Showing posts with label The Clash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Clash. Show all posts

DVD Review: The Who – Live at Shea Stadium 1982

DVD Review: The Who – Live at Shea Stadium 1982
Eagle Rock Entertainment
All Access Rating: A-

The Who - Live At Shea Stadium 1982
The song it seemed was over for The Who. Internally, the bickering had intensified. Pete Townshend was struggling with his inner demons and seemed to be off tending to his solo career at the expense of the rest of the band, who were not at all happy about his moonlighting.

And there was a growing feeling that Kenney Jones was all wrong for The Who, that his drumming style was a bad fit for a band that never really recovered from the death of Keith Moon. Perhaps a bit rashly, The Who embarked on a 1982 farewell tour, when really all they needed was a good, long break from each other, seeing as how they would do a reunion tour seven years later. Saying goodbye with some sense of finality has always been hard for them.

On their North American jaunt that year, supporting the album It's Hard, The Who played two massive shows at New York's Shea Stadium, the second of which occurred on Oct. 13, 1982. Eagle Rock Entertainment recently issued the first official filming of performance No. 2, with restored footage and newly mixed sound in DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats, in a package titled "Live At Shea Stadium 1982" that includes informative, in-depth liner notes and is expertly filmed from a multitude of camera angles to capture the triumphant power and radiant glory of one of the greatest live acts ever.

Under an enormous structure spelling out WHO in bright lights, Daltrey, Townshend, John Entwistle and Jones give as good as they get on this captivating evening, responding to the fervent energy of the crowd in kind throughout and drawing blood with taut, sharp versions of "Substitute" and "I Can't Explain" for openers, with "Sister Disco" hitting just as hard. Gripping and enthralling, "See Me Feel Me" and "Love Reign O'er Me" build to dramatic crescendos that explode like well-choreographed fireworks displays, and a stirring "Baba O'Riley" is equally bombastic – all of it leading to a raucous finale of "Love Live Rock" and an embittered "Won't Get Fooled Again," as well as a lively encore of covers that saw them rip through The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" and roll over combustible and bludgeoning takes on "Summertime Blues" and "Young Man Blues." And yet The Who treat lesser-known songs, such as the contemplative "I'm One" and "Drowned," with just as much importance – the furious extended jam that concludes the latter barreling down on everyone with locomotive propulsive.

Clean cut, with Townshend jumping around in striped pants and a beat-up brown leather jacket and Daltrey – ever the golden god – looking resplendent in his silver suit, this is The Who in their 30s, still young enough to be brash and bold, but less incendiary, more pristine sounding and also on the verge of losing their relevancy and becoming a nostalgia act. Reactions to It's Hard upon its release were mixed and it hasn't aged all that well, and it would be the last Who album with Entwistle and Jones, the former dying in 2002 and Jones eventually getting the heave-ho from the group. There are bonus tracks taken from The Who's first night at Shea stuffed into "Live At Shea Stadium 1982," and it's clear this release, with its imagery boasting a glossy vintage sheen, ought to be considered an indispensable document of a tumultuous period in the band's history, with the quartet tackling songs from It's Hard that they'd rarely, if ever, play live again. In the case of some, like the exceedingly dull "Cry If You Want" and the hardly memorable "Dangerous," that's just as it should be.
– Peter Lindblad

Book Review: Billy Idol – Dancing With Myself

Book Review: Billy Idol – Dancing With Myself
All Access Rating: A-

Billy Idol - Dancing With Myself 2014
Wearing their political idealism on their sleeves, the Clash had righteousness on their side. For the Sex Pistols, shock and savage nihilism made them the scourge of Old Blighty before burning out.

Knowing full well that both bands had the market cornered on railing against injustice with all the filth and fury they could muster, Billy Idol wanted to be different.

