The Patti Smith Group with Tom Verlaine performing in Spain, 1996. This was the European leg of her first tour since coming out of retirement. I saw the very first show of the tour at Irving Plaza in NYC with my daughter who immediately became a convert to the power and glory of Ms. Smith. And an old buddy of mine who hated punk rock was equally blown away.
Like canaries flying into a coal mine, the Butthole Surfers fearlessly travel the long and lonely stretches of American highways spreading the word of rock ‘n’ roll and clearing the way for others to follow. Bringing light to where darkness reigns. In this case, Morgantown, West Virginia. The year is 1985 and the natives are restless.
‘New band, new mistakes,’ said Siouxsie Sioux in an after-show interview from this concert of The Banshees at De Meervaart Theater, Amsterdam in 1982.
Siouxsie was describing changes to The Banshees line-up over the previous 4 years, which had seen the arrival of drummer Budgie, and guitarist John McGeoch, joining Siouxsie and 1st Banshee Steven Severin.
As McGeoch explained it was the core dynamic of Severin and Siouxsie that made The Banshees work.
The Banshees were one of the most important and influential bands of the past 30 years, and while so many other bands from the sixties, seventies and eighties are getting back together and taking to the road again, it would be good to see The Banshees regroup, to take their rightful place at the top of the tree.
Sadly, any reunion would be without McGeoch, who died in 2004. McGeoch was classed as a Punk Jimmy Page, and had successful career with Magazine, Visage, The Banshees, and Public Image Ltd. I’ll leave it to McGeoch to describe performing with The Banshees in concert at De Meervaart:
‘It was great, because I felt like I was a teenager again, which was at least 20 years ago - and it’s nice to have memories like that.’
And o, what memories.
02. “Painted Bird”
03. “Arabian Knights”
05. Interview with band
07. “Happy House”
08. “Head Cut”
09. Interview Steven & Siouxsie
10. “Voodoo Dolly”
11. “But Not Them”
12. “Sin in My Heart”
MC5 on French TV. Broadcast on Pop2 on November 14th, 1972.
From the 2:16 minute point, the clip is from a 1973 episode of Pop2 and contains some really cool footage of the all-too-rarely-seen Fred “Sonic” Smith. Smith and Wayne Kramer were the only founding members of the band on this tour: the MC2.
For others, like the well-known post-punk singer Bob Mould, who was a mainstay of D.C.’s bear scene in the mid-2000s, the subculture is an entrée for misfits into mainstream gay life. In his 2011 memoir See a Little Light, Mould describes discovering Dupont’s DIK Bar: “It reminded me of my punk rock days: guys in flannel shirts, T-shirts, and jeans. There wasn’t a lot of pretense, sarcasm, or campy behavior…I enjoyed the company of guys who were comfortable with their masculinity. At DIK Bar I didn’t feel like I had to do anything to fit in except be myself. I didn’t have to try to look or act like a bear because I already was one.”
What’s more surprising to me about the article is that the general taxonomy of bear subculture is so diverse (chubs, cubs, chasers, twinks, leather daddies, otters… otters?). Well, that, and the fact that there’s any culture at all in boring Washington, DC (Buuuuuuurrrrrnnn!)
Below, Hüsker Dü take a fantastic rip through The Byrd’s “Eight Miles High” at the Pink Pop Festival, Netherlands, 1987:
Another great piece of rock history from The Merv Griffin Show. Debbie Harry and Chris Stein adapt to the role of talk show guests with the ease of the cool New Yorkers they are. And this cements Merv’s place in the Hipster Hall Of Fame. Totally.
It’s 1980 and Blondie has gone from Bowery punks to pop stars. You can tell Harry and Stein are struggling a bit with the whole fame thing.
Wilko Johnson has been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. A statement was issued by Johnson’s manager Robert Hoy which read:
WILKO JOHNSON – IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
I am very sad to announce that Wilko has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. He has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy.
He is currently in good spirits, is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity.
He has just set off on a trip to Japan; on his return we plan to complete a new CD, make a short tour of France, then give a series of farewell gigs in the UK. There is also a live DVD in the pipeline, filmed on the last UK tour.
Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career, from those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience.
Johnson is hailed as one of Rock’s most influential guitarists with his distinctive choppy, staccato style. He was a major influence on British Punk, and played with Ian Dury and The Blockheads after leaving Dr Feelgood in 1977. More recently there has been a resurgence of interest in Dr Feelgood after Julien Temple’s documentary on the band Oil City Confidential. Johnson has also appeared in Game of Thrones and successfully toured the UK at the end of last year. Our thoughts are with Johnson and his family.