Tommy James was one of the many stars in Issue#2 of TEENAGE NEWS. Here is an excerpt from his tell all interview. For the full story buy TEENAGE NEWS#2.
Tommy James accidentally invented a whole world of bubblegum pop when he sold over 110 million records. Under contract with a crazy record label, Roulette Records, Tommy escaped the grasps of the Mafia while staying true to music and himself. He started with his hit single “Hanky Panky” and his band of Shondells. Now, Tommy James is an author and there is a major motion picture coming out on his life. Pay attention world.
Jaill’s new album “Brain Cream” is out now on Burger Records. Vinnie Kircher writes, sings and plays guitar in Jaill. Before “Brain Cream” Jaill released three albums; two were released on Sub Pop Records. TEENAGE NEWS has interviewed Vinnie before, and he is featured in Issue#2.
This article originally appeared in Issue#2 of TEENAGE NEWS. It is written by Madeline Bocaro and can also be found on her blog.
The transitional period between decades is always highly charged with the excitement of things to come, and nostalgia for an era coming to an end. The 1970’s had their final burst of energy with Punk rock, but by 1979, the New Wave was already upon us. Simmering beneath the deliberate crudeness, realism and rage of Punk was a brightly coloured, cosmetic, futuristic fantasy world. The movement’s forerunners were fans of British Glam rock, especially of David Bowie, and had an ironic affection for the danceability of Disco, hoping to replace it with a more whimsical, eccentric and sardonic genre. It was time for some fun. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was back in town!
Cherry Vanilla added a bright red flare to Punk. She produced highly original music that stood up against and pushed Punk’s connotations. Cherry Vanilla’s two albums are more punk in concept than sound, and carefully tie together Garage, Pop, Rock, and Honky Tonk. Her Punk pounds punch after punch into all authoritative and mass produced bull shit. Rufus Wainwright called Cherry Vanilla “a state of mind,” but that is too limiting. Cherry Vanilla is everywhere and her overwhelming contributions are channeled everyday by Tastemakers and Scenesters. Against her control, she was the “The First Lady of Punk,” but so be it: She was First and She is the Best.
Cherry Vanilla’s history is long and star-studded. Her perseverance proves she can’t quit, and that something greater than her is compelling her to create much more than pieces of merchandise. Cherry made her entrance in the art world as a performance artist in various “Off-Broadway” plays in New York City. Her biggest and most culturally bending theatrical venture was starring in Andy Warhol’s only play “Pork.” “Pork” was based on recorded conversations and gossip about socialite life between Brigid Berlinn and Warhol himself. Cherry Vanilla played Amanda Pork (Brigid Berlinn), and proved she was destined for the stage. “Pork” was fundamental to the development of Glitter Rock, and had a huge impact on David Bowie’s career. So much so that he later told William S. Burroughs: “I want to get [Pork] on to TV. TV has eaten up everything else, and Warhol films are all that is left, which is fabulous. Pork could become the next I Love Lucy, the great American domestic comedy. It’s about how people really live, not like Lucy, who never touched dishwater. It’s about people living and hustling to survive. That’s what Pork is all about. A smashing of the spectacle.” But David Bowie wasn’t just impressed by “Pork’s” concept of alternative and trashy entertainment, he was impressed by Cherry’s genuine character and stage presence. After “Pork” and up until 1974 she was head of Public Relations and Marketing at MainMan LTD. MainMan was David Bowie’s management company and worked closely with David Bowie’s RCA label mates. Cherry was natural at PR, realizing that both lies and truths can stir up friendly excitement that ultimately boosts record sales. Worth noting is when Cherry was a teenager she worked at a Madison Avenue Advertisement Agency. She did commercials then, and she also did commercials (voice overs) for David Bowie. She had the skills to survive as a woman in the largely male dominated Entertainment Agency. Also in 1974, she released her first book Pop Tart Compositions. Pop Tart Compositions contained photographs, drawings and Cherry’s poetry. Issue#2 of TEENAGE NEWS reprinted an excerpt from Pop Tart Compositions for the first time since its original publishing. [Anyone have an extra copy of the original? Send us one!]
