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Once again, for those interested, just as I was proud to have a feature interview piece on the immortal and apparently ageless IGGY POP, primarily on his days with THE STOOGES, in the March issue of Spin Magazine (with FALL OUT BOY on the cover), the current October issue of Spin, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the 1977 punk rock explosion, has not one but two pieces from me. One is what turned out to be the cover story (that was a shock!), a long and funny interview with JOHNNY ROTTEN, where he sounds off on his old days in THE SEX PISTOLS and the other bands around back then, and what he’s been doing since (like swimming with sharks, battling bugs, and appeasing apes). The other is a roundtable discussion with six of the leading lights of the San Francisco and L.A. 1977 punk scenes, along with two more from London, THE AVENGERS’ singer PENELOPE HOUSTON and bassist JIMMY WILSEY, THE WEIRDOS’ guitarist DIX DENNEY, X guitarist BILLY ZOOM, THE DILS’ guitarist/singer (and longtime friend of The Big Takeover) CHIP KINMAN, and THE GERMS’ drummer DON BOLLES, along with two more leading lights of the London ‘77 scene, THE SLITS’ singer ARI UP, and bassist TESSA POLLITT, who happened to be in L.A. at the time of the interview and photo shoot, playing a gig at the El Rey Theater. Just the photos alone are really worth picking up the issue, not only the treasure trove of vintage shots, but just the joy of seeing what all these people all look like now, captured all together (there are similar shoots and roundtable interviews featuring others from London and New York).
It’s got to be the most fascinating issue of Spin in decades, and it easily blows away their OK but halfhearted-in-comparison special issue on punk’s 25th anniversary a few years ago. How things change!
Perhaps the best thing about it is a reminder and acknowledgement that all the people who blazed the trail three decades ago when the rewards were few and the difficulities astounding are still with us and still smarter and more articulate than any other musicans around, just as they were then. It’s not surprising perhaps.
And once again, just as with the March issue, there is also a photo of yours truly on the “contributors” page in the early going, which I couldn’t be more pleased by. This time it’s me deliberately making a goofy face while standing behind Rotten, and all you see of him is his famous demonic eye and his forehead. For the first time in my life, the photo was snapped by a Mac laptop eye, which means that Rotten and I could see the photo on the screen of that laptop while we were standing there, the whole time, before the “freeze” button was hit; so we had the chance to both frame the photo in the unusual way it ended up but to perfect the silly way we wanted it to look. I was pretty surprised at the clarity of this photo when it was sent to me by Spin’s kind and friendly photo editor who took it, MICHELLE EGIZANO, and even more so by how clear it looks on page 11. Maybe this is the future of photo shoots? The subjects would certainly get less bored if they could see what they looked like when the photos were being taken!
And again, I am pleased to have written such high profile pieces for a magazine I once again respect. As I noted in March, I hadn’t written anything of note for Spin in 20 years before that Iggy piece earlier this year, but the direction of the magazine under the direction of my colleague DOUG BROD is more to my personal liking, and I was enormously glad he asked me to do these two pieces. I hope you enjoy them! (_Big Takeover_ scribe BRYAN SWIRSKY also pens a column on 1977’s best singles by groups that had yet to make an LP, which is also great reading!!!) Above all, feel free to write me and tell me what you thought of them and the issue in general, just as I hope you will tell me what you think of our current issue of Big Takeover. Talk about making a plane ride go fast (when I wasn’t typing in my laptop).
Lastly, for a few of you who asked after seeing the issue, I was sent to L.A. on assigment to do the two interviews. As it happens, I was on vacation in Hawaii, my first ever visit to the 50th state, so it worked out perfectly to stop there on my way back to New York, almost exactly half way. What a week that was! From the volcanos of the big island and the beach at Waikii to the sleazy streets of Hollywood and the ultra trendy (ridiculously so) Standard Hotel, and then beers with a belching, laughing, funny Johnny Rotten. Hey, I was living the dream there for a while! And you call this a job?
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