RICHARD HELL’S ‘WHAT JUST HAPPENED’

2023-09-06T10:56:07+00:00September 6th, 2023|Featured, Music|

“I like to be worshiped,” Richard Hell declares in “Love Letters,” one of the first poems featured in his latest offering, What Just Happened (Winter Editions, 2023). The collection comprises new poems—his first in decades—followed by “Falling Asleep,” a morbidly driven essay written with a hint of optimism, and “Chronicle,” a list of musings from Hell’s notebooks kept in recent years. The concept of worship coupled with a punk ethos poses an intriguing juxtaposition, going against the popularized “no gods, no masters” ideology that defined the early stages of punk in the 1970s. But this contrast is precisely what makes Hell’s work, and his place in the pantheon of punk culture, so appealing.

LEGS MCNEIL ON THE TIME SINEAD O’CONNOR TOLD JFK JR. TO F*CK OFF

2023-09-06T10:56:23+00:00July 30th, 2023|Music|

Sinéad was right to stand up against the Catholic Church since she had been committed to one of the “Magdalene Laundries” for five years for shoplifting and being incorrigible and had witnessed the horrors firsthand. But no one listens, and once people hate you for being different, the truth no longer matters. It doesn’t matter that Sinéad was right about Catholicism in Ireland, right about the “The Magdalene Girls,” right about the “Me Too Movement,” before it even had a name, right about abortion, right about racism in rap and hip-hop being unacknowledged by the music industry, and right about the Grammy Award members being slaves to fame and fortune and cowards for not speaking out on America’s ills, but that was the 80’s and 90’s.

VIDEO: LEGS TALKS TO PUNK LEGEND IVAN JULIAN

2023-09-06T10:57:34+00:00June 26th, 2023|Music, Narrative Oral History Of The Month|

Ivan Julian is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, and, as a founding member of Richard Hell and the Void Oids, a punk legend! Ivan talks with Legs McNeil about his long and colorful career, including his time singing for a Led Zeppelin cover band, playing Build Me A Buttercup night after night, the golden age of NYC punk, his times in London, Macedonia and Guantanamo Bay — and his new album, Swing Your Lanterns.

JESSE MALIN SUFFERED A RARE SPINAL STROKE. HE’S DETERMINED TO WALK AND DANCE AGAIN

2023-06-15T18:25:17+00:00June 15th, 2023|Music|

Originally published on RollingStone.com By: Joseph Hudak | June 14, 2023 | The New York troubadour has been paralyzed since May: "There's moments in the day where you want to cry, and where you're scared. Even though this has been the hardest time of my life, there’s been some gifts,” Malin says. “I knew I had some great friends and great fans and people in this world, and I’m getting to see a lot of that — though I would have really preferred a birthday party than to find out this way.”

NEW MUSIC FROM TOMMY STINSON’S COWBOYS IN THE CAMPFIRE

2023-09-06T10:57:10+00:00June 12th, 2023|Music|

At the age of 12, Tommy was already on the road to stardom. His brother Bob Stinson put a bass in his hands to keep him out of trouble and “voilà!” The Replacements were formed in 1979, inadvertently joining the punk circuit and sharing the bill with bands like Black Flag and X. They blazed a trail throughout the 80s, helping to pave the road for future indie bands and do-it-your-selfers in the music biz. After cutting a few albums for Twin Tone Records, they were signed to Sire Records by Seymore Stein in 1985, eventually calling it quits in 1991. Tommy has remained a permanent fixture ever since, fronting his own bands Bash & Pop and Perfect, even joining Soul Asylum for a brief stint. He also served as a longtime member of Guns N’ Roses from 1998-2014 before reuniting with Paul Westerberg for a successful Replacements reunion tour. His latest project is Cowboys in the Campfire.

