Posts Tagged ‘Patti Smith


Jayne County Turns the Vipor Room Out and Over!

All Photos by Billy Bennight for Extravagant Behavior

I know that the topic of Jayne County has come up before, but for the life me I can’t put my finger on it. Jayne County, formerly, Wayne County was a staple of the early New York Punk Rock and Gay scenes. Jayne was Rock’s first transsexual. Jayne co-mingled with those in the Factory, Andy Warhol.  Jackie Curtis, Lou Reed,  Patti Smith and David Bowie. A new friend of mine Cassandra Church, an actress, producer and musical preformer, gave me a heads up on Jayne’s performance. I had met Cassandra at a Red Carpet event. I over heard her speak of a project called “Out In The Open”. I suggested she watch Wig Stock, a fun and lively Documentary with Alexis Arquette  and Jayne County. The doc is about a Gay New York festival hosted by Lady Bunny . The event was created for a host of talented Gay performers from all around the country who come to preform in New York. Our brief encounter snowballed into a lot more than I would have expected. I do like helping and informing folks though. Giving is part of my nature. Thus Cassandra was good enough to invite to see Casper and The Bad Spirits, which happen to include Jayne County and The Electric Chairs as the headliner and a bunch of other cool bands for that Saturday night.

I arrived early to the Viper Room. My second time in less than 3 weeks. I had covered the KISS Monster press conference and book release event less than three weeks earlier. I wanted to give a shout out to my girl, Dayle Gloria, whom I almost never see anymore. Dayle and I go back to the early Scream days. So it’s nice to refresh every once in a while. Did I mention I got there early. In fact outside of the KISS event I don’t think I’ve ever arrived at the Viper Room any earlier than 10pm. I was on the list. So I trotted up stairs negotiating through the typical low light of the club. I stood toward the middle of the upstairs floor for a minute and then Cassandra approached me. She made me feel welcome and filled me in on the details.  A band started playing un-announced while I was messing with my camera. Later I would find out it was Casper and the Bad Spirits. I started shooting as the band Rocked it! Casper leads a high energy Rock ensemble with a crunchy sound that proved to be intimate and visceral. For the last song Cassnadra joined Casper for one hell of a screamer! Cassanndra belted out PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me like a tormented female Iggy Pop. It was a body slam of a performance!

By this time I had settled for quantity with a 24 oz. of PBR. Then Cassandra hooked a brother up with one more 24 oz. PBR. I was flying high on loser friendly beers! This got me ready for Christian Martucci’s band.  A bad ass looking Rock-a-Billy dude with a DA, Christian Martucci, spilled on the stage in unrestrained hell-bent for leather Punk inspired Rock. They were a manic lot! Moving around the tiny stage delivering searing licks and pounding drums as the crowd started to thicken. There were more folks with cameras too. Christian Martucci sizzled till the end.

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Lady Sanatra came next in a night the club booked 4 bands. That’s a lot of bands in an evening. There was more drama now as the curtain was closed for an un-observed set up. Lady Sinatra opened with “Graves”. It was a hot ball buster and the room was getting tight and hot too. “Oh, Devil” was more of a mid-tempo Rocker that had the feel of Golden Earring‘s “Radar Love“. They were high energy but more threatening and menacing than the two previous bands. Like the moment Joseph Holiday wrapped the mic cord around guitarist Steve Friedlander neck to give the appearance of being strangled. Lady Sinatra is very much a garage Punk ensemble. They burned through the set of short and tough songs. Lady Sinatra lad in heavy with “Gold Lung”. A power Rocker that had the fans panting and breathless. They close to a tight house house of energized fans.

The club was packed tight and hotter than a firecracker with everyone ready to get a dose of New York OG Punk Rock. Henry Peck, formerly of Vinyl Fetish, The Veil and The Fetish Club of the eighties had dropped by to say high during Lady Sinatra. I looked back a little later to see him visiting with Glen Meadmore. Glen was one of LA’s hottest musical artist in the Gay community during the eighties. He opened for Chris and Cosey among many other notables and was in the LA Weekly all the time. I know because I was at his show and photographed him while I was a contributing photographer for the LA Weekly. I was eye-popping happy to see he was part of the night’s proceedings. He’s been doing Country music for some time now. I love his song ” Never Trust A Hustler” is one of my all time favorite tunes. So it was great to see him and wish him well. I made time to say hi to Anthony Ausgang too. He was fresh from We Got Power!: We Survived the Pit! at Track 16 Gallery. By this time Dayle was in and focusing on making things work. I’d have to wait to later to say my hellos. I cruised down stair to the lounge to relax and I ran into Bert and Iris. I haven’t seen them in a month or two. It nice to have a face to face refresher and brief catch up.

Once again, I was upstairs near the stage with the black curtains drawn. Henry and Glen occupied their spots near the left side of the stage, while Bert and Iris behind me. There was tension in the air and waiting till you heard Jayne start talking to the audienc through the curtain. Then there was this silence for a few beats. Then the curtains were drawn back for all to see and Jayne launched into her set. Now in her sixties Jayne is a mover and a shaker. Jayne gave us “Puddy In Your Hands”. Jayne is full of anecdotal stories. Referencing tales from New York street life, Max’s Kansas City, Lou Reed and Bowie. Delighting all in hearing range. It was all very entertaining! During “Cry Of Angels” I felt a thrust from behind. I was a bit annoyed. It was an urgent pressing from Ginger Coyote and Lina Lecaro in tow squeezing near the steps for an on stage performance. It was nice to see Lina. Ginger were all sorts of ready. Jayne, a contributor to Punk Globe, motioned to Ginger from the stage and then spoke briefly to her indicating it was a song out before their duet. Jayne jumped into “Cream In My Dreams”. I should mention that the sound Jayne and the Electric Chairs or Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys is what would be considered proto/seminal Punk. More bluesy, in a Rolling Stones way, but grittier, more jagged and definitely confrontational! Bands that come to mind would be Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Dead Boys , The Dictators or David Bowie. David Bowie in particular is an important reference. David Bowie’s management firm financed a film called Wayne at the Trucks. Wayne or Jayne has admitted that “Queenage Baby” was the inspiration for Rebel Rebel. But let me suggest that it supplied David Bowie with an ample supply of inspiration: birthing such songs, now classics, as Suffragette City, Jean Genie, Diamond Dogs and Rebel Rebel.

Soon, Ginger got her chance to duet with Jayne. Jayne is a contributor to Punk Globe, a publication and website Ginger puts out. The song they shared was “You Look Cool Baby (But You’re Bad In Bed)”. That duet was a tornado of blond on blond ferocity! Everyone was jumping and dancing as the girls were knee-deep and full throttle in to it. The Real kicker came when Jayne launched into “Rock and Roll Resurrection”. I thought it should be called Rock N’ Roll Erection. But that’s why I’m a writer and Jayne is a performing artist. As the number continued Jayne cranked up the drama by lamenting the loss of such luminaries as Buddy Holly, John Lennon and Joey Ramon. She said that Sid Vicious bombed at Max’s Kansas City. Jayne said Sid bombed three-times to every corner of the room. I remember reading how Sid had bombed in New York so many years ago. Leaving in question the possibility of him having a music career. Then there’s the re-write of history regarding Sid. No one remembers Sid bombed Max’s. Because of the ensuing tragedy of Nancy Spungen‘s death followed by the absolutely horrid circumstances of Sid untimely death, which made him a martyr. Eventually, Sid assumed the role as a Rock N’ Roll icon. As the song unwound, Jayne requested 2 shots of tequila from the fans. The fans delivered! Jayne lamented that Lou Reed might hear of it. I guess they attend the same AA meetings. There was an element of memorial to the song but Jayne moved it on to tribute. In fact, you could say, it was a weird Holy Ghosty Hoot-n-nanny Hoedown salute! Jayne was laying it out with praise Jesus’ and a Hallelujahs. These were accompanied within the same breath the fucks and shits. At this point it confirmed to me he was from the south. Jayne’s tribute was a mind bending juxtaposition of sacred and profane, mixing in a strong dose of cognitive dissonance: a brain twister and a mental meltdown. Everyone in the room was loving it, including myself! He called out to all the ex-patriots from New York City. Those who frequented Max’s Kansas City to come forward and join him up on the stage. It was glorious as they all struggled through he crowd and mounted the stage to sing along with Jayne. All survivors and all so radiant in the stage spot lights. All beaming! It was a moving moment as they gathered together on stage. Jayne by my account is one of the most emotive performers I’ve ever witnessed. The song Fuck Off! closed out her show. The song is still a bit bracing for most folks now. But you can imagine how well it must have been received back in 1977 when it was first offered. The fans were eating it up! After several opportunities offered to us by Jayne to Fuck Off! she, encouraged everyone in the room to sing-a-long. It wasn’t long till everyone was involved. So the end of the evening was a contagious performance by Jayne and the Electric Chairs having everyone at the Viper Room sending salutations out to the world with a hardy Fuck off!


Culture Collide Blowing Up the International Indie and Alternative Music Scenes in Silver Lake: Sunday

Sunday was the last day of Filter‘s Culture Collide following 4 days of music, movies and art events, Sunday’s performances ends Culture Collide’s second year as a festival. I was running late, due to blogging, on Saturday’s intinerary of band performances when Scott alerted me to the fact he was already at the festival via email. He was already to assist me in documentation all of this international music and wasn’t there yet. I was a little unhinged upon arriving at Taix, the hot spot for this festival. Scott and his friend Kristi met me in the parking lot of Taix. We pow wowed for a minute. I decided that Chad Van Gaalen was the band to give the once over twice.

Chad VanGaalen offered a nice soft Alternative Rock. There was no theatrics or onstage mayhem as the quartet strung us along from one melodic moment to another with the occasional whistling solo. It was one of those things that eased you into the mid-after noon. Interesting enough VanGaalen plays in a side project called Women. You’ll get my drift when your read just below here.

Soon came Men on the Antics Stage 1 and yes there were! While, I can’t say whether it is a declaration or celebration of their gender or their desired gender of interest. In either case they were energetic and very upbeat. They had matching shiny metallic jump suits with a purple and black zig zag print on their jumpsuit’s jackets. They were very uniform if appearance. It was Rockish Dance music presented with athletic histrionics and they were manic to say the least. I lasted 3 songs and then drifted to the chaos inside Taix to take’r easy.

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Once refreshed, I sauntered casually over to see Echo Park locals Rainbow Arabia on the Antics Stage 2. I think we all know what local means here: the band moved to Silver Lake/Echo Park in the last 3 or 4 years to be a part of the Hipster phenomon. Tiffany Preston, the lead singer/guitarist, has a presence similar to Patti Smith: Her hair in her face and they share a long and lanky look. There music they were playing is called electronic, but I found it to be filled with overtones of world music influences, extracting indigenous sounds found in South America and Africa music. Their approach to music blends light keyboard sounds, ethnic and tribal percussion, utilizing the guitar in riffy and slightly percussive manner with Preston’s lingering vocals over the soundscape. It was a good solid show and a fine warm up leading to finally seeing Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

I checked in to see Avi Buffalo for a short time. I’d already seen their performance on Friday in the Champagne room of Taix. I took it upon myself to shoot another video for better audio quality over that of Friday night’s performance. Avi Buffalo’s show was good enough Friday to return to document a cleaner, less noisy version of them playing. Then there’s the plus getting them up on the big Antics Stage with a large adoring crowd.

Next to come up on Antics Stage 2 was The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, a Danish band, brought their version of European Neo Soul to the stage. Mette Lindberg, appears to be channeling Hipster meets a blend of Debbie Harry and Princess. It was the gold mic that added the Princess flavor to my analysis. The band has a Soul/R&B sound with mid-tempo beats and a rich horn section with a clean straight ahead vocals, very unlike Amy Winehouse. She knew her stuff and layed it down for the next 45 minutes with me counting down to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah‘s set.

I counted some 25 photogs all in a line at Antics Stage 1. The thickening crowd that had been swelling for 15 minutes before scheduled show was to begin were now enduring the tedium of a sound check. It only proves the pulling power of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah to the LA audience. The fans were eagerly waiting and standing as things heated up in anticipation of the show. A show that was to happen at Sunset Junction, then at the Echo, which then was cancelled because of the Hurricane hitting New York. Now, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are finally going to blow up here on the street behind Taix. I mustard a position for best photographic effect, while being squeezed all around by devotees and waiting for the band to launch their set. The lights popped on as Alec Ounsworth pushed up to the mic, guitar at the ready with the band close behind. In a fraction second everyone jumped into the set. The cheers of the fans rose up with Alec’s urgent delivery with hit and run intensity that lasted for the first 4 songs with no let up. The photogs were “all up in it”, all jostling for position to capture the erupting musical assault and on stage energy! The band was busy delivering the experience. Alec led the way as a power packed showman bearing down on the mic with his vocal delivery. Mid-set they played the hit “Satan Said Dance” and the crowd went into a frenzy: jumping and singing along till they were breathless. Alec introduced a new song in their set, Maniac, in support of their new album Hysteria. Acceptance was immediate and everybody was on it with furious feet and gyrating hips! The dancing didn’t stop from then on out. The set was tight energetic and polished, as much as any “Indie” can be polished. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah gave every one that attended exactly what they wanted and then some. I loved every moment of it! It was a great show and an awesome way for everyone to experience a much anticipated band that everyone had been waiting on for such a damn long time!

Datarock then followed Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. So we switched to the Antic Stage 2 where they were set to perform. Scott and Kristi after proving 4 hours of assistance to my every video need had to move on. Once again with the running suits or glamy sweats that Datarock pioneered, as far as I know, were up on the stage giving it. Whenever, I see Datarock in their look I think of Ben Stiller and the twins from the The Royal Tenenbaums. It always creates a smirk on my face. They were active, running all over the stage working the crowd. The sound wasn’t right though for a performance but it turned out well for my video. It was like sound check didn’t pay off for them. The sound was dull, lacking brightness and volume I had heard all day long at other stages. But that didn’t deaden the enthusiasm the band or the faithful as they hammered away at the show. Nonetheless, the audience thinned a bit and the devoted were hooked on every song. Towards the latter part of the middle of their set they hit on their hit of “Fa Fa Fa” re-energizing the fans. Like Felix the Cat and his magic bag of tricks Datarock kept going for the one up on their previous effort ranking on themselves at every step. Fredrik Saroea declared that Jerry Casale of Devo was directing Datarock’s new music video for their song California.They were shooting footage right there live too. The band introduced Jerry to the audience. A group of people would barely know who he was and yet they were enthusiastic, releasing a festive cheer for him as Datarock launched in to song California. Jerry jumped in and powered a duet with Fredrik as the band posed and preened to the music soaking up all that Devo glory. At the end Fredrik declared that eveybody will be in the California music video. I was thinking, everybody in the front rows will be in the music video. Those like myself, who were in the dark, have little to no chance of being seen in that video. But I’ll buy in on the level of Sunday evening fun and I love a good pitch. Datarock closed out their set with cheery satisfied audience. At this point I’d had scored a totally awesome performance of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on video. It had been along weekend of friends, fun and great music. So I could call it a day without any guilt and chalk this Culture Collide up to another exceptional weekend of above average music and general frivolity.

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