Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CLOTHES...MUSIC...BOYS by Viv Albertine: Book Review


Viv Albertine is always portrayed as a strong and powerful woman in the history books of Punk Rock music.

As a member of the spectacularly ground-breaking and explosive girl group The Slits, Albertine blazed a trail for the multitude of guitarists who desperately needed female role models to find their own voice in the music business.  The Slits bashed their way on to the scene right alongside the Sex Pistols and The Clash during the late seventies and left an indelible impression during their short-lived career.

Now with the release of her captivating new autobiography, Viv Albertine thrusts herself back onto the scene with a strong and powerful story of perseverance.

CLOTHES, CLOTHES, CLOTHES.
MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC.
BOYS, BOYS, BOYS.
released by Thomas Dunne Books, is simply a must-read memoir for ALL Rock music fans.
With the very first sentence, Albertine lures in the reader with an honest and humorous declaration of her intentions:
  -"Anyone who writes an autobiography is either a twat or broke. I'm a bit of both."
Or a bit of a genius...

Cleverly presented and formatted like a vinyl LP, the book reads almost as two separate stories.
"Side One" chronicles Albertine's rise and fall from the bright hot spotlight of fame. Growing up in a broken home in North London allows our heroine the opportunity to not only witness musical history in the making but to inject herself straight into it.  Before she even turned sixteen, Viv witnessed The Rolling Stones play Hyde Park, followed Marc Bolan and T. Rex around London, and had been stepped on by David Bowie!
  -"He's not as dainty as he looks."

But its after watching Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols live in concert that Albertine sees her destiny.
  -"All the things I'm so embarrassed about, John's made into virtues...I think he's brave. A revolutionary. He's sending a very powerful message, the most powerful message anyone can ever transmit. Be yourself."

And with this new found sense of purpose and encouragement from her boyfriend Mick Jones (of The Clash), she's off to buy her first electric guitar. Albertine explains the revelation felt on the bus ride home from the music store, "Nobody knows I can't play it. At this moment in time, I look like a guitarist...For the first time in my life, I feel like myself."

Albertine informs her Mum that she's dropping out of college to play in a band, and the rest is history! Well, it should be noted that like in all great Rock N' Roll stories, Sex and Drugs tend to get in the way of success...and the story of The Slits is no exception.  Toss in friendships with Sid Vicious ("...I think one of the most shocking things he's ever done is get involved with Nancy Spungen."), Chrissie Hynde ("...no one wants to be in a band with her, she's too good.") and Johnny Thunders ("It feels like we're meant to be together. If he wasn't a junkie...") and this book ROCKS!

"Side Two" of the book details Albertine's life after The Slits.  It is here that we learn to empathize with the everyday struggles of her life and admire the stamina of this woman's battles with cervical cancer and a failed marriage.  After years of being completely out of the public eye, with her confidence rattled and self-doubt sabotaging a potential return to the stage, Albertine is saved by the unconditional love of her daughter.
  -" 'Mummy, you were born to play guitar.' That phrase, and the way she says it, sustains me for years."



CLOTHES...MUSIC...BOYS by VIV ALBERTINE!

Viv Albertine.
A strong and powerful woman, indeed!

Friday, November 21, 2014

My DAD RULES


I'm feeling nostalgic today.
Dad blogging...

Bringing me back to thoughts of a simple sheet of paper that
used to hang on our refrigerator door.

I made it myself...
I deemed it "refrigerator-door-worthy" myself...
I used to stare at it and wonder if anyone else did...

I still have it somewhere, the original DAD RULES.
I do believe its time to dig it back out and start living it again.

My Dad rules.

I rule.

These are MY RULES:


Dad's Rules


Right?!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: The J. Geils Band Last Friday Night


Last Friday Night...

Waiting for hours on a freezing cold Detroit City sidewalk...

Not for tickets, like in the past, but for an enviable spot...

At a General Admission J. Geils Band concert with my son...

Showing him the ropes for my job as RockStar Dad is almost done...

Complete with crazed diehards like myself swapping tales of old...

How this band once ruled our town with a vengeance like no other...

Detroit Breakdown Motor City Shakedown, amen my brother.


Wedged up front and dead center we warm and we Wait...

For Peter, Seth, Magic Dick, and DK but its not quite the same...

Somethings been whacked firmly and permanently from place...

A faceless drummer, two guitarists and a teleprompter on the stage...

The songs are still great but the Teeth of Time they don't care...

I know too much and over-analyze this Come Back Houseparty again.


I checked the marquee and it read the J. Geils Band not the D. Levine...

And for the first time I'm old and I'm sad and sure of two things...

Love Stinks for real and I miss seeing J. Geils the man.


The J. Geils Band Detroit 2014






Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Seventeen Years Ago



Seventeen Years Ago...

Again with the Rock N' Roll road trips Going Back To Cali...

Golf and Best Friends and Cigars and The Stones...

In a really good place a downright fine and great place...

Flying first class with a bottomless gin and tonic glass..

Getting lost in an Oakland neighborhood not unlike Detroit...

Checking into our room to head straight for bar's last call...

Wondering why I had seen this video before.


Pacing myself drinking Diet Coke for a spell...

Some weird misunderstanding leaves my smoke crushed by a boot...

Worn by a Vietnam Vet with a chip and an attitude...

Sorted out in time for Pearl Jam to rock out...

