Bob Pollard of Guided by Voices visits Planet Score Records

Joe Stulce, Bob Pollard of Guided by Voices, Tim Lohmann - PHOTO BY HEATHER WOODSIDE

Joe Stulce, Bob Pollard of Guided by Voices, Tim Lohmann – PHOTO BY HEATHER WOODSIDE

Bob Pollard of Guided by Voices visits Planet Score Records
by Jaime Lees
Mon, Nov 9, 2015

Our world-class local record stores are visited by famous shoppers all of the time, but Planet Score Records is just a newborn and it’s already had one very important shopper come around to count its little fingers and toes.

In a story we published a couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to Joe Stulce and Tim Lohmann, who co-own Planet Score Records. Their new shop in Maplewood opened just before Halloween and it was open less than a week before getting a visit from Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices.

The store was named after one of Pollard’s songs. Owner Stulce is a major GbV fan and was looking for a unique name for his business. He says that, “being a big dork,” he posted about his idea for the name onto a GbV message board and requested feedback from other GbV fans.

He certainly got some major feedback, too. The people who run the message board do business with Pollard and passed on this bit of information. Within 24 hours or so Stulce had Pollard’s blessing to use the name. But the store wasn’t open yet and wouldn’t be open for some months. Stulce was sure that Pollard had moved on and forgotten about the whole interaction.

Then, just five days after opening, Stulce got an email from Pollard’s wife saying that the couple were driving into St. Louis from Dayton, OH to visit the store the next day.

Lohmann and Stulce behind the counter with shopper Pollard - PHOTO BY HEATHER WOODSIDE

Lohmann and Stulce behind the counter with shopper Pollard – PHOTO BY HEATHER WOODSIDE

We visited the store this weekend to get the story about Uncle Bob direct from the source. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining bright and the shop had Status Quo’s Spare Parts playing on the sound system. (Oh yeah.) It was the perfect record store afternoon.

The small store had more customers than you’d expect for a place that just opened. Friends were popping in to say hello, regulars from the business’ old location were visiting to see the new space and neighborhood shoppers were scoping out the new guys. Everyone there seemed happy and happily busy.

Stulce was no exception, and we asked him questions about Pollard’s visit when he had breaks between helping customers. Stulce’s smile spread wide and he nearly bounced with excitement when relaying the story. He says that Pollard arrived, indeed, and was apparently more kind and thoughtful than anyone could’ve ever even hoped. Pollard stayed at the store for a few hours that day, just shopping and hanging out and patiently signing all of Stulce’s GbV vinyl. He also posed for many pictures and was kind to fans who were shocked to see him just kicking it in the store.

So if Bob Pollard of Guided by freakin’ Voices thinks that Planet Score Records is cool, chances are that you’ll think that it’s cool, too. Check out the new kids on the block at 7421 Manchester Road in downtown Maplewood.

GbV fan Akin, Pollard, Stulce and Lohmann in front of the Planet Score Records sign - PHOTO BY HEATHER WOODSIDE

GbV fan Akin, Pollard, Stulce and Lohmann in front of the Planet Score Records sign – PHOTO BY HEATHER WOODSIDE

Guided by Voice’s “Planet Score”

link: Riverfront Times

Gang of Four Guitarist Andy Gill On His Band’s Wide Influence

photo by Leo Cackett

photo by Leo Cackett

Gang of Four Guitarist Andy Gill On His Band’s Wide Influence
By Jaime Lees

Gang of Four is the post-punk band by which all other post-punk bands are measured. A label applied to a host of acts from the late ’70s and early ’80s, post-punk groups are thought of as those that took the DIY ethics of punk, dropped the safety-pinned fashion statements and added an element of lyrical intelligence. It’s punk without self-imposed, clichéd boundaries and sonic limitations.

Leeds-born Gang of Four excelled at embodying that spirit. And though its contemporaries are seen as bands such as the Mekons, Wire or Mission of Burma, Gang of Four’s classic albums Entertainment! and Solid Gold have quietly molded a whole generation of musicians. Those who claim to have been influenced by Gang of Four include St. Vincent, Michael Stipe, Adam Jones, Carrie Brownstein, Tom Morello and James Murphy.

