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    Lovely interview:

    The world is less day-glo than before
    Thanks for the link. I'm normally not especially moved when musicians or other celebrities die—I have no personal or direct relationship to them—but her passing has made me rather glum. I still rank that Spex album as the best of that early wave of English punk. Such a wonderful expression of what drew me to punk in the first place: energy, youth, fun, amateurish (in the best sense), engaging with popular culture (especially material/consumer culture) as both critique and language. Critical expression that could also be happy. They were as important as any other punk band for establishing a standard of what I expect from music or any other art.

    I bought her album yesterday and have played it a couple times. It doesn't pack the same punch as the Spex, but it does have the same spirit. A lovely swan song.
    I never met her or even saw her live but I don't mind admitting that I was absolutely gutted when I heard x
    Despite having been 'outed' as a Grumpy Git, I actually like X-Ray Spex a lot: GFA is one of my top twenty favourite albums. I was quite saddened to learn of Poly's leaving us.

    It's been an unfortunate few years for artists I like: Michael Karoli of Can, Captain Beefheart and - the one that genuinely choked me up - Alex Chilton. I saw Big Star several times and they were always fantastic, and Alex was (is) one of my favourite singers.
    Michael Karoli died 17th November 2001. And Alex Chilton 17th March 2010. And Don Van Vliet on 17th December 2010. None this year.
    Like I said, 'an unfortunate few years' ... which covers AC and CB ... and MK's still dead, isn't he?!? I didn't realise it was ten years ago though ... I have lost track of time completely ... but every time I play Can, I can't help but think I passed up on the one chance I could (and should) have seen him.

    Joey Ramone died ten years ago but that still saddens me ... and to think that, a couple of LPs aside, I didn't even get into the Ramones til after they'd died! Now I am a total Ramones afficianado and woe betide anyone who even thinks of slagging off their later albums ... !

    y wait for their later lp's - the first few were poor as well!
    garage band said:

    'y wait for their later lp's - the first few were poor as well!'

    Pre-2000 I would have agreed with you, as all I had was the wondrous It's Alive and the superb Bonzo single. And I had a few good memories of Rocket To Russia, too. But generally I found their studio LPs to be such a disappointment after my first exposure, which was It's Alive. But I took the plunge with the fancy reissues, and a whole new world opened up for me. At first I stuck with the first 3 or 4, but later investigated the other albums, and that was it: a veritable universe of wonderful, wonderful songs! Funny, sad, moving, stirring, angry: the whole gamut of human emotions runs through the songs of the Ramones, and I wonder just how many people realise that. If only I'd discovered them before they died!
    if only i HADN'T discovered 'em AT ALL!!!

    sorry 2 b so negative & yes i know they shook up the NY underground scene (over 2 u, Freakbag), but even back in the day, i found their minimism, repetitiveness & the 'ontwothreefours', really quite tedious!
    well when I first saw the Ramones I totally fucking blown away- they sounded incredible, really, like nothing i had heard before.
    I wouldn't quite say they shook up the NY scene even though a lot of people think cbgb's was the only game in town at that time--in the late 70's you could see lou reed or b springteen play 10 shows in a row at the Bottom Line club for example. not to mention bands like Television, Mink DeVille, Patti Smith etc. and Wire as well. But at that time EVERYONE who came to NY was an artist-musician-writer-actor-filmaker etc. so the Ramones were just one part of that creative mosaic.

    First album was brilliant but yeah a lot of Ramones stuff can be bit tedious. on the other hand they wrote some really great later songs like "bonzo goes to bitburg" and 'howlin at the moon". I'm still floored by their version of 'california sun' and love their take on the Chambers Brothers "time has come today".
    I should add that whilst i personally don't get the Ramones, i recognise their (& NYD's) 'importance' to American 'punk' and also the influence they had on UK 'punk'.

    Freakbag - what i've read about the NY 'alt'/underground music scene '70 - '80-ish, they always concentrate on Suicide, NYD's, Ramones, Television/Hell, Stilletoes/Blondie, W/Jayne County & others coming in from other states (Cramps, Devo, Talking Heads), as well as referring back to VU & Iggy & almost exclusively talk about CBGB's & Max's.

