I was fucking around on the internet the other day when this flyer popped up, and I was like, “oh, hey, hello, I was at that show”. This was when WZ had freshly arrived from NYC. In my memory of the gig, I’m the only person there, although that can’t be exactly true. I do remember what was going on at that time, the musical climate, and there would have been very little interest in these groups. Nobody from my band went, nor did anyone I’d met yet in Los Angeles.
Hole was the early version, the noisy, screamy stuff (you know, this), which I liked okay on record. I wasn’t a fan of their later, commercial sound at all, and I’ve certainly never been a fan of CL’s (I’ve had conversations with her exactly twice, and both times there was a voice inside my head, repeating “she’s crazy, get away from her”), but, I have to say that they sounded so good, it was, I don’t know, transportive? She was a very good performer, yelling her guts out to that empty club.
Vitus (who I was actually there to see) were in their wilderness years (this). Their association with Black Flag and SST would have been useless at this point, and there sure as shit wasn’t any such thing as a metal-hipster in those days. (Ha ha, I just had a little reverie about good-looking, well-heeled kids with ivy league degrees and Pentagram back-patches, doing their stoned thing in Williamsburg, or, shit, in 2015 it’d be Nashville) They had that weird singer they had for, whatever, one album. He was Swedish, I think? They sounded good, but it doesn’t matter how much rock energy you dish out if there’s no crowd to cycle it back to you. I’m thinking hard about this, and I believe I was actually alone, in front of the stage, audience of one, watching them.
Spoon. This was not the popular group from Austin, and darned if I can remember (Jesus, should I say that in a Mr.Magoo voice?) who they were, although I feel like I saw them more than once. Probably some of that alternative, noisy stuff. Absolutely un-google-able. Oh well.
“Every century, our drinking pendulum – the radical change in our relationship to alcohol – swings. In the 1830s we were the drunkest country in the world. By 1930 we had outlawed drinking entirely, with disastrous results. The swings accelerated after prohibition – in the 1950s and 60s we were again awash in alcohol. Although in the twenty-first century there are more laws and stringent social controls on drinking than there ever have been in our history, we are drinking enough to make alcoholism a significant public health problem.” - Susan Cheever
* I don’t usually like linking to pieces like this because they’re so depressing, especially for people old enough to remember what it was like when music played a much larger role in culture than it does now, but this one is just so on the money : The Devaluation Of Music : It’s Worse Than You Think
* A lengthy, in-depth, honest interview : Robert Crumb Hates You
I’m flying through the new Patti Smith book, M Train. I devoured about half of it today while everybody else watched football. It’s not a rock n’ roll book, really – more, it’s about writing and getting coffee and weird things she does when she travels. Anyway, the photo. It feels like a different planet now, but I can remember when people in big cities lived like this.
* Cassette archaeology #1 : “I worked at Kmart between 1989 and 1999 and held onto [the tapes] with the hopes that they would be of use some day”
* Slade In Flame : watch the entire film here
* Cuba’s really terrible internet, explained
* The true story of THE PUNCH
* A functioning electric guitar made out of Lego
* “I let a few chords play before shutting it off and turning back on the radio. I’d gotten my fix, now ready to resume normal living. But it was nice to spend the last few hours living in the ’90s.” On nostalgia; what is it for?
* A punk band that actually scared people : the Dicks from Texas
* Cassette archaeology #2 : what I learned about Al Queda from analyzing the Bin Laden tapes