LONDON'S OUTRAGE: AN INTERVIEW WITH JON SAVAGE
Extracts from interview by Andrew Gallix.
3AM: You were about 23 when punk came along. When did you first hear about it and why did it appeal to you so much?
JS: Being a pop fan from the year dot: I was a teenager at the height of the mid-sixties pop explosion. Wanting to rock and there being no rock. The countdown to punk was very simple: Nuggets (1972) and Hard Up Heroes (1973) rekindled interest in the hard, mutated sixties pop that you could buy in Rock On [Ted Carroll's record shop] in 73-75 (ie Yardbirds, Kinks, Who, Them etc). Patti Smith's Horses. Charles Shaar Murray's article about the Ramones (November 75). The Ramones' first album (April 76). Television's Little Johnny Jewel.
3AM: Why did you pick up a pen rather than a guitar? Did you ever consider forming a band?
JS: No, because to be in a band in 1977 was to go up and down the country in a van getting spat at. I don't think so. Plus I was working in the lawyers' office at the time and so was unable. Steven Lavers and I had a concept band called Para -- I was Para Noia and he was Para Normal -- but that's all it was. If I had been in the same situation 12 years later (like Bob Stanley of St Etienne) then I would have no doubt started tinkering around with samplers.
3AM: Who were your favourite bands? Do you still listen to some of them today?
JS: Ramones, Sex Pistols, early Television, early Clash, The Adverts, The Buzzcocks, The Saints, Wire, Penetration, The Slits, Siouxsie, Subway Sect, The Prefects, X Ray Spex -- the distaff side. Still listen to them today, not all the time, but I still like the energy, the humour and the strong emotions. I HATED The Jam and The Stranglers: ghastly retro rubbish, old information. The point about punk was that everything should be new.
3AM: In London's Dreaming, you claim that punk's gay roots were hidden as soon as the movement went overground: how important were those roots?
JS: As important as they are throughout the history of popular culture and artistic movements: damn near central. Many of punk's original participants were gay and much of the original aesthetic was also. There is much about this in England's Dreaming. Gay involvement in pop culture is always downplayed, if not ignored by scared and insecure het boys who can't admit that much of what they love comes from queers. Well it does, so get used to it.