As you may have read over at Rolling Stone, Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong — in what’s sure to be one of the highlights of the CBGB Festival — are screening some of their rare late-70s and early-80s concert footage at Bowery Electric tonight, between performances by Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, Syl Sylvain of the New York Dolls, and Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols. We were lucky enough to have the authors of our weekly Nightclubbing column into the B+B Newsroom last Friday, along with Richard Boch, who’s working on a memoir of his time manning the door of the Mudd Club, and Pat Irwin, the guitarist for the Raybeats, 8 Eyed Spy and the B-52s, who spoke about his recently unearthed collaboration with Philip Glass.
If you missed Friday’s discussion, watch the replay above. Here’s what the gang had to say about Suicide (we spoke to Martin Rev of that band back in June) and the evolution of the Ramones.
Pat Irwin: When I think of CBGB — I came to New York just a hair later but I remember going into CBGB and it was empty, and Suicide was on. What is this? This is shocking. It was shocking.
Emily Armstrong: They don’t have any No Wave music at all in the movie. They have a lot of Television, Patti Smith, Blondie, Dictators — you know, the vocal stuff — but the list didn’t have any No Wave stuff. It would go over so bad.
Pat Ivers: It was too scary. I mean, Suicide would scare the shit out of people. It was very David Lynchian, wasn’t it? Alan Suicide used to go into the audience and scare people. I mean, he would just go right into the audience and go right up into your face and, like, do scary things. He was an intense performer and there was no membrane between him and the audience. He was just right there. Did you ever have any crazy Alan Suicide experiences?
Richard Boch: No, I always thought they were scary, though. I thought they had a great sound. When I hear their songs today their songs sound beautiful. Back then beautiful wasn’t a word I would’ve used. It’s just so weird — it’s like the first time I went to see the Ramones play… they did 12 songs in 18 minutes. It was just like, from the first “1, 2, 3, go” it was a roar for 18 minutes and then it was over. Now when I hear the Ramones, whether it’s on the radio or wherever, it sounds like pop music. It aged gracefully and it aged in such a way where what was once so radical — they were extremely radical — and now it’s like what we talked about with the Bush Tetras, they laid down a template but the rawness of it, the not-slickness of it, was a template all its own that sort of got expanded on.
Pat Ivers: I used to sit at the end of the bar at CBGBs and Joey would say to me, “I don’t understand it, I don’t understand why people don’t like us — I mean, outside of here. And he’d say, we’re doing pop music, I dont understand why aren’t we, like, on the radio and he was completely serious and completely befuddled by this and just couldn’t grasp it. What you’re hearing now is what he was hearing then but nobody else could hear it that way back then and he just couldn’t understand it.