THIRTY YEARS AFTER
By: Gary Pig Gold
Hopefully, most readers will realize it's now been decades since those zany Sex Pistols first appeared on Banned Records lists the world over. Yet how many second-and-third-generation scalp-dyers out there realize what is today (sometimes most unconvincingly) called "punk" first reared its ugly head in the industrial Midwest circa 1966, courtesy of the Music Machine, Shadows of Knight, and others too pimply to recall? Believe it or not, there are even those amongst us who claim to trace alterna-rock's germination clear back to the pre-Elvisian era of Krupa and Capone! Yeah, but insofar as this pig is concerned, p-u-n-k isn't so much a marketing tool or line of designer teenwear as it as a wickedly delicious State of Mind, maaann. I refer all doubters of this to the pages of any Flipside magazine.
Nevertheless, I consider it my patriotic duty to provide the humble yet confused consumer out there - particularly those of you now shamelessly gobbling up Green Day CDs - with the definitive shopping guide to pre-Pistols punk, without whose contents no self-respecting music library can ever be considered complete. Hereto, I urge your ears onto
"JERRY LEE LEWIS LIVE AT THE STAR CLUB WITH THE NASHVILLE TEENS" (1964) Forget all the hype about James Brown's Live At The Apollo, Vol.I album and don't even mention the (w)hole "Unplugged" disgrace: THIS is the raunchiest live show ever captured on tape. Makes even the late grating Nirvana on a good night seem pretty darn vacant. And need I mention Jerry Lee was busily disposing of wives and girlfriends way back when Sid & Nancy were but gleams in their social workers' eyes? And, come to think of it, The Killer Still Is!
"GOT LIVE IF YOU WANT IT!" by THE ROLLING STONES (1966) In retrospect, by far the finest in-concert work ever released, officially or otherwise, by this most over-rated of British rhythm'n'booze bands. The "mix", if it can be called one, is so absurdly cock-eyed, yet beneath all the Sixties screaming (not to mention Mick's as-idiotic-as-ever caterwauling) lies some truly horrific musicianship (i.e.: the opening "chord" of "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby"), the likes of which have only been heard since on early Replacements recordings. I believe "seminal" is the word.
"GOLDEN FILTH" by THE FUGS (1970) Yet another live recording, this one by that crack comedy team of (Ed) Sanders and (Tuli) Kupferberg, whose NYC Fugs were playing Black Flag to Frank Zappa and his Mothers' Dead Kennedys all through those ring-a-ding Vietnam years. Take special note of how Ed can simultaneously spout streams of obscenities and William Blake poetry without ONCE degenerating into the kind East Throat pretentiousness that today fills countless Velveeta Underground retrospectives.
"HE HIT ME (IT FELT LIKE A KISS)" by THE CRYSTALS (1962) After all these years the jury's still out on whether Phil Spector was the greatest record producer ever to grace God's Green Earth or simply an emotionally-challenged manic-depressive out to make a quick million or three bucks. (Just listen to what he did to the Ramones' End Of The Century!) Still, there's no denying there'd certainly be no Joan Jett, Courtney Cobain or maybe even Bj?rk without records like this one. Plus this here Spectorsong was yanked from the international airwaves far before them Pistols made such drastic measures fashionable.
"ALL NIGHT LONG" by THE DAVE CLARK FIVE (1966) Because, or perhaps despite of the on-going Sixties infatuation, previously poo-pooh'd groups like the Monkees and DC5 are now finally being heralded as the visionary geniuses they were all along. Dave Clark and his quintet of squeaky-clean jock-rockers made their fair share of wimpy clunkers (then again, so have The Beatles and Hnsker Dn!), but "All Night Long" is as fierce a 3:11 slab of thrashing slash - or, if you prefer, slashing thrash - today as it was thirty years ago ...and its A-side, "Try Too Hard", is not to be sneezed at either.
"LOUIE GO HOME" by PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS (1964) (WARNING: the 45-rpm version, NOT the vastly inferior re-make off their Greatest Hits packages) The Raiders, despite being the closest America ever came to equaling the big audio dynamite of the above-mentioned DC5, were undisputed Kings of the super-cool Pacific Northwest scene from which burst such proto-punks as the Sonics, Wailers and Kingsmen. Every band worth its black turtlenecks and white Vox guitars in Oregon and Washington performed, recorded, and tried to claim ownership of that primeval anthem "Louie Louie," but only PR&TRs had the unmitigated audacity to milk the riff into this song-sequel which in turn was stolen by The Who and recorded as "Lubie Come Back Home"! Before becoming mere pawns in Dick Clark's filthy hands, the Raiders waxed dozens of tunes well worth searching-and-destroying for, but THIS one remains my fave. (Also highly recommended: Side One of their Here They Come! album, along with its recently-unearthed scata-sexual out-take "Crisco Party")
"SURFIN' AND A'SWINGIN'" by DICK DALE (1963) Today so widely revived as the long-of-hair (-and-tooth) sound behind the Pulp Friction franchise, this undisputed King of the Surf Guitar was causing meltdown upon meltdown within the Fender Amp Research and Development Department back when Quentin Tarantino was still rockin' out to "I Think I Love You". Unfortunately, this very rare 45 (from the score of that cinematic milestone "Beach Party") remains the lone example of Dick's in-concert wallop to be fully captured on disc, his recent college-friendly releases notwithstanding. And while you're at it, check out Mr.Dale's If-I-Cut-This-Record-Will-You-Promise-Not-To-Draft-Me opus, "The Enlistment Twist": a closet skeleton so damning that all involved continue to deny its very existence to this day.