Song of the Day – “Don’t Die” by Richard Hell & The Voidoids

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November 27, 2012 by wildducks

triumphant victims so surprised we can’t recover from the shock

Bring on Mr. Hell please! Poet-punk bass/guitar player who had the genius idea to promote his records with an advert to “call hell,” indicating a phone number which called up a machine which played his new record.  Perhaps he took his cue from John Giorno’s Dial-A-Poem hotline, I don´t know.

Hell, like many of the earliest punks, was determinedly individualistic. I don’t think he was gung-ho about being part of anything like punk, or any art-movement, apart from making enough money to create his art/support his junk habit/eat something, and I respect him for that, but who knows, maybe he was trying to craft a Bee-Gee’s hit and live out his days in the Hollywood Hills, who knows, and if so, he did a terrible job of it. His second band, Television, garnered notoriety, and even today are applauded for their…um…you tell me, I don’t really like them. Anyway, Hell moved from band to band, generally having a relaxed, unpolished style, explosive and pogo-tastic stage presence, which set him at odds with the angular and contrived sounds and looks of Richard Lloyd’s Television, no wonder he quit. And thankfully he continued to make his own jams as Richard Hell and The Voidoids, which is where this song of the day comes from. It is not a Neon Boys song at all, whoever made the video, made a mistake there.

Hell’s musical timeline is something like this:

  • 1971 Neon Boys
  • 1973 Television (adding Richard Lloyd)
  • 1975 The Heartbreakers (with Johnny and Jerry from the New York Dolls)
  • 1976 Richard Hell and The Voidoids

Then there’s a long empty space with some guest appearances but lots and lots of writing, including Go Now, his very first book, about punks and junkies and punk junkies. I read from his update page that he will be releasing his Autobiography in 2013, entitled I dreamt I was a very clean tramp, which will be a birthday present to myself this March. I should wrap it, contract amnesia, and surprise myself. I just might, if I don’t forget.


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