Josie Cotton’s B-Movie Guide “Girl In Gold Boots”

Josie Cotton may have stolen the prom scene in a cult-classic film (1983’s Valley Girl, singing new-wave hit “Johnny, Are You Queer?”), but she never committed such cinematic high-camp crimes as found in vintage b-movies. Each day this week, Cotton surveys one of her favorite films and offers a song from her latest album, Invasion Of The B-Girls. Read our Q&A with Cotton and her memoir about “Johnny, Are You Queer?”

goldbootsjosie356Girl In Gold Boots (1968)
This is undoubtedly one of the worst movies I have ever seen, in which insanely bad dancing hits an all-new low. Girl In Gold Boots is a kind of go-go morality play, a tribute to never letting a lack of talent get in the way of pursuing your dreams. Drink it in!

Michelle, a witless waitress/”dancer” escapes her drunken father/boss/short-order cook by peeling off to California with Buzz, her hoodlum manager. They are headed for his sister’s “groovy Hollywood nightclub.” What dreams await them on their road trip from hell? You guessed it: drugs, sleazy, greasy club managers, gangs, guns, an escape into prison and go-go dancing the likes of which you have never seen, where best-forgotten careers rise and fall in one bad bugaloo leap off the stage.

“I’m gonna be a dancer, Critter, and a good one!” Michelle tearfully tells her hitchhiking future love interest, as if she had considered being a bad dancer but had somehow decided to be a good one instead. Whew! Let’s not forget the famous scene in which the always packin’ Buzz seems to have been teleported, mid-conversation, into a diner booth with Michelle and Critter. “Where did that dude come from?” you might ask. Apparently, director Ted Mikels didn’t notice Buzz wasn’t previously in the scene, and that alone makes this movie worth seeing.

And yet … and yet … the theme song for Girl In Gold Boots, cheesy harmonica and all, lives in infamy. With memorable lines such as “Don’t you standin’ still, baby” [sic] and “Keep your gold boots movin’,” you can’t help but be drawn into the glittering world that John Waters so brilliantly described as “the hideous sorrow of low-rent go-go dancers.” People, it doesnt get skankier than this. We thank you, Nina Footwear, for footing the bill on this pony-prancing meltdown.

“Girl In Gold Boots” from Josie Cotton’s Invasion Of The B-Girls (download):

Lost Classics: Amphetamine Reptile Records

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.

chokebore545Like so many indie labels in the ’80s and ’90s, Minneapolis-based Amphetamine Reptile was started by a guy for the sole purpose of putting out his own band’s records. In this case, the guy was a Marine named Tom Hazelmyer, and the band was Halo Of Flies, an angry, in-your-face punk trio with a large chip on its shoulder. After three Halo singles (released in 1986 and 1987), Hazelmyer started issuing seven-inches—and, eventually, full-lengths—by similar-minded outfits such as the Thrown Ups, the God Bullies and the U-Men. By the early ’90s, AmRep was the premier label for all things aggressive, with a roster including hard-rocking stalwarts Helmet, Tar, Surgery, Boss Hog and Helios Creed. What Sub Pop had become for grunge, AmRep was for noise. (The word was even incorporated into the label’s logo.)

Like Sub Pop, AmRep excelled at generating as much—if not more—interest in the label itself as it did in the bands signed to it. There was the popular Dope-Guns-N-Fucking In The Streets seven-inch series, which featured new songs from AmRep groups alongside exclusive tracks from the likes of Mudhoney, Superchunk, the Jesus Lizard, Jawbox and the Boredoms. There were AmRep package tours (given names such as Ugly American Overkill and Clusterfuck), in which the label sent up to five of its bands out together, always with plenty of tour-only merchandise to sell. AmRep even had its own recording studio, manned by in-house engineer (and Halo Of Flies bassist) Tim “Mac” McLaughlin, where bands could record inexpensively.

The group that most personified Amphetamine Reptile was the Cows, a Minneapolis quartet that could make you laugh, cry, puke and crap your pants—all during one of its gloriously bizarre sets. (Suffice it to say, if you didn’t enjoy being kicked or having food—or worse—thrown at you by the band, you didn’t want to be in the front row at a Cows gig.) Led by Shannon Selberg—who, when not shrieking like a mental patient, added bugle and trombone to his group’s manic mix—the Cows released all but the first of their nine albums on AmRep. 1992’s Cunning Stunts was the band’s best LP, as it added some much-needed structure to the Cows’ unrelenting anti-pop noise.

AmRep eventually began releasing records by groups that didn’t fit into the noise genre, including Chokebore, Gaunt and Nashville Pussy. During each month in 1996, the label issued a new single by the Melvins (who had released the deliberately obtuse Prick on AmRep in 1994 under the moniker Snivlem) in editions of 800, then compiled all 12 on CD the next year. In 1999, AmRep put out its last record while functioning as a working label: a single by the Heroine Sheiks, Selberg’s post-Cows band. Since, Hazelmyer has done a handful of limited-edition seven-inches by Billy Childish, pre-Hold Steady outfit Lifter Puller and others. The most notable of them is a one-sided single of the Melvins covering Halo Of Flies’ “Spit It Out.” What makes it notable? The fact that the Melvins don’t actually appear on it; it’s simply Halo Of Flies playing one of its original songs. Which goes back to the reason why Hazelmyer started AmRep in the first place: to put out his own band’s records.

:: CHOKEBORE
Anything Near Waterz // Amphetamine Reptile, 1995

Chokebore (pictured) was the first AmRep band to sound absolutely nothing like an AmRep band, but nonetheless, this Los Angeles-via-Honolulu quartet was one of the label’s best. (After hearing Chokebore’s 1993 Motionless debut, Kurt Cobain asked the band to open for Nirvana on the In Utero tour.) Led by Troy Miller—whose melodic warble was equal parts yodel and yelp—Chokebore was far more minimalist than its labelmates, specializing in an exhilarating brand of post-punk. Sophomore effort Anything Near Water remains the band’s high point, a 15-track journey through a sexually charged bizarro world populated by dying birds, bleeding camels and scared little mice.

“Lemonade”:

TiVo Party Tonight: PJ Harvey & John Parish, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Cornell

tivopjEver wonder what will happen during the last five minutes of late-night TV talk shows? They let musicians onstage! Here are tonight’s notable performers:

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC): PJ Harvey & John Parish

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central): Bruce Springsteen

Last Call With Carson Daly (NBC): Chris Cornell

What’s 15 feet tall and on TV tonight? Polly Harvey, Bruce Springsteen and Chris Cornell. Ah, short-people jokes. Harvey and producer Parish have a new album, A Woman A Man Walked By, due March 30. The Springsteen Daily Show episode is a rerun from earlier in the month. We’ve picked on Chris Cornell a lot lately, and for good reason; we’ll just mention he’s on Carson tonight and tomorrow night, both as an interview guest and performer.

MP3 At 3PM: Exclusive Track From Cosmos (Robert Pollard And Richard Davies)

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We have a little secret for you, but you can’t tell anyone: MAGNET really likes Robert Pollard. You might even call us big fans, if that means compulsively collecting all of the 12,000 records the man has put out over the course of the last 22 years—on every format they were released on. (Yes, we own GBV cassettes.) Well, we also really dig Richard Davies, the former leader of the Moles and Cardinal, so when we heard that Pollard and Davies were releasing an album together under the moniker Cosmos, let’s just say we were freaking excited. The 14-track LP, due June 9, is titled Jar Of Jam Ton Of Bricks and features Pollard on lead vocals for eight of the songs and Davies for four. One of our favorite tracks on the album is “Nude Metropolis,” whose music was written by Davies and whose melody and lyrics were done by Pollard. The dynamic duo was kind enough to give us this exclusive mp3 of the song to pass along to you. Enjoy.

“Nude Metropolis” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/NudeMetropolis.mp3

The Over/Under: R.E.M.

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MAGNET’s friend Roob (you’d know him if you saw him) was a Yes man until he took a trip to Chronic Town in 1982. He’s left the city limits since then, but now he’s back to inform you of the five most overrated and five most underrated R.E.M. songs.

I was 23 years old when I first heard 1982’s Chronic Town bursting from my friend Linda’s speakers, and that seminal EP, which was essentially a template for the entire indie-rock movement, managed to turn me overnight from a proghead who spent his free time in a room lit only by a lava lap, listening to Tales From Topographic Oceans (on headphones) spinning on an old turntable into a diehard fan of cutting-edge guitar-pop music. I gave up on R.E.M. sometime in the mid-’90s, disgusted not only with the obvious decline in the band’s work but by the notion that somehow the stuff the group was still putting out was even better than everything from 1983’s Murmur up through 1987’s Document. As I revisited all of R.E.M.’s records for this piece, I tried to approach the newer stuff with an open mind. Maybe it’s not as dreadful as I thought. Maybe I dismissed everything after 1996’s New Adventures In Hi-Fi too quickly. Maybe R.E.M. really is still a great band, only different. Sadly, I was wrong. No group in history has ever plunged from such remarkable heights to such dismal depths. But, then again, R.E.M. was once the greatest band in the world. Anyway, here are the five most overrated and underrated tracks in R.E.M.’s 29-year history.

Continue reading “The Over/Under: R.E.M.”