“It’s funny. It does seem to kind of resonate,” says Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill. Speaking from his home studio in the center of London, Gill is polite, whip-smart and full of the charmingly poetic idioms of his countrymen.”It seems to get around. I think so many people have gotten things from Gang of Four or caught a vibe from it. They got a stylistic or a certain lyrical approach.

“A lot of people think it’s their own little secret,” he adds. “But there’s lots of them out there.”

In addition to his cutting (yet danceable) guitar work, Gill has long been in demand for his producing skills. His list of album credits is varied — from the Jesus Lizard to Michael Hutchence to the Red Hot Chili Peppers — and, 36 years into his career, he’s still frequently called upon by unexpected fans.

“Gwen Stefani,” he says. “She’s a big fan, you know. And she’s been asking about me, Gang of Four — she wants to write with me and stuff. Which I’ll be very happy to do. I think she’s a great pop artist.”

So why do these very different acts seek out Gill? He humbly explains:

“I think what happens is the people who get in touch with me tend to have something in common with me already. I was going to pull some example out of the air, but if I say Madonna is not going to call me, she’ll probably call me tomorrow,” he says. “And I’ll have to say no because I’m on tour. So, you know, the people who get in touch with me and want me to do stuff tend to have some level of association…. You can kind of hear this connection in between our music.”

His production work has afforded Gill and Gang of Four some unique opportunities as well.

“I produced a band in China, which is the first time I’d been in China,” he says. “In December 2012. It was really interesting. They got in touch with me — they really wanted me to do it because they knew my band’s work — so they asked me to come over there. And I just wanted to do it; I thought it was really interesting. It was a great opportunity for me to go there and suss out a few things.

“And then I met a lot of people there, and then went back and did some gigs there,” he continues. “And made friends with a few people that I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. It’s incredible that things like that can happen.”

Despite his obligations to other artists, Gill says he always makes sure to put his own music first. Gang of Four’s newest album, What Happens Next, was released earlier this year; the band kicked off a 25-date American tour in support of it late last month.

“I think the last few years the new music is what’s been getting my loving care and attention,” he says. “I don’t really want to put it off to the side. I want to go full steam ahead.

“It’s very tough to get everything done,” he adds. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t really have a chance to stand still and reflect on where I’m going or what I’m doing with it. But I’ve already got half of the next album demoed, so if I could just get some time in the studio for a bit I could get some things done.”

8 p.m. Thursday, October 8. Old Rock House, 1200 South Seventh Street. $20 to $25. 314-588-0505.

link: Riverfront Times

Evidence Suggests Taylor Swift Is a Psychopath

The cover of Swift's "Bad Blood" single

The cover of Swift’s “Bad Blood” single

Evidence Suggests Taylor Swift Is a Psychopath
By Jaime Lees
Fri, Sep 25, 2015

The newest statistics out of psychology studies report that one percent of the general population are psychopaths. With numbers that high, you probably know a psychopath, have dated a psychopath or are actually a psychopath yourself.

Psychopathy is “traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited and bold behavior.”

Psychopaths (and sociopaths) fall under the diagnostic umbrella of “antisocial personality disorder.” Traits of those with antisocial personality disorders vary: They are not all serial killers and criminals. A psychopath is just as likely to be an accountant as he/she is to be a Ted Bundy-type.

Using a combination of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), Robert D. Hare’s famous Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) and various psychology articles, we’ve made a list of the traits of a psychopath. We posit that they might apply to international pop star Taylor Swift.

Why? Well, Taylor Swift exhibits a multitude of behaviors that are in line with a diagnosis of psychopathy. She’s the most ambitious blonde since our lady Madonna, and like Madonna she’s turned herself into a holier-than-thou media monster hell-bent on presenting perfection. This rubs many observers the wrong way. Basically, tons of people think that she’s become the music industry version of Anne Hathaway: attractive, talented, hard-working and helplessly annoying.

We have a special interest in Swift and psychology, so here we examine the traits of the psychopath and explore how they might relate to Taylor Swift.

Psychopaths exhibit glib or superficial charm and often have disarming personalities.
Taylor Swift wants everyone to feel like they are her best friend. Just try to be in a room with her without Swift offering to pose for a selfie with you. She seems perpetually “on” in a way that is unnatural and Robin Williams-like. With a constant media spotlight on her life, even her bad days seem Truman Show manufactured. She charms everyone from babies to the elderly with ease and looks like a Barbie while she does it. Creepy.