A lascivious sneer, chiseled features and spiky, dyed blonde hair would only get him so far, so Idol made a conscious decision to emphasize punk's life-affirming power, its positivity and what a blast it was to be nonconformist, to be part of a scene that rejected most societal norms. And Idol certainly had his fun, indulging in the "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" ethos with reckless abandon and documenting it all in his engrossing and disarmingly candid autobiography "Dancing With Myself," out via the Simon & Schuster imprint Touchstone.

It reads as fast as Idol has lived, "Dancing With Myself" being a high-octane narrative that's surprisingly literate, recounting – often in graphic detail, including a rather amusing adventure in "fisting" that left Idol with a swollen hand – the all-night heroin and sex binges, tense and often violent confrontations in the nascent U.K. punk scene with conservative Teddy Boys or fascist skinheads, and close brushes with death. It all starts with a depiction of the gruesome 1990 motorcycle accident Idol miraculously survived, jeopardizing his life and career.

Unexpectedly vulnerable at times, especially when talking openly about his addictions, family relations and his love for girlfriend Perri Lister, Idol is a study in contradiction, wholly engaged in musical experimentation with Generation X and later a solo career that made him a global dance-rock icon while satisfying his more lurid appetites for mind-altering chemicals and sexual adventure. "Dancing With Myself" throws the reader back into the maelstrom of the early U.K. punk scene, not only detailing Idol's transition from the band Chelsea to Generation X and his move to America to go off on his own, but also painting a revolting picture of clubs and bathrooms covered in all sorts of bodily fluids while fully capturing the zeitgeist of youth culture and rebellion in late '70s Britain. His fraternizations with Steve Jones, Siouxsie Sioux and Mick Jones, among other architects of punk rock, certainly make for entertaining passages.

While regaling his audience with tales of utter depravity and uplifting recovery, Idol provides a full accounting of the creative process that birthed such smash hits as "White Wedding," "Dancing With Myself" and "Mony Mony" and behind-the-scenes music industry machinations. It's a wild ride, but one that also has a great deal of heart, romance and self-reflection. Let's dance.
– Peter Lindblad

CD Review: Bad Religion – True North

CD Review: Bad Religion – True North
All Access Review: B+

Bad Religion - True North 2013
Outraged about so many things these days, from the Citizens United ruling to corporate avarice, the regressive fascism of Tea Party politics and – their favorite target – close-minded religious zealotry, punk stalwarts Bad Religion air their latest laundry list of grievances on True North

Still feisty after all these years, as evidenced by the inclusion of a fiery expression of inarticulate rage titled “Fuck You,” Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz and company are just as intensely intellectual and righteously angry as they were when they came of age in Ronald Reagan’s America in the early 1980s.

PhD. In hand, Graffin goes off in search of justice and reason in an age devoid of both, as Bad Religion – a model of precision and control, with a multitude of guitars blazing away – packs short, punchy bursts of incendiary, yet irresistibly melodic, punk rock with rhetorical gunpowder into True North, as “Land of Endless Greed,” “In Their Hearts is Right,” “My Head is Full of Ghosts,” “Nothing to Dismay” and “The Island” go off like small grenades full of barbed hooks. Dashing to the finish line in record time is 1:01 “Vanity,” the fastest song Bad Religion has ever recorded, and the title track jumps out of the speakers like a panther.

Some machines are just more finely tuned than others. Built for speed, Bad Religion’s engine is running at peak efficiency, with little wasted motion, taut rhythms and those great backing vocals harmonies that serve as Bad Religion’s secret weapon. These rapid-fire songs are tense and indestructible, although Bad Religion loosens the nuts a little on the metallic, rumble “Dharma and the Bomb” – which somehow sounds like The Clash’s “Brand New Cadillac” filtered through a rush of the Foo Fighters’ adrenalized pop – and the gasping, slow-burn “Hello Cruel World,” which lacks the cardiovascular strength of the rest of True North.  

