Dirk Dirksen, Dead At 69

The man responsible for many of the Avengers, Dead Kennedys, VKTMS, Negative Trend, etc. shows at San Francisco's Mabuhay Gardens and On Broadway passed away on Sunday.  From the SF Chronicle's Joel Selvin.

Dirk Dirksen, the godfather of San Francisco punk rock and the often abrasive ringmaster of the North Beach punk emporium Mabuhay Gardens, died unexpectedly in his sleep Monday night. He was 69.Mr. Dirksen presented acts such as the Dead Kennedys, Devo, the Ramones, Flipper, the Mutants, the Nuns, Black Flag, the Go-Go's and literally thousands more in the 10 years he operated the Broadway nightclub, fondly known as the Fab Mab.Mr. Dirksen, who called himself "the pope of punk," was known for peppering audiences and performers alike with abuse and insults."I'm sorry to see you're that easily pleased," he told the crowd at the end of one band's performance. "You should try and show some intelligence and sophistication and not just accept any slop that's thrown in your trough."He turned to the musicians, who were trying to stalk off the stage, thinking he was not going to let the band have an encore.
"I'll give you one," he said, "but only because the next group is an absolute pimple in the armpit of progress. Now everybody, please pay attention because it's time to play 'People Are Stupid.' "

"He was super obnoxious onstage," said Penelope Houston of the Avengers. "He would stand there with that little dog under his arm, being a target for whatever they wanted to throw. At the same time, he loved all those people. In a way, they were his family."

The dog's name was Dummy.

Mr. Dirksen once estimated that his nose had been broken seven times during his years as a nightclub impresario.

Among the highlights of the Mabuhay's annual calendar was always his birthday celebration, where each year he dreamed up a different mock torture for himself — flogging, beheading, etc. One year he had himself burned at the stake.

Strangely, There’s Little Demand For The 1986 Mike Love Action Figure

"What no giant indoor sandbox or canopy bed to lay in for a year?" writes Bedazzled's Spike Priggen. And while I must admit, this would be quite the Xmas gift for the collector skum or skumette in your life, I'll concur with Spike. The idea isn't quite fully realized.  Unless and until further dolls in the series are introduced (Murray Wilson with-removeable-eye, Dr. Landy with a couch) I'm sticking with something conceptually solid

Bombs Away On The Long Island Music Hall Of Fame

(with apologies to Ron House)

(Alec Baldwin and Billy Joel show their appreciation for the All-Star salute to Peppi Marchello)

Newsday's Rafer Guzman has the scoop on the inaugural induction ceremonies for the Long Island Music Hall of Fame this past weekend, in which Billy Joel, Joan Jett, Dee Snider and Perry Como were honored. 

Inside the 1,200-seat theater, guests and musicians alike crowded together to watch the night's first act, Mountain, featuring Leslie West on guitar, Corky Laing on drums and bassist Richie Scarlet. The trio kicked off with a version of its most famous song, "Mississippi Queen," then segued into the dark, bluesy "Nantucket Sleigh Ride." West ended the brief show with a Jimi Hendrix-style take on "The Star-Spangled Banner."

After being introduced by Alec Baldwin, final inductee Joel summed up the region in a speech that touched on everyone from Albert Einstein to Joey Buttafuoco, calling Long Island "a clash of cultures," and an "island of extremes."

While no disrepect to the above superstars is intended, there are some glaring omissions.  How about Chuck D. or Hank Shocklee?  Phantom Tollbooth?  Controlled Bleeding? The Nihilistics?  A lifetime achievment award for Lyle Hysen?

Seriously, perhaps someone other than Robert Haber should've been in charge.  

