Thursday, December 08, 2011

Which is on fire...on fire

'79 Clash Palladium Super-8 footage unearthed and soundtracked at TheClashBlog.  Thanks to the ever-vigilant Tim B. at Stupefaction for the alert.


Super-cool Ed Sanders interview at the NY Times East Village blog.  I hope Fug You arrives at T.O. bookstores in a more timely manner than Love Goes to Buildings on Fire did.


But yes, I did manage to score a copy of Love Goes over the weekend, and have devoured 2/5ths of it already...pretty good progress, considering that each of the book's five chapters corresponds to a year in the author's coverage period of '73-'77. Since I've spent much of the past year studying this time frame in depth, certain aspects of the narrative feel a bit like deja vu all over again.  Will Hermes' scope reaches far beyond that of this blog though--he devotes as much attention to the music scenes I'm less well-versed in, and I appreciate the edification.  Still, I feel that the rock and roll portions of the book suffer a bit from a lack of the intense deep examination I crave, as it seems like only the best-known stories on the major figures in NYC proto-punk and punk are told.  Great stuff of course, but by now that's well-trodden territory for all rock book aficionados worth their salt--it's the more obscure folks who need to be documented at this point.  I generally agree with Times reviewer David Gates' assesment that "he writes more evocatively about jazz, salsa and concert music than about rock 'n' roll" (add the early hip-hop scene to that list too). But where Gates dismisses Hermes' interwoven personal tales of burgeoning Queens teen music fandom as unnecessary, those have naturally been my fave aspects of the book so far.  I'm always a sucker for a protagonist I can identify with--and not only was Hermes a bit too young to experience the best stuff firsthand, he grew up right near my high school in Fresh Meadows.  No matter how this tome will turn out, he's already won me over on that basis alone.

Can't wait for my library reservation on James Wolcott's memoirs to come through, which seems like it'd be the perfect companion volume.  But it's not as if I've been lacking for NYC rock lit lately--I also recently finished The Last Sultan (on Ahmet Ertegun) and Ten Thousand Saints (a novel largely set among the '80s East Village straightedge hardcore scene), and enjoyed them both.  Next up will probably be Jerry Blavat's memoirs--yet believe me, these might seem like a ton of books, but none of my efforts will ever lessen the sheer height of my Sisyphean "to read" pile.    

2 comments:

Tim Broun said...

Thanks for your comments on the Hermes book. I've been slow out of the gate to read it because, as you say, so many of those rock & roll stories have already been told. I guess my expectations are low, and I'm getting a little burned out on the era...or at least the portions of the era that get all of the coverage.

I'm in the middle of The Keith book, and the Nile Rodgers book. Stay tuned.

Tim said...

Cheers for the mention, as you no doubt know few English bands ever made such good friends with New York as The Clash. Nice blog...