Speaking up for downtrodden, “Dept. of False Hope” is not exactly a ray of sunshine for economically beaten up blue-collar heroes, but it does fight for their dignity and exhorts communities to do what they can to lift up the less fortunate. Bad Religion has always been idealistic, and age hasn’t turned them into cynics. What they are is punk and hardcore’s version of AC/DC or Motorhead, churning out the same albums decade after decade and still managing to duck criticism for doing so. Though there is some diversity on True North, these old dogs don’t want to learn any new tricks, and after a while, some of these songs tend to run together. In the end, Bad Religion just wants to sharpen and streamline their guitar-driven attack to the point where it serves as a perfectly designed missile delivery system for warheads of the truth – at least as Graffin sees it. With True North, Bad Religion is pointed in the right direction, and spoiling for a fight. (

-          Peter Lindblad

Punk rock memorabilia starts a riot

Genre is one of the hottest in the field of rock 'n' roll collecting

By Peter Lindblad

Titled "Punk Girl CBGB's 1977," this Ebet Roberts
signed and dated archival pigment evokes
memories of the New York City punk scene. 
Punk rock’s time has come – at least with regard to music memorabilia. One of the hottest genres in collecting, records, photos, clothing, fanzines, fliers, pins and other ephemera from punk’s halcyon days are highly sought after by collectors.

In demand now more than ever, the rarest and most obscure punk memorabilia can fetch big prices. But, what’s out there? What’s the history of this outsider music and what bands dragged punk out of the gutter and made it a worldwide phenomenon? In this blog, we’ll take an in-depth look at the rise of punk and what collectors can expect to find when entering this particular world of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia.

Rock ‘n’ roll had lost its way. At least that’s how the punks felt in the mid-1970s.

Reacting to the glitzy excess of mainstream arena-rock acts and the perceived pretentiousness of progressive-rock, there was an underground movement taking shape in the U.S., England and Australia that sought to make rock ‘n’ roll dangerous again, like it was in the ‘50s. The music was fast and furious, influenced by the bruising, riotous proto-punk of bands like The Stooges, The New York Dolls and the MC5, as well as the gritty, raw power of ‘60s garage bands.

Nowadays, the remnants of that revolutionary period in music history are highly sought after by collectors looking for the rarest and most interesting pieces of memorabilia that somehow survived the mayhem.

From the archives of the photographer
Godlis comes this vintage print titled
"CBGB's Bathroom 1976." 
Pinpointing exactly where or when punk started is a matter of intense debate. Some have said the U.K. punks were influenced by what was happening in New York City, where a grimy little club called CBGB’s played host to Television’s avant-garde guitar orchestrations, the Talking Heads’ arty funk, the Ramones’ supercharged blasts of fast, infectious pop-punk and Patti Smith spitting out evocative, highly literate street poetry against a back-to-basics backdrop of tense three-chord rock.

Overseas in England, a perfect storm of DIY, anti-conformist fashion, economic hardship, political and social anger and musical anarchy was coalescing around a snotty band of young men known as The Sex Pistols, who were managed by the master of the shocking publicity stunts, Malcolm McLaren. Seeing their sound and fury live was a life-changing experience for another one of Britain’s punk icons, Joe Strummer, who would go on to form The Clash with his future songwriting partner Mick Jones of the band the London SS. While the notorious Sex Pistols practically set the world on fire with their confrontational, and sometimes bloody, gigs and a debut album in Never Mind the Bollocks that blazed with white-hot intensity, it was The Clash who endured longer.

Imploding from within, as bassist Sid Vicious departed and then succumbed to a drug overdose after being implicated in the murder of his girlfriend, the Sex Pistols ground to a halt on a tour of America, while The Clash carried on, expanding the strict boundaries of punk to include elements of reggae, early hip-hop, and rockabilly, among other musical styles. They made classic albums like London Calling and their U.S. commercial breakthrough Combat Rock, before tensions between Strummer and Jones came to a head and Jones was fired. U.K. punk certainly didn’t die with the Sex Pistols or The Clash, as the U.K. produced a slew of exciting acts like The Buzzcocks, The Slits, The Adverts, Stiff Little Fingers, Chelsea, The Damned, Magazine, The Raincoats, Sham 69, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and other rabble-rousers. Post-punk outfits such as Joy Division, The Smiths, The Cure and more would add more gloomy atmospherics to the punk lexicon, and new wave acts added synthesizers to the mix for a more stylish sound.

