vonChristian Ihle 04.05.2009

Monarchie & Alltag

Neue Bands und wichtige Filme: „As long as the music’s loud enough, we won’t hear the world falling apart“.

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Solche Lehrer hätte man sich an der Schule gewünscht!

Der New Yorker Folksänger Jeffrey Lewis erzählt in einem achteinhalbminütigem Song von Geburt, Weg und Entwicklung des US Punk Rock und „the punkiest songs yet to exist. Lo-fi noisy shit about poetry, sex and drugs“:


Und hier aus dem Jeffrey Lewis Messageboard der Versuch einer Transkription der Lewis’schen Unterrichtsstunde – es lohnt sich, die genannten Künstler zu suchen und sich in ihre Alben einzuhören. Neben den bekannten Bands ist insbesondere David Peel zu erwähnen, dessen von Jeffrey hier gespielte Songs tatsächlich unverzichtbar sind:

The History of Punk on the Lower East Side
OK. This is August 26th 2004. We’re gonna try and go through this in one live take.
The Complete History of the Development of Punk on New York’s Lower East Side from 1950 to 1975.

We start with Harry Smith in 1950, a beatnik weirdo living in New York City
His huge collections were insane, of Easter eggs and paper airplanes
And rare records, he had around a million and sixty
to change America through music was his hope
and to make some money because he was broke
he compiled a triple decker collection of songs from his records
released as the Smithsonian anthology of American folk.

„On Monday morning just about 9 o ‚clock
the great ship Titanic began to reel and rock
husbands and wives, little children lost their lives
wasn’t it sad, wasn’t it sad, when that great ship went down?“

Smiths plan began to work as foretold.
This weird music began to take hold
that sparked an interest in these forms of life underground from the norm
and soon millions of folk records were being sold.
By the early sixties, Dylan, Baez, Phil Ochs
were doing intellectualized copies of the old folks
Then one strange folk band downtown called The Holy Modal Rounders
Began to make it more anarchistic, with weird voices and drug jokes.

„Mom’s out there switchin in the kitchen
and Dad’s in the living room, fussin‘ and a-bitchin‘
I’m out here, kickin‘ the gong for euphoria
Euphoria – when your mind starts reelin‘ and a-walkin‘
Inside voices start squealin and a-squawkin‘
Floatin around on a belladonna cloud.
singin‘ euphoria“

In ’64 that was, then in ’65, Lou Reed and John Cale in a Ludlow Street dive
Had a similar musical spin, also on acoustic guitar and violin
With even more New York street drug jive

„Hey white boy, what ya doing uptown
Hey white boy, you chasin‘ our women around?
‚Pa-pa-pardon me sir, nothing could be further from my mind
Im just waiting for a dear dear friend of mine
Im waiting for the man'“

In ’65 the Rounders met other beatnik intellectuals thugs on East 10th Street
who call themselves The Fugs
In April, they were recorded by Harry Smith doing the punkiest songs yet to exist
Lo-fi noisy shit about poetry, sex and drugs

„I don’t have a bad time, I don’t need to cum
For I have become an amphetamine bum
If you don’t like sleeping, and don’t want to screw
Then you should take lots of amphetamine too“

Smith recorded two live Fug sessions
including Tuli Kupferberg’s amazing nihilist song ‚Nothing‘

„Monday nothing, Tuesday nothing
Wednesday and Thursday nothing
Friday for a change a little more nothing
Saturday once more nothing
Fucking nothing, sucking nothing
Flesh and sex, nothing
Church and Times Square, a whole lot of nothing
Nothing, nothing, nothing“

The Fugs were real poets with real topics to speak out
and through the underground scene this crude music could leak out
Beginning the punk idea that anyone could do it
without need much musical ability to it
and this new crude music was labeled Freak Out
In ’66 The Fugs signed to New York label ESP
The same label put out a band called The Godz, with a ‚Z‘
The Godz accomplished the feat of making even The Fugs music sound sweet
With the least musical folk-rock racket in history
mrrrrr—ow meow
Far from the West Coast hippy scene, New York underground music was far from mainstream
It was intellectual but noisy and hectic, and then The Velvet Underground went electric
and made folk-punk even more beautiful and more extreme

„Im waiting for the man, twenty-six dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington 125, feel sick and dirty more dead than alive
Im waiting for the man“

