Roll over, Elvis Presley, here comes Elvis Costello.
It's been quite a few years since rock 'n' roll had the necessary vitality to outrage decent folk, but with the advent of punk rock, the bad old days are back again.
The man who started it all was The King, Elvis Presley. the Pied Piper of Memphis who stole the hearts of middle-class children everywhere.
Once Elvis was safely inducted into the army, things slowed down for a while, and pop music gradually mellowed, losing its fangs and sideburns. It was degenerating into a polite whisper when the Beatles cranked it up again, hitting the E-chord heard around the world.
The Beatles matured and begun to cultivate mature pursuits: gardening, stocks and bonds and the like. Pop music appeared ready to lapse into a long, disco-induced coma, when lo! the punks appeared.
The music has the same, simple driving heat that characterized the early Presley and Beatle efforts. Their costumes, including dog collars and safety pins piercing bits of anatomy, their names and their lyrics are guaranteed to shock sane people once again within the grand tradition of rock 'n' roll.
It's all come full circle — one of the leading lights is another guy called Eivis. Only this time he's front England, his last name is Costello, and he may be the first rock anti-hero.
Costello is not realty punk, but he's been weaned on the same bitter diet that spawned the punks: the death of the '60s love ideal, and unemployment, inflation and Saturday morning cartoons.
In short, he's the 1978 version of the angry young man, but he has the vision and lyrical power to speak for all the angry young men, and people are sitting up and listening. Winnipeggers will get their first chance to hear him when he appears in the Playhouse at 7 p.m. Nov. 15. Tickets are $8 for any seat and are at a premium.
Appearing with Costello are The Wives, a Toronto punk group that is reliving the rock 'n' roll saga in its own way. Everywhere they play, they cause riots. They were known as The Battered Wives, until pressure from women's groups caused them to drop the "Battered" from their name. The women claim the group is exploiting a crime against women for crass commercial purposes, a charge the group does not bother to deny. The protest has been generating front page headlines across the continent, and as far as The Wives are concerned, any publicity is good publicity.
For example, they have a song called the Uganda Stomp (Romp-idi Bomp, you know what Amin), which they presented to the secretary designate of Uganda in Ottawa, and asked him to pass it on to Big Daddy, in the interest of fostering goad Canada-Uganda relations.