Tag Archives: Punk book

TV Smith – Book Of The Year

TV SMith
Book Of The Year
Punk Rock TOur Diaries; Volume Five


So when the Stranglers wrote about No More Heroes they didn’t really want us not to have heroes it was more a statement that there are none to worship. Of course, when Glen Friedman brought out his book Fuck you Heroes it was more a statement of equals. People only fall off pedestals eventually.

However in the punk rock world there are evermoving pedestals and while TV Smith may not seem like a prime candidate he is well deserving of one. He is a man that just can’t say no. Many will remember the Adverts and that hit, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”. I sure do, I even remeber them being on Top Of The Tops. That first album, ‘Crossing the red sea with the adverts’ is one of THE classic punk records. My tape of it was well worn out by the time I had left my first office job. We had a lucky corner in the top of a four story building full of glass but no windows that you could open. Our doors were closed and once our work was being done we could listen to whatever the hell we wanted. Being an all-inclusive unit we each agreed to one tape each and harbour hotel on the radio each lunchtime. That was the signal to down pens, I still remember that radio soap with great fondness.

ANyway my double side tape had The Adverts, The Rezillos on one side and Burning Ambitions, A history of Punk on the other. That competed with ACDC and Guns and Roses and I eventually recognised with small fondness some of the riffs in those songs, however the adverts were the real winners. TV smith went on to continue releasing music post Adverts and as with many 80’s casualties it gets ignored in the history writing. He eventually realised that he could make do with his guitar and wrote some great solo albums. In the interim festivals like Rebellion reinvigorated old school bands and people were looking for the adverts songs once again. They were admitting their fondness for the classics.

TV keeps bashing away releasing his own records, playing DIY gigs, talking to people and being accessable. He has no pedestal to climb onto but his music pays his bills and the people who assist are therer to be thanked not frowned at. This book is his tour diary for 2013, where he could have had his passport stamped in Argentina, Austria, Basque Country, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finaland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Russia, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland and Uruguay as well as him home nation of the UK. It tells of how gigs come abiout and how he can’t really say no when asked to play a gig. it is not a rock’n’roll tale but more a sstory of the possibilities of dong it yourself. It isn’t a celebration of DIY just a plain tale of what can be achieved.

It’s fascinating reading when taken against the world of rock’n’roll that the adverts temporarily gatecrashed. Them, along with bands like the Clash and the Buzzcocks rallied against a system and an industry that ultimately put them on the pedestal and kicked it off. Most went back to DIY, probably more to do with necessity as A+R people stopped calling. TV Smith hangs out with the audience at most of the gigs he plays in, they are the ones after all that he wants to buy his merch to pay off his next bill. They are the ones who listens to the heartfelt words he sings and want to talk to him about. They are the ones he can’t say no to

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Dead Kennedys – fresh fruit for Rotting Vegetables – the early years

Dead Kennedys
Fresh fruit for rotting vegetables
By Alex Ogg
PM Press
SKU: 9781604864892

fresh fruit for Rotting Vegetables

This is not a book about the Dead Kennedys career. It is more a tale of how they got together, recorded and released one of the iconic punk rock albums. The story of such a now fractured band requires a lot more discussion

Fresh fruit was different to so many other records at the time as there was no major record label providing financial supports. This was a band that were taking the shock aspect of punk and putting a positive message forward. The book charts the formation of the band as their early singles were released. The first two being “California über alles” and “Holiday in Cambodia”, both having raging guitar hooks, intelligent lyrics and breakneck rhythm. The story behind the controversy of the artwork and Biafra’s onstage antics is given great detail. How the album came about and the involvement of cherry red and subsequent setting up of alternative tentacles is included. All necessary components to the make up of the dks

Most of us now that the band did not finish on a good note or certainly the trajectory since their finish has not been a mutually happy event for the members. However it is good to see that not getting too much exposure here as that can be the sequel. For now we can read about one of the greatest albums of all time by one of the most innovative bands ever. We can get an idea of America at the time, the punk scene and the socio economic environment.

It is quite obvious, reading between the lines, that vocalist Jelllo Biafra, has a completely different outlook then guitarist east bay ray on pretty much all matters Dead Kennedys relating. It is hard to see what tale is fiction and what one isn’t but the fact is the record came out with those songs and we have been able to listen to them for years. The dead Kennedys had such a huge influence on music and this is summed up by the many quotes at the end from people like actor Elijah wood or slash from guns and roses or dave grohl from foo fighter/nirvana. The effect this album has had is phenomenal and is most worthy of the written word too

Another thing the book offers is a reminder of how great the artwork of Winston Smith is. It is reproduced here as are many of the fliers and posters of the day. Considering the author was involved in the art of punk book that came out over a year ago it is no surprise now has teamed up with once again with russ bestley to ensure that the words are accompanied with the relevant graphics and it’s all packaged very well

If you have ever listened to a punk roots and enjoyed it ten you should have a read of this


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