Browse content similar to Thurston Moore. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
THIS PROGRAMME CONTAINS SOME STRONG LANGUAGE
40 years ago, I was an out-of-place teenager
inspired to move to Manhattan to join in the punk revolution.
Musicians like Patti Smith and the Ramones
redefined what it was to be a rock musician.
But there was also a scene just as thrilling
happening over the Atlantic.
Even though I was living in New York City in 1976,
I was very curious about the punk rock bands
I'd been hearing about in London at the time.
Bands like the Buzzcocks, X-Ray Spex and The Damned
seemed very wild to me.
As wild as the bands I was seeing at CBGB.
2016 marks the 40th anniversary of British punk
and this revolutionary movement is now part of the heritage industry.
But as an American, an outsider,
I want to recapture what I found so fresh and dangerous about punk
and what lessons we can learn from it today.
I'm Thurston Moore. Welcome to my Artsnight.
Looking at the most commercial bands of the punk era,
it can seem like being a very male-dominated genre.
But that's only part of the story.
One of the most interesting things in punk music in 1976
was the new voice women had.
And one of the most exciting was Chrissie Hynde,
a punk goddess if there ever was one.
# Give it to me
# Cos I gonna make you see
# Cos nobody else here... #
Chrissie enjoyed worldwide success throughout the '80s
with her band The Pretenders.
# So special... #
But she had spent much of the years before this living in London
and working with Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren
in their shop Sex,
hanging out with key players in the punk scene
like Johnny Rotten and Mick Jones.
Did you even think at the time, "I want to be in a rock 'n' roll band"?
Or are you just like, "I'm just here"?
I loved rock 'n' roll and I wanted to be in a band
and I wanted to play guitar in a band. But I didn't think I was...
Well, I wasn't good enough to play in a band, I didn't think,
until punk came along.
And then everyone was pretty shit so, you know,
I just kind of got in there while the going was bad.
But when you're getting thrown into these situations,
especially working at Vivienne and Malcolm's,
and, like, are you going to be in this band, you know,
with this guy who becomes Dave Vanian
and this guy who, you know, becomes Captain Sensible?
-Yeah, Malcolm tried to put me in different bands.
I mean, did you think like, "Oh, this is my chance." Or did you...?
I always thought it was my chance.
And then I crapped out every time, you know?
They all went off and got bands together without me.
Because I wasn't really good enough to be in The Damned
as their only guitar player. They were a very musical band.
I mean, the Pistols, I saw all their early shows.
The Clash, I saw all their shows.
And I'd been trying to get in a band with Mick.
And then Paul Simonon came along and fucked that up.
He saved me from being in a band with Mick.
Well, how so?
Because, again, they went off and...
But, see, I didn't really fit in so much.
They were, you know, made for each other.
These people become, like, significant figures,
like, in punk lore.
Yeah, they all fucking dumped me!
-They all dump you, but...
I wasn't even good enough for Johnny Moped!
But fair cop. They all did better without me, frankly, you know?
But I got what I needed eventually.
# You've dropped my hand
# All my sorrow
# All my blues... #
Last September, Chrissie released her autobiography Reckless,
which contained many of her intimate memories of the punk era.
Would you have married John? Would you have married Sid?
Because in your book, you have this almost marriages thing...
There wasn't romance. It wasn't about that.
It wasn't boyfriend and girlfriend.
Some of us were having our end away but, you know, it wasn't official
and it wasn't, like, a romantic thing.
-You know, I guess you would call it a squelching session.
So, you know, and that was all it was.
You know, you didn't put any more into it.
Some people were getting it, but it wasn't what punk was about.
And that was another thing that I think made it different
from scenes that had gone previously.
Previously, it had very much been overtly sexual, overtly romantic.
And when punk came along, if anything, Malcolm and Viv
were doing that bondage gear and...
I mean, I didn't know what they were up to, you know?
I mean, he was a bit pervy, Malcolm.
I don't know what that was all about. None of us did.
We didn't care. It just looked cool.
You know, no-one was going to tie me up. I knew that much.
-It was great.
I've heard girls say there was sexism. I never encountered it.
Punk, in my estimation, the way I saw it
was that it was all about non-discrimination.
That's what characterised it to me.
And so no-one would even mention if you were a girl or not.
It just wouldn't be part of the thing.
That's what I seem to recall, as well.
Like, moving to New York City in '76,
people were getting involved with music that was new,
like the new bands that were happening at CBGB.
In a way, the prime models dealing with it were women.
