A letter from Steve Leckie
Posted on November 8, 2011 by Sam Sutherland
Excuse the lapse in posts here; an initial, incomplete draft of the book was finished at the start of the summer, and I spent the last few months clearing out my brain and conducting a few extra interviews to help bring this project to a close. It’s still far from complete, but my head is back in the game, and I’m planning to get back to the business of writing here regularly.
I’m in the middle of finalizing one of the more agonizing sections of the book — the Viletones chapter. With so much information, so many rumours, and so many bizarre personal anecdotes to sort through, it’s been a portion of this story that I’ve struggled to tell. In many ways, the story of the Viletones is best told by Steve Leckie, because, truly, he is the Viletones. Our second interview began with him reading this letter to me, a foolscap piece of my paper with my name written in big, bold letters at the top. When he was done reading it, he didn’t hand it to me. He just folded it back into his pocket and started our interview.
What can you do when the medium of first generation punk requires not a stage but a tight wire because the true craft of punk demanded not a persona but a life? A life to even sacrifice on the altar of a life and death attempt to bear witness to the purity of a spectacle, that in history would be understood by perhaps the Aztecs as in a human sacrifice or maybe general custom. Misunderstanding or doubting that is only proof that those who through their mediocrity stand on the sidelines not only of punk rock, especially Viletones, but any art ahead of its own time. The words of Rimbaud not only told but warned over 100 years ago this spectacle would come, and I, far more than most of first generation punk artists embraced and heeded that future vision. A vision that manifests in high art reality. That punk art is the bastard son of no one. Of no other movement. An orphan. But an Artful Dodger orphan. And the death count in punk is much higher than those Dickens himself could have foreseen, for there is no Fagan to pay off but something much greater. Immortality itself, though an Aztec spectacle of sacrifice, whose virtues have been eroded through time.