Tribute to Franz Kafka

Having read Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka I thought I would blog about himFranz Kafka was a German-language writer of novels and short stories who was Born July 1883 into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He trained as a lawyer and, after completing his legal education, obtained employment with an insurance company. He began to write short stories in his spare time. For the rest of his life, he complained about the little time he had to devote to what he came to regard as his calling and went on to become one of the most influential authors of the 20th century

Kafka strongly influenced genres such as existentialism. His works, such as “Die Verwandlung” (“The Metamorphosis”), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle), are filled with the themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a terrifying quest, and mystical transformations. He regretted having to devote so much attention to his Brotberuf (“day job”, literally “bread job”). Kafka preferred to communicate by letter; he wrote hundreds of letters to family and close female friends, including his father, his fiancée Felice Bauer, and his youngest sister Ottla. He had a complicated and troubled relationship with his father that had a major effect on his writing. He also suffered conflict over being Jewish, feeling that it had little to do with him, although critics argue that it influenced his writing.

Only a few of Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime: the story collections Betrachtung (Contemplation) and Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor), and individual stories (such as “Die Verwandlung”) in literary magazines. He prepared the story collection Ein Hungerkünstler (A Hunger Artist) for print, but it was not published until after his death on 3 June 1924. Kafka’s unfinished works, including his novels Der Process, Das Schloss and Amerika (also known as Der Verschollene, The Man Who Disappeared), were published posthumously, mostly by his friend Max Brod, who ignored Kafka’s wish to have the manuscripts destroyed. Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre are among the writers influenced by Kafka’s work; the term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe surreal situations like those in his writing.

Billy Powell (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Billy Powell, muscian with Lynyrd Skynyrd was born 3rd June 1952. Best known for popularizing the Southern hard rock genre during the 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd were Originally formed In the summer of 1964, when teenage friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington formed the band “The Noble Five” in Jacksonville, Florida. The band changed in 1965 to “My Backyard”, when Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns joined. In 1968, the group won a local Battle of the Bands contest and the opening slot on several Southeast shows for the California-based psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock. the group eventually settled on the name “Leonard Skinner”, a mocking tribute to a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair.

During the 1970′s the band experienced many line-up changes and in 1972 the band was discovered at one of their shows at a club in Atlanta, GA. They soon changed the spelling of their name to “Lynyrd Skynyrd”and their fan base continued to grow rapidly throughout 1973, largely due to their opening slot on The Who’s Quadrophenia tour in the United States. Their 1974 follow-up, Second Helping, was the band’s breakthrough hit, and featured their most popular single, “Sweet Home Alabama” helping them rise to worldwide recognition. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, was released in 1975 and the fourth album Gimme Back My Bullets was released in January 1976, but did not achieve the same success as the previous two albums. Steve Gaines joined the band in June 1976 and the newly-reconstituted band recorded the double-live album One More From the Road at the Fox Theatre (Atlanta, Georgia) in Atlanta, and performed at the Knebworth festival, which also featured The Rolling Stones. The next album 1977′s Street Survivors turned out to be a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines and included the iconic rock anthem “Free Bird”.Sadly though, On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and at the peak of their success, three members (Including Gaines) all died in an airplane crash, Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band’s second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single “What’s Your Name” reached No. 13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978. Surviving members re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny as frontman. A version of the band continues to tour and record, with only Gary Rossington of its original members remaining as of 2012. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2003.

  • Danny Wilde from The Rembrandts was born 3rd June 1956
  • Ed Wynne from Ozric Tentacles was born 3rd June 1961
  • Kerry King from thrash metal band Slayer was born 3rd June 1964

Mickey Finn (T.REX)

TrexMickey Finn, the percussionistt with glam rock band T.Rex was born 3rd June.  Formed in 1967  T.Rex originally formed as Tyrannosaurus Rex, After a solitary performance as a four-piece the group immediately broke up. Bolan retained the services of percussionist Steve Peregrin Took and the duo began performing acoustic material. The combination of Bolan’s acoustic guitar and distinctive vocal style with Took’s bongos and assorted percussion earned them a devoted following in the thriving hippy underground scene which included the late great BBC Radio One Disc jockey John Peel who championed the band early in their recording career. By 1968, Tyrannosaurus Rex had become a modest success on radio and on record, and had released three albums. While Bolan’s early material was rock and roll-influenced pop music,  he was also writing dramatic and baroque songs with lush melodies and surreal lyrics filled with Greek and Persian mythology as well as creations of his own.  After Bolan  replaced Took with percussionist Mickey Finn, they completed A Beard of Stars.

