NEW YORK JUNK

NY JUNK “Passion Of The 10th St. Blues NYC ’77″
(-Aging 80′s New Wave Kid, Geordie Pleathur, Takes Refuge In The Streetwise Gutter Soul Of NY JUNK)

“You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.”

“The table has tilted, folks. The game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people – white collar, blue collar, it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue – these are the people of modest means – Continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t care about you at all. At all. At all. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care.

That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white, and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes every day, because the owners of this country know the truth: It’s call the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”(-George Carlin)

“The country belongs to a handful of men who also control the media. Look at General Electric. It produces nuclear weapons for the Pentagon and also owns the NBC News cable channel, which is a very sophisticated censure apparatus, intrinsic to the system. It’s genius. It’s like an electronic cage around the nation which blocks information from getting through. No one reads novels anymore. And I don’t see the situation improving. People prefer video games, reality TV, and films.”(-Gore Vidal)

“The corporations that profit from permanent war need us to be afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear permits the government to operate in secret. Fear means we are willing to give up our rights and liberties for promises of security. The imposition of fear ensures that the corporations that wrecked the country cannot be challenged. Fear keeps us penned in like livestock.”(- Chris Hedges, The Death of the Liberal Class)

“Every ambitious would-be empire, clarions it abroad that she is conquering the world to bring it peace, security and freedom, and is sacrificing her sons only for the most noble and humanitarian purposes. That is a lie, and it is an ancient lie, yet generations still rise and believe it.”(-Henry David Thoreau)

“The culture has gone into an economic and political phase where the spiritual principles are completely disregarded. The religious life is ethical , it is not mystical , that is gone and the society is disintegrating consequently. IT IS. The question is will there ever be a recovery of the mythological mystical realization of the miracle of life of which our society is a manifestation and all of us brothers and sisters IN the spirit of this all informing mythos.”(-Joseph Campbell)

“Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.” -Tom Robbins)

“Ordinary working class people join the police force only to become tools of the oppressor and crush their own kind in unquestioning service of their paymasters. Why? To protect and to serve? Who? Not the general public, that’s for sure, and now they want those same ordinary people to support them in their campaign to protect their generous (and early) pensions. Fuck off, hope you become old, infirm, broke and petrified except of course as their numbers dwindle then the use of totally unaccountable private security (goon squad) personnel will increase exponentially. The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.”(-Ray Gange)

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”(-George Orwell)

“That the Justice Department will hold no one accountable for the killing of prisoners in CIA custody is nothing short of a scandal.  The Justice Department has declined to bring charges against the officials who authorized torture, the lawyers who sought to legitimate it, and the interrogators who used it. It has successfully shut down every legal suit meant to hold officials civilly liable.
Continuing impunity threatens to undermine the universally recognized prohibition on torture and other abusive treatment and sends the dangerous signal to government officials that there will be no consequences for their use of torture and other cruelty. Today’s decision not to file charges against individuals who tortured prisoners to death is yet another entry in what is already a shameful record.” (-Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director)

“Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love”. (-Julian Assange)

“It’s simple really. When you come to hear me or my Rant Band, we mean it. This isn’t a business to us and never was. When it got to be a business, that’s when it all fell apart. I do it for the right reasons. That’s all you have to do—be truthful.”(-Ian Hunter)

“Nostalgia is the champagne of the deluded mind.”(-Paul Kopasz)

“I just wanna walk right out of this world, cause everybody has a poison heart…”(-Dee Dee Ramone)

“Sadness Accrues…” (-Silvio Dante)

PROP-CULTURE…

One exciting thing about the internet surveillance-grid, I suppose, is that nowadays, even young kids can get hip to many of the coolest, underground, obscure, insider bands from any era, by merely clicking on a few links. When I was a loud and snotty, Icee-slurpin’, Westerberg-quotin’, young grease ball in a Dogs D’Amour t-shirt, I always heard the jaded, old, grey-haired pricks at the music store waxin’ arcane about Captain Beefheart, and the Fugs, or Van Graff Der Generator, or Rory Gallagher, or Bubble Puppy, these wise mystics all seemed to know the secret history of weirdo rock’n'roll that anyone can now learn all about, by simply purchasing six or seven issues Of “Mojo” or “Classic Rock” magazines; that is, if you got the bread to spend on $9 magazines from overseas, and your town still has a book store that carries import music publications. Back then, we just had the cut-out bin, we based lots of purchases on album cover artwork, which could be real hit or miss, ya know? When we weren’t in the mood to gamble our small fortunes on Mad Marc Rude style artwork, we predominantly had to rely on stuff we sometimes found in “everything for a quarter” boxes at garage sales, or shoved uncaringly under tables at the comic book store in a nearby college town-called the Monkey’s Retreat, you know, they couldn’t GIVE AWAY yellowed copies of “Rock Scene” or vintage “Creem” back then, it was the MTV era when it was first goin’ hair metal, and nobody wanted to know about Todd Rundgren, or the Sic Fucks, or Eric Emerson and the Magic Tramps, back then. Or, sometimes, one of my older band mates might unearth a punk era “NY Rocker”, or “N.M.E.”, or “Melody Maker”, in some milk-crate in their Mom’s attic. I had been into Jim Morrison since sixth or seventh grade, my guitar-playing, skateboarder sidekicks were all deep into Kerrang! culture—Ozzy and Van Halen. By the time we met this older punk from a town about forty-five minutes away, who enthusiastically shared his sacred stash of Public Image Ltd., The Cramps, The Damned, and Lords Of The New Church albums with us, we were all single-mindedly plotting finding a drummer, locating a band space-ideally, a bandhouse like the MC5, and acquiring a P.A. and a band van. That’s how you did it in those days. You got a van, printed up t-shirts with your skull logo on the front, and xeroxed fliers, slept on floors, opened for other groups in college towns. Black Flag had paved the way for the Replacements and R.E.M. and Soul Asylum. You could still “get in the van” and go from town to town, up and down the left of the dial. Once we discovered Iggy Pop, Gen X, the Runaways, the Gun Club, and the Deadboys’ “Sonic Reducer”, we recognized our rightful destinies, as punknroll torch-keepers. “Disconnected” became our bible, and I related to every song on it. I was always urgently and pleadingly lobbying all my mohawked brothers to relocate with me to the big city in search of rocknroll glory. There was no Plan B. ‘Least not for this stubborn punk bozo. I did not come to fuck around. Maybe I was raised on Elvis, the Beatles and the Monkees in rural small towns, but strangely, I turned out a punk. I was always, always, always envisioning a smoky, back-lit debut concert in my head, opening for the Cult, or Circus Of Power, or Patti Smith in NYC. It never happened. As D. Boone sagely intoned, “Dreams are free, motherfucker”.

SOD THE ODDS…

I’d spent some significant spans of time in NYC as a runaway teen, where one was not merely tolerated, but often rewarded, for being off-beat, weird, or exceptional, and this made it challenging to quietly assimilate back into fly-over states slave-plantation sensibilities. In the midwest, it’s all about sports and the military, people are rewarded for being unthinking conformists, for spewing the pre-scripted bullshit that school principals, juvenile authority judges, drill sergeants, coaches, preachers, and human-resources department managers want to hear. In other words, they’re all trained to lie, and tend to believe that truth comes only from uniformed authority, or church, or television. They worship at the feet of the hierarchy. The chains of command. Like the bluesman Solomon Burke once said, “America taught it’s children you can lie and get by.” It’s all terribly sieg heil, and it’s gotten much worse, as the rat-race manufacturing media has toppled in on itself. The information flow is still easily dominated by fear and propaganda, particularly in the dumbed down prison-states. I never fit in there, cos I tell the truth even when I’m lyin’. TV watchers don’t like to think in terms of the corporate-elite breeding and indoctrinating soldier-slaves to perpetuate their power, but if you’re from the South or midwest, and escaped, think about the people you grew up with, you’ll innately know it’s all too true. These suburban basketball and football and high-school wrestling teams are where they manufacture their future cops and cannon fodder for foreign oil wars. These are not what you would call cultured people, capable of much critical thinking. These folks work nine to five, eat processed and packaged food full of Aspartame and High Fructose Corn Syrups, and believe most anything their TV tells ‘em. They put their trust in TV Doctors. Dr. Oz, Dr. Drew, Dr. Phil, “The Doctors”, who are all mere product shills. Commercial-Country’s the big thing. Football and video-games. These poor saps watch Fox news and the 700 Club and give their money to smarmy, rich evangelical pastors at mega-churches. Their parents were hysterical about Ozzy and W.A.S.P., in the Al Gore P.M.R.C. days. It was always a challenge to find new music where we lived, some of us didn’t even have cable, back when MTV still played actual music videos. So we mostly had to rely on the expertise of older punks, and word of mouth, and we all exchanged these impassioned punk rock mixed tapes on ninety minute cassettes, with other rocker kids, we’d meet at shows in different cities. At a Sunday matinee all ages venue, in a nearby college-town, they even managed to bring in the Ramones. The Chainsaw Kittens, Elvis Hitler, and Flaming Lips all blew us away. We were on a quest for cool and becoming our own heroes, we’d seen other weird kids from the bad parts of towns rise above opposition and at least become cultish rock’n'roll elpee makers, which was all we thought we ever wanted, but alas, we were endlessly thwarted. And all we ever got–was old.

One memorable example of how backwards things were, in one of these hell-holes that spawned us, was when one local venue finally started playing some college radio and post punk music, and allowing some local bands to play that weren’t performing Top Forty hair-band covers, I was nominated to approach the management about the no pogoing, or slam dancing policy, by the local thrash band, being as how I was best friends with the local celebrity D.J., who worked at this venue, so I spoke with the head bouncer, who I’d known from the days when he was the arcade attendant in the mall, Windexing Space Invaders, and hitting on pre-teen hairspray queens in satin jackets, so in a very gentlemanly way, I tried explaining how all the jumping up and down was a mostly harmless part of our punk rock subculture, and people weren’t really being hurt, so couldn’t we have some discussion about allowing for some harmless fun on the punk rock nights. His response? Signaled to his suburban jock weightlifters, and FOUR of them immediately, physically, grabbed me and removed me painfully from the building. Before there was a TSA, at least in the plantation-states, everybody who was too dumb to sell pot, join the military, or become a cop, or corrections officer, became a nightclub bouncer, and they all figure it’s the same thing. Give a fat guy with a hard-on a big flashlight and a security t-shirt, he thinks he works for Blackwater. Pinkerton thugs, Henry Ford’s Black Legion, the DEA SWAT team. All the animal torturer slow learners, and forever angry, child-abuse victims find their way to some uniformed position of authority and abuse that power. This same guy’s obviously smarter little brother, had in fact, been my high-school weed salesman, who wore a Playboy Magazine rabbit necklace, and later, purchased a recording studio, with his pot profits. All the same gang who’d volunteered me to be their spokesman, ended up being those same two’s go-fer hanger-ons. That was one of my early lessons in how most people always go where the party goes, and no one is more popular, anywhere, than the local dope dealers. Music scenes are mostly just high school popularity contests, sad but true, and even in the bigger towns, few give a shit about originality and sincerity, or who can play, or who has the best songs, or even who’s the most charismatic and entertaining. The accolades and fanfare are reserved for whoever has the money and drugs and books the clubs, and even in middle-age, people will gladly eat shit and pretend it tastes good, so long as there’s a sign that says “V.I.P.” and some creepy rich kid peddling powders. Them’s the facts, Jacks.

In my later teens, I broke up with my highly sought-after, blonde, heavy metal girlfriend, who could not quit cheating on me with older, famous members of various touring hair-metal bands. Her crazy evangelical parents and she immediately determined I only broke up with her, due to the spell-binding witch-craft of my supposedly evil, black haired, goth girlfriend, and brought one of those crackpot Beatle blaming, book-touring Christians to town, to lay on hands, lecture the superstitious farm folk about Bauhaus and Ozzy, and purge demons from local adolescents at the Christian TV broadcasting studios, and the mustached juvenile authorities could not figure out why I kept running away to NY. They warned us how the George Harrison Hindu dot head boogeymen were coming to convert our innocent cheerleaders to lesbianism. You can’t make this shit up.

