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Patti Smith on Bob Marley, comics, and opening her own pot cafe when she ‘grows up,’ back in 1976

‘The Two Faces of Patti Smith.’ photograph by Guillemette Barbet and art design by John Holmstrom.
Over the weekend I was yet again getting in some good quality time with my lovely copy of The Best of Punk Magazine and came across an amusing and highly entertaining interview by a musician and performer that undeniably embodies the word “hero” the multi-talented punk powerhouse Patti Smith.

In the interview that appeared in Punk (Volume One, Number Two from March of 1976) Smith agreed to talk to the magazine in the backroom of legendary Long Island club My Father’s Place where she sat on the grungy floor before her gig later that night. Of the many highlights and wide variety of topics covered in the lengthy chat include her love of comics, Bob Marley, her vivid dreams about Jimi Hendrix and her not-so-secret plan to hijack The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (who Smith very much admired) and turn it into “totally stoned TV every night.” If you are at all a fan of Patti Smith (who was 30 at the time of this interview), prepare yourself to adore her even more. Here’s Smith on her love of two things that go great together—comics (or “comix” as Punk likes to spell it) and rock and roll:

I was a painter. All I cared about was art school and painting. I used to be an artist before I became an artist. You know the French love comic strips. Comix are considered art. Comix are art. I mean the only two arts—comix and rock n’ roll are the highest art forms.

If that last passage got you daydreaming about what it would be like lounging around with Patti Smith in France in some cafe reading comic books and while listening to Alain Kan belting out David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” then get in line. As the interview progresses Smith talks a fair amount about Bob Marley while lamenting the current “grass shortage” in New York (never forget!) and her dream of opening a pot cafe that pretty much sounds like the best plan ever:

I’m gonna have a cafe when I grow up where it’s just gonna feature coffee and dope and mint tea and great music. What I’m gonna do is work to legalize marijuana and hashish. We’re gonna start a string of cafes where you smoke, drink coffee and listen to great music—like McDonald’s.

More Patti Smith, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Revolting Teens Lose Their MINDS! The awesome illustrated covers of ‘Punk Magazine’
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Punk Magazine
John Holmstrom

The cover of the first issue of ‘Punk Magazine’ featuring an illustration of Lou Reed by John Holmstrom, January, 1976.
Many of the excellent illustrated covers of Punk Magazine in this post were done by the zine’s cofounder John Holmstrom—the man behind the cover of the Ramones album Road to Ruin and Rocket to Russia as well as other illustrated oddities since embarking on his long career as an artist.

Members of the Sex Pistols and Malcolm Mclaren perusing issue #12 of ‘Punk’ featuring an illustration of Robert Gordon on the cover
A dear friend of mine recently gifted me with a copy of Holmstrom’s 2012 book The Very Best of Punk Magazine and I haven’t put the massive thing down in a month. Though Punk only published for a few short years the book itself is a literal goldmine of punk rock artifacts from beautiful reprints of hard-to-find early issues of Punk, photos, essays and even handwritten anecdotes from Lou Reed, journalist Lester Bangs, Debbie Harry, cartoons drawn by R. Crumb and other visual time-capsules too numerous to mention.

While I’m sure that many of our DM readers already own a copy of this heirloom, if you are not one of them I highly recommend picking one up as it is a much a joy to read as it is just to look at. One of my favorite parts of the book were the images of the illustrated covers of Punk the epitome Holmstrom’s cartoony DIY style which some liken to a giant punk rock coloring book. It’s almost criminal that you can find hardcover copies of the book for about $20 bucks out there but you can and it’s well worth the small investment especially if your memories of the 70s are fuzzy thanks to all that bad acid you dropped and whatnot.

Holmstrom recently announced that he is selling some items from his personal collection such as the first issue of Punk
(pictured at the top of this post). More comic-styled images from the covers of Punk follow.

The cover of issue #10 of ‘Punk Magazine’ featuring a big-headed version of Blondie.
More after the jump…

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Debbie Harry dominates DEVO in the funny pages of Punk Magazine, 1978
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Debbie Harry
Punk Magazine

At the start of 1978 Blondie had released its self-titled debut album and was about to put out its sophomore follow-up Plastic Letters; the band’s masterpiece, Parallel Lines, would be recorded in the summer and released in the autumn. Meanwhile, Akron’s DEVO had been bouncing around with sublime creativity for several years, but their mind-blowing debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! was still several months off.

Still, the two staples of smart American pop music were apparently well known enough even at that moment, such that PUNK magazine could feel it worthwhile to commission a silly comic strip involving the two bands, featuring photographs as the panels, as in the fumetti form often seen in Italy and also, as it happens, in frequent use by National Lampoon right around this time. 

The title of the strip was “Disposable DEVO,” and the plot was rife with the “devolutionary” concepts that DEVO’s own name made so famous.

The comic appeared in issue #12 of Punk Magazine, which came out in January 1978. Chris Stein took the photographs. In the strip “a malfunctioning android cleaning lady” played by Debbie Harry attempts to sweep away a pile of humanoid debris (i.e., DEVO) only to find, against all expectation, that the five identically outfitted “zeroids” are actually capable of feeling sensations (pain).

You can actually buy this issue for a mere $75 (it’s also available on Amazon for a bit less)—or read “Disposable DEVO below. (You can do both, too.)

via Post Punk Industrial

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
New Wave: Debbie Harry wanted to remake Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Alphaville’ with Robert Fripp
The Great DEVO Cat Listening Party of 2010

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Punk Magazine’s ‘The Legend of Nick Detroit’: With Richard Hell, David Johansen & Debbie Harry

This is rather special - pages from John Holmstrom and Legs McNeil’s revolutionary Punk magazine, as held by The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection and the Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

These pages come from issue No. 6, which featured The Legend of Nick Detroit, a fumetti or photo-story written and directed by McNeil and edited by Holstrom, with Roberta Bayley as director of photography.

The fictional Nick Detroit was a “...former top international Agent and super-killer now become world-weary mercenary battling the infamous Nazi Dykes and their schemes for world domination.”  The strip starred Richard Hell as Nick Detroit, with David Johansen as Mob King Tony, and Debbie Harry as Debbie Nazi Dyke. There were also appearances by Lenny Kaye, David Byrne, and “a ton of others including Terry Ork, Anya Phillips, and Nancy Spungen (in a crowd scene).”

Check more details here and here.

Best of Punk Magazine is available here.
With thanks to Wendy! Via University Libraries Blog
More from ‘The Legend of Nick Detroit’, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment