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Punk: The Definitive Record Of A Revolution

Stephen Colegrave & Chris Sullivan


This is a great oral account of the punk movement, with lots and lots of pictures. I copied all the Idol/Gen X related stuff, including some pictures. I started by copying parts from the back, to cover who the people who speak are. So, here it is:

Pages 386-390:

Jayne County, singer, actress and DJ (born Wayne Rogers; changed name to Wayne County, then Jayne County following a sex change; one-time DJ at Max's Kansas City; performed and recorded with the Electric Chairs, Queen Elizabeth, then the Backstreet Boys)

Andrew Czezowski, club promoter (the Roxy and the Fridge; also ex-manager, Chelsea, Generation X and the Damned)

Billy Idol, vocalist, Chelsea and Generation X (real name William Broad)

Tony James, bass guitarist, Chelsea, Generation X, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and the Sisters of Mercy

Nils Stevenson, Sex Pistols' tour manager, 1976, and Banshees manager

Chelsea The original line-up was Billy Idol (guitar), Gene October (vocals) and Tony James (bass), Dave Martin (guitar) and Carey Fortune (drums). Billy Idol and Tony James left the band in November 1976 to form Generation X.

Generation X The original line-up was Billy Idol (vocals), Tony James (bass), Mark Laff (drums), Bob Andrews (guitar). Terry Chimes and John Towe were in later line-ups.


Page 158:

Debbie Juvenille, Billy Idol, Siouxsie and Peter Fenton (of the Banshees)

Page 190:

I was the accountant for Sex and Acme Attractions. It was about October or November. Gene Octoberof the band Chelsea had written the song 'Walking the Streets of London'. He knew the people who owned Chaguarama's and he got a booking for my band, Generation X. We had set the date for December, but in the meanwhile the band came to me and said they didn't want Gene to be their singer. Billy Idol wanted to be the singer and not the guitarist. I called up Chaguarama's, which had gone into receivership, and said I was still happy to do the deal. Although I wasn't a friend of the management and Gene wasn't playing in Generation X, I agreed to hire the place off them, even though it was right in the middle of winter. I was up all night pissed and smoking, but I hired the old Chags, which was now the Roxy.
Andrew Czezowski

Page 241:

Billy Idol, who was to be the guitarist in the Banshees, has now left Chelsea and formed Generation X.
Nils Stevenson

Generation X may well be the punk rock group that many people have been waiting for. [Their] songs [have] lyrics about change and revolution, but with melodies cute enough for 'boy meets girl'.
Tony Parsons, New Musical Express, 27 January 1977

We made three singles: 'Your Generation' was the first one. The great thing was we did a stint at the Marquee Club, where we played every Thursday for four weeks. The first single came out then and went in the Top 40, which was a big deal in those days. Went on Top of the Pops. It was a dream to be on that because proper groups went on Top of the Pops. We never had this problem about going on television, we so wanted to be stars. After Top of the Pops, we did 'Ready, Steady, Go'. We worked with Phil Weyman, the legendary producer who produced all the Sweet hits. We wanted him because he produced 'Ballroom Blitz'. He did our first few records. Martin Rush produced the others, which we recorded in two days. It seemed a long time. It takes two days just to do bass and drums now. How times have changed.
Tony James

Billy Idol's voice constantly surprises me with its flexibility and range. Thrashing around stage druing songs, his face [goes] into contortions befitting of a generation's crooner... Both guitarists play with [a] confidence that must reflect [their] pride in the material. I don't usually bother with lyrics but [those] that I've caught, to songs like 'Listen', 'Above Love', 'Youth' and, already a classic, 'Ready Steady Go', can't be dismissed with a routine adjective... Some people look upon Generation X as [the] black sheep because they're the 'pop group' of the lot...however, when the detractors write a 'Youth', I'll listen to them.
Sniffin' Glue, issue 12, Aug-Sep 1977

Generation X, who signed with Chrysalis four weeks ago, have their debut 45 'Your Generation' released today. The single is destined to be a theme song for the New Wave movement in its stance of 'trying to forget your generation...your generation don't mean a thing to me'.
George Gimarc, Punk Diary 1970-1979

Generation X were never taken that seriously mainly because Billy is too bloody good-looking.
Chris Sullivan

This ['Your Generation' single] is dreadful garbage. It doesn't do anything for me, and the Ramones do this sort of thing much better... [If you] hear it first thing in the morning, you'll want to go straight back to bed. It's hideously recorded.
Elton John, Sounds magazine, 1 September 1977

Page 242:

Generation X were one of my favourite bands. Their single 'Ready, Steady, Go' was amazing. Jayne County

Generation X really came out of Chelsea, and when we were working with Chelsea, Billy and I were never happy with Gene October as the singer. We were doing a gig at the Nfashville, and for the encore Billy and I planned to come back on and do a song that we'd written called 'Prove It'. Billy would sing, bbut we hadn't told Gene about it - pretty horrible when I look back. So we came on and we did the encore with Billy singing, and we decided that Billy should be the singer from then on. In thoswe days Billy had the side parting and didn't have spiky hair. We chose Andrew Czezowski to be the manager of the band, but we had to find a guitarist as we had a gig booked for three or four weeks later. After literally years of not finding one with London SS, it seemed an impossible task, yet that very weekend Billy went out to a party at Fulham Arts Club and there was a little band playing in the youth club next door. Billy went out and took a look, then phoned me up all excited and said, 'I think I've found this bloke who could be the guitarist.' This bloke had long hair, he played brilliant and he was like 17. After he auditioned, we went, 'You're the bloke,' even though he was like a kid, 'cos we were in our 20s. He became the guitarist and we cut his hair short, which he hated, but the gig just seemed to work. So we became Generation X, after a paperback book that I'd found at Billy's house one day when we were round there. On the front it had Generation X in the very typeface that we used, and it was a book about mods and rockers in the '60s, so it seemed to be the right thing. This all happened in the space of a few weeks.
Tony James

Page 358:

You could also lump Billy Idol in with the stadium acts, but Billy was always rock'n'roll, and that is what you do if you have his success. Anyway, he was an original who defies description. I don't think Billy ever accepted the punk moniker for himself.
Chris Sullivan

Page 375:

Billy Idol and his girlfriend, Perry Lister, in New York



Stephen Colegrave and Chris Sullivan. Punk: The Definitive Record of a Revolution. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2001.

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