New York Metropolis was in decline when Rupert Murdoch sat down at Kate Fagan’s desk at New York Journal within the late Seventies and fired her and a few 80 colleagues. It was a traditional case of inventory market downturn; six-figure earners have been dropping jobs whereas graffiti writers scrawled on subway automobiles. The cultural scene was shifting, too. Initially from Rockville, Maryland, Fagan had arrived in New York on the peak of punk within the early ’70s. The most well liked spot on the Decrease East Aspect was CBGB: a rock venue born out of the post-Nixon cultural disaster and the house of the Ramones, in addition to a group invested within the delusion of authenticity.
By the point Fagan misplaced her journal job, CBGB’s recognition was rivaled by the glamorous velvet-rope tradition of uptown’s Studio 54. Each venues have been, in a way, gentrification tasks. After years of economic devastation introduced on by suburbanization and deindustrialization, metropolis authorities was hungry to draw a younger, skilled, tax-paying crowd. Nightlife—whether or not it offered itself as populist as CBGB, or as cliquish as Studio 54—drew an rising inventive class who flocked to refurbished Manhattan neighborhoods. Studio 54’s tradition of disco exclusivity merely mirrored a altering actuality. Disillusioned, Fagan departed New York for good.
In 1980, she visited a pal in Chicago and stayed for just a few a long time. Within the unpretentious Midwest music scene, she felt she’d rediscovered CBGB’s inclusive spirit—at the least for a second. Then she seen individuals beginning to put on shades on the membership, to buy costlier garments. Exclusionary “cool” threatened to creep in once more. In retaliation, Fagan picked up a bass guitar she hardly knew the right way to play, tracked a frolicsome five-note riff onto a rudimentary drum machine, and sang concerning the bitterness she felt towards “cool.” “I don’t wear the hip clothes/I just shop at AMVETS,” she sneered on “I Don’t Wanna Be Too Cool.”
The tiny punk-run label Disturbing, which Fagan helped kind, launched the one in 1981. After the unique run bought out, Fagan self-funded one other 1,000 copies, which, together with most of her belongings, have been destroyed in a home hearth. Within the a long time since, the one’s unique urgent has turn out to be a collector’s merchandise. In 2016, Manufactured Information, an affiliate of Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks, reissued the one, which bought out, too. Now, Captured Tracks have launched an expanded and remastered LP model of “I Don’t Wanna Be Too Cool,” that includes the one, its unique B-sides, 4 tracks from a romantic new wave rock opera through which Fagan performs a socialite seduced by the post-industrial nightscape of rock and disco, and a beforehand unreleased ska observe.