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to Pop

October 2009

Here you can step back through the vortex of time to view old PopKrazy content. Pages, Podcasts, Polls, and Stories will appear here.


Back in the heyday of American punk, all kinds of guys & dolls & bands were out there trying to invent something weird and new. The Sex Pistols had kind of messed with everyone’s heads. But Count Viglione really pre-dated all that, but he was also a part of it as well, a kind of punk dracula.

You see, his whole act was to dress up as a version of Count Dracula and then go out on stage and be true to the garage spirit of things. I listened to the records he would send me a few times, and was always impressed by his punk persistence. I mean, I would NEVER NEVER be that persistent if I dressed up in cape and went out in front of hundreds of people in Boston and tried to impress them with made-up songs about weird things in my head that nobody really should know anything about. (He totally reminds me of Underdog woman, which is another story altogether.)

Anyway, Count Viglione had an act, and it was a good act, far ahead of its time.


Dean Martin sings "Memories Are Made of This" as the autumn leaves rush by reminding us of the better days behind and ahead

A Treasury of Dean Martin album cover


Skeeter Davis sings "The End of the World" as the desolate landscape of Waynesboro sucks up dying shopping malls and hopeless bikers

Skeeter Davis promotional photo  Popkrazy

Image of Skeeter Davis courtesy of Last FM



I know of nothing else quite like this in any other art form.

You could argue that an artist such as Henry Darger, for example, was similar except that Darger's outpouring of art has identifiable characteristics to traditional art forms.

Jandek seems like nothing else--once you listen to him, it's as if he is the conduit for your potential alien abduction.  (Yeah, it's a bit scary.)

Jandek reclusive rock star

When Jandek performed at SxSW in Austin, Texas, in March, 2008, strange reports started screeching across the sky.  Friends of mine who experienced this show of pop culture's finest guru of reclusive celebrityhood sweat that the music, to paraphrase early Guess Who, sent shivers down their backbones.

Jandek has all the hallmarks of a true sociopath, except that I'm not really sure that he's not an intentional hoax, but if that's true, it's a different kind of hoax...almost a "HOAX".  

Whatever Jandek means I do have to admit that Corwood Industries is one of the greatest marketer of outsider cultism ever. If mystery is at the heart of your musical taste, then go to their website or give 'em a call.

Yes, Jandek gives me the creeps, but he's got me hooked.



Lots of people have irrational fears, and lots more have specific fears of all sorta illogical crapola, from people to animals to inanimate objects. Some peeps cower at the sight of clowns, some duck and run when any sort of bird (parrot, seagull or pigeon) zooms in close, there are even some fine upstanding heterosexual he-men who are more scared of mice than they are of yer friendly neighborhood transvestite. Irrational? Yup. Understandable? Kinda.
I myself have had mucho experience with both fear and horror: I’ve been married thrice, divorced twice, seen 2001: A Space Odyssey under the influence of early-70’s LSD, actually listened to Dark Side of the Moon straight as an arrow, I’ve seen a live mime show, an actual Poco show, and an old and puffy Frank Sinatra sing the songs that he virtually lived with the sad help of a teleprompter, I’ve even been behind bars on three separate occasions, and once, dare I say it, I donned sandals.


President Obama: The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person. She's getting her award. What's he doing up there? He's a jackass. (Laughter)

The pop celeb Pink, speaking of Kanye West on Twitter:  "The biggest piece of shit on Earth!"

Tony Sclafini's report for MSNBC.com  presents a range of pop-music writers and other established authorities weighing in on the Kanye West-Taylor Swift debacle with unanimous condemnation, some more scolding than others.


In this day and age, punk rock is dying in little underground bars that only wish they could be compared to CBGB's. What’s surprising is the garage-rock revival--the closest label we now have to punk rock. The garage-rock revival is made up of several indie bands ranging from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Jet, with roots centered more in synth-punk than their founding fathers of the 60’s.

Of course, there are obvious exceptions to the “average” synth-punk based garage-rock band. Take Jack White’s bands—The Raconteurs and The White Stripes—both of which have strong blues-based roots behind them ( “My Doorbell” by The White Stripes, and “Carolina Drama” by The Raconteurs). Yet,in most of today's garage revival groups one can hear inspiration from the early days of Joy Division rather than the 13th Floor Elevators or the Electric Prunes.

A Teenage Head Above


It should really

go without saying

that some of the Best rock 'n' roll

ever created by man or beast

came out of

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


This guy

was a BIG reason why....



