Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Henry Flynt & Nova'Billy ‎– "Nova'Billy" (Locust Music ‎– LOCUST101) 1975

Flynt has had his brushes with the rock world, he took guitar lessons from Lou Reed and sat in on violin for John Cale with the Velvet Underground for four nights in 1966, during the Exploding Plastic Inevitable period. “I enjoyed the experience, but I was kind of out of place. We would get into long chaotic pieces, but Reed stopped me because my sound started getting too hillbilly. He actually punched me to get me to stop.”
Through the late sixties, he pursued an electric guitar driven, political rock format, while in January 1975, he formed Nova'Billy, a rock’n’roll band, who performed spirited versions of the Communist Internationale along with their own songs – a bizarre fusion of rockabilly riffing, free jazz and hillbilly fiddling. He recalls trying to get gigs at the downtown New York punk mecca CBGB, whose initials stand for Country, Blue Grass and Blues. 

“I thought that if anybody had a right to play there I did, I mean those initials describe exactly what I do!” But the club thought otherwise and blew him off. Six months later, punk hit town and his musicians jumped ship, leaving him with a lasting suspicion of a “punk value system” which he considers pervasive.
Flynt correctly dismisses the so-called “alternative culture” as the "mystique of self-disintegration, hollowness and dishonesty, coming forth from this incoherant rage at the so-called establishment. And this self-disintegration, in most cases is also a hoax, since most of these people, like Marilyn Manson or Smashing Pumpkins, are well organized hustlers. It’s very rare that someone like GG Allin or Cobain lives out the myth by actually destroying themselves. You do have the occasional suicide or overdose, but what is more normal is for them to become enormously wealthy, like Eminem! It’s the youth rebellion industry. This mystique of bottomless emptiness is clearly not real. I mean someone who actually was all those things would just melt in their tracks if they were infinitely hollow, alienated. It's as if they want to keep falling through the rotten floors of illusion forever. They affirm that as a state!”

Well I think Henry boy is spot on...Rock and Punk,or the same thing, wrapped up in a nutshell. Not saying that Flynt is the real thang,but he talks a more 'honest' talk,and at least tries to overcome his background to walk some kind of walk that doesn't reek too much of the hypocrisy of someone like Johnny Rotten,who's formally rotten teeth are now perfect and white.
Its easy to see why CBGB's rejected Flynt but accepted The Ramones?....It was a business decision.A choice between someone who wanted to be a Hill Billy or some kids who wanted to be the Bay City Rollers.There was even a poundland David Bowie waiting by the bar in the form of Richard Hell,or whatever his real name was;another who preached the Rock lie yet lives on in the system he derided,writing poetry and waiting for his royalties from the few weeks work he did in 1976.
Henry was certainly closer in effect and ideology to the 'No Wave' groups than the 'new wave' groups.....and didn't Talking Heads steal his image? 
The Nova imploded rather than exploded,and unlike the super-nova that formed our solar system,provided little useable elements for new musical life-forms at all,except maybe The Cramps,and Glenn Branca?....from which sickly malnourished oak trees grew.


parmalee said...

Wow. I hadn't listened to this one in ages as I recall having not liked it much, at all--but it's great! (Well, mostly, some is a bit blah.) There's something about having a singular obsession that makes for great music--or great anything, and it's more than just the Cuban percussionist telling Jaki Liebzeit, "You must play monotonous!" It's more like focus, or something, which Cornelius Cardew seems to have lost when he started doing that wacky People's Liberation Music stuff.

parmalee said...

Weird. I was actually thinking about a Phill Niblock album with the above comment. So I had no opinion about the Nova' Billy album because I don't think I'd ever gotten around to listening to it. Anyways, thanks!

Also, Charlemagne Palestine would make a fine transition from Flynt. Everything's great, but "Strumming Music" is still his masterpiece. But the more recent collaborations with Tony Conrad, Rhys Chatham, and especially the one with Z'ev are really good too. He's also worked with younger sorts, but I'm skeptical. Moreover, he's a working class sort, born to Russian Jewish immigrants, who actually managed to obtain a Bosendorfer Imperial (with financial assistance from Bose... and Sonnabend). (According to this excellent interview with the Quietus: https://thequietus.com/articles/12336-charlemagne-palestine-interview )

I've been plugging this guy a lot of late, but only because I think the world would be a much better place if everyone listened to Palestine--also, he regards dogs as divinities.

Anonymous said...

Internet, what the hell is this blog you threw me into today! lol! I don't know you, guy--and I'm not interested to--but I gotta tell you, I am not easily amused and the contents of this blog amused me for a good half an hour. It's good to find someone who is more of a culture vulture than me.

all praise is due to allah. peace...

Jonny Zchivago said...

Yup,the whole idea of this blog is to amuse myself for half=an hour,so if,as a bi=product one amuses someone else for 30 minutes,then i have done something positive for once.
Praise to Allah indeed,in fact i'm chatting with him right now on the awkward subject of Virgins in paradise. He's got a great sense of humour y'know.