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What a Buzzcock did next: Drummer John Maher’s stunning photographs of abandoned homes

007RustinPeaceJMaher.jpg
‘Rust in Peace.’

The chance decisions we make in our teens can sometimes bring wondrous returns.

John Maher was just sixteen when he was asked to play drums for a local band called the Buzzcocks in 1976. The Buzzcocks had been formed by Peter Shelley and Howard Devoto in Manchester in late 1975. Maher didn’t really think about it—he just said yes. His first gig playing drums with the band was supporting the Sex Pistols at their second (now legendary) appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester, in July 1976.

When he was eighteen, Maher bought his first camera—an Olympus Trip—just prior to the Buzzcocks tour of America in 1978. Photography was something to do on the road—but for Maher it was soon became a passion.

After the Buzzcocks split in 1981, Maher played drums for Wah! and Flag of Convenience. But his interest in music waned. When the Buzzcocks reformed in 1989, Maher opted out—only ever making occasional guest appearances with the band.

Maher had an interest in drag racing which led to his launching an incredibly successful business making high performance engines—John Maher Racing. His engines and transmissions are described as the best built in the UK. The success of his company allowed Maher to retire. It was then that he returned to photography.

In 2002, Maher relocated from Manchester to the Isle of Harris in Scotland. The beautiful, bleak Hebridean landscape was in stark contrast to his busy post-industrial hometown of Manchester. The land inspired Maher and he became fascinated with the deserted crofts dotted across the island. Homes once filled with working families and children now lay abandoned in disrepair—belongings scattered across wooden floors, empty chairs faithfully waiting for a new owner, wallpaper and paint drifting from the walls, windows smashed, and gardens long untended.

Maher started documenting these abandoned buildings that spoke more to him about human life than most museums. He took long exposures to achieve a certain look—often blending analogue and digital images to create the best picture. For example, the photograph TV Set was created from “a compilation of nine separate exposures.”

His fascination with the deserted crofts started an idea to have these homes reclaimed and reused bringing new life back to the island. As Maher told the BBC earlier this year:

“What started out as a personal project—documenting abandoned croft houses in the Outer Hebrides—has had an unexpected side effect.

“As a result of displaying my photographs, there’s now a real possibility of seeing at least one of the properties becoming a family home once again.”

Maher’s photographs led to a joint venture by the Carnegie Trust and the local housing association to start renovating some of Harris’s derelict buildings for habitation. Maher’s photographs have been exhibited on the isle and across the UK. “It shows,” he says, “that looking through a lens to the past can help shape things in the future.”

See more of John Maher’s work here.
 
010WaitingRoom-JMaher.jpg
‘Waiting Room.’
 
002BlueChairJMaher.jpg
‘Blue Chair.’
 
More of ex-Buzzcock John Maher’s work, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Get ready for tedious and predictable aging punker outrage: Converse has Clash Chuck Taylors now
09.21.2016
10:41 am

Topics:
Fashion
Punk

Tags:
the Clash
Converse
Chuck Taylor


 
It’s hard to say that punk ever died, given that both its distinctly non-hippie anti-authoritarian spirit and its fashion sensibilities have survived over four decades now, but its ongoing vigor doesn’t stop its own lifelong adherents from proclaiming it dead anyway. Some would pin the death of punk on the Sex Pistols’ Winterland concert. Others still peg the death of punk at the time of death of a given leading figure from that scene (much of that sort of sentiment accompanied the recent passing of Tommy Erdelyi, the last original Ramone—definitely a very sad milestone), evidently blind to the reality that a sufficiently compelling ethos will survive the last gasps of its originators. But if boring social media poutrage is our metric, punk dies anew literally every time a goofy punk-related consumer product hits the shelves, whether it’s Sex Pistols credit cards or Sex Pistols shoes. It’s invariably a lot of semi-coherent hurfdurf about rebellion being co-opted for corporate consumer products that ignores the plain fact that all those Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash and DEVO albums have themselves always been corporate consumer products.

Look for those exact comment threads to be repeated today, as Converse has announced two styles of Chuck Taylors—inarguably one of punk’s go-to uniform items—honoring the Clash. More specifically, their issue this week is pegged to the 40th anniversary of the 100 Club Punk Special festival, a historically significant two day event at which the Clash appeared with the Sex Pistols. The bill also featured Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Damned, and the Buzzcocks. Seriously, what would you give to be able to time-travel for that? Both of the shoe designs feature skull motifs that featured in the band’s graphics, a pink pair wallpapered with the “Radio Clash” skull-and-lightining-bolt imagery, and a black leather pair with the artwork from the “Straight to Hell” single stitched in.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Castration Squad: The unsung heroines of Alice Bag and Dinah Cancer’s early deathrock band


 
Back in the Canterbury Apartments days of Los Angeles’ punk scene Alice Bag, of the Bags, met neighbor Shannon Wilhelm whom she eventually ended up living with. After the end of the Bags—and more or less the end of the seedy Canterbury Apartments—Alice Bag was recruited to play bass for a new band called Castration Squad.
 
Castration Squad
 
This early deathrock band was made up of Shannon Wilhelm (vocals), Mary Bat-Thing (vocals), Tiffany Kennedy (keyboards), Alice Bag (bass), Tracy Lea (guitar) and Elissa Bello (drums). The fairly unknown band was comprised of some quite legendary female rockers. All female bands were still quite a novelty at this time so it’s noteworthy that not only this was a proto deathrock band but also that there were six women in it. Mary Bat-Thing was known as “Dinah Cancer” as part of 45 Grave; Elissa Bello joined after a brief stint in the Go-Go’s and Tracy Lea was in Redd Kross. Lesbian folksinger Phranc (who’d been in Nervous Gender) also played with the group.
 
