Richard Hell record tonight to mark the 35th anniversary of his debut with the Voidoids at CBGBs , November 1976. Mr Hell came up with the Blank Generation title - a great single for Sire Records, and a label for a whole, er, generation. He was in an early version of Television, along with his friend Tom Verlaine, before they fell out. He was also in the Heartbreakers with Johnny Thunders in the year or so before they were allowed into a studio. He didn't last long with either band, who went on to make great records. Would the records have been as good if Richard had stayed around ? Would they have been worse ? Impossible to tell but I suspect he didn't like to play second fiddle (or bass) to either singer - and no one in the Voidoids had any of the talent or charisma of either Tom or Johnny. Although if I ever run into a Voidoid, I'll deny I said that.
X - Make The Music Go Bang
Sex Pistols - I Wanna Be Me
Germs - Media Blitz
Chefs - Sweetie
Animals And Men - Render Us Harmless
Mighty Lemon Drops - Into The Heart Of Love
Siouxsie & The Banshees - Overground
Decline Of The Reptiles - Don’t Look Down
Richard Hell - Betrayal Takes Two
Wedding Present - Nobodys Twisting Your Arm
Birthday Party - Hamlet (Pow Pow Pow)
Specials - Concrete Jungle
Palace Guard - All Night Long
Stooges - Shake Appeal
Nothing makes you feel as old as one of your favourite bands being talked about in archaeological terms. Graffiti originating from the Sex Pistols, when they lived in a flat in Denmark Street in the London of 1976, has been described as a modern day cave painting of Lascaux. I’m not sure if that means a drawing of a stickman Johnny Rotten chasing a stickman Malcolm McClaren but I have learned that the scrawling, found behind cupboards, is crude and rude. And that’s without Sid. In the journal Antiquity the eight drawings by Johnny are described as “a direct and powerful representation of a radical and dramatic movement of rebellion." No it’s not, it’s just cartoons showing Steve Jones as ‘Fatty Jones’ and Malcolm grasping a handful of cash. I’ve seen it myself on the internet, and it seems the flat (and the rehearsal space in the basement) have been converted into modern offices, while the walls have been preserved. But I do agree that there should be a blue plaque above number 6 Denmark Street to mark the spot for aging punk rockers like myself.
Could Echo & The Bunnymen have been as big as U2 ? Would they have wanted it so bad ? I sometimes think that Ian McCulloch, singer with E&tB, still considers his band to be bigger than Bono's but the recording industry experts may disagree. I link the two because one of the first comments I ever remember about U2 was that of Mick Houghton, press officer with WEA records. This was 1980, and he said that Bono's mannerisms around a microphone stand (the running of the fingers through the hair, etc) were pure 'Mac'. Not the computer, but the high cheekboned singer with the Bunnymen. Mick has written the sleevenotes to the 'Crystal Days' box set, from which I retrieve The Cutter. A great all round chap.
So - the Bunnymen. Not bigger, but better.
Echo & The Bunnymen - The Cutter
Dils - Class War
Liliput - Do You Mind My Dream
The Legendary Tenfoots - Just An Excuse
Fizzbombs - Sign On The Line
Pere Ubu - 30 Seconds Over Tokyo
Boys - Cast Of Thousands
Sham 69 - Evil Way
Monochrome Set - Eine Symphonie Des Grauns
Dickies - Paranoid
Magazine - I‘m A Party
Modern Lovers - Hospital
Chocolate Watch Band - I Ain't No Miracle Worker
Thomas Leer - Letter From America
The great Captain Sensible has links to two efforts tonight, including his finest three minutes. Not 'Happy Talk' but 'Neat Neat Neat', the Damned's second and finest single. What it means , I don't know, but it has a bass line that should be compulsory in schools today.
Also , a few nods to New York , punk rock capital city, where I was for a few days at the weekend running after marathon competitors. I didn't take part, but was there to record the participation of Gerry Anderson. I didn't even get to CBGBs, so that pilgrimage is for another day.
Damned - Neat Neat Neat
Ramones - 53rd & 3rd
Dictators - 16 Forever
Wishniaks - Wishful Thinking
Protex - Listening In
Public Image - Annalisa
Wire - 12XU
New York Dolls - Subway Train
Skids - Circus Games
Johnny Moped - Make Trouble
Blues Project - No Time Like The Right Time
Television - Marquee Moon
What's round at the end and high in the middle ? Ohio, of course. A riddle taken from the Devo punk outing 'Jocko Homo' and a nod to the state which has 'Hang On Sloopy' as its official rock and roll song.
Three bands from the Buckeye State tonight, including the Dead Boys who I am usually not a huge fan of , but feel obliged to give an airing to every now and then. Electric Eels, proto punks who only played five shows, were an influence on Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys, but there the resemblance ends.
Avengers - The American In Me
Elvis Costello & Attractions - Goon Squad
Lime Spiders - 25th Hour
Blondie - Look Good In Blue
Electric Eels - Jaguar Ride
Real Kids - My Babys Book
Television Personalities - Parties In Chelsea
Z Rocks - Real World
June Brides - Comfort
Dead Boys - What Love Is
Again & Again - Wrong Again
Black Flag - Louie Louie
Dexys Midnight Runners - Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache
Devo - Praying Hands
Crimson Shadows - Even I Tell Lies
XTC - Statue Of Liberty