Best music of 2008

BEST CDs of 2008
By alexander laurence
The Portable-Infinite

1. Black Mountain – In The Future
2. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
3. Portishead - Third
4. TV On The Radio – Dear Science
5. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
6. Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree
7. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
8. The Walkmen – You & Me
9. Ray La Montagne – Gossip In The Grain
10. Wire – Object 47
11. The Duke Spirit - Neptune
12. The Raconteurs – Consolers Of The Lonely
13. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Dig Lazurus Dig!
14. Spiritualized - Songs in A & E
15. Mercury Rev – Snowflake Midnight
16. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
17. Secret Machines – Secret Machines
18. Teddy Thompson – A Piece Of What You Need
19. The Dodos – The Visiter
20. The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of The Understatement
21. The Black Keys – Attack & Release
22. Darker My Love – 2
23. Foals - Antidotes
24. Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke
25. Joan As Police Woman – To Survive
26. The Ting Tings _ The Ting Tings
27. Beach House - Devotion
28. Ryan Adams – Cardinology
29. Dandy Warhols – Earth To The Dandy Warhols
30. Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality
31. Golden Animals – Free Your Mind And Win A Pony
32. Deerhunter - Microcastle
33. M83 – Saturdays=Youth
34. She & Him – Volume One
35. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
36. Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
37. Santogold - Santogold
38. White Denim - Workout Holiday
39. Gemma Hayes – The Hollow Of Morning
40. Vivian Girls – Vivian Girls

41. Primal Scream - Beautiful Future
42. The Verve - Forth
43. The Subways – All Or Nothing
44. Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul
45. The Kills – Midnight Boom
46. Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
47. Guns and Roses - Chinese Democracy
48. Dot Allison – Exaltation Of Larks
49. Megapuss - Surfing
50. Psychic Ills - Mirror Eye

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Playlist: the death of downtown

Playlist: Nov 13th 2008

This will probably be the last time I DJ at Bar 107. They decided that it will never be a cool scene. They want it to be a dive bar where people drink and are depressed. So Hot Chip and MGMT remind people that they are getting bald and life is passing them by. Here is the last playlist before I was interrupted.

Darker My Love "Talking Words"
The Chemical Brothers "Leave Home
Primal Scream "Can't Go Back"
A Place To Bury Strangers "I Know I'll See You"
Stereo Total "Musique Automatique"
Ladyhawke "Paris Is Burning" (Peaches remix)
The Muslims "Walking With Jesus"
Daft Punk "Around The World"
Hot Chip "Ready For The Floor"
Does It Offend You, Yeah? "Let's Make Out"

MGMT "Kids"
PIL "This Is Not A Love Song"
Invaders Of The Heart "How Much Are They?"
Santogold "LES Artistes"
Ladytron "Playgirl"
The Ting Tings "Shut Up And Let Me Go"

And some crap music after this. I played nine or ten of these songs the month before. That was it this month. For the rest of the month and next artwalk golden oldies and cheesy songs. Lets all drink up.
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Downtown Artwalk DJ Night: November 13th

Downtown Artwalk w/ DJ Alexander
Music Is My Boyfriend™

Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 9:45pm

Bar 107
107 West 4th Street @ Main
Los Angeles, CA

The Portable Infinite brings you a happy night of good karma at Bar 107 celebrating hope and freedom and the opening lotus flower.....

No need to bring a partner if you have a good song. It's another amazing night of NEW MUSIC in Downtown LA.

Alexander Laurence (aka The Portable Infinite)
CELEBRATES VINYL and the year of light and the blogsphere

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Megapuss Interview


By alexander laurence

Megapuss is a new band from Los Angeles. The members include Greg Rogove (of
Priestbird) and Devendra Banhart. Fab Moretti (of The Strokes) is also a
member. Other members include Noah Georgeson, Rodrigo Amarante, and Aziz Ansari.
They played their first show this summer at the Hammer Museum. This performance
was highlighted by the band wearing “penis skirts.” The second gig was a free
show at Spaceland. This ended up being a crazy event and a line of hundred
people were left outside. I caught the band on their first proper tour. They
have an album coming out in October 2008. I spoke to Greg Rogove before the show
at the Troubadour.

AL: How is Priestbird doing?

Greg: We are in the middle of making a record right now. I am going to
Seattle next week. We are going to finish that up.

AL: How did Megapuss start then?

Greg: When we were touring for the “Smokey” album, Devendra and I, we went
to Europe and the states. We had a list of song titles. We had “Food City.” We
had “Doctor Beaver Mustard.” We had “Duck People Duck Man” and “Surfing.”
That was the band at the beginning: we had all these song titles. We were
happy with this idea for a band. We could write down song titles on the bus or
anywhere. We had some downtime before shows. We said: “Let’s get into music
again. Let’s write a song in fifteen minutes.” We would look at the list. “What
does Hamman sound like?” And we would write something really fast. And then we
would play a show…

AL: It’s like the idea “First breath, best breath…”?

Greg: Yeah, exactly. What do you see when you open your eyes in the morning.
What ever it is. Do something with that. When we finished the tour, we got
home, and we had written sketches for 25 songs. When we finished the tour, we
decided to make a record. We set up a little studio in our house in Echo Park.
It’s right under Route 5. So the traffic is part of the sound. We made a record
in a few weeks and we had a great time.

AL: Was that song “Shabop Shalom” an influence on Megapuss?

Greg: I see what you are saying. I performed that live but Devendra wrote
that story. Noah did it on the record. I did it live because everyone else was
playing something. I think the band just started with us and our sense of humor,
and how we make each other laugh.

AL: There was something going on that was Megapuss, but it didn’t have a name?

Greg: It’s the dialogue of Devendra and I. Fab Moretti was lurking around our
property a lot. Creepily he was scurrying around like the raccoons. He was
homeless and we brought him in. Everyone goes through some homelessness at some

AL: He was a stray dog?

Greg: He was a stray dog that we shaved his whole body. We asked him to sing
on one of the songs. He helped write and he sang on “Theme From Hollywood.”
We brought in a bunch of friends like Rodrigo, Noah, Luckey, and Aziz Ansari.
He is an incredible actor and comedian. He sings on “Duck People Duck Man.”

AL: Was there any new music influences on this new record?

Greg: I would say that it was backwards. After we made this record, we
discovered a lot of music that was just like it. I knew those records were out
there. Some of them we had heard before. But most of it resurfaced or we heard
afterwards. It was not a conscious thing. It just seemed very natural to do this

AL: When your friends heard these tracks, who did they mention?

Greg: I think the most accurate is Hasil Adkins. He is a legend. There are
Ween and Tenacious D. If Ween and Tenacious D weren’t funny they would be
Megapuss. Jack Black is awesome. That song “Piggies” by The Beatles is really

AL: It’s playful.

Greg: Playful and lighthearted. It’s out there to inspire, to incite but not
overwhelm. We were in a good place when we wrote the record. So it’s about
being happy and excited. It’s a tangible object for people to share.

AL: When does the record come out?

Greg: It’s out on iTunes. The actual physical release will come later in
October 2008 on Vapor Records. We are excited.

AL: Megapuss has played a few shows so far. Maybe people who are fans of the
other bands, may not know about it yet. It seems like maybe Megapuss is a very
different world from the music of Devendra Banhart and Priestbird. Can you
talk about that?

Greg: Disparate may be the word. It may not come across as being as serious.
There is serious humor and lightness in it. The name Megapuss means “big
kiss.” It’s definitely in line what our whole group, and our friends, are doing.
It’s there to inspire and uplift. We are spreading love and making peace

AL: The first show was at the Hammer Museum. What was that about?

Greg: The Hammer show was a collaboration with Lauren Dukoff. She was showing
her photos and we were doing the music for that. That was the very first

AL: There has been a lot of talk about the “Penis Skirt.”

Greg: There has been enough talk about that. It was just an accoutrement to
the show. It somehow became the focus. There is a lot of penis imagery. That is
to offset the misconception of “Puss.” Megapuss doesn’t mean Big Pussy.
It’s wrong. Penises are good.

AL: Who made those skirts?

