Monthly Archives: March 2011

Obscure-but-Great Krautrock Reissues Due

Epitaph, Niagara, Grobschnitt, Novalis – household names, all (esp. if
you live in Munich…)
Not so coincidentally, we also have a big Faust feature published at BLURT
today…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

A slew of killer Krautrock records are being lined up for
reissue by the Mig Music label (which is also prepping choice titles from Terry
& The Pirates and Steve Gibbons Band, among others) The first batch of
releases is scheduled for May 3, 2011:

 

NIAGARA – “NIAGARA”

The first NIAGARA album – simply called
NIAGARA” – was released in
1971 and was noticed even by those unfamiliar with Niagrara’s music due to
the controversial “sweaty  breasts” album cover.

        The
album was unusual not only because of its cover.  It was a purely
percussive album on which numerous high-profile drummers from around the world
came together; Americans Cotch Blackmon and George Green, Englishman Keith
Forsey, Juan Romero from Venezuela
and the German musicians Udo Lindenberg and Daniel Fichelscher (who also played
in Gila, Amon Düül II and Popol Vuh).  Also included in this set are NIAGARA’s second record “S.U.B.” and
“Fire.”

 

GROBSCHNITT – “DIE STORY 0, 1 and
2”

GROBSCHNITT was a German
rock band which existed between 1970 and 1989. Their style evolved as time
passed, beginning with psychedelic rock in the early 1970s before transitioning
into symphonic progressive rock, NDW and finally pop rock in the mid-1980s. GROBSCHNITT,
unlike other bands, utilized humor in their music in the form of unexpected
noises and silly lyrics and concepts.

         As was common with many German bands of
the time, GROBSCHNITT sang in English until the early 1980s, despite
touring exclusively in Germany.
The band accrued a loyal fan base through its live performances which included
pyrotechnics and German comedic sketches. GROBSCHNITT were also known
for their stamina on stage, frequently performing shows in excess of two hours.

 

EPITAPH – “OUTSIDE THE LAW”

Recorded in November 1973 at the Omega studios
in Chicago,
Outside the Law is undoubtedly still the definitive EPITAPH album. The
sound engineer was Dave “Grape” Purple, who won the 1971 Grammy for
Best Engineered Recording on Isaac Hayes’ Theme from Shaft. The recording of
Outside the Law was completed in just 5 days, with very few overdubs, and the
final mix was done by Ed Cody at the United Technique studio on Chicago’s South Side.

 

NOVALIS – “LETZTES KONZERT 1984”

NOVALIS is the “nom de plume” of the early romantic poet, Karl Friedrich von
Hardenberg (1772-1801), and inspired the Hamburg
musicians Heino Schünzel (bass), Jürgen Wenzel (vocals, guitar), Lutz Rahn
(keyboards) and Hartwig Biereichel (drums) when they set about looking for a
band name in autumn 1971. May 1973 saw the release of their debut “Banished Bridge” which had been recorded in
English. Starting with the arrival of their second album, released in April
1975 (Wenzel having been replaced by guitarist Detlef Job), their use of German
lyrics ensured the band’s constantly growing up popularity. With their classic
“Sommerabend” NOVALIS earned their nationwide breakthrough in
1976, followed by their accomplished offerings “Brandung” (1977),
“Vielleicht bist du ein Clown” (1978) and “Flossenengel”
(1979), which were all recorded with their new vocalist, Fred Mühlböck.

       
They were a rock band that always found it difficult to condense the
sheer power of their music into the grooves of a record at the studio. On
“1984 Live” we whoop it up, as can be heard on “Grenzen”
and the “Schmetterlinge/Irgendwo, Irgendwann”-medley.

 

 

 

Big Star Third Vinyl Reissue Due

 

 

Watch the video of the vinyl master being prepared,
below.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Big Star Third [Test Pressing Edition] is en route from Omnivore Recordings just in time
for Record Store Day, April 16 – it’s a special edition vinyl release limited
to 2,000 pieces worldwide.

 

The album has been described as a lost record
re-discovered years after it was recorded, one that has seen many track
listings, titles and album covers. It’s been dubbed a classic, and an enigma.
The Omnivore Recordings edition comes complete with replicas of the original
tape box, tracking and lead sheets, mastering card and is pressed on 180-gram vinyl.

