Monday, July 4, 2016

SIXTY, GODDAMMIT: New Album Available Now!

Josh Alan’s first album in 15 years. Atomic acoustic blues-funk-rock. Can you dig it?

SIXTY, GODDAMMIT? Ya damn right.

Track list:

1. This Radio Don’t Play Nothin’ but the Blues
2. Theme from Shaft
3. What’d I Say
4. I’m Blacker Than You
5. Cat’s Squirrel
6. Born Under a Bad Sign
7. Tush
8. Street Fight
9. Down Home Girl
10. Mystery Train
11. Deep River Blues II

Friday, May 15, 2015

B.B. King, 1988

B.B. shared himself with millions—this is but a moment I shared, where he talks about his guitars. From American Way, the in-flight airline magazine, of all places, April 15, 1988.

Photo: Kip Lott

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

TRUTHers Wanted.

Jerry Leiber. Doc Pomus. Ronnie SpectorDr. John. Mose Allison. David "Fathead" Newman. Keith Ferguson. Tommy Shannon. Joel Dorn. Cornell Dupree. Sam Myers. Andrew Baxter Jr. Rick Sikes & the Rhythm Rebels

The classic collection by Josh Alan Friedman returns in a big new edition from Wyatt Doyle Books/New Texture. 

Available NOW in paperback, ebook, and limited edition hardcover.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Josh Alan Brings TRUTH to the Wildcatter Exchange!

The new, definitive edition of Tell the Truth Until They Bleed premieres this month in paperback, ebook, and as a limited edition hardcover. Truth's release coincides with Josh Alan's Wildcatter Exchange appearance at Landers Machine Shop (207 E Broadway Ave., Fort Worth 76104) on Saturday, March 28th at 4 p.m.

For the full schedule of events, visit the Wildcatter Exchange's website, here.


Thursday, March 5, 2015


"When I say they've destroyed New York's old stores, bars, restaurants, hangouts, I'm saying the real estate market has destroyed the sacred watering holes and gathering places of the 20th century."

Click here to watch.

Visit #SaveNYC and do something about it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Je Suis Goldstein!

What we can do in America. Je suis Charlie, from the memory of Screw.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Deeply Moving, Deeply Funny, Deeply Tragic, Absolutely Unique"

Read Tim Sommer's thoughts on Black Cracker in their entirety at The Brooklyn Bugle, here.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bruce Carleton at SCREW

click to enlarge

This double-truck centerfold was a collaboration between myself and Bruce Carleton, Screw’s art director. Carelton was also founding “art director” of Punk Magazine—a local, no-money periodical at the time, but one that would have a profound impact on the culture to this day. Punk—as music, art and movement—seemed to grow out of this publication. John Holmstrom and Legs McNeil founded the mag, but Carleton gave shape to the punk ethic and style, at least in print. Grafitti-inspired lettering and graphics, fumetti and Lower East Side imagery in its post-nuclear glory.

In the late ’70s, Carleton himself lived in a bombed-out tenement run by The Purple Man, a visionary Lower East Side hippie. His rent was $50 a month. A Midwestern Clark Kent of a gent (he even wore the same glasses), this Kansas-born artist was modest and mild-mannered. Not a rat-race runner reaching high ground in New York’s art world, which his talent warranted. And so, one day, without warning, Bruce Carleton vanished. Months passed before we got word at Screw that Carleton had relocated to the jungles of Borneo. Or Jakarta or Burma.

A year later, he returned one afternoon and enchanted us with a photo slide show depicting ancient Buddhist temples and rainforests. And in the middle of it all was Carleton himself, reclining on a hammock with a daiquiri or some cocktail, attended to by Polynesian-type island maidens. The next day, he went back to Borneo, where he stayed for over a decade. He’s now apparently back in Kansas. Carelton’s layouts for my own pieces in Screw—particularly a two-part story on Plato’s Retreat’s Larry Levinson’s record-setting exploits, later to appear in Tales of Times Square—were exquisite.


© 1981, 2014 by Bruce Carleton and Josh Alan Friedman

Monday, May 19, 2014

WANTED! More Readers Like...

From the editor's desk:

The French Connection. The Exorcist. Sorcerer. Cruising. To Live and Die in L.A. Killer Joe.

Pantheon filmmaker William Friedkin does the cover.

Mr. Friedkin's autobiography, The Friedkin Connection, is now available in paperback; order your copy from Dark Delicacies, a fantastic independent bookshop.

Friday, May 9, 2014

"Who Knocked Up Lady Di?" [1982]

Shortly after her marriage to Prince Charles, the Lady in question mysteriously came into the family way, leaving some curious about the origins of the future King of England, Prince William. Editor Richard Jaccoma and I ran this confiscated Royal Communique illustrated by Drew Friedman as the centerfold of Screw #672, Jan. 18, 1982.

There is no doubt that someone on this page was responsible.

The age and binding of the archival copy hampered clean reproduction, leading to some digital reconstruction.

Copyright © 1982, 2014 Drew Friedman

Visit Drew

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Rictus of Death in America

"Dante's Inferno," artwork and photograph © 2014 Nitu N. Daniel

The following appeared in slightly different form in The Dallas Morning News, Sunday April 6, 2014.

I’m willing to wager there are people in insane asylums as a result of dealing with the Social Security Administration. In my mother’s time of need, when she was moved to a nursing home, Social Security cut her off. Finding out why and trying to correct it has opened my eyes to a dysfunctional bureaucracy of systematic torture. It has been a full-time job for nine months. Allow me to share my tale of torment, if you will.

My mother is an 82-year-old American citizen living in Toronto, where she taught acting for the last 20 years. She was a casting director and acting teacher in New York for 20 years before that. A landed immigrant in the great society of Canada. Suffering severe memory loss, the last few years have rendered her unable to carry on her life and work. By September 2013, with terrible sadness, she had to retire to a nursing home in Toronto.

The moment she moved, her Social Security inexplicably stopped. As her oldest son and only advocate, I alerted SS and filled out forms at her Toronto bank during the excruciating weeks of apartment clearing and transition. Letters and phone calls to Social Security went unanswered. I was once left on hold for a half- hour before the line disconnected. It is implied that if you show the slightest bit of irritation they will cut you off. I have endlessly endured those opening three minutes of sickening teleprompts and soul-sucking announcements—a hollow, spinsterly voice on loan from the Women’s Correctional Department.

So I trudged to the Social Security Administration in Dallas, on Central near Royal, and was told to come back with this or that form. This, after taking my ticket and waiting an hour each time. Waiting next to me in the crowded Dallas office were two confused and disgruntled old men. They concurred that the clerks all begin with a presumption of fraud. Understandable. But what about people trying to get their Social Security checks?

During the first two visits they nitpicked at forms, which inevitably had something filled out “wrong.” They rejected my power of attorney papers—which were drawn up in Canada—and said they had to be signed by an American judge. I ended up getting a notary public to sign on top of other notaries public, to authenticate papers that don’t even replicate a notary public’s raised notary in Kinko’s best machines.

Several grinding visits later, I was brushed off by a clerk who for some reason sent me to the IRS. So I trudged to the IRS and was told to return with this or that form. Each visit required a paid parking lot and an hour wait. Since everything was hunky dory, tax-wise, a higher IRS official finally said, “What are you doing here?” She insisted the IRS was independent of Social Security and had nothing to do with my mother’s Social Security check (which, if it existed, would now be her only income). It took three visits to establish this information. Obviously, I am not a tax attorney.

Meanwhile, no explanation was given for why my mother’s checks stopped. This “right to discovery” as it’s known in the American court system, was denied. I was dealing with the old KGB when I pleaded for an explanation as to why her check was cut off. “We can’t tell you,” said each clerk. No matter how many times I made clear that my mother was disabled with dementia, they continually insisted they would have to “speak to her first,” or “could only tell her.” Four voicemails were left by the nursing home, one of them my mom’s own voice stating who she was and that her son takes care of business. Finally, a woman—we’ll call her Mrs. Goldberg—at the Dallas Regional Social Security decided this was “sufficient proof” my mother was alive. It had taken six months before this reason why my mother’s checks stopped was revealed: Social Security said they didn’t know where she was. Never mind the nursing home bills, bank statements and records I displayed.

Mrs. Goldberg represented a breakthrough. A personal contact! The first clerk, after months, to actually look up my case. Mrs. Goldberg! I had found a friend at Social Security. One that would do her job. When she found out I was a writer, she even told me about her husband’s unpublished novel, hinting that maybe I could read it. We even exchanged information about delicatessens. Yes! I’d plow through a mountain of gibberish, heap praise upon Mrs. Goldberg’s husband’s unpublished novel. Just resume my mother’s Social Security.

