Richard Hell on New Memoir: ‘I Never Really Thought of Anything I Did As ‘Punk”

Originator of punk style says he’s not cool: ‘I’m a stumblebum’

Richard Hell
Richard Hell

“I wanted to have a life of adventure,” writes Richard Hell in his clear-eyed, surprisingly moving new autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp. “I didn’t want anybody telling me what to do.” The kid from the Kentucky suburbs of the Fifties took that basic idea and helped create the punk aesthetic in New York in the early Seventies, first as a co-founder of Television and a member of the Heartbreakers and then as the leader of his short-lived band Richard Hell and the Voidoids, whose “Blank Generation” remains the unofficial anthem of the original CBGB scene.

The shorthand concept of punk may have been confirmed the day Blondie’s Chris Stein opened a magazine to a picture of the Sex Pistols, in their chopped haircuts and torn clothes, and said to Hell, “Four guys who look just like you!” Not that Hell cares one way or the other, particularly. After quitting both music and (eventually) his hardcore drug habit, he returned to his first love, writing, working as a film critic and publishing poetry and the novels Go Now and Godlike. He spoke to Rolling Stone while on book tour in California.

In your rock & roll period, you basically lived fast, died young and left a beautiful corpse, without the corpse part. There’s nobody else I can think of who successfully shut it off quite like you did.
Well, I think what happened with me was I just realized I wasn’t suited for the life. Also, I did have a kind of long period of decline [laughs]. I actually did feel after we made that first album [Blank Generation] that I was ready to stop. That would’ve been kind of pretty. But it didn’t work out that way. I didn’t know what to do with myself, and I was also in this other trance state of narcotics addiction. I didn’t have very much initiative in any direction. It wasn’t that clean – I staggered on for five or six years. It did work out that I made one more record [Destiny Street], and that record has its points. That worked out kind of satisfyingly. I basically left music after that. I had other options. Most musicians are thoroughly musicians. For me, being a musician was a kind of decision. It wasn’t something that just welled up in me, that carried me along in the wave of my confidence in my unique skills as a composer-bass player. No – I decided I wanted to make music, and then I decided to stop.

You write really well about what it felt like to hear your own sound come out of an amplifier for the first time.
I’ve never forgotten what that felt like. It is unbelievably thrilling. It’s about when everything is possible, because you haven’t developed any habits. Everything you do has this power. It’s very different from sitting alone with pencil and paper. It’s this funny experience of simultaneously producing and consuming the music . . . Part of what frustrated me in rock & roll after a while was, when you’re touring, it’s so difficult to make it new every night. It’s almost impossible. You find out what works and you reproduce it. And that’s really tedious. It takes so much fucking energy and inspiration. I think that’s why so many bebop musicians ended up narcotics addicts.

Do you still own a bass?
Yeah. I never take it out of the case [laughs], but . . .

In the book, you write about watching Westerns as a kid, and how there was always a two-man team. You had that, however briefly, with Tom Verlaine [in Television], and then with Robert Quine [in the Voidoids]. Were there others?
I think as a rule you kind of outgrow that. That’s youth, where you have your best friends. I think you stop having friends over 30. Classically, there are all these songwriting teams. It’s about having somebody to confide in, somebody to watch your back, and you watching theirs. As a kid, I always did have a best friend. Those movies definitely did corrupt me, those Westerns. There’s always the sidekick, and sometimes they’re really partners. I think it’s universally understood – I don’t think my experience was unique.

You mention how you don’t feel cool. Have you always felt that way?
It only arose as an issue when I began seeing myself classed like that. But yeah, I guess you could say so. I’m kind of self-conscious. I have maybe relaxed a little in my dotage [laughs]. To me, being cool is kind of an affectation, and I try my best to rid myself of affectations. But I’m also, as I said, self-conscious. I tend to get grouchy under pressure. I’m susceptible with women – I get obsessed, when cool people are supposed to be in control and indifferent, not romantic. My clothes are hit-or-miss [laughs]. Sometimes I pull it off, sometimes I don’t. I don’t like being classed that way, because to me, it’s a very narrow class. It’s not something really to aspire to.