    Obviously, you were there (still are), so I would love to hear more of that scene. So...can you recommend a book that you feel tells the true scene - or would you like to write & expand upon your above post?

    Feel free to PM me & we could have a private chat or on email.
    I wasn't there so I can't vouch on its reliability, but I really enjoyed the Gary Valentine book. Don't be put off by its somewhat naff title (New York Rocker) if you haven't read this already.

    The Suicide book, No Compromise, is well worth a read, too. A fascinating insight into one of my all time fave acts.
    i'll try 'Rocker'. Got No Compromise!

    Dunno where you live Keith, but did you see Suicide last year with Iggy? i was rather disappointed, but then some1 said that Vega's over 70!?!?!?!??!
    I enjoyed them myself, but I accept that they split the audience.

    I must admit I found them more unfathomable than when I'd seen them 20 odd years ago which takes some doing!

    I reviewed it here if you fancy a quick read.
    GB-- a couple of books that document that scene were a recent(ish) books by Cheetah Chrome ( Dead Boys) and the drummer,
    Tommy ? Ramone. you get a good feel for the the people, bands, scene. maybe Paradoxia by Lydia Lunch. of the 3 Cheetah is by far the better writer.

    I haven't read it yet, but Just Kids by Patti Smith has gotten some great reviews. it's about her early life in NY with Robert Mapplethorpe, living in the Chelsea Hotel, starting a band etc.

    To give you a little bit of an overview NY in the 70's was the very essence of the term hardcore-- sky high crime and murder rates, the East Village was flooded with drugs- sold openly as the cops were all on the take, landlords couldn't pay their property taxes so they burned down their buildings to collect the insurance money. That's when the squatters, junkies and "punks" moved in. so you can see how the word *punk* was affixed to the type of music/ scene that was happening at that time-- punk in american lexicon meaning a no good lowlife degenerate dirtbag!

    other clubs at that time were Hurrah's, Irving Plaza (still here), Bottom Line, Diplomat Hotel ( saw G o F there), and the Mudd Club.

    Basquiat ( by Julian Schabel) is a good film chronicling the rise and fall of the graffiti artist of the same name. great soundtrack from bands of that era.

    Did you mention last year you're writing a book yourself?
    Cheers FB - i'll check 'em out. Isn't 'punk' also American prison slang for an inmates 'bitch'?

    Did i mention that? Yeah i did have a grand idea of writing a book/essay about UK 'youth cults'. I done some research, wrote 20-odd pages of a draught, but then all kindsa sh!t happened at home & with family & it got shelved. Who knows, i may dust it down sometime!
    oh yeah how could I forget: Please Kill Me By Legs McNeil---Have you read that?

    Dee Dee was the drummer, not Tommy. Book is called Lobotomy.
    Yeah, i've read 'Kill Me' & thought it was crap - hence me asking for recommendation.
    'Dee Dee was the drummer, not Tommy'

    Eh? We are talking about the Ramones, right? (unless I have misread something and you're talking about another band.)

    Dee Dee was the Ramones' bassist and was later replaced by CJ. Tommy was the drummer for the first three albums, then he left, to be replaced by Marky, who was fired and replaced with Richie, who left and then they played two shows with Clem Burke aka Elvis Ramone, then Marky was back til the end.

    The only constants were Joey and Johnny, who hated each other's guts (because Johnny stole Joey's girlfriend: what a nice chap).

    Sorry if I'm stating the obvious to those who know these things ...

    Clinton Heylin's From The Velvets To The Voidoids is an okay primer on these things, but whatever you do, avoid Heylin's 'Babylon's Burning' like the plague, it's packed with errors, pathetic attempts to be cool and funny, and is written in the style of 'The Sun' - 'when The Damned played the Roxy it was damn packed', 'when the Clash went through the jail guitar doors', etc ... loads of naff references to song titles in the text ... just terrible. He also slags off Crass for being fascists ... I'm no Crass fan but I thought they were anything but fascists (correct me if I'm wrong). On top of that, he likes the Gang Of 4 ...