Saturday, January 31, 2009

today is John Lydon's birthday

Mr. Lydon is 53 years old today.
Long may he live and love.

No spitting, please.

July 1978 - Neil Young news

Not sure what to tell you here.

Could I live on a desert island without Neil Young.
Probably not.

July 1978 - Clash Aylesbury

It's July 1978.
And the Damned have split up already and I'm just leaving school for crying out loud.
Gary Bushnell from Sounds went to Aylesbury to see The Clash play on the same bill as The Specials.

When you look at a map of the UK, you will notice that Aylesbury is not that far from London but when you come from a tiny country - you drive 300 miles across it you are in the sea - Aylesbury seems miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiles away.
So I didn't go.
I didnt know anyone going, either.
But by this point I didn't want to stand in a gob rainstorm.
You might have liked it.

july 1978 - Petty info

Punk wasn't neatly filling the charts each week.
It wasn't punk all day on the radio because that was all there was.
There was still disco and a bit of left over glitter and tartan from the six formers who went before.
When we went to the gigs, we went for the punk band and heaven forbid if there was a band on the same bill who wore flares and played guitar solos.
You would see the punks down the front walking back and forth with their fingers on their ears saying, "you're shit".
I didn't listen to anyone who wore flares. In fact, it wasn't til 1988 when I was in a car on my way to Cleveland Ohio (don't ask) and some catchy little tune comes on the radio and I'm like, "oh, this sounds pretty good. Don't you think this is interesting?" Driver tuts: "this is Kashmir". And because he could see I thought that was the name of the band -- he said, "Led Zeppelin."
It was an old instinct that made me put my fingers up to my ears but I listened.
It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.
Went on a bit long.
So look. I can't tell you anything about Tom Petty.
He wore flares. He went on tour with Bob Dylan at some point. You might like him.

Summer 1978 - Bowie at Earl's Court (Jon Savage review)

*see below

It was a warm night. I remember the second the lights went out, John went hurdling over the chairs and magically Chris and I did the same and in some amazing way, we came to land in the front row. The adrenelin made me feel I was in the Olympics or something. It felt effortless.
It was strange that the previous Bowie concert we'd been too was rows and rows of people imitating Bowie wearing glittery stuff. We were there in our punk kit. I remember I was in my favourite pink mohair. The opening was a rush. I still love that song Heroes. I had a funny friend who must have taken three buses to post the vinyl single through my letter box when i was at work one day. I could do without the Brecht tho. And I wouldn't dare tell you that at the time.

* last line reads: Nothing changes. Or does it? "Got to keep searching and searching and what will I believe in?" Whatever that will be, there's a feeling that it won't include many more live performances, though certain hints of limits reached and masks exhausted. Quo vadis, David Jones?

Jon Savage went on to write a "punk" book called "England's Dreaming." Not my favourite book, but you might like it.

July 1978 - WIRE

You had to see Wire. They were the intelligent, art band. When I saw them first, they stood in a line and played one song after the next with few introductions in between each song. You paid attention. The band members hardly moved about at all. No pogo-ing. Which was unusual then. And because they stood still, so did the audience. We listened carefully. Their lyrics were heady and had clever subtle political overtones "I am the fly in the ointment" or maybe they were uncomfortable with love. Their songs squiggled all over your mind. It was said that the lead singer studied insects, or collected insects, I forget which but after I heard that rumour, their music would buzz inside me. Buzz around me.
The second time I saw Wire I was able to watch the crowd. The lights were low. The most handsome boys came to watch Wire.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ron Ashton RIP

I got this information via Stupefaction

STEVE BYRNE AND BRIAN McCOLLUM wrote this article • January 6, 2009

"Ron Asheton, the influential guitarist for legendary punk band the Stooges, was found dead early this morning at his home in Ann Arbor, police said."

