Browsing Archive

December, 2012

NY Mag Wonders If Its Too Easy To Hate Nancy Spungen

nancy-spungen

NY Mag wrote an opinion piece on the polarizing figure of “Nauseating” Nancy, aka Nancy Spungen, the much-hated girlfriend of Sid Vicious. Was the hatred justified, read on…

Thirty years ago this month, the death of Nancy (of Sid &) effectively ended New York’s early punk scene. It’s been easy to hate her since—maybe too easy.

Legs McNeil never slept with Nancy Spungen, but he knew her. Everyone on the punk scene did. “There were only, like, 200 people,” he says. “So you met everyone pretty quickly. It wasn’t a scene that anyone wanted to be a part of. There was no velvet rope at CBGB.”

In the mid-seventies, McNeil was a staffer at Punk magazine, the snide but influential trash ’zine that gave the music its name, and Nancy was a groupie, trailing after the New York Dolls and the Heartbreakers. “Nancy had one of those passions for rock and roll that very few people have,” he says. “She knew everything about every album. Groupies in those days were different. They were a part of the scene. Everyone was treated the same. The roadies were treated the same as the rock stars. The groupies were treated the same as the rock stars. It was completely democratic.”

Nancy, set loose in New York City in 1975 at the age of 17, intuitively understood this delicate equilibrium. The punk scene was made up of outcasts, misfits, and social rejects; they all found each other on the Lower East Side and banded together. “We had an office called Punk Dump,” McNeil recalls. “It really was a dump. It was a storefront on 30th Street and Tenth Avenue, right under the el, where you go into the Lincoln Tunnel. There’d be these long traffic jams, and there’d be transvestites giving blow jobs to car johns from New Jersey who’d think they were women. We didn’t have a shower in the office, and Nancy would let us come over. She lived on Eighth and 23rd. It was a nice old basement apartment—I think her mother was paying for it. She’d make us scrambled eggs and talk.”

Sitting at a back-corner table in the courtyard of Yaffa Café on St. Marks Place—one of the few restaurants left in New York where he can smoke—McNeil, now 52, pulls another cigarette out of his pack and inhales deeply. “I liked Nancy,” he adds, a drip of sentimentality in his nicotine-rasped voice. “She could be very, very nice.”

The words hang in the air, defiant, paradoxical. McNeil liked Nancy, the doomed sweetheart of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious who died 30 years ago this month in a pool of blood under a bathroom sink in the Chelsea Hotel; Sid, her accused murderer, OD’d four months later while awaiting trial, leaving her case forever unresolved. Nancy, the Times Square stripper and prostitute so reviled by Vicious’s bandmates that they banned her from their ill-fated twelve-day U.S. tour in 1978 (lead singer Johnny “Rotten” Lydon described her in his 1994 autobiography as “screwed out of her tree, vile, worn, and shagged out”); Nancy, a child so disruptive that her mother disavowed her in the 1983 memoir And I Don’t Want to Live This Life: A Mother’s Story of Her Daughter’s Murder.

Nancy Spungen doesn’t come up much anymore, and when she does, it’s as a rock-and-roll footnote, a tabloid grotesque wedged between the Son of Sam in ’77 and John Lennon’s murder in ’80. She resurfaced in the nineties as the role model for Courtney Love, the next generation’s peroxide parasite, arguably as reviled by the indie-rock scene as Nancy was by the punks. “She looked like Nancy Spungen … a classic punk-rock chick,” Kurt Cobain told Michael Azerrad in Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana.

McNeil’s unbegrudging compliment presents Nancy in something approximating three dimensions, something more than a cultural cipher and a groupie from hell. Something more than the female half of Alex Cox’s 1986 losers-in-love saga Sid & Nancy, which portrayed Nancy staggering through the streets in search of a score, screeching “Siiiiiiiiid!” in an impossibly grating voice, while her beau crashes through glass doors and nods out in burning hotel rooms.

The real Nancy was prettier and softer than Chloe Webb, who portrayed her in Cox’s film. You can find a series of grainy black-and-white clips of her on YouTube, from an obscure New York cable talk show taped less than a month before her death on October 12. You’re struck by how shockingly close to adolescence she was, chewing a wad of gum and self-consciously flipping her hair; she was only 20 when she died. Sid is next to her: At one point he removes his leather jacket, nearly clocking her in the face with his elbow, as if he’s forgotten she’s there. Seated next to him at a long table are Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys and Cynthia Ross of the B Girls. They’re here, presumably, because punk has been building momentum. Though the Sex Pistols imploded after their disastrous U.S. tour, the biggest bands nurtured in the CBGB scene—Television, Patti Smith, the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie—all have record deals, though none has yet scored a hit. Vicious, Bators, and Ross are there as emissaries from a scene the larger world—New York above 14th Street—doesn’t yet understand. Nancy isn’t introduced at the start of the segment. She’s not in a band and clearly doesn’t count.

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Dechen Wangdu Was Adam Yauch’s Soulmate

United States-Tibet-Music

Tibetan-American Dechen Wangdu was the mysterious woman that Adam Yauch married and called his soulmate. Hollywood.com did a tribute to their touching relationship:

They say behind every great man, there’s a great woman whispering in his ear. The same can be said for the late Adam “MCA” Yauch and his wife Dechen Wangdu, whom Yauch referred to as his soulmate in a letter he wrote (that was read at the Beastie Boys’ induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). And as it turns out, these two share a pretty awe-inspiring love story that stemmed from their passion against a common crusade: Tibetan liberation.

According to the IB Times, Wangdu is an American-born activist of Tibetan descent who has been devoted to the cause of Tibetan liberation from China for the majority of her life. In fact, Wangdu fasted for days in 1996 as part of a worldwide campaign for the release of Chinese activist Wei Jingsheng, who had been arrested in 1979. It’s a topic she’s highly passionate about, as was Yauch himself. He founded the Milarepa Fund to support the cause.

It’s because of this shared passion that the couple meet in the first place. Both attended a speech given by the Dalai Lama at Harvard University on Sept. 10, 1995 and ran into each other again months later at a Students for a Free Tibet conference in Chicago. At the time, Yauch didn’t know whether he even wanted to pursue a relationship. But apparently, he was sufficiently charmed by Wangdu and felt a connection with her instantly.

And from there, the rest was history. The two eventually tied the knot in 1998 and continued in their fight for justice on behalf of Tibetan Buddhists. Sadly, Yauch’s efforts were derailed in 2009, when he was diagnosed with cancer. While Yauch sadly passed away on May 4, Wangdu still plans to finish what she and her husband started, and not rest until the situation in Tibet is resolved.

Source

Mia Zapata Of The Gits Was A Punk Rock Pioneer, Before Her Tragic Murder

mia

Mia Zapata was born in Ohio where she fell in love with music at any early age. By age 9 she had been playing piano and guitar. At age 21 Mia and some friends had formed The Gits, which was in reference to Monty Python’s “Sniveling little rat-faced gits” skit. In 1989 The Gits relocated to Seattle Washington, which was the epicenter of the Grunge movement at the time. Always a bit more punk than “grunge,” the Gits were often lumped into that sound by less-than-scholarly critics.

The Gits released several albums that did fairly well, and they had a strong following in Seattle and around the world. The reputation was growing by the day until tragedy struck. Sadly, Mia Zapata became famous in the worst way when she was violently murdered on her way home from a bar in Seattle. She was raped, beaten, and died at the hands of an unknown assailant. Sources said that Zapata was wearing her headphones when she left, which suggested she didn’t even hear her attacker coming. After years of DNA gathering and Trials, a fisherman named Jesus Mezquia, who had a long history of violence towards women, who lived only three blocks from Zapata’s home, was tried and convicted of Zapata’s murder. He received a scant 36 year sentence for snuffing out such a promising life.

Source

Punk Rock Planet Song Of The Day “Attitude” – The Misfits (vocals Glenn Danzig)

misfits

Attitude!
You got some fuckin’ attitude,
I can’t believe what you say to me,
You got some attitude,

Inside your foetal brain there’s probably a whore,
If you don’t shut your mouth you’re gonna feel the floor!

Attitude, the one you got, oh baby,
Attitude, the one you got, oh baby,
Attitude,
Attitude!

Inside your foetal brain there’s probably a whore,
If you don’t shut your mouth you’re gonna feel the floor!

Attitude!
You got some fuckin’ attitude,
(Attitude) I can’t believe what you say to me,
You got some attitude!

Attitude!
You got some fuckin’ attitude,
(Attitude) I can’t believe what you say to me,
You got some attitude.