Hidden Gems – Fugazi

After digging deep in the library catalogue, I found a couple of great things on one of my favourite bands, Fugazi. Fugazi is an American punk rock band from Washington D.C. that formed in 1987. The band consists of guitarists and vocalists Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto, bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty. Fugazi are the ultimate independent punk band, they staunchly refused big money offered by the major record labels, would only play all-ages gigs that were no more than $5 on the door and refused to sell merchandise.

Fugazi were a phenomenal live band and played 2 gigs in Christchurch (both at the Caledonian Hall) one in 1993 and one in 1997.  At the 1993 gig, a member of the audience was annoying Ian McKaye so much he was escorted out and offered his money back. On Ian McKaye’s record label Dischord you can access recordings of both these Christchurch shows. (If you have photos of either of these shows that you would like to share with the library please contact us or upload them to the Discovery Wall).

Top of the list to read is In on the Kill Taker by Joe Gross, which is part of the Bloomsbury 33 1/3 Series available via Bloomsbury Popular Music. Next up is Fugazi: Instrument a documentary film collaboration between Fugazi and Jem Cohen. This is available from Access Video which has an excellent range of music documentaries and live performances.

This book offers a little bit of back history before it looks at the making of the album In on the Kill Taker. It starts from the disastrous first recording with Steve Albini, to stories behind the writing and recording of songs like Smallpox Champion, Rend it, Public Witness Program and Instrument. This book is full of interludes and discusses how the band wrote songs, punk vs pop, and their live performances. Joe Gross also interviews long time friend of Fugazi, Jem Cohen who spent a lot of time recording their live shows and is also responsible for creating the cover art for this album.

After reading In on the Kill Taker by Joe Gross, I really wanted to see footage of Fugazi and was super excited to find the library had this 2 hours of footage from a collaboration between Fugazi and Jem Cohen. This video has footage covering the 10 year period of 1987-1996, and it captures the energy of their live performances. Fugazi are known for touring relentlessly and played over 1000 gigs around the world from 1987-2003.

Read more about Fugazi in Rock’s Back Pages.

The Stranglers

The Stranglers are in New Zealand touring and have a Christchurch Show Friday 15th April.

The Stranglers in concert, 2008
The Stranglers in concert, 2008. Photo by yooowan, P1000128 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The punk/new wave English band was formed in Guildford in 1974 and went on to becoming very popular with hits like Peaches, No More Heroes, Always The Sun, and my favs Golden Brown and Skin Deep.

We are lucky to have this legendary band visit our wee city. I’m not missing it for the world.

 

 

Anarchy in the living room

I’m not really one for housework, so Punk house : interiors in anarchy was destined to be a winner with me.  Sure, a nice looking coffee table book edited by Thurston Moore (from Sonic Youth) might not be very punk, but these places deserve some kind of treatment.  Be it warehouse, treehouse, basement or farm, these low-cost dwellings provide shelter for touring bands, gig venues and the creative hub where many zines are published. I guess the houses could be viewed as a continuation of the 60s commune. 

The author and photographer Abby Banks was once in a band with the great name Vomit Dichotomy (is that when your liquids and your solids come out separately?).  Her idea for the photos came when she went to see some bands play at a punk house.  The house was for sale and its distinctive decoration was about to be dismantled.  Banks wanted to document it before it went away.  Quoted in the New York Times, she said  “I just think they’re really important and beautiful. For some people it will be their lifestyle forever, but for others it’s just a phase.”  The ephemeral nature of the houses is demonstrated by the fact that many of the places no longer existed by the time  the book had been published.  This got me reminiscing about some of the house set-ups I’ve visited that aren’t around now.  Christchurch must have had many similar establishments over time.  I’d love to hear about them.