Media

In Praise of Johnny Rotten, Again.

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Fox News Red Eye host (and friend of reason) Greg Gutfeld has an absolutely fantastic col in the American Spectator about a night on the tiles with former (and future) Sex Pistols front man Johnny Rotten. A snippet:

Johnny Rotten might be the most honest person in music—unafraid of saying things that send the left into epileptic seizures. Don't get him started on Nelson Mandela, in Rotten's mind a terrorizing thug romanticized by the ignorant left and glamorized by a stint in jail. He said as much on a British talk show, and it got him banned for years, he tells me. To him, Mandela is only equaled in idiocy by Bono, who Rotten believes has done nothing to help the poor in Africa—those starving millions he keeps soliciting money for. "All I ask is, where is the money! It's a bloody simple question! Bono has done no good."

ROTTEN HATES EVERYTHING intellectually lazy, from the fat and stupid editors at Rolling Stone to the Hollywood liberals he encounters everyday back in his Venice Beach community. "You wouldn't believe the idiocy," he tells me on his umpteenth beer or vodka drink. "Imagine me at a parent/teacher conference trying to explain to them how to speak proper bloody English!"

Gutfeld pokes a stick at the corpse of punk and uncovers its secret shame–and secret source of energy:

I am probably nuts—but I always sort of thought that the punk movement made Ronald Reagan more than a bit possible. The punks may have been rude and snotty, but they were just so much more real—so much less delusional and besotted—than the hippies were. It's no secret that the punks happened because the hippies failed. By killing the silly, bucolic, utopian hippy ethic, the punks allowed for a sober reassessment of all that '60s crap. And the result was a restoration of America's faith in itself, a new embrace of genuine reality and not some Shangri-la over the horizon somewhere. Like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, conservatism was realist, urban, and tough. And that got us Reagan, and ended the Soviet Union.

If nothing else, Gutfeld gets the chronology right: Reagan and Thatcher came after the first wave of punk. They were emanations from Steve Jones' and Johnny Ramones' guitars, not the targets of sonic attacks (at least not originally; that would come later). It's always frustrating to hear musicians and fans from the mid-'70s anachronistically describing their music as an attack on leaders not yet elected. Back sometime before the tech bubble burst, I had the great privilege of being interviewed by Rotten on his web radio show on Eyada (sadly, the audio has vanished as completely as Siouxsie Sioux's swastika fetish), during which he granted that Thatcher was indeed the first punk PM (scroll down) of England.

More here.

One more reason to still love the Sex Pistols.

Update: Reader de stilj points to the current issue of SPIN, which is celebration of 1977 and is a great read. Two articles, both available online are especially worth checking out. First is an interview with Rotten and second is a wonderful essay by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. A snippet from the latter:

When I think back on those years, I remember, of course, all the great music-a true embarrassment of riches. But I also remember pain-1977 smelled of burning candles in an abandoned building, fermenting garbage, uncollected in the street. The bitter, delicious taste of heroin in the back of my throat. The bathroom of CBGB, awash in turds, glassine bags, condoms, and used works.

And Jethro Tull was still playing on the radio.

Whole thing here.

Tremendoid profile of Bourdain in Doublethink here.

NEXT: Charlie Rangel Sees the Light on Cigarette Taxes

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  1. Christ, Gutfeld is a tool and no friend of reason no matter how often he puts staffers on his pukestain of a show. Talk about intellectually lazy – and he was a fat and stupid editor of Maxim.

    Lydon, on the other hand is a provocative genius. Well, sometimes he’s provocative for the sake of being provocative, but it’s hard for a leopard to change his spots.

    The current issue of Spin is a look back at 1977 and is wildly entertaining for someone of my vintage. Check it out if you will.

  2. ROTTEN HATES EVERYTHING intellectually lazy, from the fat and stupid editors at Rolling Stone to the Hollywood liberals he encounters everyday back in his Venice Beach community.

    I guess he doesn’t hate them enough to move to a conservative community. I’m sure he’d fit in well in Waco, TX.

  3. “Imagine me at a parent/teacher conference trying to explain to them how to speak proper bloody English!”

    HA! I never liked punk. Still don’t, but I gotta hand it to the old school punks. They grew up cool.

  4. Mr. Rotten was right about one thing. Johnny Ramone was for Reagan, and if one thing united punks and new wavers BITD, it was hatred for that “hippie shit” our older brothers still bought into.

    I even vaguely remember a Ramones endorsement of Reagan that I read in a Creem interview.

    Kevin

  5. Dude should just wear a big sandwich board reading “Pay Attention to Me!”

  6. I like the Rotten-dude, but it’s because he’s a nut, a loudmouth, and a douche.

  7. To him, Mandela is only equaled in idiocy by Bono, who Rotten believes has done nothing to help the poor in Africa — those starving millions he keeps soliciting money for. “All I ask is, where is the money! It’s a bloody simple question! Bono has done no good.”

    To quote a more talented punk, “What the fuck have you done?!”

  8. Politics aside, I still think the Sex Pistols are one of the most overrated bands in the history of rock. They were the antithesis of the Clash, who had the courage to explore rockabilly, ska and dub among other styles. Say what you want about their aesthetic value and cultural significance, but their actual recordings pale in comparison to both their British counterparts like the Buzzcocks and the American hardcore (Black Flag, Husker Du, etc.) that followed.

  9. We need a music snob. dhex?

    And why do we never see any articles on Devo?

  10. Wouldn’t a fairer comparison be between, say, the first 10 songs recorded by those bands and the Pistols, who only managed about that many? (I’m not digging out BOLLOCKS to count….)? While I think most would agree that when entire oevres are considered, the Pistols are beaten by Clash, Buzzcocks, any number of American quasi-punks, that isn’t a very apt comparison.

  11. The Pistols did record an anti-abortion song (“Bodies”), which I imagine is pretty novel among the punk-rock set….”I’m not a discharge!”

  12. Being a hardcore punk rock kid in the 80’s I’m probably in the minority that voted for Reagan in 1984. I never understood the whole left leaning inclinations of punk rock. To me it made no sense to support a system that denied the individual. I even wrote a column about it for a zine a few years ago after opening for International Noise Conspiracy. I was inspired by their pointless rant about avoiding capitalist individualism or some sort of nonsense like that. I’m always glad to hear about Johnny Rotten making statements to poke a finger in the eye of something.

  13. To quote a more talented punk, “What the fuck have you done?!”

    He and Bono have probably achieved approximately equal results as far as helping Africa.

    What Rotten has going for him is he isn’t a smug, preening douchebag who’s wasted millions of dollars not helping people in Africa.

  14. All of my Pistols music is on vinyl and, sadly, I no longer posess a ‘pornograph’ to play them.

    Also, let me be the first on this thread to congratulate the t-shirt chick’s parents for not aborting her. I think that is her hottest pose.

  15. Wouldn’t a fairer comparison be between, say, the first 10 songs recorded by those bands and the Pistols, who only managed about that many?

    I don’t think so. The bottom line for me is what you contribute to the world of music. If you want to debate the Beatles vs. the Stones, are you going to compare their first albums? Of course not. The fact that the Pistols only released a handful of songs further shows how little they actually contributed to rock music. Again, I recognize their cultural significance, but they were never about music.

  16. The punks had some interesting things to say. Too bad their music sucked. The aural equivalent of chimpanzees throwing their own feces.

  17. I always thought the musical significance of the Sex Pistols was they taught that you didn’t have to be good musicians to make great music. I vaguely recall the Pixies making much of that.

  18. Johnny Rotten has raised funds that have allowed many of thousands of people in Africa to be vaccinated against disease, RC?

    Are you sure about that?

  19. The Pistols were perfectly fine musicians, as fine as most who have made rock music over the years that didn’t require doing nimble and swift sweep arpeggios or whatever; the LP is tightly played, meticulously recorded pop rock. (Not including Syd.)

  20. I never understood the whole left leaning inclinations of punk rock.

    Actually, it really wasn’t. At least not the Sex Pistols version. Anti-government, anti-abortion and pro-filthy-lucre-capitalism? Doesn’t sound very left leaning to me. That came later, at the hands of bands like the Clash or the Dead Kennedys. Which is why I consider comparisons between those kinds of bands and the Pistols superfluous. The Pistols were an original. The Clash were merely hippies with mohawks.

  21. RC, you may be letting some personal dislike get in the way of your thinking about Bono.
    If Bono bought one net for one family to protect them from mosquitoes, then he will have done more than Rotten.

  22. @ JasonC

    To quote a more talented punk, “What the fuck have you done?!”

    Nothing. The difference is Johnny Rotten never pretended he did.

    @Brian Doherty

    The Pistols were perfectly fine musicians, as fine as most who have made rock music over the years that didn’t require doing nimble and swift sweep arpeggios or whatever; the LP is tightly played, meticulously recorded pop rock. (Not including Syd.)

    If you like the Pistols, you ought to track down Indecent Exposure, a live bootleg recorded while Glen Matlock was still in the band. They were as tight as anyone, and personally I preferred the performances on that record to the ones on Bullocks.

  23. “hippies with mohawks”. Columbia and KC, MO were full of those. Man, I hated that.

  24. i have been enjoying watching red eye at work lately, but this may have tainted the show. in what sense is/was reagan style conservatism about individuals anyway? gutfield doesn’t say. even granting that i see few parallels between rotten and reagan. anyway the formers whole schtick is negative/negating which has fuckall to do w/reaganism. just cuz you like punk and are conservative doesn’t mean punk is conservative.

  25. it is funny watching dudes on here try to talk about punk though

  26. btw pretty sure the only ramone that was conservative was johnny

  27. I always thought the musical significance of the Sex Pistols was they taught that you didn’t have to be good musicians to make great music. I vaguely recall the Pixies making much of that.

    Which, of course, largely turns out not to be true.

    The Pistols were perfectly fine musicians, as fine as most who have made rock music over the years that didn’t require doing nimble and swift sweep arpeggios or whatever; the LP is tightly played, meticulously recorded pop rock. (Not including Syd.)

    Didn’t sound that way to me. They were atrocious. But then, I have a hard time getting past Johnny’s complete inability to sing. PiL featured much better musicians, and it’s still unlistenable crap.

    DIY does not excuse mediocrity.

  28. PiL featured much better musicians, and it’s still unlistenable crap.

    uhhh, no. Metal Box (Second Edition) is genius.

  29. Johnny Rotten comes across, as he often does, as a charming combination of misanthrope and narcissist. The notion that punk was a conservative movement is bollocks, but in this Mr. Lydon does seem to have quite a bit in common with Ayn Rand and with Naomi Klein’s Disaster Capitalists.

  30. “Johnny Rotten might be the most honest person in music…”

    He’s always been honest to something. …sometimes he’s honestly full of shit.

    And he’s right about that punk authenticity thing being a precursor to so much, if that’s what he was saying. …and that may be punk’s most lasting legacy–Never Mind the Bollocks!

    We want authenticity–not exactly sincerity, not exactly integrity. We’ll sell out, and we’ll rake those who sell out. Then we’ll accuse everyone of selling out!

    …but ever since the Pistols, you have to be authentic.

    Al Gore, for instance, couldn’t make the Presidency because he couldn’t be “authentic”.

  31. Ever since the end of punk I have said that the only thing keeping me out of entertainment is talent.

    During punk, I had no excuse.

  32. I never understood the whole left leaning inclinations of punk rock.

    You can blame Jello Biafra for that. Especially the people who took him seriously. Including Jello himself.

  33. I never understood the whole left leaning inclinations of punk rock.

    You don’t understand how iconclastic, anti-traditionalist, iconoclastic, counter-cultural, anti-corporate troublemakers could identify more with the left than the right?

    Really?

  34. The Left is anti-traditionalist/counter cultural?

    Really?

  35. And the result was a restoration of America’s faith in itself, a new embrace of genuine reality and not some Shangri-la over the horizon somewhere.

    Uh, I’m sure others will back me up on this. Punk was never that big. Really. As Anthony said, It was still Jethro Tull on the radio. Either that or disco. Punk was a big deal in my life, but it mattered very little to the masses.

    As for punk’s individualist leanings, I have also noticed that many bands leaned that way. But for every band that seemed libertarian, there was a Crass clone.

  36. to state the obvious: anarchy is the primary political philosophy advocated by punk rock.

  37. the right is?

  38. “…but ever since the Pistols, you have to be authentic.”

    i don’t know what this means, but white hipsters valuing music thats “authentic” went on well before punk hanppened

  39. hey hey my my.

    p.s., hier is The Broken Spokes vid (John Rhoads’s link) – cool!

  40. it is funny watching dudes on here try to talk about punk though

    Just remember, Chris, if we were all as enlightened about punk as you apparently are then you wouldn’t be so special.

  41. The Left is anti-traditionalist/counter cultural?

    Yup. Pretty much by definition, at least when discussing left and right in terms of culture.

    to state the obvious: anarchy is the primary political philosophy advocated by punk rock.

    And the varity of anarchy espoused in most punk rock was distinctly leftish, and quite distinct from anarcho-capitalism. Ask yourself, how much deference to the property and authority of bosses did punk rock anarchists express?

  42. Saw Bad Religion on Monday night…

    talk about a kick ass punk band.

  43. The the later Misfits were also conservative.

    http://digg.com/videos/comedy/YouTube_Michale_Graves_on_The_Daily_Show

    Not sure what Danzig’s political views are but he seems pro-Satan so I’m gonna guess he voted for Bush.

  44. “Just remember, Chris, if we were all as enlightened about punk as you apparently are then you wouldn’t be so special.”

    never said i was, but then i dont go around making half assed generalizations about things i have little interest in or knowledge of

  45. but i do agree that i am special. thanks for pointing that out.

  46. i seem to remember a piece gg allin wrote for the weekly standard in the late eighties which also made the point that punk is conservative

  47. Yup. Pretty much by definition, at least when discussing left and right in terms of culture.

    I think the left is just as traditionalist as the right… they might have different perspectives on which moral/cultural/historical traditions are more “correct,” but both left and right view the past as an ideal. It’s also hard for me to accept the left as any more iconoclastic than the right. Again, both left and right have more than their share of sacred cows.

  48. Some of the appearance of left leaning was simply anti-authoritarian. …the authority at the time leaning markedly to the right. A lot of it just wasn’t allied with anybody. There was a lot of Reagan bashing and a lot of anti-nuclear war stuff.

    …but, using an example probably everybody knows, there’s one band that seemed to identify with the left that was out there singing about a “White Minority”. Nobody would go to those shows, see all the skins and think, “Wow, those guys are really far to the left!”

    I think it depends on what sub-era you’re talking about and which band. Sometimes, from Gillespie’s takes, I get the feeling like when he’s talking about punk, he’s talking about something that coalesced in ’76 or so and was dead by ’80. Certainly, if you listen to some people around Southern California, they talk about it being handed over to thugs around ’79.

    For me, punk was something I became aware of a year I was in Southern California, when I was about 12 in ’79, and it died several deaths, I’d say between ’85 and ’86.

    Or maybe it died when Fender’s burned down? …although I was livin’ down the street from Pennywise circa ’91. …and Senor Frog’s closed, what… ’94? When did they close Toe’s Tavern? There was that big British Invasion Riot in ’04 down in OC! Isn’t Zeke still out there on the road somewhere?

    Anyway, I don’t think you can compare the attitudes of people involved circa X in ’79, ’80, with what Uniform Choice was doing in ’85. Don’t try to compare Crass and Subhumans circa ’84 to The Blitz and The Business either. …and if the Toy Dolls or the Misfits have a political leaning, somebody’s gonna have to rub my face in it, ’cause I can’t see it anywhere.

    …by the way, all good libertarians should know the Subhumans circa ’84.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5PeJn7S2c0

    …drummer named “Trotsky”, security by skinheads–kinda typical. There were always multiple currents.

    There was a time when the worst thing you could call somebody, well maybe other than “poser”, was a “long hair” or a “hippie”. I think all the bands and all the fans had one thing in common–they were all anti-authoritarian in their own way and they were all about what I’m calling authenticity.

    …but I think a lot of the perception of left leaning was simply due to the anti-authoritarianism. …and being anti-authoritarian does not a lefty make.

  49. i seem to remember a piece gg allin wrote for the weekly standard in the late eighties which also made the point that punk is conservative

    Oh, yeah. Wasn’t that “Liberals Can Eat My Fuc.”?

  50. “the punks allowed for a sober reassessment of all that ’60s crap. And the result was a restoration of America’s faith in itself”

    What sort of entrails was he poking around in when he came up with that?

    And speaking of whiny hippy crap, who can forget that “Stand down, Margaret” song by the English Beat?

  51. dpottsy,

    I see lefties making references to practices in the past that they consider better than those of today – neighborhood design, for example, but I never see them point to they fact that those things are traditional as a reason to consider them superior. Compare this to the reasons righties give for “protecting marriage.” To me, traditionalism conveys the implication, rather central to rightist thought, that tradition is a reliable indicator of wisdom.

    I mean, we can find goths and metalheads who are fond of pointy metal bits on their clothing and who harken back to some mythological medieval period, but no one would call them traditionalists.

  52. Joe,

    You make a good point, but I’m still inclined to disagree. I guess I’ve had one too many discussions with Luddite lefties who point back to some idyllic past (especially when it comes to globalization, the environment, or native cultures) to believe that tradition isn’t to them the same “reliable indicator” it is to the Right.

  53. All those 70s folks songs weren’t protesting the Reagan presidency? OMFG!

  54. I still think the Sex Pistols are one of the most overrated bands in the history of rock. They were the antithesis of the Clash, who had the courage to explore rockabilly, ska and dub among other styles.

    Well, Rotten didn’t refrain from exploring other sorts of music once he was free of Malcolm McLaren. I find the Clash a hell of a lot more enjoyable than PiL, but PiL was certainly willing to explore new styles.

    As for the politics of punk: I remember The Weekly Standard running a piece in the ’90s that tried to argue that punk was conservative. It did this by quoting nothing but Modern Lovers songs.

    While politicized punks ranged from socialists to white nationalists, the general tenor of the movement was anarchistic. That meant tweaking whoever was in power, which might mean a Labour government and might mean Thatcher. The Ramones endorsed Reagan in 1980, and then they recorded “Bonzo Goes to Bittberg” half a decade later. The only real difference was that Reagan was in office the second time around. Even someone like Jello Biafra, who’s basically a liberal Democrat at heart, felt compelled to give his band a name guaranteed to give ordinary left-libs conniption fits. He did it because he lived in San Francisco, and you shock whichever bourgeoisie God gives you.

  55. joe, I’m giving Bono the benefit of the doubt by saying he’s had a net impact of zero on Africa. In all probability, he’s making things worse.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article783901.ece

  56. Note to de stijl: Back then, Greg wasn’t (as) fat.

  57. Prog fan Rotten was a big supporter of genius lighthouse keeper Peter Hammill. Credit where it’s due.

  58. it is funny watching dudes on here try to talk about punk though

    Yeah, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry- particularly at the Anglo-centrism in discussing an American music genre.
    The famous “Anarchy Tour” in the UK featuring The Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Damned as opening act for headliners the Heartbreakers featuring Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan ex New York Dolls.

    btw pretty sure the only ramone that was conservative was johnny

    From their lyrics it is safe to say DeeDee was no liberal.

  59. Punk clearly embodies left progressivism.
    No finer, more poignant feminist anthem was ever composed than the Dead Boys “I Need Lunch”.

  60. “Saw Bad Religion on Monday night…

    talk about a kick ass punk band.”

    I was listening to them on the way in–another great candidate on the short list for Hit & Run theme songs, I thought:

    “I show pity on the human race,
    On the ignorant plenty who devote their lives
    To an icon that they’ve never known.
    I show pity on eons past,
    When early man started the first civilization
    And human aggression was born.
    I show pity on the future to come,
    When the government system will be omnipotent
    And we’ll be worse off… than we are now!
    Pity, pity, on the billions of ignorant people.
    Pity, pity, on the masses of aggression.
    Pity, pity, on the future centuries to come.”

    It’s kinda dark though, and this is a positive energy kinda place, so I’d still vote for “Suspect Device”.

  61. I think Jesse Walker pretty much hit the nail in the head as far as punk politics are concerned.

    Anyway, we must be careful when it comes to evaluating Johnny Rotten/Lydon’s rants. As any fan should know (of which I am one), most of what Johnny says is always part-myth/part-fact (and also many parts obnoxious). We need more than a grain of salt when confronting Sir Rotten.

  62. I think Greg did a great piece here. And yes I do watch Red Eye when I can. I find it entertaining. That’s what it is. I know, it’s Fuax News ooooh, so sorry.

    Anyway,I love Johnny. Saw the 96 reunion tour at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. And saw P.I.L at the original Hammerjacks in Baltimore.

    And secondly Glenn Danzig, is a kind of a conservative/libertarian kind of guy. From what I have read. Oh, and going to see him at Rams Head Live on the 23rd. Mooooother.

  63. Oh, at the Hammerjacks show, I seem to remember John Lydon (as he was called back then) pulling a tampon out of his ass that night. What an interesting evening. Almost as interesting as seeing the Electric Hellfire Club live.

  64. Andronoid, I’m pretty sure Danzig, a satanist I believe, doesn’t believe in Satan. But, like Marilyn Manson, he probably is Republican. Actually, its difficult for me to understand how any satanist, er Satanist, could be anything but Libertarian.

    Hail.

  65. As usual, Gutfeld takes a complex topic (the interaction of politics and music) and shows he can only comprehend sponge-level simplicity (punk = conservative). What a moron.

  66. Jesse – I wouldn’t call Biafra a liberal Democrat – I think he’s further into the Chomskyian left. Nevertheless, your point about pissing off whoever’s in power remains valid. After all, California ?ber Alles was an anti-Jerry Brown song, and Holiday in Cambodia ridiculed limousine liberals before they were called that.

    True that libertarians would hate most of his politics, but “Police Truck” is a notable exception (and great song). I think about it almost every time I read a Balko thread.

    Ken – what about “the Voice of God is Government”

  67. To him, Mandela is only equaled in idiocy by Bono, who Rotten believes has done nothing to help the poor in Africa — those starving millions he keeps soliciting money for…

    I’m with him…and add the Dali Goddam Lama to that shitlist: surely Chris Hitchens and I can’t be the only folk revolted by that disgusting little suckup festval at the White House earlier today…

  68. No political ideology can claim punk rock (except maybe anarchy as Jesse says upthread). There have been a ton of ultra lefty and a ton of ultra righty, and even more apolitical punk rockers. Some bands, Murphy’s Law and the Ramones are both great examples, went back and forth across the spectrum. The secret of Punk seems to be that people should think for themselves and not fear being wrong on occasion.

    Anyway, if you need me I won’t be in the crowd. Away from the numbers, that’s where I’ll be.

  69. Jesse – I wouldn’t call Biafra a liberal Democrat – I think he’s further into the Chomskyian left.

    I think he likes to think of himself as a Chomskyan anarchist. In practice, though, he sounds more and more each year like a direct-mail solicitation from People for the American Way.

    True that libertarians would hate most of his politics, but “Police Truck” is a notable exception (and great song). I think about it almost every time I read a Balko thread.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely a fan of the Dead Kennedys. I like almost everything on Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables and Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death.

  70. Jesse,

    I have to ask:
    What don’t you like on Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables? It strikes me as an across the board classic. Even the filler is classic.
    “Forward to Death,” “Funland at the Beach,” and “Ill in the Head” are probably the weakest tracks, and they’re still miles ahead of most rock by one metric or the other.

  71. The Sex Pistols’, and much of punk’s, anti-authority disposition makes for an affinity with the libertarian right.

  72. Here’s the interview that propelled the Pistols into infamy. That’s Siouxsie Sioux of the Banshees that Bill Grundy is trying to come on with.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTM3CdzB4Vs&mode=related&search=

  73. de stilj,

    Thanks for the SPIN hint!

  74. The Pistols sing about confronting the Commies!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_YX7hsaJz0

  75. Here’s my fave from Siouxsie and the Banshees- “Hong Kong Garden”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF0OjrFIVWY&mode=related&search=

  76. hignumber: Y’know, I can’t think of anything offhand that I dislike on Fresh Fruit. The
    “almost” was there for Convenience.

