NEW YORK (Reuters) – It was supposed to be a celebration.
Big Star, mostly unheralded in the 1970s but now revered by generations of younger bands, was scheduled to perform in Austin, Texas in March, last year.
Three days before the show, Chris Stamey, founding member of the dB’s and Big Star acolyte, was planning to fly in and pitch a new project to the band: a series of performances of its legendary third album — alternately called “Third” or “Sister Lovers” — that included a full string ensemble.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jon King and Andy Gill, who founded pioneering postpunk band Gang of Four, are sipping espressos in a Manhattan hotel and explaining how they conceived “Content,” their first album of new music in more than 15 years.
King, 55, whips out his digital camera and displays a photo of a female bartender. “We’re doing a series of photographs of women posing as the woman in ‘A Bar at the Folies Bergeres’ in bars around America,” he said with a mischievous grin.”
NEW YORK (Reuters) – “And I’m surfing on a wave of nostalgia/For an age that’s yet to come.” Pete Shelley, the lead singer of the Buzzcocks, wrote those wistful words 32 years ago, during the short-lived punk revolution that unleashed bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash on the musical landscape in the late 1970s.
Fast-forward to 2010, and Shelley is happily surfing that wave, singing the aforementioned “Nostalgia” as well as older songs such as “Boredom” and “Orgasm Addict” for youngsters raised on the likes of Green Day. Now, those kids can see for themselves how much the fast-paced power-punk melodies of contemporary chart-toppers owe to the Buzzcocks.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – “You’re sounding like one of those cynical halfwits.”
John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) sends his trademark cackle echoing into the ears of a journalist who had the temerity to compare Lydon’s revival of the groundbreaking postpunk band Public Image Ltd. to a Las Vegas act.
To most, Alex Chilton’s was the gruff soulful voice that grabbed you by the throat in “The Letter.” Less than two minutes long, the song by the Box Tops was pure confection: Chips Moman’s rhythm section laying the foundation, Memphis horns punctuating the chorus and the cheesy jet sound effects made the song a chart-topping hit in 1967. Chilton was 16 years old.
Fed up with being a pretty face in the pop music grist mill, he left the band in 1970. When he returned with Big Star in 1972, he traded in the R&B for Beatles-style pop with a harder, driving beat. His voice had jumped nearly an octave. He and his friend Chris Bell penned eloquent elegies of teen angst, exuding hopelessness and defiance, often in the same breath.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – In the summer of 1987, 19-year-old Mac McCaughan and his bandmates stumbled on an idea as old as rock ‘n’ roll itself.
Rather than sending demo tapes to major record companies, they followed in the do-it-yourself footsteps of punk-rock idols such as the Buzzcocks and Minor Threat and started their own label. But more than promote their own band, they wanted to document the local music in the college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.