[PREV - PLEASE_KILL_ME] [TOP]
December 3, 2005
Okay, so the book "Please Kill Me"
struck me as a great read, and I PLEASE_KILL_ME
really like the way it provides
ammunition against the "punk began
in England" types...
But it dawns on me that there's another
axe I have to grind and this is a book
that tries to blunt that edge:
The original punks
were not stupid.
Punk, despite it's embrace
of crudity, was a movement It was a reaction against
by and for the intelligent. the really stupid shit
that was going on at the
When people asked me time: stoner rock, slick
"what do you like pop, and disco...
about punk rock", I
responded "the lyrics DISCO_SUCKS
There were other things
I liked about it of course:
the fast beat got the energy
up, the "we're so nasty"
schtick could be funny, the
cheap, populist fashion was
definitely appreciated... But those didn't
seem to be key.
Patti Smith From "Please Kill Me",
Richard Hell quoting Eliot Kidd:
Tom Verlaine "The only thing that made
the music different was that
we were taking lyrics to
For that matter, even Ramones places they had never been
songs had an ironic edge to before." -- p. 260
them missing from any of the
boozin' and ballin' rockin'
that was going on. "Beat on the brat/
Beat on the brat/
Beat on the brat/
With a base-- ball-- bat--/
Oh yeah ..."
So there I am reading
"Please Kill Me", presented
as the Truth of the origins,
told in the form of quotations
from all the players, big and
small. It names all the names,
and takes things back to their
roots touching on all the
contenders for First Punks: FIRST_PUNKS
The Velvet Underground,
Iggy Pop, The New York Dolls, And the points of contagion
Patti Smith, Television, between New York and
Richard Hell... England are carefully
documented. Unlike some
people they don't write
McClauren out of the story.
Then there's this quote from
Legs McNeil himself: PISTOL_WHIPPED
"... because at the that time,
punk was still just the magazine,
the Ramones, Richard Hell,
Johnny Thunders, Patti Smith,
and the Dictators. There was
only about a hundred people
hanging out at CBGBs. And half And the people from
of those people were not punks, the "art world"
they were from the art world, probably didn't take
inspired to come to the Bowery long to understand the
by the yuppie whine of David concept of being
Byrne." -- p. 232 intentionally crude.
Uh oh. Another defender There was no "punk painting"
of the bastion of the to go with "punk rock",
True Punk. because that had all been
done decades before.
We're at a point in history
where CBGBs has begun to
roar, and no one has said
one word about Talking Heads.
There's interviews with The first Talking Heads
every drummer, band manager, record is a fine
and groupie you can think example of a punk LP.
of, and they didn't bother I've never liked
to ask David Byrne's opinion "Psychokiller", myself,
about anything? but consider the song
"Talk to your analyst!
So, what's going on here? That's what they're
What's behind this drive
to write the Talking Heads
out of history?
There are two possibilities:
(1) The old gang is jealous (Later in the book,
of Talking Heads later success. Eliot Kidd mentions
the forbidden name,
(2) They're pushing the idea
that punk is populist: the
triumph of lower class white
trash stupidity, and the "art
school" crowd doesn't fit into
And this leads into what may
be a rant for another day, but
a few points in outline:
elitism bad? populist = socialist?
Why? But socialism isn't
all that popular,
Stupidity = Authenticity? and socialists have
Are you sure? recruits from the
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