Results for The Sex Pistols
Film critic Roger Ebert joins Jim and Greg this week. The three critics sit down to discuss some of their favorite movies made about music. Roger has called Woodstock the greatest rock documentary ever made. In fact, he thinks it's just one of the best movies ever made. He also recommends Hard Day's Night and Gimme Shelter. One movie Roger didn't love was Martin Scorcese's film Don't Look Back. In Roger's original review, he took Bob Dylan to task for being kind of a jerk (though he reconsidered the movie years later).
One of Jim and Greg's favorite rock and roll movies was actually written by Roger Ebert himself. He wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls with Russ Meyer. The movie was quite successful and eventually became a cult classic, particularly in the rock world. The original story, written by Jacqueline Susann, was about struggling actresses. In this version, the actresses were turned into struggling rock stars. Despite the fact that the movie is not mentioned in Fox's official history, it is coming out this year on DVD.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was not our guest's only screenplay. Roger and his partner Russ Meyer also penned a The Sex Pistols movie entitled Who Killed Bambi. The movie never came to frution, but Roger describes his memorable experiences meeting Sid Vicious and John Lydon.
Before they let him leave, Jim and Greg ask the movie expert about music. Roger chooses Hank Williams as his DIJ pick, and also talks about being a fan of the Mills Brothers, Laurie Anderson, and fellow Chicago native Liz Phair.Go to episode 14
1977 - The Year Punk Broke
This week, Jim and Greg kick off a two-part series about one seminal year in rock history, 1977: The Year Punk Broke. In this episode, they tackle the punk explosion in the U.K. with help from music writer Jon Savage. (Many consider Savage's England's Dreaming to be the definitive book on this period.) So what made punk explode in 1977? Jon chalks it up to a whole lot of rubbish pop music - songs like ABBA's“Fernando”and Elton John's“Don't Go Breaking My Heart”- that were marketed to kids but failed to address concerns about unemployment, consumerism, and of course, parents and other authority figures. More immediately, there was The Ramones playing their first London gig, and inspiring bands from The Buzzcocks to The Sex Pistols to The Damned. The Sex Pistols were the first to make a splash with their controversial single"God Save the Queen," banned across the British media. That Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Sex Pistols was still able to chart, Jon says, demonstrated the muscle of a nascent, independent youth media organized around fanzines and record shops like Rough Trade and Beggar's Banquet. For those who think all U.K. punk sounded the same, Jon points out some key differences. While The Sex Pistols“really had a dark heart,”The Clash had the social consciousness of a sixties band. Manchester's The Buzzcocks were into psychedelia. Regardless of any one band's take on the genre however, punk's message was the same. In Jon's words: "Pop music doesn't have to be something that oppresses you. It can actually liberate you."
Jim and Greg close out 1977 Part One by playing two favorite songs from this year. Greg goes out with The Adverts' "One Chord Wonder." Not only did The Adverts have the best names in punk - T.V. Advert, Gaye Advert, Howard Pickup, and Laurie Driver - they epitomized the genre's“no skill required”ethos. Jim goes with the Wire track "Ex-Lion Tamer" from one of his favorite records of all time, Pink Flag. This quartet of art students not only embodied the punk sound in 1977, they were also looking forward to the possibilities of post-punk.Go to episode 350
As 2006 comes to end, Jim and Greg take a look back at the year in music — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and give out their annual“Soopie Awards.” Here are this year's winners:
The 14:59 Award: Kevin Federline. The dancer turned husband turned wannabe rapper started off this year with a new single, "Popozao," and a new hope for a better, bill-free, life. Now K-Fed is a soon-to-be twice-divorced father of four who was dumped via text message and booed by fans on the same night. The clock is ticking…
The Most Clichéd Criminal Act Award: Snoop Dogg. Rapper Snoop Dogg was arrested a number of times this year, but the final criminal act really took the cake. He was stopped after an appearance on The Tonight Show with what must be the gangsta rap starter kit — pot, cocaine and a weapon — soon to be available at a Wal-Mart near you.
The Award for Rock Aging Gracefully: The Sex Pistols. Upon receiving an invitation to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Sex Pistols responded thusly. Sound Opinions H.Q. is glad the punk spirit is still alive somewhere.
The Award for Rock Aging Poorly: CBGB's. One place the punk spirit isn't alive is Las Vegas. Yet that's exactly where the original Lower East Side punk headquarters is relocating. We just hope Patti Smith doesn't join Celine for an extended residency.
The Best New Sheriff in Town Award: Eliot Spitzer. 2006 was a big year for the Attorney General. Mr. Spitzer not only won the office of Governor of the State of New York, but he also brought down some of the giants in the music industry who continued the practice of payola. He received his largest settlement from Universal Music (which checked off all major record labels) and is now moving on to radio.
