KOMINTERN (SUITE) by Komintern

by admin  8th Jul 2021 Comments [0]

Ugly Things gives the floor to the band, who expressed the wish to complete and clarify the information provided in Issue #56


For Olivier Zdrzalik, Michel Muzac and Pascal Chassin, the adventure starts in summer 1969, when Olivier and Michel—who are cousins, used to play guitar together and to go on holiday together—decide to leave for Ibiza and Formentera (Balearic Islands, Spain), one of the European authentic hippy underground destinations. But the day of the sea crossing the boat serves only Menorca and Mallorca, where they meet Pascal in a party: as he is playing guitar alone Michel starts spontaneously jamming on harmonica with him. They will meet again totally by chance a first time in Ibiza where Pascal went separately and, back to Paris, a second time in a record store. It is how all three become friends and start rehearsing together with their three guitars.

For Francis Lemonnier (saxophone) and Serge Catalano (drums) another adventure had started in May 1968, when their newly formed band Red Noise, with the guitarist Patrick Vian, used to play its music within the well known Parisian university “La Sorbonne”, which was occupied by striking students, as factories will be occupied later by striking workers. Revolt rumbled and Red Noise stirred up passions with the violence of its music: the sound and the fury!

Red Noise split in spring 1970 because of political and musical disagreements. Patrick believes that music is revolutionary in itself and is a sufficient means of expression, as opposed to Francis and Serge who believe that words and lyrics are essential to expose the feelings and the political thoughts of this troubled period. So, in May 1970, both find themselves looking emergency for musicians, having a tour sheduled soon as support act for the English band East Of Eden, very popular in France at that time.

They meet Olivier, Michel and Pascal following an ad, in their rehearsal space that they call “the blockhaus” because of the incredible acoustic reverberation of the place. After a furious jam, (which will become later one of the tracks of the Komintern’s album: “Petite Musique pour un Blockhaus”) the formation of the band is decided and thereafter Olivier, who has an excellent rhythmic sense, will play bass guitar.

As it’s not possible to keep the name Red Noise, Francis and Serge choose the name Komintern with Philippe Constantin, artistic director of the record company Pathé- Marconi that promotes East Of Eden in France, with whom they maintain friendly relations.

After only a few rehearsals, and with only its long jam and some variations, Komintern starts performing on May 25, 1970, on the big stages of the “Maisons de la Culture” (kind of theaters dedicated to cultural events) in big cities, and first in Paris… suicidal and heroic tour during which they receive mixed reactions from the audience.

Relations are sometimes strained and there are heated discussions between Serge and Francis on one side, and Olivier, Pascal and Michel on the other because, if all three had also shared the ideals of May 1968 and had been moved by the speech explosion, the revolutionary creativity and the anarchist and festive aspect of the events, and if they are politicized, they however don’t adhere to the sectarian and dogmatic aspects of the radical “classic” leftists, Trotskyists or Maoists. They are more interested in California counterculture and in UK psych-rock music (Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson…), as well as in environmental concerns and emerging ecology (mainly in US). As for Serge, he is very involved in political militancy and close to the Communist League, and Francis largely shares his ideas at that time.


Turn Off Your Mind and float deep into the occult sixties: an interview with writer Gary Lachman

by admin  23rd Mar 2021 Comments [0]

By David Holzer

LONG AVAILABLE ONLY in rare, overpriced second-hand copies, Gary Lachman’s essential Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius (2001) is in print again in the USA, with 100 extra pages of material, as Turn Off Your Mind: The Dedalus Book of the 1960s (2021), just in time for its twentieth anniversary.

From Jimmy Page and David Bowie to lesser-known figures like Graham Bond and American band Coven, to pick a couple at random, plenty of sixties and seventies rock &rollers were fascinated by the occult. But I can think of only one who has abandoned rock & roll for a career writing about the secret arts and major figures in its history.

Formerly known as Gary Valentine, Lachman became famous as Blondie’s bass player. He also co-wrote their debut single “X Offender” with Debbie Harry and, by himself, UK top 10 hit “(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear.” The latter was inspired by “paranormal experiences” Lachman was having with his girlfriend.

Lachman first acted on his curiosity about the occult when, as a 19-year-old, he borrowed Alistair Crowley’s Moonchild and Colin Wilson’s The Occult from band co-founder Chris Stein.

By the time Blondie set off on a major tour in 1977, Lachman’s fascination had blossomed. In New York Rocker, his 2006 account of his rock and roll years, Lachman tells the story of a porter at JFK asking him if he’s got bricks in his tour bag. By then, Lachman writes, “My magic studies had become quite serious and my bag was filled with books on tarot, kabbalah, astral projecting and the Golden Dawn.”


Tina: New HBO documentary and a 1975 interview

by admin  17th Mar 2021 Comments [0]

By Harvey Kubernik


SINGER/PERFORMER and author Tina Turner will be the subject of an HBO documentary from the filmmakers who were behind the acclaimed Searching for Sugar Man and Whitney. It’s directed by TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay, and produced by Simon and Jonathan Chinn’s Lightbox. The feature-length film Tina debuts March 27, 2021. Turner’s documentary coincides with her nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2021. Tina is already an inductee as part of Ike & Tina Turner.

Left: Tina Turner at the Whisky A Go Go. April 27, 1970. (Photo: Kurt Ingham)

According to the HBO press release, “This unvarnished, dynamic account features insightful interviews with Turner herself, conducted in her hometown of Zurich, Switzerland, and with those closest to her. It also features a wealth of never-before-seen footage, audio tapes and personal photos, telling a deep and absorbing story about the queen of rock ‘n’ roll in all its complexity.

“In addition to archival footage spanning 60 years, the documentary includes interviews with Angela Bassett; Oprah Winfrey; journalist Kurt Loder who co-authored I, Tina, which inspired the feature film; playwright Katori Hall, who scribed Tina – The Tina Turner Musical; and husband and former record executive Erwin Bach, among many others. The documentary draws to an emotional conclusion with Tina Turner taking a bow at the opening night of the Broadway musical about her life.”

On her official website, Turner displayed a statement about Tina: “It’s really important to me to have the chance to share my full story. This musical is not about my stardom. It is about the journey I took to get there. Each night I want audiences to take away from the theatre that you can turn poison into medicine.”