Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Static - "Live at Riverside Studio's, London, 02/24/1979"


One thing that always annoyed me about the UK Punk Rock scene was this obsession with the 'No Future' 'Career Opportunities' 'Right To Work' nonsense. The suggestion that if only we all had a job,a few quid in the pocket, and new TV, everything would be alright. It was a simplistic message to explain away their anti-social behaviour,alongside Boredom(yaaaawn); and attracted the kind of 'Punk' that produced the embarrassing cliché that adorn many postcards today.The UK Subs and Sham 69 are typical of this so-called street punk approach,dumbing it down to the level of conventional politics. No-one thought that 'No Future' applied to the Royal Family as well ,or sing about the right NOT to work(except maybe Crass of all people). No Future applies to everyone,and the horror of the human condition specifies that we are all future wormfood. Having a career changes nothing about this hopeless situation. An angle more than adequately covered by the nascent Industrial scene in the UK,but not really addressed in Punk Rock UK.
Wire,to their credit were never part of the general Punk Rock direction,and as a result were popular in the USA,who's Punk equivalents never touched on this ,frankly, socialist approach. Something that was alien to them completely. The yanks liked the bands who rocked like the Damned,X-Ray Spex,and the Stranglers, or the bands who looked to the future like Wire, the Pop Group, and the Gang of Four(they obviously never listened to the lyrics,but 'they rocked maaaan').
The early New Yawk 'punk' scene had little in common with the UK variant, and I'd hesitate to call it 'Punk'. Proto-Punk were The Ramones, Heartbreakers etc, dressed down guitar rock were Television, Patti Smith post-Hippie,and proto-post punk were Talking Heads. Only Richard Hell and the Voidoids got close,probably more like a prototype No Wave band if anything?
Which brings us to what I consider to be the real US equivalent of UK Punk/Post-Punk, the aforementioned NO-Wave clique. This encapsulated the real 'end of the world' feel that Punk Rock should have been about. The discordant noise that repulsed trad rock fans really put the torture of the human condition into a sonic aspect. They didn't need or want to be liked ,there was just an unstoppable desire to spew forth this horrible noise that they had trapped inside. Something that Americans have always been good at, and the emotionally repressed Brits never, without the help of booze and drugs. “I'm so Bored with the USA” sang The Clash about a country that only evokes extreme feelings. Whether it be hate or love, one thing that you cannot say about the USA is that its 'Boring'?! No-Wave was these extremes of emotion in action,but still had more in common with Industrial and so-called Post-Punk in th UK ,than the Punk Rock itself; but nevertheless the closest the US ever got to the perfect punk philosophy embodied.
Mr. No-Wave was undoubtedly Glenn Branca, co-creator of the detuned Guitar onslaught concurrent with the more music schooled Rhys Chatham. His first trio, The Static, unleashed this monstrous noise from 1977 to 79 to various audiences in the New York downtown arty scene. Largely under represented on vinyl,except one great single, and a few compilation appearances, I have managed to unearth a live concert from 1979,ironically, in London,at the very arty Riverside studios. Another bizarre trait of the Americans is that they always have to leave it to the Brits to appreciate the good things they have first, and send it back to them before they realise what they had!? Without the UK the only music they'd have in the charts would be the complete and utter shite of Billy Ray Cyrus and the Eagles. Now that would be 'Boring'!But as always it would be the extreme end of boredom,very American?

14 comments:

bill said...

Terrific! Music and spot-on spiel too. Thanks.

kingpossum said...

Blessings. I was not aware of this project by Mr. Branca, and it's fantastic. Second bill above on kudos for your writeup (this one and every one).

Steffen said...

Thank you.

ROOKSBY said...

Quite amazing! And if it sounds this raucous on tape, think how incredible it must've been in the room, on the night, with your head in the p.a.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Yes,wish i was there. As for heads in P.A. bins,i did that at a Godflesh pub gig, and was virtually deaf for a whole week.

Bodhi Amol said...

hello,i think the source of this is ubu.com,this is whre i found it a few years ago.Think it would be nice to point out...

Jonny Zchivago said...

or maybe it was from a shared cassette with Dan Graham on audio arts? So maybe you be so nice as to shut up?

E (Ian) said...

The above made me laugh, and prompts me to cease being in the selfish, silent schism and actually say thank you so much for so many amazing posts.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Accepted with pleasure Ian. Glad I amused you.This is part of the purpose of this blog.

c.w.c.II said...

Thanks a million for this, I only ever had the 2 songs from the EP…and yes, Branca is one of the only brilliant US musicians.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Mmmm yes, interesting.Name ten 'Brilliant' US musicians...Branca....Beefheart?.....The Residents?......I'm sure there's more?

pinkpressthreat said...

Spot on intro. "Right To Work"? Do me a favour. Many of those bumflap and braces so-called 'punks' totally missed the point, and alot of them still do, with their Rebellion Festival chicken-in-a-basket-let's-get-lagered-up-and-pretend-it's 1978 idiocy.
Thanks alot for this - playing loud.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Fuckin' 'ell,the Rebellion festival.....don't get me started! Its like a punk,with a little 'p', version of that cruddy old victorian music hall nostalgia show that was on TV in the 70's...."the Good Old Days"....how i hated that shit....this stuff is no different. Seeing a seventy year old Charlie Harper barking out 'Stranglehold' for the 1000th time is not something one desires to experience.

pinkpressthreat said...

hahahaha
*cringe* !