follow us in feedly
Punk is for the ‘burbs: The oppressive banality of Hardcore Architecture
09:26 am



Women in Drag: The address given for their untitled cassette, in Albuquerque, NM 87123. Source: MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL, issue no. 29, October, 1985. Street view date: June, 2014. Sample quote from the review: “Sun-baked punk, thrash, Egypto-crypto-weirdness.”-Tim Yohannan
I have always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Maximum Rocknroll. On the one hand, they were an indispensable and formative resource for awesome writing and great comics (and I may or may not have submitted an EP in desperate hopes of being reviewed by them). On the other hand, their editorial tone could come off a bit snobby, and I kind of agree with Jello Biafra when he said, “If ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ were released today, it would be banned from Maximum Rocknroll for not sounding punk.” Still, my feelings are ultimately fond, and I love that Marc Fischer and alternative archivists Public Collectors have created Hardcore Architecture, a sort of punk rock home tour. From the site:

Hardcore Architecture explores the relationship between the architecture of living spaces and the history of underground American hardcore bands in the 1980s. Band addresses are discovered using contact listings found in demo tape and record reviews published from 1982-89 in the fanzine MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL (MRR). Google Street View is used to capture photos of the homes. Street names and numbers are removed to respect the privacy of people currently living at these addresses.

Two things immediately jumped out at me. First, I am reminded that most of inhabited America is fuck-ugly. Like, suburbia from an Alexander Payne movie kind of ugly. Second, more than centrally located big cities or towns, it appears a lot—if not most—of the rage necessary for the mosh-pit comes out of the suburbs. It makes sense: they have the room and the money for instruments, I can’t say I blame them for their disaffection—that shit is bleak.

Honeymoon Killers: The address given for their “Uncut! Uncensored!” cassette in New York, NY 10009. Source: MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL, issue no. 15, July, 1984. Street view date: Oct., 2014. Sample quote from the review: “A screeching pet rock cousin to New York’s current school of avant-noise bands. The difference here is their fondness for trashing 50′s standards. “Who Do You Love” and “Ubangi Stomp” have never been abused quite like this before.”-Jello Biafra

Civil Defense: The address given for their “Gun Control” EP, in St. Paul, MN 55119. Address source: MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL, issue no. 16, August, 1984. Street view date: Aug., 2014. Sample quote from the review: “An uneven debut but C.D. have potential.”-Jeff Bale
More Hardcore Architecture after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Never before seen photos of Stiv Bators and the Dead Boys, 1976. A Dangerous Minds exclusive

This is the good stuff, good people, a genuine once-in-a-blue-moon recovery of a lost treasure trove. You, Dangerous Minds’ readers, are literally the first people in the word to see these photos, apart from the photographer and a tiny handful of others.

In 1976, Dave Treat, a student at the now defunct Cooper School of Art in Cleveland, Ohio, lived in a Lakewood apartment building that also hoveled the members of a rock band that had just re-christened itself from Frankenstein to the Dead Boys. As he was both the nearest accessible art student who owned a camera and a close friend to singer Stiv Bators, Treat was recruited to shoot publicity photos of the band, and while one of them may have been used (it remains unclear, but we’ll get to that), the rest have sat unseen since then. They became obsolete quickly, as Jeff Magnum would be added as the band’s bassist shortly after these were shot. In the last year, their existence became known to art historian Brittany Mariel Hudak and photographer/gallery owner Bryon Miller, who are working to release them in a book, and preparing them for exhibit in Cleveland, with the possibly of a New York exhibit later in the year. What the photos reveal is a band unknowingly on the cusp of achieving legendary status, and a sensitive, vulnerable Stiv Bators very, very unlike his self-consciously bratty public persona.

From Hudak’s introduction to the forthcoming Stiv 1976: Lost Photographs of Stiv Bators & The Dead Boys:

This is not about the onstage, very public Stiv or his antics – you can visit that guy on YouTube, read about his New York shenanigans in Legs McNeil’s Please Kill Me, or watch him wield a baseball bat as tough guy “Bo-Bo Belsinger” in John Water’s film, Polyester.  In contrast, these photographs taken by his neighbor Dave Treat in 1976 capture a different Stiv altogether – what they capture is “Stiv” in the making.  They offer a rare glimpse into the private life of a young man on the brink of something, with a marked sense of unfettered opportunities and grand plans. There’s an unquestionable eagerness in his eyes, a what-do-I-have-to-lose attitude – and even hints of the onstage Stiv being built. He poses quite consciously for the camera, wearing the soon to be comfortable guise of the seductive rock star – lanky, languid, oozing sex appeal and confidence, complete with outrageous platform boots.

