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Barry Richards: The Heavy Head Leader

In Music, Uncategorized on January 8, 2010 at 10:26 am

An amazing time capsule of rock history exploded onto the screen in October 2009 at the AFI Theater in Silver Spring, Md., as legendary D.C. music personality Barry Richards screened highlights from his long-lost TV show “Turn-On”. Remastered from the original 2-inch broadcast videotapes, the mind-blowing series is headed to DVD this year.

Barry has worked as a DJ, concert promoter, and music-biz mover all over the country, but he’s best-loved in his hometown of D.C., where he’s known as “The Boss with the Hot Sauce” and “The Heavy Head Leader”. An early champion of hard ‘n’ heavy rock, Barry was among the few underground radio jocks to play such proto-metal bands as Sir Lord Baltimore. He brought Black Sabbath and many other major acts to Md./D.C./Va.-area venues back in the 1970s.

“Turn-On” was a free-form, late-night television show that featured live rock bands, old Flash Gordon serials, stoned interview segments, a hippie comedian, celebrity guests (Richard Pryor, Cheech and Chong, Wolfman Jack, even actor Robert Mitchum), and the bearded Barry Richards hosting it all on low-budget Day-Glo sets. WDCA Channel 20 allowed “Hairy Barry” to roll “Turn-On” all night until it was time for the UHF station to play the National Anthem.

Barry presented rare, live in-studio performances by Alice Cooper (doing “Eighteen” and “Black Juju” from the brand-new “Love It to Death”), Humble Pie (with Steve Marriott and the very young Peter Frampton, “Rock-On” era), Richie Havens, Little Richard (jamming “Good Golly, Miss Molly” with the obscure ’70s band Jamul – who play a loud version of “Tobacco Road” in what looks like the TV station parking lot), Crow (“Evil Woman”), The Illusion, and many more.

One now-vanished episode featured Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band circa “Lick My Decals Off”. Surviving shows in the Barry Richards vault include footage of Fats Domino playing with the Byrds, Rory Gallagher in his early prime, Peter Kaukonen’s band Black Kangaroo, and the Bob Seger System blasting songs from their early LPs.

Along with the videotapes of his show, Barry has unearthed a radio interview he did with all four Beatles just prior to their historic Ed Sullivan appearance!

Fans can also look forward to previously unreleased footage of guitar hero Tommy Bolin (with his early band Zephyr), and clips from other Barry Richards TV shows: a ’60s precursor of “Turn On” called “Groove-In”, “Barry Richards Presents”, the “Rock and Soul” show, the disco-era “Studio 78”, and more.

Richards’ TV shows have not been seen since their original airings. But those who saw the show remember it fondly. Musician Joe Hasselvander (Pentagram, Death Row, Raven) raves about “Turn-On” and Barry Richards, as do Hasselvander’s erstwhile bandmate Bobby Liebling, Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat, and underground filmmaker Nick Zedd (They Eat Scum). Author Edward Lee prominently references Barry Richards in his twisted novella “The Pig” and its sequel, “The House”.

The DVD will offer interviews with Barry Richards, audio from his classic radio shows, and other surprises. The Beatles radio interview is among the special features.

Little Richard even wrote and performed a song about Barry, which can be heard in this YouTube trailer for the upcoming DVD collection. Watch out for the segment with the mighty Iron Jaw Samson!

For more information, visit the official site and read Joe Hasselvander’s excellent, enthusiastic blog here.

The Official Heavy Metal Book Of Lists

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Congrats to veteran sex, drugs and r0ck ‘n’ roll writer Eric Danville, who landed the dream job of putting together The Official Heavy Metal Book of Lists. With a foreword by Lemmy, this amazing new compendium is aptly described as “the heaviest book of all time!” and “the Spinal Tap of books!”

I’m honored and grateful to be among the contributors. My entry covers the heavy sounds of the early ’70s, including Sir Lord Baltimore, Captain Beyond, Dust, Cactus, Bloodrock, and other proto-metal bands.

From “Part rock trivia contest, part encyclopedia of excess, The Official Heavy Metal Book of Lists features over 150 lists that chronicle rock and roll’s most enduring genre. Ever wanted to know the names of Alice Cooper’s snakes? The names of Spinal Tap’s dead drummers? Which metal stars have made celebrity sex tapes? Get ready to be thrown headfirst into a mosh pit of wacky, wild, and weird lists from metal’s hardest-hitting stars – members of Motorhead, Sepultura, Guns N’ Roses, Vixen, Biohazard, Whitechapel, Deathklok, and GWAR are among the heavyweights who cast their ballots herein (not to mention porn stars, Air Guitar champs, and the director of Heavy Metal Parking Lot).”

Former High Times and Screw editor Danville is also the author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, a comprehensive and insightful bio of the X-rated superstar. Publisher Backbeat Books also offers The Official Punk Rock Book of Lists by bestselling Book of Lists co-author Amy Wallace and Handsome Dick Manitoba of The Dictators.

Look for The Official Heavy Metal Book of Lists in stores, or order online at this link. Guaranteed addictive reading!