Nothing could stem New York’s strange folk-punk tide
In ’68 came David Peel and the Lower East Side
He recorded an album on the streets, screaming and sloppy
Danny Fields signed him to Electra
sold almost a million copies
With songs like „I like marijuana“
and „Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker“ inside

„Mother, where is my father?
Where is my brother?
They’re at war, theyre at war.
You made them join the dirty U.S. Army
You told them all a filthy white lie
You gave them all the bullshit and baloney
And now my brother and my father are gonna have to die“

Strangest of all on East 10th Street in ’68
where the duo Silver Apples, who managed to create
two futuristic albums of noise, rhythm and poetry
creative to the point of underground obscurity
it doesn’t sound like punk or anything else but it sounds great

„Isolation Isolation (?)
Electronic evocation
The sounds of reality
Spinning magnetic fluctuation
Wave on wave configuration
that dance between the balls of sound
And find my world to saw“ (?)

The Stooges were a Freak Out band
in Detroit and folks ignored them
until Danny Fields brought them to New York
and had John Cale from the Velvets record them
Almost acid rock was turning into progressive
The Stooges, instead, pushed the raw and aggressive
And Iggy Pop sang about degradation and boredom

„Well 1969 okay, all across the USA
Another year for me and you
Another year with nothing to do
another year for me and you
Another year with nothing to do“

In 1970, David Peel’s second album came
with some amazing songs and some a little lame
In most pre-punk historys, Peel gets forgot
coz he was a hippy singing songs about pot
but his second album was the first album
with the real sound that electric punk rock became

„We are from the Lower East Side
We dont give a damn if we live or die
We are from the Lower East Side
We dont give a damn if we live or die“

And even though it was seven years before
it was something the Clash would do
Peel mixed punk with reggae
and the amazing song „I Want To Kill You“

„We call the people of the future generation
You call the people in a world of aggregation
You call the people in a life of demonstration
We gotta change the world before annihilation
Gonna get a rifle and I’m gonna get a gun
I am out to kill you and I’ll have a little fun
I am out to murder you, I’m going to attack
I’m going kill you
Your the monkey on my back
I wanna kill you
Kill, Kill, Kill
I wanna kill you
Kill, Kill, Kill“

In ’71, Lester Banks first writes the word ‚punk‘
to describe ’60s enthusiastic teenage rock junk
’72, Lenny Kaye puts out the ’60s Garage comp. ‚Nuggets‘
and coins the phrase ‚punk-rock‘ in the liner notes of it
Though punk-rock would soon come to mean something different
from what Lester and Lenny thunk
(They meant raw 60s punk songs)

„I feel depressed, I feel so bad
Coz your the best girl that I’ve ever had
I can’t get your love, I can’t get affection
O little girl, psychotic reaction“

Lenny Kaye was also a guitarist who began playing music
with an East Side poet named Patti Smith who would use it
to mix wild poetry with simple rock stuff
like The Fugs in a way, but less rough
A postmodern way to take high art and low art and fuse it

„Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine
Gloria, Gloria“

’72, ’73 was when the New York Dolls start
mixing trash and drag fashion
with a pure rock and roll heart
That David Johansen and Johnny Thunders sound
mixed old-style simple rock
with the new New York underground
And sorta defined the moment when
stupid on purpose became the new smart

„You’re a prima ballerina on a springtime afternoon
Change on into a wolfman howlin at the moon
All about that Personality Crisis you got it while it was hot
But now frustration and heartache is what you got „

The Lower East Side began punk fashion as well
with ripped clothes and spiked hair
worn by a poet named Richard Hell
Hell was in Television, The Neon Boys
The Heartbreakers, The Voidiods

And he wrote the song that gave the new
’70s punk generation it’s first anthem yell

„I was screamin get me out of here before I was
even born, it’s such a gamble when you get a face
It’s fascinating to observe what the mirror does
but when I die it’s for the wall that I set a place

I belong to the blank generation but
I can take it or leave it each time
I belong to the _______ generation but
I can take it or leave it each time“

’74, CBGB’s starts having punk shows
With Television, Patti Smith and The Ramones
’75, punk fanzine begins and the whole thing moves over to England
England steals all the credit
That’s how it goes
The End“


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