Thursday, June 13, 2013

From the Vaults: July 2006: Punk

Punk to me will always be the Lucky Cue, 1965. Of Main Street Racine. That pin ball and pool parlor palace of our homed factory town. Black leather jackets, Beatle boots, attitude of indifference .. a version of the Road to Perdition .. if I don’t like you I will beat you up ... CYO dance, or no CYO dance ... that’s punk to me. Once I sent Jim a link to a Journal Times Remembrance page on old Main St... Kresge’s, soda fountains and such ... he returned a weird reminisce of drug dealers and fist fights. That’s punk! That is revolutionary memory. Still for me “Es la Cue!”

Maybe I am a bit more in favor of Garage music, than Punk music. Truth to be told. Dont hate me. Would not be too weird, because Dave and Carol and Bill and Bobs Henken and LaFrance and I invented Garage together. From first principles, in 1967. With Garage magazine. That was about “chamber thoughts” “because of darkness and you have to someplace and silent and Poe.” Garage and punk now dance the tango.

Guess we are all of good will, and it is okay to digress, but I must say I think the numbers on Punkitos Favoritos lean toward the dark hurting mean in punk. Kill your parents, and while you are at it, leave me alone. There’s a thin line between dissonance and discord. Maybe its dissonance that is rubbing me wrongfully. Attitude and distance are sure a part of the thing called punk – Jim, we used to have this discussion over Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane as the foci -- but I’d forward an alternative slate of punksters for my ideal punky party.

Recall The Cue: You walk in there and the juke box is playing. Two long rows of greenfelt tables, pinball machines up front, more tables and a mezzanine level in the back. And the juke box is playing 96 Tears, Sometimes Good Guys Dont Wear White, You Gonna Miss Me, and Pushing Too Hard, by Question Mark and the Mysterians, the Standells, the 13th Floor Elevators, and the Seeds, respectively. You eye the tables and the crowd. [Truth to tell you could very well hear I’m Your Puppet, Tell it Like it Is or Walk Like a Man [not the Four Season thing], just as well as the afforested punky epics.] Vacuums abhor. Clearly the Seeds’ Pushing Too Hard and The Leaves’ Hey Joe have a punkishness to them, but are harbingers not of punk as much as the San Francisco sound. Were the Yardbirds on the Lucky Cue juke box? – Where is that Time Machine when you need it? Things go in different directions, but for moments they adhere.

I think Satisfaction was a gigantic song in this regard and set the tone for this punk era to come. That buzzy fender came up through Link Wray, one of Muddy Waters guitar players, maybe Duane Eddy too. But the singer had the chant: Micky Jagger there talked to my teenage angst .. yours too … god I was so psyched to see him sing that song on TV, and ran out and tried to buy the same type of slacks her wore ... and I think this is what these other punk bands have been after later. Damn the fact that finally they are not singing to teenagers. But rather the Valhalla strain in the misfit.

[When I saw the Stones at the carcass scented International Amphitheatre for an unheard of $30, they were actually kind of small, at least from where I was sitting. This was inflection point for me, though it was years later when it hit home. I digress beyond acceptable digression.]

The sound of punk was guitars, but organs were still in competition, and the sound was variations on blues.. definitely bluse for white kids – morphed into other resonances- ones that saw a James Dean movie and then had a point of reference to the world. [Did you know that, when Iggy first left Detroit, he played drums for Johnny young?] Look at the record covers! Four or five guys set on being unglad. What a job! In music terms, certainly an abstraction of Chuck Berry and Leadbelly is going on. Finally so abstract that the roots are cut. Ever toward abstraction greater. Iggy outlines this strange abstraction in a hilarious interview once on Boston TV ("I condensed the whole history of Western Classical Music [and Strum and Drum and Drang and Stroid] into three chords anyone could play."). The Kinks have spoken to this: They’re pivotal punk presages were failed Broonzy rips. [They also tore up their speakers in Link Wray manner.

Songs on my fist punky podcast would include:

Rumble – by Link Wray
The Train kept a Rollin – by Johnny Burnette[?]
Little Girl – by Syndicate of Sound
You Really Got Me – by the Kinks
Anything – by Eddie Cochran
Louie, Louie – by Lance Davenport and the Voyagers
Wild Thing – by the Troggs
Surfer Bird – The Trashmen
Gloria – by the Shadows of Knight
I’m a Man – by the Yardbirds
Dirty Water – by the Standelles
Cant Explain – by the Who
Satisfaction – by the Ruttle Stones
I Heard Her Call My Name – by the Velvet Underground
96 Tears – by Question Mark and the Mysterians
No Fun – by the Stooges
I’m 18 – Alice Cooper

If you think back to the general time…none of this mattered much. The music enumerated above transmogrified into heavy metal. But Cream magazine talked up the Detroit sound [Would it be unfair to say that Leonard Bangs invented punk?], which sounded a lot like punk, and we were hot on it. Milwaukee could only have been degrees different than Detroit. And we went to New York. And saw the Dolls – much different than they ever appeared on record. I guess the Dolls are classified as glam. We saw Suicide, who was into the audience confrontation thing that made punk punk, and Dave, who was punk before and after there was punk, didnt demur from screaming straight back madly in Suicide’s face when confronted. I arrgh, therefore I am. So we were there, although Punk happened after Dave and I left New York [hightailing it].

For Mog users, there is a playlist that roughly accompanies the above screed.

Read the whole gorilla. 


Anonymous said...

An absolutely fascinating rumination on so many things---musical, our shared history (the jukebox at the Lucky Cue), NY, Boston, garage bands....on and on...great reading. I couldn't remember half of this without your help. Like you Jack, I too like melody. Even soft acoustic stuff. 50s jazz, singing. I can't make great melody myself but i appreciate it. I still will play Raw Power, liked Patti Smith's last one (much melody on that one). I'll listen to modern stuff if my music director puts it in front of me--Arcade Fire, Iron and WIne, etc. All fine. I still like some modern Leonard Cohen. Country, ALt Country, Doug Sahm..mix tape sensibility. Not very coherent at this moment but very much appreciated all the ramblings and thought you put into this, certainly opened my ears and hearth to many kinds of music and I owe you an eternal debt...same with Jim H. Love to all, Jeff D.

In spite of some technical difficulties, I enjoyed this Jack. I like what you were talking about. And it is a very astute observation: The Lucky Cue was punk for us! -writes Paul D.


Cecelia E. Vaughan said...

West coast so different with California country rock e.g. tha Byrds...Stone Poneys
Dylan movin everything along...
~Itikafi 2013

Cecelia E. Vaughan said...

cool music.

~Itikafi 2013

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