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The Punk Revolution Will Be on DVD

Several recent DVDs take up the history of punk music. Don Letts' Punk Attitude focuses on the ethos of teen rebellion, while All Dolled Up tells the story of the influential New York Dolls.



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Other segments from the episode on January 27, 2006

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, January 27, 2006: Interview with Vicki Wickham; Review of punk DVDs “Punk attitude,” “All dolled up” “The screamers,” and “God save the queen: a punk rock…


DATE January 27, 2006 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A

Interview: Vicki Wickham discusses her book "Dancing with Demons:
The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfield" and Springfield's
life and career

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily
News, filling in for Terry Gross.

Unidentified Man: Dusty Springfield.

DAVIES: Some critics considered Duster Springfield the best British female
rock singer of the '60s. She had many hits in England and America, including
"Wishin' and Hopin'," "I Only Want to Be With You," "I Just Don't Know What to
Do With Myself" and "The Look of Love." A CD and DVD of her 1979 performance
at the Royal Albert Hall with Princess Margaret in attendance has recently
been released. From that concert, here is one of her biggest hits.

Ms. SPRINGFIELD: (Singing) Billy Ray was a preacher's son. son. When his
daddy would visit he'd come along. When they'd gather 'round and started
talking, that's when Billy would take me walkin'. Up through the backyard,
we'd go walkin'. Then he'd look into my eyes. Lord knows to my surprise, the
only one who could ever reach me...

Ms. SPRINGFIELD and Group of Women: (Singing in unison) ...was the son of a
preacher man.

Ms. SPRINGFIELD: (Singing) The only boy who could ever teach me...

Ms. SPRINGFIELD and Group of Women: (Singing in unison) ...was the son of a
preacher man.

Ms. SPRINGFIELD: (Singing) Yes, he was, he was, ooh, yes, he was.

DAVIES: That's an excerpt from "Dusty Springfield Live at the Royal Albert
Hall," which has just come out on CD and DVD. Springfield died of cancer in
1999, just before her 60th birthday. Springfield's authorized biography
"Dancing With Demons" described the personal life that few of her fans knew
about, including the fact that she was a lesbian. In 2002, Terry Gross spoke
with the book's co-author Vicki Wickham, who was Springfield's longtime friend
and manager. Wickham produced the British TV music program "Ready, Steady,
Go," which Springfield appeared on an later co-hosted. And she also co-wrote
one of Springfield's hits, "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." Vicki Wickham
met the singer when Springfield made a guest appearance on "Ready, Steady,

Ms. VICKI WICKHAM (Co-author, "Dancing with Demons"): It was a chaotic show
which went out every week on Associated Redipution Television, which was the
independent channel. And it was subtitled "The Weekend Starts Here." And we
were a mixture of music, fashion, the celebrities of the time, pop art. And
you have to remember, this was 1963. It was The Who, The Beatles, later Jimi
Hendrix, The Animals. And we started bringing in American artists: Ike and
Tina Turner, James Brown, Otis Redding.

And it was live. It started off as a mimed show, but within a year, went
live. And every single week, we never quite got it right. It was alive, in
studio, with an audience. And the cameras, I mean, literally would go between
dancers, between the audience, and it just caught people's imagination. And
kids would literally run home from school to see the show.

GROSS: Yeah, it was kind of like "American Bandstand," but with fashion and
more interviews and things like that.

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, exactly. That's exactly what it was.

GROSS: I mean, it's amazing like in the early days of "Ready, Steady, Go,"
you know, The Beatles would come on and then Ringo would dance in the audience
with the other dancers.

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, exactly, which, you know, was amazing because they were
huge at the time.

GROSS: Right. Dusty Springfield is really an extraordinary singer. And, you
know, I grew up listening to her records and, you know, I always liked her,
but it was as an adult that I could really appreciate what a truly good singer
she is. What struck you about her singing when you were auditioning people
for "Ready, Steady, Go"?

Ms. WICKHAM: She had a sound, and there are very few people that have a real
sound to their voice. And Dusty's just one of those lucky ones that--you
know, she's recognizable anywhere. But she had an impeccable choice of
material. She knew exactly what was right for her voice.