1974 was a big year for Cherry Vanilla. She made her debut as a singer and songwriter. Her performance art background gave her a stage presence that to this day is unmatched. Her first released song was the proto-punk “Shake Your Ashes” recorded by Cherry Vanilla & her Staten Island Band on the Max’s Kansas City album in 1976. Just like the Glitter and Glam elements in “Pork,” Cherry was once again first in the next trend, Punk.
BRASHcore and TEENAGE NEWS are taking it upon themselves to preserve Cherry’s legacy. In 2010 Cherry Vanilla released her tell all autobiography Lick Me. Lick Me shows Cherry Vanilla in yet another light, and begins with her childhood and ends before she signed with RCA UK in 1977. BRASHcore is doing a Three Part Series with the goal of documenting Cherry’s life after Lick Me.
This First Feature in the series elucidates on Cherry’s career in the Music Industry from 1977-1982.
Geza X is a powerhouse producer that has pushed the boundaries of genre. He’s produced legendary punk bands like the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and The Avengers. His 1981 solo album is a highly original statement, and shows off his pop and punk production skills.
Bobby Jameson is beyond TEENAGE NEWS. He is the melodic prophet that never was. His songs should have drastically changed American pop culture and introduced millions to an other. Bobby’s blog serves as his detailed autobiography.
In short: When he was 18 years old he released three singles for Talamo Records. The next year, 1964, he recorded with Mick Jagger, Andrew Loog Oldham, Kieth Richards and Jimmy Page in London. In 1965 he made his LP debut under the name “Chris Lucey.” “Songs Of Protest And Anti-Protest” is a highly original folk-art album that was released before Love et al. Next Bobby Jameson realeased his two anti-war power statements. The single is the most compelling anti-war song released in America. He then released a single on the Current label before pairing up with his old pal Frank Zappa on two singles. In 1967 Bobby Jameson created magic. His second full length album, “Color Him In,” is the most pure and progressive psychedelic album ever. It is poetry in both lyric and melody. “Working” was Bobby Jameson’s last LP (1969). It once again features Bobby’s introspective lyrics. During this time and after so MUCH MORE happened for Bobby Jameson. He continued to record and remained politically and socially active for many more year. My bio does his life no justice, READ HIS STORY
Silke Berlinn is TEENAGE NEWS. When she was 15 years old she hitchhiked to California and formed her first band. TEENAGE NEWS has featured Silke Berlinn in print and online. Now we are publishing our tell all interview with Silke.
“Nobody in the world knows this stuff. It certainly hasn’t been published. You have the scoop on this. This is fresh material, and you are breaking the news.
I was a musicans’ musician. All the people who were in the in knew who I was. I just was so fucked up, I never really grew up. I was 15 years old when I left home. No one tried to find me. My family really made no effort to find out where I was or what I was doing. I was from a rich family, but they certainly did not give me anything. No money or no help. I never asked. To this day what I have done I have done alone. It was a crazy life…”
Cherry Vanilla was the cover star in Issue#1 of TEENAGE NEWS. In Issue#2 we reprinted scans from Cherry’s first book Pop Tart. Here is an excerpt from Issue#1’s now out of print 15 page interview.
Rumi Missabu is a legend known around the San Francisco streets as a former member of the Cockettes, a glitter-clad, hippie, drag queen troupe. In the 21st century, he has gained notoriety for his various theater performances around the world. Now is a busy time for Rumi Missabu, he is organizing performances in New York City, rehearsing for his Pearls Over Shanghai production at the Hypnodrome, and starring in his very own documentary, Ruminations. At 65 years old, Rumi is certainly not slowing down.
This interview was conducted at Billy Bowers’ San Francisco apartment. Billy is best remembered for designing costumes for Alice Cooper, the Rolling Stones, the Cockettes, and countless others. Rumi Missabu’s dear friend welcomed TEENAGE NEWS for an enlightening conversation in his cozy apartment. Bowers’ walls were covered with his own, original designs: collages of glitter, vibrant feathers, leather bulges, as well as his famous, whimsically embroidered jackets. We discussed life for Missabu in the seventies, his everlasting love of performing, and the importance of valuing human connection along the way.