THE WILDEST SHOW IN LAS VEGAS: FRANK SINATRA & THE BEGINNING OF THE END

2023-06-15T16:21:16+00:00May 16th, 2023|Music, Uncategorized|

(From the moment they blasted off in the Casbar Lounge in Las Vegas in December 1954, there was no stopping Louis Prima, Keely Smith and Sam Butera and the Witnesses from becoming the most popular act in show business. No one but themselves. In a pair of exclusive Legsville stories based on long-lost interviews with sax legend Butera and jazz and pop goddess Smith, Burt Kearns unearthed the beginnings of the legendary act, Now, a year later, he traces the beginning of the end — the personal dramas and betrayals that would end the rocket ride, not in a glorious splashdown, but in flames. We return to the Casbar Lounge. Four years after lift-off, it’s now the “Casbar Theatre” — and everybody wants in. Including Frank Sinatra…)

I MARRIED HOWIE PYRO – PART TWO

2023-06-12T17:28:08+00:00May 13th, 2023|Essays, Music|

I was asked to write a remembrance of my former husband, Howie Pyro, and I didn’t realize how therapeutic it would be for me. As I write, the pending anniversary of his passing May 4, 2022 has brought up so many overwhelming feelings. Howie’s illness and death is the heaviest thing I’ve ever been through and I suppose I have done a lot of mourning in public posting pictures and memories on Facebook. I was devastated that I couldn’t get to LA for his funeral– finances and work schedule prevented it but I was able to go back to my hometown, NYC, for the Memorial there. I thought I’d try to share some of the stories I told at that intimate event at Bowery Electric.

I MARRIED HOWIE PYRO – PART ONE

2023-04-20T11:55:06+00:00April 20th, 2023|Essays, Music|

Howie Pyro was the love of my life, my soulmate. It's hard to write about a person when you've had such an intense relationship. It's difficult to put into words exactly the impact of the lightning bolts that shot out of his eyes the first time we met. It was like the heaviest deja vu I have ever experienced. So forgive my gushing as I try to write a remembrance of my dear departed onetime hubby. Cool. That is the number one word that comes to mind when I think of Howie. He was the cool little kid with the extended fork chopper banana seat bike. He was the coolest pre-teen with the most monster magazines. He was an actual teenage runaway who ventured to NYC and started his own punk rock band. He shared stages and drugs with his idols in the late 70s Max's Kansas City scene where his group The Blessed were the underage darlings.

HOW A PUNK SUPERGROUP JOINED FORCES FOR A TV SERIES THEME SONG

2023-04-18T12:52:51+00:00April 17th, 2023|Music|

©2023 By Allison Rapp | Published: April 14, 2023 on ultimateclassicrock.com. Supergroups do not come around very often, but a new one was temporarily formed earlier this month. The Derelicts features some of punk’s and post-punk’s best-known figures: Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Clem Burke of Blondie, Richard Lloyd of Television, and Ivan Julian of Richard Hell and the Voidoids. The foursome got together unexpectedly in early April at Julian’s Super Giraffe Sound Studio in New York City to record a punk-style version of “The Bowery,” a song from the 1891 Broadway musical, A Trip to Chinatown. Kris Gruen, son of the legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen, came in to sing lead vocals, and the new track is slated to be used as the theme song for the upcoming docuseries The Bowery Boy … Read More

IGGY POP – EVERY LOSER (GOLD TOOTH/ATLANTIC RECORDS) LP

2023-03-18T16:45:48+00:00March 18th, 2023|Music|

“Got a dick an’ 2 balls/That’s more than you all!” Politically incorrect to the bone and unrepentant, these are the first two lines you hear after a blast of Stooges-esque guitar, including a dose of satisfying amplifier hum. Welcome to Every Loser, Iggy Pop’s 19th studio album, and first in four years, interestingly released on January 6th. But this is good. Now that date can signify something positive.

HOWIE PYRO: FREAKS

2023-04-18T13:13:49+00:00March 18th, 2023|Music|

I’m Andrea Kusten, but they call me The Big Mama Freak. FREAKS was my Heavy Orange Rock band with then-husband, Howie Pyro, in NYC circa the late 80’s. Fast forward to 2023, we’ve just released a deluxe career-spanning retrospective double LP set on translucent 180 gram orange vinyl, available to purchase from Rough Trade mail order: https://www.roughtrade.com/us/product/freaks/still-in-sensurround

LIES JIM CARROLL TOLD ME

2023-03-29T14:37:34+00:00February 18th, 2023|Music|

Jim Carroll came to my studio apartment on St. Marks Place one afternoon on June 16th, 1995 to be interviewed for our book in progress, Please Kill Me; The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. Jim was in great shape and had one of those unmistakable New York City accents that left no doubt he was a native New Yorker. He first came to prominence when he published his memoir-in-progress, The Basketball Diaries in excerpt form throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s; most notably in the Fall 1970 issue of The Paris Review— and became the talk of the town.

