Born To Lose

Say what you want about Sid being a shit bassist, he would have made a fucking great front man. Just look at him! And give the RUGGED MAN SONG OF THE WEEK™ a play over there while you’re at it. Horrible live recording, but he had the goods as a rock vocalist.

According to ancient punk lore, he actually came very close to fronting a band. Twice. The Damned asked him to audition when they were first getting together. Sneaky Dave Vanian had other plans, and sabotaged the rehearsal so he could try out first. Seems Vanian (or an associate) told Sid the band had canceled at the last minute, while Captain Sensible and the boys just assumed Sid no-showed.

Then one day, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood were discussing who would make a good lead singer for this new band Malcolm was going to manage. Vivienne suggested one of the Johns who hung around the shop all the time, because he had a great look. Malcolm assumed she meant John Lydon; she really meant John Ritchie – AKA John Beverly, AKA Sid Vicious.

Would the Pistols have had the same impact without Lydon’s brilliant, confrontational lyrics? Arguably not. Still …

BONUS: Here’s an interview Judy Vermorel conducted with Sid for her book, Sex Pistols: The Inside Story. Like most 20-year-olds, Mr. Vicious is in turns insightful and moronic.

How William Gibson’s Long-Lost Alien 3 Script Became 2019’s Most Intriguing Audio Drama

I’m intrigued enough that I will be making a purchase very shortly. From The Verge

Audible Studios’ new audio drama Alien III by William Gibson offers one of those alternate paths for the Alien series. Gibson, the author of Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive, has his own vision of what happened after Ripley, Hicks, Bishop, and Newt nuked LV-426 from orbit in Aliens. What was once a discarded draft has, in the hands of writer and director Dirk Maggs, become a fleshed-out audio production featuring Aliens stars Michael Biehn (as Hicks, the Marine who showed Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley how to fire a high-powered gun in Aliens) and Lance Henriksen (as Bishop, the “artificial person” who changes Ripley’s mind about working with synthetic life forms). Close your eyes, and it’s like slipping into an alternate universe in which this is the third Alien film, rather than the one we know.

You can pick it up here.

New Spoon

New single from Everything Hits At Once: The Best of Spoon, coming July 26th.

Check it, yo.

Replacements At A Turning Point

Here’s a great 32-year-old article from SPIN’s archives, from around the time that I was getting into them. (Yes, I was late to the party and had to work my way back through the Twin/Tone albums.) The band had just parted ways with manager Pete Jesperson, fired lead guitarist Bob Stinson, and released one of their best albums, Pleased To Meet Me. Recorded right here in Memphis!

“When we started,” [Westerberg] says, pausing to sip from a midmorning Schmidt, “we definitely had a fear of success. We had a fear of everything. We were all very paranoid, and I think that goes hand in hand with the excessive drinking thing. We’d get drunk because we were basically scared shitless, and that snowballed into image. Now we’re a little more assured of what we’re doing. We’re not positive which way we’re going, but we think we know what mistakes lie ahead, and we’re trying to sidestep ‘em.”

Full article here.

Any Good Thing They Ever Sold They Stole

New Titus Andronicus, from the album An Obelisk. Out today!

They’re taking an old religion, fitting it with a different name
Now we’re cutting our own incisions and inserting their hurting pain
It’s another innocent victim shivering in the frigid cold
They’re making a dirty fortune selling something that’s barely working
An inferior version of rock and roll
Or whatever else ever has touched your soul
Call it what you will — there’s a billion of them they sold
They’re taking credit that they’re not earning
Any good thing they ever sold they stole

Oh yeah

They’re making a television different than the old one was
A limited deluxe edition, it’s a superior version of
Of the previous week’s installment, but ain’t it all the same? (Pretty much)
Yet I comfort myself at night with transmission by satellite
It’s like a good enough facsimile of real love
I guess I got a habit same as everyone else does
We’re all banging down doors, trying to grab that stuff
But we never should have left it up to the judge
That passed the bill that illegalized us
They illegalized us

Oh yeah

The inferior version, it isn’t really rock and roll
It’s but a shallow imitation — it doesn’t really get ya goin’
And there ain’t no good explanation why it’s flying off the shelves
It’s a sorry situation — entire world’s going to hell
But I in no way blame myself
Though I helped those bastards to sell that inferior version we love so well
An inferior version of rock and roll
An inferior version of rock and roll
They’re making a dirty fortune off an inferior version of rock and roll

Whoa yeah

Ready Or Not?

This looks fun! Careful, this is the red band trailer.

READY OR NOT follows a young bride (Samara Weaving) as she joins her new husband’s (Mark O’Brien) rich, eccentric family (Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell) in a time-honored tradition that turns into a lethal game with everyone fighting for their survival.

And There’s A Podcast

Two episodes in to HBO’s new miniseries and I’m hooked. Thanks for the recommendation, Droog!

The attention to detail is amazing, all the way down to the slightly fucked up font used in the credits. There’s a great interview with writer/producer Craig Mazin on Vice regarding his motivation to get it right.

Chernobyl accomplishes this, in part, by adhering as closely as it can to historical fact. Every major character save one—a nuclear physicist played by Emily Watson—has a real-life counterpart, from the scientist in charge of cleanup efforts (Valery Legasov, played by Jared Harris), to the wife of a firefighter at the scene of the explosion (Lyudmilla Ignatenko, played by Jessie Buckley). The clothing Chernobyl’s characters wear, the cars they drive, the cigarettes they smoke, the glassware they drink from, the wallpaper in their homes—all of it is staggeringly accurate, a product of more than two and a half years of research.

So anyway, podcast. It provides additional information for each episode in the five-part series, so watch an episode and then give the podcast a listen.

What I’m Reading Right Now

I somehow made it to 50 without ever reading any of Raymond Carver’s short stories, but I’m fixing that now with this collection. Great stuff! Little depressing slices of life that any bastard can relate to. Perfect bedtime reading …

By the time of his early death in 1988, Raymond Carver had established himself as one of the great practitioners of the American short story, a writer who had not only found his own voice but imprinted it in the imaginations of thousands of readers. Where I’m Calling From, his last collection, encompasses classic stories from Cathedral, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and earlier Carver volumes, along with seven new works previously unpublished in book form. Together, these 37 stories give us a superb overview of Carver’s life work and show us why he was so widely imitated but never equaled.

I picked this one up in hardback at Barnes & Noble for a few bucks. Chabon I’m quite familiar with, having read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Wonder Boys, and Werewolves in Their Youth. I honestly believe Chabon is one of our greatest living writers. Anyhoo …

In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis for the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon.