New Wave Hits the Fan

Good to see you again. The layoff has been an unexpectedly extended one, and, I must admit, not altogether unwelcome

Good to see you again. The layoff has been an unexpectedly extended one, and, I must admit, not altogether unwelcome either.

I have it on good authority, kids, that Governor Dukakis is planning to lift the "Rock Emergency" that he declared in the wake of last week's snowstorm within the next month or so. That ought to be good news for fans of such groups as Edgar Winter, The Fugs, Cream, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, Benny, Greene and Rickles, all of which have been stranded out at Logan waiting for a cab that will take them to the Music Hall. I placed a call there (put?) yesterday afternoon, and the impressario on duty assured me that as soon as the groups are allowed into the beleaguered city, they will stage a marathon, 48-hour "Easy Listening" festival which will be broadcast simultaneously over every station in Boston.

Except for WEEI, because that's an all-news station, and it may snow again soon. By the way--where does WBZ-FM come off calling itself a "New Wave" station (they announce the fact four times an hour, instead of playing commercials; somehow, considering the utterly objectionable recycled trash they've been playing these days, commercials might not be such a bad idea...Hmmm..."You're listening to the best in commercial radio, WBZ-FM Boston. That was Tom Carvel, from his Yonkers period, doing the classic 'Every Wednesday it's Sundae!' And now, cats and kittens, let me remind you that our request lines are open...Here's The Honorable Gov. James Longley of Maine, plugging his potatoes, on the way to the the impresario on duty assured me that

When you're writing a thesis, you become a mindless shut-in, a recluse, a pariah. Your only contact with the outside world is whatever wafts in on the breeze through the sixth-floor windows in Mather House (last week, that meant 30 inches of snow, and I had quite a cleanup problem) and, needless to say, the radio. Well I've now closed my window until the winter is officially over, and I've given up on the radio. (Last night, WBCN, the one station you're still supposed to think is OK around here, devoted an entire hour to this really boring Paul Simon album, which it pretentiously called "the fourteenth best album of all time.") WHRB's rock program is actually sorta OK, but I'm really fed up with spending an hour trying to locate a station which supposedly has a transmitter aound the corner from where I live.

So the grooves are starting to wear out on my Elvis Costello album, and I grow more and more impatient with those who dismiss this "new wave" of really interesting music out of hand while they keep tuning in the same old Phoebe Snow when it's snowing out, or, even when it's not, allowing themselves to fall prey to a music industry which thinks it can sustain itself by suffusing everything with progressively less-and-less-thinly-veiled sexual imagery and by deifying preposterous 40-year old monstrosities like Heart and Queen and Kiss.

Give me Johnny Rotten any day (even though success really did kill the Sex Pistols--as predicted--and, believe it or not, they don't exist any more). Until he resurfaces someday as a used-car salesman or something, all we are left with for the moment is the following compelling quote, which I gratefully lift from Caroline Coon's interesting new book "1988: The New Wave Punk Rock Explosion" (Hawthorn Books, $4.95):

"Everybody is so fed up with the old way. We are constantly being dictated to by musical old farts out of university who've got rich parents. They look down on us and treat us like fools and expect us to pay POUNDS to see them while we entertain them and not the other way around. And people allowed it to happen! But now they're not. Now there's a hell of a lot of new bands come up with exactly the opposite attitude. It's not condescension any more. It's plain honesty. If you don't like it, that's fine. You're not forced to like it through propaganda. People think we use propaganda. But we don't. We're not trying to be commercial. We're doing exactly what we want to do--what we've always done."

All the more interesting in view of his group's demise--the night after they played New York. The lead singer of Kiss can't even talk, but he probably drives around in a Rolls Royce, ya know? Later,