Castration Squad Manifesto;
 
More Castration Squad after the jump…

Posted by Izzi Krombholz | Leave a comment
Is this awesome or terrible? The Smithsfits
09.19.2016
09:11 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Smiths
Misfits


 
It’s rare that I’m so flummoxed in determining whether I love or hate a thing, but here it is: The Smithsfits.

I also rarely go in for “mash-ups” unless they are particularly well done or so transgressively stupid that they cause me to laugh. The Smithsfits, as the name indicates, a mash-up of The Smiths and the Misfits, is fairly well done and it’s definitely stupid... but I just can’t decide if this is awesome or if it totally sucks.

Five of the songs on the band’s Soundcloud are Misfits songs done in the style of The Smiths and two of them are Smiths songs done in the style of the Misfits. I’ll give them points for mixing it up a bit. The singer does a fairly decent Morrissey impression. His Morrissey is better than his Danzig.

My unclear opinions aside, this is bound to appeal to some of our readers…

Have a listen, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
You’ll be GG LOL’n with these GG Allin emojis!
09.16.2016
09:35 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Science/Tech

Tags:
GG Allin
emojis


 
Aggronautix, the company that makes those cool “throbbleheads,” has teamed up with Emoji Fame and GG Allin’s brother, Merle, to create just what the Internet needed: GG Allin emojis.

GG Allin, the deceased shit-flinging “Rock and Roll Terrorist,” known for his transgressive live act, lives on digitally in a full set of cutesy cartoon images you can use to spice up your texts. You’ll be GG LOL’n in no time with these scumfuc smileys.

 

Emoji Fame, the go-to company specializing in making emoji sets for musicians, has thus far primarily developed artist emojis for hip-hop and EDM acts. GG’s set is one of the first punk rock emoji sets available.

“Love him or hate him, GG Allin is an icon. The process of distilling GG into emojis was equal parts revolting and exhilarating, which I think is a good way to sum up his persona. The emojis we created for him reflect that duality,” said Gavin Rhodes, Cofounder of Emoji Fame.

 

 

“It was fun to think back and develop the imagery relating to GG and his legacy,” said Merle Allin. “These emojis are for you sick fucks who want to keep GG and his scumfuc tradition alive… Keep spreading the disease.”

 

 

 
In other GG goes digital news this week, the GG Allin book My Prison Walls is now available digitally for Kindle via Amazon.

The emoji set is available starting today at the Itunes Emojifame page.

If you’re one of our readers asking “GG who?,” after the jump some footage of Geeg doing his thing…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
New Wave: Peek inside ‘Bogey’s Underground Fashion’ catalog from the good old 1980s


A page from the vintage fashion catalog ‘Bogey’s Underground Fashion,’ late 80s, early 90s.
 
Today I have for you something that I know many of our readers will recall coming across back in the mid to late 80s: a catalog catering to goth, “new wave” and punk style clothes sold by the New York-based company “Bogey’s Underground-Fashion From London.”
 

 
Back in the Boston-area during the 80s (where I was busily stomping around at the time) there were several shops in Cambridge that catered to the crowd who wanted their clothes to be black and tight with zippers and holes in all the right places. I spent A LOT of cash at the Allston Beat (RIP) in Harvard Square. To this day I refuse to get rid of the few pieces I still have that I purchased there back in the late ‘80s.

Much of the clothing and shoes sold by Bogey’s appeared to be from London (specifically pieces from “BOY of London”). Additionally, they sold their own “Bogey’s” brand which I will cautiously assume might have been designed in the company’s former home-base at 767 5th Avenue in New York. I can also tell you that looking at these images (best viewed whilst listening to Bauhaus, Adam & the Ants or Alien Sex Fiend) you may wish that Bogey’s awesomely cheesey 800 number, “1-800-YO-BOGEY” still was in operation, as they called it a day back in the early spring of 1993.
 

 

 
More pages from Bogey’s Underground-Fashion From London catalogs after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Back to mono: The Ramones’ debut album is 40 years old and it’s the best release of 2016
09.13.2016
11:33 pm

Topics:
Advertorial
Heroes
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Ramones


 
In the mid-70s I started a reggae band called The Ravers. I was living in Boulder, Colorado and had recently discovered The Wailers, Toots and The Maytals, The Mighty Diamonds, Burning Spear and the rest of the great groups coming out of Jamaica. For me, rock and roll had died along with Hendrix, Morrison and Brian Jones. There was some light in the darkness radiating from David Bowie, Roxy Music, T Rex and Sparks but reggae gave me what I had been missing: short energetic songs with great hooks and messages of rebellion. For a year or so, The Ravers played a handful of clubs to small audiences who couldn’t quite wrap their heads around an all-white reggae band that played with a more aggressive attitude than our Jamaican idols. The original material was more profane than sacred with a rocksteady rhythm that didn’t swing as much as lurch. I didn’t know it at the time but the reggae experiment was just a launching pad for something that was a better fit for me as a songwriter and front man.

In 1976 I had my musical “come to Jesus” moment. The Ramones’ debut album had just been released and as soon as the vinyl landed on my turntable and the band came roaring through the speakers, my life’s calling shifted gears and I decided to start a loud, insane rock band. I called my bandmates and scheduled a meeting. That night I played The Ramones for David, Artie, Jon and whoever our drummer was at the time. These guys were terrific musicians who were listening to shit like Steely Dan and The Grateful Dead. Hearing The Ramones made them visibly uncomfortable. They didn’t get it. They thought I’d lost my mind. But I played the album again. And then again. And suddenly smiles were breaking out on their faces and they were beginning to pick up on the musical intelligence underneath the goofy lyrics. The relentless guitar surging over a skin tight rhythm section was superficially simple but actually very hard to execute. This was a different kind of virtuosity, one that was just as exacting as any flashy soloing of the bands that my group admired. I picked up the tonearm and we picked up our guitars and started playing our first Ramones-inspired riffs. Within a week we went from being a bad reggae band to being a pretty good garage band. We didn’t call it punk until someone else did.

Playing our brand of fast and loud rock and roll went over like the proverbial turd in a punchbowl in hippie dippy Boulder. Which just made me more determined. We played country bars and Italian restaurants. I’d take my clothes off and leap into the audience. Half the set was made up on the spot. I’d turn to the band and scream “give me an E” and we’d start vamping. I ran my vocals through an Echoplex and would holler gibberish. We developed a small group of dedicated fans. Weirdos and outcasts. One of whom, Eric, later changed his name to Jello Biafra.
 

The author in the throes of rock and roll dementia. Photo: Patty Heffley.
 
When The Ramones came to Denver, Colorado in 1977 to play a tiny club with the totally misleading name Ebbets Field, The Ravers were hired to be their opening act. Being the only punk band in the Rocky Mountain region had its upside. I was going to meet The Ramones. I was excited. On the other hand, I was also scared shitless of being crushed by the band we were opening for.

The night of the gig we were onstage covering songs by The Dictators, The Stooges, Tuff Darts and some 60s garage rockers as well as our original material. The venue was tiny with steeply raked bleacher seating. The front row was about three feet from the stage. The Ravers were playing “California Sun” (which The Ramones had covered) when The Ramones entered the room and walked right in front of the stage carrying guitar cases and staring at the ground. I swear Johnny was smirking. We probably looked like rubes. In that moment, I felt like one.

After our set we went to the dressing room we were sharing with The Ramones. The vibe was deeply uncomfortable. Nobody talked. I tried. The Ramones, with the exception of a Ritalin-deprived Dee Dee, were tight-lipped and sulking. The only thing anybody said for the half hour I was with the band was when Johnny started talking about an upcoming CBGB gig with The Cramps. He thought they sucked. Big time. He couldn’t wait to annihilate them. You could tell he knew what the rest of the world would eventually find out: That the Ramones were pound for pound the greatest rock band to walk the earth. Johnny was a competitor. All or nothing.

Two girlfriends were traveling with the band. One sat silently reading a novelization of Ilsa: She Wolf Of The SS while the other was reading an Eerie comic book. Both wore leather mini-skirts with fishnet stockings and the same motorcycle jackets as the band. The whole thing was like a movie. That’s when it hit me. The Ramones were actors. This was theater. And it was perfect. Seamless.

The Ramones’ performance that night in Denver in front of about 50 people had for those of us who were there much the same impact that The Sex Pistols had in Manchester in June of 1976 when they played to 29 people, most of whom went on to form groups of their own like Joy Division, Siouxsie And The Banshees and The Buzzcocks. From the moment they hit the stage and struck their first chord, Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy were sublimely intense… and loud. Far and away the loudest band I’d ever heard. It was like an airplane landing in the room. But despite the massive wall of sound there were nuances in the music that came through. The Ramones could start and stop on a dime, commanded deft time changes, condensing and sculpting pure energy into a barrage of electricity that was surgical in its precision. The music was haiku simple but like haiku it contained enormity. I hate to say it for fear of sounding pretentious but The Ramones were avant-garde, revolutionary, modernists. They took traditional rock and roll forms and compressed and distilled them to their very essence. What Warhol was doing in the visual arts, The Ramones were doing in music: returning the marvelous to the familiar. Rock music had become dull, bloated and unnecessary. It was competing with itself. The Ramones threw themselves against the barricades and a surge of fresh air entered the sphere of rock and roll and for those of us who consider the music as vital as blood, this was deliverance.

The Ramones may have been loud, bratty provocateurs but they were also spiritual. Their songs were mantras, chants that summoned the dormant gods of rock and roll and transformed audiences. Whether you’re a Deadhead, a metalhead or jazzbo, you’ve been there—in that moment when time stops and the skies open up. The Ramones were the answer to their own question: What is rock and roll? 

Eric—Jello—had come to the gig posing as my roadie so he could get into the 21 and over show. In a photo snapped that night, Eric had to hand his beer off to Joey so there would be no evidence of underage drinking.
 

 
In an interview from a few years ago, Jello described the what it was like to see The Ramones at the tender age of 17:

Out come these four, kinda degenerate looking guys in leather jackets—which is something you didn’t see very often then. One chord on Johnny’s guitar, and we knew it was going to be louder than anyone of us were prepared for. We braced ourselves and instead of being goofy, the Ramones were one of the most powerful experiences of my entire life.

We were three feet from the stage and forced to sit down, of course. Not only were they really, really good, but half the fun was turning around and watching the Ebbets Field, country-rock glitterati, the guys with the neatly trimmed beards, Kenny Loggins-feathered hair and corduroy jackets, with patches on the elbows, as well as the cocaine cowboys and their women, with their 1920s suits with flowers, because that’s what Joni Mitchell was wearing at the time—they looked horrified. They had nowhere to go. Because Ebbets Field was so small, you couldn’t go hang out in the lobby because there wasn’t one. They just had to endure the Ramones

.

Jello pretty much nails it. The Ramones rearranged our rock and roll DNA that night and we would never be the same.  Almost 40 years later my sense memory of that night makes the hair on my body go erect. And at 65 years old any erection is a good thing.

Phil Gammage was also there that night. Phil went on to form Certain General in 1980, a highly regarded post-punk band that played every reputable rock venue in NYC and Europe. In 1977 he was living in Boulder and going to the University iof Colorado. One of a handful of outlaws at that respectable school. Here’s what Phil has to say about the Ebbets Field show:

Ebetts Field was a small club in downtown Denver that featured a variety of jazz, rock, blues, and country national touring music acts. Bands not big time enough to play the area’s theaters or arenas. I had already gone there a few times before when I drove down from Boulder that early spring weeknight to see The Ravers and The Ramones play.

The Ramones had so much discipline in their playing. There were no loose ends, no extra chords or stray drum beats. No slow songs, no long songs. No meandering jams. No prog rock style music frills. No encore. No rapping with the audience between songs. Their musical ideas were revolutionary. That night no one else within a thousand miles of Denver was playing music like that. I was hearing and seeing something very ground breaking and I knew it. Somehow, out of my curiosity I had found my way to be in that club that night to experience The Ramones, and I felt I was one of the ‘chosen few’ to be lucky enough to be there.

It would be the only time I would ever see The Ramones play live. I had numerous chances later, but there was something just so right and so perfect about that night in Denver. I didn’t want to mess with that mojo.

I kept The Ravers on my radar during the next few weeks. I wanted to see them play again, wanted to check out their scene. They were all a few years older than me, but they seemed like good people and approachable. Then one afternoon I picked up The Daily Camera newspaper and in the arts section was shocked to read the headline “The Ravers Say Goodbye to Boulder.” My fave local band was leaving town for good and heading to New York.

But that’s another story…

 
Another University of Colorado student Chris Murdock was at Ebbets Field that night. Chris too was moved by rock’s higher powers and went from observer to participant in the punk explosion when he formed legendary Colorado rockers The DefeX. The DefeX, like The Ravers, made the pilgrimage to CBGB. The acid test for any young band was whether they were gutsy enough to expose themselves to NYC’s 1970s trial by fire. The DefeX were for real. Chris sent me these previously unpublished photos from The Ramones Ebbets gig. The sparse audience really does have that deer in the headlights look. Maybe it was shock and awe.
 

 

 

 

The Ravers.
 
Steve Knutson was also at the show. Steve formed one of the first punk bands in Colorado, The Front. He also worked at legendary Denver record store Wax Trax (yes that Wax Trax). This is such a cool anecdote. “After school.”

After school me and a friend picked up The Ramones at the airport, and drove them straight to Wax Trax. They loved the store and bought quite a few records. Johnny’s girlfriend was wearing a raincoat and I think nothing else. He kept asking her to cover up in the car. They wanted us to help them buy pot but we had no idea how to facilitate that. My memory is that Johnny played through double Marshall stacks at max volume. It was incredible. But I couldn’t sleep afterwards for a few days out of excitement and my ears were ringing really badly. Unforgettable.

 

Photo: Steve Knutson.
 
Miracles actually occurred that night. From Andy Snow:

I was at that show too with Phil Gammage, and yes, it was loud and completely rugged. After I left I realized my kidney stones had miraculously been sonicated!

 

Andy’s kidney stones.

I don’t write reviews. I tell you what I like and hope I do it convincingly enough that you’ll go out of your way to check out whatever I’m writing about. There will be plenty written about The Ramones 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. As someone who was there in the beginning of what was to become known as punk rock, it is impossible for me to be objective about the scene and how it altered my life. Writing about The Ramones dispassionately would be like dropping acid and Thorazine at the same time. What’s the point? There’s only been a handful of rock writers who write like the music feels. I believe the subject of the writer is always the writer no matter what the subject is. And when it comes to rock and roll, there is no topic more likely to be encrusted with a writer’s literary love juice. The Ramones debut album is second only to Love’s Forever Changes when it comes to albums that have never sounded less exciting to me than the first day I heard them. And both albums have been released in the same week in state of the art analog remasters. Vinyl is the new black.
 

 
So what do we have here? Three CDs, a book and a vinyl record. The CDs consist of a stereo remaster of the album and live sets from L.A. club the Roxy in 1976. Really good stuff.

But, for me, the heart and the soul of the package: a newly re-mixed and mastered mono version on 180 gram vinyl. This splendid mono release was produced by the album’s original producer Craig Leon at Abbey Road studios. Mixed from the original analog master tape, the record has a presence, a melt-your-faceness that will hit you like a tuning fork struck by the hand of God.
 

The Ramones with Rob Freeman and Craig Leon at the board mixing The Ramones first album in 1976.
 
In an email exchange, Craig described the process of remastering the stereo and remixing the album to his original mono specs:

The stereo version is a remastering of the original two track mix that we did on the last day in Plaza Sound. When we mastered the 1976 album this was altered to try and get as much level as I could on the vinyl and to apply compression simulating the “secret weapon” compressor that only the EMI studio at Abbey Road had at that time. I used it on the remastering this time rather than duplicate the one I used on the original vinyl. The compressor is an EMI modified Altec 124. It gives an incredible “in your face” presence and is easily recognizable as one of the main sounds of the Beatles recordings. George Martin and the engineers used it on almost everything the Beatles did. Wonder how Paul’s bass sounded so punchy and huge…that’s it. The whole mix is run through that. The mono is a remix recreated from my original notes and referenced against early monitor mixes that I did in ‘76. On the early monitor mixes the placement is virtually mono. The overall mix is done partially through an EMI TG12345 (great model number for this record!) console, API modules and the EMI Altec compressor. At that time the band and I wanted to go for two releases… a stereo that was extreme and attention getting but also showed the triangular approach to how the band would be set up live. Bass on one side drums in the middle guitar on the other. And a large impact mono. Like the dual versions of albums from the 60s. Of course this was deemed to be impractical because mono was “dead” in 1976. No one had mono players any more (at least in the U.S.). I find that as the years went on and different remasterings were done, the intention of the original album got diluted quite a bit. I’m really thrilled that Warner Music with a great push from Mickey Leigh and Dave Frey, gave me the opportunity to restore our intentions on this set.

There have been a handful of critics who have described the mono remix and master to be “non-essential.” These numbnuts have clearly not listened to the mono mix on vinyl. My bet is they’re listening to digital files through some shitty computer speakers. Listening to The Ramones mono version on vinyl is like placing your head against the band’s collective chest: You can hear the heartbeat of the music. And it pounds!  My stereo system is comprised of a Thorens turntable, a solid vintage Technics receiver and Klipsch Heresy speakers. Play the record through a decent analog set up and you too will discover just how absolutely essential this slab of vinyl is. It holds it own against any of the recently released Beatles’ mono masters, and they are absolutely exquisite sounding.

The Ramones never referred to themselves as punks. They were a rock band with a unique vision who considered themselves to be part of a long tradition going back to Eddie Cochran through The Who, The Stones, The Stooges, David Bowie and every great rock band that kept it simple and pure. It’s a shame that Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy didn’t live to see their music mixed and mastered in a studio where The Beatles made their greatest albums. The Ramones wanted to be rock stars. And they were. No band has deserved it more.

The Ravers left for New York City a few months after opening for The Ramones. We had to get to Manhattan and see what was going on. We changed our name to The Nails. We played CBGB, Max’s, Danceteria, Pep Lounge etc. We got a major label deal and made records. I’d occasionally run into Joey Ramone at one of the rock clubs in the city. We were both drinking heavily in those years and the conversions were drunken and brief. I would bring up the Denver gig and he’d nod and mumble something. For me, that gig was monumental. For Joey, not so much.

This tall lanky guy that nervously hid behind his hair and slumped against the world like a drunken saint was not what you’d call heroic. But Joey was a hero to me. He and his band represented everything I expect from and respect about rock and roll: The Ramones stayed true to their vision, they didn’t sell out, they kept doing what they did best against the massive complacency of a music industry that was too small to contain them, but arrogant enough to dismiss them. It took Rolling Stone magazine 40 years to put them on a cover. 40 years for the band to earn a gold record. Punks might wail “who gives a shit?” Well, I can tell you the Ramones gave a shit. The Ramones wrote hits that never became hits. Dozens of them. Anybody who tells you they started a band just for the “art” of it is full of shit. Tommy may have initially conceived of The Ramones as a pop art concept (a latter day Warhol/Velvet Underground iteration) but the rest of the band were in it for keeps. The Ramones were conceptual as all get out, and smarter than most people realized, but three quarters of the band wanted to be part of the rock and roll pantheon along with Marc Bolan, John Lennon and Sky Saxon. And now they finally are. But they’re fucking dead. And that’s the sad part.

Tommy was the first to leave the band and the last to leave the planet. His vision of a one-off gutter version of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable ended up touring and recording for 20 years. He created a beautifully brutal monster.
 

 
Needless to say, I can’t share an analog version of the mono record with DM readers. Just go out and buy it. It’s worth every penny. And if you don’t have an analog stereo system at home, then this album is a good reason to get one.

Craig Leon and everybody involved in the making of The Ramones 40th Anniversary edition deserve all the love that rock fans can bestow upon them. And Rhino gets a shout out for being smart enough to put the mono remix on vinyl. What a gift.
 

 
******

I know people like to watch. Here’s what I consider to be the only live footage of The Ramones that comes close to communicating how powerful they were in the flesh. The Ramones live at The Rainbow, December 31, 1977. Play it fucking loud!!!
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Sniffin’ Glue: The definitive first wave U.K. punk zine
09.12.2016
10:27 am

Topics:
Media
Music
Punk

Tags:
Mark Perry
Sniffin' Glue


 
In July 1976 Mark Perry saw the Ramones open for the Flamin’ Groovies at the Roundhouse and Dingwalls. A few days later he was looking for some magazines about his new passion of punk music and was annoyed to see that there wasn’t much in that line available. So he started a zine celebrating punk music and chose as its name Sniffin’ Glue, a nod to the Ramones’ “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.”

The full name of the zine was Sniffin’ Glue & Other Rock & Roll Habits. Created with a children’s typewriter and felt markers, it wore its amateur/fan status on its sleeve. Perry was working as a bank clerk but quit his job to start the zine. It is routinely mentioned as one of the most important and influential zines in a scene that quickly generated many of them. Sniffin’ Glue provided the first venue for the writing of Danny Baker, who later moved to London Weekend Television, where he documented the new wave of British heavy metal as well as acts like Depeche Mode. Perry’s lively volume Sniffin’ Glue and Other Rock’n'roll Habits: The Essential Punk Accessory, published in 2009, is very much worth a look.
 

Sniffin’ Glue founder Mark Perry
 
After a year or so of publication, Sniffin’ Glue’s circulation had swelled from double digits to a whopping 10,000—the project had gotten so big that Perry stopped the magazine after roughly 15 issues so that he could concentrate on his band Alternative TV, which made its debut at London’s Rat Club on September 14, 1977. Early rehearsals took place at Throbbing Gristle‘s Industrial Records studio with Genesis P-Orridge on drums; you can hear those recordings on the Industrial Sessions 1977 release. ATV broke up in the spring of 1979. Perry later started a band called Good Missionaries and ATV’s guitarist, Alex Ferguson, would join Genesis and Peter Christopherson in the original incarnation of Psychic TV in 1981.

Perry’s first mention of the Sex Pistols was a negative review but he soon came around. As he wrote, “The Pistols reflect life as it is in the council flats, not some fantasy world that most rock artists create. Yes, they will destroy, but it won’t be mindless destruction. The likes of Led Zeppelin, Queen and Pink Floyd, need to be checked in the ‘classical’ music section. They’ve got to make way for the real people and the Sex Pistols are the first of them.”

As Tony Fletcher put it,
 

Within the space of three issues, Mark had connected the dots from the Ramones to the Flamin Groovies, through Eddie And The Hot Rods and the Damned, and onto the Clash and the Sex Pistols - and Sniffin’ Glue had become the mouthpiece for the British punk underground in the process. Punk germinated underground just long enough for Sniffin’ Glue to become indispensable within the scene - it had already put out five issues by the time the Pistols swore at Bill Grundy on live television and punk exploded as a media concern. As Perry and Baker note of contemporary so-called subcultures, even that short a period of gestation won’t happen again: “everything is now exposed to the masses instantly.”

 
What follows is most (not all) of the covers of Sniffin’ Glue from its short but influential run.
 

 

 
After the jump, more covers from Sniffin’ Glue…......

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Dangerous Minds interview with Little Annie (Annie Anxiety Bandez)


Photo by Clinton Querci
 
The strange and fabulous career of Little Annie, also known as Annie Anxiety and Annie Anxiety Bandez, is like an index of Dangerous Minds’ musical obsessions. We wriggle in the web she weaves. Some connections are personal: DM’s own Howie Pyro was the bassist in her first band, Annie Anxiety and the Asexuals—Annie says below, “Howie is the reason I ended up on stage”—and DM chief Richard Metzger has mentioned his friend’s encounter with Annie at an Islington anarcho-punk festival in 1984. But then, consider that she’s worked with Crass, Coil, Marc Almond, Current 93, Nurse With Wound, Adrian Sherwood and the On-U Sound crew, Youth, Kid Congo Powers, ANOHNI (formerly Antony Hegarty), Keith Levene, Swans, et al.—and then, consider what a shame it is that every article about Little Annie has to mention all these associations in its opening paragraphs, when her own performances, her own powers, are so extraordinary. That’s why all those people wanted to work with her in the first place.

On Little Annie’s latest album, Trace, she is both the torch singer she claims to be and the streetwise narrator of “Bitching Song,” who patiently explains why, no matter your profession, location, or standing in this world, you’re just another bitch. Her wonderful memoir, You Can’t Sing The Blues While Drinking Milk, published in 2013, is scarce in hardcover (this looks like your best bet), but the Kindle version is a steal at $4.99.

When I called Annie last week, my first question was about Hermine, the hurricane then approaching her current base of operations, Miami. Thanks to Julian Schoen and On-U Sound for putting me in touch with this great artist.
 

Trace (2016)
 
Annie: I haven’t seen the news all day. I was out shooting. It’s like the rest of the planet; it’s getting gentrified, Miami, so I was out shooting some of these Darth Vader buildings that are going up about ten miles up the road.

Dangerous Minds: So you’re taking pictures, you’re documenting the gentrification of Miami?

Well, you know what it is, a friend of mine, she said—because I love buildings—she goes, “These are really ugly, you’ve got to shoot them” [laughing], you know? And they really are, they’re really sinister-looking skyscrapers. I love skyscrapers, but we’re below sea level here as it is, and they’re really like… gunmetal gray. Like, everything you wouldn’t do in this kind of light, just really ugly. Almost so that they’re beautiful. They’re so sinister, they almost have a kind of eerie beauty to them. I just got a high-definition camera finally so I could shoot and print for online stuff, and I thought, “Oh, that’s a good place to start. Let me get my chops going on some ugly.”

Man, it did not disappoint. They’re using all these gunmetal grays; it looks like either it’s the Church of Scientology or Masons, there’s something really… like prisons for the very rich, you know? Really grim.

So how did you wind up in Miami, Annie?

That’s a good question. You know, it was a place I had no interest in whatsoever. I’d been down here with some friends of mine whose father used to live down here; I came down in ’93, you know, and really it was only a place I ever went to go somewhere else.

New York, I had to move, and all of a sudden I realized, even if it was possible to live anywhere, I realized I wasn’t interested in any of it. So I don’t drive—I’m a confirmed non-driver—and I couldn’t think of where I could live on the East Coast that was near an airport for work, or where I could get away without a car. Miami, it’s difficult, but you can be a non-driver down here. And then, I kind of fell in love with it… one morning I woke up and said “Miami.” I was thinking about that today, I was trying to figure out how that happened.

’Cause I could picture you in Cuba somehow.

In my neighborhood? You could be anywhere in Central America or South America. I would say it’s around 90 percent Spanish-speaking, and there’s French. You hardly ever hear English in my neighborhood. You could walk down one street and it looks like Rio, and another street will look like the West Indies. It’s all new for me.

I guess I was starting to dislike myself. I was starting to become one of those perpetually angry [New Yorkers], “This is gone, and this isn’t like this anymore,” so I wanted somewhere where I didn’t know what it was like, so I have nothing to compare it to. I can’t get nostalgic over it because I don’t know what it was.

Sure, I can imagine. I’m from Los Angeles, and that’s changed so much over the last 20 or 30 years. And New York was so fabulous at one point.

Some of it here feels like New York in the ‘80s. Not always in a good way, too. What I do love about it is what I hate about it. It’s very corrupt. You know, like, I love this: their idea of gentrifying one area was to put a strip joint in it. [laughs] And that’s what I love about it. Literally, like New York used to be, like you could walk a few blocks and you were in a different world? Miami still has that flavor. Not so much the beach, but the inland. My neighborhood’s the last old neighborhood which hasn’t been fucked with yet. They want to, but you’ve got a mixture of, like, millionaires living next to Section 8. It’s really like an eclectic, wonderful little neighborhood two blocks from the beach. But because it hasn’t been gentrified, people don’t want to move here, which is why I wanted to move here. I really do love this area.

But L.A., I’ve got a little crush on Los Angeles from the last time I went there. I was with Baby Dee and we played downtown L.A. and it’s so beautiful, the light! The way the light hits things and the buildings.

There’s something special about the light here, for sure.

It was just gorgeous. We played in a place where Charlie Chaplin had a fistfight with Buster Keaton or something, and the upstairs place, it was some kind of—not three-quarter housing, but some kind of housing association… 

But then you go out, by the same token, I would be there all day, and like, thinking like I’m walking through Calcutta to get home, because I’ve never seen homelessness and pain like that! You’ve got these beautiful buildings, and then the homeless thing in downtown L.A., I just felt so bad for people.

Oh, it’s disgraceful. It’s kind of like what I imagine happened in New York under Giuliani. As the city becomes gentrified, they’re just shoving homeless people into different quarters of town where they’re getting more and more pressed together. There are blocks that are just covered with tents.

Yeah! That’s what I’m—I couldn’t believe it. I was outside having a cigarette. I must have had—in less than 20 minutes, ten people came up and asked me for money, you know? Which I would have gladly given. If I knew I was going into that, I would have gone in with food or something.

Miami is terrible. There’s no safety net for people. There’s no social services as such. They blame the homeless—‘cause we are fighting, they want to gentrify this area—and people will say things like, “If we let the developers in, then it will solve the homeless problem, and the rapes will go down.” And I go, “Wait: unload that sentence. You just called homeless people rapists.”

There’s this way that they deal with the homeless, is to criminalize them. New York is terrible, but Miami… and L.A., I love it and hate it.
 

State of Grace (with Baby Dee, 2013)
 
You’re singing my song, Annie. You know Howie Pyro writes for Dangerous Minds?

I love Howie! You know that I’ve known Howie since I was sixteen years old.

He was in the Asexuals, right?

Yeah. Howie is the reason I ended up on stage. Because we were hanging out, we really were like punk kids in the sense of like punk, juvenile delinquent, like little silly kids—we used to put “KICK ME” signs on people’s backs. We were totally juvenile. They asked me to support them, the Blessed, and I’m like, “Yeah!” And I didn’t know what “support” meant. So I had to throw a band together or something. Howie and them really kind of were the ones who—I was writing poetry and doing little bits of I don’t know what, but I didn’t have any direction, I was just being a kid, you know? And it was really because of the Blessed that I ended up in show business. I love Howie; I love those guys so much.

When did you have a sense that you had this voice? I know you didn’t set out to be a performer, and they encouraged you to go on stage. But when did you realize that you had this talent? I just read your memoir, so all this stuff is fresh in my head, you singing at the park in the a cappella group as a teenager…

You know what? It was funny, because I really didn’t realize I had a voice until… actually, very recently. Like, I knew I had a very good sense of… I’m very percussive, so I’ve always had like a sense of cadence. I mean, I was told not to be in the choir, because I was basically a contralto when I was a child. I had this voice—I was a belter, and I could belt like an old gospel singer when I was a little kid, you know? I could belt out old blues songs, and I sounded like I’d been drinking whiskey at age seven, you know what I mean? I had that kind of voice.

It’s only in the last couple of years where I’ve realized the ability I have, you know, like the physicality of singing? I realize that it’s not something that everybody has. ‘Cause I didn’t know what I was doing, I would luck into things, but I never knew how I got there, from point A to B. I just did it because it had to be done. I think it was on the Swans tour: I go, “Wow, now I’m understanding what people say, singing from the diaphragm, and the rest.” I actually didn’t realize what I was born with, you know? I’m shaped like a singer. Some of it actually happens from singing, you get a wider ribcage just from singing. But it was only really recently, I go “Wait, I could do that!” Or that I actually trusted my abilities. I always kinda knew my abilities as a writer, and to keep time: I write like a drummer or a conga player. But it was only really recently that I knew I had something.

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Make it all the way through a career [laughs] before you start realizing. Because I’ve never had a pretty voice. I can do that, but if it was pretty, it was by accident. So now I go, “Oh wait, when I do this, this happens. Oh wait, I can get from this octave to another octave.” I’m only just starting to grasp what I’ve been blessed with. Yeah, so, just recent! [laughing] Last few months.

Well, you had an instinctive sense probably of how to work an audience, right?

