DO YOU REMEMBER PUNK ROCK? :The Rock and Roll Connection  

realman_2005 59M
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10/7/2005 8:32 am

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3/5/2006 9:27 pm

DO YOU REMEMBER PUNK ROCK? :The Rock and Roll Connection

I thought I would start this and see where it goes. I'm a rock and roller and it has been a part of my lifestyle. Some of this stuff may shock you but alot of it is in the past now and I have mellowed gracefully with time.

My first memories of rock and roll came by radio in our family car in the early 60s. AM radio and top 40 of the time. And of course the Beattles, you couldn't miss them. My older sister got into soul and motown so I was exposed to that. Then next in line was older brother who took a liking to such artists like Grand Funk RR, James Gang, Procol Harem and Ten Years After and Savoy Brown. The first records I bought were though the now defunct Record Club of America. I remember getting the first Black Sabbath (the pink and purple cover) CSNY Deja vu, and Hendrix's Cry of Love. The start of my collecting.

My first real love, that is to say the first girl I went all the way with was first cousin to Johnny Thunder of the NewYork Dolls. I was in my first band at the time, a garage band, we practiced in her parent's garage. And I did not really care much for the NYDolls then, I thought they were a bunch of fags really and played faggot music, though I never actually heard any of their music. I just went by the picture on their album jacket. I wasn't aware of any punk or glam rock just then. I was just a smalltown hick.

Anyway John's family et al frequently visited the house throughout the year and I got to know him and about him and his band and all that business. I still don't like the Dolls much mainly 'cause I can't stand their singer David J (Buster) but John was really alright and a great guy and wonderful guitarplayer. He's passed now though you know.

Well getting the dirt on all that opened my eyes some to what was really going on in the music and rock and roll world and when the band broke in '79 and my girl left me for a heavymetal star I up and relocated in Chicago to live with a girl I knew from highschool. Fate would have it that instead I wound up staying with her sister Leslie and her boyfriend Gordon in their huge 3rd floor apartment on the corner of Waveland and Clark. I was in heaven! Leslie was a bonefied punk. She had lived in London from 74-77 when the Pistols were together and playing and was part of that scene and knew everybody. Her boyfriend Gordon (GoGo) invited me to try out in his band the now infamous zEro tEch CoNtrol. The apartment was like punk hQ in Chicago. Strange people were coming and going from all over and there were always parties. Of course this was before the rave scene started and punk was still alive. I caught the tail end of it. This was in '79.

So I adopted that lifestyle and became part of that scene and met alot of people in the punk world through them and the band. We hung at the WaxTrax with Nash who was cooperating with our leader promoting ztc in his store. We made records and shot videos and were on TV and did instore appearences and stuff, it was really very wild then. I met Johnny Rotten when his new band Pil came to town and partied with them. That was in '60. He is really a down to earth level headed guy and not much of a partier, kind of stand offish though. 1980 was really the end of punk, at least in its original form.

Punk by and large was a disastor and my band ztc was no exception. The only things really to survive and come out from that period are few and far between. Their were alot of bands though and one of the better ones in Chicago were a group named Special Affect. Their singer Frank almost got famous later with his band Thrill Kill Cult and their guitar player was a young Al Jourgenson who's still flogging the dead horse with his sometimes band Ministry. But I tell you, zero tech was really the shit back then. We were thee postpunk and industrial pioneers and the model and Ministry owes their whole sound and concept to us. That is no lie.

By the the time I got into the band they were already doing gigs at WaxTrax. Occupant did a play with this guy Beluga at the ParkWest, it was a punk audience particiation thing called "Cold". Well the guy hung himself on the night of the performance but the play was a SMASH! Oc then formed zerotech with the Nerve and started recording writing about and hyping the band. When I joined things changed. GoGo and Flash both played guitar and had set styles. GoGo was more trad. R&B and folksy and Flash had a hard rockandroll edge, Vince and Nerve filled in everything else and took care of production. Everyone basically just did their own thing and try to make sense out of what was going on. I brought a new sound and dimension to the band I think and they would invite me over to play when they could get everyone together at once. We had 2 different singers but really everyone played and sang. It wasn't very organized though, we were very gonzo.
Well so much for my glory days. It was fun, it was wild while it lasted but soon the members of ztc had just too many problems. Occupant had family issues and had to leave Chicago, Nerve developed a bad stomach ulcer and had to have most of his stomach removed, Flash got shot and arrested that year during a night of petty crime, and Leslie and my home was sacked by a mob of outofcontrol gangsters over the remarks made by one of our friends to the wrong person in the wrong neighborhood. If 1969 was the summer of love I'd have to say 1979 was the summer of hate. By Oct of '80 I had had enough. It was 1 year of insanity and wrecklessness I'll never forget and yet never remember, enough for a lifetime, several. Hard to believe now I did all that and experienced all that. It was truly another life and another world. I was only 22 years old then.