DOWNTOWN RAVE…

See, we’d all fallen in love with all the ancient myths about the Deadboys and Warhol’s Factory, and Max’s Kansas City, and the Patti Smith Group, and the Ramones discovering the Deadboys when they saw Stiv roof-surfing on the hood of their tour van. Ya know, even the latter day saints, like the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Smiths, all had these romantic tales of odd-looking and bashful anti-socials, overcoming their disadvantages, neurosis, and childhood traumas, by reinventing themselves as Ziggy Stardusted Sex Sputniks. That’s what I told my counselor my plan was, on Freshman career day. She wanted me to meet with the army recruiter, I told her I was gonna be “the male Patti Smith, or at least, the next Andy Prieboy”, but alas, it never came to pass, and here I linger, with my chronic back pain and poison attitude. Fortunately, there was a hippie headshop/record store in the next town over, and we’d go there once a month, get dropped off with our allowances and loiter maybe for two hours, buy up a bunch of sixties classic rock 45′s, all the Lenny Kaye “Nuggets” sides, anything with a weird sounding name, we’d ask for whatever we saw on 120 Minutes, and sometimes, they’d get something new wave, or post-punk, in, used, like you know, Southern Death Cult, P.I.L., Visage, Depeche Mode, Screamin’ Blue Messiahs, Dream Syndicate, The Alarm, The Pretenders, Young Fresh Fellows, Plimsouls, Psychedelic Furs, Smithereens, Descendents, Suicidal Tendencies, the Damned, or Cure…you’d find maybe, a vinyl bootleg of Morrison belligerently screaming obscenities just off mic at some ancient Hendrix show; we’d pick up some little Sid Vicious or Siouxsie, or “Purple Rain” lapel buttons, and maybe a couple t shirts that originally came from one of those iron-on transfer booths in the mall. The glittery kind—Blondie, and the Knack. We didn’t have the access to everything that mid-westerners  have now, with the internet. The first two Love And Rockets albums were like Pink Floyd or the Beatles to us. I vividly remember when the Jesus & Mary Chain, Pixies, Dramarama, and Flaming Lips were all brand new, like it was yesterday. My older geezer friends felt that way about the Deviants and Chocolate Watch Band and Stiff Records and Reggae. Oddly, the local coot who knew all about the Stooges hated me for some reason.
Eventually, I became the record store guy, but in my teens, I looked up to three old bastards who knew everything about old music. Two were hippies, one wore an over-sized top hat, and the third guy didn’t actually work there, he just showed up everyday to talk about music and insult kids like me. They were already moaning about how Boy George and Dexy’s Midnite Runners had no soul (!) and how ZZ Top had sold out. It was challenging to win an apprenticeship with these mean old curmudgeons, no matter how eager you were to learn about Blue Cheer, Electric Prunes, Balloon Farm, and the Standells. One of the geezers wisely left town, one befriended me, and we’re still tight til this day. The other one of the town’s three music experts hated my guts cus he was fifty, still lived with his mom, and never got laid, anymore, and I was eighteen and I liked it, loved it, so he was always obnoxiously condescending, if I tried inquiring about Brownsville Station, the MC5, or some other group you couldn’t read about in late eighties news-stand copies of “Smash Hits”, or “Circus Magazine”. There was ONE NY Dolls vhs tape in circulation-”Live In A Dolls House” that was of some old Bob Gruen footage and some TV show appearances, about six or seven songs, maybe. I’m sure you’ve seen it, but that was the most exciting shit we’d ever seen in our lives, besides, you know, “Rock The Casbah”, and “Start Me Up”, until we finally shook out some “New Wave Theater” stuff, and the “All Those Wasted Years” Hanoi Rocks concert. They’d sometimes, show the Alice Cooper Group on MTV’s “Closet Classics”, but in these hick ass little towns, it was all about Bon Jovi. Bon Jovi replaced Journey, and Loverboy, and all that other puerile, sickeningly commercial white sheeple rock they played non-stop on insufferable F.M. radio…Midwest radio formats ruined a lot of bands for me, for a long time, like Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Bob Seger. I still can’t do Led Zeppelin, ya know, I just had to hear too much of the same bullshit, over and over, while growing up. Get a job laying carpet=Led Zeppelin. Get a job painting houses=Led Zeppelin. Get a job carrying heavy, black tar shingles up tall fences for roofers in the shitty hot sun=Led Zeppelin. Now, I guess, it’d be Nickelback. Bon Jovi was, you know, everywhere you fuckin’ looked, like Nirvana was for a minute, years later. It was just hellish. The radio, MTV, the chain record stores in the mall, the cover bands at the hillbilly bars, ALL the girls were into Bon Jovi. They played it when they were drivin’ you around in their car. They all postered their bedrooms wall to wall with Richie and Jon and Tico Torres. Even the wrestling team sadists had frosted perms. It was pretty awful.

We started taking these risky, long distance road trips where we’d have to steal cans of oil along the way, never had enough for hotels, spare-changed for gas money, but we started seeing real bands, finally, and finding quality music. In NYC, all the Princess Pang and Skin N Bones level guys worked at the boutiques and record shops and they’d hip us to genuinely cool music without a whiff of patronizing, small-pond attitude. This was before Rudolph Giulliani, NYU, and Bloomberg, ran all the mom and pops out of the Village, and there were record stores and little punk boutiques on every block, St. Mark’s Place had Sounds and Freebeing, It’s Only Rock N Roll was up a flight of stairs and totally fried our imaginations with all the swirling psychedelic collages inside, NY was a bad-ass rock’n'roll town, back then, you might see a Ramone just walkin’ around with a piece of pizza,like a common citizen, cause he lived right across the street, and you know, there were all these beautiful, crazy people selling books and records on filthy pink bedsheets they laid out on the sidewalk. You could buy a bottle of stolen wine and some skull earrings from the same sidewalk hustla. Passed on the used-porn. Bars were booking local bands with names like Demolition Boy, Rocket Queen, Spyder Junkies, and Dollhouse. Hollywood’s Motorcycle Boy visited NYC, and broke up soon after. It was mid-to-late eighties, the last days of the dirty downtown punk scene. Limelite, the Scrap Bar, King Tut’s, Downtown Beirut, and sometimes, Sonic Youth or Black Snakes at the Pyramid, if your older girlfriend knew the doorman. Before they started doing those Green Door parties. We’d always get hassled in East Rutherford, New Jersey. If you drive a band van with skulls painted on the side, stay away from East Rutherford.

