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Odd couple: Patti Smith meets the Pope
04.10.2013
10:46 pm

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Current Events
Punk

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Patti Smith pressed the flesh with Pope Francis yesterday on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. They seemed to have hit it off.

I’m keeping my mouth shut. I like Patti.

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Something rotten Down Under: John Lydon makes a fool of himself on Australian TV
04.10.2013
04:09 am

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Punk

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Yesterday John Lydon threw a hissy fit on Australian TV talk show The Project and ended up the fool. Looking like a pudgy old tart with a stick up his arse, Lydon’s rant was bereft of even the slightest trace of humor or punkish charm. It’s really quite embarrassing.

Hey, hey, hey Mrs, shut up. Whoever you are, shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Now listen, when a man is talking do not interrupt.

Johnny needs a good kick in the dentures. What a wanker.

While Lydon is obnoxious from the get-go, the real unpleasantness begins at the 4:10 mark.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Heroin chic: Christiane F., teenage junkie, prostitute, style icon
04.07.2013
12:34 pm

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Books
History
Movies
Punk

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Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (“Christiane F. – We Children from Bahnhof Zoo” in English) is a 1981 German film based on the autobiographical recordings of a young heroin addict and prostitute in West Berlin. It was one of the most successful German films of that year, going on to become a worldwide cult hit, but one that stirred up a lot of (I think justifiable) controversy.
 

Vera Christiane Felscherinow
 
Two journalists from Stern magazine, Kai Herrmann and Horst Rieck, met the girl, Vera Christiane Felscherinow (born May 20, 1962) in 1978 when she was a witness against a john who paid underage prostitutes with heroin. The reporters were shocked to the extent of the escalating teenage drug problem and spent over two months interviewing Christiane and other young junkies and prostitutes (of both genders) who congregated near the Berlin Zoo. They ran several articles and a book Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, covering four years (ages 12-15) of her life on the streets, was published in 1979.

Christiane lived with her mother in a bleak West Berlin neighborhood full of the sort of postwar high-rise apartment blocks that were often hives of social problems. She became fascinated by a discothèque that she had read about called “Sound” and although she was only 11-years-old, too young to be admitted, she was able to get into the club. There she fell in with a fast crowd who were experimenting with various drugs and by the time she was only 14, she was turning tricks to feed her habit in the Bahnhof Zoo train station.

When the film—directed by Oscar-winner Uli Edel—was released in 1981 it was a huge hit in Germany, and elsewhere, turning Christiane into somewhat of a celebrity in Europe, a real-life “Go Ask Alice” who had great fashion sense and cool hair. And this was the problem: Although the film does not intend in any way to glamorize the life of a heroin-addicted teenage prostitute, it inadvertently does. The fact that the actress who played Christiane F. in the film, Natja Brunckhorst, was so beautiful didn’t help matters. Soon teenage girls were emulating both the cinematic “Christiane” and the real-life Christiane’s hair style and clothes. The Bahnhof Zoo station even became somewhat of a Japanese tourist destination, for a while.
 

Actress Natja Brunckhorst and David Bowie

I saw this film when it came out, when I was a teenager myself, and I can recall thinking that a) Natja Brunckhorst was super hot and that b) doing some drugs with such a cute girl and going to a David Bowie concert (he’s seen in the film performing and provided the soundtrack music) seemed like a really good time to me. I can certainly understand why why German youth advocates were concerned at the time by the way impressionable young girls saw Christiane F. as a role model.
 

 
Thirty-some years after it was released, the film still has that undiminished heroin chic quality going for it. This comment was left on YouTube just one week ago:

Amazing film. Amazing book. She was so beautiful. So clever. Such a shame she ruined her life. But she’s a hero. And maybe I’m the only one who thinks this, but it looks to me kinda attractive,you know. I mean,seventies, Berlin, David Bowie, freedom,it all looks so great! Today it’s awful.. Like everything.

You see what I mean?
 

The real Christiane F.

Christiane F. released a few records under the name Sentimentale Jugend, in partnership with her then-boyfriend, Alexander Hacke (of Einstürzende Neubauten) in the early 1980s. (Here’s their cover of “Satisfaction.”)