The 80s were a drag compared to all that. I was still involved creatively in music and thought punk was the future of rockandroll. But Wall Street and their media was starting to get a hold of it and put their spin on it and you began to get the first commercial "punk"bands, sellouts and posers. The punk underground was broken apart in pieces and there wasn't much networking anymore. Everyone was selling out and trying to cash in thanks to the media. I fuckered around with it a bit more in the early 80s. Had my own avantgarde performance combo, did alot of mailart and indy work, studio recording and the like but it wasn't the same. Lacked the intense energy and insanity of the "early" days. MTV came into being around this time. If you weren't commercial or at least tried to be like that you didn't have a chance. I actually ended up in a "pussy" band playing cover tunes just to make a dime. Bad times!

I guess about then I realised it was indeed over. I had become the epitomy of myself, a characterization, and a joke. I felt bad and had to take a look at that. All I can say is that if you weren't there and a part of that madness you have no idea what it was like. I guess it is the same way the hippies might feel about the 60s. Punk, like the hippies though was doomed. Antiestablishment and wanting to have our own world and society and culture, and we did for awhile and it was great. But the media learned to dislike and distrust us especially the record companies since we wouldn't call their tune. But in the end it was big bucks that lead many astray. GreenDay? ViolentFems? Flock of Seagulls??? OMG! Even U2. You can have the lot of them. They're just a bunch of pretty boys really.

Disillussionment. No scene. Nuthin'. By '86 I was scratchin' my head wonderin' and by '88 I had seen the writing on the wall. Indeed, 'there is no future'. So I kinda just disappeared and forgot about it. It was around this time I began my paintin'. If nobody was interested in my clothes designs or my music and recordings or my mailart then I wouldn't bother them no more. So I just began doing my own thing alone and by myself for myself and after 1990 I even closed down my recording studio where I had been making my wild indy promos and recordings since the ztc days. I sold or gave away most of my apperati, my multitrack tape machines and drum and rhythm boxes and synthesisers and boards and all that electronic garbage and effects and mikes and crazy stuff.
It was all wild and now it was all gone. I was just a stoned crazy "jazz" musician. synthplayer/punker/industeal pioneer. I had quite a setup at the end and made one HELL OF A NOISE. There can be no question about that. I have nothing, NOTHING to show for that era of my creative life. Someone out there may somewhere. There may even be an odd zerotech momento out there somewhere. I'm sure every tape and artifact though from rØØtCANAL and Atomic Carboy has been destroyed or lost or most certainly forotten. If you really want to hear me playing you MIGHT be able to locate the DREAMS WITHOUT DREAMERS indep. cassette release with M.Musser from c. '86, but I doubt it. Anyway, this is not a good example of my work at all.

I became a fulltime painter after this, and I'm still at it. A little moreso lately believe it or not.

That's a wild story. huh? But that is how I spent my roarin' 20s. I don't hear from or talk to any of the old people. Saw Leslie once back around 95 or so. She is so beautiful!!! I know if I went back to Chicago and went to the Lucky Number I might run into somebody. I bought the last Ministry release (poor album, really sucks) and sent an email to Al at his Miniscule website telling him my happiness about his only eastcoast show in Allentown being canceled last year. I told him some other things too. And I still listen to some of the old bands, X, Contortions, Slits, Ramones but most of the many indies and smaller bands never got reissued on CD and my vinyl collection is long gone. So what then is a poor boy to do? Aø! Let's go!

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