Black Devil Doll

In Exploitation, Grindhouse, Horror, Movies, Uncategorized on September 4, 2009 at 5:53 pm


Filmed in Negroscope and featuring “totally awesome scenes of rape and murder,” BLACK DEVIL DOLL is the #1 HARD FEELINGS film of 2009.

Straight off its U.S. theatrical tour and successful exhibition at Cannes, the Lewis Brothers film is now a paperback novel by Stephen Romano, author of SHOCK FESTIVAL and THE RIOT ACT.

Romano also designed the eye-popping BLACK DEVIL DOLL poster art and other promotional graphics for producer Shawn Lewis of Rotten Cotton. The book is available now in advance of the October DVD release.

Here’s my review of the flick:


The Lewis Brothers start a riot in “Black Devil Doll”

By David A. Szulkin

The production cost of BLACK DEVIL DOLL breaks down to one puppet, five reasonably priced nude females, one hundred jugs of Karo syrup, miscellaneous pharmaceuticals, and $10,000 in Oakland Fried Chicken. The results pay off like a Powerball jackpot.

BLACK DEVIL DOLL is the first film from The Lewis Brothers, the boldest young filmmakers to emerge from the horror genre since Frank Henenlotter and Stuart Gordon. Some film nerds have pegged the movie as a remake of Chester Turner’s 1984 straight-to-video feature BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL, but the new movie shares only the most obvious surface elements with Turner’s flick.

“It’s our homage to all of the killer doll films,” says producer Shawn Lewis. “We watched a lot of those movies, and none of them went all the way, so we decided to make the movie we always wanted to see. Actually, we didn’t make the puppet black until we wrote the fourth draft of the screenplay.”

The movie opens with black militant Mubia Abul-Jama (Jonathan Lewis) marching down Death Row to be executed for his crimes against Caucasian society. Just as Jama rides the lightning, bored and busty Heather (Heather Murphy) unwittingly transports his soul into the body of a ventriloquist’s dummy during a Ouija board séance.

Mubia demonstrates the power of his miniature pimp hand and other appendages in a triple-X rated puppet romance montage. But this muthafuckin’ puppet needs some strange. Some trim. Some fresh. white pussy. While Mubia commands Heather to round up her bimbo girlfriends, her jilted wannabe rapper boyfriend White-T (Martin Boone) seeks revenge.

What follows is a relentless, abusive, and uproarious onslaught of rape, misogyny, mutilation, mayonnaise, mass murder, sodomy, toilet humor and racially charged puppet hijinks. The movie’s many freak-out sequences were filmed in Negroscope, a patented process which visualizes the puppet’s psychosis in a multi-layered, psychedelic blur of Black History Month flashbacks.

From the puppet’s first demonic eyeball-roll to the mind-melting, sphincter-shattering climax, BLACK DEVIL DOLL delivers the total package to your door…and says “FUCK YOU!” when you sign for it. Eruptions of H.G. Lewis-style gore, Russ Meyer-like breasts, graphic necrophilia, salad-tossing, and the funniest prison-rape joke in recent memory are just a few highlights; the actors rightly allow the wooden doll to upstage them, and the original soundtrack by Giallo’s Flame completes the atmosphere.

It’s no surprise that BLACK DEVIL DOLL has pissed off politically correct crackers and uptight Uncle Toms alike.

The film’s trailer alone was enough to offend a Tampa film critic, who wrote, “I hope my subconscious mind creates a split personality to deal with this, because I don’t want to have that stuff in my head for the rest of my life.”

Another advance review labeled director Lewis “a self-hating Negro,” while KING magazine called the film “heartless” and “foul”.

None other than the Rev. Al Sharpton weighed in with a personal condemnation when a fan pressed him for comment.

“It’s a shame individuals in our society have regressed to such standards of racial lambasting in favor of the lowest common denominator of entertainment for the mass public,” Sharpton said.

The Lewis Brothers responded by naming their production company Lowest Common Denominator Entertainment.

During the film’s world premiere at L.A.’s New Beverly Cinema, emcee Uncle Creepy hurled oversized black dildos into the sold-out crowd while director Jonathan Lewis smiled serenely. The audience went wild.

More Florida controversy soon spread as St. Petersburg Times film critic Steve Persall protested the exhibition of BLACK DEVIL DOLL, lambasting the film, and attacking its shameless creators in a morally outraged column. Persall had not seen the movie.

The Lewis Brothers had the last laugh. The mighty fist of the Black Devil Doll raised a triumphant middle finger of defiance at Cannes, as the film met with enthusiastic response and sold to foreign territories where the mack-daddy puppet’s every obscene utterance will be dubbed into several languages for the enjoyment of audiences around the world.

Soul on ice? The Black Devil Doll is on fire! Long may his magic chocolate wand wave, and deep may he thrust into your honky soul.

* * *

BLACK DEVIL DOLL is now available for pre-order at

Be sure to visit BLACK DEVIL DOLL babes Heather and Natasha on Facebook, and listen online to The Boone Brothers.

Happy Birthday, Selwyn Harris

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm


Today is a holy day for HARD FEELINGS, as we celebrate the birth of Selwyn Harris.