Psychopaths learn to mimic and display false emotion to hide their lack of empathy and genuine human connections.
She does this so much. Just click this link.

She's got this down. Almost seems human, even.

She’s got this down. Almost seems human, even.

Psychopaths are often wildly successful.
Even Swift’s seemingly altruistic moves are self-profit motivated. Last year she published an essay in the Wall Street Journal about the value of artists and their work. Just a few months later she pulled her entire catalog from Spotify. The executives at Spotify publicly begged for her to come back, but T-Swizz wasn’t having it. So what happened after that? Her latest album, 1989, hit record sales numbers. She sold 1.28 million copies during the first week alone. Why? Because kids actually paid for it instead of just streaming it. The psycho is a genius.

Psychopaths are highly adaptable and often extremely intelligent.
Just this week Ryan Adams released an album that exclusively features track-by-track cover versions of Swift’s latest album, but done in the style of the Smiths. Taylor Smiths? Bet she had to look up the Manchester mopes. Seriously, do you think that Taylor Swift has ever spent even one night sitting all dour in her bedroom and listening to the Smiths or the maudlin music of the university station? No way. But guess whose music is available on Spotify? Ryan “MySpace Hair” Adams. That means that Swift is still getting a check from Spotify and other streaming services. Clever girl.

Psychopaths can easily influence or manipulate others.
A few months ago Ms. Swift wrote yet another note and convinced one of the most powerful corporations in the world to change its streaming policy in favor of “young songwriters” and cash-poor indie artists. Apple knows better than to question Queen T and they acquiesced immediately.

Psychopaths appear to be much more humble than the average person.
Despite being one of the most successful pop stars ever, Taylor Swift constantly portrays herself as a victim, a nerd or as the underdog. (See “You Belong With Me” video and lyrics.) This is a move that makes psychopaths seem less threatening so that they can actually become more powerful. Swift has been pushing this platform since the very beginning of her career, expressing in interviews that her classmates hated her, boys hate her, other performers hate her. All of that might be true (and maybe many are just a bit jealous) but if they view her poorly it’s not because she’s a nerdy victim. She’s been a powerhouse for almost a decade and she is absolutely, in no possible way an underdog. Don’t let her trick you into thinking otherwise.

Psychopaths disregard laws, believing that rules don’t apply to them.

If you or I tried to perform at Rockefeller Plaza, we’d promptly be arrested. Taylor Swift doesn’t care. She just brings in her whole stage and causes a serious disturbance. She probably didn’t even get a ticket.

Psychopaths have many short-term relationships.
Slut-shaming young women is bogus, so let’s just skip this one. You’ve probably already drawn your own conclusions on this topic, anyway.

Psychopaths have behavioral problems during childhood.
Swift’s family relocated to Nashville when she was fourteen so that she could pursue her dream of becoming a country star. But what if her family hadn’t gone for this plan? Can you imagine the intensity of a teenage Tay-Tay tantrum? Yikes.

Psychopaths have a tendency to display violent behavior.
Watch the “Blank Space” video.

Psychopaths are pathological liars and enjoy the thrill that comes from fooling people.

That video for “Blank Space” is actually Taylor Swift coming out as a psychopath. Are we so blind as to miss that? She must feel pretty smug for having waved it in our faces and we just obliviously sang along. Take note of these lyrics:
– “Love’s a game / Want to play?”
– “Got a long list of ex-lovers / They’ll tell you I’m insane”
– “Find out what you want / Be that girl for a month”
– “I can make all the tables turn”
– “Boys only want love if it’s torture / Don’t say I didn’t… warn you”
– “Darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream”

Psychopaths have a need for constant stimulation, exhibit high levels of attention-seeking behavior and are prone to boredom.
How do you soothe all of these urges at once? World tour! Psychopaths also seem to have a “stress immunity” because they don’t have normal fear or anxiety responses. That’s probably helpful in this situation, no?