But if you look closely you can detect another, more vulnerable side of the performer. Crouched in a corner or staring off into the distance, at times there’s a palpable sadness – a peculiar malaise. This too could be a pose – the tortured artist suffering for his art, another familiar component of the rock-star myth. But one gets a sense that this side is genuine, and for Stiv rarely seen, which makes these photos all the more special.

The negatives for these amazing photos were buried in a closet for almost 40 years, and most have been printed for the first time this year by Miller, a gallery proprietor and photographer for High Times and Billboard, who, out of respect for their origins and provenance, actually printed them old-school gelatin silver style. In an actual darkroom. Some of those still exist. The photos will be exhibited at Miller’s Gallery 160 in Cleveland beginning on Friday, June 5th, to mark the 25th anniversary of Stiv’s death from injuries sustained when he was hit by a car, with an opening reception beginning at 6:00PM. Apart from Treat, Hudak, Miller, myself, and the Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome, nobody has ever seen these images before you, right now. Clicking on an image spawns an enlargement in a new browser tab.


More unseen Dead Boys, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Rock and roll’s turd in the punchbowl: An interview with John Lydon
04:26 pm


John Lydon

John Lydon’s new memoir Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored is his second go round at chronicling his thoroughly fascinating life. His first Rotten: ‘No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs was published over 20 years ago so there was much new life to be written about and additonal elaboration and re-evaluation of his early years from the vantage point of now. He’s mellowed and aged quite nicely. Lydon has gone from rotten to nicely fermented. From snarly whine to barley wine.

In this interview conducted at my favorite bookstore in the world, The Strand, Buzzfeed Books editor Isaac Fitzgerald and Lydon have a grand old time shooting the shit as Johnny occasionally takes a chug from a bottle of cognac.

Anger is an energy. It really bloody is. It’s possibly the most powerful one-liner I’ve ever come up with. When I was writing the Public Image Ltd song ‘Rise’, I didn’t quite realize the emotional impact that it would have on me, or anyone who’s ever heard it since. I wrote it in an almost throwaway fashion, off the top of my head, pretty much when I was about to sing the whole song for the first time, at my then new home in Los Angeles. It’s a tough, spontaneous idea. ‘Rise’ was looking at the context of South Africa under apartheid. I’d be watching these horrendous news reports on CNN, and so lines like ‘They put a hotwire to my head, because of the things I did and said’, are a reference to the torture techniques that the apartheid government was using out there. Insufferable. You’d see these reports on TV and in the papers, and feel that this was a reality that simply couldn’t be changed. So, in the context of ‘Rise’, ‘Anger is an energy’ was an open statement, saying, ‘Don’t view anger negatively, don’t deny it – use it to be creative.

A couple of observations: the fellow in the background, to Johnny’s right, looks a wee bit like a Madame Tussaud waxworks version of Mark E. Smith. And why is Lydon dressed like a sous chef?

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Slits, Clash, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag in ‘Punk Attitude’

Okay it’s been nearly 40 years since I heard The Ramones debut album for the first time and that means I’m fucking old. But I ain’t dead. In fact, I’m feeling pretty damned good. And part of the reason I feel so damned good is I’ve been on a steady diet of rock and roll since I was a itty bitty boy. Rock and roll has been the one constant in my life that has given me something that others might call a religion. From the moment I first heard “Alley Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles when I was nine years old (sitting in a tree with a radio in my lap), I was hooked.

I’ve always been a seeker, looking for meaning in life, searching for answers to the essential questions of what are we doing here and where are we going? I’ve read everything from Jung to Chogyam Trungpa to Kerouac and Crowley in my yearning for clarity and spiritual fulfillment. Aside from a few reveries and insights fueled by psychotropics or the momentary flash of cosmic consciousness you get in those special moments when something suddenly opens up your brain - maybe it’s the way a shard of prismatic light bounces off your rear view mirror or a fleet of perfectly white clouds rolling above New Mexico - my “religious” experiences have been seldom and unpredictable. But one thing, other than fucking, that consistently pulls me into the moment where bliss and contentment co-mingle is listening to rock and roll music. It’s the closest thing I have to an artistic calling or spiritual practice and when the music hits me in the right place at the right time it can be divine. And it seems that loud, fast, and hook-filled works best. The music doesn’t need to be about anything spiritual, lofty or significant. It just needs to grab me by the balls and heart, rattle my cage, and move me.

