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BASS IN YOUR FACE: Excellent footage of the Sex Pistols’ notorious San Antonio gig
08.17.2016
11:23 am

Topics:
History
Music
Punk
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Texas


 
When I read about the very recent incident wherein the estimable Mr. John Lydon shrugged off a bleeding head gash inflicted by a bottle-throwing audience member to continue performing as though nothing had happened (this at age 60, folks—a lot of MUCH younger performers have stopped shows for less) I couldn’t help but be reminded of the great moments in early punk lore—the time that the Sex Pistols, on the brief US tour that catalyzed their demise, played Randy’s Rodeo, a former bowling alley converted into a cowboy bar in San Antonio, TX.

Such an inappropriate booking was clearly a deliberate provocation—this was at a time in when civilians still found tales of routine onstage sex and vomiting at punk shows plausible. So a crowd made up of cowboys and heshers (plus some pilgrims from Austin) had come expecting to see the most preposterous rumors about punk made real, and they had no shortage of missiles to hurl at the band—the usual bottles, cans and cups, hot dogs and popcorn, someone even pelted Lydon with whipped cream, which not only doesn’t hurt, it’s surely more welcome than the more customary gobs of spit.
 

 
The Pistols did do a fair job of delivering on punk’s rumored promise—singer Lydon, wearing a gay cowboy t-shirt by Tom of Finland and baiting the presumably hostile audience as “cowboy faggots”, farmer-blew snot onto the stage and the fans in front. Bassist Sid Vicious, actually experiencing heroin withdrawal, removed his coat to reveal “GIMMIE A FIX” scrawled on his chest, and endeavored to silence a heckler by bludgeoning him with his bass.

This clip from the 1980 documentary D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage, of the song “New York” from that storied performance, shows pretty much all that’s described above, and it wasn’t even a third of the way through their set. There’s great audience footage as well—rural metalheads air-guitaring, a seemingly normal woman who’d pierced her nose with a safety pin, and at the end, the guy who Vicious hit with his bass admitting he’d deliberately provoked the musician in performance, still cryassing about his retaliation.

What would you give to be able to time-travel to attend this show?
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Filthy lucre ain’t nothin’ new: there are Sex Pistols credit cards now.
Punk: The Sex Pistols First TV Documentary from 1976
The Sex Pistols: ‘I Swear I Was There - The Gig that Changed the World’

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
DJ Johnny Rotten plays music from his own record collection on the radio, 1977
06.16.2016
03:15 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Sex Pistols
John Lydon
Malcolm McLaren


 
“All the music that you will hear has been chosen by Johnny Rotten and is from his personal collection.” Thus begins a singular trip down radio history.

On July 16, 1977, the reigning target of ten thousand angry establishment “leaders”—Americans call them editorials—and the frontman for the Sex Pistols spent a couple of hours on Tommy Vance’s program on Capital Radio. It was a pivotal appearance for Johnny Rotten Lydon—in addition to being one of the first signs of a serious rift between Lydon and Malcolm McLaren, it has been argued that the incident represented the first true appearance of “John Lydon” to the public, a name that music fans would come to know extremely well in the decades to follow.

On the program, Lydon revealed himself to be an articulate spokesman for his ideals as well as a young man with uncommonly good taste. And he was only 20 years old! What were you listening to when you were 20? (Shit, maybe you are 20….) So much of the music here is today staples of a venue like Dangerous Minds. You’ve got your Beefheart, your Can, your Lou Reed and Nico and John Cale (er, playing separately), there’s Bowie and Neil Young and oodles of excellent ska….

Here’s Jon Savage in England’s Dreaming on the fallout between McLaren and Lydon:
 

Glitterbest [McLaren’s company] were even more furious when Capital Radio’s Tommy Vance show was broadcast on the 16th. Lydon had obviously had enough of McLaren’s public control and now made his own power move: “It’s fashionable to believe that Malcolm McLaren dictates to us but that’s just not true. What really amuses me about Malcolm is the way they say he controls the press: media manipulator. The point of it all is that he did nothing: he just sat back and let them garble out their own rubbish.”

