Let's Talk About Ugly Things: Wild Sounds from Past Dimensions

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Hard to believe there isn't a thread dedicated to Mike Stax's labor of garage/psych/folk/etc. love. Some great writers have made their way thru UT's doors over the years – Ritchie Unterberger, Johan Kugelberg and a host of others.

For my part, few music publications capture the unbridled enthusiasm of an era like UT. Having read this on and off for the better part of a decade-and-a-half, I find that every time I pick an issue up I discover some new band or album or insight into a band or album.

I wondered how good it would be in today's YouTube/streaming-heavy world, but I was pleased to see it's just as good as ever (notwithstanding the fact that I think Johan Kugelberg has moved on). As a result, even as I shudder at the thought of having more crap in my house, I just bought a ninth of recent back issues on blow-out for $2.99 apiece. It's just too much fun to read.

What says ILM about our friends at UT?

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 03:02 (two years ago) Permalink

i'm a fan. i find that i don't read it cover to cover like i used to. though i did read that ENTIRE epic Misunderstood history. it's my fave genre zine in the states. and has been for years. plus, mike published my thing on chubby checker years ago and i'll always be grateful for that. i wanted it to go to a good home.

scott seward, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 03:07 (two years ago) Permalink

If you're hip to their scene then it is head and shoulders the best music magazine in existence. The detail, the knowledge, the exhausting completeness of what they do. Don't even usually give a shit if I have heard of the bands because they way they write makes i EVERY band's story. Love the huge amounts of reviews - of reissues, comps, books, zines and so on.

Bought every issue for over 10 years.

everything, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 04:55 (two years ago) Permalink

Scott, do you know what issue the Chubby Checker piece is in?

everything, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 04:56 (two years ago) Permalink

Great that they're doing pdfs of back issues now. Finally got to replace the Crime issue I lost in 96.
Yeah been reading the mag for quite a while and mainly loving it.
There has been some excellent stuff in there.
The aforementioned Misunderstood multiple parter including before and after. A Johnny Echols interview in #33 that is pretty necessary. A David Biassotti piece on Pat Kilroy/The New Age.
Enjoying the Cyril Jordan memoirs too.
But yeah good magazine in a class of its own with not much I dislike about it. Does tend to leave me with a list of must buy material.
I think only Flashback! approaches its quality. Hope both of them stay as good. Think both have new issues due by Xmas.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 08:09 (two years ago) Permalink

I have only one issue - the same one with the Misunderstood cover story, though I bought it more for the feature on the late-period Yardbirds (by Will Shade IIRC), an in-depth, well-researched look at the undeservedly neglected Jimmy Page era loaded with info I haven't seen anywhere else. I've rarely come across the mag before or since, but the one issue I have bodes very well for seeking many more.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51sJIlrXGmL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Lee626, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 10:39 (two years ago) Permalink

MIsunderstood was told over about 4 issues from people's earliest bands to the bands that came out of the main line up. There's also a memoir by the singer that was put out by a book wing of Ugly Things. I thought it very intereting though it has more to do with his being a monk in India after draft dodging thatn the history of the band. There is still some band history that isn't really anywhere else but th ebulk of th ebook is after he left the band.

The UT books on Pretty Things, Outsiders and Q65 have been pretty good too.
& they have a cd branch now too. Put out a Misunderstood cd about 10 years ago followed by some related Inland Empire material by The Bush and The Light & probably others since. The philip Lebarge Pretty Things material may have been out on a UT label cd too.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 11:54 (two years ago) Permalink

Won't lie: I'm fascinated to know how UT will approach the Kim Fowley news. He's a hugely important figure threaded across so many acts in that scene. They had a tribute to him in the latest issue I haven't read yet but I'm pretty certain it came out after the Runaways story broke.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 12:12 (two years ago) Permalink

Massively got into them a few years back when I stumbled across some used issues at Amoeba, and currently have a complete print run from 19 through the present. Agreed with all the superlatives -- it's a striking force on all fronts. The Misunderstood epic is definitely gong to be the legacy piece, I suspect.

I'll be interested to see if there's going to be anything in the upcoming issue about the further Kim Fowley revelations in recent months. The extensive interview with him some years back was a great read but obviously burnished his own myth and rep -- which can be said to be the point but even so, especially given Jackie Fuchs's story.

The Craig Smith story in #36 has been my recent favorite in terms of an acid casualty story with real pathos. But the Clingers story in #39 was truly a marvelous deep dive into a time and place -- talk about being so close to the brass ring but unable to get over the entrenched sexism of the time.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 12:15 (two years ago) Permalink

Native Teen Idol and I cross posted there -- yes, the tribute was published before the Fuchs story ran.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 12:16 (two years ago) Permalink

Craig Smith is the longer work that MIke Stax is currently working on I think. Trying to get a book out on the Maitreya Kali story. So unless he has it done I think it's still being worked on.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 12:44 (two years ago) Permalink

I just grabbed a bunch of those cheap back issues. It's always a good day when this magazine shows up in the mail.

