STREET TOUGH INDUSTRIAL THUGS
PUBLISHED 05 July 2018
When I was first becoming conscious of Street Style & my overwhelming need to become more scary in order to survive living in Oakland, there weren't very many Street Punks around but there were amalgamated leather & boots wearing Street Industrials who had been in various music scenes previous but were now embracing the future of 1988 & becoming Cyber Punks. There were two or three & I'd usually see them around CCA(C) where I was taking some art classes. I was 12 & paying attention. I considered this to be Punk still, because I don't really see the differences between things, I see the similarities. I saw the painted leather. I saw the boots. I saw the weird hair-cuts. I heard the loud, aggressive, weird music. A little more than a decade previous in the shaggy 70s - Iggy described the Stooges as Industrial music & the Detroit Rock&Roll sound was said to be inspired by the unstoppable, aggressive rhythm of the automobile factory & of the muscle car engine. I saw them stalking the streets like 1984 Gestapo Samurai - even if they were only dressing the part. The music still gives me that Street Tough Futuristic Thug feeling, but unlike so much of our subcultural musics, you can dance to it. Put on your mirror-shades, snuggle into your leather trench-coat, handle your sword cane, light up a clove, turn on the smoke machines, press eject & give me the tape.
SHEEP ON DRUGS - MOTORBIKE These guys came late in the game but what I really liked about them was that they were like a Rough Trade version of another favorite Soft Cell.
NITZER EBB - JOIN IN THE CHANT At this point (1987) Electronic Music is still not considered music by the status quo (for better or worse) & Nitzer Ebb appears & is making this Industrial Eurostyle Hip House & it's better than the Rap music coming out at the time & fits in with who I am better. Ow! Ah! Muscle & Hate!
FRONT 242 - HEADHUNTER Front 242 follows Join In The Chant with Headhunter, a science-fiction bounty hunter anthem for the mean streets of our imaginations. As stated repeatedly - the future is a state of mind! Catch the men!
BIGOD 20 - THE BOG Taking from the smash-hit Industrial handbook of Nitzer Ebb & Front 242 (The Bog includes guest vocals from Front 242's Jean-Luc De Meyer) & combining a bit of Skinny Puppy's atmospheric Industrialisms - this was a destroyer hit & still a personal favorite. I imagine a futuristic garbage dump, riddled with the broken skeletons of disposable technology & waterlogged from the constant rains.
THE NORMAL - WARM LEATHERETTE This is just one of Daniel Miller's (MUTE Records) musical contributions, but what a contribution. Emerging in 1978 & taking the avant-garde tendencies hidden in Punk to their logical conclusion, this song is cool enough that Grace Jones covered it. The initial idea for Warm Leatherette came from Miller's obsession with JG Ballard's novel The Crash which he wanted to make a film of. In looking at how much it cost to make a film, Miller decided to reduce his screenplay into a song & thus Warm Leatherette was born. The song isn't postable via youtube, so here's the Grace Jones cover.
DAF - LIEBE AUF DEN ERSTEN BLICK You cannot emphasize the importance of Bowie & Berlin in the creation of Industral Music. You've got Bowie's Lou Reed obsession & Reed's Metal Machine Music which squeezed experimental electronic noise music through Lou's grouchy brain & emerged as a piss-take, but a piss-take that would establish a tone & a tradition because people listened. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft represent the freedom that Bowie gave kids from the Rock&Roll Stranglehold & they decided to make their own music & not use any of the Pop Music formalism that had become very stale by the time Punk started to stick its spiky head out of the rubble of WWII. Also, DAF can DANCE.
FINITRIBE - DE TESTIMONY Emerging from Post-Punk & going electronic, Finitribe released De Testimony which is another Industrial dancefloor filler which because of the time (1988) & the place (Glasgow) the track become associated with Acid House which I was also listening to avidly at the time. In theory - Industrial Pioneer Genesis P. Orridge created Acid House as well, although this could be egomaniacal storytelling on the part of Genesis. I love De Testimony & it gives a fantastic feeling of a church of electronic dance.
ALIEN SEX FIEND - ZOMBIFIED Alien Sex Fiend, the Cramps & the Misfits ruled the leather jackets of the late 80s in the San Francisco Bay Area from whence I was birthed. Ah, Sisters of Mercy as well. This overtly Gothic tendency was going on in the late 80s as the repetitive defeat of Punk Idealism gave way to the Black Mourning garments of accepting this death & moving the action into the Dance Clubs where the payoff was more direct & delicious.
THE HUMAN LEAGUE - BEING BOILED Before going to the Top of the Pops, the Human League did this number Being Boiled which is considered a pioneering Industrial number. At a time when flares & sideburns & country rock were all the rage, this stuff was a big statement of the coming age.
CAT RAPES DOG - AMERICAN DREAM I taped this one off of KALX when it came out & didn't figure out who it was until youtube popped up years ago. Anyhow, I love the nihilisitc Punk energy & ridiculous vocals on this track.
SKINNY PUPPY - LIVE 1987 My dad got me Skinny Puppy's Too Dark Park on a whim when it came out, it was the first Industrial album I owned & still represents something WEIRD in my mind, centrally, a dystopian futuristic movie somewhere between Bladerunner & Battle Angel Alita.
Not too long after this, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson & White Zombie brought Industrial music to MTV & football players were putting NIN stickers on their trucks & it was all over! OR WAS IT?
X Sean Aaberg