Cherubic Pat Smear of the Germs, and later Nirvana… he hit girls
I am as guilty as any young punk of romanticizing the youthful energy of scenes and eras that I was never a part of, so it’s nice to be smacked in the face with reality once in a while. Of course it’s important to cut these kids a lot of slack as they navigated particularly ugly aspects of adolescence, many times through a lot of adversity. However, dear sweet baby Jesus, I hope I was never that much of a sulky, self-righteous, little ass (I know, I know—I probably was) as the youngsters on display in first installment of Penelope Spheeris’ legendary LA punk/metal trilogy The Decline of Western Civilization.
Through thick, grating, under-bitten LA accents, we hear classics such as “I’m a total rebel—I rebel against everything,” and “Everyone shouldn’t be afraid to be as different as they wanna’ be,” followed almost immediately by the same girl saying, “Everyone’s hair should be blue.” And of course, there are the racial epithets, gratuitous use of “poseur,” and various affected attempts at portraying cynicism and apathy.
Regardless, the angst and alienation these kids felt is palpably legitimate; you can’t help but wish you could pinch their bratty little cheeks and tell them that someday they’ll escape, and that it isn’t always going to be this bad. Mainly, however, I’m just happy no one recorded me at sixteen years old, and that I’ll never have to be sixteen years old again.
Divorce is a femme-thrash four piece from Glasgow, Scotland, quickly picking up a reputation for being one of the best live acts in the UK. I have posted about Divorce on Dangerous Minds before—a fitting tribute, I felt, to the newly-wed future King of England and his blushing bride—and now the band are back with a new 7” release on Milk Records called “Horseheads,” with a strange accompanying video.
Fans of both spiky, angular post-punk and the heavier end of hardcore will find a lot to like here. Drummer Andy Brown describes their influences as “loud, ugly and offensive. Anything that luxuriates in the joys of noise.” He adds that “genres and middle-class whiteboy whining can get fucked.” I second that emotion.
The video for “Horseheads” features a humanoid-chicken pecking at a pentagram-emblazoned snare drum (a nod perhaps to the infamous ‘Chicken Lady’ character from Kids In The Hall?) but as Brown states:
“The fact that there’s no-one dressed as a horse in the video has not gone unnoticed. The song’s not about horses anyway, it was named after the town that our vocalist Jennie comes from in America - only she really knows what it’s all about!”
There is, indeed, a village in upstate New York called Horseheads that describes itself as the “gateway to the Finger Lakes”. Visitors will be glad to know that, as of the 30th of January 2012, the drinking water from well number five is safe and does NOT require a “boil water advisory”. I don’t know what they’re putitng in the water in Horseheads, but I sure am glad it somehow turned out like this:
For more info on DIvorce (including upcoming tour dates and current releases) visit the Divorce the Band blog.
One of the best bands of the whole “grunge” era, here’s L7 rocking the fuck out of Letterman (and his band) in 1992 with their stone cold classic “Pretend We’re Dead”. For no other reason than it’s very cool and they look like they’re having a blast:
Our new partner in art crimes, Nicole Panter, was involved in the formative years of the Pee-wee Herman Show and that got me thinking about Pee-wee’s punk connections. Here’s a clip from Pee-wee’s Playhouse circa 1986 of Pee-wee pogoing with his pal Larry Fishburne (Cowboy Curtis). Music by Mark Mothersbaugh.
I know 1986 ain’t exactly the year punk broke, but, keep in mind, Paul Reubens started working on his Pee-wee character in L.A. in 1978 in the midst of a very vital punk scene and that anarchic spirit suffused his program.
Punk hysteria on TV. Faux punkers Mayhem play ‘Choke’ on Quincy episode Next Stop, Nowhere.
This Quincy episode aired on December 1, 1982. Some actual albums that were released in 1982: Black Flag - ‘Damaged’ Bad Brains - ‘Bad Brains’ Flipper - ‘Generic’ Exploited - ‘Troops Of Tomorrow’ Fear - ‘The Record’ Husker Du - ‘Everything Falls Apart’ Crass - ‘Christ: The Album’ Minor Threat - ‘Minor Threat’ Replacements - ‘Stink’ Descendents - ‘Milo Goes To College’ Meat Puppets - Bad Religion - ‘How Could Hell Be Any Worse’ Social Distortion - ‘Mommy’s Little Monster’.” Reverend Dan
“I saw a blind man the other day / took his pencils and ran away”