Even worse for Glitterbest was the way in which “Johnny Rotten” came across: according to the Sunday Times, “a mild-mannered liberal chap with a streets of Islington accent.” Lydon had had enough of being dehumanized: just as earlier he had irritated McLaren by turning up to a photo session dressed as a Teddy Boy, he now chose records for the show by Neil Young, Peter Hamill, Doctor Alimentado and Captain Beefheart—McLaren still splutters about this one. “I like all sorts of music,” Lydon said disarmingly.

The interview—reported verbatim in the music press—enabled a wider audience to relate to Lydon and put him within some sort of recognizable Rock context. This was exactly what Glitterbest wanted least: McLaren had a Year-Zero approach to pop culture which, as the script he was working on displayed, was hardening. For him and for Reid, this was a “shit” interview, because it established Lydon as a “man of taste,” and thus “lost his and the band’s threat.”

 
It’s a little bit difficult getting a clean recording of this. There are two YouTube videos that present the first hour or so, and there’s a Soundcloud mix that presents almost all of it but is missing parts. The best tracklisting available, which I’m presenting here, also happens to be missing information (for instance, it seems that the Sex Pistols’ “Did You No Wrong” was played after Neil Young’s “Revolution Blues” and before Lou Reed’s “Men of Good Fortune”), but it’s still an excellent summation of what Lydon played.
 

Track listing:
Tim Buckley – Sweet Surrender
The Creation – Life Is Just Beginning
David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
Jig a Jig
Augustus Pablo – King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown
Gary Glitter – Doing Alright With The Boys
Fred Locks – Walls
Vivian Jackson and the Prophets – Fire in a Kingston
Culture – I’m Not Ashamed
Dr Alimantado & The Rebels – Born For A Purpose
Bobby Byrd – Back From The Dead
Neil Young – Revolution Blues
Lou Reed – Men Of Good Fortune
Kevin Coyne – Eastbourne Ladies
Peter Hammill – The Institute Of Mental Health, Burning
Peter Hammill – Nobody’s Business
Makka Bees – Nation Fiddler / Fire!
Captain Beefheart – The Blimp
Nico – Janitor Of Lunacy
Ken Boothe – Is It Because I’m Black
John Cale – Legs Larry At Television Centre
Third Ear Band – Fleance
Can – Halleluwah
Peter Tosh – Legalise It

 
Here are the two YouTube videos, followed by the Soundcloud playlist:
 

 

 

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
This Is Radio Clash: Listen to 6 episodes of Joe Strummer’s glorious ‘London Calling’ BBC radio show

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Hilariously angry NYC news editorial tells the ‘scummy’ Sex Pistols where to get off
05.19.2016
04:30 pm

Topics:
Media
Music
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
WPIX


 
I grew up in the suburbs of NYC, so I remember the news coverage of WPIX channel 11 from the late 1970s and early 1980s quite well. For one thing, WPIX had the best sports roundup, hosted by the acerbic Jerry Gerard.

This fantastic clip dates from May 18, 1977, and made an appearance on WPIX’s own Facebook presence yesterday, which proves that they have a sense of humor. In the clip anchorwoman Pat Harper (I remember her) throws it to a lady named Doris Lilly (don’t remember her), who apparently was “previewing” an appearance by the Sex Pistols, to take place at the Elgin Theater, that never ended up happening.
 

 
Did the Sex Pistols have a gig scheduled for the Elgin in late May 1977? Lilly says “later this month.” Please do weigh in if you happen to remember this.

The Elgin Theater was on the intersection of 19th Street and Eighth Ave., and later became the Joyce Theater, a notable center for dance. Interestingly, the Elgin was located just a couple blocks south of the Hotel Chelsea, the site of the final days of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.

It’s well known that the classic lineup never did play New York City—in that sense, Lilly, who passed away in 1991, must have died a happy woman. The Sex Pistols would have to wait until 1996 before playing their first Manhattan show.

