A collector's tale: Randy Haecker

Longtime record industry veteran talks about his collecting obsessions
By Peter Lindblad
A David Bowie photo
signed to Randy Haecker in 2008

When it comes to collecting entertainment memorabilia, Randy Haecker has many loves.

From records to buttons and concert posters, Haecker, a veteran of the music industry who worked his way up from hip indie labels to become part of Sony, is into all kinds of stuff. And it's not just music that he's passionate about. The Golden Age of Hollywood also offers various temptations.

Of all the ephemera he's gathered over the years, his many jobs at record labels affording him the kind of access to such material most of us can only dream of, it seems that autographed items hold the most sway. And Haecker has some fascinating tales to tell regarding how he came into possession of some of his most cherished possessions, as you'll see in this interview. It's the first of a series of talks with people about their collections.

First off, could you give me a little history about your time in the music business?
Randy Haecker: Music has been a lifelong passion. One of my earliest memories is defying my parents by staying up to watch “The Johnny Cash Show.” I was 5 years old. I laid low in my pajamas at the end of the hallway, where I could still see the TV but my parents couldn’t see me. Soon after, I discovered Casey Kasem’s weekly “American Top 40” radio countdown and would pay special attention to the artists’ names and their home countries. By high school, I had acquired a sizable record collection and spent countless hours reading the lyrics and the inner sleeve credits. Music magazines were also key to my development, especially Trouser Press and Creem, which I could find at my local small-town grocery store, as well as UK publications like NME, Melody Maker, The Face and Blitz, which I was only able to buy if an older friend drove me to Austin or San Antonio on a record shopping spree.   

Immersing myself in the music press led me to the idea that “I can do that.” By 1982, I was writing record reviews for my high school newspaper and interviewing local musicians like Joe “King” Carrasco & the Crowns and the Krayolas. My high school writing led to a nearby journalism scholarship and while in college I interviewed acts like Depeche Mode, the Cure, OMD, Run-DMC, and 10,000 Maniacs. I was savvy enough to send clippings of my articles to the record label addresses and management offices I would find on the LP sleeves, and soon I was on every label mailing list in the country. Jackpot! Packages of free LPs started arriving on a daily basis.

Ringo Starr
Soon, I had become friendly with numerous music publicists, and they all were asking what I intended to do after college. They told me if I wanted to be in the heart of the music business, I would have to move to either Los Angeles or New York City. So I took their advice. Shortly after finishing college, I packed what I could fit in my car and drove to Los Angeles. I chose L.A. because the weather was closer to what I was accustomed to in Texas. I got very lucky. Within two weeks, I was hired by Slash Records to be the label’s sole in-house publicist. I won the job based on my thick binder of music writing, and the fact that I had previously written about numerous Slash bands. One of my first projects was Faith No More’s The Real Thing, which became a platinum-seller in the U.S. That job eventually led to a move to New York City in 1994 where I became a publicist for Angel/Guardian/EMI Classics. The music industry was booming and during this period I worked with Ravi Shankar, George Harrison, the Kinks, Alice Cooper, Liza Minnelli, Itzhak Perlman and many others. In 1997, I moved a few blocks across town to Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment. I eventually became Sr. Director of Media Relations and worked for Sony until 2013. 

Forgive the predictability of this question, but what was it that got you into collecting music and other memorabilia and why do you continue with it?
RH: My gateway into the fanaticism of collecting was a bubblegum sticker series called Odd Rods.  Basically you’d get a slab of rock hard gum along with three stickers of monsters driving dragsters. This was 1971. My dad would buy me a package whenever we would pick up milk on the way home. In grade school, everybody was into another bubblegum series, Wacky Packages. All of these cards were brash and lurid, zany and colorful, aspects which continue to have a strong pull on my id. Around this time, I would carefully scan the TV guide each week, circling monster movies and sci-fi TV shows. I was voracious in my quest to see every Universal Monsters, Hammer Films, or American International Pictures b-movie. The first monster film I experienced was “Werewolf of London” (1935), which I watched with my brother on late-night TV in the 1960s. In 1974, age 10, I attended my first comic book and “Star Trek” convention is San Antonio.  

Aside from records, what was the first piece of memorabilia you acquired?
RH: Avengers #76. Marvel Comics, 1970. That was my first comic book. My introduction to Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the rest of the colorful, heroic team. Cover price was .15 cents. And boy, did I get my money’s worth. It unlocked a whole universe for me. I’ve never counted them, but I would guess my current comic book collection numbers around 10,000 issues. A copy of Avengers #76 in great shape today would land you $60, which is a good return on the original investment.  

Tell me about your autograph collection. Was there a particular autograph that required some intrepid work on your part?
An alternate signed 8x10 photo
of Andy Warhol from his collection,
although it is not the one Haecker
discusses in the Q&A.
RH: While I had always collected autographs from musicians I interviewed, I didn’t become serious about autograph collecting until 1994. My interest coincided with my move to New York City. I was a young gent raised on Marvel Comics, CBGB punk bands and “Saturday Night Live,” so moving to NYC was a dream come true. I decided to celebrate by tracking down an authentic autograph from Andy Warhol, who was already deceased. I started my quest at Argosy Books on E. 59th, an autograph retailer I had located in the Manhattan Yellow Pages. The clerk’s first question was “How much are you willing to pay?,” which is a blunt, no-nonsense way to start any transaction. She admitted that she didn’t have any signed photos of Warhol on hand but she suggested I call an autograph dealer on the Upper West Side. I made the call and arranged a meeting at the dealer’s apartment. His opening question of “Who are you looking for?” was quickly followed by “How much are you willing to pay?” It was obvious that money talked in the NYC autograph market. He had an exquisite, pristine black & white 8x10 photo boldly signed “From Andy Warhol.” We agreed on a price of $180 and I still buy from that dealer today.

Which brings up the question of authenticity. On the road to becoming a serious autograph collector, one has to experience a lot of hard knocks. Just because someone says a signature is authentic, doesn’t mean it is.  The person selling the item may, indeed, truly believe that an item is authentic, but unless you were there to personally witness the signing, you will never know for certain. Which is why a smart collector is a cautious collector. I tend to buy the majority of my items from UACC-certified dealers. These are established dealers who maintain a strict code of ethics and typically offer a money-back guarantee for life on the items they sell. I’ve also learned to be cautious of businesses which offer authentication services. I frequently see items that pass authentication but still look bad to a trained eye. So the bottom line is do your research. If an item’s price seems too good to be true, you’ll likely get stung.

I tend to collect signatures from the Golden Age of Hollywood, back when celebrities had clean penmanship and took the time to personalize items. Signatures from that era are worlds away from the wavy lines and illegible squiggles that pass as legitimate signatures from today’s superstars.  

Is there a funny or maybe even harrowing story behind any of them?
RH: One collecting story that comes to mind involves legendary adult films actress Seka. While attending a Chiller Theatre autograph show at a Secaucus hotel in the mid-1990s, I came across Seka in a small, cramped, dealer’s table room. She cut quite a striking figure. Tanned and hard-bodied, with her patented shock of blonde hair, Seka came across like the adult film equivalent of shock rocker Wendy O. Williams. Definitely a "take no prisoners" type. The room she had been assigned was disgustingly hot. No air conditioning. Now if you’ve ever attended a horror movie convention, you know that a sizable portion of the crowd is going to be bearded, overweight men wearing Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees baseball caps and t-shirts. One such fellow was in the vicinity of Seka’s memorabilia-laden table. He was pale and audibly panting from the heat. Without warning, the fellow doubled over and fainted. But during his fall he managed to grasp the tablecloth of Seka’s table and pulled down all of her photos on top of him. Seka didn’t waste a precious second. She straddled his prostrate body and began performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In between compressing his chest with her palms, Seka shouted loudly for help. By the time the hotel staff arrived, Seka had successfully brought the guy back to his senses. I hope he had the courtesy to buy a signed photo.  

Do you have a favorite kind of collectible, such as posters or buttons, that you like to seek out?
RH: Autographs are currently my foremost collecting passion. My collection is comprised of music, film, and TV personalities. Specific areas of interest are punk and new wave musicians, Golden Age of Hollywood celebrities and film directors, foreign and cult film stars. I am saddened by the fact that the audience for foreign films, like classical and jazz music, is becoming increasingly more niche. I grew up in arthouse and repertory movie theatres. When I lived in Los Angeles, I would catch classic double features at the New Beverly, the Nuart, and UCLA, and during my time in NYC, I frequented Film Forum, MOMA, BAMcinematek, Lincoln Plaza Cinema, and many others. Foreign film is crucial to increasing an individual’s worldview.

Additionally, I currently collect movie and music posters, Blu-rays and DVDs, compact discs and LPs, music buttons/badges, archival photography, and genre magazines. Previously, I’ve  collected comic books, stamps, bubblegum cards, vintage postcards, and VHS tapes.

What excites you the most about memorabilia collecting?
Haecker said he secured each signature
separately, so it took him a decade to get all five.
From left to right: Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Jackie Fox,
Sandy West and Cherie Currie.
RH: I can’t cite any one thing. It’s wide ranging. It seems fairly obvious that when you’re a child, everything is new and exciting, but you have no money to buy anything. So as you grow older, you seek out those emotionally-charged touchstones from yesteryear. For instance, I vividly recall encountering the sleeve for the Runaways’ 1977 LP Waiting for the Night at K-Mart when I was 13 years old. The cover photograph features four attractive young women in black leather, holding tight to a barbed-wire fence as blood runs down their hands. That LP’s graphic designer knew what he was doing. That’s an image that’s hard to shake, even decades later. And my passion for pop culture has been so fervent that at this point in my life I can say I’ve met three of the young women on that cover — Joan Jett, Lita Ford, and Sandy West. 

Recently, I noted a photo on Facebook of some of the buttons you've collected over the years. How many do you think you have and do you have your favorites? 
RH: My button collection is not over the top. I likely have around 300. Most of them I picked up at merch tables at concerts over the years. I don’t really have any favorites. Almost all of them are impossibly cool to me. 

How many records do you figure you own? Are there a few in your collection that mean the most to you or that stand out in any way?
RH: Taking in LPs and extended mixes, I have in the area of 5,000. Plus an additional 600 45 RPM singles. An album that I view as especially important in my collection is simply titled New Wave. It was issued in 1977 on the UK label Vertigo. The sleeve is almost completely crimson except for a vertical color photo of a young punk spewing beer from his mouth at the camera. I bought it at North Star Mall in San Antonio in the late 1970s. This LP introduced me to the short, sharp, shock of the Ramones, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, New York Dolls, the Damned, the Dead Boys, and Richard Hell & the Voidoids. So, yes, that’s a crucial slab of wax.  

Where do you go mostly to find the things you're looking for?
RH: For autographs, I reach out to dealers I trust. They typically have websites on which new items are posted each week. I shop on eBay for just about every facet of my collection. emovieposter.com holds three weekly auctions for all types of posters and movie memorabilia. For archival products to store my collectibles, I buy from BagsUnlimited.com. Regarding LPs, my crate digging days are over. I no longer feel the need to seek out record stores in every city I visit, subjecting my knees to concrete floors and my sinuses to sundry dust and allergy particles.

What's still out there that remains your "white whale" in a sense? Is there a Holy Grail piece that has eluded your grasp?
An autographed 5x7
photo of Charlie Chaplin
from the early 19-teens.
RH: I have an ever-diminishing list of key items for which I am still searching. Of course, most of these items come with high price tags attached, so I can only cross my fingers and say a little prayer in hopes that they find their way into my hands. Right now I’m in the market for autographed items from Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley, Laurel & Hardy, directors Jean Luc Godard and Erich von Stroheim, Marvin Gaye, Freddie Mercury, guitarist Mick Ronson, and Sex Pistols designer Jamie Reid.  
One “Holy Grail,” a signature that I never thought I would be able to afford actually made it into my collection this year. A 1964 bank check signed by Greta Garbo.  

You collect a lot of different items. How do you store them or showcase them?
I barely have room to store everything, much less showcase anything. Two full room are dedicated to my collection. Air conditioned and humidity controlled. Most items are stored in either Mylar or polypropylene sleeves, inside acid-free, buffered boxes. Almost all of my posters are rolled in extra-thick tubes, so they are unfortunately difficult to access. Framing can quickly become prohibitively expensive. Like most collectors, I’m holding out to win the lottery so I can buy a museum to house everything. The items that are most readily accessible and easy to display are my autographs. I keep them in individual protective sleeves inside Itoya binders.  