The“Hootie”the F** Are You? Award*: three-way tie between Rascal Flatts, The Fray & KT Tunstall. No one seems to know who you are, but your names continue to appear on the charts. Jim and Greg can only blame this on the Hootie effect.
The Politics Paying Too Big a Price Award: Dixie Chicks. After telling a British audience that she's ashamed the President is a fellow Texas native, Natalie Maines and her fellow Dixie Chicks have been boycotted by country radio stations and have been forced to cancel many tour dates. Jim and Greg wonder whatever happened to free speech?
The Politics Not Paying Enough of a Price Award: Barbra Streisand. Maybe we'll rethink that free speech thing… On her recent tour, the always liberal Barbra Streisand decided to incorporate political satire and sketches into her performance. After paying hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for tickets, many audience members wished Babs would just stick to singing. Jim and Greg agree.
Award for Best Rock Couple. Nominees: Paul McCartney and Heather Mills; Kim and Marshall Mathers; Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson. The Winner: Jay-Z and Nas. They've been“beefing”for years, and made their careers dissing one another. But now pure friendship (aka Def Jam and profit-sharing) have brought them together. Thank God those two kids worked it out!
From all of us at Sound Opinions, Happy New Year!Go to episode 57
1977 - The Year Punk Broke
In the second and final installment of our series 1977: The Year Punk Broke, Jim and Greg explore the punk movement stateside with music writer Ira Robbins. Ira founded the music magazine Trouser Press in 1974. As a music journalist in New York, he was a fixture of the CBGBs scene, regularly "taking [his] life in his hands" to go to second avenue and hear bands like the Ramones, the Dictators, the Dead Boys, and Television play divey clubs. Whereas punk enjoyed a rapid rise in the U.K. in 1977, Ira describes the New York scene as more of a slow simmer. Fans gradually migrated from clubs like Max's Kansas City, where glam acts like The New York Dolls ruled, to clubs like CBGBs where a younger, rawer set of performers was defining the punk look and sound. Though the Ramones, with their simple song structures and leather jackets became emblematic of New York punk, Ira remembers a diverse scene. The Dead Boys, Television, and The Talking Heads may not have sounded the same, but in economically-depressed 70s-era New York, they shared an attitude that "life sucked, it's probably not going to get better, but so what."
Jim and Greg each choose a favorite track from the New York scene. Greg goes with the Talking Heads' "Don't Worry About the Government" from the band's self-titled debut. More than any other band, the Talking Heads epitomized New York punk's diversity. Their first gig may have been opening for the Ramones, but Greg contends the band's sound was more dance than punk. Still, Byrne's narrator in this song - a stressed, neurotic government bureaucrat - taps into the anxiety of the punk era. Jims goes with the ultimate American punk anthem, Richard Hell's "Blank Generation." The story goes that U.K. punk impresario Malcolm McLaren saw Hell perform the song in the U.S., then returned home and advised The Sex Pistols to write something "just like it, but your own."Go to episode 351
classic album dissections
the Sex Pistols & The Ramones Rocket to Russia
Jim and Greg have mastered the art of the album dissection. This week they try their hand at Rocket to Russia by The Ramones. This was the punk originators' third album, released in April of 1977. Jim and Greg picked this album because of how revolutionary it was at the time. This was the era of Yes, James Taylor and KC and the Sunshine Band. Now that radio playlists are full of songs by bands like Fall Out Boy and Green Day, it's easy to forget a time before punk music. But, until four high schoolers from Forest Hills, NY merged their love of Brill-Building pop and British invasion rock with a big dose of speed and attitude, the sound as we know it didn't exist.
Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Hyman, sang vocals, Johnny Ramone, born John Cummings, played guitar, Dee Dee Ramone, born Douglas Colvin, played bass and Tommy Ramone, born Tom Erdelyi, played drums. The four began to record Rocket to Russia after recently releasing two other albums and touring the US and Europe. Today, Tommy Ramone is the only living member of that original group. Tommy co-produced Rocket to Russia and wrote many of the songs, and Jim and Greg invited him on to talk about making the album.
It was a treat to get a first-hand account of recording Rocket to Russia from Tommy Ramone. He revealed a number of interesting facts, some of which surprised even our hosts. Here are some of the noteworthy points:
- Johnny is known for being a speed demon. Tommy credits this with his desire to be a baseball player and his love of the fastball.
- Joey is the band's original drummer, and Tommy acted as their manager. Tommy took over on drums in order to keep up with Johnny's pace. He had never played drums before, and sometimes outpaced the studio's click track.
