On December 30th 1986 when Stephen Selvidge was fourteen he joined Mike McCarthy and George Cole on stage at the Antenna Club to sing "Sex, It's Great!" (George and Mike's band DISTEMPER were opening for STRANGE FLESH). It was the last DISTEMPER show and not unlike a science fiction convention. Stephen Selvidge became quite gifted as a guitar player but we knew that was going to happen way back at DISTEMPER HOUSE (189 N. Auburndale). Young Selvidge would sit on the couch arm and finger complicated riffs that we still can't do. George and Mike stopped playing all together in '92 after their band the ROCKROACHES went nowhere. Fourteen years later they began working on the ROCKROACHES website and realized it was a lousy endnote. Something else needed to happen but the planets had not yet lined up and no one was going back to Mississippi.

McCarthy had worked with lots of Memphis musicians in creating his low budget movie soundtracks, but most of those folks had no idea that McCarthy could make a G chord. McCarthy was too self-conscious or intimidated (or maybe too busy) to even try. When Mike and George tried too hard they failed (ROCKROACHES), and when they barely cared (DISTEMPER) they succeeded. McCarthy remembers Sam Phillips addage, "Don't make it too damn complicated." Enter Cori Dials, a San Diego born photographer and singer with one eye on the country and one eye on this city who plays bass and sings in the SPLINTS. Cori was dubbed the 'last starlet' by McCarthy after she played his character CADAVERA (2006) who is, after all, a 'bowie frankenstein monster' with one eye on life and one eye on death. McCarthy asked her not to worry about the bass and just sing songs and she agreed, even if it meant singing "glam crap". Although the term "late 70's punk singles" rolls right off the tongue. Meanwhile Joanne Self told McCarthy that her husband Stephen wanted the challenge of playing drums. That same fourteen year old Stephen? Yes, but now he's going on 34. Stephen would freak us out if he played guitar in FLS, but drums seemed like a perfect fit. Let us all do things we are not good at and see what happens.

McCarthy, never one to leave the house without a concept, began to channel his Bowie-Elvis obsession into the band. You gotta start somewhere. It's what happens when you listen to the "Rock & Roll Suicide" on a gravel road. McCarthy became the THIN WHITE TRASH and asked the others to create "Mississippi New Wave" names. We must ask ourselves, "What if Bowie came from Mississippi?" Photographer Winston Eggleston took pictures of FINGERS LIKE SATURN before they ever had their full practice. Andrew and Gariston took fotos of Eggleston taking fotos of us. Jolly good fun. Image before Sound is backward thinking but backwards is where it's at. The photographs occurred on December 30, 2006, twenty years to the day Stephen sang on stage with DISTEMPER. This was not planned it just happened that way. McCarthy asked keyboardist Shelby Bryant to join but Shelby lives in North Carolina. No problem in the digital age, Shelby will phone in his parts. And when Shelby arrived at Christmas to meet the band, it was as if he always knew Cori - and George had already massaged his wife. So rather than practice we drank wine. We talked about how we could look in tight fitting pinstripes and how we could sound like HUNKY DORY or MOODY BLUE when those records were recorded with limitations and we have none. Lee Peyton is our main man. Lights Camera Action we are a band.

As a band we hung for three days, seeing the SPLINTS, taking pictures with Winston Eggleston, and drinking wine. Shelby left Memphis (which is a concept I can't grasp). Our first full practice came on Monday January 8th; Elvis' birthday and Bowie's too. Celloist Jonathan Kirkscey filled in for Shelby but assumed his own identity in the band as the 7th finger and was asked to play occasional bass and cello. You can find Jonathan mostly at the Cannon Center where he plays for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Jonathan is on the receiving end of the Ellis brick. So the FINGERS will record and play live and put out a record. They would love to travel to Berlin and make a record but who can afford it? So maybe we'll just record a record called Berlin. FLS might even record the score to "TUPELOWIE: SOMETHING ALIEN IN THE PARK" even if the movie never exists. Maybe McCarthy will let somebody else make it. After all, we don't want to try too hard.

We should keep in mind that Fingers Like Saturn, they don't necessarily love it.

