When the Damned toured with T. Rex
November 13, 2020 10:16 PM   Subscribe

Capt. Sensible talks about when Marc Bolan asked the Damned to join T.Rex on tour. "Unlike some of his fellow ’70s rock stars, Marc saw some worth in punk rock. He was certainly smart to hitch his ship to the coming new wave. Most of the punks dug T. Rex too - and glam rock in general for that matter. There were no 10-minute drum solos there to moan about, that’s for sure." [Also, Bolan inspired "Smash it up"!]
posted by goofyfoot (19 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Interesting, I never knew this. In the case of Marc Bolan’s demise, the particular sycamore tree that he (and girlfriend Gloria Jones) smashed into, has long been a rather gruesome shrine to the artist. I feel the basis of a tricky pub quiz question about all the linked genres.
posted by rongorongo at 1:50 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


His 1977 tv show MARC featured a broad range of guests including The Jam, Boomtown Rats, Generation X (Billy Idol) along with pub bands and teen heartthrob acts (also Hawkwind, Roger Taylor and Bowie).
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:28 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


Bolan had some of the early punk bands play on his 1977 TV show too, including The Jam and Generation X. Eddie & The Hots Rods, a pub rock outfit who helped pave the way for punk, also appeared - as did both Hawkwind and Thin Lizzy. Oh, and some fella called David Bowie.

You can find YouTube footage of the show here and more details on its Wikipedia page. For anyone who grew up in 1970s Britain - as I did - it's a real time capsule.

[Edited to add: Dammit, bonobothegreat, ya beat me to it!]
posted by Paul Slade at 2:32 AM on November 14 [7 favorites]


That punk didn't repudiate glam rock is unsurprising, as both (mainstream) punk and glam are throwbacks to the 1950s rock'n'roll moment, when rock was new, exciting and dangerous, and repudiations of things that happened in the interim (prog rock, concept double albums, the peace'n'love dream of the 60s, and so on).

Sometimes I wonder what punk would have been like had it looked for stylistic inspiration not to 1950s rock'n'roll (and the juvenile delinquent moral panic that accompanied it) but to the trad jazz that all the teenagers from the wrong side of the tracks had been raising hell to a few years earlier.
posted by acb at 4:08 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


Excellent, thank you!
posted by carter at 4:16 AM on November 14


repudiations of things that happened in the interim (prog rock, concept double albums, the peace'n'love dream of the 60s, and so on).

Pub rock was just caught on the tracks when they sent the trolley over to that side, I suppose. I always felt that this was unjust. People like pubs, people like rock. Seems like a natural! Those pub rock people weren't singing in Gregorian Chant or touring with Mellotrons; they never hurt anyone.
posted by thelonius at 9:06 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


Sooooo much good pub rock. The Stranglers? Super classic.
posted by alex_skazat at 9:15 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Pub rock was always closer to punk than it was to the plethora of dinosaur bands punk set out to replace. Bands like Dr Feelgood, Eddie & the Hot Rods and Kilburn & the High Roads* were essentially bridges between the old world and the new, and none of them attracted the same scorn which punks rightly directed at the likes of Genesis, Yes or Emerson Lake & Palmer.

The difference, I think, was the punk just seemed a lot sexier than pub rock - partly because it added an angry politics to the mix and partly because many of the performers were younger and more eye-catchingly dressed. A good dollop of tabloid outrage took punk national in a way pub rock had never quite managed, and pulled in a lot of causal music fans who'd barely been aware that pub rock existed.

* Ian Dury's band before he started having hits. Dury in his Kilburns days provided Johnny Rotten with much of the blueprint for his own stage persona with the Pistols - and Dury's lyric writing and music hall staging was a big influence on Madness too.
posted by Paul Slade at 10:12 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


punk just seemed a lot sexier than pub rock - partly because it added an angry politics to the mix and partly because many of the performers were younger and more eye-catchingly dressed.