We first envied Selwyn as the publisher of Happyland and adopted miscreant son of Gore Gazette editor Rick Sullivan. He went on to an in-house job at HUSTLER, where he worked with the brilliant Allan MacDonell (Prisoner of X), and wrote screenplays for porn director Greg Dark.

These days, the self-described “psychedelic noisemonger and devotee of occult obscenity” runs The site has quickly become the leading Internet source for all things bloody, rude and nude.

Read him and weep.


Love Butchers and Plastic Nightmares

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2009 at 9:11 pm


Awash in booze and sexual frustration, Richard Neely’s The Damned Innocents conjures the early ’70s California sleaze of a Crown International Pictures movie.

French director Claude Chabrol adapted Neely’s cynical potboiler for the screen as Dirty Hands. But it’s easy to imagine the tale of betrayal, marital hatred and murder as one of Peter Carpenter’s infamous adult-themed thrillers (Blood Mania, Point of Terror). Somehow, the entire book reeks of fake wood paneling and a housewife’s cabinet full of prescription drugs.

“Neely always caught the sorrow of sexual betrayal with a kind of suicidal wisdom, ” writes fellow crime author Ed Gorman. “While his books aren’t kinky by today’s measure, they’re dark in the way only sexual themes can be. Love kills, baby.”

That downer theme resonates in the alcoholic backstabbing of The Damned Innocents (1971), the black-gloved erotomania of Death to My Beloved (1969) and the bizarre Daddy-daughter incest affair of The Japanese Mistress (1972). Gorman once called Neely “the de Sade of crime fiction.”

Neely delivered his creepiest work in The Walter Syndrome (1970). Although it takes place in the 1930s, the sickie psycho-killer story deliberately echoes the hysteria surrounding the Boston Strangler and the Zodiac Killer. The New York Times made note of the book’s “nasty details of sexual mutilation.”

The Walter Syndrome is about a repressed telephone solicitor who stalks, rapes and kills women in New York City. The guy can’t score with the opposite sex and looks up to his suave misogynist friend, “Charles Walter”. Of course, the “shock ending” reveals that Walter is a figment of his imagination. Bloch’s Psycho is the obvious source of the multiple-personality twist; a close exploitation movie parallel can be found in The Love Butcher (1975).

Neely’s The Plastic Nightmare is a paranoid mystery about an amnesiac, filmed in the ’90s under the title Shattered and soon to be reissued by Millipede Press. Gorman nailed the reason for the novel’s HARD FEELINGS appeal:

Plastic is a snapshot of a certain period, the Seventies when the Fortune 500 dudes wore sideburns and faux hippie clothes and flashed the peace sign almost as often as they flashed their American Express Gold cards. Johnny Carson hipsters. The counter culture co-opted by the pigs.”

Speaking of which: Have you watched Weekend with the Babysitter lately?

Devil Dolls

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm


In memory of the late Joseph Gober Nazel (1944-2006), here is the cover art for his rare horror novel DEVIL DOLLS (Holloway House, 1982). Nazel’s many paperback originals include THE BLACK EXORCIST (1974, later reprinted as SATAN’S MASTER), the ICEMAN series, and MY NAME IS BLACK (Pinnacle, 1973). An author bio from one of his mid-’70s slugfests calls him “a product of Watts and the war in Vietnam.”

Nazel was the most prolific writer for Holloway House, the L.A. publisher known for the classic ghetto novels of Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim. Many of Joe’s books read like blaxploitation flicks; in addition to his own stories, he banged out novelizations of THE BLACK GESTAPO (1975) and Fred “The Hammer” Williamson’s FOXTRAP (1986).

In DEVIL DOLLS, a poor black family is tormented by a voodoo curse after they unexpectedly inherit a house from an evil honky witch. Hundreds of grinning, black-faced rag dolls attack the mother, using miniature pitchforks to shovel straw into her vagina. She wakes up pregnant.

A longtime editor for Players magazine, Nazel also penned biographies of Martin Luther King, Richard Pryor, Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, Ida B. Wells, B.B. King, and Magic Johnson.

But it’s Nazel’s pulp fiction that endures. The Afro-Manson devil-cult antics of THE BLACK EXORCIST and the violence of his street action sagas make him a HARD FEELINGS favorite.

Sample quote: “The Magnum boomed a scorching round that slammed into Benny’s forehead. The force of the slug threw the nearly headless mass of blubber across the room.”

Now that’s the kind of sentiment I can get behind.

Nazel’s legacy extends far beyond the pages of his books. His son Kim, a.k.a. Arabian Prince, was a founding member of N.W.A.

Stay tuned for interviews with a few folks who counted Joseph Nazel as a good friend, along with an in-depth analysis of his angry masterpiece EVERY GOODBYE AIN’T GONE. Meanwhile, dig a review of THE BLACK EXORCIST at The Groovy Age of Horror.

Dark Starr

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2009 at 6:49 pm

“There are characters who are universally sympathetic; they’re in Greenpeace and rescue cats from trees. They might be nice in real life, but they’re also boring as hell to read about. Personally, I enjoy reading about people who are sick and twisted, or damaged in some way.” – Jason Starr

Kill Your Boss