Psychopaths fail to feel remorse or guilt and will only accept blame if it somehow benefits them.
Swift has had more than a few famous fights. First there was Kanye West (where she insisted that we watch her repeatedly take the high road), then came Katy Perry (who she apparently stole tour dancers from and then got mad when Perry stole them back) and most recently it was Nicki Minaj. This fight played out on Twitter. Minaj had a valid complaint about MTV’s Video Music Awards and Swift took it personally. Swift then realized her error and issued a classy apology that effectively squashed all of the bad press that she was getting related to the argument. That’s the closest that Swift has ever come to a serious media blunder.
TStweetPsychopaths use others to their advantage and engage in superficial friendships.
Swift’s hyper-stylized video for “Bad Blood” contained a selection of her famous friends— including quite a few supermodels. She received much attention for assembling a modern girl-gang and inspired many uses of “#squad.” Swift also used this video to really push the idea that she’s a sexy girl leading a sexy life with her sexy girlfriends. One problem: Taylor Swift is not sexy. She’s supremely pretty. She’s sometimes even gorgeous, but she is never sexy. She uses these women and all of the people that she drags up on stage every night to try to display that she is well-liked and interesting and talented. She might be all of those things, but not because of her superficial BS bragging-rights friendships.

Psychopaths will appear normal to unsuspecting people.
Taylor Swift just likes to hang out at home, you guys. Sometimes she goes shopping. She’s just a regular girl.

Psychopaths are supremely narcissistic.
Swift recently became the most followed person on Instagram. That won’t help control her narcissistic tendencies at all.
SwiftCat Psychopaths cannot attach emotionally.
Swift has cats for pets. What better pet for a person who can’t attach emotionally? Most cats DGAF about their owners, so it totally makes sense for their owners to not GAF right back. Cats will manipulate you into getting whatever they want, they will blatantly disobey you and have no compunction about going all Fancy Feast on your face pretty much immediately after you take your last breath. Cats are psychopaths.

Thus, by our estimation Taylor Swift is probably a psychopath. But how do we help Sister Swift? Well, we can’t. Psychopaths can’t be cured.

But check out these quotes from this informative article:

“Psychopathy is probably the most pleasant-feeling of all the mental disorders. All of the things that keep you good, morally good, are painful things: guilt, remorse, empathy.” – Jon Ronson, author

“Psychopaths can work very quickly, and can have an apparent IQ higher than it really is, because they’re not inhibited by moral concerns.” – James Fallon, neuroscientist

Sounds pretty nice, actually. So don’t even (pretend to) worry about our hypothetical diagnosis, Ms. Swift. Just… uh… shake it off.

Taylor Swift will perform at Scottrade Center on both Monday and Tuesday, September 28 and 29. Feel free to go — just maybe watch your back?

link: Riverfront Times

Why Do We Complain So Much About LouFest?

photo by Jaime Lees

photo by Jaime Lees

Why Do We Complain So Much About LouFest?
By Jaime Lees
Tue, Sep 15, 2015

St. Louis loves to complain. We’re also passionate about our city. Mix up this cocktail and we’ll drop our customary Midwest politeness: You’ll hear enthusiastic speeches about every regional issue from the opening of a new IKEA to a possible new football stadium.

There are many things that divide this town, but most complaints are dropped if the matter in question has been shown to benefit the residents. Arguments are often ended with a conciliatory, good-natured, “Whatever. If it’s good for the city I guess it’s fine.”

But LouFest has been met with outright ire since the annual music festival began six years ago. Seasoned festival-goers whine that it’s too small. Those of us accustomed to smaller concerts whine that it’s too big. And each year the lineup is met with cries of “LameFest” or “more like PooFest.” Every single year there is an avalanche of criticism for this music festival, even if it does bring in money and is “good for the city.”

Why? I’m not sure, but I have a theory. I think that we’re all quick to whine about LouFest simply because of the actual name of the festival.

Most other major music festivals don’t have a tight association with the cities in which they are held. For example, while we all know that while Lollapalooza is now held in Chicago, it doesn’t necessarily represent Chicago. It could be held anywhere or moved to any other city without losing its identity. But with a name like LouFest, it’s implied that this festival somehow represents St. Louis.

This is why we all get bitchy. That “Lou” gives us assumed ownership, and therefore a free pass for complaining rights. And when I look at the LouFest lineup, it doesn’t at all represent the St. Louis that I know. So just like everyone else, I start complaining, too.

