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Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away

Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
July 31, 2006 02:24AM
I saw The Buzzcocks on Craig Ferguson's show. It seemed a little weird because the last time I noticed them they were young guys making kick ass music. It seemed weird because they look old. I'm dating myself, so I'm no kid either. I remember listening to A Different Kind of Tension when it was a new album in 1979, as well as the earlier stuff, even Spiral Scratch. I also remember a few UK singles released a little later, as well as Pete Shelley's early solo career. It just seems a shock to see The Buzzcocks now because they more or less packed it in and disappeared over two decades ago. What's next, a PiL reunion. It's not so far fetched when The Sex Pistols cashed in with a reunion tour a few years ago. Some of those bands were great in the 1970's and 80's. It seems weird to see some of them return, at this point in time, when they broke up early in their careers. Are they trying to create a punk version of dinosaur rock, like the Stones and Who, without really having long careers like those bands?
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
July 31, 2006 03:21AM
Buzzcocks got back together 13 years ago and have been giving great live shows ever since. They just took a hiatus in the eighties. Saw them several times throughout the 90s and a couple years ago - good shows.

Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
July 31, 2006 03:36AM
I know the feeling - going to see the Ramones doc "End of the Century" and thinking, what are all these old people in Ramones t-shirts doing here? where's the kids I used to see at Ramones concerts? Seeing Camper Van Beethoven, short-haired David Lowry with his reading glasses, and thinking, boy I don't remember them looking like this...

A PiL reunion? Well, Johnny & Keith Levene live here in LA but never play together. I had my fingers crossed when Jah Wobble came thru on tour, but nah.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 01, 2006 08:30AM
When The Buzzcocks played in Sydney in about 89/90, I got two phone calls minutes apart from one friend saying it was horrible and from other saying it was one of the best things they had ever seen.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 07, 2006 01:28PM
I see a lot of junior-high/high-school age kids in Ramones T-shirts. When I talk to those kids, most of them know the band's music, although not much of the band's history. What makes me scratch my head is that these kids often have the notion that the Ramones managed to sell albums in numbers akin to The Stones, Zeppelin or even The Beatles. In their heads, the Ramones are just as high in the pantheon as those bands, so it stands to reason that they moved units comparably.

As for the Buzzcocks, I've seen them three times since Shelley and Diggle got back together -- most recently a couple months ago. Great shows, all of them. The first one, I got to talk with Shelly and Diggle -- both very friendly and approachable, and very gracious.

Saw the Pistols on their '96 reunion tour. Hardly 1977 revisited, but a fun show nonetheless.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 07, 2006 02:01PM
If only The Ramones' history could have been as those kids think that it was back in the day. It shoulda been, but no, dinosaur rock and disco got the big sales when the Ramones were blazing away at the height of their creative powers. Does anybody like the later Ramones music? Did they jump the shark roughly with, or after, End of the Century, as a creative force?



Post Edited (02-03-07 15:19)
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 07, 2006 03:55PM
They may not have ever made an album as consistent as the first four, but I quite like Halfway to Sanity (Dee Dee's swan song) and Adios Amigos, as well as scattered tracks on the other records. I don't think they ever really embarassed themselves - they just set the bar really high in their first few years.

Good to know that the kids think of the Ramones as one of the biggies. Maybe they'll start to realize how lame Green Day is once they've gotten some Ramones under their belts.

Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 07, 2006 04:19PM
I've always thought that if It's Alive was released here with the proper promo push when it originally came out back in '79 instead of only in the U.K., it could have done well, a la Cheap Trick in Budokan or Peter Frampton Comes Alive & could have established the Ramones commercially.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 07, 2006 04:45PM
Not, like, Sopranos level of jumping the shark, just inconsisitent. Always a good coupla tracks per LP. Liked the covers LP, too.

Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 10, 2006 11:19AM
This morning, while on my way to the local Starbucks to get my pre-work wake-up drink, I heard "The KKK Took My Baby Away" blasting from a pick-up truck in the traffic. Usually, when you hear something from a car/truck, it's mostly either rap or metal. It was weird 'n wonderful to hear the Ramones instead blaring away in this Witch City summer morning.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 10, 2006 02:53PM
I just came back from making an office errand & I saw the pickup truck that was blaring "The KKK Took My Baby Away" this AM and it was still playing the song. Either 1. It must be the driver's favorite Ramones song or 2. Knowing the background of the song (written after Joey's girfriend dumped him in favor of Johnny), maybe the driver is having a serious heartpunch situation.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 10, 2006 04:24PM
"in reality it was more 70s singer-songwriter types than anyone else"

I'm sure that's the case, but as a wee lad who hadn't been exposed to much new music yet, SNL gave me (and, in many cases, America) a first exposure to the above listed acts, as well as instantly making me a fan of G. Numan, The Specials, and Kate Bush, who performed "Them Heavy People" and (I think) "Man With The Child In His Eyes." Eric Idle brought her over from England - her only American appearance?

