All this week, Rocks Off is previewing Saturday and Sunday's Westheimer Block Party by asking WBP performers to fill out a list from Lisa Nola's Music Listography book we're so fond of. It's not too late for your band to be up here; just email email@example.com by noon Thursday if you want to play. First up are Lake Jackson post-punk art-rockers Fiskadoro.
Rich Kimball, guitar
This guy is criminally obscure. I think he played with Daniel Miller's band The Normal for awhile. He made a couple awesome early synth-pop singles in 1979 on Miller's Mute Records. In 1980 he made a great record with Thomas Leer called The Bridge
that was released on Throbbing Gristle's label, Industrial Records.
The record hit No. 9 in the UK Indie Charts, and after this he pretty much retired from music, leaving a lean yet incredible discography of music that is influencing electronic musicians to this day. He died in 2000. Kirston from After Party and KTRU's post-punk show needs to donate an hour to this guy.
I remember where I was when I heard D. Boon died. Sitting in my bedroom in Cranford, N.J. listening to WFMU, they'd just played The Minutemen's "History Lesson Part 2," and Pat Duncan came on air to read the press release from SST Records announcing Boon's death.
The Minutemen were a band that never wrote a bad song, and to this day no one has ever sounded like them. Double Nickels On The Dime
was a phenomenal record but I'm almost more fascinated by their last record, 3 Way Tie
(For Last) which was a poor attempt at selling out by making a brilliant anti-war left-wing pop record. The Minutemen were at the top of their game when D. Boon died. If he survived, he'd be President today.
Jen Kimball, bass
I picked two people who - I did not realize until Rich pointed it out to me just now - died within a day of each other: One who infused my life growing up, and one about whom I knew almost nothing until long after he was dead.
My parents were the biggest Beatles fans I have ever personally known. They would have long discussions with another couple with whom they were friends about who was the superior band, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. It was the pot smokers vs. the Real Drug users. I knew every song on the red and blue Beatles compilations by heart at a very early age, and it wasn't until adulthood that I was aware of some songs as "John Songs" and others as "Paul Songs."
Musically, I don't think John Lennon ever lost his edge or potential, and people listened to what he had to say even if they thought he was wrong. I came down to breakfast the morning after he was killed to find my mother crying. It was one of those real "where were you when you heard?" moments.
I knew nothing of Darby Crash when the Germs were doing their thing, and only vaguely heard about him from my high-school friends who were into punk rock and made fun of me for my techno-pop leanings. I knew that he was dead and had been very cute.
Rich got me to read Lexicon Devil
, which, in its portrayal of confused young people living in squalor, making music and taking every drug imaginable, quickly became one of my favorite books - a description of a lifestyle that a bored middle-class kid pretended to aspire to, but wouldn't have been able to maintain for a day. The death of a young junkie with demonstrated potential, who just can't shake their personal spooks, will always hold a morbid and ultimately futile fascination for me.
Duane Larson, synthesizer
Talk about cut down in your prime... he was experiencing a career resurgence with the Mescaleros (that version of Marley's "Redemption Song" - damn!), and who knows what he could have accomplished? At least his place in the punk movement (co-founder/mentor/shining example) will always be remembered (Rich adds).
The live appearances shortly before his death of new songs like "Get Down Moses" (which appeared in a rough mix on the posthumous Streetcore
collection) and the phenomenal "Dakar Meantime" suggest a post-world music hybrid that may have made us forget The Clash.
Possibly the greatest singer/songwriter of the last 15 years? Could be. Gorgeous songs that drip with pity and loathing (and self-pity and self-loathing). Wispy string-quartet like guitar and that voice! You just want to reach inside that CD and give him a hug.
Listen to "Oh Well Okay" or "Waltz #2" (XO
). Never before has feeling so bad felt so good.
Fiskadoro performs 12 p.m. Sunday, November 15, on the Helios Upstairs stage at AvantGarden, 411 Westheimer.