PUNK MAGAZINE #21 (not a fanzine anymore either!)
Some bloggers might wanna "run out and immediately buy the latest issue of UGLY THINGS" only to damn the entire proceedings with faint praise (and with praise from the likes of a total dweeboid like Dave "Don't you dare think I'm that guy who ran Dog Meat records!" Lang who needs criticism?), but it seems that as of late I've been taking my time latching onto a flesh and pulp copy of the latest issue of that esteemed publication for which I used to write before being shown the carpet by one Mr. Michael Stax. (And so what...I mean, it's his fishwrap!) It's not that I hate that once-fanzine 'r anything like that...in fact I gotta say that I LOVE the mag even with all of those "detailed" rock "histories" that Mr. Lang and his spiritual butt brother Jay "Do I look all-encompassing enough to you???" Hinman seem to despise, but reading any issue of UGLY THINGS with all of its detail and devotion to exact minutae regarding rock & roll groups of fifties, sixties and seventies vintages kinda makes me squirm especially when looking at some of my own crudzine endeavors which I may love just like a mother loves her child no matter how deformed in the womb it may be, but that don't mean a thing to the rocker out there wanting to read more about his fave rave act and wants it in a full-color cover t' boot! So alas, I'll have to wait until I get my composure together enough to send a few bux to Stax (y'see, I used to be on the mailing list and get FREE issues being such an important fanzine editurd and all, but since my crudzoid has more or less been zonked straight into Quinlanland I explicitly told Stax to take my name off his freebie list because it ain't like he's gonna be receiving anything in exchange for his rags until at least 2019), but until then at least I have the latest issue of PUNK to rah rah about, and boy is this just what the cat's pajamas dragged in especially when it comes to REVIVING PAST INDISCRETIONS FOR A TIRESOME PSEUDO-BOHO PRESENT!!!!!
This latest (#21) is no slouch either when it comes to sating three-decade-old throb cravings with (get this!) a tribute to the recently fallen club of New York City fame known as CBGB. You may have heard about this place somewhere before, and no, it didn't actually "fall" just like fellow En Why See hangout the Mercer Arts Center literally did (which you can read all about on page eleven), but from what I've been told it was a really swinging place which had this strange policy (along with friendly rival Max's Kansas City) of booking only original music bands, or at least acts that had a majority of original music in their repertoire! Not exactly the smartest thing for a mid-seventies rock dive to do if they wanted to carve a little success and monetary reward, but with CB's it worked and what's more but the place thrived as a money-making endeavor more/less at least until last year when the Blue Meanies finally had their way and shut that Bowery dive down for good!
'n it's a pretty retro issue as well, not only in subject matter (after all, PUNK, in order to survive, HAS to cater to the seventies p-rock mindset or else flop the way various eighties/nineties weak imitations did) but in style and grace! If anything, this 'un comes off more like an old issue of ROCK SCENE not only with all the photos of everyone from Iggy and Dickie Hell to the Dead Boys chumming it up together for either Bob Gruen or Leee Black Childers but with the layout and smart choice of interview subject matter. Sesu Coleman from the wonderful Magic Tramps gets to tell us their story since the Tramps were technically the first act to play CBGB (back when it opened as Hilly's on the Bowery) and yeah, it's yet another one of those self-plug type chit-chats but don't go sayin' that BLACK TO COMM didn't have its fair share of exactly those! If it's interesting and informative I gotta say all the better, and so what if the thing ends up as a big plug for whatever bands' website or new Cee-Dee release because THESE GUYS NEED IT!, and they sure need it a lot more'n the usual piddly-poo little boy thinking he's making a big statement out there!!!!! Richard Lloyd gets to talk about how he helped in the development of the new NYC scene as part of Television, while Jayne County even gets to put in her two centavos which is strange not only because back in the day the likes of PUNK editor John Holmstrom was firmly planted in the pro-Dics portion of the great Manitoba/County kerfuffle but sheesh, County got to blab enough in the previous issue awlready which I duly noted in my own review less'n three months back! And yeah, the eighties to present stuff is here and is interesting enough (I esp. liked the piece on the Tompkins Square Riots which kinda surprises me because that certainly was cheap VILLAGE VOICE radical fodder that I'm sure sold papers amongst the radically inclined in villages and bathhouses nation-wide), but I'll read about the Bad Brains and Cro-Mags even though I don't have as much as a bright-spot in my heart o' hearts for 'em as I do for the more seventies variety o' things (though I still will give the Brains their much-needed dues despite some of the more asinine comments that came outta their rastafazoolian mouths back in the day).
But it's all a real gas and yeah, it brings back memories...of combing through magazine racks and buying records on whims and perusing the (really!) VILLAGE VOICE music section and club listings before that all because a gross embarrassment because frankly, that's about as far as me and a few thou other away-from-it-all people stuck in Podunk got to experience the thang. But even that far from the source it sure seemed like something more attuned to MY sorta sense of Growing Up Amerigan and I gotta thank not only PUNK and Holmstrom for bringing it all back but the Magic Tramps, Heartbreakers, Richard Lloyd, Suicide, Helen Wheels, Lenny Kaye and the rest for going out at DOING IT so's bored anal retentive people like myself'd have something more to look forward to as far as experiencing rock as that International Youth Language it was s'posed to be. And with a dime maybe I can get a cup of coffee, but back in the day it sure seemed a lot!
***Jah-La-I SWIRL CD (Ni Music)
Here's a '99 release I snatched up because its harpist, Mia Theodoratus, was part of the ultra-boss Hanuman Ensemble that rocked the CBGB Lounge and 313 Gallery during their avant garde jazz nights bringing the sometime staid sites to a height of atonal frenzy rarely seen amidst homegrown folkies and quiet alternative bands. And, as you probably would have guessed by now, Theodoratus had also been in a variety of aggregates prior to her joining the Hanumans including this duo she had with tabla player Nick Smith. I had some doubts about picking up this Cee-Dee since the duo were joined by bassist Tony Maimone (top-of-heap icon during the late-seventies Pere Ubu days, but didn't he sorta get lost amidst the alternative flotsam of the eighties on down?) and a Carol Lipnik (who was in the band Byzantine along with Maimone when this CD was rec'd...know nada about that group but frankly, what would you expect from a group with a moniker like that?) and maybe some of those fears were founded at times (like when I first put the thing on and imagined myself in an arts and crafts shop w/o the scented candles), but have no fear because even given the harp-as-lead-instrument nature of this disc Jah-La do create some massive shards of atonal blare that might not be total eruption but can be engaging enough. Not exactly one I'd recommend to all you hard rock maniacs out there, but it does have its sorta experimental chahm that makes I SWIRL a marginal keeper.