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

streits-gone-1_wm
Carnage at Streit’s Matzo Factory (or, How Half a Block of Rivington Street is Demolished)

Pause for a moment and inhale the sad state of Streit’s Matzo Factory. A backhoe currently sits on its rubbled remains. This is what it takes to take down history. The north side of Rivington Street between Suffolk and Clinton is amidst absolute change. Tenements that stood here for a hundred years are being demolished […]

Beastie Boys mural by Danielle Mastrion, July 2014
‘Beastie Boys Square’ Might Soon Return for Street Co-Naming Consideration

Hold it now… It’s a campaign three years in the making, and a proverbial thorn in the side of Community Board 3. Nevertheless, the Beastie Boys Square proposal is back on the front burner. 99 Rivington Street – currently Wolfnights – was featured prominently on the cover of the second Beastie Boys LP, Paul’s Boutique. […]

chefs-club-counter-spring
Chef’s Club Opening Fast-Casual ‘Counter’ Space Tomorrow with Eggslut Residency

The Chefs Club – the revolving chefs restaurant in the base of the Puck Building – is one day from introducing its new high-end, fast-casual dining concept across the street. Chefs Club Counter debuts tomorrow and features a residency with LA-based Eggslut. This “Counter” extension is pitched as a more “approachable” version of the original, where […]

protocinema-43essex
‘Protocinema’ Installation Takes Over Embattled G&S Sporting Goods Space on Essex Street

For the first time since G&S Sporting Goods departed the Lower East Side three years ago, 43 Essex Street boasts a new retail occupant, albeit temporary. It’s a pop-up gallery, naturally. Protocinema is not as it sounds, rather a roving arts program with dual headquarters in New York City and Istanbul. It now occupies a space […]

kind-regards-outside
‘Kind Regards’ Launches in Cake Shop’s Old Spot this Weekend

Cake Shop’s former owners are sending Kind Regards to Ludlow Street. After three months behind Fort Knox-like lock and key, the eleven-year-old music venue has been succeeded. Transformed into Kind Regards, an endeavor with no link to the past; a bi-level cocktail bar and lounge. Makes sense. When Cake Shop went bust in late-December, owner-brothers Nick […]