New York: Plug in to the Nerve-ends of the Naked City

In downtown Manhattan the rock 'n' roll war rages on as potential crown princes of Punkdom battle for recognition.. NICK KENT interprets the action

IN MANHATTAN you're either uptown or down town and there's really no halfway house to dissolve into while in transit.

You case your bearings purely on instinct as the yellow cab careers awkwardly down, down, down from the uptown three-star 51st and 3rd Mafioso hotel (ageing Hawaiian bellboys/the overbearing aroma of styrofoam in the Coffee Shop/the tight-lipped Italianate retired hit-man of a receptionist who always makes you wait for the key, nodding suspiciously to the grease-ball house dick as you motion away towards the lift) to the very bowels of the Lower East Side.

You think to ask your driver just where this mythic borderline exists, splitting the Manhattan geography in twain, but having just watched Robert De Niro's psychopathic tour-deforce performance in Taxi Driver (the Naked City's hippest flick at the time of writing – De Niro plays psychotic homicidal cabbie cruising the streets of the Big A, drooling all over his moolah-meter anticipating much gore-letting at the expense of unsuspecting patrons), shy away from voicing the query.

Three bucks' worth of journeying later you're out on the street – 12th Street and Avenue A surrounded by Puerto Rican delis and hard-core heavy lidded inhabitants – and while you're doing your best to merge with the surroundings the thought occurs that this whole uptown/downtown stigma probably wouldn't even mean dickory-s*** to the underseeming alien were it not for the whole New York music business scene and its indefatigable upholding of the two areas as conflicting polarities entrenched within this one sleaze-centre that is Manhattan.

The full-blown potency of this social division as upheld by the rock 'bid-ness' was fully brought home to yours truly during recent evening in Detroit spent with leading N.Y. photographer paparazi Bob Gruen (we were both there to see Bowie's current tour as it happened) whose ceaseless documenting of home-town rock'n'roll events sends him daily scurrying 'twixt the two regions.

Gruen, during a casual conversation relating to the complex social set-up of his hometown, mentioned the disorientating effect that this commuting can rake on the sensitive soul who makes his money clicking the shutter on some swanky record company "do" taking place uptown for the likes of Queen or Peter Frampton (two arbitrary but relevant examples) while his spiritual leanings feel far more in sync mingling with Manhattans' new wave rock vanguard, the whole defiant movement headed by the likes of Television, The Ramones, Talking Heads and numerous other grassroots N.Y. bands in residence down below the borderline.

It didn't take too long – less than two weeks, in fact, of proverbially "hanging out" in New York – to find myself pretty much totally in empathy with Gruen's situation. By way of a preamble, I should state right here that I'd been flown in/set up in the city very-comfortably-thank-you by one of the innumerable plushly-financed record companies who hold court in the uptown sector in order to write a piece on a British group currently doing modest-to-good business on a national tour of the States.

Such was the lavish budget buoying up the band-in-question's press policy that the four or five days I spent in Manhattan initially were of no practical consequence whatsoever to my benefactor whom I was to meet up with in the Godforsaken wilds of Akron, Ohio, for a couple of days on the road in the Midwest.

A swift (but reverent) salute, then, to the virtues of the trans-Atlantic Press junket as minor league tax loss scam…

ANYWAY, TO continue, having checked in to the aforementioned hostelry, it took probably slightly less than an hour to divine the quite alarming paucity of big name rock stars currently holed up in the Metropolis.

So, upon being informed that the week's music biz big fling was to be a Bachman-Turner Overdrive platinum record presentation, I found myself faced with the choice of either sticking it out strictly within the uptown precincts or else of stepping out on a limb to check out the now-almost mythically scuzzy environs frequented by the new wave Manhattan bands, in hot pursuit of their new sound I'd be reading about.

Naturally enough, the latter course of action seemed pretty much instantly preferable, but then again, did I have reservations of sorts. First off these doubts were manifesting themselves via the painful instant recall of legging around pretty much exactly the same locations some three years back – when I consistently ended up in some dingy loft under the pretext of witnessing the latest happening New York band and just being bombarded with artless experiments in ear-splitting cacophony.

Back then the names were such as The Brats, Luger, The Harlots of 42nd St… And of course the dear old New York Dolls, the centre-pin and damn-near be-all and end-all of that whole glittering six-inch platform heel damp-squib of an attempted big break-out.