What would be the most shocking or surprising story you could tell from your years of collecting?
RH: Turn back the clock to when I was hired at Slash Records in 1988. My first day on the job, label president Bob Biggs called me in his office to give me an assignment. He informed me that due to Slash’s busy upcoming release schedule, we needed to make room for incoming promo LPs. He brought me downstairs to the promo room and pointed out several shelves of boxes. He instructed me to carry everything to the trash dumpster out back. Once he left, I couldn’t help but satisfy my curiosity by looking inside the boxes. Each box was brimming with leftover mementos from legendary Los Angeles fanzine, Slash Magazine. I looked in disbelief. There were archival 8x10 photos of all the bands on the scene, there were hundreds of original page layouts, there were items that had been given away free with the magazine, there were letters to the magazine from punk fans all over the world, there were the original typed manuscripts by the magazine’s writers. I thought to myself, “Is this a test? Does he want to see if I’ll take all this stuff?” My options were limited. If I drove my car near the dumpster and loaded everything in my car, I would likely be fired. And I had only been in L.A. for two weeks and I simply could not lose this cool new job. I also didn’t know anybody in L.A. to call to say, “You’ve got to get over here pronto and get all these boxes out of the dumpster!” In the end, I managed to score a nearly complete run of the original magazine, as well as a dozen or so photos of Buzzcocks, the Jam, and John Foxx-era Ultravox. As for what happened to all those boxes once I had put them in the dumpster, I have my suspicions. My guess is that my fellow Slash employees (none of whom I knew at this point) quickly scooped up those priceless boxes and headed for the hills.  

CD Review: Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 1

CD Review: Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 1
eOne Music
All Access Rating: A-

Ace Frehley - Origins Vol. 1 2016
Seeing the Who and Cream open up for Mitch Ryder at the RKO theater at his first-ever rock concert was a life-changing experience for a young and impressionable Ace Frehley. That, perhaps more than anything else, convinced him that his calling was to conjure rock 'n' roll hellfire for the masses, who would worship him like a god.

On Origins Vol. 1, with its big, beefed-up production and pristine, powerful crunch, the revered former KISS guitarist pays tribute to the artists who influenced his career, performing a clutch of cover songs and old KISS tracks with immaculate precision, blazing energy and a whole lot of muscle.

In fact, the old Rolling Stones classic "Street Fighting Man" has never sounded so polished and heavy, becoming an arena-rock dynamo in Frehley's capable hands. Trading searing guitar licks with Slash on Thin Lizzy's "Emerald," Frehley seems born again, clearly enjoying the competition and beautifully sculpted twin leads.

While the world doesn't need another version of "Wild Thing," this savory remake by Frehley and Lita Ford captures the raw vitality and untamed spirit of the original, and the furious, groove-mongering locomotion and stop-on-a-dime direction changes of Led Zeppelin's "Bring It On Home" bursts forth with bluesy urges, proving that Frehley has lost none of his chops. Packing an even greater wallop is a rugged, gutsy version of Free's "Fire and Water," which finds Frehley and Paul Stanley – putting forth a commanding vocal performance here – of KISS mending fences.

Working alongside acolytes John 5 and Pearl Jam's Mike McCready, Frehley injects some modern sonic testosterone into KISS favorites "Cold Gin" and "Parasite," reveling in their darker qualities and punching them around some. Origins Vol. 1 isn't essential, and sometimes, Frehley is too faithful to the source material. Nevertheless, Origins Vol. 1 is a fun, nostalgic trip with an array of stinging riffs and piercing solos that attempts to explain how Ace became Ace. And because of all that, it's not a bad placeholder for the next Frehley solo record.
– Peter Lindblad

Kings of Concert Posters: Uncle Charlie

Clowns, spaceships and Pop Art collide in artist's colorful creations
By Peter Lindblad

Pantera White Zombie
1996 Original Silkscreen
Concert Poster Uncle
Charlie S/N
Flying machines have always fascinated Houston artist Charlie Hardwick, better known by his pseudonym Uncle Charlie.

The son of a Navy man who, for a time, was said to have piloted blimps and dabbled in oil painting, Uncle Charlie has always pushed the boundaries of Pop Art. Dreaming up explosively colorful scenes of insane absurdity, with bright, psychedelic scenes that harken back to the '60s, Uncle Charlie is fond of incorporating spaceships and other types of aircraft, along with his beloved cartoon images, in incredibly vivid and vibrant works.

Renowned for a style featuring striking outlines and surreal fractal landscapes, Uncle Charlie has gained a reputation as a uniquely talented concert poster artist. Major music acts such as U2, The Who, Metallica and Radiohead, to name just a few, have sought him out to produce artwork promoting gigs in venues around Houston and Austin.

Today, some of his handbills can go for as low as $5 to $13, while prices for many of his gig posters may range from $40 to $80, although some will fetch around $130 to $150 and others might push beyond $200 or more. Here's a gallery of some of his finest work for purchase: http://stores.ebay.com/Rock-On-Collectibles/Uncle-Charlie-Posters-/_i.html?_fsub=3340828&_sid=70220124&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322

Known for being humble and soft-spoken, Uncle Charlie, has persevered despite serious vision problems. Legally blind since 2003, Uncle Charlie continued to produce mind-blowing artwork long after, building off his acclaimed work in concert posters and commercial packaging designs.

Love & Rockets 1996 Original
Silkscreen Concert Poster
Uncle Charlie Art S/N
Born and bred in Houston, Hardwick started out playing in bands such as Blunt and local hardcore heroes Dresden 45 in the mid-1980s. While attending the University of Houston, he made a crucial decision not to waste his time with introductory design classes, instead switching to the Art Institute of Houston.

With the help of a musician friend, he found work at a design firm, where he stayed for 15 years as a senior designer. His commercial art graced products by Coke Food, Imperial Sugar and Minute Maid, but corporate downsizing in 2008 left him without a job. That led him to do more work with bands, although today Hardwick has immersed himself in doing more fine art.

On the side, for years, Hardwick had been moonlighting doing art for bands. In the late 1980s, he met the legendary concert poster artist Frank Kozik. Serving as Hardwick's mentor, it was Kozik who taught him a few tricks and encouraged the man who gained fame as Uncle Charlie to follow in his footsteps.

A few years later, in the early '90s, Hardwick was hired through a Cleveland gig poster broker to do a Smashing Pumpkins piece for a Houston-area concert promoter, Pace Concerts, that has long been one of his favorites. There's also a beautiful abstract piece he did for The Cure that so impressed the band that they asked for additional copies. Before that, he did fliers for all kinds of acts, but eventually, he settled on doing poster art, and the results speak for themselves. Below are works representative of Uncle Charlie's art.



