New York Junk

(-this regularly scheduled rant and rocknroll review by Geordie Pleathur was filmed live in front of a studio audience…)
In Concert Photography by Alan Rand

“Remember how I warned that if you have a stream of unverifiable emotional news stories that a reasonable emotional reaction to would be, war, then you will get a war? Remember how this caution was mocked and derided? We HAVE to get used to asking especially about single source, unverifiable stories or stories which people are attacked for querying — what would nyj5a reasonable reaction to this story be? If we had bombed Syria last July, before the ISIS videos which all derived… from a single compromised source and the fire breathing commentary that followed in the absence of actual reporting, the US public would not have been ready for war. Now we are ready to accept war and candidates are campaigning on ISIS. By the way ISIS works for Russia too — it works for everyone; just blame whatever you want to do anyway on the need to eradicate ISIS. Why do media outlets think the Pentagon and the White House don’t actually lie to them? What do they think those communications shops are for? What do they think is the reason to change the law as in the NDAA 2012 to allow the propagandizing of Americans? If a stream of thinly sourced news stories makes you feel ready for war…you can be 100% sure that war is coming and that those stories should have been torn apart by responsible journalists. Whose colleagues who refused to ask questions now I note have blood all over their hands.” (-Naomi Wolf)

“A religious-like belief in American exceptionalism and tribal superiority is potent indeed, and easily overrides evidence or facts.” (-Glenn Greenwald)

“While your government is telling you that guns are bad, it bombed a hospital and murdered innocent people in cold blood. This is also a war crime committed in violation of international law done in the name of an undeclared war in violation of the US Constitution. We are truly ruled by lawless murderers. Make them surrender their weapons first…..

Pound for pound, the deadliest gang in the USA is on track to break its previous record in serial killing. No one should be surprised by this. After all, Darren Wilson, the murderer who gunned down Michael Brown in cold blood collected over $500,000 in a fundraiser. As a man who was raised on this poisonous culture of war, violence, and white supremacy, I know a little bit about how masculinity is distorted by the white supremacist world view.
In white supremacy, masculinity is framed in terms of violence, in how much harm you can cause to others. Men who do not identify as white are not immune to this disorder. It’s intentionally contagious and it’s spread by a constant drumbeat of commercials insulting our manhood, movies glorifying war, cop shows, and corporate-sponsorednyj1 warmongering.

Homeless people are counted as losers when their jobs, homes, and humanity are stolen from them by corporate America. But it’s masculine to be the man with the yacht and penthouse who put them there. Ironically, lackeys in corporate media curry favor with their bosses by referring to suicide bombers as cowards. Say what? A maniac who can strap on a bomb vest and blow himself to bits in an act of fury can be a lot of things, but coward is not one of them. They’re just trying to take away his masculinity because they’re scared of guys like that.
Framing masculinity in terms of violence hides the true nature of obsequious cowardice in the face of tyranny. You could be sporting a medal for committing horrendous atrocities and war crimes because you don’t have the courage to say no, to revolt and mutiny against the criminals giving the orders. Being controlled by a criminal is not the same as being a man. It takes no courage to murder the powerless while hiding behind a badge or following orders to save your own ass.
This is why the police must be abolished. This is a violent institution, born and raised, and suckling at the tit of white supremacy. People have suggested better training as a solution to the problem. If you understand anything I’ve just said, you know that’s ridiculous. They’d roll their eyes and go on being the good old boys just following orders and killing anyone for whatever flimsy excuse they can imagine. Reform is not possible. Abolition is.” (-Martin Wirth)

“Those who rebel, once they rise up, will build alliances with other rebels. This will give birth to a new political expression, one that will be fiercely anti-capitalist and will seek to sustain rather than destroy life. Rebellion will come from the bottom. I do not know if we can succeed. The forces arrayed against us are monstrous and terrifying. The corporate state has no qualms about employing savage and violent repression, wholesale surveillance, the criminalizing of dissent, and its propaganda machine to demonize us all. But I know this: We are the only hope. We are the people we have been waiting for. And if we do not act to save ourselves, the climate crisis and the corporate state that caused it will continue to ravage the ecosystem and human societies until catastrophic collapse occurs. Indeed, we are already frighteningly far down that road.” (-Chris Hedges)nyj6

“The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause…” (- Emma Goldman)

“The right keeps calling Obama a socialist yet he bailed out the banks, enriched insurance companies with ACA which is not affordable, bombed several countries, continued the Iraq war, allows companies to go overseas, we have a bigger militant police force and now this trade agreement.” (-Donna Moon)

“I think the American people should be extremely concerned about their personal rights and privacy. As I was being searched at the airport, there was a Latino couple to my left, and an Asian couple to my right also being aggressively searched. I briefly had to remind myself that this was not North Korea or Nazi Germany. This is the land of the Free.” (- Anthony Silva, Mayor of Stockton, California)

“Whatever else one wants to say about Iraq and Afghanistan, one cannot honestly say that Obama ended the wars in those countries. The U.S. continues to drop bombs on both, deploys soldiers in both and kills civilians in both,” (-Glenn Greenwald)

“Assent and you are sane-Demur-you’re straightway dangerous-And handled with a chain.” (-Emily Dickinson)nyj8

“Any discussion of Sloth in the present day is of course incomplete without considering television, with its gifts of paralysis, along with its creature and symbiont, the notorious Couch Potato. Tales spun in idleness find us Tubeside, supine, chiropractic fodder, sucking it all in, re-enacting in reverse the transaction between dream and revenue that brought these colored shadows here to begin with so that we might feed, uncritically, committing the six other deadly sins in parallel, eating too much, envying the celebrated, coveting merchandise, lusting after images, angry at the news, perversely proud of whatever distance we may enjoy between our couches and what appears on the screen.” (-Thomas Pynchon)

“The soul becomes deracinated in our extant, sterile, phantomscape of media imagery. Minds are churned to spittle…staring stupefied at electronic appliances, as the oceans die, the sky burns, and exquisite things disappear forever. ” (-Phil Rockstroh)

“The consumer state/U.S. media complex is a tawdry carnival. Its business entails separating wage/debt slave suckers from reality as well as from their meager sums of money. The scams and unctuous patter of the Trickster State has been internalized by the Sucker Class. The mind of a consumer is a series of Fun House distortion mirrors wherein both self-awareness and awareness of the reasons for one’s oppression are difficult to discern.
Bellies bulging from unhealthy, carniva…l food, nyj12suckers waddle down the light bedizened fairway. Sensation replaces experience; participation mystique is usurped by spectatorship. Meaning is shunted aside by the manic pursuit of electronic stimulation. A carny barker political/media class bamboozles the credulous that what they are experiencing is freedom of choice as they gawk at sideshow attractions: See Donald The Astonishing, The Boy Born Without A Brain — Yet He Speaks; See Bernie, The Impossible — He Claims To Be A Socialist — Yet He Is An Imperialist. You won’t believe your own eyes.

What exists outside the carnival’s meretricious shimmer and empty cacophony? Ecocide. Perpetual wars of plunder. Rivers of blood. Mountains of bones. These are the reasons we refuse to shatter the distortion mirrors of the capitalist mind. Our grief and regret would seem unbearable, the echo of lamentation off the confines of our inner emptiness…endless.
Better, we console ourselves with comforting lies, to turn back towards the beckoning lights coruscating from the fairway. Better to remain distracted then to weep into the illusion-devouring darkness.” (-Phil Rockstroh)

“Style has a profound meaning to Black Americans. If we can’t drive, we will invent walks and the world will envy the dexterity of our feet. If we can’t have ham, we will boil chitterlings; if we are given rotten peaches, we will make cobblers; if given scraps, we will make quilts; take away our drums, and we will clap our hands. We prove the human spirit will prevail. We will take what we have to make what we need. We need confidence in our knowledge of who we are.” (-Nikki Giovanni)

“Look around the country. This country is falling apart. Even when you come back from Argentina to the United States it looks like a third world country, and when you come back from Europe even more so. The infrastructure is collapsing. Nothing works. The transportation system doesn’t work. The health system is a total scandal–twice the per capita cost of other countries and not very good outcomes. Point by point. The schools are declining . . .” (-Noam Chomsky)

“Hillary the Hawk, as U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, never saw a weapons system she did not support, nor a U.S. war practice she did not endorse.” (- Ralph Nader)

“Only here in the US can a Nobel Peace Prize winning war criminal and climate destroyer be lauded as a “leader” in the environmental movement by a dude that presides over untold wealth at the top and abject poverty at the bottom who the war criminal congratulated for leading a life of simplicity. The bullshit is deep, smelly, and thick and the word’s establishment is mired in it.” (-Cindy Sheehan)

“Shocking, astonishing, jaw-dropper: Putin spells out in surprisingly clear sober and even statesmanlike detail the way the US armed funded and fomented the mercenaries who became ISIS and how this situation sends mercenaries to occupy countries with oilfields, then the mercenaries (now ISIS) sell the oil to the US’ allies and the US has access to the oil through their allies. He lays out US complicity in this arrangement. He critiques with careful examples including Libya the US strategy of dong this same thing with mercenaries that pose as ‘rebels’ or ‘extremists’ over and over — he cites Libya. And he asks the US to move past its militaristic endless push for domination for the sake of oil resources. Boy does this explain the weird fancy dinner party I attended for Pussy Riot where everyone was a Western gas hedge fund guy. Share widely and watch every single word.” (-Naomi Wolf) 

“Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling filled up the horizons of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations. And when they did, their discontentment led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could only focus on petty, specific grievances.” (-George Orwell 1984)

“I believe on Lewis Carroll / I believe on Oscar Wilde / I believe in Muddy Waters / I believe in Jackson 5…” (- from ‘I Believe In Elvis Presley’ by BP Fallon)

“Black lives matter, black citizens matter, and black families matter. None of us can ignore what is happening in our country, not when our black friends, family, neighbors literally fear dying in the streets.” (-Elizabeth Warren)

“But I’m not here just to make records and money. I’m here to say something and to touch other people, sometimes in a cry of desperation: “Do you know this feeling?” (-Keith Richards)

“There have been more beautiful times, but this one is ours.” (-Jean-Paul Sartre)cynthia1


….Call me a nostalgic pus-head, but all the music we made fun of in the eighties-from Pat Benatar to Def Leppard, from Culture Club to Michael Jackson, just positively smokes most all this Mouskateer millionaire goes indie rock poser bullshit we’re forced to experience, today. The media blare is ungodly noise, hideous bullshit designed to bamboozle us into handing over our common humanity for a stripe or a badge or a dumb little nametag that says we are bona fide and salaried by the irretrievably corrupt establishment. The new Pope and Michael Jackson are very different-one is a heavily marketed, slickly choreographed, controversial performer who inspires absolute mania everywhere he goes with his spangled costumes, Prada shoes, flash moves, spontaneous behaviors, feel good platitudes about feeding the children, flamboyant entrouge andeccentricities;who’s still beloved all over the world in spite of relentlessmurmurs of children being abused in his gigantic castle, and the other one is dead. If you wanna follow an old rich man in bejeweled white suits who is the figurehead of a contentious old religion whose popularity has been dwindling in recent years, who is accompanied by bodyguards, hoopla and fanfare wherever he goes, I still say David Lee Roth is a much better choice. Whenever some corporate hype is emanating from every media platform like with Trump, or the Krapdashians, or Snooki, or Popemania, you gotta wonder what is really going on behind the scenes, that they are endeavoring to distract us all from. Are they trying to overthrow another government or getting ready to pass more Kafkaesque secret laws that endanger the liberty and safety of the many for the fun and profit of the elite few? “Rolling Stone” sucks so bad. Every American magazine and channel and label and radio playlist is one big shitass echo chamber championing fascism, imperialism, racism, authoritarianism, and privileged mediocrity. England has a great rocknroll magazine called “Vive Le Rock”, but the bookstores in my town all dried up and withered away. Finally, I got a ride to a Barnes & Noble in a nearby town and had the new issue with AC/DC on the cover in my hand, but greedy cocksucking Barnes & Noble shareholders are following the Wal-Mart paradigm that understaffs stores to squeeze more profit and there were thirty people waiting in line to pay, with only one cashier who finally called for back-up, but it was like a twenty five minute wait to pay-Urgent Care moves quicker. I had a youngster with me and there was no way we could wait a half an hour for the privilege of buying something, so I had to leave the store without my elusive “Vive Le Rock”. So nyj24close, and yet, so far away-story of my life. I just so yearn to read some cool rocknroll writing that ain’t been pre-scripted and sanitized by the man. Even most all of our supposedly liberal media reporting and activist social agitation and satire and uncensored commentaries always get that properly correctified whitewash from polite agents of the institution before they are heard by the rabble, not everything needs to be fully Disneyfied and filtered and trigger warning’d and focus grouped and pre-approved by the church lady and the Comics Code Authority, at all times. It’s after nine, it’s okay to have adult conversations–not all of us are prudes, we don’t need no more Tipper Gore and the P.M.R.C. and the Kommunity Kollege Korrectification of the P.C. scolding committee and spinster Temperance League and that freespeech destroyer Harper up in Canada, or his fellow fascist, Feinstein and her weasel hubby, or your uptight and uncool Auntie Grizelda determining who is a credentialed journalist and outlawing free speech on college campuses, and protecting us from naughty Prince lyrics and nipples in paintings, and the truth about who is funding the boogeymen armies redrawing the map in the Middle East, but the NY Times, CNN, Washington Post-they are all fronts for the global elites and the alphabet gangs of the deep state—it’s not just Fox and Rush Limbaugh lying to us–the closest we come to diversity of voices in the corporate media is Stephen Colbert sucking up to Donald Trump, Bill Maher claiming to be atheist, while still determinedly asserting “Greater” Israel’s God-given right to expand into all of it’s neighboring territories and soak up billions a year for war on Palestine, settlements in Syria and oil drilling for Cheney’s Genie Energy in the Golan Heights, and universal healthcare over there at US taxpayer expense; or Rachel Maddow’s willingly blind, partisan adoration of warhawk, Obama. Now I’m no zealous brunching white  Berniebot, I’m way to his left, all the way anti-war and pro human rights–I’m more of a Jill Stein man, but it is fucked up beyond belief when a supposedly liberal talking-head “newscaster” like Rachel Maddow will claim the Berningman only had twenty thousand people at an event where there were clearly over forty thousand. They always diminish the numbers of protesters, or attendees at progressive power to the people pep-rallies, or just ignore them completely, like they have all the tens of thousands fighting fascism in Turkey and more tens of thousands resisting the NWO’s b.s. TPP so called trade agreement in Europe, or a jampacked national mall filled with black folks righteously demanding an immediate end to police brutality in D.C.—ya know– unless it’s a Koch funded, hired audience bussed in, with big screens at those astro-turfed tea party shindigs, ya know? How could she call herself a progressive while cashing those big checks to make excuses for warpig police-state, indefinite detention, Patriot Act, TPP Wall Street Democrats? Obama has presided over the expansion of a prison state that incarcerates 2.3 million people-mostly for reefer and non violent drug offenses and victimless crimes, in spite of the big headlines about white people making a mint selling legalized pot in Colorado, or his shallow p.r. gesture of releasing a mere few dozen people for bullshit pot charges. He’s bombing seven countries(!!!) in spite of his bogus peace prize and the brazen propaganda that says he’s “ended two wars” where bombs are still falling and kids are still being imprisoned in shadowy gulags. They made a big show of him pardoning some people, but his DEA has kicked-in medical marijuana clinics doors and we’ve all seen the youtube footage of the drug-war gestapo eating the banned edible substances and sueing to cover-up and hide the footage. Everybody knows the drug-war is a racist sham. Meanwhile, his blue gloved agents are holding drivers down against their will at no refusal blood draw checkpoints and taking blood from them, feeling up our kids at airports, reading transcripts of Amerikkkan’s phone conversations and scanning our mail, uniformed jackbooted goonsquads are shooting unarmed peeps dead in the streets, about two a day, and dumb, cloistered, Trader Joe’s shoppers still call him a liberal and say he’s just struggling with that dastardly Congressional gridlock, the guy with the executive kill-list and disposition matrix Tuesdays, who is so tight with Homan Square Rahm Emanual, closer of schools and medical clinics. While the country has the usual gun grab debate, the gun control speechifier in chief is bombing Doctors Without Borders hospitals and complaining that Russia is taking out McCain’s Isis buddies in Syria. Hillary’s on SNL yukkin’it up about all her policy flip-flops and Bernie is drawing unprecedented crowds, while no one in the corporate media mentions Jill Stein and they all shill for Trump, war, and the TPP. Hillary Clinton IS a vast rightwing conspiracy.

