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Posts Tagged ‘1977 punk rock’

Been on a kick lately. Listening to music from the late ’70s and early ’80s. Which means lots of classic New Wave and Punk Rock.

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Due to this, it was time for a portrait of Poly Styrene. For those who don’t know, Poly Styrene is best known as the lead vocalist for the seminal British Punk band X-Ray Spex. X-Ray Spex’s album Germ Free Adolescence is considered a Punk classic.

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X-Ray Spex. 

Born to a Scottish-Irish mother and Somali-born father, Poly was born Marianne Joan Elliott-Said in 1957 England. Her mother raised her as a single parent. After trying her hand in Ska and Reggae, Poly was inspired to form a band after catching The Sex Pistols in concert. That band was X-Ray Spex.

 

After performing at a gig in 1978, Poly started getting visions. Her mother, alarmed about Poly’s hallucinations, took her to the hospital. There, the singer was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, and taken out of the public eye. Thirteen years later in 1991, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In 1983, she converted into the Hare Krishna faith.

Around 1980 she embarked on a solo career. Poly Styrene released a few albums over the past few decades. Her last album, Generation Indigo was produced by Martin Glover, best known as Youth from the band Killing Joke. Generation Indigo was released on April 24, 2011, a day before Poly’s passing. The cause of death was  metastatic breast cancer.

In 2017, her daughter started a crowd funding online for the documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché. Two years later in 2019, a biography titled Dayglo! was published. The documentary is expected to be finished in 2020, unless Covid19 gets in the way.

Without further ado, here’s a portrait of Poly Styrene, in one of her famous stage outfits. After doing the illustration, I read that Poly later complained about the ensemble. While I could understand why she wasn’t fond of the gear, like many others, I beg to differ. If anything, it would be considered highly couture today.  The illustration was done in pen, ink and watercolor. Another little bit of irony. After just finishing the piece, I discovered Poly Styrene’s birthday was only a few days away, on July 3rd.

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Poly Styrene, from X-Ray Spex, and later on solo singer. Completed June 27, 2020. Pen, ink and watercolor. Done by Michele Witchipoo. 

 

Additional Links:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/my-secret-life-poly-styrene-singer-51-811129.html

https://www.polystyrenefilm.com/

https://www.anothermag.com/fashion-beauty/9857/the-unforgettable-poly-styrene-first-woman-of-punk

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Hey ho, let’s go! Last week’s Sketch Lottery character was the late, great Joey Ramone. So you know I didn’t want to miss a chance drawing him.

Joey Ramone, drawn by Michele Witchipoo. Nov. 2014. Pen brush, ink and watercolor. Done for Sketch Lottery.

Joey Ramone, drawn by Michele Witchipoo. Nov. 2014. Pen brush, ink and watercolor. Done for Sketch Lottery.

Funny part was I never saw The Ramones live. However, I did see Joey Ramone walk around St. Mark’s Place twice. I didn’t go up to him. Perhaps I should have. This is why later you always end up regretting you haven’t done.

However, I was lucky enough to see Joey Ramone sing with Ronnie Spector live at the venue Coney Island High. This was sometime during the late ’90s.

Enjoy my Joey Ramone sketch, and don’t forget to check out the other artists.

 

Additional links: 

http://www.angelfire.com/zine/roadkicks/coneyhigh.html

http://vassifer.blogs.com/alexinnyc/2005/10/top_ten_sincecl.html

http://www.buzzfeed.com/perpetua/iconic-nyc-music-venues-then-and-now

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Whether you loved him or hated him, Malcolm McLaren did have an impact of music still being felt to this day.

McLaren is best known as the controversial, double handed yet charismatic manager behind The Sex Pistols. After a short stint as a manager for the seminal Glam band The New York Dolls, he went back to his naive U.K. and helped create the British Punk movement. Along with his former girlfriend, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and a dwindling English political climate, McLaren helped shaped the iconic images associated with early U.K. Punk. Let’s just say the notes he took during his time with the Dolls served him well.

Later on he added Adam & The Ants and Bow Wow Wow on his management list. Controversy followed McLaren yet again, particularly with the lead singer of Bow Wow Wow. Annabella Lwin was only 14 years old when she posed for a band publicity photo based the Manet painting The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe). The images teenage dreams are made of.

Speaking of controversial album covers, my own mother was outraged. So thanks to Lwin’s nude posing, along with a Nina Hagen album these records were banned from my own household. Ah, the good old days.

Not to outdone, Malcolm went to New York City yet again, and tapped into the budding Hip Hop movement. Mixing Bronx street life, international music and English art school fashion, the result was the hit song ‘Buffalo Gals’ from the album ‘Duck Rock.’ Other solo ventures Malcolm ensued, such as the hybrid of electronic music and opera in the 1984 single ‘Madame Butterfly.’ Later solo projects, although innovative, were not as successful.

Was not aware of this fact, but supposedly Malcolm McLaren was involved with a film project, using a script by comic book writer Alan Moore. The film itself was never made. Later on, Malcolm went on to be one of the producers in the film adaptation of Fast Food Nation.

Why Malcolm McLaren could be considered a “favorite villain” was due to the fact of his questionable manger practices. During the 1980s, former members of The Sex Pistols took McLaren to court over contract rights. Johnny Lydon, formerly known as Pistols’ lead singer Johnny Rotten won and gained complete control from McLaren (and rightly so). After the Pistols’ breakup, Lydon formed the post punk band Public Image Ltd.

Personally speaking, I saw P.I.L. on concert during the mid-eighties. Not only showing my true age when admitting this; I will also humiliate myself when I tell you about accidentally getting kicked in the head by a ‘slam dancer’ (now known as ‘mosher’) during the show. Johnny Lydon insulted everyone during the entire concert, and the audience retaliated by throwing pennies at him. The pennies was the crowd’s physical way of telling Lydon he was a “sell-out.”

Back to Malcolm. My ex-boyfriend from high school met McLaren during his usher shift at a local NYC art film theater. McLaren had gone to see a movie, and my ex took his ticket stub. According to the ex, McLaren was a nice guy.

A few weeks prior to his death, somehow the song “Buffalo Gals” kept on running through my head. It was a song I had remembered from my pre-teen years. This was when I was growing up in Queens, NY. I was a huge Joan Jett fan during this period, but a friend was trying to get me into Hip-Hop. So she played “Buffalo Gals” for me. However, I was too into Rock music at this time and wasn’t willing to budge. Years later, I realized this tune was way ahead of its time.

I’ll end this with two videos posted on YouTube. One is Adam Ant with a spoken tribute, the other is the promo video for Buffalo Gals.

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