I’m just going to park this one here without comment and run away.
I’m just going to park this one here without comment and run away.
From Mick Middles’ 1994 documentary on The Fall’s early years.
I nearly spit out my coffee when I watched Mr. Smith’s spot-on impersonation of Courtney Love.
I don’t think the perpetually drunken Mancunian elf-lord had much love for Los Angeles, either.
With thanks to Xela Ttun!
If the 2012 election went on for even one more day than scheduled, I seriously think that I would just spontaneously burst into flames. Wednesday can’t come fast enough. I’m sure many of you reading this feel the same way. Probably the vast majority of Americans, but not just Americans, are sick of hearing about it.
So it looks like Obama is going to win in a squeaker. All everyone has to do now is vote.
Me? I keep getting asked “Why haven’t you written any of your political rants lately?” Like I say, I’m bored to death of the whole election topic, but in brief, if Obama wins a second term, I would certainly prefer that. However, if by whatever kind of electoral chicanery Mitt Romney would “win,” well, I think Oliver Stone put it very succinctly to Buzzfeed’s Michael Hastings:
“I guess if I was another kind of personality, I would say I’d vote for Romney because it’ll wreck it faster. And you know, we’re going to go down, but it’s going to be faster, and maybe that’s better. Maybe we should just bankrupt the whole fucking thing.”
I’m a fairly dyed in the wool Marxist, myself, and so I tend to see history and current events through that sort of lens. Even the worst news is still (kinda) good news when you look at things that way…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to vote for Obama. I’m one of those kinds of people who would spend ten hours waiting in line to vote, too—and I will very happily be casting a ballot for my congresswoman here in Los Angeles, Rep. Karen Bass—but I am largely indifferent to him. Obama could have taken on the banks, he didn’t. His record on civil liberties is not great, but he’s got one thing that sees the Democrat ticket topper get my vote every time:
He’s not a fucking Republican.
Jello Biafra as the president of the United States in Lovedolls Superstar, occupying an empty office adjacent to SST/Global, 1985. Photograph by Jordan Schwartz
After the recent release of We Got Power!: Hardcore Punk Scenes from 1980s Southern California, a compendium of the landmark 1980s ‘zine, co-creator David Markey answered a few questions for Amber Frost. (You can read my previous review here.)
AF: How did you go about compiling the essays (and essayists) for the book? I’m sure people have spread out quite a bit since the 80s.
Markey: By simply looking at the subjects in the photos, thankfully we were in touch with a lot of them. A few had moved to far away lands, some remained close friends; people that we’ve worked with on various projects over the years. Facebook came in handy with tracking a couple of them down.
AF: When you first started We Got Power! Did you have a concept that you were documenting a movement at the time?
Markey: We were definitely inspired by what was going down. 1981 was just one of those years, there was a collective energy going on. It was an incredibly dense time for music and bands in Southern California. Looking back on it, it was actually a very eclectic scene. It just wasn’t one kind of music really, but it all came together out of a necessity. Whether you were Fear or the Suburban Lawns; The Descendents or The Gun Club.
AF: There’s a bit in the Cameron Jaime essay that really stuck with me:
We all know about the nihilistic violence and rage the kids felt against their parents, schools, cops, and society at large. But I’m surprised at how rarely popular culture and humor are discussed as a major drive in the development of hardcore punk attitudes and aesthetics
I remember realizing as a punk (right around the 2000s), I wouldn’t have reduced my identity to “rage”, but that others did. Do you think there was a cognitive dissonance between how the kids identified themselves at the time and how music history has come to perceive them?
Markey: You have to go back and look at the environment of the early eighties in Los Angeles. At the time, you were fighting the tide by being into this music and scene. You were asking for trouble in a way, even if that was not necessarily your intent.
Many were threatened by this music. The local media went out of their way to paint this scene as violent and destructive. This lead to the now infamous anti-punk episodes of the popular TV shows “Chips” and “Quincy.”
Daryl Gates’ LAPD too had it in big time for the punks, and also the Baby Boomers who had a stranglehold on the music business at the time. Not only that but rednecks in Cameros, who seemed to enjoy yelling “Devo” at us.
I think maybe we saw all this and decided that humor was the great equalizer. I think it’s better to get someone to laugh and hopefully that will lead to some sort of enlightenment, rather than beat someone over the head with some heavy handed political agenda.