And you didn't think it about it like,
"Oh, women are taking over," or whatever.
You just thought like, "Well, everybody is doing something cool."
It doesn't matter what their gender was.
In a way, it seemed like it was the first time there was a music scene
that was, like, kind of informed by this, like, gender balance.
Even though it was still mostly dudes doing it anyway.
Well, it mostly is guys, because women just don't play rock guitar.
I don't know why. But they don't.
They're not into it so much, I guess.
And I mean, I hear girls say, "Well, we weren't encouraged."
But, you know, I don't think Jeff Beck's mother was saying,
"Geoffrey, are you practising?"
You know, I mean, either you love it and you can't hold yourself back
or you're not bothered.
And I think women just haven't been so interested.
That's my observation over the last 50 years.
But, you know, it's not a gender thing. Music transcends gender.
And that's what I loved about it,
because I was always kind of, I suppose,
a natural tomboy and I always liked being around guys.
I like guy things, you know?
I guess, in my heart, I'm more of a guy than a girl.
So I wanted to be in a band and play guitar,
but I was very shy to be around guys because I was a girl.
So that was a problem.
I wouldn't have played in front of any of the guys in the art room
when I was at school.
I would have been too embarrassed by my primitive skills.
Did you think in '76, when a lot of these bands are forming -
be it The Damned or The Clash of the Pistols or even The Slits...
I mean, seeing these gigs at the time
and being really sort of friendly
and sort of right in the middle of it all,
I mean, did you think there was a future?
We weren't thinking about the future.
The whole idea was there was no future. It was very Zen, actually.
Although they wouldn't have seen it in those terms.
They were either the sons and daughters, like Sid was,
of a sort of hippie mother
or, you know, working-class kids.
And it was very tribal and everyone was in it on the same...
You know, they'd grown up with the same influences and...
You know, I mean, these guys didn't even tune their guitars.
You know, it was just...
For me, it was just glorious and I just loved it.
The history of punk is a much-contested tale,
with rival factions over the years
often scrambling to tell their side of the story.
As punk historians have matured over the years,
so has the telling of the story.
Legendary film-maker Julien Temple has twice attempted to produce
a definitive account of the Sex Pistols, 20 years apart.
As a young 23-year-old devotee of the band,
he witnessed first-hand the project to create the Sex Pistols' identity.
Working closely with Malcolm McLaren,
he documented their story in The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle,
a riotous account of the band's rise and fall.
-Terrorise, threaten and insult
your own useless generation.
The sense was in '76 that the pistols were...
..demanding a space to say what they felt
and said that, you know,
if you wanted to do it, as well, you could just get up and do it.
And you could articulate who you were through music.
You know, The Rock 'n' Roll Swindle was this provocative idea
of twisting what happened in order to incense the fans.
I mean, it was a deliberate thing, trying to make things that were true
seem fabulously untrue.
And vice versa, you know?
And it was probably, you know, a document of its time.
So it was very brave and very...
very challenging to have that worldwide fame
and just throw it out of the window.
And not necessarily what the band wanted to do,
but what Malcolm wanted to do.
The Swindle made the Pistols look dastardly
and, to a degree, disreputable.
Temple actually recorded the band's journey to Rio
to rock out with disgraced train robber Ronnie Biggs.
# God save the Sex Pistols
# They're a bunch of wholesome blokes
# They just like wearing filthy clothes
# And swapping filthy jokes... #
20 years later,
Malcolm had got to the point where it was like a mantra
that the band were just puppets that he controlled
and they had no thoughts of their own.
And so The Filth And The Fury was really trying to correct that.
-It was a monkey's tea party.
What the fuck was the manager doing?
The one that claimed that he was manipulating everything.
And he created nothing.
He was clueless at that point.
When I first saw it, I remember, you know, I was a little taken aback.
I was like, "This is completely fascinating
"but there's no other bands in it."
It was very much trying to tell the story of those guys,
as I say, as a kind of counterbalance
to what The Rock 'n' Roll Swindle had been,
which kind of ignored who they were.
But you've got to also understand there was a lot of rivalry.
And, you know, you wouldn't get John talking about The Clash.
He just wouldn't admit that they existed, basically.
With that film, we wanted to try
and get a kind of visceral return to '76, '77.
Hence the silhouettes.
You know, the kind of bank robber silhouette
of guys on the run from something,
so you didn't see, you know, ageing rock stars in armchair time.
The audience was sitting in the cinema now,
but on the screen you are in the white heat of that moment, you know?