There was a barren period in my rock and roll life in the early ‘70s. Not much I wanted to listen to. I mostly bought blues and jazz albums and later reggae. Then in 1976 I heard The Damned’s “New Rose” and shortly after that I got my hands on The Ramones’ self-titled first album. These were momentous events in my life that drove me back into arms of rock and roll. Talking Heads, Blondie, Mink DeVille, Pere Ubu, Patti Smith, The Clash and Television were the second wave of musical salvation to land on my turntable that changed my life.  Punk, or whatever you want to call it, defibrillated my rock and roll heart and inspired me to start my own band. And I wasn’t alone.

In this fine documentary directed by Don Letts (who knows a thing or two about punk rock) a bunch of aging punkers talk about the roots of the punk scene and their love of the music they make. There’s not much new here but it’s good to see Steve Jones, Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto, Siouxsie Sioux, Captain Sensible, Mick Jones Jones,David Johansen, Jello Biafra, Wayne Kramer, Thurston Moore, Legs McNeil and Tommy Ramone, among many others, wax poetic about the music explosion that was detonated in the mid-70s. It’s amazing how many survived. And deeply saddening that since this film was made in 2005 we’re down to zero original Ramones.

“Punk is not mohawks and safety pins. It’s an attitude and a spirit, with a lineage and tradition.” Don Letts.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘They’re throwing bottles?’: Keith Levene on PiL’s infamous Ritz riot, a Dangerous Minds exclusive
11:39 am


John Lydon
Keith Levene
Public Image Ltd.

This is the first part of Keith Levene‘s personal recollection of Public Image Ltd’s infamous Ritz riot show. The view from the eye of the hurricane, so to speak. Keith’s newest release is the wonderful and sprawling Commercial Zone 2014. His website is

The atmosphere was intense. An event put together with the best of intentions in real time. Real time meaning no set list, no rehashes of Pistols numbers, potential audience participation, no real idea of how the event would pan out and certainly no idea it was going to turn into a hybrid of an old school R&R riot.

There was no plan, that was the plan. The potential was immense. There was no MTV and I was using one of largest video displays in existence at the time. There was one other similar screen this size in Tokyo. We had a fantastic control room that was capable of being a TV channel.

Cable was the big buzz of the time and this! Live video just seemed so exciting and yet to me, so obvious. When I agreed to do this with the powers that be at the Ritz the question was “Can we use and integrate all the video equipment and the screen into the show? Stanley London, and Jerry Brandt, the club’s owners, as I remember said “Sure.”

I said “We’ll have to bill this as something special, a video event with Public Image Ltd. Its key we do this for a myriad of reasons.” They agreed. The guys at the Ritz were fantastically helpful and enthusiastic. Jerry Brandt as I remember was involved in The Electric Circus in the 60s and had a good idea of what was going on and therefore had a special eye on what I was doing as this was coming together. (He definitely thought he’d seen this before in the 60s. I could feel that.)

I had such high hopes for what was coming together. I’d envisioned a live video event with audience participation or an interactive event on a personal level which to my mind would have been quite innovative and quite interesting for those days. This might not seem like such a big deal in these advanced technological times but back then it was. Plus even then “interactive only really meant an electronic experience, nothing this close up and personal.

In May 1981 there was no World Wide Web, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, no instant global communication anywhere, anytime at the touch of a button. People didn’t have access to personal computers, cell phones, or the Internet except under really geeky circumstances. MTV didn’t exist as of yet though it was on the table. Cable was the biggest and most interesting or exciting thing happening.

In those days PiL would get lots of offers many of which were turned down. I happened to be in Manhattan and was getting a good deal of attention when an offer from the Ritz came up. They’d had an unexpected cancellation from none other than Malcolm’s Bow Wow Wow and they needed something with proper impact to fill the gap. Impromptu? Whatever.

The Ritz was a Victorian place that was used for pretty damn classy gigs. A fantastic venue with balconies, an old school wooden ballroom floor and the perfect size for name bands to do their stuff. A great stage and crew. I imagine the likes of Madness, Squeeze or Talking Heads and bands of that ilk would’ve used this as a prefered prestige place in New York.

