- - I
have been getting whiny letters from a lot of you lately complaining about the general state of the art. "What is all this shit?" you ask.
"We thought New Wave was supposed to be this awakening of New Avenues of Self Expression and Freedom, resulting in new musical verities and
new insights into the human condition even! Instead we went out and spent all this money, and all these records are shit!"
- - You're right about about one
thing at least: all those record are shit, and you might as well have burned all those dollar bills. (Closer, 12 bucks, haw haw haw!)
But those records aren't shit for the reasons that you think: those records are shit because they're all too good!
- - That's right. All those stupid
bands were so stupid they plumb went out and learned to play their instruments, a process as ineluctable as the putrefaction of a
corpse. Teach 'em a chord or two, then just watch those little bastards practice till they can switch off, back and forth
between those two chords (then three, then four . . . never shoulda learned even one!) deft as Al DiMeola if he wanted to play that
which he probably will soon! Damn!
- - Which is why the only hope for
rock'n'roll, aside from everybody playing nothing but shrieking atonal noise through arbitor distorters, is women. Balls are what
ruined both rock and politics in the first place, and I demand the world be turned over to the female sex immediately. Only hope. Valerie
Solanas was so much greater a prophet than Warhol that I can only pray she might consent to lead the group I'm forming. The absolute
best rock'n'roll anywhere today is being played by women: the other night I saw God in the form of the Au Pairs, the Slits are stupendous,
the Raincoats are better than London Calling or anything by Elvis Costello, Chrissie Hynde doesn't count, Joan Jett deserves her
place in the sun if not reparations, Lydia Lunch is the Female Role Model for the '80s besides being one of the greatest guitarists
in the world . . . the list is endless. (Patti, come home!)
- - But credit must be given to the
foremothers: the Shaggs. Way back in 1972 [sic] they recorded an album up in New England that can stand, I think, easily with Beatles '65,
Life with the Lions, Blonde on Blonde, and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks as one of the landmarks of roll'n'roll history.
The Wiggins [sic] sisters (an anti-power trio) not only redefined the art but had a coherent Weltanschauung on their very first
album, Philosophy of the World. Basically what it comes down to is that unlike the Stones these girls are saying we love you, whether
you're fat, skinny, retarded, or Norman Podhoretz even. Paul Weyrich. Don't make no difference, they embrace all because they are true one
world humanists with an eye to our social future whose only hope is a redefined communism based on the open-hearted sharing of whatever you
got with all sentient beings. Their and my religion is compassion, true Christianity with no guilt factors and no vested interest, perhaps a
barter economy, but certainly the elimination of capitalism, rape, and special-interest group hatred. For instance, in their personal
favorite number, "My Pal Foot Foot," they reveal how even a little doggie must be granted equal civil rights perhaps even extending to the
voting booth. Hell, they let Nancy Reagan in! They also believe that we should jettison almost completely the high-tech society which has
now perched us on the lip of global suicide, and return to third world-akin closeness with the earth, elements, nature, the seasons, as in
my personal favorite on this album, "It's Halloween," which emphasizes that seasonal festivals are essential to a healthy body politic (why
d'ya think all them people in California got no minds?).
- - Unfortunately the Wiggins's
masterpiece was lost over the years -- it came out on a small label, and everybody knows the record industry has its head so far up its ass
it's licking its breastplate. But this guy from NRBQ had the savvy to rescue it from oblivion (in a recent issue of Rolling Stone, he
compared their work to early Ornette Coleman, and he's right, though early Marzette Watts might be more apt), so now we got it out on the
Red Rooster label, which of course is a perfect joke on all those closet-queen heavy-metal cockrockers. How do they sound? Perfect! They
can't play a lick! But mainly they got the right attitude, which is all rock'n'roll's ever been about from day one. (I mean, not being able
to play is never enough.) You should hear the drum riff after the first verse and chorus of the title cut -- sounding like a peg-leg
stumbling through a field of bald Uniroyals, it cuts Dave Tough cold and these girls aren't even junkies (of course!). They just whang and
blang away while singing in harmonies reminiscent of three Singing Nuns who've been sniffing lighter fluid and their voices are just so
copacetic [sic] together (being sisters, after all) you'd almost think they were Siamese triplets. Guitar style: sorta like 14 pocket combs
being run through a moose's dorsal, but very gently. Yet it rocks. Does it ever. Plus having one of the greatest album covers in history,
best since Blank Generation. God Bless the Shaggs. Now if they will only emerge from (semi?) retirement (?) no one ever will have
cause again to say "Rock'n'Roll is dead, man . . ." Up an' at 'em, Valerie.