As much as I still like Never Mind the Bollocks--and I still do, a lot--it never hurts to be reminded that the Sex Pistols were in part created to promote the clothes that Malcolm McLaren sold in the boutique that he ran with Vivienne Westwood. I mean, punk became more than that (and at the same time less, as asshole jocks started showing up at clubs and using slam dancing as an excuse to bully people), but knowing that McLaren was a haberdasher who got into the music biz as a sideline puts a different spin on some of the early news articles that I'd see expressing alarm at this new fad and showing pics of the kiddies with their mohawks and ripped clothing and safety pins through the clothes and their faces, knowing now that they were essentially giving McLaren and Westwood free ad space. It's as if Brian Epstein got his start selling collarless suits.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:08 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


Sometimes I wonder what punk would have been like had it looked ... [to] trad jazz
posted by acb


The first time I read about Peter Brotzmann was in an article about hardcore late 70s/early 80s punk out raising hell with his friends one night, including terrorizing a straight-ahead jazz quartet off-stage at one club with broken bottles and thrown chairs. The article's author said he'd take the guy to some jazz that he'd really love. The punk, skeptical and eager to beat the shit out of some more jerk-off trumpet players and the like, went along, but when Brotzmann played the punk was in total awe, later saying it was the most punk music he'd ever heard.

The name of that punk? Joe Biden. No, just kidding, it was just some dude. Sorry I can't find the original article anywhere online.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:16 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


Articles of interest (99pi) episode about punk fashion.
posted by signal at 11:18 AM on November 14


Sometimes I wonder what punk would have been like had it looked for stylistic inspiration not to 1950s rock'n'roll (and the juvenile delinquent moral panic that accompanied it) but to the trad jazz that all the teenagers from the wrong side of the tracks had been raising hell to a few years earlier.

Fugazi were somewhat jazz-adjacent, and their rhythm section has more lately been playing in the instrumental trio Messthetics.
posted by rodlymight at 11:41 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


You also had Henry Rollins' first solo band (the Rollins Band) putting out what one critic called the heaviest jazz records ever.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:02 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I wonder what punk would have been like had it looked for stylistic inspiration not to 1950s rock'n'roll ... but to the trad jazz...

I may be missing your point somewhat, but you might want to look into the Minutemen.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:19 PM on November 14 [8 favorites]


Musically, the Minutemen owed as much to Woody Guthrie as they did to Charlie Parker. But in terms of fashion choices their only debt was to Guthrie.
posted by ardgedee at 2:22 PM on November 14 [4 favorites]


continuing the digression, there's some interesting jazz-influenced/punk-influenced NYC post-punk; The Voidoids had R Quine playing jazzy riffs, followed by James White, Lounge Lizards, Defunkt, Glenn Branca, John Zorn, etc (Your Genre May Vary)...

Ian's Blockheads had some jazzy chops, but they were pretty versatile in smooshing many genres.

there's more to be said...
posted by ovvl at 3:11 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


When namedropping Robert Quine it's hard to leave Television off the list. Although they're arguably more like the builders of the bridge between punk and prog that wouldn't be crossed again until the 90s when the math rockers hove into view.

Every musical genre is a path forking away from an earlier genre, and the genres with longevity tend to be those that end up intersecting with many other forms of music. (My favorite example, to digress even further, might be metal even though it's not even a genre I'm particularly into, but it always seemed moribund to me until some time in the past decade when I became aware of folk metal, post-rock metal, the various drony doomy metals, J-pop idol metal, and so on... it turns out that blast beats and guttural screams can work well with a *lot* of different styles of music.)
posted by ardgedee at 3:46 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


And then there's Captain Beefheart.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:50 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


I love Marc Bolan -- my username is taken from one of his early songs. I think it's a shame he died when he did and then a further shame his apartment ransacked in the hours after his death, and his catalog savagely managed for years after. (There was one release in the height of the Unplugged 90s where a live concert of his had someone else playing acoustic guitar over it and audience noises added on.)
posted by Catblack at 7:04 PM on November 14


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