-I've lost my friend.
I couldn't have changed it. I was too young.
God, I wish I was smarter.
You can look back on it and go, "I could have done something."
He died, for fuck sake!
And they just turned it into making money.
How hilarious for them.
Contextually, it's like I always think about, you know,
the punk rock scene, be it in England or anywhere,
it's this community of bands.
And of course, the Pistols are sort of like the central band.
They have to be. They are, you know?
They're the ur-band, you know? The first one.
And so it makes sense to me. But it was like...
No, but they were more like rival warlords carving up Afghanistan.
You know, Joe says, "Call me punk rock warlord.
"I've got my, you know, sphere of influence." And John...
It would be very funny if you saw them in the same space.
You know, it would be insult.
You know, Joe would call him Ronald McDonald, I remember.
Which was very exciting.
But I was filming The Clash at that time
and Bernie Rhodes called me in
after I'd been doing it for about three months saying,
"You've got to choose - it's us or them. You can't film both."
So it was like a bit of a camp thing? Yes, that's funny.
So I couldn't carry on filming The Clash,
because I'd filmed the Pistols, you know?
Apart from punk bands, Temple's career has encompassed
subjects as diverse as Glastonbury, the Romantic poets
and a recent series of portraits of cities
such as London, Detroit and Rio.
I probably feel, you know,
I want to do other things than make films about punk.
But I do feel that my methodology as a film-maker,
my kind of grammar, is still based in the punk way of approaching film.
A lot of it came out of not having any money at the time.
But being, you know, inspired by the fact
you could rip things up
and stick things back together in a different way,
smash them together and see if you got a spark.
The ethos of punk has informed many later cultural movements.
But what was its immediate impact upon its early followers?
For many, the first rush of punk came with its call of arms
for fans to express themselves either in music or in print.
I remember my own misspent youth
stitching together and photocopying fanzines
documenting the New York scene at the time.
Through its DIY publications and self-released records,
punk was a dress rehearsal for today,
when anyone can instantly distribute their ideas
at the touch of a button.
Fanzines like Mark Perry's Sniffin' Glue
started appearing in record shops around the country,
eager to satisfy the needs of this new religion.
The cult is called punk, the music punk rock.
Basic rock music - raw, outrageous and crude.
Like their fan magazine Sniffin' Glue.
In Glasgow, Tony Drayton set up a rival zine.
So is this the first issue of Ripped And Torn you did in '76?
That's the one, yeah. That's the first one. November '76.
I was living in Glasgow
and reading the music press and avidly following music
and just started writing about this punk rock experience,
the punk rock scene happening in London.
And I thought, "This sounds like my kind of thing."
Tony's first exposure to punk was an early Damned gig in 1976.
The reality of seeing The Damned was better than I could have imagined.
I thought, "I've got to do something,
"have a creative reaction to this."
I can't sing. I can't play guitar.
All I could do was write.
And Sniffin' Glue had come out
and so I got hold of it, I thought, "This doesn't look very good."
"There's just not much graphic style going on."
And then, at The Damned gig, I met Mark and said to him,
"Oh, can I write about... Can I write for Sniffin' Glue?"
Because I used to love writing.
And he said, "No. Go and do one yourself.
"Go back to Glasgow and do your own fanzine."
And I thought, "OK." So I put this together.
Each of the Ripped And Torns, you had a chart.
Which isn't so much your chart,
but it's a chart from readers,
-who would send in their favourite records.
We used to say,
"Send in your top ten current favourite LPs and singles."
-And I'd compile the chart.
And we had "I Wanna Be You Boyfriend", Ramones number 1.
-Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers second album number 1.
-Was much played on the radio at the time?
I think I put something in Ripped And Torn 1 here about the BBC.
The BBC, did they have a clue?
John Peel did a sort of punk night one night.
He sort of played lots of stuff from CBGB, Max's Kansas City.
That must have been pretty exciting to hear that.
It was a whole two-hour show. I taped the whole show.
And I almost kind of played that every day.
"Punk and the BBC.
"Is the Beeb going punk mad?
"Apart from the very excellent
"Mr John Peel session from The Vibrators,
"he also plays most, if not all, of the new punk releases.
"But a couple of days ago,
"I heard Simon Bates playing We Vibrate by The Vibrators
"on the 9am to 12 noon show.
"Of course, he slagged it off.
"But what can you expect from a straight DJ like him?
"In the future, you never know,
"punk rock getting its own show perhaps?"