  77. High#: awesome “Away from the Numbers” ref. 🙂

    Jesse – awesome, as usual!

    thanks Rick for the postings!

  78. From their lyrics it is safe to say DeeDee was no liberal.

    Dee Dee wrote a (largely fictitious, I hope) published diary of a late-career European tour, in which he goes around physically assaulting snotty anti-American Europeans.

  79. The Sex Pistols can fuck off. Johnny Rotten exists only as a legacy to the failure of “counterculture” movements to challenge the status quo effectively.

    “Yes, that’s right, punk is dead,
    It was just another cheap product for the consumer’s head.
    Bubble-gum rock on plastic transistors,
    Schoolboy sedition backed by bigtime promoters.
    CBS promote the Clash,
    but it ain’t for revolution, it’s just for cash.
    Punk became a fashion just like hippie used to be,
    and it ain’t got a thing to do with you or me.

    “Punk narcissism was a social napalm,
    Steve Jones started doing real harm,
    Preaching revolution, anarchy and change,
    as he sucked from the system that had given him his name.”

    Crass, “Punk is Dead,” 1978

  80. Regis Carnifex:

    Johnny Rotten exists only as a legacy to the failure of “counterculture” movements to challenge the status quo effectively.

    Punk gave us music and an ambiance with which to question authority. A valuable and lasting contribution indeed!

    Crass (observed by Regis Carnifex):

    and it ain’t got a thing to do with you or me.

    That’s ridiculously presumptive.

  81. That’s ridiculously presumptive.

    Oh, come on, don’t you realize that part of being anti-establishment is knowing what’s good and what’s not for everybody around you?
    (/sarcasm)

    Actually, I agree with you in part, even though I’m not that into punk rock these days (the good old folks of Crass not withstanding). Punk rock does provide the “music and ambiance” to question authority, but my problem is that, like “hippie,” punk culture/fashion tends to question authority in ways that are ultimately nonthreatening. Not that all or most punks are anarchists, but shouldn’t it be axiomatic for anarchists that authority doesn’t need questioning so much as smashing?

    I guess I’m just a little uneasy about the drop-out, insular nature that I see as characterizing the punk scene. (Again, not that I’ve been part of the “scene” for a while.) And I admit, my advising Johnny Rotten to fuck off may be a bit too harsh. He and his ilk just strike me as the Bono’s of punkland.

  82. Regis Carnifex,

    Yeah, the only punk that I’m into is old school-Pistols, Ramones, Clash, (but not the Clash’s lefty politics, of course) And newer old school style punk bands like my friend’s, and H&Rs own, fyodor. (They are here in Denver and they are so stellar!)

    http://www.littlefyodor.com/

    The Emmas-also from Denver- very good, but actually they changed their name:

    http://www.myspace.com/theemmas

    The Switchblade Kittens do a nice old school punk style tune:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xFWAUH0lsY

    I admit that part of the inspiration that I get from punk to question authority is in my own mind. But that’s ok…

  83. Regis, methinks you expect a little too much out of “punk”. Punk rockers are just a bunch of musicians (to use the term loosely!) and their fans, for Chrissake! If punk was “meant” to teach us anything, it was to think — and ACT — on your own!! So don’t expect “punk” to do anything for you!! If anyone really thought that playing punk rock or going to punk shows was going to change the world by itself, well, heh, I won’t even bother to complete that thought. But maybe, just maybe, punk’s given someone somewhere some inspiration to think — and maybe act? — less in lockstep with the mainstream mode of thinking? If so, well, that’s something, and it is what it is, but of course it ain’t no more, and what else would you expect. So judge it (in this context) on its ability to do that, and that only. (Of course independent thinkers might take their inspiration from just about anywhere…)

    Oh, and thanks Rick! Though I’ve been doing this so long I don’t know if I could claim to be very “new”…..

  84. Johnny Ramone was a conservative, Joey Ramone was a lefty, Dee Dee was an apolitical druggie. Attributing a single political slant to “the Ramones” doesn’t work.

  85. The bitter, delicious taste of heroin in the back of my throat.

    Yeah, I think I can see his problem there.

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