- Seymour Stein was the label executive behind the band. Despite the fact that their sound wasn't popular, he believed in The Ramones enough to boost their recording budget up to a whopping $25,000.
- The Ramones heard God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols during the recording of this album. Despite not having nearly the same amount of money to work with, Tommy explains that there was definitely a sense of competition. The feeling wa — they ripped us off, and now we want to sound better.
- The Ramones were famous for being anti-guitar solo. But, there is one on the track "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow." Tommy reveals that this was actually him playing guitar, and assures Jim and Greg that Johnny wasn't miffed by the choice. Tommy was inspired by the guitar solo in "Tell Me" by the Rolling Stones.
- A number of the songs on Rocket to Russia begin with Dee Dee counting off. The band encouraged their bassist to do this, despite the fact that those counts had nothing to do with the actual speed of the song.
- Tommy struggles to name his favorite tune on the album, but includes "Rockaway Beach" as one of the best. Jim and Greg agree that the sunny, pop track is a great one, made even better by the fact that the actual Rockaway Beach was not a very sunny place. Juxtapose the sound of the song with the idea of trash in the sand and a syringe in your foot.
Jim and Greg also struggle to pick just one song to highlight from Rocket to Russia. Each one is great, and only clocks out at around two minutes. But, Greg was inspired by something Tommy said during their interview. He explained that the Ramones were ahead of their time, and were perhaps too dark and too subversive for mainstream culture. The song that best exemplifies this is "We're a Happy Family." While Happy Days showed one kind of family life, The Ramones wanted to show another, more realistic one. The Ramones were fans of Todd Browning's film Freaks, and celebrated the idea of being different and freaky in this song.
Jim's song choice also celebrates that freak spirit. "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," only has a few words, but it's a definitely an anthem. The term punk previously had a negative connotation. In this song, the Ramones reclaim the word and give a big finger to anyone who judges them (or Sheena). Musically, the song is also quintessentially rock and roll, quintessentially American, quintessentially Ramones. Jim explains that if he had to choose one track to shoot into outer space and represent what rock music is, he'd choose "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker."Go to episode 64
David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
It's been forty years since David Bowie released The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, making this a prime time for Jim and Greg to get out the scalpels for a Classic Album Dissection. Not that Jim and Greg need much prompting to reopen The Bowie Debate (right up there in Sound Opinions lore with The Springsteen Debate and the Tom Waits Debate). The major bone of contention: was Bowie simply an assimilator of others‘ musical styles or an innovator in his own right? While Greg touts Bowie as a rock legend, Jim stops short at“master assimilator.”But even Jim has to admit Ziggy Stardust is among the best records in Bowie’s career, if only because of all of his guises, it's the most unabashedly over-the-top.
Jim tackles side one of the album, which lays out the Ziggy Stardust story. Bowie's vague on the details, but it seems the alien Ziggy has come to earth to rock humanity in the last five years of its existence. It's a tough plot to follow, but Jim says the Spiders make it all worthwhile. Inventive instrumentation and Mick Ronson's stellar guitar work make songs like "Moonage Daydream" rock classics. Greg takes on side two - the harder rocking side of the album. Here you really hear those Ronson riffs that were so influential for punks like The Sex Pistols. Whereas Bowie's theatricality and tendency to take on personas can put Jim off, Greg thinks the value of Bowie's experimentation with glam fashion and especially gender roles can‘t be understated. At a time when it was dangerous to be anything other than straight, Ziggy welcomed in a new audience of outsiders singing "Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful."Go to episode 347
New York Dolls One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This
After disbanding over 30 years ago, glam punk legends the New York Dolls are back with a new album, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This. Though the band's first incarnation existed for only a few years, its influence is undeniable. As Jim and Greg explain, without the Dolls, we wouldn't have the Sex Pistols. Heck, we may not even have had Morrissey, who got the Dolls together in 2004 for London's Meltown Festival. The sole surviving Dolls, David Johansen (aka "Buster Poindexter") and Sylvain Sylvain, came together for this album. Upon hearing of this latest effort, Jim and Greg were both excited and fearful. Now, after hearing it, they can say that their worries were not in vain. Jim loves the old Dolls, and can't understand how the band that made One Day It Will Please Us can even call themselves the New York Dolls. For Jim, it's a Trash It. Greg is a little more forgiving. He thinks that the 2006 Dolls come off like a pretty good cover band, and can't completely bash them. He gives the album a Burn It rating.
