Sunday, February 26, 2006

Two Punk Proclamations

I watched, finally, End of The Century: The Story of the Ramones the other night, and have since then been collecting punk classics for my road trip. Punk classics. There's sooo something wrong with that title. Oh, but try this one, from ITunes: 'Roots Punk'. How's that?

I met Dee Dee Ramone when I was 14. It was at a record store called 'Peaches', a wooden-crate and disco themed place left over from the seventies. The Ramones were there for a record signing. I remember being astounded by Joey's physique and totally crushed out on Dee Dee, who was in his closer cropped eighties punk revival 'do. The current album was 'Subterranean Jungle', a return-to-raw album with one of my favorite later songs: 'Psychotherapy'.

Anyhoo, the movie reminded me of the fascinating transition from glam rock to punk that happened during the dismal early '70's in New York, and how so many people think of the Sex Pistols as the undisputed sires of punk. Weeeeel, they ain't. They share the title with America's bands across the pond: The Stooges, Ramones, Television.

American punk rock makes me feel a little....patriotic. Is that kinda weird?

An interesting irony: There's the scene in the movie where they're accepting---gracefully---their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Johnny Ramone startles the crowd with "God Bless President Bush, and God Bless America." And I'm thinking, wow, that's as punk as it gets: Fuck You, I'm a conservative. The whole Conservative Punk movement still astounds me (how do you say Fuck You to The Man if your party's the one in power?) but Johnny was always a Republican, proudly declaring that he'd been "a Nixon man" and had never wavered. He sticks to his core beliefs despite the expectations or assumptions surrounding the whole punk thing. That, my friend, is punk, too, whether you (or I, for that matter) like it or not.

Yes, I just defended a conservative. And I'll do it again, if I ever see one worth defending.

The Sex Pistols have announced their own statement to being inducted to the R&R HOF: Fuck You, period. Above is a handwritten note declaring their intent to skip the proceedings, because it's a bunch of rich recording industry gladhanders paying rediculous amounts of money for tickets. I especially like the 'urine in wine' line. Not sure exactly what that means, but you get the idea. This, too, is a classic Fuck You punk move, just like Johnny's, but more predictable. Naturally, one of the rich recording industry members just looooved it:

Susan Evans, executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said of the band's announcement, "They're being the outrageous punksters that they are, and that's rock 'n' roll."

It makes me sad that the legacy of American punk rock is getting forgotten, except that everyone's gotta have a Ramones tee shirt to go with their expensive jeans. Punk was always more than power chords, and more than "fuck the government". It was a way for kids to express all the fury and anger and disgust that goes with learning how the world works. This is a primary function of rock and roll.


Blogger Mascorrolandia said...

A-bloody-men! Ya gotta love the beauty of the Ramones' first live date in London, too - July 4th, 1976. God bless America, goddamn it!!!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Mascorrolandia said...

And wait, it gets even better: the surviving Pistols have now inked a deal with Harvey Bloody Nichols, purveyors of the posh and favorite shopping spot for Eddie and Patsy on Ab Fab!,,175-2069265,00.html

Trivia time: Lydon's wife Nora is Ari Up's mother. Bless.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Jared said...

I do believe I saw a Sex Pistols t-shirt for sale in K-Mart. I shit you not.

2:23 PM  

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