She agreed to restart my mother’s checks. So began a comedy of errors over the next few months in which endless phone calls were exchanged with Mrs. Goldberg. The labyrinth of bureaucratic hell deepened.

Enter the banks. Four of them in succession. They required doctor’s letters (which are like trying to extract blood), more notaries, forms out the kazoo. I had already done all this at my mother’s Toronto bank. After which they wouldn’t accept American funds by direct deposit. Only a physical check. But Social Security wouldn’t send a physical check to Canada, only direct deposit. When accounts were established, two banks rejected the back benefits that finally arrived. If one bank would agree to something, Social Security would not. And vice versa. Each was oblivious to the other’s protocol. As if the banks and Social Security colluded to sabotage any option for deposit.

Yet the Social Security Administration has offices in U.S. embassies around the world. They are accustomed to direct deposits for Americans who reside in other countries. And Toronto is as close to the U.S. as it gets. Finally, an efficient Chase Bank official provided a special account copacetic with Social Security. Mrs. Goldberg was happy to report the money was finally sent. But apparently not to my mother’s account. All my mother’s residual back payments went to someone else’s account. To whom, Mrs. Goldberg doesn’t know.

Oh, Mrs. Goldberg, are you an innocent nincompoop, or part of some insidious conspiracy to defraud elders in order to cut back the budget? You were to be my angel of mercy. But you turned out to wear the rictus of death. How many elderly have perished in penury by your dyslexic hand?

The Social Security Act was signed by FDR in 1935, part of the New Deal, a payroll tax my mother paid into for decades. But today, they are there to oppose, to frustrate into exhaustion and defeat.

Mrs. Goldberg is presumably under the direction of one Sheila Everett, Regional Commissioner for Dallas. There are 1,400 such regional and field offices in the U.S. From Social Security’s website: “...we are ‘the face of the government.’ The rich diversity of our employees mirrors the public we serve.” The Social Security Administration is requesting $12 billion from the budget for administration expenses in 2015. But they don’t provide emails or take calls. And Commissioner Everett didn’t respond to letters about such matters as my mother. She’s too busy running Social Security.

© 2014 Josh Alan Friedman

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Write & Fight (in honor of Terry Southern)

click image to play video

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Josh Alan on THE RIALTO REPORT's Salute to Al Goldstein

Friedman talks Goldstein on the Rialto Report's latest podcast, "Al Goldstein: Screw, Midnight Blue, and Fuck You"

Per Josh Alan, Goldstein's (auto)biographer for I, Goldstein: “This is a documentary unto itself, seeking full production on the Oprah channel.”

Click to listen / download.

Friday, January 31, 2014

"Crackers and Bagels": Josh Alan Interviewed on Virtual Memories

"Crackers and Bagels"

“I want my list of works to be lean and mean and everything was urgent and had to be done. Nothing to play the market. My family’s had to suffer for that, that I haven’t done commercial jobs just to bring home the bacon.”

Virtual Memories host Gil Roth shares a cup of coffee with Josh Alan at the Cafe Edison in Times Square; Josh takes his black. Recorded January 2014.

Click to listen / download.

Photo: Gil Roth

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Josh Alan on MR. MEDIA!

"You Can Kiss Josh Alan Friedman's Big Black Ass"

Josh Alan interviewed by Bob Andelman, Mr. Media. Al Goldstein, Weasels Ripped My Flesh!, Olde Times Square, Black Cracker, plus two new songs: "(You Can Kiss) My Big Black Ass" (@ 0:44) and "This Radio Don't Play Nothin' But the Blues" (@ 1:11:30).

Click to watch / download.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Josh Alan Remembers Al Goldstein

"As the ‘Screw’ turns: Josh Alan Friedman recalls his long tenure under pornographer Al Goldstein," from the Dallas Morning News. Click to read.

photo: Young Al Goldstein at his Bar Mitzvah

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Red Lights and Black Humor": Street Carnage Talks With Josh

"In the old Times Square neighborhood — there were boxers from the old days and the burlesque joints. You’d meet guys in the ’80s who had been boxers back in the 1920s or 1930s. Demented young starlets; sitting side by side with old decayed boxers and old men. It was a great dichotomy that I always loved."

"Red Lights and Black Humor: An Interview With Josh Alan Friedman," on Street Carnage.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Happy 131st Birthday, Bela.