The Who 1997 Original
Silkscreen Concert Poster
Uncle Charlie Art S/N


Weird Al Yankovic
2000 Original Concert
Promo Handbill Houston
Uncle Charlie Art


Foo Fighters 1995 Original
Silkscreen Concert Promo
Poster Uncle Charlie Art S/N


U2 PJ Harvey 2001 Original
Promo Concert Poster
Uncle Charlie Art Var 2





CD Review: Lita Ford – Time Capsule

CD Review: Lita Ford – Time Capsule
Steamhammer/SPV
All Access Rating: A-

Lita Ford - Time Capsule 2016
Gathering dust for some time in Lita Ford's house in the Caribbean, the previously unreleased material comprising Time Capsule practically begged to be released. She's finally given in to its demands.

Here are Ford's "lost" treasures, made on the fly with some of the biggest names in '80s rock and metal. With her new book "Living Like a Runaway: Lita Ford, A Memoir" already out, Time Capsule, due out via Steamhammer/SPV, arrives carrying a lot of baggage. Open this suitcase of a record and songs reminiscent of Ford's stiletto-heeled, spandex-clad heyday come spilling out, as sleazy grooves and tough riffs snarl at aching ballads that are pretty on the outside but hurt down deep, all of it in keeping with the glorious pop-metal sound that propelled her to solo stardom decades ago.

Along with making the Jimi Hendrix instrumental "Little Wing" smolder with searing, bluesy intensity, Ford and company bump-and-grind through a nasty "Black Leather Heart" and roll around in the gutter with a defiant, rough-and-tumble "Rotten to the Core" – co-written by KISS bassist Gene Simmons, who also plays on the track. Tenacious and biting, her solos scratch any itch until it bleeds, especially on the growling, savage "Mr. Corruption," and her vocals go from wounded to sweet and coy and then angry in no time at all.

These and other tracks are laced with bittersweet, melodramatic melodies that taste of alkaline and sugar, as the crestfallen, yearning "Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight" – with guest vocals by Jeff Scott Soto, his slight rasp pairing well with Ford's pure passion – puts on a brave face and marches forth dressed in thorny hooks that also poke through the rising epic "War of the Angels" and a beautifully rendered "Killing Kind," with its sublime chorus and surprisingly tasteful mandolin provided by Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro.

All sides of Ford's complicated and compelling personality fight for attention on Time Capsule, which is no mere odds-and-sods collection thrown together haphazardly just to fulfill contractual obligations with a record label. These are good, solid rock songs – some of the best she's ever written in fact – that have no expiration date. And yet, while the songwriting is tight and assured, and the production is vivid and lively, the vibe emanating from Time Capsule is one of a series of enjoyable, intimate jam sessions between old friends. Bassist extraordinaire Billy Sheehan appears here and there, and Cheap Trick's Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen providing complementary backing vocals on "Killing Kind." The stuff in this Time Capsule hasn't aged badly at all.
– Peter Lindblad

High five ... plus five: Top selling music memorabilia for March

New blog feature lists highest auction prices realized for vinyl records, concert posters
By Peter Lindblad

David Bowie - Low U.K. 1977 Original
Factory Sample
The fallout from David Bowie's death continues to impact the record-collecting market. That story and more are highlighted in the first installment of a new feature here at the All Access blog, which takes a monthly look at the best-selling vinyl records (classical records have been omitted) and other musical memorabilia on eBay.

Not found among the most expensive items sold in March is this U.K. 1977 original factory sample version – considered one of the first ever printed – of Bowie's Low photographed at right. Considered one of the first ever printed, this piece, described by the seller as "impossibly rare," went for $1,234. And yet, it did not even come close to sniffing the prices realized by three other Bowie lots that lead March's top-selling listings for records. A listing of top-selling concert posters for March is also included below:

Records

David Bowie - Deram Japanese Stock
with "Both Obi's" 
1. David Bowie – David Bowie ($12,911.54): It doesn't get much better for collectors of David Bowie records than this. According to the seller, this Japanese version of David Bowie's self-titled album is in mint condition, having never been played, and is said to be the "the rarest David Bowie Deram LP on earth." Going further, the seller writes, that it is an unprecedented Deram stock copy DL-44 "in it's absolute complete day of release form" with the original strip OBI DL-44 – "the unfathomably rare mini OBI." It comes with the original lyric sheet and advert sheet. "I have owned five of these stock copies along the road, none with an OBI," continues the seller. "And nobody has even heard of this secondary mini OBI before." To read the complete backstory to this item, check it out on eBay.


David Bowie - Hunky Dory Preview
Pressing Only Four Copies Exist
2. David Bowie – Hunky Dory ($10,783.26): More from the Thin White Duke, there are only four known copies of this preview pressing. What makes this one special, according to the seller, is that it comes with the very first Hunky Dory sleeve ever printed. Previously used, the seller includes a detailed description of its flaws in the eBay write-up; however, the lot also comes with a handpicked stack of paperwork, a 12 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch promotional gatefold wraparound sleeve with pouches to house all the promo photos and paperwork that goes with the record.

The Beatles - LP Please Please Me -
Stereo First Pressing - Black And Gold
3. The Beatles – Please Please Me LP ($6,526.71): The 1963 release, catalog No. PCS 3042, is a stereo version of the Please Please Me LP. According to the seller's description, "The first copies of this record, like this one, were pressed with the elusive black and gold labels. This was due to Parlophone changing the label design to the more well-known black-and-yellow version. It is estimated that only 600 copies were ever pressed, making them extremely difficult to find." Adding to the unique character of these versions is a mistake, namely the publishing credit given to Dick James Music for the songs "I Saw Her Standing There," "Misery," "Do You Want to Know a Secret" and "There's a Place." Later pressings corrected the error, crediting Northern Songs. Furthermore, there is other evidence of this being housed in an original first pressing sleeve. It has an Ernest J. Day cover, with STEREO writ large on the front top right corner. A photo credit for Angus McBean is located on the front right bottom corner.

The Parliaments - This is My Rainy Day/
Getting Ready for the Summer
Cabell 115
4. The Parliaments – This is My Rainy Day ($5,324.55): An original Northern Soul rarity, this 7-inch single is in very good condition. Issued by the Cabell Records label in 1966, it is an original 1960s pressing, a first edition now out of print. Considered "the rarest of all records by The Parliaments," one of the groups featuring Archie Himon, aka Little Archie of Huntington, West Virginia, there are very few known copies of the single. Some say the reason is that the owner of Cabell Records wasn't happy with it. At least two known copies were out there, before this one was unearthed, according to the seller. They sold for between $4,400 and $6,400.