In my late teens, I started makin’ friends with more of these older musicians and downtown action shakers, and they’d all mention the Dragons, the Senders, Love Pirates, the Fuzztones, Angels In Vain, but we were still underage, ‘could only get in to certain bars in the city, so these groups took on this rich mystique in our youthful rock fantasies. We learned all about Stiv and Johnny and the Ramones, or so we thought, my guitar-player even had an l.p. by the Fast, but some of these other NY rockers, like say, Tuff Darts, the Planets, Suicide, Knots, the mighty Dictators, and Jayne County, we’d still be excavating their works like bleary eyed archaeologists, a little at a time, for the two and a half decades that followed. The Phantoms from New Orleans played the Continental and just killed it. Still one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It’s funny how things sped up, with the technology, ‘seems I met a kid in my late twenties, when CD’s had come in, and he was like, a Violent Femmes geek, but his parents had some money, and in less than a year, he owned every album me and my six best friends had ever purchased on vinyl–on disc. Had bought instruments, music lessons, Doc Martins, bought up every shirt off the wall downstairs at Trash N Vaudeville, booked studio time, and pressed three or four CD’s and singles, all while I was just trying to wrangle up a simple livelihood and a hundred dollar a week hotel room to keep warm in. He had the internet early on, and like, wow, these kids today, it’s just one big, fast woooshhh…Me and my gang, we were in our forties, some of us, before we saw the Sid n Nancy and Stiv and Cynthia press conference, or ANY of that rare archival footage of ya know, all those hilarious Dee Dee interviews, or Joey Ramone’s Acid Glitter Trashball Extravaganzas, or any of that vintage history we all watch on youtube all night, nowadays. So I’m just sayin’, times have changed, dramatically, it’s dizzying, really, and me, myself, I’m still catchin’ up with some of this rocknroll history I totally missed out on, when it was all actually going on, in Lower Manhattan, and I was seven, or eight. I wasn’t around when Cynthia’s B-Girls from Toronto were the all-babe toast of the town, hangin’ out with Blondie and Joan Jett and opening for the Clash, and unlike some well-known rock-ranters, I ain’t gonna revise my history here and pretend like I was goin’ to elementary school with a Flamin’ Groovies lunch-box. I wasn’t. I was a rebellious MTV kid who went to a mean suburban high school where they only taught us about sports and conformity and designer labels. It was automatic that I’d someday flee to St. Mark’s Place, but I didn’t arrive until ’85, and if you talk to the grown-ups, they’ll tell you it was already over, even then. I was lucky to meet a benevolent older woman with an extensive Bowie collection who let me live with her and her girlfriend and took me to after-hours joints like Neither/Nor and Save The Robots. Positively bedazzling.

This crazy war culture just keeps accelerating with it’s gizmos and drones and I-Pads and Trapwires, and sure, I know some people who got money to seek out some swanky pop trash on E-Bay and shit, but I’m still that kid from the eighties, really, still looking through the junk shops for the Holy Grail, or at least something by Dave Kusworth, but the on-line collector’s market, and hipster culture, have driven the price of all my favorite things through the roof. I don’t know how it is where you live, but there ain’t no vintage concert t shirts, or Levi’s jackets, or dollar albums, or boot-cut jeans, or cowboy shirts, at the second-hand stores, no more. I went to this online store called Etsy and they’re selling all my old t shirts that my ex guitar player already stole and cut the sleeves off of to show off his muscles and bad tattoos, for $90-$500, I’m not shitting, go see for yourself. $500 t shirts. $500 t shirts. It’s all these damn hipsters. Makes me wanna sock that Ryan Adams hack in the eye. The only underground scene left breathing in the dreadful 90′s was all about those family funded, dime-a-dozen Danny Zucco geeks singing about strippers and swtchblades and hot rods and imaginary Happy Days rumbles down at Thunder Road. Drove me bats.

Last time I was at Goodwill, rummaging through the cassettes, I saw a guy with a ZZ Top beard, SHORTS, suspenders, something dayglo, something furry, he wasn’t going to the parade. He was buying up all the cool mirrored sunglasses with a credit card. He was maybe 25, I had to wonder if it was even his credit card, not that I haven’t worn my share of gauche and gaudy threads, but just the ironic mish mash confuses me: “I’m a plaid-clad, disco-friendly, synth pop, black metal, keytar player with snowmobile goggles, looking to start a band with a female Casio owner. Influences include ‘Arrested Development’, Tom Green, ‘The Office’, ‘Jackass’, and all those blockbuster movies about fat curly haired kids going nutty…” I don’t like irony, I don’t like Swatch watches, or preppie golf shirts, or Members Only jackets, or smirking jocks, or Lady Gaga. I don’t like smartass insincerity, I don’t like lack of commitment, I don’t like rich kids, I don’t like Beck. I really don’t even like the Beastie Boys, so that should give you some idea of what I’m thinking when I flip through “Spin” magazine, and somebody’s daughter is being groomed to be the next Cat Power, Fiona Apple, Katy Perry, White Stripes, sensation. They tried to get me into the Darkness and the Sons Of Leon, and all that Jack White bullshit. You know me, I’ll probably stick with The Waldos “Rent Party”, The Replacements “Tim”, and “Love” by the Cult. I tried to get into that new Cult song, was all excited. The one that went, “we got the drugs, we got the drugs…” Truthfully, I don’t even really know what Ian ASTBURY’S talking about, half the time, anymore. I feel like fuckin’ Howard The Duck. Things ain’t nuthin’ like they used to be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2TdqTX7LWI

ALL MY FRIENDS…

So you probably know that some of these NY JUNK folks were intimates and amigos of all your favorite seventies rockstars, but these cats are also original voices. In a cut ‘n’ paste world of copycat clones, The NY JUNK roll their own, dig? Brought up on a side street, Joe Sztabnik and Cynthia Ross, aided by drummer Gary Barnett have graciously created a worthwhile, contemporary, rock’n'roll album, the rare, real kind, we all loved as kids. The bluesy, flesh and blood, and heart and soul, kind of musical experience you don’t come across too often, anymore. The title track, “Passion Of The 10th St. Blues NYC ’77″ kicks things off with a very, very cool Lou Reed style guitar line, and Joe Sztabnik’s simmering East Side street poetry, that’s very reminiscent of Paul K. and the Weathermen, Two Saints, Richard Hell, and Jim Carroll, gritty postcards from the edge with terrific music that’ll remind you of the Modern Lovers and Velvet Underground. I’m totally into NY JUNK, man. I’ve been craving some real cool, organic, soul music, ya know, cos I’m bored to death with Disney Sluts and Television Brainwash Emo-bots. If you’re anything like me, you got no space for corporate-infotainment pig-media blare. Here is a viable, immediate solution. Obviously, the NY JUNK trail the ghosts of all the seventies C.B.G.B.’s and Max’s Kansas City punk rock heroes, and ya hear it in every bruised ballad and sacred, mid-tempo lament. If you were a fan of the Velvets, the Deadboys, the Heartbreakers, the Waldos, the Fleshtones, the B-Girls, etc., etc., you’re bound to love the NY Junk. Songs like, “Thunder”, ”Last Day Of Rocky Pompeii” and “Rocknroll Prisoner”, are the first-person, eyewitness accounts of these last surviving, seasoned, downtown fringe-dwellers, and they’re full of soul. It all oozes scarred authenticity: street hassles and mourned friends. It’s all very dark, dead-pan, and laid-back, like Lou Reed, but it’s also got that filthy squat-punk FEEL of the Cheetah Chrome and the Ghetto Dogs classic E.P. It makes me think of waitin’ in the stairwell, while a friend was knockin’ on John Spaceley’s door like he was makin’ a bust, walkin’ around downtown at dawn, before crashin’ out in a wrinkled, sparkling heap, at the Rutledge Hotel. This ain’t loud fast rules, greasy kid punk, like say, the Adjusters, Biters, or Prima Donnas, it’s the raw deal, raunchy stuff of hardass, adult truth. That means, it’s full of pain and pride, grief and regret and swallowed emotions, ya get a bit stoic when you’ve seen it all twice. I wasn’t expecting to like this half as much as I do, this is the buzz, the nazz, the action. Fans of Brother Wayne Kramer’s masterful storytelling and solo oeuvre, do take extra-special note. My Dad’s friends who like old-school, tough guy romantics like Dion, will like this, too. Joe Sztabnik didn’t get credit for helpin’ Dee Dee Ramone flesh-out his best song, “Poison Heart”, but I love every version of that song-Stiv’s, Joey’s, and the NY Junk with Joey Pinter rendition, you can watch on Youtube. I like every song on this album, “Passion Of The 10th St. Blues NYC ’77″…it feels a lot like a 70′s Lou Reed record, like “Sally Can’t Dance”, or “Transformer”, or sumthinz. My old lady came in from a long day of work while it was playin’, and I thought she was gonna turn it down, but she liked it immediately, and wanted to know who it was. “Dreaming Of You” is absolutely haunting. As Legendary Punk Rock Photographer, Theresa Kereakes, says, “NY Junk are the torch-bearers of a primal rock n roll tradition that inspired each and every one of us; they will not let it die, and they will not let us forget why we love rock n roll. They are survivors and rock lives long because of them.”

