Category Archives: punk rock

RIP Lou Reed

Lost Hits of the New Wave #28

“Wot” by Captain Sensible

Honestly I had never really thought of this one as lost, but as more of a classic, but it’s been pointed out to me recently by someone who really knows his music – this was something new to him. New, but properly loved, as it should be.

“Wot” is one of my favorites of the new wave era, and could be listened to on a loop for maybe hours, grooving every moment. I love it. And the fact he namedrops and disses Adam Ant in the song just makes all that much cooler.

Captain Sensible goes way back in the punk and new wave movements. He founded The Damned, was in the supergroup Dead Men Walking, and was the first of many to record “Jet Boy, Jet Girl,” which I am sure we’ll cover here at some point. Last I heard, the Captain had formed his own anarchist political party over in the UK. Still punking after all these years.

Lost Hits of the New Wave #25

“True Love, Pt. #2” by X

Man oh man, the sound and visuals are scratchy, but I still love it. I can remember a time way waaay back in early 1984 when I would wear out this track on More Fun in the Big World. I came to X quite late, and probably to many purists, this album, produced by Doors organist Ray Manzarek, represented the band selling out – but I loved it hard.

I don’t know what it was about “True Love, Pt. #2,” whether it was the driving groove, the medley vibe it had featuring “Black Betty” and “Freddie’s Dead,” or that it simply included the first song I ever learned to sing myself – “Skip to My Lou” – I thought it was da bomb.

X formed in Los Angeles (also the name of their perhaps greatest album) in 1977 as one of America’s first punk rock bands. The charismatic line-up was composed of co-vocalists Exene Cervenka and John X. Doe, smiling guitarist Billy Zoom, and drummer DJ Bonebrake. From the 1980s through the 2000s they have released over a dozen albums (about half live and greatest hits, but hey they rule live), and today they still tour.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lost Hits of the New Wave #21

“Blue Highway” by Billy Idol

This was never a single by Billy Idol, and yet it did receive its share of airplay and clubplay. From the album Rebel Yell, it is surprisingly almost a tone clone of the title track. Perhaps it was for folks who had grown tired of hearing the real “Rebel Yell” over and over and over again… and yet still wanted more of the same…

Malcolm McLaren RIP

Music legend Malcolm McLaren passed away this morning in New York after a long battle with cancer. He was 64.

Before becoming the infamous manager of the iconic punk rock band the Sex Pistols, McLaren was in fashion and ran many alternative clothing shops in London, although he eventually would have his own clothing lines. He brought the Sex Pistols to the attention of the world and helped begin a new phase in music, even though later he was accused of mismanaging their money.

McLaren had a brief solo musical career of his own in the early 1980s introducing sampling to the industry with “Buffalo Gals” and the album “Duck Rock.” He also later attempted an electronic version of the opera “Madame Butterfly.” He remains a jack of all trades, as throughout his life he also created advertisements for British Airways, managed the New York Dolls and produced the film Fast Food Nation among many other projects. We’ve once again lost one of the good ones.

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Alex Chilton 1950-2010

Influential rock musician Alex Chilton died earlier today in New Orleans.

Chilton as a teenager was the lead singer of the pop group the Box Tops and later with alternative underground giant Big Star. The bands and performers who would rule the 1980s and 90s would name Big Star as a major influence. The Replacements memorialized Alex Chilton in their song named after him.

Chilton was scheduled to perform with Big Star this weekend at South by Southwest in Austin TX. The man will be missed.

Photo by Philippe Brizard.

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Lux Interior Dead at 62

The lead singer of the Cramps, Lux Interior, passed away yesterday from a pre-existing heart condition. He was a better Iggy Pop than Iggy himself. We’ve lost one of the great ones, and he’ll be missed.

Tom Snyder 1936-2007

Tom Snyder passed away last night from complications of leukemia. Here’s what Steve Gorman for Reuters had to say:

“LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Veteran talk show host Tom Snyder, whose idiosyncratic interviewing style bemused and annoyed late-night TV viewers, has died after a long battle with leukemia, associates said on Monday. He was 71.

The former host of NBC’s “Tomorrow” show and CBS’ “The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder” died on Sunday evening at his home in San Francisco, said his longtime agent and lawyer Ed Hookstratten.

“Tom was a true broadcaster, a rare thing,” said Peter Lassally, executive producer of Snyder’s CBS show, in a statement released by the network. “When he was on the air, he made the camera disappear. It was just you and him, in a room together, having a talk.”

Snyder gained national fame for hosting “Tomorrow” in NBC’s post-“Tonight Show” slot from 1973 to 1982, with some of his more memorable guests including former Beatle John Lennon, Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols and convicted killer Charles Manson.

But a quirky on-air presence — including frequent digressions about his personal life and the habit of laughing gustily at his own jokes shared with an unseen crew — made him as much the center of attention as his interview subjects.

Seated cigarette in hand on a simple, darkened set adorned with just two chairs, Snyder’s catch phrase for the show was: “Fire up a colortini, sit back, relax and watch the pictures, now, as they fly through the air.”

Alternately pompous and self-deprecating, his style transfixed some viewers, irritated others and was famously captured by comedian Dan Aykroyd’s impersonation of Snyder on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

According to the Web site, Snyder has conceded that one of the most embarrassing moments of his career came when he realized 10 minutes into an interview with rock singer Meat Loaf that he had been calling him “Meatball.”

At the height of his run, Snyder reportedly was considered a possible future anchor of the NBC Nightly News or a likely successor to Johnny Carson to host “The Tonight Show.” But a reformatting of “Tomorrow” in the early 1980s failed to catch on, and the program was canceled in 1982.

Snyder returned to late-night television in 1995 to host “The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder” on CBS, following David Letterman’s “Late Show” until 1999.

Snyder announced on his Web site about two years ago that he had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia but said his doctors had assured him that his condition was treatable and “nothing to worry about.” Snyder had quit smoking about five years previously.

Snyder was born in Milwaukee and began his broadcasting career as a local radio reporter before moving into television and anchoring local newscasts in Philadelphia.”

I remember Tom Snyder. Of course before I really knew who he was I met Dan Ackroyd’s impression of him on “Saturday Night Live.” But eventually I got to know him and his “Tomorrow Show” quite well. Just like staying up late to watch “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and reruns of “Dark Shadows” on the old and sadly missed channel 48, Tom’s “Tomorrow Show” on local NBC affiliate channel 3 also became habit.

And just like those early episodes of “SNL,” Tom introduced me to punk rock. I remember my first dose of the Sex Pistols, and fondly recall the many appearances of Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics. On the other end of the musical scale I also remember the night just-gone-solo Phil Collins discussed how he wanted to use his voice as a percussive instrument, then performed “In the Air Tonight.”

Whatever was on, whoever was on, even when it was just Tom talking intimately to just me, it was always interesting. As a child of the seventies who was mesmerized by the TV movie “Helter Skelter” I have vivid memories of Tom’s week with the real thing, Charles Manson. Talk about nightmares! Chilling stuff.

Wherever you are, Tom, I’m raising a glass to you, You’re missed.