Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews

Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews

by Simon Reynolds
     
 

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With his critically acclaimed Rip It Up and Start Again, renowned music journalist Simon Reynolds applied a unique understanding to an entire generation of musicians working in the wake of punk rock. Spawning artists as singular as Talking Heads, Joy Division, The Specials, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Gang of Four, and Devo, postpunk achieved new relevance in…  See more details below

Overview

With his critically acclaimed Rip It Up and Start Again, renowned music journalist Simon Reynolds applied a unique understanding to an entire generation of musicians working in the wake of punk rock. Spawning artists as singular as Talking Heads, Joy Division, The Specials, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Gang of Four, and Devo, postpunk achieved new relevance in the first decade of the twenty-first century through its profound influence on bands such as Radiohead, Franz Ferdinand, and Vampire Weekend.

With Totally Wired the conversation continues. The book features thirty-two interviews with postpunk’s most innovative personalities—such as Ari Up, Jah Wobble, David Byrne, and Lydia Lunch—alongside an “overview” section of further reflections from Reynolds on postpunk’s key icons and crucial scenes. Included among them are John Lydon and PIL, Ian Curtis and Joy Division, and art-school conceptualists and proto-postpunkers Brian Eno and Malcolm McLaren. Reynolds follows these exceptional, often eccentric characters from their beginnings through the highs and lows of postpunk’s heyday.

Crackling with argument and anecdote, Totally Wired paints a vivid portrait of individuals struggling against the odds to make their world as interesting as possible, in the process leaving a legacy of artistic ambition and provocation that reverberates to this day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2006's Rip It Up and Start Again, Reynolds examined bands, like The Talking Heads, Siouxie and the Banshees, and Devo, who performed in the wake of punk rock. Calling his new volume a companion to his earlier work, Reynolds compiles interviews with David Byrne, Lydia Lunch, and 30 other "key figures... of the post-punk era." Interviews focus on each artist's journey through the era, and do indeed provide more richly detailed pictures of the people first introduced in Rip It Up, creating a "stronger sense of them as human agents with backstories and backgrounds; products of a place and a time, yet also self-created beings, fantasists and adventurers who pursued their dreams and sometimes, against the odds, realized them." Following that are a handful of rich "overviews" taken from previously published and unpublished reviews Reynolds wrote for Vibe, The New York Times and other publications, exhibiting his boundless enthusiasm and capping this musical era with a book that is as much a tribute as it is an epitaph.
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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593763947
Publisher:
Soft Skull Press, Inc.
Publication date:
08/10/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
File size:
673 KB

Read an Excerpt


From Simon Reynolds’s interview with David Byrne:

REYNOLDS:
“The first wave of New York punk bands based around CBs and Max’s Kansas City were pretty steeped in rock romanticism and living on the edge. Patti Smith and Television were coming out of the sixties, and before that, the Beats—looking and living bohemian. Whereas the Talking Heads had a straighter-looking and more detached approach.”

BYRNE:
Some of the bands were really continuing the rock‘n’roll archetypes, sonically and with rebellious attitudes. The stage postures and the guitar pyrotechnics. I thought, ‘This isn’t saying anything new. It’s a sloppier version of the Rolling Stones.’ The gestures were not being thought about, they were just inherited. Like, ‘This is the attitude that comes with the rock-band territory, the clothes and the pose you need to take on.’ I just thought, ‘Let’s see if we can just throw all that out, start from square one and see what happens.’ Which would be walking on stage in your street clothes and singing with no affectation, in a kind of unromantic but passionate way. I thought having no image was a way of getting to ground zero. After a while I realized trying to have no image is, of course, having an image. You can’t escape from it. As soon as you step on a stage, it’s about artifice. So I thought, ‘I need to find other things to draw on that aren’t clichéd.’”

Meet the Author

Simon Reynolds is the author of numerous books, including Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture, and Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Village Voice, Spin, and Slate, among other publications. Born in London, Reynolds now lives in Los Angeles.

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