The grand history of The Dolls' rise and fall as potential third-generation world beaters is a topic so indented with foul-ups that a straight recounting of the whole pantomime would furnish any enterprising writer with the ultimate best-seller on rock sleaze.

Whatever, it would be almost charitably appropriate to let that particular ghost rest blessedly inert with the single observation that at least the Dolls were allowed their one moment of pure unfettered genius when they chose to entitle their second album/epitaph Too Much Too Soon (such vision!) were it not for the fact that their epic corporate foul-up may well be one of the main causes for this seeming hex that weighs down so heavily on the current New York bands in particular regard to their seeming inability to be taken seriously by those swanky uptown record companies, without whose attentions nothing – but nothing – is delivered beyond the constrictive precincts of their home-ground.

To get down to business here, let me say that the burgeoning young-blood rock scene holding forth in the downtown precinct of Manhattan is potentially incredibly exciting. By stating just that, I'm simply saying what other scribes – among them NME's very own Lisa Robinson and Charles Shaar Murray – have already set into print.

In the last six months alone, this paper has carried two lengthy pieces focusing in on the bands who've set up in a small coterie of squalid cramped little clubs (initially the main pitch was a gay hang-out called the Club 88 but now the hot-spot is a dive the size of subway toilet with approximately the equivalent salubrious atmosphere, known as CBGB's).

Popular local legend has it that the latter venue was created something like a year ago or so back when Patti Smith, at that point well into consummating her transition from solo beat poetess to harridan-leader of a rock band, used whatever influence was at her disposal to transform what was basically just a scuzzy bohemian folkie dive joint into a centrepoint for more electrically-orientated activity.

Having secured several gigs for herself and her then-fledgling unit of a band, the incorrigible Ms Smith subsequently set the scene for soul-mates Tom Verlaine and Television to follow, and that basically clinched it.

CBGB's is open pretty much everyday of the week now, two or three bucks down to be paid at the door for the privilege of an initiation into authentic downtown squalor with an aural back-drop provided by maybe a couple of the innumerable selection of youngblood Manhattan combos, practically all of whom currently view the joint as the be-all and end all of their professional existence.

IN THE year of our Lord, 1976, it wouldn't be all that extravagant to claim that the corporate energies of New York's downtown rock scene represent a definite "movement" replete with "attitude" and high talent potential in much the same way that way back exactly ten years ago San Francisco found itself harbouring a nascent, highly individual grouping of musicians each contributing to the development of an original sound which, though each unit possessed its own particular qualities, was largely motivated by the transcendent manifestation of a community spirit.

In retrospect too, the American East Coast rock scene has never seemed orientated towards anything approaching a community break-out, due mainly to the taut competitive professionalism that New York musicians – particularly in the '60s – took great pride in displaying.

Successful New York bands always came on like loners, whether it was Joey Dee And The Starlighters, The Young Rascals, The Blues Project, or the most audaciously maverick ensemble ever conceived to exist within the rock 'n' roll shape of things – The Velvet Underground.

Getting down to basics again, I'd confidently state that out of this current plethora of new N.Y. groups, at least five are capable of exceptional contributions to rock. It should be dutifully noted that at least four of those bands bear obvious heavy debts inspiration-wise to Lou Reed's work specifically within the framework of the Velvets.

Those four bands are the by now almost legendary (for a band without a record contract anyway): Television, a bizarre trio known as Talking Heads, the more hard-core rock 'n' roll-orientated Heartbreakers and, most famous of all, the Patti Smith band.

The fifth combine, The Ramones, veer more towards the blatant punk bam-balam of the Stooges – sophisticates, they ain't, but we'll get to them later.

Whether one likes the idea or not, Reed's painfully eloquent personalised paeans of the '60s , focusing in on isolation/alienation and oppressive boredom (they call it "ennui" now, but it's still the same thing), splintering the individual's emotional/spiritual perspective like french heels on glass, ring out with even more numbing a livid relevance in regard to the human condition of the 1970's as each year passes.

Songs of harsh total Experience, they have never sounded more relevant, more painfully shot through with savage home-truths that right here and now.

Which is just one way of saying that The Velvet Underground, though the bulk of Reed's best work was conceived and indeed performed in the twilight years of the '60s, remain the quintessential '70s rock band of them all when it comes down to simply connecting with the mood of this scary, disorientating decade. So much so that Lou Reed's solo career as rock's most indefatigable self-parody hasn't even affected that relevance.