The Ritz had recently acquired one of just two (in the entire world) massive video screens for the venue with a General Electric video projection system. The highest resolution imagery anyone was going to get for those times. The projection certainly wasn’t “Hi Def” as we know it these days but no one knew the difference then and essentially it looked like a giant movie screen and was very clear (The only other screen like the one there was in Tokyo. HD was a dream concept at the time only Sony were working on). This all really knocked my socks off and fired my imagination like a Gatling machine gun on speed. Suffice to say the Ritz was well interesting due to the toys inside.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop and his pop, for pop
06:21 am


Iggy Pop

Photo by Esther Friedman

I’m just a few months shy of two years as an excavator here at Dangerous Minds, and in that short a span, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been asked “How do you FIND all this stuff?” —even by people who’ve known me forever and should know damn well. In truth, I can’t answer that, I just find all this stuff because it’s what I’m into doing, and I don’t think any of my colleagues at DM, or my counterparts at other sites that burrow through the internet for mutant cultural produce would say anything terribly different. I’ve always been into digging for weirdness, so the question of “how I find all this stuff” is kind of beside the point, and sometimes even actually annoying, because I hear it so often and there really is no concise answer besides, “I dunno.”

AND YET, If I ever get to meet the people who run Network Awesome, I will surely break down and ask them where the hell they find all their stuff. On a daily basis, they post well thought out thematic programming for which someone has clearly dug DEEP. Some of the stuff they find completely blows me away, and I’ve been an obsessive collector/curator type my entire life. I applaud and bow to those people. So recently, in the course of indulging myself in a day of surfing around that site, I came across a program of theirs that collected commercials starring Iggy Pop. Each of them is a great watch, because Iggy Pop is Iggy Pop, and I already knew a fair few of them, but one jumped out at me, both for its awesomeness and its howdidinotknowaboutthisness.

Just a couple of years ago, an ad agency in Madrid did a Schweppes lemon soda poster campaign with Pop. It got around—even DM did a piece. What I did not know about, and what Network Awesome had posted, was the television commercial that went with it, which starred the 65ish-year-old proto-punk legend out on the town with his father, Mr. James Newell Osterberg Sr., the very pop whom Pop credited with his choice to become a singer, in a 2007 Esquire interview:

Driving down a nice two-lane highway, summer day, Ann Arbor, Michigan. I’m in the backseat of a ‘49 Cadillac. Always had a good car, my dad. Frank Sinatra’s singing: “Fairy tales can come true/It can happen to you/If you’re young at heart.” My dad’s singing along. From that moment on, when people asked me what I wanted to be, I would say, “A singer.” As I got older, I realized that might not be realistic. So then I thought, I’ll become a politician.

All I can say to that is right fuckin’ on. Here’s the commercial. It’s been uploaded to YouTube by a fair few users, but every single upload has a ridiculously low view count, which seems to me absurd for such a gem.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Knockin’ ‘Em Down in the City’: Iggy Pop on Cleveland local news, 1979
Iggy Pop was on ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’
Iggy & the Stooges playing at a high school gym in Michigan, 1970

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The unknown obscuro glam, punk and new wave mystery bands of 1980s… FLORIDA?
06:04 am


punk rock

Gregory McLaughlin, Randy Rush - The Front

A pair of eye-opening, no-budget documentaries on the (surprisingly great) glam, punk, and new wave music history of Florida have surfaced. These documentaries, primarily focused on the 1980s hyper-obscuro bands of the Miami scene, are a window into a musical history that, probably because of its geographical distance from the rest of the country, has been virtually ignored.

Punk rock historian, and author of the excellent Crate Digger: An Obsession With Punk Records, Bob Suren, who is constantly alerting me to new old bands I’ve never heard, sent me a link to Greg McLaughlin’s You Tube channel—a veritable treasure trove of Florida new wave and punk history. And get this—most of it’s actually really great.

McLaughlin led The Front, an early ‘80s punky, new-wave-ish quintet from Miami, with a sound reminiscent of San Francisco’s The Mutants or John Foxx era Ultravox. These guys were legitimate outsider weirdos who could have been huge if they had been from New York or LA or, hell, even Athens, GA. McLaughlin’s You Tube channel is chock full of clips of The Front as well as other Florida bands that no one north of Tallahassee’s ever heard of. Most of these bands may have released one or two singles if they were lucky. The Front had two.

McLaughlin has collected a lot of this footage, as well as interviews, into two documentaries: Invisible Bands and The Front -The Band That Time Forgot. The former chronicles Florida’s DIY music history from ‘60s garage punk bands through ‘80s new wave, power pop, and punk. The latter deals more specifically with McLaughlin’s own band, The Front, but also delves into the ‘80s Florida music scene, with bands such as The Eat, Cichlids, Screamin’ Sneakers, and Charlie Pickett and the Eggs.

Both documentaries are charmingly “no budget,”—fun in spite of their utter lack of any production value. Both could use a lot of fat-trimming, and would benefit greatly from about 30 minutes worth of cuts each. I think this is a problem film makers often face when they are too close to their subject matter.  The Front documentary loses focus about half way through and just starts including footage from loads of ‘80s contemporary local bands. Thankfully, all of the music (from a slew of unknown bands—“Killed By Death” greats, The Eat, are the most famous band featured, if that gives you any frame of reference)  is fantastic, even if the document itself is overlong and disjointed. Some of the footage repeats between the two documentaries, and if you’re not a patient person you may find yourself wanting to skim around a bit, but the music is totally worth it. There are some major gems to be unearthed here.

More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
This is the best punk band in the United States
06:05 am


punk rock
Downtown Boys

Sure, this will be a controversial superlative, but fuck it, I’m going out on a limb and declaring right now: Downtown Boys are currently the best active punk band in the United States.

I don’t make such statements carelessly. 

Providence, Rhode Island’s Downtown Boys may not be a household name, even in most punk houses, but they should be. The six-piece utilizes highly danceable manic punk blasts as a soapbox for their confrontational but heartfelt radical political screeds. The self-billed “bilingual political sax dance punk party” draws many influences together to create something that sounds familiar enough to pull you onto its frantic wavelength, but refreshing enough to keep you there. One might detect hints of The Fall, Bikini Kill, The Contortions, and The Ex, as much as the obvious comparison, X Ray Spex, who Downtown Boys share more in common with sonically than simply a saxophone and female singer.

In an excellent interview on, guitarist Joey L DeFrancesco touches on what sets Downtown Boys apart from most “political punk” acts:

We like to dance, and so do most of our friends. It’s something that brings people together. That’s just a good baseline. We aren’t trying to create a distraction from the awful world, but rather help create a new world inside the show space, and hopefully inspire folks to go out and do it in the outside world, too. There’s a power and joy in that, and that goes beyond just going to a club (which is still awesome and valid). Love and rage together are greater than the sum of their parts. Political music is often cheesy or boring, so no one listens to it. It’s ineffective propaganda.

Insert appropriate Emma Goldman misquote here.

Singer Victoria Ruiz paints a picture of the vibe at a Downtown Boys show—a vibe I can personally vouch for, as I was lucky enough to see them live last year. While most of the crowd waited outside for the by-the-numbers, headlining, cool-guy-hardcore-band, a smaller contingent of folks who had never heard of opening act, Downtown Boys, were at first stunned, and soon bouncing off walls, as the band utterly transformed the room. Ruiz conveyed a depth and realness that is so lacking in most of what passes for “punk” in 2015, and the audience picked up on that bigtime.

Every time we play, I think that we are going pretty deep down into the darkest and brightest places of ourselves, pulling out emotions from our subconscious and conscious desires, dreams and future. We are trying to relate to people. A lot of us in the band have worked in relational organizing, where you build relationships with people in order to create demand for change. It is the same thing with people at shows. We hope to meet people where they are at. It is crazy to look to the audience and be like, ‘Wow — there is a person here singing the lyrics louder than I am, there is a person here slowly unfolding their arms and slowly moving their head, there is a person here who looks likes I did when I was 16 — nerdy, brown and dirtying the cultural hegemonic brainwash.’ [At our shows] I want people to be with us and feel completely relevant and important.

OK. I made a rather bold statement up-top, and so it comes time to provide some musical evidence to back it up….

