Dugout Chatter

 Posted by
Jan 262021

I finally got around to watching the Go Go’s documentary on Showtime. I liked it a lot, even though I don’t think I gained many new insights. At one point, however, Jane Weidlin was talking about seeing the Sex Pistols at their lackluster final show in San Francisco and she said something like, “It was so disappointing because the British invented punk…” She was always in the final three for my pick for favorite Go Go, but this is a frigging dealbreaker! The last person who I heard make that absurd claim was an Irish guy and I shut that conversation down very quickly. As with Rock, the British might have excelled at Punk. They might have even done a better job of it than the American bands. But like Rock (and hip hop, jazz, blues, country, and almost any form of popular music aside from reggae), Punk is an American invention. End of story. In fact, you could make a case that the British did Punk a disservice by distilling it down to a uniform and a set of rules.

Without giving any consideration to how much you like the music:

  • What do you consider to be the first punk band?
  • What do you consider to be the first punk album?
  • Is it possible for Punk to exist today? Or is the nature of Punk such that it had a natural shelf life after which it just became a parody of itself? If the latter, what do you consider to be the last punk band?
  • Is Punk a style of music or an attitude?
  • What do you think separates Punk from New Wave?
  • I’m sure Seymour Stein can point with precision t o the first New Wave band but what do you consider to be the first New Wave song/band?
  • Who is your favorite Go Go?

By the way, Philly-based Townsmen, I noticed in the credits that a bunch of the live clips were recorded at Emerald City in Cherry Hill.


  63 Responses to “Dugout Chatter”

  1. It’s got to be The Ramones. They set the template; short and fast songs, rudimentary playing, anti-prog to the point of no solos, a dirty street look, and less than mainstream lyrics. I don’t buy The Stooges, or The Modern Lovers, or The Heartbreakers, or any of the other stretches people do to NOT name the Ramones.

    Yes, it can still exist today, but you do need the music and the attitude. I don’t consider it a parody when I hear a “new” punk band. If it’s good, I like it. Go ahead, kick me out, but there are a number of Green Day songs I just plain enjoy.

    New Wave is the smarter, more musically accomplished little brother of punk. They want to be as cool as the Punks, but aren’t willing to go all in, so they keep up their good grades while wearing only slightly off-center clothes.

    It somehow seems like 20 new wave bands all came into existence simultaneously. I really don’t know. I guess I’d pick Costello.

    I like the Go Go that did the most coke. Which one was that?

  2. I don’t know which one did the most coke but I thought that Belinda was in the top 5. The dark horse is Charlotte, who I always thought was the most “normal” but apparently was a heroin addict for a big chunk of their initial run. By the way, I really had to reevaluate my assessment of Belinda after seeing the documentary. Based on her solo career and the fact that she was the front person, I always assumed she was a bit of a diva, but she comes off as pretty well adjusted and self aware.

  3. Looks like me and the wife will be watching the Go Gos documentary tonight! From all accounts, I hear that it’s a winner.

    I will say this for them: They have “Our Lips Are Sealed”, which is a masterwork. Unbelievably great song with a tremendous bridge.

  4. garlic salt

    I’m gonna have to agree with chickenfrank here on the Ramones being the first punk rock band (emphasis on rock since Woody Guthrie was the first punk act). Punk can absolutely exist today, and I think that ties into the fact that there will always be an authority to oppose. Even though the old guard may have started to fade away, either by death or starting to praise authority rather than opposing it (looking at you Johnny Rotten), I would argue that the rise of platforms like bandcamp and soundcloud allow for a less hierarchical and more “punk” way of distributing music, similar to garage bands, self producing, and distributing CDs back in the day. I’m sure you can tell from the rest of my answer, but I think punk is an idea, not just a style of music or clothes, and an ever evolving idea at that.

  5. All that’s interesting and well said, but I disagree. The insufferable Legs McNeil and John Holstrom borrowed that term (it’s been around for a long time, like back to the beats long time) to name what was happening in and around the Bowery and that which was beginning to happen in the UK. And that’s it. From what I’ve read, they were surprisingly not interested in hardcore and never defined any of that as punk.

    Using bandcamp and soundcloud have absolutely nothing to do with punk. Many of the dads in my neighborhood are familiar with and use both. To suggest they are doing something “punk” is ludicrous.

    One more thing, a few months ago, I suggested that we add a Youtube archive of faves to the site. Here’s another one, very appropriate, for inclusion:


    CDM, thanks for bringing up that Go Go’s docuumentary. Really looking forward to it!

  6. garlic salt

    Just an elaboration on my soundcloud and bandcamp statement to make it more clear, I’m not saying that soundcloud and bandcamp make something objectively punk when it is put on there. What I am saying is that soundcloud and bandcamp are less hierarchical and allow for much more individual artist freedom, as well as being accessible to more people because of the low cost. I would argue that this method of distributing music is in line with “punk” as an idea.

