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April 7, 2010

I recently saw Public Image Limited’s performance on American Bandstand again.  THAT, my friends, was a crowning moment in American TV.  They wouldn’t stop playing, and they scared the shit out of Dick Clark.

They actually made no attempt at the lip-synch or miming to the record. Singer John Lydon repeatedly held the microphone to the bewildered teenagers in the audience when he was supposed to be singing; guitar-mangler Keith Levene and wobbly bassist Jah Wobble exchanged instruments during “Careering.” It was utter bedlam.

On a soundstage about some years ago, I actually had an opportunity to ask Dick “Third Reich and Roll” Clark about the infamous PiL appearance on Bandstand. So I did.

Me: “So Dick, do you remember when PiL appeared on Bandstand?”

DC: “Who?”

Me: “PiL. Public Image Ltd.”

DC: “Oh, you mean John Lydon.”

Me: “Yeah, John Lydon. What was that like?”

DC: “Well, I remember before the show he told me that he had a cold. He said that because he wasn’t feeling well he was just going to go up there and take the piss out of me. So I said, ‘Go ahead.’ And he did.”

Me: “Wow. Did you ever read the story about you in CREEM magazine by Lester Bangs?”

DC: “Can’t say that I did. What was it called?”

Me: “’Screwing the System with Dick Clark’”

DC: (laughs)

Me: “Well, anyway, there is a compilation of Bang’s stories in a book called *Psychotic Reactions & Carburetor Dung*. I brought it to the set with me. If you want, I can drop it by your dressing room later and you can read the story I’m talking about.”

DC: “Yeah, that would be great.”

(Later, after leaving *PR&CD* in DC’s dressing room)

DC: ”You know, son, I do remember that interview now. What I like about the Bangs interview is that he didn’t put words in my mouth. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been misquoted and misrepresented to fit somebody’s preconceived viewpoint about what they think I’m about.”

Post Script: If a you haven’t read it, Bangs’ piece is an example of “Give ‘Em Enough Rope and They’ll Hang Themselves”-type journalism. I do not doubt that the quotes were accurate, for they revealed what a twisted culture fascist DC really is.

Lester Bangs, RIP.

Conversely, Dick Clark will *NEVER* die. The wrong humanoids have cryogenically-enhanced life spans, in my opinion.-30-


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