PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Song Of The Week: Three Bodies

This week’s SOTW is “Three Bodies” by the band of the same name. The Bodies were one of the top bands on the radio version of Radio Free Charleston, and this song is the third from the batch of four songs that I co-produced with the band and Spencer Elliott back in the summer of 1990. I”m told that this song is based on something that really happened to lead singer, Kris Cormandy. The photo on the left is a publicity shot that I did for the band around the same time. I shot in black and white, and colorized it just a few minutes ago. From top to bottom you see Kris Cormandy, Brian Young, and Brian Lucas. This photo was shot in our state capitol building, back when you could take a camera in there without being gang-tackled by a half-dozen security guards.

I picked this song this week because the latest episode of the BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW video version of Radio Free Charleston is online, and features a vintage video of Three Bodies performing “Shingles and Tar.” That was already a song of the week back in March, so this time I’ll give you the band’s “theme song.”

Be sure to check out the latest RFC, which also features Eduardo Canelon, Pentagram Flowerbox, and The Alien Threat. Plus there’s goofy dancing. Go to the Gazz TV page and explore.

Radio Free Charleston Production Diary: Episode Three

The third episode of Radio Free Charleston is finished, and may be posted later this afternoon. This is a bit of a departure show for us. First of all, my host segments were shot against a green screen. I’ll tell you more about that later. We also feature our first music video by a local band, and the first chapter of “Pentagram Flowerbox,” a recurring cartoon by Third Mind Incarnation about Satan living in a trailer park.

We have a wonderful musical guest, Eduardo Canelon, who ran off to host a music camp before we had a chance to find out what the piece of music he performed was called. Evidently, this music camp is being held somewhere with no cell phone coverage. I’ll update you on Eduardo’s music as soon as he gets back. He’s the mastermind behind Latin Music WV and we’ll be telling you more about that in PopCult in the coming weeks. Eduardo is also the leader of Comparsa, an eight-piece Latin band that will appear on a future episode of RFC. He treats us to a very cool, laid-back Spanish number, performed on the Radio Free Charleston studio fire escape.

Our other musical guest is Three Bodies–no mean feat, since they haven’t performed together in over fifteen years. “Shingles And Tar” is a vintage music video, which was hastily assembled in the summer of 1990, the day before it was due to be shown at a film festival. I got a call from Brian Young, and headed down to an editing bay at West Virginia State College with a handful of tapes of stock footage. We combined the stock footage with a short film Brian had made starring Kris Cormandy, the lead singer of Three Bodies, and wound up with a decent little music video. As the night wore on, and the deadline loomed, we slacked off and ended the video with what may be a world record for the most nuclear explosions ever used in a rock music video.

For reasons of copyright and ox-mistreatment, this video was re-edited last Friday. Brian hasn’t seen this version as I write this. Hope he’s not mad. Since we were dealing with fifteen-year-old videotape, and a short production window for RFC, there is one glitch in the show. At the very beginning of “Shingles And Tar”, the audio is a little warbly. You can find an MP3 of the song here, which is all clean and neat and warble-free.

We wrap up the show with a public service announcement of great importance.

After we finished the show, we noticed that an unintentional theme had emerged. The show seems to be a bit hot. Perhaps subconsciously influenced by the record heat we’ve had in the valley of late, this episode of Radio Free Charleston has a recurring flame motif. In fact, the heat is the reason we used a green screen, instead of shooting on location. We actually shot the host segments twice. The first time, we had audio problems that were insurmountable. This was actually a good thing, because I was experimenting with my “look” for the show, and the particular combination of facial hair and old fedora that I tried for the first shoot imbued me with a look not unlike that of a fat Jed Clampett.

So we rescheduled the host segments for two days later. When faced with the prospect then of shooting on a rooftop in 104 degree weather at two in the afternoon, my resistance to the idea of using the green screen melted away, and we absconded to the secret RFC studio. I prefer shooting on location, but I think the show looks all right this time. In many ways, this is our hottest show yet! We’ve got fiery Latin balladeering, a neighbor from Hell, lots of nuclear explosions, and an oppressive heat which we defiantly flip off by shooting in an air-conditioned studio. Watch for episode three of Radio Free Charleston later today at the Gazz TV page.

Monday Morning Edible Art

This week’s art is not a digitally-assaulted photograph, or a painting, or a sketch. It’s a cake. To be exact, it’s a two-layer sheet cake, with one orange layer and one lemon layer, chocolate icing on the sides, cherry icing in between, and vanilla on top, and a swirlly-tasty design! I made my own birthday cake, about 360 days ago. It looked interesting, but it tasted fantastic! I’ll be doing something less ambitious this weekend.

click to enlarge, right-click to taste (if your computer is equipped with the special tasting hardware)

Songs Of The Week: Sham VooDoo does The Beatles

It’s another dip into the Radio Free Charleston archives this week, as we revisit the April 1990 “Beatles For Easter” show, which featured songs about the Fab Four, as well as cover versions of Beatles tunes by international and local artists. For some reason this week, I’ve been desperate to hear good cover versions of Beatles’ tunes. I have another reason for posting these songs this week, since these are in-studio performances by one of my best friends, John “Sham Voodoo” Estep, late of legendary Charleston bands The Defectors and Clownhole. I’ve lost touch with Sham–the last I’d heard he was living in Columbus. If anybody knows how I can contact my old buddy–and the co-host of the Beatles tribute episode of RFC, please let me know by leaving a comment below.

We have two songs this week. One really good one, and one that is tainted by my singing. First, the good one: “Cold Turkey” was John Lennon’s harrowing primal scream epic about withdrawing from heroin. This is performed by Sham solo, with just his fender, recorded live in the Radio Free Charleston studio. Despite my prompting, heard at the end, Sham did not do the primal scream finale of the song.

The other song is unfortunately marred by my attempted singing. This was at Sham’s prompting , and because Stephen Beckner went to sleep instead of coming to the studio at 2 AM to join Sham on the show. This was a medley of Beatle songs, with a few solo tunes added in the mix. I’ve edited out a few gaffes to try and make it more listenable–I would start laughing when one of us forgot the lyrics, and Sham would get the giggles if I accidentally hit the right note, so it had to be tightened up in order not to be completely awful–aside from that, this is largely as it went out over the air, live at 3:45 AM, on RFC. Most of the transitions between songs are exactly as they were on the original show–and they hold up pretty well considering that it was past 3:30 AM, Sham and I had never rehearsed, and I had no idea what song was coming next.

This medley also includes my infamous Reggae rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” This was a staple at the jam nights at the old Charleston Playhouse. “Reggae Imagine” was born out of my suggestion that somebody could have a huge hit if the covered “Imagine” with a light Reggae touch. In the drunken spirit of playfulness that inhabited the Playhouse, this got turned into a full-blown hardcore Reggae version, complete with Rastafarian references and “I and I” talk.

Near the end of this medley, which is really only recommended for the most masochistic of Beatle fans, Gary Price and Tom Medvick of the Swivel Rockers wandered into the studio and can be heard, along with Sue Gaines, joining in at the very end. So if you really want to torture yourself, take a listen to “Stars On RFC“. And again, apologies for my singing.

IWA Returns Wednesday Night

IWA East Coast returns to the South Charleston Community Center tomorrow night with “The Evil That Men Do”, a bit of midsummer wrestling with a Shakespearian bent. The big news is the IWA EC debut of “The King Of Old School,” Steve Corino. Corino’s coming to town to take on Ironton’s Trik Nasty, and IWA EC favorite.

For bloody spectacle, IWA is serving up three matches, each promising to be more brutal than the previous one. First up, the intense Bull Pain will be taking on Brain Damage. At the last IWA EC show Brain Damage competed in a “Cheese Grater on a pole” match. Bull Pain was last seen at an IWA EC show painting the walls with Ian Rotten’s blood. To top the Bull Pain/Brain Damage match, J.C. Bailey and Toby “Mr. Insanity” Klein will face off in a match to see who can staple the most dollar bills to the other’s body.

But even that match pales in comparison to the main event. “Baka Gaijen.” the team of Mad Man Pondo and 2 Tuff Tony, will seek revenge against the Hane Brothers in West Virginia’s first 200 Light Tube Death Match! 200 fluorescent light tubes will be inside the ring. Mayhem will ensue. This will be one of the most memorable matches in IWA East Coast history, so fans of extreme violence will want to be there. Eye protection and closed-toe shoes are recommended.

Also on the card: Indy high-flyer Ricochet takes on Ashland’s Juggulator. “Omega” Aaron Draven faces Chuck Taylor. We’ll also get to see Tracy Smothers, Warpig and Dr. Max Graves, Crowza and Woody Numbers. Plus, as usual, we can expect a few surprises.

If you go: The show takes place on August 2. Bell time is 7:00 PM at the South Charleston Community Center, 601 Jefferson Road, in South Charleston. Tickets are $15 for ringside, and $10 for general admission.