Factory workers, including (top row, in front of the Jackson Pollocks) Paul Morrissey, Edie Sedgwick and Gerard Malanga, and (middle row), Danny Williams, Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison and John Cale, December 1965. Photograph: Nat Finkelstein
In which we explore a few of Minnesota’s many fantastic art offerings. Let’s take a trip through the Twin Cities!
Featuring the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Soo Visual Art Center, Soap Factory, Law Warschaw Gallery at Macalester College, Burnet Gallery at Le Meridien Hotel, and Walker Art Center.
You can’t celebrate Sonic without celebrating his long term rival. Here’s on officially licensed remix from the people at Sega that has been absent from this blog for too long.
This is an electronic rock remix of the vocal Eggman theme song song from Sonic Adventure 2, featured in the game Shadow the Hedgehog. Interestingly enough, this is when Bentley Jones was working with the Remix Factory under the handle “Lee Brotherton”. While I definitely love how this remix gives the song an even more powerful industrial feel that it deserves, I could do without the part that says “Eggman” in a warbled and indistinguishable way. I’m surprised Bentley didn’t try to sing in this remix, might have made it better…
Please support the original release. Buy a copy of the “Lost and Found: Shadow the Hedgehog Vocal Trax” album.
And now I shall begin some gun stories where I look at an old gun and give you all history of it. And today is a fun one as a start off.
This gun is a Davis Industries P-380 pistol. It’s chambered in .380 ACP/9mm Kurz and is a relatively common sight in gunshops, pawn shops and police evidence lockers. But how does a gun this small that retails for around $50 bucks become one of the most infamous pocket pistols in the world? By being in one of the most insane weapon manufacturing schemes in US history.
Saturday Night Special, Suicide Special, Mouse Gun, these pocket pistols are called many things and are made by many manufacturers. But most of these manufacturers were set up in a 40 mile radius and all by members of one single family. These companies managed to in one year make around 685,934 pocket pistols, over 30% of the US handgun production at the time and 80% of .25, .32 and .380 ACP pistol production in the US. And for a lot of pro-gun control people, these guns were hated as they had “statistically” more likely to be used in crime due to their low cost and small size. That didn’t save them from being some of the lowest quality guns in US history.
This story begins in the 1960’s with Rohm, a company I’ve covered before and will spare time on. Rohm was a German manufacturer who made cheap revolvers in a number of calibers who became infamous for cheap cost and varying quality and were used in a slew of crimes, including the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981. During making of the Gun Control Act of 1968, Rohm guns and similar low cost, low quality pistols were effectively banned.
Enter George Jennings, a machinist who made aircraft parts in California who’s one friend owned a pawn shop and was complaining to George about his line of cheap imported pistols being cut off. Spending around $50,000 tooling up, the first company of Raven Arms was opened for buisness in 1970. With a design by factory foreman Paul Jiminez, George Jennings devised a plan.
First his son Bruce Jennings would set up Jennings Firearm in 1978, then her daughter and husband Gail and Jim Davis would set up Davis Industries in 1982. With this set-up, each company made a different version of the basic MP-25 in a different caliber. George’s made it in .25 ACP, Bruce’s made the .22 LR version and Davis made the .380 ACP version. With this began a sort of feud between the three for who would make more money and to crush anyone who tried to edge into the market.
For example, John Davis, brother to Jim Davis split from the two in 1987 after a number of arguments and tried to form a company named Sedco Industries and while trying to make a version of the .22 LR version, was hit by a whopping $45 Million dollar lawsuit by the Ring Of Fire Trio for copying the Jennings design and “stealing corporate secrets” and effectively closed up in 1989.
Another was Sundance Industries, set up by George Jenning’s nephew. Sundance guns were usually the Raven Arms and Jennings guns fitted with a laser sight and made from Zamak. This company chugged along before folding in 2002.
