Art Indie Rock Punk Visual

Controversial Album Art: Sonic Youth – Goo

Sonic Youth’s major-label debut Goo is a solid, respected Indie Rock album. Sonically, it continues the bands evolution from No Wave inspired noiseniks to the tunefully dissonant elder statesmen (& woman) of Alternative Rock.

The cover art, by artist Raymond Pettibon (famous for record art for underground artists like Black Flag & Minutemen), depicted a black & white, ink line drawing of “two sunglasses wearing British mods” (wikipedia). A caption read : “I stole my sister’s boyfriend. It was all whirlwind heat, and flash. Within a week we killed my parents and hit the road.” This image has become embedded in the cultural consciousness via T-shirts, posters etc. There are hosts of tributes to it featuring characters from other media.

What I wasn’t aware of until very recently though (I’m probably the last to know) was who the image depicted. The drawing was modelled on a newspaper image of two witnesses in the Moors Murders trials. The witnesses pictured were actually Moors Murderer Myra Hindleys Sister & Brother -in-Law, David & Maureen smith, whose statements to the police eventually led to the arrest & incarceration of Hindley & her fellow murder Ian Brady. It’s an interesting choice of subject. I find it ties into similar themes to artwork like Jamie Reid’s Sex Pistols sleeves or the détournement of Gang Of Four’s Entertainment! It’s designed to either shock the viewer or to instil feelings of vague discomfort.

Jamie Reed’s God Save The Queen artwork & Gang Of Four’s Entertainment!:

Other examples of Raymond Pettibon’s sleeves:

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Indie Rock No Wave Post Punk Punk

Desolation Centre – Underground Music Festivals Documentary

Desolation Center, a new documentary charting the underground, DIY, experimental music & art festivals which were put on in the California desert in the mid-’80’s, is coming to streaming services on the 23rd June.

Produced by Stuart Swezey, Desolation Center is a mix of archive footage (including live performances) & interviews chronicling the chaotic & loud phenomena which would go on to inspire larger, more official desert festivals like Burning Man.

Among the bands which performed at Desolation Center events (& appear in the film) wer Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Perry Farrell, Redd Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, and Savage Republic.

Ahead of the release, a couple of excellent film clips have been released. The first show’s us fantastic footage of a psychedelic Meat Puppets performance where they asked for the lights to be switched off so they could play by moonlight. The second features Perry Farrel (Janes Addiction) & George Hurley (Minutemen) talking about playing a show on a boat in the LA harbour.

If that’s got you interested, check out the theatrical trailer from last August.

Indie Rock Music Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): Minutemen – History Lesson Part 2

This blogpost is dedicated to the memory of D. Boon. RIP.

Day 8 (H) & it’s History Lesson (Part 2) by Minutemen. You almost certainly know a Minutemen song, even if you’ve never heard of them. Their song Corona was made world famous by it’s use as the theme music for Jackass. I find this amusing as, lyrically, it’s a very intelligent song about US foreign policy in central America. For it to be then used for a show like Jackass. Hilarious.

D. Boon, 1985

History Lesson (Part 2) is about the origins of the Minutemen (“Me & Mike Watt played for years”, “we drove up from Pedro”) and also engages in some mythmaking & world building for the Punk Rock community. “This is Bob Dylan to me” is intended to equate the acclaim Dylan enjoys with Punk Rock music, lending it a sense of legitimacy which we take for granted in 2020. There was a time when this music was viewed as obscene & talentless noise. In the here & now, it is the fountainhead of most of the music we listen to from Hip-Hop to Alternative Rock. The lyrics also take pains to point out the normality of the band members, D. Boon, Mike Watt & George Hurley. This is what is being addressed by the opening couplet “Our band could be your life, real names’d be proof”.

Our band could be your life
Real names’d be proof
Me and mike watt played for years
Punk rock changed our lives

We learned punk rock in Hollywood
Drove up from Pedro
We were fucking corn dogs
We’d go drink and pogo

Mr. Narrator
This is Bob Dylan to me
My story could be his songs
I’m his soldier child

Our band is scientist rock
But I was E. Bloom and Richard Hell
Joe Strummer, and John Doe
Me and Mike Watt, playing guitar

As a bonus, while searching for a decent video of History Lesson (Part 2) I found this lovely video, from 2009, of bassist Mike Watt reading the lyrics & explaining a little about what they were saying and how they were wrote. Notice how Watt’s eyes seem to tear up and he chokes slightly on his words when he mentions bandmate D. Boon. Boon was killed in a road vehicle accident in 1985, when Minutemen were at the peak of their power & facing a bright & successful career. I hope you enjoy.

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