God knows, though, how Reed must feel witnessing a band like Television, whose leader Tom Verlaine reincarnates Reed's whole daunting Velvets era persona as well as (some would say even better, but that's just contention) than the once-bona fide article.

YOU'VE PROBABLY already heard about Television, right. They've been the hip band to name-drop for well over a year now even though all the write-ups and rave reviews I ever read tended to inform me in great detail about the "awfully charismatic" Verlaine's impeccable swan-like neck, his physical resemblance to John-Boy Walton crossed with some obscure French poet of the late 19th century who doubtless died of blood-poisoning due to too much absinthe and terminal syphilis and the current state of play concerning his budding romance with Patti Smith in preference to any solid statement as to the exact nature of what he and his chums were delivering (beyond the acknowledged fact that it was "awfully good" and "awfully innovative").

The facts, then, from the top. Television evolved out of a band called Neon Boys which in turn evolved from the friendship of Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell, two artistically-inclined youths who'd known each other since school-days way back when.

The pair hung out in the same New York suburb "Where nothing ever happens" (natch) and developed pretensions to be poets which resulted in a small impressive volume written together using the contrived moniker of "Theresa Stern" to hide the guilty parties.

At the same time, the desire for more expansive expression through rock music manifested itself and so young Tom, who was no mean guitarist, having mastered the amphetamine-stutter guitar style of his hero Lou Reed circa White Light White Heat to great effect, and young Richard who couldn't play any instrument at all but set his mind to learning the rudiments of the bass guitar, set about forming Neon Boys.

Both by this time had somewhere along the line dispensed with their typically Middle American surnames – Hell's name was Myers – Verlaine's escapes me at this point – for more impressive "noms de plume".

Neon Boys ended up by making a rough demo of one of Hell's songs – a little opus called 'Love Comes In Spurts' which sounds great replete with hyena-like vocal enunciation and deadly razor-edge guitar lines courtesy Verlaine – and that basically was that.

Hell, see, had the vision one day – on stage – a stage with all these old television sets – black and white, all going at the same time… and a band dressed in ragged, ripped clothes, playing. No flash. No New York Dolls lipstick and gash. Just real real stark.

The name of the band? Well, that was obvious. Check out Tom Verlaine's initials. It was all so perfect. Media-blitz: The ultimate post-McCluhan statement. Hell even had the song he'd written that said it all. The chorus was "I'm a part of the Blank Generation, I can take it or leave it anytime". All these TVs blinking out soap operas, talk shows, the quiz shows where you humiliate yourself in front of millions of blanked out vacant minds for the chance of winning a microwave oven and a three-piece suite.

All this plus a band who picked up on the essence of the Velvets plus some of the more esoteric psychedelic punk bands, in particular the legendary Thirteenth Floor Elevators whose leader, one Rocky Erickson, fried his brains to a frazzle just like Syd Barrett. Some even claimed the band's visual stance lent itself to comparison with early Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps: that same taut, jerky, slightly menacing friction in the movement.

TELEVISION MUST have been truly something else again when they first stepped out in the summer of 1974. The whole Dolls' glamour punk trip was already starting to show signs of becoming instant wipe-out. It had been a lot of fun, y'know, but… The good old fickle cognoscenti who a year ago had been salivating all over the latter's six-inch heels could be seen conspicuously hitching their affections down to the Club 88 to applaud this new band with the ripped clothes and that poetic-looking lead singer, name of Verlaine, who just stood there intoning long psychotic nerve-jangling numbers.

Bryan Ferry was the first heavy-duty celebrity to see the band. Didn't like them though. But David Bowie did, and deigned to be quoted on the subject "They've definitely got it," quoth our Dave – "it" being "style", "class", "a whole new sound."

Bowie's quote-in-full fronts a bunch of rave review notices grouped together on a vintage poster used to advertise the band. Underneath there's this great shot of the band onstage: Verlaine, far-right, just standing there, frozen eyes closed in mid-performance while pretty boy rhythm guitarist Richard Lloyd is centre-stage captured in mid-gyration, legs twisted, earth-bound.

The drummer – a roughneck greaser type – looks pretty nondescript. Finally there's Hell, and he looks just great, his gangly physique right up there caught in mid-leap, spider-like.

