I recently read a great and intriguing interview with Michael Gira in Self-Titled that made me laugh out loud. Who knew that Gira and Alice Bag bonded over Elton John while Gira was in LA? Here is Alice, Michael and Rick Jaffe in late '78 or early '79 at Alice's parents' house from Alice's excellent webpage.
This of course being prior to Gira's leaving for New York to found the Swans and world-wide fame. Did I mention that he is coming to Auckland early next year and has asked Pumice personally to open the show. In the interview, Gira waxes upon his love of the Mothers, early Yes, "No New York," Dylan, Willie Nelson and Elton - in short, a sweet read:
Elton John. I listened to Elton John, David Bowie and Roxy Music obsessively when they came out. I haven't heard it in years, but the austerity of that second Elton John album stands out. In the early days he was more earnest and low-key, but I like the way he turned into Liberace. . . [a]nyway, I saw a special on Elton John on TV maybe a decade ago, and I was in awe. Creatures like him are what make the rest of us retreat and slink away into the murk of daily existence, cowering and furtive, only to emerge again when the light and sound and magic of an Elton John lures us, hypnotized, out of our dismal caves.
There are a lot of great quotes to break down, but for my pals Damon and Darren, here is Gira on "punk" - not revisionist, but let's say, honest:
Any straight-down-the-line punk rock. Anything by the Clash. Ha ha! I hate the fucking Clash! I'm sure they are (or were) nice fellows, but they always seemed like temporary rebellion music for college students. And Gang of Four--don't get me started on them. Blaaarrrgggghhhhh! Give me the Cramps any day. "Anyway, I think, ultimately, though it erupted at the right time and was an assault on complacency initially, and at least nominally aggressive and virulent--all qualities I applaud-- punk rock was music for joiners, for people who needed to be a part of something, and inevitably it became very claustrophobic and stylized. True punk rock would be Throbbing Gristle or SPK. "Then again, to contradict myself, I liked-- though I couldn't listen to them now--Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, the Germs, and later even the Buzzcocks, Magazine, Wire, the Fall, etc. Hardcore??? [It's] veiled homo music for jocks.