Bruce Edwin Chimes In on The Artist, Subnormal, Punk Rock, and Even Ian Curtis!


(John Kays) Hello, Bruce! I just returned from a viewing of The Artist, after reading a review by Moira Cue on your Hollywood Sentinel site a few days ago. I was blown away and just picked up one song (George Valentin – composer, Ludovic Bource) on iTunes. I will complete the rest of The Artist soundtrack on the 1st of March, when I get paid. Well, to make things simpler, I’ll make my first question about The Artist.

1. What do you love about the film? If it’s everything, would you please just focus on one redeeming attribute of the film, such as how it deals with the transition from Silent Films to Talkies, maybe touch on the acting, or chime a little on the music? How about the costumes, cinematography, or the fact it was shot in black and white? (All are nice topics.)

(Bruce Edwin) I consider The Artist one of the best new films created in modern cinema. The reasons being various; one, I feel that it is important to have a sense of history of art – including motion picture, in order to best appreciate it, which ‘The Artist’ obviously does with its homage to the silent era, noir, and German expressionism.

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Secondly, its use of sound and no sound as an artistic devise are brilliant, reminding me of experimental so called ‘no wave’ artists such as John Cage and others who did not limit themselves to traditional recording, editing, and compositional techniques.

Lastly, the acting is outstanding – with the conveyance of deep emotion through the form of the body and face – rather than words, and further, the story is very compelling, reflective of the struggles one may face not only in a career in Hollywood – but in life, with regard to ageism, power dynamics, and pride among more. Its an outstanding film, and if one has not seen it, I strongly suggest they do so. 2. (JK) Well, that’s a nice, precise answer, Bruce. Thank you! So, let’s travel back in time a ways, and tell me what initially inspired you to startup your music magazine, Subnormal (Sometime I’d like to see some of the back issues)?

(BE) What inspired Subnormal was most particularly the was feeling I had while watching a somewhat cheesy, yet I feel, still relevant film called ‘Pump Up the Volume’ starring Christian Slater, the idea that one could take some revolutionary, rebellious ideas, magnify and mass produce them, and blow them up for hundreds and thousands and more to see and feel.

Zines including Flipside and Maximum Rock and Roll were two specific publications that solidified this for me. These zines helped unify a world wide community of punk rockers and other individualists in a big way, before the internet exploded.

The other two motivations were to publish some of mine and others poetry – since most kids would read about their favorite rock band, but many would not read poetry, so the goal was to mix the two, and lastly, it was to be a voice for what I felt were injustices in the world that needed addressed, as well as paying tribute to some of my favorite bands, and again, by mixing those elements.

3. (JK) What’s your favorite band or bands from the earliest period of Punk Rock/New Wave? *(Try to stay in the late 1970s, before the black, skinny tie-era of the early 1980s!)

(BE) My favorite bands then and now would and do depend on my mood at the time. There are so many, but top then and now of this genre and era are The Sex Pistols, Iggy and The Stooges, The Slits, X-ray Spex, Patti Smith, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Crisis, Lydia Lunch, and Crass among many, many more.

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Peter Murphy (vocalist) from the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus are one of Bruce Edwin’s favorite early punk bands. I just picked up In the Flat Field, their premier album, and am totally digging it!

4. (JK) What do you think of the late but great Punk Rock Music Critic, Lester Bangs? If you saw Almost Famous, that was, in part, about Mr. Bangs.

(BE) I always hated Rolling Stone magazine – as most punks did (which Lester Bangs wrote for in addition to Creem), so I never read him outside of what was reproduced in fanzines, such as his MC5 review. Rolling Stone to me was the corporate sell out machine rag, running ads for the Army, yet claiming to be anti-war and revolutionary.

It was vile to me for such reasons then and now. And I always hated reading most music reviews anyway. As I read that Lester himself stated something to the effect of ‘who cares about what these bands have to say – they’re just other guys,’ well, I felt that way about reviewers.

At least the bands were interesting to me and made music – but I hated most music critics reviews, that’s one of the reasons I started doing my own, and became perhaps to some others what I myself hated (laughs). Also, I appreciated the MC5, so his review slamming them did not go over well with me.

