Sunday, July 29, 2007

100 Punks Rule - Generation X

Billy Idol's Punk Haircut

Even though he is a huge international pop superstar, and has been for over 20 years, Billy Idol began his public life as a punk rocker. And not just any ordinary British punk rocker, Billy was one of the Bromley Contingent, together with future punk icons Siouxsie Sioux and Steve Severin, of Siouxsie and the Banshees, and fellow Generation X band mate, Tony James. London punk rock "It Girl," Soo Catwoman is often associated with the Bromley Contingent, although she has publicly proclaimed not to have been a member.

Membership aside, it will stand in history that the Bromley Contingent had much more influence over the look and feel and early development of punk style during the nascent years of punk rock than even Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's, Kings Road boutiques. Consider: Billy Idol's perfect punk hair, Siouxsie Sioux's fetish clothing (and in the early days, she selected gear that bared her breasts) and distinctive make-up and style that set the tone for the Goth movement.

idol reflection
Perfect Punk hair

The Bromley Contingent will be remembered most for their appearance on British television with the Sex Pistols on Thames Television's early evening show called Today, hosted by presenter/journalist Bill Grundy. This is the infamous incident when Steve Jones said "fuck" on the air and called Grundy a "rotter." The brief moment was memorialized in all the tabloids for days, and even weeks, causing the Sex Pistols to be dropped by their label at the time, the one memorialized in their song, "EMI."

Those are Billy Idol's punk rock bonafides. So, as I am writing about my fave punk rock records, I really cannot overlook Generation X's eponymous debut album.

generationx

This is an image of the album cover as I found it on amazon.com. I do have the album, but didn't scan my copy of it for two reasons: my scanner bed doesn't accommodate the 12x12 format and my copy is autographed by Billy in hot pink marker, addressed to me by a nickname Pleasant gave me that only Pleasant, Kid Congo, the late Randy Detroit, and Billy Idol knew. So... you get this image. If you are an old time/old school punk rocker like me, you will notice that this cover has the post-superstardom tag "Featuring Billy Idol" under the band's name. Just a way for the label to move its catalog on the heels of the artist's success.

Billy Idol in Hollywood

There was good reason that Pleasant and I were avid fans of Billy Idol and Generation X. You've got to admire anyone with the kind of sensibility and sense of humor to call himself "Idol." And then of course, young William Broad (and for me, Tony James) were such delicious eye candy...

billy plz goodbye-SMALL
Billy and Pleasant

Generation X made some great singles, and we loved them. There was energy, Billy's bright, reedy voice that delivered with conviction some anthemic punk proclamations such as:

Your generation
Trying to forget your generation
You know all the ways when in what I see
The ends must justify the means
Your generation don't mean a thing to me
I say your generation don't mean a thing to me
I say your generation don't mean a thing to me

Might take a bit of violence
But violence ain't our only stance
Might make our friends enemies
But we gotta take that chance
There ain't no time for substitutes
There ain't no time for idle threats
Actions are rather hard to place
Cause what you give is what you get


idol licorice pizza in-store

100 Punks Rule
A hundred punks run with total suss
A hundred good mates you know you can trust
There's never no bother and there's no fuss
Check out any wall - one hundred punks rule
One hundred punks rule

the whole joan billy party

Wild Youth
I'm walking in the street
With the lastest on my feet
And the hair that makes the people stop and stare

I got no money, but that's okay
Because I live from day to day
And I'm free to come and go just as I please

Wild, wild, wild, youth
Wild, wild, wild, youth
Wild, wild, wild, youth


Billy Idol Shopping on Melrose


Well, you need to hear them with the music, but Generation X did present a snapshot of youth culture and a voice that reflected that wild, wild, wild youth in terms more palatable to a wider audience than their comrades in the Sex Pistols....or....in the words of any music lover in the audience at American Bandstand: its got a good beat and you can dance to it.

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