Then who does epitomize cool to you?
As far as being cool in a positive way? [long pause] Jim Jarmusch is cool. He’s never flustered, very self-possessed. Frank Sinatra’s cool. I love Frank. I’m a stumblebum.

Do you have any idea how many copies Blank Generation has sold over the years?
It never occurred to me to wonder. I have no idea. I do get royalty statements. I guess they would’ve told me if it went gold or something. But whatever they tell me is going to be nothing but disappointing, so why disappoint myself?

gstq_human25a cucho peñaloza

Did it matter that you were probably a few years older than a lot of your peers when the punk scene started?
That’s not right – most of the bands were our age. Patti Smith was three or four years older. The Ramones were our age. But yeah, the British bands were all, like, four or five years younger. They eventually started bringing it up, as if it were significant. When I first started a band, I was conscious of that. In fact, the first couple of years, I shaved two years off my age when anybody asked. I stopped doing that pretty soon.

I want to ask about the moment Chris Stein looked at the picture of the Sex Pistols and said, “Hey, here’s four guys who look just like you.” You say you were amused, and a little flattered. Has your relationship to that moment changed over the years – how you felt about certain people ripping off your look, your approach, your singing style?
I’ve never said anybody ripped me off. I got ideas from elsewhere as well. It’s normal. You don’t own ideas. But as you said, it was kind of flattering and amusing to see that picture. There were a lot of developments – it was a wild ride over the coming few years. There were various kinds of ups and downs. It’s fairly complex.

You’ve been out of music and the lifestyle for decades. What would you consider to be the most un-punk habit or pastime you’ve developed over the years?
I never really thought of anything I did as being “punk.” That was just something applied to various aspects of what certain bands were doing, among which were bands of mine. I think I know what you mean, though, like, how could I surprise people that I’m not the clichéd idea of a punk?

You haven’t taken up golfing . . . ?
[Laughs] That, yeah. I don’t think that’s gonna happen . . . I love going to museums. I haunt all the museums in New York. Would that qualify?

Not nearly as shocking as golfing would’ve been.
You know what, I have an answer. It’s occurred over the years, in a way I totally reject – the kind of behavior generally attributed to punks. I believe in people respecting each other. I don’t want anybody in my face. I remember when I was a kid, going to the movies, and there were always one or two characters – the theater would be filled with people my age, maybe 12, 14 – always a couple of idiots who would yell through the movie and throw bags of popcorn around. That was punk behavior. That really repels me. I don’t think people have the right to impose themselves on other people without any consideration of the other person’s privacy and comfort. I believe in good manners. That’s not punk, in the way that people usually think of as punk. And I’ve always felt that way.


Morrissey : Doctores le sugieren que se retire por problemas de salud

Morrissey told to stop by doctors

Morrissey needs to quit. Doctors have warned the UK singer that he should consider retiring after a long line of medical problems since the beginning of the year.

The singer has suffered from Barrett’s Esophagus and a bleeding ulcer which led to severe anemia. That, in turn, lowered his immune system making him vulnerable to illness including the double pneumonia that he contracted.

The singer is currently in Mexico recuperating from the latest hospital stay where he took time for an interview with radio station Reactor 105.7.

‘I had a very bad time. I had internal bleeding and I was rushed into hospital and I had lost a lot of blood. They tried to patch me together over the following five weeks but it didn’t work.

‘I was on lots of IV drips for almost five weeks and each time it seemed as though I was back to robust health I would decline. I had lost so much blood I had become anemic but I’m still receiving ongoing treatment and I am very optimistic now.

‘It almost became absurd the number of things that happened to me but everything just attacked me at once. The double pneumonia ‘ everything was really a result of the fact I had lost so much blood, so the immune defenses were very, very low and couldn’t cope with anything, so therefore the slightest gust of wind and I would have a terrible cold.’

When asked about the doctor’s advice to retire, he added ‘I have been cautioned to, but it’s difficult for me because it’s very ingrained in me.’

The Cure : A menos de un mes en Perú, entérate quien es su guitarrista

Falta menos de un mes para que The Cure toque por primera vez en Perú. Si bien ellos hacen tours y sacan discos desde finales de los 70’s no importa que aterricen recién por estos lares en 2013.

Me parece que la formación está muy buena y las canciones parecen como para  un farewell tour : Varios hits radiales para la masa  …

No he leído hasta ahora que destaquen en medio alguno al guitarrista que lo acompaña a esta gira a Robert Smith. Su nombre es  Reeves Gabrels y su trayectoria  la pongo más abajo (copy and paste de Wikipedia por motivos de tiempo)

Una cosa puedo asegurar ya que lo pude ver a Reeves en vivo hace unos años, es el mejor guitarrista que The Cure ha tenido en sus filas y de lejos ..


reeves gables cucho peñaloza

Reeves Gabrels en la carátula de Guitar Player y con qué título …

Reeves Gabrels

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Reeves Gabrels
Reeves Gabrels.jpg
Reeves Gabrels on 9 August 2008
Background information
Born June 4, 1956 (age 56)
New York CityNew York
United States
Genres Rock
Occupations Musiciansongwriter
Instruments Guitarvocals
Associated acts

Reeves Gabrels (born June 4, 1956) is an American guitarist, “one of the most daring rock-guitar improvisers since Jimi Hendrix – an opinion some players formed during his dozen years collaborating with British singer David Bowie.” [1] Best known for his long partnership with Bowie, with whom he worked regularly from 1987 to 1999, Gabrels also built an active performing and recording career before, during and since, working both independently and in collaboration with musicians worldwide. He has lived in New York, Boston, London and Los Angeles, and since 2006 he has been based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Gabrels’ songs and improvisations defy genre, ranging from “hard-hitting blues rock to 21st century electronica,” to quote Guitar World’scharacterization of Ulysses, an album from 2000.[2] He is recognized for virtuosity and versatility, a guitar player who can “explore sonic extremes with a great, adaptive intuition for what each song needs most.” [3]

In 2012 he joined The Cure for their summer tour and will be with the band again in Spring 2013 for their eight night tour of Latin America.

Reeves Gabrels was born in Staten Island, New York in June 1956. His mother was a typist and his father worked on tugboats in New York Harbor. Gabrels started playing guitar at age 13, and the following year (1971) his father arranged for lessons with the father’s friend and contemporary Turk Van Lake, who lived in the neighborhood. Van Lake (1918–2002) was a professional musician who had played with Benny Goodman and others.[4]Early life and education

After high school, Gabrels attended the Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts in New York City but continued to play guitar. Through some session musician work he met noted jazz guitarist John Scofield,[5] from whom he took a lesson or two. Gabrels moved to Boston to attend the Berklee School of Music, which he left several credits short of a degree in 1981.


Gabrels had an active performing career in Boston before and after his professional association with David Bowie began in the late 1980s. During the 1980s and early 1990s Gabrels was a member of such Boston bands as The Dark, Life on Earth, The Atom Said, Rubber Rodeo, The Bentmen and Modern Farmer. Modern Farmer (Gabrels, Jamie Rubin, David Hull, and Billy Beard) issued a self-titled record on Victory/Universal in 1993.

David Bowie and Reeves Gabrels met in 1987 during a Bowie tour for which Sara Terry, Gabrels’ then-wife, worked as publicist. Gabrels later (1989–1993) joined forces with Bowie and the Sales brothers (drummer Hunt Sales and bass player Tony Sales) in the rock band Tin Machine. Later, Gabrels became an essential part of Bowie’s nineties sound, most notably on Outside (1995), Earthling (1997), and ‘hours…’ (1999), the latter two of which he co-produced. “Dead Man Walking,” a Bowie/Gabrels song from Earthling, was nominated for a Grammy award. Gabrels and Bowie also created the soundtrack to the computer gameOmikron: The Nomad Soul in 1999 for the game’s French publisher. Gabrels ended his professional association with Bowie in late 1999.

Independently, Gabrels maintained a wide-ranging career as composer/songwriter, performer/producer and musical collaborator. Recordings by Reeves Gabrels include The Sacred Squall of Now (Rounder/Upstart, 1995); Ulysses (Della Notte) (Emagine, 2000); Live, Late, Loud (Myth Music, 2003); and Rockonica (Myth Music/Favored Nations/Sony, 2005). Ulysses was nominated for a Yahoo! Internet Award in 1999 as a then-pathbreaking Internet release, before becoming available the following year on CD. Gary OldmanDavid Bowie, and Frank Black appear as vocalists, the latter two with co-writing credits as well.

Gabrels has written soundtracks for films including David Sutherland’s The Farmer’s Wife (premiered on PBS September, 1998)[6] and for PBS productions, and collaborated with Public Enemyon the song “Go Cat Go” for the Spike Lee film He Got Game (soundtrack, Def Jam, 1998). He wrote the “club music” portions of the soundtrack for the video game Deus Ex.[7]

Slide guitarist David Tronzo and Reeves Gabrels made a virtuoso-duo instrumental album, Night in Amnesia, issued by Rounder Records in 1995. Gabrels also worked with Robert Smith of The Cure during the 1990s, collaborating on The Cure’s track “Wrong Number” and “A Sign From God” (as COGASM) as well as co-writing the song “Yesterday’s Gone” which Smith sings on Gabrels’ album Ulysses.

Gabrels performs periodically with Club D’Elf, a Boston-based underground dub/jazz/Moroccan/trance/electronica group led by bassist Mike Rivard, and appears on Now I Understand, (Accurate Records, 2006), their first studio recording; the album also features John Medeski & Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood), DJ Logic, Mat Maneri, Duke Levine, Alain Mallet, Mister Rourke, and more. In 2008 German label AFM released New Universal Order by X-World/5, a Heavy metal supergroup made up of guitarists Gabrels and Andy LaRocque, vocalist Nils K. Rue, bass playerMagnus Rosén, and Los Angeles-based drummer Big Swede. In 2009, Gabrels recorded and toured with New York-based punk band Jeebus.

Since 2006, Gabrels has called Nashville, Tennessee home. He plays often at local venues, especially The Family Wash, a popular East Nashville club/restaurant owned by longtime collaborator Jamie Rubin. Several recordings have resulted. “The Magnificent Others” features Rubin’s songs and lead vocals, with Gabrels on lead guitar.[8] “Sonic Mining Company,” aRopeadope Records 2012 release, is made up of improvisations by Reeves Gabrels (guitar), Frank Swart (bass) and Adam Abrashoff (drums). “REEVES GABRELS & HiS iMAGiNARY FR13NDS,” planned for independent release in 2012, combines unusual blues interpretations with new songs by Gabrels. Recording personnel include Reeves Gabrels (guitar, vocals), Kevin Hornback (bass) and Jeff Brown (drums). Reeves was also a part of the odd project “From Nashville to Norway” with two festivals in Gjøvik, Norway 2010-2011.

Gabrels joined The Cure on stage throughout their summer tour of 2012, the set for which includes “Wrong Number” which he collaborated with The Cure on in 1997[9]


Guitars: Gabrels has used different guitars at varied phases in his musical career, selecting instruments to suit the music. He has favored Steinberger guitars, the Parker Fly, and Fernandes Guitars, but also plays Gibson Guitars such as the Les Paul and the Flying V, as well as Fender‘s Stratocaster.