Every city has two sides: In Memphis the 'good' side is Poplar. The 'bad' side is Lamar. If you're not careful Lamar will take you to Mississippi. Poplar Avenue ends downtown at Front street at the Cannon Center where the Memphis Symphony Orchestra performs. I saw IKE TURNER there once. But before the Cannon Center was built on that spot it was home to the omnipresent ELLIS AUDITORIUM where atomic powered singer ELVIS PRESLEY not only performed but endeared himself to his regional generation. ELLIS AUDITORIUM is where 1950's pre-glitter wrestler SPUTNIK MONROE (named after a Russian space-satellite) broke the color barrier by demanding integrated seating. ELLIS AUDITORIUM is where DAVID BOWIE performed ZIGGY STARDUST on September 24, 1972. The Spiders wore cuban heels while Bowie wore wrestling boots. Downtown you can see SPUTNIK MONROE'S wrestling costume at the Smithsonian exhibit - displayed like a glorious superhero head of state. His suit prefigures Ziggy Stardust by some 14 years. Bowie was a boxer who shattered his eye. SPUTNIK breaks the color line and BOWIE breaks the sex line and ELVIS does both.

ZIGGY STARDUST lasts only 18 months. ELVIS PRESLEY stays at SUN for 18 months.

In delirious respect for the ELLIS AUDITORIUM and all the pop culture that it hosted, FINGERS LIKE SATURN wraps it's fingers around AN ACTUAL ELLIS AUDITORIUM BRICK and aims it fully at the new building which now resides there: The Cannon Center (nothing against the Cannon Center, mind you, in Memphis you could easily be lobbing a brick at a parking lot. It's just sad that the presumption in Memphis is the reality.) We lob the brick at ignorance toward pop culture, toward indifference to local history, and to city government, (and government in general) which gives our band a healthy sense of ANARCHY, even if we do understand the final goal of Ultraviolence. Here you find the five stages of brick throwing carried out by FINGERS LIKE SATURN. This brick is an act of love cast at an old lover ala' KRAZY KAT, "like crazy, man".

Though ELLIS AUDITORIUM is gone and the FINGERS cannot play there, it is interesting to note that the metallic sculpture which sits on the nearby corner in which these WINSTON EGGLESTON pictures were made, brings to mind a spaceship, a period glam shape, a "satellite of love" that ZIGGY could have arrived in, or that ELVIS could have left the building in, or SPUTNIK MONROE could have lived in, cooking breakfast and smoking cigarettes.

The ELLIS AUDITORIUM BRICK was given to the Thin White Trash by FANNY who works for the Blue Suede Brigade. It was delivered by the Center City Commission to the Thin White Trash at Sun Studio one day in 2006. The ELLIS AUDITORIUM BRICK will always be presented and displayed at FINGERS LIKE SATURN shows. You may touch it with your fingers.

Finger picker JOHNNY ODDSBLOOD (George Takeada aka George Cole) is no stranger to brick throwing having co-created the comic book KID ANARCHY with the THIN WHITE TRASH in 1983 (published by Fantagraphics Books in 1989). KID ANARCHY, unlike KRAZY KAT, threw bricks at objects he hated and had some haircut inspired by Sid Vicious; black shards of spikiness. THIN WHITE TRASH (aka JMM aka Mike McCarthy) drew it flat 2D and full of ink. This haircut descends from the well coifed (clockwork) orange look of BOWIE, though I didn't know it at the time. I remember seeing a photo of JOHNNY ROTTEN wearing a BOWIE T-shirt and I wondered why he bothered to show the affection - or should I say 'reveal the influence'. It's 1972 in England but in your neighborhood it looks like 1984 and you're twelve listening to ZIGGY and desperately needing an identity but you don't have a tailor or a hairdresser so you give it your best shot. Five years later you are a BOWIE Ghost. Visually, Punk is Decadent Glam. A blow dryer is just as important as an electric guitar. Just check the background on a certain BOWIE interview where BOWIE reveals 'how he does it'. ELVIS had his hair dyed black after he died cause he was showing his white roots. The Cannon Center is the NEW ELLIS and the sculpture out front is a hairdryer and not a toilet as some have suggested. Realism is boring.

"We are the future." David Bowie
"No future." Johnny Rotten
"No Fun" Iggy Pop
"No Friends" Betty Butcher

Photographer MICK ROCK stood in ELLIS AUDITORIUM on September 24, 1972 and took these pictures of ZIGGY STARDUST. Check out the crepe drape! Earlier that day ZIGGY made a trip to our local art college (the Memphis Academy of Art). Did he do this in other cities as well? It is a point of esoteric interest to me. Bowie left clues and I cannot shake what remains. These images fuel the Bowie-Memphis imagi-movie called "TUPELOWIE: SOMETHING ALIEN IN THE PARK" concerning just how a starchild spent his daydream in Memphis. My fixation has even formed this band FINGERS LIKE SATURN which will feature our original score. The screenplay to be written & directed by the Thin White Trash based on the moonage daydreams that you read at this site. Completion based on a number of factors. Of course there is no money and no rights but who says we can't have a little fun with artistic license? I wouldn't mind a Japanese girl playing Bowie.

Memphis was the SECOND EVER American ZIGGY STARDUST show! Cleveland was the first, (yes, another reason for Memphians to curse Cleveland after that City won the right to build the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Memphis is always the coolest second place, just ask Nashville) We await Cleveland becoming an exhibit and the Grand Ol Opry getting drums.)

NO BROW BUT HOW?: ZIGGY plays San Francisco October 27th, 1972. Here Mick Rock would shoot the GENE GENIE video with Bowie wearing a fans necklace which looks like a dog collar and prefigures the Sid Vicious 'look' by five years. By the time ZIGGY plays Cleveland again on November 25th, 1972 he has plucked his eyebrows. In the book MOONAGE DAYDREAM (University Press) Mick Rock's photography is absent for this middle period, perhaps Mick Rock is back in England editing GENE GENIE while Bowie returns through the South. Where in the South is Bowie the night he begins to evolve into the DIAMOND DOG?

THE SATURN SHOW: Memphis, 1973: Phil Rush hosts the SATURN SHOW and premieres the GENE GENIE video on WHBQ (We Have Better Quartets) where Dewey Phillips played Elvis Presley on the air for the first time on July 8, 1954. In a memo from Mainman (Bowie's management) they request WHBQ to play the video. Their exact words: "We want Space." When I named the band FINGERS LIKE SATURN I did not know about this obscure Memphis music program called the SATURN show. Of course now I want to see every old episode especially the one that featured GENE GENIE. Maybe Bowie "plucked his eyebrows on the way" through Memphis on the way to New Orleans and dropped off the Gene Genie tape!? Stay tuned.

NOTE: In the book MOONAGE DAYDREAM (University Press) it lists the SECOND TOUR of ZIGGY STARDUST in Memphis as February 26, 1973. This is wrong. According to the poster so graciously photographed for me by Winston, the Memphis date is February 25 (two shows just as the first tour). Imagine buying tickets to see the Gene Genie at the Jeanery just to hear some Gene Vincent!

BOTH IN DEBT TO THEIR BROTHERS: Bowie attended an Elvis show in Vegas in 1972. Later on in 1975 Bowie wrote YOUNG AMERICANS and offered it to Elvis, who turned it down. Bowie wrote GOLDEN YEARS for wife Angie who personally delivered the demo to Elvis, who again turned it down. Never mind that Elvis wore make-up and had been compared to a space invader in his early years, this King would have nothing to do with a Queen, even if they were both on RCA. Bowie was greasing his hair back in 73. David Bowie seems to be creating a respect for the past, a retro-spect if you will, which included Elvis Presley.

If the look of ZIGGY was inspired by Warhol's PORK, did Bowie then come to Memphis to eat it? My mouth does water for more pork on Bowie that Memphis day. If you have any Bowie Memphis 72 or 73 imagery and info please send it my way at jmm@guerrillamonster.com.
Love and Curses,
Thin White Trash

(All these wonderful images (used w/o permission) from the glorious book "MOONAGE DAYDREAM" Photographs by Mick Rock / Text by David Bowie (University Press) & additional info: "David Bowie, We Could Be Heroes" (Chris Welch, Thunder's Mouth Press)

The Ellis Bowie ticket provided by Bob X. To read Bob's essay on attending the September 24th concert, please click here.


This page designed by PromoSapien

All fotos by Winston Eggleston