That Time Chuck Berry Reviewed the Ramones, The Clash, and Sex Pistols

Posted on: March 20th, 2017 at 9:33 am by

chuck-berry-zine

“I only knew three chords, too,” Chuck Berry, who died Saturday at the age of 90, commented on the Ramones in an interview with the now-defunct Jet Lag zine.

The year was 1980, and the publication picked the legendary guitarist’s brain about the new music at the time. Specifically, punk rock. It’s an interesting time capsule from one of the progenitors of rock-n-roll. Most comical, however, is Berry’s possessiveness over the sounds. Claiming how some of these bands “threw in [his] riffs for good measure.”

The Sex Pistols — “God Save the Queen”

What’s this guy so angry about anyway? Guitar work and progression is like mine. Good backbeat. Can’t understand most of the vocals. If you’re going to be mad at least let the people know what you’re mad about.

The Clash — “Complete Control”

Sounds like the first one. The rhythm and chording work well together. Did this guy have a sore throat when he sang the vocals?

The Ramones —  “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”

A good little jump number. These guys remind me of myself when I first started, I only knew three chords too.

The Romantics — “What I Like About You,” 20-20 — “Oh Cheri,” The Beat — “Different Kind of Girl”

Finally something you can dance to. Sounds a lot like the sixties with some of my riffs thrown in for good measure. You say this is new? I’ve heard this stuff plenty of times. I can’t understand the big fuss.

The Gladiators — “Sweet So Still,” Toots and the Maytals — “Funky Kingston,” Selector — “On The Radio”

This is good, real smooth and soulful. Real good to bump and shuffle to. Sounds a bit like my old buddy Bo Diddley, only a little slower I tried something similar once on a song called “Havana Moon.”

Talking Heads — “Psycho Killer”

A funky little number, that’s for sure. I like the bass a lot. Good mixture and a real good flow. The singer sounds like he has a bad case of stage fright.

Wire — “I Am the Fly” and Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures

So this is the so-called new stuff. It’s nothing I ain’t heard before. It sounds like an old blues jam that BB and Muddy would carry on backstage at the old amphitheatre in Chicago. The instruments may be different but the experiment’s the same.

Recent Stories

This is the 9-Story Glass Office Tower Replacing the Sunshine Cinema

With the Sunshine Cinema now dark – the theater closed for good last night – we have the first look at the monstrosity to replace it. A nine-story glass tower that boasts 65,000 square-feet of commercial office space and ground-floor retail. The New York Times has the scoop on the first rendering of the project, […]

Michael Shah Spent $19M on this Hell Square Tenement Building

On Wednesday, we reported that Michael Shah (Delshah Capital) picked up the Hell Square tenement at 138 Ludlow Street. With the transaction now public, it appears the controversial landlord paid $19 million for the property. Spending that kind of coin on a pre-war walkup means one thing. The requisite upscaling to luxury living. “Despite its […]

Brooklyn Diamond Coffee Fades from Lafayette Street

It’s no longer proverbial diamond in the rough (of Lafayette Street). Brooklyn Diamond, the upstart coffee shop, shuttered its SoHo java joint earlier this month. Brown butcher paper now hangs in the windows of 234 Lafayette, capping a brief tenure that barely lasted eight months. The original Brooklyn location also appears to be kaput. Both […]

Bowery Landlord Must Fix Unstable Staircase within 2 Weeks, City Says

Controversial landlord Joseph Betesh must fix the destabilized staircase inside 85 Bowery within two weeks, the city stated yesterday after dozens of tenants were evacuated from their homes. As part of the ongoing legal case between Betesh and the tenant association here, the State Supreme Court yesterday afternoon ordered a city inspection of the property. Apparently, the […]

Boss Tweed’s Saloon Won’t be Returning to Essex Street

Today in news that won’t surprise, we can report that Boss Tweed’s Saloon will not be returning to Essex Street. The City Marshals came to the long-shuttered nightclub and seized the space on behalf of the landlord. Boss Tweed’s barely survived its reboot, having spent five months in the wild before a 20-year-old Jersey girl […]