St. Louis-based zine Jet Lag, cofounded by a former freelancer at our sister paper River Front Times Steve Pick and John “The Mailman” Korst, was published from 1980 to 1991. Charmingly low-budget with offset typewriter print and xeroxed art, the legendary publication featured numerous show reviews, CD reviews, and interviews with bands and artists of concern to St. Louis fans.
One such artist was the godfather of rock & roll himself, Chuck Berry, who had a lot of opinions about the new punk bands of the day.
These reviews were recently (relatively speaking) unearthed via scanned copies of the zine by the website DangerousMinds.net, and the short, one-sentence reviews are fascinating to read today, especially when all of the context is considered (the Ramones review has got to be the best one). The zine scans can be found on page two, and they include an old interview with Berry as well.
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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 1, 2014