David Bowie - The Bowpromo
5. David Bowie – The Bowpromo ($5,188.73): In mint condition, this piece is thought to be among the most collectible David Bowie records around. Bowie sings all the songs on Side 1, while Dana Gillespie provides the vocals for Side 2. It contains different versions of songs on Hunky Dory that never made it on to the album. Descriptions of the songs here are said by the seller to be included on a number of web sites and of great interest to Bowie collectors due to their rarity. The seller claims to have purchased the record from Gillespie.

Concert posters:

Sam Cooke Five Royales Original
1958 Pre-Fillmore Boxing Style
Concert Poster
1. Sam Cooke – Five Royales Original 1958 Pre-Fillmore Boxing Style Concert Poster ($2,550): Soul/R&B legend Sam Cooke headlined this show at Chattanooga City's Auditorium in Tennessee on Sept. 29, 1958. Future Rock & Roll Hall of Fames the Five Royales opened for him, along with other acts. Measuring 21 5/8 x 28 1/4 inches, the original poster is on thick cardboard, similar to boxing-style posters. While it does show some damage, the poster is still highly prized by soul collectors, considering the profiles of these iconic soul and R&B artists.

Pink Floyd - Concert Poster 1970
Boston Tea Party
2. Pink Floyd – Concert Poster 1970 Boston Tea Party ($2,200): Extremely rare concert poster for Pink Floyd's show at the Boston Tea Party April 12, 1970. In very good condition, with sharp corners and no folds, the piece measures 17 x 17 inches. The Boston Tea Party was a concert venue at 53 Berkeley Street in Boston's South End neighborhood and played a role in the psychedelic movement. 


Grateful Dead - VTG 1970
Grateful Dead Tour Concert
Poster Psychedelic Art
MIT Armory Event
3. Grateful Dead  VTG 1970 Grateful Dead Tour Concert Poster Psychedelic Art MIT Armory Event ($2,100): An authentic Grateful Dead poster for the band's May 7, 1970 show at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Armory, this piece is printed on thick card stock and measures 11 x 14 inches. A pin hole, corner creases, smudges, stains and scuffs mar this poster, but the seller said the artwork "appears to have been hand-painted onto the poster since the art almost has a felt-like feel rather than what a screen print would feel on paper, and the opposite side shows a 'blueprint' of the finished poster." Additionally, two artists signed their names in the two bottom corners.

Tom Wilkes 1960s Rock
Concert Psychedelic Poster
4. Tom Wilkes 1960s Rock Concert Psychedelic Poster ($1,800): Here's a Tom Wilkes 1960s rock concert psychedelic poster from the Monterey International Pop Festival, one of the biggest events in rock history. Wilkes served as the art director for the festival, and between 1967 and 1969, he was the art director A&M Records. Responsible for many award-winning designs, Wilkes won a Grammy award for best recording packaging for Tommy performed by the London Symphony Orchestra & Choir. He also designed covers for legendary records, such as George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, Neil Young's Harvest and the Rolling Stones' Beggars' Banquet.The poster's framed dimensions are 26.75 x 41.5 inches.


KISS - Original KISS Blue
Oyster Cult New Year's Eve
Nassau Coliseum NY
Concert Poster
5. KISS – Original KISS Blue Oyster Cult New Year's Eve Nassau Coliseum NY Concert Poster ($1,336): Legendary rock acts KISS and Blue Oyster Cult were on the bill, with special guest the Leslie West Band. The poster was promoting a Dec. 31, 1975 show for KISS. It was the first New York area concert for the "ALIVE" North American Tour, the initial stop at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island. The seller claims to have received the poster from promoter Phil Basile, a Long Island promoter who worked with another legendary promoter, Ron Delsener. Not a copy or reproduction, this is a rare, original concert poster that has some creases and edge wear.


CD Review: Zakk Wylde – Book of Shadows II

CD Review: Zakk Wylde – Book of Shadows II
eOne Music
All Access Rating: A

Zakk Wylde - Book Of
Shadows II 2016
A sequel two decades in the making, Zakk Wylde's Book Of Shadows II seems at odds with the gregarious personality – not to mention the increasingly muscular physique – of its bearded viking of a creator.

Foregoing the mighty roar of a typical Black Label Society or Ozzy Osbourne release, Wylde crafts a dog-eared, toned-down hymnal of introspective, bittersweet ballads with a soulful Southern-rock drawl reminiscent of the Allman Brothers on this, his beautifully rendered second solo album.

The assured work of a man once broken and lost and cautiously hoping beyond hope that he's completely healed, Book of Shadows II, due out on eOne Music, is deeply moving, with the lush, pastoral "Autumn Changes" and "Lay Me Down" and a bluesy "Tears of December" serving notice immediately that Wylde, for all his fortitude, is acutely aware of his all-too-human vulnerability. "Darkest Hour" and "Forgotten Memory" – with its echoes of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" – quietly and gracefully swan dive all the way to rock bottom and yearn for salvation, while "Lost Prayer" has a hopeful, sunny glow ensconced in blues tradition.

Here, warm organ sounds coat a rich, organic blend of tasteful electric and acoustic guitar meditations, all backing resonant vocals soaked in too much melancholy. Melodies slowly evolve and take shape, in no hurry to articulate the inner turmoil of the artist. Tracks such as "Sorrowed Regret" and "The Levee" start out spare and haunting, before Wylde adds instrumental flesh to these creaking bones, in a sense gradually bringing them back to life in some sort of folk-rock resurrection. Spiritual and cathartic, Book of Shadows II is full of woe, evocative of a life of hard-earned lessons and turning inward to confront whatever demons are still in there.
– Peter Lindblad

Kings of Concert Posters: Chris "Coop" Cooper


Devil is in the details for this renowned and rebellious "Lowbrow" artist
By Peter Lindblad

Steel Pole Bathtub 1995 Jabberjaw
Original Concert Poster
Silkscreen by Coop
To say the irreverent artist known as "Coop" – his real name is Chris Cooper – has a way with women is a massive understatement.

With devilish glee and an appreciation for bold colors and kitschy imagery, he seems to relish creating titillating scenes of scantily-clad, voluptuous women in lascivious poses, although he's also widely known for works featuring a smiling Satan chomping on a cigar.

In the forward to Coop's 2001 book "Devil's Advocate: The Art of Coop," Robert Williams writes, "Coop doesn't exploit the occult metaphysics of satanic malarkey. Why should he? This gifted wonderboy is the devil himself."

