Sunday, February 7, 2010

meyers; quine; a latex mask

Ork 81796.
Stiff BUY 7.

Ha. So I scored an exact '32' on psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen's online Autism-Spectrum Quotient. Recently flagged through one of Jorn Barger's shared items here:

"In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher . The test is not a means for making a diagnosis..."

Hell mend me. I have long suspected I suffer an abnormal gene. Fortunately, as far as my mental health goes, I have also long suspected a good many of us - womsoever that may be - fall a good way into the autistic spectrum; knocking on the door of borderline psychosis and worse. This confirmation proves zip, but I felt I ought to share it nonetheless. 

Still. My best friend was diagnosed a psychopath in 1979. A diagnosis designed to keep him out of reform school. Borstal. By that time the die was cast. I barely nodded my head. And Hell's vaguely sinister resemblance to a candy distributing Gene Wilder never registered until now either.

The following is meyerly a re-up of a post on SibLINGSHOT ON THE BLEACHERS from August, 2008. Nobody commented then, so what the f@ck. For more personal and apposite recollections of Robert Quine, wedge a pencil between the slabbering jaws of The HoundBlog and pull up a[n] - electric - chair.


"After his alliance with Tom Verlaine - first with The Neon Boys and then Television - had fallen afoul, Richard Meyers hatched a gunpowder plot with his new band, the Voidoids, and immediately set out to coin and otherwise capitalize on the CBGB scene in New York City.

"Blank Generation" first saw light of day not as an a-side but on the flip to "(I Could Live With You In) Another World", released stateside on Ork Records and on Stiff in the UK in 1976.

What Hell lost in Verlaine he made up for through the shrewd recruitment of exceptional guitarist, Robert Quine to his team, with Ivan Julien accompanying him on rhythm guitar and Marc Bell (Marky Ramone) on drums. A restless native of Akron, Ohio, Quine brought an eclectic jazz oriented sensibility to the table and a lawyer's sharp nose for sniffing out the bullshit. Older than his peers, Quine had aquired a degree in law from Washington University in the mid to late 60's and had specialized in Tax Law for several years before meeting up and working with both Hell and Verlaine in a movie memorabilia store in NYC. The antithesis of naive young street punk, what he also had in abundance was a raw enthusiasm for rock n' roll which stretched all the way back to his pre teens, coupled with an incisive encyclopaedic knowledge.

In short, he was a great fucking guitar player and his talent is etched deep into everything the Voidoids laid down on wax.

The energy of that New York borne scene through 1976-77 may be - fittingly - forever remembered as punk rock, but Hell's sloganeering "Blank Generation" just as perfectly sums it up. With a copywriter's intuitively deft touch for PR mileage, he labelled a generation as precisely as any expensively targeted NYC advertising campaign.

original photograph by roberta bayley; robert quine far right.

Robert Quine went on to record with Lydia Lunch, and - perhaps most memorably - Lou Reed on 1982's "Blue Mask". He also stood in on numerous sessions for artists including Tom Waits and Marianne Faithfull.

Severely depressed after the death of his wife, Alice in August 2003 from cancer, Quine was unable to recover sufficiently to move on from his loss. He committed suicide by heroin overdose in his New York home on May 31, 2004, although there was some doubt as to whether his overdose was intentional or not.

From Lester Bangs, with characteristic restraint:

"Someday Quine will be recognized for the pivotal figure that he is on his instrument — he is the first guitarist to take the breakthroughs of early Lou Reed and James Williamson and work through them to a new, individual vocabulary, driven into odd places by obsessive attention to On the Corner-era Miles Davis."

I don't think I would disagree."

RICHARD HELL & THE VOIDOIDS: THE BLANK GENERATION from "(I Could Live With You In) Another World" 45 (Ork / Stiff) 1976 (US/UK)


Denier said...

ib: This is a great EP, with different versions from the later album. Not only did Quine make the Voidoids the most interesting American punk band -- but he made everything he played on stand out, like the way a good character actor steals a movie from the leading man. He did it on later Lou Reed albums, then Matthew Sweet as well. His off-the-wall guitar on Blank Generation is virtuoso, if you can say that about a punk album.


Thanks for this. Always loved this version of My Generation.
your dim star.

Your driver said...

So I scored 24 and was reminded of some of my failings. Must say, there's no connection between autism and psychosis. A bit like saying that blindness and deafness are related because they both involve perception.

