The Pogues were my entry point into punk. They caused a massive shift in my understanding of music: they made my growing up to play the mandolin, tenor banjo and bodhran feel cool. The music I played needn't be something from the past. As much as I loved and continue to adore traditional Irish tunes, The Pogues showed 15-year-old me that there was new life in the tunes I knew; new themes to explore. Discovering A Pair of Brown Eyes, Thousands are Sailing and The Broad Majestic Shannon kicked open other musical doors for me. It wasn't too long until my Discman was pushing The Waterboys, The Levellers, Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span into my skull.
I've got fond memories of The Pogues Live at the Town and Country. When I was 18, I skipped my high school prom in favor of shipping off to Halifax. I'd fallen in love with a girl there, the summer previous. She was waiting for me. The relationship smouldered itself out, as flames that burn too hot, too fast, often do. Before we parted ways, she bought Live at the Town and Country on VHS for me as a birthday gift.
I watch it and listened to it until there was nothing left of that tape. Read the rest
High priestess of punk poetry Patti Smith assaults us with her epic 1975 jam "Land" in this trailer for her new concert documentary "Horses: Patti Smith and her Band," celebrating 40 years of her seminal album. The documentary screens tonight as part of the Tribeca Film Festival and the band performs following the movie. Wow.
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The Cramps got together in the same year I was born. I didn't discover them until I was 15 years old: the kindly middle-aged punk who ran a record shop in my hometown told me to check them out or he'd lay a whooping on me. I've never been so happy to have been afraid for my life: their love of trashy 1950's pulp culture, pinups and catchy surf guitar licks never fails to make me happy. Also, the band's guitarist, Poison Ivy, had some of the best damn hair in the history of music. I'll fight you on that.
The Cramps played, in one form or another, until the band's lead singer, Lux Interior, died of heart failure in 2009.
From the New York Times:
In 1979 the Cramps were guest D.J.’s on WPIX-FM in New York, spinning records by Wanda Jackson, the Electric Prunes, Herbie Duncan and other vintage rockabilly and garage acts. Lux Interior was asked by one of the station personalities about the music.
Taken aback by the question, he replied: “Rock ’n’ roll has absolutely nothing to do with music. It’s much more than music. Rock ’n’ roll is who you are. You can’t call the Cramps music. It’s noise, rockin’ noise.”
Naked Girl Falling Down the Stairs is from their self-produced album, Flamejob, released in 1994. It was the first record of theirs I bought. I had the chorus from the song stuck in my head for weeks. At school, in bed at night. Read the rest
The Damned are responsible for a number of ear worms that routinely refuse to leave me alone. Formed the same year as I was born, they were raw, angry and too much fun. New Rose has been on constant rotation in my head, both as part of my internal soundtrack and while playing on my headphones for close to three decades. So, you can imagine my delight to find that The Guardian recently took a deep dive into how The Damned got together, wrote and recorded New Rose.
It's a longer read, but a good one. Read the rest
Mark E. Smith, the inscrutable and inimitable poet frontman of UK post-punk band The Fall has died. He was 60. Read the rest
At the MTV Movie Awards in 1995, The Ramones played a medley of the five nominees for "Best Song from a Movie."
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"Big Empty" by Stone Temple Pilots — The Crow
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" by Elton John — The Lion King
"Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" by Urge Overkill — Pulp Fiction
"I'll Remember" by Madonna — With Honors
"Regulate" by Warren G — Above the Rim
In 1977, the Sex Pistols did a charity gig to raise money for the families of striking miners and firefighters in Huddersfield; the show started at lunchtime with an all-kid audience, and went on into the night, with adult punks showing up later in the day.
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Last year, when 45 was elected to office, Amanda Palmer told The Guardian that "frightening political climates make for really good, real, authentic art," and that "Donald Trump is going to make punk rock great again."
Well, she was right.
Blondie's new music video for its song "Doom or Destiny" is a great example. It features Debbie Harry and Joan Jett as cunt mug-carrying anchors for news of the "impending apocalypse:"
Described by Debbie Harry as, “The most openly political video Blondie has ever done,” the cut and paste punk tribute was directed by friend of the band Rob Roth and inspired by the current state of the world. “In trying times we try harder,” adds Blondie co-founder Chris Stein, “politics have become the new pop culture phenomena."...
As well as endless feminist slogans and an appearance from a familiar-looking sock puppet President, a delightful weather report for the rest of December includes soaring temperatures coinciding with an asteroid impact on the 29th, seven plagues on the 30th and thermonuclear war in time for NYE, before things spiral into total nuclear winter with lows of -27 before we steadily move into a state of post history. Oh well. Nasty women unite!
The song is from Blondie's most recent album, Pollinator.
Thanks, Simon! Read the rest
Oh, William Shatner, you have brought us much joy over the years with all your awkward spoken-word interpretations of popular songs. Now, you're covering The Cramps' "Garbageman" and, well, we're still amused.
Well if you can't dig me, you can't dig nothin'
Do you want the real thing, or are you just talkin'?
Do you understand?
I'm your garbageman
Bill's Cramps' cover was recorded for the forthcoming Covered in Punk box set by novelty song radio personality, the one and only Dr. Demento.
Over two-full hours, a total of 64 tracks—all created specifically for “Dr. Demento Covered in Punk”!
Both the two-disc CD, or three-disc vinyl LP come with an equally entertaining full-color booklet jam-packed with extensive liner notes and quotes personally written by the artists, a foreword by producer John Cafiero (Misfits, Ramones, Osaka Popstar), an Afterword by Dr. Demento, as well as facts, photos, and an array of dynamic paintings and illustrations created specifically for the project by a team of visual artists spanning the world of comic books, classic punk-rock album covers, Topps Trading card series, Mad Magazine and more.
Joined by everyone from the Misfits, Joan Jett, Fred Schneider of the B52s, to “Weird Al” Yankovic, the late Adam “Batman” West (in one of his final performances), and Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner—(to name just a few), the Doctor is in…and he’s ‘Covered in Punk’!!
Pre-order it now (release date is January 2018).
Side note: The vinyl looks a bit like spin art:
(Dangerous Minds) Read the rest
"Dü You Remember?" is a new five-part podcast telling the story of Hüsker Dü, the Minneapolis punk band that paved the way for Nirvana, The Pixies, Foo Fighters, and really the entire realm of alternative rock. The podcast features interviews with Bob Mould, Greg Norton, and, yes, Grant Hart, who died last month, and other punk peers like Henry Rollins and Babes in Toyland's Lori Barbero. The podcast is pegged on the Numero Group label's release of Savage Young Dü, a lavish box set documenting the band's early years.
"We were huge music fans. We were students. We took everything in. We made it our own unique voice, and I think it changed the world for a select group of people. It certainly did not change the entire world of pop music, but I think for people who were affected by it, there was nothing before and after. It was that band."--Bob Mould
Listen to the rest of the series: "Dü You Remember? A podcast about Hüsker Dü" Read the rest
The Sex Pistols' seminal punk masterpiece "Never Mind the Bollocks" was unleashed forty years ago tomorrow. Over at Rolling Stone, Johnny "Rotten" Lydon and original bassist Glen Matlock break down the album track-by-track:
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Matlock: Around the summertime, we were rehearsing and once again I said, "Does anybody got any ideas?" And I had a go at Steve, 'cause I felt I was pushing the band along a bit, but that time he had something, which wasn't much. And he said, "Why don't you come up with something?" And I had half an idea for a big overture, and I just started playing that descending chord progression and everybody picked up on it and said, "Where's it go next?" And I sort of geared it as we went along. John, it happened, had a bag of lyrics – just sheets of paper in a plastic bag – and he pulled something out and he said, "I've been waiting for you to come up with something because I've got this idea." Everybody had been talking about this guy, Jamie Reid, who did our artwork, and he was a bit of an agitprop kind of guy about anarchy. And John had written these lyrics.
Rotten: I have always thought that anarchy is mind games for the middle class. It's a luxury. It can only be afforded in a democratic society, therefore kind of slightly fucking redundant. It also offers no answers and I hope in my songwriting I'm offering some kind of answer to a thing, rather than spitefully wanting to wreck everything for no reason at all, other than it doesn't suit you.
Photo: Andrew Moxom
Grant Hart, the drummer and co-songwiter/vocalist for pioneering psychedelic punk band Hüsker Dü, has died from cancer at age 56. Our thoughts go out to Hart's family and former bandmates. Hüsker Dü was the first club show I ever attended and their music meant a lot to me throughout my life. Hart's music and impact on underground culture will not be forgotten. From a post by Hart's Hüsker Dü bandmate Bob Mould:
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It was the Fall of 1978. I was attending Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. One block from my dormitory was a tiny store called Cheapo Records. There was a PA system set up near the front door blaring punk rock. I went inside and ended up hanging out with the only person in the shop. His name was Grant Hart.
The next nine years of my life was spent side-by-side with Grant. We made amazing music together. We (almost) always agreed on how to present our collective work to the world. When we fought about the details, it was because we both cared. The band was our life. It was an amazing decade.
We stopped working together in January 1988. We went on to solo careers, fronting our own bands, finding different ways to tell our individual stories. We stayed in contact over the next 29 years — sometimes peaceful, sometimes difficult, sometimes through go-betweens. For better or worse, that’s how it was, and occasionally that’s what it is when two people care deeply about everything they built together.
In 1979, Hüsker Dü played their first show, paving the way for Nirvana, The Pixies, Foo Fighters, and really the entire realm of alternative rock. I have a special love for the band as they were my first club show, back in 1985 or so. (My first concert was Styx and, yes, that was amazing too.) Over the years I've become friends with Bob Mould who is a very warm, funny, earnest, and mellow gentleman. Of course Bob didn't sound mellow back when he, Grant Hart, and Greg Norton were making the ferocious music heard on this new 4xLP box set (and CD set) of Hüsker Dü's early material.
From the Numero Group label, Savage Young Dü contains 69 tracks, 47 of which have never been issued, and 108-page hardbound book of photos, flyers, session details, and deep liner notes. Yes, Bob, Grant, and Greg were all on board with this release. No, they absolutely will not reunite for any live shows.
And in case you missed it, here's a classic Boing Boing Video/Remedy Editorial performance and interview from 2014: "Bob Mould: An Old Punk Kicks New Ass"
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"I would hate to be thought of that we didn't think about things, y'know?" said Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison. "But I think our music is really meant to be felt as much as anything." Read the rest
The Los Angeles punk and skate scenes of the mid-1980s produced a brief, shining moment of total badassery in the form of The Hags, a now-legendary all-girl skateboard gang that prowled Hollywood and West LA. Bust magazine takes a loving look back. Read the rest