  7. BigSteve

    I think Blondie may have been the first new wave band. Their first album came out in late 1976. The Ramones were the first punk band, and maybe the last as well, since they hung on till 1996.

    I always thought Kathy Valentine was the coolest Go-Go. I ought to read her memoir. I’ve heard good things about it. Jane was always my least favorite, because she never seemed to grasp that she wasn’t the star of the show.

  8. First of all, welcome aboard, garlic salt! It’s great to get some new blood in here.

    What do you consider to be the first punk band?
    Without getting into “proto-punk” discussions, I think The Ramones would get strong consideration, even though Richard Lloyd built the stage at CBGB’s so that Television could play their first show, blah blah blah. When people think Punk Rock, then and now, they see and hear The Ramones or something close to them.

    What do you consider to be the first punk album?
    I’m not good with dates. Perhaps the first of those NYC bands that released an album? Or do we start with a first punk single, like Television’s “Little Johnny Jewel” or Pere Ubu’s “Heart of Darkness,” both of which may have preceded any full-length albums?

    Is it possible for Punk to exist today? Or is the nature of Punk such that it had a natural shelf life after which it just became a parody of itself? If the latter, what do you consider to be the last punk band?
    It’s possible. Punk rock is part musical style, part attitude. I think it was that way at the start and can continue to be that way today. And to E Pluribus Gergely’s dismay, it doesn’t have to be made by slumming sexy, pimply sons and daughters of educated, upper-middle class families, although those qualities certainly do help!

    Is Punk a style of music or an attitude?
    Both. It could be argued that there are bands that play “punk” music that aren’t punk, because they lack the ‘tude. There are bands that play music that really isn’t thought of as “punk” that are punk because they have the attitude in spades.

    What do you think separates Punk from New Wave?
    We all know that, early on, New Wave was a more palatable marketing term. To pick up on something someone (chickenfrank?) said earlier, New Wave artists figured out a way to show up to their day job in a bookstore wearing the same clothes they could wear later that night, at their gig. Punks had to change out of their work clothes for their Tuesday night gigs. I think it’s the most enduring legacy of New Wave and one of the most genius fashion moves in history, up there with Michael Jordan and Michael Stipe shaving their heads and freeing balding guys from combovers and rugs. Hip-but-tidy retro-futuristic New Wave fashion sense opened opening the door for not only Casual Fridays but daily casual work wear and even presidents not having to wear ties. In 1978, who would have thought you could hold down a professional office job dressing like Fred Schneider of The B-52’s?

    I’m sure Seymour Stein can point with precision t o the first New Wave band but what do you consider to be the first New Wave song/band?
    I agree with chickenfrank, I believe it was, who said Elvis Costello & The Attractions were the first New Wave band. Whoever said Blondie is also correct, by date. I think Costello gets the edge, because he and his band showed they had the drive and threatening, adventurous side of punk rock, while also tapping into the softer, retro, goody hallmarks of New Wave. Talking Heads are right up there, too. Talk about a band that established the Casual Fridays Look!

    Who is your favorite Go Go?
    Jane Weidlin, for both the base reason that I thought she was the one I most would have wanted to chat up at a party and for the fact that she and Terry Hall wrote their best song, “Our Lips Are Sealed.” The drummer (Gina Schock, or something like that?) kicks ass too.

    Someone else mentioned Belinda Carlisle actually coming off as cool in this documentary, which I haven’t seen yet. Any time I read an interview with her, I was similarly surprised at how much zest she had. She is usually the first one talking about how much they liked to party and mix it up. She sounds like she would have been a blast to party with backstage.

  9. 2000 Man

    What do you consider to be the first punk band?

    For this I think you have to determine that until we started calling bands Punk bands, then they just weren’t a Punk band but an influence. Otherwise there’s a section of the Internet that are going to say “The Beatles!” like they do about anything else. So I think you kind of have to say it’s The Ramones.

    What do you consider to be the first punk album?

    Again, The Ramones. It’s a singles driven genre, though. Only a few bands were good at making albums.

    Is it possible for Punk to exist today? Or is the nature of Punk such that it had a natural shelf life after which it just became a parody of itself? If the latter, what do you consider to be the last punk band?

    I think Punk still exists today but it’s just not what it was. Remember when the Punk shows on college radio would play Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sex Pistols, Dead Boys, Blondie, Elvis Costello and The Clash? None of them sounded the same or looked the same. You can add Wire or Suicide X Ray Spex and The Specials to the same show. It was more about attitude, and then radio decided to go with New Wave instead of Punk and all the bands that weren’t three chords and a cloud of dust and boogers went on to that. It made an artificial and stupid schism and now Punk bands have to sound like Green Day used to and Hardcore bands have to sound like Minor Threat, Ska bands have to sound like Streetlight Manifesto. It’s all fucked up.