Greg: Devendra made the skirts. Since they have been used I don’t think
anyone wants them. We are going to burn them.

AL: The second show was at Spaceland with Warpaint. Could you talk about that

Greg: That was our first club show and it was near where we live. We got our
friends together for that show. We were there for Warpaint. They are an
incredible band. Here is our good friend, and drummer, Fab Moretti. (points to him).

Fab: I want to get a beer.

AL: How did that show go?

Greg: It was hot and awesome. Everyone got hurt from the alcohol. But in a
good way. Megapuss does a lot of drinking, but less than the Strokes.

AL: Who is playing with you tonight?

Greg: We have a great scene tonight. We have Little Joy, which is Fab’s other
band. I play drums in Little Joy, and Fab plays drums in Megapuss. That is
the barter exchange. Little Joy and Megapuss is essentially the same band, but
we switch instruments. We will play each other’s songs. So it might be
unfortunately boring for the crowd.

AL: Will there be a costume change between bands?

Greg: If we are inspired there will be. Even if we weren’t playing shows, we
would be hanging out. We would be drinking Mai-Tais. I like that Tropical
feel. Little Joy is like surf rock. It’s like Brazilian surf doo wop. Megapuss is
about the summertime.

AL: Did you record it in the summer?

Greg: We recorded it in March. Little Joy we did over the past year.

AL: You recorded all those songs?

Greg: We recorded sixteen songs and put out fourteen. We will be playing ten
songs live.

AL: “Adam & Steve” is a new take on the Bible.

Greg: It’s about the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve ate the fruit and were
banished from the garden. Adam and Steve were gay lovers and they ate from the
fruit but loved each other and stayed in the garden. They lived in perfect
harmony and are still there.

AL: Will you perform telekinesis onstage?

Greg: We are such close friends. We are going to morph into each other. It
will be real shape shifting. The changing of body chemistry onstage.

AL: What have you been up to this summer?

Greg: There has been a lot of surfing. It’s a new thing. Noah surfs a lot. I
thought I was good. But Rodrigo came from Brazil and he took over. I claim
second best though.

AL: Have you seen any good films?

Greg: Ghostbusters is good. I like Point Break.

AL: The motto of Point Break is “If you want to experience the ultimate, you
have to risk the ultimate.” How do you feel about that?

Greg: That is how we live. We risk our lives for music and glory, just like
Johnny Utah.

AL: Priestbird is going to finish a record soon?

Greg: Yeah. We are working in Seattle with Stone Gossard. We should finish it
soon and it should be out in Spring 2009. He is the funniest man on the

AL: Are there any good books that you have read? Megapuss is all about
inspiration, getting centered, and looking into the light, in my opinion.

Greg: There have been a few books. I hope that I don’t sound pretentious, but
I was reading The Brothers Karamazov..

AL: Everyone has to dip in the Russian novel at some point.

Greg: I have never read any Dostoevsky. It’s great. It’s so good. It’s a
long novel, and I hit a rut. I switched over to In Defense of Food by Michael
Pollan. All of his books are good. I got bored of that and switched over to Lord
of The Flies.

AL: Is Dostoevsky going to figure into the new Priestbird record? That is
like a high art influence?

Greg: Actually I have been reading The Far Side. Devendra, the other half of
Megapuss, is really into Swamp Thing. He likes all the Alan Moore comics.

AL: Any final words to the fans? Any message? Words to live by?

Greg: Three words: peace is possible.
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WIRE video (echoplex) new song

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Tomorrow; WIRE at echoplex

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Zoo Magazine #20 : Ray Liotta

I did this interview with Ray Liotta this past summer at Chateau Marmont. Bryan Adams did the photos. You can pick up Zoo Magazine at the news stand at Hollywood and Cahuenga. Or at South Coast Plaza.

Ray Liotta

by Alexander Laurence/photography Bryan Adams

Ray Liotta is a well-known actor and a man of mystery. Tall, with light brown hair and intense green eyes, he has the air of a tough guy. Certainly, on screen, Liotta specializes in playing tough, albeit psychopathic characters - whether a corrupt Justice Department official who is eaten alive in Hannibal or a gangster in Goodfellas.

I met Liotta at Hollywood’s famous Chateau Marmont hotel on a late summer day in July. He seemed only slightly less fearsome in person. He appeared uncomfortable about doing an interview and being photographed. He also asked a lot of questions, including: “What kind of magazine is this?”

Liotta does not court publicity so very little is known about him. When I delve into his personal life, I uncover more speculation and myth than actual truth. Yes, Liotta is a soccer fan, but no, he is not a fan of Tottenham Hotspurs, as it is often reported.

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Downtown Artwalk DJ Night: October 9th

Playlist October 9th 2008

Hot Chocolate "You Sexy Thing"
Primal Scream "Accelerator"
Beck "Gamma Ray"
Chemical Brothers "Leave Home"
Air "Sexy Boy"
Telepathe "Chrome's On It"
MGMT "Kids"
Daft Punk "Around The World"
Ladytron "Playgirl"
The Ting Tings "Shut Up and Let Me Go"

The Jackson 5 "The Love You Save"
Hot Chip "Ready For The Floor"
TV On The Radio "Wolf Like Me"
DFA 1979 "Romantic Rights"
LCD Soundsytem "Time To Get Away"
The Rapture "Get Myself Into It"
CSS "Pretend We're Dead"
Goldfrapp "Strict Machine"
Crystal Castles "Crimewave"
MIA "Paper Planes"

Santogold "Creator"
Soft Cell "Tainted Love"
The B-52s "6060-842"
The Sweet "Fox On The Run"
Echo and The Bunnymen "Rescue"
Generation X "Gimme Some Truth"
The Kills "Cheap and Cheerful"
Oasis "The Shock of The Lightning"
Primal Scream "Can't Go Back"
The Duke Spirit "Lasso"

Iggy and The Stooges "Shake Appeal"
The Mamas and The Papas "Straight Shooter"
Portishead "Machine Gun"
Gorillaz "Clint Eastwood"
Junior Boys "In The Morning"
Jarvis Cocker "Fat Children"
Soulwax "NY Lipps"
Kraftwerk "Pocket Calculator"
Throbbing Gristle "United"
Nilsson "Coconut"

Peaches "Operate"
Roxy Music "Virginia Plain" (headman remix)
Chemical Brothers "Setting Son"
Duffy "Mercy"
CSS "Left Behind"
The Knife "Like A Pen"
The Go! Team "Bottle Rocket"
Grace Jones "Pull Up To The Bumper"
Pulp "Common People"
Bow Wow Wow "I Want Candy"

Heart "Straight On"
Blondie "Rapture"
The Dandy Warhols "We Used To Be Friends" (Kenn Richards remix)
MGMT "Time To Pretend"
Massive Attack "Inertia Creeps"
Stereo Total "Automatic Music"
Blonde Redhead "En Particulier"
Morningwood "Nth Degree"
The Rapture "House Of Jealous Lovers"
Simian Mobile Disco "Tits and Acid"

New Order "Sub-Culture"
M "Pop Music"
Wall Of Voodoo "Mexican Radio"
Crystal Castles "Vanished"
Kim Wilde "Kids In America"
Hercules and The Love Affair "You Belong"
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "Dig Lazurus Dig"
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This THURSDAY: downtown artwalk


Downtown Artwalk w/ DJ Alexander
Music Is My Boyfriend™

Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 9:30pm
Bar 107
107 West 4th Street @ Main
Los Angeles, CA

The plot is simple. We spin records and you drink, and have meaningless sexual encounters with dodgy downtown characters. Or just get some phone numbers for future phone sex. Drinking is forgetting. Music keeps the eye on the prize. Children are being conceived just thinking about about this magical night. See the light. Touch the stars. Taste the rainbow.
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David Foster Wallace found dead

CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP) — David Foster Wallace, the author best known for his 1996 novel "Infinite Jest," was found dead in his home, according to police. He was 46.

Wallace's wife found her husband had hanged himself when she returned home about 9:30 p.m. Friday, said Jackie Morales, a records clerk with the Claremont Police Department.

Wallace taught creative writing and English at nearby Pomona College.

Wallace's first novel, "The Broom of the System," gained national attention in 1987 for its ambition and offbeat humor. The New York Times said the 24-year-old author "attempts to give us a portrait, through a combination of Joycean word games, literary parody and zany picaresque adventure, of a contemporary America run amok."

Published in 1996, "Infinite Jest" cemented Wallace's reputation as a major American literary figure. The 1,000-plus-page tome, praised for its complexity and dark wit, topped many best-of lists. Time Magazine named "Infinite Jest" in its issue of the "100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005."

Wallace received a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation in 1997. His short fiction was published in Esquire, GQ, Harper's, The New Yorker and the Paris Review. He wrote nonfiction for a number of publications, including an essay on the U.S. Open for Tennis magazine and a profile of the director David Lynch for Premiere.

Born in Ithaca, N.Y., Wallace attended Amherst College and the University of Illinois.
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WIRE "One Of Us"

Wire is playing in LA on October 14th at echoplex
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What We Do Is Secret: review


I got to watch this film a few times. The Germs was a legendary LA band, that was more like an idea, than a reality. Los Angeles doesn't really get its fair share of punk rock credit. People still think Punk was invented in London or NYC, but by 1979, LA had its own scene and a ton of bands. The Runaways was an early punk band if anyone was. Much of the LA rock scene then was still a glam retread. It took a few years for things to get really happening here. Not that any of the club owners wanted punk to take off. They thought punk was violent, and preferred cover bands. They would book a "punk" band, maybe some lightweights like The Dickies, and a few bottles would be broken. End of experiment. It's a miracle that The Germs got to play any shows at all.

So we have this movie. Shane West is great as Darby Crash. Not that I was close to the original, but I have known Don Bolles off and on since 1980. It mostly seems accurate. Darby Crash was said to be really smart. None of this is really shown in the movie. He seems more like a moron obsessed with Sid Vicious. Luckily Darby visited London and found out that people didn't listen to Sex Pistols anymore. But I remember there were a lot of kids who were obsessives and could quote Nietzsche and turn your world upside down. You know, guys who were fans of Charles Manson, and so on. So Darby seems to have a little low self-esteem issues. If this has to do with his family or closeted homosexuality, who knows?

We get to see the beginning of The Germs and The Masque. I remember the horror of hearing the Live at the Whisky album. Besides "Sugar, Sugar" that music was a chore to listen to. Eventually The Germs got better. In 1980, they could play very fast, and with Black Flag, probably inspired the whole hardcore thing. The Germs probably played 50 gigs or less in their whole early career, and never outside of LA. Most of the shows were uneven, and sometimes Darby was on drugs. Some people pretend that Darby was some incredible showman. But it was more a mystique than actual fact. That is why Shane West is such an improvement. You get a young Darby without the bad haircuts, drugs, and Bowie Fascination.

The Germs created some excitement in the LA scene which was mostly The Screamers and The Weirdos back then. There are a few scenes in the movie with The Damned. Why they got 40-year-old men to play them was odd? You have an actor playing Rodney Bingheimer, who seemed younger than the band. Back then, Rodney was like the oldest guy you ever saw at a gig. Darby gets more into drugs. Their managers suck. A bunch of vampires and leeches surround the band and feed them drugs. Sounds like these go-nowhere bands of today? Luckily they recorded an album, and better yet, were captured on film. Because it's not like The Germs was this awesome live band. The album still rocks today and they stole the show in the Decline movie. And Darby died.

Can you imagine a 50-year-old Darby Crash? Not me. We give Darby the benefit of the doubt, like we do Kurt Cobain and Elvis. People like Ian Curtis and Jeff Buckley were always considered interesting artists in their lifetimes, but once they died, the "genius" label got thrown around. I am not sure if Darby was a genius, but he created some interesting times to mull over. The records are there. In the movie, it seems sort of dark and depressing. I think of those times as being very fun and wild. Even his death didn't change anything. Life went on, and The Germs were a thing of history. They were a flash of light.

As a young teenager experiencing this, it seemed so care-free and light. Punk Rock did create a lot of false dreams and casualties. Darby was very provocative. He went to London and saw Adam and The Ants. He came back with a mohawk. It was before all the punk clones and uniforms. And I remember seeing Black Flag at the Starwood at the time. I must have seen 100 mohawks that night. That was the power of someone like Darby Crash.

The whole LA punk scene was a quick thing. By May 1980, you had thousands lining up to see PIL at the Olympic Auditorium. There were all these clubs in the sticks, like Godzillas. The Stern Brothers put on some bigger shows. The Ramones played some big shows. But in those years 1975-1980, everything was very underground, and witnessed by very few people. I, myself, only got to see the tail end of it. And by the time you are 21, do you really want to fight bouncers and police officers?

I am glad that a band like The Germs gets any attention. They, like Black Flag and Redd Kross, were more my age. Maybe a few years older. Many bands who always get mentioned, like X and Fear, were in their 30s by 1980. The Germs records stand up, and the others don't. They are playing at Sunset Junction this weekend so you should check them out.

--Alexander Laurence
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Downtown Artwalk playlist

Downtown Artwalk August 14th

I was at the temple, and Vee called me up. She wanted me to start at 8pm. I had to drive across town and there was traffic. I was in a rush, so couldn't pay attention to what was going on. It was the most people downtown I had seen. At 5th and Main the sidewalks were filled. I played records for almost 5 hours, so this list is going longer than usual. I saw a lot of new people in the club. It was at capacity so sorry if you couldn't get in.

Playlist August 14th, 2008

Daft Punk "Around The World"
New Order "Sub-Culture"
MGMT "Electric Feel Good"
The Ting Tings "We Started Nothing"
CSS "Pretend That We're Dead"
Crystal Castles "Crimewave"
Johnny Cash "Leave That Junk Alone" (Alabama 3 Remix)
The Jam "Beat Surrender"
Portishead "Plastic"
Sonic Youth "Silver Rocket"

Gorillaz "Clint Eastwood"
Generation X "Ready Steady Go"
Daft Punk "Technologic"
Hot Chip "Ready For The Floor'
The Rapture "Get Myself Into It"
Klaxons "It's Not Over Yet"
Annie "Chewing Gum"
Louis XIV "Finding Out True Love Is Blind"
Santogold "Creator"
Crystal Castles "Vanished"

The Duke Spirit "Send A Little Love Token"
Bowie "Golden Years"
Devo "Wiggly World"
Daft Punk "Robot Rock"
The B52s "52 Girls"
Get Get, Wear Cape Fly "D.A.N.C.E."
Jean Knight "Mr Big Stuff" (w/ Jay-Z "99 Problems")
Hot Chocolate "You Sexy Thing"
Bow Wow Wow "I Want Candy"
Soulwax "NY Lipps"

Roxy Music "Viginia Plain" (Headman remix)
LCD Soundsystem "Disco Infiltrator"
Junior Boys "In The Morning"
MIA "Paper Planes"
MGMT "Time To Pretend"
My Chemical Romance "Song 2"
Soulwax "E-Talking"
Supergrass "Diamond Hoo Ha"
Grace Jones "Pull Up To The Bumper"
Yaz "Dont Go"

Hot Chip "Over and Over"
Dandy Warhols "We Used To Be Friends" (Kenn Richards remix)
The Kills "Cheap and Cheerful"
The Ting Tings "Shut Up and Let Me Go"
Iggy and The Stooges "Shake Appeal"
Violent Femmes "Blister In The Sun"
LCD Soundsystem "Give It Up"
Interpol "Slow Hands" (Britt Daniels remix)
Raconteurs "Stone Bought Bones"
Soft Cell "Tainted Love"

Kim Wilde "Kids In America"
BRMC "Stop"
Arcade Fire "Rebellion Lies"
CSS "Alala"
Adult. "Nothing Of The Kind'
New Young Pony Club "The Bomb"
Bauhaus "Third Uncle"
Teddybears "Punkrocker"
We Are Scientists "Inaction"
Blur "Music Is My Radar"

The Strokes "Heart In A Cage"
Echo and The Bunnymen "Rescue"
Sinead O'Conner "Jerusalem"
Kasabian "Empire"
My Bloody Valentine "When You Sleep"
The Moldy Peaches "Who's Got The Crack"
Cheap Trick "Clock Strikes Ten"
Blondie "Atomic"
Gang Of Four "At Home He's A Tourist"
Lords Of The New Church "Russian Roulette"

The Black Angels "You In Color"
Wire "Outdoor Miner"
Wire "All Fours"
Burial "Ghost Hardware"
Renegade Soundwave "Transition"
Hecuba "Sir"
The Glove "Perfect Murder
Ian Dury "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick"
TV On The Radio "Wolf Like Me"
Singapore Sling "Song For The Spirit"

The Last Shadow Puppets "My Mistakes Were Made For You"
Dirty Pretty Things "Tired Of England"
Wire "Mekon Headman"
1990s "See You At The Lights"

+ more
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Alessi is a magical creature that lives in West London. I think of her as this unique eighteen-year-old girl who is very excited, very alert, and very open to the world of the imagination. The imagination is often associated with those strange dimensions created in childhood. For a young child, fantasy and reality seem to co-exist without contradiction, and shed light on each other. As we grow up we seem to leave this world behind, only to revisit it occasionally in song. Alessi's songs like "Constellations" and "The Horse" open up the door again to this beautiful world. Her songs are a new take on psychedelic folk music, very British, and a little like Syd Barrett, who was very childlike in his own way.

Alessi has taken a myriad of influences from art and music, and her own life, and formed something very original. In a very short time, Alessi has created her own signature sound. Her voice is very sensual and her idiosyncratic guitar playing is very simple. On writing her songs, Alessi says: "Usually words are born first. I try to remember them as much as possible and sometimes write a few things down. I leave the words to just exist for a little while and then I'll see if I can find anything on the guitar to help it grow."

Alessi has studied music for a while, playing several instruments. For many years playing drums. As for her own songs she settled on guitar: "I like playing the guitar, we're becoming better friends all the time. Apple and I." In no short time, Alessi has created a magical set of songs, from her bedroom. Her visual and sonic presentation is both innocent and worldly.

Alessi played about one hundred shows in the past two years. Several of these shows were at bookstores and unconventional places. She said of these early shows: "Listeners had to be quiet. I didn't have a pickup on my guitar then so I'd just hope a microphone or two would do the trick."

The reaction to her music has always been always positive. Alessi has definitely turned heads around. She has created fans with every show. Alessi gave a handmade CD with original artwork. At some point it was time to create a full album and expand her sound from those homemade demos. Alessi traveled to ARC studio in Omaha, Nebraska to work on her album with Mike Mogis who has worked with many bands on Saddle Creek. She said: "We started working on the record last August (2007) and with intervals here and there we've just finished it." That is good news.

Alessi has spent almost a year perfecting her album. There is a lot of down time in the studio. I often wondered about her hobbies. She offered: "Drawing and embroidering are two things that keep my hands busy and very happy." Alessi's mom, Lauren, has been knitting herself. She created knitted purses to put her CDs in. People are very lucky to have received one of these creations.

Sometimes Alessi seems to be living in some ancient world, from another time. I found out that she does use a computer and a cell phone. She told me: "Yes, I watch television. Not very often but when I do, it's with my family. We love laughing."

I can imagine her reading books in some old library. Alessi explained her reading habits: "Reading comes in waves. I've been reading quite a bit recently. Gig by Simon Armitage and A New Earth by Eckhart.... I've forgotten his last name. And new issues of The Curse. Your book too. Five Fingers Make A Fist by Alexander Laurence.

What is an average day like for Alessi? She is brief about the subject: "Sleep. Music. Hugs. Walking. 3 meals. Sometimes swimming." She leaves a lot to the imagination, which is good.

Alessi is someone you could see being a teacher or an artist. What does her family think about her decision to play music: "My family is beautiful and supportive. I think they like the songs'', she tells me.

After another month in Omaha to complete the record, Alessi plans to play several shows: "I'll be playing End of The Road in September 2008 and then a few shows around the UK with Peter and the Wolf" she adds. Hopefully we will see the release of her album later this year, or in early in 2009? This will be one the most anticipated albums, and we all look forward to it.

--Alexander Laurence

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Downtown DJ night

Playlist July 21st, 2008

Generation X "Wild Dub"
The Prodigy "Breathe"
New Order "Subculture"
Cheap Trick "Southern Girls"
MGMT "Kids"
The Duke Spirit "My Sunken Treasure"
Death In Vegas "Soul Auctioneer"
Renegade Soundwave "Transworld Siren"
Hecuba "Tom And Jerry"
Portishead "We Carry On"

Santogold "Creator"
Spiritualized "Soul On Fire"
Dirty Pretty Things "Tired Of England"
Duffy "Mercy"
Suede "We Are The Pigs"
Gang Of Four "What We All Want"
Darker My Love "Talking Words"
Mystery Jets "You Cant Fool Me Dennis" Remix
LCD Soundsystem "Disco Infiltrator"
Art Brut "Direct Hit"

Tokyo Police Club "Nature of The Experiment"
Butthole Surfers "Hurdy Gurdy Man"
The Dandy Warhols "We Used To Be Friends" remix
Iggy and The Stooges "Shake Appeal"
The Ting Tings "We Walk"
MIA "Paper Planes"
Wall of Voodoo "Mexican Radio"
Wire "Another The Letter"
The Vibrators "London Girls"
My Bloody Valentine "When You Sleep"

Crystal Castles "Crimewave"
The Kills "URA Fever"
Roxy Music "Virginia Plain" Headman remix
The Last Shadow Puppets "My Mistakes Were Made For You"
Foals "Cassius"
The Velvet Underground "Waiting For The Man"
Patti Smith "Rock and Roll Nigger"
Joy Division "Heart and Soul"
The Circle Jerks "Wild In The Streets"
Devo "Wiggly World"

Brian Jonestown Massacre "Going To Hell"
The Doors "The Alabama Song"
Marianne Faithfull "Broken English"
Bob Dylan "I Want You"
Devendra Banhart "The Charles C. Leary"
The Raconteurs "You Dont Understand Me"
Garland Jefferys "Eggs"
Transvision Vamp "Tell That Girl To Shut Up"
Broadcast "American Boy"
The Raveonettes "Dead Sound"

Kate Nash "Foundations"
Blood Red Shoes "Say Something, Say Anything"
Goldfrapp "A & E"
We Are Scientists "This Scene Is Dead"
The Black Keys "Your Touch"
TV On The Radio "Wolf Like Me"
Siouxsie and The Banshees "Hong Kong Garden"
Lily Allen "Smile"
The Hives "Tick Tick Boom"
Interpol "Slow Hands"

Alternative TV "Action Time Vision"
plus more punk stuff
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COLDER "Wrong Baby"

READ the groundbreaking COLDER interview here: http://portable-infinite.blogspot.com/2005/01/colder-interview.html
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Ladytron Interview 2008

LADYTRON interview 2008
By alexander laurence

I did one of the first interviews with Ladytron in 2000. They had an EP out
then. I spoke to Daniel Hunt before they had played any live shows. I met
Daniel in New York City during one of his first visits there. Since then they have
released four albums and have toured the world. Recently they have released a
new album called Velocifero (2008).

The members are Daniel Hunt, Reuben Wu, Mira Arroyo, and Helen Marnie. The
band started in Liverpool in 1999. Their albums include 604 (2001), Light &
Magic (2002), and Witching Hour (2005). They have become famous DJs and remixers
over the years. I spoke to Reuben Wu in May 2008, during their recent American

AL: I did an interview with Daniel Hunt back in November 2000. I had heard
the first single and a version of the first album. What do you remember about
that time, and how is the band different now?

Reuben: It’s very different when we first started. Everything happened very
slowly. Things worked very differently back then. We have learned how to be a
band. When we first started it was a part-time thing. Danny and me still had
jobs. Helen and Mira were still students. It was a very slow process getting
known and getting airplay. It was strictly a studio project at first.

AL: Did Danny write most of the first album?