In any case, Lilly wants you to know that she’s had it up to here with these scummy punks and .... just watch it, it’s great.
 

 
h/t: Ned Raggett

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Watch the Buzzcocks’ farewell concert before they split in 1981

0_1buzz3spjh.jpg
 
The story of the Buzzcocks begins with an ad on a college notice board in 1975. The ad was placed by a young musician named Howard Trafford at the Bolton Institute of Technology. Trafford was looking for like-minded musicians to form a band. A student called Peter McNeish replied and the band that was to become the Buzzcocks was born.

McNeish changed his name to Pete Shelley. Trafford changed his to Howard Devoto. A drummer and bass player were recruited and the foursome played their first gig in February 1976.

They had ideas, they had a sense of what they wanted to do, but it didn’t really all gel until Shelley and Devoto traveled to London to see the Sex Pistols play. This was the kind of music they wanted to play—fast, furious, with purpose and edge. Being enterprising young lads, they booked the Pistols to play a gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester—the venue Bob Dylan played in 1965 when he went electric and was called a “Judas.”

The Sex Pistols first appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall was in June 1976. It’s been well documented and fair to say it was one of those gigs that changed musical history.  Among the 35-40 people in attendance that night were Mark E. Smith who would form The Fall, Steven Patrick Morrissey who would go on to form The Smiths, Ian Curtis who became the lead singer of Joy Division, Paul Morley who would write for the NME before becoming involved with record label ZTT and the Art of Noise, and er…Mick Hucknall….which proves that not all revolutionary events end in change.
 
01_buzpost.jpg
He was there: Pete Shelley showing the poster for the Sex Pistols second appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall with support from the Buzzcocks.
 
The Buzzcocks were supposed to support the Pistols that night—but Shelley and Devoto couldn’t rally any musicians together. This led to a more professional attitude and a new more permanent line-up. Steve Diggle joined on bass guitarist with John Maher on drums. When the Pistols returned in July, the Buzzcocks did support them this time. The Buzzcocks name came from a magazine headline—a review of the Rock Follies TV show—containing the words “buzz” and “cock.” You can see how this Sex Pistols-inspired name appealed to a group of young guys.

The band formed a record label, New Hormones, to release their first EP (the third ever punk single in the UK) “Spiral Scratch.” Unexpectedly, Devoto quit the band. Shelley took over lead vocals and shared songwriting duties with Steve Diggle—who had moved from bass to guitar while Stephen Garvey eventually joined as new bass player.

Over the next four years, the Buzzcocks produced a selection of powerful, memorable and infectious songs (“What Do I Get?” “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t've),” “Harmony In My Head” and “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” to name but four) that were sharp and clever and often lyrically as good as songs written by Ray Davies for the Kinks but with a more frenetic beat.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Anarchy!’ Malcolm McLaren, punk rock’s Molotov cocktail


 
Phil Strongman’s new documentary Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang is a politically-fueled, fashion-conscious deeper look at how the English punk explosion was ignited—how the bomb was built and under what circumstances, in other words.

Coming in at almost two and a half hours with an incredible cast of characters, Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang traces Malcolm McClaren back to his birth with loads of never before seen films and photos, personal information and interviews with family members, friends and others, taking us into the all important mid-sixties where the real nucleus of the Sex Pistols concept begins to form within the Situationist movement, King Mob (the UK equivilent), art school and observing the tribal customs and costumes of rock ‘n roll fanaticism.

The 1968 the French student riots had a huge influence on McLaren, who travelled to Paris at the time, and there were key players from that era who played recurring roles in his life. Much of the concepts and ideas—art, slogans, everything really—originated there and then. The interviews with the people from this period were what I wanted to see most and there was no disappointment. The interviews with Malcolm himself indicate that he still was speaking in slogans right up to the very end.
 

 
If you’re looking for yet another love letter to punk rock (yawn) with the same old crap stories, then keep on pogoing as this is a very interesting (for the most part) tale of politics, sex, drugs, bombs, rock ‘n roll, and the all important fashion accessories to wear whilst bombing and rocking and rolling and fucking on drugs. If punk never really happened and this was just a wild tale of a bunch of crazed young people that tried to accomplish what punk wrought and failed, it would still be just as interesting. The fact that first an entire country and then the entire world sat up, noticed, listened and actually feared this tiny group of absurd-looking lunatics (some leading, most following) on their search and destroy mission is incredible to contemplate. Today they’d just be given their own reality TV show.