    Is Punk a style of music or an attitude?


    What do you think separates Punk from New Wave?

    Airplay. Radio stations that made money played New Wave and radio stations that were non profit played Punk. At the beginning it was all just Punk.

    I’m sure Seymour Stein can point with precision to the first New Wave band but what do you consider to be the first New Wave song/band?

    Blondie and I’ll go with something off Parallel Lines because prior to that no one was really calling it New Wave, but Heart of Glass was such an obvious hit that they couldn’t be a Punk band anymore. I don’t know if One Way or Another was the first single off that or not, but one of those two songs would get it for me.

    Who is your favorite Go Go?

    Jane Wiedlin.

  10. 2000 Man

    BigSteve, X is still around. Last year’s Alphabetland is way better than it should be. They took some breaks, though. The Ramones never took breaks.

  11. Garlic Salt, welcome! I agree with your comments, especially about Bandcamp and Soundcloud being vehicles for the democratization of music. My son listens to a lot of hip hop and there is a whole thriving scene that is outside the mainstream and just basically DYI. That seems fairly punk to me regardless of what the music sounds like. The trick, as always, is to figure out how to sort though the haystack to find the needle.

    I agree that punk is more about an attitude than about the chords and uniform. The stylistic differences between the bands in that first crop at CBGBs is pretty profound (Patty Smith, Television, Blondie, Talking Heads and Ramones). Just weirdos with varying degrees of a nonmainstream vision. I saw the Pogues once and they played with an energy and abandon that seemed like punk to me, although to be fair, Joe Strummer was fronting the band at the time.

    EPG, to suggest that just because neighborhood dads are putting music out on Bandcamp so therefore Bandcamp couldn’t be punk is absurd. Using that logic, Wayne Newton and the Ramones both put out material on vinyl so the Ramones aren’t punk. I consider your trolling skills to be among the best, but this is just a lazy, D plus effort on your part.

    Our Lips Are Sealed is a great song and I agree that the middle bit is fantastic, but my favorite of theirs is How Much More.

    I think Blondie beats Elvis to the punch for first New Wave album by a few months

    Great point by 2k man about punk being a singles driven genre. I should have phrased my question as “first recording” not “first album”.

    Big Steve, I’ve been meaning Kathy Valentine’s book as well. After Jane relegated herself to a lower raking in my book based of her England invented punk comment, Kathy is firmly in the number two spot. Charlotte is the best Go Go. As good as Our Lips are Sealed is, I think Charlotte made more contributions in terms of writing and musicianship.

  12. To me, it can’t JUST be the attitude. You do have to have some musical connection to the 1976-1979 first Punk Rock explosion. There’s a reason we call some music Rockabilly. It has to have some of the musical elements of Rockabilly to be lumped together with other Rockabilly. No one ever says, “Oh that band plays disco, but they really have the Rockabilly attitude.” I think the same thing with Punk Rock. You can be as anti-establishment, politically minded, dirty, etc. as all the punks, but if you aren’t playing distorted guitars and sounding something like those 70s bands, then what’s the point of labeling it as Punk Rock, rather than just small p, punky attitude.

  13. I said it was “more” about attitude than music but I didn’t say it was completely about attitude. It’s got to be about both but if it’s mostly about the music, what is the overlap between Patty Smith, Television, Blondie, Talking Heads and Ramones? Musically, the thing that stands out the most is the fact that none of them fit into a style that was on the airways at the time. To that, add an urgency in the performance of that music, and a DIY aesthetic that encouraged ignoring inconvenient conventions because the establishment wasn’t going to get behind them due to the aforementioned weirdness.

  14. I guess I’m a lot more rigid in my punk rock category. You listed 3 New Wave bands in your list to me. And Patty Smith is only punk because she makes me think of Candy Slice. That’s the other big distinction with the New Wave category. That’s the group that allowed a huge range of styles and looks and approaches.

  15. garlic salt

    Thanks for the warm welcome. I think that the meaning of punk has been expanded a lot with expansions on the genre like cowpunk or folkpunk, so at least for me, the definition of punk has been expanding as time goes on. I tend to be more in the CDM school of thinking where I’m placing a lot more emphasis on the ideas behind the music.