Brad C., Tuesday, 20 October 2015 12:58 (two years ago) Permalink

Massively got into them a few years back when I stumbled across some used issues at Amoeba, and currently have a complete print run from 19 through the present. Agreed with all the superlatives -- it's a striking force on all fronts. The Misunderstood epic is definitely gong to be the legacy piece, I suspect.

I'll be interested to see if there's going to be anything in the upcoming issue about the further Kim Fowley revelations in recent months. The extensive interview with him some years back was a great read but obviously burnished his own myth and rep -- which can be said to be the point but even so, especially given Jackie Fuchs's story.

The Craig Smith story in #36 has been my recent favorite in terms of an acid casualty story with real pathos. But the Clingers story in #39 was truly a marvelous deep dive into a time and place -- talk about being so close to the brass ring but unable to get over the entrenched sexism of the time.

Another Fowley act IIRC.

Personally, I think Stax has to address it. As you mention, UT's feature, intentionally or not, burnished Fowley's rep. But he's prominently mentioned at least a half dozen times an issue, in features, reviews, etc. Hes just a huge, huge figure in that scene.

Beyond him tho, the whole 60s garage and psych scene was just littered with incidents that would be deemed "sexual misconduct" today – from rape (Fowley) to statutory rape/severely underage sex (Roy Harper, paving the way for the likes of Ted Nugent and Steven Tyler becoming legal guardians for their girlfriends in the 70s) to child molestation (John Philips) to whole albums dedicated to the fetishization of underage girls (West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band). And while perhaps some of the stories can be accounted for with social norms of the times, the vast majority of it was almost certainly a product of guys who took advantage of those norms changing to do things that have always been very, very wrong. You could write a helluva book about it. Hell, Stax probably should.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 23:49 (two years ago) Permalink

All that said, I am still completely in love with the era this magazine unearths for me in every issue. There are so few times today where I can just shut my life out and disappear for a few hours to do anything I care about – but I'll do it to read a UT feature about a band probably 12 people have heard of. It's that good.

Other than the Misunderstood and Fowley pieces, what are some people's favorite features? I've always wished they did a Curt Boettcher/Millennium piece, which I don't think they have.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 23:57 (two years ago) Permalink

THe Crime cover which i was looking for a copy of for years, David biassotti piece on pat Kilroy/New Age, Johny Ecchols interview, thing on The Seeds, Purple hearts (aus), Screamers. There's been a lot of really great stuff in there and not much I actively disliked and even that only lasted a couple of editions.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 21 October 2015 09:49 (two years ago) Permalink

THere werealso things like articles on Milton Brown and Shirley collins that made me investigate them much further than I had previoulsy. Not sure fi i would have picked up the Proper box set won Milton and his Musical brownies without having read that, or known of its existence.

Also been petty good on unsung regional punk related bands who've done weird stuff. Possibly need to go through my stack to think what was outstanding but yeah there's great stuff in most issues.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 21 October 2015 10:27 (two years ago) Permalink

Worth noting that the reviews sometimes are as interesting as the features.

Not long ago they did a great review/ interview two-fer for a recent Tandyn Almer collection issued by Sundazed. The guy was such a mysterious figure in the 60s/early-70s LA scene – co-writing stuff with Brian Wilson, writing "Along Comes Mary." It was only a page or two but the interview w the woman who wrote the liner notes to the reissue was really illuminating (she'd befriended him a year or two before he died). CD is pretty good as well.

Here's a Spotify playlist of records I find on UT:

https://open.spotify.com/user/124420673/playlist/1I2MCGPdoYmsvtXu38Y6QK

Another great piece I read recently there was a piece called "50 Reasons to Not Hate the Synthesizer," which was this brilliant list of important synth releases that spanned from Joe Byrd's arrangement for Phil Ochs' "The Crucifixion" on Pleasures of the Harbour in the 60s to the late 70s. As played out as the list can be in this day and age, it was just a stunning mix of things I knew about but never heard, a few things I knew, and a shit ton of stuff I'd never had the foggiest idea of. Almost all of it was super compelling – and since so much of it was obscure as shit, I put a YouTube playlist of it together:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2qtUh9Qr2Vf7tqGOhDpHBtpsu4K6pFCC

Naive Teen Idol, Friday, 23 October 2015 12:28 (two years ago) Permalink

They covered he Millinium back when Begin was (re) issued for the first time iirc. Got that issue somewhere.

everything, Friday, 23 October 2015 16:27 (two years ago) Permalink

Really? I thought that was first issued in 1990.

They did do a pretty sizable review of the Magic Time set back in the early 2000s. But I never saw a feature. Would love to read that.

Naive Teen Idol, Friday, 23 October 2015 17:20 (two years ago) Permalink

This was when the three disc Millenium/ballroom thing came out and I bought it based on what I read in UT. One of my most played discs to this day. However I just had a look and cannot find said article. Maybe I imagined this but I remember a Sandy Salsbury interview and a track-by-track review but perhaps I'm just totally confused in my dotage and thinking of the sleevenotes. Basically if UT has never done KB and the Millenium then that is a serious problem.

everything, Saturday, 24 October 2015 00:44 (two years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Details on the new issue, shipping in about a week:

http://webstore.ugly-things.com/ugly-things-40-p354.php

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 7 November 2015 04:47 (two years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

And new issue arrived. Big news: they are switching to three issues a year starting next year! Works for me.

Didn't immediately see anything re: Fowley and the summer's news, but I've only just skimmed it.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 21 November 2015 20:01 (two years ago) Permalink

Also, per an earlier post:

Craig Smith is the longer work that MIke Stax is currently working on I think. Trying to get a book out on the Maitreya Kali story. So unless he has it done I think it's still being worked on.

He mentions in this issue's introduction that he's about finished with the manuscript and it will be published by Process Books in about a year's time.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 21 November 2015 23:49 (two years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

THere's a new edition shipping in a couple of weeks. They're going 3 times a year from this next issue April, August and December apparently.

http://webstore.ugly-things.com/ugly-things-41-p369.php

Stevolende, Saturday, 26 March 2016 19:52 (two years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Another new edition should be shipping in a couple of weeks
http://webstore.ugly-things.com/ugly-things-42-p372.php

got the Yardbirds -an in terviw with Paul Samwell Smith, (also a detail from a Fillmore poster for them is used as a central design feature on the cover), The Weirdoes L.A. punkers, THe Wig whose Crackin Up is really great.

So, they're saying shipping mid August. Mike Stax said a week and a bit ago that they'd gone off to be printed.
Looking forward to this.

Now 3x per year.

Stevolende, Saturday, 6 August 2016 09:25 (two years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

New edition is supposed to be arriving at Mike Stax's this afternoon presumably California time
So should be shipping shortly

Stevolende, Tuesday, 23 August 2016 16:49 (two years ago) Permalink

Can't wait!

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 23 August 2016 16:51 (two years ago) Permalink

Just got the email invoice for this having shipped.

Stevolende, Friday, 26 August 2016 20:22 (two years ago) Permalink

Copy just landed. So they may be in whatever shops around the globe.
Also picked up Psych Trail Mix issue #10 cos they had it on sale in the webstore and it has various Elevators related stuff in

Stevolende, Friday, 2 September 2016 12:28 (two years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

New edition just went to the printers.
Has Crime, Bent Wind among others.

Stevolende, Monday, 21 November 2016 08:19 (one year ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

Got it today.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 20 December 2016 05:13 (one year ago) Permalink

Hoping it gets to Rough Trade over Xmas. Think I just missed it at the start of this year.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 20 December 2016 07:49 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

New one due , currently at printers.
http://webstore.ugly-things.com/ugly-things-44-p381.php

Just refound the previous edition after losing it into the pile beside the bed before absolutely finishing it so was wondering if there was one due. Then saw it announced on Facebook.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 21 March 2017 21:21 (one year ago) Permalink

Always convenient.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 21 March 2017 21:23 (one year ago) Permalink

Great. I've been wanting them to cover Jan & Dean!

everything, Tuesday, 21 March 2017 21:40 (one year ago) Permalink

five months pass...

New edition arrived yesterday. Got a big thing on Dutch bands Outsiders and Q65, pt2 of the Uniques story, thing on the Doctors of madness.
plus loads of reviews.

No Cyril Jordan this edition cos he's been busy elsewhere.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 21:04 (one year ago) Permalink

Definitely looking forward to that Doctors of Madness story -- my copy arrived the other day, haven't had the time!

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 21:21 (one year ago) Permalink

six months pass...

missed story on there being another one imminent. Notice circulated on 7th March

The new UGLY THINGS Magazine is in the hands of the printer, which means it will be shipping out in early April. Pre-order your copy now so you can be sure to get the scoop on the Lollipop Shoppe, the Weeds, Fred Cole, the Betterdays, the Bougalieu, the Little Bits, Stiv Bators, the Shamrocks, the Yardbirds, the Rising Storm, Terminal Mind, the Snakes, Wolfgang Dios, Pat Priest of The Munsters, Lutz Lüül Graf-Ulbrich, Nico, Charlie Dreyer, Chuck Girard and much more. Dig the cover art by Anja Stax.

& at least one in between. One with Equals on the cover at Xmas time.

Stevolende, Sunday, 18 March 2018 16:57 (six months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

New Ugly Things due at the end of the month.
off to the printers now apparently.
Mike Stax is bewailing the effects of the Canadian paper tariff on production costs. So may be a bit more expensive.

Stevolende, Thursday, 5 July 2018 20:03 (two months ago) Permalink

Hmm, don't think my subscription cost any more this time around (in that they charge per issue, and that happened the other day).

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 5 July 2018 20:15 (two months ago) Permalink

Well hope it don't go up now.

Stevolende, Thursday, 5 July 2018 20:17 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah still on the webstore as that, so hope it ain'ty different with the next one.
He was just announcing it on FB or maybe commenting on a Guardian story about the Canadian paper tariff, possibly a combination of the 2.

Stevolende, Thursday, 5 July 2018 20:20 (two months ago) Permalink


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