 

The new pressing was cut from the original assembly
reel, on the same lathe at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis and by the very same engineers who
cut it the first time, Larry Nix and John Fry. Pressed on high quality vinyl at
RTI, this is the definitive version of this album. In the limited run of 2,000,
five copies of the original test
pressings signed by Big Star’s Jody Stephens, original mastering
engineers Larry Nix and Ardent’s John Fry will be available at retail, randomly,
worldwide. Take a peek inside Larry Nix’s Mastering room at the legendary
Ardent Studios in Memphis
as Larry, John and Jody prepare the actual new master being used for the new
“test pressing” edition on YouTube.

 

 

MP3: New Matana Roberts Album

 

Improv/experimental
jazz player pushes the boundaries.

By Blurt Staff

Matana Roberts, aptly described by her label, Constellation, as “kind of the
whole package” is an incredible horn player with roots as deep in punk rock as
in avant jazz and has been making marks on improv/experimental and jazz
communities in New York, Chicago and Montreal for years. May 10 brings her Coin
Coin project, Chapter One: Gens de
couleur libres
, on Constellation.

 

 

You can

      check out an advance MP3 sampler
from the album right
now.

 

 

While clearly embodying a serious yearning for
experimentation and pushing against formal boundaries, Roberts also brings to
the table a kind of integrity and sense of social and community accountability.
For the album Matana draws from a rich bank of thematic material and influence,
bringing in questions of history and memory, ancestry and legacy, the material
and the spiritual; and creates a complex and emotional meditation on some of
the deeply individual implications of history and “the
universal.”  The record itself represents an hour of music and
personal/spiritual narrative, presented by some of the finest players from Montreal’s jazz, improv
and indie rock circles. 

 

 

Excl. Download: New Ha Ha Tonka MP3

 

“Usual Suspects” comes from new album Death of a Decade, out next week on Bloodshot.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

We’re pretty chuffed to be able to
serve up a new helpin’ of Missouri’s
Ha Ha Tonka at BLURT today. The sweet-twanging, southern-rocking combo’s latest
Bloodshot album drops April 5, and you can nab the first single “Usual
Suspects”
below as a teaser – and sonic proof that they just get better and
better with each passing year.

 


Usual Suspects by Ha Ha Tonka by Bloodshot Records

 

 

Death of a Decade is the culmination of years of hard work for this
Ozark quartet, who first appeared on the scene a decade ago as Amsterband. By
2007 they had changed the name to Ha Ha Tonka and wowed us with their HHT debut
Buckle in the Bible Belt. They matured on 2009’s Novel Sounds of the
Nouveau South
, and without a doubt, take their stand as one of the best
young bands in the US
on this LP. And as with previous releases, the band marries authentic Southern
songs with modern edges on Death of a Decade, without ever coming across
as gimmicky.

The album was recorded in a 200-year-old old barn in New Paltz, NY with
producer Kevin McMahon (Titus
Andronicus, The Felice Brothers, The Walkmen), who made sure to capture
the barn’s aural imperfections in creaking floorboards, and then mixed in
Kansas City, MO by The Ryantist, who manipulated synthetic, sonic threads into
this organic tapestry. The sound of Death of a Decade is where authentic
meets modern, acoustic meets electronic, and tradition meets innovation.

 

Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal

(Bazillion
Points)

 

www.bazillionpoints.com

 

BY REV.
KEITH A. GORDON

 

Heavy
metal, perhaps, is the only musical offshoot of rock ‘n’ roll upon which is
heaped more critical scorn than progressive rock. As for “progressive
metal,” the bastard love child of 1970s-era prog-rock and 1980s-style
heavy metal, well… forgetaboutit! There’s nothing that will shut down a mainstream critic’s synapses and brick
off their ears faster than hearing those two magic words… “progressive
metal.” You know the type, the kind of guys and gals that wax ecstatic
over a new Mars Volta album, chanting in a chorus of the band’s
“progressive elements” even while turning their faces into a
corpselike grimace at the mention of a truly radical band like Meshuggah.

 

Enter
music historian Jeff Wagner and his enormously informative tome Mean Deviation, published by the
estimable rawk folks at Bazillion Points (the house also behind the stellar
volume Touch And Go: The Complete
Hardcore Punk Zine ’79-’83
, previously covered by BLURT). The former editor
of Metal Maniacs magazine and a bona
fide, died-in-the-wool heavy metal fan, Wagner has thought this stuff over,
listened to the music, come to his conclusions, drafted the charts and, well,
wrote the definitive book on the evolution of progressive metal music over the
past four decades. Just because many blockheaded critics refuse to sully their
reputations with anything deemed “metallic” doesn’t mean that you
have to deny your medulla oblongata the enjoyment of this challenging and often
exhilarating genre of music.

 

Wagner
charts the beginning of progressive metal’s long crawl towards a modicum of
commercial acceptance to the collision of twin early-1970s musical phenomena:
the first generation of prog-rock bands like King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, and
ELP; and proto-metal trailblazers like Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and Judas
Priest. These important, ground-breaking bands would, in turn, begat the likes
of Canada’s Rush and Voivod, the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal”
bands like Iron Maiden and, subsequently, Wagner’s “big three” of
influential progressive metal bands.

 

Wagner’s
“big three” consists of a trio of hard-to-pigeonhole, metal-leaning
bands: Queensryche, Fate’s Warning, and Dream Theater. As theories go, his
isn’t a bad one, and while I personally would lend more credence to Voivoid’s
influence on a subsequent generation of prog-minded, technically-oriented
metalheads, I’ll gladly bow to Wagner’s greater expertise in this matter.
Explaining the musical accomplishments and importance of each of these three
bands, Wagner patiently lays out the effect of each band’s influence and how they’ve
helped prod along the evolution of this critter called progressive metal.

 

Mean Deviation isn’t content merely laying the entire
prog-metal thing at the feet of the “big three,” Wagner frequently
straying off the path to explore many darkened corridors. The author ventures
into such vastly-unexplored regions as tech-metal cult bands Voivod (yay!) and
Watchtower; thrashers-turned-existentialists like Atheist and Cynic; and death
metal progenitors like Celtic Frost. Along his literary sojourn, Wagner
gleefully explores the 1980s and ’90s-era underground metal scenes in Northern
Europe and North America, going into exhaustive and welcome detail on such
adventuresome metal outfits as Death, Pestilence, Realm, Spiral Architect,
Psychotic Waltz, and a wealth of other obscure-but-considered bands.

 

The fruits
of decades of prog-metal evolution and revolution are covered by the last
chapters of Mean Deviation, Wagner
highlighting the musical accomplishments of such contemporary merry pranksters in
the genre as Opeth, Meshuggah, Porcupine Tree, and even unlikely international
artists as Japan’s
Sigh and Gonin-Ish. A lengthy appendix to Mean
Deviation
provides capsule bios of better than two-dozen worthy bands that
didn’t make it among the dozens covered in the main text, while another
appendix offers a handy list of recommended progressive metal albums to
jump-start a collection, from Angra’s Holy
Land
to Zero Hour’s The Tower of
Avarice
, with albums from Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Rush, Voivod, and many
others rounding out the list.

 

Wagner’s
prose is lively and informative, entertaining while providing the music fan
with plenty of considerations for future purchase. Heck, even the Reverend has
ponied up a couple of sawbucks for albums on Wagner’s recommended list, which
is no little feat, indeed. The lasting importance of Mean Deviation, however, isn’t the random additions to one’s music
collection, or even the well-deserved coverage that the author provides the
aforementioned bands in the book.

 

Mean Deviation legitimizes heavy metal and progressive
metal with an academic sheen, albeit delivered with a fanboy’s enthusiasm.
Often unfairly belittled, many of the bands championed by Wagner have
contributed greatly to the ever-changing history of rock music, delivering
overlooked, but no less worthy albums that have influenced mainstream artists
in ways that many casual fans may be unaware. Mean Deviation is more than a textbook of progressive metal,
Wagner’s impressive work cause for reconsideration of his subject matter and,
in the long run, greater acceptance of a music that is often challenging and
difficult. Plus, this profusely-illustrated and deeply-researched book is just
a hell of a lot of fun for both the dedicated metal fan and the newbie alike… the
Rev says “check it out!”

 

First Look: New Jonny Album

 

 

The
self-titled album, due April 12 on Merge, features Euros Child of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and
Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake making “perfect partners.” Listen to an advance
stream of the record at the Merge site.

 

By Lee Zimmerman

Combine the talents of two of Britain’s foremost pop
practitioners and the result is Jonny,
an effusive album bursting with retro rock homage and the hooks to match. The
eponymous product comes courtesy of Euros Child of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and
Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake, the two of whom make perfect partners… a
pairing that on paper actually exceeds expectations in practice.

 

On the other hand, it’s hardly surprising; both artists take
a traditional rock stance in their day jobs, specializing in exuberant melodies
boasting the kind of choruses that are all but impossible to ignore. Not
surprisingly then, the album follows suit, as apparent from the get-go. Opening
track “Wich Is Wich” sets the standard, its giddiness and all happy-go-lucky
vibes beckoning like a sunny wake-up call. The eagerly infectious “Waiting
Around For You” suggests the sound of the British invasion, all Beatlesque in
its embrace. Likewise, the softly strummed acoustic guitars and hushed
harmonies wafting through “The Goodnight,” “I’ll Make Her My Best Friend” and
“Circling the Sun” provide a summery sheen full of country rock innocence,
similar in style to the Grateful Dead of American
Beauty
or the Byrds and Burrito Brothers in their prime. So too, Blake and
Child can’t resist tossing in a hint of silly psychedelia and the result, borne
in “Bread,” would likely find the Monty Pythons and Bonzo Dog Band nodding in
approval.

 

Seemingly innocent and innocuous, there’s no denying that
indeed this Jonny be good.

 

White Stripes London Live 07 Reissued

 

Original FM broadcast
from June 14, 2007 has long been a fan favorite.

 

By The Digital Reaper

 

That online trademark of quality, Big O ‘zine, has been archiving classic live recordings nearly
since the dawn of digital time, serving up heaping helpings of underground
downloads of incredible and diverse audio wealth. Looking for John Coltrane at Temple University
in 1966? The Clash in Hong Kong 1982? TV On
The Radio live on KEXP or Cat Power on KCRW ’06? The original (and newly
expanded) version of the Stones’ classic Live
‘R Than You’ll Ever Be
? It’s all here. (Wolfgang’s Vault ain’t got nothing
on Big O.)

 

Big O is currently
in the middle of a “restart” program in which various older shows they deem to
be classic, but not available for download at the moment, are revived and
posted online. One per day is being made available, and coming up is quite a
buffet of live shows, including Leonard Cohen, Santana, Burning Spear, Rolling
Stones, Ruins and The Jam. Oh – and for all you folks still bummed over Jack
and Meg White’s recent decision to lay the White Stripes to rest, the legendary
June 14, 2007 Stripes performance at the O2 Wireless Festival, originally
broadcast on FM and therefore a longtime fan favorite due to the superior sound
quality, is coming early next week. Here are some of the details from the
original underground release:

 

Funny how time flies and come July 14,
2007, it would have been 10 years of the White Stripes. June also saw the
release of the group’s sixth studio album, Icky Thump. But on June 14, as one
of the headline bands at the O2 Wireless Festival in London,
as Britain’s
Evening Standard says, “Jack and Meg have earned their stripes.”
Earlier in the month, the two did an acoustic benefit concert entertaining the Chelsea Pensioners, most
of whom had never heard of the band. Between songs, Jack expressed his
gratitude for the efforts of the wartime generation.

 

At the Wireless Festival, Jack and Meg
performed in front of a crowd that included Oasis bandmates Noel Gallagher and
Gem Archer and The View’s Kyle Falconer. Instead of playing all the tracks from
the new album, the White Stripes performed only the title track, I’m Slowly
Turning Into You and A Martyr For My Love For You.