GROSS: Her first hit, "I Only Want to Be with You," came out in 1964 and
debuted on "Ready, Steady, Go," and this is while you were producing the
program. What did you think of the record then? Did you think that was the
right choice for her?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, absolutely. It was a wonderful song and a great way to
launch her.

GROSS: Why don't we hear it?

(Soundbite of Dusty Springfield performing "I Only Want to Be with You")

Ms. SPRINGFIELD: (Singing) Don't know what it is that makes me love you so.
I only know I never want to let you go. 'Cause you started something, can't
you see? And ever since we met, you've had a hold on me. It happens to be
true, I only want to be with you. It doesn't matter where you go or what you
do. I want to spend each moment of this day with you. Now look what has
happened with just one kiss. I never knew that I could be in love like this.
It's crazy but it's true, I only want to be with you. You turned to smile at
me and asked if I cared to dance...

GROSS: That's Dusty Springfield's first hit, "I Only Want to Be with You." My
guest is Vicki Wickham, who co-wrote "Dancing with Demons: The Authorized
Biography of Dusty Springfield."

You actually co-wrote one of Dusty Springfield's songs, "You Don't Have to Say
You Love Me," which was released in 1966. How did you come to co-write the
song? And tell us if there's a story behind it.

Ms. WICKHAM: Well, there is. Dusty had been at the San Rainmo Song Festival
and came back with an Italian song that, each time she was going to record,
she'd say, `I must write lyrics to it.' She never did, so she never recorded
it. And it came to the time in '64 where she said, `I really need to record
this song.' And I, like a big-mouth, said, `Well, any fool can write lyrics.'
So she says, `Well, OK, any fool can write lyrics, go and write lyrics.'

And luckily, I was having dinner that night with a friend of mine--actually, I
was having dinner with him every night 'cause we used to see each other all
the time--Simon Le Peubelle, who was a musician. And I said to Simon,
`Before we go to dinner, we have to do these lyrics for Dusty, 'cause she's
recording tomorrow.'

So he said, `OK, you know, play me the song.' So we sat and we played, and,
of course, we sat and argued about what it should be and what it shouldn't.
But it really--in about 30 minutes, we'd got the basis of it and then finished
it off in the taxi.

And the next day, when I was typing them up for Dusty, I called Simon and I
said, `These are horrible. I cannot give these to Dusty.'

And he said, `Well, what are you going to do?'

So I said, `I suppose give them to Dusty 'cause there's no choice.'

So I sent them through or sent them over to Dusty or dropped them off or
something, and she said, `These are really bad.'

And I said, `I know. We know that.' Anyway, she recorded it and, of course,
it went to number one.

GROSS: Why did you think they were so bad, the lyrics?

Ms. WICKHAM: They're really inane. And if you look at the lyrics, I think
the word `left' is in there about six times, although, you know, when you
become familiar with them, you think, `OK, they're perhaps not so bad.'

GROSS: So--well, why don't we hear the song, and we'll let everybody judge
what they think of the lyrics.


GROSS: It certainly did well for her and for you.

(Soundbite of Dusty Springfield performing "You Don't Have to Say You Love

Ms. SPRINGFIELD: (Singing) You don't have to say you love me; just be close
at hand. You don't have to stay forever; I will understand. Believe me,
believe me, I can't help but love you, but believe me, I'll never tie you
down. Left alone with just a memory, life seems dead and so unreal. All
that's left is loneliness. There's nothing left to feel. You don't have to
say you love me; just be close at hand. You don't have to stay forever; I
will understand. Believe me, believe me. You don't have to say you love me;
just be close at hand. You don't have to...

GROSS: That's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," a 1966 hit by Dusty
Springfield. My guest, Vicki Wickham, co-wrote the lyrics; she also co-wrote
Dusty Springfield's biography, called "Dancing with Demons."

Now as you were getting to know Dusty Springfield, something that you learned
about her was that she was a lesbian, and this was at a time when virtually no
performers were really out of the closet, certainly not in pop music. How did
you find out about that?

Ms. WICKHAM: Well, 'cause we were friends, so we were hanging out together.
We, you know, had some of the same friends. We were beginning to have our own
friends. And you know, obviously, you know, you know what your friends are

GROSS: And are you gay, too?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, absolutely.

GROSS: Did you have to keep each other's secrets? Did it need to be as big a
secret for you as it was for her?--because you weren't a performer and could
maybe afford to be a little more open.

Ms. WICKHAM: Well, exactly. For, me it was never a problem because I wasn't
in the public eye. And, you know, I was always openly gay and it was
absolutely fine. But for somebody like Dusty, it did matter. It was
absolutely unheard of in '63, in the early '60s. And I really do think it
would have harmed her at the time had people really known.

You have to remember, too, the press in England--it's got worse over the
years, but they're very intrusive. I mean, there are a lot of tabloids; as
you know, we have about six or seven daily papers and then all the Sunday
papers. So they need something to write about. And the more sensational it
is, the better. The bigger name you are, obviously, the bigger story. And it
was a real worry that, you know, the papers would start splashing it across.

GROSS: And did people in the industry know and just keep it quiet, or were
they clueless about it?

Ms. WICKHAM: I think they mostly didn't know, and the few that did, you know,
they weren't really particularly interested, either. They were too busy with
their lives. You know, your contemporaries don't care; it's really only the
press and then the general public.

GROSS: Dusty Springfield was from a Catholic family. She went to convent
school. Did she feel guilty about her own sexual orientation?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, she did. She felt guilty about a lot of things, and I
think that, you know, the Catholic faith throughout her entire life always was
a burden to her. And that was a large part of what the big problem was.

GROSS: As a producer of "Ready, Steady, Go," were you ever concerned that if
she was outed, it would be a problem for the program?

Ms. WICKHAM: No, not remotely. And I don't think it would have been. The
only problem we ever had with "Ready, Steady" was when Donovan was busted for
pot, and there was a whole discussion about whether we should have him on. I
mean, how inane that sounds now, but that was the biggest problem we ever had.

DAVIES: Vicki Wickham, friend and biographer of the late Dusty Springfield,
speaking with Terry Gross in 2002. We'll hear more after a break. This is


DAVIES: Let's get back to Terry's interview with Vicki Wickham, friend and
manager of the late Dusty Springfield.

GROSS: Dusty Springfield really had a look in the '60s when she became a
star. Why don't you describe the kind of fashions she wore, how she did her
eyes, her hairdos?

Ms. WICKHAM: Dusty had this huge bouffant hairdo which required a lot of
back-combing and a lot of spray, which we would sometimes laugh and say she
was responsible alone for the ozone layer. She also wore a lot of makeup.
She looked at the fashion magazines and the film magazines of the time and
would look at people like Monica Viedee, I suppose like a Bardot, that type of
thing. And she followed their eye makeup, which was a lot of black, like a
panda makeup, with a lot of heavy eyeliner above the lid as well as below.

And dresswise, she was what in those days was called a mod; you had mods and
rockers, and Dusty was a mod with short skirts and skimpy little tops. I
mean, she was very fashionable. You know, kids would emulate her.

GROSS: Dusty Springfield recorded several Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs,
such as "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself," "Wishin' and Hopin'," "The
Look of Love." How did she start to do Bacharach?

Ms. WICKHAM: Dusty used to listen to a lot of demos from America.
Publishers would send her demos. And, of course, she was going backwards and
forwards to America to appear on shows, package shows like the ones at the
Brooklyn Fox where she would be on with Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas,
The Searchers, The Animals, Dusty. So she was very conscious of American
music. And she and I and Vic Billings, her manager at the time, went to
Paris, and at the Olympia in Paris, went to see Dionne Warwick, The Shirelles,
little Stevie Wonder, who was singing "Fingertips" at the time. And she met
Dionne Warwick, and we came back with heaps of records. So inevitably a lot
of those, of course, were Bacharach and David. In fact, all of them were
Bacharach and David.

GROSS: And she liked the songs and wanted to start recording them herself?

Ms. WICKHAM: Loved the songs, yes.

GROSS: So did she get in touch with Bacharach?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes. And I think that Burt, I mean, feels that her version of
"Look of Love" is still the ultimate.

GROSS: What do you think of her recording of that?

Ms. WICKHAM: I think it's wonderful. I think it captures the every essence
of the song. It's beautiful.

GROSS: Then why don't we hear it.

(Soundbite of Dusty Springfield performing "The Look of Love")

Ms. SPRINGFIELD: (Singing) The look of love is in your eyes. The look your
heart can't disguise. The look of love is saying so much more than just words
could ever say. The look the heart has heard, well, it takes my breath away.
I can hardly wait to hold you, feel my arms around you. How long I have
waited, waited just to love you. Now that I have found you, you've got the
look of love it's on your face, a look that time can't erase. Be mine
tonight, let this be just the start of so many nights like this. Let's take a
lovers' vow and then seal it with a kiss. I can hardly wait to hold you, feel
my arms around you. How long I have waited, waited just to love you. Now
that I have found you, don't have to go.

GROSS: That's Dusty Springfield singing "The Look of Love," which was from
the film "Casino Royale" and was another big hit for her. The song was by
Bacharach and David.

Dusty Springfield did at least one of the songs that Dionne Warwick did as
well. Dionne Warwick also did "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself."
Did Dusty Springfield feel competitive with Dionne Warwick when it came to
doing Burt Bacharach songs?

Ms. WICKHAM: No. I think she loved Dionne's voice; she respected Dionne.
She actually became friends with Dionne. I think she could have been slightly
jealous that Dionne got the songs first from Burt and Hal because, of course,
Dionne was doing their demos and had first, you know, crack at the songs.
But, no, I don't think there was actually competitiveness because Dusty would
only do a song if she could do it her way, which she always did.

GROSS: And do you know if Dionne Warwick felt competitive with Dusty

Ms. WICKHAM: Again, I don't think `competitive' is the right word. I would
think `pissed' was the right word. I mean, if I were an American and had a
great record and had success in the charts in America, and then some English
bird was copying it and having success in England, I wouldn't be too happy.

GROSS: Do you think Dionne Warwick saw it as copying her record?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, I'm sure she did.

GROSS: In the new authorized biography of Dusty Springfield, you write about
her depressions. You say she was diagnosed as manic depressive and her
depressions were sometimes very severe. What was she like on either end of
her mood swings?

Ms. WICKHAM: She could go into the blackest moods ever, and very irrational
in terms of nothing was right, nothing was good enough, including herself.
Just really deep depressions which would last sometimes for minutes and it
usually resulted in damaging some innate object of some sort, never a danger
to anybody else or, at that point, herself.

And then on the other end, you know, when she'd come out of them, she was the
most intelligent, wonderful, funny, interesting, up person imaginable. I
mean, when she was her normal self, it was hard to imagine that she could
possibly be any other way.

GROSS: She also mutilated herself. She cut on her arms and legs. I think
much more is known about that kind of self-mutilation now than was known then.
It seems either more common or at least more publicly discussed. How did she
and her doctors deal with it? And I don't know whether this was mostly in the
1960s or '70s.

Ms. WICKHAM: It was both. At the time, you're right, not that much was known
about it. And the biggest thing that I think was a mistake--and I mean, she
felt the same way--she never found any help for it, meaning a shrink, a
therapist. You know, the British are very anti that type of thing, especially
in the '60s and '70s. I mean, we all felt that a good cup of tea would solve
everything rather than going to talk to somebody. And, of course, now we know
better that, you know, it does help to have some professional advice, some
professional help. And at the time, nobody was really doing that.

Even in terms of medication, none of the doctors were really prescribing
anything, which nowadays, I don't know if it's Prozac or what they would give
you, but they would give you something to help you get through it. At the
time, nobody was doing that, so it became an occurrence which would happen far
too frequently. And, you know, like with anything like that, it's a cry for
help, and nobody was helping.

GROSS: How did you find out about the cutting?

Ms. WICKHAM: Various phone calls from emergency rooms or, you know, calls in
the night from somebody or from Dusty herself. And, you know, again, you
know, none of us were qualified to help. You can offer support, you can, you
know, help on that level. But it wasn't obviously enough.

GROSS: Would the scars or the cuts show when she wore the kind of clothes she
liked to wear?

Ms. WICKHAM: She was always wea...

GROSS: You know, in other words, was she at risk of performing with cuts and
scars showing?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, absolutely. And if you notice, she almost always--in fact,
always would wear long sleeves.

GROSS: And that's why?


DAVIES: Vicki Wickham, the friend, manager and biographer of the late Dusty
Springfield speaking with Terry Gross. We'll hear more of their interview in
the second half of the show. I'm Dave Davies and this is FRESH AIR.


DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies filling in for Terry Gross.
Let's get back to Terry's interview with Vicki Wickham, co-author of "Dancing
With Demons: The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfield," the British pop
singer of the '60s who had such hits as "Wishin' and Hopin'," "The Look of
Love," "I Only Want to be With You" and "The Son of a Preacher Man."
Springfield died of cancer in 1999. Vicki Wickham was her friend and manager.

When we left off, they were talking about Springfield's problems with

GROSS: Would the depression go away when she was on stage?

Ms. WICKHAM: It's interesting you should say that. Absolutely. Dusty, as
much as she hated getting on stage, was scared stiff about it, once she got
on stage was, A, the true professional, was absolutely wonderful and
thoroughly enjoyed herself.

GROSS: Did you ever have to convince her to get on stage?

Ms. WICKHAM: Constantly. It was always an uphill battle. I mean, as a
manager, it really was very depressing sometimes that you'd have these
wonderful offers and I'd call her up and I'd say, `OK, you know, this is what
somebody wants you to do. Here are the pros, here are the cons. This is what
the money is. This is what it, you know, should be. Let's talk about it.'
And it would always be, `No.' Then I would get a call 15 minutes later or 20
minutes later, `OK, tell me more. What about? What if?' And she would
always--she was wonderful, actually. She would come up with a huge list of,
`We should ask them this, that and the other,' which is, you know, absolutely
the right thing to do. And we would ask them this, that and the other and
we'd go backwards and forwards. And then it would always be, `I don't think
I'm ready to do it at the moment. Let's think about it next time.' And so
during the time I was managing her, she did very, very few performances, a
few, you know, televisions, recording, but not live performances.

GROSS: Do you think that she would forget how much she enjoyed being on

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, I do. I think the effort to get on stage outweighed the
pleasures or the remembrance of the pleasures when she was on. Having to put
on the makeup, having to put on, you know, the clothes, the hair, having to be
scrutinized. It just became too much effort. And I actually do understand
it. I think that she should have overcome it, and we all tried to help her
overcome it and make it as pleasurable as possible. And when she was doing a
television, there would be a team, you know, Debbie Dannell, who did her
makeup, whoever was doing her hair, Pat, myself and a whole group of us would,
you know, be around so that we could have some fun, we could have a giggle, we
could make it, you know, as light and easy as possible. But at the end of the
day it was still Dusty that had to get herself together.

GROSS: When did Dusty Springfield find out that she had cancer?

Ms. WICKHAM: She called me up one day and said, at the end of the
conversation, sort of very casually said, `Did I tell you that I found a lump
in my breast?' which I said, `No. And what did your doctor say?' to which she
said, `You know, I don't really have a doctor. I haven't been to see
anybody.' I said, `Dusty, get off the phone. Let me make you an appointment
with mine. I'll call you right back.' So I called my doctor, called her
right back. Two days later we were in my doctor's office and the doctor said,
basically to all of us, `Yes, there is a lump. I want you to go and see Ian
Smith at the Marsden.' And we came out. And, of course, it was the usual
crowd of us and went and had our usual cup of tea and said, `Well, it could be
worse. At least, you know, they know the lump's there. Perhaps they can do
something. They're sending you to a great specialist.' And we were all
trying to be, you know, incredibly optimistic.

But, of course, when she went to the Marsden they said, `Yes, it is cancer.
We need to shrink the lump,' which they did. And then they do what they call
a lumpectomy, which they take the actual lump out. And at that stage it
hadn't spread into the glands or anything. Did chemo, did some radiation.
And we thought she was clear, which was magnificent. So the record came out,
did all the promotion, which must have been grueling for her, but, you know,
thinking that she was absolutely OK. And then she went for a holiday in
Ireland and started--strange--having some sort of cough. And when she came
back, went back to check and they said, `Yup. You know, it's come back and we
need to be more aggressive this time around.'

GROSS: And so she took more aggressive chemo after that?

Ms. WICKHAM: She did. And also Dusty was a very well-informed person. And
what she didn't know she certainly would find out. She went to every possible
source on the Internet, friends, etc., etc., to find out what treatment was
effective, what could be done, what America was doing, called several people
in American hospitals and stuff and said, `This is what, you know, I'm doing
in Marsden. Is there anything you would recommend?' Just was really
well-informed. And to their credit, the Marsden were wonderful and tried a
couple of things that hadn't been approved in England. They actually went to
the association and got approval to use the drugs on Dusty, which was, you
know, very brave and good of them because I do think it's your choice what you
want. But unfortunately none of them did the trick.

GROSS: How did she handle the news that the cancer had come back?

Ms. WICKHAM: Scared as hell, as we all would be, but absolutely determined
that she would beat it. I mean, she felt that she'd beaten it before. She
felt that she'd basically, in life, had many close brushes with her life, that
she'd always beaten it. She felt she was in great shape emotionally, just in
her life in general, and that she would beat it.

GROSS: Did she ever, by the way, come out as a lesbian?


GROSS: Even when she knew she was dying?

Ms. WICKHAM: No. There was no, you know, in a way there was sort of no
interest in her from that point of view at that stage. The papers were
interested in the cancer, and it never really cropped up.

GROSS: Did she wish, do you think, that she could have been more honest about

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes, because she was a very outgoing person. I mean, she wasn't
a secretive person at all. I'm quite sure that she wished she could have

GROSS: You were at her funeral when she died?


GROSS: What was the funeral like, and was there any of her music that was
played there?

Ms. WICKHAM: Yes. I put it together with Simon Bell, the two of us, and I
just said to Simon, `You know, Dust was such a star and artist. We have to
just have a very grand funeral.' And, as you know, the body was put in an
open horse-drawn carriage, which stopped the traffic in Henley. And yes, it
was all her music. We played "Goin' Back," which is very apt, the Goffen King
song. And the coffin actually went out to "You Don't Have To Say You Love
Me." And as it came out of the church, the crowd outside--I'm only laughing
because she would have loved it--broke into applause. And Elton said it's the
only funeral I've ever heard of that the coffin gets the applause. She would
have definitely been chuffed and had a giggle.

DAVIES: Vicki Wickham, friend and manager of the late Dusty Springfield,
speaking with Terry Gross in 2002. She co-authored Springfield's authorized
biography titled "Dancing With Demons." Dusty Springfield's 1979 concert
performance at the Royal Albert Hall has been recently released on CD and DVD.

Coming up, Milo Miles on DVDs that document early punk music. This is FRESH


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dolled Up," The Screamers" and "God Save the Queen: A Punk
Rock Anthology"

Punk was over by the first year of the Reagan administration. The music
industry has changed so much since then that punk can seem especially buried
in the past. But critic Milo Miles says the music lives and thrives on DVD if
you know where to look.

Mr. MILO MILES: It may seem strange outstanding documentaries have been made
about classic punk bands like the Sex Pistols and the Ramones, but when you
think about it, the ferocious punk sound is still vital. And most important,
many punk pioneers had tremendous visual clout. The whole idea was to be
anything but bland or beautiful. Now even obscure punk singles have been
reissued and there are box sets devoted to punk. Likewise, fans and newcomers
alike can explore the roots and branches of punk on DVDs.

The most ambitious DVD released last year was "Punk Attitude" by Don Letts.
The documentary attempts to tell the whole story of punk, though the narrative
becomes sketchy after the middle 1980s. It does offer vibrant coverage of the
'70s beginnings and the explosion of UK punk. No surprise, since Letts was a
potent deejay on the scene and managed the ground-breaking female group The

He filmed many of the bands in their prime and gets a host of fascinating
articulate new interviews. Here is filmmaker Jim Jarmusch explaining the
charisma of The Clash's Joe Strummer.

Mr. JIM JARMUSCH: Strummer thought of the world and the potential of--of
music as like a--you know, he's always making references to radio broadcasts.
And, you know, `This one is going out to the world.' He had that kind of Woody
Guthrie thing or a kind of thing that Dylan had and Bob Marley had and--and
sometimes John Lennon had, where they--they were aware of that power, but they
weren't egotistical about it.

And he had this sense, and he knew, and it was true, that something he would
think of a small--in his basement in Ladbroke Grove could--had the potential
of affecting, you know, young people particularly all over the planet.