Left to Right, Greg Ginn, Henry Rollins, and Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag, SST Phelan office, on Phelan St. in Redondo Beach. Photograph by David Markey.
AF: “Punk is dead” has been bandied about forever. What do you think when reviews of the book start out with lines like, “In 1979, punk was over . . . but by 1981, hardcore was born.”?
Markey: That line was actually penned first by our editor, Ian Christe. It was great working with him. I think his input to the project was invaluable. I actually considered it “Hardcore Punk”, as we were definitely informed by the Class of ‘77 which had already came and went. We were the next generation of LA Punk.
I think we were maybe trying to expand on what was considered “punk”. Which you know for many just was a style, a look. A Mohawk. A safety pin through the cheek. I think perhaps we were trying to go deeper than the surface, the cosmetic. We were trying to bring it into our lives in a more meaningful way. I wasn’t about wearing manufactured “Anarchy” T-shirts, but I understood how important “no rules” was, especially when there became a more strict definition within the scene itself.
AF: The aesthetic for We Got Power! Is a visual staple for ‘zines at this point- the collages, cartoons, type/image balance, etc- what were your visual inspirations at the time?
Markey: I had done Xerox publications prior to this as a kid with a neighborhood newspaper. I used an electric typewriter and Letra-set rub-off letters. I also think this is where the mazes and word puzzle games were coming from. As a kid I was really into Mad Magazine and early Saturday Night Live. I loved movies like Harold and Maude and Kentucky Fried Movie.
AF: There’s an editorial in the first issue that ends with “Yes, it is true, people with long hair can share the “punk attitude”. The scene is reserved for no one. Everyone is eligible. Everyone counts”. Was “punk policing” much of an issue? Did the scene struggle with exclusivity?
Markey: I recall the first gig I went to, an X show at the Santa Monica Civic, and getting harassed for my hair length by a group of Huntington Beach Skinheads. Jennifer (Jordan’s sister and also a collaborator on the ‘zine) got a big wad of gum in her hair at a Starwood Tuesday night punk show. There were all sorts of punk politics going on at the time. Some of which were ridiculous and hypocritical. I think we did our best to diffuse this.
AF: A lot is made of the political context of hardcore, and while bands like The Dead Kennedys were explicitly political, a lot more were implicit. Do you think the scene as a whole had a political consciousness?
Markey: There were overtly political bands but lot of it was about personal politics, like how much someone’s dad sucked, or how lousy it was to be hit in the head with a LAPD baton. I recall at the time people being pretty cynical to all the Anti-Reagan material that was proliferating. But easy-targets aside, I’d say Reagan made Hardcore possible. There was a lot of humor as well.
The Minutemen, Grandia Room, Hollywood, CA, 1982. Photograph by Jordan Schwartz.
AF: What do you think of the trajectory of DIY culture since the 80’s?
Markey: I guess it went from some kid in a bedroom working on a fanzine or some hardcore band’s cover art, to some graphic artist who maybe grew up admiring that aesthetic, who took the idea and turned it into a Nike Ad.
I was DIY before I ever heard the phrase being bandied about. For me it was a necessity. There was just no other way for this stuff to happen. No one else was going to do this work for you. And the key thing for me was, it did not seem like work at all. It seemed like fun.
AF: What did you anticipate the punk developing into at the time? How do you think that compares to what it has become?
Markey: I just loved the music, and I watched it spread nationally through fanzine culture and various independent record labels, many founded by bands themselves. Then the nineties kicked in, and that showed the direct influence of the American 1980’s underground within the mainstream.
I am not sure if any of us as teenagers had any sort of long term vision of where this would all go. It just sort of went through the changes that it went through. We may have joked about it. But the good thing was many of these previously under heard and unappreciated bands had the attention of more people than ever. There is always time for rebellion and kids carving out their own way of doing things. In fact, it’s needed now more than ever. I can only hope this will inspire.
Thanks David, for talking with us, and thanks to Bazillions Points Books for facilitating this and putting out We Got Power!. I can’t possibly recommend it enough for anyone interested in the history and trajectory of punk and DIY.
“Youth of America Unite! The rear of the Punk Shack during demolition. Local anti-punk surfers crossed out our Black Flag graffiti as part of an ongoing war. A year or two later, these same culprits would cut their long surfer hair and don Suicidal Tendencies shirts.” Photograph by David Markey
The best video of the campaign? Gotta be in the top five, for sure.
