For those of you unaware, we're based out of New York City--Brooklyn, to be exact--and there's been a lot of recent nostalgia talk 'bout the 1970s version of our city 'round these parts. And it almost reached a fever pitch with the publication of a series of articles, The New York Observer's "The Bad Old Days", among them. But one of the key ingredients of "old" New York's identity that has been barely talked about is the music. As musicians/music geeks with a sense of history we were longingly anticipating a time when the New York music scene would once again be the center of the industry universe. Like the '70s CBGB/punk/no wave era. Or the late '80s/early '90s hardcore scene. What we got instead was likes of The Strokes, The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and The Mooney Suzuki. Sheesh.
Yesterday we got an e-mail from an old friend whose 'back in the day' take on the music scene that made the city shake was something we thought we'd share with you:
“I can't say I’ve heard a lot of compelling new music lately. New York was at its most creative when it was bankrupt, during the post oil-shock crisis that ended the postwar boom. The ‘70s in the city was a period of arson, heroin, crime, 110-decibel subway brakes, and deteriorating infrastructure that no one in his right mind would want to return to. But it was also the period of punk rock and no wave, funk, the birth of hip-hop, the salsa boom, the Nuyorican [Poets Cafe], the gay disco scene, experimental music, loft jazz, performance art, and even the outlaw country movement was represented at the Lone Star Cafe. You could walk to all of this. WLIB played soca and reggae all day long.” – Ned Sublette
Yeah, something like that...
[Ned Sublette is an acclaimed musician, author, and co-founder of the QbaDisc label. A native of Lubbock, TX who’s lived in NYC for some 30 years, he and the Mrs. reside in Manhattan’s Soho district. - KJ]