  16. Chicken,

    I get what you’re saying, but punk Rock Rock as epitomized by the Ramones, was not the only element of the early punk scene. The New Wave bands you point to were all part of the “punk” scene before the Ramones strain impacted England and more strictly defined the term punk. New Wave was a marketing term to differentiate the original grab bag of styles and attitude that were just punk from the strictly defined genre that resulted from the Ramones ascendance. I always associate the popularization of the New Wave term with the Sire ad campaign for the release of the the Talking Head, Dead Boys and Richard Hell albums in September 1977. Although these bands spanned the continuum from Punk to New Wave, Sire seemed to want to avoid the commercial blacklist they had already experienced with the Ramones, who already had two albums out but were certainly not setting any sales records. So punk became ripped T-Shirts and New Wave became skinny ties, since any two contrasting labels can eventually create defined categories.

    With all that in mind:

    What do you consider to be the first punk band?
    Richard Hell Era Television.

    What do you consider to be the first punk album?

    Is it possible for Punk to exist today? Or is the nature of Punk such that it had a natural shelf life after which it just became a parody of itself? If the latter, what do you consider to be the last punk band?
    It is possible for Punk to exist today.

    Is Punk a style of music or an attitude?
    Both! Not necessarily synonymous.

    What do you think separates Punk from New Wave?
    See blathering above.

    I’m sure Seymour Stein can point with precision t o the first New Wave band but what do you consider to be the first New Wave song/band?
    Blondie, although they’re New Wave pre-dated the term, the epitomized the early punk elements that became the hallmarks of New Wave.

    Who is your favorite Go Go?
    Jane Wiedlin. Big Brown eyes AND the bridge to “Our Lips Are Sealed.”

  17. cherguevara

    Gina Schock is a highly underrated drummer. If you never noticed that, it’s because she does it right!

  18. “And Patty Smith is only punk because she makes me think of Candy Slice” High five!

  19. CDM, as usual, just a couple of things.

    To simplify, I ascribe to the insufferable Legs McNeil’s and John Holstrom’s definition of punk which was used to name their scene around the Bowery as well that which was happening in the UK. As far as bandcamp and soundcloud are concerned, again, all that has nothing to do with the definition I’ve accepted regarding punk. As far as those who opt to use those tools, that’s fine and dandy, but the use of those tools has nothing to do with what I consider “punk. All that has nothing in common with a band like Rocket from the Tombs or Suicide who thought a lawnmower could be used as an instrument.

    I think it’s more than fine to say Green Day are trying to do a punk thing, but I wouldn’t classify them as punk. That said, I applaud them for having good taste and spreading the word, like the Beatles and Stones, about a lot of great music that was more or less not heard in the US. That’s huge.

    More and more, I get the impression that the purpose of Rock Town Hall is to justify one’s efforts by hitching themselves to something historically noteworthy. And unfortunately, most of that hitching is being done by old farts who should know better.

    On a more positive note, your suggestion to watch the Go Go’s documentary was a good one for two reasons: It was great, and me and the wife now have Showtime for a 30 day free trial.

    A few observations about the documentary: 1) I too was in the dark about when and where the whole punk thing started. Initially, that whole thing wasn’t my cup of tea until Costello opened the door to all that stuff. Who gives a fuck if Wiedlin didn’t know where the whole punk scene started? She wrote “Our Lips Are Sealed.” She can think Ringo was one of the Temptations for all I care. 2) Their chops were a whole lot better than I thought. They could really play. 3) I didn’t have a favorite back then, but I do now. That drummer is really something else.

    Your taste and mine do not jibe. Mine is good. Yours is bad. Irregardless, your suggestions are always worth investigation. Again, me and the wife have Showtime for a 30 day trial. What else have you seen on Showtime that’s worth a watch? Looks like there’s Costello and XTC documentaries up there as well. Have you seen them? Again, not a fan of XTC, but I’ll watch anything that’s good for a laugh.

  20. I suspect CDM’s use of “irregardless” however is impeccably nonexistent.

  21. One more Go Go’s observation. I liked the old coke snortin’ Belinda who always opted for the second helping of mac and cheese much more than today’s vacuous Whole Foods face lift Barbie Belinda.

  22. cdm wrote: “I consider your trolling skills to be among the best, but this is just a lazy, D plus effort on your part.”

    That, my friends, is called Keeping it Real. EPG will likely be motivated to raise his game to his expected levels.

  23. Just caught up, and I see that EPG is already getting back on his game!

  24. I was on my game when everyone up here, including you, decided that Punk needed to be redefined. In the words of the Grass Roots, “Where Were You When I Needed You?”

  25. EPG, punk doesn’t need to be redefined. I was reluctant to jump in on this thread, because it was making me understand something I hear from the young people now and then. They’ll stop me on the street and say, “Mr Mod, I like what you and your gang have got going up there, but sometimes you guys sound like my great grandfather, when he used to talk about World War 2!”

    You can imagine how much it pained me to say that The Ramones were the first punk band, but it was an obvious line that had to be drawn. As someone (2K?) said, we needed to make sure that we didn’t resort to saying stuff like, “Well, The Beatles were the first punk band!”

