Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Time has run away from me of late, so there's been little time for meat 'n' potatoes on this here blog. However, if you're looking to kill the next 10-15 minutes of your life in a rather more enriching manner, you could do much worse than read this excellent BYRON COLEY interview from the latest issue of Perfect Sound Forever. Byron has long been one of my favourite writers (22 years and counting!), and I'd rank him up there w/ the Holy Trio, alongside Joe Carducci and Jon Savage. He's always kept up w/ the best sounds around, from his beginnings in the punk/No Wave scene in New York right on through to the original hardcore explosion, the post-HC fall-out, most notably in Forced Exposure, all derivations thereof. My favourite examples of his writings are odd ones, and you've either seen them before, or can likely track them down on the 'net somewhere (I'm too lazy to look, so you can do some homework of your own there): they're the (mainly) satirical yet highly informative "footnotes" he penned for the Chris Knox interview in the last issue of Forced Exposure mag from 1993, and similarly the ones he wrote for the Dredd Foole piece in a mid/late '90s issue of New Zealand avant-boffin bible, Opprobrium. He can wax lyrical on everything from the careers of Elton John and Can to the works of Tolkein and history of the bellbottoms, proving at least to me that he could write more than a just good record review. I possibly couldn't say the same about the great-yet-over-rated Lester Bangs (in a debate - well, not much of a debate as such; more of a backslapping session as we both similarly agreed on the basic point - w/ a friend last week on the writing career of Bangs, I noted that my one great problem lay with the fact that the guy waited a decade for something like "punk rock" to happen - a scene full of young, angry kids making high-energy garage-rock to the disgust of squares worldwide, yet it's always appeared to me that the moment punk hit [and I mean the Ramones, Pistols etc., not the-then "failed" careers of the Stooges, VU, 'Dolls et al], suddenly the quality of his writing went down the toilet. He turned into a drunken jerk who could stink up Manhattan loft parties in a heartbeat w/ his boorish, booze-fuelled antics, in the meantime penning unending drivel on the Clash, seemingly ignoring a lot of the far superior acts of the day. And as for his coverage of the burgeoning HC movement, he may as well've been dead by the time that hit town anyway. But not to get too rough on the guy, as I remain a fan of his earlier works, and for me his writing tears strips off Richard Meltzer (has anyone else out there found The Aesthetics Of Rock to be a joyless chore to read?). I wish Jason Gross had asked Coley for his thoughts on the "grunge"/major label phenomenon of the early '90s - for no other reason than I'd like to see what his take on it was, though this one hits all the major bases. Funny to see that Coley still lists Big Black as one of his favourites; now there's a band whose records have aged about as well as last year's milk...

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