 

As the Evening Standard reported:
“Jack and Meg seemed to inhabit the songs, shifting intuitively between
whatever tracks simply felt right. Jack pounded a weighty organ between riffs
during new song I’m Slowly Turning Into You, but really focused on the raw
genius of his guitar work. I Think I Smell A Rat was frighteningly savage, his
slide guitar on a cover of Son House’s Death Letter as overwhelming as ever.
Meg drummed throughout with poised dignity in stark contrast to the maelstrom
surrounding her. Few musical unions work as naturally as this one. This
four-day festival has hit its high
point already.” Of course “oldies” such
as Seven Nation Army were as welcomed as perennial covers such as Jolene and I
Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.

 

Tracklisting:

 

1 – Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground / When I Hear My Name

2 – Hotel Yorba

3 – Icky Thump

4 – I’m Slowly Turning Into You

5 – I Think I Smell A Rat

6 – I’m A Martyr For My Love For You

7 – Death Letter / Motherless Children

8 – In The Cold Cold Night

9 – Jolene

10 – Cannon / John The Revelator / Astro / Ball & Biscuit

11 – Blue Orchid

12 – The Denial Twist / Wasting My Time

13 – I Just Dont Know What To Do With Myself

14 – We’re Going To Be Friends

15 – Seven Nation Army

 

Centro-matic Stump for Their Candidate

New album and tour
arrive in June.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Texas legends Centro-matic will self-release their 10th album Candidate Waltz on June 21, and it was recorded and produced by
Scott Solter (Spoon, Mountain Goats) and Matt Pence at the Echo Lab in Argyle,
Texas. The band currently comprises Will Johnson (songwriter, singer,
multi-instrumentalist) and his compatriots – Scott Danbom (keyboards, violin,
harmonies) Matt Pence (drummer, producer), Mark Hedman (bass, guitar).

 

Johnson started writing the new songs back in August 2009
but took a break to play drums with Monsters of Folk. They’d return to the
record in 2010. The distance did them some good; the songs told the boys to
back off, give them some breathing room. They’ve made what Johnson calls the
band’s “meat-and-potatoes pop record.” Johnson goes on to say “it’s a peeled
back” album with “new approaches and ideas.”

 

Centro-matic will kick off the first leg of their tour on
June 22nd in Nashville and end in Austin on July 9th.
Sarah Jaffe will open this leg of the tour.

 

Track listing:

 

1) Against The Line

2) All The Talkers

3) Iso-Residue

4) Estimate x 3

5) Only In My Double Mind

6) Solid States

7) Shadow, Follow Me

8) Mercedes Blast

9) If They Talk You Down

 

Tour dates:

 

Wednesday 06/22 The Basement Nashville, TN

Thursday 06/23 – The Earl Atlanta, GA

Saturday 06/25 – Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC

Tuesday 06/28 – North Star Bar Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday 06/29 – Great Scott Cambridge, MA

Thursday 06/30 – The Mercury Lounge New York, NY

Friday 07/01 –
Mohawk Place Buffalo, NY

Saturday 07/02 – Cleveland
Beachland Tavern Cleveland, OH

Sunday 07/03 – Schubas
Chicago, IL

Tuesday 07/05  – Off Broadway St. Louis, MO

Thursday 07/07 – Dan’s Silverleaf
Denton, TX

Friday 07/08 – Fitzgerald’s Houston, TX

Saturday 07/09 – Ghost Room Austin, TX

 

[Photo Credit: Matt Pence]

 

 

 

 

Shelved MC5 Doc to Finally See Release

A hands-down crucial film, MC5 – A True Testimonial, having weathered all legal issues and cleared for takeoff, is now waging a Kickstarter campaign to
raise the final, necessary, round of funding.

 

By Fred
Mills

 

My own
“true testimonial”: several years ago, as a staffer for Harp magazine (BLURT’s predecessor, natch) and contributor to the Detroit Metro Times alternative weekly,
I covered the tangled series of events that had unfolded – and were still
unfolding at the time – in the aftermath of the filming of the rock documentary
MC5 – A True Testimonial
, by
Future/Now Films. If you read through the information contained in the press
release below, you’ll quickly see that “tangled” doesn’t even begin to
accurately describe the scenario, which involved filmmakers pitted against
bandmembers, bandmembers pitted against one another, Detroit scenesters taking
sides and squaring off against one another, and at least one courtroom and a
judge.

