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5th grade girl discovers Dead Kennedys CD at school library; writes diary entry about it
09.19.2014
12:23 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Punk

Tags:
Dead Kennedys


Dead Kennedys photo by ©Laura Levine
 
Okay, so this adorable letter supposedly written by a 5th grade girl has been making the rounds on the Internet the past few days. I hesitated posting it because there was no real information about its provenance. Is it too good to be true? I don’t know.


 
Click here to read larger image.
 
Here’s what Vanyaland has to say about it:

A 20-year-old from Indianapolis named Taylor-Ruth has a much cooler story — discovering Dead Kennedys at the library when she was in 5th grade, and on September 26 of that year she sat down to write pretty much the best grade-school letter anyone has ever written. Though the note was posted to her tumblr last year, it was recently retweeted by Jason Isbell, and the other day Devin Faraci of Badass Digest did some sleuthing to piece it all together.

Now some folks are calling shenanigans on the letter because they say there’s no way a librarian is going believe a 5th grader is a 15-year-old teen. I’m not too sure about that, I got a tattoo when I was 12 years old. The tattooist asked me if I was 18 years old, I said “Yep!” and she then said, “Hop in the chair then, and let’s do this.” When I got home, let’s just say… my parents were not pleased. But what were they going to do about it at that point. Besides that, my father had gotten one when he was just ten…

Below, “The Beatles” perform “California Über Alles”:

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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’What Every Child Needs To Know About Punk Rock’ is a real children’s book that actually exists


 
The Ramones’ 40th anniversary celebration just happened at Bowery Electric last weekend, and the last living original member of the band died, aged 65, just a couple of months short of being able to attend. Punk rock is OLD, and yet, through generations, it persists. As ways for a kid to rebel go, punk has been extraordinarily durable and flexible. Its most basic and superficial tropes were long ago rendered cartoonish or outright mainstreamed, but the defiant outlook they express is eternal.
 

Eh, why not? It’d beat them turning Juggalo.

The very idea of punk as a staid cultural institution, let alone toddler-book fodder, might be met with wounded howls of opposition from some circles—as it should be—but again, 40 years. There are OG punks who are grandparents now. I have an 11-year-old Godson who spent his infancy decked out in Ramones and DK’s onesies. So as weird and implausible as a children’s book frankly explaining punk may sound at first blush, one could make a case that by now, it’s pretty well overdue. What Every Child Needs To Know About Punk Rock was released about a week before the Ramones’ 40th anniversary show, and it’s actually kind of awesome. I’ll let these spreads speak for themselves.
 

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The book is credited on the cover to “Brad and Marc.” Sounds pretty casual, but both of them are highly credentialed.  Marc is researcher and healthcare analyst Marc Engelsgjerd, and Brad is child behavior expert R. Bradley Snyder. The two have co-authored several books in this series, penning What Every Child Needs To Know About board books on a topics as trivial as pizza and coffee, and as serious as cancer and the economy. I can think of a few adults in pretty dire need of that last one.
 

Click to enlarge

Spreads reproduced with permission from Need to Know Publishing

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Napalm Death on children’s TV, 1989
Before Harry Potter there was ‘How to Make Magic’: A childrens guide to practicing the occult
Right-winger accuses ‘Sesame Street’ of corrupting America’s youth with self-esteem
Barbarian metal is for the children: Manowar on Nickelodeon

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘My Rules’: Glen E. Friedman book documents hardcore punk, hip hop, skaters and YOU NEED IT
09.18.2014
07:18 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Hip-hop
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:
Glen E. Friedman


 
I don’t normally write posts and say “you must own this!” but… you’ve gotta get this! Glen E. Friedman’s new My Rules (Rizzoli) is simply stunning. A real masterpiece! I was happier than a pig in shit when I got it in the mail a few weeks ago. It was a very pleasant—and unexpected—surprise indeed. I couldn’t wait to unwrap it out of its packaging and tear through it! The book is a glorious MONSTER, with huge color photographs and amazing B&W images. Hugeness is a major factor in its favor, and the hardcover is sort of “quilted” and textured in a manner unlike any book I’ve ever owned. As an object/publication, it’s… a simply stunning presentation of a photographer’s life’s work, one of the best you’ll ever see. An event! Who is there… what ONE photographer was around as many important scenes as Friedman? Hip hop, hardcore, skaters, he was there, he was in the midst of it and with this book you really get a sense of that. It’s not just a bunch of amazing photographs, the selection becomes a sort of autobiography of the person who documented all of these moments: He was there.


Darren “Buffy” Robinson - Fat Boys - 1985 - Venice Beach, ©Glen E. Friedman
 
Glen’s work splendidly captures historic moments in time. Moments of 70s skate culture, punk, post punk, hardcore, 80s hip hop and early-90s indie rock. Underground cultures that will never happen again (or at least not as cool as they were then!). I have to admit though, I got really nostalgic and almost a bit weepy while looking at these photographs. They reminded me of being young again. My youth. Something I ain’t ever going to get back. They drummed up memories of me hanging out with my childhood friends (some sadly deceased now) just kicking it in my parents’ basement playing records or driving around in my first boyfriend’s pick-up truck blasting Minor Threat. Fun times. Good times.

I love this book for so many reasons.


The Make-Up - 1995 - New York City, ©Glen E. Friedman
 

Think of any iconic image of Run DMC, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Public Enemy, and Beastie Boys, or the gravity defying revolutionary skateboarding legends Tony Alva, Jay Adams, or Stacy Peralta. It is almost certain that Glen E. Friedman was the man behind the camera. Since the mid-1970s as a young teenager, Friedman has been chronicling quintessential moments of underground and counterculture movements.

Glen E. Friedman’s My Rules serves as a history book for the three powerhouse countercultures—skateboarding, punk, and hip-hop. From the earliest days Friedman was present to capture the pivotal and defining moments in music and street movements that were largely unknown or ignored. The energy and rebellion comes through in these famous and some never-before-seen iconic images.


Moses Padilla - 1978 - West LA, ©Glen E. Friedman

As a side note: It was extremely difficult for me to pick the images for this post. I mean, they’re all so damned wonderful! ALL of them! Here are a few choice selections from My Rules below:


Jello Biafra - 1981 - Hollywood, ©Glen E. Friedman
 

Flavor Flav and Chuck D. - 1987, ©Glen E. Friedman
 

Junk Yard Band - 1986 - Washington D.C., ©Glen E. Friedman

More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Beyond Good & Evil: The Pop Group’s Mark Stewart, the Dangerous Minds interview
09.12.2014
09:54 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Pop Group


 
The Pop Group is unequivocally back. After reuniting four years ago for festival shows and limited UK and European tours, the band’s singer Mark Stewart has told Dangerous Minds that their long-promised album of new material is at last being recorded this month, and that wider tours are in the works. This news comes fairly quickly on the heels of the announcement that the band is reissuing their 1980 album We Are Time and a rarities collection called Cabinet of Curiosities this autumn.

The Pop Group began in Bristol, UK, in 1978, and established a niche all to themselves with an unabashedly abrasive ruckus of No Wave and free jazz noise, punk’s ethos of confrontation, and a rhythm section devoted to dub and straight-up funk. Atop all that, singer Stewart chanted far-left declamations in a voice that lurched without warning from warble to shriek. The effect of this melee could be caustic, disorienting, and exhilarating. The band became influential despite its volatility, and in 1981, it fractured, jettisoning its members into the bands Rip Rig + Panic, Glaxo Babies/Maximum Joy, Pigbag, and the Slits. For his part, Stewart has recorded solo and with his band the Maffia. The Pop Group’s albums Y, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder, and We Are Time have, in the USA, at least, been only intermittently available and sometimes ridiculously expensive to obtain, so the news of impending reissues is most welcome. Because it’s 2014 and this is how it’s done now, there’s a pledge drive afoot for the releases, and some of the premiums are mighty cool. (I’m pretty sorely tempted by the Signed Ultimate Boxset Bundle.)

Earlier this week, Mark Stewart was kind enough to talk to DM at length about the band’s origins and future plans.
 

 
DM: Just this morning, I came across a news item that references The Pop Group, and I was wondering if you were aware of it— the Washington Post was reporting on a corrupt politician, and they posted a video of “We Are All Prostitutes.”

