I think we do all need a big reduction in the price of beer...
January 15, 2014
January 9, 2014
January 7, 2014
The process of recording and touring for their fourth and darkest album, Pornography (1982), took a huge toll on The Cure. The band's increasing drug abuse and in-fighting led bassist Simon Gallup to quit outright (although he would return 18 months later) and Robert Smith to jump ship temporarily in order to moonlight as a guitarist for Siouxsie and The Banshees (a job he had held briefly in 1979) after the brilliant John McGeoch was jettisoned due to severe alcohol abuse. Robert Smith: "The Cure disintegrated in its entirety. Concerts became nothing but an excuse to drink ourselves senseless. Inevitably it meant the end of all my ideals. During the Pornography tour I realized The Cure weren't any better than any other band on tour. I was actually doing everything I swore once I wouldn't. We even had rows back stage; it was horrible really! We were all stuck in a crazed trip, and I really wanted to get away from all that! Especially Simon threw himself into it, and eventually I became some sort of father telling him not to, you know? I just wanted to stop. I had to stop! Simon quit, and I got away. I didn't touch a guitar for 4 months. I had to become sane again. In interviews I was always talking about how The Cure were different from other bands; we weren't though. There was never enough time to really be different from other bands. We traveled all around the world and as soon as we got back there was another album that had to be recorded! During Pornography, I realized we had to break that cycle. I got to the point where I could only see myself as someone who was in The Cure; I stopped seeing me being myself actually!" In many ways, taking over lead guitar duties in The Banshees was an ideal remedy to Robert Smith's growing discontent with the direction of The Cure. Signing on for the second leg of the Kiss the Dreamhouse tour, Smith was able to retreat from the pressures of fronting his own band by embracing a supporting role for one of the few figures in post-punk who could outshine him at the time: Siouxsie Sioux. It was during a break between legs of this tour at the beginning of 1983 that Smith and Banshee bassist Steve Severin hatched the idea to write and record a single as a one-off collaboration, but five months later, this idea had escalated into a full-fledged side-project with the goal of producing an album.
January 4, 2014
"I'm searching for my mainline,
I said I couldn't hit it sideways,
I said I couldn't hit it sideways,
it's just like Sister Ray says"
"And say a word for Joana Love,
she ain't got nothin' at all,
with every day she falls in love
and every night she falls,
and when she does, she says,
Oh! Sweet nuthin'
You know she ain't got nuthin' at all,
Oh! Sweet nuthin'
You know I ain't got nuthin' at all"
January 3, 2014
Another great Scottish post-punk band that appeared at the dawn of the 1980s, Edinburgh's the Scars only released one album, and in my estimation, it deserves far more recognition than it gets- love the bass playing on this...
January 2, 2014
David Bowie (aka David Jones) had been struggling for years to achieve some semblance of commercial and artistic success as a musician, a journey that included stints as a blues-singer for mod-rock groups such as The King Bees and The Mannish Boys, a campy dance-hall dandy with a taste for Anthony Newley, and a Dylan-esque folksinger. While all of these musical incarnations failed miserably, it was, strangely enough, Bowie's participation in an avante-garde mime troupe that put him on the pathway to the kind of success he so badly craved. In 1968, now a solo mime artist, Bowie opened a show for Marc Bolan's Tyrannosaurus Rex, and in the process, ended up crossing paths with Bolan's producer Tony Visconti. Visconti's account of their initial meeting: "I met David about a month after Marc [Bolan] and I remember the weather. It was a nice day, I was in David Platz’s office at 68 Oxford Street and he played me Bowie’s first Deram album, saying, 'What do you think of this kid?' I said, 'he’s all over the map.' You know that album, 'Uncle Arthur,' 'Mr Gravedigger' and so on, crazy songs, 'Laughing Gnome'? I said, 'he’s great but so unfocused.' And he said, 'Come and meet him, he’s in the next room.' David was about 19 at the time, very nervous sitting there. He knew he was going to meet me, it had all been set up, and David Platz left us after five minutes. We got on very well, we shared a love of Andy Warhol, underground music, a group called The Fugs, which few British people were aware of. He was obviously in love with American music and I loved him, he was a singer songwriter, had this great English accent and now we were going to work together. So we took a long walk down Oxford Street, on this nice day, we continued to talk the whole day and about three hours later ended up on King’s Road near a film theatre where Roman Polanski’s Knife In The Water was playing. We’d been talking about foreign films and Truffaut, specifically black and white and scratchy films, so we went in there and we said goodbye at about 7 in the evening. We’d struck up a great friendship."
To say this was a fortuitous encounter would be a vast understatement because Visconti proved to be instrumental in shaping the careers of both Bolan and Bowie, as well as helping to foster the birth of the glam-rock movement that would make them both superstars by 1972. At the time of their meeting in 1968, Bowie had managed to record an album for Deram the previous year, but it had failed to chart. As Visconti noted when he first heard the LP, David Bowie is an unfocused pastiche of an album, touching on dancehall numbers, show tunes, British invasion and even novelty songs. What was conspicuously absent was any significant reference to rock music, a much better forum for Bowie's growing avant-garde inclinations. This and the inconsistent songwriting all but sealed its fate with the public. As a result, his days at the label were numbered, and he was unceremoniously dropped in early 1968. However, just before his exit from Deram, Bowie had composed and recorded "Space Oddity," a song destined to eventually bring him his first taste of commercial success, and he had collaborated on a song with Visconti, "Let Me Sleep Beside You," which is arguably his first successful attempt at writing a rock song and a harbinger of what was to come next. Bowie had written a good deal of new material by the time he entered the studio again in 1969, this time on the dime of Mercury Records, to record his second album, now with Visconti as his producer. Among the songs to be recorded was a new version of "Space Oddity," which was obviously influenced by the Stanley Kubrick film, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the impending Apollo 11 moon landing. Bowie had originally written and recorded the song for a promotional film for Deram called Love You Till Tuesday, which ended up staying in the can until 1984.
The approach to recording the album was a bit haphazard, but proved to be a valuable learning experience for all involved; as Visconti recalls, "Well, Bowie and I finished the Space Oddity album and we looked at each other and realized it wasn't a rock album - we wanted to make a rock album. We respected the rock groups around at the time like Cream and such like, but we didn't have it in us! We needed someone to be [that] important element, and that somebody we were introduced to was Mick Ronson [....] So we got Mick down [from Hull], actually while we were in the last stages of finishing the Space Oddity album, and Mick actually played a little bit of guitar, and he clapped, on 'Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud.' So he's on that album! But then we started jamming with him, and we got him to play on a John Peel show, doing a little bit of guitar for us. John Peel knew Mick from some work he did with a folk singer - I forget the name - and so he was known to John Peel, who totally approved of Mick [playing] with us. So we got down to the nitty gritty part of putting the band together, and Mick turned to me and he said, 'You have to listen to Jack Bruce' [bass,vocals, Cream]. He had advice like that for every one of us. He wasn't outspoken - he was very shy and all that, but if you asked him a direct question he would give you a direct answer. So he said, 'you have to listen to Jack Bruce,' and he made me get a short scale EB3 Bass, the one that Jack Bruce played. I was already a guitarist/ bassist, and it was basically Jack Bruce that played lead bass - it was like a second guitar to Eric Clapton. I was bending strings and slapping it - getting distortion - and we have Mick to thank for that. If it wasn't for Mick… ? Who knows? There might have been no Ziggy Stardust. And I hate to say things like that because nobody really knows, but he was so important."