He has often chosen innovative, less well known makers, explaining in interviews that he prefers a guitar without a set history and with which he is free to create sounds of his own imagination.[1]

In 2008, Gabrels began playing Reverend guitars, made by Reverend Musical Instruments of Warren, Michigan. Gabrels and Reverend have collaborated to develop a Reverend Reeves Gabrels Signature Model guitar.[10] There are now several versions, the first featured at the winter 2010 NAMM Show in Los Angeles and the most recent to be released at NAMM in Nashville in 2012.[11]


Tin Machine

  • Tin Machine (1989)
  • Tin Machine II (1991)
  • Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby (1992)

David Bowie

  • Outside (1995)
  • Earthling (1997)
  • ‘hours…’ (1999)

Reeves Gabrels

  • The Sacred Squall of Now (1995)
  • Ulysses (Della Notte) (2000)
  • Rockonica (2005)

25 Things We Learned At The V&A’s David Bowie Exhibition

The V&A museum’s David Bowie exhibition is a triumph, packed with costumes and one-off artefacts from Bowie’s own collection and curated with great reverence, just like a career retrospective for any great artist should be. A showman like Bowie would approve of its crescendo-like finale too, but you won’t get any spoilers here. Instead, here are 25 things NME learned from the exhibition.


‘The Next Day’ album cover alternatives

Other designs considered for the already-iconic ‘The Next Day’ sleeve featured different disfigured Bowie sleeves. One had ‘Pin-Ups’ with three black blobs suggesting a vague Mickey Mouse shape obscuring the image. Another had ‘Aladdin Sane’ as its base.

Why Bowie killed ‘Nathan Adler Diaries’

1995’s ‘Outside’ was supposed to be part of a series of works known as ‘The Nathan Adler Diaries’, which would be terminated in December 1999. In a handwritten note explaining the copy, Bowie writes, “History is now an illusion, therefore theoretically the future no longer exists. There is only today.”


Massive trousers

Bowie can pull off a very wide trouser leg. A couple of Kansai Yamamoto’s designs for 1973’s Aladdin Sane costumes, including the famous Tokyo top bodysuit, measure about a metre across.


Bowie and Tibet

Supporting Tyrannosaurus Rex in the late ’60s, Bowie performed a mime piece titled Yat-Sen And The Eagle, about the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Mainstream success was still some way off.

Bowie wrote music traditionally

Bowie noted many of his songs in full musical scripture. At the exhibition, you’ll see early tracks ‘London Boys’, ‘The Laughing Gnome’ and ‘Liza Jane’ plus later material including ‘Fame’.

‘Chart artistes’

A ’60s press release promoting Bowie says he “never buys singles but likes to watch live performances by Jimi Hendrix, The Cream and other chart artistes”.

Bowie loves biro

Bowie produced concept sketches for many of his albums – usually in biro.

As you can imagine…

The original artwork for ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’ is beautiful – and massive.


Warhol on ‘Andy Warhol’

Andy Warhol did not like Bowie’s song ‘Andy Warhol’, and the pair only met – awkwardly – once.

Bowie gets verbalized

In the mid-’90s, Bowie used an Apple programme called Verbalizer to help with lyrics. The software randomly chopped up any sentences that were inputted.

Imagine owning one of these lyric cards

In conceptualising ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’, Bowie noted short phrases down on playing card-sized bits of white card. Among them, “Ziggy Shines”, “out-hipping them”, “hit record” and “parents’ view point”.


In the written lyrics for ‘Ziggy Stardust’, Bowie writes “He was the nazz / With god-given arse,” though he did, of course, sing the more comfortably-rhyming Americanism “ass”.



‘Fashion’ in its original form

The song ‘Fashion’ originally had an extra verse. “He’s up ahead/Burn a flag/Shake a fist/Start a fight/If you’re covered in blood/you’re doing it right”.

Why ‘Diamond Dogs’ cover was airbrushed

On Guy Peelaert’s original artwork for ‘Diamond Dogs’, the anthropomorphic half-Bowie, half-hound creature had an actual dog’s dick. It was airbrushed from the finished sleeve, but you can see it at the exhibition (if you’re so inclined).


