Friday, February 27, 2009
Carolyn Kellogg, who is also known at times as Pinky, has a killer sense of style (you should see her apartment), organizes a swell literary doo (the last one was at the HMS Bounty for the LADWP), has a proufound knowledge of LA History and all things noir (I swear she can quote Dashiell Hammet). Also, her hair is bright red.
We first met on the telephone when she was interviewing me when she was a music journalist and I was moving through the world in the capacity of my former life as an indie rocker. (the band was Cecil Seaskull /Nerdy Girl. Music available on iTunes/emusic)
I knew we were kindred right then because our interview lasted two hours! When Carolyn moved back from NYC to the great LA and we became fast friends in real life and have been ever since. We've both moved from mostly music into more literary careers, but you can still find us out at the occasional punk / rock show together.
She currently handles blog duties at the great LA Times Jacket Copy Lit Blog as well as doing book reviews for them. She's also working on her first novel.
Behold Carolyn Kellogg's annotated top ten essential punk songs!
Congratulations on the paperback release! Chalk that one up in the win column.Thanks for asking! Here's my very personal list. Like Douglas Wolk, I'm including YouTube
10. Space Oddity - David Bowie
Raised on a diet of crappy soft rock radio, my high school years were
a period of musical terror and discovery. Had Bowie recorded decades
earlier? Yes. Was his individuality -- musically, personally -- a
revelation? Yes and yes.
9. Working for the Clampdown - The Clash
When I first heard The Clash, I thought they were dissonant, abrasive
and scary. But I couldn't stop singing them at my horrid job in the
8. True Men Don't Kill Coyotes - the Red Hot Chili Peppers
As a was wee high school sophomore, I camped out in the local record
store to watch MTV; it was the only place in town with cable. I saw
this video once, and thought the band was not just unlistenable, but
insane. And I never forgot it.
7. Dirty Water - the Standells
Every band that came to my New Hampshire school played "Dirty Water."
I didn't know it was by the Standells, or that their 60s amateur
sixties garage rock was a punk progenitor. I just knew I got real
sweaty when I danced to it.
6. Rock Lobster - the B52s
Before the B52s became a neutered pop radio novelty act, they were a
bizarro ensemble from a small town in Georgia. They didn't know what
rules they were breaking when they wrote the overly-long,
strangely-trilling, kooky-break-in-the-middle Rock Lobster. And I
danced like mad to it too.
5. Oh Bondage Up Yours - X-Ray Spex
I moved to LA for college and became a semi-regular at a dingy noodle
shop called the Atomic Cafe in Little Tokyo. The owner's daughter had
stuck punk posters up over the stains in the ceiling and stocked the
jukebox with punk 45s. This one was, it was said, impossibly rare. I
played it every time.
4. Garbageman - The Cramps
My freshman year I had this thing with this guy, and over the summer
he sent me tapes. I listened to them again and again, and because they
were tapes I couldn't skip over songs that sounded harsh and
abrasive.And soon the Cramps sounded exactly perfect.
3. Freddie's Dead - Fishbone
By my sophomore year of college (aka my first year as a dropout) I was
going to shows, and I saw a lot of Fishbone. Manic madness, a brass
section, hard metalish guitar and funk and (less fortuitously) ska,
Fishbone pioneered a genre too schizophrenic for anyone to follow.
2. Los Angeles - X
I also saw a lot of X, the least-google-able band name ever. I saw
them play their last show ever before they called it quits, then I saw
their first reunion show. Like their on-again-off-again bandness, X's
sound was always splitting apart, male and female vocals gorgeously
discordant, with rockabilly roots like the Cramps and the wildness of
that X-Ray Spex single.
1. Thelonious Monster
Try, in this video is not my favorite Thelonious Monster song; Union
Street or Walk on Water might be, but neither is on YouTube. This was
the problem with Thelonious Monster -- known for having a wall of
sound (and too many guitarists to count), the energy and chaos of
their live shows was never adequately recorded. People would tell you
that it was singer Bob Forrest's drug-enhanced unpredictability that
kept the band back, but with better, maybe more insane sound
engineers, they would have had much more of a shot. At least this
video, with its poor audio transfer, captures some of the band's mad