I interviewed LouFest founder Brian Cohen and executive producer Charlie Jones a couple of years ago and they really won me over. I asked nothing but hard questions and I was impressed with their answers. To be blunt, I expected them to be annoyed at my insistence that the festival didn’t include enough local acts in decent time slots. They countered my questions with a list of all of the regional considerations they’d included, like making a point of booking a couple of local bands each year and renting space to St. Louis merchants. They also stressed that they didn’t have to include any local flavor at all. True. Very true. Can’t argue with that.

I’ve been to LouFest on three different occasions to see three different bands. One time was to see Dinosaur Jr (on a side-stage at a criminally early time in the day) and the other two times were during different years to catch separate headliners. As such, I’ve seen with my own eyes that LouFest does lots of things right. From the very beginning the organizers were focused on recycling, encouraging people to bike to the festival and general eco-friendliness. And it’s lovely see major touring bands while lounging on the grass of beautiful Forest Park instead suffering through the flooded concrete bathrooms at Riverport.

I prefer my music just a little weirder than most festivals offer, so I never really expect the LouFest lineup to thrill me. But this year, in particular, the lineup immediately struck me as relentlessly bland. As I looked over the list of performers I realized why: Women and people of color were woefully underrepresented.

So I crunched the numbers.

I did an informal tally of the artists listed on the lineup (not including support musicians) and came up with a total of 128 performers. Of the 128, 112 are white men and only six are women. By my estimation, the LouFest lineup for 2015 was 90.6 percent white and 95.3 percent male.

Even if my calculations are off a bit here, the official numbers would still show a huge discrepancy. And if I’d included support musicians in my calculations (such as our beloved local talent — the backing band for Pokey LaFarge) the numbers for white male performers would just go even higher.

That is something to complain about, and I can’t imagine an acceptable excuse for this remarkable lack of diversity. I know nothing about what it takes to execute an event of this size, but I do know the talk on the street. I know what gets said in the real world, and what’s being said isn’t nice. In the months and months of planning that it must take to put together a lineup, somebody should’ve noticed this offensive trend in booking. I can’t call any festival that features 87.5 percent white male talent a success. Not here and certainly not now.

In a city with multiple richly diverse (and thriving) music scenes, this lack of women and people of color just doesn’t make any sense. And with the “Lou” included in the LouFest name, I expect to see some mirroring of our population — and the organizers just repeatedly miss the mark.

Maybe LouFest needs some kind of image consultant to point out these overlooked and/or ignored aspects. Some pieces of LouFest’s PR campaign just seem tone deaf. For example, in the weeks leading up to the fest, an electronic billboard on Highway 44 advertised multiple cheesy LouFest designs. Most were innocuous, but one of the designs seemed downright condescending to women: “LouFest: He is going, and yes, he thinks you’re cute.” So (straight) women (or gay men) only go to music festivals to flirt? Can’t they just like live music, too?

It’s bizarre that these kind of issues continue to exist in 2015, especially with an event that is so high-profile. I understand that it’s a corporate-sponsored major event and that it involves contracts and a lot of moving parts, but someone needs to be accountable for overall quality control.

I cast my vote with my money this year for a better, more representative LouFest: I didn’t go.

But I want LouFest to do well in the future — I’d just be happier if it did a better job of showcasing the city it claims to celebrate. Yes, lots of other festivals and smaller local events could be accused of this same issue, but LouFest is not just any weekend festival. Like it or not, LouFest is part of our face to the world.

So here’s what I ask of LouFest: First of all, fix your irresponsible advertising strategy. It’s not cute. Second, fix your future lineups. You can easily neutralize your white man problem by doing one very simple thing: include more locally-sourced musicians. (It’s eco-friendly!) If you look to our own neighborhoods, you’ll find a diverse pool of talent where women and people of color are plentiful and celebrated. Do it for us, your potential local-music-loving attendees.

Basically, LouFest, we like you because we think you are good for the city, but you need to start doing a better job of earning that “Lou,” OK?

– link: Riverfront Times

Thanks to Some Google Guys, Babes in Toyland Is Back

Babes in Toyland. Photo by Robin Laananen. Front to back: Kat Bjelland, Lori Barbero and Maureen Herman.

Babes in Toyland.
Photo by Robin Laananen.
Front to back: Kat Bjelland, Lori Barbero and Maureen Herman.