Am I imagining things, or did Television perform on SNL as well? I know Sun Ra, and Neil Innes (performing Rutles tunes) did.

Post "classic" early-'80s SNL also had some memorable moments: Fear, the Jonathan Demme video for Suburban Lawns' "Gidget Goes To Hell."
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 10, 2006 04:31PM
Yes, Mr. Fab, Kate Bush's SNL appearance (which I do remember) was her only US appearance & she did do "Man With the Child In His Eyes". I also remember Sun Ra & the Specials, as well as Captain Beefheart, as among the musical guests & I was very happy to see the Kinks, but jeez, it would have been great to see the Ramones (as well as Television) do SNL
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 18, 2006 04:43PM
I think The Plasmatics were on SCTV's "Fishin' Musician" sketch - John Candy in a a beard, flannel shirt, fishing vest, ready to head out to the lake, and, oh look, it's Wendy O. Williams!
ira
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 08, 2006 12:20AM
hmmmm



Post Edited (08-07-06 21:21)
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 08, 2006 12:49AM
"What makes me scratch my head is that these kids often have the notion that the Ramones managed to sell albums in numbers akin to The Stones, Zeppelin or even The Beatles."

I've noticed the same thing with 80s music in general - there is a perception amongst the youngsters that the airwaves were ruled back then by bands who never came close to the Top 40. For example - people cannot believe that not only was "What I Like About You" by the Romantics not a #1 hit but that it never even cracked the playlists of the majority of radio stations.

Likewise, they seem to have a belief that the Smiths were actually a popular band in America in the 80s.

It also seems weird to me that almost all current movies set in high school use 80s music as the soundtrack - usually cover versions by current bands. It just seems weird to me - I guess the John Hughes movie formula is so ingrained in people's minds as THE version of high school life that even their soundtracks have become shorthand for the high school experience.
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Away
August 08, 2006 02:02AM
It's a good thing Breenie. It allows us to rewrite our own personal histories without a twinge of revisionism. And it's inherently a self-correctional dialectic, so, we all win. Hurrah for those in the 80s trenches.



Post Edited (08-08-06 22:28)
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Away
August 08, 2006 10:42PM
It's weird to still be around. I thought the world was gonna end in 1984. Damn you David Bowie!!!
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Away
August 10, 2006 12:25PM
I saw Patti Smith at Lollabaloney over the weekend (playin the kidz tent fer chrissakes). The place was swamped with teenies in "Radio Ethiopia" tee shirts and one said to me "Radio sux today, must have been nice to have heard this on your radio back in the day" like Patti was blarin out of the speakers back then.
She also paid her respects to Arthur Lee......................



Post Edited (08-10-06 09:28)
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Away
August 10, 2006 01:40PM
As I recall, the Patti Smith Group was the only NY "CBGB's" band that ever appeared on the original SNL. For all the talk of being "cutting edge" (which they sorta were when it came to comedy), as I recall, most of the musical guests were the tastful, Paul Simon, classic rock types (& boy did the Stones stink up the joint). It would have been great to have seen the Ramones, Television, et al appear on the show.
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Away
August 10, 2006 03:10PM
Blondie appeared circa EAT TO THE BEAT and Talking Heads were on around the time of MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD.

Depends on how you define the original SNL, I guess, but others I recall from SNL during it's first five years or so (until all the original cast had left):

Elvis Costello (very famously)
The Specials
The B-52s
Devo
David Bowie with Klaus Nomi
Gary Numan (doing "Praying to the Aliens" with subtitles)
Captain Beefheart
Marianne Faithfull

But for the most part you're right - people tend to get misty-eyed thinking about how cutting edge it was originally but in reality it was more 70s singer-songwriter types than anyone else.
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Away
August 10, 2006 04:39PM
no TV on TV,
but I remember:
Kid Creole and the Coconuts
Tom Waits
The Roches

later (early 80s)
Fear
Joe King Carrasco
Cheap trick
Go-Gos
Mink DeVille
Sparks
Joe jackson
Squeeze
Dexy's
etc.

remember the 'Mats appearance when they switched clothes for the closing?
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Live from NY
August 11, 2006 01:29AM
Devo were great. The Grateful Dead were still an underground phenom when they were on in '78. The Stones doing Shattered seemed almost punk (looking at it now, they were still young). They owned it. (This was all in the mid-freaking-70s when there wasn't a big rockist-indie scene and the heartland was still appalled by these bands).

B-52 s had a big effect on me and I became a Mink DeVille fan for a short while.
Blondie was great.
The Clash appearance was some kind of religion.
I immediately bought two Squeeze LPs.

Although the Kinks were on for the 84/85 season, the rest was kind of a washout. And who watched during the Piscopo years?

List of 'musical guests'.
It does look like they ignored punk but also disco.

What you hear at home is not what the audience hears and the band themselves can't control the mix sent to TV. That said, the performances came off well; especially for their era.



Post Edited (08-10-06 22:31)
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Live from NY
August 11, 2006 02:20AM
Interesting list of performers on SNL. What the heck did Toni Basil perform in 1976?

As of yet, no one has posted the Kate Bush SNL performance on youtube. Hope someone does soon - I've never seen it.

In addition to SNL, ABC had their pretty awful SNL knockoff FRIDAYS, mainly famous for giving the world Michael Richards and Larry David (and Melanie Chartoff). But it had some decent musical guests. The ones I remember seeing were:

The Clash were on it years before they were on SNL and actually performed two 2 song sets. Train In Vain, London Calling, Guns of Brixton and I think Clampdown? I don't remember for sure.

The Boomtown Rats did I Don't Like Mondays and Someone's Looking at You

The Jam - I seem to recall Eton Rifles, but could be wrong.

Devo - Pretty sure they did Girl U Want & Gates of Steel

The Plasmatics - have no idea what "songs" they performed, but I remember the exploding tv and Wendy O taking a buzzsaw to a guitar.

King Crimson - I know they did Elephant Talk, but dunno what else.

And I think maybe X? But I could be wrong - in St. Louis Fridays was on the same time as In Concert, Midnight Special and Don Kirschner, so there was much channel surfing between all of them. So I could be remembering seeing X for the first time late on a Friday night, but it may not have been on Fridays. But it seems like it was.



Post Edited (08-10-06 23:26)
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Live from NY
August 11, 2006 04:30PM
I recall seeing The Jam, doing "Private Hell" and "Start!" Perhaps that was the *Fridays* episode Reno mentioned. Or maybe it was Tom Snyder's show.

Also, *SCTV* had a few interesting musical guests. And the producers on that show made it even more interesting by not just letting those musicians perform (i.e., setting up on a stage and having the host say, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Schmucks!" or something), but integrating their performance into a sketch.

I remember a sketch that was a take-off on *To Sir With Love*. The Boomtown Rats were the musical guests, and also played students in the classroom. (Geldof even had a few lines -- don't recall if any of the other Rats did.) As part of the teacher's farewell party, they played "The Elephant's Graveyard."
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Live from NY
August 11, 2006 04:48PM
Does anyone remember if any bands besides the Waitresses and Devo appeared on SQUARE PEGS? I know those two did and John Densmore from the Doors (which is how they always introduced him) turned up as the drummer for Johnny Slash's band. But I can't remember if any other bands appeared on that show.
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Live from NY
August 11, 2006 07:00PM
They did the same thing to the Bonzos in "Do Not Adjust Your Set" (i.e. they were used in the background or even lead characters in some of the sketches)
Re: Old Punks Still Plugging Live from NY
August 11, 2006 11:26AM
The Kinks also appeared on SNL in 1977 and in 1981 (I remember watching the latter in a fellow student's dorm room at Emerson College; those were the days!)
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 18, 2006 06:29PM
you're correct about the Jam being on Fridays. So were the Clash

I think some of the 'old farts' still do a pretty good job... the Dicks come to mind immediately. I'm pretty excited to see the Avengers next month. But Radio Birdman had no business putting out a new album. Ugh...
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 22, 2006 05:49AM

> But Radio Birdman had no business
> putting out a new album. Ugh...


right up there with the mission of burma as my favorite record of the year! eh, but yeah, they're still not quite as great as younger's other band...
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 18, 2006 06:33PM
also, maybe it's on the Mike Douglas thread but they played "Ask The Angels" on his show ca. '77
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 18, 2006 07:03PM
> I think some of the 'old farts' still do a pretty good job...

Agreed! As I said above, the Buzzcocks haven't let me down yet. I'm already looking forward to the next time they come through.

I saw two legendary "old fart" groups last year: Mission of Burma and Gang of Four. Both spectacular shows. With a new MoB album out, hopefully they'll make it out here again soon.

I'm going to be in England next month, and curse it all, I'm missing Go4's London show by one day!
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 18, 2006 07:47PM
Gang of Four were great when I saw them last year too.

did anyone see the Germs tour? I have to admit I was curious but I had other plans that night... Red Sox and then I went to see the Dicks.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 19, 2006 02:26AM
Buzzcocks are playing here in Sydney with a couple of local bands that have recently re-formed to promote their respective anthologies, The Happy Hate Me Nots and The Thought Criminals, both very significant in seminal independent music here, rounded off by ex-pat Japanese punk blokes Mach Pelican. It's apparently to celebrate punk's 30th anniversary.
I really loved both those local bands so I think I'll have a look seeing as I keep missing gig due to shift work and kid wrangling.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 20, 2006 08:56PM
wow... Thought Criminals.. that's pretty awesome..Aitch wrote:

> Buzzcocks are playing here in Sydney with a couple of local
> bands that have recently re-formed to promote their respective
> anthologies, The Happy Hate Me Nots and The Thought Criminals,
> both very significant in seminal independent music here,
> rounded off by ex-pat Japanese punk blokes Mach Pelican. It's
> apparently to celebrate punk's 30th anniversary.
> I really loved both those local bands so I think I'll have a
> look seeing as I keep missing gig due to shift work and kid
> wrangling.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 21, 2006 04:17PM
I'm going to see X in a couple of weeks.
I saw the Buzzcocks several times and they were really good and Steve Diggle spent about 2 hours after each show talking to fans.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 21, 2006 04:49PM
X is such a standard and it's great that the cement is still there. After Exene's marriage to Viggo and Zoom's come-and-go interest in the band, it's amazing they've kept it going. Zoom has said he can take it or leave it but he obviously loves playing live. Add Bonebrake's immaculate and jaw-dropping drumming (check those double-stops kids!) and you've got one of the tightest bands of all time.

Most bands would put out some product to try and bring a new generation in to the shows. Should they?

Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 21, 2006 07:32PM
> Most bands would put out some product to try and
> bring a new generation in to the shows. Should they?

Sure, if they have the creative juice. And they'd better be confident that they do, because if they don't, the results probably will be glaring.

None of the Buzzcocks' post-'80s albums may ever be as revered as *Singles Going Steady*, but nearly all of them have delivered the goods. Same with Mission of Burma's post-'80s work.

Gang of Four may be giving some jaw-dropping performances these days, but the fact that the only CD they've released in conjunction with their recent tours is a re-recording of their old songs leads me to wonder if their creative well actually has run dry ... or, at least, if their songwriting synergy has disappeared.

X and Bauhaus have given some great shows at reunion tours, but haven't even made a pretense of coming out with any "new" CDs. 'Nuff said.

Actually, Paganizer, I'm kind of surprised at your question. I seem to recall that you're a Rolling Stones fan, right? Over the last 25 years, the Stones have rarely toured without a new album to "try and bring a new generation in to the shows." Few probably would argue that any of those albums really stand with the Stones' classics, but thanks to their ongoing studio efforts, IMO, the Stones cannot fairly be dismissed as a "nostalgia act."



Post Edited (08-21-06 16:37)
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 21, 2006 08:25PM
"Most bands would put out some product to try and bring a new generation in to the shows. Should they?"

I was actually just thinking about that myself and was thinking how there's kind of an unfair situation at work here - when a band that breaks up and then reforms years later, its post-reformation work is always viewed somewhat skeptically by its old fans, and when they tour their fans are generally impatient with the new material in concert and only want to hear the old stuff.

However, bands that stay together for decades tend to be able to feature their most current material on tour without arousing the same level of ire from their fans.

Thus, U2 or REM are able to tour without anyone seriously expecting them to do songs like "Out of Control" or "Radio Free Europe" anymore but instead it's perfectly cool with their audience for them to lean heavily on material from their most recent albums. But if the Buzzcocks or Gang of Four or Blondie did the same thing, they would likely have a crowd of disappointed fans to deal with. For some reason that sense of continuity of a band never breaking up buys them a little more freedom in their live performances and gives their newer albums a credibility that new albums by re-formed bands are seldom blessed with.

It's not particularly logical or the least bit fair, but for some reason that seems to be the case. Only Wire and Mission of Burma really seem to have been given the same respect in reformed form as they had originally. And Television got away with it in 92-93, also.

So yeah, old bands should put out new material if they still feel like they have something to say. They should just be prepared for the fact that if they ever broke up, for some reason their new work is probably going to be viewed as inferior to their pre-breakup work, no matter if that's actually true or not.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 22, 2006 07:25PM
Love X, still great live but Hey Zeus was a pile.

The new Knitters album was supposed to be good (I didn't hear it) so maybe there is hope.

Love the newish Pearl Jam Live At Easy Street ep. Trotting out John Doe for New World was genius.
Re: Old Punk Bands Still Plugging Away
August 22, 2006 10:35PM
speaking of old west coast punk bands putting out new albums, the Vancouver band the Subhumans just put out a new album on Alternative Tentacles and it's also very weak-sounding. Maybe two decent songs out of 12...
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