clap clap blog: we have moved

Thursday, October 16, 2003
I was reading this little backpage thing in the October Blender about Steve Earle. ("Who Does Steve Earle Think He Is?") Here's one Q/A exchange:

How punk are you?

Pretty punk. I've got a brutal little four-piece rock band of middle-aged white guys, all guys that come out of that sensibility. I remember being in Austin, Texas, one night, and friends said the Sex Pistols were playing in San Antonio at this horrible dance hall. I went to that show. Sid Vicious got hit with a bottle about three songs in and wandered around the stage bleeding for the rest of the show.

Now, this is interesting, because the critical narrative of this tour is that it was a horrendous mistake, a string of cowboy joints in the American South where the Pistols wouldn't just be ignored, but actively hated. Especially odd when there were many places in the country where they'd be welcome. And this all contributing to their eventual breakup.

However: what if it actually spurred the entire alt-country genre? What if, like the old canard about the first VU album, the individuals on this tour who actually connected with punk connected with it in this fundamental way that inspired them to create this new thing from a fairly old thing? What if the line between Sid's bleeding face and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (or, depending on your sensibility, My Morning Jacket) is way straighter than any of us suspected? Certainly Steve Earle occupies a key node on that line, even if today's alters wouldn't necessarily recognize it.

Or: is this just Steve trying to tap into that myth, trying to hitch his own particularly iconic story (country rebel turned junkie turned ex-junkie political activist) to the Pistols'?

Alert Griel Marcus!