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John Waters eulogizes Dead Boy Stiv Bators in heartfelt video tribute
03.27.2015
07:00 am

Topics:
Movies
Punk

Tags:
John Waters
Stiv Bators


 
The untimely passing of Stiv Bators is one of the most unexpected deaths in punk history. After years of onstage self-mutilation, brutal falls, and even an incident of theatrical hanging gone wrong that left him medically dead for several minutes, Stiv was hit by a car in Paris in 1990. He even walked away from the ER feeling fine, without seeing a doctor, only to die in his sleep later from a concussion. Bators, by all accounts a sweet guy, was mourned by many, including John Waters, who directed his brilliant performance as the dirtbag Bo-Bo in Polyester. The video eulogy you see below is a sincere moment of tenderness for the Pope of Trash, and a fitting tribute for such a lovely, disgusting punk legend.

In the director’s commentary on the Polyester DVD, Waters remarks that Bators’ girlfriend Caroline—who sprinkled his ashes across Jim Morrison’s gravesite in Paris—confessed to him that she snorted a bit of Stiv’s ashes to feel more connected to him

(Iggy Pop’s tearful videotaped condolences to Stiv’s parents are also quite moving, if you’re near a box of Kleenex.)
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Awesome Ramones T-shirts, drawn by the author of ‘My Friend Dahmer’
03.27.2015
06:13 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Fashion
Punk

Tags:
comics
Jeffrey Dahmer
Derf


 
If you read alt-weeklies in the ‘90s and ‘oughts, John “Derf” Backderf’s comic The City may well have been on your radar. Over its 24-year lifespan, it ran in 140 papers in all, peaking at 75 at once in the late ‘90s, including the late, lamented Cleveland Free Times, at which he and I were co-workers. Of course that publishing sector is gasping for air now, and Derf has moved on from it to an edifying afterlife: he’s retired the weekly strip, and like many cartoonists, he’s moved into web-comics, and he’s had great success creating graphic novels.

In 2008, Derf released the acclaimed Punk Rock and Trailer Parks, an account of being a young punk in Akron during the halcyon days of weirdomusic in Northeast Ohio. But his magnum opus so far is 2012’s My Friend Dahmer. You see, future cartoonist Derf was high school pals with future cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and his portrait of his onetime friend’s teen years is affecting, disturbing, compelling, deeply human, and just bottomlessly sad. Derf depicts behaviors in the teenaged Dahmer that we’d all recognize today as HUGE RED FLAGS that he was going to turn out seriously broken, but in the early ‘70s could be and were hand-waved as mere weirdness. It was nominated for basically all of the awards, and was named one of Time‘s top five non-fiction books of the year.
 

 

 
Both Punk Rock and Trailer Parks and My Friend Dahmer have been translated into French, which has given Derf a chance to travel to France for promo appearances and exhibits. For one of those exhibits, he drew some wonderful tributes to Joey and Johnny Ramone, and they’ve been made into t-shirts which are available through Birdcage Bottom Books. Also available to the discerning Derf aficionado is this shirt, which may or may not bear a (totally unintentional) resemblance to Lester Bangs (or not), available from publisher SLG Comics.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Watch The Fall break up into a million shards, live at Brownie’s in NYC, 1998
03.26.2015
10:19 am

Topics:
Crime
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Fall


 
This exchange happened after the Fall’s gig at Brownie’s on the Lower East Side of NYC on April 7, 1998:
 

Fan 1: “That was the scariest thing I ever saw. Now I know who I want to go as for Halloween.”
Fan 2: “You mean Mark E. Smith? You don’t understand…he’s not usually like this.”
Fan 1: “Oh, that’s too bad. I feel like I finally saw my first real punk band! That was the greatest show I ever saw in my life.”

 
That reaction merely scratched the surface of what happened that night. An actual fight broke out between longtime Fall drummer Karl Burns and frontman Mark E. Smith midway through the set. Before the sun would rise the next morning, Mark E. Smith would be arrested for assault. Even more momentously, it would emerge that the three members of the then-quintet who left the stage in the middle of the final song had played their last Fall gig ever, including Burns, who had been with the band since 1977, and Steve Hanley, the Fall’s utterly essential bassist who had been slogging it out with Mark E. Smith since 1979. The combination of Hanley and guitarist Craig Scanlon, who had left the band in 1995, was every bit as crucial to the Fall’s elusive brilliance during the early 1980s as MES himself, as can be witnessed on such phenomenal albums as Perverted by Language, This Nation’s Saving Grace, and Hex Enduction Hour. (Few pieces of music bring me as much joy as the lengthy “Garden” off of Perverted by Language.)

