Weekend Music – sadness (RIP Davy Jones) and punk madness with Escape to Victory

If you could go back in time and ask a (very young) Peter Smith around 1966/8 who his favourite band was, the answer might shock you. For someone who is now revered as a serious musical critic and auteur (?!), you might have expected the answer to be the Beatles, the Stones, or perhaps something more radical like Cream or Traffic.

But no. It was the Monkees.

I loved them, loved the music, and loved their TV show as well, which was actually quite ground breaking in it use of verbal and visual gags and craziness (did they influence Monty Python?) As critic James Poniewozik says -

"even if the show never meant to be more than entertainment and a hit-single generator, we shouldn’t sell The Monkees short. It was far better television than it had to be; during an era of formulaic domestic sitcoms and wacky comedies, it was a stylistically ambitious show, with a distinctive visual style, absurdist sense of humor and unusual story structure".

So I was very sad to hear of Davy Jones' death this week at the pretty early age of 66 after a heart attack. RIP Davy, he always seemed a genuinely nice guy, and here's a great song to remember him by.

On a very different musical note, we had a great "comment" this week from Duncan Dallas, in relation to Steve Duckworth's "Musical Archaeology" piece a while back on US hardcore punk bands.  Much more than a comment, I thought we should feature it in full. Thanks Duncan, and great to hear about another musical procurement pro!

Procurement and punk rock – and here was me thinking that I was the only person in the UK juggling both! I realise this entry is a few months old but thought it sad that nobody had commented.

The hardcore scene of the US is the punk that I’m interested in. When I say ‘I’m into punk’ the uninitiated will think Sex Pistols, mohawk hairstyles, safety pins, spitting and general obnoxiousness. The comment I’ll often get is “you don’t look like a punk” (well, in a business suit who does?).

What is punk?’ must be in the top ten discussions across music forums worldwide and never reaches a satisfactory conclusion. To me, it is epitomised by the HC scene led by Black Flag, Minor Threat and their contemporaries. It was about shunning the commercial aspect and making it about the music and the message only. Written and performed by and for a subculture who enjoyed ownership of their own art. The message to me can be summed up as follows: question everything you’re told and stand up for what you think it right.

Musically I am a bigger fan of the bands who came a bit later as part of this scene – Fugazi (led by Minor Threat and Dischord Record’s Ian Mackaye), Agnostic Front, Sick of it All, Bad Religion, Rancid. Bad Religion regularly wrestle with Bruce Springsteen for the title of ‘my favourite artist’. A strange combination one might think but I read recently that The Boss is a fan of BR and that the guitarist from BR recently tried to write a Springsteen style song (which ended up sounding like a Bad Religion song of course). Furthermore Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (another of my non-punk favourites) played on two recent BR tracks. It all seems to tie in somehow.

A post like this wouldn’t be complete without a plug so if you fancy checking out some ABDN HC (erm, that’s a jokey term – Aberdeen Hardcore…) then here is my band Escape to Victory.

(Editor's note - and I found this video!)

Playing in some dingy pub near you in May! (if you live in Scotland/North England). And you’ll be glad to know there is still a DIY punk scene across the Western World and a network of punks who are happy to put on gigs together and offer free accommodation for travelling bands.

Voices (7)

  1. Dom O'Riley:

    Cracking band..faves were Daydream believer and last train to clarksville..Alex I too remember the banana splits..but for the UK boys and girls of that time we had Doubledeckers..truly awful!!

  2. Alex Kleiner:

    Well… I do give props to the Monkees – collectively and individually, all four of them. Would I date myself when if said that I preferred the Banana Splits? Based on what I knew at the time, they were da bomb. I would have killed for one of those little purple cars… The Monkees were next, then maybe the Doors the Who. To be fair, I did grow up in the middle of Iowa…

  3. David Atkinson:

    ‘Daydream Believer’ will undoubtedly get an airing at St James’ Park this Sunday. It’ll be a tribute….of sorts.

    RIP Davy Jones.

  4. Tboneator64:

    I’m happy to say that I got to see Davy play at our North Bay Heritage Festival back in 2004. He signed my Monkees Music Box CD Cover and graciously shook my hand. You couldn’t help but sense his genuine kindness towards people. Like millions of others, I was very shocked and saddened to hear of his passing, but what a legacy he’s left behind! To Davy Jones, Rest In Peace!

  5. Epoch:

    Another talented Mancunian hits the road to heaven – much missed by my in-laws family who knew him and his family when they were living in Gorton. Davy always had time to stop and chat to old friends, a thoroughly nice bloke. RIP Davy Jones.

  6. The Guitar Man:

    Couldn’t agree more about the Monkees! As a similar respected ‘Muso’ (lol), they remain one of my favourite bands still. Whether they wrote any of the material or actually performed much, they were very influential in spawning the plethora of boy bands now so prominent in popular music! Davy Jones was the pretty boy ‘Paul McCartney’ of the band, actor, jockey and might best be remembered for his vocal performance on Daydream Beleiver, a tune still shrieked by me and many others at closing time. As you get older (like me), you do mourn the passing of greats and remember when you heard the news – Presley, Lennon, Hendrix, Bolan, Harrison etc. Although perhaps not as musically influential as those, I’ll remember when I heard the news, be a bit sad for the passing of another idol of my past and then try another rendition of Daydream Beleiver over a glass of wine and then toast Davy. RIP Mr Jones!

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