MEET THE BEATLES WITH MILES: AN INTERVIEW BY LEGS MCNEIL

2023-01-23T20:03:58+00:00January 23rd, 2023|Music|

©2021 By Legs McNeil Originally published on: PleaseKillMe.com Miles (aka Barry Miles) had a front-row seat to the London underground scene of the 1960s, as a bookseller and gallery co-owner at a time when Beatlemania was morphing into psychedelia. He met and befriended Paul McCartney at his Indica bookstore and gallery, and from there, he met the rest of the Beatles. In this conversation with PKM, Miles recalls what now seems like a magical, mysterious era.

SINEAD O’CONNOR: THE JOAN OF ARC SYNDROME

2023-03-29T14:31:49+00:00October 31st, 2022|Essays, Music|

It’s very rare that 34 years after you date someone, you get a chance to witness a documentary about what was going on in that person’s life at the time you were dating them. Remarkable, really, but I got the chance recently when Showtime premiered the documentary, “Nothing Compares,” about Sinead O’Connor by filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson.

PUNK METAPHYSICS: A CONVERSATION WITH TAMRA LUCID

2022-10-21T17:29:52+00:00October 21st, 2022|Books We Love, Literature, Music|

Lucid spoke about punk rock, politics, metaphysics, and more in this email exchange with Happiness author Zack Kopp. “To me punk and metaphysics seem to belong together,” says Tamra Lucid. “Both are rebellions against bullshit. And what is punk anyway? Punk can be for peace or violence, for racism or for equality, for noise or pop, for anarchy or for Broadway. My band has never fit any category. Sucks for algorithms, but so much fun!” Lucid Nation co-founder Ronnie Pontiac was mentored by American metaphysician Manly Palmer Hall (1901-90) at his Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles before the band started playing shows in 1994.

DAVID BYRNE’S: “THEATER OF THE MIND” REVIEWED BY ZACK KOPP

2022-10-21T17:31:14+00:00September 4th, 2022|Music|

I went to a preview of David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar’s Theater of the Mind, inspired by both historical and current neurological lab research, in a warehouse in Northeast Denver last night. Official shows begin next week, but a friend of mine got me a ticket, and what follows is my review of the experience. No doubt there are things I’ve forgotten to mention, like the Scottish interlude of traffic changes so gradual they go unnoticed until the guide hits rewind, the whole production having been designed to illustrate the unreliability of the senses we go by, but not many.

THE WORST ALBUM TITLES OF ALL TIME

2022-08-24T18:40:12+00:00August 22nd, 2022|Music|

Volume one (of many) ©2022 By Chris Zappa As an artist, it must be stressful coming up with album titles. It’s a bit like naming a baby, if that baby’s name was a determining factor in its commercial success or lack thereof. More often than not, artists strive for interesting names, names that make you think, inspiring one to wonder what’s the story behind the title. Oftentimes however, throughout the history of modern music there have been plenty of instances where the band or artist clearly phoned it in, choosing a name so odd — in many cases, so dumb or gross — that no matter how great the songs contained therein may be, there’s no redeeming it. In no particular order, here are a few particularly stinky stinkers that really stink.

THE NOD MONASTERY: THE TRUE STORY OF HOW JIM MORRISON REALLY MET NICO

2023-03-29T14:34:08+00:00August 4th, 2022|Music|

We’ve all seen that horribly facile Oliver Stone film, “The Doors” and we still watch it anyway, even though it sucks– thus is the power of Jim Morrison. He still captures our inner belligerent souls. And Val Kilmer looked and imagined Morrison they way we believed him to be. If only Val had a script to work with. One thing that really bothered me was the scene in the movie, when Jim Morrison meets Nico and she says, “Hi, want to fuck?” Or something equally ridiculous. Nico wasn’t that vulgar, uncouth or stupid. But now for millions of kids, Nico is thought of as a moronic floozy instead of the serious artist that she was. I’m getting sick of bio-pics that get it all wrong and re-write the facts, which happen to be even more fascinating than the tripe we are fed on the screen. Which brings me to “The Nod Monastery,” my corrective of what really happened the night Jim Morrison met Nico, and I think you’ll agree it’s a lot more passionate and dramatic than anything Oliver Stone could dream up.