As well as progressively shorter titles, Tyrannosaurus Rex’s albums began to show higher production values, more accessible songwriting and experimentation with electric guitars and a true rock sound. The breakthrough came with “King of the Rumbling Spires” which used a full rock band. The group’s next album, T. Rex, continued the process of simplification by shortening the name, and completed the move to electric guitars.The new sound was more pop-oriented, They released the first single, “Ride a White Swan”, in late 1970 and was followed by a second single, “Hot Love”.Before one performance Mickey Finn’s girlfriend Chelita Secunda add two spots of glitter  under Bolan’s eyes before an appearance on Top of the Pops, the ensuing performance would often be viewed as the birth of glam rock. After Bolan’s display, glam rock would gain popularity in the UK and Europe during 1971–72. In September 1971, T. Rex released their second album Electric Warrior which contained one of their best-known song, “Get It On”. and is Often considered to be their best album.  it became a top ten hit in the US, where the song was retitled “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” to distinguish it from a 1971 song by the group Chase.

However, the album still recalled Bolan’s acoustic roots with ballads such as “Cosmic Dancer” and the stark “Girl” & brought much commercial success to the group, & the term “T. Rextasy” was coined as a parallel to Beatlemania to describe the group’s popularity. Along with David Bowie’s early hits, “Get It On” was among the few British glam rock songs that were successful in the US. This was followed by more glam rock hits during the 1970′s including “Jeepster”, “20th Century Boy”, “Children of the Revolution”, “Hot Love”, “Telegram Sam”, and “Metal Guru”.On 18 March 1972, T. Rex played two shows at the Empire Pool, Wembley, which were filmed by Ringo Starr and his crew for Apple Films. A large part of the second show was included on Bolan’s own rock film Born to Boogie, while bits and pieces of the first show can be seen throughout the film’s end-credits. Along with T. Rex and Starr, Born to Boogie also features Elton John, who jammed with the friends to create rocking studio versions of “Children of the Revolution” and “Tutti Frutti”; Elton John had appeared on TV with Bolan before, miming the piano part of “Get it On” on the 1971 Christmas edition of Top of the Pops. T. Rex’s third album The Slider was released in July 1972. The band’s most successful album in the US, The Slider was not as successful as its predecessor in the UK, where it peaked at the fourth spot. During spring/summer 1972, Bolan’s old label Fly released the chart-topping compilation album Bolan Boogie, a collection of singles, B-sides and LP tracks, which affected The Slider’s sales. Two singles from The Slider, “Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru”, became number one hits in the UK.

The film Born to Boogie premiered at the Oscar One cinema in London, in December 1972. The film received negative reviews from critics, while it was loved by fans.Tanx (1973) would mark the end of the classic T. Rex lineup. An album full of melancholy ballads and rich production, Tanx showcased the T. Rex sound bolstered by extra instrumental embellishments such as Mellotron and saxophone. During the recording T. Rex members began to quit, starting with Bill Legend in November 1973. Legend felt alienated by Bolan’s increasingly egotistical behaviour, which was fed by success, money, cocaine, and brandy. Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow was released on 1 February 1974, and reached number 12 in the UK. The album harkened back to the Tyrannosaurus Rex days with long song-titles and lyrical complexity, Bolan’s Zip Gun (1975) was self-produced by Bolan who, in addition to writing the songs, gave his music a harder, more futuristic sheen. The final song recorded with Visconti, “Till Dawn”, was re-recorded for Bolan’s Zip Gun with Bolan at the controls.

T. Rex’s penultimate album, Futuristic Dragon (1976), featured a schizophrenic production style that veered from wall of sound-style songs to nostalgic nods to the old T. Rex boogie machine. In the summer of 1976, T. Rex released two more singles, “I Love to Boogie” and “Laser Love”, In early 1977 Dandy in the Underworld was released to critical acclaim and the band experienced something of a resurgence.Sadly though, While driving home Jones crashed Bolan’s purple Mini 1275GT into a tree (now the site of Bolan’s Rock Shrine), after failing to negotiate a small humpback bridge in, southwest London. While Jones was severely injured, Bolan was killed in the crash, two weeks before his 30th birthday. However T. Rex vastly influenced the glam rock, punk rock and Britpop genres. Johnny Marr of The Smiths stated: “The influence of T. Rex is very profound on certain songs of the Smiths like “Panic” and “Shoplifters of the World Unite”. T. Rex are specifically referenced by The Who in the lyrics of their 1981 hit song “You Better You Bet”, by David Bowie in the song “All the Young Dudes” (which he wrote for Mott the Hoople), by B A Robertson in his 1980 hit “Kool In The Kaftan”, and by the Ramones in their song “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” The early acoustic material was influential in helping to bring about progressive rock and 21st century folk music-influenced singers. The lyric “Glimmers like Bolan in the shining sun” is featured in My Chemical Romance’s song “Vampire Money”, a direct reference to Bolan, taken from their most recent studio album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Additionally, Oasis “borrowed” the distinct guitar riff from “Get It On” on their single “Cigarettes and Alcohol”.Noel Gallagher, has also cited T. Rex as a strong influence.