PRINT April 2003

’80s THEN

James Welling

JAN TUMLIR: You locate the ’80s between 1977 and 1984. Seventy-seven is year zero for punk rock, and for you the music scene was a large part of the collaborative and interdisciplinary network that made up the East Village at the time. It is interesting because a certain clichéd idea of the ’80s has developed in recent years that tends to overlook all this openness and experiment.

JAMES WELLING: I remember making periodic visits from LA to New York to see a lot of my CalArts friends who had already moved there. In 1978, I saw Paul McMahon’s band play; they were called Daily Life and included Glenn Branca and Barbara Ess. Through Paul, I heard that Dan Graham was associated with a band called the Theoretical Girls, which just seemed hilarious. Dan, of all people, a band manager!

JT: But hasn’t he always had this interest in pop? I remember reading an essay of his on Malcolm McLaren.


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