Reuben: Danny had already been in a few bands before Ladytron. He had built
up a collection of tracks. He had written much of the first album over a few
years. Most of it had been in different stages of being finished. When we
started working on the music, most of the demos for the first album were already
done. In that way, it wasn’t written as an album, but more a collection of
songs. The next album, Light & Magic, was more like an album. As we go along,
the albums are more coherent.

AL: When I first heard Ladytron, I was thinking of techno bands like
Kraftwerk and Gary Numan, and some John Foxx. But when I listen to it now, it sounds
more like indie rock bands of the time.

Reuben: We have never been embraced by the techno world because we are too
song based. We have always been by ourselves and not comparable to other bands.
When we play these festivals that are almost like raves, we stick out because
we are too rock and roll. And when we play with indie rock bands, we don’t fit
in either.

AL: When did the band start playing live?

Reuben: It was some time after the second album. Our earliest shows were not
live at all. We had a playback tape. We were just miming back then. We didn’t
start out as a live band. We couldn’t go out on the road because we all had
jobs. We could only do one show at a time. That has pretty much changed over the
years. We are pretty much a live band now.

AL: Now bands have to tour if they want to survive.

Reuben: Exactly. I realize more and more that an album is like a yardstick,
or merely a blueprint, for the live show. We have played all over the world. We
have toured consistently for three years.

AL: When you first started playing, everyone one was calling this music
Electroclash. All these bands like you, Adult, Fisherspooner, Peaches, and others
didn’t really have anything to do with each other. What did you think of all

Reuben: Exactly. That was more about a group of bands that came out of
Williamsburg at that time. But it seemed to embrace a bunch of bands from all over
the world. We had never known about that area and about those bands. They
seemed to be more about doing music with keyboards. We were never a band that
talked about instrumentation. We were always about songs. There are bands now that
electronic bands and have keyboards, and they are not called Electroclash.
Although these labels were frustrating at the time, it all brought that music
more into the mainstream a bit. There are bands now like Soulwax Nite Versions
and LCD Soundsystem who would have been called Electroclash back in 2001. They
have seemed to have leapfrogged the whole thing.

AL: Many of these Electroclash bands are not around anymore.

Reuben: We were doing our own thing. When we were in Los Angeles doing our
second record, we were oblivious to all that. We were more concerned with being
ourselves and not reflecting anything going on. It was such a relief when the
second album came out. We wanted to distance ourselves from all that. The
second album was like a bookend to the whole Electroclash thing.

AL: Has the last few albums been more collaborative?

Reuben: Yes. They have been. Each record has been different. But it’s good to
have all members contributing to the band when you have four members in the
band. Things have evolved over the years. I think that the next record will be
way different. Over the years I think each record gets better and better.
Velocifero is the most diverse and most cohesive record we have done.

AL: You don’t worry about the singles?

Reuben: We do identify which songs are potential singles, but, to be honest,
I think we are much more an album band. I like to think of us as making a
collection. It’s a package without any filler.

AL: What new influences shaped the making of the new record?

Reuben: For Witching Hour: we were happy with the sound of it. But we wanted
to work more on the bass end of things. We wanted a harder drum sound. On this
new record we worked on the production. We are all big fans of the prog-rock
band Goblin. They were an Italian band in the mid-1970s that did a bunch of
horror soundtracks. I was listening to Goblin when I did the track “Black Cat.”
I feel like the album is more psychedelic as well. We started to do some of
this on Witching Hour. Those songs worked better at this time.

AL: I heard that you already have another album ready to go?

Reuben: We were on tour for so long, that we wrote thirty songs. We had to
select songs to be on this album, and that left fifteen songs. I am not sure
what it is going to be yet. It is just a collection of demos at the moment. It is
more downtempo. It’s more like a soundtrack. We haven’t been able to work
on it, but the songs are there. We hope to release it in the next six months.

AL: These are songs that didn’t fit in the album, but had a cohesion in

Reuben: There was a different energy. It’s just a bunch of demos at the
moment. Hopefully we have some down time in the next few months to work on these
songs some more.

AL: What is the live show like? You still play with six people?

Reuben: It’s always been six people. There is the four of us with a live
drummer and a person who plays bass guitar and keyboards. I think that we have
become tighter as a band over the years. We incorporate much more sounds from the
album in our live show.

AL: What was going on before?

Reuben: Before any electronic sounds were triggered by drum samples. We still
have triggered drum samples and other sounds that can’t be created live. We
are such a complicated band and we have so many layers of sound. It’s very
tricky to reproduce those sounds onstage, especially live.
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Vetiver Interview 2008

BY Alexander Laurence

Vetiver is a folk band based in San Francisco. They started around 2003. Andy
Cabic writes most of the songs and has been the main person in the band all
these years. Andy Cabic moved to the Bay Area and met up with people like
Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson. Their first album Vetiver came out in 2004.
They toured with Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom that summer. The second
album found Vetiver defining its unique sound more. To Find Me Gone (2006) moved
away from being a Devendra Banhart side-project, and became something in its
own right. The Vetiver band as we know now it was assembled around this time,
with Cabic (Guitar/Vocals), Brent Dunn (Bass), Sanders Trippe (Guitar/Vocals),
Otto Hauser (Drums, and Kevin Barker (Guitar). Vetiver started several long
tours at this time. Cabic also was a member of Devendra Banhart’s touring band at
the same time.

Now they are releasing Thing Of The Past (2008). It is a covers record with
songs by Loudon Wainwright III, Biff Rose, Ian Matthews, Garland Jeffreys,
Hawkwind, Townes Van Zandt, and Michael Hurley. The record features the Vetiver
band, plus appearances by Michael Hurley and Vashti Bunyan, as well as Dave
Scher, Jonathan Wilson, Emma Smith, and The Chapin Sisters. Vetiver is off for a
two-month tour of Europe. I spoke with Cabic at its sold out show at the
Troubadour in May 2008. He was just excited having seen Mudcrutch at the Fillmore.

AL: I saw you play a very early show as Vetiver in 2003. It was you with
Alissa Anderson and Jim Gaylord. The band is a lot different now. When did this
band start to come together?

Andy: Right after To Find Me Gone came out, I started to put this band
together. I had toured with Kevin and Otto before in Europe, with Devendra and
Alissa. We all played on the second record. Sanders and Brent are old friends of
mine from North Carolina. We also did a short tour with Viking Moses.

AL: Why did you do this covers record?

Andy: I didn’t have a record of my own stuff ready to go. I was still writing
the next album. I wanted to try out some stuff with this new band, and with
Thom Monahan. This new band hadn’t tracked anything. We had recorded some stuff
in a studio in Sacramento. We recorded some stuff live. We hadn’t done that
before. The first two records were done in layers. We added in some guitars.
The first record me and Devendra would play live and add stuff. It was fun to do
this record. Some of the songs we had been playing live, and others I thought
we could bring something to them.

AL: I remember you used to do a Randy Newman song. Some of these people like
Garland Jeffreys, I hadn’t heard that name in a while.

Andy: I know. I know most of these artists through their records. I have
never seen any of these artists play live.

AL: How did you curate this album?

Andy: I just chose songs that I thought we could do well. These are songs
that I love. These are songs that meant a lot to me, but I didn’t hear anyone
discussing these artists. At the time, it was having fun. At the time I wasn’t
analyzing it too much. Now I am being asked a bunch of questions about it.

AL: How long have you been listening to Garland Jefferys?

Andy: Everything weaves around to something else. Jeffreys’ first album was
on Atlantic. His backing band was called Grinder’s Switch. Grinder’s Switch
played on an early John Cale record, that also had a song by Garland Jeffreys. I
must have found out about Jeffrey through John Cale. I found his record in a
store and fell in love with a few tunes on there, like “Eggs” and “Lon

AL: Who does that song “Houses?”

Andy: That is by Elyse Weinberg. That is on a re-issue that Orange Twin did a
few years back. That song wasn’t on the first record. It was on a second
record she did with Neil Young, and it never came out.

AL: Some of these people like Michael Hurley actually played on your record?

Andy: Hurley? Yeah. He stopped by a session to help out and he stayed with us
for a while. We have toured with him before. We have toured with Vashti.


AL: Vashti Bunyan played on the record?

Andy: She did. She sang on the record.

AL: Jonathan Wilson played on the record. He is a guy who plays in Los
Angeles a lot.

Andy: Yeah. He played on one track. We have done a lot of shows with him.

AL: Have you toured a lot this year?

Andy: Things have just started. We played with Gary Louris. We played with
him as his backing band and supported him.

AL: You played with Jolie Holland?

Andy: Yeah. We played a couple shows. Last time we played in Los Angeles was
with Bright Eyes, but before that was with Jolie Holland.

AL: Are you playing with Devendra Banhart this summer?

Andy: I am going to miss some of the shows. He is playing some festivals this
summer. He is playing at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and the Hollywood
Bowl. We are playing Glastonbury at the same time. I haven’t seen the lineup
but we will only be there one day.

AL: What do you think of the European Festivals?

Andy: It varies from country to country. I had the best time playing the
Greenman Festival in Wales. That is the best festival that I have been too. We
haven’t played a ton of festivals.

AL: What about the “Been So Long” remix. How did that come about?

Andy: That was me and Thom experimenting. We were trying to do different
things. Those were two songs that I thought had some possibilities that had

AL: It was like a dub version?

Andy: Yeah, one is like that. The other is like a techno shuffle.

AL: What do you think of this “Freak Folk” label?

Andy: I don’t think too much about that. People should revisit that concept
and improve upon it. It seems like a weak and lazy category.

AL: Now that all those bands have a few albums out, it seems to ..

Andy: Things are changing. It’s more about the lens of people writing about
it and how they chose to look at it, rather than the artists themselves. It’s a
false construct. It’s a straw man. I treat so lightly. I don’t even care at
this point. It makes less sense when we come out with each new record.

AL: You make fun of labeling with Myspace.

Andy: Yeah. I did that when I first signed up for Myspace. I don’t care for
the labels.

AL: When are you going to start on the next record?

Andy: We started on the new record recently. Hopefully we will have it out by
next year.

AL: Do some songs you have recorded don’t get played live?

Andy: We don’t play “The Porter.” Nobody in the band lives in San Francisco,
so we have to rehearse new songs a few weeks before a tour.

AL: Do you practice a lot?

Andy: Not really. Our first few shows are practice.

AL: Are there any new bands that you like?

Andy: This band from San Jose called The Mumlers. I think they are good. I
like the new records by Sebastian Tellier and Panda Bear. We are playing with
Kelley Stoltz.

AL: How is it in San Francisco?

Andy: I try to check things out when I am there, but I am gone a lot.

AL: People like yourself and Joanna Newsom and Noah Georgeson started out
there, but have moved on.

Andy: They don’t live there anymore. Noah is in Los Angeles and Joanna has
moved back to Nevada City.

AL: Has there been a lot of hometown support in San Francisco?

Andy: Everywhere is the same. It’s been very organic. We have been steadily
becoming popular. But we have bigger audiences in SF, LA and New York. That is
how it is for most artists.

AL: So what is it like to go to the South or the Midwest?

Andy: We are doing that more with this record. We hope to go to new places in
America with this record and the next record. We haven’t done that before
with the new band.

AL: What is the plan for the rest of the year?

Andy: This record is coming out. We might do a follow-up EP. We recorded more
songs than the album. We are going to tour more and finish this album. We are
touring the east coast in August.

AL: You played in Iceland. What was that like?

Andy: It was great. Everyone in Iceland is amazing. They have the standard
rock clubs there.

AL: Any good books to recommend?

Andy: Black Mass by John Gray. Austerlitz by Winfried Georg Sebald. I used to
read so much more, but I have been bogged down by touring.


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Playlist 6-12-08

Playlist 6-12-08 Downtown Artwalk

MGMT "Kids"
The Ting Tings "That's Not My Name"
The Duke Spirit "Send A Little Love Token"
Crystal Castles "Vanished"
Generation X "Ready Steady Go"
Santogold "Creator"
MIA "Paper Planes"
Supergrass "Diamond Hoo Ha Man"
Wall Of Voodoo "Mexican Radio"
The Kills "CHeap and Cheerful"

Bow Wow Wow "I Want Candy"
Bowie "Golden Years"
BRMC "Whatever Happened To My Rock and Roll?"
MGMT "Electric Feel Good"
The Ting Tings "Shut Up and Let Me Go"
Klaxons "Golden Skans"
Hot Chip "Ready For The Floor"
CSS "Alala"
Kim Wilde "Kids In America"
Soft Cell "Tainted Love"

Hot Chocolate "You Sexy Thing"
Arcade Fire "Rebellion Lies"
My Chemical Romance "Song 2"
The Rapture "House of Jealous Lovers"
Lene Lovich "Luckey Number"
LCD Soundsystem "North American Scum"
Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly "D.A.N.C.E."
Violent Femmes "Gone Daddy Gone"
Crystal Castles "Crimewave"
The Dandy Warhols "Bohemian Like You"

Yaz "Don't Go"
Grace Jones "Pull Up To The Bumper"
Echo and The Bunnymen "Rescue"
Dio "Rainbow In The Dark"
Junior Boys "In The Morning"
Portishead "Silence"
The Subways "Rock and Roll Queen"
Interpol "Obstacle 1"
My Bloody Valentine "Only Shallow"
Autolux "Blanket"

Blonde Redhead "En Particulier"
Siouxsie and The Banshees "Hong Kong Garden"
Bloc Party "The Prayer"
Gary Numan "Cars"
John Foxx "Metal Beat"
Kraftwerk "Numbers"
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST "Science Fiction"
The Rutles "Doubleback Alley"
Dead Kennedys "Kill The Poor'
Roxy Music "Virginia Plain" (Headman)

CSS "Let's Pretend Were Dead"
The Go! Team "Bottle Rocket"
The B52s "52 Girls"
TV on The Radio "Wolf Like Me"
Ian Dury "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick"
MGMT "Time To Pretend"
The Ting Tings "We Started Nothing"
Kate Nash "Foundations"
The Strokes "Take It Or Leave It"
Primal Scream "Country Girl"

Modest Mouse "Float On"
The Kooks "Ooh La"
Sniff and The Tears "Drivers Seat"
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Billy Idol Interview

                                                     Cover photo by Bryan Adams

Billy Idol Interview
By Alexander Laurence

Billy Idol is a punk legend. He was the singer in Generation X, one the
original London based punk bands. They were the first punk band to be on Top of The
Pops and tour Japan. He was also one of the first UK rock stars to move over
to the USA and have another solo career over here. He became one of the first
stars of MTV, with his signature blonde spiked hair. His album, Rebel Yell
(1983), was a major success.

Billy Idol, now 52 years old, looks as good as ever. He plans to release a
greatest hits collection with four new tracks, and more tours in the summer of

I asked him if he ever saw any of the Bromley Contingent. He said that he
played with Siouxsie and The Banshees a few years ago at Inland Invasion. It was
an early morning for Billy. He was waking up and we were chatting during his
wardrobe changes and makeup.

He was born William Broad in 1955. England was still bleak back then, still
affected by World War II. When Idol was three years old, his family moved to
Long Island, New York for five years. He remembered America back then having
much more color. He said “We had two channels on TV, and in America your had

When he returned to the UK, Billy was a Beatles fan. The first single he
bought was “She Loves You” in 1963 and it was number one for two months. He was
depressed when the Dave Clarke Five knocked it off the top of the charts. Back
then, Billy told me, there were no record stores. So you bought records at
places that had washing machines for seven pence.

He remembered a time when JFK visited London and he saw him driving by.

Billy Idol had also seen Black Sabbath before they came out with their first

When they started Generation X, Tony James was 24 and the guitar player Bob
Derwood was 17. Back then Tony James seem much older. They called him “Old man Tony.”

Generation X was on the Marc Bolan show. They got to meet Marc Bolan. Their
gear didn’t arrive to the studio so they were able to borrow gear from the
other bands. Derwood got to use Marc Bolan’s guitar on the live version of “Your
Generation.” Most of the producers were more worried about David Bowie, who
was living in Berlin, and was doing his TV show in a while. Marc made sure that
Generation X still went on. Bolan died a few weeks later.

I have always wondered who invented the spiked hair look. Idol claimed that
Johnny Rotten was the first one to do it.

Billy Idol is definitely one of the originators of the punk movement.
Generation X is one of the few bands that young kids discover year after year when
they get into the punk rock culture.


AL: There is this movie Punk’s Not Dead. It’s 2008. What do you think about

Billy Idol: Punk’s definitely not dead, it just smells funny.

AL: You were in the Don Letts movie too? When did you do that?

Billy Idol: The original one was called DOA. It was filmed in 1976 and 77.
Then it was updated. There is the footage from the early days. I watched that,
and there was some footage that I hadn’t seen. I was wearing a black shirt. I
looked great. I saw DOA before, but he has mixed it up, and there was stuff on
there that I hadn’t seen before from that time.

AL: Many of the English punk bands like the Clash, and the Sex Pistols, and
The Damned played in America, but Generation X never came over here.

Billy Idol: We never came to America. We had a bunch of hit singles like
“Ready Steady Go” and “Wild Youth.”

AL: Did you have the idea of doing a solo career and coming to America so you
could bring the ideas and energy of punk to a wider audience?

Billy Idol: Yeah. It was all about survival. Once Generation X broke up, your
career in England was over. Things in England pass through so quickly.
Sometimes in America a single takes several months to make an impression. But in
England it’s over in three weeks. Once Generation X had broken up, it was hard to
restart something in England. It was fun to come to New York in 1981, and
come see the place where Lou Reed and the NY Dolls were from. It was cool to come
see a new scene. It was fun to see the American reaction to what we were
doing in England. That was what it was all about. There were no jobs in England.
It was all about survival and coming to America and being new again. That was
exciting for me.

AL: From the American perspective, the audience for punk and new wave wasn’t
really there until 1982.

Billy Idol: The good thing about the last Generation X record and my own
music was it was more dance oriented. We started making dance rock with songs like
“Dancing With Myself.” When I got to America I realized that I was big with
this new wave-punk-dance chart. That kept me going and gave me a lot of hope.
I didn’t know what I was going to do when I got to America. When I saw how
excited people were about “Dancing With Myself” I thought “Great. I only have to
be myself.” I didn’t have to change or be different. I just had to find out
more what was going on inside myself. That was what punk was all about. Being
yourself and not changing yourself. It was great to find out that people were
knocked out by us even though our records weren’t being played on the radio.
Things were changing at that time.

AL: At that time MTV came along and gave a bunch of new bands a chance for
exposure. The older bands from the 1970s didn’t want to do videos. You were one
of the first artists to embrace videos and work with a big director like Tobe
Hooper. What was that like?

Billy Idol: That was the great thing about MTV: it gave people like me who
were nobodies in America a platform. At that time they wouldn’t play anyone with
spiky hair on the radio. They wouldn’t play punk rock. We actually didn’t
put my picture on my first record. “Hot In The City” was number 18 in the
American charts but nobody knew what I looked like. When we put my picture on
“White Wedding” they wouldn’t play it. It happened that college radio was playing
“White Wedding.” We made a video and it got played on MTV. It kept people like
me alive. The media didn’t want to know about punk rock. MTV connected with
the kids that did want to know about punk rock and the people who were involved
with it. They were excited by it. MTV kept America alive in terms of new

AL: Many of the original punk bands had broken up by 1982. You were still
going and becoming more popular. When did you think, “Hey I am a success, and I
can relax now”?

Billy Idol: It was after Rebel Yell. Rebel Yell was a number 4 album. “Eyes
Without A Face” was a number 6 single. It was wild. I was a guy from England.
It was great to be embraced in America like that.

AL: There are people like Robbie Williams who never really made it over here.

Billy Idol: There are a lot of bands like that. I was lucky. What is
different is that I moved to America. I wasn’t just here to tour and take your money.
I was paying taxes. In England they take all your money, so I thought maybe I
should come over here to America, where there are less taxes.

AL: How long were you associated with Bill Aucoin?

Billy Idol: We just got involved with Bill Aucoin. He managed the last phase
of Generation X. When we broke up, he managed just me. I met Steve Stevens
through Bill. He was managing both of us, and he was looking for a band to put
Steve, and we got together and it worked out great.

AL: The working relationship with Steve Stevens is still solid?

Billy Idol: Yeah. You are ordinary people. Relationships are bound to go up
and down. When you have written songs with people there are bonds that go
beyond silly arguments. Not that we have had a lot. We are still playing
twenty-five years later. He is a great guitarist and I can’t think of anyone better to
play with.

AL: What do you think of this big audience for punk rock now? There are older
people like myself who were fans of Generation X and Sex Pistols when those
records came out. Now there is a whole new generation of kids who love this
stuff. Maybe there are 8 year old kids who listen to Generation X and Billy Idol

Billy Idol: It’s one of those things that you couldn’t have imagined thirty
years ago. You wouldn’t thought that it would have lasted this long. I am just
so glad because it means that our initial energy was right. It has some
credibility because it appeals to young people today. That is exciting.

AL: So that means that there will be kids who are ten now, who will revisit
this music in twenty or thirty years too.

Billy Idol: It gives people hope. If you have an ordinary job where people
tell you that you can’t be artistic. One of the things that punk taught me was
that you can be artistic. You can write songs. You can do something artistic
with your life. You don’t have to be a slave to the machine. You can create your
own machine. That was what punk was about.

AL: How did you stay so fit all these years later? Some of these older punk
rockers have a beer gut now. Tony James once said that “He wouldn’t have a fat
person in a band.”

Billy Idol: I am really lucky. I have girls in my audience. It’s worth it
keeping yourself together when there are ladies in the audience. Some of the
other groups didn’t have any ladies in the audience. They didn’t have to worry
about it. I ride a motorbike, so you have to have the strength to lift a
700-pound bike. Also when I get onstage, I don’t need a bouncing stomach in front of
me, if you know what I mean. It doesn’t help the singing. I do work out at the
gym because I go on these long tours. You just want to have your energy. You
have to have some stamina to be a rock and roll singer.

AL: Some of these guys from the punk era, like Richard Hell, have claimed to
have sex with at least 1,500 women. Do you, Billy Idol, ever put some numbers
together about your past exploits?

Billy Idol: So many. It would be ridiculous to count them all.

AL: If we created some website that asked “Who slept with Billy Idol?” Maybe
we would get a thousand women answering back?

Billy Idol: There has to be more than that. I am sure that there was a
thousand in the first few years.

AL: Were you ever married?

Billy Idol: No. I have two kids though. One girl and one boy.

AL: You are attracted to mainly American women?

Billy Idol: Yeah. Women from everywhere. When I was in Generation X, we did a
tour of Japan. We checked into a hotel. All these girls were checked into the
same floor as you. They would leave their doors open. It’s like one big
brothel. It was fantastic.

AL: You also went to Bangkok for a while too.

Billy Idol: I stayed there for a month but it felt like three years. We asked
this cab driver to get us some coke. And when he came back it wasn’t coke, it
was china white. It was a huge vial. We weren’t leaving there very quickly. I
had just broken up with Perry Lister and I was getting my revenge. You could
go to these places and pick women. It was just incredible.

AL: Number 5?

Billy Idol: Number 5, 29, and 61. We did this in 1989. They had the army
escort me out of the country. We were causing so much mayhem. I was strapped to a
gurney. It was six soldiers and an armed guard. They took me from the hotel
and took me to the airport. I had a choice of getting on the plane or going to
prison. I was lucky. It was very rock and roll.

AL: Are you playing some shows this summer?

Billy Idol: Yeah. We have a greatest hits record called IDOLIZE YOURSELF with
two new songs. One is called “John Wayne” which is an ode to the duke. We
are touring this summer. After that we will be doing a new record. There will be
a new record.