Lost lyrics

Deleted lyrics from ‘Station To Station’ include, “You love like a bomb/You smell like a ghost’.

Lady Bowie

Bowie wore man-dresses on his first trip to the USA. He was refused entry to a drag queen-intolerant LA restaurant as a result.

If you go down to the woods today…

The puppets from the ‘Where Are We Now’ video are shit scary up close. See you in my nightmares, Bowie-bear!

Bowie loves clowns

Bowie described Pierrot – a recurring image throughout his career – as “the most beautiful clown in the circus”.

‘Station To Station’ tour’s original set

The ‘Station To Station’ tour was originally supposed to have a nine-foot high puppet made from found objects on stage. Bowie scrapped the idea for a minimal set with bars of white light.



Can Bowie paint?

Bowie’s Francis Bacon-style Berlin paintings are pretty good, especially one of Iggy Pop.

Coke spoon

Bowie kept a dainty cocaine spoon on his person throughout the recording of Diamond Dogs.

Bowie and Visconti

Bowie’s handwritten production notes for ‘Young Americans’ urge producer Tony Visconti to “go back to 1969”.


Bowie’s technological identity

Speaking about his flamboyant stage shows in the early ’70s, Bowie told a reporter, “I’m the last person to pretend I’m a radio. I’d rather go out and be a colour TV set.”

‘The Elephant Man’

While Bowie was on Broadway in ‘The Elephant Man’, Mark Chapman bought tickets to see the show – and was due to attend the night after he shot John Lennon.

Henson’s Labyrinth request

Jim Henson sent the Labyrinth script to Bowie with a hand-written cover note saying, “You would be wonderful in this film”. And by god, he was!

Iggy Pop Takes 5 with some of his favourite punks….. songs

Iggy Pop Takes 5 with some of his favourite punks…

Well, that was an absolute delight. Joining me in the studio this morning wasIggy Pop, one of the icons of modern music. He has innovated and inspired over the course of his near 50 year career, and is certainly not showing any signs of slowing down! Iggy & The Stooges have their new album “Ready To Die” due out in April, and the band is currently here in Australia playing a string of dates after a raved about performance at SXSW last week.

And could he have been any lovelier? I doubt it. He laughed and told stories as he walked us through five songs that, to him, share a real punk attitude. Artists that aren’t afraid to say ‘up yours!’ or tell it like it is. And he really took us on a ride, from his predecessors all the way through to the new breed of DIY punk scenes, this Take 5 is one you cannot miss.

Plus, the man’s got one of the best voices in the biz. Listen, if just for that.

Missed it? Or want to relive it? You can stream it in full, below!

Here’s what he played:

1. Peaches – Rock Show
2. Chuck Berry – Too Much Monkey Business
3. Kraftwerk – Radioactivity
4. Jacuzzi Boys – Island Ave
5. Iceage – You’re Nothing

Shannon Hoon de Blind Melon: Mira a su hija cantando sus canciones

Shannon Hoon solo estuvo presente en la vida de su hija “Nico Blue” pocos meses, él falleció a los 28 años por una sobredosis de cocaína en New Orleans antes de dar un show.

La banda sacó al año siguiente un disco llamado “Nico” dedicado a la hija Nico Blue y crearon una fundación para recaudar dinero para su futuro.

De casualidad me encontré estos dos videos  donde la vemos a ella cantando con los Blind Melon en los últimos años, es increíble como ha crecido y ya no es una bebe que es como uno la recuerda.

Por ahí  en unos años nos da sorpresa con un buen disco, Shannon Hoon su padre fue una de las mejores voces de los noventas, algo así como si Neil Young y Janis Joplin hubieran tenido un hijo hubiera sido SHANNON HOON, punto y aparte.

shannon hoon cucho peñaloza

Shannon y su hija Nico: ellos solo estuvieron unos meses juntos en este mundo