Ron Asheton is quoted in the article as saying:

“When I was a young guy coming up, going to the Grande Ballroom every weekend, I got to see my heroes play. Jeff Beck, the Who, everyone. I didn't want to be a fanboy, but I'd stand there and wait — 'I just want to say hi, this was great.' I saw them walk by me with blank stares like they were zombies. I said to myself, you know, if I ever make it, I've got at least one minute for everybody who wants to say something. So I talk to people, and that's what's exciting now."

That was so true of the spirt of punk rock. The bands all talked to you.

Here's the rest of the article:

Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Brad Hill said the department received a call around midnight with a request to check on Asheton, 60, because the unidentified caller said he had not heard from the guitarist in a few days. Police went to his home and found him deceased.

The death is still under investigation, but foul play is not suspected, Hill said.

The Stooges was founded in 1967 in Ann Arbor by Iggy Pop, Asheton and Ron Asheton’s brother, Scott. It is among the most important rock groups to have emerged from the Detroit area, a place that’s seen more than its share. The band was never a commercial success in its late 1960s and early ‘70s heyday, but the Stooges’ raw guttural sound helped create the template for punk rock, and later became hugely influential in the alternative-rock revolution of the late 1980s and early ‘90s.

Asheton was not an incredibly gifted player technically, but the dirgy, guttural sounds he created on early Stooges classics like “I Wanna Be Your Dog” were cited by guitarists as varied as Kurt Cobain, Thurston Moore and Jack White — who once called the Stooges’ 1969 effort “Fun House” the greatest rock album of all time. In a 2003 list by Rolling Stone magazine, the publication named Asheton the 29th-greatest rock guitarist of all time.

He made the “Stooges' music reek like a puddle of week-old biker sweat. He favored black leather and German iron crosses onstage, and he never let not really knowing how to play get in the way of a big, ugly feedback solo,” the magazine said.

Though the band broke up in the 1970s among a swirl of infighting and drugs, its influence among later generations of rockers helped spurn a series of reunion shows in 2003 — including a legendary August gig at DTE Energy Music Theatre. A near fanatical reception to the reformation spawned a new album, “The Weirdness,” and a second tour in 2007.

The Stooges were among the nominees for this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, with the inductees expected to be announced this month.

In a 2003 interview with the Free Press, Asheton said the Stooges’ reunion was very important to him, and that he got great satisfaction from the recognition the band received — even if it was a long time coming.

“When I was a young guy coming up, going to the Grande Ballroom every weekend, I got to see my heroes play. Jeff Beck, the Who, everyone. I didn't want to be a fanboy, but I'd stand there and wait — 'I just want to say hi, this was great.' I saw them walk by me with blank stares like they were zombies. I said to myself, you know, if I ever make it, I've got at least one minute for everybody who wants to say something. So I talk to people, and that's what's exciting now."

Von Bondies guitarist Jason Stollsteimer, 30, is among a younger generation of rock musicians who soaked up Asheton's influence. Asheton's playing was the embodiment of the Michigan rock sound, he said.

"To me, he was the epitome of raw punk," said Stollsteimer. "He wasn't flashy or over the top. It was raw. The riffs he wrote stood the test of time."
Stollsteimer's band opened for the Stooges at their 2003 reunion show at DTE Energy Music Theatre. It was a triumphant comeback that saw the Stooges treated with a level of attention and respect they'd never previously enjoyed.

"He was like a kid ina candy store, just so excited," Stollsteimer recalled of that night. "He wasn't afraid to show it. Some people are too cool, but he was obviously very happy and proud."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

steve jones and paul cook used to live at 6 Denmark Street

july 1977

Here's some early footage of The Sex Pistols in Sweden found on you tube. There's some better ones, but i like this one because Johnny dances and Sid snears and smiles. And Steve Jones looks great in a raincoat.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Talent Search December 1977

Well look at that - if you were in Liverpool in January and you were "new talent" Stiff Records was looking for you. There was always that possibility. Your friends would be in a band and you knew that record companies were coming to see them. The A&R geezers were pretty obvious, too. They would have long hair and look nervous.
One night an A&R guy said to me, "if you dance, I'll sign them," and he wasn't kidding.
I was told that A&R people had a quota to fill.
But you could have done that job. It was easy to see who was popular and who wasn't.
There was a very strong reaction to bands back then. If you didn't like the band, you sat down. If, heaven forbid, they wore flared trousers, we would go down the front and stand there with our fingers in our ears mouthing, "you're shit" and "get off" and stuff like that. If we liked the band we were all over the floor like bargain hunters in a sale.

The films mentioned at Covent Garden's film club are probably on you tube. i'll go and have a scout around.

I can't imagine any of my friends back then being interested in the fact that George Harrison played at his local pub...

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Clash at the Rainbow Dec 1977

test: CLASH reviews.

december 1977

The week before Christmas, 1977:

I had a friend at Brunel University and he tipped me off the The Sex Pistols were going to play so I got the 207 bus to Uxbridge and met him in the bar. This article tells of the mayhem outside when the University organizers stupidly kept the doors to the Students Union hall shut - put up a sign SOLD OUT and had everyone wait. And wait. .
It was only when I left that I saw all the shattered glass and this article explains that the crowd got fed up waiting and someone broke into the college by breaking a window and climbing in. They found themselves in the toilets.
The students Union person also did a stupid thing by asking everyone outside with a ticket to hold them up in the air so they could see who to let in when the doors opened. That was stupid because people who didn't have tickets grabbed them off the others.
The gig was great. Johnny Rotten kept telling the crowd they were too laid back. Some kids built a human pyramid in the middle of the crowd. That was funny. And they played all our favourites.

On the Tuesday before Christmas, the Clash played at the Rainbow.
This was a seated gig which was better than the stand anywhere gigs and I'll tell you why. I didn't have, nor would I have worn a leather jacket.
I wore a pink mohair sweater and I liked to stand at the front.
At the Roundhouse (a stand anywhere gig) when The Clash came on, you heard a lot of fans clearing their throats and then it just rained gob.
It was DISGUSTING. I went to the bathrooms to try and get it out but from then on I had to stand at the back or along the wall. The floor got really gunky. I won't go on about it. Needless to say, that sweater had to dry out on a radiator and go to the cleaners.

The Melody Maker has two reviews here. One tells of the security holding a fan back and The Clash saying, "no let him go" and then the fan sang "White Riot". The other review tells of the wait. It's true. They didn't go on til after 10 o'clock which is a bit annoying if you were getting a train home. The underground (subway) trains stopped before midnight and then you would have to get a bus. And Finsbury Park (where The Rainbow was) was miles from everyone. I lived in Ealing then and it took forever to get home.

Then we went Christmas shopping.
If you wanted to buy your boyfriend a record, this was your choice.

You could buy records in Woolworths, or you could go to OUR PRICE records.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


You could get the music papers ALL OVER THE UK. So everyone knew where everyone was playing just by looking at a few pages in the press each week.
See towards the bottom left - Dr Feelgood was playing in Southend with Mink DeVille.
I was at that gig. I'm trying to remember who drove me there. We even went in to see the first band which wasn't really what you were supposed to do. You were supposed to stay in the bar till the main band came on. I remember Willie De Ville wore purple satin. We stood at the back.
But for Dr Feelgood we went straight to the front.
WILKO was so exciting I could hardly stand it.
He would walk forwards and backwards playing his guitar and every now and then JUMP in the air - really high. It was really exciting. I couldn't take my eyes off him.

the charts - oct 22 1977

in those days we waited for the charts. They would be announced on the radio at lunchtime on tuesdays and the DJ would play the top twenty in order. We would listen at school. If you wanted them in print you had to get the NME or the Melody Maker.
Here are the top selling singles in the week of October 22, 1977.
As you can see HOLIDAY IN THE SUN by THE SEX PISTOLS is a new entry at number 24, just below NAME OF THE GAME by Abba.
The number in brackets is where the record was last week in the charts so if there is a dash in the brackets, it's a new entry.
As you can see you could be dancing to Donna Summer one minute and pogo-ing up and down the next.
Kept you fit.

pop group