Ssshhhh.  Keep it down. It’s the real deal. Come closer, and I’ll lay it on you.
Truth is, I’ve been sitting on this one for a long time, coupla decades or more, really. Yet, I know it’s a sure thing, just gotta get the timing right. I see it as surefire, just a matter of the right mini-moves. Of course, I need a partner, a money person with the right artistic vision, that’s why I’m finally coming clean, so we can scoop up the rights together. As far as I’m concerned the right partner could also help me dash off the screenplay, which oughta just about write itself. You see, it’s all there, no fat, no finery, no fakery; it’s all right there on the pages already. No doubt about it, David Helton’s 1969 burst of brilliance (originally published by Simon and Shuster), movingly entitled King Jude: A Rock N’ Roll Tragedy, is just poised and shimmering in the showbiz twilight zone, ready to fill in yet another essential link between sweaty rock muzak and head-scratching, eye-balling cinema, shading in the blanks between, say, Peter Watkins’s 1967 Privilege, Paul Schrader’s 1987 Light of Day, and Allison Ander’s 1996 Grace of My Heart.
King Jude David Helton paperback

PopKrazy Guide to Pop Culture



Trout Mask Replica:  Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

Produced by Frank Zappa, Don Van Vliet’s masterwork was created as if it were an ethnic field recording—with the musicians living under cult-like conditions without food or regular sustenance.  The great British deejay John Peel has said it best: "If there has been anything in the history of popular music which could be described as a work of art in a way that people who are involved in other areas of art would understand, then Trout Mask Replica is that work."



Jimi Hendrix

This assemblage by Joe Boyd, John Head, and Gary Weis remains the finest rock-bio documentary ever made thanks to the legendary status of its subject, intuitive editing, unbelievable concert footage, and the streetwise comments of those who loved THE immortal rock guitarist.


Marquee Moon: Television

Somewhere between the Ramones street sensibilities and the politics of English punk rested Television in a kind of twilight-zone of angular and jabbing guitarwork inspired by the Beatles, the 13th Floor Elevators, and Bohannon. This masterpiece is best experienced as the 2003 Rhino CD reissue with bonus tracks and outtakes and incredibly perceptive notes by Alan Licht.


Blondie on the cover of Creem magazine

Captain Beefheart on the cover of MOJO magazine

The Joey Heatherton Stimulus Package

I've been reading about Lindsay Lohan and her hook up with stodgy Ungaro as celebrity fashion advisor/unholy marketing alliance.    So the clothes are ugly and a great Paris design house looks foolish.  blah blah blah.  My complaint is this: why isn't Lindsay lining up with American business?  Why isn't she releasing that crazy former child star/party girl-spiraling-out-of-control nuclear energy on some worthy American product? I don't mean she should do a K Mart & ex-Charlies Angels thing,  or the much weirder Bob Dylan and Victoria's Secret, where, as Entertainment Weekly's Gary Susman puts it, the sextegenarian rock legend gets himself tangled up in blue panties.  Our economic crisis is too desperate for ephemeral stuff like gel filled bras and the Jaclyn Smith Summer Expansion Top.  We need to get durable goods moving to crank up this nation's economy.  Just ask The Wall Street Journal!  Why can't Lindsay and Brittney and Rihanna pair up with the likes of Oreck and Frigidaire and Armstrong (Flooring, not Lance)?  It could lead to all sorts of creative juxtapositions.

Just look at Judy "Sock It To Me" Carne in a see-through raincoat with a trickster Chest Freezer:


By the time I was in the 4th grade, I had left the flat Oklahoma landscape behind and was living in East Tennessee in the suburbs of Knoxville, Tennessee.  My father was a preacher and my mother was an English teacher, and there we sat at the foothills of the Smokey Mountains.  

Unlike in the Land of the Buffalo, folks actually sang in East Tennessee, and had some of the purtiest voices ever imaginable. My mother was from a small town in East Tennessee, and like Dolly Parton, mother's voice was crystal-clear, pure, unblemished by popular trends.

In Knoxville, I began learning to play the violin in a symphony orchestra funded by the public school system.  I sang regularly at church and was taught vocal discipline by mother as she accompanied me on show tunes, folk songs, and hymns.  And I even began to learn the acoustic guitar.

In short, I had entered Tennessee, the most musical state in America. (When I make this statement even today, nobody ever seems to argue or disagree with me, so it must be true.)

Needless to say, even though I was listening to pop, folk, and rock, I was not collecting music on record. I don't even remember buying any records the whole time I lived in Knoxville. Perhaps that was because I was creating, performing and learning the music itself rather than trying to keep some part of it as a plastic product.

Although I don't remember the experience of buying vinyl in Knoxville, Tennessee, I do remember the voice and presence of Cas Walker.

Cas Walker  Knoxville Tennessee grocery store chain

THE SHAKIEST HEAD IN THE WEST (and in the central and eastern zones)

 Is there a more Pavolian sound known to the American public than the ching-chang of TV’s Law & Order? Like most of our huddled-in-front-of the-TV-glow masses, I have watched every permutation of the show and its respective spin-offs endlessly, aimlessly, and inordinately.

I’ve watched squirrelly Mikey Moriarty, Deer Hunter schlub George Dzunda, cool daddy Jerry Orbach, pin-up boy Benjie Bratt, and Chicago toughy Dennis Farina all go through their paces, artfully tossing ironic one-liners and arching their eyebrows over so many stiffs that they could be laid side-buy-side in two Superdomes.

Still, when all is said and done, I can never remove my eyes from the one-and-only spooky tooth ongoing Televised Performance Art (no joking matter) courtesy of Vincent D’Onofrio as Detective Robert Goren in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. And now, the latest sad, bad, television news—this will be D’Onofrio’s last season in action, as the USA network smarties have acceded the full position to Jeff Goldblum’s (the duo had been alternating episodes) more predictable, sleeve-tugging hijinx.