It’s a bit of a revelation for those who think a few drunk idiots formed a band and yelled and jumped around a lot while desperately trying to learn how to play their instruments. (Even at this late date it is still being said that these guys could not play or sing, which is ridiculous as is easily proven by any Sex Pistols live performance video from any period.) However, someone could have done enough homework to know to leave out Ben Westwood’s totally wrong assumption (stated as fact, of course) that Sid’s mom and girlfriend gave him heroin that he overdosed on (I personally was there that night and I and enough other people have done countless interviews stating what really happened). He even calls Methadone, Methadrone (good name for a band actually). Other than these two minor problems, and the rather large objection that for a film titled Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang it’s quite light on the Westwood side of things, this very long film goes by very quickly, and is really well made. Director Strongman was good friends with McLaren, having worked in the Glitterbest offices (the Sex Pistols management company) and was an actual eyewitness to much of what he is discussing here.
 

 
There lots of great interviews with everyone from Adam Ant to Don Letts to Tracey Emin to Boy George (who tells a great story about when he sang for Bow Wow Wow) to Sex Pistol Paul Cook (with amazing black and white footage of the Pistols hanging around at the Berlin wall). The music is honestly the least of the subjects focused on. In fact much of the film is framed with scenes of girls modeling Dame Westwood’s fashions (partially topless) to a modern soundtrack with an operatic vocal sung onscreen. (And thank god for that. I’m sick of these formulaic punk rock docs, aren’t you?)

There’s a lot to get out of this film, historically speaking. It’s intelligent and everything a documentary should be. It just may not be about what you thought it was going to be about. This is the history of European Anarchism as it helps beget the birth of the Sex Pistols. It’s also the story of a man who broke all the rules before that was fashionable, who ran blindly into the fire more than once and always came out the other side… many times with the prize. Or at least some money. I’ve already watched Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang three times and I’m not the type to really ever watch anything even twice, certainly not in the same day.

All Malcolm McLaren ever wanted was to be something akin to the “next Andy Warhol.” It’s an idiosyncratic aspiration to be sure, but one category that he (and perhaps he alone) truly belonged in.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Never mind the bollocks, here’s some unseen photos of the Sex Pistols in 1978
01.29.2016
09:01 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Poly Styrene


Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen, John Lydon and Poly Styrene
 
Sadly this isn’t a photo essay with the images—you’ll have to watch the video to see the photographs of the Sex Pistols by French photographer Pierre Benain. Benain shot these back in the Spring of 1978 for a French magazine. A few of these you might have seen before, like the one image of Sid Vicious holding a knife to Nancy Spungen’s neck, but most should be new to you.

For some odd reason in the interview, Benain makes no mention of X-Ray Spex’s frontwoman Poly Styrene being there. She was, as you can see from another photo from that day, which you can see above.

 
h/t Declan O’Gallagher

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Converse unveils its ‘Sex Pistols’ line of Chuck Taylors
01.08.2016
02:12 pm

Topics:
Fashion
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Converse
Chuck Taylor


 
Converse has unveiled a new line of Chuck Taylor sneakers with Sex Pistols iconography on them. There are four pairs of Chuck Taylor hightops available and two pairs of Chuck Taylor low tops. The sneakers are priced from $65 to $80. There is also a related line of shirts ($35 each) and a bomber jacket ($140).
 

 
The new products are available for purchase on the Converse website.

At this stage in history, it’s hard to get too outraged over yet another corporate appropriation of the original punk rock movement, but we thought you ought to know anyway. Back to your regular programming.
 

