‘A NEW PARADIGM FOR FEMALES’: THE SLITS SMASHED EXPECTATIONS AND HAD FUN DOING IT.
Formed in 1976, the Slits were one of the earliest all-female punk bands—if not the first. The fantastic, feature-length documentary on the group, Here to Be Heard: The Story of the Slits, was recently released in theatres. It’s about to come out on DVD, and we’re happy to say we have our favorite segment from the doc to share with you.
ENTRÉES DE SECOURS’: EXPERIMENTAL 1982 SHORT FILM WITH DEVO, SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES, AND MORE.
Entrées de Secours (Google translation: “Emergency Inputs”) is the work of French filmmaker, Jérôme de Missolz. From the late ‘70s through the early ‘80s, he filmed a number of notable acts at Le Palace, a Paris theater and the epicenter of the city’s underground scene. Using a Super 8 camera—and without any sort of formal credentials—he shot the Clash, the Cramps, Public Image Ltd., Richard Hell, Iggy Pop, and many others.
“Once in a Lifetime” is not only one of best-known tracks ever released by Talking Heads, in some ways it represents the culmination of the entire Talking Heads project. It appeared on the band’s fourth album Remain in Light, which represents the approximate midpoint of their run.
DAVID BOWIE TALKS BURROUGHS, IGGY AND ZIGGY, 1982-83.
What we have for you here are two early ‘80s interviews with David Bowie for the New Zealand TV show, Radio with Pictures. Though the conversations occurred only twelve or so months apart, oh, what a difference a year makes.
The music program Radio with Pictures premiered in 1976 and was a Sunday night TV staple in New Zealand for over a decade. Bowie was interviewed for both segments by Brent Hansen, the producer/director of Radio with Pictures. Hansen was later hired by MTV and went on to be the president of the network’s European division.
PETER GABRIEL’S CURIOUS AND PROVOCATIVE ‘MAO’S LITTLE RED BOOK’ 1980 TOUR PROGRAM.
During Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour, Peter Gabriel told his bandmates that he’d be leaving the group at the conclusion of the tour. Two years later Gabriel began an adventurous and wildly successful solo career with the release of “Solsbury Hill.” Between 1977 and 1982, Gabriel released four probing, dark solo albums each bearing his own name and forcing fans to come up with nicknames for them, like “Scratch.” Robert Fripp played on the first three of these albums and actually produced the second one. 1980’s “Melt” is perhaps the best one of the four, featuring “Biko,” “Intruder” (which featured pioneering use of the gated drum effect), and “Games Without Frontiers.”
For the 1980 tour to support the third solo album, Gabriel decided to concoct a clever, subversive version of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, also known as “Mao’s Little Red Book,” which had done so much to solidify Mao’s grip on power in the People’s Republic of China in the 1960s.
MY THREE SONS: ‘GENERAL BOY’ TALKS ABOUT HIS SONS IN DEVO.
A recent DEVO fandom YouTube-rabbit-hole led me to a late 80s interview with Robert Mothersbaugh, Sr., father of DEVO members Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh. I found myself enamored with this interview which was not in-and-of-itself emotional in any way, but it inspired great emotion in me, as a viewer, watching this extremely straight-laced midwestern granddad describe his sons’ band and his pride in their accomplishments. For as subjectively weird of a band as DEVO were, Mr. Mothersbaugh’s almost-folksy, matter of fact descriptions of the band and their philosophy are extremely charming.
WHAT MARK E. SMITH LIKED: LOU REED, SEX PISTOLS, FRANK ZAPPA, PHILIP K. DICK & KURT VONNEGUT, A LIST.
When asked what he would do if he was ever elected Prime minister, Mark E. Smith replied:
“I’d halve the price of cigarettes, double the tax on health food, then I’d declare war on France.”
Daft questions got daft answers. Smart ones were few and far between. Most questions were recycled answers from previous interviews. No matter the question, Smith always stayed true to what he thought was right and what he believed in—he never softened his answer to suit more fashionably sensitive times. That’s what made his band the Fall so special—it led, it never followed, even if it was just Smith and “your granny on bongos.”
Among the more interesting questions came in 1981, when the NME asked Smith for a list of his favorite things. The list was for the paper’s column “Portrait of the Artist as a Consumer” which centered around the idea the way to the heart of artist was through the food their brains consumed. Or something like that… In his answers, Smith offered up an eclectic mix of genre and cult writers—including Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Norman Mailer and two novels by Colin Wilson; artists, in which he includes soccer player-cum-manager, Malcolm Allison; comedians where he gives a nod to “Ian Curtis derivatives,” Bernard Manning and drag artist/comedian/actor Alan (Alana) Pellay; and some of his favorite albums/cassettes. All of which ran as follows in the NME 15th August 1981:
THE RAMONES VS. THE SEX PISTOLS: ‘THESE GUYS RIPPED US OFF!’
On the very first day of recording sessions for their third album Rocket to Russia—August 21, 1977 to be exact—Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone showed up at the former Episcopalian Church that housed Media Sound Studios in Midtown Manhattan, bringing with him a copy of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” single. He was pissed off, complaining that his band had been “robbed” by the infamous British punk group’s ferocious buzzsaw sound. Johnny told Ed Stasium, their audio engineer, that the new Ramones album needed to have sharper production than the Sex Pistols.
“These guys ripped us off and I want to sound better than this,” he said.
The Women of Post-Punk and Goth.
March 8th is International Women’s Day, and we are celebrating by acknowledging our heroes in post-punk and goth who just so happen to be women.
Some may argue that the first post-punk single was Magazine’s Shot by Both Sides, which came out 40 years ago on January 20th. But many musical scholars insist that honor in fact goes to a woman.
Siouxsie and the Banshees debut single Hong Kong Garden was a game changer. Released on August 18th, 1978, the Steve Lillywhite produced song created a sound that everyone took inspiration from. This invariably caused lazy journalists would then begin the sexist epidemic of writing off most women daring to be as creative as Siouxsie as sounding exactly like her—which no one did!
KILLER EARLY FOOTAGE OF WENDY O. WILLIAMS AND THE PLASMATICS TEARING UP CBGB.
A recently uploaded video features some of the earliest footage of Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics, performing March 1st, 1979 at CBGB, doing their song “Tight Black Pants” from their first LP, New Hope For the Wretched.
The video below comes to us from Paul Tschinkel, who recorded it for his punk and new wave cable TV show, Inner-Tube, which ran for ten years on Manhattan Cable. We’ve written about Tschinkel and Inner-Tube here before.
This is priceless historical footage and after watching I find myself saying the same thing I say after viewing any of Paul Tschinkel’s amazing YouTube uploads: “please show us the rest!”