    This is not a cut on my close, personal friend cdm, but I was even pained by having to answer questions about the stinking Go-Go’s. They were pretty good, but in the words of Joe Biden, “Come on, man!” They had some great pop chops, a lot of spirit, and a lot of style, but I don’t like having to talk about them in the same breath as Costello, The Ramones, and even Blondie. I’ve been biting my tongue, too, but I find most early Blondie songs both a little too derivative and devoid of compelling hooks. Thank god for the Parallel Lines and all that followed. They were a great pop band, but only a second-rate punk band, in my opinion. If “Heart of Glass” didn’t give them the kickstart they needed, they would have been related to the same cutout bins that used to be loaded with the first albums by The Yachts and The Shirts. Or one of those bands featuring the only guy from the original Modern Lovers who didn’t land in a massively successful-yet-actually-interesting band in the punk/New Wave era.

    I forget it it was you or someone else who took a necessary bit of air out of the punk rock bona fides of Patti Smith (and come on, man, it’s Patti with an i), but I can’t hold my tongue on something I haven’t said out loud for years: Patti Smith’s band was a poor man’s E Street Band. I’ve been one of a half dozen ringleaders around here in cutting on Brooce and His E Street Band, but those cats blew Patti’s Group out of the water, even the version of the E Street Band with RTH whipping boy Max Weinberg.

    The only thing I’ll forever take you to task over, EPG (granted, not the only thing, but you know what I’m saying), is your fetish for rock ‘n roll made exclusively by pimply faced boys (and an occasional girl). That kind of didacticism runs the risk of putting you in dangerous company with some music scene characters I’ve tried to steer you away from through the years. It’s important that we watch each other’s backs, steer each other toward our better angels. That’s what friends are for.

  26. Hallelujah! Your dick and balls are in tact! More on all that tomorrow. Too drained!

    Little Mo and I discovered that a young Shira Hass,of the “rip your heart out” Unorthodox, is also in Shtisel, another Netflix show, which we started tonight. Big thumbs up!

  27. Since you brought up Bruce…

    …I just watched his SNL appearance from a few weeks ago. Is it too late to apologize to Dio for my “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice” thread?

    I exaggerate but sadly not by that much.

  28. Al,

    I heard “Ghosts” from Springsteen’s most recent album and it was nearly as bad as that track by the Killers that I stumbled upon a few weeks back. And that was the worst thing I ever heard!

  29. What excited me most about that Boss appearance on SNL were the opportunities they took to get into the Rock ‘n Roll Iwo Jima formation!

  30. 2000 Man

    How the hell did this go from The Go Go’s and Punk rock to Brooce? Even my grandfather isn’t old enough to make that leap and he’s been dead a long time. It’s trash day here and after that leap I had a strange urge to take the trash out wearing and undershirt, light blue boxers, an open terrycloth robe, black socks and brown slippers.

    I just found a Bags record a few weeks ago. It sounds kinda crappy in spots but some of it sounds pretty great. I’d like to think I’d have seen them if I had lived around LA back then. The Go Go’s definitely get cool points for being on the marquee for this video. https://youtu.be/9PA1G5EWryA

  31. Mod says, “That, my friends, is called Keeping it Real. ” I say: that was actually a double reverse troll. Very tricky to pull off.

    But Mod, the only question I asked directly about the Go Gos was who is your favorite. If you can’t answer that, then in the words of Joe Biden, “That’s a bunch of malarkey!”

    EPG, I think I’m using Legs McNeil’s and John Holstrom’s definition of punk, which included, in the beginning, a disparate group of bands that had very little in common other than the fact that they were outside the mainstream. The Ramones (girl group songs sped way up with lyrics about sniffing glue), Television (experimental artsy rock played by accomplished musicians), Patti Smith (garage rock band with pretentious/ambitious “poetry” for lyrics, Blondie (futuristic retro pop), Talking Heads (jittery angular paranoid sounding pop). Their attitudes and ambition were more similar than the music.

    I’m still not following how a delivery system, such as Bandcamp or Soundcloud is factoring into your evaluation if something is punk or not. Spotify is a digital medium which pretty much anyone can use to post music. Can punk exist there? Is the Ramones punk cred diminished by them having albums on Spotify? I can usually wrap my head around your often dogmatic and deeply entrenched opinions about stuff like Herman’s Hermits, even when I don’t agree with it. But formats are agnostic and I don’t understand how you are stuck on this position. Unless you are just doubling down because you’ve painted yourself into a corner…

    I’m not an XTC fan at all but I thought the documentary was pretty good. Rick Wakeman’s appearance is hilarious.

    Cher, Yes! Gina’s drumming is great when you focus on it, but unobtrusive if you are not. That’s good drumming.

  32. CDM, you are a bugger!

    Again, fuck bandcamp, soundcloud, whatever, along with my definition of punk which I assume is the same as that which I ascribed to the insufferable Legs McNeil and John Holstrom. Punk is all the stuff recorded around 76-79 by all those bands who scared the shit out of my parents and yours. Most looked like the Ramones, the Clash, or Blondie. It’s an historical thing, similar with categorizing a band as being a part of the first or second wave of the British Invasion. By the way, both waves featured a slew of skinny pimply white kids who really kicked ass! And I include Lulu in that gang!

    The Costello and XTC documentaries are no longer on Showtime! What happened??!!

    I gotta go look at a record collection, but I’ll be back. I know I’m deserving of a good kick in the nuts, but I didn’t think you would opt for the Herman’s Hermits jab. Here’s something good to listen to while I’m gone:


  33. EPG and Herman’s Hermits = EPG’s RTH Achilles heel.

    What’s your RTH Achilles heel, that one point of rhetorical weakness you should be mindful of? I have to think about what my own would be?

  34. I know it probably got lost in my reverse double-trolling efforts, but I did answer who my favorite member of The Go Go’s was: Jane.

  35. EPG: Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Your definition of Punk is, among other things, limited to bands between ’76 and ’79. That feels simplistic and a bit dogmatic to me but if that’s the case, I can at least understand it.

    This whole thing about arbitrarily dismissing some formats/delivery systems is not something I understand (unless it’s because the delivery system itself wasn’t in existence between ’76 and ’79, in which case I would say your position defies logic).

    And I didn’t intend the Herman’s Hermits comment as a jab. I’m not a super fan but I like them well enough. I was just intending to say that you are a man of very strong opinions, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t, but I can usually follow some sort of logic.

  36. My apologies Mod. I overlooked your vote for Jane.

    The RTH Achilles Heel: I’m intrigued but need some more elaboration about what it is.

  37. Apparently my RTH Achille’s Heel is the Jefferson Airplane.

  38. It would seem one’s Achilles Heel in RTH is if you like something, then another RTH member gets to post: “Well, you like ‘……’ therefore you are an asshole.” I’m not entirely sure that is how an Achilles Heel is defined in other realms of life, but that’s all it means here.

  39. Makes sense. So would my Achilles Heel be the fact that I don’t like Pet Sounds or that I don’t like the Undertones?

  40. Nope. Your heel isn’t what you dislike, only what you like. The more things you dislike, the more secure your standing is to criticize all the things other people enjoy. If you hate everything, you’ve solved your Achilles Heel.

  41. Chicken, I legitimately laughed out loud.

  42. Now that I’m back from looking at a record collection that sucked (I know I’m in trouble when the first ten albums are the complete Bad Company catalog), I have a few random thoughts.

    My Achilles’ heel is Herman’s Hermits and R.E.M., specifically, my supposed high five of Life’s Rich Pageant. Geo’s is definitely Jefferson Airplane. From what I can gather, The RTH Achilles’ heel is something someone likes or dislikes, and the liking or disliking of that thing is resoundly called into question by the rest of the RTH gang.

    I think you’re safe CDM, as is Cher, BigSteve, Misterioso, Scott, 2000man, etc. Garlic Salt is also safe, for now.

    Disco may be Chickenfrank’s Achilles’ heel.

    Patti Smith baffles me. For the record, I love her book Just KIds, the one about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, “Dancing Barefoot,” and random pieces of footage of her I’ve seen (Old Grey Whistle Test, her appearance in Rolling Thunder, cameos is Roberta Bayley’s short films, etc.). And that’s it. She appears to be a real mover and shaker, but as far as her art is concerned, I don’t see it being anything that Edith Bunker couldn’t do after a few snorts of coke. I was never really impressed with her band either. Like Petty, they talked a good game about their love for the 60s, but I never heard any of that in the actual music they made, live or in the studio.

    Furthermore (and I think I’ve said this before), the New York scene is a lot like the whole beatnik scene. Reading about it is always fascinating, but much of the art produced from it just isn’t all that great.

    One more thing, my apologies for using the word “irregardless.” I realize some consider it not to be an actual word, but I like the sound of it and what I think it implies, i.e moving on from nonsense that is so absurd that using the term “regardless” doesn’t suffice. That said, like my hearing, eyesight, and overall physical ability to do anything whatsoever, my writing too is suffering. Because I love RTH, I try to give my best, and if one feels that my best isn’t worthy of a read, tough shit.

  43. garlic salt

    On the topic of things that people should be attacked over, did no one see my comment on Woodie Guthrie being the first punk act?

  44. Garlic eater, I did not see that, probably because I was trolling. That said, to suggest such a thing is utter nonsense, but that’s coming from someone who was going to roll out the red carpet for the Beatles. Because I did not want to deal with what might have been a fairly messy shitstorm, I held back. You may want to do the same.