It looks so good that even Patti Smith's ecstatic claim (printed on the poster naturally) that Television had a potential for austere young-blood charisma comparable only with that of early Rolling Stones doesn't even sound too offensive.

But there were already problems creeping in to the proceedings, all centering themselves on Verlaine's predictions for the kind of rampant paranoid egomania that Bryan Ferry only dreams of wielding. Television suddenly became Verlaine's band. He was the "musician", the more prolific composer, the face. Plus he was Patti Smith's current sweetheart – they were 'the' couple, with photos of them intensely staring into the limpid pools of each others eyes appearing in magazines like Rock Scene. The captions always referred to this heady romantic consummation of "two rock geniuses".

Hell simply had to go. First Verlaine decided to drop all his old school-pal's songs from the Television repertoire, and then when Hell was informed by his new boss to cut out all the onstage leaping about – like, make with the frozen-to-the-spot, glazed-eyes, feet-cemented-to-the-floor act, Richard, man, he was left with no choice but to quit the band he once helped to initiate.

Television don't look so hot in photos now. The band onstage look dazed and distant, stationary, staring out blankly while locals even claim that sets have veered more towards a heated but often obtuse quasi-jazz feel of late.

Verlaine holds the centre of the stage, intoning.

Verlaine is still a damn fine song-writer, of course. The early songs, the punk Chandleresque 'Prove It' ("Prove It – Just The Facts-a-a-ah-Confidential"), '(The Arms of) Venus de Milo', 'Hard On Love' – they sound even better than ever, even if their one recording, an independently pressed single, 'Little Jimmy Jewel', sounds pretty awful.

Verlaine, if he can control his tyrannical urges, will be a major force in the new 70's rock even if his visions are often just too esoterically conceived and cramped by the composer's predilection for strange poesy. If he can't, he'll just have to content himself with being an obscure twilight-legend groomed in the Syd Barrett school. Whichever way, he can't lose. And his manager claims he has a stock pile of 80 songs to see him through.

Now the strange fact that Television have yet to secure a concrete record company deal.

The whole Island Records' contretemps – Richard Williams sends over Eno to produce band, band don't see eye-to-eye with Eno, resulting in inferior demos, consequently Island pass (another reason for this was, according to Eno, the uncovering of a wish on Verlaine's part to drop the band and go solo) – old news, and even though insiders reckon the band will be inked by some prestigious label in three months (Elektra/Asylum are currently the main contenders, though Arista's Clive Davis keeps coming back for another try at gauging the ensemble's commercial potential – he even took Paul Simon down one night, resulting in the latter's revulsed exit before the third song was up) it's perplexing indeed that Television, who've been receiving all manner of rave reviews for almost two years now, playing innumerable gigs just a matter of 30 or so blocks down from the offices housing all those hip-s*** A&R men who think nothing of flying down to Georgia to sign some hick Southern band grinding out competent retard-boogie "because the formula sells," have been regarded with such obvious dread by the big corporates.

Only two record companies – beyond poor old Mercury
who took a financial drubbing
in short-lived alliance with the
Dolls – have actually taken a
chance on testing the viability of
this new wave. Arista, of
course, nobly signed Patti Smith
and have since given her the full
treatment, a gamble which
currently stands a 50-50 chance
of paying off financially. Otherwise it's been down to Sire, a
strange little company dealing
mostly in slick oldies repackages, who stepped down to
CBGB's with concrete offers in
view. They've so far signed two
bands – one City Lights, who
are appalling, the other The
Ramones, who are moronic and

The Ramones, in fact, could quite conceivably be huge, the perfect pure punk antidote to the whole gross Kiss sham currently sweeping the Americas. On the other hand, they could just as easily sink into the slime of grand non-acceptability and instant reject.

There is already an album finished, recorded in 18 hours – 14 songs, total playing time
exactly 28 minutes – couched
and waiting to blitzkrieg its way
into the hearts and stereos of
teenage America.

The Ramones are shockingly basic: rudimentary bass and drums, a single guitar beating out only power-chords, and a 6 foot 6 inch mutant singer hugging the mike, shaped like a U-bend, bleating out vocals in a kind of voice which sounds like the prissy geezer in Sparks but less jarring. Musically though, they've captured the area of crass-repetition in rock even better than early Gary Glitter. At full throttle, they sound exactly like a lobotomized, glue-sniffing Gary U.S. Bonds backed by the Stooges.

The lyrics are the thing,
though – "Beat on the brat/
Beat on the brat/With a baseball bat/Oh yeah!" and "I'm a Nazi, baby/I'm a Nazi, yes I am…" which climaxes with the earnest threat – "Today your love/Tomorrow the world". Of course, all this would be just too slick a parody of 'punk macho' were it not for indisputable fact that, yes, these guys are truly dumb. They're so dumb their music is very much just one big horrifyingly natural extension of their utterly blank personalities. So dumb that they wouldn't even know how to cultivate drug habits or anything vaguely involved like that, so the sky's the limit for 'em.

Off the stage, they just seem to stand there, blankly gazing at the wall, vegetating. They're so blank they can't even be bothered with any of the 'macho' affections so beloved of their ilk. They just drift around like mutant weeds.

On stage, though, they deliver. Simple as that. They come on like gangbuster, they blitz down on their audience quite mercilessly, they sound like they're so cool they could have even written 'Louie Louie'.

The Ramones. Great name, too.

SIRE'S POLICY with his first Ramones album seemed slightly unclear, at least to yours truly.

There was word of it being released first in Europe, a possible pressing of 50,000 in the States – maybe a single first. Whatever, the actual sum granted as a 'record advance' was purportedly so miniscule that the band and particularly manager, Danny Fields, turn several shades of red and curtly bow off even touching on the subject.

Fields' rep. in the biz will doubtless be of help to The Ramones, seeing that his record for working on bizarre projects is second-to-none. Fields is like some benign godfather figure to third-generation rock through the ages. He gave The Velvet Underground their first publicity, moulded the classic Jim Morrison persona as Elektra publicist (even though Morrison, at Fields' own admission, hated his guts), more or less discovered The MC5 and Stooges and had them signed, managed The Stooges at a time when the delinquent lifestyle of certain members of the band hit an all-time low, is currently editor-in-chief of 16 magazine, America's numero uno teenybopper drool manual.

Fields claims with no small pride that he is one of the prime figures in breaking The Bay City Rollers in the States via his ceaseless promotion in 16.

Fields could do things for the Ramones.

MEANWHILE, BACK in the fray, Richard Hell, who some say is New York's hottest talent, is working it out with Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan, the Dolls' toughest, most dissolute members in the hardcore Heartbreakers.

"Catch them while they're still alive," their poster proudly proclaims, relating directly the band's corporate rep. as heavy duty dopers/all-purpose hedonists. Thunders, in particular, is N.Y.'s most notorious minor league celebrity courting the favours of groupies and dealers, but it's Hell who's got the edge in this consortium. He's the Heartbreakers' natural leader, the one with the final word on what goes in and what gets left out.

The band, as is, suffered the major set-back of heavy derisive criticism which poured down due to their short-sighted decision to step out and perform prematurely before a decent set had been properly assembled. Musically, their first gigs were reported to be an abortion, a clumsy coalition of Hell's greatest hits from the Television era ('Blank Generation' and 'Love Comes In Spurts') and Thunders' fevered, discordant guitar thrashing (the latter apparently holds an all-time record from his Dolls days for blowing out speaker-cabinets and sometimes whole P.A. systems in his over-eagerness to amp it out).

Some nine months since their inception, The Heartbreakers are now a force to be reckoned with. Hell has added to his initial repertoire and some of the songs are dazzlingly good, particularly a street paean to hard-drug addiction – 'Chinese Rock' ("I'm living on a Chinese rock/All my best things are in hock") and another new song, 'Got To Lose', which chugs along with the intensity and lyrical perceptiveness of the best of the Stones' Exile output.

Hell, although he lacks Verlaine's prolificness. makes up for it simply through eloquent tacit understanding of his immediate social environment.

'Blank Generation' alone – as potent an all-purpose rock anthem for the media-gutted youth of the mid-70's as you'll find anywhere – warrants his inclusion in the grand scheme of things, while his latest contributions show him to be getting better all the time.

Thunders too has seemingly improved immeasurably. Now shorn of that ravaged busby of hair that once had him pegged as the ultimate walking parody of Keith Richard, his new slicked-back look has given his (admittedly always impressive) visual a tougher, more impressive credibility to complement his attempted mastery of the New York "So-tough-I-don't-even-have-to-prove-it" pitch which musically he's just starting to be able to back up confidently.

