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The most perfect '80s Halloween band: Bauhaus

And, finally, just in time for Halloween...

Referred to as the first Gothic rock band, the UK's Bauhaus was a master at creating eerie, dark, and disturbing songs.  I first learned about this band while I was at art school in the mid '80s, when a classmate played for me Bauhaus' signature song Bela Lugosi's Dead.  However, that song was released in 1979 and is therefore ineligible for this list.

So, I'll go with the song She's In Parties, which was a dance club favorite back in the day.  Oooo, we used to dance so scary to it!  The song is from what was their last studio album, Burning from the Inside, before they broke up in 1983.

After the break-up, former members, Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins, went on to form Tones On Tail and then Love and Rockets with former Bauhaus member David J.  Lead singer Peter Murphy went solo.  Each of these acts, two of which I have previously profiled, had been more commercially successful than the original band.  But it was Bauhaus that started it all.  They were a major influence on many musical acts to follow, including Nine Inch Nails, Sisters of Mercy, Bjork and many others. …

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Lost and found: The Cult's 'Wild Flower'

It's hard to think of a band that straddled the line of alternative and hard rock more than The Cult.  Early songs like She Sells Sanctuary are stone cold alternative classics, but in 1987, The Cult embraced their hard side with the aptly named album Electric that features the sweet smelling rocker Wild Flower.

The Cult has had many different lineups but the constants are vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy. Much of the success of the Electric album is credited towards Rick Rubin's production efforts in making a hard rock album that is very danceable.

Reports indicate The Cult is back in the studio working towards a 2014 album release.

 

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Video: Watch a real-life enactment of 'Back to the Future'

A real-life version of Back to the Future played out for our amusement? Whoa, Doc. That's heavy. If it were up to me, I'd spend the rest of my life staging these.

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Wanna see something scary? List of best horror movies since 1980's The Shining

Ever sit down to write out a list of the best horror movies of all time? How about if you just picked movies after 1980's The Shining? Tough job, but the Vulture blog set out to accomplish that task for this Halloween week. Their results? Mixed. (For starters, I never considered Blue Velvet a horror movie.)

Here are the '80s selections made by Vulture (along with a quote from each entry). Click here to see the full list and find out which movies came out on top. (BTW, here's my list of the best horror movies of the '80s.) …

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Is Peter Murphy the most underrated '80s Halloween goth rocker?

The face and voice of the original Gothic rock band Bauhaus (Yes, I will get to them!), Peter Murphy, produced some pretty impressive solo work in the 80s.  Like Tones On Tail and Love and Rockets, he also proved to have more commercial success than his original band, but he still didn't chart in the states in the '80s.  His highest charting success in the U.S. came in 1990 with his single Cuts You Up (No. 55 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Modern Rock charts).  But that was the '90s.

Today's song is this British Goth rocker's first single release as a solo act.  Released in 1985, Final Solution is a cover of a song by the American experimental rock group Pere Ubu.  The video features dancers mimicking some of Peter's onstage moves, along with several shots of Peter hanging upside-down, something he liked to do often.  Ooo, how Gothic!

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John Belushi bio-pic in works with Emile Hirsch in title role

Remember the outcry at the portrayal of the late John Belushi in John Woodward's book (later a movie) Wired? You don't? Well, it was a LONG time ago. Long enough that Hollywood has forgotten and is ready to start over with a new bio-pic starring Emile Hirsch as the hard-living comedic actor.

E! says director Steve Conrad will be in charge of turning a book written by Belushi's widow, Judith Belushi Pisano, into something watchable. The first tough part: Making us believe that 28-year-old Hirsch looks anything like Belushi. (Plaid shirts aside, Belushi was 33 when he died in March 1982, but he looked 53.)

Hirsch has the acting chops to pull it off. His performances in Into The Wild and Milk were notable. And I doubt people can remember back to 1989 when Michael Chiklis played Belushi in the adaptation of Woodward's biography.

Still to be cast in the new bio-pic: the roles of Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Might I suggest ... Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd? Aw, just kidding. I'm sure they'll find a couple 20-something slackers to ruin those roles.

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Joan Jett ready to try big-screen films again with 'Undateable John'

Joan Jett is set to make her first big return to movie theaters since ... well, I guess since 1987's Light of Day. Just goes to show you what happens when you co-star in the one BAD movie with Michael J. Fox in the '80s.

Jett is co-starring and executive producing the dark indie comedy Undateable John. According to Deadline.com, our favorite Blackheart will play a Venice Beach surf punk musician who befiends a couple of misfits at an AA meeting. Sounds cute enough. The rest of the cast is impressive. Look for appearances by Daryl Hannah, Tom Arnold, Margaret Cho, Meredith Baxter and Shannen Doherty.

Undateable John is still shooting so no release date is available. But Jett's music fans can rejoice: She will be supplying the soundtrack.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating how poor Light of Day was, it still has a 5.2 ranking on IMDB.com and a 58 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critic Roger Ebert still loved it and credited Jett with giving a "surprisingly good performance."

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Go back to 'Rock School' with that other heavy-metal Aussie act

In the ‘80s, the grudge match between school football players vs. the world was popular fodder for movies highlighted by Ogre & and the rest of the jocks in 1985’s Revenge of The Nerds. While Revenge of the Nerds relied on pranks as a means of warfare, leave it to the Aussie heavy metal band Heaven to escalate the fight in their 1983 video for Rock School.

Formed in 1980, Heaven hoped to duplicate the success of fellow countrymen AC/DC but chart and long term success eluded their grasp. However, their reputation lives on in Rock School, a song that features the background vocal contributions of Ronnie James Dio and Lita Ford. The video is rowdy with the band attacking the football team and taking over the school until the principal shows who is the big man on campus – and I mean real big.

Heaven was still touring as of 2012, even though they haven’t released an album since 1985.

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Never Found in the '80s: Tones On Tail

Daniel Ash, while performing as the guitarist for the legendary British Gothic rock band Bauhaus (I'll get to them soon!), had been dabbling on a musical side project with art school friend, Glenn Campling, in 1982.   After the break-up of the Gothic godfathers in 1983, Ash and Campling expanded their project by bringing in former Bauhaus drummer Kevin Haskins. The result was Tones On Tail.

Taking some of Bauhaus' attitude and Gothic sense, Tones On Tail were able to add a more dance club friendly sound.  Just try to keep from tapping your foot while listening to Go!  This tune  (released in 1984) was a club favorite that managed to show up in an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 and in a TV commercial for the Ford Mercury Mariner in 2008.  Despite being more commercially successful in the States than Bauhaus, Tones On Tail never found their way onto the American Pop Charts. 

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Video: Star Wars blooper reel released ... the circle is now complete

The long-lost Star Wars blooper reel finally hit the Internet. The sound you hear is a million voices cried out in celebration and were suddenly silenced. Yeah, it's pretty disappointing. (And not just because half the clips have no sound.)

Anyway ... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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Never Found in the '80s: Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

October continues and so does my series on Never Found artists who fit the Halloween theme.

Today it's Red Lorry Yellow Lorry's turn to be found by the SIT80s Nation.  Although the band might disagree, their driving guitars, big bass, pulsating drums (they used both a drummer and drum machine) and band leader Chris Reed's deep and guttural vocals got them categorized as a Goth band.

Spinning Round is thought to be this critically acclaimed band's best song and it certainly is my favorite.  I was disappointed when they didn't play it when I saw them in concert way back in April 1986.  Why in my day, this song never failed to get me spinning ‘round the dance floor at First Avenue in Minneapolis.

Originally formed in 1981 in Leeds, England, The Lorries (as their fans called them) did well on the UK Indie charts and even recorded for the legendary John Peel.  The band broke up in 1991, but was reformed by Chris Reed in 2004.  They released four new songs available through their website and, in 2005; they released a live DVD called Thunder in the Black Cave.

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As this forgotten hit shows, You Can't Stop Twisted Sister

"If it ain't metal, it's crap!" is Dee Snider's signature signoff on his syndicated radio program "House of Hair." While I wouldn't go as far as Snider, it's good to start the week off with some forgotten Twisted Sister because we all know, You Can't Stop Rock N Roll.

In 1983, one year before Twisted Sister caught fire with We're Not Gonna Talk It, the Long Island band landed on MTV, but not the charts, with You Can't Stop Rock N Roll.  The video shows that Twisted Sister has always had a sense of humor and offers an occasional glimpse of the band without their signature glam makeup.

Twisted Sister still plays the occasional gig but Snider keeps a high profile with his radio show, acting and reality show appearances. http://www.deesnider.com/

 

 

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Lou Reed dies at age 71

Lou Reed died today. He was 71, but might as well been 171 for all the influence he had on the music I loved. The cause of death hasn't been released, but Rolling Stone reports he recently had a liver transplant.

He had two brilliant albums in the '80s (Blue Mask and New York) and one a little too commercial probably even for Lou (1984's New Sensations). But it was his work with The Velvet Underground that fueled the passion of every music fan I knew during that decade. Every band worth its salt could cover any tune from VU's 1967 debut album. (My band, Epic Trash, played two: Heroin and Femme Fatal, and our first "tape" was titled All Tomorrow's Parties. I still have a copy of the tape ... and the VU disc about three feet from me.)

Read Rolling Stone's obit if you want more professional thoughts on Lou and his music. Or listen to the man's own words.

"All through this, I’ve always thought that if you thought of all of it as a book then you have the Great American Novel, every record as a chapter," Lou toldthe magazine in 1987. "They’re all in chronological order. You take the whole thing, stack it and listen to it in order, there’s my Great American Novel."

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Can the 'Endless Love' remake be worse than the '80s original?

They're remaking Endless Love?!? Hollywood. Seriously. What gives? Is there a writer's strike we hadn't heard about? The 1981 film, which nobody claims to have seen (and yet we all know the words to the theme song by heart) featured Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt as star-crossed lovers, much to dismay of their families.

Hell yeah, it sounded familiar. Shakespeare did it earlier, and better.

And now, arriving in theaters on Valentine's Day 2014, Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer will reprise the roles and storylines in a movie that will probably only be seen by 17-year-old girls and their inappropriately aged boyfriends.

If Daft Punk does the remake of the theme song, I'm cashing out of the nostalgia business entirely. …

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