Good example of the non-NYC world beginning to come to grips w/ how stellar the early SONIC YOUTH stuff was, circa 1983-86. This is from Barbara Rice and her TRULY NEEDY fanzine (#8), published in Washington DC in early 1984.
I saw Eileen Myles read tonight and I bought a copy of her new poetry book for her to sign. I never know what to say when I get books signed (usually I don’t get books signed for this reason) so I told her I liked her shoes and socks. I did: the socks were mustard-colored or maybe marigold, and the shoes were pristine light brown oxfords, very shiny. she said she liked my shirt (a Velvet Underground shirt with a dominatrix boot and a whip on it, that I altered many years ago into a tank top with twine on the shoulders) and I thought she was making fun of me when she said, ‘that’s what we care about’ and signed my book ‘thanks for our fashion sense.’ but still I was glad she included me in her we.
I’m watching this mediocre documentary about the No Wave scene and the early 2000s NYC bands it influenced. It’s called Kill Your Idols; I first watched this online five years ago. Haven’t seen it since, but I’ve thought about it a lot.
I’m always interested in movies that express truths they weren’t necessarily trying to get across. Like you watch a movie about a break-up and it’s written by a guy and the female characters are all petty and the male protagonist is a hero and you can watch this movie and think “this is a great look into this sociopath’s mind.”
Anyway, so Kill Your Idols worships these old No Wave bands and treats everything they say as gospel. And there are great musicians here— Glenn Branca and Martin Rev and Michael Gira have every right to be put on this pedestal. BUT. The documentary also features Arto Lindsay from DNA saying he was influenced by Rimbaud and “anti-bourgeois thought,” and then it cuts to him playing bad music. I like a lot of noise. I like a lot of aggressively off-putting music. But the footage of DNA in this film is bad.
Toward the end, Lydia Lunch of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks talks about how the most boring thing a musician can do is pick up a guitar. If bands are looking for new sounds, they shouldn’t play the instrument. And yet she’s been shown playing guitar in at least three archival clips in this movie. As far as I can tell, that’s the only instrument she’s used to make music.
We see the no-wavers say there is no future of punk music. It’s all been done before. By their metric, the current crop of New York punks (including Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Black Dice and the truly awful ARE Weapons) completely suck.
This movie is actually about how the no wave generation have adopted the views of the same baby boomers they were originally trying to piss off. This movie is about how even a dude who walked on his guitar, slunk offstage and called it a show will eventually look into a camera and say “my generation was the last authentic one” and “it was better in my day.”
It’s supposed to be a movie about how much better music used to be, but it’s actually about how Lydia Lunch has a ton in common with the person who scoffs at the radio and says “in my day, every song was great and only the best artists made it.” Kill Your Idols is about how punks grew up and became sad, inverse versions of themselves.
shrieks of horror as ppl realize that *gasp* RDJ isn’t the omg perfect older man. “I thought he was cool!” “WTF this is so unlike him!” I sit in the back of the room holding a cocktail glass filled with only the best cran-grape juice and frown, “he literally did blackface…like literally…why does no one remember that?"
I’m going to the NY Comic Con next week, and Grant Morrison will be there, which means odds are good that I will finally meet the dude who’s been my life-hero role-model worship-subject since I was 15 years old. Probably just briefly. Probably just in the context of an autograph line. But still! That’s weird.
What do I even do?
I can’t just get an autograph and say “I’m a fan” and shake his hand and walk away. I can’t meet someone who’s been that big of an influence on me and treat it like not a big deal. But I also can’t have a fan meltdown and spill my guts and be an embarrassing mess. I don’t even know what to say; “you changed my life” sounds hollow, and he’s heard it all before.