We all have an obligation to take pictures and become citizen journalists reporting facts-based news on the ground, like in the old days of the “Maximum Rock & Roll” local scene reports, because the entire consolidated media is a total bullshit bullhorn for war and fascism, with Miley Cyrus songs about dead dogs. Jack White, Dave Grohl, Miley Cyrus, Rhianna and Katy Perry, all that shit sucks so bad, it’s the “musical” equivalent of Bush VS. Clinton Part 2 The Empire Strikes Back. Corporate rock still sucks. The 90′s media hoax headline insisted Cobain vanquished gutless and generic corporation jelly roll once and for all, but I can’t imagine Cobain being a fan of Kanye or the Foo Fighters. This shit is fucking WORSE than Bon Jovi and Poison and Ratt. Fuck, I still like “Round & Round”, in the right mood. Cinderella, too. All the lousy spandex and hairspray shit I fucking hated back then, sounds good(!!!) compared to this fat piefaced richkid techno droid shit they forcefeed us, now. I hate the Veganaise video game muzak they thrust upon me against my will and the TV contests about kids having proper pitch. I hate the jack-booted class patrols of gentrification. The Mimosa sucking rich kid artsy fartys who occupy my old turf with their parent’s fortunes and their Urban Outfitter wardrobes. Trash & Vaudeville and Sounds are leaving Saint Mark’s. All the old landmarks are steadily vanishing and unless you have lots of money, you will be squeezed out of the big towns like a blackhead. I hate the middle class college people who think it’s okay to kill or imprison poor people, as long as they have a dashing, telegenic figurehead who is their proof that they “aren’t racist”. I hate living in poor neighborhoods where the tv brainwashed drama queens all imitate the lousy behaviors of daytime tv talkshow stereotypes. I miss the Lower East Side of Manhattan–when I lived there, it still looked like a warzone, with Haring and Basquiat and Kostabi graffiti, and I was too ignorant to be frightened, I lived on a slice of pizza a day, maybe a pint of vodka in my silver flask, shlepped around with pirate patched old junkies and Nancy Spungeon clones and down on their lucknyj3 guitar players. Drank for free, loitered at record stores for hours on end, laughed in the parks, squatted in condemned old hotels, go-go danced on wooden bar-stools. Those were different times…


