The Sex Pistols On TV

sex-pistolsThe TV Interviews (Un)cencored screams the cover and yet the one we all want to see is conspicuous in its absence – or at least in full!  There’s snippets of it here and there, hell it even plays in the background at one point during one of the reunion press conferences but the (in)famous Bill Grundy interview is noticeable in its absence.

Still with over two hours of talking heads, flashbacks, young punks, old punks, Mark P (sniffin’ glue zine) grumpy young and old Johnny, Malcolm in all his sartorial eloquence, a splash of Sid, Vivienne Westwood and more, I’m sure you’ll survive.

Considering that the ‘Pistols burnt out pretty damn quick and only ever had one actual album you are probably wondering how Director Mark Sloper ever found over two hours worth of interviews.  Well, it’s simple really.  This documentary starts in 1976 but continues right through to 2007 with the aforementioned Vivienne and Malcolm thrown in, a little sid and nancy drama, some PIL snippets and Johnny mouthing off in 2002 and 2007.  There’s also a great little retrospective from 1996 about the band’s influential gigs at the Lesser Trade Hall in 1976 and the people that were in the audience including Peter Hook, Howard Devoto, Buzzcocks illuminati and more.

For an old fart like me it was interesting to see the transformation from the cheeky young Johnny Rotten to the bitter, cash hungry old Johnny Lydon.  Sure he still had plenty to say and some of it was right on the money BUT…guitar hero???? Give me a fucking break!  By the end of this he just comes across as a bad tempered old git, the sort that sits at the pub and says, “Back in my day…”  Oh wait, that’s me.  I guess old punks don’t die, they just go to the pub and become their dads.

Sloper has done a great job collecting this material, keeping it reasonably relevant and showing us the band in all their glory.  The early footage particularly is a great slice of history, giving a taste of the background and events that helped forge that initial surge of music and fashion.  More of that and less of the grumpy old fart would have been great but I guess back then there was only so many people who wanted to even admit that punk rock existed, let alone was going to change the scene.

Throw it on and reminisce about your youth then go down the pub and say something about the kids of today… I know I did.

Just one extra: Sid Vicious Documentary Preview

The Sex Pistols on TV is available on R1 DVD from MVD Visual.

Muscle Shoals

Muscle-Shoals

According to the native Yuchi people, the Tennessee river (or in their language The Singing River) is home to the Singing Woman, whose songs contain the wisdom to answer all of life’s questions. Sitting alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals seems to have absorbed that spirit as a disproportionately vast number of seminal recordings have taken place in this tiny town. Artists as diverse and varied as the Rolling Stones, Steve Winwood, Aretha Franklin, and Jimmy Cliff have come, and all recorded career-defining hits.

Continue reading

Punk and Disorderly

PunkandORDER DVD

Formed officially in 2002, the annual Punk & Disorderly festival in Germany has become one of the biggest events on the international stage for punk bands. Primarily made up of German and older UK acts, the fest has gone from strength to strength as the years have gone on. This two-disc DVD documents the 2005 and 2006 editions of the festival, covering both the main and second stages of each year.

The main impression that is immediately drawn from Punk & Disorderly is the remarkable variation that is displayed amongst the bands. This includes variation in sound (ranging from shredding hardcore to ska), band personnel (from ageing overweight men to young women and a variety of races and languages) and instrumentation, where the usual guitar bass ‘n’ drums can be augmented with anything from a tin whistle to a washboard.

Continue reading

Road Rant – A Week on the Road With Lydia Lunch

Lydia

Despite having seen Big Sexy Noise perform in 2011, I’ll admit that I am not the hugest Lydia Lunch fan and that my knowledge of most of her musical output is limited. I can’t even remember when exactly I first heard her spoken word but I do remember that she pulled absolutely no punches. There’s a rant she does where Kurt Cobain and the fact that Nirvana weren’t the oppressed speaking to the oppressed but middle class males addressing to a mostly middle class male audience. I don’t remember exactly what she said however the shock value was striking and highly likely filled with obscenities.

Road Rant follows Lydia Lunch in France for a week as she promotes her book Paradoxia: A Predator’s Diary and plays a number of shows accompanied by horn player Terry Edwards and keyboard player, Joe Budenholzer. Lunch is clearly the least musically talented of the bunch but still clearly the main focus as the combination of words and performance is her strength.

The on-stage performances are intertwined with crude (in both senses of the word) animation by Merrill Aldighieri, a radio station interview and conversations with Lunch whilst travelling. During the radio interview is Lunch is asked her opinion of the success of Courtney Love and Babes in Toyland and admits she has respect for the latter but thinks that the former’s success is largely due to her dead husband’s talent.

It’s clear that Lydia is most at home on stage although she often comes across as disappointed when there is little reaction to her provocations but it’s hardly surprising given that many present don’t even speak the same language. Lydia mostly speaks abrasively about sex and empowering femininity over the brass and keyboard tinkerings although there are a few times where it could almost be considered singing.

The performances are often both confrontational and compelling but it’s hard to shake that feeling that they’d be more so in an environment where English is the native language of both the audience and the speaker…

The extras include Headless Angel, which is Lydia reading a poem in a cemetery. The trailer for the 1988 film The Gun is Loaded and a bonus interview with Lydia Lunch and Joe Budenholzer. Terry Edwards is in the van but is usually reading or just smiling. I would have liked to have heard more from the two token males and their takes of events but unfortunately we don’t even get to hear Terry Edwards speak But, let’s face it, the main reason people will watch this is due to the Lydia Lunch factor which this DVD delivers in spades.

Road Rant – A Week on the Road With Lydia Lunch is available on DVD from MVD Visual.

Punk in Africa

Punk-in-AfricaTry naming a single punk band from Africa. Stumped? If you are then it makes the existence of this film all the more necessary.

Tracing the lineage of Southern African punk from the 1970s to the present, Punk in Africa helps to show viewers the ignored, but no less crucial global scenes which the punk rock explosion spawned. Already a cultural movement which openly flaunted its political subversion, punk in Africa picked up an even greater sense of urgency, taking place in the dark days of the Apartheid regime. While their American and British counterparts had to deal with bad press and hostile glares in public at most, the African punks had the very real threat of being silenced by their political opponents, or even more frightening, being ‘removed’ altogether. They ran high risks and put everything on the line in order to play their music and voice exactly what they thought about the state of things. This documentary stands testament to their struggle.

Continue reading

Devo – The Complete Truth About De-Evolution

DevoORDER DVD

Devo arguably are one of the most revered and influential bands of the new wave era. The band were also one of the early pioneers of the music video. Devo took a different and more artistic approach to making music videos. Their videos weren’t simply lip synced faux live shows that played it safe like the majority of artists during this time. Devo’s videos pushed boundaries artistically and lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh himself stated that their videos “weren’t just commercial advertisements to get on MTV”. The band were visual artists before they became musicians so it’s no wonder their style of their videos (and live shows) was quirky and off the wall with a strong anti corporate sentiment. I doubt there’s many music fan’s out there who haven’t seen their MTV staple Whip It video. Devo really kicked off the movement for more artistically minded music videos and blazed the trail for other artists to follow. The airwaves certainly would be less interesting without them.

Continue reading

Population: 1

population1ORDER DVD

Former Russ Meyer protégé Rene Daalder (Massacre at Central High) directs this off the wall punked out musical starring Tomata Du Plenty former front-man of The Screamers. Population: 1 is about a lone survivor of a nuclear holocaust (played by Du Plenty) retelling American history from a bomb shelter.

Continue reading

Autoluminescent

AutoluminescentI’ve always found it a bit frustrating just how little attention a lot of pioneering musicians get from the music press. Every year the major music magazines and documentary channels wheel out stuff concerning the usual suspects like Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Doors and Nirvana while other equally important bands and artists’ stories are lost in the annals of history. For me it’s always refreshing when something like Autoluminescent comes along and sheds some light on a often overlooked artist like Roland S Howard.

Continue reading

Iggy Pop – Lust for Life

Lust-for-life A true rock n’ roll legend in every sense of the world Iggy Pop is one of the most charismatic performers every to set foot on the stage. The Godfather of Punk’s musical career has spanned over 30 years and has seen him experience many highs and lows none of which have deterred his determination to lay down some solid tunes that have been highly influential.

Continue reading