Frank Secich, the always stylish and amazingly talented power-pop genius behind Blue Ash/Stiv Bator Band/Deadbeat Poets righteously testifies: “I love New York Junk and have had the privilege of playing quite a few gigs on the same bill as them. I think the best thing about New York is the vibe when they play. A great combination of New York cool and mood and beat and look. Cynthia and I are old friends and when The Deadbeat Poets and New York Junk were touring Europe, I would find myself watching them from the side of the stage with a stupid smile on my face thinking, ‘Who would have thought, 35 years ago, we’d both be playing in Dresden, in 2012, and knocking them dead?’ I’m one of their biggest fans!” That was the guy who played bass on “Disconnected”. Rock’n'roll Superman, Peter Crowley opines: “New York Junk carry on the tradition of NYC  rock’n'roll for a new generation of fans. They’re survivors and terrific entertainers.” Celebrated author and guitarist of glam cult gods, Gunfire Dance, Jeff Ward, adds: “I was bowled-over by NY Junk when I heard them perform ‘Last Day of Rocky Pompeii’. You just don’t hear songs of that quality, sang with that kind of guttural, almost Dylanesque passion, not in today’s NY punk/rock n roll venues. There were other standout songs, like ‘Thunder’ and ‘Downtown’, and ‘Poison Heart’ (which I kind of recognized, and later found out that Joe wrote with Dee Dee Ramone). Cynthia and Joe had this cool ‘unity’ that made them compelling to watch. I’d met them briefly in London via Walter Lure, but had no idea how intimately connected they were to that golden age of NY rock n roll in the 70’s, and with people who are legends and heroes of mine. When I got a copy of their cd I could hear all those authentic NY sounds coming through, and just loved listening to it. They write great songs. I got Joe to perform ‘Dreaming of You’ at a recent acoustic show we did together… I think that’s a beautiful song, which NY Junk don’t do live.”

OUT OF CONTROL….

The NY Junk play shows with plenty of famous people. They are truly 70′s rock’n'roll royalty, and yet, many outside of Manhattan are still sadly oblivious. Like the Waldos, back in the day, ya know? We hope to help rectify this situation. Smokin’ hot Waldos/Knots guitar-outlaw, the dangerously emotive rocknroll motherfucker, Joey Pinter says: “Out of all the bands these days, New York Junk’s strength lies in the music, what I mean is they stayed true to what makes rock and roll, by not trying to please people with what’s on the radio. The essence of rock and roll is simplicity, yeah yeah I know it’s three chords but it’s what’s done with those three chords. A good example is ‘Let It Bleed’ G/C/D played in different ways, this is what they do and do it quite well indeed. Take ‘Downtown Rave’, a simple song that smacks you in the face. Live, they’re fuckshit great, it’s always handy when a band has two people that look like Joe and Gary (let’s face it we’re not talking about physical male perfection here) with a Cynthia Ross under the lights with them. They’ve been friends of mine for years. When ever I go to NY, not only am I thrilled to play with them, but I always find myself in the bunker with Joe and Cynthia recording.”

This is coming from Joey Pinter, one of the hottest living rocknroll guitarists, on the planet. If you ever had the good fortune to see the Waldos in their prime, or to own the classic, “Rent Party”, you know I ain’t lyin’. I remember goin’ to see the Waldos for the first time with my old friend, the World Famous Mister Ratboy from Pillbox, etc., etc., and seein’ J.P. menace the front row, playin’ his guitar, right in your face, like Chuck Berry, or Brother Wayne Kramer, and bein’ like, “Whoa, who’s THAT?!” The Waldos weren’t the youngest, or the skinniest, or the ones shmoozin’ with the models and the corporate press, but they were definitely the baddest band on the block, I mean, they just HAD it, Joey Pinter was the MAN, so when he praises a band, you know it ain’t no jive-ass smoke blowin’.