To watch on YouTube, click above. For higher quality video and audio,
click below to watch on Vimeo.

From THE WORST! Josh Alan's original musical based on the life of Ed Wood.

THE WORST! is available on CD and digital download from CD Baby. Click here to purchase.

© 1994, 2013 Josh Alan Friedman

Video by Wyatt Doyle, with artwork by Drew Friedman (from WARTS AND ALL by Drew Friedman and Josh Alan Friedman). Visit

Monday, July 15, 2013

Josh Alan back in the studio!

"My next album finally just began."

Photo copyright © 2013 Josh Alan Friedman

Monday, July 1, 2013

WANTED! More Readers Like...

From the editor's desk:

The voice and architect of Wall of Voodoo. The man who brought "Camouflage" out of the bush and taught Rumble Fish to swim. Storyteller troubadour extraordinaire. And the best thing to happen to Mexican Radio since Vicente Fernandez.

Stan Ridgway does the cover.

Mr. Ridgway will appear at McCabe's in Santa Monica Saturday, July 27. Git yer tickets here, while you can. His latest release is Mr. Trouble.

For music, merch and all things Stan, visit

Black Cracker is available NOW; signed copies are available here.

Photo copyright © 2013 Wyatt Doyle

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Help Save a Great Independent Bookstore

From the editor's desk:

Mystery and Imagination Bookshop needs our help.

You'll recall Mystery and Imagination as the Glendale, CA bookshop where Josh Alan appeared not long ago, performing a special birthday set for the great Twilight Zone writer George Clayton Johnson. In addition to its first-class selection of new and used books, the shop has long served as a unique hub for both writers and book lovers, offering frequent signings, readings and fiction workshops that connect brilliant talents with their readers and fans. In addition to Josh Alan and George, Mystery and Imagination has  hosted Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan, Earl Hamner, Jr., Ray Harryhausen and many others.

Josh Alan performs in Mystery and Imagination's intimate upper alcove.

It's where Frank Black (aka Black Francis of The Pixies) got his signed copy of Black Cracker...

...and it's where you can still get yours.

Today, the shop is in crisis, with less than a week to raise the money they need to keep the lights on. Your purchases can help save the store, and the shop is asking for your help.

We've lost far too many great independent bookstores in recent years. Whether in person or online, please support Mystery and Imagination.

Mystery and Imagination Bookshop 
238 North Brand Boulevard 
Glendale, CA 91203 
(818) 545-0206

From the bookshop's staircase wall, home to graffiti from visiting luminaries.

photos copyright © 2010, 2013 Wyatt Doyle

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bruce Jay and Josh Alan, on Isaac Singer's favorite bench (around Broadway & 82nd).

Photo copyright © 2013 Josh Alan Friedman

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Peep Show Girls of 1982" (Part II)

Peep shows were the meat-and-potatoes attraction of Times Square, like slot machines in Las Vegas. Ghetto girls subwayed in from the boroughs for hard cash tips, one filthy dollar at a time. A pipeline of girls from Eastern Europe added to the merriment, before the Iron Curtain fell.

Depraved, pathological? Lighten up, Charlie, don’t get all academic. Overt racist caricature, you say? J’accuse! Go ahead, if that makes your day. You might consider that brother Drew doesn’t make white people look too pretty, either. But I witnessed poor womenfolk at Show World revolving on platforms in their ninth month of pregnancy. My usually taboo–defying editor, Jeffrey Goodman, at High Society’s line of mens mags, balked at running this comic strip. And so this Times Square sitcom ended after two episodes. I hereby present “Ubangi Our Wangi” for the first time ever.

"Ubangi Our Wangi" by Josh Alan Friedman and Drew Friedman
(click images to enlarge; click twice to maximize view)

Copyright © 1982, 2012 Josh Alan Friedman, Drew Friedman. Visit Drew

And for further enlightenment, here’s a 1981 Show World vignette from Midnight Blue, that I produced with my associate, Richard Jaccoma:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Peep Show Girls of 1982" (Part I)

Upon Ed Koch’s election as Mayor of New York on Jan. 1, 1978, the glass partitions of Times Square peep shows began to disappear. The “Peep-Alive” mechanisms, which utilized a worm gear to raise the shade, had their glass windows removed. This allowed for bodily contact or abbreviated prostitution through the portholes. All hell broke loose. Mayor Beame, who had personally padlocked the front entrance of Show World, had retired.