With the ghost of St. Valentine looming over us all, this week's show is dedicated to those music fans for whom "Love Stinks." Jim and Greg discuss their favorite anti-love songs and hear some listeners' picks. Here are some songs to get you out of the mood for Valentine's Day.Go to episode 11
The Sex Pistols were recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and upon the announcement, Jim and Greg predicted that the irreverent punk rock band would not necessarily play nice with the music industry“man.”Well, our hosts love to be right. The band posted a letter to the Hall of Fame telling explaining that they aren‘t anyone’s monkey and will not be attending. The Hall of Fame chalked up the behavior to a“punkster”rock and roll attitude, and offered no other comment. With the Pistols out of the picture, now it is up to Ozzy Osbourne to shake things up.
The band Cracker hasn't been heard from in a while, but made news this week when they released not one, but two, greatest hits albums. Cracker achieved success in the early '90s with songs like "Teen Angst" and "Euro-Trash Girl," and their record label, Virgin, decided to release a greatest hits album this year. This was apparently done without the band's knowledge or consent, as they were preparing a new album to be released at the same time. Not feeling like their label was taking very good care of them, Cracker decided to retaliate and release their own greatest hits album — one that is currently outselling the Virgin version.Go to episode 14
First up Jim and Greg talk about Matchbox Twenty. That's right, Matchbox Twenty. But it isn't the adult contemporary gods‘ music our hosts are interested in; it’s their new album release strategy. Rob Thomas and company are releasing 11 versions of their new album Exile on Mainstream including a USB bracelet, iTunes bundle, VH1 stream, and a good old-fashioned CD. It is certainly out-of-the-box thinking for the band's label, but it remains to be seen how fans will respond.
Another novel approach to music marketing is the fusion of rock and…video games. Guitar Hero III recently hit the stores, and in just seven days it made over $100 million. The game is selling for much more than a standard CD, but as Jim and Greg explain, those kind of numbers are more than most bands can boast. In 2006, the video game industry made 12.5 billion dollars, while the music industry was down to 12 billion and sinking. This fact hasn't gone unnoticed by labels, and now many bands are using games like Guitar Hero to promote themselves. This version contains tracks by the Beastie Boys, Weezer and Smashing Pumpkins, and The Sex Pistols even re-recorded their anti-capitalist punk anthem "Anarchy in the U.K." just for the game. Call them out-of-touch, but Jim and Greg wonder why rock fans aren't just picking up a real guitar?
The Eagles also had a successful week. Their new album, the first in studio effort in 28 years, hit the #1 spot on the Billboard Chart. This was due to a change in chart policies. Previously Nielsen SoundScan didn't include sales figures from individual retailers. But, now that artists are striking exclusive deals with outlets like Target, Starbucks, and in this case, Wal-Mart, the band was able to beat out Britney and score the year's second-best selling album.Go to episode 102
A story out of the British press tickled Jim and Greg's fancy this week. England's Essex FM decided to launch a boycott of recent pop phenomenon James Blunt. Blunt, apparently peeved by critics bashing him, instructed the haters to just stop playing his music. Essex FM gladly took the challenge and banned both of his hit singles from their airwaves. Sound Opinions would like to encourage all radio programmers to take Blunt up on his challenge. And while we are at it, there are a few other overplayed radio hits we'd like to discuss…
Finland loves its masked death metal bands. Finnish band Lordi, who recently won the Eurovision prize, became the source of a recent uproar when the lead singer was“unmasked”by two tabloid newspapers. Fans of the masked rockers were so upset by this disrespectful move that over 200,000 of them have signed a petition forcing one of the tabloids to apologize. Sound Opinions fans need not fear however: The true identities of Jim and Greg will never be revealed.
In some sad news, Desmond Dekker died this week at the age of 63. Dekker is credited with bringing the ska and reggae sounds of Jamaica to the West, most notably with the hit "Israelites." Dekker influenced fellow countryman Bob Marley, but his impact in the U.S. and England was most notable in the ska scene. You can still hear Dekker's sound in the music of bands like The Clash, the Sex Pistols and more recently, No Doubt and Less than Jake.Go to episode 27
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- The Ramones, Teenage Lobotomy, Rocket to Russia, Rhino, 1977
- The Ramones, Cretin Hop, Rocket to Russia, Rhino, 1977
- The Ramones, Do You Wanna Dance, Rocket to Russia, Rhino, 1977
- The Sex Pistols, God Save The Queen, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, Universal, 1977
- The Ramones, Sheena is a Punk Rocker, Rocket to Russia, Rhino, 1977
- The Rolling Stones, Tell Me, The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hit Makers), Polydor, 1964
- The Ramones, I Can't Give You Anything, Rocket to Russia, Rhino, 1977
- The Ramones, Rockaway Beach, Rocket to Russia, Rhino, 1977
- The Ramones, I Don't Care, Rocket to Russia, Rhino, 1977
- The Ramones, We're a Happy Family, Rocket to Russia, Rhino, 1977
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