Mark Stewart: Yeah. I haven’t had a chance to check out all the details of the story yet, but a very important confidante of mine, who writes books about conspiracies in politics, says it’s the most important story the Washington Post has run since Watergate, is that true?

Possibly. The ex-governor of Virginia and his wife have been convicted of fraud and selling access. It’s pretty huge. He was a presidential hopeful once, and now this blatant corruption comes to light. But I wondered if you were aware of the Post using your song in that context, and whether you think that speaks to the Pop Group’s continued relevance?

The lyrics to that song are timeless. The second real album that we made, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, was a bit more time-sensitive. It was talking about things that were happening in real time in Indonesia, and coups that were happening with ITT and Allende in Chile, things that were happening in Cambodia. That was more a real time, newspapery kind of album. But the other stuff, like “We Are All Prostitutes” and Y and the stuff we’re re-releasing now, it’s weird, because for me, I’m looking at it that way as much as you, because it’s like listening to something that’s out there now.

It’s quite bizarre. Me and [Pop Group guitarist] Gareth Sager, we spent two years going through, trying to find the best stuff from that period—and I’m a fan, I’ve realized recently, with all the music I’ve made, I’m making it for myself because I have an idea of what I’d like to hear. Like mashing up a free-jazz saxophone against a funk beat with Arabic wailing or something, I’m doing it for myself, because I’m only hearing those things in my head, and making things up like a little kid, and I just want to make those things. I’m having to analyze this stuff and see it again and it’s weird. But the We Are Time album sounds like new bands I’m hearing out of London now.
 

 

 
Well in terms of the songs’ political content, over the last thirty years, I’m not sure so much has changed or gotten better…

Hold on! You’re like my girlfriend! I think a lot has got better! Are you a pessimist?

Ha, maybe! Some things have gotten better on the social front, sure, but in terms of the oligarchs’ takeover? At least in the United States, oh my GOD, they are winning.

Yes. And, as far as I can see some of the battles in the Middle East are between different factions in America, like an American proxy war going on there, oil companies acting like medieval dynasties, it’s bizarre. And they’re backing jealous militias.

So are you an optimist, then? What do you see getting better?

Generally I think people across the world are genuinely more aware. Right now I’m in this fishing village, and the guy who lives in a shed at the bottom of the garden knows as much about the world as I did in 1979. There’s access to more media, and people, as far as I can see, are seeing through the illusion. Back in the day they used to think politicians were correct, and they’d tip their caps in a kind of regal way. People are kind of owning and feeling the responsibility and making the connections, that the things that are happening aren’t so far away. There’s blowback, and the actions we make in everyday life are a result of these actions across the world, funding our avarice.

It’s easier to put these ideas into songs!

More with Mark Stewart after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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CPO Punky: Don Rickles meets The Dickies, 1978
09.11.2014
06:58 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
Don Rickles
The Dickies


 
In March 1978, the Dickies made a guest appearance on Don Rickles’ sitcom CPO Sharkey. It was the band’s TV debut and the nation’s first glimpse of the Los Angeles punk scene; it was also an audition for A&M Records’ UK president Derek Green, who was a member of the live studio audience in beautiful downtown Burbank, California. Guitarist Stan Lee recalls how it came to pass in the oral history We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk:

Our only goal was to make a single. John Hewlett came to one of our early shows and told me he thought we were the best band he’d ever seen. I laughed, but then he told me he managed Sparks. I really liked the Kimono My House LP. I thought, “Well, what did you have in mind?” He asked if we had a manager. It didn’t hurt that he was short, British, and charming. He had an instant plan to take us in the studio to cut some tracks for a single on a label he was starting. Soon we were recording at Brothers Studio (the Beach Boys haunt in Santa Monica with Earl Mankey). When we were done he looked at me and said, “This is far bigger than I had imagined. . . I’m gonna take this tape to England and get you a major deal.” I thought, “Okay, what can it hurt?” Island Records was interested, and he had an appointment with Derek Green, president of A&M Records U.K., who’d just kicked the Sex Pistols off the label and was looking for another punk band, preferably one that wouldn’t throw up on them. After hearing the tape, he flew to L.A. with John to see if we were for real and to meet us.