It couldn’t have been easy being such a close compadre of volatile genius/crabapple Mark E. Smith for two decades, but in April 1998 frustrations boiled over. Three days earlier, tempers had flared during a show in Philadelphia; Hanley and Smith got into a “fight,” according to WPRB DJs who attended the gig, and half the band quit the stage in disgust, leaving just Smith and keyboardist Julia Nagle on the stage (which would happen again a few days later at Brownie’s). After the show there was an extensive discussion of the fracas on WPRB (this clip is very entertaining). Julia’s rebuttal, written ten years after the fact, can be found here, along with that clip:
 

the UK tour prior to the US had also been a shambles, as the group had received a large VAT/TAX bill and were not happy chickens (threats of houses being lost etc. were the main topic of conversation or argument). Also, regarding to the incident at the beginning of the US tour, I defended myself with my fists during an argument about sharing a room with Mark and in the morning he had a black eye from that fracas. (there were many fracas’s during this time in The Falls history and they were nothing to be proud of).

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Wendy O. Williams, The Misfits, Black Flag—collect ‘em all with these vintage punk trading cards!


 
Totally in love with these cheap little vintage punk rock trading cards. Today we truly live in a post-punk world! Chain gas stations sell Misfits Zippos to oblivious rednecks! Hot Topic has monetized every band under the sun by slapping their logos on everything short of your first-born! Isn’t there something kind of quaint about this modest old school attempt to capitalize off punk fandom? The awkward little captions, the trademarks and copyrights over what I’m almost sure are fair-use press photos—it was a more innocent time of hucksterism!

I assume the cards didn’t move that well, considering these all came from 1981/82 editions of Punk Lives magazine (forget the copyright, most of these bands didn’t even exist in 1978). Perhaps whoever thought them up overestimated the archivist tendencies of early punk rocker, but I like the kitsch of such obsolete tinpot swag. Note early incarnation of The Cult with fresh-faced Ian Astbury; and Mark Chung and FM Einheit, later of Einstürzende Neubauten, back when they were in the Abwarts.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The Wrecks: Raging early 80’s proto-riot-grrl hardcore band’s demo, gloriously resurrected for you
03.25.2015
07:10 am

Topics:
Feminism
Music
Punk

Tags:
punks
The Wrecks


 
The Wrecks were a raging early ‘80s, all-female, hardcore band from the “Skeeno Hardcore” scene of Reno, Nevada. Considered by Seven Seconds to be a “sister band,” they were a bit of an anomaly at the time—four teenage girls playing ultra noisy, brutal hardcore. Certainly, they were mining similar musical and thematic territory that Bikini Kill would become famous for ten years later. Their “claim to fame” was a single song, “Punk is an Attitude”, which was included on the widely-distributed Not So Quiet on the Western Front compilation LP, released by Maximumrockandroll magazine in 1982. Their drummer, Lynn, went on to play with hardcore gods, The Dicks. Watch some incredible footage of her Dicks tenure here.
 

 
Lynn of Reno’s The Wrecks. Touch and Go #19

The excellent blog One Chord is Enough has a detailed post compiling several vintage reviews and interviews with The Wrecks:

“This band hails from Reno, Nevada and is composed of four teenage girls that do mostly all hardcore material. The nine songs on this tape are definitely not of the slam’n'thrash variety but are more akin to art damage, sorta like Flipper. Anyway everything here is original and well, kinda weird. Broken-up rhythms and strange singing abound but this stuff really does grab ya after repeated listenings. Also the lyrics are top notch and these girls definitely have something to say! They deal with subjects such as high school, Cuban refugees, and the all important question about drug use. What ya got here is a fairly rewarding tape from a rebellious crew of teenage girls ready to shake up the system.” Frankie DeAngelis (Ripper #7, May 1982)

 

 

“The Wrecks were one of the first all-female hardcore punk bands. They rocked Reno from 1980 to 1982. Two of the members went on to form the still-active Imperial Teen: Lynn Truell and Jone Stebbins. Lynn was just named one of the 100 best alternative-rock drummers by Spin magazine, which neglected her time in The Wrecks but included her drumming in The Dicks and Sister Double Happiness.” Mark Robison

 
Hear the Wrecks after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘The Decline of Western Civilization’ trilogy FINALLY gets a DVD/Blu-ray release!


 
Penelope Spheeris’ brilliant Decline of Western Civilization is an infamous document of the early ‘80s LA punk scene featuring interviews and mind-blowing performance footage of The Germs, X, Fear, Circle Jerks, and Black Flag, among others. Her follow-up, Decline of Western Civilization Part II - The Metal Years, follows the mid-‘80s LA glam metal scene and features Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Mustaine and Paul Stanley along with some amusing lesser-known hair-bands. It also famously features one of the most depressing interviews ever caught on film - a brutally pathetic poolside chat with alcoholic WASP guitarist, Chris Holmes. The third film in Spheeris’ trilogy, The Decline of Western Civilization III, is lesser known, but a fascinating look at the crusty squatter-punk scene of the mid-‘90s featuring musical performances by Final Conflict, Litmus Green, Naked Aggression and The Resistance.