Another famous opening act left to play second fiddle...

The Rolling Stones cross their Bridge arriving five feet from my seat.


Even with a parking lot Thief In The Night robbing us blind...

I continually and continuously live a charmed life...

For in the midst of it all, I high-five Mick Jagger.







Friday, October 31, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Twenty Years Ago



Twenty Years Ago...

I arrived home from the airport exhausted just in time...

To hurriedly paint a Stones' tongue on my pumpkin and wait...

For tiny Trick or Treaters to beg while my mind was still gone...

Left back in California riding The Voodoo Lounge Tour bus...

Nearing the end of an old life unsure of starting a new life...

Yet inspired once again filled with Sympathy For The Devil...

And love for a Best Friend who never ever failed me.


Caring not for the next day the next week the next year...

Drinking too well and too much like I was long prone to do...

Holding strange hands and smiling and laughing with the skies...

Out of town in my element out of mind in my haze...

These guys are true heroes and wicked role models...

When all else crumbles the music's Love Is Strong and unfazed.


Jumping over the wall turning good tickets into great ones...

I'm on top of the world roaming floor seats like I own them...

It was Halloweek with The Stones at the Oakland Coliseum.











Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Twenty Five Years Ago Night Two


Twenty Five Years Ago...

Tickets deftly obtained by reentering the line after #1 SOLD OUT...

Back for Round Two with my best Los Angeles mate...

An indisputably pissed off Living Colour opens with a rant...

And tensions are high with bigotry and hate...

For Axl the Offender is no where to be found...

Only Izzy and Duff and Steven and Slash swagger out...

For an epic apology by the top hat on the perils of smack.


After the heroin ramblings I'm not sure it was Pro or it was Con...

But the message was delivered and the G n' R Show was on...

With a true Appetite For Destruction these guys lay to waste...

A hometown crowd whacked straight across the face...

Yet the monstrous stage remained solidly in place almost panting...

To welcome The Rolling Stones and their powerful musical embrace.


Had Keith Richards himself convinced the new kids to stick it out...

In Slash's own words...

"Nobody ever told us shit."



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Twenty Five Years Ago


Twenty Five Years Ago...

With a ticket I waited over 5 hours in line to purchase...

Some old fashioned way on a cold sidewalk before dawn-break...

I arrive at the Coliseum for Night One like a gladiator alone...

Completely enthralled at the spectacle of old and new Rock Royalty...

Here, of course, for The Stones but Guns N' Roses battle valiantly...

Cussing and spitting and imploding in front of tens of thousands...

My first ever witness to a full blown break up on stage.


Axl quits and falls awkwardly from the stage into the sea of madness...

Seizing the moment and sprinting the Olympic track like he planned it...

Rock N' Fucking Roll almost from another planet...

Yet the Glimmer Twins leave nothing to the imagination...

Winning the night and the crowd and the world once again...

The Olympic Torch burning brightly like the ultimate cigarette lighter.


Avoiding a punk-ass mugging on the way back to my car...

No one was getting this Steel Wheels Denim jacket...

The merchandise stand took credit cards.















Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Thirty Two Years Ago



Thirty Two Years Ago...

In the back of a car driven by a friend of a friend...

Heading eastbound from East Lansing...

Road-tripping all too soon from my supposed new home...

To see Roger and Pete and John but no Keith...

In a Teenage Wasteland stupor state of mind...

Expecting brilliance under the Dome...

But getting muddled and manic darkness instead.


Eddie Money duly entertained...

Yet The Clash egregiously agitated...

"Welcome to the Pontiac Trash Can..."

And The Who battled to bash the place down...

Awaking inexplicably back in a dormitory bunk...

I shake off the cobwebs and the rust and the dust.


Rock is Dead, they say...

And we could have been should have been...

Long Live Rock.




Friday, September 19, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Thirty Three Years Ago

Thirty Three Years Ago...

On four of five sold out nights...

Reveling in the electric atmosphere of Pine Knob...

Perched on rainbow wall of painted rock-band logos...

Watching thousands of friends I do not know by name...

Leaping and Staggering and Dancing their way to the lawn...

To worship America's Greatest Live Band of All Time...

I find my strength and my peace and my place.


School is in and life is on and girls are an enigma...

But this place has become my Sanctuary...

And Seventeen feels like the long journey's end...

With Peter Wolf as my mentor, my guide and my light...

It's the One Last Kiss of summer...

And a Houseparty that must never ever end.


Thirty Three Years Ago...

The J. Geils Band and I were poised to rule the world...

And my Rock N' Roll die was cast.









Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rock N' Roll Poetry: Thirty Six Years Ago


Thirty Six Years Ago...

I lay burrowed in a dark brown bean bag chair...

In a room filled with flowery wallpaper and frilly bedding...

Sporting huge headphones that transported me to another dimension...

Hypnotized by the sounds that burned indelible images onto my brain...

Of dangerous love and gutters and discotheques and trash...

Of booze and pills and powders...

Of cocktail parties on the streets.



As the eight-track tape remained firmly lodged in place...

The awkward chunk of the switching regularly interrupted my utopia...

But only temporarily momentarily...

For I was days away from turning fourteen...

In the midst of the most complicated yet simplistic time of my life...

And The Rolling Stones were all that really mattered.



Thirty Six Years Ago...

Some things never change...

Except I need a new bean bag chair...