Not A Photograph

The Mission Of Burma documentary, 'Not A Photograph', showed yesterday at the ungodly hour of 4pm in merry London town as part of the Raindance Film Festival. So, Lucy, myself and our best-ever intern Alice (well, better than the last one) went to check out Burma on the big screen. Now, for me, music documentaries are generally tortuous – conveying what music means and how it is created must one the hardest things to do in cinema, and music docs mostly end up being increasingly self-important extended EPKs, which is boring for everyone. Burma don't do boring. Despite covering a pretty large timespan (and cultural shift), 'Not A Photograph' zips by. It covers Burma's origins and active years without mythmaking or romance (someone states, pretty matter-of-factly 'They were terrified of success'), and their early days still seem like the most exciting time to have been involved in US underground music. If you get the opportunity, seeing this in a cinema is a treat – all the archive footage on a large screen and loud soundsystem is totally worth it. Highlights:

  • Clint's wife explains that she had no idea that Roger was in a successful rock group. And has no idea who Nirvana were. Michael Azerad is horrified.
  • The New York show where Ira from Yo La Tengo, Richard Baluyut from Versus (Lucy was excited about that one) and Moby, from, um, Moby, all played guitar on one song.
  • The other New York show where Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo from Sonic Youth play guitar.
  • The Burma historian. That guy is animated.
  • Clint's niece: 'They're a little on the weird side'.
  • Roger refers to the band as 'legendary'. The rest of the band crack up.

All in all, I guess the documentary did it's job, cause when I got home I listened to 'Vs' and 'The Obliterati' back to back, and will probably do the same today. You can buy the DVD at www.notaphotograph.com. And you should.

Boston.com, Pitchforkmedia.com Boost Burma, Billions Burst

Mission of Burma

Despite our strange attempts at Variety-style alliteration, it has come to our attention that www.boston.com – the online version of the Boston Globe – is running a nice big page about the 2006 Boston Music Awards, 2006:


We here at Matador Records are proud to note that Mission of Burma is nominated for awards in the following categories:

Album of the Year (Indie)
Male Vocalist of the Year – Clint Conley

A full list of nominees is here:


We heartily encourage Mission of Burma fans to – in the words of former Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley – “vote early, vote often.” Of course, only one vote per email address is allowed, but if you’re living in the modern world like the rest of us (or at least me), you’ve probably got 5 or 6 addresses (and no, we don’t think they’re cross-checking email addresses with www.mlb.com‘s All-Star ballots).

The Boston Music Awards are curated by NEMO, which you can learn about here: http://www.nemoboston.com/index.php?PID=38. NEMO is “dedicated to giving back to the musical community of New England,” but there’s nothing I can find on the site detailing when the Nashua Music Awards will be held. So maybe next time, Granite-Staters. Live Free Or Die, dudes.

Additionally, boston.com is running a photo gallery that asks the burning question: Who is the most influential punk band ever?


Burma’s listed first along a list of pretty heavy hitters, such as the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, and, uh, the Clash.

And last but not least: West Coasters, get ready to rock on the following dates…

Friday, Sept. 15 – Seattle, WA – CROCODILE CAFE
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Portland, OR – DOUG FIR*
Sunday, Sept. 17 – Eugene, OR – WOW HALL*
Tuesday, Sept. 19 – Sacramento, CA – HARLOW’S*
Wednesday, Sept. 20 – San Francisco, CA – GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL*
Friday, Sept. 22 – Los Angeles, CA – TROUBADOUR*
Saturday, Sept. 23 – San Diego, CA – BRICK BY BRICK*

*with 50 FOOT WAVE

As earlier noted, West Coast show attendees can get some cool posters by sending their ticket stubs to Matador. Do it to it, folks.

OH AND BEFORE I FORGET (really, my short-term memory is terrible lately), Burma’s own Roger Miller will be sharing his thoughts (and hopefully his haberdashery tips) with the world via tour diary form through those loveable rapscallions at www.pitchforkmedia.com starting this very Friday! Why, by jove, that’s the same day the West Coast tour starts! Funny how that works, innit?

Chain Gang Unleashes a Teaser!? We Want Our Mondo Manhattan!

25 years in the making El Chain gives us a glimpse of the genius moves to come with a trailer for Mondo Manhattan! The backstory to the cult behind Son of Sam! Murders! Torture! Dr. Mabuse!

Ricky, I sent in my 5 bucks for that VHS 18 years ago! I guess with inflation and compounded interest, that’ll still be good for the more expensive and expanded DVD format when it is eventually released!

Wishing Ourselves A Happy Anniversary

This week is the 10th anniversary of the commencement of Matador Records Limited. Ten years of fine music unleashed on unsuspecting Europeans (although they were of course getting it before the UK company was set up).

