Tuesday, April 26, 2011
POLY STYRENE PASSES AWAY
My lifelong obsession with punk rock girls started with just a few. Exene Cervenka, Dale Bozzio (yeah I know she beat cats but this was before that), Chere Currie, Joan Jett and Poly Styrene. These were girls that were beautiful but also pissed, spirited and incredibly talented. They inspired me with their music and, as I said, allowed me to develop my crush on punk rock girls across the board. This week Poly Styrene passed away at 53 after a battle with cancer. This was not only a loss to music but to the idea of non-conformity.
Stryene, whose given name is Marianne Elliot-Said, put together X-Ray Spex after releasing a reggae single in 1976 on GTO. Like most early punks, Said was inspired after seeing the Sex Pistols, so she put an ad out and the X-Ray Spex were born. The band only released one album, Germ Free Adolescents, which instantly became a classic and one of my personal favorites. There was a passion in the album, same as other punk bands, but it lacked the pretentious bullshit sneer that so much British punk suffered from.
After the band broke up Ms. Said stepped out of the spotlight and focused on battling personal demons including Bi-polar Disorder. She never stopped creating and being an outspoken voice against conformity or letting woman assume a certain role in the world of music. The later X-Ray Spex reunion and album wasn't the big return they wanted but it proved Ms. Said could still kick ass.
I've played the band's album all day and my thoughts go out to Ms Said's daughter and other family members. She was a hero to a movement and lit a path that many have followed. She will be missed.
RIP Poly Styrene