STERLING SPEAKS! STERLING MORRISON’S LAST INTERVIEW WITH LEGS MCNEIL, 1995

2023-03-29T14:31:19+00:00July 31st, 2022|Music|

©1995 and 2022 By Legs McNeil [Originally published on pleasekillme.com] Sterling Morrison (1942-1995) was the guitarist for the Velvet Underground, appearing on all four studio albums that the band made. He left the band in 1971 and moved to Texas to finish graduate school, became both a tugboat captain and a college professor. Legs McNeil interviewed him in New York in early 1995. At the time, Morrison was undergoing chemotherapy. Sadly, he did not live long enough to witness the answer to his very first comment in this interview. He died on August 30, 1995. The Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame the following year.

PUSHING PUNK

2023-03-29T14:31:09+00:00July 29th, 2022|Music|

The book is squalid, evocative and often very, very funny — full of contradictory versions of the same story, all of which have some grain of truth — and that’s how real life is; his version, his version and the truth, which is still compromised

HOWIE PYRO – PATRON SAINT OF WEIRD

2022-07-16T15:16:28+00:00July 16th, 2022|Music|

I wanted to share a eulogy I wrote for my dear, dear friend Howie Pyro. We said goodbye to him today at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. There will be an NYC memorial for him July 20th and a big celebration of his life concert July 23rd at The Bowery Ballroom With D Generation , Brian Fallon , HR , Theo Kogan from The Lunachicks and many more…

ORAL HISTORY OF THE MONTH – CALL ME: HERB ALPERT & THE REMAKING OF CHRIS MONTEZ

2022-07-16T15:20:36+00:00June 26th, 2022|Music|

(Or: How a Jewish Mariachi Trumpeter Turned a Chicano Rock ‘n’ Roller into an Easy Listening Pop Crooner) | Born in Los Angeles, a high school classmate and friend of Brian Wilson, rock ’n’ roll tenor and devotee of Ritchie Valens, teenage Mexican-American Ezekiel Christopher Montañez got a name change to Chris Montez and at nineteen had a Top Ten record in 1962 with Let’s Dance. Meanwhile, in another part of L.A., A Jewish singer, songwriter, and trumpeter named Herb Alpert formed a record label called A&M, and inspired by a group of mariachis at a bullfight in Tijuana, recorded a song called The Lonely Bull. The single hit the charts alongside Let’s Dance in the fall of 1962, and also made the Top Ten.

RAY DAVIES NEVER WANTED TO BE A SINGER

2023-03-29T14:30:35+00:00June 23rd, 2022|Music|

In 2009, Ray Davies toured America to promote The Kinks Choral Collection, which featured new studio recordings of some of Davies’ finest songs backed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus. He performed with the chorus at Town Hall in New York in November. Six of the songs from the classic, underrated Kinks’ album Village Green Preservation Society were included in Davies’ “choral collection.” On the forty-ninth anniversary of the release of Village Green Preservation Society, we present the following exclusive interview with Davies, conducted on Nov. 11, 2009 by Legs McNeil and Stacey Asip, in which Davies talked about his family, his working class roots and the early days of being a Kink. This version is condensed from a much longer interview.

GENE KRUPA: THE ORIGINAL PUNK DRUMMER

2022-06-07T04:39:15+00:00June 7th, 2022|Music|

Gene Krupa is easily one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, elevating the role of the jazz drummer from sideman to soloist to superstar. His energetic playing on Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” remains a standard-bearer 80+ years later, and The Drum Battle he recorded with Buddy Rich in 1952 is as dizzying today as it was upon release. But Krupa’s towering influence has not been confined to jazz and swing drummers. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that he was a major inspiration for some of punk rock’s most important timekeepers, including Jerry Nolan of the New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, Rat Scabies of the Damned, and Lucky Lehrer of Circle Jerks.

