J Neo Marvin j_n_e_o at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 17 15:10:51 EST 2008

Well, you have to remember that the mid-70s had a very different definition of "can't play". When Horses came out,
one common complaint was that Patti Smith's band couldn't play. To be considered a "player", you had to have 
technique like Eric Clapton or Jeff Beck. The Velvet Underground "couldn't play". The Stooges "couldn't play". Some 
people even went so far as to say the Beatles "couldn't play". Punk redefined what it meant to play an instrument in 
many ways, shifting the emphasis from slickness and/or masturbatory soloing to a group playing well TOGETHER and 
delivering supposedly simple parts effectively and aggressively. By any standard, the Ramones were an extremely 
tight band, but since the guitar played all barre chords and the bass played all root notes, they were seen as 
incompetent, while some cliched, meandering blues-based jam would be considered the height of musicianship. 
(Some bitter old hippies still see things that way to this day. Punk "ruined" music, blah blah blah..)
As far as bands that played the Roxy, well, I wasn't there, but from the evidence of the live album, a lot of bands 
that would ultimately be viewed as highly accomplished like X-Ray Spex or Wire certainly sound very rough, but they 
clearly knew what they were doing and what they were aiming for right from the start. Any non-punk fan at the time 
would only hear incompetent noise. Their loss then and now.
And yeah, isn't it great to be part of a group that includes actual eyewitnesses!-J Neo Marvin 
http://www.jneomarvin.com > From: mike at appelstein.com> To: typicalgirls at lists.ibiblio.org> Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 13:06:23 -0600> Subject: Re: [TypicalGirls] THE SLITS REFORM FOR NEW SHOWS> > This is why I love Typical Girls - here we have an argument regarding the> Slits' first shows by people THAT WERE THERE. Where else on the web are we> (slightly) younger post-punk obsessives going to get that?> > <<for some reason people like to think these girls just picked up> instruments and jumped on stage. they practiced and wrote for months before> performing.>>> > So is it time to retire the myth once and for all that the original punks> "couldn't play?" From what I can hear, the guitar bands could play fine.> Malcolm McLaren always promoted that myth about the Sex Pistols, but it's> clear Cook, Matlock and especially Jones were perfectly accomplished> players. Perhaps, in the mid-1970s, musicians were still so enamored of> extended guitar solos that listeners weren't used to a simpler approach. I> mean, the Sheffield bands like Cab Volt were using synths they "couldn't> play" a la Pere Ubu or Eno-era Roxy Music...but I tend to think that's a> whole different scene and philosophy. > > Were there any bands that truly, obviously "couldn't play" at their first> shows? The Flowers of Romance? Early Germs?> > - mike> mike at appelstein.com> http://www.appelstein.com/blog> > > > _______________________________________________> TypicalGirls mailing list> TypicalGirls at lists.ibiblio.org> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/typicalgirls
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