May 9, 2007

May 09, 2007 11:05 PM

I remember when I was in the small but crushed media throng of an audience for the very first American (Atlanta GA) show of the Sex Pistols when Robert Christgau (famed music editor – Village Voice) interviewed some of us and asked ME if I was there “for the fashion or the music ? “. . . . This memory will tie together what I am about to say. . . . I finally watch the documentary : Kill Your Idols. I thought it was interesting that it was produced by two members (Don and Josh Braun) of Michael’s band before Swans : Circus Mort. The two clips of Swans live were from shows where I was on stage as well as Al and Ted but the clips unfortunately just showed Michael and a moment of Norman. Still, it was gratifying to see the interview with the iconic and original thinkers of the post no-wave scene like Michael and Glenn Branca and JG Thirlwell and Thurston Moore but also the no wave scene proper with Lydia Lunch and Arto Lindsay. I got the point of the film which to me was to make a commentary on how the scene before spawns the next scene and how the veterans view the younger scene and vice versa. The veterans in this film are shown to be acutely aware of how they paid their dues and their purity of intent and are condescending towards the younger scene and view it as fake and full of young bands wanting immediate commercial success and only caring about fashion. In other words, poseurs. ***(Although, The Poseurs would have made a good punk or post punk ironic commentary band name.) ***The younger scene is unashamed of their desire to be famous and deemed cool by the media. They are critical of the veteran scene for what they see as its own cliches and self consciousness. ***The interesting thing is that I recall when the British press tried to create a scene and unify what was happening in New York. They called it something like “the new flesh” and they included Swans and Foetus and Lydia Lunch… The irony is that none of the bands living in the East Village in the 80’s actually considered themselves part of any scene at all. Swans went out of its way to be isolationist. An attitude that I know I have had . . . for my entire career. ***I think the documentary was too ambitious for its short length and I think more people from the early days should have been interviewed. I would include Lary Seven (Beautiful People Ltd) in that as well as Catherine and Nicolas Ceresole as well as people onto the scene in 84 like myself who identified with the no wave scene and had also embraced punk culture and music and were drawn to New York to become part of the intensity of what was happening in 83/84. Not as a poseur, however, but to get your hands dirty. Michael’s recounting about what happened one time when he was doing demolition work in New York pretty much says it all about those days.