[...] Meanwhile a local TV writer who saw us at the Whisky wrote us into an episode of CPO Sharkey, a nationally syndicated sitcom starring Don Rickles. The timing was perfect. The plane landed at 7 p.m. Hewlett ushered Mr. Green over to NBC by eight o’clock and into the live audience just in time for the taping of the show. Afterward we met, but the checkbook didn’t come out yet. He wanted to see the band live doing a full-length show with a real club audience. We set up a showcase at the Whisky. He showed up with Jerry Moss (the M in A&M). I put them in a booth and told them in my most puffed-up posture, “You have no business in the record business if you don’t sign this band.”

 

Sharkey and Pruitt meet the doorman at the Pits
 
In the episode, punks beat up two of Sharkey’s men (Skolnick and Kowalski) for talking to a 17-year-old girl named Quinine at a punk club called the Pits. When Chief Robinson explains punk rock to Sharkey, you get to hear how the new form was understood by people of showbiz in 1978:

ROBINSON: Well, it’s a new thing in music. It’s a bunch of kids rebelling against rules, authority and styles. You know, they’re against everything!
SHARKEY: What are they, commies?
ROBINSON: No, they wear crazy clothes and makeup. I read where some of the girls hang things like razor blades from their earrings.
SHARKEY: No kidding! Hey, a guy could whisper in a broad’s ear and wind up with a nose job! Sounds wild!

 

Punks pogo at The Pits
 
The seamen visit The Pits, where the Dickies mime an abbreviated version of “Hideous” and an instrumental “I’m OK, You’re OK” before more violence erupts. The rest of the episode concerns Quinine’s desire to pogo with Sharkey, and Sharkey’s desire to soothe her worried mother (played by Charlotte Rae of The Facts of Life).
 

The Dickies play “Hideous” on CPO Sharkey, 1978
 
Watch the full episode, “Punk Rock Sharkey,” here.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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The Clash’s forgotten years, 1984-1986
09.10.2014
07:35 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Clash


The Clash busking in York, 1985
 
In its official version, the story of The Clash ends with the firing of lead guitarist Mick Jones in 1983. Though founding members Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon subsequently led a five-piece version of the group until the first months of 1986, it is not a polite thing to mention at parties. The 384-page coffee-table book The Clash
devotes less than a single page to the final two and a half years of the band’s career, and the 1985 album Cut The Crap has been left out of every Clash box set to date. In the words of Rolling Stone, “It doesn’t count, and the whole thing has basically been erased from history. The Clash as we know them ended at the 1983 US Festival.” The new Clash met the same fate as the new Coke.

While no one would dispute that it was a poor choice to fire Mick Jones, the Clash did a few things worth remembering between 1984 and 1986. Determined to make a radical break with stardom, they went on a busking tour of the U.K. that included a stop in the parking lot of an Alarm show, where the headliners reportedly came out to watch. Strummer never sounded so fired up in interviews as he did in 1984, and rock critic Greil Marcus reported that, despite the new Clash’s shortcomings, he’d “never seen Strummer more exhilarated, or more convincing” than at a January 1984 show in California.
 

Strummer and Simonon interview, 1984 (part two)
 
Danny Garcia’s documentary The Rise and Fall Of The Clash, a whodunit about the breakup, is the first movie to shed light on this bizarre period. Based on interviews with original members Mick Jones and Terry Chimes, late-period members Pete Howard, Nick Sheppard, and Vince White, comrades Pearl Harbor, Viv Albertine, and Vic Godard, and others from the band’s circle, the movie largely focuses on the role of manager Bernie Rhodes.
 

The Rise and Fall of The Clash trailer
 
Evaluations of Rhodes’ actual contribution to the band vary widely, but most parties agree that Strummer trusted the manager while Jones did not. The Clash fired Rhodes in 1978—they were managed by big-timers Blackhill Enterprises during the recording of London Calling and Sandinista!—but they hired Rhodes back in 1981. “Joe wanted Bernie back because there was no excitement in the situation with Blackhill and Joe needed to have someone like Bernie around to give him confidence,” Simonon says in the coffee-table book.

The documentary makes it clear that Rhodes exploited Strummer and Simonon’s resentment of Jones’s “rock star” behavior (dating models, showing up late, etc.) to force Jones out and seize control of the band. This part of the story reveals unfathomable dimensions of weirdness. For instance, according to Jones, in the days before he was fired, the band gathered in Rehearsal Rehearsals to write new material. There, Jones says, ruthless manager Rhodes had the Clash working on the follow-up to the platinum-selling Combat Rock, an album of. . . New Orleans jazz?
 

 
More ‘Crap’ Clash after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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‘The Ian MacKaye’: DC eatery ‘ironically’ names burger after noted vegan
09.05.2014
10:27 am

Topics:
Food
Punk

Tags:
Ian MacKaye


 
Satellite Room in Washington, DC has a new menu of burgers that have been named after notable local musical heros. They’ve got burgers named after Henry Rollins, Donald Byrd, Joan Jett, GoGo great Chuck Brown, Dave Grohl and Big Tony. There’s even a plain burger on a bun in honor of Kenny G.

That’s funny, but why did they have to go and name a six-ounce burger topped with chicken liver after noted vegan, Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye?

Via the Washington Post’s Going Out Guide blog:

“I’ve never been to [Satellite Room] (in fact, never really heard of it) and wasn’t aware that there was a sandwich bearing my name being offered until yesterday,” MacKaye wrote in an e-mail. “I would hope that regardless if it bears my name or someone else’s, that they have at least one vegan option!”

What a juvenile way to drum up publicity. Annoying enough that it would cause me to avoid this place (and I’m not a vegan).
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Before The Dead Boys were the Dead Boys, they were the oh so glamorous ‘Frankenstein’


 
The line from Rocket From the Tombs to punk rock is one of the shortest and straightest that can be drawn. RFTT were a boisterously aggressive, unruly, and weird band of Velvet Underground devotees that appeared in the early ‘70s. When they broke up in 1975, their singer and guitarist formed the long running art-punk ensemble Pere Ubu (who, by the way, have a wonderful new LP coming out this month), and the drummer and other guitarist teamed up with a scrawny sparkplug of an Iggy-inspired frontman called Stiv Bators to form the raunchy, scummy, guttural ur-punks the Dead Boys.

But tellings of that well-known history typically omit an amusing detour. Before they moved to NYC, changed their name to the Dead Boys, and went down in history, Bators and company briefly took the form of the glammy, fuzzed out Frankenstein. Almost nothing survives of them, but what does found its way to an EP back in the mid-‘90s. Eve of the Dead Boys contains early recordings of three songs that would end up on the Dead Boys’ immortal debut Young Loud and Snotty. A short and illuminating piece by Jack Rabid on AllMusic sheds some light on the recording’s history:

The great Tim Sommer once played a tape of Cleveland quintet Frankenstein (who would later become the Dead Boys) on his WNYU “Noise the Show” punk radio show in 1981. It was three fascinating songs they recorded two years later when the same five members moved to New York for the first Dead Boys’ LP, Young Loud and Snotty. It was super raw, supremely garagey, and great. I always wondered if I would ever hear it again. Years later, it’s a great little artifact, with liner notes from Dead Boys’ bassist, Jeff Magnum. This live-to-two-track document, recorded in the loft of the legendary Rocket From the Tombs, the pre-Pere Ubu group they also had roots in, and remixed for release, is slightly submerged, but the performance is delightfully dirty and the playing crackles like a big, burning log. Best of all, since these versions of “Sonic Reducer,” “High Tension Wire,” and “Down in Flames” weren’t altered after the group moved to New York and got into the brand-new, thriving punk scene, this wild, wild, wild sound proves they were not bandwagon-jumpers. Instead, like Pere Ubu, they were true mid-‘70s “bad old days” pre-punk rock revolutionaries, the genuine heirs to MC5, Stooges, and tough ‘60s garage.

Despite the audio fidelity, the three songs on the EP seriously rip. Compare the early version of “High Tension Wire” to the canonical LP version:
 

”Hight Tension Wire” by Frankenstein

”Hight Tension Wire” by the Dead Boys

If you’d like an astonishing look at a seriously glammed-out Dead Boys, these photos of Frankenstein were posted on the Cash From Chaos Tumblr over the weekend. Bators’ stockings-as-pants move surely raised some audience hackles, to whatever degree an audience was actually present.
 