Just think back – one of the first releases for the newly set up company was Cat Power’s “What Would The Community Think”. The UK was very slow to pick up Cat Power. We struggled to ship over 200 copies. We struggled to get interviews from all those fine UK music    publications (RIP mostly). But the only way was up. Cat Power may not yet have conquered the UK totally but she has a large loving audience here now.

Our French friends were much more on the ball in 1996. They knew what they had. Chan was soon on the cover of France’s premier music magazine Les Inrockuptibles playing big sister to Fiona Apple. She immediately became Matador’s most successful artist in France – no mean feat against Exile in Guyville’s previous success there.

There have been so many great records and so many great moments in the last ten years. Most of those moments have been just shit hot live shows. Thrilling shows from Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo, Sleater Kinney, Matmos and too many others. It is unfair to mention any specifically as I would be leaving so many out. However I can’t resist reminising about a few magical nights like…

– the Garage show by Yo La Tengo around the time of I Can Hear The Heart Beating that was so uplifting it was like a beautiful drug experience
– a Guided By Voices show at the height of summer at the Garage, again, that brought new meaning to the word sauna but was genius (Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell line up)
– a moment of epiphany as GBV played “Motor Away” at Kings College (the Chavez guys going apeshit down the front)
– those joyous Superchunk London shows
– M. Ward at the Hammersmith Lyric – a night of perfection
– Interpol slaying Brixton Academy two nights in a row (actually the wired, fast set played at the ICA has to be my favorite)
– Burma being Burma at the Garage and ICA
– Cat Power (those special magical nights like Cafe de la Dance in Paris, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Union Chapel, Barbican in London)
– highs and lows of Pizzicato Five at the Roskilde Festival
– first time seeing Guitar Wolf play London probably at the Dublin Castle if memory serves me right.
– Arsonists do their thing on stage
– Zeitgiest riding with Fantsma and the first UK show by Cornelius and Solex at the tiny Eve Club with the speaker threatening to crush half the audience
– the Cornelius show at the Royal Festival Hall…… and so on

The music and people are so intertwined – such as drinking endless coffees with and listening to Monoman prior to a stunning Lyres show at the Dirty Water Club. Visiting Peel Acres with Solex, Cat Power and Wisdom Of Harry and the hospitality, wine and conversation post broadcasts. Being able to give Interpol their justly deserved gold and silver discs. None of us having a heart attack during or after three days and 15 bands playing the tenth anniversary in London.

I honour those who have served their time and now have been released into the community Rob, Shane, Helen, Sarah, Alan, Janis.

Thanks to Lucy and Rauiri, everybody on Matador NYC, to our friends at Beggars all over the world but most thanks Gerard, Chris and Patrick.

We hope to be staging a celebratory screening soon of the Almodovar film “Matador” in London to mark the decades passing. Those in the know know why.

Bring it on.

If You’ve Ever Wanted to Cry in a Dark Room, This Movie’s for You

Certainly not to take anything away from the very excellent Not a Photograph:The Mission of Burma Story that I was pleased to see this past Saturday evening at the Walter Reade Theater as part of the “Play It Loud: Rock Docs ’06” festival (btw the second – and last – screening is this Thursday at 9:15 PM – don’t miss it!), but You’re Gonna Miss Me, the documentary on former 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson, is just about the most harrowing thing I’ve seen since, well, the Mavs’ NBA Finals meltdown. No, seriously, this movie is one of the most emotionally riveting things I’ve ever seen, and I was glued to my seat. The tale of Roky’s return from the near dead, thanks to his very weird but talented younger brother Sumner Erickson has to be seen to be believed.

New York viewers will be sad to note that tonight’s showing is the last one in the festival, but I’m sure it’ll be screening again sometime very soon. Additionally, those of you not living in the film capital of these United States should be sure to visit the news page on the You’re Gonna Miss Me web site for updated screening information.

Real Estate, Pt. I

Until the day Chez Danzig goes on the market, you might wanna consider the above property : a Woodland Hills, CA abode that hosted the recording of Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band’s ‘Trout Mask Replica’.

Opportunity Knocks! Coca Cola House Original Girard cabin on 3 separate buildable lots, Charming cottage with wood floors and magical views f rom every window. Private and secluded nestled among the trees, own your own hide out. Separate lot features mostly finished 2 story office/ studio, $849,000.00

(link swiped from Postive Ape Index via Boing Boing.net)