Happy Halloween. Hell haunts his own damned self in Gucci from neck to ankle on a full page of GQ this month (the November "Men of the Year" issue). Frightening? Weird, anyway. More substantially, Richard's finally, after a year of negotiations, signed a contract with glitzy art book publisher powerHouse Books (as per their website), for a full scale--200-300 page--version of Hot & Cold, his "miscellany" collection of poems, lyrics, essays, drawings, photos, journals, etc. It will come out in 2001. (A cool 32 pp. "preview" edition of the book was published by Vehicle Editions in 1998.)
[posted October 31, 2000]
The September issue of GQ (!?) (Brendan Fraser cover) has a page by Hell (p. 178 to be exact) called "Muscle Car Bliss" describing driving back roads in his '60s car. You can read it in a minute at the drugstore, but if you want to, do it soon because it's already been out a few weeks. Also just published is a new installment of his novel-in-progress about young NY poets; it's in The World #56/57 (published by the Poetry Project) and we'll be getting some copies to offer from the site. There's a friendly new online article about Hell too [oops, now missing [9/3/01]--dumb: the web's practically free, people should leave stuff up], by Adam Gnade for his column "Down at the Rock 'n' Roll Club," in the web version of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
[posted September 17, 2000]
Richard & the (original) Voidoids (l. to r.: Hell, Ivan Julian, Marc Bell, Robert Quine) have finished mixing their first new recording in 23 years. It's a freshly-written song called "Oh" by Hell, featuring beautifully twisted and twisting solos by both Ivan and Bob. MusicBlitz.com commissioned Richard to record the song for free MP3 download [but--update 9/3/01--MusicBlitz is no longer offering any free downloads but only peddling the song on the CD Beyond Cyberpunk compiled by Wayne Kramer]. Richard did not intend to gather the Blank Generation band to play it, but it fell together that way by fortune... (There's a recent--May, 2000--and excellent interview with Quine up at an Australian music site called I-94 Bar.) Hell says, "The content of the song, with its chorus 'The sun is breaking through the clouds/The sky is like the face of God' will no doubt horrify some, though the song actually sounds about as sad and hopeless as anything I've ever written. I have to laugh. What the hell. As God said to me just the other day--keep 'em guessing." Don't worry, he hasn't got religion. And I think the cut's as good or better than anything Hell's done in music. It's incredible. They should do a whole new album.
Alan Betrock died on April 9th at the age of 49, less than two months after being diagnosed with cancer. Richard writes about him: "Man, I was really sorry to hear about Alan Betrock. Let's see, that makes Johnny Thunders, Lester Bangs, Cookie Mueller, Anya Phillips, Barbara Triani...who else? I can't remember (Mercifully, as they say.) When people die, of course, it's the people left alive who have the problem! The dead ones don't know. Alan wasn't a close friend, but I really admired and liked him and appreciated how good he'd always been to me. He was really friendly and helpful in the treatment he gave us when he started New York Rocker in 1976, and then brought out the Neon Boys/new Voidoids stuff (incl. the original "Time") single on Shake in 1980, and then produced Destiny Street in 1982. The thing that really set Alan apart though among the people in music that I've had professional relationships with is that for him it was always a labor of love (not money nor ambition). I think the best way to remember Alan is to check his head: 'Bikinis & Lingerie: a Pictorial Guide to Pin-Up Magazines, 1949-1959; Hitsville: The One Hundred Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Magazines; Sleazy Business: A Pictorial History of Exploitation Tabloids; Girl Groups: The Story of a Sound; The I Was a Teenage Juvenile Delinquent Rock'n'Roll Horror Beach Party Movie Book: A Complete Guide to the Teen Exploitation Film, 1954-1969; and Jayne Mansfield Vs. Mamie Van Doren: Battle of the Blondes...' Those are all books he wrote (and usually published himself on Shake). The man had class." We also have posted at the Forum Jay Schwartz's great last letter to Betrock as well as Ann Powers's NY Times obituary.
[posted May 25, 2000]
At 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, March 30th Richard will be online for a live chat hosted by music365.com, a large British music site (the hour there will be 4:00 Greenwich Mean Time). (Chat transcript now there. The site also has up a new interview with Hell.--No, not, actually--this big website now [9/3/01] defunct. But this time we thought to download and save the pages, both interview and web chat)
[posted March 23/April 3, 2000]
Richard will be in California in mid-April and will give two readings, one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco. He'll read with the piercing novelist/poet Richard Grossman (check his website) in Venice (L.A.) at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., at 7:30 P.M. on Friday, April 14th. The phone there is (310) 822-3006, and admission is $7.00. In S.F. he'll be appearing solo at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St., at 8:30 on Tuesday the 18th. The admission there will be $5.00 and their phone is (415) 647-2888. [April: Now read eyewitness Forum reports on these readings.]
[posted March 13, 2000]
         
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