Spheeris’ Decline of Western Civilization trilogy has been at the top of countless fans most-wanted DVD lists forever. I’ve personally been trying to replace my well-worn VHS copy since the dawn of the DVD format. Over the years there have been many hints that the films would get a proper digital video release. As far back as the late 90’s there was a website promising an “upcoming” release of the trilogy. As these films, particularly the first installment, have been at the tip-top of my must-have-list, I’ve followed the progress with an eagle eye. Spheeris has dropped hints on her Facebook page for years—at times promising a deluxe set loaded with extras. There were rumors that Black Flag’s notoriously difficult Greg Ginn was holding up the process. Though those rumors are unconfirmed and were never actually put forward by the Spheeris camp, it’s well known that Ginn has prevented film maker Dave Markey from releasing the Black Flag documentary Reality 86’d, as well as forcing him to remove the Black Flag footage from Markey’s other film The Slog Movie—which is itself sort of a low-rent version of the first Decline movie.
 

 
A lot of punk and metalhead DVD prayers got answered when, without fanfare or a press-release, a box set of the trilogy showed up for preorder on Amazon.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Post punk icons as classic Marvel Comics superheroes
03.20.2015
07:41 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
Marvel Comics
Butcher Billy


 
Butcher Billy, the Brazilian designer behind the hilarious “Post/Punk New Wave Superfriends,” which reimagined punk and post punk icons in the guise of Justice League superheroes, has given Marvel Comics their fair turn. Because you NEEDED to see Siouxsie Sioux as Scarlet Witch, Mark Mothersbaugh as Iron Man, John Lydon as Wolverine, and Ian Curtis as Spider-Man. And I needed to finally get a chance to write the phrase MORRISSEY SMASH!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Your new favorite anthem: ‘I’m Fuck, Punk You’
03.16.2015
01:04 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
Orgaaklap


 
Here’s 40 seconds of the most important anthem you’re going to hear today: “I’m Fuck, Punk You.” The gentleman seems angry and wants to get his word(s) out.

I have no idea what the hell is going on here or even why this short video exists. But it does, so I feel that I must share it with you.

The name of band is Orgaanklap. There’s an iTunes link on the YouTube page if you want to download it.

 
via Coilhouse on Facebook

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Citizen Zombie’: After 35 years, the Pop Group return in fine form
03.13.2015
06:41 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Pop Group
Citizen Zombie


 
Gang of Four’s terminal descent into hitherto unexplored depths of laughable badness prompts questions about the meaning and value of “authenticity,” some of which that band’s stalwart guitarist Andy Gill addresses himself in this essay (caveat: while it contains some ideas seriously worth discussing, the post at that link is uncomfortably closer than I hoped I’d ever get to watching a 60-ish year old man jack off to his own reflection in a full-length mirror). And it raises eternally familiar questions about what it means to age as a rebellious or difficult artist, especially in as youth-obsessed a milieu as rock music. There’s hardly a shortage of exemplars in Go4’s cohort—Michael Gira is 61, and Swans are making their best music ever. Genesis P-Orridge, at 65, has lately released a wonderful LP called Snakes under the Psychic TV banner. And WIRE? That band seems to be completely unstoppable. And while a few of their edges are sanded over on their recent reunion album Citizen Zombie, the Pop Group have successfully contemporized their sound without even slightly debasing it.

Sample Citizen Zombie after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Encyclopaedia of Ecstasy,’ incredible anarcho-goth-punk zine from 1983


 
I’ve hardly encountered a specimen from the postpunk years of the early 1980s that better exemplified how mixed up and stimulating all the categories were getting, than The Encyclopaedia of Ecstasy, Vol. 1, an utterly mind-boggling zine put out by Alistair Livingston in 1983. Livingston had/has associations with the anarchist collective/zine Kill Your Pet Puppy which ran from 1979 to 1984…. he references Crass and Bauhaus and Blood and Roses. While one wouldn’t necessarily expect that a “psychedelic goth punk fanzine,” as Livingston himself termed the project, would contain visions that might have emerged from Arthur Rimbaud‘s absinthe-drenched writings, the fact is that any movement led by Crass and Psychic TV was going to be awfully erudite and aestheticized, fueled by some pretty foreboding concerns over technology and culture. It’s so “political” that it fans out into almost pure (hyperverbal, psychedelic) sensation. In keeping with the absinthe feel, one page is titled “Vivé La Decadence, Paris 1893-London 199?”

The cover, complete with an all-seeing Masonic pyramid, reminds me a great deal of Gustav Klimt, which when you consider that it appears to have been executed purely with blocky magic markers, is awfully impressive. (The Klimt association is far from accidental—page 6 features a Xerox’d shout-out to Klimt’s “Jurisprudenz,” which was later destroyed by the Nazis.) At one juncture Livingston inquires, “why aren’t crass the psychedelic furs?” (Good question!) There are suggestive cut-and-paste headlines such as “whoops there goes another nuclear plant” or “man sees world saved by robots.” At the bottom of page 1 is an exuberant shout-out to the like-minded: “There is more… Like “Kill Your Pet Puppy” (a zine)…. The Anarchy Centres, the Black Sheep Co-op, punk lives (!), the people, the music, the squats, the whole beautiful chaoticness.”

Livingston is still active, he has run a stimulating blog called greengalloway for years—in this entry from 2005 he quotes from his own diary from this same era, name-checking Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Lou Reed, Blood and Roses, et al.

This is a pretty rare item—you can get one from Portland antiquarian project Division Leap for $125.

(If you click on any image in this post, you can see a much larger version.)
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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