Chuck Taylor All Star Sex Pistols “Parchment” $70
 

Chuck Taylor All Star Sex Pistols “Thunder” $75
 

Chuck Taylor All Star Sex Pistols “White” $75
 
Much more Sex Pistols products from Converse after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
A sweet vintage Christmas jam from members of Thin Lizzy and the Sex Pistols: ‘A Merry Jingle’

The Greedies (aka
Members of The Greedies/The Greedy Bastards

Today’s Christmas-themed post brings to light yet another reason why the 70s were fucking awesome. Back in summer of 1978, Thin Lizzy vocalist Phil Lynott got the brilliant idea to recruit a few of his famous friends like former Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, the great Gary Moore, his Thin Lizzy bandmate, Scott Gorham, guitar hero Chris Spedding and Dio/Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain to play a few live gigs together and The Greedies (formerly known as “The Greedy Bastards”) were born. Now if that isn’t the personification of a “supergroup” I do not know what is.
 
Phil Lynott and Steve Cook
Phil Lynott and Paul Cook

Later on in 1979, Lynott, Jones and Cook along with Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham and Brian Downey recorded The Greedies’ one and only song,  “A Merry Jingle,”  a riff on two classic Christmas songs—“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Jingle Bells.”

Since we all know that great things usually don’t last, The Greedies and their superstar friends only played four gigs before moving on to other things. Cook and Jones formed The Professionals and Lynott soon released his first of three solo records, Solo in Soho. Amusingly, the “B” side of “A Merry Jingle,” called “A Merry Jangle,” is the A-side played backwards. Nicely. There are a few copies of the single out there on eBay if you’re wanting to add this to your record collection.

The clip of The Greedies performing “A Merry Jingle” on UK television in 1979 follows.
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Your new car jam: One hour and twelve minute megamix of JUST THE GUITAR SOLOS from Thin Lizzy

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
London punks mouth off five years after ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’
09.28.2015
12:54 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
photography
Sex Pistols


“I’ll be looking like this until I’m 22 and then I’ll take up motherhood. I’ll be looking just the same this time next year. This time in five years? I’ll be dead.” 
 
In December 1981, The Face magazine ran a spread called “Punk Rock: 5 Years On.” What they did was send photographer Virginia Turbett out into the field and photograph/interview any punks she came across. The magazine didn’t specify how to date those “5 years” precisely but it does happen that “Anarchy in the U.K.” was released in late November of 1976, so we can make it that.

It’s interesting to see the relatively uniform roster of bands most of these young punks name: Crass, Exploited, the Psychedelic Furs, plus a few that are mostly forgotten today: Anti Pasti, Theatre of Hate, and Vice Squad. Below are the results of Turbett’s investigations. Clicking on any image in this post will spawn a larger version.
 

“I wouldn’t class myself as a punk, I’m just an individual. I don’t like being put into categories.”
 

“Now there’s some great new bands: Exploited, Anti Pasti, Vice Squad, Theatre of Hate, Crass, the Subs. I liked the music at the beginning, but I didn’t start dressing up punk until after the Pistols split up.”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Jazzercise takes on Sid Vicious. Nobody wins
09.01.2015
11:45 am

Topics:
Dance
Music
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Sid Vicious


 
The biggest-selling single the Sex Pistols ever put out wasn’t “Anarchy in the U.K.” or “God Save the Queen” or “Pretty Vacant” or “Holidays in the Sun”—it was “Something Else,” a cover of an Eddie Cochran hit from 1959 with Sid Vicious on lead vocals that was released more than a year after the breakup of the band—and three weeks after Vicious’ death on February 2, 1979.
 

 
Americans probably aren’t very familiar with Legs & Co., an all-female dance troupe that used to brighten up the proceedings on Top of the Pops in the late 1970s. The U.S. equivalent would be the Solid Gold Dancers.

Sometime during its run in the Top 10 of the U.K. charts, Top of the Pops managed to convince Legs & Co. to do a sort of Jane Fonda/jazzercise routine to the song. The over-abundance of spandex, the nice shiny colors in the leotards and wigs—not to mention the strange approximation of a stock market chart in the set design—it all makes this clip seem a kind of harbinger for the shiny and materialistic 1980s that were just around the corner, even if nobody knew it.

At the outset you can hear the closing strains of Elvis Costello’s “Oliver’s Army.”
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Filthy lucre ain’t nothin’ new: there are Sex Pistols credit cards now.
06.09.2015
11:45 am

Topics:
Class War
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Virgin


 
As if the punk-is-dead crowd needed any further ammo, Virgin Money (yes, it’s a thing, and yes, it’s an offshoot of the record label/airline/cell phone provider/whatever) is issuing Sex Pistols credit cards. Because nothing says “ANARCHY” like a line of credit from MasterCard.

