Friday, October 26, 2007

A Touch of Annoyance

Write whatever you want about indie music, just don't make the mistake of writing about the punk ethos. You are wrong. Very wrong. Come back when you read "Please Kill Me" or read a single interview with the Pistols. Tom Ewing made this mistake in his ridiculous column on Pitchfork entitled "Poptimist #9". The column refers to the NME's recent attempt to get "God Save the Queen" to #1 on the charts.

To generalise wildly, for an American audience punk stands for something creative-- an independent ethos and a DIY spirit.

Wrong. Wrong. What's great is that the British punk movement showed the world how to do it. The Buzzcock's "Spiral Scratch EP" set the tone, millions of band followed the example. America did not do it first. Get your shit straight. I don't care if you're wildly generalizing. That doesn't give you the right to fudge facts.

"It does stand for those things in Britain as well but also contains a destructive spirit, a declaration of Year Zero against what had gone before, no matter its quality: "No Elvis, Beatles, and the Rolling Stones in 1977".

Cool, nothing like perpetuating a myth about the base fundamentalism of punk. This fact has been refuted from day one (or Year Zero, whatever the F you want to call it). In fact, the Sex Pistols music reeked of early Beatles and the early 70's Stones. Also, how the fuck does one even try to escape the great ghost of Elvis. You don't, that's how.

He is the godfather. He sat down in Sun studios with some session musicians and while taking a break started playing "Blue Moon of Kentucky." No prompting, they just thought it was fun. Sam Phillips thought it was more than that. And thus, after a bunch of other like-minded back-beat-oriented tracks were cut, Rock and Roll was born for white America.

To escape Elvis, you need to play experimental music, and it maybe needs to be played from the moon with an orchestra comprised of polar bears. Telling the Queen to fuck off does not change the base derivative. The Pistols were a rock band, through and through. The image and fuck 'em attitude pushed the envelope, the music not so much. The Velvet's, Jonathan Richman, Stooges, Ramones, every band on the Nuggets release, the Kinks, the Who, the Small Faces, Chuck Berry, the list goes on and on. The Pistols' music was not revolutionary, it in fact was an amazing time warp. One escaped the overblown grandeur of Prog-rock and Lite Smooth Soundz of FM radio, not Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Also to say that the American punk scene had nothing to do with "a destructive spirit" is bizarre. The violence of the West Coast hardcore and D.C. hardcore scenes even put off the musicians.

Wildly generalizing is for the birds.

Once again, there is going to be a follow-up on this very soon where I will point out how Rock Writing (notice the importance that capital letters bring to The Table!) is in a horrible state of repetition, where seemingly educated writers ignore the fact that they are recycling 20 year old material.

Bring me advancement or bring me death by musical exhaustion!!!


Uticas said...

as regards the sex pistols: you (jtemple) should listen to an album called "second edition" by Public Image Ltd. johnny rotten's next band. eerily remeniscent of Corpse of Culkin, only, you know, finished.

J. Temperance said...

Oh, that record is a killer!

Swan Lake is a pretty ferocious motherfucker. lydon was the only guy in that group that thought outside the box. even then he was just ripping off Can and The Fall, which he openly admits.

how does that Corpse of Culkin sound?

Uticas said...

like a motherfucker