Thanks to Some Google Guys, Babes in Toyland Is Back
By Jaime Lees

Kat Bjelland is everything you want her to be and nothing that you’d expect. As the lead singer of Babes in Toyland, Bjelland is known to music fans as the howling, relentlessly powerful voice of one of her generation’s most caustic bands. She seems feral and possessed behind a microphone, presenting a bone-chilling caterwaul that is as raw as it is thrilling.

Though onstage she’s all churning bile and lurching aggression, during our interview she is quiet and kind. Her speaking voice is sweetly gentle and gives no hint of her unholy growling. “I tried to sing softly the other day because my throat hurt,” Bjelland says. “But I couldn’t do it. I don’t even know how!”

Inaccurately lumped in with the riot grrrl feminist punk scene of the early 1990s, Babes in Toyland was always a little less political and a little more hesher than the bands that were counted among its contemporaries. While those artists addressed socio-political issues and demanded a revolution, Babes in Toyland was all about threatening violence while banging heads.

Formed in Minneapolis in 1987, Babes put out an album on acclaimed Minnesota label Twin/Tone Records and earned praise from tastemakers such as John Peel long before Nirvana’s release of Nevermind triggered the alternative-rock gold rush. With the lineup of Bjelland, bassist Maureen Herman and drummer Lori Barbero set in place by 1992, Babes in Toyland released two acclaimed albums in the next few years (Fontanelle in 1992 and Nemesisters in 1995) before disbanding in 2001. Each member went her own way.

Until now.

With band members scattered around the country and various major life dramas to overcome, a reunion seemed extremely unlikely. Bjelland never stopped working on music and releasing albums, but she also had to take time to address her mental illness. Bjelland says she spent some time in a psych ward (she was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder), and at one point was homeless in Austin, Texas.

In a strange twist of events, today’s new, highly anticipated reunion of Babes in Toyland can be credited to Google. Some years back, Babes bassist Herman worked at a company with some early employees of Google (read: guys with money to burn), and they repeatedly offered to bankroll a reunion. Herman finally agreed. The tech guys formed a limited liability company, Powersniff, and Herman rounded up the band to started practicing in Los Angeles.

So would the reunion have happened without Powersniff?

“No way,” says Bjelland. “We couldn’t have done it without them. They’re like angels. They’re kind of musician people. They’ve got money, but we’re paying them back, so it’s not a totally philanthropic venture for them. But still, they’re very, very kind.”

Bjelland seems to melt and go giggly when she talks about the scattered shows the band has played so far. She rattles off some concert highlights, including playing with younger bands including Skating Polly (“fucking awesome”) and watching Le Butcherettes (“exceptionally good”) cover Bikini Kill’s anthemic “Rebel Girl” with the Melvins.

One of Bjelland’s main motivations for bringing the band back together was to allow her sixteen-year-old son, Henry, see it play live.

“I had no idea that he knew the words to the songs,” she proudly explains. “He knew every word to every song.”

Bjelland adds that most of her exposure to new music comes through Henry.

“Here’s one thing that my son got me into, which everyone thinks is ridiculous, that I love,” she begins dramatically. “I really like Skrillex. Sorry. I really like it because he seems like he’s trying to bring everyone together, and for some reason, some of those sounds really get me going. I put it on my headphones in the morning. I like the energy and the weird sounds. Plus he looks a little like my son. It’s just, like, the whole thing, the whole package. I don’t know what it is. I can’t really explain it. I just know when I like something, it gives me shivers. I can’t explain why.”

Bjelland and Babes in Toyland have written new songs together, but she doesn’t feel that they are show-ready yet because the band hasn’t been able to practice them sufficiently. That means that every song the group will be playing on this tour is a fan favorite.

“If it’s a reformation, I think fans want to hear old songs,” she says. “I used to hate it when I’d go see the Rolling Stones and they added those long endings and they changed the words of the songs. I was like, ‘That’s not what it’s supposed to be. I’m trying to sing along here!'”

When asked if she is really as pissed off as she seems in her songs, Bjelland describes the process as therapeutic.

“Uh, yes,” she says. “But I’m not pissed off after I sing because it’s like my therapy. When I don’t sing, then I’m really not in a good way. But no, I’m not an angry person, I’m really nice! I don’t think it’s anger, I think it’s just passion, and it gets misconstrued as anger.”