This photo of former Black Flag
front man Henry Rollins was
taken at Toronto Edgefest II.
In the U.S., scenes were popping up in different cities all over the country. Los Angeles had the stridently political, uncompromising Dead Kennedys and X, a band that married outlaw country and punk in their own sort of musical shotgun wedding. Bands like The Germs and The Weirdos continued the L.A. tradition of wild and wooly punk rock, and gradually, the scene became more violent as punk morphed into hardcore and bands like Black Flag challenged their audiences with their fists as well as their guitars. The same thing happened in New York City, as punk’s originators fell by the wayside, and bands like Blondie were scooped up by major record labels and became part of the mainstream, with the advent of punk’s cousin, New Wave, sanding off some of punk’s rough edges to make a sound more palatable for the masses. Cleveland’s Pere Ubu established itself as one of the more innovative bands the genre has ever seen, and it was where The Dead Boys got their start, before migrating to New York City. Then, there was the Washington D.C. area, which had the Dischord house [actually in Arlington, Va.], the label formed by Fugazi and Minor Threat leader Ian MacKaye.

Other countries had their own burgeoning punk scenes, including Australia, where The Saints and Radio Birdman offered an edgy alternative to AC/DC. Canada had the politically charged D.O.A., led by Joey “Shithead” Keithley, and The Diodes. And there were plenty of other nations that had less-publicized punk scenes sprout up. Over the years, punk has assimilated itself into popular culture, with bands like Green Day, Rancid and the Offspring selling scads of records in the 1990s and the 2000s, leading purists to accuse them of selling out. Seattle’s grunge scene also had its day in the sun, with Nirvana, Soundgarden and others slowing punk’s full-steam-ahead aesthetic and making it heavier.

At its core, however, punk was always about thumbing its nose at the establishment and trying to do its own thing without corporate help of any kind. It flourished because of the passion, determination and intellect of writers and entrepreneurs who established their own magazines and independent record labels. As the title of a great documentary film on the life of Joe Strummer makes perfectly clear, the future of punk is unwritten. However, music like this always seems to find a way to survive.

Punk Memorabilia Collecting Overview
Here’s the thing about punk: It was never meant to last. It was all about burning as hot as possible for however long it was meant to exist, and when there was nothing left but embers … well, that’s life.
So, much of what punk produced – from clothing to gig flyers, promotional posters and cheaply produced 45s – was either destroyed along the way or greatly damaged, oftentimes intentionally by those owned the stuff.

Perhaps, that’s why the market for punk memorabilia has grown increasingly hotter in recent years – as proof of punk’s fairly recent growth as in the collectibles area, the venerable auction firm Christie’s held a punk/rock sale in late 2008 that generated $747,300 in earnings. Collectors have always chased mint-condition rarities, which, in turn, come with relatively hefty price tags. Not everything, however, is hard on the pocketbook. There are plenty of bargains out there for collectors who don’t want to blow the rent money on hard-to-find t-shirts or obscure 7” singles.

Buttons and badges are popular items, and even those of acts such as The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, and newer acts like Screeching Weasel come at reasonable prices – even if they’re in collections of individual bands. You might expect to pay between $10 and $20 for some. The money shelled out for gig flyers and promotional posters is also not completely outrageous. Though many didn’t make it through the madness, others did despite being so disposable. Early posters from the New York scene can go for $100 to $200, while flyers can range from $10 to $60 or more.