After the jump, listen to the best punk band in America today…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Punk posters from London’s legendary Roxy club
10:01 am


The Roxy
Barry Jones

Barry Jones: “They all loved the posters. Wayne County signed his. Everybody wanted copies so I went back for a reprint.”
Barry Jones was one of the three founders of the Roxy in Covent Garden at the very end of 1976 and the start of 1977; the other two were Andrew Czezowski and Susan Carrington. The Roxy famously lasted less than two years and had an especially awesome start, featuring many of punk’s greatest acts in a very short time, including Wire, X-Ray Spex, XTC, the Damned, the Jam, the Police, the Adverts, Buzzcocks, Sham 69, Siouxsie & The Banshees, the Slits, and the Vibrators.

After the Roxy closed, Barry Jones joined the London Cowboys, who stayed intact through 1986.

If you do research about the 1970s with any regularity, as all DM contributors do, it becomes immediately apparent how ubiquitous black-and-white photography was and how expensive printing in color must have been. One of the aspects that makes Jones’ gig posters so marvelous is that, in addition to being totally too much and overwhelming the onlooker with visual data, they’re just full of brimming color. Not suprisingly, they were supposed to be in B&W too, as Jones revealed in the pages of The Roxy London WC2: A Punk History by Paul Marko:

I loved color and I loved collage. I loved Andy Warhol and I loved the mass production thing. I’d found the place on Regent Street where Bowie shot that cover of Ziggy Stardust in the telephone booth right near the Xerox copy place. There were very few copy places around at that time—colour copiers anyway. We found this place that was conveniently near us and I did some paste ups. I was in love with magazines; if you went to my flat there were stacks and stacks of colour magazines from Vogue to colour supplements. I would go through them and pull out images I loved and the typefaces I wanted to copy. I had reams of references. At that time I was also really into Spiderman comics and their graphics. I loved the depth of feel that they got. I didn’t know what I was doing but I liked that the fact there was more to read in them than my earlier posters which were flat graphic.

When I came to do the posters it was just like a natural transition to me and include things I liked. So basically I slung together these collage things. The first three were for the Yanks. I liked them and they were gonna be B&W because that was all we could afford at the time; we weren’t making that much money. I remember going down to get them printed. I ran them through the B&W copier and they were pretty disappointing and I thought just for me I’ll do a colour one and that was it. Boom! Off the page it was phenomenal. and I just made the decision on my own that these were going to be colour. It’s a special gig; it’s the Yanks, it’s the Heartbreakers. They were expensive and had to be strategically placed rather than smothering the town.

(If available, clicking on an image will spawn a larger version.)

Cherry Vanilla: “That vibrator was drawn in. It was actually a microphone in my hand, but they made it into a vibrator. I had no control over that, but I didn’t mind it. I was sexual and I didn’t mind being portrayed that way.”

Jones: “Leee Childers was so gracious because I’d spelt Heartbreakers wrong. I had this kind of dyslexic thing where I would do a layout and one in ten I would do a misspell. I spelt it ‘Heartbrakers’... He was so gracious saying ‘it doesn’t matter they’re beautiful.”
More of Barry Jones’ posters from the Roxy, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Joey and Marky Ramone mock George Bush on Howard Stern, Republican Johnny does not

The partisan animosity within The Ramones is arguably the most fascinating political subtext in punk history. Most famous is the story that “The KKK Took My Baby Away” was left-wing Joey’s kiss-off song to right-wing Johnny, who had recently taken up with Joey’s girlfriend. Joey’s brother disputes this interpretation, maintaining that the song actually referenced an ill-fated romance between Joey and a black woman, but the lyrics indicate a clear streak of a bleeding heart, regardless. There is also Johnny’s famous acceptance speech at the band’s induction into the rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame, where he proclaimed “God bless President Bush, and God bless America” during that oh-so-embarrassing post-9/11 era of G.W love. There were other internecine jabs and some of them were in public.

The clip below is from one of The Ramones’ memorable appearances on The Howard Stern Show—this segment from 1990 probably didn’t help ameliorate the animosity between Joey and Johnny. The sketch features Billy West—best known as the voices of Ren of Ren and Stimpy and Fry from Futurama—as an oblivious President Bush. With surprisingly good comedic timing, Joey and Marky set up West to portray Bush as cavalier and avoidant, preferring golf to the responsibilities of the presidency (sound familiar?).

One can presume from Johnny’s political record (and his lack of participation) that he was not amused by such irreverent humor at the expense of our then commander-in chief.

Note Howard bemoaning his resemblance to Joey and the reference to Dee Dee’s mercifully brief career as a rapper under the name Dee Dee King,

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 101  1 2 3 >  Last ›