JAMIE COHEN – Archive Sketches, Pen & Ink On Pressed Pulp
CRACKPOT – test sketch for Crudland album art
HOLMES – oil pastel on composition paper
THE CHEETERS, DOUG LEWIS (aka Gunter Vile), JAMIE COHEN (Dietrich Von Bone) and ANDY KRAVITZ (Klaus Kurtz)are an art band – their music is an art project. The Cheeters were not built to last, they were about a go for broke moment – They went deep and deeper still – Buddha was in the back seat and Bacchus was at the wheel. The Cheeters are an urgent confession, an uncompromising creative explosion marked by intelligence in the tradition of Captain Beefheart, Rage Against the Machine, and Nick Cave. The music is solid, inspired but it is the subtle lyrics, the sophisticated imagery and the complex multi-textured sound mix that is the band’s trademark. There is humor and passion and the pure joy of invention in this music and the Cheeters always tell the truth and never pull their punches. This is music made by men, not boys, and the stories are of lived lives, not fantasies, told by guys that got laid, not guys wishing they got laid. What strikes one about listening to the Cheeters is how present they are, how in the zeitgeist, giving you the newest news, the latest edition. They embraced randomness and found objects. What does that mean? I get a call from Lewis, car noise, clanking beer cans, he’s somewhere in Santa Fe, “Hey man, we just met this chick in a 7-11 while stopping for cigarettes and she says she can sing. We’re headed back to the studio now.” There was no master plan. They were on a wild ride, totally dedicated to the realm of the magical and committed and it was all holy. It was dangerous, probably crazy and they were on a grand high, a high stakes transcendent journey reduced to a four box set. That is how the dust settles on angels with outstretched wings. Lewis and Cohen had a shared sensibility that went back over twenty five years. They wrote together and emerged as one voice. They knew how to tread in darkness, they knew how to mine the madness and they knew the poetry of lust and outrage. Doug Lewis is a master of the crooked phrase, a knowing wit and a musical sensibility informed by the bands of his psychedelic Marin County youth such as Tower of Power and the Sons of Champlin. Cohen was also a consummate wordsmith, steeped in the blues and in the dada-surrealist sensibility. Listen to the Cheeters and you will hear echoes of absurdist poet, Tristian Tzara, as well as Kurt Weil and Bertolt Brecht. Weil & Brecht. Lewis & Cohen. If they met they’d share respect. Andy Kravitz, a two time Grammy winning producer, mixer, writer, engineer, and drummer was their soul brother, the catalytic third element and the maestro of the secret sauce. The Cheeters are about love, beauty, the ambiguous ephemeral, life, death and sex. It’s not only rock and roll but you’ll like it. M.D. Baer/July 4, 2009
BATON ROUGE performed by THE CHEETERS – Gunter Vile (Doug Lewis), Dietrich Von Bone (Jamie Cohen), Klause Kertz (Andy Kravitz).
From the album LIES IN HIGH FIDELITY
CLICK ON IMAGES FOR VIDEO
Sunset Stripped is a cautionary tale concerning sexual obsession, blackmail, and murder. It’s the roaring ’80s, a time of greed, cocaine, and Iran-Contra. Narcissism is the fashion, AIDS is the new reality, and Ronald Reagan is snoozing at the wheel.
DESCRIPTION OF SUNSET STRIPPED : Willie Talburt, a talented but down-and-out screenwriter, thinks his luck is changing when he snatches $300 off a drunk’s shoes at a legendary West Hollywood bistro and then meets exotic Veronica Blainewell. He would do anything to see his name on one of the giant billboards that loom high over the Sunset Strip, and she offers him the chance. But the deal and the dame don’t turn out to be as sweet as Willie’s dreams.
VENICE ARTS CLUB INTERVIEW WITH MARK BAER:
VAC: When where you writing Sunset Stripped?
M.D. BAER: Pretty much as it was happening. During and after the dust settled.
VAC: Sounds chaotic, Los Angeles in the roaring 80’s. Describe the setting?
M.D.BAER: For me, it began with Reagan and with Mr. Dougie (Doug Lewis) arriving in Los Angeles and meeting Jim Budman. I was living with my wife at the time, jewelry designer Ezmarelda Gordon, at the estate of Bettina Bancroft in Bel Air, at 191 North Bentley. The estate belonged to Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner until she died. On a vacation to Tahiti, Bettina’s daughter, Elisabeth, met Mr. Dougie who at that time was working and living as a fisherman in Australia and the South Pacific. The two of them became an item, he became friends with the family and when he visited Elisabeth and her family in L.A., he ended up moving in and staying a while. Even then, Bentley was quite a scene, anyone who was there would tell you, but after Mr. Dougie met Jim Budman, who along with Mark Brooks, Dan Millington, Adam Linter, Dana McDonald and Diane Bald launched AT SUNSET, everything went into overdrive, a real happening. AT Sunset became the place to be in L.A., it’s what people looked forward to, heading into Hollywood and going to AT Sunset, often until dawn. It was the rich, the famous, the unknown, young and old, gay and straight, a real mix, enough to make the head spin. For a writer, it was rich ground.
VAC: So, in the novel, the ‘Duck Club Crew’ is really based on the AT Sunset scene?
M.D. BAER: Loosely…we’re dealing with fiction here…
AT SUNSET 1982. L TO R: Dan Millington, Doug Lewis, Mark Baer, Mark Brooks, unknown.
These are some of the last sketch-art pieces doodled by artist/musician Jamie Cohen before he passed away Sept. 11, 2008. More of Jamie Cohen art here, and some of his music with the Cheeters and Venice Arts Club Music.
JAMIE COHEN SKETCH-ART.1
JAMIE COHEN SKETCH-ART .2
JAMIE COHEN SKETCH-ART.3
JAMIE COHEN SKETCH-ART.4
JAMIE COHEN SKETCH-ART.5
JAMIE COHEN SKETCH-ART.6
The songs of FELL MUSIC are themes of love lost and found, experience and worldly adventure from the high street to the low, and pure protest – against war, injustice, inequality. Fell Music is social commentary bled into song from the page of todays culture.
“Equal rights and justice for all, that’s my beat. War is a lie. Politics and politicians play a money game for a money grab. Television and Madison Ave. are vacum’s built to sustain passivity and subtract life and imagination from those they attract. The real world is somewhere else. I figured out early on that Vietnam was a calculated and cold-blooded propaganda campaign built on media cooperation and most of all built on fear…fear of the VC, fear of communism, fear of the unknown. So yea, my writing and songs have to do with a world of hearts and bones, love and loss, a through the looking glass view from the here to beyond, an awakening and an enlightenment.” DL
Here’s a track from ‘that side’ of Fell Music, titled WAR ETERNAL:
FELL MUSIC – WAR ETERNAL
DOUG LEWIS of FELL MUSIC