Thursday, October 19, 2006

Music: Jump back, Jack.

I don't throw around the phrase "Renaissance man" lightly. I think it has been abused to the point of semantic uselessness. Unless I'm discussing a European male of great and varied accomplishments and who lived between 14th and 16th century, I try to avoid the term. However, polymath and scare-rock icon Screaming Lord Sutch really tests the limits of my resolve not to slap on the RM-label.

Famous for his horror-themed rock shows in 1960s, Lord Sutch (born David Edward Sutch – he legally changed his named to "Screaming Lord Sutch" in the 1960s) is also the author of a quirky autobiography - Life as Sutch - and a founding member of the Monster Raving Loony Party, the party of choice for the UK's surreal voter.

Screaming Lord Sutch killed himself in 1999, ending a career that was, if not always successful in the traditional sense, always colorful and, somehow, even kinda inspiring. Below you can see an early video for Screaming Lord Sutch's most famous tune: "Jack the Ripper."

Note: "Scopitone" refers to an old jukebox that actually showed "videos" as well as played music. The blog address flashed in this video is a clearing house for Scopitone info and works from the first age of music video. It is worth checking out.

As a Thursday bonus, here's a few seconds of a more deliciously unhinged live performance of "Jack the Ripper." Watch the audience reaction.

And a little something extra, for the loyal "And Now" fans (fan? anybody?) who have read this far. Below is a clip of the White Stripes performing a short bit of Sutch's signature tune.


SpaceJack said...

That is one odd rock&roll personality for that time period. (Or at least it seems to me, not having gone to any 1960s rock shows.) The girls' reactions sure are funny compared to today's mega-concerts by the likes of Marylin Manson et al.

I was thinking just the other day that there should be a modern revival of live theatre - in the horror genre. Since we can do pretty much anything on film with CGI, I think a good live performance with clever effects could once again make you go "whoa! how'd they do that??" and creep you the hell out.

CRwM said...

In a hip enough town, I think a Grand Guignol revival theater could do serious business. Perhaps not NYC, as the cost of simply renting a nice theater could put such an enterprise out of business. But somewhere.

Thanks for making the trip over my side venture. I appreciate it.

SpaceJack said...

I also have to thank you for that Scopitone link. Those videos are both hilarious and fascinating at the same time. I think I've played that Mighty Mississippi one about 3 times in a row now.

cattleworks said...

It was interesting watching these videos.
You're much more knowledgeable about rock bands than I am, so it's sort of fascinating being exposed to some of these acts.
But, sort of related to the Grand Guignol thing... here in Buffalo, they actually have a lot of live theater. Studio Arena Theater is the regional theater here, and Shea's is where all the traveling shows come to perform. But on a slightly lower level, there is a wide variety of smaller professional theaters, sporting budgets of varying degrees. Curiously, for a supposed blue collar town, there is a scrappy artistic demographic here that has started all sorts of theaters, some that have lasted literally decades, some that have closed eventually, some that were one-shot deals. But, these various venues also try to fill specific voids in the fare offered in town; there's Irish; gay and lesbian themed; African-American; musicals; all-new works; children's theater; etc.
So i thought a place that did mostly horror related theater might be cool. If it had a specific venue, then I thought it could also have a tour behind the scenes, specifically for younger audiences to see how some of the scary stuff is achieved (to sort of make some of the scary stuff accessible to them). But it would be neat to see a season that perhaps did: a psychological thriller; horror melodrama; unhinged splatter; ghost stories; monster stories, etc.
I remember working on a production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, and during curtain call, the young woman who operated Audrey II (the big ass plant) came out of the shop set (in the plant) and gave a the front row of visiting Brownie scouts a good scare! Horror and live musical theater is a blast. Other good examples: THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW and SWEENEY TODD.
Sorry, I sort of rambled (shockingly unexpected!), but I think that Grand Guignol deal would be cool!
(Hey, have you seen MAD LOVE with Peter Lorre? Just released on DVD--the film plot offers such a theater and its fun to watch some of the details).