  45. I hadn’t put a lot of thought into the Achilles heel concept, but it looks like you have picked up on it and articulated it. It is anl Townsperson’s well known opinion, positive or negative, that the mere mention of it briefly disables said Townsperson’s credibility and rock super powers. Maybe it’s more like kryptonite?

    I get the sense that chickenfrank is not too pleased with this concept. He may be the most level-headed person I know. Perhaps he is immune to this condition.

    Geo’s is definitely the Airplane. EPG nailed it with that copy of Lifes Rich Pageant that was at the front of his record stack the first time I visited his apartment.

    BigSteve, if memory serves, only mildly appreciates The Beatles. He’s still one of my heroes. Andyr is the King of Greatest Hits collections, a rock superpower that actually disables that superpower itself! Likewise, 2K’s 473rd Stones boot is one toke over the line.

  46. cherguevara

    Achilles heel? Puhleese. I like a ton of stuff that would get me laughed out of here. Long ago I wrote a long post about Jellyfish. I’m a child of the 80’s and love me some synth pop. I took Depeche Mode’s “violator” on a run the other day. I still listen to the 1st Dee Lite album on occasion. I’ve taken too much pleasure from bird and the bee’s Van Halen album. I own maybe four Dylan albums, that’s it. I can’t really justify posting here, except I enjoy talking sh*t!

  47. It’s not so much about simply liking something or not liking something that’s unpopular here. The RTH Achilles heel is highly specific to the individual. I think it’s an option or stance that someone leans on that just doesn’t hold up for that person.

    For instance, even EPG used to stand up for Surrealistic Pillow, but Geo has been known to rest his full weight on that band. It doesn’t hold him.

    As for EPG and REM’s Lifes Rich Pageant, plenty of people here are fine with them. I’m in the minority of Townspeople who struggle with them. Anyone else can give props to REM and not crumble. When EPG, with all his high falutin’ rhetoric is thought of as having that one album at the front of his record stack, it temporarily undercuts our friend’s life’s work here. We can feel it.

    Chergeuvara can freely express his love for Jellyfish without any damage to his superpowers. Our old friend hrrundivbakshi, however, can’t do so without getting buried under an avalanche of deep cuts from his Holy Trinity of Prince, ELO, and whoever his third perfectionist hero is.

    Our RTH Achilles heel brings out something funny, loveable, and pathetic about us.

  48. 2000 Man

    Man, cdm is dead on with Pet Sounds and The Undertones. They’re boring with 7 o’s and 6 i’s. My 603rd Stones bootleg is more interesting and worthwhile, and it’s apparently recorded outside the back door of a studio, from the street.

    I’m kind of looking at my records to find my Achille’s Heel. I think I’d go with Steely Dan. I’ve got all their albums. I actually really like them all except one is pretty dull. I also have something like ten Yes albums. In my defense, I’ve probably had eight of them since Jr. High but I still like them. I’m definitely not a Prog Rock person but I think by this point I’ll always have a soft spot for them.

    Oh, and I unabashedly love Grand Funk and BTO, though they both wore out their welcomes. Did you ever hear BTO’s “Live, Live, Live?” It’s possibly the worst live record ever made. If you ever hear it you’ll wonder what the guy that green lit that project does for a living now.

  49. Jesus, 2000 Man! You’ve got a gigantic set of balls! Make sure you’re wearing a lot of protective gear today.

  50. cherguevara

    There are few times I thought I had an Achilles heel and was surprised to find it was not the case. Like when I posted how much I liked “Back to the Egg,” assuming that most thought that was a lesser Macca album. Or when I said I didn’t like REM that much. I assumed that at least their IRS records would be highly revered around here. The first time I was surprised by a collective opinion in the Hall was a years-ago thread about Sgt. Pepper being terrible. Somebody wrote, “the songs ain’t no good!” and I thought that was nutballs!

    I shared an office with a guy who was wonderfully open-minded about music. I could play anything far-out, mainstream, didn’t matter. He got used to my wide-ranging tastes. When he told me I like prog-rock, I thought no way. “Kraut rock” yes. And maybe “art rock.” But prog rock? Gross. I had “long distance runaround” earworming this week, so I listened to it and admittedly dug it. Probably helps that I don’t play close attention to lyrics. This lead to me listening to a bunch of Yes stuff and I… don’t hate it. I really like some of it, but I get the impression they are “prog” because they can’t decide how to arrange the song. Like, “Boys, I’ve got a great new tune but should we do it as acid rock, rockabilly, a cappella, acoustic Renaissance style or mainstream rock?” “Let’s do all of those!” I’ve listened to early Genesis and I still don’t get it. With Steely Dan, there’s a smugness that puts me off although oddly I do like “the Nightfly” quite a bit, so that makes no sense.

