Richard Hell

Richard Hell is, as they say, the real thing; a guy for whom bohemianism wasn't a youthful folly but an inherent condition, like hemophilia or tallness. A pioneer of the CBGB aesthetic, he's best known for his two albums as leader of the Voidoids, Blank Generation and the overlooked Destiny Street. On both, punk nihilism melds brilliantly with flâneur soul, junky sophistication, and Robert Quine's peerlessly caustic guitar. For the past three decades Hell has worked mainly as a writer, and is touring in support of his addictive autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp (Ecco). The book can be bitchy, score-settling, loopy, and priapic — and you wouldn't want it any other way — on top of which, Hell's bluntness extends to self criticism. He's good with hard-boiled wit ("She was seventeen and the greatest-looking thing in the room apart from my shoes"), and irresistibly passionate even when he's not quite convincing. If you grew up on his famous anti-anthem, you can "take it or leave it each time"; the best bet here is to take it.
Sat., March 30, 7 p.m., 2013

 
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