 

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Young, loud, certainly snotty: the Dead Boys in 1977
Stiv Bators, pop crooner
Dead Boy Cheetah Chrome’s ‘Sonic Reducer’ guitar lesson

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Rondos, the punk band that made Crass ‘look like a vaudeville show’
09.03.2014
07:00 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Crass
Rondos


The Rondos’ Red Attack LP
 
“The Rondos were Maoists—bloody heavy,” Crass guitarist Phil Free remembers in George Berger’s The Story of Crass. “Jesus, they were frightening! Serious! They made us look like a vaudeville show! They’re probably still doing time for something!”

Contemporaries and comrades of The Ex, the Rondos (1978-1980) were a Rotterdam punk band that ran a record label (King Kong) and print shop from their communal habitation, Huize Schoonderloo. With the bands Rode Wig, Tändstickor Shocks, and Sovjets, they formed Rotterdam’s “Red Rock” collective.

According to Berger, Crass dates the beginning of the violence that beset shows throughout their career to a September 1979 gig at Conway Hall in London. There, they played with the Rondos and Poison Girls in aid of “Persons Unknown,” a group of anarchists facing conspiracy charges. The book does not explicitly state what the Rondos are supposed to have done at the benefit, but it implies that members of Crass believe the Rondos provoked right-wing skinheads in the audience. (Crass avoided taking sides in skirmishes between punk factions: “left wing, right wing, you can stuff the lot.”)
 

Poster from issue #4 of the Rondos’ fanzine Raket, published September 1979

However, Berger also quotes an eyewitness account by self-identified anti-fascist Martin Lux, who says he was on security that night and mentions no such provocation. Rather, in Lux’s account, a mob of fascists came out to bash heads, not to see the bands: “Around forty plus British Movement skinheads had barged in and were gathered inside the main entrance exuding menace[...] The organisation of the gig had collapsed, Nazis ruled the roost. The only thing holding them back from rampage was that they were waiting for Crass to come on for the finale, then they’d rush and take the stage.” Lux says that he met outside with SWP members he knew from “many a past expedition against the Master Race,” and agreed to their proposal: he’d “keep the lid on it for a couple of hours” while they rounded up an anti-fascist crew to whup Nazis.

The memoir of Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud, Shibboleth: My Revolting Life, gives yet another account of the Rashomon-like event:

[A]ll hell broke loose when we attempted to play a benefit for Persons Unknown at the Conway Hall, London. Sharing the bill with the Rondos, a Dutch band who we had thought were anarchists, but turned out to be hard-line Maoists, the gig had its tensions from the start.

“We are not in favor of patronising the Right,” they had declared on hearing about the skinhead faction of our following. “If there is trouble, we will reciprocate.”

By then, I was pretty certain that if there wasn’t trouble, the Rondos would create it, but I needn’t have worried, there was plenty of it without their help.

Throughout the evening rumours were flying that out of the audience of over seven hundred people, fifty or so skinheads planned to storm the stage during Crass’ performance. It was a rumour we’d heard many times before, one that I felt was not based on any tangible reality, but created out of a sad need for vicarious thrills. Of course some skinheads purported to support the British Movement, but then the Queen purported to support egalitarianism. Very few skinheads were convinced fascists, and even if they were, so what? They were the ones who could have most benefited from what we had to say.

Shortly before we were due to go on, a commotion broke out at the door. We were under attack, not from the British Movement, but from the Red Brigade, Trotskyists who, in their crusade for peoples’ power, had taken it upon themselves to rid the hall of ‘Nazi scum’. Anyone with hair shorter than half an inch, plus a scattering of those unfortunate enough to be wearing a hat that disguised their allegiance, were regarded as fair game. The resultant carnage was ugly, unnecessary and utterly indefensible. The Rondos were nowhere to be seen throughout.

A couple of days later, the ‘Guardian’ ran a report on the evening, claiming that the gig had been broken up by the British Movement who ‘stormed the door with broken bottles and cries of “red bastards”’, a report that created a reputation for violence that became the bane of our life on the road.

Despite several letters to the editor of the ‘Guardian’, in which I demanded that the truth be told, no correction was ever published. The delicate balance that we had been able to maintain between the opposing political camps had been irrevocably destroyed. From then on, believing that we had set them up for a beating, Crass and its followers became targets for repeated British Movement attacks. In one unthinking report, the ‘thinking man’s paper’ had wrecked any possibility of success for our commitment to open dialogue.