Quoted in The Mirror, Virgin Money exec Michael Greene had this to offer, evidently in total seriousness:

For a long time now, UK banks have all been the same.

In launching these cards, we wanted to celebrate Virgin’s heritage and difference.

The Sex Pistols challenged convention and the established ways of thinking, just as we are doing today in our quest to shake up UK banking.

Virgin mogul Sir Richard Branson added:

The Sex Pistols are an iconic band and an important part of Virgin’s history. Virgin Money is a bank that can be proud of its past and I love the fact that the team have chosen to celebrate it in this way.

Even after nearly 40 years, the Sex Pistols power to provoke is undimmed.

 

 
Of course, given the band’s history it’s easy to argue that there’s nothing inappropriate about this at all, and that furthermore a credit card that has the word “bollocks” on it is, in a way, actually kinda punk as fuck. I’m unable to find any information on how much the surviving band members themselves make from this.

Here’s Branson, in what amounts to a hagiographic infomercial for the cards:
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘The Filth & the Fury’: Sex Pistols comic from 1984
06.03.2015
10:12 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Sex Pistols
comics
Smash Hits


 
Milestones on the road from terrifying societal scourge to mass-market-friendly cultural icons…. In 1984 Smash Hits put out a “yearbook” that contained this wonderful 4-page comic about the entire career of the Sex Pistols, from their origins in 1975 Chelsea to their final show in San Francisco in 1979. [Update: This was in 1978, of course; the comic had it wrong as well.] Flickr user Jon Hicks posted these a few years back—as he points out, the strip has no profanity at all.

The comic is signed by Arthur Ranson, whose art graced countless publications from the early 1970s up through as recently as 2013. The writer is Angus Allan, whose image (according to the above link) appears bottom left of third page, but I haven’t been able to figure out what that’s supposed to mean. (Maybe they mean the fellow who pops up in the “EMI” panel of the second page?)

Click on the images for a larger view:
 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Slits, Clash, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag in ‘Punk Attitude’


 
Okay it’s been nearly 40 years since I heard The Ramones debut album for the first time and that means I’m fucking old. But I ain’t dead. In fact, I’m feeling pretty damned good. And part of the reason I feel so damned good is I’ve been on a steady diet of rock and roll since I was a itty bitty boy. Rock and roll has been the one constant in my life that has given me something that others might call a religion. From the moment I first heard “Alley Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles when I was nine years old (sitting in a tree with a radio in my lap), I was hooked.

I’ve always been a seeker, looking for meaning in life, searching for answers to the essential questions of what are we doing here and where are we going? I’ve read everything from Jung to Chogyam Trungpa to Kerouac and Crowley in my yearning for clarity and spiritual fulfillment. Aside from a few reveries and insights fueled by psychotropics or the momentary flash of cosmic consciousness you get in those special moments when something suddenly opens up your brain - maybe it’s the way a shard of prismatic light bounces off your rear view mirror or a fleet of perfectly white clouds rolling above New Mexico - my “religious” experiences have been seldom and unpredictable. But one thing, other than fucking, that consistently pulls me into the moment where bliss and contentment co-mingle is listening to rock and roll music. It’s the closest thing I have to an artistic calling or spiritual practice and when the music hits me in the right place at the right time it can be divine. And it seems that loud, fast, and hook-filled works best. The music doesn’t need to be about anything spiritual, lofty or significant. It just needs to grab me by the balls and heart, rattle my cage, and move me.
 

 
There was a barren period in my rock and roll life in the early ‘70s. Not much I wanted to listen to. I mostly bought blues and jazz albums and later reggae. Then in 1976 I heard The Damned’s “New Rose” and shortly after that I got my hands on The Ramones’ self-titled first album. These were momentous events in my life that drove me back into arms of rock and roll. Talking Heads, Blondie, Mink DeVille, Pere Ubu, Patti Smith, The Clash and Television were the second wave of musical salvation to land on my turntable that changed my life.  Punk, or whatever you want to call it, defibrillated my rock and roll heart and inspired me to start my own band. And I wasn’t alone.

In this fine documentary directed by Don Letts (who knows a thing or two about punk rock) a bunch of aging punkers talk about the roots of the punk scene and their love of the music they make. There’s not much new here but it’s good to see Steve Jones, Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto, Siouxsie Sioux, Captain Sensible, Mick Jones Jones,David Johansen, Jello Biafra, Wayne Kramer, Thurston Moore, Legs McNeil and Tommy Ramone, among many others, wax poetic about the music explosion that was detonated in the mid-70s. It’s amazing how many survived. And deeply saddening that since this film was made in 2005 we’re down to zero original Ramones.

“Punk is not mohawks and safety pins. It’s an attitude and a spirit, with a lineage and tradition.” Don Letts.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Chillgroove to these 1978 ‘adult contemporary pop’ versions of Sex Pistols and Ramones tunes
04.08.2015
08:45 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Ramones
Paul Jones


 
We recently wrote about Bananarama doing a pop cover of the Sex Pistols’ “No Feelings,” but that cover is absolutely full-on-raging by comparison to this:
 

 
In 1978 RSO Records released this one-off single featuring ex-Manfred Mann singer, Paul Jones, crooning over adult contemporary pop arrangements of the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant” and The Ramones’ “Sheena is a Punk Rocker.”  The “Radio 2 style arrangements” of these songs were considered a piss-take of the original punk motif, but hold their own as legitimate musical expressions of the light pop sound of the day. As punk may have been a reaction to the “soft rock” of the ‘70s, these Paul Jones covers can be seen as a meta “taking it back,” with tongue, we assume, planted firmly in cheek.
 

He did them HIS way.
 
We’re reminded of Pat Boone’s excellent 1997 album, In a Metal Mood—an artifact intended to have some fun sucking the shock out of a rough-and-tough genre, but with an end result that is interesting and well-played within it’s own musical idiom. Not merely a cranked-out goof, it’s clear a great deal of detail-oriented work went into the production of these covers, and particularly with “Pretty Vacant,” we get an insight into what great pop songsmiths the Sex Pistols actually were. One gets the feeling there’s nearly as much homage here as ballbusting.

The Ramones cover is slightly less interesting, mostly due to the sarcastic “out of touch old man” lyric changes in the intro, but the remainder of the track, especially the choruses, have a VERY late-‘70s-terrible-era Beach Boys feel. If you enjoy that sort of thing either ironically or legitimately, you may be impressed with the competence of its arrangement. “Pretty Vacant” is the hit here, though, with its James Taylor-ization of Rotten’s nihilistic lyrics.

Hear the cover versions after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Bananarama covering the Sex Pistols might be the punkest thing ever
03.30.2015
08:37 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Sex Pistols
Bananarama


 
Bananarama, the ‘80s UK female pop vocal group, were famous for their hits “Venus,” “I Heard a Rumor,” “Really Saying Something,” and “Cruel Summer.” Fans of the band’s bouncy bubblegum pop, might be surprised to learn the group once recorded a (completely awesome) Sex Pistols cover on an obscure 1982 soundtrack.

Stylistically, they may have been world’s apart from the UK punk scene, but actually it’s where they got their start.  According to their Wikipedia entry:

The trio were ardent followers of the punk rock and post-punk music scene during the late 1970s and early 1980s and often performed impromptu sets or backing vocals at gigs for such bands as The Monochrome Set, Iggy Pop, The Jam, Department S and The Nipple Erectors.

Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols helped Bananarama get their first record deal. In 1981 the members of Bananarama were living above Jones and Cook’s rehearsal room, and with their help, the group recorded their first demo “Aie a Mwana.” Further Sex Pistols connection came when Malcolm McLaren offered to manage them. McLaren’s proposal of sexually suggestive material did not fit with the group’s tomboyish image, and so Bananarama passed on McLaren’s management—probably a wise decision, as their later string of top ten UK hit singles would attest.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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