An exceptionally rare X-Ray Specs' promotional
album from 1978 that boasts 16 demo,
rehearsal and live songs.
Records are an interesting area. Some of the artifacts from the U.K. have actually been devalued by their appearances on CD collections and compilations. Still, there are a few that can go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Being poor, punk bands and indie labels didn’t have the money to press more than 500 or 1,000 records at a time. With such limited runs, there simply aren’t many of these records around.

Other items of note include photos from the early days, magazines and fanzines, and perhaps the most expensive items of all, pieces of clothing. With its safety pins and Mohawk haircuts, punk was as much a fashion movement as it was a musical one, and the provocative designs worn by icons such as Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious and Joe Strummer, among others, are prized by collectors. Authenticated signatures of artists and band members will increase the value of pieces. As with everything, however, condition is critically important to the value of any piece.

Here’s a closer look at punk items that have collectors salivating:

An authentic "DESTROY" shirt from
Boy London, made famous by Johnny Rotten. 
430 King’s Road in the Chelsea district of London is one of the most famous addresses in punk. It’s where Malcolm McLaren opened the notorious store SEX, which sold bondage equipment, fetish gear and t-shirts that shocked the sensibilities of conservative Londoners with Nazi imagery and gay cowboys, among other things.

In 1975, McLaren took on the task of managing the Sex Pistols, and a year later, the shop was renamed as Seditionaries. From the beginning, when McLaren took over the 430 King’s Road storefront, he sold t-shirts designed by his then-girlfriend Vivienne Westwood. The Sex Pistols were often seen wearing Seditionaries clothing, as McLaren took advantage of the Pistols’ growing popularity. Other big-name punks such as Adam Ant and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders were frequent guests. However, the couple eventually split, and they closed the Seditionaries store in 1980.

Westwood designs – shirts with the word DESTROY and swastikas splashed across the front being perhaps the most famous of them all – sold in the Seditionaries store are in high demand and t-shirts can go from $100 to $1,000 or higher.

SEX wasn’t the only King’s Road shop vying for attention from punks. Around the same time, Stephane Raynor ran Acme Attractions with John Krevine. The legendary punk filmmaker Don Letts ran the store at one time and it catered to people like Bob Marley, Boy George, Hynde and Patti Smith. However, Raynor and Krevine closed the store in 1976 to focus on their Boy London clothing line, which had its own King’s Road store. Boy London designs are also highly sought after.

Vintage original band t-shirts from the likes of The Clash, The Ramones and other more iconic punk acts are also prized by collectors; if it can be proven that they worn by any of the members or any other big-name artists, the price goes up.

Of course, designers didn’t just splash controversial slogans across t-shirts. They also made custom blazers, leather jackets, patches, and dress shirts, which featured taboo images like swastikas, blood and anarchistic sentiments. Much of it, of course, was ripped and torn and shredded beyond recognition, but you can still find punk clothing items from punk’s heyday.  

A rare 7" pressing of The Dictators' 1977
"Hey Boys"  single from Asylum Records.
Indie labels with little financial backing have always had to spend their money wisely. To that end, often when they pressed punk rock records, they often only produced 500 to 1,000 at a time, most of the time releasing 7” singles or 45s.

Bands like horror-punks The Misfits made good use of this business model. Their 45s are some of the most valuable around, often going for as much as $500. Others by bands like Black Flag and the Circle Jerks can also be worth hundreds, as are some records from labels like Touch & Go, SST and Dischord. Seattle’s Sub Pop label did the same thing, but went one step further by starting a singles club, where members would receive a 45 in the mail of bands on the label. Some were on colored vinyl or featured artistic sleeves. Early releases by Nirvana are sometimes worth hundreds or even more than a thousand dollars.