JONATHAN RICHMAN: IN LOVE WITH THE MODERN WORLD

2023-03-29T14:29:27+00:00June 3rd, 2022|Music|

Ernie Brooks is a very likable fellow who was raised in New York and Connecticut by intellectual, liberal parents, which explains why he became a civil rights activist down South during the violent “Freedom Summer” of the early 1960s. Ernie’s a Harvard graduate who studied English literature, poetry, and rock 'n' roll, along with his college roommate Jerry Harrison, who later became the keyboard player for the Talking Heads. A chance encounter with Jonathan Richman led to a wild ride as one of the founding members of the legendary Modern Lovers, perhaps the greatest alt-rock, pre-punk, indie band that no one has ever seen.

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY! REMEMBERING ARTURO VEGA

2023-03-29T14:29:16+00:00May 24th, 2022|Music|

Arturo Vega was the most optimistic, jubilant and fun pal anyone could wish for. If it wasn’t for Artie, Joey Ramone and I would’ve starved to death in those early days. He used to give us each a buck fifty so we could each buy a quart of beer and a pack of cigarettes. Joey smoked Winstons; I smoked Marlboros, at 75 cents a pack.

ERIC CLAPTON IS A FIRST CLASS, GRADE A ASSHOLE!

2022-05-18T13:19:40+00:00May 18th, 2022|Essays, Music|

This article was originally published by Chris Zappa on Medium in 2021 under the title, “I Just Can’t Even With Eric Clapton Anymore.” Chris has graciously given Legsville permission to republish it, and I encourage other music lovers to read Chris’ work on Medium as well as sign up for Zappagram, the mother of all music newsletters, which he runs on Substack.

WHEN THE BEATLES MET ELVIS

2023-03-29T14:29:05+00:00May 12th, 2022|Music|

In one of his many interviews, John Lennon called it the most exciting day of his life. I rather doubt it, but then I grew up with the Elvis that was making movies like “Clambake” and “Girls, Girls, Girls,” so I was never impressed. Like Lennon, I loved Elvis’ early Sun Records stuff and believed Presley went to hell when he joined the army. Still, I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall the night the Beatles finally met Elvis. I hope you enjoy this!

THE BALLAD OF CYNTHIA PLASTER CASTER

2023-03-29T14:28:54+00:00April 30th, 2022|Essays, Music|

Cynthia was truly an original thinker and a meticulous goofy artist who took the job of casting rock stars’ erect “rigs” extremely seriously while never losing her sense of humor about the job at hand. Join me now as we listen to Cynthia Plaster Caster’s story….

PUNK RETURNS!

2022-04-29T17:01:16+00:00April 29th, 2022|Fashion, Music|

So Punk, what are you going to wear? I’m already thinking about Fall 2022. I have just seen my first glimpse of tourist winter white flesh revealed. I witnessed for a mere nano second the stretch marks and imperfections, back fat and butt cracks! I’m ready to see the coats back on and the sins of our unhealthy diets swathed and draped in almost anything.

MAKING THE WILDEST SHOW IN LAS VEGAS PART I: SAM

2022-04-29T13:34:15+00:00April 27th, 2022|Music|

Louis Prima, Keely Smith and Sam Butera revolutionized Las Vegas, the lounge scene and 20th century popular music when they launched their spectacular act in December 1954 at the Sahara hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The story of their success has never been told in full, and never accurately – until now. Based on long-hidden interviews with the principals and extensive research, Burt Kearns reveals how all the parts fell into place, long before that historic debut. In Part One, we meet the man who answered the call of The Wildest, the key player without whom this success story would never have happened.

FORBIDDEN BEAT – THIS IS NOT A “DRUMMER BOOK”

2022-04-22T13:50:55+00:00April 22nd, 2022|Books We Love, Music|

Here’s something I discovered over the last couple of years: Tell somebody you’re putting together a book about music and their response is usually something like, “Cool! I love music.” Tell them it’s a book revolving around punk drummers and the response is more like, “Damn. I hate math.” | ©2022 by S.W. Lauden

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