Kid smashes bass during school talent show; stuns audience
04.23.2014
01:54 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
Talent Shows


 
Here’s tween middle school rockers “Casino” performing at their school’s talent show. They’re actually pretty good for such young guys. But it’s the end of the video that shows these kids mean business. Namely the bass player who’s pulling some major Jeff Beck in Blow Up moves towards the end.

This kid is going places. If he was a little older, he’d be getting laid like crazy after this gonzo stunt, that’s for sure.

Jump to the 3:16 mark and let it ride!

 
Via Arbroath

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Why was transgender punk icon Jayne County banned from Facebook?


 
Punk pioneer, transexual trailblazer and Stonewall Riots veteran, Jayne County is a national treasure. However, the most recent coverage of County has not been on her legacy to punk rock or transgender history, but rather a petty bit of Internet activism. It appears the groundbreaking transexual foremother was banned from Facebook for 24 hours, presumably for her affectionate use of the word “tranny”—the exact phrase being, “I am having a party tonight and all my breeder, fag, dyke, tranny and shemale friends are invited!”

To call Jayne County an “icon” insinuates that she’s a paragon of her field, and that doesn’t quite do her justice—she just has too many fields. She came from Georgia to NYC in 1968, a draggy outsider who knew she’d find a more vibrant (and safer) community in the New York arts scene. New York was no picnic however, and Jayne quickly found herself fighting for gay rights in the Stonewall Riots. Before she was Jayne, she picked “Wayne County” as her nom d’arts alter-ego—a reference to her love for Detroit music. As Wayne she acted for Jackie Curtis, then onstage for Andy Warhol in Pork. By 1972 she had started an early protopunk band, Queen Elizabeth.

County’s hand in punk wasn’t just relegated to her androgynous persona and raunchy stage antics—the 1974 stage show, “Wayne at the Trucks” was an early rock theatre experiment, very reminiscent of Bowie’s Diamond Dogs tour. In 1974, Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys were regulars at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, and County appeared in the 1976 punk film, The Blank Generation. By ‘77, Wayne County & The Electric Chairs had developed a following in Europe, and Wayne began her transition to Jayne, making her the first trans rock star. She’s never stopped moving, and even now sells her art as she cares for her ailing mother in Georgia. I highly suggest you check out both her music and her autobiography—Man Enough To Be A Woman. She’s a lovely, fascinating person with an unbelievable story, and we at Dangerous Minds couldn’t be more pleased to get an exclusive interview with her.
 

 
Dangerous MInds: First of all, how did you make your way from Dallas, Georgia all the way to New York City?

Jayne County: From Atlanta to NYC was a trip indeed! I first heard about Sheraton Square and The Stonewall from a group of gay hippies that I was hangin’ out with on 14th Street in Atlanta. 14th Street at that time in 1967 was the hub of everything that was cool and different in the repressive state of Georgia! It was wild and all types were welcome! Straight, gay, men, women and anything “in between”!

There was a big crackdown on anyone and anything the least bit different and unfortunately for me and my friend, drag queen Davina Daisy, that included being shot at by a truck full of chicken-carrying rednecks from Alabama! Rednecks would bring in the chickens they had raised on the back of their trucks to be sold at the local farmers market. Davina and I were prancing down 14th Street dressed in all our 60’s finery, and that included something that in those days was called “semi drag”!  We would go, “Ooooooooo Miss Woman !!! Lookatchew! In SEMEYE DRAG, lookin guuuud!!!” Semi drag was a term that just meant that you were not in full drag, which was usually reserved for Halloween or very special occasions! Full drag was good for Halloween because Miss Alice Bluegown, (the police) couldn’t legally arrest you for female impersonation.

In Atlanta there was a law that if a male’s hair touched the tip of his ears, he could be arrested and thrown in jail for impersonating a woman! The Southern Baptist Church, which controlled just about everything in those days, wanted to make sure that their young, straight Christian men didn’t mistake one of these demon possessed sodomites for a woman and commit a horrible, unforgivable sin!

By law you were required to wear a couple of articles of men’s clothing so people wouldn’t mistake you for a “real woman”! That’s the way it was! Your clothing was policed, and you could be put in jail for wearing the wrong attire! Back in those days, no one used the term “trans.” I didn’t even know what a transexual or transvestite was!

If the police caught you, sometimes they would drag you down to the police station and hold you down and shave your head. More than likely you would be severely beat up or raped or both! The cops would sit back and do nothing or laugh of even take part in the “festivities”! Such was life for trans people!
 

 
That day Davina and I were shot at, you could actually hear the bullets zinging past our ears! It was a truck full of rednecks! You could hear the chickens in the back of the truck just a cluckin away! I turned to Davina and told her that I was getting the hell out of there! I bought a one-way ticket to NYC and that was that!

DM: How did you get into theatre? You got involved with Warhol through Jackie Curtis, correct?

JC: Yes, I got in to theatre because of the fab Andy Warhol drag queen, Jackie Curtis. I say drag queen to avoid confusion because Jackie didn’t call herself a drag queen! She just called herself Jackie! She stated in an article that she wasn’t a man and she wasn’t a woman. She said,  “I’m just ME! Jackie!” At the time this seemed quite revolutionary! She wrote a play, called Femme Fatale, while stirring speed into her coffee every day upon waking up! It was performed at La MaMa [Experimental Theatre] as a sort of a tribute to the song by The Velvet Underground. I played a lesbian prison inmate named Georgia Harrison. In the play I swatted flies with a fly swatter then ate them! Like that nutty guy in Dracula! Don’t ask me why—it was art! Patti Smith was also in the play sporting a three-foot long cock ! A phallus like they used in ancient Greek theatre! She played with her over-sized Oscar Meyer, rubbing it and thumping it against the furniture shouting out lines like, “Hey, imma gonna fuckka you witha my hot pepper,” and “benda over Rover! And letta my big pizza taka over!” At one point she started waving it in my face and I started beating it with my fly swatter! It was ridiculous! The entire play was ultra offensive!!!
 

Above, from Rosa Von Praunheim’s City of Lost Souls
 
DM: You were a part of the Stonewall Riots as well—can you tell me a little bit about that?

JC: The Stonewall Riots were a turning point for gay people’s rights. People, especially the obvious femme queens and drag queens, were totally fed up with the treatment we were receiving! The queens stood out like sore thumbs, so naturally it was the queens that got all the shit on the streets! You had to know how to run fast! And some carried weapons like those fab metal tipped teasing combs! The ends could be sharpened and become very adequate weapons! Of course hair spray in the eyes was another good one. Some of the girls hid knives in their highly teased up wigs! It got really bad when the cops started doing “sex searches”! Taking the drag queens into the women’s rooms and forcing them to show their genitals to the officers. Some of the pigs were laughing at the queens who were in tears and begging to be left alone.

Well people simply snapped! We started throwing bricks, setting fire to trashcans or anything else that would burn . Turning back buses, chanting “Gay power! Gay power!” Marching up and down Christopher St. with our fists in the air! Causing mayhem anyway we could think of. It lasted three days and things were never the same again! We had had enough!!! It was time to fight back!
 

 
DM: At what point did Wayne become Jayne, and what was that transformation like for you, personally and also artistically?

JC: I remember being so thrilled when my breasts began growing ! My roommate at the time was the legendary underground rock-n-roll photographer, Leee Black Childers, who just recently passed away, bless his heart! Leee was a close friend for many many years and knew me better than anyone else on planet Earth, including members of my own family who don’t really know the real me at all ! Leee was and will always be a big piece of my life ! It was funny to watch Leee’s reaction to my breasts becoming large! He couldn’t even look at them! He would quickly cover his eyes when I would trick him in to seeing them! I had been Leee’s friend Wayne for years. We would go bar hopping together and go see all the bands at the Fillmore East! Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Iron Butterfly, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Led Zeppelin, oh I could go on and on!!! We were both big rock fans! And Leee was used to being pals with Wayne . And he had to watch Wayne disappear right before his eyes and Jayne take his place! As I think back it must have really been hard for him! I’m sorry Leee, my dear dear ole friend, but I had to do it!

In Atlanta I saw The Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, The Shangri Las, The Ronettes, The Shirelles, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Turtles, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Sonny and Cher, The Supremes, Tom Jones, Otis Redding, Peter and Gordon, etc., etc., etc. I saw all the greats!  And when glam came in, I was right there! I started experimenting with both sexuality and gender during the so-called “glam movement” which Leee and I played a big part in. We both worked for David Bowie’s Mainman Records and I was one of their signed artists alongside of Bowie, Iggy And The Stooges and Lou Reed. I had been dressing as a woman on and off my entire life—since age three or four. I can actually remember doing it at age five and six! But during the glam period I began taking it more seriously. And in 1974, I began taking female hormones A few years later I read a book that Leee brought home called Canary Conn. It was the story of a M to F trans woman—true story and it had a huge influence on me. But I didn’t change my name officially from Wayne to Jayne until 1979. It was a gig at CBGB! There were these big pink posters up all over NYC with a really good and very femme photo style drawing of me saying WAYNE COUNTY ! But the “W” was Xed out and a “J” was put in over it! It looked fantastic and it was my first gig as Jayne County!
 

 

”(If You Don’t Wanna Fuck Me, Baby) Fuck Off!!”

DM:You were a pioneer on the punk scene since before punk was punk—how did you transition artistically to music?

JCOh I have always been heavily in to music so there wasn’t really much of a transition from theatre to music! In fact I mixed my music and theatre together ! My big stage show and musical, “Wayne at the Trucks,” was a forerunner of Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” tour and was produced by Bowie’s MainMan Records! When punk happened, it was a reaction to the over excesses of both glam and progressive rock, but at least Bowie’s music contained a lot of great rock and roll and some really amazing androgynous images. Punk rock had to happen in order to sweep the slate clean and make two and three chord music featuring guitars, bass and drums once again the focus point of some of the best rock and roll music ever created!

DM: Your success in Europe was much more distinct than in the US, where you’re considered more of an “artist’s artist.” What do you think the difference is between US and European audiences?

JC: European audiences seem more ready to accept what the artist is trying to do on stage and will usually cheer the bands on, even when the bands sometimes appear to be struggling just to keep themselves from falling apart right there in front of your eyes, as in the cases of The Cramps and Johnny Thunders. American audiences are too quick to judge and shout, “Get off!” at you! In America the audience want you to go overboard to prove to them that you are valid! In Europe it’s just, “Shit, we are so glad that you’re here!”

DM: Recently, some sanctimonious (self-appointed) social media police reported you on Facebook for hate speech—what the hell happened?

JC:I’m laughing my big egotistical head off right now. Oh no, I said “head!” Someone may be offended by that mean ole powerful word and report us to the trans authorities! Anyone could you know? That’s how easy it is now for some uptight “new” version of an old, fuddy duddy, party poopin’ Baptist church lady, to report you!

And I must say that since the crap hit the fan about the transfascists trying to burn books by banning one word at a time, my following has skyrocketed! I seem to have hit a nerve! And that nerve is that thousands of people disagree with them! They are actually trying to silence people that disagree with them as well by trying to pressure papers and magazines like The Huffington Post not to print articles by people that have a different opinion from them! Now that is pure evil! Self appointed, condescending little academic snobs that think they have some divine right to lord over the rest of us by telling us what words we can and cannot use. In other words, they want to let the homo and transphobic bigots take our words from us and use them against them! You can ‘t do that! It won’t work ! You can ‘t erase words like “tranny,” “shemale” and “gender bender,” just because a bunch of psychos try to use the words against us!

Some African Americans now use the “N word” within their own community. They have taken the word away from the racists and made the word their own and by doing so that word cannot harm them! It’s the intent behind the word, not the word itself that is harmful. Trans activists have it completely wrong! And some people are standing up to their bully tactics of forcing their narrow-minded views on the rest of us! No means no, and I will not be intimidated or silenced by any self-appointed guardians of a delusional morality! It’s in your head honey, not mine!

The word tranny belongs to me! You will not take it away from me, because some transphobic bigots are trying to use the word to hurt me! The word does not harm me because I do not allow it to do so! The intent behind the user of the word is what should concern us, not the word itself!
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Pussy Galore on ‘The Uncle Floyd Show’
04.17.2014
07:55 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
Pussy Galore
Uncle Floyd


 
In a just world, Floyd Vivino would be a very famous man. He was the titular “uncle” of New Jersey’s Uncle Floyd Show, a cheap and brilliant kid’s show parody that aired for over 20 years starting in 1974—beating Pee-wee Herman to the punch by a pretty good length—and was even syndicated nationally for a hot minute in the early ‘80s.

Vivino’s show was known for chaos, unpredictability, puppets, and completely weird musical guests. The timing of his initial appearance and the gonzo nature of his act won him some fans in the nascent punk scene, and so he was championed by the likes of The Ramones and even David Bowie (who paid tribute in song in 2002), and welcomed guests like David Johansen, the Misfits, Smithereens, even Tiny Tim.

Also, Pussy Galore. Seriously. Pigfuck’s demented champions of classic-rock-as-corrosive-scum-noise appeared on The Uncle Floyd Show, in what must have been 1987 if the Pussy Gold 5000 EP Floyd plugs was a new release at the time, which seems likely, as that record contains the song they “perform” here. So enjoy a pre-respectable Jon Spencer, not even trying to pretend like he gives a shit about lip-synching in this gloriously shambolic farce.
 

 
Many thanks to Gerard Cosloy for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
The Idiot: Iggy Pop totally charms square daytime TV audience, 1977
04.16.2014
10:45 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
David Bowie
Iggy Pop


 
Iggy Pop’s classic album, The Idiot, is now 37 years old. It still sounds as good today as when it was released in spring of 1977, although the times have caught up to it. Somewhat at least.

Produced by David Bowie, who co-wrote all of the songs with Iggy, save for one (Bowie’s longtime guitarist Carlos Alomar co-wrote “Sister Midnight), The Idiot has very little in common with the rest of the Igster’s output, even his next record, Lust for Life, also produced in collaboration with Bowie. No, The Idiot‘s Teutonic-sounding industrial drone had almost no connection whatsoever to the sound of The Stooges, or really even most things of that era, come to think of it.

Bowie’s own Low album had just come out in January and was considered mind-blowing, even controversial at the time. The Idiot, released just a few weeks later (but mostly recorded first), was an equally chilly-sounding affair, but way darker and with a much bigger whomp. It’s sort of the perfect marriage of their talents.

As Bowie told Kurt Loder in 1989:

Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound. I didn’t have the material at the time, and I didn’t feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back and getting behind someone else’s work, so that album was opportune, creatively.

The Idiot was the first Iggy album that you could easily buy in a small town. I was eleven when it came out and I already owned both Raw Power and a blue vinyl Metallic ‘KO—both purchased unheard via mail order from a Moby Disc Records ad in CREEM magazine, a monthlong round trip—so when I brought The Idiot home from the mall and slapped it on the turntable, I was perplexed at first, but ultimately thrilled. “Dum Dum Boys” and “Mass Production” were my favorite tracks. The druggy, nightmarish vamp “Nightclubbing” was another. I played the shit out of that album.

When Iggy and Bowie toured that spring in support of The Idiot, they made a stop on daytime television’s Dinah! show, hosted by singer Dinah Shore. Bowie had been on Dinah! to promote Station to Station (with fellow guests Nancy Walker and Henry Winkler) and seemed to have a good rapport with Shore, so it was arranged that he would guest with Iggy, who sang a live “Sister Midnight” after Shore introduced him—her show was on at 10am in the TV market I lived in—with a photograph of him covered in blood! Dinah! may have been a middle-of-the-road daytime TV show, but to her credit, Dinah Shore didn’t shy away from asking him about it either (as Bowie laughs and shakes his head “No!”). Shore’s square studio audience, too, seem to actually be charmed by Jimmy Osterberg’s tales of his misspent youth, drug addiction and self-harming, because, hey let’s face it, the man was charisma personified during this delightful chat
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
‘Teen Talk’ on early ‘80s L.A. punk
04.11.2014
07:07 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:


 

I’ve seen beatniks, hippies and flower children. I’ve heard Guthrie, the Beatles and the Stones…

It’s almost poetic, like a dorky, suburban, baby-boom travesty of Howl. Those words, spoken by San Fernando Valley high school teacher Joe Feinstein, introduce the “punk rock” episode of his early ‘80s TV show Teen Talk, one of those grownup-rappin’-on-the-real-with-the young-people shows which every media market seemed to have. For this episode, Feinstein invited “punk rockers and new wavers and all kinds of rock ‘n’ rollers to talk with us about their extreme forms of communication.”

It’s as naively charming as all such shows are, but given the subject, it could have been horrible—was any “punk rock” episode of ANYTHING ever any good? Quincy and After School Special had punk episodes so clueless they remain notorious decades later. So I kind of have to hand it to Feinstein for finding smart kids who listened to credible music. (Name-checks include X, Urban Guerrillas, Siouxsie, Oingo Boingo and TSOL—not bad! I’ve still never heard Meyer Goldstein and his Seven Cockamamies, though…) So while this has a lot of the same goofy naiveté of all such shows, it also contains glimpses into the SoCal punk scene, not from the usual perspective of aging, semi-famous rockers indulging in self-glorification long after the fact, but from fans who were actively checking this stuff out while it was still new, and had the self-awareness to talk about it all intelligently—though one can’t say he got a truly representative sample, as none of his guests seem to be junkies.

One little postscript—the uploader, hipsville, notes that Feinstein went on to become a cruise ship Rabbi. Kudos to him for landing such a plush gig.
 

 

 
More Teen Talk after the jump…
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
‘Lou Reed part 2’: Little-known Public Image Ltd. footage from 1982
04.10.2014
11:55 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
John Lydon
PiL
Keith Levene
Public Image Ltd.


 
When I was a kid, more than any other group, Public Image Ltd. were my band. As a teenager, I was a major acidhead who hated religion and PiL suited that state of mind better than just about anything. They were demented dada geniuses, doing more to move music away from the three chord blues-based rock and roll that had dominated popular music since the days of Chuck Berry than anyone else. It wasn’t as if John Lydon’s previous outfit had done much to musically challenge the status quo. The Sex Pistols may have shown that the prevailing rock acts of the day were all “dinosaurs,” but their music really wasn’t anything all that “new” was it?

Who would say that about Public Image Ltd.? With their second album, Metal Box, they changed the state of modern music the way Picasso and Georges Braque had changed the act of perception itself with the advent of Cubism some seventy years earlier. After PiL, everything was different and nothing was too weird. A hundred years from now those first three PiL albums will still be revered the same way they are today, except that by then they’ll considered classical music or something…

I was lucky enough to see PiL in 1983. I’d run away from home and PiL were playing a few days later on Staten Island at the horrible, decrepit and just downright shitty Paramount Theater (a venue that should have required a tetanus shot to enter). Jah Wobble had already been kicked out of the band, but that didn’t bother me (I’m probably just slightly more partial to The Flowers of Romance than I am the first two albums) and this was a few months before Keith Levene and Lydon had their famous falling out.

Without Wobble you still had PiL, but as Lydon would soon prove beyond all argument, he was only as good (or as bad) as his collaborators. When Keith Levene fucked off, forget it, after that it was Public Image Ltd. in name only. Not that Levene did much of anything—for years decades—without Lydon anyway, but Lydon without Levene was hopeless, a fucking joke from 1983 onwards if you ask most fans of the original group.

I’ve mentioned on the blog before that I have a pretty decent collection of PiL bootlegs on vinyl. Truly “oldschool” boots produced over thirty years ago, most of them pretty primitive pressings. When I got rid of most of my records ten years ago (keeping collectibles and signed pieces, plus my Jeannie C. Riley albums) I still retained them and as a percentage, they comprise a good bit of what’s left of a once ridiculously huge record collection. One of them is a boot of the actual show I saw called “Where Are We?” taped on March 26th, at the Paramount Theater.

The title comes from a song PiL had been playing in their sets around that time that was originally called “Lou Reed Part 2” and then later rechristened “Where Are You?” (the spiteful lyrics are about departed PiL video maker Jeanette Lee). It came out on both Lydon’s “official” This is What You Want, This is What You Get album and Levene’s less official version on the Commercial Zone bootleg.

This 1982 report from Canadian television about PiL’s first performance in the country, at Toronto’s Masonic Temple Concert Hall, features a short excerpted performance of “Lou Reed Part 2/Where Are You?” and during it someone spits right in Lydon’s face. He’s not happy. At the end of the piece there’s a bigger chunk of a live “Public Image.” With so little decent footage of PiL around—I’ve seen very little video of the post Wobble group—this is a real treat. Lydon’s sporting a hospital gown and looks, as he often did in his youth, like an escaped mental patient.

I don’t know exactly what he means by this, but if you click over to Keith Levene’s website, he’s trying to raise the funds to “finish” Commercial Zone 2014. For a guy who was so, er, quiet, throughout most of the past three decades, for the past few years, Levene seems intent on making up for lost time, recording and gigging with Jah Wobble, releasing solo material and writing his life story, the nicely titled, This is not an Autobiography: The Diary of a non-Punk Rocker, available soon as an e-book.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Before Bad Brains, there was Pure Hell, the first African-American punk band
04.01.2014
06:21 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Race

Tags:
Pure Hell


 
All it takes is at least one functioning eyeball to know that black faces in punk scenes can be few and far between. So when an African-American punk band contributes heavily to the invention of a genre and goes on to have a compelling and storied career like hardcore pioneers Bad Brains, or is rescued from obscurity and discovered to have been uncannily ahead of its time like Detroit’s celebrated proto-punks Death, it’s worthy of notice.

One such band, however, has not attracted notice to equal its gifts. That’s Philadelphia’s Pure Hell. Rocktober mag’s 2002 roundup of black punk musicians had this to say:

Often referred to as the first Black punk rock group, Philly’s Pure Hell (Spider, Stinker, Chip Wreck and Lenny Still) played around the U.S. in whatever few venues were available from ‘77-‘79, but really had a “career” when they went to England. Their overseas “discovery” was credited to Curtis Knight, who claims Jimi Hendrix as a discovery and who apparently decided he was the reverse Sam Phillips (“If I could only find a Black boy that played like a cracker…” see also NIKKI BUZZ). Their sole single released was the UK only “These Boots Are Made For Walking” b/w “No Rules” (Golden Sphinx, 1978) and it’s a pretty straightforward punk record. However, at the time their live show was described as sounding like everything from the Sex Pistols to Stax to Reggae. Martin of Los Crudos traded the Mentally Ill’s “Gacey’s Place” single for the Pure Hell 7”, so you know it’s a collector scum treasure! As huge Black guys with genuinely fucked punk-out hair and makeup, it’s surprising these fellows didn’t make it bigger, at least as a novelty (their look was enough to get their picture printed in Rock Scene and other mags).

 

These Boots Are Made For Walking by Pure Hell on Grooveshark

 

No Rules by Pure Hell on Grooveshark

 

 
It IS surprising they didn’t make it any bigger—they were a really fucking awesome band, good enough to make plenty of their better-known contemporaries look like pikers. Their recordings boast all the unaffected grime of the Dead Boys, the far-sighted musicality of the Voidoids, the metallic heft of the Stooges, excellent guitar playing, powerful vocals, a propulsive rhythm section, everything you need from this kind of music. The Rocktober blurb above cites their UK single as their only release, which was true at the time, but they also recorded a full-length LP that didn’t see release until the Massachusetts label Welfare Records issued a CD in 2005. That disc, Noise Addiction, is still (or again?) in print, and it’s superb. No, ESSENTIAL. I want ALL ‘70s punk to be this good.
 

Hard Action by Pure Hell on Grooveshark

 

Wild One by Pure Hell on Grooveshark

 

Rot in the Doghouse by Pure Hell on Grooveshark

 

Future by Pure Hell on Grooveshark

 

 
There have been intermittent reunions. A second album, Black Box, still remains unreleased, though it was recorded in the 1990s, and featured production and vocal contributions from one Mr. Lemmy Kilmister. And, despite the long-ago cancer death of drummer Michael “Spider” Sanders, there have been live appearances, including a 2010 WFMU in-studio appearance (preserved for your enjoyment on the Free Music Archive) and a 2012 reunion concert in the UK.

Here’s a great video with the band’s members talking about their origins and early days. The live footage is some killer stuff, and their recollections of the early punk years in NYC and London are priceless.
 

 
Major gratitude to Charles at My Mind’s Eye for turning me on to this band.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Punk-branded beer is bollocks
03.31.2014
09:14 am

Topics:
Food
Punk

Tags:
beer


 
Uggggggggh. I love beer, and I love punk rock. I understand the peanut butter and chocolate impulses we sometimes have (often when we’re drunk) to combine our favorite things, but this is just such a bummer. I get it! I sympathize with these plucky brewers! I understand that it’s difficult to brand your product—especially when it’s a product that has existed for at least 10,000 years. However, can we stop trying to squeeze the last bit of cultural capital out of a word that has long-since lost its automatic credibility? I mean there was that abominable couture show at the Met, and people are still trying to get mileage out of “punk”???

What if we just picked another genre? What about New Wave beer? Deep Chicago House Ale? Freak Folk Lager? I sincerely doubt those movements would inspire such a cringe-inducing marketing campaign as this one:

Welcome to a post Punk apocalyptic mother fucker of a pale ale.

A beer that spent its formative years Blitzkrieg bopping around India and the sub continent. Quintessential Empire with an anarchic twist.

God save the Queen and all who sail in her. Raising a Stiff Little Finger to IPAs that have come before and those it is yet to meet.

Turn up the volume Pay the man. Embrace the punked up, fucked up outlaw elite.

Never Mind the Bollocks this is the real shit.

Fuck you.

If I ever drink another craft brew IPA again, it will be too soon (I used to live in the midwest—lotta’ hobby brewers in the hinterlands). This beer does seem to be pretty delicious, at least according to this charmingly eccentric German beer connoisseur. And hey, if you can’t trust charmingly eccentric German beer connoisseurs, society is truly bereft of authenticity. 
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Fascinating document of a 1996 Portland Riot Grrrl convention, with a very young Miranda July


Little girl interacting with a piece from Miranda July’s outdoor exhibit, Eleven Heavy Things
 
Despite an early interest in both feminism and punk rock, Riot Grrrl never really appealed to me. I was in elementary school in the mid-90s—during the height of the Riot Grrrl zeitgeist—and while the aesthetic and mission statement certainly captured my snarling little heart, music was always my primary interest, and I just never found a Riot Grrrl band that really blew me away. My young ears suffered no dearth of chanteuses, of course. I just got my girl power from Joan Jett, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, and those goddesses of mid-90s top 40 radio,TLC.

Still, I owe a debt to those women, and I can’t deny the legacy, especially when I come across great artifacts like this DIY documentary from a 1996 Riot Grrrl convention in Portland, Oregon. Organized by a smiling mohawked young woman named Geneva, the event was intended to foster a women’s community, make friends, and, she coyly admits, “I also needed a girlfriend.” (Let’s be honest, the prospect of romance has always been half the appeal of a good show.)

Though it boasts the production values of a decomposing home movie, the documentary is artfully edited, recording a wide array of performances, workshops, and interactions. It’s far more than a dredge of amateur bands, and the music line-up is surprisingly diverse—a two-girl group with an upright bass and a cello really stand out. The workshops were not only instructive, they encouraged women to create “out loud.” During a writing class, the teacher self-effacingly admits to a passion for the work of noted misogynist Charles Bukowski—there was clearly little to no pressure to maintain a “feminist cultural purity.” During a “basics” course on starting a band, a woman demonstrates all the instruments and identifies their parts. She even gives some sound advice on how not to get ripped off by music shops who might try and overcharge a woman. There’s poetry and avant garde performance and the introduction of the now legendary Free to Fight, the ambitious double LP concept album themed on violence against women. The record included a 75 page illustrated booklet with poetry, stories and advice—socialist feminist writer bell hooks even contributed.

I think the most impressive part of the event is how much fun everyone is having. Bands joke and banter onstage, making politically incorrect jokes about sexual orientation and gender. There’s self-defense demonstrations where nervous giggles from the audience grow into raucous laughter. The mood feels decidedly warm and easy-going throughout, with none of the humorless gravity one might associate with such serious subjects.

Those familiar with the Riot Grrrl scene might recognize a few of the musicians, but for me, the real Easter Egg is a very young Miranda July, doing a strange short performance piece, and using some of her own interview structure to contribute to the documentary. To be honest, not a lot of July’s work resonates with me—I think on some level I also avoid connecting with it, feeling foolish at the prospect of enjoying something so “dear.” For me, distorted guitars and screaming “fuck you” into a microphone has always been the accessible part of the Riot Grrrl arsenal.

But once in a while I see a Miranda July piece like the sculpture above and I’m floored by such honest vulnerability. And I remember there’s a less bombastic dimension to the Riot Grrrl legacy—something brave, but subtle. And I’m so grateful it happened.

And if that’s too dear for you, well… fuck you.
 

 
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
X marks the Conspiracy Theory: Exene Cervenka, the new Alex Jones?
03.27.2014
07:02 am

Topics:
Punk

Tags:
conspiracy theories
Exene Cervenka


 

Hi. Let me introduce myself. My name is Christine Notmyrealname, and I am a completely unlicensed for-amusement-and-entertainment-purposes-only uncertified conspiracy therapist. My job in life—self-appointed—is to bring conspiracy theorists, and those who aren’t, together, so that we can all unite and fix what’s wrong with society, the world, et cetera.

With those words, we are ushered into the over-the-rainbow, everything-you-know-is-fucking-WRONG-maaaaan world of Christine Notmyrealname, whom you surely know better as Exene Cervenka, singer of the seminal L.A. punk/roots rock band X. When DM last checked in on her, she was holding the punkest garage sale ever, in preparation for a move from L.A. to Texas, which, it turns out, may be in preparation for SHTF. But don’t worry, ladies, you can survive the coming apocalyptic nastiness if you just land the right man! Forget about that metrosexual Beverly Hills pantywaiste in his BMW, you want a redneck with a front porch, a pickup truck with a gun rack and the manly ability to put food on the table that he has killed himself. Just make sure you have skills to offer, and try not to be a tarted up, fake-tits whore.

Exene, she calls it as she sees it…
 

 
WATCH OUT FOR ALLIGATOOOORRRRRS!
 
Cervenka has a kooky YouTube channel full-to-burstin’ with bonkers shit. Samples from her playlists called “Liked videos,” “Favorite videos,” and “random greatness” include “exposés” of Reptilian shape-shifters, “proof” that the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary was fake, and the Internet paranoiac’s usual array of 9/11-OMG-the-currency-is-about-to-crash-wake-up-sheeple-everything’s-a-false-flag crap. It’s useful to have this background to her proclivities, because she steers clear of explicitly pushing those buttons in her own videos, which give them a kind of inchoate vagueness that actually augments their unhinged appeal.
 

 

 
Look, we can surely all agree that consensus reality absolutely does not always match up with what’s actually happening, and that information gleaned from corporate media invariably comes with a heapin’ helpin’ of veiled agenda. But there’s a whole lot of excluded middle between sensible advice to question the information that’s fed you and “The End-Time Adventures of Lucifer and His Illuminati Gang.”
 
Some of Exene’s favorite “informations,” after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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