Finally, there’s the Rondos’ own account of the show, from the biography section of the band’s website. It’s the only version of the story that includes vegan spring rolls:

The day of the concert arrived, a benefit concert for anarchist prisoners in England. Crass practised the transitions between the songs, which they played without pausing, like they did on their records. We hung around in their delightful garden. Steve Ignorant, Crass’ brilliant singer, polished everyone’s Dr. Martens boots. He asked how we could remain so calm just before a performance. We smiled, because we didn’t understand the question. He told us he kept running to the toilet with nerves all day. We raised our eyebrows. That afternoon we arrived at the Conway Hall in Crass’ van. The place was swarming with skinheads. The fascist National Front had just held a big meeting. In the Conway Hall, of all places.

The atmosphere in the venue just before that night’s performance was vicious. Fights broke out near the toilets in the corridor between different groups of skinheads supporting different football clubs. They marched ostentatiously into the room, with bloody hands and faces. They raised their arms in the Nazi salute. The Rondos played. Apart from the odd broken string the gig went perfect. We got good reactions. Poison Girls played. There was a lot of Hex-like behaviour from female fans. Their vocals were rather theatrical, but still it was a great show, supported noisily by a gang of West Ham skins thrashing the balcony.

Then all hell broke loose. It all happened very fast. People were getting punched and kicked. Panic broke out. The audience scattered. We lifted small skinheads on to the stage so they wouldn’t get trampled. They cried with shock and fear and were barely eleven or twelve years old. People were lying on the floor. The police arrived and cleared the room. The skins were told to hand in their shoelaces. Peace returned and staff scrubbed the floor and mopped up the blood. Apparently, members of the Anti Nazi League and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) had clashed with skinheads of the British Movement and the National Front, who had stayed behind in pubs around the Conway Hall after the NF meeting to come to Crass’ gig that evening. A Jewish activist from the SWP walked up to the stage and pointed his finger at Crass. Your fault!

We grabbed our things and got in the van. We were packed together and very quiet. We went by a Chinese take-away for some vegan spring rolls. At Crass’ place a discussion ensued. The tone was friendly, but still. Shouldn’t you protect yourself from this kind of violence? They frequently wrestled with these problems. Crass had become a target for skinheads who were attracted to their furious music, militant appearance and swastika-like symbols, but who rejected anarchist and pacifist ideas. Crass refused to employ bouncers or let the venue hire them, even though that was a common thing in London in those days. It was a question of principles but should the audience be put through all this? You do invite them to come to your gigs, after all. Is it fair to deliver them unprotected to hordes of skinheads, fascist or not, while you are safely on the stage? It was fair, said Crass, for that was simply the situation in London at that time and they didn’t want to be ‘anti’. Crass said we didn’t understand, coming from the peaceful Netherlands. Crass’ pacifist anarchism, although admirable, opposed The Rondos’ more militant attitude.

We said goodbye the next day. We agreed to do more concerts in England together, organize a common tour of the Netherlands and there were plans to record an LP with Crass’ help. We’d talk about it all later. In the meantime the newspapers in England were full of the Conway Hall battle. The only venue, by the way, that had offered the National Front a space to meet, from the fundamental conviction that everyone has the right of assembly.

Here’s some surprisingly good-looking footage of the band performing three songs. If you like this stuff, there is a box set. A Black & White Statement: The Story of the Rondos contains the Rondos’ complete discography, a live show, a photo book, a comic book, a lyric book, and the band’s autobiography.
 

Rondos perform “I Got No Time” and “System”
 

Rondos perform “Russians Are Coming”
 
Hear the Rondos play a 1978 set of fifteen covers, including the Suicide Commandos’ “Burn It Down.”

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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The Ramones on the Jerry Lewis Telethon
08.29.2014
05:57 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
The Ramones


 
Well here’s something kind of strange and wonderful: The Ramones playing on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon in September of 1989. The choice of songs couldn’t be more appropriate: “I Believe In Miracles” and “I Wanna Be Sedated.” This was C.J.‘s debut gig with the band and it must have been a particularly surreal initiation for the newly adopted Ramone.

This was aired on WWOR-TV in New York City.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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