Those wanting to see more of Coop's art should hunt it down, seeing as how it boasts a treasure trove of reproductions of his posters and stickers and other assorted memorabilia. Or, to own one or more his pieces, which generally range in price from more than $100 to $500, check out http://stores.ebay.com/Rock-On-Collectibles/Coop-Posters-/_i.html?_fsub=3340762&_sid=70220124&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322

Born in Tulsa, Okla., in 1968, but now living in Los Angeles and working as a hot rod artist, Coop fashions himself as the "Insensitive Artiste." With a wicked sense of humor, Coop made his bones coming up doing ads and illustrating album covers for the similar-minded indie record label Sympathy for the Record Industry and its leader Long Gone John Mermis. Other artists whose work graced Sympathy for the Record Industry material included Williams, Todd Schorr and Mark Ryden.

Green Day The Riverdales 1995
Original Concert Poster Silkscreen
Art by Coop
Eventually, Coop made a connection with famed concert-poster artist Frank Kozik, whose influence on Coop's work is fairly evident, even as Coop developed his own unique style. Along the way, Coop became a go-to artist for some of the biggest alternative-rock acts of the '90s, doing posters for Green Day, Nirvana, Soundgarden, the Reverend Horton Heat, Lords of Acid and the Foo Fighters. Those signature "femme devils" he's so fond of are often seen on various stickers, usually plastered on cars. That, more than anything, has made Coop's art a cultural phenomenon.

Again, in that same forward, Williams writes, "It is with this kind of exposure that the name Coop has come to typify art for many people who like visual stimuli." Often, Coop is associated with the revolutionary visual art movement referred to as "Lowbrow," also called "pop surrealism," which exploded in the Los Angeles area near the tail end of the 1970s and is laced with a sardonic sense of humor that gained favor in underground comix, punk rock and hot-rod culture. And he is held in high esteem in the Kustom Kulture community.

In 2004, Coop released another book titled "The Big Fat One," which contains more than a thousand sketches. Another one, "Idle Hands," was published in 2012 by Baby Tattoo Books and is a collection of his fine art created between 2001 and 2012. For Hot Wheels fanatics, Coop recently collaborated with the toy car maker on a series of miniature "Coop-Customized" hot rods.

To get a taste of his style, here are some examples of Coop's work:

Unsane Steel Pole Bathtub
1995 Original Concert Poster
Silkscreen by Coop S/N


Go Nuts 1995 Jabberjaw Silkscreen
Art Concert Poster Original by Coop S/N

Gas Huffer Clawhammer 1996 The Whisky
Concert Poster Original by Coop S/N
Dave & Deke 1996 San Francisco
Kilowatt Original Concert Poster
Art by Coop


DVD Review: Twisted Sister – We Are Twisted F***ing Sister

DVD Review: Twisted Sister – We Are Twisted F***ing Sister
Music Box Films
All Access Rating: A-

Twisted Sister - We Are
Twisted F***ing
Sister 2016
Dubbed "the band that killed disco," Twisted Sister did hard time for its crimes against '70s dance music.

Looking absolutely deranged with their outlandish costumes and garish makeup, the flamboyant, but gritty, glam-metal combo that brought drunks onstage to sing parts of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" and led boisterous chants of "disco sucks" in hot, sweaty venues couldn't catch a break.

Despite a rabid following growing exponentially in the club circuit around New York City, record labels passed on them time and time again, never doubting for a second they could possibly be wrong about this hot mess of a band. History would prove otherwise.

Directed by Andrew Horn, "We Are Twisted F***king Sister" is a rollicking, 134-minute documentary that never drags while providing an entertaining, in-depth account of Twisted Sister's decade-long struggle to make it big. Out in theaters as well, the DVD version includes a disc packed to the gills with bonus interview material. The main story doesn't need much embellishment, however.

While Dee Snider and Jay Jay French, among others, tell funny and revelatory old war stories – although one about a particularly racist club owner was troubling to say the least – loads of vintage footage of raucous live shows from the early days give a true and undiluted sense of the grassroots-level excitement they generated, as well as the palpable hostility the band faced. Viewers wind up in the trenches, pumping their fists along with the rabble with the knowledge that behind the scenes, not everything was peachy.

Unabashedly open about their ambitions and their ruthless intentions to mop the floor with any act they shared stages with, including poor Zebra, Snider and French are refreshingly candid about their thorny relationship, with Snider admitting to his alienation from the group and his desire to usurp power as Twisted Sister's leader. Snider was confrontational, whereas French established an easy rapport with audiences. They were different people. Yet on some level, even back then, they instinctively knew they needed each other to realize their dreams, and the film lets that sub-plot unfold naturally. What also emerges, from talks with managers, fans and other group members is a picture of a barnstorming bar band – loved by many, but also reviled in some quarters – that worked tirelessly and went to great lengths to get noticed, even to the point of exhaustion.

Just as importantly, what Horn does is give the unvarnished truth of how Twisted Sister became Twisted Sister, letting all the personalities in this dramatic comedy reminisce and confess to all sorts of misdeeds as the story unfolds about the band's difficult birth. In a sense, from the very beginning, they were entrepreneurs selling wild, rebellious rock 'n' roll and eventually their business took off. Along the way there were disappointments and deals that went south, but with a little help from an enthusiastic patron at Atlantic Records, they were able to get out of New York – to the chagrin of some supporters – and go national. Theirs is a story of dogged persistence, of chasing the American Dream really.

And if nothing else, "We Are Twisted F***ing Sister" is ... well, inspirational, but not in a "self-help book" kind of way. Empty platitudes are nowhere to be found here. Twisted Sister put in the hours. They, to borrow a phrase, stayed hungry. And when an opportunity presented itself, they weren't afraid to jump at it, even if there was nothing to catch their fall.
– Peter Lindblad

CD Review: Anthrax – For All Kings

CD Review: Anthrax – For All Kings
MRI/Megaforce Records
All Access Rating: A

Anthrax - For All Kings 2016
Oaken strings and deathly drums usher in For All Kings, the latest album from thrash-metal trailblazers Anthrax. Reverential in tone and almost orchestral, the brief intro "Impaled" is suggestive of a ceremonial procession – something along the lines of a royal funeral or the lead-up to a very public and bloody execution.

Hardly a solemn occasion, For All Kings is not at all a pretender to the mighty throne that was Anthrax's storming blitzkrieg of a comeback album in 2011's Worship Music. Instead it raises the bar and then some, with immaculate and visceral production intensifying and articulating perfectly the combination of increasingly dynamic, well-crafted songwriting, raging energy and taut, tactical precision that has Anthrax flying high at the moment.