They should have released this one on Halloween. Frightening
Photographer Giles Clarke has spent the past few days chronicling the crushing blow that Hurricane Sandy dealt Staten Island. Giles shared his thoughts with Dangerous Minds:
I have worked as a photographer in many places and situations all over the world. Being one of the first on the scene after a catastrophe is ALWAYS difficult but, as a photographer, I usually have to separate myself a bit and get the story. But I am also a social justice activist so getting ‘involved’ is also what I do. Therein sometimes lies a problem as there’s often a conflict with walking away (when I have ‘the shots’) and staying behind and supporting and helping. With ‘Sandy’ I am doing both- I am spending more time in less places to balance out the duties. What I saw in Staten Island a couple of days ago will never leave me. I was in areas that had seen no responders or emergency services and local residents were going about the business of clearing up and dealing with the shock. I hope my pictures convey the terrible scale of the storm but also have a beauty that might signify the coming together of the human spirit in this very difficult time.”
There are many organizations and volunteer groups at the service of the folks who need help now. For more info go here.
How high the waters rose.
Waiting for dry ice.
Jenna Pope’s photographs capture some of the grim beauty, gravity and glimmerings of human kindness in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s assault on downtown New York City.
Pope gave Dangerous Minds some insights regarding her experience of documenting the storm’s devastation:
As a photojournalist, I feel as though I need to share my photos and experiences in order to help out those in NYC who are suffering during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The more people see the devastation and destruction here, the more people will want to help out. I have yet to make it out of Manhattan since the storm hit because transportation is difficult with subway lines down and gas running low. The other boroughs experienced more destruction, with houses being burned down during electrical fires and houses being swept away into the sea. But, even being in lower Manhattan where people dealt with flooded apartments and have been without electricity and water since the storm has been an eye-opening and emotional experience. Fire hydrants are opened and gushing water so those in the areas without water can fill up buckets to bring back to their apartments. Lines are long at the few locations that are offering food, water, and other assistance. The weather is getting cold, and without electricity there is no heat. And all of this is happening after these people went through a frightening hurricane just a few days ago.
If you’re in the Manhattan area and want to help out during these difficult times, Jenna suggests you check out this for instructions on where your energy can best be put to use.
Cop’s cherry top lights the night.
The red line marks the spot to where the flood waters had risen.
Clean water station.
Photo via Chris Holmes on Instagram
Rumor has it that it was not—as the crowd certainly seemed to think—Daft Punk who were DJ’ing at Maroon 5’s elaborate Halloween party the other night at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, but rather Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Chris Holmes of Ashtar Command in costume as Daft Punk.
Both men were at the party, I saw them myself: Chris Holmes was dressed as a skunk (skunk rhymes with punk… is that a clue?) and Thom Yorke was seen circulating around the grounds—a huge carnival-themed production in an actual graveyard in Los Angeles where the likes of Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks and two Ramones are buried—wearing a Dickensian-looking tramp get-up.
If this is true, I commend these gentlemen for their beyond-the-call-of-duty dedication to this priceless, multi-leveled Halloween gag. I’m guessing that Daft Punk must have been in the crowd—perhaps dressed as Thom Yorke and Chris Holmes—laughing their asses off.
Second place for best costume should go to Maroon 5’s Mickey Madden who was dressed as Skrillex. His costume was so good that my friends and I thought that it was Skrillex dressed as himself.
Via The Daily Swarm
Creator, Martin Bircher writes,
“…moi non plus is an interpretation of Serge Gainsbourg’s song “Je t’aime… moi non plus” in the form of an audio game. By operating the joystick, the human components of the song can be controlled according to selected preferences.”
You may wanna turn down the volume if you’re at work. Lots of sexy moanin’ and a groanin’ going on here.
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If you haven’t seen the clip of Mitt Romney getting into a heated discussion with the conservative talk radio guy (Jan Mikelson of WHO-Iowa) who dared to ask him about the whole Jesus will rule the Earth from Missouri belief of Mormonism, give it a whirl.
The guy is TOTALLY on his side, and explicitly tells him so, but Romney will have NONE of it! Hilarity ensues. Then in the final minute you get to hear exactly how he’s going to deal with a woman’s right to choose.