Wasn’t Born to Follow: RIP Peter Fonda

cracked rear viewer

It’s ironic that on this, the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, one of our biggest counter-culture icons has passed away. When I saw Peter Fonda had died at age 79, my first reaction was, “Gee, I didn’t know he was that old” (while sitting in an audience waiting for a concert by 72 -year-old Dennis DeYoung of Styx fame!). But we don’t really think of our pop culture heroes as ever aging, do we? I mean, c’mon… how could EASY RIDER’s Wyatt (aka Captain America) possibly be 79??

Be that as it may, Peter Fonda was born into Hollywood royalty February 23. 1940. Henry Fonda was already a star before Peter arrived, thanks to classics like YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, JEZEBEL, YOUNG MR. LINCOLN, DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK, and THE GRAPES OF WRATH (released a month before Peter’s birth). Henry has often been described as cold and aloof, not…

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Several Miles Beneath The Underground : Max Clotfelter’s “Andros” #8

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

The welcome news that Max Clotfleter, the enfant terrible of the Seattle cartooning scene, will finally be seeing the first comprehensive collection of his comics coming out later this year — courtesy of Birdcage Bottom Books and bearing the title Rooftop Stew (the cover of which is pictured near the bottom of this review) —shouldn’t obscure the fact that he’s been been cobbling together much of his work from parts various and sundry for several years now in the pages of his self-published series Andros, the eighth and most recent issue of which is probably as fine an example of “Clotfelter in microcosm” as you’re likely to find. Assuming, of course, that finding such a thing would be of interest to you.

And hey, who are we kidding? It certainly should be. There’s no doubt that much of Clotfelter’s sensibility emerges from the “confessional/autobio” tradition — see, for example…

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“My Fanny” If I Can Understand This Comic

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

A visually lurid and kaleidoscopic amalgamation of the fragmentary, the jumbled, the confused/confusing, and a good deal of the utterly inexplicable, Jason T. Miles’ mini My Fanny #1 (self-published under his G.O.A.T. imprint) is nevertheless a rewarding experience — just don’t ask me to be able to quantify why that’s the case.

Which, I suppose, negates the whole idea of me positioning myself as a “critic” in the first place, but shit — that’s Miles for you. Few cartoonists are as adept as he is at defying everything you think you know about anything, mostly by dint of just ignoring all that exists outside of his own very particular set of sensibilities and/or instincts, and getting you to either buy in or, failing that, simply get the fuck out of his way. There’s no guidebook to either making or reading comics like this, so — go with the flow…

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Music Video Of The Day: Loaded by Primal Scream (1992, directed by ????)

“Just what is it that you want to do?”

“We wanna get loaded and we wanna have a good time”

That, of course, is Peter Fonda who is heard at the start of Primal Scream’s Loaded.  This vocal sample was lifted from the 1966 biker film, The Wild Angels.  Peter Fonda played Heavenly Blues.  Nancy Sinatra was Mike.  Together, they had a very good time.  The biking legacy of Heavenly Blues is continued in the video for the song.

As a result of this song, like a lot of 90s kids, I could perfectly quote Peter Fonda’s speech even though I didn’t even know that it was taken from a movie.  (I think most of us assumed it was just a member of the band saying something cool.)  It wasn’t until years later that I would watch The Wild Angels and I would discover just exactly who it was who wanted to get loaded and where they wanted to do it.

Loaded started out as a remix of a previous Primal Scream song, I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have.  Producer Andrew Weatherall added in not only Peter Fonda’s speech from The Wild Angels but also a vocal sample from The Emotions’ I Don’t Want To Lose Your Love, a drum loop from Edie Brickell’s What I Am, and also Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie singing a line from Robert Johnson’s Terraplane Blues.  Years later, Gillespie would tell an interviewer from NME that he wasn’t sure how he managed to clear the rights for all the samples but that if he hadn’t, Primal Scream never would have become the success that it did.  Loaded would go on to become Primal Scream’s first top 10 hit in the UK and, in many ways, it remains their signature song.

All thanks to Peter Fonda.