That, yes. Live, I’m able to… hear people. Even if it’s silent, there’s something I hear from them, a dialogue that I’ve always kind of tapped into. And I don’t know why…

That’s why acting was so hard for me. Acting, I’m starting to learn, you’ve got to access a different part of you. But where there was something on stage, maybe it was what people get from gospel or something—I go into the zone, and when I’m in the zone, I’m able to supersede any ideas of myself, or anything. It’s probably the only time in my life I’m not in my head. I’m totally not in my head. I’m totally not conscious. It’s the safest place in the world, the stage, and it’s because it’s a dialogue, and I don’t know what it is but that’s something I’ve always had, which is why the stage felt so good. You know, to look straight in people’s eyes on stage. 

I mean, recording, I spent my On-U Sound years really getting into the technical side of, not the machinery, but of sound and of craft and the music part. But that other part, that was something that was always there. And it was a problem acting, because I’m so much myself on the stage, and when you go onstage and act, it’s not about being yourself. I mean, I’ve lost parts because I go in and I start rewriting the script in my head. And they want an audition, and you go in, you start going, “That doesn’t feel honest,” and acting isn’t honest. It’s about being believable.

When you’re singing with an audience, it’s absolutely about trusting that they can be themselves and you can be yourselves, because you have a moment of—fuck, it sounds really pretentious, but it’s almost like Zen—you’re so in the moment. Your mind can’t wander; if it does, you’re not in it. You don’t give a fuck what anybody thinks. You know when it’s right. It doesn’t happen all the time, of course, but fortunately, most of the time, where you’re absolutely in this kind of weird communion with other people. It’s such a gift to be able to go there.
 

Songs from the Coal Mine Canary (2006)
 
You’re an ordained minister now, Annie?

Yeah. I became ordained basically because I did needle exchange for a while. My main function was, I was outreach, so I’d be on the stroll with sex workers at night, like if they need condoms or syringes or something. But it almost became your beat, where anything that happened within a certain mile radius, I felt like, I gotta deal with—you know, you get a drunk that would fall down, break their arm.

What happened was, I had to call 911. I got the ambulance, and I asked where they’re taking the guy, ‘cause a lot of time with drunks, they would drop them off around the corner, and I wanted to make sure. And they go, “Why, who are you?” And I was standing in front of a church, so it just came out of my mouth, I go, “I’m his minister.” And they go, “Is that your church?” And it was St. Mark’s Church, which is huge, and I go, “Yeah, that’s my church.” And their tone totally changed. It was like, “You don’t understand, we get so burnt out, we pick up the same people day after day, and then they’re right back in the street again,” and all of a sudden they wanted to confess. So I go, “Wow, this could work, you know? Maybe this minister thing isn’t a bad idea.”

Much more after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Patti Smith’s review of ‘The Beach Boys Love You’


 
The Beach Boys Love You, from 1977, is not everyone’s favorite Beach Boys LP, but it is Bucks Burnett’s. The onetime manager of Tiny Tim believes Love You is of a piece with another ‘77 record that nearly everyone regards as a classic, David Bowie’s Low. Burnett wrote in a recent Facebook post:

My bizarre theory is that the two albums are almost interchangeable. Here it is, ugly medicine in a plastic spoon; this was Brian Wilson’s Berlin trilogy, in one album. Low is Bowie’s Love You.

If you aren’t familiar with The Beach Boys Love You, it’s called that because it was dedicated to Brian Wilson by the other members of the band. One might question whether the album was really the other Beach Boys’ to make a present of in the first place, since its major selling point was that Brian Wilson himself not only produced it, but had written or co-written every song. (“Happy birthday, honey. Here’s that delicious cake you made!”) But it’s the thought that counts, right?
 

From the sleeve: “TO BRIAN WHOM WE LOVE WITH ALL OUR HEARTS”
 
Many of the songs—especially those credited to Brian alone—are marked by an unconventional approach to lyric writing, compared to the way the art is generally practiced by the human people of the planet Earth. Take the often-mocked (but lovely) “Johnny Carson”:

He sits behind his microphone
(John-ny Car-son)
He speaks in such a manly tone
(John-ny Car-son)

Ed McMahon comes on and says “Here’s Johnny!”
Every night at 11:30, he’s so funny.
“It’s nice to have you on the show tonight
I’ll see your act in Vegas—outta sight!”

When guests are boring, he fills up the slack
(John-ny Car-son)
The network makes him break his back
(John-ny Car-son)

Ed McMahon comes on and says “Here’s Johnny!”
Every night at 11:30, he’s so funny.
Don’t you think he’s such a natural guy?
The way he’s kept it up could make you cry.

Who’s a man that we admire?
Johnny Carson is a real live wire.

I think Bucks might be onto something. As far as I can tell, Beach Boys fans who hate this record just can’t stand the words, while I find them oddly affecting. Who but Brian Wilson could have seen his own body torn on the gears of showbiz in the image of Johnny Carson, of all people, or heard “such a manly tone” in the Tonight Show host’s voice? Is the objection that these lyrics give too clear a view into Wilson’s pain and confusion? Whatever: I don’t recall anyone disputing this album’s musical merits, and in my opinion, reconciling oneself to lyrics such as “Honkin, honkin’ down the gosh-darn highway / Tryin’, tryin’ to get past them cars” and “Love is a woman / so tell her she smells good tonight” is an excellent form of spiritual discipline.

Patti Smith looked into this controversy at the time, and “you’re into it or you’re not” was her conclusion. From the October 1977 issue of Hit Parader, here is the confirmed Johnny Carson fan’s review of The Beach Boys Love You:
 

via smileysmile.net
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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