[Landline] In a state of severe anticipation
Nuclear attack despair, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Cramps
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
1. HOW TO SAVE YOUR FACE IN CASE OF NUCLEAR ATTACK
Talking nuclear apocalypse dread the other day at the coffeehouse, as one does. Author friend Jeff Kisseloff remembered what he was drilled to do as a schoolkid in the mid-’60s:
“They marched us out into the hallway and had us sit cross legged against the wall with our heads down between our legs. This was going to save our faces from burning up from an atom bomb. More likely it was to kiss our asses goodbye.”
2. FRANKIE STILL SAY
I went through adolescence during the height of Cold War aggression in the mid-’80s, when rhetoric heated up and both sides raced to gain some kind of decisive advantage in the nuclear weapon sweepstakes. I don’t remember receiving any advice in ninth grade on what to do should the Gipper decide to bring down Kingdom Come but at least we had the extended “Annihilation” 12-inch version of “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood to guide us.
Come with me back to 1984. You are listening to 91X FM out of Tijuana/San Diego, and this nine-minute we’re-all-gonna-die-or-worse operatic dance anthem comes on. Three minutes in — the proper song not yet begun — folded in amongst banter from a Reagan impersonator, an earnest British announcer (Patrick Allen, reprising his chilling narration from the British Protect and Survive public information films) advises, “If your grandmother or any other member of the family should die while still in the shelter, put them outside, but remember to tag them first for identification purposes”...
I just checked, and yes, the original, infamous “Two Tribes” video still slaps (sorry/not sorry):
Frankie Goes to Hollywood! An absolutely outrageous, singular band/phenomenon. Let us recall too Frankie’s gay power and bacchanalian glory…
3. WE’RE GOING TO THE OLDSMOBILE GRAVEYARD
Speaking of bachanalia. “Some of the greatest nights of my life started with a Cramps show,” says a Youtube commenter, speaking for us all, regarding the vintage Cramps live video below.
Just brilliant, incendiary, hilarious, fantastic. As much fun as the Ramones, maybe even more. The Cramps remain an inspiration, and still, despite a devoted cult following and the admiration of at least four generations of dedicated rock n rollers, the Cramps seem somehow under-appreciated, undersung, underloved, underplayed.
Yet who can tell their story in 2022? Lux Interior is gone. Bryan Gregory is gone. Nick Knox is gone. And Poison Ivy is by all reports peacefully retired and onto other things.
But! Good news! Barring nuclear war, this October will see the publication of a book, eleven years in the making, that includes (amongst so many other amazing things) a first-person account of being a guitarist with the Cramps in arguably their greatest line-up…
4. A GOOD BOOK FOR BAD PEOPLE
What I’m talking about is this memoir, just announced this morning:
The promo copy reads:
Kid Congo Powers has been described as a “legendary guitarist and paragon of cool” with “the greatest resume ever of anyone in rock music." That unique imprint on rock history stems from being a member of not one but three beloved, groundbreaking, and influential groups—Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Cramps, and last but not least, The Gun Club, the wildly inventive punk-blues band he co-founded.
Some New Kind of Kick begins as an intimate coming of age tale, of a young, queer, Chicano kid, growing up in a suburb east of East LA, in the mid-‘70s, exploring his sexual identity through glam rock. When a devastating personal tragedy crushes his teenage dreams, he finds solace and community through fandom, as founder (‘The Prez’) of the Ramones West Coast fan club, and immerses himself in the delinquent chaos of the early LA punk scene.
A chance encounter with another superfan, in the line outside the Whiskey-A-Go-Go to get into a Pere Ubu concert, changes the course of his life entirely. Jeffrey Lee Pierce, a misfit Chicano punk who runs the Blondie fan club, proposes they form a band. The Gun Club is born. So begins an unlikely transition from adoring fan to lauded performer. In Pierce, he finds brotherhood, a creative voice, and a common cause, but also a shared appetite for self-destruction that threatens to overwhelm them both.
Quirky, droll, and heartfelt, with a pitch-perfect evocation of time and place, and a wealth of richly drawn supporting characters, Some New Kind of Kick is a memoir of personal transformation, addiction and recovery, friendship and belonging, set against the relentless creativity and excess of the ’70s and ’80s underground music scenes.
Gimme gimme, right? I am sure you join me in a state of severe anticipation. The book is out October 18, 2022. Stop salivating, damn the torpedoes and join me in pre-ordering this baby here: https://found.ee/SomeNewKindofKick
Life is short
Filled with stuff
Don’t know what for
I ain’t had enough
Rock ‘n’ roll renews,
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