division, The Smiths and The Fall, all who had members in attendance at the show. It was a watershed moment for indie and punk music and a watershed moment for Manchester in particular.

Fast forward 20-odd years and you have another watershed moment with The Stone Roses at Spike Island, an event that looms large in brit pop history and can also be pinned as the moment Oasis formed as an idea. 

“Maybe it was the drugs, but I think it was the music as well. I remember seeing them at Blackpool, Spike Island, and it was just… it’s youth, innit – you look back and nothing will ever compare to it: you’re young, you’ve got no kids, if you’ve got a job, who gives a fuck? You’ve got no bills to pay, you’re going back home to your mam, she’s cooking you breakfast, fucking life is free and easy, you know what I mean? And when you hear it, you go back to them times.” 

This is what Liam Gallagher said when serving as editor of the first edition of NME Gold– a 100-page selection of exclusive interviews and features. Noel Gallagher was there too and has gone as far as describing the Stone Roses at Spike Island as “the blueprint” for Oasis. It was…a moment.

And now it’s come full circle with Liam Gallagher and The Stone Roses guitarist John Squire announcing a new album, and a single out next month. Gallagher in particular has been teasing this partnership for months in tweets and interviews, but it seems we’re finally Here Now.

Supergroups are a tricky thing. Great tastes don’t always taste great together, but I’m excited to hear it and am happy to just to see John Squire putting out new music. 

The first single, “Just Another Rainbow,” will be released on Jan. 5 and a 7? can be pre-ordered via their website

There Is No 13th Note

In a book titled Great Thinkers, which includes essays on people from Plato to Virginia Woolf, there is this sentence in the entry about 18th century economist Adam Smith, the man known for his ideas regarding the division of labor and “the invisible hand,” in the portion regarding his biography:

“In his childhood, he was briefly kidnapped by gypsies.”

That’s it. It goes on from there, describing his becoming an academic philosopher. Nothing about why he was kidnapped, where he was when he was kidnapped or anything about the kidnapping.

Which leads me to think that sometimes we are kidnapped by ideas that briefly take us to all manner of places. . .

Anjanette Comer was an actress who appeared in several TV series mainly in the 1960s and 1970s (e.g., Combat!, Mannix, Bonanza, and various other one-word-title shows), and a few feature films. Although it was announced that she was going to be in the film Funeral in Berlin with Michael Caine, which appeared in 1966, although there were publicity stills showing the actors together, she didn’t appear in the film. Not everything goes as planned. Presumably she wasn’t briefly kidnapped.

One film that she did star in is 1967’s Banning, which also features Robert Wagner, Jill St. John and Guy Stockwell. This is a somewhat complicated movie that has to do with a golf pro, Mike McDermot (played by Wagner), who is unfairly accused of throwing a tournament; he changes his name to Mike Banning and catches up with the guy who had tried to get McDermot to cheat and then accused him of cheating, which led to McDermot becoming Banning, and so Banning, who now has to pay off the mob (?), gets into a tournament, where it is actually a do-or-presumably-die situation. . . .

The poster for the movie proclaims in the sensationalistic verbiage of the day: “The action begins. . .when the auction ends! The truth about the women who go all out. . .when they go for a man!”

Note the absence of golf. Sort of like Comer in Funeral in Berlin.

Banning was nominated for an Academy Award. “The Eyes of Love,” a song performed by Gil Bernal, who also crooned a tune in Blood of Dracula’s Castle (“Count Dracula and his coffin-mate Countess Dracula need young girls to stay alive. . .another 300 years!”), was nominated. There was some serious competition for Best Song that year, such as “The Look of Love” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Both “The Eyes of Love” and “The Look of Love” (strangely ocular titles) lost to “Talk to the Animals,” music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, performed by Rex Harrison, in Doctor Doolittle.

Which brings us to Quincy Jones, who wrote the music for “The Eyes of Love” (lyrics by Bob Russell).

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Check Your Head at 30

Nevermind (sic) what you’ve heard, this is the most important album of the 90s. Released on April 21, 1992 with relative quiet, it was the sneaker album of the summer of ‘92 and raised the bar for both alternative music and hip hop and obliterated the lines between in the process.

I remember clearly when this album hit me–and it was at least a month or two after I bought it at Crazy Larry’s, the video/music shop where I worked in Grand Rapids. I was visiting my friends at Kalamazoo College where Jake Brown was on campus for a summer session and we were all lazing around the kiddie pool we’d set up to get through the midwest humidity. The pool’s name was Tony and we were very clearly the cool kids on campus, even though I wasn’t even enrolled. So it was no surprise we were blasting the latest Beastie Boys album, but what struck me was when some bros rolled up in an orange Jeep Wrangler with the rag-top removed and “Pass the Mic” at full volume. The alternative was about to become the mainstream.

At the time, I was derisive. I mean…that’s what we were supposed to be. This was the era when worlds were colliding–uncomfortably, sometimes. Alternative and hip-hop were subversive, the whole point was to side-step the mainstream. But good is good and greatness transcends. There is no better soundtrack for the cultural collision of the early 90s than Check Your Head, itself a collision of sounds, ideas, vibes, culture.

It has everything: Hip-hop, punk, jazz, funk, inside jokes. And it was the B-Boys stretching as musicians with fewer samples and much more contribution of musical tracks from Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA. Rather than sampling groovy tracks from obscure 70s soundtracks, they were creating their own. That’s some meta shit and it was what we were all doing in some way. We were borrowing clothes from our dads’ closets and pairing up wide collars with Pumas. It was a pu-pu platter of clothes, music, art, film…everything. I didn’t quite realize (let alone appreciate) at the time, but it was a time of creative explosions where the weird was valued and applied as a hue to our post-adolescent awakening. I don’t know what any of that means, but it was a vibe.

And so thirty years on I still listen to Check Your Head a lot and unlike other albums of that time, it doesn’t fill me with much nostalgia. I think it’s because it still sounds revelatory. It still sounds new. Sure, it still brings me back to that kiddie pool in the middle of the quad were college kids were experimenting with new ideas and stumbling along the way. But it’s almost as if it’s a movie, not a memory, playing in my head. And every time I watch it, I see and hear something new. That’s genius.


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Glorious Noise turns 20 and my have things changed. 

Twenty years is a long time, especially in the Information Age where time bends and flips unto itself in meta ways. Digital Culture is not measured in years but memes…in Scaramuccis. To think back on twenty years of Glorious Noise is more than my feeble Gen X mind can even really do or bring any sense to. Still, I must try because it’s the only reason to even participate online anymore.

When we started Jake had to jigger a light hack to even allow comments. The Internet promised to democratize information, but to even have two-way conversations required some level of technical ability most normies didn’t have. So at first, it was still us broadcasting to you. It was our turn to be the gatekeepers and tell you what was cool out there, and more often than not what wasn’t cool. It was fun and basically what my friends and I did at every party we ruined in Chicago. We got loud and debated the legitimacy of the host’s music collection. Now that everyone streams, can we even do that anymore? Where’s the fun?

For a while the site made some money, which kept us online and allowed us to throw parties and launch a record label. You know all this because we mention some version of the site’s history each year at this time. I mention it now because nobody makes money online anymore. Even porn is free. So we don’t throw any parties anymore and we don’t put out our friends’ records. 

I don’t write this as a whine, but to list a few more examples of how things have changed. We didn’t launch the site to make any money and now we’re back to the beginning. We do it now for the same reason we started: because we like to talk about music. Maybe not as much as we used to, but still…

So happy birthday, GLONO. I am pretty proud that this site has been running for twenty years. We’ve found and shared a lot of really cool music in those twenty years and my one true hope is that somewhere along the way, that music changed your life.

Sylvain Sylvain Dead at 69

As original member and guitarist for The New York Dolls, Sylvain Sylvain inspired countless kids in bedrooms around the world to pick up their guitars, dab on a bit of rouge, and start a band. The Dolls’ influence on rock and roll is well documented and will continue as long as there’s a need for loud, campy rock and roll–and that need never goes away.

But Sylvain also inspired my all-time favorite rock show heckle; one that I use to this day, regardless of the artist or situation. Like the Dolls themselves, it is equally specific to the moment it was first uttered and evergreen. 

It was at The Cactus Club in Milwaukee where my new bandmate and pal Mick was reunited with his band Men From Mars to open for Sylvain. I was late because I couldn’t find my way to the club and passed my turn several times before catching a glimpse of the front door and swinging a hard left on a wet road. I made it in to catch the end of Mick’s set and caught up on beers and chit-chat with Mick. Then it got loud.

Sylvain’s band kicked in hard. I can’t remember what song they opened with but I am pretty sure it was a Dolls’ tune. You know, to get the crowd ready to roll. They were pretty tight but swinging and Sylvain sounded good. He worked up a sweat quickly and eventually wandered into the crowd, guitar in hand so we could all get hot, hot, hot together. This was a few months after September 11, 2001 and we were all looking for an opportunity or reason to find some community. As a New Yorker, Sylvain obviously had some very close and personal feelings about what had happened in New York and what was happening in America as a response. He lit into a rant…a preach for loving each other and not giving in to prejudice or paranoia. He was hitting a high when the heckle rang out like a shot:

Play “Trash,” hippy!

It was incredibly offensive and incredibly hilarious, the perfect interruption for an emotional moment as only a Midwesterner can deliver. Sylvain laughed and nodded his head as if to say, “Yeah, yeah. Ok.” and we were back to rocking and sweating.

Sylvain died today after a two and a half year battle with cancer. Of the original line-up, only David Johansen remains. We have the records, we have the songs, but we’ll never get to hear Sylvain play “Trash” again. That’s a real drag.

Election 2020: Where Angels Play

From the National Affairs Desk:

It’s day-whatever in the never ending 2020 election and despite the long, drawn out process, there aren’t really any surprises. Sure, expectations weren’t met as far as a blue wave sweeping across the Senate and state houses, but those expectations were more wishes and dreams than realistic results. We are, after all, in a country where a lunatic has maintained a 40+ percent approval rating. In the end, the characters are playing their parts as we would expect, as in a trite sitcom, which is maybe all we are anyways.

Sitcoms have a formula and one of the truest components of that formula is the Golden Moment (known in the biz as the “moment of shit,”) where all the loose ends are bound up and the lessons of the day are learned. Here we are as a nation at our moment of shit and I have to wonder what lessons have we learned?

First: A Beginning

There’s been a bit of chatter out there about Abraham Lincoln and his first inaugural address. The south had seceded and Lincoln wanted to cool shit down and speak directly to those people who’d left the Union. Lincoln knew that the cost of a civil war would be terrible (though ultimately a cost we’d have to carry) and tried to plead with the south to reconsider:

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Lincoln was an optimist. He believed in the human spirit and that deep, deep down we are good people, bonded more by what we have in common than divided by our differences.

Continue reading Election 2020: Where Angels Play

The Day After

From the National Affairs Desk:

It’s the day after and where are the good people? We should be cleaning up balloons and confetti and gobbling Excedrin like candies to relieve jubilant hangovers, but we’re waiting. We’re waiting to see if predominantly black voters can save us from the hypocrisy and greed of predominantly white voters. More pointedly, white male voters. It turns out that America is still sick from its original sin and I am not sure if there even is a cure.

Despite what is looking more and more like a win for Biden-Harris, It shouldn’t have ever been in question. That is, if we’re really that Shining City on the Hill. Exit polls are bearing out what the early polls showed re: Trump’s base of support. White males support Trump in large numbers, this despite an economy tanked by Trump’s bungling of a national health crisis, scattered civil unrest brought on by systematic police brutality, and four years of continued ugliness. Somewhere upwards of 60% of white American males looked at the mess Trump has created the last four years and decided they’d like more.

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Election 2020: Revenge of the Turtle and the Used Car Salesman

From The National Affairs Desk:

Well, this is it, folks. Election Day 2020 is upon us and while it’s certainly not the end of the Trump nightmare–we have at least until January 21 for him to blow up the whole shithouse–it is the beginning of the end…one way or another. The big question before us these next few days and weeks is what exactly is coming to an end?

Will voters take back control of their government and toss out a serial liar and fraud, or will we enter a period of accelerated disintegration? What does The End look like?

Before we get to the end, I’m not even sure when it started. Was it Bush v. Gore some 20 years ago when the United States Supreme Court stepped in to stop a recount that Al Gore was winning to hand the election to a dim-witted son of a President? Was it before that when right-wing radio rose up to scream in the faces of delivery guys and salesmen stuck in rush hour traffic and mourning the loss of the Shining City on a Hill first promised, then condemned with the election of a Clinton

Or was it in an earlier, darker time when the whisper of a “silent majority” who valued law & order over justice was waiting in the wings standing back and standing by for the order to attack? And attack they did, with billy clubs, tear gas, mandatory minimums and a gerrymandering scheme to make LBJ blush. 

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The True Story of The Stooges at Goose Lake Tapes

Today marks the release of The Stooges Live at Goose Lake 1970, a release so unlikely it kinda boggles the mind. Not only are there very few live recordings of The Stooges, but this particular recording of this particular performance is so drenched in legend that to even suggest there was a clean documentation of it sounds like a tall tale. 

I’ve been very lucky to be friends with and play in a bunch of bands with Joshua Rogers. We met in the early 90s and quickly established a musical kinship that took us through dalliances with glam, mod, garage rock, Americana and beyond. Early on we dubbed him “Gadget,” not just for his love of technology but for his impeccable timing as a drummer. It’s almost as if he were designed to be a drummer–programmed, as such.

If you knew Joshua well in those days you also knew his dad in some way. Jim Cassily loved Josh’s musical projects and loved facilitating them however he could. In addition to being a king storyteller, Jim was an inventor with a specific interest in how rhythm has residual benefits relating to motor skills, balance and lots of other stuff I don’t understand. The Interactive Metronome became a key piece of his technological legacy, something Joshua knew well as his dad would have him clap along with a metronome as part of his learning the drums.

And the stories he would tell…Our early bands spent time recording with Josh’s dad and that meant hours of exposure to the various tales he would weave throughout the process of setting up for a recording session. I was a natural skeptic in my youth and basically considered “adults” to be full of shit. Especially Boomers who took any opportunity to tell us how much better everything was in their day, so I was probably more dismissive to his storytelling than I had any right to be.

“Dad was such a legendary bullshitter that it was hard to sort of keep the stories straight,” Josh joked in a recent call where we caught up on this crazy adventure. 

As a kid it was sometimes hard for Josh to discern fact from his dad’s colorful fiction. “Friends laughed at me because I told them he was a member of the Oak Ridge Boys.” This bit of fantasy was likely the result of Josh’s conflating some joke Jim may have told him about having sung with the Oak Ridge Boys and the fact that he could sing in the same register to hit the most famous part of their most famous hit, “Elvira.” When you’re a kid sometimes you miss the nuances of a joke. 

There were also brushes with fame that would sometimes get jumbled up in the telling or retelling. “I thought he had dated Janis Joplin, but mom says no. He–like everyone else–thought she was scuzzy. He did work with her though, but I’m not sure to what capacity. And he did date Debbie Harry.”

Wait, what? 

“Mom jokes that he chose her over Debbie Harry. That’s what he would tell her.”

“Eventually, I started to take dad’s stories with a big hunk of salt.”

The original Goose Lake recordings, stored in a vodka box.

The Stooges’ performance at Goose Lake was pure rock and roll myth. It was the last show with the original line-up. Bassist Dave Alexander was summarily fired from the band by Iggy immediately after leaving the stage because he was so stoned or scared or whatever that he couldn’t play. At least, that’s how the story went.

But at what point does a story become history? Sometimes it’s just when it’s been told enough times by enough people and sometimes it’s when there’s some corroborating evidence. Such is the tale of how a box of tapes in a farmhouse basement in Michigan made its way to Nashville, via Chicago.

Continue reading The True Story of The Stooges at Goose Lake Tapes