What do you think? 2016, 40 years later,
you're actually on BBC TWO talking about 1976 punk rock.
You'd never have thought it.
When I wrote that, I would never have thought it possible.
But it wasn't just the fans
who were embracing this do-it-yourself aesthetic.
Bands became aware of the possibilities
opened up by self-releasing records.
With their irresistible melodies and ordinary boy image,
the Buzzcocks were the definitive Manchester punk band.
As an up-and-coming group,
they took control of the means of production
and established their own record label.
The Buzzcocks recording Spiral Scratch,
was it simply just a means of just wanting to make a record?
Yes, it was about making a record.
Because, I mean, it seemed a sort of esoteric process, you know?
Only record companies could make records.
But we found out that we could.
We thought, "This is our one shot at doing this."
So we booked some time in the studio
and we went in just after Christmas of '76
and recorded the four tracks.
The studio didn't really know what was going on,
because it was just noise to them.
# You know me, I'm acting dumb
# You know the scene, very humdrum
# Boredom, boredom
# Boredom... #
Personally, I approached the whole punk thing
as like we were trying to do the most uncommercial form of music.
I mean, you were completely outside the mainstream
and to do songs, you know, in the manner and the form that we did
was not how you would sell records.
So we were going for
the most uncommercial form of music we could imagine.
So the record comes out pretty quickly.
You recorded it in Christmas '76 and it comes out in February '77.
And how did you distribute the record?
Were you just going to record stores with it?
Well, the first time we got copies of it,
I was going out to The Ranch Club
and I had a box of them
and I was trying to sell them to people at £1 each, you know?
But then Virgin in Manchester, they took some.
-And then also Rough Trade.
And so, within a few weeks, they'd all gone.
Given how quickly it was taken up,
I've often wondered how punk first started here.
This movement where the masses felt empowered for the first time
didn't just exist in a vacuum.
The myth that punk rock came into existence out of nothing
is one I never bought.
One man who knows more about the roots of punk rock than any other
is counterculture chronicler Barry Miles.
In the 1960s and '70s,
Miles was a leading custodian of the underground scene in London.
After starting the bookshop and gallery Indica
with Paul McCartney in his early 20s,
he became a doyen of the antiestablishment.
What did the hippies make of punk?
For people coming out of the underground scene in the '60s,
the punk scene was the same type of energy and the same sensibility.
They had more in common with hippies
than they did with, as it were, the straights.
So they still...
They could relate very much to the punks.
And in secret, as it were,
most of the punks related very much to that whole hippie scene.
But they had to say, you know, that they hated all the hippies
and they hated love and peace.
To me, they were really just hippies with short hair.
In America, punk was really just sort of something
that a few urban marginalised characters would know about
living in New York and possibly LA.
It was a very sort of big city thing.
And the news didn't start spreading until later.
But in London, it seems like everybody got wind of it.
In Britain, because there were three weekly music papers
that all had to find news to fill them, it spread very, very rapidly
because this was perfect newspaper copy.
And also the people working for the English music press,
many of the main writers had come out of the underground press.
So they could relate directly
to the ideas that the punks were expressing.
Living between New York and London
gave Miles the opportunity to observe the growth of punk
on both sides of the Atlantic.
He even witnessed one of the stranger English influences
on New York punks - the Ramones.
In the early days, when the Beatles did a tour of Scotland
and that was when McCartney decided to use the name Paul Ramone
as his pseudonym.
And then he later on used it in hotels and stuff.
And Ramone came from...?
Ramone, he took the name from a guy called Raymond Bessone.
He's known to everyone, I think, as Mr Teasy-Weasy.
Mr Teasy-Weasy is a celebrity hairdresser,
who had a show on the BBC.
And he had a little moustache and slicked back hair.
And it was a sort of joke on McCartney's part
to take this guy's name.
You know Raymond. And he became Ramone.
Oh, yes, rather.
In the end, the Ramones finished up with a name
that was taken from a celebrity hairdresser off the BBC.
Did the Ramones ever realised that their name came...?
They did, because I had a talk with Dee Dee once about that.
You talked to Dee Dee about Teasy-Weasy?
And he had apparently worked in a beauty salon
and he was absolutely delighted to find out that their name
came from a hairdresser.
Teasy-Weasy is the true progenitor of punk rock?
He is indeed, yes.
40 years after the birth of punk,
many of its most innovative figures have passed on.
For my Artsnight,
I wanted to revisit the legacy of another lost hero -
Poly Styrene, the singer of X-Ray Spex.
