Chuck Berry’s Reviews of Classic Punk Singles Resurface

Andrew Parks

By Andrew Parks

on 07.01.14 in News

In today’s In Case You Missed It department, The Village Voice has dug up an old Dangerous Minds post about a St. Louis zine that featured Chuck Berry reviewing classic punk records and “so-called new stuff” like Wire and Joy Division way back in 1980. The results are priceless in retrospect, of course, from Berry’s brutally honest thoughts on the Sex Pistols to the parallels the rock ‘n’ roll icon sees between his early days and the Ramones.

Here’s a sampling, torn directly from the pages of Jet Lag.

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’s “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”:
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.

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’s “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.