post-punk gems, v. 55 — The Weirdos

Happy Wednesday, folks! I’m quite enjoying We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk, which along with Please Kill Me and John Robb’s Punk Rock, comprise a solid trio of punk oral histories. The book’s title is lifted from a song by The Weirdos, who were at it in early ’77, and solidified their reputation at an Orpheum show in a matter of months as the premier LA punk band du jour.

I dig the traces of surf guitar bubbling up in the mix, and the drum style that heralds the use of Burundi drums by so many UK bands in the early 80s. Oddly enough, the aforementioned show coincided with The Damned’s first visit to LA for a string of shows at the Whiskey opening for Television. Now, of course, I have less than half the story, but apparently Tom Verlaine kicked them off the bill, and they were stranded in LA without funds. But yes: a name familiar to anyone living in LA in the 80s: Rodney Bingenheimer was there at the beginning.

Thanks for tuning in!

Coda for “Hitsville, USA” — my talk this past week at the Rock Hall

Happy Sunday, folks! I want again to thank the four dozen or so of you who came out on Thursday for such a delightful event. Andy Leach and his crew know how to put on a good show, so an especial thanks to them.

For the last Sunday of January, I wanted to offer one more selection of one of the primary / secondary texts that made Stealing possible. As Stealing readers know, I also cite 4/23/76 as a key date in punk history, for the reasons noted below–and for the work of Ivan Kral and the key shows by The Heartbreakers at CBGB that weekend.

Jon Savage treats this incident quite smartly in England’s Dreaming, and here’s how Salewicz represents it in Redemption Song:

salewicz

And, of course, the clincher is that CBGB is hosting the a weekend premiere of Ivan Kral’s The Blank Generation, and what I have concluded are the last appearances of Richard Hell with Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers on that three night bill.

All right: back to the snow-shoveling then something in a glass warmly. Cheers!

 

 

(post-) punk gems, v. 54 — Bad Manners’ “Do Nothing”

Oh, man, we had such a good time at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive–which has such a great staff, and I know it’s not their fault, but wouldn’t it be cool if the moniker were a bit more slangy, say “Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame Library’n’Archive”?

rdAnyway: if you tried to tune in, let me offer my apologies. There were technical difficulties, of course, and I’ll post here and on twitter if in fact there is a full recording, and it’s made available. I was hoping to show off my two-tone outfit, complete with silver shark-skin jacket, but I guess the pix that night (more forthcoming) will have to do for now.

On my ska/Specials station on Pandora, I made the acquaintance this week of this unbelievable track: Bad Manners’ version of The Specials’ “Do Nothing” in triple time.

Maybe I might have put the horns up front in the mix (and blended in the guitars a bit lower) on that first section, but otherwise, you can just feel the hot breath of the horn section and Buster Bloodvessel pouring through the speakers. I really adore the punk and post-punk revival of the cover tune, as longtime readers may recall (check out this post).

I hope to be back tomorrow with a section from Thursday’s talk–or something else entirely. Thanks for checking in!

my gig on 22 Jan at the rock hall // how the Boy Scouts inspired my faith in punk

Yes, yes. I’m a wee bit behind, in part because I’m preparing for my gig on Thursday, which you can watch live streaming, apparently — http://rockhall.com/event/Doane/ . The event’s all ready fully booked, so I hope I respond well to the pressure. I’m sure it will be a gas. The talk is called, “Hitsville, USA: How The Clash Broke America and Gave Our Adolescence a Whole Lotta Love,” and will include a review of:

  • how I was inspired by the Boy Scouts of America to become an aficionado of punk
  • the audio territory staked out by WNEW-FM, WPLJ-FM, and WPIX-FM circa 1979
  • punk aesthetics, blackness, and whiteness, and why The Clash were so damned awesome.

I’ll also talk about some of the holdings at the rock hall archive, and reprise some of the book’s themes on analog and digital music fandom. Here’s a pic of me as a Boy Scout (as if Monday mornings weren’t plenty difficult already):

Also: I just found this great article on Sdean of st15011818040 - Version 3WBCN, who were big Clash advocates back in the day (Oedipus, especially). I can hardly wait to track that book down, too.

