Category Archives: Nirvana

Art & Authoritarianism + Influential & Ignored

Last year before the election, Philip Kennicott, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Art and Architecture Critic, imagined with clever wit, what would happen to the Arts in America if Mr. Trump became President. His scenarios were fantasy, but the context for Kennicott’s creativity was built on facts: In a gallery in Chelsea, New York, a crudely made sculpture of the new president sitting on a toilet, using the Constitution as tissue paper is ignored by collectors and critics, but amusing passersby. A church group is outraged, the President comments, “It’s disgraceful, they take your tax dollars to make this filth.” Agitated vandals are prompted to spray-paint graffiti on the gallery’s windows. Only they get the neighborhood right, but the address wrong. Many in the art world are amused, but it worries others. We are barely two weeks into the new Presidency and Kennicott’s question,“What would happen to the arts if this country turned to authoritarian leadership?” is more chilling than ever. Philip Kennicott even manages to add a swipe at climate-change deniers in his perceptive commentary for the Washington Post. Next on Life Elsewhere, a repeat of an important discussion on the fallout from the Trump administration.

The second part of the program was prompted by Norman B’s recent visit to KEXP radio in Seattle.“I was explaining to the station manager how in 1984, I had an earlier version of Life Elsewhere on KCMU (now KEXPradio. A teenage listener would call my show regularly, he’d say, “Can you play that Folk Devils record again? That young music fan went onto form his own band and a decade later he was a worldwide sensation, but tragically committed suicide soon after.”  The reference to the Nirvana frontman and one of his major influences had come up in an interview with musician Nick Clift, who has lovingly put together a tribute to his sadly departed friend and bandmate Ian Lowery, who fronted both Folk Devils and Ski Patrol. Influential and ignored is a fitting description for both UK bands. Clift believed the legacy of Lowery and his band Folk Devils deserved to be remembered and perhaps rediscovered. To that end, he has released a stellar compilation, Folk Devils: Beautiful Monsters (Singles & Demo Recordings 1984 – 1986)Nick Clift resurrected the Folk Devils recordings and tracked down the original tapes, which had spent 30 years languishing in the home of the band’s former manager. With expert help, he re-mastered the recordings to capture the ragged fury and adrenalized energy that uniquely characterized the Folk Devils. In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, you’ll hear tracks from the recent compilation and Norman B’s conversation with Nick Clift.

Life Elsewhere airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on Internet Radio Network
You can hear all the volumes of Life Elsewhere Music over at Mixcloud

Next On Life Elsewhere

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Next on Life Elsewhere, a special feature on one of the most influential bands to emerge from the late 70’s music scene in London. A band Nirvana and  Soundgarden, amongst many others, cite as a major inspiration for their forays into rock ‘n’ roll. Those two Seattle bands, who emerged out of the Seattle’s “Grunge” scene, were regular listeners to Norman B’s early incarnations of Life Elsewhere, where he was the first DJ in America to play the formidable and extraordinary music of…Killing Joke.

Killing Joke, John Peel Sessions, 1979In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, we talk with Frank Jenkinson who in 1979, happened to be living in the same ramshackle house as Killing Joke and their original management team, in the then bedraggled area of Notting Hill Gate, London. “These were early days and I happened to have a camera.” Recounts Jenkinson“Things were kicking off for the band and I was there at all the early gigs, including the legendary John Peel Radio Show Sessions.” The photos Frank took, graphically document a moment in time, now long gone and shrouded in mystery. His extraordinary photographs lay dormant in a dusty box, under his stairs, until he recently noticed on Facebook, Killing Joke‘s ever-increasing and devoted following. Recently, Jenkinson self-published his unique photo-book, documenting a special period in 1979, and, if the response to this book is encouraging, he plans to publish a much larger volume of his historical pictures.

Frank Jenkinson will join the next edition of Life Elsewhere to talk about his historical photographs, the early days of Killing Joke and what life was like in London, circa 1979. To round out our focus on Killing Joke, we look to the future of music, as envisioned by Martin Youth Glover, with highlights from Norman B’s 2013 in-depth interview with Killing Joke‘s bass player.

The Killing Joke photographs are from the BBC John Peel Sessions, October, 17, 1979, by permission of Frank Jenkinson

Life Elsewhere airs:
Sundays at 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays at 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays at 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio


A Remarkable Voice – Carrie Akre

“It’s a bit different to the other stuff you’ve sent over.” Said the legendary and influential British DJ John Peel, during a telephone call to Norman B, circa 1990. Norman had been sending John boxes of records for a few years by that time. Most notably, was a package he shipped over to London, that included, Mudhoney,TadGreen River and Nirvana. Peel raved on about those releases, playing them often on his nightly BBC radio show. This caused the ever-alert British music press, always on the look out for the next flavor of the month to wax lyrically about the music scene in Seattle. The rest of that story, Norman promises, “I’ll include in my tell-all biography, which I hope to finish sometime in the next year or so.”

John Peel  continued, “It’s a bit different and I like that,” adding, “She has a remarkable voice, what’s her name again?”  Carrie Akre replied  Norman B. The band was Hammerbox, who put out some fine releases, but in retrospect, it could be reasonable to deduce that Hammerbox, despite their deliberately hard name, did not quite fit into the grunge identity. Mostly because of Carrie Akre‘s (as John Peel said), remarkable voice. While she could rock out with the best of ’em, her voice was perhaps too haunting and melodic? She went on to form Goodness and again released excellent records from the middle to late 90’s. Since Goodness disbanded in 1998, she has contributed vocals to the project band The Rockfords (which included Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready on guitar), and released three solo albums. Currently Carrie Akre is Crowdfunding to record new music.

On the next edition of Life Elsewhere, Norman B will sit down with Carrie to talk about, her career, the ups and downs of the music business and how a musician goes about raising money to record new material.

Make sure you don’t miss Life Elsewhere, Sunday, May 10, 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3 and Monday, May 11, 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio