Category Archives: Music
Bryan Gregory (Gregory Beckerleg, February 20, 1951 – January 10, 2001) Bryan Gregory was an interesting guy. Standing not much more than 5’6″ in heals and hair Bryan made a splash on stage w/ his poka dot Flying Vee, black and white hair and an ever present cigarette. His career was spotty to say the least, Bryan helped form the first version of punkabilly killers, The Cramps in NYC in 76. He played guitaron their first 2 LPs, Gravest Hits and Songs the Lord Taught Us. Bryan left the band unexpectedly in Cleveland in 1980 (along w/ all the bands gear and only van). In 1980 he formed horror shock band BEAST – that lasted ’til 83 and then – Poof! What happened to Bryan? Rumors of Satanism, heroin overdose, porno stardom. No one knew what happened to Bryan, when in fact no one was looking all that hard. Truth is always much more boring than fiction and Bryan was no exception. Turns out he was running an adult book shop in Sarasota Fla. He was a zombie in George Romeros’ Day of the Dead, drew a bit and designed some jewelry. I prefer the Satanism story. He eventually made up w/ the rest of The Cramps apologizing for stealing all their shit and was living the high life of a Florida Man when he suddenly passed away from multiple system failure at the age of 49 on Jan. 10 – no one saw it coming. Bryan was cool, not a great musician, but he was cool. I loved his look and stage presence and best of all a story that sounded great and evil and mysterious but turned out to be a bit mundane and sad – though sitting in the sand in Fla. designing jewelry and drinking Mai Tais doesn’t sound all that bad.
Françoise Madeleine Hardy found immediate success with her first song “Tous les garcons et les filles”. As a leading figure of the Ye-Ye movement (naive pop songs sung mostly by beautiful young women. The named is derived from “yeah-yeah” popularized by The Beatles), Hardy “found herself at the very forefront of the French music scene”, and became “France’s most exportable female singing star”, recording in various languages, appearing in several movies and touring throughout Europe. With her natural beauty and charm, Francoise began modeling as well – becoming a French fashion icon as well as pop star. As the Ye-Ye movement lost steam, Francoise changed her approach, singing ‘grown-up’ songs, working w/ songwriters like Leonard Cohan and Serge Gainsbourg. She would go on to record many more LPs, collaborating w/ Blur in 1994 and Malcolm McClaren as well as Iggy Pop. Her music has been used in a ton of movies – most recently Wes Anderson’s Moonlight Kingdom (The female lead (Suzy) calls The Ye-Ye Girls From Paris (1962) her “favorite record album”, and it is the only album she packs when preparing to run away from home). And DAMN! if she’s not still gorgeous at 70.
We all know there’s deeper, darker more important events happening right now – and goddamn that orange turd, but here’s a bit of rock n roll love to get you through the day. Stay strong, love when you can and keep laughing. Let’s start with Bowie and Iman (who would be barred from entering the US today).
Roxy Music has always been about style. Formed in 1971 from a bunch of art school dropouts (Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzenera, Andy Mackay, Paul Thompson, Eddie Jobson, Brian Eno, et al) they would record 5 great albums back to back. The band looked sharp in space glam gear (later it would be expensive suits) and played a mix of rock, glam, psych, frak-out and pop that would, though not as highly regarded in the US, be in direct competition w/ David Bowie in the early 70’s. For the cover art of their first 5 LPs they chose women, (not band photos) to illustrate their style and their 1940’s mindset. Each had one of the 70’s hottest models on a beautiful gatefold sleeve, (with the band photograph inside). 1974’s Country Life saw a small break from form with 2 nearly nude models posed amongst some pine trees. Most of the copies got through uncensored but the US censored copy is hilarious (just the trees). Some were also delivered as the nude cover w/ an opaque green cellophane outer sleeve. Below are the original covers along w/ a few outtakes. Enjoy the covers then go buy the music. BTW Siren has the big hit “Love Is A Drug”.
David Bowie and Iggy Pop first met at NYC hotspot, Max’s Kansas City, in 1971, while Bowie was on tour with his album The Man Who Sold the World. The then-largely unknown Iggy made a deep impression on Bowie, (and was part of the inspiration for Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona). Bowie invited Pop, who was experiencing heroin addiction, to London, where he helped mix Iggy and the Stooges’ album Raw Power. Though the album would eventually become a classic, the band collapsed under the weight of Pops drug addiction and general bad behaviour. Returning to California, Pop would check himself into a mental institution in an attempt to overcome his heroin addiction. Bowie remained one of his few friends and visitors. In 1976 riding a wave of hits Bowie toured his most recent album Station to Station bringing Iggy along for the ride. The pair moved into an apartment in West Berlin, (over an auto parts shop) where Bowie would began the first of his Berlin trilogy of albums – LOW, and also collaborating on writing and recording Pop’s first solo album, The Idiot. In 1977, Iggy Pop finally went on a 30-date world tour as a solo act. His backup band included David on keyboards and backing vocals. Bowie remained truly in the background behind the keys. No costumes or stage show, Bowie wore bell bottom turned up jeans, flannel shirt and cap. It was meant to be Iggy’s show not the more famous Bowies’. That year the two also collaborated on Pop’s second album, Lust for Life, which would become Iggy’s long-awaited critical and commercial success, (with the title song eventually appearing in tons of commercials and films, most notably the opening for the Danny Boyle film Trainspotting). Iggy and Bowie would remain friends for the rest of Bowies’ life.