The couple also appeared in the 1983 German film Decoder, along with Neubaten’s F.M. Enheit, William Burroughs and Genesis P-Orridge (you can read about the film at The End of Being) (I suppose this is as good a place as any to tell you that I once answered the phone at a German friend’s apartment. I had to take a message and when the caller said “Tell her Christiane F. called” I just HAD to ask if she was THE Christiane F. and she said yeah and seemed really annoyed with me!)
 

 
Although she has been able to support herself from author’s royalties for many years, Christiane F.‘s life has been anything but easy, She’s been on and off drugs since her teens and at one point a few years ago, she lost custody of her young son. In 2011 she was caught up in a drugs sweep when police searched her bag at the Berlin train station, Moritzplatz, a known haven for junkies, but no narcotics were found on her person. As you might expect, every couple of years the German media check in with her to “see how she is doing.”
 

 
Below, Sentimentale Jugend, live (with Christiane F. on guitar) in Berlin, 1981.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Elvis from Hell: Alan Vega’s rarely seen ‘Video Babe’
04.04.2013
03:41 pm

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Music
Punk

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Alan Vega’s Elvis fetish is in full effect in the rarely seen “Video Babe” from 1983.

While Vega does Elvis, Martin Rev does a killer Nancy Sinatra.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Andrew W.K. to sing for Marky Ramone on new tour
04.03.2013
10:54 am

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Music
Punk

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Andrew and Marky
 
I’m not sure how this one is going to work, but when one thing you love (The Ramones) collides with something you have generally positive feelings about (Andrew W.K.), it can’t be terrible, right? RIGHT?!? Andrew definitely respects the Ramones canon, at least, professing his love for the band on his website.

When Marky Ramone asks you to be his singer, you don’t even think about it. It’s an automatic, YES. I was intimidated by the magnitude of the opportunity – freaked out and overwhelmed – but I was also completely determined and focused – it’s something I had to do. Even just the first rehearsal felt like an odyssey, but that’s how you can tell the experience is changing your life. I’ve never had a more rewarding, humbling, or challenging invitation than this, and I’m serving the gods via this incredible sound Marky and his band created. There’s never been better rock ‘n’ roll music made than this, and I will give everything I have to do it justice.

They both look so sweetly optimistic on the video below. Please, for the sake of everyone involved, let this collaboration work!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The history of The Pretenders in 19 videos
03.31.2013
12:59 am

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Music
Punk

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When The Pretenders appeared on the scene in 1978, Chrissie Hynde was as fully-formed a rock star as any of the great front men that came before her. She knew exactly what she was doing, bringing some powerful female mojo to a predominately male terrain and leveling the playing field. She kicked ass. Still does. And does it with such flash-free finesse that you won’t know what hit you until it’s too late. Her lyrics, attitude and look oozes classic coolness while bringing some of punk’s “fuck you” vibe to the mix. With a voice that can achieve crescendos of girl group sublimity and then shift effortlessly into a sarcastic snarl, Hynde works every angle, from lovely to lethal, with the supple toughness of well-worn leather. A chick who can sling words as well as a guitar and tambourine, she’s the whole fucking package.

The Pretenders were not Hynde alone by a long shot. The original line-up of Hynde, James Honeyman-Scott, Martin Chambers and Pete Farndon possessed an alchemical magic that subsequent versions of The Pretenders never quite duplicated. The loss of Farndon and Honeyman-Scott to drugs shifted the focus totally in the direction of Hynde, who could hold it, but the sense of The Pretenders being a “band” band was pretty much over. The strength of her songwriting, performance and partnership with Chambers keep the vibe alive, but that first incarnation (two albums) was a real monster.

Here’s a collection of videos that cover 25 years of The Pretenders history. An amazing legacy and one that continues still. 

Song list:

Talk Of The Town (Top Of The Pops, 1980)
The Adultress (Fridays, 1981)
The Wait (Alright Now, 1980)
Hollywood Perfume (Later with Jools Holland, 1994)
Brass In Pocket (Top Of The Pops, 1979)
977 (Later with Jools Holland, 1994)
Never Do That (Wogan, 1990)
Thumbelina (The New Show, 1984)
2000 Miles (Pebble Mill, 1995)
Night In My Veins (Top Of The Pops, 1994)
My City Was Gone (Phoenix, AZ, 1994)
Tattooed Love Boys (Alright Now, 1980)
Middle Of The Road (MTV, 1984)
Don’t Get Me Wrong (Top Of The Pops, 1986)
Criminal (Pebble Mill, 1995)
Roomful Of Mirrors (Montreaux Jazz Festival, 2003)
Louie Louie (Fridays, 1981)
Stop Your Sobbing (Top Of The Pops, 1979)
Tattooed Love Boys/Up The Neck (Old Grey Whistle Test, 1980)
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Clash: Listen to isolated tracks for ‘Safe European Home’ & ‘Rock the Casbah’
03.29.2013
07:14 pm

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Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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hsalcemohnoeporue.jpg
 
M’colleague, the wonderful Tara McGinley put me on to this exhilarating, stripped down version of The Clash’s “Safe European Home”.

Posted over at The Clash Blog, the track (from the album Give ‘Em Enough Rope) has been pared back to its constituent parts—vocals, guitar, bass, drums. These isolated tracks were posted on YouTube by user flip2k, as Clash Blog explains:

A good year or two back I wrote about the brilliant work being done by ‘flip2k’ on YouTube in relation to The Clash. I’ve still no idea who flip2k is but every time I share the work that he or she does a lot of people become extremely happy, myself included, so that’s reason enough to share the links again.

‘You see flip2k will from time to time take a track by The Clash and upload the segregated multi-tracked elements of just guitar, bass, vocals or drums. It’s actually far more exciting than it sounds. In the past I’ve focused on the amazing work done with Complete Control and London Calling but he/she has also added Safe European Home, Train in Vain and I Fought The Law. If you want to hear the precision drumming of Topper in its purest element you’ll just have to take the time to explore each of these. The same can be said for the enraged vocals of Joe (especially on Complete Control) and the almost motownesque harmonies offered by Mick on Safe European Home. That’s without me even getting into the guitar and bass tracks. I can guarantee you’ll hear elements you’ve never heard before, just try the guitar on Safe European Home for example.

Amongst other goodies, flip2k also has an isolated version of The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” (from Combat Rock), which we’ve posted below. Enjoy!
 

Vocals—“Safe European Home”
 

Guitar—“Safe European Home”
 

Bass—“Safe European Home”
 

Drums—“Safe European Home”
 
Via The Clash Blog, with thanks to Tara!
 
Bonus stripped down version of the classic ‘Rock the Casbah’, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Too Much Junkie Business: Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers live at the Lyceum Ballroom, 1984
03.26.2013
02:43 pm

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Drugs
Music
Punk

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Apropriatey walking onstage to Elmer Bernstein’s theme for The Man With the Golden Arm, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreaks perform a shambolic, but great, set at London’s Lyceum Ballroom in 1984.

I remember debating on whether or not to see this very gig before ultimately deciding not to for reasons I can no longer recall. Of course it became regarded as a legendary show, my bad! You can get a pretty good sense of what Walter Lure thought of the proceedings at approximately 18:12.

Back then a concert like this at a place like London’s Lyceum Ballroom would have cost you only about 4 pounds…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Young David Lynch on ‘New Wave Theatre’
03.25.2013
02:16 pm

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Punk
Television

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A young David Lynch makes a brief appearance on New Wave Theatre sometime in the early 1980s.

New Wave Theatre‘s host, Peter Ivers, wrote Eraserhead‘s “In Heaven,” the number sung by the “Lady in the Radiator,” for Lynch in 1976. Ivers was found bludgeoned to death in his Los Angeles apartment in 1983 and his death remains unsolved.
 

 
“In Heaven”:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Never Mind the School Tie: Can you guess who this darling little boy grew up to be?
03.25.2013
09:56 am

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Punk

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???
 
Just look at that sweet lil’ punim!!!

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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