Razor sharp punk poetry
Puro Pursimo by A. Razor (Punk Hostage Press)
"The words are where we worship...." (-A.Razor)
Post-Grunge, there were still at least a few little magazines, independent record labels, real record stores and big city nightclubs where cool little bands could do their thing. Now, that stuff's even mostly gone. Immediately, Post-Grunge, though, there was like, 10,000 shite bands, too. Every town had a fake Blues Explosion, a fake Sonic Youth, a fake Nirvana, a fake Chili Peppers, etc., etc. If I wasn't moved by the originals, I surely had no time for their local small pond, bad impressionist, franchise clone, cut rate imitators.
Macho bellowing metal merchants, goofy whiteboy funk and swing bands, Clash-Ramones-Thunders rip-off bands, tribute acts, but few of 'em really had their own style, statement, message, or tunes. Some of the most fondly remembered bands of that era had no memorable music, at all, you can't even sing me one of their songs if I asked you to on the curb in an unguarded moment - it was just the threads everybody seemed to like. Money and clothes, that's all they had goin'. Suits and deep cocaine pockets.
Every entertainer on the airwaves was a stage-managed cheerleader hologram or porky boyband predator. The overwhelming majority of bands in gentrifying cities were uselessly derivative, and there was not one sincere emotion, not one original line, or chord progression that was not unimaginatively stolen from some seventies band and peddled off to media-sucker, gamer suburbans-all those awful, awful hot rod bands. Lowest common denominators, retro Fonzarellis, adult-cartoons-that one fake Replacement's hack everybody loved only had like, one song. The big money coastal name brand bands were, honestly, just not very good, at all. The whiny kid with his loverman diaries where every chick was turned into a song named after a street. All the attractive models who were obviously not really even being empowered to actively participate in the act of creation, but posed onstage as pre-choreographed manakins.
You did not like the band, really. You liked the old Iggy, or Beatle riff, they shamelessly lifted, the familiarity, the clothes, the producer's mainstream major label sound, the female bandmember's tight striped body parts. It was all just based on having money for visibility, and inherited or paid-for access to production.
No overpaid public relations hack who was paid to promote Monopoly Rawk in the shit-media was gonna mention when some hipster band stole their whole act from a lesser known, or when a sleepy-eyed ingenue sexpot just moaned dumbly over somebody else's sampled tracks, or was only in the band so they could get an annual entertainment weekly cover story about how hard it is to be women in rock, 20 years after true pioneers had killed the bears and cut down all the trees and built a Starbucks. I repeat: some of these people were not even part of the creative process. They just put 'em in the pictures, and the creepy old men at the labels released their unmusical gimmickry as cynical sell-by-date product. Most of those same upper-class mediocrities who used to make records, are now getting to write books about their corny muzak. It's a sideline to their fashion wear, their talks at the museum, the panel at the industry convention, their vanity hot-sauces. The obligatory selfie with a replacement member of Guns N Roses or Miley fackin' Cyrus. Everybody's got a book, now, and they are willing to autograph it, for a small fee. Feels exactly like that stopless juggernaut of bad bands in the ‘90s, who all got to make 15 redundant CDs with terrible cover art and no good songs, that almost all sound the same, cause they only had one halfway good song and the rest was owning the platform, or paying to play recycled Ramones riffs at the trendy rich kid fashion bar, in the zipcodes only soulless yuppies can afford to even visit. While all that meaningless noise was being "seen" by people with purchase power, who never liked real music that much anyway, I remember five or six real heartfelt, soulful, dynamite bands who wrote their own songs and told their own stories, who were maybe a bit older, or bald, or not wearing the right UK Subs wannabe or Faces- imitator bellbottom costumes, they got almost no press at all these past 25 years because they weren't DJ's at the fat actor bar, or owners of the nightclub, of white brunching children of media millionaires, or they forgot to install a topless hot chick behind an instrument, a lotta people missed out on the ones with exceptional talent and sincerity. Bands like Lazy Cowgirls, NY Junk, Alejandro Escovedo, Tex, Don & Charlie, and Dramarama were never competently promoted to the people.
The Dead Murkkkan rawk press has about 20 rich people they write about and no one else exists, aside from Taylor Swift, the Foo Fighters, Lana Delray, and Billie Eilish. Man, I hate Monopoly Rawk. Fake news, fake history, fake medicine, fake food, fake science, fake celebrities, fake politicians, fake elections Fake Garbage is their way of life. After the relentless mergers and acquisitions of 1996, there was almost no space left anywhere in the public eye for mojo charged, multi colored mosaics and hot-blooded, real get down artistry, it was all just fucking hollow, say nothin', robotic advertising muzak. The hellacious rebellion and snarly energy we used to look for in old vinyl 45's is now found in the insurgent pages of dissident books that not enough people are hip to. Remember the first time you discovered that whole Jim Carroll masterpiece record album-"Catholic Boy"? I think it was a blizzard, and you got snowed in with some trucker cowboy saxophone player and his bong clutching famous movie critic girlfriend, who had a big fifties metal kitchen table full of top shelf bottles in that cold kitchen on the second floor, and you were in that happy state of early inebriation when all the magic seeps straight into your heart, and you were smilin' at each other, exchanging stories, merging into all the lyrics and the music, and how she vanished just like burnt silk? Ya never get that feeling from modern music anymore and hell you probably don't even get together with any trucker cowboy saxophone players, anymore. It's just fuckin' Netflix and an "I Voted" sticker. We're all binge watching bad Tv cause there ain't nowhere to go and we can't have friends no more.
This dude, A. Razor, is a medicine man, an out of the norm, maverick roustabout, a colossal talent, what Hunter S. Thompson called a snow leopard-a rare and exotic nearly mythical, seldom seen creature-roughly, the literary equivalent of a Spencer P. Jones, or Rowland S. Howard, or Pat Todd, or Paul K. & The Weathermen. The real deal, an actual talent, who unflinchingly and honestly explores all kinds of anguished themes and bluntly recollected experiences with profound insights and intimate details and healing nuances and vivid memories that will make you smile, or recoil in horror, or grieve alongside him.
"Puro Purismo" is some real advanced studies, high level, beyond the equator, over the edge, explosive art in a time of no-soul plagiarism and mealy mouthed, tricky dick, lawyerly, big words, double talkin' bullshit. You know that old Stones song that goes, "I'm gonna find my way to Heaven, cause I did my time in hell", that makes me think of this badass soul survivor punk rock barbarian, A. Razor, who's got that bluesman holy halo round his head like Townes Van Zandt, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Peter Laughner and Willie Deville.
This is what real poetry sounds like: electrifyingly ALIVE, as all fuck. Astoundingly good poems like "How God Got Played While We Were Busy Playing God", "Suicide Girl" and "Time Piece" are chillingly sincere, starkly confessional, and dangerously different in their self-awareness. Moving, edgy, unique prose that throbs with the vital life force, while most everyone else has retreated into the shadows of wishful thinking and script memorizing and eager beaver consumerist denial, you talk to people on the phone, it's like talkin' to a fuckin' commercial. Good God!
A. Razor is one of the last standing calm and cool motherfuckers who's still unquestionably on the side of the Clash and the Angels. Nobody storms the king's highway anymore. A Razor IS the storm. Poor Razor is cursed and afflicted with absolute genius and a harrowing lifetime of hard luck that allows him to see through all the lies and slogans and hollow celebrities of this ever-darkening age when we are bombarded nonstop with murder, lies, and outlandishly inhumane injustice, and told to wait in line and take our prescription pills, and obey the happy millionaires on TV, and never stray from the official narrative, and consumerist programming of the corporate oligarchy.
A. Razor towers over all the idle heiress make believe pop tarts, occult rappers, come lately gentrified brunching, baby Bukowski, poser divebar clowns. As much as I respect his enviable gifts and atomic James Brown soul power, I would prefer to avoid walking even a few minutes in his shoes, the weight of his memories is surely wearying. A been around, outlaw, hardcore troubadour whose super eloquent and expertly embroidered, intricately detailed, jade beadwork tells the too true to be good, melancholy to horrifying heartbreak stories, that are sure to stir all your own unresolved ghosts and yearnings for sadly estranged loved ones, regrets, unfinished business, busted open wounds, Super 8 movies playing nonstop in your haunted head, the nightmare years and last dash hopes of happy ending redemption, absolution, one night stands, card parties with the dead, risking it all for a glimpse of even the briefest return to Eden. Recognizing how love rarely exists even momentarily in this black hour, but dreaming, helplessly, reaching, imagining it, howling for it involuntarily, nonetheless. Leavin' the light on at the end of a dark street.
He sits gracefully alongside Phil Rockstroh, Caitlin Johnstone, Rich Ferguson and Dan Denton as one of the Last Great Truth-Tellers of this abominable age. He's more than a Voice Of Experience. He points us back to the realness, the bonfire, the garden, the hobo jungle, the meaningful exchange, to sharing the last mortal bottle with a true friend, and not even bothering to lie, or try to hustle your neighbor for scraps of nothin' cause what's the fuckin' point to all that, anyway? Even if you can purchase a party store tiara and pretend-win some ephemeral title, who you impressin' with that I-Gadget, anyways? Not me, man.
There’s something almost like, mystical, about this book. Like bein' in the presence of undeniable greatness. Razor is "walking off into a distant music to dance away from here..." Breathtakingly good and refreshing and rejuvenating and every bit as potent as Maker's Mark. People seldom tell the truth anymore. When you hear it, it's a like a genuinely joyful, uplifting tent revival tambourine and Hallelujah moment. When was the last time you had one of them? Get it if you get it.