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The Music

Fat & Fucked Up

When director Stephen Seemayer was shooting “Young Turks” in 1981, he called on a local art band called Fat & Fucked Up to supply music for the film, and the three musicians — Michael Intriere, Josie Roth and Vetza — improvised the score on camera, becoming a sort of Greek chorus ushering the viewer into and out of the film. In addition, while editing the rough cut, Seemayer brought the “thrash-classical chamber group” into the projection room that he had built in his studio at 851 S. Central Ave. and recorded the trio playing along with some of the scenes that he had assembled. The resulting score is unique and eccentric.

The Dark Bob

In reediting “Young Turks” in 2012, Seemayer and film editor Pamela Wilson decided to give each of the artist profiles its own musical motif. One of the artists, The Dark Bob — of performance art duo Bob & Bob — offered to let the filmmakers use any of his original compositions. It turned out that in the years since “Young Turks” was filmed, he had been churning out the albums, and Wilson had a lot of music to choose from. She used songs from four of his albums, including:

“An Ever Ominous Dream” (1995)
“Kingdom Come” (1999)
“The Sadness of Superman: A Musical Melange for The Man of Steel” (2012)
“Monkey Do” (2012)

From the Middle Eastern earthiness of “Parfectijed (For Everyone)” to the symphonic lushness of “Lex Luthor’s Lair of Liars,” The Dark Bob’s eclectic style lends a great variety to the soundtrack of “Young Turks.”

Party Boys

Donald Dunham, Marnie Weber, Fred Arbegast, Gillean McLeod and James Duck

During the original filming of “Young Turks,” Seemayer shot footage of the punk band Party Boys playing at a produce-district dive called Jacaranda’s Place, where the musicians — Donald Dunham, James Duck, Marnie Weber, Gillean McLeod and Fred Arbegast — made a “stage” by placing sheets of plywood across the tops of several booths. Seemayer filmed a few songs, and when he reviewed the footage, he realized that a snafu with the microphone meant no audio had been recorded. Without sound, Seemayer left the Party Boys sequence on the cutting room floor in the original rough cut. Now the sequence has been restored, using creative editing and one of the Party Boys’ best songs, “Ave Maria.” Several other tracks have also been included in “Young Turks,” all available on the band’s compilation CD, “Party Boys: Ultimate Collection.”

Party Boys lead singer Donald Dunham performing at Jacaranda’s Place circa 1980.

At Jacaranda’s, the raucousness of lead singer Dunham often caused the plywood to collapse during sets in which he and Weber and the other members of the band would jump up and down, pounding on tom toms and other percussion instruments. It was usually at that point that the band would consider the gig over.

Downtown Blues

Linda Frye Burnham, one of the Young Turks and publisher of High Performance magazine, moved into the fifth floor of the Victor Clothing Building at 240 S. Broadway in the 1970s. In 1983, she wrote a wonderful blues number about living in the heart of the city. It’s called “Downtown Blues.” The recording — prominent in the “Young Turks” soundtrack — was produced by The Dark Bob and features Jimmy Townes on guitar. Here are the lyrics:

I’m hungry but there’s nothing open. The kerosene’s all gone.
I woke up this morning and the lights were all still on.
You came in about 4 a.m. with some guys from a leather bar
And now my stereo is broken and I can’t find my car.
You promised me I’d be happy if I moved up here with you.
Now I got the downtown wintertime Sunday morning blues.
The pipes are full of Fixall. The water heater’s broke.
Your grant came in last weekend and you spent it all on coke.
My parents were here on Sunday and my daddy like to died.
My mama sat down on that smelly old couch and she cried & cried & cried.
I promised them they’d be happy if I moved up here with you.
Now they got the downtown wintertime Sunday morning blues.
We’re living off a hot plate. We got roaches we got rats.
It’s so damn cold we watch TV in our mittens and our hats.
The ceiling’s leaking something and I don’t know what it is
But it’s dripping on your brother in that sleeping bag of his.
The elevator’s down again and there won’t be no repairs.
Now you want me to carry drywall up seven flights of stairs.
You know my daddy told me, You need a car if you’re downtown.
I put a Ford in the parking lot: They stripped it to the ground.
I came down here to this local joint just to try to stay alive.
Some guy comes up, puts his hand up my skirt and says, How about 25?
You know I lost everything I ever had. Nothing left to lose
But them downtown wintertime Sunday morning blues.

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