SOMETHING MUST HAVE HAPPENED OVER MANHATTAN…

To say that what the oligarchs have done to the once great melting-pot of NYC is a travesty, a crime, a cryin’ shame, would be an immense understatement. C.B.G.B.s is gone, the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, the Continental Divide, and Bleecker Bob’s are history. Wowsville, Love Saves The Day, See/Hear, Enzs, Scrap Bar, Lizmar Lounge, the Chelsea Hotel. All long lost, forced out, by greedy, evil landlords. The coolest Ramones and most of the Dolls have left us. NYC’s Legendary Downtown Bohemia seems dead, like, everywhere else. The Rivington Street Art Park is long, long gone. ‘Ever since those three buildings were pulled on 9/11, at least 263 shadowy secret organizations have been created, to spy on U.S. citizens, in the so-called homeland, as well as people overseas. Tax-paying protesters are casually sprayed with military grade chemical weapons for daring to protest against the high finance Hamptons banksters’ white collar crimes and perpetual oil wars. What’s left but a lot of dickhead hedge fund managers and teenage heiresses rushing around to modelling auditions with Lois Vuitton handbags? Mayor Bloomberg’s One Percenter Oligarchy’s chased half the real rock’n'roll community outta town, with their storm-trooper goon-squads, (that Bloomberg proudly refers to as the world’s sixth biggest army) and the non-stop, Wall Street billionaire gentrification, and always obscenely jacked-up rent, but these lingering die-hard punk’n'roll musicians, the NY JUNK, calmly carry the candle for truth, liberty, and soul, and we love them for it. Last standing badasses, if you really think about it. People from all over the globe have always gravitated and immigrated to NYC to be part of the arty, bohemian, defiant, cool, melting pot, for the diversity, the tollerance, the spirit of freedom. Ya know? What do we got now? A buncha trendy rich people in pretentious bands I can’t relate to. A buncha Strokes, if you ask me. Most Americans can’t even afford to VISIT NY, anymore, ya know? Ten dollar packs o’ smokes. Ten dollar beers. You know anybody, personally, who paid to see Ian Hunter at that winery, or who had the right kind of credit card to catch Patti Smith before her show sold-out? I don’t know about you, but I don’t work at Spin, or Rolling Stone, or have relatives who own modelling agencies. That leaves me out of the Big Apple. 2,500,000 and counting, human beings have lost their lives in bogus wars, justified by those THREE 9/11 buildings crashing to the ground. I can’t afford to live in NYC no more, sure do miss the fallafels.

If you loved the vulnerable songwriting soul of Johnny Thunders, but not his armies of silly, clownish imitators, with their jack-off hammer-on solos and Nikki Sixx hair-do’s, and compulsory, make-believe, drug-problems, NY Junk are still makin’ the style of raunchy, thoughtful, raucous, gutter punk, with real emotions, that we always duff our crumpled, pink fedoras to, here at Sugarbuzz Magazine. If you prefer seventies solo Iggy and Lou Reed To Adam Bomb and Vinnie Vincent, Joe Sztabnik is your main-man. Others may have puffs of pink smoke and purple polka dotted blouses. The NY JUNK got soul, perspective, honesty, a point of view. Joe Sztabnik may have been friends with all the good ole geezers of Lower Eastside’s Past, but what makes him special, in addition to his outstanding musicianship; he’s a bastion of guitar, is that he’s his own dude. He’s a sovereign, authentic, unflinching story-teller, clearly reveling in a hard-earned sense of freedom, and like I said, his songs possess a survivor’s depth and maturity that the die young crowd never got to achieve. I remember how appalled the old record-collecting curmudgeons and Swedish come-latelys were, some years ago, when I blasphemed the holy ghosts of the MC5, by asserting that Brother Wayne’s solo works possessed nuance, poetry, and wisdom, missing from all that undeniably beautiful teenage rage from the Grande Ballroom glory days, but I hold forth that this rocknroll music for grownups that’s still being made by Kramer, NY Junk, Syl ‘n’ David Jo, Patti, Ian Hunter, Deadbeat Poets, The Bermondsey Joyriders, Jim Jones Revue, TV Smith, Honest John Plain, and a select few others, is every bit as vital and important as their breakthrough classics from their wayward youths. Isn’t achieving and living by one’s own sovereign code, answering to one’s own inner compass, adhering to one’s own pure vision, living according to your own religion, your own unique values and customs, and not being pushed around by anybody, the ultimate goal of all those beautiful and damned live fast kids and piratical aging gypsies? The NY JUNK are doing it their way, sayin’ their own thing, and that’s so rare, with all the gimmicky joke bands and sarcastic social climbing, ironic hipsters. It ain’t no put-on with Cynthia and Joe, they are just effortlessly eminating genuine coolness and giving consolation, inspiration, comfort, and courage to loads of us scattered punk-rock die-hards and culture-war refugees. It’s not something they do, it’s something they are. Just by playin’ out, writing real songs, being themselves, they’re lifting the whole standard. Just a tiny light is stronger than oceans of inky-black darkness. NY JUNK are puttin’ the soul back into The City. REMINDING people. That’s deep. man.

NY JUNK are the unvarnished essence of downtown rocknroll:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mfR_itd6PQ&feature=related
http://www.last.fm/music/New+York+Junk
http://music.yahoo.com/cynthia-ross/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMeZgJNTQBc
http://punkturns30.blogspot.com/
http://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/new-york-junk/id372045584