Leaked early, the stirring anthem "Breathing Lightning," probably the most radio-friendly song Anthrax has ever recorded, is a bracing and glorious pop-metal spectacle with an unforgettable, yearning chorus powerfully expressed by Joey Belladonna, whose singing on this record is remarkably melodic, charismatic and forceful. And while thrash-metal's old guard might wring their hands over its obvious commercial appeal, just as they did with Metallica's Black Album, this is not a betrayal of their uncompromising principles or their raucous past. It's still Anthrax at the wheel, driving as aggressively as ever, although now they're speeding away in a sleeker, shinier vehicle and the insurance is paid up – i.e., this is Anthrax showing its maturity, even if their anger still tends to spill over from time to time in socio-political commentary that hits especially hard.

In typical fashion, however, Scott Ian and company thrash to their hearts' content in compelling fashion on "You Gotta Believe," stopping only to survey its smoldering ruins of dark melody before violently beating the song into a coma, as drummer Charlie Benante unleashes a mind-boggling array of beats throughout. Even faster and more frenzied, "Zero Tolerance" is a furious blaze, ranting against racism with old-school venom – some of the rough edges sanded off with modern sonic sensibilities.

And if that's not enough, the vicious bluster of a heart-pounding "Evil Twin" and the seismic pounding of "Monster At The End" – a massive earthquake of a track, where the rumblings of bassist Frank Bello causes the ground underneath mighty guitar riffs to crack wide open – serve notice that Anthrax still packs a devastating punch. More ominous and heavy, "Blood Eagle Wings" broods like a hulking monster hiding from villagers wielding torches and pitchforks and plotting his vengeance, while tough, bruising grinds "Defend Avenge" and "All Of Them Thieves" pummel, even as the latter picks up sweeping momentum.

That Anthrax remains this vital and continues churning out material this bold and exciting is truly awe-inspiring, resulting in eye-opening chart performances that are well-deserved. One day, maybe time will soften them. This is not that day.
– Peter Lindblad

Rock 'n Pop Music Memorabilia Auction Highlights


By Patrick Prince - Editor of Goldmine Magazine

In April, Backstage Auctions presents its annual Rock & Pop Auction packed with many irresistible items for collectors. Make sure you mark your calendar for April 23 to May 1, 2016.

Backstage Auctions owner Jacques van Gool was on hand to explain to Goldmine the significance of this upcoming music auction.

GOLDMINE: Tell us about the highlights of the Rock & Pop auction.
JACQUES VAN GOOL: The auction as a whole is one big, glorious fest of collectibles! We are still processing collections but in the end I anticipate that we will have in the vicinity of 1,000 auction lots. As an auctioneer it’s always hard to point at your favorite child. There are obvious highlights, such as the Beatles’ album-used Vox organ or Johnny Cash’s album-used recorder. At the same time, one might find Paul Stanley’s stage-worn boots or an interview cassette with Glenn Frey the highlight of the auction. For me, I just look at the event in its entirety, and what I see is a spectacular celebration of Rock & Pop memorabilia.

GM: Many of our readers will be interested right away in The Beatles collection in this auction. Please detail it for us.
JVG: Indeed, it is a remarkable collection, coming from the estate of a former Florida-based DJ. Safe to say that this individual had a legitimate man-crush on The Beatles, as the collection alone consists of nearly 1,000 individual pieces, ranging from massive amounts of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and current-day merchandise all the way to an impressive collection of 1960s memorabilia, vinyl and reels. Among the eye-poppers are a Beatles turntable, rare Vee-Jay records, a Butcher cover and a fantastic collection of Bag One artwork, including two original portfolios, five John Lennon signed lithographs, 1970 exhibition programs and many other official prints. 

John Lennon Bag One



GM: You mentioned that a Johnny Cash recorder.
JVG: That’s a good one, too! In the late 1960s, Johnny Cash bought an Ampex MM-1000 recorder for the recording of several of his albums. In the mid-1970s, Johnny then sold the recorder to the SmithLee Recording Studio in St. Louis, who subsequently sold it to a Kansas-based recording studio owner. It’s been in Kansas ever since. Not only does this 2-inch recorder (the “Rolls-Royce” of its time) come with the original paperwork from Johnny Cash, but the Kansas studio owner wrote Johnny and received a letter back confirming that, indeed, this was the recorder he used for a number of his own albums. Not only are working 2-inch recorders hard to find for those who want or need one, but to potentially own one with this level of music history is an exceptional opportunity. Heads-up though; this is a 700-pound behemoth, so proper space and reinforced floorboards are required.

Rare Pressing of David Bowie's "Heroes" Album 
GM: You also have Bowie memorabilia up for auction. Does a rock star’s death make memorabilia more sought after? Is that merely a mainstream assumption? Or does it depend?
JVG: Good question and I think it’s a little bit of everything you mentioned. Sure, there’s always the immediate wave of demand and with Bowie that was no exception. But in general, it’s just a small spike on the longevity chart of an artist’s overall degree of collectability. Bowie was already collectible and will remain collectible long after his death. The prices are a little higher now than usual and with time, let’s say a year or so from now, it’ll swing back to where it was. And yes, we do have some cool Bowie collectibles. The one piece that deserves upfront mention is that we have literally the only one existing multi-color vinyl pressing of “Heroes”, coming directly from the L.A.-based pressing plant that was commissioned by RCA Records at the time. 
KISS Paul Stanley Used Boots

GM: Is there a favorite lot that you are personally excited about?
JVG: Oh man, where do I begin? Maybe I stay close to home. It’s no secret that KISS was the band that made me a collector back in 1975, so I’ve always been partial to KISS collectibles. We’ve got some great stuff this time around, including record awards, vintage 1970s shirts, passes and cards, autographed items and so on. There’s even the original light board controller used to light up the massive KISS logo on the 1979 Dynasty tour. But of all pieces, it has to be the pair of Paul Stanley tour used boots. There’s just something magical about these crazy platform boots.

GM: Anything else you’d like to add about this upcoming auction? 
JVG: Yes, there are a couple things I would like to add. One is an amazing collection of Bruce Springsteen memorabilia that includes signed items, rare promotional material, vinyl, concert CDs, record awards, jackets, you name it. There is even of rare college magazine from the 1960s that published Bruce’s first poems. Bruce Springsteen collectors will be thrilled and impressed with the depth and width of everything.

Another fantastic collection features original Fillmore East negatives, mostly from the late 1960s. There are all the usual suspects, but I’m partial to the set of “The Wind in the Willows” negatives from 1967, featuring none other than Deborah Harry.