 

Nearly
lost in the firestorm, but frequently acknowledged by pretty much everyone no
matter what side of the personal and legal divide they found themselves on, was
that the documentary was just fucking killer. That’s something I heard over and over in my on- and off-record
conversations with the principals, and most if not all of them expressed
concern, if not outright pessimism, over the film’s ultimate fate – that it
might never see an official release and thereby pass into the public record as
a chronicle of one of America’s greatest-ever bands.

 

I will
confess that even I – a lifelong MC5 devotee, and a lover of rock docs – came
away with a majorly bad taste in my mouth. This was partly due to the fact that
I attempted, and was able, to see the different points of view held by the
principals, and it won’t come as a surprise to anyone when I suggest that legal
battles tend to bring out the worst in everyone, particularly when the
underlying elements are so drenched in aesthetic/artistic, and therefore
emotional, terms. The other reason is because after a certain point it seemed
like no matter what I reported on the
story, I found myself sucked into its shitstorm: it was almost like each of my
correspondents expected me to take his or her side, and when I refused to
surrender what I thought was genuine objectivity, I would be rewarded with
angry emails and obscenity-laced late night answering machine messages wanting
to rip me for something I’d written online or in print, or even said to
someone. Hell, I’d never even set foot in Detroit, but the experience made me
fearful that I’d get my ass kicked if I ever did.

 

The one
consolation in all of it was that prior to the blowup I was lucky enough to
receive an artwork/silver-disc DVD (not a DVDR) screener of the film, so I
could at least take solace in knowing I could watch it whenever I wanted to,
although the aforementioned bad taste didn’t exactly compel me to do so. Still,
as an MC5 fan and collector I never once felt the urge to flog the DVD on eBay
– unlike, apparently, a number of my industry peers, as the artifact was
eventually spotted at the auction site going for upwards of a couple hundred
bucks, har har har!  (It was also
subsequently bootlegged a couple of times, once as a silver-disc DVD and later
as a knockoff DVDR. No doubt it found its way to file-sharing movie sites, too.)

 

All that
aside, however, here’s hoping that we’ve finally got an opportunity for
everyone to finally wash that bad taste away, because the MC5 documentary has
finally found its way out of the tunnel and is on the verge of finally getting
that official release. As the press release below outlines in great detail, “the
disputes are water under the bridge, and there’s no point in rehashing
them” and a Kickstarter campaign is in place to raise the $27,000 necessary to
secure the appropriate music synchronization licenses for the film.

 

Once that
happens… well, here’s hoping it does. So far nearly $4000 has been raised and
there are 39 days to go until the May 9 deadlines. Go to the film’s Kickstarter
page
for more details.

 

Will I
write about the film this time around? I dunno; on one level, given the crap I
went through a few years ago, smacking my face repeatedly with a brick seems to be a more
appealing prospect. What would YOU do, eh? But then, a lot of people apparently had to weather a lot
of crap in order to make the film happen, so… we’ll see.

 

***

 

 

Read the official press release:

 

 

With all
the lingering legal questions now firmly resolved, the highly regarded but
embattled MC5 – A True Testimonial documentary
film is finally poised for release. Warner/Chappell Music, the MC5’s music
publisher, has agreed to make the much sought-after synchronization
license available to the Chicago
based Future/Now Films. A crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds necessary to
acquire that license is currently underway via the Kickstarter
funding platform and will conclude May 9.

 

Seven
years ago, on March 31, 2004, writer Susan Whitall broke the story of the untimely
derailment of the documentary with a Detroit
News
article titled “MC5 In Turmoil Yet Again”.  At the time, the film
had a full schedule of theatrical screenings in place and was set for
imminent DVD release before a curious decision was made to deny the requisite synchronization
license for the MC5’s music publishing. 

 

That
decision, initiated at the behest of Wayne Kramer, one of the two
guitarists in the legendary but long-defunct band, ignited a
firestorm of controversy, given that Kramer had long supported the film’s
production saying “The filmmakers have done a fabulous job of telling the
story of the MC5… the story is finally getting told and told
right.” The documentary had been poised to make a major splash,
having screened to SRO crowds and widespread critical acclaim at film festivals
around the worldwide. There had been one single ticketed public screening, a
benefit for radio station WDET-FM held at the Detroit Film Theatre before a
sold-out crowd on October 30, 2003.

