Virgin Territory

Two new career-spanning DVDs prove Ingmar Bergman remains fresh and radical.

By Leo Charney
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 1, 2006

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The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder: Punk & New Wave

John Lydon-better known as Johnny Rotten of the landmark British punk group the Sex Pistols-stares at TV talk show host Tom Snyder with flashing eyes and a glare so openly hostile he looks like he'd just as soon knife him as answer his question, which is:"Why do you dislike rock 'n' roll so much?"

"It's dead," Lydon answers."It's a disease. It's a plague. It's been going on for far too long. It's history. It's vile. It's not achieving anything. It's just aggression. They play rock 'n' roll at airports. It is too much like a structure, a church, a religion, a farce."

It's 1980, and Lydon's on a late-night talk show even though he can barely restrain his contempt. At least the feeling is mutual: Host Tom Snyder closes the segment by sneering,"It's unfortunate that we're all out of step except for you. I wish that something could be done about that."

In the early '80s TV talk shows still had some of the spontaneity they've lost with the ramping-up of spin and damage-control PR. This two-DVD set captures some relics of that era, as abrasive, unpredictable late-night host Tom Snyder-who hosted The Tomorrow Show after Johnny Carson's Tonight Show from 1973 to 1982-interviews abrasive, unpredictable stars of punk and New Wave, including lots of performance footage.

The shows include such punk/New Wave icons as Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello, the Ramones, Joan Jett and the Plasmatics. The performances are pretty standard, but surely invaluable if you're into any of these artists. There are also a bunch of interviews, including a lengthy, ponderous roundtable about the meaning of the music and some additional guests who have nothing to do with punk and New Wave.

It's tough to beat the interview with Lydon and Public Image Ltd. colleague Keith Levene for sheer hostility and confrontation. But Snyder also has illuminating chats with a bashful young Elvis Costello, an out-of-it Iggy Pop and a beatific Patti Smith, who talks about the influence on her work of, believe it or not, Little Richard and Johnny Carson. B

You'll Like It If You Like: Punk rock/New Wave music, Tom Snyder, TV talk show history.

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