Marc Weingarten

Writer, Filmmaker

Marc Weingarten is a writer and filmmaker.  His books include Thirsty: William Mulholland, California Water and the Real Chinatown and The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Thompson, Wolfe, Didion and The New Journalism Revolution.  He's the producer of the documentaries God Bless Ozzy Osbourne and The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir.  He also writes about books for the L.A. Times and The Guardian.  This is Marc's Fidelity High:  Public Image Ltd. // Second Edition // Virgin Records // 1979.  Marc says, "By 1978, Punk had flamed out, and bands were left wondering where to go.  Enter Post-Punk, which remains, for me, one of the most underrated eras in music.  To quote writer Simon Reynolds, who in turn was quoting the band Orange Juice, it was a time when bands were rallying around the slogan 'Rip it up and start again.'  These mind-blowing records just came at you one after the other, and you had never heard music like this before.  New sounds were jostling up against one another, and bands -- Wire, Gang of Four,  Devo, etc. -  were approaching things from strange, oblique angles.  No one was more cognizant of Punk’s failures than its most famous flame-out, John Lydon.  The Sex Pistols melted down after making their paradigm-for-the-future Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, but Lydon seized the moment, signing a big-time record deal with Virgin and forming Public Image Ltd.  The band’s album Second Edition' is the 'Never Mind The Bollocks... of the Post-Punk era:  36 years after its release, it still sounds like the future to me.  Guitarist Keith Levene spiders his way through the band’s creepy melodies like a stalker;  Jah Wobble remains the greatest Dub bassist that doesn't exclusively play Dub music; and drummer Martin Aktins’ kick drum sounds like an irregular heartbeat.  Lydon, for his part, turned in the best batch of lyrics he’s ever written, creepy invocations of urban dread and the soullessness of modern life.  My fascination with Second Edition is a never-ending thing; something about it surprises me every time I listen to it.  The album is - excuse the MFA cliche - a total deconstruction of rock’s values, much like Trout Mask Replica had been ten years prior.  It’s a singular, stone masterpiece!"