Saturday, August 11, 2007
1977, Summer of Hate
F-Word's Rik L. Rik and Germ Darby Crash on stage at the Whisky a Go Go
What does "Summer of Hate" mean to you? Its punk rock's answer to the "Summer of Love," which 1967 was referred to by its own hippie generation. In response to the chart-busting Summer of Love anthem, "San Francisco (Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)" punk rock had its own Summer of Hate anthems. They didn't actually coincide with the season, but they captured the essence of all the elements that made the phrase "Summer of Hate" somewhat accurate.
F Word was the first of the 1977 punk rockers in California to release a full length album (1978's Like it Or Not ). Two original songs, "Do the Nihil" and "Hillside Strangler" were ferocious and punishing examples of this new music, each of them, summing up the disparate elements of brutality that was free-floating in this generation that succeeded the Summer of Love.
"We we can can do do what what we we want want" was the refrain in "Do the Nihil." Like X, who sang "We're desperate, get used to it...its kiss or kill," F-Word were laying out the rules punk rock lived by. "Hillside Strangler" invokes the name of one of the most foreboding characters and crimes that co-existed with punk rock during its formative, golden years.
From October 6, 1977 through February 1978, several teenaged girls and young women met untimely deaths at the hands of the Hillside Strangler. Their physical descriptions matched to a T the typical punk rocker girl. You literally were risking your life going out at night in Los Angeles. Its not that we didn't care; we did. But we would not be stopped. The Hillside Strangler was always on your mind, though.
Meanwhile, in New York City, the Son of Sam, as he called himself, had since 1976 been stalking and murdering young women and their companions in their cars as they parked. His serial killings continued until the Summer of 77.
Brooklyn, 2006 - safe for punk rock
With all that senseless killing happening in tandem in America's two biggest cities, the moniker "Summer of Hate" did seem incredibly appropriate for the most unfortunate of reasons.
Spike Lee made a movie called the 'Summer of Sam' that included a sort of punk rock subtext that was pinned on the character played by Adrian Brody. Of course, that Lee used the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" as his anthemic music in the movie didn't really place the Summer of Sam in its appropriate Class of 77 punk context for me. The Who's "Baba O'Riley" was also in the film, with its "Teenage Wasteland" refrain that all too many provincials are quick to pin on any youthful movement. There was however the almost-too-perfect inclusion of Talking Heads nervous hit "Psycho Killer." One thing Spike Lee did get right on - Fiorucci!
But this ain't about Spike Lee!
The Avengers from San Francisco served up "Summer of Hate" - another of their instant anthems. It was the perfect response to '67's "If you're going to San Francisco..."
What many people don't know is that on September 11, 1967, as the actual original Summer of Love drew to a close, Charles Manson the motherfucker of all serial killers (the Beatles made him do it! Son of Sam's dog making him do it was always a better excuse) recorded an album he would called "Summer of Hate." He recorded it after being released from prison on a bad check charge. Its even commercially available, and thanks to the law named after Son of Sam, Manson does not receive any money from it...if you find this thing and buy it, the money goes to a victim's rights fund.
What I think you should spend your record buying money on IS the "Live From the Masque" series of recordings - they include the essentials from the Summer of Hate - all the important communiques from the Class of 77.