His new songs ('Pirate Of Love', 'Goin' Steady' and a great Pretty Things rip-off called 'I Wanna Be Loved By You') are all pretty simplistic, but there's always a good riff pacing proceedings, and like all good stripped back white rock, they never let up.

Right now, The Heartbreakers are ready to break out of their tightly bounded lower West Side pitch and with some decent hard-sell record company back-up, combat the garish synthesized likes of Kiss and Aerosmith with a vengeance.

Only thing is, the big uptown wheeler-dealers aren't biting on the bait – yet. Hell, for example, is glumly resigned to a further six months in limbo before a half-way decent offer comes the way of his band. Meantimes, they become easy prey for a whole battalion of sycophantic incompetents offering two-bit management deals and the like.

It's all very sad and very frustrating.

Right now, everything seems to rest on the fate of Patti Smith's bid for national acceptance. She's become very literally the one big test-case put on display at the behest of a reasonably "happening" record company to see if the kids are ready for this new kind rock n' roll.

Her position thus seems perversely reminiscent of previous business gambles on a new wave – if the Jefferson Airplane, for example (to compound a prior socio-musical parallel) hadn't scored national hits with their initial offerings, then the whole San Francisco Sound as we knew it would very probably have been ignored totally by the big corporates; this very probably nixing any kind of grand 'bust-out' and hamstringing the whole Spirit of '67 sound track so that they'd have merely existed for a short while as an aural back-drop for a bit of local colour.

In the mid-70s the disturbing paucity of rock-business gamblers willing to take chances on fuelling finances into something other than the old 'tried-and-true' formulae is all too disturbing. The old '60's panache displayed by maverick entrepreneurs – the Oldhams and Epsteins – appears to be long gone, replaced by a strict "business is business" maxim ruthlessly setting down the rules for who gets the breaks and who gets left in the dust.

And ultimately, so what if Clive Davis decides to give Patti Smith the chance to take on the Greater American Public with something a little different. If she's rejected, he can content himself with the thought that the cognoscenti will have dubbed him the proverbial 'good guy' for simply taking a gamble while he continues to pay for his way on money coined from the schmaltz overkill of a Barry Manilow or a Melissa Manchester.

The immediate ramifications of this burgeoning N.Y. rock scene were actually felt by your truly on his immediate return to the Old Country by simply noting the shocking lack of any new bands playing parallel London revues to C.B.G.B.s and the like who even seemed aware that rock could be something more than a mindlessly competent regurgitation of old licks – whether they be the old Chuck Berry shuffle, stock soul reprises or whatever.

The fact that just about every band with the marked exception of the unique and very wonderful Roogalator and also, possibly, The Sex Pistols (themselves a rather obvious New York consciousness band who fortunately anchor this pitch firmly within their Shepherd's Bush origins and outlook), seem totally unwilling to even dare commit themselves to commenting on their environment, to develop a decently relevant attitude to current times the way so many of the 60s bands they ape.

The whole pub rock scene, of course, didn't help at all, transmitting the output of any band who worked the circuit instantly into an endless repetition of 'Route 66' to satisfy the boozers.

In the light of what I witnessed in Manhattan, the whole white rock malady in this country is that it is simply blighted by genuine lack of vision – no, not even that, an unawareness that the music has always worked within the contemporary social framework, mirroring, commenting, rebelling against.

That, very simply, is what Richard Hell and The Heartbreakers are doing, what Television and Talking Heads are doing, what even comparatively minor league N.Y. bands like The Miami's are doing (two great songs – 'Detente', 'That's What I Want' – and an upfront number commenting on a recent La Guardia Airport bombing incident, opining that "There is no such thing as an innocent bystander").

One doesn't necessarily have to like Hell's vision of the new youth boasting themselves as part of "The Blank Generation," just as one didn't particularly have to like the rampant nihilism backing up the Velvet Underground's dominantly bleak output. But the essence of a finite truth is undeniably in there, and, simply, that very presence plus the passion that by necessity has to impel the unveiling of said observations through the mouthpiece of rock n' roll, makes for a music that is very much alive.

In the final analysis, this whole New York thing – this new perspective – by rights should not be confined to the incestuous precincts of downtown Manhattan. It should be usurped absolutely everywhere where new rock 'n roll is being shaped, formed.

Just take a look around, let it all sink in. And then pass it on to someone who should know.

© Nick Kent, 1976

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