 

Having
successfully blocked the film’s release, Kramer would later file suit in
federal court in November 2005 over a purported “music producer” position
and alleging a variety of copyright infringement, fraud and breach of contract
claims against director David Thomas, producer Laurel Legler and Future/Now
Films.

 

After
hearing extensive testimony and reviewing the evidence presented during a
week-long trial held October 2006 in Santa Ana, California, United States District
Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford dismissed all charges against the filmmakers,
concluding there was “insufficient factual basis to establish any
claim” against the filmmakers. 

 

In the
decision rendered March 31, 2007, Judge Guilford found “no terms specific
enough to form an enforceable contract were ever agreed upon,” that neither
Thomas or Legler “had made any actionable false representations” to
Kramer, and that the dispute arose only after Future/Now Films
“demonstrated that the film they were crafting could be successful,” adding,
“The MC5 is historically significant and its music and story merit being heard
today. The film had and still has the potential to spread the music and
story of the MC5.” 

 

The
families of the late Rob Tyner and Fred “Sonic” Smith have been fully
supportive of the film’s release from the beginning; Patti Smith has been
unequivocal, saying, “They were a great band and they should be
remembered. And they should be remembered together. This film is a very
good opportunity to give them recognition.” With authorizations from the
three surviving members now in place, Vincent Cox, attorney for Future/Now
Films, has declared “the disputes are water under the bridge, and
there’s no point in rehashing them.”  

 

With that
in mind, the final objective is acquiring the requisite sync license for this
brilliant film and a campaign to raise the funds necessary to acquire that
license is currently underway via the Kickstarter funding platform.
Spearheaded by Detroit
music producer Freddie Brooks, Fred “Sonic” Smith’s longtime associate and
charge d’affaires, that campaign will conclude May 9, 2011. If
successful, theatrical screenings are expected to begin immediately with a
worldwide DVD release expected to follow shortly thereafter.

 

As USDC
Judge Guilford noted, director David Thomas and producer Laurel Legler were
“first-time filmmakers who spent eight years of their lives trying to
create a documentary film that would be historically truthful, a
documentary that would celebrate the talent and creativity of the MC5 band, a
documentary that would say something about the 60’s, and would say something
about the present.  They succeeded, and the film merits wide distribution
for the enjoyment and edification of the masses.”

 

More details: www.MC5-TrueTestimonial.com

 

 

 

 

Beatles to Website: Don’t Fuck With Us, Bro

 

And check that
scientific mumbo jumbo at the door, too, you bloody wankers.

 

By Perez Mills

 

You may remember the strange, sordid, shaggy saga of Cali
tech upstart (as opposed to start-up, duh) Media Rights Technologies who made
waves last year for selling oodles of MP3s at bargain basement prices via their
BlueBeat website – but somehow neglected to get permission from some of the
artists, labels and (otherwise known as ) copyright holders of the music. This
is known by it’s technical term: piracy.
And as a result, a court summarily shut em down in December. On one level at
least ya gotta admire ‘em for their cheek.

 

And on another level, ya gotta admire ‘em too, because
somebody at Media Rights Technologies has pockets deep enough to be able to
fork over nearly $1 million bucks without blinking.

 

Reuters  is reporting that the company has settled a copyright infringement lawsuit with EMI, to the
tune of $950,000, for illegally selling Beatles MP3s (at an iTunes-undercutting
25 cents per track), along with Radiohead, Coldplay and other EMI artists.

 

According to Reuters, the company had initially tried to say
that they were not “posting the original material, but had re-recorded the
music and inserted artistic touches based on a technique called ‘psycho-acoustic
simulation.'”

 

If that sounds like mumbo jumbo designed to obscure the
reality of the “piracy” notion, you just may have a future in the legal
business: the courts agreed, calling that assertion “obscure and undefined
pseudo-scientific language (that) appears to be a long-winded way of describing
‘sampling.'”