Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Flash As Hell & Show #122

Generation X, were a punk band that formed in 1976 around the same time as the UK punk scene. The name came from a book of the same title, which was about the mod scene in Britain. The band consisted of Billy Idol (vocals), Tony James (Bass), Bob Andrews (guitar), and original Subway Sect drummer Mark Laff on drums; The band originally had John Towe as their drummer, but Laff replaced him just before they signed to Chrysalis Records. The songs were written by both Billy Idol and Tony James (Billy providing the music, Tony the lyrics most of the time). The bands first incarnation was within the group Chelsea, with Gene October. Idol and James would leave this group and then form Generation X.

Signed to Chrysalis Records, their first self titled album came out in 1978. It is a harsh sounding album that fits in well with all the bands of the time. People always seemed to downplay Generation X because they were seen as "pretty boys". Generation X were deeply influenced by literature read by Billy Idol, The Who, Sex Pistols, and other classic rock bands. Some people say that they come off sounding like a very early version of Green Day, but most of Generation X's first album had a sound that was not unlike early Clash, Sex Pistols, and Buzzcocks. The bands first album was produced by Martin Rushnet (he would go on to produce the likes of Buzzcocks, XTC, and Stranglers). The album contained songs that lyrically made reference to everyday life in Britain, as well as other topics. The album contained notable songs such as "Day By Day", "One Hundred Punks", "From the Heart", "Promises, Promises" and "Kiss Me Deadly". "Kiss Me Deadly" was a slower ballad sounding track. "Ready Steady Go" was a hit in the UK charts, it went to # 47, they would also appear on Top of the Pops. They were one of the first punk bands to appear on the show, many felt it was un-punk to do so. The band also covered John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth", which appeared on US versions of Generation X.

In 1979, Valley of the Dolls was released. Named after a book of the same title, Valley of the Dolls was different than their first self titled release. It showed the band going into a harder glam rock direction. Most people overlook this album, but it contains songs like "Valley of the Dolls", "English Dream", and the Elvis Presley influenced song "King Rocker". The album was produced by Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter. The album did feature a few hit singles as well. "King Rocker" (#11), "Friday's Angels" (#62), and "Valley of the Dolls" (#23). The band began to have disagreements about the musical direction during/after this album. Some wanted to stay true to the bands original punk sound and some wanted to keep going into a harder rock direction.

After this the band actually recorded material for a third album, that came off sounding very new wave. It would eventually be called Sweet Revenge, but it would not be found until much later on. It was released in 2003, and actually features an early version of "Dancing with Myself" which is better than the version you're used to. Other great tracks are "Flash As Hell" and "Anna Smile". The band then split, but still released one more album in 1981, with a few different members. Kiss Me Deadly, featured the song "Dancing With Myself", and others that are on Sweet Revenge. The album featured different guitar players (Steve Jones from Sex Pistols, and Steve New) along with original Clash drummer, Terry Chimes. The band name would be shortened to Gen X. After this the band split up until they reunited in 1993, Billy Idol went on to front a successful solo career (using Generation X's version of "Dancing With Myself" as a single), Tony James went on to form the glam-punk band, Sigue Sigue Sputnik. He now is in the band Carbon/Silicon with Mick Jones from the Clash. Bob Andrews and Mark Laff would form the short lived band Empire. They released one album Expensive Sound; It was reissued in 2003. All of the Generation X albums have been re-released remastered with bonus tracks.

The song I Played by Generation X was "I Dig Everything" a song from the Sweet Revenge Era of the band. It can be found on the Generation X Anthology. For more Generation X/Billy Idol info visit this page.

I also played a live medley by The Hives. This was recorded for a Swedish TV show on October 20th, 2006. The Hives played a medley which consisted of seven songs, six of them being cover songs. Here is a list of the songs included in that medley:

1. List of Demands (Originally by Saul Williams)
2. Hey Ya! (Originally by Outkast)
3. Two thieves (Originally by Compulsive Gamblers)
4. Gotta Get Some Action Now! (Originally by Hellacopters)
5. Stay Fly (Originally by Three 6 Mafia)
6. Seven Nation Army (Originally by White Stripes)
7. Hate To Say I Told You So (A song by The Hives)

I just thought I'd add that the song "Hey Ya!" by Outkast was said to be inspired by The Hives, after seeing one of their live shows. Here's a link to watch the actual full performance of these seven songs by The Hives:

The Hives - Live Medley on Swedish TV

Here's what was played:

1. Buzzcocks - time's up
2. Buzzcocks - boredom
3. Sex Pistols - liar
4. The Damned - problem child
5. The Police - nothing achieving
6. The Clash - Janie jones
7. The Clash - career opportunities
8. Ramones - little bit o'soul
9. Ramones - outsider
10. Modernettes - no tears
10. Generation X - I dig everything
11. The Diodes - jenny's in a sleep world
12. The Saints - church of indifference
13. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - (what's so funny about) peace, love, and understanding?
14. Big Audio Dynamite - I turned out a punk
15. XTC - sgt rock (is going to help me)
16. Hot, Hot, Heat - no, not now
17. Sloan - ill placed trust
18. Iggy Pop - I'm bored
19. The D4 - what I want
20. The Hives - live medley
21. The Sonics - he's waitin'
22. 101'ers - letsagetabitarockin'
23. Nirvana - been a son
24. The Jam - modern world

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