World-weary rocknroll veteran, Joe Sztabnik, helped Dee Dee write my favorite song, but we all learn how fast money turns shit ugly when some of our friends gain access to straight world privileges and corporate platforms and convince themselves that we had no hand in building their whole brands. It only breaks your heart the first few hundred times, after that, you develop scar tissue, you recognize that everybody who matters already knows-who is who, and you stop caring so much. I first heard about Joe Sztabnik way back when he and his wife, Hillary, and Waldos/Knots bass ace, Tony Coiro, organized that unforgettably poignant memorial concert for Johnny Thunders–the big one, the REAL one, where they gave the money to his family–not the bi-weekly one that’s thrown, non-stop, by greedhead promoters and come-lately needle fetishists, ever since, who just try to cash-in on the sainted brand name. Gosh—so, so many of those blowhard ex punk money-grubbers sound like professional redneck Toby Keith commercial country cowboys nowadays, or Machoman Randy Savage snappin’ into a Slim Jim, on their way to the faded, jaded, junkie wine and cheese party at Varvatos, or whatever. People are just plain nuts with their third stringer, second hand vicarious living, history revisionism, nowadays, even the guy whose biggest claim to fame was sucking up to bewigged corporate metal bands like Warrant and Britney Fox brags non-stop about how important and influential he is. Joe Sztabnik, meanwhile, was a regular dude who really, actually, knew people like the NY Dolls and Heartbreakers, the Waldos and Ramones, he was there, collaborated with all those cats, in real life, while every overpriced cornerbar is packed with trendy suckups who saw “Velvet Goldmine”, and bought a shirt off the wall and now they’re trying to be center of the crowd, talking much too loud at last-call, all the perennial friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a dead roadie’s photographer want you to give them money for nothin’ and pay fifty bucks for a clammy handshake and fork out another fifty for their skull t shirt and autographed memoir at Punk Rock bowling at the overpriced hotel. Sheesh! No thanks. Canadian punk rocker, Cynthia Ross, was in the poppy B-Girls-one of Greg Shaw’s favorite bands, and they were almost stars in the Pre-Bangles, new wave Blondie era. They turned down offers to become major label puppets, and were “discovered”, variously, by members of the Deadboys and Clash and Joan Jett and Deborah Harry, and just did not win the sometimes seemingly random spin of the fame roulette wheel of misfortune.nyj7 She was also a love of my childhood hero, Stiv Bators. Jeff Ward, was the striking, leather clad guitarist for England’s most promising punknsoul band, Gunfire Dance, back in the late eighties, when it still seemed almost faintly possible to come from a working class background, pool resources with your friends, and find fortune and fame, making music in Amerikkka. He’s a renowned novelist and an insightful activist and has steadily impressed T. Rex and Syd Barrett fans worldwide with his prolific, Julian Cope-like outpouring of psychedelic protest music as, Electrajet. Drummer, Gary Barnett, is another one of those been around, die hard NYC rockers and together, they’ve formed a pretty, gritty, original unit who summon back the dirty spirit of basement punk, when everyday people made bands with their actual friends and performed for a hundred or so true believers who identified with their songs, who knew their stories, and found shared inspiration with like-minded rebels, people like Gas Wild, Puma Pearl, and Danny Ray. I first heard of NY JUNK from their longtime ally, Joey Pinter, who is one of the best guitarists to ever stomp the boards into splinters when the Waldos were still a tightknit, powerhouse four piece to rival the holy Heartbreakers, and extremely capable of blowing the doors off the Bowery bars on a good night and upstaging all the bigname scenesters with an always solid, all-star lineup. I wasn’t expecting much, when he first mentioned ‘em–I never do–I remember way back when I first heard the name, I thought NY JUNK sounded like they’d be amateur hour Throbs clones doing the L.A. Guns junkie romance heavy metal thing, their name initially just reminded me of, uh, ya know-that magazine, “NY Waste”, and the NY Loose and the Junkies, “Hey hey we’re the Junkies!” -I was expecting more flaming eightball tattooed blackhaired brats in stretch pants hounding poor Howie Pyrocynthia4 for autographs and barfing up on the red carpet at the Coney Island High reunion, but no, NY JUNK were all genuinely battle-scarred, older people who had witnessed the downtown punk rock of the seventies and eighties, firsthand, and come together to tend the good old flame. Once you hear the music, the name makes sense. These were the keepers of the memory. Even their logo was a cool as fuck subway token. While everybody and their brother has a Pastrami Sandwich named after Jerry Nolan nowadays, and a Ramones picture on the wall, and an obligatory selfie with Steve Conte, and is seemingly trying to make a fast buck on the backs of the long gone rebels and their widows by barking on the podcast at the museum exhibit about the old school while promoting their plastic product, NY JUNK simply write songs about their own haunted hearts and fallen friends who they love and miss. Their song “Subway” basks in the warmth of their personal remembrance and is a thing of understated, quiet beauty, which shows all these greasy kids in the bozo red lipstick how you don’t have to have a smoke bomb and a gimmick and some strippers and a Chico Marx hat with a spike in the brim to make meaningful rocknroll. To me, it’s the best thing on the album, it’s power comes from it’s humble understatement, when everybody else is trying to be the musical equivalent to pro wrestling, with a meatdress and a confetti cannon and some Ric Flair bragging and a mean spirited celebrity feud, blowing smoke and bullshit, like a halfassed KISS at Nascar. NY JUNK are like a graceful winter wind outside your window, on this song, reminding you of your personal heartaches and involuntary longings and that annual autumn melancholy as you crunch leaves underneath your brothel creepers and smell somebody’s chimney on the way home from the coin Laundromat and wonder what the hell happened with your long abandoned dreams and aspirations and sadly lost loved ones and wonder how the fuck you lived long enough to become a sad old person waiting for their kids to call. When you wish you could go back to the old house for the holidays but everybody’s gone. I have listened to that song many times in a row when a certain chill moves in. Probably one of the things that bonds the individuals of NY JUNK is that they’ve all outlived some of their more significant intimates, former bandmates, old friends and are similarly reminded of better days, as seasons change and hollow trends and empty rebrands come and go.  Some things are timeless, in style or not. Fashions are dictated by dickheads in conference rooms, but real style, that is eternal. Some people get it and some people don’t-it aint nothing you can buy online. ”Doing Time In NYC”, the song, is a super 8 short film documenting the melting pot’s once diverse populations’ struggles to survive and make a better life for their families in the looming shadows of all those syringe-like skyscrapers and usually just getting stomped to death by impossible rent and Giulliani and Bloomberg and Cheney and Trump’s martial law false flag, Judge Dredd cop army. Stiv Bator and Nick Zedd tried to warn us this bullshit police state was coming way back in ’83. As soon as the record starts spinning the name, the artwork, the photos and lyrics all come together so eloquently, it’s a totally cohesive and elegant statement, a throwback to when records were undeniable art. No wonder they share stages with the Deadbeat Poets and Joey Pinter, who all remember and represent album culture. The NY JUNK record, “Doing Time” is like some defiant bohemian’s last stand–you probably saw the harrowing footage of the white supremacist thug patrol choke that poor man, Eric Garner to death for the crime of supposedly selling single cigarettes, “loosies” to neighborhood people who don’t have fifteen bucks a pack for overpriced, over the counter, Phillip Morris, heavily taxed cancer sticks. That’s what it’s like for any real person who makes a stand against the overwhelming forces of the empire and it’s ceaseless gentrification sham and so called “broken window theory”: where white collar criminals who lie nations into war, destroy the enviornment, wreck the economy and gleefully ruin lives spend their idle summers in the Hamptons having libraries named after them, while poor people are beaten and tasered and killed in torture-prisons for victimless non-crimes, it’s similarly an exercise in futility for a little band to try to set foot in one of those million dollar techno bars with the V.I.P. rooms full of skinny Wall Street daughters and designer faux-rockstars and the meathead bros in all the cologne. The odds are stacked against us. How do some aging rockers communicate aching truths to all the spoilt shit millionaire and billionaire richkids who think that bleaching their hair or buying a tattoo makes them artists? nyj4“Well we all get our chance