Bjelland is enjoying playing her old songs for new audiences again, too.

“Aww, it’s so fun. It’s really fun. It’s, like, this weird split of old friends and a young new crowd. It’s so nice,” she gushes.

“All the reactions have been really good and celebratory. And we get along better than we ever have, and I think we sound better. I think it sounds really good. I’m really proud of our band right now.”

8 p.m. Thursday, August 27. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street. $22 to $25. 314-535-0353.

link: Riverfront Times

Charles Manson-Autographed Guitars for Sale in Town & Country

The three guitars. / photo by Jaime Lees

The three guitars. / photo by Jaime Lees

Charles Manson-Autographed Guitars for Sale in Town & Country
By Jaime Lees
Sat., Aug. 15 2015

Some rather unusual music memorabilia is up for sale today in St. Louis county. Three guitars, all hand-signed by notorious serial killer Charles Manson are available for purchase.
Manson may be a vile human, but by all accounts he was a gifted songwriter who had worked with a number of prominent musicians — including the Beach Boys, who recorded at least one of his songs. Before he became the most notorious crazy-eyed killer in U.S. history, Manson was very involved with the southern California music scene and could count people like Neil Young among his close friends.

Brandi Shufeldt, estate sales manager at Lindstrom & McKenney, Inc., says her company is selling these guitars on behalf of an older man who lives in Chesterfield and is in the process of downsizing. Shufeldt won’t give up his name, but says that he acquired the guitars because he’s an author with an interest in researching serial killers.

Shufeldt explains, “He was writing a biography on Charles Manson. He was visiting the prison and having visits and getting stories and information. And in that exchange of time, in visiting the prison, they became quite good friends and he [Manson] autographed the guitars for him, in addition to many other things.”

And that’s not all. Shufeldt says that this mystery man has apparently worked with ten to twenty different serial killers during his research, but has not yet published his book. She points to an unmarked clock high on a shelf and says that it was made by controversial serial killer Henry Lee Lucas and given to our mystery writer.

Lindstrom & McKenney is a classic type of estate business, clearly more comfortable in dealing with sterling serving platters than items of this odd pedigree. They have not yet seemed to realize the market for these types of one-of-a-kinds.

“I first listed them as ‘autographed guitars,’ without saying who had signed them,” Shufeldt explained. “I had about ten to fifteen people the first morning of the sale wanting to come in to buy the guitars, but then when they saw who signed them and they backed off. So then I thought, ‘Maybe I’d better go with full disclosure.’ So many people just don’t even want to touch them. Somebody said that we should take some paint thinner to them and get rid of the inscriptions entirely.”

Here is the information on the guitars:

The black Les Paul:
– “Old Gibsons never die, they just catch on fire with your soul.”
– priced at $2,000

The two acoustics:
– “Let’s do some rhapsody for our TV show Ghost Dancer”
– “This box is a good box with a lot more miles to go. It’s like a good friend to me and I give it up only because I must.”
– priced at $1,000 each

Two of the three are signed:
Charles Manson”

So if you’re the special kind of buyer who is searching for just the right piece of serial killer memorabilia to complete your weird little collection, get to Lindstrom & McKenney. The sale ends today at 2 p.m. Information is here. More photos below:

A cheery Bob Cassilly butterfly bench greets visitors at the entrance of Lindstrom & McKenney. / photo by Jaime Lees

A cheery Bob Cassilly butterfly bench greets visitors at the entrance of Lindstrom & McKenney. / photo by Jaime Lees

Scary serial killer stuff just sits around in this room. / photo by Jaime Lees

Scary serial killer stuff just sits around in this room. / photo by Jaime Lees

Autographed Chuck Berry photos sit on the keyboard between the guitars. / photo by Jaime Lees

Autographed Chuck Berry photos sit on the keyboard between the guitars. / photo by Jaime Lees

Clock made by serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. / photo by Jaime Lees

Clock made by serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. / photo by Jaime Lees

"Old Gibsons never die they just catch on fire with your soul. Easy, Charles Milles Manson." / photo by Jaime Lees

“Old Gibsons never die they just catch on fire with your soul. Easy, Charles Milles Manson.” / photo by Jaime Lees

Blondie’s Chris Stein Still Making Waves 40 Years Later

photo by Danielle St. Laurent / Blondie with Chris Stein (second from right)

photo by Danielle St. Laurent / Blondie with Chris Stein (second from right)

Blondie’s Chris Stein Still Making Waves 40 Years Later
By Jaime Lees
Tue., Jun. 30 2015

For Chris Stein, music and photography have always been married. When he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York during the late ’60s, he made it his mission to document downtown culture. As luck would have it, that culture just happened to include a music scene that was on the brink of an international explosion.

“What I tell friends now, or photographers: Just take pictures of your friends, because you never know what’s going to happen,” he says.

It’s fitting that the Brooklyn native and icon of the CBGB scene is speaking to us about his body of work while walking the noisy streets of New York. As the guitarist for Blondie, Stein is often credited with bringing a fresh take to the city’s burgeoning ’70s punk scene. His musical instincts propelled the band well past its hybrid new-wave beginnings, and together the group explored elements of rap, disco, reggae and even saccharine girl-group sounds. The result was a genre-busting mixture of oddly seductive, delightfully bratty and distinctly catchy pop songs that still defy classification.

“I don’t know if we thought of ourselves as Renaissance people back then, but that was part of the equation, somewhat,” Stein says. “Everybody was just doing more than one thing pretty consistently. I guess some of the people were just doing music, but a lot of people I knew were doing more than one thing.”

Stein does more than one thing, too. Most recently he has received high praise for his photography book, Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk. Released late last year, Negative shows how Stein’s keen eye, coupled with unfettered access, made him one of the most celebrated and consistently reliable custodians of the era. The book contains hundreds of photos that archive the scene and people Stein encountered, focusing heavily on the undeniably photogenic Debbie Harry — singer for Blondie and Stein’s then-girlfriend.

The son of painter mother and a “frustrated writer” father, Stein describes his parents as “very supportive.”

“It was kind of a lower-middle-class artistic upbringing,” he says. “They got me my first guitar when I was twelve, and that was it.”

photo by Danielle St. Laurent / The undeniably photogenic Debbie Harry.

photo by Danielle St. Laurent / The undeniably photogenic Debbie Harry.

It’s been more than 40 years since CBGB opened and almost nine years since it closed. The Lower East Side has been scrubbed clean and Stein’s hair is now Andy Warhol silver, but the man retains the same spongelike attributes that helped to make him a world-famous musician. Though the 65-year-old admits to spending “too much time sitting around and watching TV” (Game of Thrones is a favorite), he still finds plenty of time to explore new projects. He claims that his creative drive comes in spurts, but it seems that something inside of him is always taking notes for future artistic purposes.
Stein credits his constant curiosity and energy to his young daughters.

“I have the same inner conflicts as everybody else,” he says. “I have to force myself to get motivated and move forward. I have two little kids now — it’s a whole different thing dealing with those guys. They definitely keep me in a younger frame of mind because I have to deal with them physically all the time.”

He keeps up with newer trends, too.

“I really like Instagram. I deal with that a lot, and there is a lot of amazing photography on there,” he says. “That’s always inspiring. A lot of street photography. And it’s really coming up now with the ease of taking sneaky pictures of people. Everybody wanders around staring at their phones and taking pictures of people at the same time.”

While he concedes he isn’t as active hunting for new music as he is with photography — “It’s just too much shit to plow through. It’s kind of overwhelming to go out seeking stuff,” he explains — Stein has found a new obsession in today’s Latin music, including reggaeton, cumbia and Latin electronica. He confesses that his Spanish is pretty lousy but says that he responds to “the musicality of it. The melodies and stuff. It’s beautiful. Reggaeton is really hard-edged — it’s a great combination of the hard-edged dance music with these beautiful melodies.”

Stein rejects his generation’s tradition of writing off all modern music.

“You hear it all the time: ‘There’s no good music now.’ But there is,” he insists. “It’s 50 percent garbage, but it was always 50 percent garbage. In the ’60s…nobody remembers the crap; they just remember the good stuff.”

Blondie at Fair St. Louis
6:30 p.m. Friday, July 3. The Budweiser Stage in Forest Park, 5595 Grand Drive. Free.

link: Riverfront Times