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View Diary: Are all the best punks English? (w/ poll) (105 comments)

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  •  you have to be kidding?!? (none)
    To say that The Ramones "just happened" to get there first is transparent and false.  There was no accident about it.  Iggy & The Stooges were no accident either.  These things were no accident because punk is rock-n-roll, not different from it.  The Who were close in the 60s, but punted on going the last steps needed to do what the Ramones actually did...to recast punk as its own thing within rock, not just loud, angry rock.  The attitude was added by Iggy, Joey, and even Jonathan Richman (that first album was done in 1971!) long before any of the Pistols so much as saw a guitar.  The attitude is something that even the best british rock bands only got by imitating Americans, be it the stones imitating the cockiness of bluesmen or the sid vicious trying to one-up Iggy.

    The Sex Pistols took the early punk stuff and did it better in a lot of ways, which is why they are so important.  I don't think they would - even now - say they were the best.  Johnny Rotten has always worn his influences on his sleeve, and never been shy about giving credit where it is due.

    (Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers first album was equal to the Stooges and Ramones and should be on the list...)

    •  It can be argued that (none)
      The Velvets in '66-'67 were the very first.  I wonder who THEY were listening to?

      If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

      by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 09:58:22 AM PDT

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      •  Total Agreement... (none)
        I posted below and then saw your post.  D'accord.

        "We're all working for the Pharoah" - Richard Thompson

        by mayan on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:01:06 AM PDT

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        •  dude (dudess?) (none)
          have you seen, "A Night With Lou Reed" DVD?

          If not check it out!  Small club in New York, and really inspiring.

          If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

          by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:10:31 AM PDT

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          •  Thanks for the suggestion... (none)
            I saw the PBS thing and really loved it.

            I remember when the banana album first came out...I was so INTRIGUED - at about the ripe ol' age of 14...took it over to a girl's house to play it for her...she looked at me like I was an alien and then her mother kicked me out after she heard a song.

            "We're all working for the Pharoah" - Richard Thompson

            by mayan on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:46:26 AM PDT

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      •  Reed was a poet (none)
        and Cale a classically trained musician who worked with John Cage and La Monte Young - mix well and you've got some pretty unique stuff.

        Bush is "oblivious, in denial, dangerous."

        by magic1 on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:04:36 AM PDT

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        •  Reed Studied With Delmore Schwartz... (none)
          ...but he also LOVED doo-wop.  They are in many ways linked to the Beat like Ginsberg through The Fugs.  Sterling Morrison went on to become a scholar of literature.  And Nico and Andy Warhol added unique touches to what was in many ways a very Central European aesthetic.  They were in some ways punk, but in other ways I can listen to the first two VU albums and think of them as products of Weimar Berlin, or maybe Zurich of the Dadaists and Futurists.  

          The Velvet Underground were probably our most European band.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:49:03 AM PDT

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          •  And The Biggest VU Punk was Mo Tucker (none)
            A woman drummer in the 1960's, butch looking, totally unschooled in music, no ambitions of being a big star, and a significant chunk of her subsequent life spent raising a family in working in a convience store.  

            Mo Tucker was in many ways the ballast and grounding of that band, and along with Sterling the person the person who wasn't ever an asshole, and to this day considers her performance something she does "for the kids."  

            Mo exemplifies DIY more than anyone else in that band.

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 11:53:18 AM PDT

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            •  and Maclaren took his cue from Warhol (none)
              Warhol "broke the fourth wall" on the backoffice part of music in way that I think provided the template for Malcolm.  VU never made the money, but the purpose was different.  

              With VU, the making of the product was more a part of the art than I think was even for the Pistols (and don't get me wrong, I love the Pistols and the swindle and so on)

            •  Two assholes from VU (none)
              First, of course, Lou. In '73 or '74 the New York Dolls came over to tour England and, as they were the critics' flavor of the month, they were lapping up their new cult following. Somewhere in the North of England they were getting ready to open for Lou Reed when the great man (peeved at all their adulation) stormed into their dressing-room and said he refused to play, he would pull out, unless they cancelled first. Which they duly did. If they were true punks they'd have done what Jerry Lee Lewis did to Little Richard: gone out and burned the house down, and dared Lou to top it.