Going back to punk’s beginnings, some of the most expensive and rare records are relics that era, including one of the true holy grails among punk records, the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen/No Feelings,” which had gone for six figures – the AM and Town House pressings fetching $17,000 and $23,000, respectively. In 2012, a rare 7-inch promotional acetate of the single put out by the LTS label went for an astounding $20,000 on the U.K. eBay auction web site. In part, what makes Sex Pistols’ singles so valued is the fact that were continually given the boot by a number record labels, who pressed only a handful of their singles.
There are other valuable punk records out there, including XTC’s unreleased picture sleeve for “Science Fiction/She’s so Square” (Virgin 1977 VS 188), which has brought in more than $2,500. Going for under $1,000, Joy Division’s An Ideal for Living EP (Enigma 178 PSS 139) and Generation X’s unreleased picture sleeve for “Your Generation/Day by Day” (77 Chrysalis CHS 2105) – featuring Billy Idol, before peroxide – have fetched $800 and $500, respectively.

When it comes to records, the real money is in original recordings, not reissues. There are some characteristics of original recordings that set them apart – non-glossy sleeves, the lack of distributor names on record backs, and cheap plain labels. Early non-major label releases and obscure 45s are worth the most.

Photos and art prints
Visually, punk has provided some of the most compelling pop culture images ever, and those who documented early scenes in New York City and the U.K. with their cameras have gained fame for their work. Bob Gruen, for example, has taken some of the most iconic rock photography ever, including well-known shots of John Lennon. Being a New Yorker, he also was a fixture on the Big Apple’s punk scene, snapping classic black-and-white and color images of The Ramones, Jayne [or Wayne] County, Blondie and other New York City punk acts, as well as artfully shot images of The Clash playing live.

Stiv Bators of The Dead Boys
is the subject of this archival
pigment print from Ebet Roberts.
Gruen had competition in New York City. Eileen Polk, Godlis and Ebet Roberts also produced some of the most compelling punk photography to come out of that scene, with Godlis famously framing the graffiti-scrawled CBGBs bathroom for posterity. While they had the New York City scene covered, Edward Colver focused his lens on California’s vibrant punk community. One of the most famous punk rock photos ever was taken by Colver. It shows a stage diver doing a flip into a crowd of punks and was featured in the movie “American Hardcore.”

Ray Stevenson, Erica Echenberg, Denis O’Regan and Adrian Boot are some of the biggest names in punk photography in the U.K. Prints, negatives, and slides are all sought after by collectors.
Certain punk artists also achieved notoriety, including the subversive Jamie Reid, who may be best known for the ransom-note style lettering associated with Sex Pistols’ records and his “God Save The Queen” design, which featured a safety pin through her royal highness’s nose and swastikas over her eyes. Some of his murals are exceedingly rare.

Gig flyers and posters
This original D.O.A./Frightwig 1985
 German/Swiss tour poster is a rarity.
One of the most affordable options for collectors, gig flyers and posters were subject to all manner of destructive forces. Stapled to bulletin boards, telephone poles, kiosks, walls and any other places bands could think of to promote punk shows, flyers were often crudely drawn, Xeroxed or designed with stark, outrageous images intended to provoke reactions. Many, however, were damaged beyond repair.
U.K. flyers for the likes of The Slits, Generation X and the Pogues are in demand, while ones created for the aborted Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour are highly prized and worth several hundred dollars.

When it comes to availability, U.S. punk flyers might be somewhat easier to find. In true DIY fashion, many were designed by the band members themselves, although some artists found their own niche in flyers. Raymond Pettibon, responsible for many of the shocking and sometimes humorous flyers put out for Black Flag shows, is one of them. Others for bands like The Misfits, Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, Samhain, Agnostic Front, Youth Brigade, TSOL, Fear, The Germs, Crime, Negative Trend and more certainly are attractive to collectors. One for The Germs designed by their drummer for a show at the Whisky that featured a controversial Hitler Youth image is considered among the most sought after flyers around.

More expensive generally, and often featuring more sophisticated art work, punk posters of such acts as The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam, Adam and the Ants, The Damned, D.O.A., The Buzzcocks, Blondie, The Ramones, TV Personalities, Elvis Costello and hundreds of other punk acts were used mostly to promote new records. So, they were often posted on the walls of record shops, but many were often tossed away over time. Still others could be found at bus stops and concert venues. Whatever the case, flyers and posters are pieces of history that reflect the rebellious and challenging artistic impulses of punk.

Magazines and fanzines
Issue No. 11 of the U.K. 'zine
Ripped & Torn.
Swept up in the frenzy of the punk movement, many fans and devotees wanted to become part of the action. True to the DIY aesthetic of punk, many started underground magazines or fanzines as a means of documenting what was happening in their respective scenes.

In the U.K., Sniffin’ Glue, founded in 1976, was one of the earliest and most outrageous ‘zines, and though it was only around for a year, it made an impact. Grammar wasn’t much of a concern, and swearing was common, but it is remembered more for its chronicling of the early U.K. scene – mostly through its pictures. And there were other U.K. ‘zines, many of the cut-and-paste variety, that left their mark, including Zig Zag, Dangerous Logic, International Times and Ripped & Torn.

The U.S. had its share of ‘zines as well, with Search & Destroy and Paranoia covering the L.A. scene, while in New York, the aptly named Punk kept an eye on what was happening there. One of punk’s most well-known literary figures, Legs McNeil, helped found the Punk ‘zine.

From the 1977 Dutch "Monty" punk series comes this
collector's card of the Sex Pistols.
Like other musical genres, punk produced its share of unusual promotional items that were designed to market the bands. Along with the aforementioned buttons, pins and badges, all sorts of weird oddities are out there just waiting for a home. Finding them requires a little research on eBay and the Internet.

While there are far too many to mention here, a few of the more rare and interesting pieces include a mini baseball bat that served as a promotional piece for The Ramones’ “Beat on the Brat” single and a letter opener for the band’s second studio LP Leave Home – both of which can go for $500. Another fun item is a jigsaw puzzle that was made for The Clash’s Give ‘Me Enough Rope album. Collectors’ cards also were popular items.

Overall, punk continues to explode as a rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia market. As with most collectibles, rarity and condition set the price. No matter what you collect, however, the hunt is always the most enjoyable part of the hobby. 


Backstage Auctions: Featured Punk Rock Memorabilia Available For Sale

Punk Rock Revival at Backstage Auctions

Jaw dropping punk rarities hit the auction block.

1977 Punk girl Ebet Roberts -  CBGB's

With well over 100 Punk-Rock lots, Backstage Auctions is celebrating a ten-year spanning era of anti-establishment music (1975 - 1985) that ultimately evolved in a subculture of expressive youthful rebellion, a distinctive fashion and a variety of anti-authority ideologies.

The majority of the Punk collection comes from Europe, where it was part of a traveling exhibition for years. Aptly titled 'I Punk, You Punk, We Punk', the exhibition focused on the correlation between music, fashion, art and design, where musicians and fans were equally photogenic. "Absolutely stoked" as Backstage Auctions owner Jacques van Gool puts it, who lived in Europe through the birth of Punk and was fortunate to experience it firsthand.

1976 Ramones at CBGBs - Signed Photo

"Saving Punk mementos was the last thing on your mind in those days. It was all about the experience and we couldn't be bothered with preserving a shirt or a poster. Seeing this collection makes me realize how unique and historically significant those years were".

As can be expected, the Sex Pistols have their middle finger strongly wrapped around the punk torch with nearly 30 lots that include an impressive parade of concert and promotional posters, t-shirts, cards and, yes, the infamous 'God Save The Queen' flag (God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols).

Sex Pistols 1977 God Save The Queen Flag

The Clash 1970s fully signed photo

Also present are desirable collectibles by legendary artists and bands such as Blondie, Dead Boys, Ramones, Patti Smith, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop and The Clash, many of whom have already been embraced by the Roll 'n Roll Hall of Fame.