The 90’s saw the “Ring Of Fire” empire begin to fall. The Raven Arms factory caught fire and burned down in 1991. George Jennings retired and set up Phoenix Arms in 1992 with shares owned by effectively every member of the Jennings house including wife, grand kids and cousins. At this time, a friend of Jennings from high school John Waldorf, snubbed John Davis from the ruins of Sedco and founded Lorcin. Lorcin, still in the Ring Of Fire, made a wide variety of guns off of the MP-25’s design in a number of calibers including 9mm, .32, .380 and the infamous Lorcin L-22, famed for firing if dropped due to the small space between the trigger bar and the sear. This led to a whopping 18 law suits in the 1990’s and the company that managed to become 1993’s largest handgun manufacturer in the US crumbled in 1998.
The next member was Jennings, who merged into Bryco and made most other models from the other companies, with guns made in Irvine, California marked Jennings while ones at Costa Mesa and Carson City marked Bryco. With these, the Saturday Night Special continued until 2003 when a law case in Oakland, California caused them to pay $24 million dollars in damages. The case involved at the time 7-year-old Brandon Maxfield who was accidentally shot by a 20-year-old family member who was unloading his Bryco Arms Model 38 and this settlement showed off a lethal design flaw with the gun. The gun could misfeed and to hide this, Bryco made the manual say that the safety was to be placed in the “fire” position when checking the chamber or chambering a round and in the case of Maxfield, left him paralyzed.
The final company is one of the 2 “Ring of Fire” companies still in production, Jiminez Arms. Former factory foreman Paul Jiminez bought all the molds and tooling of the failed Bryco and renamed it Jiminez Arms. He renamed all the designs to JA and has been pumping out similar quality guns from Costa Mesa since 2004. Phoenix Arms also is still in buisness in Ontario, California, pumping out .22 LR and .25 ACP pistols at a cheap price.
And that is the “Ring Of Fire”. Almost 5-6 companies within a span of 40 miles of Los Angeles, some of the biggest handgun producers in the US and one of the most dangerous guns ever made. So if you see one in a gun shop used rack or a pawn shop, remember what this says and just skip over to a Ruger or Kel-Tec subcompact. And now you know why tiny subcompacts are called “Saturday Night Specials”. It was all due to a man, his family and millions of cheap compact pistols.
John, Paul, and Jim McCartney: “—and in the end he chose me.” (a supplemental timeline)
[Paul] liked it with daddy and the brother… and obviously missed his mother. And his dad was the whole thing. Just simple things: he wouldn’t go against his dad and wear drainpipe trousers. And his dad was always trying to get me out of the group behind me back, I found out later. He’d say to George: “Why don’t you get rid of John, he’s just a lot of trouble. Cut your hair nice and wear baggy trousers,” like I was the bad influence because I was the eldest, so I had all the gear first usually.
So Paul was always like that. And I was always saying, “Face up to your dad, tell him to fuck off. He can’t hit you. You can kill him [laughs], he’s an old man.” I used to say, “Don’t take that shit off him.” Because I was always brought up by a woman, so maybe it was different. But I wouldn’t let the old man treat me like that. He treated Paul like a child all the time, cut his hair and telling him what to wear, at seventeen, eighteen.
But Paul would always give in to his dad. His dad told him to get a job, he fucking dropped the group and started working on the fucking lorries, saying, “I need a steady career.” We couldn’t believe it. So I said to him—my Aunt Mimi reminded me of this the other night—he rang up and said he’d got this job and couldn’t come to the group. So I told him on the phone, “Either come or you’re out.” So he had to make a decision between me and his dad then, and in the end he chose me. But it was a long trip.
— John Lennon, interview w/ Peter McCabe and Robert Schonfeld. (September, 1971)
(Note: I originally posted this on Livejournal some months ago, and figured it would be of reasonable interest and relevance here. The circumstances leading up to John’s implicit “Jim or me” ultimatum are as they have been presented in Mark Lewisohn’s The Beatles: All These Years – Tune In (2013), and I have included supplemental quotes from the same. The arguably fannish editorial focus and general contextual embroidery is mine.)