              The second story is what Nico said when she dumped Lou Reed: "I'm sorry, I can longer fuck Jews."

              "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

              by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:15:00 PM PDT

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              •  VU and Assholes (none)
                A good friend of mine, about 12 years ago, mortaged his future and bought a mono, DJ copy of the VU and Nico album in the shrinkwrap.  It's about the rarest of the rare; those copies were mostly altered, because they had an unauthorized photo of hanger-on Gerard Marlanga on the back, and after he sued existing copies had a sticker put over the offending portion of the photo, and subsequent copies had him airbrushed out.  But this is unaltered, in the shrinkwrap.  Quite possible the only one of its kind.

                So my friend decided to screw up it's resale value, and try to get it signed by all the surviving members of the band (thus omiting Nico and Andy Warhol).  The first two to sign it were Mo and Sterling (before he so tragically died young).  He stopped Mo on the street outside the venue she would play at that night as she went inside for the sound check, and as usual, she was a delight.  She sent one of the band members inside when she saw it with instructions to ask Sterling to come outside.  (He was playing guitar on her tour during his summer off from teaching.)  They were both incredibly cool, and chatted with my friend and a couple others who were hanging out for about 20 minutes or so.  

                Next up was about 6 months later, same small venue in Pontiac, this time Cale.  He put on a scorching show, just incredible.  After the show my friend pleaded with whoever was at the door to let him back, showing the woman his album.  She recognized the uniqueness of what he had, and took him right into Cale's dressing room.  Cale sat there, covered in sweat, completely drained.  He looked at it, didn't say much, and said something like "sure, I'll sign it."  He did, and that was the end of the discussion, and he made it clear he was done with my friend.  Not really an asshole, but not that warm either.

                I can't do justice to his epic story about finally getting asshole Lou to sign it, but it involved him getting backstage because someone mistakenly assumed my friend was Lou's personal masseuse.  Lou saw the album, gave a sour look at my friend, signed it, walked away, and managed to never look at or say a word to my friend.  

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:44:18 PM PDT

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              •  Case closed (none)
                they're punks, see?

                If Jesus Christ came back today and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up... - Hannah and Her Sisters

                by AlyoshaKaramazov on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 08:41:24 PM PDT

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    •  Noone gets my sarcasm. (none)
      Ever since living in England my wit just flies under most people's radar. Of course, that might be because I'm not funny.

      I meant that about the Ramones as you might say "Columbus discovered America. The Indians just happened to do it 10,000 years earlier."

      I agree with most of what you say, and like your insight on the Who, who had so much of the punk spirit and noise at the heart of their maelstrom.

      I disagree about the Modern Lovers album. Yes, it's absolutely brilliant. Yes, it has a future Talking Head and a future Car on it. It is a milestone - like Big Star. But it is not punk, and it is much less punk than Iggy or the New York Dolls.

      "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

      by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:03:04 AM PDT

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      •  Hmmm... (none)
        Musically, I think the Pistols sound echoes the Modern Lovers debut more than it does the Ramones or Iggy.

        And could anyone have sounded more deliberately snotty and disaffected than Jonathan on that one?

        Also, please don't misunderstand, the Sex Pistols are the greatest in terms of impact and frankly, that album is untouchable.  It is a great synthesis of what came before, but is also way more than the sum of its parts.

        That doesn't make all Brit punk better just because the pistols were.  That's all I mean.

        •  I think the Stooges make a more similar racket (none)
          to the Pistols than the Modern Lovers do, but I'll have to check out the first couple of Stooges' LPs and the Pistols and Lovers to be sure of that. I am a huge fan of all aforementioned albums (and the first few Ramones albums).

          "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

          by Brecht on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 12:31:09 PM PDT

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    •  Roadrunner Roadrunner/John Cale (none)
      Great call on Jonathan. That first record is a killer. There's a link here that no-ones addressed yet... John Cale produced The first Stooges album, the first Patti Smith Band album, the first Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers album. And don't forget that Cale was responsible for alot of the wierdest elements of the VU.

      Someone showed me a picture and I just had to laugh.. Dignity ain't never been photographed

      by jz63 on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 10:04:18 AM PDT

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