For me, this was Mayor Koch’s greatest legacy, which went unmentioned in his New York Times obit. So in honor of his passing, here is Part I of an obscure Friedman Bros. series on Olde New York. It ran in High Society Live in 1982. Part of a monthly section assigned to me called “New York: The Wrong Side of Town.” Koch said at the time, “You’d have to be insane to love West 42nd Street.” Well, what’s not to love?

"Peep Show Girls of 1982" by Josh Alan Friedman and Drew Friedman
(click images to enlarge; click twice to maximize view)

Copyright © 1982, 2012 Josh Alan Friedman, Drew Friedman. 

Visit Drew

Sunday, January 20, 2013


From the editor's desk:

Regular readers of this blog likely need no introduction to the wild world of vintage men's adventure magazines. Josh Alan has written extensively on the subject here, in the books Men's Adventure Magazines and It's a Man's World and elsewhere.

But the focus of this new book emphasizes an essential aspect of the magazines inexplicably never given its due until now: the magazines' stories.

And so, six decades, countless man hours and hundreds of weasels later, we proudly present Weasels Ripped My Flesh! Two-Fisted Stories From Men's Adventure Magazines of the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Collecting 22 stories by master scribes from three decades of men's adventure writing — most of which haven't seen print since their original publication — Weasels Ripped My Flesh! supplements them with interviews, commentary and reminiscences by the original authors, plus iconic illustrations and wacky magazine advertising from the mags.

Weasels Ripped My Flesh! is your paperback passport to this all but forgotten era of American letters.

To learn more or to buy your copy today, visit the book's official website here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Race Record Ramblings: Gene Casey and The Lone Sharks

Untrained by Gene Casey and The Lone Sharks

Gene Casey is in the driver’s seat with a disc that should wear out jukeboxes across the country. There are no A or B sides—all are sure to be first-rate coin cullers at the jukes. Let it be said at first, the man has a great voice. And the guy knows how to make a record. So does his band, The Lone Sharks.

Kicking off this platter is an autobiographical ditty, “I Think About Elvis Every Day.” He wonders what Presley might say, although about what doesn’t matter. Good riff and holler. They may never let Casey sing “Come Home with Me” on The Ed Sullivan Show (without changing to come out). But “Cadillac For Sale” is a road song that should make inroads at diners and gas stops along Route 66. The tracks also have a dramatic Spector-like drama that cries out for inclusion in movie soundtracks.

Gene Casey’s lower baritone vocals are his strongest weapon, his voice a picture-book blend between Ernest Tubb and Ronnie Spector. With a subtle hint of Lennon. Maybe he was born with golden pipes, but the lyrical diction Casey has developed comes from the ages. He knows how to deliver lyrics, has a good way with vowels and does killer background vocals. (Dig the way he enunciates a “soft p” on “Gone Hollywood,” a cut from his 2008 masterwork, What Happened.)

This may be esoteric praise, but to the masses, Casey is the premier barroom troubador of Eastern Long Island. That includes Montauk, the Hamptons on up to Riverhead and any town with an Indian name. But there’s no doubt he would sweep the Sons of Herman Hall crowd in Dallas off their feet, not to mention The Broken Spoke in Austin. A few $50 handshakes from Morris Levy or Don Roby would secure heavy rotatation in Southern radio markets (and reap teen coin amongst both bobby soxers and aging intellectuals alike).

As a guitarist, Casey has refined the Duane Eddy single-note lead line. But this album isn’t about showoff picking. Americana (which categorizes real music they don’t play on commercial radio) is rarely done with such exquisite taste and production. Untrained squares favorably against the latest Johnny Cash, Johnny Burnette or Junior Brown.

copyright 2012 Josh Alan Friedman

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Keith Richards Goes to the Dentist"

In recognition of the worldwide celebration of The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary—an occasion almost too good to be true—I present this primitive comic strip, which ran in High Times, Feb. 1981. The World’s Greatest Band contains two geniuses, and such grand, fantastical characters, that we are blessed to still have them on earth. But, being Englishmen, there once was this problem with their teeth. I sometimes wondered why The Rolling Stones didn’t have a cartoon series on Saturday morning television, like The Beatles. Perhaps it could have gone down like this:

(click images to enlarge)

Copyright © 1981, 2012 Josh Alan Friedman, Drew Friedman. 

Visit Drew