Mr. MILES: The film makes clear that one libertine aspect of punk is that
everybody gets to make a definition of what it means. Anything but safe and
conformist. Henry Rollins is as funny and entertaining as I've ever seen him
when he takes his shot at the meaning of punk.

Mr. HENRY ROLLINS: So there's always been culture that is being suppressed
because it seems to dangerous. If there is culture, there's going to be
counterculture. If there is going to be people dialoguing, there is going to
be culture, you can't escape it. So with culture comes counterculture.
Culture seeks to equalize. Niche always said of thieves, they're just trying
to even out the playing field, which is interesting. But counterculture will
always become culture until the next slapback happens.

Late '70s in America, us Americanos, we're getting the English punk rock on
import. We're getting The Clash, Sex Pistols, the smaller bands but still as
good, The Lurkers, Adverts, one of the great ones. We're getting Generation
X. We're getting all this stuff on import. No do--these bands don't have
label deals yet. And then everyone in my neighborhood dropped their
skateboards and picked up guitars. And all of a sudden every friend of yours
is in a band.

Mr. MILES: Does "Punk Attitude" leave out important periods and performers?
Of course. Letts knows he had too little on Los Angeles punk and includes the
worthwhile short film by Dick Rude on the LA scene. Besides, a thorough
history would probably be too long to enjoy, and Letts has set the standard
for punk overview anyway.

Film can also enhance the legacy of punks that never found their full audience
or recorded frequently enough. From 1973 to 1976, the photographer Bob Gruen
and his wife Nadya Beck shot some 40 hours of the New York Dolls performing
and clowning around backstage and on the street. Now it has been turned into
a rough band bio called "All Dolled Up." The Dolls were punk when it was all
attitude and impulses, before it became a concept and then a set of rules.
Here is singer David Johansen explaining how The Dolls expanded on the rock
'n' roll of the past.

Mr. DAVID JOHANSEN: Like a last wave of rock 'n' roll is like--mostly it was
in San Francisco, and it--it had a definite purpose. I mean, the
franchisement of it, and franchisement of certain people that become united
under a certain kind of music. That's what rock 'n' roll has always been.
And this form of music just kind of represents the next generation, like under
21 kind of people relate to this music. It's like their own music.

The basic difference is that--as far as like our self-liberation is concerned,
we had a lot less trouble to go through because a lot--a lot of things the
people are going through to--to liberate themselves or to liberate the masses
has been done. And we just kind of picked up on where we left off. And we
kind of saved a lot of trouble by that.

I guess we are...

Mr. MILES: At first, I thought "All Dolled Up" was too shapeless, but more
viewings reveal its engagingly casual flow and structure. Above all, the film
proves The Dolls deserve the hype. Their unbeatable fashion wildness is only
enhanced by their unpredictable outrageous personalities.

Less documented and less well-known than even The Dolls were The Screamers
from Los Angeles. Led in the late '70s by the flamboyant singer Tomata du
Plenty, The Screamers never released any official recordings, though they were
a local sensation. The performance DVD, called just "The Screamers," shows
what all the shouting was about, Tomata du Plenty's shouting anyway. He is a
firebrand performer. Hard to believe this DVD is the only available way to
hear this band. With no guitars and two synthesizers, The Screamers had their
own sound, and you can't stop watching Tomata. He is obviously having the
time of his life. Proof that punk is also fun.

(Soundbite of "The Screamers")

Mr. MILES: Finally, for the punk diehards, there is "God Save the Queen: A
Punk Rock Anthology," which includes 19 performance clips. But, weirdly
enough, none by The Sex Pistols. There is other weird things. The Iggy Pop
performance is wildly anachronistic from a recent tour. And what's up with
having an interview with Markie Ramone but no actual music from The Ramones?

Still, there are quite a few infectiously crazed performances, such as the
Buzzcocks doing "Boredom."

Unidentified Buzzcocks Member: What do you want?

Play this one. One, two, three, four.

(Soundbite of Buzzcocks)

Mr. MILES: The DVD lineup mixes bands you have to see to believe, like the
Toy Dolls, with nonentities like Vice Squad and Goldblade. Parts of "God Save
the Queen" are cheap and cheesy throwaways. I like that because that's punk,

DAVIES: Milo Miles writes about music from his home in Cambridge.
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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