Exceedingly rare Destroy shirt 

There are few genres where fashion makes an equally strong statement as the music itself and Punk arguably is at the forefront of it all. And within that, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood created the epicenter of the 'classic' Punk look through stores such as 'Sex' and 'Seditionaries'. One of the most prolific images is that of Johnny Rotten wearing a 'Destroy' shirt, which also is in the auction.

Debbie Harry - Blondie 1970s
rare collection of photo negatives

With a broad assortment of autographed items, posters, shirts, records, pins & buttons, photos, slides and negatives, the auction has something for everyone. Or simply put - 'Let's All Punk!"

Backstage Auctions' - 2012 Rock 'n Pop Auction is open for bidding November 3 - 11th, but is available now for previewing the entire catalog. VIP All Access Registration is free and only takes a minute or two.

Memorabilia market makes room for Punk collectibles

When staunchly classic auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s host sales related to a popular culture era, you know the market is on to something.
Of course, when that something is punk rock, more than a few traditionalists were scratching their heads. But with a handsome sale result of $747,300, the Christie’s Punk/Rock sale in late 2008 confirmed what rock and roll memorabilia collectors and auction houses like Backstage Auctions already knew: Punk is hot.
“Punk, at the time, was not a musical genre that was meant to be collected,” said Jacques van Gool of Backstage Auctions. “Punk was an expression, and punk was a statement, and punk was something you lived. Punk wasn’t something you put in a plastic sleeve and put in a display case.”
Collectors today want to do just that, and they are willing to pay handsomely for the privilege. But finding a mint-condition punk collectible is a bit like finding a needle-toting unicorn in a haystack.
“Punk collectibles were not necessarily handled with care, so to find anything for that matter that is still in pristine condition is an exception, rather than the rule,” van Gool said. “If you had a punk T-shirt, the first thing you would do is rip holes in it. If you had a punk poster, the first thing you’d do is tape it on your wall and put stickers on it and write on it.”
But the other reason it’s tough to find top-shelf, mint-condition punk collectibles comes back the golden law of economics: supply and demand.
“I think what makes a mint punk collectible so rare is it wasn’t meant to be kept, and because there was a very small quantity, the survival rate is low,” van Gool said. “We can all ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ about the first Beatles album on Capitol Records from 1964, which is still worth a lot of money in mint condition, but what people forget is there were hundreds of thousands of copies. When you’re looking for a punk single, you’re lucky if they pressed 200 or 1,000 copies.”
Our Market Watch feature has hosted a variety of hot-selling punk records in recent months.
As for punk memorabilia, there’s one thing that van Gool will always associate with the punk movement.
“When I think of punk, I think of buttons,” van Gool said. “You couldn’t walk the street and see a punk rocker without 20 or 30 buttons.”
In the eBay collectible world, punk buttons are an easy buy — not to mention a great choice for collectors who may be strapped for storage space, or even funds.
A single Clash pinback recently sold for $52, but that kind of premium tends to be the exception rather than the rule in online auctions.
By comparison: A collection of 100 metal, punk, hardcore and ska buttons and badges sold for $16.99; a group of The Cramps’ pins sold for $11; and a group of Iggy Pop and The Stooges pins sold for $8. Collections featuring Screeching Weasel plus Sloppy Seconds, The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer and NOFX each sold for about $6.
Another hot collectible these days? Vintage T-shirts. “That entirely has to do with the fact that 5, 6 years ago, vintage concert T-shirts became fashionable, so they were all of a sudden in style, and it was cool to be seen with a 1976 Peter Frampton T-shirt or a 1974 Blue Oyster Cult T-shirt,” van Gool said.
A collection of vintage T-shirts that featured a 1984 The Clash “Out of Control” shirt, as well as shirts from Scorpions, Billy Squier, ZZ Top and Quiet Riot, recently sold for $225 online.
-Susan Sliwicki - Goldmine Magazine