As a 16-year old, I loved Warhol's movies like I loved punk rock
Kiss, Sleep, Haircut, Eat, Empire, Couch, Blow Job, Shoulder, Harlot, Apple, Pause, Lips, Suicide, Drunk, Horse, Vinyl, Bitch, Restaurant, Kitchen, Prison, Face, Afternoon, Space, Camp, Hedy, Lupe, Bufferin, Courtroom, Sausalito, Rollerskate.
Pond, Ride, Sugar, Plywood, Codeine, Seam, Pavement, Come, Superchunk, Swell, Hole, Cell, Bum, Olivelawn, Ween, Suede, Fudge, Wool, Unrest, Unsane, Belly, Quicksand, Milk, Dustdevils, Paw, Lush, Fur, Lunachicks, Morphine, Acetone, Mudhoney, Crust, Smudge…
As a 16-year old, I loved Warhol’s movies like I loved punk rock. I liked the fact his movies could be summed up by a title and a still image - Eat, Sleep, Kiss, etc. I heard about his films before I saw them and watching them in a way wasn’t half as fun as describing them or having them described. After seeing most of them, my feelings are much the same as they were initially - the films’ simplicity pins them down, but there is an inexplicable eIusiveness embedded within them as well. That is a guy sleeping, but is that it?
In 1966, Warhol was asked, ‘do you want a lot of people to see your films?’, to which he replied, ‘I don’t know. If they’re paying to see them.‘1 26 years later, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana writes, ‘I don’t feel the least bit guilty for commercially exploiting a completely exhausted rock youth culture because, at this point in rock history, punk rock (while still sacred to some) is, to me, dead and gone…I’l be the first to admit that we’re the 90s version of “Cheap Trick” or “The Knack” but the last to admit that it hasn’t been rewarding.‘2 The similarity between the band names and film titles is no coincidence. If the Warhol philosophy exists anywhere, it has sprouted in ‘alternative’ music that is no longer alternative, sub-pop that is now pop. Go Lo-fi. Aim below radio’s technical standards. Embrace the rough edge of the silkscreens. Record an album for $500. Dress down, be true to your label. Piss on your canvas. On the last page of the Nirvana biography, Kurt Cobain says he’d like to re-release all of their material on vinyl but remastered lo-fi like a Bootleg recording or punk rock record.3
1. Nat Finkelstein (introduction), ‘Inside’, Cavalier, September 1966
2. Kurt Cobain, record liner notes, In Utero. Released in 1991, Nevermind, Nirvana’s first major label LP, made $50 million
3. Michael Azerrad, Come as You Are - The Story of Nirvana, 1993
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