And speaking of 1967, remember the band The One Percent? Probably not, but it eventually morphed into Lynyrd Skynyrd and we will feature the original management contract for this band containing the signatures of the likes of Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington ... and their parents! None of the band members was old enough to enter into a legal contract, hence all the parents’ signatures.

Fleetwood Mac Fully Signed Set List
We have a fantastic collection of original interview cassettes that comes from the private collection of a Japanese journalist who interviewed American and British rock stars for a host of Japanese magazines. These are intimate recordings with the very first lineup of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and an hour-long discussion at the Aspen home of Glenn Frey — great stuff.

I can go on and on. There are hundreds of fantastic concert shirts, tour itineraries, backstage passes and tickets, collectible vinyl, Alice Cooper-used stage and album props, more autographed items than one could hang on a wall and an equal number of impressive record awards. There are posters, promotional jackets, and just about everything else. 

This is hands down one of the most comprehensive Rock & Pop auctions we have ever done and we couldn’t be more proud. Come to our site when the auction preview goes live and feast your eyes on all this amazing music memorabilia and history.

A PREVIEW of the Rock & Pop Auction will be live on April 16, until its official opening. 

The auction will be open for bidding from April 23 to May 1. For more information, or to bid, visit:  www.backstageauctions.com. 

 — Patrick Prince - Editor / Goldmine Magazine 

Reposted from Goldmine with permission. All Images are property of Backstage Auctions. 

Kings of concert posters: Frank Kozik

First in a series on rock artists who shook up the modern-rock underground
By Peter Lindblad

Frank Kozik Unsane
Guzzard 1995 Concert
Poster The Whiskey
Hollywood S/N
Often shockingly bloody and unapologetically violent, the grisly album art for New York City noise-rock merchants Unsane was never for the faint of heart.

Seeing two cuddly bears, one carrying a bucket of PCP, on a concert poster promoting the band's 1995 show at the Whiskey in Hollywood with openers Guzzard and Lowercase in what looks like an otherwise innocent scene from an illustrated children's book certainly subverts expectations. Artist Frank Kozik is notorious for doing that.

Born in Spain and raised during the reign of fascist dictator Franco, before his family settled in California, Kozik has parlayed his delightfully twisted world view, fearless cultural commentary and incredibly bold use of color and clashing textural elements into worldwide fame. His works are highly sought-after by collectors.

Until Kozik arrived on the scene, the art of making concert posters had, for all intents and purposes, gone the way of the dodo bird. Many believe it was Kozik – his Unsane poster one of hundreds he's made over the years – who was responsible for bringing it back from the dead. (To view a selection of his works available for purchase, visit http://stores.ebay.com/Rock-On-Collectibles/Frank-Kozik-Posters-/_i.html?_fsub=3340820&_sid=70220124&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322)

Zeni Geva Original
Concert Poster by
Frank Kozik S/N
In his zeal to spread the word about the early '80s underground punk scene in Austin, Texas, where he was stationed while in the Air Force, the self-taught Kozik's first forays into the world of rock art involved making black-and-white fliers for friends' bands and splashing them all over telephone poles. Soon, people began taking notice of his provocative, in-your-face designs and unique treatment of , noting how the oddly compelling imagery made subtle and not-so-subtle cultural statements.

Eventually, Kozik moved on to developing the vivid and almost surreal silkscreen concert posters that gained him world-wide fame, creating artwork for the likes of Green Day, The White Stripes, Neil Young and Nirvana and lesser-known acts such as Hammerhead and others, and then going on to direct various music videos, including Soundgarden's "Pretty Noose."

Hammerhead Liquor Bike
1996 Original Concert Poster
by Frank Kozik X/N
After moving to San Francisco in 1993, Kozik established his own record label, Man's Ruin Records. Most of the posters and album art he produced back then were hand silkscreened and numbered at his studio. More than 200 singles and full-length albums were designed and released by Kozik – among them a Sex Pistols record and the first Queens of the Stone Age single.

In 2001, he shuttered Man's Ruin and moved on to other artistic pursuits, including throwing himself into the exploding art toy movement. He has designed more than 500 different limited-edition figures. Living in San Francisco today, Kozik also designs products and campaigns for a wide range of major companies. But, it's his wildly imaginative concert poster artwork – with pieces ranging in price from as little as $12 all the way up to $500 and beyond – that are his crowning achievements.

Here are some examples of his best work:

Groove Merchant 1997 Original
Silkscreen Gig Poster by
Frank Kozik 9737 S/N


Frank Kozik Man's Ruin Records
The Hammer of the Gods 1996
Concert Poster S/N




Butthole Surfers Pigface Bad Livers
1991 Original Concert Poster
by Frank Kozik 

Smashing Pumpkins Garbage 1996
Original Concert Poster by
Frank Kozik S/N

Soundgarden 1996 Mesa, Arizona Gig Poster
by Frank Kozik 9654 S/N

CD Review: American Head Charge – Tango Umbrella

CD Review: American Head Charge – Tango Umbrella
Napalm Records
All Access Rating: A-

American Head Charge - Tango
Umbrella 2016
War of Art came out in 2001, generating widespread critical acclaim and establishing a beachhead for the industrial-metal juggernaut American Head Charge in a nu-metal scene just starting to unravel. Then, it all began to fall apart.

Substance abuse and vicious infighting, often actually spilling out on to the stage, stopped their dysfunctional advance dead in its tracks, however, as did the death of guitarist Bryan Ottoson. Resurrected in 2013, the Minneapolis collective toured extensively and put out an EP titled Shoot, before readying the incendiary and cinematic Tango Umbrella, due for release via Napalm Records.

A diverse, tumultuous and ominous set of screaming, elaborately conceived tracks that traffic in the raging, disciplined riffs and unsettling electronic malignancy of Ministry and the mind-blowing array of innovative vocal treatments of Faith No More, Tango Umbrella also swims in the moody, progressive currents of Tool on the expansive and menacing "Sacred" and the surging "Down and Depraved," before spiraling downward into the dark, watery vortex of "Antidote." Adrenaline shoots through the veins of a rampaging "I Will Have My Day," setting a furious, breathtaking pace, while the burbling bass and slashing guitars of a thrilling, anxiety-ridden "Prolific Catastrophe" build compelling drama and the action-packed "Suffer Elegantly" goes 100 miles per hour, until downshifting into slower, heavier grooves, like those that grip "Perfectionist."

What American Head Charge has done here with album No. 4 is engineered, if not a miraculous recovery, then at least a stunning reversal of fortune. It's been a rocky road to get to this point. Hopefully, all their troubles are behind them.
– Peter Lindblad