Saturday, April 9, 2011

Show #54 April 2, 2011

Doing it all for Diane this week!

- Material Issue International Pop Overthrow
When Lightning Starts- The Three O'Clock Sixteen Tambourines
Follow The Leader- Sloan The Double Cross
Electric Nights- Candy Whatever Happened To Fun
Strike Talks- The Donkeys Television Anarchy
Circuit Breaker- The Bees Mystery Date EP
February's Quiet- Big Star In Space
Blank Generation- Richard Hell And The Voidoids Blank Generation
^(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To- Weezer Raditude
I Can't Stand It- The Screaming Tribesmen High Time
The Promise- The Genuine Fakes The Striped Album
Hold My Life- The Replacements Tim
It Only Happened Twice- Steve Blimkie & The Reason Steve Blimkie & The Reason
Party Clothes- Subs Gimme Your Heart
*1963- Jonathan Richman Having A Party With
*1964- Critical Mass It's What's Inside That Counts
*1968- Hoodoo Gurus Purity Of Essence
*1969- The Stooges The Stooges
No More Heroes- Stranglers No More Heroes
Bluer Than Blue- Rubber City Rebels Rubber City Rebels
Thank You- Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias Heads Down, No Nonsense, Mindless Boogie
16 Down- The Flys See For Miles (1978-1980)
Look On Up At The Bottom- The Carrie Nations Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls
What's He Got- The Producers The Producers
>Time Won't Let Me- The Outsiders Nuggets Box Set
Sweet On -The Krinkles 3 The Mordorlorff Collection
C'mon Let's Go!- Paul Collins King Of Power Pop
Weekend- The Boys Boys Only
You're Telling Lies- Mandarines Trust You E.P.
Your Heart- Crackers Sir Crackers!
The Last Year- Stiv Bators Romantics And Friends-Midwest Pop Explosion
Model Worker- Magazine Urgh! A Music War
Fire Spirit- The Gun Club Fire Of Love
Where I Am- Code Blue Code Blue

^Power Pop Peak: #81 Billboard Hot 100 9/12/2009

*SacroSet: Songs About The 60's

>Power Pop Prototype: 1966

While the mid 70's saw the near simultaneous birth of Punk Rock in cities around the globe, many agree the lasting punk ethos and aesthetic can be traced to one man: Richard Hell. No doubt he had the musical bona fides, having been an original member of Television (the first punk band to play CBGB's), The Heartbreakers (with Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan of the New York Dolls) and his own band The Voidoids. Even so, from a broad cultural standpoint Richard Hell had much more of an impact in Punk "fashion," which sadly has always gotten more media attention than the music. His spiked hair and assortment of ripped, drawn-on and/or safety pinned shirts certainly had its followers in the US but started an all-out revolution in London after being appropriated by provocateur/haberdasher and future Sex Pistols Svengali Malcom McLaren who admits after a mid-70's stint in New York:

"I came back to England determined. I had these images I came back with, it was like Marco Polo or Walter Raleigh. I brought back the image of this distressed, strange thing called Richard Hell. And this phrase, 'the blank generation.' Richard Hell was a definite, 100 percent inspiration, and, in fact, I remember telling the Sex Pistols, ‘Write a song like 'Blank Generation,' but write your own bloody version,’ and their own version was 'Pretty Vacant.’"

The quote above is from a book by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain whose title is taken from Richard Hell's home made T-shirt adorned with the phrase "Please Kill Me." To me, this sentiment, rather than fashion, is Richard Hell's biggest contribution. Check out these lyrics to "Blank Generation," which I played on tonight's show:

I was sayin' let me out of here before I was even born
--it's such a gamble when you get a face
It's fascinatin' to observe what the mirror does
but when I dine it's for the wall that I set a place

I belong to the blank generation
and I can take it or leave it each time
I belong to the ______ generation
but I can take it or leave it each time

Triangles were fallin at the window as the doctor cursed
He was a cartoon long forsaken by the public eye
The nurse adjusted her garters as I breathed my first
The doctor grabbed my throat and yelled, "God's consolation prize!"

I belong to the blank generation
and I can take it or leave it each time
I belong to the ______ generation
but I can take it or leave it each time

To hold the t.v. to my lips, the air so packed with cash
then carry it up flights of stairs and drop it in the vacant lot
To lose my train of thought and fall into your arms' tracks
and watch beneath the eyelids every passing dot

I belong to the blank generation
and I can take it or leave it each time
I belong to the ______ generation
but I can take it or leave it each time

Richard Hell was first and foremost a poet in the spirit of the decadent movement like Rimbaud or Verlaine- they were mainly boozers, Hell was a heroin addict. He realized rock and roll had more currency so he put his poetic nihilism to music. Hell was so much smarter, cooler and better looking than just about everyone else in the downtown New York rock scene he was able to bend it to his will. The guy never enjoyed the success of many of his contemporaries but his influence is enormous and he is still alive, so he' s got that going for him. What teenage outcast can't identify with "The Blank Generation?" It both acknowledges that "life sucks" and offers the ultimate teenage response: "who cares?" To me this is Richard Hell's legacy- nihilism, angst and depression. Is it negative? You bet, yet there have been times in my life it has also been strangely empowering. For that I thank Richard Hell.

Here are the links to download this week's show (Right click and "Save Target As")

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