Next month marks the fifth anniversary of her passing.
I've always wondered how this young girl from South London
found her voice, leading one of punk's pioneering bands.
# I know you're antiseptic
# Your deodorant smells nice... #
In 1976, Poly was selling fashion accessories
and second-hand clothes from a stall on the Kings Road.
It was here that she met the other members of the band
and they soon started gigging in the Man In The Moon pub next door.
I met her daughter Celeste to find out where all of this happened.
So, Celeste, it's a beautiful rainy day in London.
-Where are we right now?
-We are just coming up to the Kings Road.
The World's End.
And just over there is the old Man In The Moon pub.
-So that's the Man In The Moon. The World's End is over here.
So the stall that Poly had must have been in this building somewhere?
Yeah, it would have been in one of these shops here.
She actually sold second-hand clothes, kind of granny chic.
And she would have worn a lot of the stuff that she was selling
when she started performing.
Do think these people have any idea
of the history of what happened in this construct?
I doubt it.
-You could ask them.
-Shall we bang on the window?
It wasn't just clothes and music where Poly fashioned a new identity.
She was also responsible for the band's punk designs and look.
So, Celeste, we have this archive of your mother's work with X-Ray Spex.
What exactly do we have here?
So, yeah, we've got some original artwork.
And here you can see a logo and it's one of the first ones that she did.
So she would just do it by hand, like, with a felt-tip pen.
And on this badge you can see,
like, the first lot of merchandise would have had this logo.
And she just did it all by hand
and would, like, photocopy and it was very DIY.
And these photographs?
-Are these promotional photographs that were done of Poly?
This would have been around the time
of Germfree Adolescence, single release.
And then in this one, you have the helmet and the goggles.
Because my mum got a lot of stuff from Army and Navy stores.
And when she had the shop,
she would sell bits like that, second-hand clothes.
Can that be limper? Can we try just a bit more...
-This helmet. Is that the helmet here that you brought?
Here it is.
-Oh, that's really cool.
That's so iconic. When you see this in these photographs...
It's great that you have this.
Do you remember the first time you saw video footage of the band?
Because I guess that wasn't something you would have seen
until we had the technology to see it.
-Yeah, I didn't see anything really until YouTube.
I mean, a lot of us didn't really see anything until YouTube.
Although, I saw the band in 1978 when they came over to New York
and they played two nights at CBGB.
And when your mom was singing Oh, Bondage! Up Yours!,
she would sing, "Oh, bondage!"
And then she would put the microphone in my face
-and I knew the words.
Like, I had the record.
And so I knew what to say.
And I yelled, "Up yours!"
And I felt really kind of, like, scared in a certain way,
because everybody was kind of looking at me.
It was the first time I ever sang in a microphone,
like, in any kind of context of rock 'n' roll.
So that was my big debut, was, like, kind of with your mom.
I don't suspect she would have remembered anything like that.
But I'll always remember it.
-I managed to get a bootleg copy of the night.
Would you like to hear it?
Yeah, I never knew it existed.
Well, here we go...
# Bind me tie me, chain me to the wall
# I wanna be a slave to you all
# Oh, bondage! Up yours!
# Oh, bondage!
# Up yours!
# Oh, bondage! Up yours!
# Oh, bondage! Up yours! #
# Chain store, chain-smoke, I consume you all
# Chain gang, chain mail I don't think at all
# Oh, bondage!
# Up yours!
# Oh, bondage!
# Up yours!
# Oh, bondage! Up yours! #
-How cool is that?
I sang with your mom. That's...
That's the first time I ever sang. I wasn't even on stage.
-You were just in the crowd.
-Well, I was kind of on stage.
No, she just chose me because I was right in front of her
looking like this...
And a very happy 40th birthday indeed to punk rock.
Oh, bondage! Up yours!
That's it for my Artsnight.
I leave you with this gem from the BBC archive
with Derek Nimmo visiting the Sex shop.
What's actually wrong with what I'm wearing?
Mate, you look so bloody boring. I cannot believe it.
I agree with you, yes.
It's a question of how you feel. The point is to change yourself.
But why? Why does one have to change oneself?
-Because then you'll feel great.
-Do you think?
Well, I've heard what you guys like to see.
-Do you like what I'm wearing?
-You look funny.
Where's your chain?
-You haven't got your chain.
Oh, should I have a chain on?
Yes, from your nose to your ear to finish off. Oh, yes.
Phew... You're mad.