Photos at the SF Fillmore by Alexander Laurence

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Zoo Magazine + Billy Idol

Interview: Alexander Laurence
photos: Bryan Adams

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Playlist 5.8.08

This was probably the best night ever. The Artwalk was packed. The bar was packed all night and they were dancing for four hours. Unbelieveable.

Here is the playlist:

Generation X "Day By Day"
MGMT " Time To Pretend"
Santogold "Creator"
Portishead "Machine Gun"
Crystal Castles "Crimewave"
Klaxons "Atlantis To Interzone"
MIA "Paper Planes"
CSS "Pretend We're Dead"
Devo "Wiggly World"
Hot Chip "Ready For The Floor"

Gnarls Barkley "Whatever"
Devendra Banhart "Lover"
Neville Staples "Gangsters"
Ladytron "Black Cat"
My Bloody Valentine "Only Shallow"
Burial "Ghost Hardware"
The Rapture "House Of Jealous Lovers"
The Stooges "1970"
The Kills "Cheap And Cheerful"
The Raveonettes "Dead Sound"

The B52s "52 Girls"
Blondie "Dreaming"
Echo and The Bunnymen "The Cutter"
Ozzy Osbourne "Crazy Train"
Liars "Plaster Casts of Everything"
The Strokes "Last Nite"
Interpol "Evil"
BRMC "Weapon of Choice"
TV on the Radio "Wolf Like Me"
Hot Chocolate "You Sexy Thing"

Generation X "Ready Steady Go"
KC and the Sunshine Band "Get Down Tonight"
MGMT "Kids"
The Normal "Warm Leatherette"
Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly "D.A.N.C.E."
Ian Dury "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick"
Supertramp "The Logical Song"
Bowie "The Jean Genie"
Thin Lizzy "Jailbreak"
Led Zeppelin "Livin Lovin Maid"

LCD Soundsystem "North American Scum"
Joy Division "Transmission"
Roxy Music "Virginia Plain" (Headman)
Portishead "Silence"
Junior Boys "In The Morning"
Yaz "Don't Go"
Patti Smith "Rock and Roll Nigger"
DFA 1979 "Romantic Rights"
Franz Ferdinand "Michael"
CSS "Let's Make Love and Listen To Death From Above"

Lords of The New Church "Russian Roulette"
Violent Femmes "Blister In The Sun"
Sex Pistols "No Feelings"
Gang Of Four "At Home He's A Tourist"
Love and Rockets "Ball of Confusion"
Talking Heads "Crosseyed and Painless"
My Chemical Romance "Song 2"
Sweet "Fox On The Run"
The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" remix
Liquid Liquid "Cavern"

Maximo Park "Apply Some Pressure"
The Kills "URA Fever"
Does It Offend You, Yeah? "Whip It"
Greenhornes "Pattern Skies"
The Futureheads "Skip To The End"
Crystal Castles "Vanished"
The Courteeners "Not Nineteen Forever"
The Black Angels "The First Vietnamese War"
Vampire Weekend "Mansard Roof"
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Music is My Boyfriend : may 8th


Music is my boyfriend @ Bar 107
Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 9:45pm

bar 107
107 West 4th Street @ main
Los Angeles, CA


Music is my boyfriend and the Portable Infinite bring you a happy night of light and peace at Bar 107 celebrating spring and the lotus flower.....

No need to bring a partner if you have a good song. It's another amazing night of NEW MUSIC in Downtown LA. It happens the second TUESDAY of every month. DJs Alexander Laurence and sometimes Andrea Sutterfield shows up.

Alexander Laurence (aka The Portable Infinite)
CELEBRATES VINYL and the year of light

New Indie Rock + New Indie Dance + Select Records from the 70s & 80s + you + me + everyone = Lotus flowers for all
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Wall Street Journal Parody

Some people decided that this Wall Street Journal guy was made up. I went to the security tape and it shows how he put a WSJ coin tray on the counter, then started looking for the parody issue, and then asked about buying them all. I took one for myself. This person is named David Laurent and he is based in Riverside.


He is putting the coin tray on the counter.


I am examining the coin tray while David Laurent looks for the parody issues.


He asks about buying them all and I take one for myself.


Dave Metz looks at a copy while we look for more.


I was in the NY Times!
By Alexander Laurence

I dreamed of seeing my name in the New York Times one day for hitting a home run in a crucial game or for some great book review. But this article about the parody issue of the Wall Street Journal will do. I have worked part-time at a newsstand in Los Angeles for a year. It has enabled me to meet all sorts of people. I have had some contact with many people who live in that neighborhood in Fairfax Village.

Kosher News is a newsstand that has been there since the 1940s. It is across the street from Canter's Deli which has been in Los Angeles for almost a century. Axl Rose has been rumored to have worked at the newsstand when he first moved to Los Angeles. One day I had just started and was tired. I was talking to a friend Dave Metz.

We were talking about some things that had happened that week. It was a sunny comfortable day. This guy from the Wall Street Journal walks up and installs a new coin tray on the counter. I asked him if he has any WSJ bags. He says that he doesn't. Then he picks up some copies of this newspaper called "My Wall Street Journal." Since I hadn't worked there for a few days I didn't notice it, and wasn't aware of it. Me and Dave Metz talked to him about what it was. It was found out that it was a parody issue of the newspaper.

I thought to myself if he is buying all these I need to have one for myself. Just like a few months ago when everyone was buying copies of New York Magazine with Lindsay Lohan on the cover. I needed to have one for future Ebay sales.The guy gave me an American Express card and paid for some issues. He was going around to all the newsstands and buying up copies if they had them.

Dave Metz and I looked at each other and wondered if that really happened. Why was this guy buying up all the copies? Metz went home and called someone from the New York Times. The next thing I know I get a call the next day from a writer asking me about what happened. By this time I had read the newspaper and found out it was done by Tony Hendra, famous for his association with the National Lampoon, and being the manager of Spinal Tap. I told Richard Perez-Pena the facts of the inccident. A few days later the article came out.It has caused quite a buzz on the internet. It has been popular with bloggers and has even been on the Huffington Post. It is days later and it is still getting mentioned in many publications. We ended up getting five more copies and someone promised to send us a bunch more. There was a crazy video on youtube about this. It continues to baffle and bewilder.
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The Wall Street Journal and me

A Funnier-Than-Usual Journal Gets Snapped Up Early
Published: April 14, 2008

It seems someone at The Wall Street Journal really likes a biting new parody of the paper — likes it enough, in fact, to leave at least one newsstand with no copies remaining for anyone else to buy.

The tabloid-format satire, “My Wall Street Journal,” mostly sets out to skewer The Journal’s new owner, the News Corporation, and its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, with swipes at News properties like Fox News, The New York Post and The Journal itself. It takes aim at other targets, too, including Wall Street firms and traders, and assorted politicians and pundits.

It was not supposed to go on sale until this week, but some newsstands began selling it early. Last Thursday, Alexander Laurence was working at one such stand in Los Angeles, chatting with a customer, David Metz, when, both of them say, a man in a shirt with a Journal logo asked if anyone had seen a paper that looked sort of like The Journal.

“This guy comes by all the time to bring promotional stuff for The Wall Street Journal — bags, coin trays, stickers,” Mr. Laurence said.

Sure enough, they found what he was looking for. “He grabbed them all, said, ‘I need to buy all of these,’ ” Mr. Laurence said. “He had been going around to different stands, buying them.”

The man paid with a corporate American Express card. “At first he’s saying they have to make a correction or it’s not supposed to be out yet,” Mr. Metz said. “But then he said these are not published by The Wall Street Journal.”

A spokesman for The Journal, Robert H. Christie, declined to comment.

Tony Hendra, editor in chief of the satire, has experience as a creator of Journal parodies in 1982 and 1983. This time, he had contributions from a team of comedy writers, including Andy Borowitz, Richard Belzer and Terry Jones. The result will be on sale this week at newsstands and bookstores, at Amazon.com, and at wsjparody.com. Mr. Hendra, a former editor of National Lampoon, said he had not heard of anyone trying to hoard copies. “But it certainly would be good for sales,” he said. “I’d find it amusing if they bought all 250,000. We could print more.” RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
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