Friday, November 20, 2015

"I hope you fuckin' kids take something," Johnny Thunders was heard to mutter in 1977

L-R: Walter Lure, Billy Rath, Thunders, Jerry Nolan
Though I guard against romanticizing the dissolute, ultimately tragic junkie lifestyle, it's nonetheless a kick to listen to Johnny Thunders onstage at the Speakeasy in London on March 15, 1977. He's berating the crowd following the band's opening number "Chinese Rock," unsatisfied with their enthusiasm. He has some support from a woman in the crowd:
Johnny Thunders: Thank you. Can't you fucking kids dance?
Woman in crowd: Yeah!
JT: What the fuck are you doin' here?
W: They're too young!
JT: You come to fuckin' just stand around and look funny?
W: No!
JT: Why don't you fuckin' dance?
W: Yeah!
JT: For our next tune, for you boring motherfuckers, it's called "All By Myself." That's how I feel!

This is a variation of an exchange that's heard in countless rock and roll clubs around the world, amped up here by a tangible Punk versus Prog ethos and Thunders's self-conscious baiting of the "Limeys," acting his role. It was 1977, after all. A little slice of life courtesy Jungle Records' 1982 album D.T.K. Live At The Speakeasy:

This brand of "you're so boring" insults reappears between each song, to diminishing returns. At the end of side one, during the band's vamping at the close of "I Wanna Be Loved" Thunders announces: "I don't know what to say but we'll be back in an hour. I hope you fucking kids take something. I don't know what but something, anything."

Flip the album over. Sounds like they did.

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