Happy Monday, and thanks for tuning into K-SAT!

 

(post-) punk gems, v. 53 — Eater

When I did v. 1 of (post-) punk gems, back in 2012, I believe, I had no idea I’d still be at it, 2 1/2 years later, in part because I had scant idea how much great punk (and post-punk) I hadn’t laid me ears on. Certainly, I’ve been aware of most of the tunes on this list for years, but then I’ll comb the footnotes of *Punk Rock,* by John Robb, and discover a band as magnificent as Eater. (And I’m now at an age where I’m not afraid to admit such oversights, thankfully.)

Eater took their name from a T. Rex tune, got out onstage early enough to have The Damned open for them (!), and made the final cut in Don Letts’ Punk Rock Movie.

“Lock It Up” was their 3rd single, from 1977, and didn’t quite get the notoriety of  “Thinkin’ of the USA,” which Mojo magazine included on its “100 Punk Scorchers” back in 2001.

The sound of course is what you’d expect, but Eater held it down, and there’s some real lockin’ in by the rhythm section, and it’s all gorgeous, raw, and imperfect–which is exactly how your band should sound when you’re in high school and it’s 1977.

If you’re in Northeast Ohio and you’re looking for something to husker on 1/22, join me at the Rock Hall Archive/Library for my talk on Stealing All Transmissions. It’ll be a hoot, I promise!

quick check — Paul Morley: a writer’s writer

Oh, it’s been a busy day, and I’m a bit late getting to my weekly Sunday musing. As I noted in last Sunday’s post, I want to connect my Sunday posts to Stealing All Transmissions (the book), and to post something “multi-media” connected to chapter 1 in January, chapter 2 in February, etc.

Perhaps no other writer blew my pea brain into smithereens than Paul Morley in Words and Music: A History of Pop in the Shape of a City (2003) (review here). morleyIt’s a masterful book, and one day I hope to find an afternoon to muster the consideration it deserves. In brief: find a few hours (this is of course after you read my book — haha) to alternate reading the book and sitting in front of youtube, working your way through the lists he provides for each key year in pop, from 1624 through 2001. Then, for the truly dedicated, you can get after the lists at the back of the book on various themes, which I have yet to even crack.

Above all else, Morley gives Kraftwerk their due, and his devotion is profound, and inspired the following passage:

“The source of [Kraftwerk’s] pop, then, was not blues, soul, America, beat, sex, love cliche — it was art, noise, technology, ideas. Their music was a completely new model, based on a fantasy of what pop music might have sounded like had it not begun in the blues, in wood, in anger, in lust, in sexual frenzy, in poverty. What if it began in the avant-garde, in metal, in celebration, in abstract art, in universal awe, in modern comfort laced with psychology anxiety.”
(p. 125)

Chew on that for a spell. For my taste, it doesn’t get much juicier or delightful.

Here’s a more recent piece to get you started on Morley’s handiwork.

And, for those of you looking for news on The Clash or punk, check out this composition, which confirms the alternate history of September 21 I proposed in Stealing All Transmissions.

Cheers!

post-punk gems, v. 52 — Special AKA — “Break Down the Door”

Happy Wednesday, folks!

I’ve got The Clash on my mind after watching this newly released film from Julien Temple (see post below), and just last night I finished up Horace Panter’s Ska’d for Life, his memoir of life as the bassist for The Specials, one of my all-time fave bands. Is there a better band that only released two LPs?  I don’t count *In the Studio* as a Specials’ LP, even though it’s got some fantastic tracks, including this one.

It’s members of The Specials, of course, with Ms. Rhoda Dakar from The Bodysnatchers (a too short-lived Two-Tone combo) and Stan Campbell on lead vocals. The LP also included “Free Nelson Mandela”–which of course got much more airplay on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lunch time is closing in. Thanks for checking out Radio K-SAT. More info on my 22 January appearance at the RocknRoll Hall of Fame archive in Cleveland soon.