Never a Richard Hell fan.

ib said...

Of course. I wasn't carving a direct relationship between the two - autism and psychosis - but I'll stand by my observation that both states are often quantified - by idiots, qualified or otherwise - as neurological detachment.

Hell might be, or was, a vainglorious bastard but I enjoyed his antics from an emotional distance.

ib said...

Incidentally. Blindness and deafness ARE related precisely because both involve major perceptive faculties.

How can you suggest otherwise ?

Your driver said...

OK. They're related by definition. They're not the same thing.

I don't really have an opinion about Hell, I just didn't like most of his music. Entirely a matter of taste.

ib said...

Well. It's precisely that definition which ticks me off.

The cognitive reality is blurred. A blind man will use his ears to see, a deaf man might use his ears to see.

We've all of us imbibed pharmaceuticals which demonstrate to what degree perception is open to interpretation.

ib said...

Of course. I'm not suggesting a blind dude fly a Boeing 747 just to prove me wrong...

Your driver said...

Really it was all personal. I spent ten years living with a borderline psychopath. I have a nephew who is autistic. They are very different people. I'm only exaggerating a little when I say my ex was a psychopath.

ib said...

Yeah. I, too, have a niece and nephew diagnosed with varying degrees of Asperger's.

As for my friend. I don't think his being diagnosed as psycopathic was necessarily incorrect. I once sat drinking a cup of tea while he set about his father with a hatchet in the next room. Mind you, his father was a real shit.

What is definitely more scary are those functioning psycopaths with a winning smile.

I'm thinking of Heather Mills, here. I have never met your ex wife.

@eloh said...

I got nothin' here, except my third husband was one of those smiling psycopaths.... in all fairness he had a childhood that would do it to anyone.

Your driver said...

Speaking of childhood. And hatchets. My ex's mother was psychotic. The paperwork on her is complete. She once chased her daughters around the house with an axe. They locked themselves in the bathroom. She chopped a hole in the door. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

It could be argued that my ex's 'eccentricities' were explicable if not exactly justifiable.

I have always had a keen eye for the ladies. Perhaps my fairly high Baron-Cohen score and my difficulties with reading people account for that.


I never study for tests. I always do badly. I have flunked both blood tests & urine tests. I got 9 on this one. I think the only test I passed was the acid one.


I forgot to say before...I hate the Beatles...especially what they did to Charlie.

ib said...

Ass burgers. Heh.

You got a '9' ? I need to take a retest.

Actually. The thing I liked about this test is the little 'calculate' button you hit after randomly entering in the answers. I never take these tests. Never.

On account of having to turn my monitor upside down to read the scores and then doing all that toting up.

ib said...

Warden. Sorry, I kind of got carried away... "the way a good character actor steals a movie from the leading man". Yes.

ib said...


Charlie ? Charles Haughtry ?

HowMarvellous said...

Hmm, I scored my age & not my shoe-size. Quite agree about Robert Quine

ib said...

Hell mend us both, then. Unless you've been uncontrollably rejuvenated in your absence.

Good to hear from you, HM.

the saucer people said...

The Voidoids and The Dead Boys are always two bands that seem to get overlooked when ever the US Punk/No-Wave scene gets dissected by the corporate media whores.
I remember first hearing this around 77 as a nine year old searching through a school friend's elder brothers record collection...that guitar sound has never left me.
Sad to hear Quine OD'd after surviving the various NY junk decades, as for recogntion, he always had mine.
Strange, just caught the film "The Blank Generation" with Richard Hell for the first time last week, god its the most stilted acting imaginable but the live scenes are well worth sitting for...I thought Smithereens was better in terms of his acting but I guess you cant have everything ;)
As for mental 'hygiene' & labelling, as Korzybiski said "The map is not the territory" or on a more prosaic level "the menu is not the meal" ...or put another way as the great Bob Dodds would say "fuck'em if they can't take a joke"..

ib said...

Haven't seen the movie yet, whitepunksondope, but I can believe the acting is as stilted as you say. Probably as much in homage to Andy Warhol as anything else. Or not.

Johnny Thunders did not too bad a job of things in these staged Parisienne encounters. You know the one where he raises his glass of milk in a junkie toast:

"Paris is dangerous ? You should live in New York."

I forget who directed it, but somebody shoul've warned Stiv Bators before he crossed the road.