to beat the odds-but who beats the odds?” NY JUNK are blues people, they know the score, and they know they probably aren’t gonna win, that ain’t what they’re here for. Maxwell Sztabnik’s immaculate capture of the NY Junk on the inside sleeve really nails them in their ragged glory. Cynthia always throwing the Keef shapes in her fitted leathers, the elegant immigrant Brit guitar hero, Jeff, in his Bob Gruen t shirt, drummer Gary emanating quiet rhythmic intensity, and our songwriting don, Joe Sztabnik, in his storyteller fedora, singin’ his heart out about all that’s come and gone. Ghosts appear and vanish like smoke. Joe takes us on a tour of the familiar old sidewalks of Avenues A & B and we all lose our breath gasping at what the one percent landlords have done to our once festive, once magical, old neighborhood. We look at each other for traces of recollection, but in our hearts we already know-we all read the East Village Grieve and know our city is gone. He can really paint an emotive picture, like Jim Carroll or Peter Laughner. “Love Song To My Mirror” picks up the pace, it’s a fast one where these pained creatures throw down like vintage Voidoids or Modern Lovers. “Where did they go? All the boys you know? How come they don’t come here no mo?” Many are dead and gone, and like Thunders once sang about being anyone’s knight in shining armour, who the fuck can afford it? “Your pretty face is turnin’ into glue…” Sztabnik grew up on Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones and you can feel that in his focused illustrations. You can visualize old motorcycle movie footage accompanying this song because it has an urgent makin’ a break for it restlessness, the frustrated yearning that silently screams out from all those highrise concrete cells. There’s a sadness, but it’s accompanied by a still throbbing, heartfelt electricity. “Find Your Own Way Out” is sort of the Sztabnik creed, his whole m.o., a manifesto, his family crest. He got tired of waiting for the businessmen and music industry vermin and press weasels to acknowledge his music, so he convened this remarkable squad of scrappy survivors and released this crucial wax pizza on his own Joetone D.I.Y. record label. That’s how you do it, you forge an alliance with others who are all connected by shared histories and a common empathy and you record it and get your kid to take a picture and another friend to do a logo and another to write about it online and you throw a party and invite all the kids you used to know. It’s a respectable achievement in this era of grotesquely soldout and mass-manufactured corporate juggernaut sex muppets and wax figures, for some friends to come together, unite under a black mournful banner, and deliver music with genuine pain and pathos. As I’ve said, both “Subway” and the immortal, “Poison Heart” co written with under-rated, poet-fuckup, clown-prince, soul-man, Dee Dee, are essential listening, and “I Know Everything” is similarly invested with Sztabnik’s unflinching confession and keen eye for descriptive prose-it’s part Zimmerman, part Richard Hell, with a Chuck Berry solo and a driving train in the rain jam at the end-it’s all about lookin’ for beauty and sincerity, love and moments of fleeting redemption in the ruins of a grimey old empire in decline. All the tourists in dumb matching shirts and tacky green parrothead green sun-visors and fanny packs are posing with seven dollar an hour plushy costumed characters and staring up at the phallic towers where the anorexic models and the bloated hedge fund managers and neo-cons and venal Arab sheiks all live. Joe just walks on by, watching them board up the last of the mom and pop shops, avoiding the ever present, aggressive army of over-reaching cops. This record sounds like the crowded street. The past never really dies completely, it’s still wide awake–in the people who were there. As long as there is that brave, look ‘em in the eye spirit of deadpan rocknroll, I still believe there is hope of uniting again and communicating truth to the misguided mobs who’ve been deceived and lied to, “and this one still survives”. It’s a good record, it reminds me of Lou Reed and Joey Pinter, Bob Dylan, even the Lovin’ Spoonful. Joe’s a real songwriter in a world full of bored fratboys, who ripoff each other’s latest slang bootie lyrics, and unimaginatively “rap” on top of generic drum machine patterns on their constantly upgraded lap-top computers. I don’t expect the people who listen to Adam Levine and Avrile Levigne and Kanye and shit to appreciate his songs, but I do. And if you’ve read this far, there’s a real good chance that you will, too.














“I just wanna walk right out of this world…”