5. (JK) Do you think Punk Rock has a lasting and prominent place in the History of Rock ‘N Roll,

(BE) It does, but according many of those that give out most awards for music now and earlier, which cements much of the history of rock, no. Most such institutions I find to be very boring in the majority of their tastes of music nominated, recognized, and awarded, which in turn goes on to reflect much of what is referred to as rock history in culture.

That’s why, to me, what history has to say about punk does not really matter anyway, because the very nature of the real punk scene recognizes that ‘his-story’ is merely an interpretation of the past based on certain elites’ bias and opinion, often controlled by whose greasing ones palms the most.

The very nature of punk rock is its own history. Punk creates its own – that is the nature of the DIY (do it yourself) punk aesthetic, from creating its own press, to its music. Furthermore, most punk rockers don’t care about badges of honor or ego stroking anyway. Punk is its own ego and honor. Punk is its own rock and roll history.

(JK) …should such a general history of R & R ever be written? *(Don’t know if there are any historians with this specific moniker in existence today?)

It has, I have seen a number of books on the history of the punk scene over the years. Most punks I knew could never afford them which speaks for itself, and so never owned them. Now with the Internet, that problem is solved hopefully. I am, however, more interested in reading about the ideas behind the ‘ideas’ of true punk, than the music itself.

There is great music out there from all genres but most of it I could really care less to read about – though the images are cool to see.

I have for example, interviewed some of my favorite bands and found that some of them were as conservative as could be, yet propagated themselves as some wild, radical act. And on the flip side, some of the most conservative acting or mainstream sounding artists I have found to be more anarchistic and punk in ideology than some of the so called punk bands.

So what was and is the most relevant thing to me about punk, aside from the great music and energy, is the message behind it – the aspects of individualism, freedom, and revolution.

6. *As a bonus question for the NewsBlaze version of our email interview, I’d like to ask you what you thought (think) about the 2007 film Control (directed and produced by Anton Corbiijn) about Ian Curtis of Joy Division (starring Sam Riley as Ian)?

I have not made the time to see the film, although after your reminder now, I will. I have not seen much of Sam Riley’s work either, however, his actable choices seem to be very unique and daring overall. Ian Curtis to be sure, was a legend, and Joy Division was a band I grew up listening to and loving, as well as New Order – both phenomenal bands.

While I have always defended the right of one to end their own life, suicide is a weak and foolish way to go out. Ian Curtis was one of the musical greats that will always be remembered. Thankfully he left us his work.

Now with that said, I personally know of two singers whose death were ruled suicide, and that is what the public believes, but were not. I am not saying that is the case with Ian, however, I always have a tendency to question these things and I think its a good idea to unless one examines the facts.

*Additional information for Bruce Edwin:

An occult expert of twenty years, Bruce Edwin began his work in the entertainment industry with the launch of his own magazine subnormal, back in the 1990’s. With the magazine, Bruce has done exclusive interviews with Marilyn Manson, Bauhaus, Concrete

Blonde, Bad Religion, Suicidal Tendencies, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, The Adicts, Fugazi, Death In June, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, The Cranberries, Jewel, Skinny Puppy, David Lynch, Eleventh Dream Day, The Go Go’s, and many, many more.

A defiant voice for anarchism and ‘freedom from oppression in all its despotic forms,’ the magazine was banned in U.S.

prisons for its claim that it would ‘start a riot.” Early friends of Bruce Edwin included punk icon Lydia Lunch, and deathrock icon Rozz Williams, founder of Christian Death.

In the 2000’s Bruce launched Starpower Management LLC in Chicago, a model and talent management company which went on to manage David Williams – guitarist of Michael Jackson, among more. He earlier got rock band kill hannah signed to Atlantic Records, who went on to tour the world numerous times. Now also producing for feature film, and publishing The Hollywood Sentinel dot com, Bruce is now creating three screenplays which he will co produce.

He also represents two studios worth over 110 million dollars among more….