Apologies for the slowdown in posts. As alluded — and flatly spelled out — in recent entries, I’m currently trying up to swim up from the unchartably depressing depths of unemployment without getting the bends. As of yet, despite some near-misses, protracted e-mail exchanges and the odd promising interview, I have yet to breach the surface, so to speak. While I have an unseemly amount of “free time,” I cannot always justify spending as much time on the blog. That all said, I’ll have some more substantial stuff up here soon. Stay tuned.
In the interim, I thought I’d put this up. I decided to throw in the towel on Christgau’s book. After I posted my piece on his memoir, I decided to actually go read a few of its reviews (I usually avoid reading reviews prior to picking up books I’m intrigued by), and found that I was not alone in my lack of affinity for the revered critic’s unexpurgated bellyflop into what I would call “ambush porn” (in that I certainly wasn’t expecting it). Having read the pertinent portions about CBGB, Television (who he cloyingly keeps on referring to as “T.V.”) and the Ramones, I figured I got all I needed (ick….that then some) from his book. Done and done.
But speaking of the Ramones, having been disappointed in such swift order by Christgau’s book, I went ahead and picked up “Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone” by Marky Ramone. There have already been scores of books published on da brudders, and I must confess to having read most of them, but I figured…what the heck? At the very least, I felt reasonably confident Marky wasn’t going to unleash an impenetrable avalanche of frilly Christgau-speak on me. “Mooncalves” my ass!
Much like his speaking voice, Marky's text is dry and cheeky, but overall the book is refreshingly more engaging than I was expecting. I’m only about halfway into it, currently dealing with the fabled drummer’s days as the nascent drummer of Richard Hell’s Voidoids.
I was genuinely surprised to learn that Marky served in the ranks of yet another band in between his days with proto-stoner-metal trio Dust and the Voidoids, that being the incongruously countrified soft rock of an ensemble called Estus (and what Estus means, I have no idea … maybe Robert Christgau knows?)
Anyway, he mentions recording an album with them, and details an arduous album cover shoot one drizzly morning on an otherwise deserted, rainy Park Avenue circa 1973. He didn’t feature said album cover in the book, so I did a bit of Googling and voila….
That’s Marky and the Estus boys (Marky being second from the right) on what looks like the northwest corner of East 54th Street and Park Avenue, which today looks pretty much the same (see Google streetview grab below)...
Anyway, my curiosity piqued, I dialed up some Estus on YouTube. Suffice to say, I’m glad Marky moved on to punkier pastures. Here’s a taste.