    Musicians who crossed from outside to inside my wheelhouse confuse me. Am I a fan of the music or the people? How could Andy Summers have been in the Police but also Soft Machine? How was Midge Ure in Ultravox and Thin Lizzy? Are these people fronting? Does it matter? Up is down, down is up. I’m trapped in a tesseract of rock criticism.

  51. Mod said:

    “For instance, even EPG used to stand up for Surrealistic Pillow, but Geo has been known to rest his full weight on that band. It doesn’t hold him.”

    I generally think you’re pretty insightful but I don’t know what the fuck this means.

    RPG likes Surrealistic Pillow better because it has more good songs than Baxter’s, and I agree on that point, 8 to 5 by my count. But I like Baxter’s because it’s a more interesting album. With only a few exceptions, I’m not really in the needle lifter club. I find Wild Honey Pie to be perfectly acceptable in context. I like spots in an album that function as a change of pace, a digression (Holden Caulfield might explain this better), rather than as a song to be compared to other songs and found superior or inferior. “Young Girl Sunday Blues” would be more insufferable if it weren’t set up by the silliness of “A Small Package of Value Will Come to You, Shortly.” But where it sits, I can sort of sit back and enjoy the weird hi-hat work and wait for the weird chord changes of “Martha” with a typically unique Casady bassline and Slick and Balin doing one of those random backing vocal tracks that actually works.

    Hell, I even like Anthem of the Sun and Lumpy Gravy, two albums that have arguably no songs!

  52. 2000 Man, in my opinion, your surprising love for Yes makes you an even better man, 2001 Man, if you will. Even cher is with us on Yes. And now, I know cher’s fatal flaw: that stinking Nightfly album. Few things bum me out more than envisioning Donald Fagan in the act of singing.

    Geo wrote: “I generally think you’re pretty insightful but I don’t know what the fuck this means.”

    I love you, geo, and let’s leave EPG out of this, because he’s complete pain in the ass. I may block him from responding to what I’m about to say.

    This one’s on me. I take full responsibility for pissing you off. Look how triggered my jibe over Jefferson Airplane got you! Look how much rock-nerd knowledge your reply unleashed. I bet you know more about that band than Paul Kantner has forgotten! Usually, your rock-nerd superpowers, when unleashed, can wreak havoc on these Hallowed Halls. I’ve seen you take down the best. However, when it comes to the Airplane, your powers fire off inefficiently. There’s a complete drain on your system. You’re vulnerable to back-door attacks. I think these are characteristics of an RTH Achilles heel.

  53. Mod says: “Few things bum me out more than envisioning Donald Fagan in the act of singing.”

    I say “How about Donald Fagan rapping?”

  54. Mr. Mod: Wow, Patronize much?

  55. cherguevara

    Ha! I’m not going to defend the Nightfly. It’s unctuous and smug, but well-executed. I saw the Pernice Brothers years ago and, I know this is a weird comparison, but Joe Pernice did have a bit of a Fagan thing going, the way he was scrawny, and writhed as if in pain as he sang. I do find it odd that Steely Dan had all the best studio players, engineers etc. and yet Fagan is the guy who ended up singing. At least put Michael McDonald in there or something. I like IGY, it’s so tucked in, even the real instruments sound phony. It’s so rigid and sterile that it transcends it’s in uprightness and grooves. I feel like there some bands where maybe owning one album is enough. So, Nightfly is my Steely Dan album. Like Dee Lite, it’s a once-a-year album.

  56. cherguevara

    Uptightness, not uprightness.

    Well, since I’m posting again, here’s an odd song I’m enjoying. What do you make of this:

  57. Just watched some Go-Go’s videos and in addition her consistently sweet and tasteful fills, Gina Schock’s left hand—especially when she’s playing the ride cymbal—is like a damn hammer. I don’t recall noticing how much power she had at the time.

  58. cher, that is one odd great song. I love it but who knows why. Wish i could find the b-side somewher

  59. Sadly, geo, patronization is one of my core RTH rhetorical devices. It’s not my most elegant move, but this year is weighing on me.

  60. BigSteve

    Speaking of Gina Shock, do you guys remember after the Go-Go’s broke up when she had a band called the House of Shock with Vance DeGeneres, Ellen’s brother? I hadn’t listened to this in ages, and it’s a lot more 80s than I remembered. It’s not bad, but maybe not everyone can be a frontperson.


  61. BigSteve, I’d heard of her band, although not the Degeneres connection, but never actually heard any of the music. Much better than I was expecting.

  62. I like that she takes a moment in the video to remind everyone that she’s a drummer, with a blindfold no less.

  63. I forgot that there is video evidence of the first Punk band.


Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube