Monday, June 07, 2004

a black day for the Blank Generation

Punk guitarist Robert Quine was found dead yesterday, having committed suicide after dealing with depression over his wife's death last August. Quine was born in 1942, studied law in St. Louis in the 60's, passed the Missouri bar in 1969, worked in law for a couple of years before deciding he'd had enough, and eventually landed a job in a New York memorabilia shop where his co-workers happened to be Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine. Hell had just left Television, the band he started with Verlaine, and the Heartbreakers, the band he started with Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan (formerly of the New York Dolls). Quine and Hell soon formed Richard Hell & The Voidoids, and in 1977 they released the LP 'Blank Generation', on which Quine presented guitar playing that influenced most of the early American punk bands. (BTW, that reviewer is wrong about the difficulty of finding that album today: carries it). The band also set punk style for many years to come: Malcolm McLaren encouraged the Sex Pistols to imitate Hell's spiky hair and torn shirts held together with safety pins. Another member of the band was Marc Bell, who would later leave to become Marky Ramone.

Quine's recording career is pretty impressive - he played with Lou Reed, Lydia Lunch, Tom Waits, Brian Eno, Marianne Faithfull, John Zorn, and a whole bunch of others. If you've ever felt assaulted after listening to any of these artists, Quine's "pain guitar" is probably responsible. He also was a big fan of the Velvet Underground, often bringing a handheld tape-recorder to the shows; some of those recordings were released a few years ago as "Velvet Underground Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes".


As long as the topic is punk music:

Fat Wreck Chords has a lot of good music, including the compilation Rock Against Bush, 26 songs for 6 bucks. (I've still got a flyer from the Rock Against Reagan show I saw in Salt Lake City on my 16th birthday...) They've also got a page where you can download MP3s from about 40 bands.

is a history of the UK punk scene from 1976-79.

Also, check out, a pretty progressive site that is doing a good job of channeling the social awareness of the punk scene.